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Notes on the Return

So it’s been a couple months. You’d think I would have already gotten over the inevitable feeling of reverse culture shock, and we’d be on with life, right? Well, apparently not.  Even after two months of being at home, with friends, and being busy, Morocco seemed to invade my brain once more.  I was shopping in TJMaxx (one of my favorite shopping haunts) and out of the blue I was reminded of my host sister, and how much she would have loved some of the shirts and bags I had found in my ventures.  The huge black leather purse with with the studs or the one with the cowboy-type fringe would have made her face light up instantly.  Or, as the latest fashions now dictate to us, the bright oranges and chains lining tank tops everywhere would have made it to the top of her summer clothes pile.  Yes, yes, it is perplexing to be almost nostalgic while looking at clothes (and I’m sure I attracted some odd looks), but they all now had a more colorful meaning thanks to my travels.

No matter where I go, as a Go Girl, I have always felt a connection to some particular part of the places I visit. Now I wouldn’t say I’m a believer in reincarnation or past lives, but I do feel like there are some universals. They connect us not as Americans to Moroccans, but as humans. We all operate similarly, though we always do seem to have a different particular way to go about things. This is what all Go Girls and travelers of all ilks hope for, right? This feeling of connection to another place or time even at the strangest of moments. That idea is extremely attractive to a budding anthropologist and traveler, and it never feels as present as when we return home. We come back to a place and a life that we had left behind or escaped from for a little while to find that sense of familiarity with the places we knew like the backs of our hands, and we find new meaning in them. So, right there in the store it dawned upon me that, yes, I may be older than my host sister and we may have grown up in vastly different communities, but we are inextricably tied together by something as seemingly ludicrous in this instance as fashion. Maybe I have my philosophical hopes set too high, but I would have thought our cultural intersections would have occurred on a more philosophical level, like political stances. Yet, as those who have been to a developing country will probably agree, it is far easier to talk about how to get the latest blouses and handbags than it is to discuss the government’s policies. Thus, as a friend of mine prepares for a semester in Nepal, I think I’ll make him a CD of an assortment of American pop and various other genres of music to take along to share, since his music library probably consists of a grand total of 10 albums. What better way to have a good guy or girl moment than to listen to some Katy Perry or Frank Sinatra?

Jessica
Jessie was born into a traveling family. After going on vacations across Europe with her family growing up, she has always had the desire to travel. So when she got the opportunity to travel to Thailand and Cambodia with the non-profit group, Teachers Across Borders, she discovered her love of studying other cultures and hasn’t been able to let it go. From her experiences in Cambodia, she became involved in the non-profit organization, Cambodia’s Children Education Fund, and has followed her interest in education to Morocco. She’s. She’s currently studying culture, Arabic, and education in Morocco, and has been fortunate to become a sister in a large family of 9 living in the Medina of Rabat. You can follow along as she discovers Moroccan family life, culture, and a little bit about herself as she reflects upon her experiences.

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