Community-based training is officially over and we are back in Rabat at the same hotel from when we arrived in January. It’s strange how foreign everything seemed when we first arrived and how scared we all were. Now going out into the city and wandering around are no big deal and we can actually communicate with shop owners and such. I feel so grown up!
After our site announcements (still FREAKING excited), we had about a week back in our training communities, during which time we tried to study and soak up as much time with our host families as possible.
Leaving my family was a mix of being sad to not be around them anymore and really really really excited to be moving to my final site. As a thank-you gift, I gave them some Michigan souvenir-type items (everyone needs a moose key chain, right?) and a pretty ceramic bowl I found in the medina in Fes. They then blew my gift out of the water by giving me a jllaba.
Jllabas are pretty much a long coat/robe with a hood that both men and women wear almost all the time here, particularly in the communities we’ve been in so far. Men’s jllabas are usually more subdued, sometimes a solid color, sometimes with stripes. Women’s jllabas can be any color, any pattern and for any occasion, from going to the souk to going to a wedding.
Mine is bright yellow with super pretty green trim and I love it love it love it. I’m going to wear it for our swearing-in ceremony, which is coming up on Wednesday. And I have matching pointy-toed shoes. I’m almost Moroccan, as my family told me.
In addition to the jllaba, they also gifted me a henna session, so my hands are currently decorated with a very intricate flower pattern that I kind of wish would stay on for ever.
On our last day in our training site, my CBT group hosted a party for our families with all sorts of candies and cakes and sweets. We argued for making guacamole, but our teacher said no one would have liked it, so we stuck with the sweets. All of us girls wore our new jllabas and we looked pretty zwin (pretty).
Now, of course, we are in Rabat, the capital of Morocco, for a few last-minute sessions before our swearing in and our departure for our final sites.
Today was an atypical day because we had our language proficiency interviews. This “test” is a baseline for our language levels. We take a second one just before we leave our service to see how much we have improved. Technically you need to reach the level of “novice high” to pass, but even if you don’t make that level, they just require you to work with a tutor and then retake the proficiency in a few months.
I feel like mine went pretty well. The test works pretty much like a conversation, where the tester asks you questions and you give your answers on whatever the topic is. Mine ranged from my family to what I like to do when I’m not working to my time living in France to my CBT experience. The whole thing took about 20-30 minutes, I wasn’t exactly keeping track. We don’t know our results until tomorrow at the earliest, but I think I made the required level. I hope so at least.
As a post-LPI celebration, I went on a long run, something I haven’t been able to do at all for the past couple months. For 40 glorious (and sweaty and out of breath) minutes, I ran with another soon-to-be PCV from the hotel to the beach and back and we loved every minute of it. I am so tired right now I might go to sleep right after dinner, but whatever. Totally worth it.
Also, my camera, after spending three straight weeks in a bag of rice, has decided to rejoin the land of working electronics and I have been greatly enjoying having it back in working order.