Category Archives: Morocco

Oh the places you’ll go

If you don’t love Dr Seuss, you’d probably best leave now. Not that this post has anything to do with Dr Seuss, but it’s just we’ve got fundamental differences in world-view and you’ll probably hate me.

I looked down my list of categories while trying to think of something to blog about this evening, and realised how long it has been since I’ve used my Morocco category. Which isn’t really surprising, as social media chose to remind me the other day that it’s 5 years since I’ve been there. And 6 since I lived there, and started this blog.

I don’t exactly crave to go back, because holidays aren’t the same as living in a place, and going back is something I’m not very good at. I don’t exactly know what it is in my psyche, but something really blocks me from places that are in my past. I rarely talk to anyone from school, haven’t been back to Fes, and haven’t been back to Granada – despite the fact I absolutely loved them both, and they’d both make amazing holiday destinations.

Maybe part of it is knowing that there are so many places left to explore. Why visit somewhere you’ve already seen? Even on this tiny island, there are so many places I haven’t been to, and the wider world? It’s endless.

My bucket list of places to visit, right now, would probably be

  • Japan – a colleague of mine went to Japan earlier this year, and it just sounds fascinating and awesome. I loved all of the colours in the souks of Morocco, and I feel like walking around the cities in Japan would be similar.
  • China – my best friend lived in China for a year, and I think my ultimate dream would be to visit China with her
  • Northern Ireland – I visited Ireland for the first time this year, and it blew me away (as all of the British Isles always do). We didn’t go near Northern Ireland though, and again, I have a close friend who would be an excellent tour guide.
  • Iceland – It looks gorgeous.
  • Chile – we  recently discovered a replica of some Chilean protest art at work, and it’s just so fascinating. Despite studying Latin American studies to degree level, I have to confess I’ve never really been interested in visiting until now, but if I could, I’d go for Chile.
  • India – my parents met in India, so there’s a certain romance about it for me. Aside from that, it’s a pinnacle of colonialism, which I find completely incomprehensible and so naturally want to explore (possibly explaining colonialism if we’re honest).
  • Egypt – a few years ago, while I was in Morocco, I would have chosen to visit Syria. Then, while I was in Morocco, the Arab Spring began, and the destruction which has followed, payrolled by a range of faceless entities without the most basic aspects of humanity, shakes me to my absolute core. I am enthralled by the entire Arabic-speaking world, from the cultural melting-pot of the Maghrib through to the Gulf and the Levant, and there is so much I wish I could see. Egypt feels like a good start, but definitely not an end.

I’m sure one day I’ll make it round these places.

For now, my next holiday is planned for Newcastle. Or maybe Hull.

Past me

As I have mentioned a few times recently (I say recently, I haven’t blogged in over a month. I’m so bad at this)…anyway, as I’ve mentioned recently, I’m doing a bit of a blog overhaul, having shifted over to WordPress, and that has meant going back to all of my old posts and re-reading them in order to recategorise them.

All I can say, in reaction to my past self is wow. You were a cow.

Though I’ve really enjoyed my time-capsule experience; it’s part of the reason I began blogging anyway, to preserve my personal story of my time abroad, I’m amazed at how I sometimes felt. It really shows the rose-tinted glasses effect – I have nothing but positive memories of my time in Morocco, but my past posts have really shown that wasn’t the case, from relationship problems (both with the Boy and with my peers) to struggles with the culture.

So I’m deeply grateful to past me for keeping this blog, and giving me an insight into my own life. However, I feel like now is the time to point out that for all the trials and tribulations of living in Morocco, I had an amazing time and made some amazing friends. I wouldn’t change my experience for the world.

This will only be a short post, from my new phone. Last week my laptop charger broke and so I’ve not kept up. I’m now back in hectic England trying to get things sorted. My year in Fes is over but my blog is not. I hope you will keep reading! I’ll try to keep posting.

Defying Gravity

Do you ever have one of those days where you spend too much time around people who don’t quite know you well enough to realise you’re going insane?

I had that day yesterday. I spent the whole day being smiley and nice and wonderful and helpful, and inside the sane part of me just kept getting more and more detached until off it floated to enjoy itself somewhere less weird. And I was left as just little old completely nuts me. I’ve mentioned this phenomenon before, the Sally-Mood, but it took off in earnest yesterday. I’m only lucky that the Boyfriend is who he is, because if he wasn’t he wouldn’t be.

Did you follow that?

Good. Basically I did a pretty good impression of someone who needs committing. Finally back down came my sanity, gave me a slap across the face and told me to grow up, which is what I’ve done. I can’t help thinking though, how nice it would be, next time, to fly off with my sanity and to leave my body to crazy itself to death, without me inside crazying away too.

But ah well. Can’t have everything.

