Preparing for final COS sign out and COSing

The beginning of this month had me zipping from place to place to get signatures from everyone from the Mudir of the Dar Chabab I worked in to my land lord to make sure everyone was aware I was finished with my contract.

I had to laugh when the secretary of the delege said when I showed up and asked for his signature said to me,” Its been two years already?.”  “Yes.  It has been two years already,” I thought to myself, “Aren’t you glad to not have to deal with me anymore?”

I know I felt a lot of relief of being close to being done and once again being a “free agent.”

If it were “normal,” circumstances I would been selling items I had owned for two years, giving away to locals or to PCV’s nearby or throwing away anything that I couldn’t fit in two pieces of luggage with a 50lb weight limit for each.

I would have also had to make sure that I brought any Peace Corps materials from the library back or any required by other departments.  Thank god I was smart enough not to borrow a bike.  I also thank god that I brought all the stuff other PCV’s who COS’ed or ET’ed and dumped on me into PCHQ in Rabat a couple of month’s earlier with the help of my good friend Dan.

Perhaps like my good friend Dan – I would ship some items home just to ensure I made the weight restrictions of my flights.  I would plan a big European tour making sure to indulge in all the food and drink items that I couldn’t access in Morocco, making sure to show a lot of skin along the way, while taking wildly long hot showers, wash my clothing at the local laundry mat and blasting the heat in my hotel room to make up for two years of my unheated or cooled apartment.

None of that was even on my radar because unlike other PCV’s in my stajj/ group that I came in with – I was not going home yet.

I jokingly say to my other good friend Kelly that indeed we have committed to the ultimate third goal – marriage to a Host Country National and in doing so we both are staying beyond our Close of Service (COS) dates in Morocco till we can bring our husbands home to the United States with us.

The waiting to hear from the USCIS – United States Custom and Immigration Service and the NVC – National Visa Center is worst than all the crazy running around I had to do – to get all the paperwork together to get the petition together.

I do love that I have a receipt number and that I can check my case status online via the USCIS website – in some ways the old US bureaucracy is reassuring in its orderliness.

So I finally made it to Rabat and jumped through all the hoops and “COSed.”

Peace Corps Morocco Seal

There was an awkward stamp out ceremony – instead of having one – there was two and this second one was hella awkward as only one PCHQ Morocco staff had any comments to say as each PCV stamped out but only for certain PCV’s – not each one like what happened at the first stamp out ceremony.

We all during this ceremony were encouraged to make remarks – the only thing running through my head was a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.,  I have a dream speech,

“Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.”

So instead I spoke from my heart on other things saying thank you to my fellow PCV’s because if I had said that quote – some people would have taken it the wrong way.

Don’t get me wrong – I had learned a lot of things during my service but the negative far out weighed the positive in my service.

There is a reason for blogs such as F my Peace Corps Life and why PCV’s compare service to a jail sentence only half jokingly on bad days AND good days.

I also thought during this time it would be great to finally have a mini honeymoon with my husband but that didn’t happen because the guy at the hotel kept lying to us about not having a room to rent to us – even though other Moroccans were having no trouble booking rooms.  I personally hate that hotel because of all the mosquitos they have that just lie in wait to bite me once I turn off the lights to go to sleep.

However to put it in perspective it was better than the one we got put up in for our COS conference.

There was of course the fake – please keep in touch with me – I am going to miss you  etc BS that people did to each other in the group to people they haven’t called or tried to socialize with in over 2 years.

I just said – if you want to keep in touch – bug me by email or find me on the big blue social networking site.  Really its not hard to find people in the age of social media when over sharing is the norm.

After I was done with all the PC paperwork and eating dinner with my closest friend from service and my husband – then it was like this weight lifted off me and I was finally free just to be me again without the shadow of Peace Corps looming over me.

I had tried to set up other volunteering opportunities in my site for after COS but Moroccan’s don’t understand and are not accustomed to volunteering – so they fell through.  Alhumdualillah more time to do nothing or less or just live slowly.

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