Monday, April 22, 2013

Half Way - how did we get here?

“nus” in Moroccan Arabic means 'half'. In a cafe one can order a 'nus-nus' coffee; this means half steamed milk and half espresso. When talking about time “nus saعa” means 'half an hour'. Today marks the half way point of our Peace Corps journey in Morocco. 13 months down and 13 months to go. If you have not read all of our blog posts, you may need to know that while Peace Corps service is a 2 year long commitment, there is also a training period of 2-3 months before you are officially sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Our training period was 2 months long, and when added on to the 2 year service commitment that is a total of...26 months (easy math yes?). In another month we will celebrate 1 year of service, with 1 year to go. I wanted to post at the half way mark, because it is a notable accomplishment for us especially when a year ago the half way point seemed so far away.

Over the past 13 months our personal and professional learning and growth has been exponential, and all of this growth is very much still evolving and maturing (therefore we will examine and discuss that upon our conclusion of service). Amidst all of this learning and growth we have happily adjusted to working and living life in southern Morocco. Our community integration has been smooth and positive. We are known and respected in our community, and our professional and social statuses are accepted. While walking down the main street men, women, and youth recognize us, they know our names, and they will wave or stop to say hello to us. Community leaders want to work with us and have us involved in their schools and associations. Surrounding us are friends and family who help, teach, support, and love us, and we help, teach, support, and love them right back. We have become passionate about the work we do, and we believe that we are having a positive and lasting impact in our community.  

What has greatly contributed to our happiness, satisfaction, and success was that from the very beginning of our Peace Corps journey (which began way back in late March 2010) we made an intentional effort to be open and willing to accept everything that would come our way (thanks to a serious yoga practice this came easily to us both). At that moment our journey transformed into a path where all events, positive and negative, easy and difficult, were just part of our whole great experience, and we could trust that we would move forward in the direction that was meant for us.  

Day to day our method is simple: we just choose to allow things to be the way they are and look for possibilities within that place. We are able to see the possibilities that come our way and onto our path, and we take them and work them into our lives. We try not to force outcomes with events, or people, or situations...And when we do try to force an outcome, it usually doesn't work out very well and thankfully we learn a lesson (and learning a lesson leads to new possibilities - so it's all good!). 

We go with the flow and possibilities just show up!..Sounds easy? Well, actually we have to put in a lot of effort and thought into each day, but it is worth it. We try very hard to maintain open minds and open hearts. We live in a culture that is at times confusing to us (while other days we LOVE it!). We can quickly become irritated and frustrated with situations and people if we are not careful to keep positive and stay present to the possibilities that hide within each situation and interaction.

Some people may just say that we just got lucky with our Peace Corps experience, because nearly everything about our service is full of goodness...and maybe some of it is luck and circumstance...but we believe that more of it has to do with a positive attitude and a whole lot of hard work and conscious effort on our parts.  Recently I have come across a concept called the 90/10 principle, which helps to explain our point of view in this case.  The idea goes two ways. First: Life is 10% circumstance and 90% attitude. Second: Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it.  Either way you look at it, our attitudes and reactions are more important than all that is happening around us. 
Putting effort into cultivating and maintaining healthy and happy attitudes and reactions is what fills our service journey with goodness and leads us to success!

So, now that I have said all this, and you have read it, maybe you would like to see some photos of our awesome and amazing Peace Corps life?

Kate likes being an art teacher.

A typical sight in Akka: clear blue skies, bright sunshine, and peach painted geometric design.

Arie is a Peace Corps Rock Star, at least Kate and all the kids at the youth center think so!

Laundry on our roof (by hand of course!).

Arie and one of his brightest piano students.

Kate and Adam...he is a great teacher of the "Terrible Twos".
Arie with our very own goat (named Patty) posing with the youngest ones of our host family.

Kate on her way to a Berber Wedding party (women only) where there will be drumming, dancing, singing, and tea.

1 comment:

  1. Kate - this is an excellent post on the importance of being! Open, ready, willing and honest - i hear all of those examples of being in your words. Love to you and Arie!