Monday, July 18, 2011


I am learning that no matter where you leave, how much you hated it there, how much you pined for a different life while you were there – no matter how many decisions you made and plans you executed and hours you spent working on those plans to get OUT – once you are gone…once you start doing this again in your new life…your old life seems like…magic.

The above (run on) sentence is true if and only if – you also loved that place that you were trying to leave and you knew that too. I did this with Paris first. My love of Paris is one of the most continuous romantic themes in my life. I love that city, I loved her from the first day up until my last one there. But I also suffered and eventually I made the decision to leave.

I went back to my beloved Atlanta and throughout the next 8 years made a life for myself that included a HUGE support network, pretty furnishings, a beautiful neighborhood, a great job and most of all a really tight relationship with my parents.
I also spent that 8 years trying to get back to Paris. Then – my roof fell in and all of a sudden it was then or never. So I chose then. And I came here to Morocco to be with my Youssef (again after those 8 years) and to be closer to my Paris and to inhale the culture that had enraptured me before Paris.

It has been almost three years and I will say this – I actively fight the urge to plan my way out of here. I am happy here. I go to sleep at night listening to the ocean (which yes – induces tsunami fear some nights but I can still appreciate how cool that is), on the weekend and after work we take our kids to the beach, my babies taught themselves how to imitate animals from all of the farm animals around us, the farmer that lives next door gives them organic tomatoes to eat like apples when they visit,  I have learned how to get seeds from my plants and dry herbs and will solarize my garden plot, my babies love tagines, eat WAY more sweets than they should (this really shouldn’t be on the goods list but I know it would be at the top of their good list), they also understand Arabic, English and French, we do yoga poses in our big open Moroccan living room, I am teaching them how to meditate also (Sophia loves to “OM”), Youssef has fishing poles (he went fishing twice – but still), and he started sailing lessons (ok he took one- but still again) – in short we are having a good time. I have even started figuring out the restaurants I can go to that make me feel like me again.

I have fallen in love with my life here and for so many more reasons than I have listed above. So many reasons to love it here. I feel lucky to be here. I know that no matter where I go and live and raise my children that these years that I spend here in Morocco will always for the rest of my life be magic.

Just like the magic that I miss so much about my home - Atlanta.  Somedays I pine for the options, convenience, beauty, lack of trash on the streets, green parks, pubs, gatherings formal and in, endless world cuisine choices, rules and laws that you can’t break and can’t bribe your way out of, rights to certain services that you don’t have to tip someone for doing their job. SO many more reasons I love my Atlanta as well.

All of this being said…I don’t know if I am ever going back to Atlanta to live. Every year that I stay gone the thought of going back gets harder. But I also don’t think I am here forever either, I have not accepted that. I feel about here – the way I felt about Atlanta, I love it – I know that I love it and will always always miss it, but I will leave it, and I will return to visit it, but I will make a home somewhere else. Loving somewhere is not good enough reason to stay. Like the saying goes about relationships ‘Love isn’t always enough'. I guess I subscribe to that thinking about places as well. BUT FOR NOW…two things:
  1.   I am visiting my beloved hometown in less than a week!!!!!!!! AHHHHH YEEEEAAAAHHHHHHHH so excited to take my kids to the acquarium and see family and visit the high museum and shop and eat Mexican food and pawn my kids off on family so I can go out and not just feel like me but BE ME. So So excited that I get to recharge those batteries again this year – because it is not a given every year
  2. Already looking forward to coming back “home” – I already can’t wait to see my husband in the airport and give him his kids back – as in “take these brats away from me” and try not WAIL in public about how sweet their reunion will be. . I Know that I will be happy to walk back through my front door. I know that I will be so happy to see his family again and show off how much the kids grew and how cool they are and how much English they speech now. I know that I will be excited to go back to my job and make the drive from home to work and then back again. Just pure magic.
Those feelings…are a good place to be.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How to Bargain in Morocco

This really needs to be a series not just one post! Let me just say though - I think I am getting better at this skill (not that I was ever bad at it). I offer you a list:

   1. Never show excitement over a particular piece. Even if you feel like you are going to DIE if you don't have it - POKER FACE
   2. Never show that you must purchase something then or that you intend on purchasing a large quantity
   3. never ask for the price to soon
   4. Never let the merchant wrap up the goods before the bargaining is almost finished
   5. Never accept the first price
   6. Don't be afraid to really really give the merchant shit about his prices
   7. Throw in personal details as to exactly why you can't pay his price and if you have it hard facts of his price inflation
   8. Throw in any and all Arabic words you know
   9. Never offer the price you want to pay - always go lower so you can bargain up
  10. Be prepared to leave but know that if he doesn't chase you down the street then you will not purchase it
  11. If you have the bag in your hand and your money is on the counter but he is not happy with it - then try to leave the store with it
  12. If he chases after you - give him five dirhams - usually at this point the range is between 5 and 20 so is okay to give a bit because you have probably already knocked off hundreds of dirhams from initial price
  13. Don't smile and celebrate until you are around the corner
  14. Have some mint tea to assuage the feelings of guilt and lessen your own perception that you just robbed someone as well as to calm the adrenaline rush
  15. ENJOY!!!

PS - I broke at least three of these rules today and still made out like a bandit!

Monday, July 04, 2011

Firsts and Lasts

Ok So I know I have already been over this here but upon rewatching this (yes, I periodically REWATCH a video dedicated to me...turning thirty...about me...being fabulous in my twenties) it struck me that this video spans so many cities and states and major moments - yet it is only me that knows which ones and why. Each photo, the random babies, the friends, the significance of tel and tel family member...all of it so rich for me and yet known only to me. I did not explain any of it - just put a collage of photos together. the following video the following places and moments are represented:
London, Sicily, Paris, Frankfurt, Munich, Atlanta, Chicago, Oaxaca, Mexico City, Tennessee, Edinburgh, my graduation from college, my first in-career job, the first time I saw my niece, the first time I saw Coleman, the first toddler I feel in love with (Paloma), the first pregnancy I totally participated in (Harmony). So so so many firsts and lasts, the last days I spent in America, the last apartment I lived in in Atlanta, the last time I saw Paris, the last moments I spent as a mother to my Shaka, the last moments I spent with my sisters before I got on the plane to come here...

So without further ado...