Ring a ding ding

People who know me will know that I love rings. Jewelry generally is not my thing, and I actually wear the same 6 pieces of jewelry every single day. What is noticeable about that is that 4 of the 6 are rings. 1 toe and 3 fingers. I never had the guts to get my ears pierced, and so instead of getting into pretty earrings like most girls my age, I spent hours digging through my Nan’s and my Mum’s jewelry boxes finding all their pretty rings. At one point I wore enough to have one per finger, but I have managed to cut down.So, back to the point, I went to Casablanca yesterday. Avid readers will know that my adventures to Casa normally end badly (or begin badly and just continue that way). Thankfully yesterday I was going to meet a friend from work who’d said she’d show me around. I had a lovely day, saw a lot of the city, and to boot, bought a lovely ring, to replace my old one.

 

Pick and Mix

I’d say my lack of ability to keep this blog up now that I don’t have the glaring monotony of Fes at my window (which I miss, but let’s not pretend it’s exciting there) is a good indicator of things to come. I feel bad in a way, but then I think the same 10 people have read this all year, and I’ll be living with half of them next year, so it probably won’t be so relevant. Anyway, here’s what you’ve missed.

United Colours of Bennettonn. I know it has doubles somewhere. Not quite sure where. Anyway, they are doing it all wrong here in Rabat. They’ve got a lovely window display of mannequins wearing nothing but beige. And I know that if you mix up all the colours you get white according to science and brown according to everyone else, but that does not mean that you can call your shop ‘united colours’ and just have beige. It’s a poor show.

I am working on the new British Council Morocco website. It’s pretty good actually, learning about all the stuff they do and how they do it and all this stuff. And then to get to play with a web editor and put it all together is good times as well. Go ahead and visit it sometime in the next few days and check it out. And if it seems a little incomplete check back a few days afterwards because it probably means that mine hasn’t gone live yet. I’m still waiting for approval and permissions, because in real-life you have to do as you’re told (mostly).

Portico Quartet. Classy act if you ask me. I had the fun job of meeting them and looking after them last night when they played at the Jazz Au Chellah festival. It was good fun, because they not only play good music, but they’re nice guys as well. Everyone who came really enjoyed it and they got a good reception from the Moroccan crowd. I do suggest you check them out, because even though they are ‘jazz’ prepare to be surprised. Whatever you think it will be, I guarantee you, it’s not that. But it’s still good. Basically, check them out.

Old Man Time

Time is a funny old thing. No matter what science says, time does not keep to a regular pace. Some things feel like they take no time. Others, take forever. Things which have a set period of time allocated to them end up lasting too long. And others don’t last long enough.

I think the key is to use the time you’ve got well. To try and always be moving forwards, but always be happy. Every day is a new day to learn something new, or take on a new challenge, but every day is a part of your life and life is a long old thing for most of us. Some people say ‘Live each day as if it’s your last’, but if you do that, you spend so much time doing things that you miss out on time to yourself.

Time to yourself is my favourite variety of time. It’s a time to do whatever you want to, to be relaxed, with a smile on your face. Some people spend hours watching TV, or walking, or reading, or sleeping. And other people insist it’s a waste. But you can’t ever waste time, you can just use it in a way that is good for you, or in one that is bad for you.

Working 9 to 5

I am not making any money from my internship, so the song stops there.What I am doing, is having new experiences and meeting people. This week has been full of that, meeting top Moroccan academics, and people in the world of international development, as well as an English scholar from Edinburgh (who I interviewed, get me) who is an expert in one of the fields of Middle Eastern Studies which interests me the most, Muslin-Christian relations.

Also I’ve done lots of typing.

So, I’ll continue this when my hands recover.

Derring-Do

Today I was eating my breakfast and new Rabat Auntie said she was going to the shops, so I asked if I could go (because I like getting out of the house and being a little active) and she said yes. I was about to go and change my shoes from flip-flops, and put something over my shoulders when she was all “get moving“.So I went out in a spaghetti strap top!

Nothing covering me up or anything. I felt so daring and exciting. It was probably quite sad. So as we were wandering round the shop I started realising supermarket things I’ll miss about Morocco when I leave.

1) Moufid Jiby chocolate milk. It costs 3Dhs, and I had it every day in Fes.
2) Pickled lemon. It’s just the best thing ever. I know I can get it in England, but it just won’t be as good.
3) Huge arrays of biscuits. I don’t ever buy them, but I don’t understand why shops in England don’t stock more biscuits. Morocco loves its biscuits.
4) Turkey substitutes for pork. I do miss pork, but the idea that I won’t be able to get ‘Ham-that’s-not-ham-that’s-actually-turkey-but-dyed-bright-pink’ any more is a little sad. My sandwiches will have much less character.

It all got me thinking as well, I need to work on my souvenirs. So far I have a Kaftan, a Jelaba, two plates made in Fes, some tea-glasses, a leather bag, two Moroccan purses, a scarf, and a pair of bright yellow slippers. I still need a tea-pot, and spices at the very least. Tomorrow I’ll ask Rabat Mum about it.