Monday, December 27, 2010

The girl who landed here...

She was quite something that lady. She had been badly wounded recently enough to still let her mind wander into it's memories. She had been operated on just three weeks before. They pulled FOUR of her teeth. As the anesthesia set in and she felt all of the muscles in her body relaxing her into oblivion, the surgeon came in the room and looked her in the eyes and said, "so you are moving to morocco?" she grinned and relaxed back into the darkness. When she had awaken her mother was staring at her and crying. She was somehow already weeping. It is so strange to wake up already crying, unaware of what has been done to you. She started to remember short little memories like little flash backs from a film. She remembered asking the nurse that walked her to recovery if she could see the teeth.

As she convalesced in her mother's bed, eating chicken soup and chocolate pudding cups, she would ask her mother repeatedly what she thought about him. Her ex husband. What she would think if they got back together, what she would think if they had a family, did she think she was in love with him. She was...but she needed her mother to tell her it was OK. She needed her mother's blessing to move forward.

Her mother told her this, "When you see him, you will know. You will either be attracted, or you won't be and you will know right away".
Her mother has a way of being right about most things that concern the love a woman is capable of feeling.

So the weeks passed and the swelling in her jaw rescinded and eventually the morning came that she had to tear her tear soaked face off of her father's shoulder. She had to walk what felt like an eternity to get in the red pick-up truck he had given her where her two sisters awaited her, watching, probably bemoaning her drama.

At the airport, she sat in the same bar she had bid farewell to her older sister in, six years earlier. When that one packed up and moved away for love and to meet her destiny. She ordered a vodka martini, devoured the olive, hating herself for never being able to wait until after  the drink to eat it so that it will have soaked up the vodka. As the hazy buzz f the vodka started to set in she and her younger sister exchanged words and promises and it somehow felt hollow. Her younger sister was trying so hard not to feel it, fighting it so hard. She only knew that when she received the desperate text from her declaring her love and admiration before boarding the plane.

She landed in Paris without incident and found her way to her hotel room on the right bank where her dear childhood friend was waiting in the cafe attached to the hotel.

They set out on two days of drinking and dining and reminiscing and catching up. Those two days came swirling to an end over a leisurely Vietnamese lunch when the girl checked her ticket and realized she had miscalculated and that her plane to Casablanca was leaving in exactly two hours. She threw the napkin down, bid farewell to her friend, grabbed her suitcase, and RAN RAN RAN to the metro, managed to catch an arriving RER to the airport and run to the gate just before check-in closed.

She had a nice seat on that flight, in the front row, first off the plane.

When she arrived in Casablanca, she knew he would be waiting. She took her time to exit into the general population because her heart was beating soo fast and she was soo scared to see him. Scared she wouldn't love him, scared she would. Either way it was nerve wracking. They had been eight years separated, five years since she had seen him.

As the crowd parted and she recognized his smiling face, her mother's words RANG IN HER HEAD and her whole body became a buzz with excitement. She was too embarrassed to really look at him before they left the airport, but once the exited through the sliding doors and they were shrouded by darkness, she gave him a once over as he fumbled for his lighter and she knew she loved him so so much. She knew it could work and that was it and they were done. She knew he loved her too, she knew she was foolish for the fear she felt before exiting to meet him. She knew she knew she knew.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Prompt: Appreciate. What's the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?

So, if it is not obvious by the title of this post, then I will go ahead and say it. In this past year, I have come to appreciate many aspects of life here in Morocco. I love everything that has to do with summer here, grillyards, the beach, the big huge expansive African skyline, the "anything is possible" attitude, the flexibility, the multilingualism, the laid back approach to life, the safety of my children from public violence and kidnapping, the cops that you can tip instead of getting ticketed...all of that is the stuff I appreciate about Morocco.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Letting Go

On letting go... I have been yearning to write something about this for quite sometime. But has felt too big and too painful. So When I saw this prompt for my reverb10 project, I could not ignore it:

Prompt: Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

So...The answer to this is not as past tense as the question asks. I am in the process of letting go...
of myself...
my former self.

You see, everyday, after leaving your home, trading in one country for another, uprooting yourself from everything you know and love in order to create that same space around you in a different place, everyday, is a process in letting go.

I loved my old life, I love the people that were in it on a daily basis. I love the places where I lived and worked and played and passed all the time in my everyday. And because I hate doing things that are  not my idea, I have really fought this process of letting go of those places and people and ideas about who I am.

What does this mean?

Does it mean that you don't love the people you love anymore?


It means that you accept that they are no longer a part of your everyday life. They are not watching and laughing your childrens' milestones, nor you theirs. They are not the ones that you call crying, angry, broken and needing to be put back together again, they are not the ones inviting you over for a warm cup of tea on a boring winter evening. They are replaced by new faces,new places. They are reluctantly accepted and constantly compared-to your old life.
Your old government, your old way of changing lanes while driving, your old holidays that you always call or text your seasons greetings on are all replaced by the equivalent version. But then it is just that, it is the equivalent, not the original. You...well I...always have a reference of what-was, therefore, what-is becomes second place, necessarily accepted. The choice between having it or not. Am I making sense?

