Monday, January 21, 2013

I Don't Think We're in Kansas Anymore.

Dave had missed his flight. Making my way from Charles de Gaule airport to our apartment, I wasn't thrilled about the solo hour long metro trip at 5 o'clock Friday or the obligatory return trip at 5 am the following morning. The metro was packed, I carried a large bag and it was first my time being truly alone in a big city since the incident last August. Sweaty and exhausted, I stumbled into my temporary home where I was shown the surroundings, given the key and complemented on my French by the apartment owner. Jacky was polite, kind and most importantly, didn't invite me over for dinner or express his sadness that I would be "all alone" for the next twelve hours. Deep breath, I am not in Morocco anymore.

Shortly after I had settled in, I wandered over to the local grocery store where I spent nearly thirty minutes taking in the array of cheese, wine, beer, frozen foods, ice cream, cereal and almond milk which was all available for purchase from the friendly market owner. After a friendly and easy exchange in French, I made myself a simple and comforting sandwich full of items not found in Tazarine. Sliced bread! Hummus! Tzatiziki! Baby tomatoes! Spinach! Wine! Well, not on the sandwich, but still important. My body tensed as I heard a neighbor walk by, ready for the imminent knock on the door and intrusion into my solitude. Another deep breath, I am not in Morocco anymore.

Following a hot shower (!!!) and a TV marathon, I fell asleep for a few short hours before waking unexpectedly at 3 am. Was it stress? Was it excitement? Was it hunger? For whatever reason, my body was done sleeping and ready to get back on the metro to the airport. Later that morning on the steps of Sacre Coeur, delighting in a second breakfast of croissants, quiche and mulled wine with Dave, I realized that my shoulders were starting to relax. It wasn't until that moment when I discovered my actual level of stress in Morocco.

As much as I love my town, my work, and my community, I feel a never-ending sense of duty, obligation and discomfort. My life is full of "shoulds." I 'should' stay in site over the weekend, I 'should' go have lunch with this family I've been avoiding, I 'should' finally start classes at the Dar Taliba, I 'should' study more Tashelheit, I 'should' do this, that, and everything. I expect myself to be a completely balanced wonder woman at all times: learning three languages without fatigue, visiting families I have nothing in common with on a daily basis, and competently teaching English grammar, theater, dance and music which I have never been trained in. Metric's lyrics play over in my head, "Is it ever gonna be enough?"

On this last weekend of January, with no cell phone and no connection to work, I took a deep breath and decided to simply soak in the beauty and wonder of Paris. Tazarine was waiting, work was waiting, the "should" feeling was waiting, but this week was free. Another glass of mulled wine and ten days with a fantastic man? Don't mind if I do!

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