Sunday, August 15, 2010

God Bless You John

It’s been a while since my last posting and the biggest news, by far, was the death of my dear friend Miek’s husband John. So unexpected, so young, so incredibly sad. I cannot imagine what she is going through. I’ve not yet been able to connect with her ‘live’ yet-hopefully we’ll be able to Skype later today. They’ve just completed their condo on the Upper Michigan lake Charlevoix and have developed a great circle of boating friends for their summers, just redecorated their home in Indianapolis (theirs is the home that both sides of the family come to gather), and just had their first grandchild. They both retired within the last 4 years. In other words, the next phase of their retirement years ahead of them to enjoy together. My heart is broken for Miek, and only wish I could have been there for the memorial service for John yesterday.

It was otherwise another travel week for me….

Great to catch up w/Jess before she and I both left on holiday (she to escape the 1st 2 weeks of Ramadan in Spain). I got to see a number of her pieces for her solo art exhibition in Fes next month. I can see a piece of Jess Stephens art in my possession in the very near future.

Then it was off to Fes to meet up w/Randy, Kristen, Dan and Dan’s friend Justin who was visiting from the US. We headed out Saturday (a week ago) to Ras El Ma, also known as Cap d’Leau-a small beach town in far NE Morocco on the Mediterranean. When we arrived, there were a total of 19 of us, and the Auberge had put us across the street in a house all together. This was a fabulous set up (incl. dragging the ponges to sleep on the rooftop), until the drain for both showers and toilets backed up on day 2. Mushkil kbir. Plumber couldn’t get it fixed, so we moved back and into 3 apartments. At least we were close together, all had kitchens and increased our ratio to 3 bathrooms/6 persons.

Poor Justin was the butt of laughter most of the week-don’t know what he expected-perhaps a zwin Med/beach vacation-but certainly on a Peace Corps budget we do things pretty simple. He was a miserable camper all week long. Don’t think I ever saw him smile. You know, maybe things don’t turn out as you expect, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go with the flow and figure out how to make the best of it.

Anyway, we soaked up the rays and swam multiple times daily in the beautiful sea. Couldn’t get enough of it. We also walked down into town-maybe 1 ½ miles-daily-to eat grilled fish for either lunch or dinner. You go and pick which fish you want them to cook up-lots of fresh calmari, shrimp and sole. Yum. You see, we’re all living far enough inland and w/o refrigerated transport, rarely get to eat good fish in our sites. I think we all made up for it this past week.

It was also a big enough group that there was always someone to do things with, and w/3 apts., space for solitary pursuits as well. We had a nice little balcony that we made good use of all week. Unfortunately the time went quickly and we all had to head home. A few headed home via Melilla-a small Spanish town (part of Spain) on the coast of Morocco. When they got there, 2 of them didn’t have all their documents and couldn’t cross the border. I almost went w/them, but glad I avoided that hassle. Six of us headed back via Fes w/an overnight in a cheap hotel with a/c, great showers, comfy beds-just the right end to the vacation.

Joy and Angie came w/me to my site, and there will be another gathering next week in Ain Leuh for Adult Camp…ahem, I mean for Train theTrainer and Artisan Workshops. I’m just catching up w/folks in town before heading back out.

Great to see Fouzia last night and be able to congratulate her on her new job, but unfortunately that means she’ll be moving to Taza. I’ve put her in touch with Steven, the PCV who lives there, who will help her find an apt. and introduce her to people in town. I will miss our walks and her friendship, but so happy for her.

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