But then time works its magic and you find yourself more able to accept the equivalent, aware of the new protocol, offended in its absence, transformed. Heavy Hearted for knowing it. Never forgetting, but accepting the letting go never the less.

My evidence, in the form of a very personal letter to a very close friend:

I had such a great evening with you! It was so brief and I wanted so much more, but I am so thankful for the time I had in your home. This is it you know? Our lives...our friendship...I realized the other day that I have, for years now, wanted more from our friendship, in the sense of like wanting to see you on a weekly basis. Since I have moved here I have somehow convinced myself that the distance between myself and my friends is somehow temporary, that our relationships are awaiting for us to be joined again physically and then I had an epiphany while driving home from work that this is it. This is the friendship. Through emails and one night steal aways  and maybe week long vacations if you and your family come to visit or me and mine come to visit you. But that it is not going to change and that the friendship actually dwells in our hearts, not in the physical space between laughing faces.
kinda sad, kinda cool.

That letter, that this-is-it moment was a turning point for me. Acceptance...horrible, passive, wise, unjust, grown up, complacent, necessary, heartbreaking acceptance.

My moment

This past year has consisted of so many moments, so many ups, so many downs. The moment that I felt most alive is very hard to single out and it really comes down to two separate moments for me. Since I can only choose one, I will describe the feeling I had when I first climbed the outside stairs and beheld the breathtaking view from my rooftop terrace. The Ocean on one side, the fields of vegetables on the other, the livestock roaming around freely beneath. In that moment I felt the distinct weight of knowing that I was alive and that I was so so incredibly lucky to be about to embark on the adventure of living on an African farm.

Let me back up...Before I left America I watched the movie out of Africa so so many times I almost memorized the entire thing. By the time I finished healing from my wisdom tooth surgery, two weeks before I moved to Morocco, my mother told me, "shut the hell up with the out of Africa lines"!

So let's just say, back to the moment, when I first climbed the outside staircase and saw the gorgeous panoramic view, the first thing that popped out of my mouth was, "I had a farm in Africa". Because I knew then that one day, I would be very far away and remembering this time in my life as a dream. This time when I lived on a farm in Africa, when my babies were babies, when my marriage was young and my hair was long again, this time in my life will be forever cherished and when I climbed onto my rooftop terrace for the first time, I knew I was home, I knew I was alive and I knew I was so so blessed.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

One word for 2010

Babies. EVEN though they were born in 2009, this year has been all about the babies.
Next year? I am thinking creative parenting and life living solutions...oh sorry, that's not one word!

2011 = Art

Because...when there is art in my life, there is everything else. When there is a lack of creativity and art in my life it is because I am bogged down by the mundane, or in this case, completly fucking submerged! SoIi am hoping that in 2011 I can return into the world of lofty thought, beautiful spaces, drawn out philosophical conversation, moving ....

I swear to god, I promise on my life, as I was typing the previous sentence, I paused exactly at moving and jotted down the following list:
bleach, oven cleaning pad, dustrag.

Oh captain, we are in trouble. I mean what the hell, really? Really. I am not kidding. Even the thought of art and all things beautiful was too indulgent to my mom brain right now and I was overtaken by obligation and responsibility to write down that list before I even finsihed this post...
I am confused...I think I need therapy...most probably some kind of ART therapy!

Monday, November 29, 2010

"This is the wurst Thanksgiving Ever"

Not really. Well yes, really the actual day of was a very bad day. A day involving mean spirited colleagues, human vomit stinkiness in Marjane, evil students, mid terms, sounding like fun? So when you take that and compare it to what I knew I was missing out on last Thursday in the US, you have a heavy hearted Carrie. But I managed to suck it up and cook a Thanksgiving dinner anyways. On Satrday. Which we can add to the list of things I like about living in Morocco, you can cook thanksgiving whenever the hell you want to.

Other things on that list: 

The immense skylines
Palm tree and mosque dotted horizons
The grill yards on the side of the road
mint tea
the multi-linguistic environment
and the fact that you can pay for near about anything which equals: "anything is possible in Al Maghrib"

Anyways, Thanksgiving! I had over some friends yesterday, Sunday, to pig out on all the homemade classics: sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, stuffing, gravy, (chicken a la marrocaine) and pumpkin pie.

It is good for the spirit to socialize and be merry like that. It reminds one that there is more to life than work, house, robot, ahhh!!!!

Also, Youssef and I finally got to go out on a date. A date that was suppossed to be for his birthday but wherein I dragged him to a way fancier place that he wanted to go to and ordered drinks and food that I then could not finish because I was having stomach issues that were leaving me well, nauseuous. Now...doesn't that sound romantic? I guess I owe him one. We are just trying to get through the winter!

