punk’d by Rachid L

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on November 30, 2011

What a – good! – morning.

It’s not even noon yet and I’ve already had so many laughs.

Rachid L, the former Health Program Assistant/current Regional Manager of Tata/Tiznit/Agadir (any others?), totally punk’d me this morning.

Here’s how my conversation went with him, in brief:

Rachid: Hey Diana, it’s Rachid. I don’t hear from you much anymore [note: I have a different regional manager] so I’m just calling to say hi.

Me: Hey Rachid! You should’ve just picked Essaouira!

Laugh, laugh, laugh

Rachid: The reason I’m calling is because there’s this inappropriate picture of you circulating around the office.

Me: WHAT?!?! (and then in my head, “WTF?!?! Even worse, a dirty prank on me?!? Someone’s going to hear from me [insert every expletive in my vocabulary])

Rachid, chuckling: I’m just kidding Diana.

Me: Whew! Because there was actually a prank that was played on me a few months ago. Someone created an email address claiming to be me and emailed all the PCVs in country saying that I had asked staff to restructure PC/Morocco not according to the regional model but according to Harry Potter Houses. Since I was on vacation with minimal internet, I immediately sent an email to a few staff – perhaps you were on it? – notifying that I had neither emailed staff about restructuring to a Harry Potter format nor abused the PCV distribution list by emailing all the PCVs in country.

At this point, Rachid is laughing hysterically. I would be too. Actually, I did. Hahaa.

Rachid, composing himself: No, Diana, I’m just kidding. Actually, I’m calling because…[insert the start of work-related conversation].

Ahh…a good breakfast and many laughs. What a wonderful way to start off the morning.

Holiday music – yes including ‘N SYNC’s “Home for Christmas” album – is loaded on my playlist. I am ready to go.

My two cents for today?

Eat a lot, albeit slowly, and laugh a lot, as much frequently.

Life is fabulous. I hope yours is too.

chief of gendarmes in Smimou

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on November 29, 2011

The genderame chief in Smimou is one of the local officials who I notify when I travel and encounter problems (thankfully, not much of the latter).

He’s the one who came to check on me last year before and after the anniversary of 9/11. In the beginning, he’s the one who would constantly remind me – or have one of his subordinates do so – about travel notifications. Over time, I’ve gotten used to notifying the gendarmes whenever I leave and return to my site. In fact, he makes it easy for me – I send him a text message directly instead of texting a (random) gendarme. I text him my itinerary in English and he has one of this subordinates translate for him.

He and I don’t share a common language. I speak Tashleheit and English, some Spanish and Chinese. He speaks Arabic and French. Whenever we have to communicate, he grabs a subordinate gendarme or a random guy (who’s often startled) off the street to translate just to make sure the message is delivered and clear.

He’s all about business with me (lHamdullah) and I appreciate that.  For the most part, I try to keep out of his way when I don’t need anything specific. I’ll greet him on the street in Smimou or souk in Imi nTlit when I see him around Sometimes he even gives me a ride to the Smimou souk area from the gendarme office. Granted, it’s not very far – really, like a three-minute walk – but I definitely appreciate the gesture. It’s pretty awesome to roll up to a vegetable stand and step out from the chief gendarme’s car. Everyone knows I’m looked out for.

Oh, he also gives me very hearty pats on the shoulder. It’s like I’m one of the fellas, haha.

Chief, this post is my shout out to you. Thank you for looking out for me.

Peace Corps HIGHs

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on November 28, 2011

In Peace Corps, I’ve experienced HIGHEST of highs (in the most natural/no external substance) and the toughest of lows.

The HIGHEST of highs are an addicting, particularly when they occur when you least expect them to. (Disclaimer: I can’t compare this feeling to the highs that are induced from external substances.)

The toughest of lows are…well, tough. (Yes, I’m opting to use the word “toughest” instead of “lowest,” mostly because – and knock on wood – I haven’t experienced a lowest of low yet.)

I want this elated feeling to last but I can tell this PC HIGHEST of highs is riding its way out. No problem. I definitely swam in and relished this HIGH.

The dust from a tough – defining – moment in service is settling. Finally.

I learned – a lot – about myself, about people, and about character.

Super thankful and, oh heck, super hopeful.

Peace Corps HIGHS…one of the best things about Peace Corps service.


knowledge vs. wisdom

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on November 27, 2011

To acquire knowledge one must study. To acquire wisdom one must observe.

– Marilyn Vos Savant

Spooky yet true.

Who knew that 2 days of travel + 2 days of eating + 2 days of traveling could be so exhausting?

Then again, I’m pretty sure I exerted more energy than I consumed during my 2 days of eating. Considering that Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays – and that I enjoyed TWO Thanksgiving dinners this year – well, that’s saying a lot about how much I moved around when I wasn’t eating.

Cheers, I’ll drink to that.

Thanksgiving postscript

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on November 26, 2011

Super happy I went out east.

Morocco is a beautiful country. There was rain. There was sun. There was mud. There were early morning wake up calls and early morning walks. There were also late morning/early afternoon walks. Oh, there was a slip on a rock and a splash in the river too.

There was much food and many laughs.

I became better friends with some people.

Good peoples.

I got to learn more about people.

Surprising…and not.

I got to learn more about myself.

Bruised but better.

I made new friends.

“God Bless All Your Parents.” Collapsed bridge. I walked with my backpacking backpack for an hour – accomplishment!

Oh, and somehow I managed to eat fewer calories than I expended. That’s odd for Thanksgiving. Haha.