I don’t really know where to start. This is certainly a topic I have plenty of thoughts about, but I have so many, I don’t even know where to start. So I guess we’ll try from the beginning – I lived in Rabat, Morocco for two years with my husband and daughter (from age 2 months to 2 years).
Living in Morocco was a work assignment for my husband, but we tried pretty hard to get it. The assignment was to study in Morocco for two years; which allowed us plenty of time to travel (which we maximized). Morocco was a wonderful place to live and of all the places we’ve lived it’s the first one I find myself missing.
I know much of that longing feeling is in part to how carefree our life used to be; it was a dream. I would get up every morning and hang our laundry to dry in the sun while my daughter watched from her bouncer seat out on our roof top. Our days were filled with walks to the Souk (market) to pick up fresh food. Meat was bought the same day it was going to be cooked and bread was bought daily, still warm.
There were no errands by car, bills paid online, or hurry … in anything.
Looking back you always remember the positive things, thank goodness, which is the way it’s supposed to work. Because there were certainly times of frustration that errands weren’t run by car, bills couldn’t be paid online, and that no one was ever in a hurry- ever! But overall, it was for the better. So who cared if most of the time when we arrived home from a trip our Moroccan cell phones had been turned off for non-payment because the paper bill arrived the day after we left and was due 2 days after that? It just required a walk to the ATM for cash and then a walk to the cell phone office to pay the bill (in cash of course).
Morocco is a lost land in a lot of ways; a crash of contradictions – A new country declaring independence in 1956 from France, made up of tribes centuries old. Located in Africa, with the language of the Middle East and influences of the Mediterranean. Desperately trying to jump into the 21st century, whilst much of the country still doesn’t have indoor plumbing. Babies born in the cities are born in hospitals, in the country by mid-wives, and in the rural areas by elders and treated by witch doctors. With every turn traveling through Morocco you find yourself in a different world and a different time.
I’m sure there are many places where this is true, but everyone should travel back in time at some point in their life. To a place where the day to day work and lives of the people that live there are of a different time. To see how different and how similar we all are.
While Morocco as a country may still be trying to find itself the people are not. The people are confident, strong, and generous. Giving, open, and warm are the characteristics I still find myself impressed with when looking back. A common, busy interaction was most often brazen; but if you moved past that you would quickly find a complete stranger welcoming you into their home and offering you hospitality, tea, food, and gifts.
Warm and welcoming are two characteristics that will never be used while describing me, which is probably why seeing it to such an extreme in a culture, which we were lucky enough to be immersed in for a short time, was both unnerving and unforgettable. – As if I could forget it. Now back in the states I spend my days with our 2 year old embodiment of Moroccan warmth. After years of perfecting my, I’m in a hurry, no I’m not interested in casual pleasantries look while running errands, I’m being done in by my Moroccan socialized toddler who greets and engages everyone. While she may not remember any of her time in Morocco it will be with her forever now, stamped on her make-up; for the better.
Morocco – Home Sweet Home