Saturday, November 18, 2006


This next week will be a busy one...swearing-in is on Friday. Then we move from being PCTs to PCVs. I looked at the language of what we swear; part of it involves defending the constitution of the U.S. Is that what the Peace Corps should be swearing? I will do that if called upon to do so (after all, I'm swearing) but the language seems odd. On Saturday we go to our sites. Next weekend will be Lee's last in Azrou, so I want to spend as much time with him as I can. Then next Monday the two-year assignment begins! I'll meet with my counterpart, make the rounds of artisans I've been introduced to, find a tutor and start the paperwork process of getting my working papers, but I also want to spend some time every day at a cyber, catching up on all of the e-mails and news I've missed. So if I don't get too many chances to write between now and then, I hope to catch up then!

And by then I will have my own computer! I know I have mentioned more than once that I wish I had my own. It will be very helpful for work - essential, really - and I still think the welcome book did not do a good job of emphasizing that. The TimHdit PCV is on her way home for Thanksgiving. At our sleepover last week, my friend suggested that Katie bring a computer back for me. I don't know if this would have occurred to me on my own - even though I did read in the welcome book that whenever volunteers go home to the states they are often asked to carry things (such as letters to mail) in one direction or the other. Anyway, Sultan suggested it and Katie said yes and my sister pitched in and my friends in VA have already bought it and shipped it to Katie's grandfather! I am so happy - this will go a long way towards peace of mind. I'll still use the cyber for e-mail, because it will give me alone time away from the host family (I loved the fact that they had DSL but realized that while I was on the computer at their house I was denying myself time to read or write...I don't feel I can spend all of my time there in my room...but if I'm out at a cyber for a while that's just part of being out, working or whatever I'm doing out). When I get to my own place I will look into having DSL installed.

And on the subject of mail...I got a whole bunch yesterday! Things had piled up when I was in TimHdit. When the mail arrived we were like kids at Christmas - rushing to open things and read and share comments with each other. I realized something about my priorities. Mail is more important than cake. I open everything from my sister first, then the letters, then the big envelopes. But if someone wants to play cards I am willing to put the letters down - after all, we have a maximum of one more week to play cards together (I finally had that Scrabble game today that I thought I would have when I signed off a couple of weeks ago,,,and the crochet lesson yesterday...and the somatics is tomorrow. That night I think I ended up just talking).

I had my hair trimmed today by one of the people who cut hair. It was getting a little unmanageable, and the haircut lifted my spirits. And my spirits were a bit down. Thursday night and last night I met some more friends of Lee's. They're nice, but I don't know if they will be my friends. is it the language barrier? Is it that at the moment it's just so much easier to be with the Americans, playing rummy and Scrabble and stuff? Cultture? Did we not click? Too soon to tell - but all of a sudden I started wondering if these past few months of training would be the highlight of the entire time. I don't think so, but it was something to think about. Ii love my host family and could see a friendship developing there, but will I make friends? Do I have to? I can make business friendships and have my fellow PCV friends when I see them and then be in touch with my friends at home - isn't that enough? It might be.

I also had down spirits because of the TimHdit bags that we ordered. I think we spent too much time talking about them last week when we should have been talking about the brochure with the artisans or working on it on our own or working on language. Well, it turns out they had to really rush to get the bags to us and two of them are nice and two of them are very disappointing. The two of us who are close by took the two disappointing ones and we will see what we can do. Return them? Exchange them for beautifull pillows that cost about the same? Keep them and chalk it up to a lesson learned for the artisans and for us? In the overall scheme of things they need the money more than we do, and they did work hard to get them to us, but last night I felt - well, someone suggested "betrayed" and maybe that's a good word for it. I really think they should be ashamed of themselves for thinking this was good enough. Oh well.

Another reasdon my spirits were down (good thing I had that haircut and feel like a new woman) is that we had a presentation yesterday from the ministry. It was very interesting - talking about their strategic plan and how we as volunteers can fit into it. It was also interestine because it was in French, with the training coordinator translating. I found that I understood a lot of the French - maybe that Rosetta Stone did some good after all. But also, the business language of French has a lot in common with English - things like organization and administration. But there was the fleeting thought that I understood a lot more of it than I would have if it were in darija, the language I've been studying since I got here. And the fleeting thought that - dare I say it? - in a way I would rather be learning French. Good thing that thought was fleeting, because our LPI (Language Proficiency Test) is on Monday.

