I am ready for anything…..

There’s no looking back! Tomorrow, my fellow volunteers arrive to start this GLOW camp (Girls Leading Our World), which I will write more about later. I haven’t been very vocal about the planning of this project… mostly because it has taken quite a bit of time and well, failure sometimes seems imminent so I didn’t want to jinx myself. I have been trying to reflect during the process and will definitely do a lot afterwards.

One of the most apparent realizations, to date, is how important and vital the support of other volunteers has been. I have said before that other Peace Corps volunteers serve as sort of a new makeshift family during a Peace Corps service. This family of volunteers that has helped to plan and support the project in so many ways and overall made the process a much more worthwhile experience. There are still quite a few kinks to work out… not at all unsurprising even though there are T-3 days until the launch of the camp… but I am somewhat calm. I am really excited to give the girls a new opportunity and spend some time with some of my volunteer family members.

In order to prepare for the camp, I visited souk today and found one of the best finds ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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10 dirhams= $1.20

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15 dirhams = $1.90 with my belt that I bargained for at a thrift shop in Dublin!

And last but not least… ladies and gentlemen- you all are never going to believe this!

So the story goes… walking around my main hangouts at souk, saying hello to my homies and getting a feel for what’s going down. Generally, Saturdays and Wednesdays have been my best purchase days but I don’t like to get my hopes up, it is really about getting the feel and trusting your instincts. My strategy is alllllll about the instinctual vibe, if I am looking through a pile and I don’t find anything good within the first couple of minutes… I peace out. Now, yes… this may mean that I might be missin’ out but so far my strategy has led me to some pretty good finds. Anywhoodles, I am at a table of a man who I have been frequenting lately. I am a big fan of the sellers who come back day-to-day and set up in the same locations. I notice he has a lot of pajamas and I am going through them- who knew you could find Winnie-the-Poo satin pajamas? I couldn’t find the bottoms though, so that was a no-go. Then, a kind lady (I like to refer to her as my guardian angel) turns to me and says (obviously paraphrasing), “This is good for you”. I kind of shrug her off and pull up the beautiful garment and this, my friends, is what my eyes beheld…

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Obviously, the excited me was not in the snug and warm cuddly-ness of the ONESIE yet! Yes! YES! I found an adult ONESIE for 5 dirhams! THAT IS A LITTLE OVER FIFTY CENTS! AND, and I know you are thinking there couldn’t possibly be any more benefits to this, WITH A POCKET! With this find, I just can’t go back for awhile… this is like hitting a jackpot on a coin machine in Vegas! All I have been able to hear when I think about my new pjs with a cartoon mouse for entertainment on them- is the ching, ching, ching of the coins!!!

I am ready for this GLOW camp, whatever it has to offer, with my onesie by my side.. I am ready for anything!

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“Experience”

As I sit here and bite into a DEEEEELICIOUS fresh fig, I have a moment to ponder. Strangely enough, I find myself in a homesick sort of revery. My tastebuds bringing on and creating new memories while my thoughts are focusing on old ones. It is a strange sort of feeling that happens more often than not. It is the feeling that I am living life here… going through the days… struggling through communication … taking three steps forward in a project, only to take three steps backward not soon after and all of this happening with a nostalgic feeling biting at my heels. The ease of summer …enjoying friends and family… Fourth of July… birthdays… pools… oceans… driving… all that reminds me of summer at home. Which of course brings memories of everything that reminds me of home… heaters, nice showers, Christmas trees, Christmas, Halloween, weddings! WEDDINGS!!!!! I am so excited for all of my friends that are getting hitched in the coming months-personally knowing that special feelings makes me more excited for THEIR WONDERFUL AND SPECIAL DAY!  I am forlorn, though, at the idea of not being able to celebrate their days with them… all for gaining “experience”? These feelings bring about notions and questions about when does gaining “experience” and living abroad become too selfish?

