Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on January 31, 2011

The great danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.

– Michelangelo Buonarroti

My brother gave me a shout-out on Facebook: “For my rad sister, Diana Yan, who is currently serving in the Peace Corps in Morocco.” Woot, woot!

If starry skies are my favorite part of the night, then souk mornings are my favorite part of the day.

This morning, I stopped at my hanut for a few things and to get change for a large bill. I forgot the word for popcorn kernel (tarofin) so spent a good 10 minutes trying to describe to the men in the hanut what I was looking for. No, I don’t want pasta. But…the word that I’m trying to think of sounds somewhat similar to the word for bell pepper (tiflflt). Okay, so maybe it doesn’t in retrospect, haha. God bless their parents for their patience. And sense of humor because, in the end, all parties that were involved mutually agreed that it’d be best for me to make my way to souk and return later, after I remember.

Next, I stopped at my spice man for pepper and garlic. In an effort to learn a couple more Tash/Arabic words, I tried asking him the names for clove and bulb. I spent another 10 minutes trying to explain the difference, using both Tash and English, haha. I even got other shoppers involved with them trying to understand and explain back to me. In the end, I didn’t learn whether there are Tash/Arabic equivalents for the English clove and bulb. However, I did manage to make a few more people laugh.

I made the rest of my rounds. For some reason, I think produce costs more now. Or maybe I just got ripped off? Oh well. I still like going to souk. I also like that I can more quickly convert ryals to dirhams when vendors quote me prices in ryals.

I came home eager to recreate a savory mint/garlic/tomato pasta recipe that a fellow Essa volunteer came up with. I’ve been craving garlic-inspired food lately. Not sure why.

Anyway, so I did it – I made it! The flavors aren’t dead on but, ohhh, the dish is still SO good. A burst of flavor explodes in your mouth with each bite. To the point where I had to stop mid-meal to blog about. Mm…mm…mmmm!

That, my friends, is my foodgasm.

donkeys + dinosaurs

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on January 30, 2011

After reading ONE sentence on dinosaurs, I heard a donkey yell. For a good few seconds, I actually thought I was hearing a dinosaur yell. No joke.

Chinese New Year is quickly approaching. That means massive cleaning efforts in my house. I cleaned my shower and toilet rooms today. One of the few good things about leaky walls and a courtyard that exposes the interior of my house is that I often find myself sweeping and squeegeeing already. Now if I can get my books and personal things in order, my house should be in decent shape come New Year’s Eve.

I enjoyed popcorn while stargazing on my roof tonight. Still so cool.

on relationships: the life-time, roman

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on January 29, 2011

TEDTalk: Neil Pasricha: The 3 A’s of Awesome +

Note on my laptop this morning: “I know you’re about to get on Facebook, but only for 15 mins because you told me to tell you to read. I do this because you are the love of my life & I want you in my life until I’m 1 million years old; or as you nurses put it : 1 million y/o” – TK

– Karen K.

Karen’s my friend from high school, who I ran cross-country and track with, shared lockers with, and who, after high school, joined the army and (if my memory serves me correctly) served in Germany, which is where she met her husband Travis, while I went on the 4-year college track. We lost touch for a few years but, thanks to Facebook, we reconnected and have since maintained our friendship virtually. (Phew! Those were a couple run-on sentences, no?)

I’ve yet to meet Karen’s husband – hopefully one day! – but he’s definitely earned his share of cool points from me simply from the updates Karen’s posted about him.


Relationships. The lifetime, romantic kind.

I’ve been meaning to write about this topic for a few days. No particular reason. Except maybe for the fact that a relationship of the lifetime romantic kind is not something I’m actively, or inactively (as it seems), pursuing while in PC.

Mashi muskil. That’s what I envisioned PC service to be: a personal journey.

I do, however, want to recognize the standup guys and solid relationships that my female friends in the US have and are in. (Fellas, I’m sure you have great girlfriends, too – maybe that’ll come in future post?)

Trust. Communication. Honesty. Support. Love.

Endless love.

On a semi-related, semi-separate note: Guys can use more positive role models/mentors so…Man up.

sticky rice recipe

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on January 28, 2011

Perfect start to the weekend:

Stumbling upon a Chinese/Vietnamese sticky-rice recipe similar to my mom’s whilst making a strawberry-banana smoothie, prepping a new batch of peanut butter, and recreating last night’s dinner recipe.

Hooray for uncovering flavors of home and with fresh local ingredients!

globetrotters, mind-freers

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on January 27, 2011

I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be.

– Martin Luther King, Jr., on his Interrelated structure of reality

The problem with the world is that we draw the circle of our family too small.

– Mother Teresa

I need you in order to be me and you need me in order to be you.

– Nelson Mandela, on “ubunto” work

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

– Rumi

Globetrotters and globetrotting.

Specifically in relation to my life and the people in it. (Is it just me or do my posts inevitably conclude with me bringing things back to the people in my life? Anyway…)

My family and friends…most are not afraid – correction: they don’t let fear get in the way of them traveling to uncomfortable parts of the world. (Or maybe that’s just me…considering my current 2-year stint, haha). They’re willing to step out of their “element” for some time. Sure, it’s adventurous and thrilling, but there’s an element of getting in touch with humanity in that experience, no?

This is what I was thinking about yesterday.

There’s this dichotomy: those who travel outside of their “world,” or comfort zone, and those who don’t. What compels one group to do it and not the other?

I constantly think about this…”tipping point” shall we call it. Not only as it relates to travel either. Religion. Education. Political stances. I mean everyone knows someone who is on the “other side.”

TEDTalk: Elizabeth Lesser: “Take ‘the Other’ to Lunch”

Goal: To get to know one person from a group you have negatively stereotyped.

Conversation Guidelines:

–       Share some of your life experiences with me.

–       What issues deeply concern you?

–       What have you always wanted to ask someone from the “other side”?

It’s not about trying to persuade, dissuade, or argue. Simply listen.

I know there are impoverished people and places in the US. I know not everyone has the means to travel.


I also know people who prescribe to the saying, “Where there’s a will there’s a way.”

I’d like to think I’m one of them.