No fun till winter!

So the days after Thanksgiving officially mark the most nostalgic time of the year for me. I have my pathetic xmas tree, and I think I will spend a bit of energy this year trying to get it a little less pathetic looking. Last year I had my mother and sister and niece and brother in law so the tree looked just perfect and everything felt very xmas like. This year...not so much. But there is still time to get into it.

I still have a lot of posts to get caught up on like the slaughtering of the lamb and the making of the baby beds...All in due time, all in due time.


Monday, November 15, 2010

A Photo Response

This is a photo response to this:

On a quite Saturday morning, in the Moroccan countryside...

While babies were sleeping behind closed doors...

While vegetables were rotting in the fridge...
And more vegetables were growing in the garden...
 There was a girl from Atlanta, very far from home, thinking about that simple vegetable soup recipe she read about on
 And so she started cooking...

And the aroma started to fill the house...

All the while looking at this from her kitchen window:
And then the babies woke up and the camera batteries died and all hell broke loose!

BUT the soup was excellent! The veggies I had on hand were: carrots, zucchhinni, tomatoes, fennel and green peppers. It was divine. I ended up combining it with a pot of navy beans and adding tumeric, paprika, and cumin. My husband came home and made a ground beef topper and we shredded cheddar on it.

Voila CHILI! 

Bonus shot = My olive tree:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Has it gotten any better yet?

Not really. Maybe. Kind of? Nah. It still sucks. If the girls need at least two weeks to adjust to the daycare and the move, we are obviously going to need that long as well. I am so tired that I am serisouly struggling with trying to make anything brilliant or even interesting. Our lives right now involve work work and more work. Work at the office, work in the car and work at home. And to answer your question...the home work is the hardest, the longest, the most back breakingest of them all.

BUT we did manage the follwoing moments this weekend:
a long walk along the shoreline with the girls in the stroller
a leisurley cafe beer at a beachfront restaurant
the girls beds are put together
the girls clothes are unpacked and sorted
all of our work clothes are washed and dry
I made home-made chocolate chip cookies
and roasted garlic with tomatoes and onions
and fruit salad

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The daily torture routine of two full time working parents with twin babies

Mae: Day one

So…we have started the, what feels like a marathon, daily task of getting the girls and ourselves out the door and into the city by 7am routine. 
Day one = wrinkled pants disaster day, with neither mom or dad being able to do any work due to the stress of the morning (and the uncertainty of the impending evening)
Day two = things were going a lot smoother until I fell flat on my face scraping both knees while closing the courtyard door. (so I can say day 2 actually involved blood)
Oh wait, I forgot Night one wherein Sophia woke up and puked all over me and the bed and herself!
One sweet thing about day two’s fall…Youssef took the blame for it. Even though he was not there when it happenned. He actually said, “It is all my fault you fell I am so sorry, you can totally just blame me” and for some reason it actually helped me a little to, you know, stop crying.

We will get better at this. We are sure of it. We are so sure that we actually took out meat from the freezer this morning so that it can defrost which means that we are planning on making dinner in more than one pot tonight. That is a major feat around ours lately as evenings involve (and must involve) the following:
cleaning babies, undressing babies, re-dressing babies for bed, unpacking bags, re-packing bags, more bags for lunch plus my lunch, taking my shower (“can you ask your mom and Souad to wash the girls tomorrow Youssef, I think it has been a few days since they had a bath”), ironing clothes plus don’t forget to get the clothes off the line plus is it normal to have this much to do plus is it normal to drag two babies out of the house at 6:45am and not bring them back to that house until 7pm?  

And I haven’t even mentioned the grandma’s house then work then grandma’s house then daycare then work then daycare then home portion of my day!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


This fall is finding me, as usual, quite ready to nest, totally inspired to cook bake, and really appreciating the weather. Last year I didn't appreciate the beautiful sunny Moroccan fall we have here. I thought it an unsettling dis rupture in what fall means to me. This year, I feel a little more secure about fall in general, the existence of, the continuation of, the fall baking fruits and pumpkin that show up regardless of the absence of crisp autumn days. This is my fall.

I read my thankful post from a couple of months ago and I truly remember feeling that thankful and that happy. I fell from that. And I hit the ground hard. I went from, "oh my god I am happier than I have ever been, I am so worried about it leaving me" to "I am more miserable than I have ever been and I don't even know where to start digging to get out". But you know what, during my miserable time, I never questioned it. I never worried about it leaving me or when I was going to get happy again because the miserable stuff is what I am used to. It felt normal. I just functioned. I am still trying to get back up from that fall. I am trying hard to be positive. I am afraid that fall is to blame for my positivity and I am afraid it will leave me again.

