Wednesday, May 8, 2013

In the Midst of It All

I've stopped counting how many months I've been in Morocco. Somewhere around the year mark, things got so busy that I honestly forgot this was a semi-permanent arrangement. In the midst of my new site mate's arrival, finishing up classes for the year, coordinating Spring Camp and hosting a number of volunteers in my house, I forgot that life continued outside of Tazarine. The weather was good, my work was fulfilling and I felt content. My days ended with a slow swing on my roof hammock - reflecting on the days' events, reading, singing or just watching the sun fade behind the mountains.

Forgetting about life outside of Tazarine is simple. I turn off the computer, walk in the palmerie and pretend this is it. Away from the buzz of technology, I bask in the now. Eating with friends, teaching classes, cooking and strumming on my guitar allows me to remove myself from life in the States. While this may feel like the quintessential Peace Corps experience, it's also a break from reality. Sometimes it feels like a never-ending camping trip; staring at the stars and contemplating 'what it all means.' How long should the camping trip last? What would happen to our relationships, to life outside the vacation paradise, if we never returned? Stopped answering the phone, stopped checking emails, stopped reading the suspended. A two-year pause button.

When I take my finger off pause, life feels complicated. One of my best friends decides that Peace Corps is no longer for her; another phone number deleted. After an amazing weekend getaway with my boyfriend I must instantly switch gears at the Marrakesh bus station. Three men try to cheat me in five minutes before I collapse into a 100 degree bus and wish that I could remove my scarf. The leering eyes resume as I am no longer considered the property of anyone. Visiting another volunteer's family reminds me of my parents and the physical and mental difficulties they will encounter traveling to Morocco. Facebook reminds me of weddings I will miss, birthday presents I didn't send and cards that I haven't quite finished. Both firmly rooted in my Moroccan life and constantly flirting with post-peace corps thoughts, my split self is thoroughly confused. Can someone find that pause button again? 

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