Preparing for Morocco

As I was thinking about what to pack for Morocco – I happened to have the TV on.. and ironically there happens to be a new reality TV Show ad being aired called Expedition Impossible Morocco.

I had to laugh.. a bit tongue in cheek because I know that’s what many of my friends are thinking of my two years of service in Morocco.

Well my mom is excited to watch it.. says its perfect to get a better idea of the geography of Morocco.  I am not so sure about that but ok. *shrugs*

So far I have tried to make the most of what I have – so I have started a list which I am going to put in an Excel spread sheet this weekend.  I have also done some serious networking to find current and former volunteers from Morocco and a tad bit of Facebook stalking 🙂

So now I am signed up on the Peace Corps Ning Network-

http://npca-social.ning.com/

Which has subgroups for everything from Bloggers to different countries of service!

I have also been invited to join a Facebook group –

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_127189220691878

I am also a member of Peace Corps Journals –

http://www.peacecorpsjournals.com

Which is a centralized location for Peace Corps blogs from around the globe.

I have also started brushing up with Rosetta Stone Arabic – its Foosha aka MSA – Modern Standard Arabic but its better than nothing and the fact is Moroccan Arabic is hella confusing after learning some MSA in college.

I am also going straight back to basics with the Arabic alphabet – I am writing lines and lines of just the alphabet.

I would say I am not conversational at all in Arabic due to 1. My shyness to make mistakes  2. Having no one to talk to in Arabic  3. Having classes so focused on reading, writing and grammar we never talked in Arabic to each other.

I have basic greetings, I can ask where the bathroom is, Yes, No, Tell someone where I am from and about my family, ask how much something is and basic numbers.

What to bring is still extremely difficult as there are still so many unknowns – what with the temps be like at my final placement?  Are skirts the better option over pants?- since I see so many photos of PCV women in pants, Should I pack business wear? or just casual business wear?  Any formal outfits?

I am also so confused about luggage!  Which piece should I bring etc..?  That in itself is a huge issue!

I think in someways the packing is more difficult because I am Muslim and a woman and I know the bar will be different for me because of that in the local community than just a regular PCV.  The expectation to observe and prevent Hshuma (shame) will be greater as will the belief I observe gender roles more strictly.

I am also worried about keeping my modesty intact living with my home stay family.. this will surely mean wearing my hijab at least 12-24 hours a day – which I don’t have to do currently – I come home and the headscarf and layers come off!  But the home stay modesty issue depends on the living situation and how many men are in the family I stay with.

I also know I will blend in because of my wonderful DNA – thanks Mom and Dad. I will be mistaken as Moroccan or part Moroccan – as I am a chameleon based off my eye shape, skin tone and over all height and size – as well as my experience in Egypt.

This can be a doubled edged sword – 1. better bargains – sometimes and hawkers in tourist areas leave me alone – until I open my mouth.  2. It makes it difficult to do things BECAUSE I seem to be a Egyptian or Moroccan in this case breaking social rules and throwing etiquette to the wind.

I have also had to make the tough choice to break up with a nice guy because I don’t have the time for him right now.  I work 40- 50 hours a week and I am trying to juggle that with Peace Corps tasks.

These past two weeks I was in the office at 9:30 am and didn’t leave till 7:30 -8pm most days.  I have also done the long distance relationship thing and it requires two extremely committed people which wasn’t going to happen with my schedule.

I could see that he was hoping I would give it all up for love but I was up front from the start and told him – I am doing this no matter what.  I really can’t live with the regrets of not doing Peace Corps.

His denial manifested itself in ignoring me and then asking our mutual friends why I wasn’t contacting him – this from the guy who isn’t working but is in school. *shrug*   I need someone who is going to actively support my goals as well as his own without seeing my goals as secondary to his own.

I also started thinking about what did I want after Peace Corps and it wasn’t to settle down.  I look forward to getting married one day – but I am never “settling down” no matter how many kids I have – my goal is to be a traveler of the world and do good deeds along the way.

I have decided that I am going to do a Masters Program and so I am preparing – in a half assed kind of way for it before I leave.  I was surprised to find they just decided to change the GRE format- again – oh joy so some of my studying has been for nothing.

And my bedroom looks like a hurricane of clothing has hit it.  Thank goodness I am actually putting away all these clean clothes today.

So yeah.. my apologies for not posting in a while.. its getting crazy and its sure to only get crazier.