In a BlaBlaCar: en route to Marseilles 

I cannot believe how quickly these past two months have gone by. It’s incredible how content I’ve been; I feel like it’s flown by, as if I’ve just arrived. But now I’m preparing to head back to Morocco, and I’m still a mixture of both super excited and super anxious.

Livable even when you're having a week-long dental emergency, where you once slept on the office desk, just to stay close to the icepacks...

Livable even when you’re having a week-long dental emergency, where you once slept on the office desk, just to stay close to the icepacks…

On one hand, it’s so comfortable here. It’s so liveable and easy, and aside from being a little bit expensive, there are very few challenges. The work is really fun, the people are fantastic, and the area is beautiful. So I’m feeling very sad to be leaving it at this point; it’s becoming fall, which I can imagine being an absolutely stunning time of year here. And I can’t remember the last time in which I felt like this – a desire to stay. I’ve been on the move for years… I think the only move I’ve made in the last 5 years where I felt even the slightest bit sad was when I left the beautiful 1565 – that gorgeous little basement apartment at 14th and Granville in Vancouver. But even then, I was packing up and moving onto a huge and exciting trip across West Africa! So I had plenty to look forward to.

2016-09-05 12.31.03

Never been happier to see those lions!

But right now I’m just feeling on edge, like I truly just don’t want to leave the comfort of this place. Not to mention the stress of my pending pain in the ass passport situation, which has finally arrived this morning! Without it, I was just sitting in limbo – flight booked, but unable to check in without my new passport number; unwilling to book transportation to get to the airport, just in case; and just a general feeling of being stuck.

But honestly, that’s not what this step was all about. It wasn’t about getting cosy and wanting to stay.

I came here to practice my French, and while I wouldn’t say I’m perfectly fluent (not even close, to be honest), I can definitely see some improvement, which is enough to get me started when I move to Rabat. I can at least comfortably start and hold a conversation, even if I do frequently struggle to find the proper words and constructions. So unfortunately, this little detour is just about through. It’s time to get back on track.

2016-09-03 13.49.16

Found some new scissors in the office, so at least I have new hair for the move! 😉

However, I went to Morocco in part for the challenge, and challenges are certainly what I found. So I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little bit nervous about what lies ahead in the next step; there are a lot of unknowns in this new school and new city. I’ve had about all I can take of micromanagers and power trips, so I’m crossing my fingers hard that I can carry this good energy with me and that I’m going to find some more open-hearted and creative people with healthy perspectives.

2016-09-05 15.25.52

Can’t complain about that weather either!

And thankfully, I’m getting back with a couple weeks to spare before I start work, so I’m heading to the beautiful and lovely Asilah, where I’ll hang out with my friends at my favourite MIA Hostel and recalibrate.

Speaking of which, as usual, I’m anticipating another crisis of diet… what am I going to eat now? What’s acceptable, what’s not? Where do I draw the line? My body just feels so much better on a vegan diet, and I would really prefer to keep it up this time, despite how difficult (slash boring) it is in Morocco. Though I have been stockpiling curry, black beans, and red lentils… and with moving to the capital, I’m hoping that maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to find some tofu!

Anyhow, with my passport now in hand, things are coming together for this move, and I’ve got to get my head in the game! I’m preparing to leave Annecy tomorrow, taking a BlaBlaCar (an awesome car-sharing site, which I don’t think I’ve previously mentioned) to Marseille for my flight, which is early Wednesday morning. I think I’ll just spend the night in the airport though, because the airport isn’t exactly in the city, and I can neither afford to pay for the night when I don’t intend on seeing the city, nor can I be bothered to figure out the early-morning transiting that would surely be involved!

So folks, this wraps up the French portion of my adventure! See you in Morocco 🙂

In the French Alps: le deuxième workaway

Oh man, I have been dying to write this post. But I’ve been too busy enjoying myself to sit down on my computer and do it! And honestly, I tend to only write when I’m confronted with extremely challenging things that I need to deconstruct a bit. And there’s finally been none of that! But the absence is worth noting…

For example: I had this thought the other day; I was walking down the road and I thought to myself, “I’m happy today.”

