"No human, nor any living thing, survives long under the eternal sky. The most beautiful women, the most learned men, even Mohammed, who heard Allah's voice, all did wither and die. All is temporary. The sky outlives everything. Even suffering." - Bowa Johar, Balti poet.

22 August 2010

Back Home In Khemisset, Humdullah

Yes. I have returned from a month long adventure/summer camp fest and man am I tried! Since July 20th, I have been on the road traveling, meeting new people, seeing new places, and working my last summer camp as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

(Image: with my host brothers, Ayoub and Yassine, after a tearful goodbye to new friends the last night of camp)

As soon as I landed back in Fez, Morocco, I caught a train to Meknes and then a taxi back to my site where I had only 24 hours to unpack, wash clothes, pay bills, re-pack, and hit the road for another 5 hours to get to El Jadida for my last summer camp as a PCV!

It was a fun camp with some great first and second year volunteers. The Moroccan access students were super helpful this year due to the amount of beginner students I had to take on and little issues that came up between staff and the kids at camp. It was a productive and very chill camp until Ramadan hit. When Ramadan began, that was when tempers were shortened due to fasting, which is totally understandable. Not being able to eat or drink from 6am until 7:30pm while at a camp, running around, and doing activities; that is not a good and healthy combo. It was rough and most of the kids, volunteers, and Moroccan staffers got sick, but we pull through and ended the last camp of the summer on a positive note. I was able to bring my two host brothers, Yassine and Ayoub, to camp with me and they enjoyed themselves to the point that they were sad to leave and tearing up when saying goodbye to new friends that they made while at camp.

The highlights of camp:

  • Going to the beach and watching the students do Tug-of-War
  • One kid got pushed in between two pillars by a Moroccan staffer and it took 3 PCV’s (yes, i was one of the 3) and 5 minutes of pushing and pulling to get him out
  • Fasting highs and lows
  • PCV boy band being created and performed "I Want It That Way" at spectacular
  • Being voted most beautiful American volunteer/teacher at camp.. sukran ya'll :)
  • PCV’s getting together and performing the song “Shout”
  • My beginner kids picking out American names for class
  • Halloween haunted house
  • The song “ I Love Dogs” classic
  • Being artsy all camp. I miss doing that.

Now that I am back in site, still fighting off whatever kind of cold/sickness I have had for over a week or so now, I am getting ready to finish the Art Resource Manual that my site mate and I have been working hard at for 2 years now. It should be ready by the time the new YD and SBD group comes in on September 15th! I am still in shock with how fast time has flown by. I cannot believe that in about 3 weeks, there will be a new group that has come to replace my staj, and that there is one person in that group that will be taking over my position at the dar chabab in Khemisset. I am excited for what these next couple of months will bring! On top of all of this, I am applying for jobs back home in the museum world in ANY state that is hiring. If you know of any museum hiring or taking interns, please send the information my way. I am happy that I got to take part in Peace Corps, experience an Islamic country and the Moroccan culture, but I am eager to head home, start my life back up, and work towards my graduate school dream in Museum Studies or Conservation.

Well the Imane at the mosques are doing their calls so it is time for me to get some work done before Liftor begins. Hope all is well in your world. Peace N Love.

11 August 2010

From Hrvatska, With Love


in English, GOOD MORNING!

(Image: Zagreb)

I started my journey in Germany where I stayed for a couple of days while waiting for my connecting flight to Croatia. I was happy to be back in Europe and in my favorite country with the best beer in the world J The highlight to my German layover was being able to walk around the countryside for a couple of hours and taking in the view of the lush green landscape. I was just walking around, jamming out to my ipod, and taking in the atmosphere that is Germany. It almost made me feel like I was back home in Michigan.

(Image: Germany)

Once in Croatia, I traveled for 9 days to:

Pula: Yummy food and a good city to walk around in

Rijeka: Awesome farmers market and port

Zadar: The Sun Salutation and Sea Organ. GOOGLE this!

Zagreb: The capital and now one of my top 10 favorite cities and got a great haircut in, Humdullah!

Đurđevacv: where I met my long lost family from my grandfather Presecan heritage. This was my highlight of my Croatia trip.

Croatia.. aka… one of the coolest countries I have visited! The people are kind and super excited to see Americans. Some people who met me said that I was the first American they have ever met before. CRAZY! So to all you Americans out there, go check out Croatia! You will be pleasantly surprised how cheap things are, how welcoming the people are, and the scenery is worth traveling for, trust me on this. Also in Croatia, everyone knows English so it is super easy to get around Croatia and communicate with the Croatians.

The food there was amazing, but very buttery and rich. I could not eat a whole meal due to this, but I did leave full from every place I ate at. Honestly, I was just happy to NOT be eating Moroccan like food for 11 days, whoo! By far my favorite dish was squash deep-fried in batter at my relative’s house in the countryside. I am not a deep fried kind of girl, but wow, when I ate that with some yogurt/sour cream on top… DELIGHT!

The beaches in Croatia are crystal clear, white, and the sea is so blue that even in the Rijeka Port, I could see hundreds of fishes swimming around looking for food. I have never seen such clean and clear water before. I mean nothing can beat Lake Michigan and the beaches there, but the Croatian coast can give Lake Michigan a run for its money.

(Image: Rijeka)

As I mentioned earlier, the highlight to my little Croatian adventure was finally meeting my relatives near the city where my grandfather was born. I met Tihana, Martina, and their family in a beautiful small town called Đurđevacv. I have never met such welcoming and happy people before. Their mother was always smiling and offering me food left and right until I could not move from my seat due to how overly stuffed I was from lunch. Their father was calling up all the family he could remember and asking about my grandfather and was sharing the baptismal certificate I brought to see if he could get any answers for me. He was very cheerful man, and helpful with looking into my grandfather’s certificate for me. I actually found out that my grandfather was from the village about 10 km down the road from them called Kolstar, that my great grandmother, Klara, her family was from around this area, and I found out how to say my last name correctly in Croatian J I am looking into changing my last name so it will sound like it should because it sounds beautiful in Croatian.

(image: Zagreb)

It was a sad moment when I had to leave Croatia so I could make it back in time to do summer camp in El Jadida, but I know that is was not a “good bye”; it was more like a “see you soon” kind of vibe. I hope to return again soon and visit my relatives longer in the countryside, check out the capital again, and see some of Croatia’s famous National Parks, and go more east and south within this beautiful and inspiring country.

HVALA!! vidimo se !