14 May 2010

And So It Is

Three years ago today, in 2007, I had finished my last year in college, and at mid-day, Eastern Daylight Time, I went to my mailbox at BC and pulled out a FedEx envelope from PC Headquarters in D.C. I found out that that I was officially an invitee to PC Morocco. I remember sitting at the Eagles’ Nest, a usually busy restaurant, empty at that time of exams, and opening the envelope to find another (now all too familiar) blue envelope with everything they thought I needed to know about my impending departure for Morocco. Then, I was to depart for Philadelphia for two days of “staging” on September 8, and for Casablanca on September 10, landing on the bright and sunny morning of September 11. Also the day my parents’ divorce was to be finalized.

On November 2, 2005, I had written in my blog at the time: Four days in Morocco was a watershed. A paradigm change, if you will. Things are different now.

And on November 3, after some time to mull over my experience a bit more, I wrote: I want this trip to be a true watershed in my life. I realized how ignorant I was about Muslim countries, assuming that I knew it all because I had taken a tourist trap trip to Egypt five years ago. I am embarrassed of my prejudice. I know that I am not done with Morocco. I want to return and spend a significant about of time there, doing service-oriented work, living with a family, and learning Arabic.

Can you tell I had just learned how to use the word “watershed”?

Returning to the present, today is May 14, again. Today, around 11am, Central Daylight Time, I stepped out of Conference Room B at Raynor Memorial Libraries at another Jesuit Institution. I had been waiting for my phone to ring all week, but, on a whim, I decided to check my email on my phone – an expensive proposition for me because I don’t have a data plan. And I saw this subject line on the most recent email in my inbox: ALI POSITION. And the email read: I am writing to let you know that I enjoyed reviewing your application for staff member position with the Arabic Language Institute and the follow up phone interview. I think you will be able to apply the goals of the ALI program and bring your experiences to it and therefore, would like to offer you the position for group escort to Morocco.

I jumped up and down inside the library. It was not until this evening, however, that I realized how many parallels were occurring in my life at that moment.

Now, granted, on April 4, the same organization with which I had traveled to Morocco in 2005, had hired me to be a program leader for their organization – with a year contract and a salary in Euro, I might add. But I craved this job with ALI (which I will be explaining in detail later) more so than the job with MoEx. I enjoyed my time back in the US more than I thought I would. I know now the reasons for which I was sent back. My heart, however, has been tied to Morocco, tighter and tighter with every passing month, since that trip in a rainy, foggy fall of 2005, and I cannot stay away for too long.

So here we go.