I won’t readily admit it, but I can be pretty snobbish. For example, I am a proud beer snob. When I come back to America and you had me a light Domestic beer, I will hand it back to you and walk away. Gross. I am a humor snob and will righteously judge accordingly if you don’t find Arrested Development or Scrubs funny. I am most definitely a wedding reception snob. Obviously bad dancing music (i.e. rock and country, seriously, who dances to that?! Or worse, no dancing – tragic) does NOT equal a good time had by all. I am also now a Morocco snob. Meaning that I can’t find any place better to stay than my own site. I’m shameless about it and probably really annoying too. I know I drive other PCVs nuts when I comment, yet again, on how I’d rather not travel but stay in Figuig.
Perhaps I’m turning into a homebody or I’m in an abundant season of thankfulness. I can’t fully express how grateful I am to live in such a beautiful community. I always feel welcome and at ease here. I most definitely feel safer here than I do back in Indianapolis. Figuig is tranquil. Peaceful. Obviously, it’s not without its problems and issues: unemployment, laziness or the part of certain directors and associations, gender inequality, etc. It’s really freakin’ hot in the summer (try 125 – 130F) and Ramadan isn’t easy either (it’s not supposed to be I know – forgive the petty rants of a non-Muslim). I do get harassed from time to time, although not nearly as bad as some female PCVs endure and I have met some genuinely crazy folks here (not fun crazy, but creepy crazy). Given all these, I’m still incredibly thankful to be here.
I’m thankful that my life has slowed down so much that I take a really long time to eat breakfast and drink coffee (what?! Yes, I know, I’m drinking coffee now…weird). In the middle of the day, after the 2nd call to prayer, the dirt paths are virtually empty and all I hear outside are birds, cows and donkeys. I’m thankful that I have met so many bright, respectful and sweet girls who want to hang out with me (definitely would not happen in the US – I would practically have to pay my 16 year-old cousin to spend time with me). I’m thankful that when I walk to the hanut (store) little girls call out “Jamila!” or “Jessica!” and honestly, I can’t remember meeting any of them. I’m thankful that my host Mom really makes me feel like family – like when she pushes me to keep eating and scolds me when I haven’t come by to see her in a week. I’m thankful that Tom and I haven’t secretly hired some ninja to take the other out since we’re around each other all the time. I’m thankful I don’t have a car and that fresh produce is less expensive than processed food. I’m even thankful we don’t buy any meat (can you believe it?! We’re basically vegetarian and are doing just fine). I’m thankful I have to wash clothes by hand and don’t have hot water or a microwave. Why? Because it forces me to slow down and practice being present in everything I do.
I’m so grateful to be here mainly because I know what it’s like to not live in a calm and peaceful environment. To easily become worried or stressed or overwhelmed at your day and not feel like there’s a way to get out of it. I know, some of you are saying: Shut up Jess! You don’t understand. You don’t have a high-stress job or aren’t a parent or aren’t in University anymore. You’re right, I’m not in any of those seasons, and I’m not trying to tell you what you need to change – aren’t there enough self-help books already?
I came across an article this morning. *And of course I can’t find it, otherwise I’d share the link…womp.* It’s not ground-breaking or absolutely amazing, but the author made a great point about how we can overload ourselves with information, or honestly, fill our heads with so much self-importance that we believe we need to be connected all the time or have to answer every email, message or text 15 seconds within receiving it. Is that sustainable? Is that healthy? I’m learning that for me it’s not and that if I feel this desire to be a part of everything that’s happening around me or a desire to be connected or in-the-know, then that’s a heart issue. It can be damaging and most certainly won’t bring me peace or wisdom. I don’t need to be caught up on every single detail, nor do I need to be included and invited to everything. I’m learning to be content away from that and focusing on what’s in front of me.
For me, today, that’s making food, going to workout with some women, head over to Girl’s Club, ride my bike back home, take a bucket bath and sit on a ponj for a while. I am thankful for this small, but valuable day.