On Wednesday, March 3rd 2010, 71 Peace Corps Trainees landed at Casablanca airport and began their service here in Morocco. As of now I am no longer a member of the youngest and most inexperienced staj (training group) in Peace Corps Morocco.
So the question hit me… What am I doing here?
I have now been in country since September 9th. My initial curiosity at being in a new and different place has worn off. I no longer think twice about not wearing a seatbelt in a grand taxi crowded with seven people in it. It is totally normal to stand at a counter and order the storeowner to get you milk, spaghetti and all the groceries you want and bring them to you. It is second nature use a squatting toilet.
In a word I am adjusting to being here. Moreover it is clear that, if I were to return to America today, I would face the serious challenges of re-entry shock. All this leads one to wonder, ‘What am I doing here? Why did I leave my home country, give up the language I am used to, leave my friends and family and ruin my ability to cope with living in America? What did I go and do that for?’
Maybe the answer lies in figuring out how I got here in the first place, after all, ‘How did I get here? I remember being on BART on my way to Oakland, and it was raining and I was wearing a tie because I was going to a job interview. And BOOM, now I am in Morocco! That does not make any sense at all. Is it really possible that just because I wore a tie and didn’t give a bad interview, now I am living on my own in a house on a muddy street in a small village in Morocco, talking in Darija and eating tagines?’
Part 2 to follow…