Some days, it feels like the past two years flew by, other days I feel like I've aged ten years in the 25 months since I wrote my first "Couscous Chronicles" email to you all. I won't even try to sum it all up in one email; you should check out my blog if you want a fuller picture of what I've been doing here in this tiny village for two years. (www.couscouschronicles.blogspot.com)
Top Ten Things I'll miss about Morocco: (see attached corresponding photos)
1. Long, non-hurried jogs down empty dirt roads between plateaus with my dog
2. My dog (even if he is arguably the world's worst dog; his favorite activities appear to all my neighbors to be biting little children and eating kittens)
3. Waking up whenever I wake up, without an alarm, and then sometimes having nothing better to do than sit all day with my baby chicks.
4. Eating fruit right off of the trees, olive oil straight from the stone press, and vegetables right out of the ground
5. Wowing (or at least amusing) everyone with my awesome Moroccan dance moves (a still picture can't really do this one justice. Ask for a demonstration when I get home)
6. Manual labor and its tangible results
7. Camel burgers
8. This little girl who squeals "SEEENTEEEYA!" every time she sees me.
9. Endless village drama over minor things (my under-$2000 projects result in endlessly entertaining drama)
10. Sunsets like this one from Thursday, over these snow-capped mountains
My post-November 12th Travel Plans: I'll be spending a week in Portugal and a few days in Spain before embarking on a trans-Atlantic, 14-day cruise that arrives in Puerto Rico. After a few days in the rain forest, I'll be flying home to Cincinnati, where I'll be until I figure out my next steps. At some point in the near future I'll start looking for a job, but also plan to spend some time visiting friends in DC and my brother in San Francisco. Depending on how long the job search takes, I may have more time to visit more of you in all your random places. My temporary address will be my parents' address: 5556 Nickview Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45247 in case you want to send me anything. Starting December 17th, I'll be reachable by cell phone at 513-504-6680.
Finally, several of you have asked if there's any way you can help out with my projects or if there's anything you can send to people in the village, and after thinking this over and talking with the director of the primary school, I've decided that the best thing would be, if anyone is interested, to provide scholarships for the girls in the village who want to continue their studies past the sixth grade but can't afford to pay for room and board at the closest middle school, a boarding school about 50 miles away. Currently, there are a handful of girls who still come to class at the primary school every day even though they should be in middle school because they really want to be in school. It's sad because the costs only come to about $30/month per student, so approximately $300 for the whole school year, which includes room, board, and transportation back to the village to visit their families for holidays. If any of you might be interested in sponsoring a girl for a month or two (or for a whole year), let me know and we'll figure out logistics.
So, thanks for all of your emails and letters and wall posts over the past two years. I'm sorry that I've been slow to respond, and I'm sure I've over-used the "I don't have internet access" excuse. I hope to see you all and catch up soon!