Fifteen Months Later

15 months it has been.

15 months since I pressed submit.

15 months since I applied.

Over the past 15 months, not an hour has gone by where Peace Corps hasn’t crossed my mind. In these past 15 months, I’ve experienced tears of joy, tears of loss, and tears of confusion. I was assigned to the country of my dreams, then just weeks before my departure date, I was reassigned to a place where I never really pictured myself. Of course I was devastated by such an abrupt reassignment, but now that I’ve had time to ponder my situation, I really can’t imagine going anywhere else. I was comfortable with South America–perhaps too comfortable. I understand Spanish; I understand Catholicism; I believe that I at least sort of understand Ecuador.

However, I don’t understand Morocco.

I don’t completely understand North African or Middle Eastern culture; I don’t entirely understand Islam; I have essentially zero understanding of the Arabic language (Ummm… Salam?). On this day, I’m relatively naïve about the world and about the Peace Corps.

But I’m telling myself it’s ok.

It’s ok to be fearful; it’s ok to be intimidated; it’s ok to be enthusiastic. It’s just… Ok. I’m sitting on this airplane, petrified by the knowledge that these next 27 months are completely my own. I honestly hadn’t grasped this concept until right this instant, on this plane, while sandwiched between two snoring old men. Saying goodbye to my friends and family was the hardest moment of my life thus far, and now it’s just… Me.

I feel like these goodbye posts are inherently cliche, so I’ll try to keep it short. I just left Idaho; I’m actually still in the United States for another three days. I’m no wiser, smarter, or more worldly than I was when I hugged my favorite people goodbye through obnoxious sobs earlier this morning. Yet, this is a tremendously special post to me. I’ve written more than twenty blog posts already, but this is THE POST; the time on my 27-month clock starts now.

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Thanks for rising before the sun to see me off. I don’t know what I did to score friends like you.

My emotions are running amuck, but this will inevitably be one of the experiences I use to define myself and the life I’ve led. Anthony Bourdain, one of my many spirit animals, once said:

“If you’re 22, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.”

Hey, Anthony: I’m 22. I’m reasonably fit. I can sleep on a floor. I like food. IS THIS MY DESTINY?

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Ridiculousness aside, I’ve had a great 22 years in my star-spangled homeland, but it’s time for something new. See you in 27 months, ‘Murica. You’ve been good to me.

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37 thoughts on “Fifteen Months Later

  1. You are right: this will be one of those defining moments in your life, or perhaps I should say defining months. You will learn but you will also open other people’s eyes, too, with your courage, your curiosity, and your willingness to be open to the new experiences/people you will encounter. And besides all that learning, have fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re going in with a great attitude and I think you’ll adore Morocco–it’s hard not to–but it is totally okay to be scared and to hate it sometimes. I’m looking forward to reading your posts. If you can, try and make it to Ouzoud! Best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was on tour in Morocco last April for 15 days. It’s an interesting country and I felt more safe than not but remember I was also with a group of 20. Rabat is the cultural center, Fez has a lot of great restaurantsLOL, spent a night on the desert in a hotel tent (best part of the tripLOL), Casablanca reminds me a bit of Manhattan where i live-more the financial center and I liked Essouria because it was far more lay back and the layout was easier to navigate. Be safe in the traffic especially in Marakash and have a great time. My best advice. Stay alert, stay safe and go no where with anyone you don’t know. No where. Bon Chance!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wishing you nothing but the best! Being in a country that you understand a lot less will probably make for an even more amazing growing experience! I hope you learn so much and make memories to last a lifetime! I can’t wait to read more about the next 27 months! Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bon Chance ma cousine! The good news is…many in Morocco speak French which is CLOSE to Spanish 🙂
    I was so glad I traveled in my 20’s. Enjoy every minute!
    XO
    Blythe

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You are the awesome at and I just went through at least nine of the emotions you’re currently feeling just reading your email. SO sorry to miss you in Philly, but I hope you had a great day. I’m so excited for you Abbie.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You are going to do great! International travel exposes you to so much that you just can’t get by staring in your home country. You’ll encounter cultural challenges, faux pas you didn’t even know existed, and feel SO out of place sometimes, but living abroad is a magical experience that you won’t want to trade for the world. Trust me!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. good morning Abbie it is 11:14. I stayed a wake until 12:45 your dad said it was 8:45 there, well all most until 12:45 ha ha. miss you already. it is cold here and really feels like fall I’m not ready. how is Morocco, every thing you thought it might be? this is easier than I thought, so probably will write more often, well I have to see if you get it first,ha ha. love you lots.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Abbie. Thank you and welcome to the “Followship” of the Equinox.
    Best of luck on your new adventure.
    Only one word of advice (if I may be so bold) take off the gif/video where you are “waving/dancing” with the Morocco flag. It might be misinterpreted. 😉
    Mucha suerte en tu nueva aventura.
    Brian

    Like

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