What has happened in the past few weeks...
I visited Sanjay at his site in Goulmima where he, Carlos, and I pretty much just played video games on emulators for two straight days. We purchased USB playstation controllers. PC roughin' it.
I took a long bus ride from Goulmima to the north of Morocco, arriving at dark in Azrou, where I fell down some broke ass concrete stairs and scraped up my behind and also sprained my ankle. Hard. It also smelled like fresh tea urine in the bushes where I landed.
Started volunteering for the Special Olympics which started out promising, yet disorganized and even made some new friends which is always nice. Then we were given our housing assignments for the week (why they did not just house all 30 of us volunteers together rather than spread across Ifrane, I do not know). Carlos, Jaclyn, and myself ended up in what I can confidently call the most depressing place in Morocco. Even surpassing Bouya Omar (google it). There were two turkish toilets per wing of a very large old building which resembled a former mental institution. The atmosphere was damp and dark and only lit by dim fluorescent bulbs. Carlos and I shared a room while Jaclyn had her own. Neither rooms had locks. We all had valuables such as laptops, money, nintendo ds. There were over 200 Moroccans staying in this building with us. Twice someone attempted to bust into our room while we tried to sleep. The next morning Jaclyn said that the same thing happened to her. The bathrooms were already disgusting by morning. Because we knew that there were ample locations to stay in Ifrane amongst the other volunteers, we contacted PC staff that our accommodations were unsafe, and they quickly began to rectify the situation. Later that day we talked amongst the other volunteers. Some claimed to have situations mirroring ours (doubtful) while others said that they had been put up in private bungalows complete with hot showers, tv, and kitchen. Unfair.
In the evening, Abdulghani took the three of us to our new home for the week. We would be with a few other volunteers, but alas, we were still not in a bungalow. Twas more like a dorm situation, only there was normal lighting, separation of men and women, and fairly clean bathrooms. Although I did not get to room with Carlos, Jaclyn and I were in our own little area separated from the rest of the people staying in the dorm. What relief!
After dinner, a few of us decided to trek to Ifrane's center. After walking for ten minutes I felt a sharp pain in my left heel. I assumed that my sandal clasp had stabbed me. I yelled "OW." Carlos said, "oh gosh, a scorpion." I wondered why that fool was playing games. But no, I looked down, and there it was, a large, juicy, yellow piece of poop scorpion crawling on the pavement. Seeing the f**ker made the pain worse, of course. Well, there went my plans for the evening. As my nice friends helped me back up to the dorm, I spoke on the phone with PC medical who told me that I had to go to the hospital, but that I would not die. I even rode in a Moroccan ambulance which was not all that. They didn't even put me on a stretcher. The doctor was friendly, and also told me that I would not die. I stayed for two hours, but the pain lasted all night. Please, do not let a scorpion ever sting you. I must note that it is extremely rare that I was stung by a scorpion in Ifrane, a city with weather not unlike northern Michigan. Even the medical staff at the hospital were all, "oh my goodness, I have never seen a scorpion here in all my life!" My biggest fear coming to this country was seeing scorpions, something I had not even had happened in the desert where the apparently run rampant. Carlos believes that it is possible that the piece of crap hitched a ride with some of the special olympic athletes traveling from down south. Let it be known that my other foot still had a somewhat sprained ankle when all of this occurred.
The rest of the week was relatively normal, except for two days prior to departure when Jaclyn noticed that every time she flushed the western toilet, the turkish toilet next door bubbled a bit due to clogging. A few hours later I wandered into the bathroom to find a poop carpet of sorts flowing out from under the turk stall. Instead of fixing this the next morning, the cleaning staff just blocked the door with a bookshelf, so that no one could use that particular bathroom.
Carlos and I left a day early because our back to site was one of the longest. We took a 13 hour bus ride back to Skoura. I do think that it was longer than 13 hours though, and I believe our bus driver was on something, and his assistant, who I named 'Walgreens' decided to hold everything up on every single stop. I will only bus commercial in this country for the rest of my service. Oh god the horror.
My ankle is now big and blue and burly again because I lost much circulation on that ride, and so now I try to ice it and elevate.
Anxiety is back better than ever. I said that I would call the medical office and ask to speak to a counselor, but that is scary. Much anxiety comes with talking on the telephone, and even in face to face therapy, I have trouble opening up. Plus, I really do not know what they can tell me that I don't already know. I am on medication, and I do not wish to up my dosage, as I know that the source of my woes is the stresses of being in country, the gender issues, talking to strangers in another language, etc. I do not even like speaking to strangers in English, so you can imagine my troubles.
I am attempting to curb my anxiety by completing my grad school applications. I am still waiting on one letter of recommendation which is frustration, but I do have backups. I am also wondering if perhaps New York might better suit me than Michigan if I get in. Boston too. I am also thinking that maybe I might not want to be a Badger after all, as Wisconsin is my last choice, and I am getting lazy. But that application is by far the easier, so I may as well. See, the nonsense of this rambling has made me feel better than when I was writing about my anxiety!
58 days until London.
Who knows how long until I leave Morocco. Hehehehe.
Classes should be started up again at the dar chebab. I'm being incredibly lazy but mostly scared. We are lucky with our situation, as all of our children in our community are gems, but I still get terrified every day of going to teach, of going outside, of getting yelled at. Listen to the newest Paul F. Tompkins record. My fear of getting yelled at is exactly like his. I think it is scarier to get yelled at in another language though.