So I just spent a week out isolated from the world with the knowledge that this will be my home for two years. There are so many thoughts to process and so many emotions to try and understand I don't think I will full understand the significance of this week for quite some time. I'm lucky to have some good friends here with whom I can sit down and vent/process out loud.
This is Mara my region mate. I was really excited when I found out she was going to be near me. Ihave someone near me with whom I click well and we'll keep each other sane and working when this gets really rough.
This was a much needed impromptu dance party just to relieve all of the built up stress and nervousness about our sites.
And this was the inevitable pillow fight that ensued.
I'll try and tell you what I know...
Challenge #1... A WHOLE NEW LANGUAGE!!! I thought I was doing so well and then when I got there realized that simple words like the numbers "1, 2, and 3" were not the same, "good" is not the same, neither are "yes" and "no". "G" changes to "J", "M" changes to "SH", and most of the "K"s change to "SH" as well. Not to mention I'm in a farming community where no one really annunciates. It was so deflating to go there relatively confident in my language ability and to just be shot down by a nine year old telling me I really didn't speak any of his language. It was really tempting to retort "well how many languages do you speak!?" but of course that would have fallen on deaf ears because I can't say that to him yet in a language he understands.
Ok, so now I have that out of the way, my sight is GORGEOUS! I'm in a farming town in the valley surrounded on all sides by mountains. My work site is a two hour hike away across some mountains which is beautiful and would be perfect save the hundreds of evil dogs who want to bite your head off. For some stupid reason I didn't take pictures of that hike mostly because I'm an idiot, but what are you going to do... I was enjoying the moment.
My host family is really nice although it is kind of frustrating that the only time I see the women is when they bring me food. I told my host mom though that when I came back she was going to teach me to cook. Hopefully that will break the awkwardness. Although I think we might have awkwardness for a while... she walked in on me changing the other day and got a full frontal. She knocked but of course the words for "wait", "one" and "minute" are all different so she just came on in. I didn't see her the rest of the day... I love awkwardness.
I don't have any pictures of people because I didn't want to flash my camera, or any electronics for that matter. There is no running water or electricity in my site. Some of the homes have solar panels, but it is not, for example, enough power to charge my cell phone. It's alright, I don't really have reception in the valley anyway except for in pockets. This is a poor farming community and I don't want to be the guy that comes in with all the fancy stuff and, I don't even know. I have some good landscape shots for you though.
I set up a PO Box so you can start actually sending me things:
Yeah, that's it. Amazing how simple that was. I made good friends with the guy at the post office and hopefully that will mean that my packages will actually reach me intact but you never know. Oh and if you are ever thinking of something to send me and don't know... BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS!! I've read so much already and am going to be going a whole lot more over the next couple of years.
So I'm scared. The reality of this as a job really hit me and a couple of other people really hard yesterday. All of us are trying to process the small glimpse we got of our life for the next to years, all of us are doing that unsuccessfully as everything will change once we're in it, but all the facades of self-assuredness have started to break down and you are really beginning to see the hint of fear that all of us have had all along. You start to question yourself... do I have to strength of personality to do this? Is this really what I want my life to be for two years? Am I going to psyche myself into not doing any work? and the questions just go on. Interestingly enough none of them has to do with missing home and not wanting to be here. I love my site, I love Morocco, I love living and working abroad... I'm just nervous about the work I'm supposed to be doing. It'll be alright though. Last night was a time for freaking out, and today is for putting that behind and trying to figure out the way forward.