I just practiced my Arabic for a good hour or two. I can now count from one to ten, introduce myself, go through the basic greeting and say goodbye in the dialect of Arabic that works in Northwest Africa. I feel like I need to as much or more language practice compared to the other people here. I have always had a difficult time learning languages. I just don’t enjoy memorizing. But I am—slowly—getting it down. I am going to have to do this every day to keep up with the lesson. If all goes well, I won’t be kicked out when training ends because I just can’t get by with the language.
I have continued journaling on a daily basis. This will be my main form of writing while I am here. During my training, I doubt I will get by fiction writing done. Once I get into my two year service that may change. That isn’t until late March. I still need to master the language to the best of my ability.
Today is my girl’s 21st birthday. It has been especially hard today being away from here. Part of me wants to be where she is. Part of me wants her to be here. In the end, it honestly does not matter where we are. I just want to be with her and celebrate with her. As I complete my fourth day of 800, I can’t help but imagine what the next 796 days will be like without her.
I am officially wrapping up Day 3 of 800 on my Peace Corps adventure. I am starting a new method of blogging. In this method, I write my updates in a word document…and upload them whenever the internet decides to work. Sound like a plan? Good. Anyway, this will be the first night since Saturday that I have been able to get a true full night’s sleep. I think I may just faint right now. Sleep sounds so glorious.
The flight and bus rides went smoothly. I converted my money over just a few hours ago at 8.17 Dirham per American dollar. To put that in perspective, we went to a café a little bit later. I got a pastry for 5 Dirham and my friend got a coffee for 5 Dirham. The exchange rate is going to heavily favor us. It’s kinda nice not to worry about buying little things like food. I can afford it. At least for now.
We have one week left in Rabat before we break apart into small language groups. This is going to be a crazy week full of meeting a bunch of people, getting a bunch of shots, learning basic Arabic, and survival skills. Emotionally I have been all over the place—from wondering why I decided to do this one moment to sitting back and relaxing the next. This week in Rabat will be a good way to test the waters.
I spent a month (Oct. 20 through Nov. 20) falling in love with a girl who lived 1,300 miles away from me. It was easily the best month of my life thus far. Now it’s been a month without her. It’s been strange. It not like I think about her everyday. No. That would be easy. I find myself thinking she would make each destination in my daily life so much better–so much fuller. Some days are easier than other–but some days are downright lonely without her.
I’m moving forward in going to the Peace Corps. Which means another 800 days without her. The idea frightens me. I know I asked for this by letting myself fall in love with her so soon before leaving the country. The thing is, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Period. The time apart will be impossible. It’ll teach us much about ourselves and each other. It may rip us apart. But it may make us stronger. I do not know the future. All I know is that, right now, I see no other option. The Peace Corps is where my life has been pointed for years. With it finally on my doorstep, how do I walk away? What kind of life will be waiting for me if I do?
The internal conflict burns inside of me as–each day–I read over more forms and learn Arabic. It’s like I’m living two lives at this point. At some point, one of those lives will have to fall into a hibernation–hoping to be reawoken in the near-future. At this point, I expect that to be the life with her. I do not like that. I hate that that is going to be my decision. I try every day to re-imagine what life would be like if I stayed in the states….but it’s getting harder and harder to see it.
This blog is going to transform in the days, weeks, and months ahead. As I make the transition to living overseas, it will remain my writing blog. But it will also take on the aspects of a Peace Corps Journal. Although I am not legally allowed to share my specific whereabouts or doings, I will be able to share my personal thoughts and writings. That will not change.
I have much from my teenager years that I still want to upload before I leave. I think I need to up it to three per update. Here’s today’s batch of poems from nine years ago:
I learned the first three letter of the Arabic Alphabet yesterday. It’s going to be difficult, but I think I can pull it off. I need a good way to fill my time over the next 29 days. Spending a good deal of time learning a new language sounds like the best way to occupy myself. Now I just need a good place to study. My coffee place seems to have decided to start making shitty coffee….which kind of throws me for a loop.
For those of you who do not know, I am a Broncos fan. I have lived my entire life in Northern Colorado. This team has always been mine. It has been an incredible season. Even though I am more of a baseball fan, this is hard not to get excited about this season. I mean, nine wins in a row. Come on! I’m starting to think about how far they can go….and I hate that I won’t be in the country for the conference championships or the Superbowl. I will have to find a way to watch them with fellow Peace Corps volunteers.
Today’s writing is actually my year in review. I do this every year. Same 40 questions. Feel free to steal the questions and fill it out for yourself. It’s a great way to reflect.
With 30 days until I leave for Morocco, two things are on my mind. First and foremost is the girl I am set to leave behind. I know I’m going to leave my family and friends behind…but I don’t entirely regard that a bad thing. Although I will miss my friends and family, I know they will be here for me when I get back. When it comes to romance, life works a little differently. We know full well that we can’t ask each other to wait. It really isn’t sane to expect a 27 month long-distance relationship to last off of a one-month romance. A part of me desperately doesn’t want to risk losing her. That part want to stay behind. The other part of me reminds me that everything I’ve ever wanted (except romance and a family) is offered by the Peace Corps. Ambitious friend. Helping people. Travel. Help towards a great job. I can not expect either of us to wait…but I can hope. Still, I cannot help but imagine my life if I decide not to leave her.
One other thing is on my mind. Arabic. I am not great at languages. In 30 days, I will be thrown into an intensive 8-week course where Arabic and the culture of Morocco will be taught. I need to get a good head start. In order to get going, I am going to force myself to work on it every day until I leave. Today is focused on skowering the internet for ideas on how to start learning the language. Tomorrow will focus on buying a couple language books (and a tourist book of Morocco) so that I can get a real start on my studies. I will let you know how it goes. I may even try to write some Arabic poems or Haikus.
Here is today’s update from my teenage past. Some of these poems are a bit embarrassing (this one included). It almost looks like I wanted it to be a song rather than a set poem. It sounds like a crappy pop song.