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.
East Coast Road Trip to Brown
6 months ago