All Packed Up

My blog over the past few years has been painfully honest.  It was really important to me that I convey some picture of my life in Morocco that told the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but the longer I was here, the more I feared that I was incapable of describing an entire culture to you without being unfair to it.  Or, in other words, sometimes the truth isn’t all that truthy even when it’s true.  

Other times, I was scared to be completely honest, not because I thought there was something to hide but because I didn’t think you could understand what I was saying without actually coming and seeing it for yourself.  And even then, it would be easy to pass judgment or misunderstand something without the language and months and months, if not years, of experience living here.  At one point, it hit me hard that the disdain and mistrust toward Muslims in America isn’t for a lack of smart kids like me blogging about how wonderful Muslims are; it’s just a painful reality that people in America just don’t actually know any Muslims.  They don’t even have the opportunity to get to know them.

I’ve seen and been a part of this culture myself for two years, and there are still so many aspects of it that I cannot wrap my head around.  Even aspects of Islam (or what looks like Islam but isn’t) that baffle me.  When I leave Morocco this week, I do so as someone who fell in love with this culture, despite some of the uglier sides of it.  And I return hoping to love America the same way, willing and needing to recognize the problems of our culture, but still loving it.

A lot of people have said to me, “Gosh, I hope you’re writing down in a journal all about your experiences.”  The thing is, I didn’t save much for a journal.  I put it all here.

Except for this one thing.  I want my last moments in my village to be mine and no one elses.  I want to keep that one little piece to myself.  Because the last few days have been some of the best and the worst of my service, and I think that’s relatively fitting, and I think it explains a lot about the paradoxes within this culture, but there’s just no way I can box it up and hand it to you without incredible bias.  So, today, I won’t even try.  All I’ll say is this: my time in my village has come to an end.  My feelings on that range from being absolutely ecstatic to even a little sad.  In the midst of preparing to leave, I dropped an email to Caity, Avery, and Nicole to let them know it had been six months since they left and my time here was winding down.  They all wrote me back with the same basic message, which I’ll paraphrase: “You might not feel like this now, but soon, you’re really going to miss Morocco.  I miss it a lot these days.  Call me when you get back.”

So there you have it.

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