I got one of my first culture shock moment since coming to Morocco. I was in Marrakech for IST (In Service Training) and for the first time since working here I walked into an Acima store, which is a Walmart-like store in Morocco. When the sliding glass doors opened up for me and I heard horrible background music being played, sample cheeses being given, and a huge selection of cereals, I almost cried. No lie. I had to hold back a tear. I just stood in the middle of the produce section with my mouth open in awe on how they had so many options to pick from. They had all these different kinds of cheeses ( BLUE CHEESE! I have missed that so much) to meats (I do not eat meat really anymore, but it still wowed me). Even the badly lit atmosphere brought a smile to my face. I mean I could buy cereal, REAL cheese, and a blender all in one place along with vodka and the mixer of my choice! I really thought I was dreaming this. At my site they do not have cereal so I have to travel over a half an hour to buy some, they only have the fake kind of cheese in Skoura, and blenders can only be found for a decent price on souq day which are Mondays. It was nice to just remember that places like Acima really do exists in this country.
IST was a good break from my site. It was nice to take some time away and be around some friends, share ideas, and just have some time to think about my site and the choices that I have to make. My moudir came up and I had meeting number 6 with him and PC staff about certain issues that are still not resolved, but I feel that now my moudir and I are on the same page and if something happens again, Peace Corps and myself will have to make some changes. No worries. I got to swim in a pool for the first time in months and wear shorts and a tan top in public! that was huge! Back at my site I would of totally gotten Hsuma ( same on me) for wearing such things. If i wear anything higher than my calf and any lower than my collar-bone, it is too much skin here, so it has been limiting.
I had to stay in Marrakech a day or so longer after IST since I had a tooth issue. Last week a section of my back left molar broke off so during IST I got it taken care of. It took 3 trips to see 2 different dentist when each time I went in for an appointment I was attacked by those huge needles I have a fear of to the point where I act like a 5 year old. It is really scary to be in a dentist chair with a huge and very painful needle about to bit stuck in you and the dentist is talking to you in another language other than your mother tongue trying to tell you what the next step is in getting the tooth fixed. Lets just say that it was not the highlight of my week.I had enough time in between PC sessions and doctors appointments to go out in Marrakech and buy some summer clothes, eat some good food, and enjoy the city. I also got to see some of my good Moroccan friends like Atika. After spending 8 days in Marrakech I was ready to head back home to Skoura. The ride through the Tishka was LONG but not as boring since another PCV and myself found eachother on the same bus which was fun. The only issue I came across on my journey back to my site were major thunder storms that were going on down south. I have been living in Skoura for over 7 months and I have never seen it rain as much as been these past few days. On Monday when I returned home to Skoura, I was stuck in a 3.5 hour traffic jam because of a washed out road on the way from Ozt to Skoura. I will post photos up later. It is so strange to see so much water in an area that never really gets water. It kind of reminded me of Michigan for a moment. The intense heat before the rain began, the feeling of rain on the skin, and watching the storm roll in slowly from afar was beautiful experience.This next week will be one great week because I am having my first friend come and visit me in Morocco!!! Michaela who was an exchange student from Germany my Jr. year of high school is coming down to Skoura and traveling the coast with me for a few days. I can not wait!