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Showing posts from March, 2014

Grieving in the Peace Corps

The shock of death shakes those both near and far.

A few days ago, a very dear friend notified me that his brother - our brother - died in his sleep. Ben Leake was just a little older than myself.

You have to understand that this is no ordinary family. When I was finishing high school, my parents' relationship took a series of really bad turns that wounded my sister and I in radical ways and which drove me out of my parents' households for a time. I had already made best friends with Daniel Leake, and I knew his family well, but I could never have expected that they would reach out to me the way that they did. For that very troubling time in my life, the Leakes took me in as if I were another member of the family. I slept in Daniel and Ben's bedroom, in the attic of the big house on Broadway. My days were filled with shenanigans dreamt up by the three of us. We ate together, went to school together, played together; we tormented our poor English teacher, Mrs. Feil, and we te…

Dr. Strangecountry, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Morocco

I wrote the following some time in the Summer of 2013 to be published in the Peace Corps literary journal, PeaceWorks. I just read the finished product, and thought I would be lazy and reproduce what I wrote there for this blog post. Enjoy!
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For one year now, I have listened to Moroccans tell me things—ridiculous things, shocking things, things that fly in from far out of left field, that make me choke on an olive or spray qhwa nusnus all over the table in astonishment. I suffer from chronic bruising about the nose and brow, the result of repeated face-palming (and periodic face-desking). Every volunteer, I imagine, is familiar with the flavors of absurdity to which I allude. A taste:
“Science has actually proven that Ramadan [denying the body both solids and liquids during daylight for one month, then, instead of sleeping at night, gorging on massive amounts of sweets, nuts, and carbs] makes you healthier.”
“Morocco is full of diversity! Not like Ame…