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ruins with sunspots

The last few mornings I have reluctantly pulled myself from a dreamy, pleasant sleep. It’s not so much the dreams that I want to hold onto, but the peaceful, satisfied feelings they leave behind.

a sign

Maybe they are my way of remembering Morocco. For almost two weeks I was blissfully free of my usual, and (fortunately) mostly mundane worries. Day followed day, each unique and memorable in its own way, allowing me to use my brain and senses in ways I rarely do at home.

0-view from above

I started keeping lists of words in the local Berber dialect, along with lists of names. When people told me their name, they often told me what it meant. Karim, the name given my son, for example, means generous.

vocab list

Two different Moroccan cooks showed me that you can make delicious food with just a bowl, one simple knife, the right ingredients, and two strong hands. No measuring cups or fancy appliances required.

couscous

Couscous

daily bread

Daily bread 

By the way, in case you are wondering, I have several photos and videos of these cooks in action, but I can’t share them here. That’s another thing I learned. Putting your image online is considered shameful for Moroccan women — it is interpreted as showing yourself in a way that is not appropriate.

Moroccans grow a lot of their own food and they even know how to farm in the desert.

Young date palms

Young date palms

Desert wheat

Desert wheat

hand-wheat close up

As we were driving over the Atlas Mountains at the beginning of our long journey home, Paul turned to me, and said, “Wherever we decide to go next, I want to have a reason for going there. There has to be something specific we want to see or do.”

I knew exactly what he meant. Travel will never be the same again. We will no longer be content to just visit a country’s museums, stroll along its streets, or loiter in its cafes without some other goal in mind. Whether our objective is to learn a new language, take a cooking class, or understand a specific event, we won’t be satisfied to simply scratch the surface.

If Morocco taught us anything, it’s that finding common ground with people from other lands and cultures, no matter how insurmountable the language barrier may seem, is worth the effort. We will carry Morocco’s people in our hearts always, just as we will forever be grateful to the one who brought us there.

Karime

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