We've been back in the states for about a month and a half now. But, I can't stop thinking about last summer in Morocco. Summer, when most of the expats skip town and travel to exotic destinations and my kids lose their playmates. The beaches are jam packed with locals in a flurry of pre-Ramadan playfulness. Then, when Ramadan did start, Rabat became a ghost town, at least until dusk. Our summer days choked, sputtered and stalled behind the walls of our 9 foot gate.
There wasn't much to do.
But this summer, we're in America. With a million things to do. And my kids want to do them all. All today. Yesterday would have been better. And to think, last summer they were content to make weapons out of sticks and duct tape in the yard. And they were happy. But now, we live in the land of t-shirts, trophies and tiaras. Where kids don't play with sticks anymore. And happiness can be bought. Or can it? Where it seems every kids activity has a mandatory snack, a free t-shirt, a trophy or a free coupon for a kids meal at Chick-fil-A. And worst case scenario, there's a tiara at stake. The only one I can tolerate is the free t-shirt. Unless it has an advertisement for Chick-fil-A on it.
It seems like it only took 3 seconds for the kids to transition from having very little to do in Africa to having to have everything in America. But it was probably more like 3 days. Maybe a week. I've kinda lost track of time this summer.
But in that time, whatever it actually was, a shift started to happen.
Suddenly, every drink requires ice. Lots of ice. Somehow, we survived fine without it for 2 years and our thirst was still quenched. Albeit at room temperature.
When we bought the new car we actually had to work out a schedule of who sits where to combat the constant squabbles. Gone are the days when we owned only one banged up piece of crap car that would reluctantly get us where we needed to go amid the sea of mopeds and donkeys. And we felt fortunate. Maybe we should have bought a goat instead.
Since we're back in the land of English and electronics, the kids are constantly asking to watch tv. We have a seemingly endless amounts of channels so there is always something on. And most of it is crap. I miss what a pain in the ass it was to download stuff from the internet, it made Dirty Jobs way the hell more dirty. And rewarding.
Then there's the shopping. Never in Morocco did any of the kids want to go shopping with me. I didn't want to go shopping there either. Now, they all want to come with me so they can beg me for things. I long for shopping in the Marjane where no one actually wanted anything. It was completely miserable. And a hell of a lot cheaper.
Now our fridge is stocked top to bottom, crammed full of Costco size portions. Yet, the kids will open it, stare blankly and proclaim there is nothing to eat. Which just freakin' pisses me off. Often times the fridge in Morocco was sparse. Barren even. (See above explanation on shopping.) Yet, there was always something to eat. Or maybe the sparseness just means they could see what was actually in the fridge better.
Don't even get me on kids with cell phones. My kids don't have any. Yet. Although all their friends do. So they say. Which I have argued is absolutely perfect because then they'll always have access to a phone. For free! I admit, I'd rather the kids have a phone than a tiara though.
Did they learn nothing in Morocco?
I'm starting to think we need to move to Bangladesh. Where I'm pretty sure there's no Real Housewives of Dhaka on tv. And I sure hope there's no Chick-fil-A.