We learned a lot of new vocabulary last week in CBT. When we were doing verbs and conjugations, it seemed as though we were slogging through it at times, not moving very fast. Last week was like a lightning round of new words. Clothing and colors. Words for renting and furnishing an apartment. Body parts and medical needs. Adjectives and conjuntions. There were fun games - a fashion show for the clothes ans colors, in which we each strutted while the rest of the group described what we were wearing, "Ali gal likum," the Moroccan version of Simon says, landlord-tenant role play, drawing a space alien with multiple body parts in strange locations. Also (at my request) some language for describing in simple terms what we are doing here - when I did a role play last time at seminar site and was a PCV, I realized that it was tough to explain to the trainees who were playing the roles of artisans what I was doing here - in English!! So I knew I needed it in darija. I haven't exactly been stressing about the test, but I do plan to spend a good portion of self-directed day studying and speaking.
More to say (always) but it's time to get ready for dinner. More if I can before swearing-in...but if not, more after that. Just in case, I'll wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving. We do get a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner here, which I am happy about, since it is one of my favorite meals of the year. I've offered to help cook the stuffing.

Congratulations on your swearing in!
That was from me ! PK
You just have to be yourself and people will flock to you- You will have more friends/acquaintances than you can handle. Remember one of your nicknames? Q_O_T_N_?

So, just be you. Who knows how many new games you can learn and bring back into our lives?

Nov. 27th! WOW- 24monthswithoutbaseballandcountingdown.

Good news re: computer-
Happy Thanksgiving! Glad to hear from you again!!
Hey Sharon --

Funny comment about the swearing in. Just got back from Scranton, where I was sworn in to Court up there. I've been sworn in lots of places, but this was different -- Not only was I asked to defend the constitutution, but there was something about under God's guidance, or something like that. Huh? Don't think I had to do that before! I hesitated, but swore anyway. . .

Local sports news: Howard wins MVP! Princeton wins share of Ivy crown (w/Yale, whom we beat). Bonfire!

Let us know when you have new address. . .
Happy Thanksgiving!
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Sharon, I'm definitely not worried about your making friends! Before you left, I seem to remember you had some concern about whether you would be friendly with the other PCT's, as most would be quite a bit younger than you. That seems not to have been a problem, right?? Also, from your experience so far, it sounds like the Moroccan people are fairly warm and welcoming. So, I'm just not worried about you! And I hope you stop worrying too!

Happy Thanksgiving!
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
I am running out of time at the cyber so will finish later, but I wanted to let you know that I removed comments from both Flo and Joy because they contained more personal info (about Flo and about me) than I feel comfortable with on the blog. Remember, even though this is targeted to friends and family, anyone can look at it. I have been careful for myself. But in addition to that there is a Peace Corps policy against getting too specific - for safety and security. I will write more later and will post the non-sensitive parts of both messages so they're in the record (and may address more in e-mail but I have bzef e-mail to go through so it'll be a while). Good lesson for us all - don't post anything here you don't want the world to see. I may look into password protection, too....
Thanks for the congrats and the Thanksgiving wishes!

As for friends, so far I am not worried about it. I have many friends! I do remember the nickname - I remember it well. If anyone wants it I'll not post it here - just e-mail me. As for games, I hope to learn some - that should have been part of our training!

Mike, congrats on Scranton. We did say so help me God but nothing about guidance. Thanks for the Princeton update - I knew about the bonfire from other e-mails but not about the title share. Did they end up nationally ranked? Good for Howard. I don't know who won the other baseball awards but I can look it up.

Yes, I think I have several friends from among the (now former) trainees - of all ages! I am not worried either but as I experience ups and downs you will hear about it!

More later. It's amazing how the days go so quickly!
This is Joy's comment with my address edited out - by now you should have received it in the mail. Also another comment that I will address to her separately.

Congratulations on becoming an honest-to-goodness PCV! I don't think I'd have made it through training. And I hope Thanksgiving was tasty.

Making friends past training will be harder and take longer than with the volunteers. Training is probably a bit like freshman week in college - everyone is nervous, anxious to make friends, and in the same state of newness as each other. Whereas once you are past that, it's like moving to a new place as an adult, plus the cultural and language issues. It will take time - and your language skills will improve. But don't feel bad about keeping strong ties to your American friends - you'll need them, and that's fine. And they'll need you. And in time you'll all make Moroccan friends too.
Here's Flo's comment with her e-mail address removed for should have the new address by now. Good to hear from you, Flo!

Hi Roon, it's sounds exciting,good for you! I want to send you a holiday card, but need your latest address...can you post it? Or email to me. Happy holidays!
P.S. the other comments I have edited out were from spammers. If you want to make extra money you won't find the link on this blog!
Hey Sharon...We have been thinking of you....Tom is no longer at Joann...Happy Holidays and thank you Corporate America....You are in the right place!!
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