Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Winning!

Has anyone ever called Peace Corps service boring? I know that on a given day (or month, thank you Ramadan), volunteers may have nothing better to do than watch Star Trek Deep Space Nine in its' entirety, but for the most part the roller coaster of ups, down and inbetweens keeps you on your toes. After a weekend of sleepless nights, avoiding the front door and ignoring my telephone, I felt sane enough to once again start my work week. 

Tuesday morning began with two hours of tutoring and Arabic script at the local cafe. Studying script simultaneously gets me really excited for a new challenge and makes my brain feel like it is melting. While thrilled to be advancing, an additional layer of confusion has indeed been added to my life. At one point, we discussed the word for horse in English, French, Darija, Arabic and Berber. Do I really need to talk about horses in five different languages? I don't even like them that much (sorry mom). After two hours my tutor looked over and casually remarked "I think that is enough for one day?" Following my caffeine high and solid progress, my mind had finally gone blank. Noises, letters, vowels and sentences no longer made any sense to me. I left the cafe mumbling incoherently but still high from the linguistic aerobics of my morning. 

After a brief telephone call with a nearby volunteer, I made the trek to my host family's home. It had been nearly two weeks since we had a meal together and I genuinely missed their smiling faces. While my host mother (who is probably only a few years older than me) baked fried dough with meat and inquired about my love for omelets, we talked about my recent kitchen fire and the exhaustion of constant travel. She speaks rapid fire Darija, but I adore her. Lunch was a blast - my host sister stole part of my omelet and talked quietly to herself while walking over my lap, my host brother decided to eat a whole tomato with salt instead of the actual lunch, and I gabbed on with my host parents. When the time for afternoon aerobics rolled around, I was disappointed to leave. It's still an unusual enough feeling that I cherish those fleeting moments in Morocco.

Aerobics is one of my favorite classes to teach. I teach between 8-10 women in my host family's tae-kwon-do studio three days per week. Initially I was unsure if my routines were too difficult for the women, but they keep coming back and the numbers have been increasing - I must be doing something right! Tuesday's class included a mix of salsa, hip thrusts, belly dancing, carnaval routines, kick-boxing, strength training and yoga. The Pitbull-inspired hip thrusts were a rather new addition to the workout - pretty sure I am going to get "that reputation" in the neighborhood soon. Come take aerobics class with the American stripper! By the end of class, I am drenched in sweat and grinning. I only hope they love it as much as I do.

Shortly after class a friend came over to my apartment to learn guitar, make a music video to Justin Bieber and use my Internet. It happens. We ended the day together with Moroccan pancakes and conversation about what makes a speech effective. Boushra informed me that my personality is "great" and I should be an actress - I must admit that I loved the comment! No matter the challenges here, it's so encouraging when you are given positive feedback. Happy sigh.

Not content to end my day at 8 pm, I proceeded to put together ballin' lesson plans and jam to the Beatles until bed called. Delightful evening conversations rounded out my day perfectly and I settled into bed feeling grateful for Tazarine and the opportunities I have been given to work here. I'm sure the rest of my week will be full of another round of ups, downs and inbetweens, but I like a life that is full of surprises. Only boring people get bored. 

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