The tickets are booked, the bags are (nearly) packed, and after Wednesday, Feb. 27 it won’t be “Me In Marrakesh” anymore.
Yep, I’ve decided to take my leave and rejoin my husband in a normal life, you know, as in living in the same house together. But it’s with a heavy heart. I’ve really loved my time in Morocco, living in an entirely new environment, becoming one of the family and all that that entails including arguments, frustrations, confidences, laughs, and everything else that goes along with being part of a large brood.
Today was especially bittersweet. I finally received my residence card, which makes me legal here in Morocco. Two days before departure. Oh the irony!
On the way to pick up my pretty pink card, my taxi driver conversed with me a bit in English and asked if I lived here.
“Yes,” I told him. “I do.” And it’s true. At that moment and at this moment I do live in Morocco.
Sometimes it’s still hard for me to believe that I traveled across the Atlantic to Africa to live with a family I hardly know and can barely speak to. But that’s just what I did more than a year ago, and I can truthfully say that I carved out some semblance of a life here.
My children made friends in the neighborhood and at school. I grabbed some girlfriends of my own, who were good for chats over avocado smoothies (a Moroccan specialty and oh, so delicious!), playdates to parks and playplaces with our kids, and shopping trips in Marrakesh’s many souks, mysterious medina and fabulous Jemaa al Fna, the most spectacular open-air market in Africa!!! I picked up a decent bit of the language, and even was told no less than twice in the last week that I speak Arabic well! My kids, of course, now speak Arabic in their sleep (literally!) and sing French songs, which is completely thrilling to me! I hope so much that they will be able to keep up with their Arabic back home. That will be mainly my husband’s department, but I will do my best to incorporate Darija (Moroccan Arabic) into the conversation as much as I can.
I guess now is the part of the blog where I talk about what I’ve learned while living here. I will indulge you, dear readers. I’ve learned that people are essentially the same, with the same emotions and feelings and fear and wants. We just go about the mechanics of expressing those things a little differently. We have different ways of doing the small things but, of course, it’s the big things that matter most and the place where we can find common ground and relate to and understand one another.
I’ve learned that there are places in the world that are a beautiful blend of old and new. Places where Mercedes and motorbikes and mules (or donkeys and horses) can share the same roadways. Places where you can travel to the large, Wal-Mart-style grocery and all-purpose store for your shopping or you can head right out your door and pick up your day’s bounty of produce and meat from the guy selling on the corner. Places where you can play with your iPad using the free Wifi while shopping for leather purses made in the same way they’ve been made for I don’t know how many years.
One of these places is Marrakesh. A place I’ve been blessed to live in and experience fully and richly, if only for a year. A place, God willing, I’ll return to often with my family to enjoy and soak up again and again.
I’ll stop now for fear of crying on my keyboard. I’m sure I’ll need my tears come Wednesday.