I am realizing that I only have three weeks left to go here. Time has flown by, and it is difficult to believe that I will be heading back to Chicago so soon. I react to this idea with mixed feelings. On one hand, there are reasons why I cannot wait to leave: the comforts of home, seeing my family, snow, indoor heating, showers every day, being able to cook again, have a glass of wine when I want, being master of my own schedule, and privacy.
But there are so many reasons why I want to stay. There is so much left to do, and I need so much more time. To learn Arabic, to further get to know Morocco, to reach a deeper level of comfort with this city and its daily rhythm, to find my niche. To start my research. Apart from the language frustration (see previous post), I feel as though I am making inroads. I am beginning to establish myself here, and I want to keep going on this wave. I hate the idea of leaving just now that I have made contacts – what if they forget about me?
And I am sorry above all that I have to leave Morocco, just now that I am for the first time truly becoming comfortable here. Just now that, for the first time, I was actually enjoying myself with a sense of freedom.
At the same time, I am also beginning to realize how much more time I need for preparations before I can actually start the research. I may have gotten research approval at the hospital, which was hurdle number one to get over, but I clearly need further language study – both French and Arabic – before I can comfortably interview people. Sure, I could devise a list of questions right now, but it will take a while before I can actually understand how people answer my questions, and before I can improvise follow-up inquiries on the basis of what they say. Then there is IRB approval, money, the standardized diagnostic interview protocols that I need to obtain. I even need better recording equipment – mine apparently only records up to two hours of material – not convenient if you want to do a full day of interviews.
In other words: there are good reasons to go home. I’ll consider it not as a step back, but a necessary new stage of research preparation. How about that?
I will be sorry to leave this blog, though. It’s been my lifeline these past few months.