This blog is a personal publication and does not reflect the views or opinions of the US Peace Corps or US Government...

Monday, January 31, 2011

... and Back Again

My time in America seems as though it was a dream as I sit here in my village watching the weeks fly by. Already I have been back a month, and it feels as if I was never gone. Life continues to tick by as usual, the same men sit in the same cafes, following the warm sun from one side of the main street to the other. Morning belongs to one set of cafes and afternoon to the other; a time honored system in a land with no central heating. The same group of kids play soccer (football) in the street in front of my house most nights, hollering and carrying on. Sometimes fights break out or a kid knocks at my door asking for me to retrieve the ball he has kicked onto my roof. Souq every weekend with its customary flood of people, and lunch with my Moroccan family on Fridays with the shaking of hands, drinking of tea, and eating of couscous, which is perhaps one of the tastiest foods on the planet. I mention this not to convey boredom, but rather the delightful regularity of life here in the Atlas. Everything moves slowly, and routines change with the seasons. Very few people are transient here, most have lived here all their lives and will continue to do so; in that respect, my village is not so different from small town America.

Everything feels different after my visit home, not only was I happy to be back, but I am still happy to be here. I delight in the culture and the people that I see every day. Interactions that before I would have viewed as negative now only serve to make me smile and laugh; I feel a deep inner peace and satisfaction and feel content to sit back and watch the seasons pass. I am working though, and have several projects on the table. However, as none of them are sure yet, I will not elaborate on what they are, just that they are proceeding and look promising. I hope to meet with the school soon about reinvigorating the defunct Environmental Education Club, so that will be something to do. But mostly I, and really all of the people of the Atlas, simply have to survive the winter cold and await the glorious months of summer. Months that I was unable to fully enjoy last year due to illness and culture shock.

A good friend and fellow volunteer told me that after one year, I would begin to feel more content here. She said that after seeing one cycle of seasons, there weren’t too many surprises after that. I tend to believe her, and I do not think it coincidence that this feeling of confidence and contentment comes so close to my one year mark, which falls in early March. This is also a reason, I believe, that many people say that Peace Corps doesn’t really start until the second year. Well, I am ready to begin and look forward to my remaining months here. May they be glorious.

Thanks for reading,