For as long as I can remember I have been ENAMORED with the idea of living abroad! The excitement, the culture, the PEOPLE! I adored* my time abroad in Spain and did not want to leave at the end of three months… there were few times where I found nostalgia for home creeping up behind me. However, here in Morocco- it is more like a friend that I carry around on my back. As the months have gone by… of course there are wonderful times and places that I have been. And much like many other aspects of life… it is really unfair to compare experiences/countries/people etc. But* when there are dear friends having babies, graduating, birthdays… and GETTING MARRIED*. I find myself thinking… “what am I doing here?”. I was fortunate enough to be able to share in my best friend’s wedding festivities (hopefully another post on that) but there are many more dear friends that Tyler and I are missing! And it makes me think… in the middle of our twenties… are we missing our prime?! Our time to go out and have a night on the town with good people and good food?! As I sit feeling less independent and sort of stuck in my “the town is a ghost town rut” with the call of prayer playing as a soundtrack to my thoughts, I know that my feelings have not been as positive about my experience as I might want them to be. I know, deep down, that negative feelings often complement and even encourage negative experiences. Even with the knowledge that life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows at home… it is the missing out that hurts. It is the down time with family and friends… its the short visits… its the adventures into new parts of the city… it is helping friends move… having people stay with you… it is being there for the everyday life. It is the nuance of building a life in one place knowing that it will be a residence for more than two years versus the 27 months of a Peace Corps volunteer.

This post may have gotten a little lost along the way… but it is a perfect depiction of how I often feel. Never will we know if this was the “right” path – because really, what is the “right” path nor will we know how things might have been if we had never left. The only thing we really can do is make the “experience” worth it… make it worth the lost time with loved ones…. make it worth it by continuing to grow as people… and make it worth it by thinking of them often and keeping in touch with their lives. Time will be lost and some moments will never be made up but only the person who makes the choice to live abroad can answer… will this enhance my life in a way that I can add to those around me, or, am I really just giving up on those special moments than can never be had again?

Today….

Some people have these kinds of days….. some people are lucky enough to not have them…. then there are even those who, God love them, have more than one. These kinds of days are the hardest, the hardest to remember -as all of the memories scroll through like an old home movie. These days are also the hardest to forget – it can sit as a reminder for all that should have been done. The times I forgot to call back or was “too busy”, the times I didn’t tell him how much I appreciated him, the times when I gave him a hug and I should have squeezed a little bit tighter.

Its important though…. on days like these to remember all that they did, to remember all of the happy times (and WHOA* did he know how to have a good time!) and to know most importantly- they wouldn’t want the lives of those they loved to be lived in regret or remorse.

Two years ago, I woke up in disbelief. That one of the most inspirational and loving people that I have ever known would be taken from this world. Today, I woke up in the same disbelief. However, I was reminded that he still inspires me to this day- he left behind a legacy, a legacy that lives on through his family and friends.  2332_50572956796_1640_n

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If I were to go through all that he taught me, I would need about 1000s of blog pages.

He taught me the importance of family…. how precious they are and how essential it is to show love not just say it.

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100_4028He taught me the importance of laughter… that there is always a funny side of life and all meals should be served with a BIG helping of laughter

IM000033.JPG100_4023He taught me sacrifice. Its not a surprise, he definitely spoiled me and my sister. But times such as these, GOING ON THE DUCK TOUR, regardless of whether he wanted to actually* go, can never be replaced. Although, I am sure I didn’t always deserve to be spoiled – it means so much to know how he much he cared

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He and my aunt set an incredible example of marriage. Through all times, good/bad, stressful, happy, fun, sad…. it is important to be there for your spouse no matter what.

bostonfam 005UDandAmber3-2006313585_600489293117_705574472_nHe taught me to drive, most important how to do U-turns

He inspired my love of tea, rhubarb pie, granola, dried apricots, coffee, movies, television shows…. anything to be like UD!

He taught me to be calm when you get pulled over or your car has been totaled

He taught me to listen…. to be there for others

He taught that when Celine Dion comes out with a new cd, stick your hands out the sun roof and enjoy the ride!!!!!!

He (and many others) assured me that one day- my sister and I would get along!

He taught me the right way to do long road trips- lots of good snacks!

He taught me to be flexible and to stay positive, that everything works out in the end.

He taught me how to have a good party, with delicious drinks and loved ones

Although this is still such a raw and painful day, it is yet another reminder of all those lessons that people in life teach. It is a reminder to show people love and kindness. It is a reminder to heed all of these lessons, especially when it is most difficult.

622476_4523401970139_1544400263_o2627_1104612382536_904928_n“Love is stronger than death even though it can’t stop death from happening, but no matter how hard death tries it can’t separate people from love. It can’t take our memories away either. In the end, life is stronger than death”

Love you always, UD