Sunday, November 28, 2010

This is the deepest secret that nobody knows....

As an annual tradition, below is a list of blessings that I am thankful for this year:

-Family & Friends
-William J. Fulbright and his idea of cultural diplomacy
-laughter. There's not enough of this around.
-dinner parties with friends
-good books
-legit dark chocolate
-open doors
-Freedoms, democracy
-sunsets, so I know that at the end of the day, all is not lost
-community with the same faith
-white and yellow daisies, on sale in the medina
-work. Hard work.
-Capoeira, Surfing, running, yoga…which have all kept me sane this year
-the Ocean. Oh man, the ocean so much. And the sea. Specifically the Mediterranean Sea
-My Spice Guy in the medina who gives me new spices to experiment with (“Catherine! Try this! It’s called ‘Hub al-Heel’, and I don’t know what to do with it.” Turns out it’s cardamom…and amazing in chocolate cake.)
-The Fulbright Family
-opportunities for reconciliation
-lazy Sundays. Sunday lunch with family
-As Aunt Diana said, “The things I’ve done! The places I’ve been! The men I’ve loved!”
-Having all 5 of my senses intact. Still working on the fashion sense, though…
-Celiac Disease, which I’m convinced will save my life someday. Sigh.
-Christmas, Easter, and the Fourth of July
-Arabic class
-Health. Legit medical care. Good health can make or break any experience.
-the AMRVT
-my concierge, who takes good care of me and his wife who makes the best sheep-liver-wrapped-in-fat kebabs
-my invaluable education, and all the people who made it possible
-music, this blessed ipod
-Adopted families (Hi Lynda! Hi Jonathan & Lynn!...I mean, does anyone else even read this blog?)
-housing. Won’t ever take this for granted again.
-American citizenship. Ditto.
-Jim & Saadia
-Jesse & Cherry, the boys of the Dar Side
-Joe Elder & Jon Pevehouse & Uncle Edris Makward
-The Batcave
-All the letters & packages & phone calls I’ve received abroad.
-The people I’ve interviewed this year who have taught me more about healing and reconciliation
-The man who taught me about humility and conflict resolution this year
-Grace. Always grace.
-The unknown road ahead

I reiterate what I said last year, I am thankful for what is, what has been, and what is to come.
Beyond any experience or accomplishment, I’m finding that I want my life to be a symphony of thankfulness, because that is where true perspective is found.

It seems like just yesterday, I was Turkey Trottin', cookin', eatin' cakes with the King's face on them, and hoot dancin' with a bunch of Brits and other Fulbrighters. Where does the time go? I mean, seriously.

20 days till I leave. Yikes! YIKES.
But I’m still trying to be very present here. I just hosted a Thanksgiving FEAST for a motley international group of friends at my apartment. On the menu:

-Green Bean Salad with almonds, pomegranates, & clementines (courteousy of Alison)
-deviled eggs
-Spinach salad with blue cheese, walnuts, bright green apples, and tiny hot pink radishes (in honor of Caitlyn)
-garlic mashed red potatoes
-baked macaroni and cheese with turkey sausage
-rolls with butter
-Chicken apricot tajine (okay, it was a moroccan-american fusion thanksgiving...but I spiced the apricots with cloves and nutmeg and cinnamon)
-spiced apple cider
-pumpkin pie with whipped cream
-maple apple pie
-chocolate brownies with chocolate ganache
-Shrub. (wine) Darury.

And all of it Gluten-free!! (except the rolls). It was sort of my goodbye, thank-you, I-love-all-of-you meal.
I made everyone go around and say, in their own languages, what they were thankful for.  It was so touching, and I just looked around at everyone laughing and talking with plates piled high with food and felt happier than ever. As I was falling asleep that night, after cleaning with Salma and Brittany until 2am, I thought to myself, "Okay, now I'm ready to leave".

And I am thankful for the opportunity to move. To be ever moving, never static, no matter where I am. 

“Here is the deepest secret nobody knows:
Here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
And the sky of the sky of a tree called life;
Which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide.
And this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart.
I carry your heart.
(I carry it in my heart.)”

-e.e. cummings

Sunday, November 21, 2010

An Outsider's Perspective

Caitlyn's friend Ian (and his friend Michael) came to visit for a few days when I was also visiting her in Tetouan. As an architecture student at UCLA, not only does he have an eye for art and amazing photography skills, in his blog he also writes wonderfully about How The Moroccan System Works from an "outsider's" persepective- beginning with being hussled into buying a carpet within his first 3 hours in the country.

I encourage you all to check it out!

Saturday, November 20, 2010