Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Same Difference



Sometimes I think the differences between Morocco and America are gapping. Sometimes, when I think about things, I think they're kinda the same. Just in a different way. Because in the end, no matter what culture you grow up in, we're all just people. And life's challenges tend to be pretty similar the world over. Or are they?

I started thinking about all this on my drive home from pole dance class. I needed just a few items from the grocery store for dinner which I would pass on the way home. The thing is, I'm wearing short shorts and a workout bra because the less you wear, the more you stick to the pole. (Shhhh...that's a little trade secret.) Of course, I have a fleece on over this for my to-ing and fro-ing. Now, if I were in Morocco, there is no way I would have gone to the store dressed like this. So, the whole car ride home, I considered passing the store, going home to change, and then backtracking to the store. Before I convinced myself that was a huge waste of time. That I live in America now and I can go to the store in short shorts without being judged by anyone. Except by me, of course. Although I did go to the store, I ran through it like Joan Benoit, so I could clearly convey to other shoppers I-just-worked-out-see-my-dewey-brow-by-the-way-I'm-not-a-slut. I guess maybe I haven't gotten over some of the lingering effects of Morocco yet.

Every Thursday, we get our organic vegetables delivered from a local farm. I paid a shit load of money for the privilege of walking to my neighbors house to pick up my share of whatever they harvested that week. Whether I like swiss chard or not. Don't get me wrong, I actually love the surprise of not knowing and the challenge of how the hell I'm going to get my kids to eat kohlrabi. I really do. But the thing is, it's just crazy how difficult and expensive it is to eat what's essentially, grown right in my backyard. Unlike in Morocco, where I could go get locally grown produce at the local store for dirt cheap. Now, determining if something is organic in Morocco is much more arduous process. Most of it is, but some of it is sprayed with unregulated pesticides bought from countries who have banned them for being too harmful. That's how America gets rid of it, we export. A pretty hard and fast rule on Moroccan produce is, if it's covered with bugs, it's probably organic. Unless those are Teenage Mutant Ninja bugs.

I'm going to confess, I totally miss driving in Morocco. Sure, I've adjusted to the big luxurious slow moving lanes of traffic, stopping for school buses and pedestrians. You know, all that stuff. Well, most of the time. The good thing is, it's much safer and there are far fewer fatalities from traffic accidents here. But, the disturbing similarity is, the percentage of people riding motorcycles without a helmet. And the fact that it's for completely different reasons. In Morocco, people ride without a helmet due to the lack of availability and affordability of good safety equipment. But, American motorcyclists can just ride out the fact that overall, their odds of being a traffic accident is smaller. Even though 2/3 of all motorcycle traffic fatalities the riders weren't wearing helmets. It's like the helmet-less lottery, but your chances of winning are so much worse. But this is America, where we defend our freedom to make really stupid decisions. Freely.

For 2 the years we lived in Morocco, the house right next door to us was under construction. The noise didn't really bother me too much, but what I couldn't stand was constantly having construction workers being able to look into my house. Not only that, they knew our family routine or when my husband was out of town because they also lived in the house 24/7. Because that's the way construction works in Morocco. So, I was so excited to move back to my own house in the states where I would have privacy. Except, that's not what happened, because our house here in Colorado settled. Significantly. So much so that our windows don't shut on one side of the house. And with winter approaching, and open windows it's getting cold and drafty in here. My friend Jenny thought I was exaggerating the damage, until she visited me this past weekend and saw for herself. Yeah, Jenny can now vouch, it's pretty bad. And our insurance doesn't cover any of it. Fixing it is at least a three step process, involving lots of construction guys. Right outside my window. Where my heat is blowing all of our savings out to them.

I can't tell you the amount of times people have asked me if I feel safer being back in the states now. Are you kidding me? I will take the threat of a revolution, the small chance that I will be at the wrong cafe at the wrong time for a terrorist attack or that maybe I'll be viciously attacked by a stray Moroccan street cat carrying rabies. Because the chances of any of those things happening to me are really, really infinitesimal. But, let me see, since we've come back here in the USA, we've been threatened by a wildfire and then there's always some crazy-guy-of-the-month shooting people. Did I mention that you can carry a concealed weapon in your car here in Colorado? so, while a fender bender in Morocco only results in a slap and spit fight, at worst. Here, it can result in a Clint Eastwood western style showdown. God bless America.

But, it's all the same difference. Right?







10 comments:

Rachel Howells said...

Interesting post as usual. I like this line: But this is America, where we defend our freedom to make really stupid decisions. Freely.

Cerebrations.biz said...

It IS amazing how those little differences add up- including the fact that the crazies here are always armed- and rarely so elsewhere...

Love the legs, by the way...

Sine said...

Yes Rachel, I'm sure that was Marie's hidden nugget in this blog post. That is pretty much what defines America. Along a similar vein, I just saw a ranking of the world's most dangerous cities, and Johannesburg, which always gets a bad rap, was number 50. At least 3 American cities were before that - Baltimore, St. Louis, New Orleans, and I think perhaps some more. And yet no one freaks out about living in any of them, whereas I still feel like having to convert every single prospective expat coming here that no, you won't get killed as soon as you set a foot in Joburg. I was thinking a lot of you lately, Marie, and how going back to the US actually does seem like a scary prospect when you've lived in peace in Africa...

The Loerzels said...

@ Rachel-My point exactly!
@ Roy-America home of giving the crazies access to guns and protecting their freedoms.
@Sine-I didn't feel unsafe in Jo-burg at all while I was there. But I was a bit squeamish about overtown when I lived in Miami.

Leah Griffith said...

First off you have great legs! LOL! Okay, what were talking about? Oh yes, feeling safe here in America. It's interesting how you have a unique perspective. You get to compare it to something else, whereas most of us Americans have nothing but rumors to compare it to. I love your humorous perspective;) Great post lady!

Hazelangel6 said...

First off, I have only been here for two and half months..It's funny, the more and more settled I get into the life here in Rabat, the more I am relaxed. Don't get me wrong, there are stressful situations here but I am not a slave to the clock here and I love having fresh fresh fresh produce right outside my back door. I will see how my first experience is visiting the states after living here, in December is. I have a feeling I am going to be in shock.

The Loerzels said...

@ Leah- Thank you!
@ Hazel-Absolutely! Embrace the inshallah-ness of it while you can. Cause in December it's gonna be a Christmas Carol....complete with Scrooge.

Samantha Bangayan said...

I could relate to so many tidbits in this post, Marie! I'm always comparing my lifestyle in Vancouver and Peru, especially since I'm moving back soon, but even then, it comes down to city differences too. In Huancayo, people rarely get shot, but in Lima, there are gun-related murders all the time. And that's just in Peru.

I'm still surprised that your house settled. I so hope you can get that fixed as soon as possible! At least you have the flexibility and patience from all the traveling! =)

Sandra said...

Well, your next move could be to Canada where we frown upon weapons, AND you could wear shorts shorter than those and nobody bats an eye...well they do, but in a "Wow, I love those shorts...oh, you're learning how to strip? That's great!" See, it's very friendly here :) Love that pic of you, jealous of your legs!

The Loerzels said...

@Samantha-We must have exported our guns to Peru. Oh, and some of our crazies too.
@Sandra-I just might move to the great white north and start my own pole dancing business called The North Pole.

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