A month ago I added my mother as a contact for a new skype account that I use sometimes during the day. She and my grandmother got on and I showed off my work outfit and we gossiped and talked and I told them stories about the kids and they complained about Shaka and we laughed and were so happy to be able to see each other and share info. After we hung up my grandmother went into the kitchen to make herself lunch and she fell down. She went to the hospital and has basically been in and out of the hospital since then. She was diagnosed with  rapidly transforming into leukemia MDS a week ago. The whole world has fallen down for my mother and all of the rest of the people that love my grandmother.

The day that I called my mom and she told me that my grandmother had fallen down, I was calling to actually tell her that my daughter had fallen down. A month ago today Sophia fell down between Youssef's legs as she was practising standing and hit her head directly on the hard cement floor we have. Youssef said that when he picked her up to comfort her, her body was trembling. She is fine now, the bruise just cleared up a week ago.

Once many years ago, I was rollerblading outside of my new apartment by piedmont park. Shaka was really young then and still quite rambunctious. I used to take her rollerblading with me because that was the only way I could get her the exercise she needed at that time. We would go zooming up and down really steep hills on pavement. I wore pads for my knees but no helmet. One day shaka stopped or jumped or something and I went hurling into the ground scraping and bloodying my palms. Shaka came to me to lick my wounds and make sure I was okay from the fall. I was so angry that I actually bit her when she got close enough. I have never forgiven myself for this.  I hurt her because I was hurt and I was angry that she had caused the hurt. My mother and my grandmother moved into an assisted living home this week and I have no idea where my Shaka landed. After over 13 years of loving and caring for her, she is no longer with me. My heart falls right down into my belly every time I think about this, which is often. I just received an email titled 'shaka's relocation to Casablanca' and my heart jumped instead of falling. The email was a response to a quote request from an international pet relocator. they said 5000 dollars.

Less than a year ago, I rushed my baby, blue and listless, to an emergency room here in Casablanca. I had given her CPR and eventually just started begging her not to leave me in the moments before someone finally arrived to take us to the hospital. When we got there the doctors grabbed her from us and rushed her into the NICU and stayed in there for half an hour trying to stabilize her breathing. After that, the head doctor charged into the room where Youssef, his sister and I were standing and yelled at them in Arabic that the child was in the process of dying when we brought her in. Youssef would not tell me what the doctor said but his sister translated it for me into french. She said "en train de mourir". My legs collapsed beneath me and I fell down onto the examination table I had been leaning on.

My mother and I went for breakfast the morning of my pa's funeral. We were self healing by allowing ourselves the small luxury of bagel and lox at the Buckhead Bread Company. When we noticed we were pushing it on time, we rushed back to my Nana's home to get dressed and head to the funeral parlor. I got out of the car first and rushed inside as my mother grabbed her stuff. I heard her screaming my name seconds later and rushed out to the carport to find blood squirting from what looked like her eye. She had fallen on the way inside and cut open the thin film of skin right above the eye. We missed the funeral, but we still laugh about the experience. She greeted people at Nana's that night dressed and made-up impeccably with a huge bandage over her eye. When she came out of the extra bedroom after having spent hours in the emergency room and the crying over missing the funeral, I was stunned at her beauty and grace. I communicated this to her and she whispered to me, like she was telling me a secret and she meant it, "I function pretty damn well under the worst of conditions". I have never forgotten this and I try to embody it when things get tough.

I am wearing brown leather boots today, they keep falling down from my knees to around my ankles. I am trying not to be too bothered by that.

Sometimes things start with a fall, sometimes things end with a fall. Sometimes we just randomly fall and sometimes the thud of our bodies hitting the earth are heard and felt oceans apart from one another. Some falls we never forget and some falls we will never remember.

Monday, October 25, 2010

70 people and a Moroccan tent

Sophia and Mae turned one!!!!!! WE MADE IT!!!! So what did we do to celebrate? We threw a party, this can only be described in pictures.

The proud parents (more on the jacket later)

The tent

The cupcakes - you wouldn't believe how hard these were to find here

The above referenced 70 people - woah

The castle cake

The mayhem - we sang Happy Birthday in three different languages, as is the custom here, I love it. (doesn't it look like Youssef is grabbing that kid's nose?)

The proof in the pudding, or in this case the cupcake.

How did you celebrate your kid(s) first year birthday? My parents dropped me off at my Aunt Sherry's house and went to disney world with out me. When I was psychoing out planning this shin-dig my mother actually said to me, "I feel like I didn't really know that the first birthday was like a big deal until I had grandchildren". No further comments on that.

So the jacket...I lusted after that thing for like four months, I waited as the store closed for a summer vacation, re-opened and dsicounted the hell out of it. It is a silk beaded, pale yellow, butterfly jacket and I love it. I had envisioned wearing exactly what I did to their birthday party when I first laid eyes on that thing. Well guess what happened? MAE! (click on the photos to get the full scope of this incident)

Now there is the money shot! Welcome to parenthood.
- If I look like I have surrendered here it is because that is the second time she grabbed me/it. The photographer(thanks Stacy) was kind enough to take that picture as I was reacting to the first chocolate cupcake handprint!

