Starting to Say Goodbye

We’re just about a month away from leaving Morocco, and the goodbyes have started. In the past week we’ve said goodbye to all our students at the Dar Chebab (youth center) and all my students at the Nedi Neswi (women’s center). We won’t have much time to work in the next couple weeks so we figured now was a good time to have our last visits to each of these places.

And because our students are awesome, they threw us a party at each place (although Matt had to console himself with some leftover cookies from my party at the women’s center, since he doesn’t go there). We definitely felt the love from all these people who we’ve worked with for the past few years, and I hope we were able to communicate to them that we’ve enjoyed it and will miss them.

At our party at the Dar Chebab we got serenaded and there were lots of short speeches from everyone who wanted to say something:

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My party at the Nedi was heavier on the dancing and the cookies, but no less meaningful for that:

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It feels both triumphant and sad knowing that we’ve completed our service in these two places, but also knowing we probably won’t see many of these people again. In the next couple weeks we’ll have to continue our goodbyes with Moroccan friends, host families, and our Peace Corps friends – wish us luck!

– Cori

Our Kitchen

In an environment where at times it feels like I’m not really in charge of what’s going on in my work and in my social life, I’ve spent a lot of time in my kitchen where I can control what I’m cooking and I can get really good at making it. The kitchen has become a kind of sanctuary for me, and at times for Matt, as well as a place where we can recreate our favorite foods from home when we’re really craving them.

Lentil burgers with fries

Lentil burgers with fries

We do get the occasional surprise when a bug crawls out of the peas we’re shelling, or we bite into a date only to find the tell-tale signs of a worm in there – we’re always glad if we can still see the whole worm (I’ll also never forget my family’s faces when they tried dried figs for the first time on their visit here and I told them to be sure they opened them first to check for worms). But this is just something that goes along with eating nice, fresh foods all the time, which I hope to continue doing in the States.

You might remember my posts on different Moroccan foods – I had a grand vision to post a lot more Moroccan recipes, until I realized that what really made me happy in the kitchen was cooking food I missed from home. Because really, no matter how happy I am with my harira recipe, I can go get a version that’s 100 times better at the soup stand down the street.

Once I get home and start missing Moroccan food, I’ll have to rely on this excellent website for my instructions, but for now I’m really proud of what Matt and I have accomplished in the kitchen despite the fact that we haven’t learned a ton of local recipes. Making pizza from scratch is second nature for us now, along with chili and cornbread, tomato soup, and macaroni and cheese. We’ve also learned how to make chicken noodle soup with fresh noodles, fry chicken, and make amazing tacos courtesy of Matt’s fantastic homemade flour tortillas.

Apple pie, homemade tortillas, and cinnamon-sugar swirls.

Apple pie, homemade tortillas, and cinnamon-sugar swirls.

I’m hoping to be able to keep this tradition of cooking good food from fresh meat and veggies alive once we get back into working real jobs. I won’t even mind if we still find the occasional bug in our food, as long as that means it’s fresh. I’ll just be glad if we can avoid a repeat of the time we found a dead cockroach in our bag of flour – yuck!

– Cori