Saturday, December 1, 2012

When one chapter ends...another begins!

Marisa and Me at The German Institute in Rabat
Goodness this is so overdue. Sorry to have kept you all waiting! I guess I procrastinated...and procrastinated, and procrastinated because the idea of writing a ‘final closure’ to my time in Morocco made it all seem just that much more real. Morocco was a rollercoaster of ups and downs, good times and bad, but it was the most eye opening, life-changing experience I’ve ever had. I have so many amazing memories and stories to share from my time there. And sharing is what I have been doing for the past couple months.
Last pictures my ladies took of their wares in Tounfite
Fadima Hddu in Tounfite
The lost photos: Martil (Northern Morocco on the Alboran Sea) 
The lost photos: Assilah (Western Morocco on the Atlantic)
The lost photos: Assilah (Western Morocco on the Atlantic)
The lost photos: Assilah (Western Morocco on the Atlantic)
Youness and Sarah in Chefchaouan
Me in Chefchaouan
Leaving Morocco was a bit more difficult than entering Morocco was. And I mean that mostly in a physical way.  Coming in the Peace Corps staff were there waiting with a nice big bus to help us get out luggage where it needed to be…I was on my own leaving. On my final day as a volunteer, I had all my check-ups and signed ‘the official swearing out book’ and that was it. Wham you are no longer a volunteer. You are on your own, safe travels home!
Last of the sunsets in Rabat with Marisa
Swearing Out
Signing and stamping 'the book'
''The Book'
So after spending a few days at my friend, Sarah’s house in Rabat, I loaded up my luggage and got in her elevator to head to the airport. Wait, that’s not true, I couldn’t even make it to the elevator without Sarah’s help. To paint a picture, I had a giant hiking backpack (23kg), a massive wheeled suitcase (28 kg), a carry on (18 kg), a laptop bag and a handbag. Let’s just say it was a rough trip. One taxi to the train station and two trains, I could barely move…especially when I had to change trains. To change trains it required getting off the first train which was about three feet higher than the platform so I had to maneuver a ladder, then go down two flights of stairs, back up two flights of stairs, and up a ladder onto the next train. I am sweating just typing about it!

I flew into London Heathrow, where I spent three weeks of quality time with my family.  Lots of eating, drinking and good times were had.  I was reunited with bacon, other pork products and green vegetables, which was almost as exciting as being reunited with my family! After three weeks of gorging, I repacked my bags, this time knowing that there would be the luxury of a trolley involved during all moving of the luggage. And onto NYC I flew. I spent a long weekend there with my two best friends, Nicole and Francesca, again, lots of eating, drinking, pork products and good times.  Francesca and I took the bus from NYC to Washington DC, where Kendall, Francesca’s husband was waiting with their car to bring us back to Virginia.
Mom, Granddad and Me
Nana, my Godmother Lollie and Me
I’ve been here for three weeks now, doing the usual, eating, drinking, enjoying pork products and sharing stories from Morocco. It’s been fantastic seeing my family here in the States, not that it wasn’t in England, but I did get to go back and forth between Morocco and England a few times. I hadn’t seen most of the people here in two years!  Last week was Thanksgiving and my brothers came up from Richmond to eat some turkey. Wait, another lie, Carl is a vegan so there was no turkey eating on his part. I did fulfill my role as World’s Most Awesome Big Sister though; I created an entirely vegan Thanksgiving feast (ok so there was some help in the kitchen, some as in a lot). Okay so it wasn’t entirely vegan, there was a turkey.  Let’s just say Christmas won’t be vegan…sorry Carl! It was good, it just wasn't that good.

Me, Mom, Nicole, Francesca and Katie
Vegan Thanksgiving
I suppose another reason I didn’t write this sooner, is because I wanted to be able to talk about the future, which up until yesterday was still a bit unclear. I knew what I wanted to do, but until yesterday it wasn’t officially happening. And so now I can happily announce that as of the first week in January I will be an ESL teacher in Busan, South Korea…yay!

I have been interviewing via the phone and Skype for a few weeks now and after careful consideration I accepted a position at…wait for it…Wonderland English School in Namcheon-dong, Busan. That’s right, the school’s name is Wonderland. Most appropriately my next blog will be Annemariesphere in Wonderland, but more details to come on that in the near future.

The school is located one block from Gwangalli beach, which is the second most famous beach in South Korea. More excitingly, my new apartment is two blocks from the beach.  Score.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not going to be all beach time and dolphins for the next year. My hours are long and I am about to be surrounded by small children five days a week, but the benefits are worth it. The school pays for a round trip ticket to South Korea, my apartment is paid for, as is medical and pension and lunch five days a week. Teacher hat on.

For those of you who know me, you can imagine how excited I am for my next adventure. A new culture, new food and a new challenge await me come January.

Until next time,

Annemarie xXx

P.S. You can read more about Gwangalli beach here

1 comment:

  1. Annemarie, read this the other day but forgot to leave a comment. As usual, a great blog and a good one to tie up the loose ends of your time in Morocco. Love, Nana