22
Apr
11

Final week in Morocco

If I had to sum it up in one sentence: Morocco, You’ve been wonderful to me.

There, I did it. I summarized my Peace Corps service in one sentence. End. Of. Blog. Post. Really though, it is impossible to sum up in one sentence.

In one week, and around 8 hours, I officially will be finished as an Environmental Education Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco. I put stamp to paper, and literally close the book on 2 years, 1 month, and 28 days (I made the days part up. I guessed. Too busy typing to look at a calendar.)

I am expected to uproot myself, like a ripe carrot ready for the harvest, finish a life here, and go back to the life that I came from…

Continue reading ‘Final week in Morocco’

15
Mar
11

2 more months… to go (Johnny Cash Limited Edition)

Not listening to anything…

So for the past two years I have done my best to keep you all (my lovely readers) informed of my goings on and happenings in Morocco… and beyond. Unfortunately, my streak has pretty much ended, due to some technical difficulties.

Shortly after I came back from India, I was using my computer, and I heard a snap, and my hard drive just stopped working. It was an old compy, and sadly, it couldn’t be fixed.

This led to me disappearing from my regularly scheduled programming, mainly computer time. So I slacked on the blog a lot. But I return now, maybe for one of my last times here… I hope not though.

I now have two months left in my Peace Corps service. It is an incredibly exciting time, as projects are finished for the most part, and i am just biding my time.

While I will wait to reflect on my time in Morocco, I will explain what the next two months will mean for me.

For the past two years, I have lived in a small village. The people here know me by name, and likewise I know them. As a white boy, I stick out, and that is okay. I am used to it (I think going back home and not sticking out will make me feel lonely.) I have made some fantastic friends, and people who I will miss dearly, who I hang out with when I am around, drink tea, and socialize. We have conversations about marriage (them trying to get me to marry a Moroccan woman or two,) religion, politics, issues facing Morocco, and just banter.

I have been taken care of, and feel at home. The people in my village watch out for me, and really, it reminds me of the small town charm maybe of a past period of American culture. Cheers-esque (like the show) if you will. Everyone knows my name, what I do, and that I mean good.

As I alluded to above, it will be difficult to leave, and know that I am going back to a place where people are not as generally friendly, and don’t say hello to everyone (that happens here, and it is rude not to shake everyones hand, or say hello to people.)

While I initially am going back to a small town, I hope to have and use this as a buffer. I like talking to random people, and I like being friendly. Essentially, this is just one part of Moroccan culture and life that I hope to take back with me to the states.

In my last few months, I plan to spend time with friends both Moroccan and fellow PCVS, and do a little bit of finishing up work (Environmental Education club in the youth center, and working English language spring camp.) I also will be cleaning my house up and getting ready for the next volunteers hopefully taking my house (couple replacing the health volunteer here.)

As for after Peace Corps, I am spending a month in Italy with some fellow PCVS, then going back to the US to see friends and family. I will be going off to school somewhere come the fall, but I have no idea where yet. Still waiting to hear back from all the schools, and weigh my options.

I am excited for all of this, and excited to see friends and family, and immerse myself back into the culture I have not been around for essentially three years. I am excited to actually get a nifty new phone, and computer, and to drive a car again.

While I am excited for all of this, I am trying to live in the present, and really take in everything around me, and not cash-out too early. I will be busy cleaning up and seeing people… and quite frankly, that bit about not having a computer is a shame, but I think it is a blessing in disguise. I now am not as distracted by a computer, so I can be here and in the moment.

Lastly, I hope to connect with a number of you when I get back home. I would love to catch up, and I hope to see you folks around, or when I have my new digs, have you over for tea or coffee.

Much Love, and I am not done with the blog yet. There are many issues I still want to tackle, and I really want to reflect upon the last two years of being in Morocco.

Ciao.

16
Feb
11

India – Part 3. Goa

Listening to: Royksopp – The Understanding

*This will likely be the shortest post on India, as I only spent 3 days in Goa.

Delhi was a huge, busy, packed, polluted place. The plan was for my two friends and I to travel south to the tropical beaches of Goa. SO we met up at the Delhi Airport, and hopped a 3 hour flight to the province of Goa. When we arrived, we were going to meet up with another friend. The place we had decided to go to was a beach called Palolam.

The name shouldn’t really mean much to you, but the location might. We stayed on a crescent beach with plywood bungalows that are erected just for the winter tourist season, and taken down before the monsoon season. The beach was essentially a number of restaurants and bars, and a few small shops. It was busy, but not overly packed, and not overly crazy, as other parts of Goa are purported to be.
The beach we were staying at was used in the second “Bourne” trilogy movie, “The Bourne Supremacy.” Specifically, in the beginning of the movie, Jason and his wife are on Goa, just hanging out, when they his wife is killed. Essentially, the scenes where you see the ocean are filmed on Palolam Beach. Some of the Goa city shots are not near here. But it was pretty nifty re-watching the movie, and knowing approximately where on the stretch of beach they were filming. But, back to vacation life…

Essentially, there isn’t much to report. It was as one might imagine, my friends and I hung out on the beach, sitting in the sun, swimming in the Arabian Sea. We ate good food, Goa style seafood, and drank beers. It was relaxing times.