Pathetic pathetic pathetic

I am changing this! I am recommiting to this; I am blogging again! There is so much brilliance in my life to share with the world and I really think this is the best way to continue to do so. So there.

For some updates:
We have moved to the country (will be eating lots of peaches)
have garden, will chronicle growth here
have a kids room to design will chronicle progress here
have an amazing kitchen will chronicle food that comes out of it here
Sophia and Mae turned one!!!! (and into to total brats!) will chornicle them here
have free roaming cows and geese right outside my door, will chronicle them here too
miss my family and community in the US desperatley, will chronicle that here
trying to navigate my way as a young thrity somethinger through marriage and twins and work and living in Africa, will chronicle that here

So what is that picture? That is the view from my rooftop terrace to the ocean. This is where I plan on spending a lot of time as soon as winter is finished. Will chronicle here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

These are the times

the best of times for me. really. ever. And I am not writing it down. I am too consumed with living it. I have a twinge of regret about this every time I remember that writing makes my heart go pitter patter. But then I usually just say, oh well, whatever.

I want to write it down because I want it known, for the record, that I am happier and more grateful for the things I have in my life than ever ever before. I am grateful for the lives I have lived that have led me right here, to this busted up faded blue upholstered office chair in my in my living room.

There is a patch of dead skin, on the big toe of my left foot. well, basically, I hate it. It is so touch and I tried to get a pedicure when I was in the states and the lady said I didn't need it razored and I said oh yes I do, I haven't had a pedi in a year, you take a razor to my feet now. Well she did and then it started to crack and now it just turns the color of whatever shoes I wear, which are usually black. Point? I even love that patch of dead skin. I love and appreciate that ugly and annoying patch of dead toe skin. Because it was a part of getting me right where I am.

A mother of two very very brightly shining stars.
A wife to a very very sincere and loving man.
A professional occupying a very very sweet gig as a director...again, at 31 years old.
A driver of a very very awesome (french) station wagon.
A renter of a very very beautiful apartment which is very very centrally located.

you see here I go again with this compulsion to rattle on about all of the suffering and disgust and angst and tear jerking madness that preceded this current phase of my life. But I won't - not tonight. Tonight I will just say...thank you universe. Thank you energy that inhabits all of the world and conspires at times to torture and at times to delight us. I am happy, so happy and so blessed and it is NOT lost on me. I am not taking any of it for granted. I am thankful and humbled by it everyday. I live in constant fear that it will be taken from me. Constant anticipation of doom. But today...just tonight actually...I am enjoying it. I am saying thank you, I am exhaling and I am going to sleep with this old french proverb floating in my head.

'earthworms bury their heads in the earth so they won't fall so deeply in love with the stars'


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

World Cup 2010

I am really really enjoying this world cup, but it is with, at times, a heavy heart. The games, the nations, the excitement, the analysis of the players and the significance of the teams...It all reminds of the last world cup. How different my world was four years ago. How not a single thing is the same. I literally, sat in a bar last night with my husband, my kids at home with a sitter, having a cold draft, watching the game on a large screen while thinking, "is there any one thing the same about me?". I contemplated this for a good five minutes and decided that the only thing the same about me sitting watching that game last night and the girl that sat in bars and watched the game 4 years ago is that she has the same eyes. It was the same eyes watching the game. Some parts of my heart are the same, but many many parts are changed forever. New people and places now occupying previously empty spaces in there.

It was the first time in MONTHS we had gone out for a drink. And it would have been so much easier for me to stay home, not to insist, put my babies to bed, extract my joy in life from them and their little angel faces and smiles and sweet soft skin. But I chose to go with him, I chose to insist on he and I being alone, however inferior we are to them, for the evening. To watch a game in a bar, to have other interests, other things to share and discuss. And we had a blast - A blast. We decided to do it again, for the final.

Also, on a side note, how cool is it this world cup is all about Africa and I live in Africa? I love it, love it, love it. The games are on a VERY convenient time schedule for one thing and I feel somehow united, somehow a part of it.

Ghosts, the ghosts of my world cup past, do haunt me. It is not lost on me. Watching Spain and Serbia and knowing the other three are out there, watching, analyzing, celebrating, maybe boohooing it a little, thinking of us all, thinking of the times and the games and the memories of us all together to argue and make fun and become excited over it is not lost on me. I am not separate from those memories. It is a little hard to digest at times. So I sit with it. And I watch.

And I know that the memories that fill my head four years from now, will be so excruciatingly different from these. The memories that fill my head four years from now will be of little bald headed babies that I carry from room to room, that run around this huge apartment in their walkers and that we put to sleep at half time. The memories will be of breastfeeding them one by one while watching the end of the game and then slipping out into the living room to analyze the game with him. There will be memories of me riding around on the back of his scooter, singing 'si yo fuera Maradona' and watching Maradona youtube videos and my husband filling me in on "the schools" of football, The Brazil School, the Argentina School. Each world cup I find new idols. Last time it was Zidane, this time it is Maradona,on the sidelines, slapping butts with his rosary wrapped around his fingers. (I know, welcome me to the world out from underneath my rock).

