Oh, you know, just sheep slaughtering season again, or continued conversation about the so-called ‘mid-service crisis’

The Mid-service crisis is far from over.  My landlord came by, and I showed him my broken faucet and asked if it was possible to get it fixed.  He then told me, or I thought he told me, that he’d come by later, and I could pay him for rent then.  That’s what I heard, anyway.  Another volunteer heard that he was bringing people over to look at my house, because I’m moving out.  I immediately went into worry mode.  Is my language that bad that what I thought was “repairing a kitchen sink” was actually “you need to move”?  You can certainly have good language days and bad ones.  I’ve been scrambling trying to figure out how to explain to my landlord that I’m not moving when he comes today.

On top of that, I was cornered yesterday by the guy at the post office insisting I pay a customs fee for a package (from Mom & Dad) I’d been trying to avoid paying.  Basically, I got slapped with a 530 MAD ($64.00, more than a forth of my monthly allowance) fine by Moroccan Customs for a package that had nothing in it outside of two t-shirts, shorts, and some nutella.  Morocco decided to charge me double what the package was probably worth.  On top of that, they’re not supposed to give you the package unless you pay the fee, but the folks at the post office didn’t find the fee until after they’d given me the package.  Convenient?  Maybe.

My original plan was to keep telling them that I would pay it later, but you can only get away with that for so long, and Avery and Caity were quick to point out that we’re at the mercy of the post-office, so there’s not really anything I can do other than pay them and hope it doesn’t happen again.  For future reference, if you’re going to send me a package, always, always say that it’s worth less than $50 on the customs form.   Anyway, long story short, and now I’m broke.  And a Peace Corps Volunteer is already basically broke, so that’s nothing new, but still.  Just two or three months ago, I had enough money that I was planning out what to get people for Christmas, and I guess it all disappeared.

So, no money, worries left and right, a computer that’s just barely getting by (anybody got a half-decent laptop they’re not using?), and I’ve got the Mid-service blues.  The good news is, according to the volunteer emotion chart, come January and February, I should be slowly moving into the height of my service, and that should come quicker than expected, given my trip home to America is just six weeks away.  Crazy to think I’ll be in America in just six weeks.

All mid-service crises to the side, and my English classes are in full swing.  I’ve got two beginner classes with fifteen girls and seven guys.  Tomorrow, I’ll teach – inchallah – my first intermediate class, and I’m trying to square things away so that I can teach advanced classes, as well.  On top of that, the glasses project holds on by a thread, while the Diabetes project is in full swing.  I’m hoping to have a powerpoint developed and start writing a grant for that project sometime in the next two weeks.

And of course, it’s November.  This time last year, I was traveling to my new home for the first time, celebrating l-3id l-kbir in Sefrou, and everything was brand new.  It’s not so new anymore.  Outside of my window, there’s been this one sheep who will soon be joined by many.  It’s like he’s calling to me, “Fouadddd.  Fouaaaddd.  Save me.”  Sorry, buddy, but you’re gonna be somebody’s dinner for, like, three weeks straight.

This year’s big holiday of slaughtering sheep and remembering the almost-sacrifice of Ishmael may be, despite the constant sheep noises, rather quiet for me.  I mean, if someone really wants me to join them for the festival, I certainly will.  I’d actually love an invitation, though my host family will be traveling like they usually do for the holiday.  But if there’s no invitation, I think for once, I’ll be okay with that.  After last year, I think I got my fill of sheep stomach and sheep head.  And while I did really like liver kabob wrapped in stomach fat, I’d be a-okay with cooking macaroni & cheese and enjoying a quiet evening on my roof, too.  I could easily appreciate and respect the holiday from afar, right?

Oh well.  Things to look forward to: Halloween pictures (I was Eeyore), new volunteers arriving to the region in a few weeks, mid-service medical exams (aka free trip to the capital), thanksgiving, and a post about my upcoming trip to America.

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