And then I realized that in fact, I’m happy most days here. And I have no actual idea why; why here, why now, and not anywhere else lately. Because it’s been a while.

I haven’t truly been at peace and happy since… who knows when. Everywhere I’ve been recently, I’ve always been missing something, in transition to something else, or just not feeling satisfied with where I’ve been at. And it’s not all that different here, nothing much has changed.. yet I still feel 1000% better about everything that’s happening.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s a beautiful place with great people and a wonderful atmosphere.. but it’s certainly not the only place that I’ve found this combination! Just somehow it’s finally working. Despite the headaches (and they are plentiful) of a recently-stolen wallet and passport, I’m having a great time.

It’s a seriously gorgeous place to wander around. Click on a photo to view as a gallery!

So, what exactly am I doing?

As I had hoped, this Workaway is super straightforward; a weekly schedule with just 20 hours per week, tons of opportunity to speak French, and a really laid back atmosphere – no hovering, no nit-picking… just a trusting bunch of people who let you do your thing (my current thing being the receptionist and general common area cleaner – totally my jam).

I found this abandoned pair of glasses in the office, and obviously had to try them on. Damn, I wish I had vision problems! Move over, librarians of the world.

I found this abandoned pair of glasses in the office, and obviously had to try them on. Damn, I wish I had vision problems! Move over, librarians of the world.

I share a room with another workaway in an apartment across the street, which is still under renovation (how that doesn’t drive me nuts, I have no idea), but still gives me a nice space to practice yoga and do my own thing.

There were a lot of us at first, and we spent a lot of time hanging out as a group. It was really fun, but also exhausting for my introverted self 😉 So I’m enjoying a bit more solo-time, with a group dinner here and there, whenever someone else leaves us!

Again, click the photos for a gallery/to read the captions!

It’s a very mountainous place and a lot of people do a lot of hiking. A lot of people who aren’t me. I’m just not really a hiker. But I did do one. And it was lovely, though far too long for my taste!

So pretty much, when I’m not working, I just go to the lake and study French. I have managed to stay fairly motivated to do that, so it’s slowly coming along. At the moment I’m using a PDF of Assimil’s New French with Ease, which is fantastic for my reading comprehension; and Michel Thomas’ French audio course, which is excessively annoying at times, but largely pretty good! I’m about 75% of the way through both of those programs, and I think I’ll be quite close to finished by the time I leave, and also quite close to where I want to be in terms of language ability by then as well. It’s definitely not perfect, but it’s not bad, and I certainly think it’s passible for an aid worker!

What’s not working, on the other hand, is Assimil’s Moroccan ArabicEvery single day that I open the book, I put it back down at the end of the lesson, thinking “I understood NOTHING.” And that might have something to do with the fact that the book is actually written in French, but I doubt it. They say that learning multiple languages at once can actually be easier, since your brain is already in language-learning mode, and that learning a third language via your second can also be really successful – it challenges you to really use it! So I’m not convinced that the French is the limiting factor.

But speaking of Morocco.. I just have one month left here before I head back. I have a year-long contract lined up in September, so as long as my passport arrives before then, I’ll be moving to Rabat in the fall. It’s with a new school in a new city, so I’m really hopeful that it’s going to be the fresh start I need. I was getting nervous before I came to Annecy that I was no longer actually capable of enjoying myself anywhere! I’d been so dissatisfied in all sorts of situations and it’s really relieving to know that I’m not broken! So cross your fingers that I carry this energy with me back to Maroc!

I’m definitely looking forward to it – there are a lot of really great things about the country that I miss. But I’m really not looking forward to the harassment that is surely coming as soon as I arrive. It’s been so nice walking down the street without worrying that someone is going to follow me! And no cat-calling. I can wear whatever I want! It’s a shame that it’s not a luxury afforded throughout the world.

So, folks, after a month of contentment, this is your update. Not terribly exciting, but lots of pretty pictures! 🙂

And as a final note, I’ve finally added a Paypal donation button, so if anyone happens to find this blog helpful or interesting enough to buy a girl a drink, feel free to bouge ton souris (move your mouse!) in that direction 😉

Until next time! xo