Such a wonderful, magical, precious time in our lives will be fondly remembered, I am sure, with a heavy heart and teary eyes at the next bar, over the next draft, in another four years (wherein Youssef swears that we will be watching in Brazil...and I smile, 50% because I believe him and 50% because I have heard it before, from different lips, concerning different places). Damn I love the world cup.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I miss the creativity of American Life

I probably need to read back through this website to remind myself a little bit of the things i don't miss. One thing I know for sure is that I miss the inherent creativity of life in America. I miss the possibilities to grow your own food and raise your own chickens and the art walks and the parties and sense of community. In Morocco tradition rules. You cannot even be creative about the food you serve and in what order it must be served at parties. The American in me is always trying to mix things up, try new recipes, inflict my sense of culinary adventure on potential visitors and party guests. But that is not how it works. That is scandalous. So when the girls have their first birthday party/announcing to the community that two new muslim babies have been born traditional things must happen. No venturing with recipes, none of my veggies and mole enchiladas served up. Will there be cake? Yes but it will be store bought to serve everyone from the finest patisserie so that people won't call us cheap or comment nasty things about us. The same food and the same procession of drinks - first juice, then mint tea, then sodas will be served in that order.

As a visitor to this country and a guest at one of these parties it is down right charming, the tradition, the magic, the wonderful cookies and the yummy dishes served, the traditional clothing and all of the people gathering for hours to chill out and eat without alcohol. But as a resident of this country and someone who attends these parties on a regular basis (though I do still love getting the invites) it feels downright suffocating (and tiring and expensive to do it right).

So we compromised (which is what an intercultural relationship is all about). We will have two separate parties. One for their birthday and that will be ours and we will invite friends and I will make whatever I want to make and we will celebrate making it through this year and the other for the community (and for their Dad so that his obligation to do this is fulfilled) and we will invite everyone and their mother (literally). Oh yeah and we will have to slaughter two sheep at the community thing. I don't have to watch. And they will be donated to charity, which I like. Poor people will eat good meals because my daughters were born.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

And then there were four

So, it has been so long since I have updated because I have not been able to access this thing. I have had so many thoughts come and go in the last two months. There is no use in me trying to recapture them. I will just...update - document where things are at now.

Sophia has two teeth. TWO! She spent all of last night nursing and chomping the air, I think she is in pain. Mae cries out loud in her sleep all the time. She only has one tooth currently, but I am sure her second is soon to follow.

They have been to the beach twice so far and the pool once. They LOVED the pool. The loved the floating around and swimming on my belly. Youssef dunked them. It was good fun.

I am finished for the summer in one week. ONE WEEK! One of the best parts of being a teacher is, I think, that you get to be a full time mom and wife for part of the year but you don't have to be committed to that all year long. I am so looking forward to that time with my family. And about family...I can't wait to go home and see the rest of my family and friends, and eat Mexican food, and scratch Shaka's white patch underneath her mouth, and kiss her furry face, and have a glass of really good wine, and sit on porches, and walk the field in south Georgia, and visit the graves with the girls. Introduce them to their heritage.

This past year and half has been so wild. So. friggin'. crazy. I will be returning home with one less appendix and two offspring. I will be returning home as a married woman, a mother and an educator. How much can change in such a small space.

I hope that I will miss my life here. I hope that i will see that it is not that bad. I hope that I will come and back and be fine with life in Casablanca for a bit longer. I am sure I will do all of that. There is a part of me that already knows I will miss this place and even long for it after a bit. Of course, half of my heart wills till be here with Youssef so there is that. But it has also become home. When I am here I only have the home that i com from to contrast it against. I am looking forward to being in that home and feeling like Casablanca is home.

I know for certain that I don't want to be here forever, but I do want to feel good about being here in the time that I am here.

~How I Feel About Paris Today~
I have been Paris longing again. It never leaves me. The desire, the fire inside of me for Paris might look like it has gone out, but it is as a flame that can be seemingly extinguished by the wind but as soon as the wind calms you see its jump back up again. Paris holds my soul. For now, forever.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


I can't believe I got access to this! It has been over a month since I have been able to post and so many many thoughts to publish. I will update soon!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Names of My Daily Life

So so many names, where do I start?

