April was a month of travel filled with a diversity of experiences, first of which involved a trip with my students into the mountains of Morocco. We stayed in a village about 2 hours outside of Fes and had, well, an interesting experience there. To make a long story short, I spent one long week in not-so-pleasant living conditions leading a group of 24 Middle School students through an unorganized, chaotic debacle of a trip in the Moroccan mountains.
Here I am with some of the local people of the village – with my blonde hair, I was the subject of many photographs…
At the end of the trip, the village threw us a party to celebrate the time that we spent exploring their community…
…and celebrating continued when I returned from my “Explore Morocco” trip and then flew to New York City, and then Ohio, to surprise my sister for her baby shower. Looking back, each trip involved a party, a celebration of some sort, but the way each celebration looked was definitely different.
In rural Morocco, their celebration began with villagers greeting my group of students with demonstration of their local craft. Here women are spinning yarn from sheep’s wool and making couscous.
Then they all danced together…
…and I joined in!
The villagers were very curious and happy to have a foreigner join their community, so much so that they clothed me in their traditional dress (this is what a woman wears when she gets married) and then kept me dancing with them for a good 2 hours!
Upon return to Casa, Marc and I enjoyed another random act of celebration listening to music being played on the streets from our terrace. Yes, that is Marc in the background yelling “Show me your mojos!” (Marc’s interpretation of “Show me your moves!” which he learned during the dance party of a wedding we went to some time ago in the States…)
And on the other side of the Atlantic, I celebrated with family and friends my sister’s baby-to-be! We had food…
…showered Laura with gifts…
…and enjoyed time together, but there was no traditional dance, dress, and definitely no loud music or horn blowing, haha!
And just another cultural difference to throw in here, would you ever see this in America?
It’s not uncommon to see people traveling on top of cars, buses, taxis on a daily basis in Morocco. Marc and I have even witnessed kids jumping on and off cars as they drive by just as a means to get a free ride down the street!
We live in different ways, that’s for sure, and as a part of that we celebrate in different ways – but across cultures, across communities, are we really that different in the end? Maybe not. We can find a common purpose, at least, in taking a moment away from everyday life to enjoy, to appreciate, to celebrate one another and this journey we’re all on called life.
Recipes & Health Tips:
Carrot, Apple, & Ginger Juice & Mint, Apple, & Cucumber Juice – I have a juicer (here’s the one I have…Magimix Le Duo Juicer) and really enjoy having a juice every day. That being said, I don’t drink juice to cleanse or detoxify, I just really like juice! So these are 2 of my favorite combinations. The recipe links call for strawberries in the carrot juice, which I omit, and pear in the cucumber juice, again which I omit, but this is just based on my personal preference. The juices would be great with or without these additions.
And for more on juice, I came across this article that is helpful in explaining what a juice cleanse actually does (this is a helpful perspective, I think, in light of the recent trend in juice detoxing): What a Juice Cleanse Really Does