Since coming back to the States, I feel a lot better. I had known before I left for Morocco that there would be certain luxuries that I’m accustomed to having and even take for granted that I might have to live without in a different country. Many amenities that are readily available for me in the States just weren’t available in Morocco, and I could deal with almost all of them. The one thing I’m super happy to not have in my life anymore is the daily cat-calling and sexual harassment. One of the professors at the center (a female American) said it took her a year to get used to it. I wouldn’t want to spend a whole year getting used to being sexually harassed, nor do I think that I (or anyone) should have to. So that common decency is the one luxury I found that I can’t/ don’t want to live without. I’m not saying that those kinds of things don’t happen in the U.S., because they do, and it’s a problem, and I’m not saying that all men in Morocco treat women like that; I met quite a few really awesome dude and lasting friends. It’s just not in such an overwhelming volume in the States as it is in Morocco. I’m sad that I’ve let with the knowledge that I wouldn’t ever want to spend an extended period of time in Morocco ever again. Feeling like that also makes me feel like I failed somehow. I do want to go back, but maybe only for about a week. I don’t know; I think I need more time to process these feelings.
One thing my abroad advisors talked a lot about was “reverse culture shock”. It’s when you’ve been away from your own culture for a while and then come back to it and feel, well, shocked. I haven’t really experienced any of that. I’ve been back for 18 days and since then, I’ve celebrated Christmas, seen friends and family, attended a wedding, celebrated my birthday, reconnected with my boyfriend, and started classes at my home university. The one thing that I notice all the time now is how much unnecessary trash we create. I first noticed it at the hotel I was staying at while attending a wedding. At breakfast, the hotel served food on disposable plates with disposable cutlery, and although these things are recyclable, they got thrown in the trash with everything else, and it bothered me more than usual. From there, I notice it everyday, and I’m more aware of the waste I make.
In Morocco, there was trash in the street. Here, there isn’t. That doesn’t mean there’s less trash, it just means we have a more sophisticated way of removing it from the public eye. In Morocco, you go to the market with your own reusable cloth bag and can get products that are unpackaged. Here, you can buy individually wrapped slices of cheese.