There are three Fatima's, one of them my daughter, the other her grandmother and the other a maid. There is a Sophia, my first born daughter, a Safia, my first Moroccan friend here and a Soumia my closest sister in law. Soumia has a Sara and there is another Sara that is my good friend. There are two Souad's, one of them a name I say everyday all day as she is my daughters' nanny. There are two Leenas and one Lila. There is a Riyad, who brought me here. There is a Hasnaa and a Houda and an Asmaa and a Mounia. There is another Fatima who is kind and meek that I work with. There is a Boubcar that I get copies from and a Karim that prints out pages for my lessons. There is a an Anouar that assigns me classes I don't want and a Hassan that I am constantly trying to get money from (the accountant). There are two Aicha's and one Jasmina. One Kenza and two Zinebs. There are two Ghitas (pronounced Rita). There is a Hamid and two Mustaphas and one Martin. There is a Faiza and an Issam. There is an Abdel Haq and a Nabil who were there when I married (again) There is only one Youssef, one Mae and one Sophia. I am the only Carrie I know.

This does not include all of the students, oh the students beautiful names: Ghizlane and Camelia and Khalid and Khadija and Ayoub and Alla Eddine... so many others!

The streets that I walk on and the neighborhoods I inhabit: There is Ziroui which I live on and you pronounce that Zirwowi. It intersects with Zerktouni which takes you to the Maarif and you do all of your shopping there. For the beach there is Bouznika and Tamaris and Ain Diab for ice cream. There is Ghautier, the neighborhood I work in and Souktani and Jean Juares the streets that intersect at l'embassie Italien. There is Jean Jaquesman and my favortie rue Dejla. There was a Galilee that I went to everyday but then Jill left and now Martin May lives there but I don't go to visit him. There is a Nousair which intersects with Galilee and there lies our favorite bakery. There is Moulay Youssef just up the street from that. It is lined with beautiful palm trees, looks like california and holds the American Embassy. There is the park de league Arab, one of Casablanca's only green spaces. Around the corner is Oliveri which has the best ice cream in town. I wrote the frst letter to my daughters there after I found out I was pregnant, in between teaching a class at Axa, the major insurance company who I covered with.

Now there are new names and neighborhoods. There is a Oasis in my life now, pronounced like Waziz. There is a rue de Papillion which I am so excited about because it means butterfly street. Now Brahim Roudani and blvd. Ghandi will be in my daily life as well.

So many many many names. This is a glimpse into the string of vowels and consonants that pass through my lips each day.

Monday, March 08, 2010


Ummm, total update on the lemon post!!!!!!! They are called Bergamots and they are totally a thing. I thing that is usually used to flavor earl grey tea actually!!! So excited to live in a country where BERGAMOTS are this plentifull!!!

Thanks David Lebovitz!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

These are my mornings

I wake each morning sandwiched between two little souls, their mouths puckered and gulping periodically throughout the night. I pull each one to the contour of my body and take the greatest pleasure in rubbing the lines on the perfect casing for their little hearts and veins and brains and breath. In the night if one cries and the other is just fed I whisper to Youssef , “quick pull that one over, hand me this one, shh, quite, is she moved yet, hurry before the other one wakes”. We are in it together and it feels like we are robbing a parent or something like that and have to hurry quick before someone turns around or comes in a room we shouldn’t be in.
When Youssef rises for the day, he takes one with him, whichever one I just finished feeding and he changes her diaper and I hear all kinds of going and gahhing and laughing and “oh my god Carrie you have to see what she is doing” coming from the bathroom. Then he will bring the one back and take the other or if he is ahead of the clock that morning he will put the dry one in a stroller and take the other one and then take them both out of the room. This morning he left me with both, but brought coffee to make it better.

I finally crawled my way out of the mountain of blankets and pillows on our bed and found my way to my slippers, half disappeared under the edge of the bed. My legs stiff and muscles sore from yesterday’s return to working out. I stretch and slowly make my way to the kitchen to make him breakfast. I relish in doing so, to be able to do something so little but so important for him.
Because he does so very much for me.

So many dinners and lunches. So much paper work and taking care of business, his whole life seems dedicated to working for us. So I love making him his breakfast in the morning. My favorite part of doing it is when I fold the aluminum foil over the breakfast sandwich and fold two little paper napkins onto each other and put the whole thing into a nice plastic sack that we have saved from the previous evening’s baguette. I set the precious goods on the table and he finds it and takes it with him.

Each morning as I am folding the napkins, I think about two things: One- I should really write him a little love letter on one of these napkins. And Two: I wonder if he notices the extra touch of my napkin fold, I wonder if he knows it means I love you and I think you deserve a folded napkin each morning with your egg sandwich.
After that there is usually laughter and conversation and sometimes I follow him around as he is getting ready, sometimes I am already back in bed with the brats sucking away at me again, Sometimes I say good bye a the door and then over come with emotion swing the door open and yell after to him to be careful on his motor bike, to come back safe to me, to please protect our happiness. Protect himself.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How about these lemons!

Ok, so...I have not been this excited about a new fruit/veg thing since jerusalem artichokes. There are these lemons here. I swear, I promise, that are more fragrant than any lemon I have ever tasted or smelled anywhere. They inspire me to lemon cake with lemon zest, lemon squeezed over large plump strawberries. These lemons taste and smell like perfume, literally, ummm, err but in a good way. Not in a yucky, gross, I accidentally sprayed my perfume in my mouth kind of way.

