In Peace Corps Morocco

Self-Reliance

Before I came to Morocco I relied on my wonderful parents, Tom and Sara , for so much. Even though I am 23 years old I still don’t feel comfortable about making a big decision without talking it over with them first. They are always there for me willing to give any support necessary. They know that I worry about money a lot and they always try to alleviate that stress by making it known that I will always be taken are of. Nothing about this makes me feel immature or childish, it just shows that I place so much value in my parents opinions. But when I knew my Peace Corps service was coming near I tried to stop going to them for everything, knowing that I would have to be self reliant in the Peace Corps.
During my 9 week training program I was basically a child in the way that I had to learn to talk, eat, use the restroom, and so much more all over again. My language teacher, Lahcen, during that time became my surrogate parent. With the tools Lahcen gave me to survive in a new country and the confidence instilled in me by my mom and dad, when it came time to be alone in my site I was ready.
A couple weeks after arriving I was blessed to have met a female English teacher from the local high school in my town. Her name is Aziza. In only 10 minutes after meeting me she had become my tutor, mentor, and most of all friend. She is a very modern and forward looking woman so she is absolutely perfect for me. She and her husband are both happy to help me get settled in my new apartment.
After a couple of weeks I realized that I was planning on being totally reliant on Aziza. She lives and works in my town during the week and on the weekends her husband and her go to Casablanca, an hour away from me, where their “real” home is. On school holidays she is gone for even longer. This leaves me in a difficult position. Should I sit around and wait for her help or be confident in myself? Earlier this week I woke up with a can do attitude. I had some business to take care of in finalizing my apartment, like signing the contract, installing a new lock, and installing a private electricity meter. All of these things, I was planning on doing with Aziza’s help. But I realized that if I keep telling myself that I cant do something on my own then I never will. The truth is I can do anything I put my mind to, and that has been proven to me time and time again in my first 3 months in Morocco. Never in my life has this point been more clear to me. Peace Corps service is all about taking baby steps. Believe me the first time I bought toilet paper by myself was a very proud moment. I was even more proud when I sent my first package home by myself. And I was so happy with myself after I walked away from signing the contract for my apartment on my own. You don’t realize how truly independent you can be until you are forced into it. I can’t constantly grab for my cell phone and call my mom and dad whenever I have a tiny problem. I have to work it out on my own and it is making me stronger.
Don’t take this as me becoming person who is afraid to as for help because that is far from the truth. My mom and dad and I talk very often and I want them to know everything that is going on in my life here. Just because we are far apart geographically doesn’t mean we have to be far apart emotionally. Mom my can remember the night I had to call her to ask her for “boy” advice. I will always be reliant on her for that. But what is happening now is that I am finding a balance between self-reliance and asking for help.

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