Tuesday, May 22, 2012

THE CONTENTS OF THIS WEB SITE ARE MINE PERSONALLY AND DO NOT REFLECT ANY POSITION OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT OR THE PEACE CORPS.     Since this site is public, specific details are not given so email me personally if you’d like more information.

5/22/12 -  It’s hard to believe that I have been home in Michigan for six months already.  Transitioning back into this life was more difficult than I expected in many ways…….  There is much to be said for the simplicity of the life I led in Morocco since September, 2009.  If my comments seem negative and overly critical, I apologize to those that I offend, it is not my intent to do so.  I am merely writing my impressions.  Unfortunately I have quickly fallen into old habits too and am “guilty”.  We are certainly the land of plenty and “more”, “bigger”, “best” seem to be a dictating force.  I returned to over-stocked shelves and so many choices I sometimes walked away, rather than choose.  We seem to be a society of acquisition and dissatisfaction and to think, I left a country focusing on survival in many instances.  We whine about unfairness rather than being grateful and merely accepting whatever as “it is life”.  Now I can readily admit because of our desire to make a change and difference,  we are a country of opportunity and we nurture the “I can do”  attitude.  I’m proud to be an American and I’m glad to be “home” and I wouldn’t want to live any other place, but …..  and slowly I’ve adapted.  I will always be grateful for the opportunity to serve in the US Peace Corps and to live in Morocco with the wonderful people of that country. 

I will try to update you as to my life’s happenings since my return and keep it short…… something, as you know, I sometimes have a hard time doing J  I was told that I looked like a deer in the headlights upon my return.  I’ve been described as being quieter and that I listen more than I talk.  Likely a result of the language difficulties I had with Tashlheet. 

My first meal was spare ribs and I must tell you they were tasty!!!  For months I bounced from family to friend to family’s home.  Even though I still had my home in Portage, my renters stayed until March 1st, so I really didn’t have a home to call my own, or a life of my own,  for a few months.  I felt like I was back in the first stages of my Peace Corps service – living with others and their house rules.  I’m a lucky lady to have been welcomed into so many homes and I will be ever grateful.  I bought a car soon after my return and I’ve been “on the road” a lot and living out of my car, visiting friends and family that I’ve missed in the attempt to reconnect and catch-up.   I’m tired of driving, but I definitely do not miss waiting by the side of the road for who knows how long ??????? for transportation to come along.   

Once back in my home I did what was necessary to get it ready to sell and listed it as soon as I could.  Unfortunately, even though I’ve had a fair amount of lookers, it has not sold yet.  I am hopeful that that special person will come by soon and fall in love with my home, the setting and the possibilities as we did 25 years ago. Wish me luck – this home needs fresh love in it soon. 

In the meantime, I began the search for a home in South Haven. South Haven is a small village of 6,000 in the off months and I’m told 60,000 during the summer season. It is located in SW Michigan, on the shores of Lake Michigan. I decided I wanted to live here because I have always considered it my “haven” and I wanted the feeling of a “community”. I wanted to be able to walk to the beach and the village. I wanted to eliminate the daily need of a car. Hurray ……. I found a house. Well my son, Chris, actually found this house online. The location is absolutely perfect. It is one block from the beach and a few blocks from the village. I can see the water from my front porch and hear the water at times. The home was built in 1903 per the wiring diagrams found in the attic. Fortunately, the outside of the home was renovated in 2009 with new siding, roof, windows and furnace. Unfortunately, every room inside the home needs work. It has a beautiful old oak staircase and woodwork. My son, Chris, said he’d help me take on this project and he’s been good to his word so far. We are doing the demolition/grunt work to save money and will call in the professionals when the time comes. We have ripped up carpeting and vinyl, we are removing plaster and lathe to open up the rafters to enable the installation of under floor, radiant heat, we are knocking out walls, moving doors & walls, stripping floors and old wall paper. There is much to do and it will take some time to get it where we want it. Hopefully one day it will be a happy, comfortable and welcoming home. I love my front porch and sit on it as often as I can so that I can talk with the many walkers and friendly neighbors that are frequently about. I hope that if you find yourself in SW Michigan you will stop by and see me and my new home. My new address and cell phone number is indicated at the bottom of my gmail, so make note of it for future reference. Just keep in mind if you do this in the near future, you need to be prepared for a mess…….and your imagination will be necessary to see the vision of what will eventually be. Morocco prepared me well for this next adventure and I am living the Moroccan way of life. I have an old refrigerator, but otherwise I use a hotplate, electric skillet and a microwave that friends have loaned me to cook with. I have two old chairs and a lamp and I just brought in a card table and chairs. I sleep on an air mattress with a sleeping bag. But, I have had heat and a western toilet -- woooohooooo - life is good!! I’ll post a couple of pictures to give you a better picture. It seems silly to bring my things from storage when there really isn’t a place for it. Hopefully in the coming months I will have my own things again. A fellow Peace Corps friend once told me that it takes a good year to transition back – I believe she was right.

This is the last writing for my blog and so I will close this blog with a picture taken of me in the spring.  Believe me, I don’t look like this daily.  I am often dirty, dusty and quite honestly – a mess.  One of my neighbors teases me and wonders if it is really possible to “clean me up”.    Guess the purpose of the picture is to confirm that “yes I can” clean up and to assure all of you, I’m okay and doing well.  Thank you for coming along with me on my adventures to Morocco.  I’ve enjoyed writing this blog and it afforded me a great way to record my life in Morocco and to keep in touch with you.  I hope the exposure to a foreign culture and my experience of living in it has expanded your view and understanding.   I wish you all good health and a good life.  Just a reminder to not pass up an opportunity,  it may never come around again.  And, as I was taught long ago  – don’t let fear rule your life.  Love & Hugs to you all,   Linda