These lemons just kinda appeared on the scene about a month ago. The first time I had it the maid drew it to my attention. She came over one day with about four of them and let it drop that the markets have some special seasonal lemons out right now. First, I smelled, then smelled again then compulsively a third time. I said oh no, wowzers, it must be some kind of lemon-heaven hybrid thing, this is too good to be just a lemon, have you heard of Meyer lemons, we have those too and...sniff sniff sniff, no...I have never smelled anything quite like this before. Thus life has proceeded for the past month, I am constantly trying to find appropriate ways to cook with these bad-ass lemons. I love them, they deserve an entire post dedicated to them.

Youssef actually had the audacity to come home with a sack of waaaaaaaay inferior lemons from the Turkish chain store Bim. Needless to say he still regrets that, as we have never let him live it down! Poor thing, I think he has learned his lesson though.

So yes, that is one of the major joys of my daily life these days, the lemons and the strawberries and the fennel and the oranges, and the beets - so many good seasonal foods available in the market these days... In times like these when we are struggling financially to make ends meet every month (don't scoff, the maid is actually the nanny too which is an absolute necessity), it is a blessing to be able to eat strawberry salad and have an array of fresh fruits and vegetables that fit into our 20 dollar fruit and veg budget for each week. It is all organic, it is mostly local and it is all seasonal.

One thing I should be better about: canning!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

A tale of two Mobiles

Dear Sophia and Mae,
Your little rose budding lives are almost 4 months old at this point. Most of our days are spent, inside, rocking and singing and changing clothes and diapers. You also spend your time crying and eating and sleeping and looking and sometimes smiling. Your father and I are happy. We love you both together and separately so much. He sings Bob Marley to you and does this Moroccan drum procession thing with his voice and hands and I have gotten pretty good at doing the hand clapping accompaniment to the drum procession. We have fun with it. Sometimes we bathe you together. Generally I sleep in a little later in the mornings because I take turns feeding you two at night and he works early. So the deal is that he gets up and changes you both and plays with you so I can sleep a little longer.

Sophia, you are so friggin' intense. You scream and scream and scream all the time. You a re screaming beside me, in your swing, as I am typing this.

Mae, you are sweet and smiley and understanding and patient. You have noticed Sophia already (no wonder with her always screaming beside you) and you smile at her and at your dad and at me. You laugh out loud and your sister Sophia clicks instead of laughing, which is pretty adorable.
I have been thinking about and knowing that it is time to, you know, make an effort with myself. Well I have made progress, I get dressed everyday now and I even put on a little rouge! But I know it is time to like, stop eating a pack of cookies everyday. The thing is I have turned into a total sugar fiend! Probably because I am still breastfeeding you both.
Some days I get tired of pumping and working and feeding and going back and forth. But I keep going, I find the fuel. I do it because I love you both and wouldn't even consider doing anything less than I am now. In fact I know all the time that I can do more. For example I have tried to get better about changing your diapers. There have been days where I have forgotten to do so for like 5 hours or something crazy. Sorry. But I am getting better now about that being on my radar.
You two are full of life and personality and you can almost sit up on your own and I put you in your frenchie little sleep sacs everyday and parade you around the house. Sometimes on the weekends we go out. We sling one of you and put the other in the stroller. Because we live up 3 flights of stairs and have no elevator it is hard for me to take you out on my own during the week.
You have TWO nannies. And they both love you so much. Their names are Fatima and Souad. Fatima comes in and will put one of you on her back while she cleans. You love it, both of you. It also makes you sleep immediately. Yesterday I saw her praying with you on her back. As you know, praying involves getting down on your knees and putting your forehead to the floor. You just stayed right on sleep through the whole thing.

For Xmas your aunt Chelsea bought you a mobile. In my excitement I threw away the box and put it together and got it on the crib...only to find out the motor was broken. Because we had no box we decided to try our luck with taking it back. But then we ran into your aunt Soumia on the street on the way to take it back and because she is much better at things like that done, your father asked her to take it back. I didn't think it was a good idea but the whole exchange happened so quickly that the mobile was ushered off before I could even say no. Enter Soumia' s kids, your cousins, Sara and Ryan stage left. They found the mobile in the car and proceeded to fight over it and broke it into two pieces.
Your father and I could not let her pay for it because of everything they have done for us, so we kindly just took it back and your father then dismantled the mobile into, and I am not exaggerating here, about 100 little pieces. Everyday I would look at it all strewn about his work station and get angry all over again and miss my sister and feel bad for my children for not having a mobile and then berate your father for giving the mobile that MY sister bought to HIS sister in the first place. This went on for an entire month.
And then I came home from work all unsuspecting on a Monday night (last night- Feb the 2nd, remember you got the mobile on December 25th) and there is a beautiful new mobile hanging over the crib for your entertainment purposes. How wonderful. How lovely. Finally...a Mobile. You done good Dad.