.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

La Vita Grassa

My Photo
Location: Aarhus, Denmark

Thursday, April 10, 2008

After a long absence...

My few faithful readers (when encountered on rare occasion) have slyly hinted that "even a paragraph would be nice, you've been on that hiking trip for almost half a year now!" So, I shall write.

I finished Peace Corps December 1. It was bliss to goodbye to Peace Corps forever ;)

This is our group. Those who lasted two full years. Youth Development & Small Business.

Dancing out of Peace Corps

Don't misunderstand me. It was very hard to leave my little village of Agdz. As the time drew near, I became more hesitant and reluctant to walk away. How do you just say goodbye to a town you may never return to, in a little corner of the earth, and a family that has treated you as one of their own for all that time? I wept. My "family" wept. Most others braved goodbyes in stoic smiles. Or maybe I give too much credit to our attachments. And Peace Corps friends: our "Draa Valley Crew" as we called ourselves: April, Aaron, Mona, Jong, and Kate, had become very close. The goodbyes were painful. The happy thought with them, however, was that we both were, in our own time, returning to the other side of the ocean.

Couscous Lunch on the Peace Corps HG lawn with the Staff

There were certainly those (like my landlord, a man whose very face often swelled anger to my cheeks and tightened my fist) who I was glad to be rid of. My poor friend, Frank even got into a yelling match with him over arrangements in the last days.

We arranged for the local Korti (taxi manager) to come to my house and pick me up. As my friends stood around, waiting for me as I (literally) ran to the water office to sign the last set of paperwork, and one casually mentioned that I was on my way out, for good. They said a look of shock took over his face, and he turned to hide welling sadness. This is the goodness of people I was not even a friend to, but from whom I demanded the "two" front seats of every taxi so I didn't get car sick.

Drea was... just a little happy to be done.

Peace Corps was an experience unlike any other. I would have a hard time "doing it again", knowing all there was ahead of me this time. But if for no other reason than to understand some of the frustrations of people in a land much poorer than our own, it was worth it. Now, when I see a veiled woman, I will not be thinking of Al Qaeda, but instead I'll be reminded of my sisters in Morocco and how much I miss them.

So what am I doing now? I am home. Home is Somerset, Kentucky. I live with my parents. Oh what a funny ring that phrase has to it. :) I am the "Sustainability Specialist" at our family's company, Play Mart. I started work three days after arriving home. But don't pity me. I was eager to have a "real job" with a place to go, and a desk of my own, and a team to work with. I also wanted to be able to contribute to a company very much a part of our family's lives.

Our "official" stamping out ceremony.

In the interrum, however, my sister Priscilla (Miss Priss or Prissy), met me in Casablanca and we traveled like hurricanes for eleven days. Casablanca to Rabat, tearful goodbyes with Frank, Bob, Linda, and other friends. Then Fes, Chefchaouan, and Tangier. We ferried across to a little town near Gibraltar.

If you want a dramatic goodbye upon leaving a country, let me recommend the ferry. You walk on board, with all your belongings on your back, turn around and watch a country you have called home for two years slip off into the fog. It felt more tangible than flying away and plopping down at home.

Prissy standing against the Rabat coastline

This is us standing on the ferry with Tangiers behind us.

I'll save photos and stories for another post, but from Gibraltar we went to Granada, onto Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, Montpelier, and ended in Paris. Priss's birthday was December 7. We had cocktails in three different cities (Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona) on her birthday. Not that I would recommend that pace of travel...

....to be continued.