Maroc, Je T’aime?

I haven’t had my camera out in a little while…but just yesterday found myself wandering  around my school (the Casablanca American School, or CAS) with camera in hand.  SO, I took some pictures around the school, including one of me in my classroom and another of Marc in action coaching his team of Moroccan 5th graders on the soccer field…

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Then I ventured out into the surrounding neighborhood, called Californie…

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And walking by the vacant lot in this last image, I felt as if what I was looking at was a visual representation of life here in Morocco (at least life for an ex-pat in Casablanca, that is).  A friend and colleague of mine at CAS told me in the first few months that we were here that living in Morocco is a constant attack on the senses, and now that we’ve been here for some time I know exactly what she means.  One minute you’ll be walking down the street and the sun is shining and there are beautiful colors in the sky and flowers and ocean water around you, and the next thing you know your visual palette has radically shifted to include trash, dirt, city pollution, and vacant emptiness.  Same goes for smells – at the market the nose enjoys a sweet scent of fresh orange and mandarines, but you leave and suddenly the smells are not so pleasant.  Never mind the fact that I can walk to the ocean in 15 minutes and hear the soothing sound of ocean waves, but alongside that also listen to non-stop honking and traffic and the 5-times-a-day call to prayer.  So, yes, Morocco is an attack on the senses – the eyes, the nose, the ears, let’s face it, the mind and body altogether.  So when I see this image of an empty dirt lot with the colorful burst of gorgeous purple flowers at the end of it, I’m reminded of the chaotic combination of sweet and sour that Morocco is.

Tomorrow, Marc and I will leave Casa to go to Barcelona, Marc’s city that was once foreign to me and that I now consider one of my “homes.”  We will go to rest and relax our minds and bodies and head back to the beautiful chaos that is our life in Casablanca, Morocco in a week.  Whether or not the words below are true depends on the day, the hour, the moment…but what is for sure is that our experiences in Morocco have enriched our lives as individuals and as a couple, and for that we are forever grateful.

Maroc, Je T’aime – Morocco, I Love You – Morocco, We Love You

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Recipes:

Nut Butter – I make a batch of this probably once a week.  Marc and I are a fan. 🙂  We make almond butter, but any combination of your favorite nut will work.  I’ve tried making this in my Vitamix vs. food processor, and the food processor definitely wins.  Feel free to add other flavors as you wish – sometimes I add cinnamon, honey, or maple syrup to the butter.  The nut butter is a blank canvas for you to experiment with as you wish.

Banana Bread Pancakes – I’ve been trying out different pancake recipes lately and really liked this one.  It has a strong banana flavor, really tasting like banana bread in a pancake form – delish!  When you cook the pancakes, though, it’s important to only spoon a small amount of batter into the pan and spread it out thinly for it to cook and be flippable.  If you put too much batter down (like you would for a typical American pancake), they will brown too quickly on the bottom, but not cook through on the top, making them an unflippable, gloppy mess.  So, if you give this recipe a try, be patient and follow the directions closely to ensure good results.

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