Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Salon Marocain 2012 / Moroccan Living Room

Am I trying to up web traffic with that title? Maybe...Am I trying to up web traffic because I truly want to share this experience…definitely? 

In 2000 I lived in a small house in the West End neighborhood of Atlanta. We acquired a vintage blue green couch from a thrift store that lasted us about 5 months before I got rid of it and decided to go with a, what I thought at the time to be,  traditional Moroccan living room. Basically we outfitted the living room with red carpets and blue leather poufs. We had carpets on the floors and on the walls. I loved it. (sidenote: Why in the hell my husband, a middle class, Casablancan would allow his wife to create a poor Berber living room for them is yet to be known, all I know is that I am glad I finally moved here and can now save him from himself)

I found myself, 12 years later, thinking back to that living room as I stood with Youssef’s mother (the woman's whose picture hung on my refrigerator for years before I ever met her) on the second floor of a small shop that looks no bigger than a patio from the outside, but contains some of the most beautiful fabric I have ever seen on the inside. Imported from India, over 80 dollars per meter…I need 31 meter…you do the math.

In the spirit of presenting this journey in the most organized way possible I will present the wild ride of Moroccan living Room Acquisition to you in the following sections and they each deserve their own post:
The Wood, The Material, and The Mattresses and the Sewing.
First up: The Wood…

Before we get to that though, I will share with you a few images collected from around the interweb, just so we are all on the same page as to exactly what a Moroccan Living room is (all pictures hyperlinked to source and from a google image search):

This is one of the more traditional ones I found:

This one is a bit more of a classy one from Richbond which is a large matress company here (we will get to that). 
 This is a normal one that could be in anyone's apartment (note the size of the room is similar to ours):

A large traditional room, just imagine how many people this can sit!

The current trend to cover mediocre wood in cloth, much cheaper, can be quite stylish and a nice option for the smaller Moroccan dining room:

One of the modern ones with a little more...let's say...pizazz...(I am being sarcastic here people):

And finally...a much more realistic view of what our 2000 living room in the west end looked like (or at least what I was going for at the time except way less orderly and clean than this photo):

As far as the big unveil to our current living room...you will have to wait for it just as I myself am waiting for it. In the meantime we can have some hellova buildup here!

OH MY GOODNESS I ALMOST FORGOT!!!! Here are before pictures (as-in before we moved in) of the current room:

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Lisboa in two days

And all I have to show for it is this lousy airplane photo. 

This trip was not the European lushful romp of my youth. It was a refined, somewhat boring  business trip. One in which I was too tired to even the leave the hotel at night and for the first time in my life, didn’t push it, let it go, promised to come back instead. Told myself I would rather see it with my husband and kids anyways. This is new for me. I had to not so willingly but not so dramatically let my facial moisturizer lotion be thrown away in airport security. It was either that or check it and quite frankly I have done too many waits at the Casa airport to bother with the whole thing.
I am writing this in the time before my flight home to Casa and I find myself reflecting on myself (surprise surprise) in the paradigm of Europe, work, adulthood, youthfulness, and relative perspective.

In my youth I raged through airports, I wish I could have a montage of camera footage of every airport passing I have done in my life. We would see some of my worst (never my best) moments and it would make for much humor. I had long crazy hair, was way too skinny, but the rush from that alone made me feel high. I was a young American girl out there doing what young American girls do best. I was being special and unique and gathering stories and memories that will last me the rest of my life. In fact anytime I feel bored or mundane now I can think back to those times and be so grateful that I lived them and remember why I wouldn’t want to go back. When I see young, stylish, European lovers, couples, confused, happy, before kids and marriage and all of the weights that make us not feel that way anymore, when I see them in airports on the way to hear and there, knowing how lucky they are to be living it right now, I feel so happy for them. Not envious or angry or annoyed, but truly happy for them because it is their moment and because I know I had my moment of such, and I know that there will be more that follow them, the next set and they will one day be sitting from my perspective (I hope, for them). I set a goal for myself at that time, and it would appear for all intents and purposes I have reached that goal…kind of. 

When I left Paris to return home to the states, I said that I wanted to go home, and get a job that would allow me to live in Europe and travel home, see my family, be a proper part of society. I was not that in Paris. I was a vagabond at best! A brilliant beautiful vagabond that wrote poetry on the scene and lived about every cliché you can imagine about life in Paris for a 21 year old anorexic American. 

Anyways, at the time I knew that I loved life there and I saw the women of my age, and I knew that when I was their age I wanted to be proper also, I wanted to belong to that club, have sophisticated clothes (still not there yet!), have gorgeous little kids and a great job and a husband that slightly touches me on the back as we enter or exit cars.  I have those things. I imagined it to be in Paris and it is not. My life  is in Casablanca for the moment, but I haven’t given up hope for Europe. 

That brings me to my final point about perspective. When I only knew Europe, the convenience of America was the best and anytime I went home I marveled at the wonder of it all, anytime I went back to Europe I cursed the inconvenance of it all. Now that I live in Morocco, I am non-stop impressed with European organization and customer service. It’s quite funny really. Perspective is so relative. 

For those Americans that think America is the best and that Europe sucks in comparison, I challenge you to go and live in Africa. I realize also that I live in north Africa, in the Maghreb, which is magical and consumer oriented and WAY MORE developed than many other places on the continent and in the region. So maybe the solution is not for me to find a way to move to Europe but to go and spend some time in somewhere less developed than Morocco and then go back to Morocco! Again, perspective is so relative and I am glad for mine, all of it.

I still dream of Paris, but Lisbon is nice too.