Monday, December 28, 2020

The Rest of 2013's been a little while, only let's say 7 years! No biggie right? I am going to explain what happened in the rest of 2013. I would love to say that I am going to catch you up on the rest of the years in-between but I am not here to make any lofty promises. 2013 was a pivotal year for me. I divorced, I moved back into the heart of Casablanca into the Maarif, unbeknownst to me at the time, just a street away from my future husband. I started a company that sustained my family for the next 7 years and I grew and matured and changed. 

My babies turned 4 in October of 2013. My heart was still so freshly broken into so many pieces that a party felt out of the question. Their paternal grandmother, "mami hajaa" they call her, made them this cake you see in the picture. It's her speciality birthday cake and it's as divine as any cake you can imagine, with moist large crumbs and homemade light and fluffy icing. I have asked her for the recipe numerous times and her response is that she is too old to write it down and I'll just have to watch her make it. I am not sure that is ever going to happen, but I'd like to think that it still can. So mami hajaa invited us over to blow out the candles. Before that I took them to our favorite Chinese restaurant in Casablanca, run by "Monsieur Phan". The girls ate in that restaurant from before they were born all the way up until they boarded a final plane away from the land of their birth and into the big adventure they are living now. His restaurant was Casa's if you know, you know secret. The best place to run into the strangest mixture of lost soul's all there for the same reason, because the Chinese food was damn good. 

Just after their birthday I set off for the first time to visit Chefchaouen. Just me and the girls. We arrived the day before Eid Kbir and it was an absolutely joyous time to be there. There were burning sheep and discarded bits all over the street. The girls ran up and down the narrow alley ways, we sang and listened to the auberge host playing acoustic guitar and singing Spanish children's lullabies for the girls. The old men in their rough mountain djellabas tapped their canes hard against the stones to scare the girls when they though they were being unruly and I simply slept, ate, cried, and dreamed of a time when I'd feel whole again. I had already become deeply entangled in a rebound relationship that caused me more pure pain and heartbreak for the better part of the year to come. 

And Finally, on Tuesday December 31st of 2013 I cleaned out my desk and drove away from my job for the very last time. I was driving into the next decade of my life dedicated to learning how to become a woman that owns and operates a business. Learning how to become an employer, a business partner, a sales maestro, and...a realist! The feeling I had leaving my job and going to work full time for myself cannot be compared to any other feeling I have ever had. It felt like freedom. It felt like hope and I was SURE that I would make it. I didn't doubt that for a single second. I pulled over on the side of the road and took this picture on my way home so that I might always remember what I it looks like to quit your job, follow your dreams, and say goodbye to a truly horrendous year. Gee, I wonder if anyone else know what that feels like? 😉

To keep this real... right after I took this picture...I arrived at my home, got in bed with a headache and chills, and got so sick I was convinced that I had swallowed glass shards. I stayed in bed all through new years eve and only got better with heavy antibiotics! I guess my body kind of crashed out on me. 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Banana Pancakes

The Saturday morning tradition of pancake making goes back to last year. It started as a nostalgic act of an American mother raising two Moroccan kids that have no idea of the childhood implication of pancakes, for theirs is a childhood of beghrir, msmen, and pain au chocolate filled breakfasts.

I choose carefully the things I introduce into their reality. Pancakes were an easy choice with all ingredients readily available here and always on hand. The goal was to have a regular weekend ritual that would culturally bind them to America and make me feel a little more like the mommy I always imagined myself to be; the kind that makes her kids pancakes on the weekend. I took the following photo precisely 9 nine months ago:

As I stood in my kitchen this morning repeating the same Saturday morning pancake ritual, I realized how far I’ve come since I took the photo.

Firstly, the girls would only sleep last night after I promised them that I would make them pancakes, this is a victory because it shows that they have, in fact come to love and rely on my pancakes.

 I imagine them at college one day, surrounded by adoring friends and acquaintances that compete for their affection and attention. These friends will obviously be in total awe of their multilingualism and cultural pluralism. Someone, at some point, will mention pancakes…and they will be able to share, to explode with nostalgia and love and a binding sense of cultural identity to their classmates because they too had a childhood filled with pancakes.

Secondly, I  have come far. When I look at the picture I posted above it reminds me of a tragic sense of longing and isolation. This is not the case any longer in my life. I have moved homes; my new kitchen gives way to a lovely terrace, an inner city bolt-hole, petite paradise. And while, now more than ever, I have a hollow sense of longing for my beloved Atlanta, and all of the people in it…this longing is not because my life is empty and sad and confusing here in Casablanca. 

The nostalgia for my home and family is pure love for them. It’s not inter mingled with the sadness of a husband that hasn’t yet come home from the previous night. It’s not confused with an intense juxtaposition of remembering my piedmont park and comparing it to a neighborhood that had nothing more to offer than dusty construction sites. I don’t have a husband anymore, thus, I am not waiting on anyone to come home and when I wake up in the morning these are not the first jarring thoughts that run through my head. I generally wake up happy and grateful to be alive another day. I wake up hopeful and in love with everything that life has thrown in my direction.  I wake up in a neighborhood full of life, beauty, markets, kids shouting and playing in the tree lined plaza, friends that live walking distance, and more coffee shops than I can find the time to frequent.

I love my life. I love my pancakes. I love my kids. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Moving on...

So…I have not written on here in months and months. I am not sure if I even still deserve this place! Is life any less brilliant since last time I wrote? Absolutely not, there is more brilliance than ever.
I wanted to wait until this was final to announce it. Now it is final. I divorced. Yes, I know again, another breakup, another upheaval, another letting go of dreams and hopes and wishes about the future. This time…with kids included. Wohoo, you know that is fun. 

The truth is this: It hurt very badly. I still sit with the pain, digest the scope of it all, cry at inopportune times.
The truth is also this: I am clearer, calmer, more sober and peaceful than I have ever been in my life. I am so very grateful to my ex. for giving me my children. These particular children could only have been born to he and I and nothing will ever make me regret or want to change that. Ours is still a grand love story, but now it has changed. As all things do, our story has changed. My story has a twist ending. Someone told me during this whole mess, “You will be ok, even if it the future doesn’t look how you imagined it”. No truer words have ever been spoken. 

I am so happy and so grateful for everything I have in my life. I lost a marriage, but I have gained so very much. New people have come into my life to help and nurture and hand hold me along on this incredibly transformative process. I believe in love more than I ever have. I am convinced that love is the most fundamental element of our existence.

So…I am still living in my beloved Morocco, not planning on going anywhere as I quite love my life here and am very grateful for everything and everyone in it. 

The girls made it into a great school that will bring them a 4th language and I could not be more proud and more excited for them. I have made major professional advancements and life is good at the moment. Even if it’s not the way I expected it to look, the view is still very nice. 

Now that I have gotten this announcement out of the way, I can start my writing here again.