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7/2/10 One Step Forward...

Two steps back.

Or at least it kinda feels like that.

Last night, I hung out with some RPCV friends. Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, with whom I'd shared a year or more of my service.

When we set up our plans for the evening, my friend happened to say, "Marhaba!" - one of my favorite Moroccan words.

And I felt a pang. I felt nostalgic and homesick and relieved and excited and grateful, all at once. Because I was finally talking to somebody who understands my crazy language.

When we all got together tonight, I felt a muscle unclench. Not a physical muscle, but a mental one. The tight rein I've been holding over my reflexive use of Tam and relaxed. Released. Freed.

I could drop phrases like, "Aynna trit," As you like / Whatever, or "Msh irra Rrrbi" If God wants, or even "Tnghayi taghufi l-Moghreb." I miss Morocco.

And as I used these expressions, and my friends understood them, I realized how hard I've been clenching this mental muscle.

It's like when you step into a jacuzzi and feel yourself relaxing body parts you hadn't even realized you'd been tensing. That same feeling of unexpected restfulness and ... peace.

I've been trying to act like a "regular American". Like I think in English all the time. Like I find cars and billboards and central A/C perfectly normal.

And I like to imagine that I've been pretty convincing at it.

But I do miss speaking my crazy language. I miss using those muscles in my tongue and throat. I miss hearing others speak it. I miss having people around who share my memories of crowding into a taxi, or battling miscellaneous transportation struggles, or haggling in the souq. Who understand what a blessed miracle hot running water is.

I understand now why RPCVs tend to gravitate towards each other.

Which is why now, this morning, I'm off to see them again. :)

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