Sunday, February 1, 2009

Baby steps aren't so small

The first day I arrived in my assigned town my host family also celebrated the Birthday of the youngest member of the family, who just turned one. During these last two months I have watched him go from crawling, to standing on strengthening legs, to walking across the room with careful and deliberate steps.

I am continually amazed at how quickly children develop, and how they seem to know what they need to accomplish to make it to the next stage in life. I watched little Ayman work hard at his task, putting so much effort into getting himself up on two legs. When he would inevitably fall, at times with a cringe-worthy “thud”, tears would follow, but so would another attempt. Even if failure hurts, it does not mean giving up. We seem to be programmed to know that we must take the risk of those first unsteady steps in order to grow and experience life fully.

Well, my two-month stay with my Moroccan host family has come to an end. During this time, I two have grown and changed. I started out relying heavily on those whose care I was under to carry me through conversations and situations I was not yet able to handle linguistically on my own. I was guided and encouraged by those I could trust to build my language and understanding of the culture. I formed new bonds, made new contacts and friends. I also had a number of falls, painful failures, misunderstandings, and miscommunications. I had times where I wanted to give up as those I was speaking to gave me confused and frustrated expressions, but I plodded along anyway. Little by little, I’ve been able to navigate more situations by myself. My new world is opening up to me more as I am beginning to hear and understand more each day.

My boxes and bags are packed and ready to move into my new home for the next two years. I’m excited by the freedom I will gain, the control I will have over my life once again. It is also a little sad to no longer be such a part of a family, but I know we won’t be too far from each other. There are no real “goodbyes” to be said yet. I have the affection for this family as the child does for those who helped her go from crawling to walking.

I’m taking my first unsteady steps to my next challenge.


Claire Berman said...

Lisa, I know that you, too, will always get up again if you fall. You're a very strong person! Congrats on moving into your new home - can't wait to see pictures!! much love to you,

Janis said...

Good luck! I wanted to let you know that for some reason I dreamed about you and Morocco in that unspecific way of dreams. Thank you for providing such an insight into another culture.

Loda said...

Lisa, your latest entry is really poetic! It really makes you think about a lot in life, just like you're going through a big milestone and about to start a new life, so am I and it made me think about that, too! Wow, you're good! Good luck and I know you'll be glad to finally have a place to call a home of your own! Also, I love the new picture at the top of your blog- schway!

Loda said...

On "Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern" they went to Morocco today!! It was cool, they showed those cooking pots like I've seen in your pictures and he called the market a souk! just like you say- awesome! They ate a lot of sheep parts too, but he wouldn't eat the brain. Not everyone is as brave as you are, Lis!

Lisa said...

Claire- Pictures to come soon!

Janis- I wonder what the dream could mean? We all have instances like that.

Loda-Yes, what I'm going through right now could be applied in a lot of different circumstances. We all go through periods of growth and change in our lives.
And thanks for sharing about the Andrew Zimmern thing, I'll have to see if I can find it to watch it somewhere. I'm very disappointed that he didn't go for the sheep's brains though.

Colin said...

Wow! You are braver than I, for sure. Just checked in for the first time since you left (was sorry to miss your last show) -girl, have YOU done some living! Amazing! Still keep a link up for you on my very best wishes to you, and my prayers as well.