Exactly 365 days ago, I and 94 other Americans took our first stumbling steps on Moroccan soil. Or tarmac rather. Nothing like jet lag and multiple bags stuffed with all your worldly possessions for the next two years to make walking in a straight line difficult. We landed at about 6 a.m. out in what seemed to be the middle of the runway and were immediately herded onto buses to the arrival terminal, through customs, to the baggage claim, and then back onto another bus for the hour-long trip north to Rabat. Mostly I remember fighting to stay awake and then very gratefully passing out for a few hours in the hotel until our first in-country training session.
One year in and a new group of Americans made that same journey a few days earlier this week. Congratulations to the new stage! Congratulations to the old stage – almost done! Congratulations to my stage!
One year in country is typically a big milestone for Peace Corps Volunteers. Finishing training. Swearing in. Arriving in site. Our In Service Training that comes three months after we swear in. The next big anniversary will be our one-year in service mark (which hacks off the couple months we were in training) and our Mid-Service Training/medical exams. But those don’t come until April, so I’ll just revel in the one year-iversary of today.
Which doesn’t really mean anything as I will be going to teach class as normal.
Normal, by the way, is a glorious thing. It’s stressful to be consistently unsure of what is going on around you. It’s a glorious thing to have a somewhat-regular schedule. I appreciate things like that. Even more I appreciate being able to muddle my way through conversations in Darija. Even getting the gist of what’s being said is better than having no clue.
A year into Peace Corps service can come with the dragging feeling that the excitement is over – nothing new happens, you know the routine, the “newness” if it is gone. On our handy chart of typical Peace Corps emotions, there’s a low point most volunteers experience at the one-year mark. I’m so far feeling much happier now than this summer where there were limited work opportunities, and while not everything is as exciting as it once was, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Life is life and here’s some things I love about mine at the moment in no particular order:
- Goats in trees – the sight of a four-legged hoofed animal hanging out on a spindly argan branch never gets old. It’s a treat every time I see them.
- Greeting people I recognize on the street.
- My chababs yelling hello to me as they race past me on their bikes. They know to yell my name so I know they’re not creepers.
- Sitting with my host mom and host sisters for Friday couscous.
- Our mountains, once again snow-capped and hanging out protectively on the horizon.
- Generally hanging out with kids at the Dar Chabab. Kids are cool.
- Skyping with my family.
Upcoming things I’m excited about:
- potential new projects
- visiting with my mom, dad, and sister in May!!!!!!!!!