Laughing with Anny at her going-away party in Tioute.
Just a few things I'm thankful for:
The palpable sense of being surrounded by love, both by new friends here who feel like old friends already, and by enduring and ever-growing relationships back home, loved ones who do not feel at all far away.
My looming visit home, where those loved ones will be within hugging distance, where those beers will be within hoisting distance, where the Southern slice at YiaYia's will be within savoring distance.
In the meantime, care packages of unnecessary luxuries that bring home back to me ... Constant Comment tea, nag champa incense, peanut butter, books books books books books ...
The recent discovery of such delicacies for sale in Taroudant as panini bread (perfect substitute for tortillas), soy sauce and red wine vinegar.
Having survived, as of this week, an entire year here in my dusty southern village, and knowing that the second year will be, comparatively, a piece of cake.
Realizing how far I have come in that year. Learning, at last, the value of perserverence, of things not coming easily, of not giving up.
My host sister Kabira reminding me recently how, at first, I cried a lot and my face was hard like this (as she hit her palm against the wall). And look at me now, completely wllft (adjusted), she added, as we sat around the kitchen table, roaring in laughter over nothing in particular, making hlwa (cookies/sweets) to sell at her shop, me doing my best to ignore the distinctly non-OSHA-compliant process.
The amazing ability to communicate and forge connections across vast barriers. Common language isn't everything. Shared cultural norms, neither. A smile, a shrug, a pantomime, a raised eyebrow of understanding, and a new kindred spirit.
My firmly established vegetarian status in the days before L3id kbir, the biggest holiday in the Muslim calendar, the one my neighbors and students remind me of by slicing their fingers across the neck in the sheep-slaughtering manner. (You can see last year's post if you need an explicit reminder.) But, also, my greater understanding this year of the holiday and, once again, how we global peoples (Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Pagan) are connected far more closely than we allow ourselves to realize.