Perfect painting in my mind

It has been a challenge describing the month that I’ve spent in Morocco. For all that I have seen, everything stayed in my mind like a permeant painting on the wall, where I can just stare at it for a second; and flashbacks will make sure to remind me of all my adventures.

A beautiful painting of those colorful heard-scarfs wrapped around the shy women’s head, the cement color of the old Medina walls screaming history, the calm and yet dangerous sand of the enormous Sahara desert, the icing cold of the Atlas mountains, the kind Moroccan eyes of the people that crossed my path, or the innocent smiles of the childcare kids I took care of — all that and more set up a painting in my mind of the beautiful Morocco I saw.

I also saw the dirty, loud, dangerous and the women repressive Morocco. I felt lonely, confused and even afraid sometimes. I was out of place and out of my comfort zone, like I have never been before. I experienced an intense cultural shock that changed my life.

Morocco was an eye opening. It was the perfect place to leave all the discrimination, judgments, arrogance, differences and close minds behind.
I was able to embrace those that embraced me in their homes, despite all my differences. I was able to enjoy everything about their culture, including their amazing food. I was able to understand and respect their religion and beliefs, that once was unknown.

Although I have traveled to many countries before where I felt like an alien, I never stayed in a place for the amount of time I did during Morocco, since my traveling was always done while I was in school. Over there, I was able to work, study and get close to my host Moroccan family, volunteers, teachers and the kids of the childcare.

Traveling for two days from Hawaii, arriving in Morocco was a relief. Crossing through the immigration in Rabat, Morocco’s capital, was a “get ready” reminder of how language barrier will be walking beside me. Why in the world did I not learn French? Arabic, was unreal.

At the airport, I was already able to see the different faces; none of those familiar, which made me realize how far I was from home.

No one was waiting for me at the gate. Technically, there was supposed to, but the volunteer company got a bit confused with airports. My first challenge, right off the airplane…trying to explain to someone I needed a phone. I took a deep breath. I had all the reasons to maybe freak myself out. Trust me, it freaked me out a little to imagine myself all the way in Northern Africa.

However, good souls always come around. I was able to communicate with a local that borrowed her phone. I contacted the company’s advisor, met the other volunteers, and got taken to my next destination…where it all began.

 

 

Quadro perfeito na minha mente

Tem sido um obstáculo descrever o mês que passei no Marrocos. Tudo que vi, ficou na minha mente como um quadro permanente na parede, onde eu preciso somente olhar por um segundo; flashbacks fazem questão de me lembrar de todas as aventuras.

Um lindo quadro daqueles lindos lenços coloridos envolto das cabeças das tímidas mulheres, a cor de cimento das velhas paredes da Medina que gritam história, a calma e perigosa areia do enorme deserto do Saara, o frio nas montanhas Atlas, os bondosos olhos Marroquinos dos que cruzaram meu caminho, ou os sorrisos inocentes das crianças da creche que cuidei — tudo isso e mais estabeleceu o quadro na minha mente, do lindo Marrocos que vivi.

Também vi o Marrocos feio, barulhento, perigoso e que reprime mulheres. Me senti sozinha, confusa e muitas vezes tive medo. Me senti longe da minha área de conforto, como nunca estive antes. Eu experimentei um choque cultural intenso que mudou a minha vida.

Marrocos abriu os meus olhos. Foi um lugar perfeito para deixar para trás qualquer tipo de discriminação, julgamentos, arrogância, diferenças e mentes fechadas.
Eu abracei aqueles que humildemente me tiveram em suas casas, apesar de todas as nossas diferenças. Eu pude desfrutar muito da sua cultura, incluindo a deliciosa comida. Eu pude entender e respeitar sua religião e crenças que antes eram desconhecidas para mim.

Apesar de já ter viajado para diversos países antes onde me senti como um alienígena, eu nunca fiquei em um lugar com a mesma quantidade de tempo que fiquei no Marrocos, já que sempre viajei enquanto estudava. Lá, pude trabalhar, estudar e me sentir perto da família Marroquina que me recebeu, dos outros voluntários e professores da creche.

Viajando dois dias do Hawaii, chegar no Marrocos foi um alívio. Passando pela imigração em Rabat, a capital do Marrocos, foi mais um lembrete de “se prepare” para a barreira linguística que estará andando do meu lado. Porque diabos eu não aprendi Francês? Árabe então, fora de cogitação.

No aeroporto eu já podia reparar os diferentes rostos; nenhum familiar, onde me dei conta o quanto estava longe de casa.

Ninguém me esperava no portão. Tecnicamente, deveria ter, mas a companhia de voluntários que iria trabalhar se confundiram. Meu primeiro obstáculo, logo após saindo do avião…tentando explicar para alguém que precisava de um celular. Respirei fundo. Tive todas as razões para perder o bom senso. Acredite, pirei um pouco em imaginar-me sozinha na Africa do Norte.

Porém, boas almas sempre aparecem. Eu pude me comunicar com uma local que me emprestou seu celular. Falei com a assessora da companhia, conheci outros voluntários, e fui levada até o meu próximo destino…onde tudo começou.

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Categories: Morocco | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Perfect painting in my mind

  1. It’s these experiences that shape and molds us into the people we are. We tend to take things for granted but it’s these experiences that make us look through different eyes and at the end take away life lessons and memories. It must of been such a humbling experience.

  2. As always, I am impressed by your bravery and openness, Suse. I know this isn’t easy for you, but you always persist and prevail! I’m so proud of you! Miss you tons!!! <3
    Suzanne

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