While most of the time was spent relaxing with friends, and meeting new ones, I did have a bit of adventure. In Goa, it seems that scooter rental is at an all time high! So, I couldn’t sit on the sidelines, especially when there was a scooter to rent for just under $10 USD. I had never driven a scooter, and hadn’t driven any motorized vehicle in roughly 2 years. So naturally, I had to do it. It was an adventure, and a fantastic experience.

I ride bikes all the time, especially here in Morocco. However, with a scooter, or motorcycle, you have the added weight to balance, and you are not using your own power. The learning curve was exponential, and the first few times on the scooter, I thought I would pee my pants. I quickly realized that the multi-tasking involved in driving a scooter, or car even, is something that had to be re-learned. I had to pay attention to the gas, the brake, the balance, the steering. ALSO, I was in India, and was driving on the left side of the road, watching out for people, cars, farm animals, and whatever came my way. It was kind of crazy having that kind of control again. I also decided that it was too hot to wear a helmet, and my sunglasses would suffice. Maybe not the brightest way to roll on a bike, but certainly the coolest and most exhilarating. (yes… you might reply to me “Eric, it wouldn’t be so cool and exhilarating to see your head broken on the pavement or another car.”… these things I know, but I am here typing this now yeah?…)

After I got the hang of it, I quickly felt at ease, was cruising the back roads of Goa, searching for things to see. I went to a wildlife sanctuary and went on a hike, finding a canopy tower to climb into and look at the wildlife… which at the time was a sole lizard flapping his dewlap. I took some photos on the way, and stopped at a temple on the way back. Just being able to wander off on my own, as I pleased, however fast I wanted (didn’t go crazy though… I think my age has tamed me slightly) was what I needed.

I got back, hair blown from the wind, and took a quick dip, showered, and got a drink. We hung out the rest of the night, an after a quick 3 hour nap we had to catch a train to Mumbai, then onward to Bodora. The Goa stretch of the trip was pretty fantastic though, and it was very different from Morocco, exotic, and one of the reasons for coming to India.

Just an FYI about Goa; it lies about 16 degrees latitude, and is very tropical and humid. Even in the winter it was about 85-90 degrees F, and the water was certainly swimmable. Palm trees, rice paddies, and wetlands abounded.

Next up I will talk about my time in Gujarat with my friend and his family. It will likely be a long post, hopefully can do it within the next week. Until then, Much love, and look for me state-side in early June.

06
Feb
11

India… Part 2 – Delhi

Listening to: House Music

Before I continue to spout on about my trip to India, I want to come back to my village here. Recently, we have had cold weather, bitter cold for this region really. The temperature has been down to around -8 centigrade, so I think that is 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit. Regardless, it is cold. Waters lines in my house near freezing, so the trickle of water continues.

Thankfully, it is February, and I have a lot of wood left. No need to be stingy, so I burn my wood and keep the house warm. Only like 65 degrees warm…but, that is better than the 40 degrees my other room seems to be at right now. Seeing my breath in the house is hilarious. Oh Morocco… I am ready for your winters to end.

But, onto Delhi, and vacation, and pictures. I am going to try to post about 10 pictures so you get an idea of what I saw. I cant describe everything, it would just take too long, and likely would be boring to some of you!

There are certainly highlights of Delhi for me, and reactions that took place when I was there.

When I flew into the airport, it was foggy. What this actually means is that the layer of smog is so thick, it just looks like a constant fog. Look at the pictures, the haze… smog. Let me try to describe the smog as best as possible.
Continue reading ‘India… Part 2 – Delhi’

31
Jan
11

India… Part 1 – Not even India… travelling craziness

Listening to: Moby… this time courtesy of Dan, my other dapper sitemate.

This is the first post in hopefully a handful regarding India. I hope when actually describing India to say few words, but post pictures instead. So this part will likely be the lengthiest… this was also written while having a boring layover in the Riyadh Airport, which is quite possibly the center of boringness and dearth that exists on Earth (big statement, I know.)

From the beginning, the trip was full of craze. I found out the day I was leaving my house that the airline I was going to fly, Saudi, decided to change the majority of my flights. This was only from my checking, Saudi failed to notify me of any of these changes.

So I had to get a hold of the airline, which from my house is usually easy via skype. BUT, it just so happened we were having a winter wind day, and the power/internet cut out every five minutes… not allowing skype to happen well.

Continue reading ‘India… Part 1 – Not even India… travelling craziness’

28
Jan
11

India, Elephant, Monkeys, and Broken things.

Listening to: Random Electronica courtesy of Annemarie, my dapper sitemate.

Hello my lovely readers, I have missed you. Hopefully it is likewise on your end. It is right?!?!?

“Where have I been?” you ask. I went to a place called India. It was a fantastic journey and experience, and I was able to see a number of great places, meet countless people, most of them good. I also had some epic travel adventures, and some unanticipated craziness.

I want to tell you my entire story of India, and surely I will. First, I need to mention a few other things about my life.

Continue reading ‘India, Elephant, Monkeys, and Broken things.’

12
Dec
10

Other side of the world

Listening to: Joy Division (certainly a top 10 band for me.)

As I have told you, my precious readers (broken record style,) winter can be a real pain for me. Lately though, we have had a much welcomed respite from the cold, and temperatures are up, and precipitation is low. This equation, as you might guess, leaves the spirits high. While I think this will change in the next few days, I don’t really care, because the light is very near at the end of the proverbial winter tunnel. I will explain…

Continue reading ‘Other side of the world’




Disclaimer

**Please note, The contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U. S. government or the Peace Corps**

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