Saturday, January 21, 2012

He Proposed!!

It's that moment that so many girls dream of their whole lives.  The moment that that one special guys gets down on one knee, takes her left hand, looks her in the eyes and tells her he can't live without her.  The proposal.  For most people, this happens once maybe twice in a lifetime.  For girls serving in many PC countries, this is a common occurrence.  This is my story of proposals received while serving as a PCV.  

It first started in Albania.  Not long after arriving in Albania, my host family and other people in the community started mentioning their single sons, cousins, nephews and brothers.  Almost every other female PCV in Albania also noticed this increased level of attention within their community.  It wasn't long before the 'proposals' started coming in.  I started collecting pieces of paper that would be handed to me with phone numbers on them.  Sometimes while I was sitting in my office, random men would come looking for me to see if I wanted to go for coffee.  "Do I know you?" I would ask and they would reply something like, "Yes, I'm *insert name here*'s cousins wifes brother-in-laws nephew."  When PCV's got together it would always be a fun topic to compare recent proposals.  

Since arriving in Morocco, I have received even more proposals.  The proposals I have received here have seen a little more serious than those in Albania.  One man tried to set me up with his son for about two weeks before I had my tutor step in on my behalf and tell him that I was not interested.  Another man tried to convince me to teach him English as an initial reason for meeting me.  The most current one, is actually the son of the man who tried to get me to meet his son.  He showed up for my adult English class and not knowing who he was, I let him attend.  Last night after class (which was not his class but my advanced one), he gave me a book.  I told him I did not want it because it was in script and I can't really read script.  He said no just keep it until next week.  He left and I looked inside the book and there was an envelope.  Inside the envelope was the following note: 

Now how can a girl say no to a proposal like this?  It reminds me junior high when people would send a note saying "Would you go out with me?  Circle one: YES NO".

Since most girls will only have one or two proposals in their life, I feel pretty special that I have been proposed to more times than I would like to think about.  However, I don't think this will be on the one I'll be accepting.  I'm still holding out for the guy that actually speaks the same language as me (fluently), already has US citizenship, has seen me outside of class or other group activities and doesn't live at home with his parents.  Maybe I'm being too picky but I figure I still have time to be picky.  I haven't hit 30 yet where I have to start talking to my friends who promised me if we were both single at 30 we'd get married.

If any of you ladies reading this have other excellent PC proposal stories, let me hear them!  I love a good proposal story before bedtime :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Next Big Step

For almost four years now, my life has been Peace Corps.  What does that mean?  It means that I never know what the day will hold for me.  It means that you have to be flexible and 'go with the flow'.  It means that you have to learn to laugh at yourself and be prepared to be the center of stares and whispers.  It means that you are out of your element but learn to fit into other peoples.  I have not known what my day would be like, let alone my week, month or year.  I will be finishing my service with PC this year and that means change.  Finally, I know what that change will be.

I was accepted into Alverno's Adult Education and Organizational Development graduate program!  I will be coming home in time to do all the 'grown-up' things that I have been putting off all these years.  I will have to find a job, an apartment, sign a phone contract, pay for health insurance, car insurance and think about my future by opening up an IRA, just to name a few.  Not to mention I'll have to adjust to having a set schedule again.  It's overwhelming and entirely exciting!

When I was getting close to finishing my service in Albania, I wasn't sure yet what I wanted to do with myself so I signed up for 2 more years.  When I arrived in Morocco, I was pretty sure that what I wanted to do was social work.  I still love helping people but what I think I love more is helping people help themselves.  One of the expressions that you hear a lot when working on sustainable projects is "it is better to teach a man to fish than to give him a fish".  By earning my MA I will be able to do just that.

I am so happy that I finally know what my next big step will be after PC.  I still have seven or so months here in Morocco and I have many things planned for that time.  Grad school is something that I've known I wanted to do for awhile but it took me awhile to find the right program.  This is my next big step.  This will be my next adventure.  This will be the start to my 'real world' life and I can't wait!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Christmas Traditions and New Year's Resolutions

When I think of Christmas, I think of midnight church services, Christmas ham, unwrapping presents in turns, and watching movies all day in my pajamas.  For the past few years, my Christmases have been different and there hasn't been anything traditional about them.  This year however, several other PCV's and myself got together and tried to celebrate by doing our favorite Christmas traditions.  The successes:
-Christmas pj exchange
-stockings filled with little goodies
-ornament exchange
-Christmas tree(s)
-cinnamon rolls and coffee
-A Christmas Story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Muppet Christmas and other holiday favorites
-staying in PJ's all day long
-tree of shame
-Christmas morning picture on the stairs
-general snacking throughout the day
-Christmas decorations everywhere!

Unfortunately there was no Christmas ham or midnight church service but I feel that we accomplished all the traditions that we could with the resources we had.  It was a great Christmas and it was sad to leave Essaouria when it was all done but we'll always have the memories!  

Christmas morning picture on the stairs!

New Year's Eve was also a big success.  A few of us girls got together in Agadir and got all glamed up for our big night out.  We started right with dinner at our favorite Indian restaurant where we were treated to a free bottle of champagne.  There was a small incident outside the restaurant that had us a little worried for awhile but our Moroccan friends came to the rescue and made sure that we had a great night!  At midnight we were on the beach watching the fireworks and calling friends and family back home.  Afterwards we headed to a club where we danced the rest of the night away.  It was a great night and a great start to 2012.

This is the start of my final year in Peace Corps (for now at least).  So many great things have happened during my time with Peace Corps and I have many more still planed for this year.  I look forward to going home for awhile and being with family and friends and hopefully starting grad school this fall.  The idea of living in America again is a little overwhelming.  I'll have to find an apartment, look for a job and wait in lines because I won't be the foreigner anymore.  Even with all that I feel that this is my year.  I think a lot of good things are going to happen.  It started off great and the momentum has continued up till now.  Fingers crossed that everything works out the way I hope it will!!

I hope everyone has had a great holiday season and may the new year bring you all happiness, health and good fortune!!