Last weekend I packed up all of Marc and I’s belongings and put them in a shipping truck – they are currently en route to our new home in Leysin, Switzerland. The end of our Moroccan experience is officially upon us as I am finishing up my school year this week and preparing to say goodbye to Casablanca in just four days from today.
And when I write that “I” packed up our belongings, I do mean “I” as Marc was not alongside me. It’s been about 4 months now that he left Casablanca to go to Paris for medical care. He is sick and has been getting progressively more so each day for a while now. And while our life together is in Casablanca, we knew that Marc needed to be in a place where he could access reliable health care. Fortunately his parents’ home in Paris is a place where he could do that. The decision for Marc to leave was difficult then and feels increasingly difficult now, especially as this move to Switzerland is approaching, but Marc has been able to access a strong medical team in Paris who have been taking his case seriously and his parents are there for the unconditional support that he needs. Because of his and their determination, we are closer and closer to an official diagnosis and so we are doing our best to have patience and courage to wait until that diagnosis and treatment plan are made.
In the meantime, as a newly single girl navigating life in Casablanca, Morocco (that’s an image I never dreamed would come to life!), I am “getting comfortable with the uncomfortable” and doing my best to embrace this concept as a central theme of my life here! Some days are more successful than others. But I did get out and about to take some pictures of the city to remember this place Marc and I called home for nearly 2 years.
These pictures were taken in the Habous, a souk market in one of the quartiers of Casablanca – and even though Casa does not have a reputation for being one of the more beautiful spots in Morocco, I think these pictures demonstrate that even in a big, dirty city like Casablanca, the light and colors of Morocco shine through in sight and in sound.
When Marc and I travel, we like to pick up on linguistics and everyday vernacular of the place we are in and then incorporate it into our own vocabulary. We hang a driftwood sign from Hawaii that says “e komo mai,” or welcome in Hawaiian, in our home. On our honeymoon in Greece we learned the word “agapimou,” which is “my love” in Greek, and we use this word to refer to each other. In Morocco, the resounding term that will stick with us long after we leave this country is “inshallah,” meaning “God willing” in Arabic. Take a look at this New York Times article to learn why “Inshallah is Good for Everyone” and why this Moroccan mentality is something that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.
So “inshallah” I am successfully packed and ready to say goodbye to this country full of passion and vibrancy, color and light, modernity and tradition. And while I am very much looking forward to moving to the mountains where the lifestyle is more suitable for me and I can feel more like myself (turns out this Ohio girl is NOT a city dweller), I know that Marc and I will likely not be snapping selfies like the one below with our apartment concierge in Switzerland. We’ll probably be lucky just to get a simple “bonjour” from the neighbor! And so I’m reminded to savor those bits and pieces of Morocco that I know I cannot pack up and take with me in my suitcase…
Like our concierge, Abdou, aka “Tom Hanks.” He enjoys calling Marc Tom Hanks and broke down in tears when I told him we were moving! It was a bit awkward, to be honest…and Marc especially is not quite sure if those tears were real or simply another Moroccan theatrical production which are frequently on display around here. Either way, he’s a genuine, good-hearted man who always greeted us with a smile and a strange story in his broken French. We will always remember him.
And having the opportunity to wine and dine with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman at Rick’s Café! This restaurant is a total tourist destination in Casa created long after the movie was made to recreate the bar from the film. Though its authenticity is questionable, the Moroccan decoration and ambiance of the restaurant is lovely – it’s a bit as if you’re in the movie yourself!
Even though morning Barre3 sessions will soon be accompanied with a pretty fantastic view of the Swiss Alps, I won’t have a view of the Hassan II mosque like this nor hear the sounds of the call to prayer resonating in the background as I prepare myself for the day…
Or witness these magical Moroccan sunsets in the evening…
The joy and challenge of international living, then, is inevitably upon us – goodbye to people and a place that now hold a very special place in our heart, and making room for the new people, new experiences, and new memories that will be had in a new place to call home.
So we say goodbye to Morocco, our temporary home – you forced us to get comfortable in some of the most uncomfortable moments and circumstances of our life, and we leave you with a beautiful story of love, life, and identity challenged, but not lost, and open hearts for what the future will hold. Switzerland, what do you have in store? Who knows, but we’re on our way to find out! Get ready, because this time we plan to stick around for a while. 🙂
Sweet Potato Brownies – These are awesome, rich and chocolatey, and made primarily of sweet potatoes – let’s just say they definitely make a frequent appearance in our kitchen!