Week 9 was quieter, finally. But it was made memorable by a cooking class and a rescued puppy.
- As of a few weeks ago, it’s illegal to buy and sell old doors in Morocco. Apparently doors being sold in the medina has been a hot topic and now it’s no more. #themoreyouknow
- Re: the crazy intersections I’ve described before- at a 4, 5, 6 way intersections with no stop light, the person to your right goes next. And everyone just waits an appropriate amount of time before starting to move the next lane. Fool proof, right?
- Highly recommend a local tour of the medina. Going with a local gets you to the highest quality goods and helps you negotiate a fair price. We got a ‘500 dollar’ rug for $200
- Health care is public, free for all. In other words, health clinics are flooded with people and you better be ready to wait.
- Dogs are not a common house pet. In the Muslim culture, you have to be cleansed somehow if you touch a dog. Not to say people don’t have them, but made our mission described below a little harder.
- I’ve learned a lot about spices and natural remedies this month. The medina is filled with herb shops and of you go in, the shop owner may serve you tea and explain what everything does. In one shop, my arms were covvveerrreeedd with Amber perfume, Jasmine perfume, rose perfume, Argan oil, a natural skin mask, almond lotion, orange extract, lavender oil, you name it, at least 15 things. I got a natural perfume bar, excited to use! Also had the unique experience of menthol sticks in tea where you sniff and immediately have your entire sinuses and brain cleared. Then you have the teas: mint tea, herbal tea, tea for constipation, tea for stress relief, tea for “the ziggy ziggy” (sex), etc. Then you have the spices for cooking: curry for chicken, tumeric for anti-inflammatory, mix of spices for “lazy cookers”, saffron, ginger…finally you have the black soap they use for hammams that comes with a weird glove and pumice stone for use. Moral of the story: another suitcase and I would have the cure for anything.
- Cooking class at Amal Non Profit, yes the same org I fundraised for, this place had seriously made my month.
- Hosted at Targa location, not the restaurant, and I highly recommend the experience.
- Group of 20ish cooked a variety of dishes. A remote and I teamed up on a traditional chicken tajine. I got the recipe so I can fail at making it again later.
- Tajine is cooked in an orange, clay, cone-like structure and we cooked it over hot coals outside.
- We picked fresh mint and herbs from the garden and made the traditional mint tea as well. Turns out, there’s a pour out, swirl, pour back in process that cuts the green tea base. The mint is added last, then the sugggarrrr
- During the downtime while we waited for food to cook, I chatted with the staff and learned more about the future of the project, heart happy
- Ate the AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS food we made and said goodbyes to the director I’d become so close to.
- Remote Year town hall meeting, reflected on the month, shared some mems, and got PUMPED for Portugal
- Birthday celebrations for another Remote
- Wednesday was a day. I was sick to my stomach most of the day, I think as a culmination of all the foreign food in my system. Napped most of the day and was reminded the need to listen to my body and mind. It’s ok to have a rest day every once in a while.
- Excitement of the day: PUPPY
- The story: two remotes heard crying nearby their apartments for over 24 hours and finally scoped it out. Inside the room with the trash chute, locked inside an electric closet, in a tiny corner, they found the CUTEST BLACK AND WHITE PUPPY!! It was covered in ticks and flees so they took a bunch off and gave it a bath. They also brought it to the vet and got it some vaccines and cleaner. Remote Year adopted the puppy for the time being and got to work on a solution
- We named it Tajine, which put a more positive spin on the word and doubled the amount we already said the word Tajine 🙂
- Looked into shipping it to Canada or the States, both had regulations on age and vaccines that would’ve made it difficult. Easiest solution would be to find it a home in Marrakech, but howww??
- Our turn to puppy sit. As a good mark-its-territory dog, the first thing it did was pee in my room
- Shopping tour of the medina with one of the Remote Year City Team members
- Go to hospital for an MRI at ‘10am’
- Wait in the waiting room for an hour before they finally call me down, turns out they only called me down to a person who could speak English and help me, then had to wait again
- THEN went to Radiology and learned it was another 2 hour wait until the MRI. It was honestly a really low point. 3 hours in a basement waiting room, feeling like I was never going to be called, frustrated with my back situation in the first place, and unable to communicate with anyone in Arabic
- Finally had the exam, MRIs are freaking loud but I was glad to be done. They then said it’d be another 2 hours for results…I went back the next morning
- FOUND A SOLUTION for little Tajine. One of the women at the Amal Center opened her heart and door to the little guy.
We delivered him on Saturday and she was overjoyed. I love that this whole month came full circle. We helped Amal and they helped us find a loving home. I’m telling you, I love these women.
- Final night in Marrakech was spent puppy sitting overnight. Tajine was seriously the cutest, he nestled up in a little pile of pillows and only woke me up once at 2am, whining to let him onto my bed. He proceeded to nestle next to me and sleep. MY HEART WAS EXPLODING…and then he peed on my bed. All good, final night.
- Got MRI results- good news: no major damage. Still not really sure what’s going on but it has been better so hopefully it just keeps improving.
- Brunch at our favorite gelato place, yes I had gelato at 10am
- Said goodbye to Marrakech and had our hour flight to Lisbon. I died laughing because in true Portuguese style, they fed us a huge snack and served free wine.
- Spent the night rejoicing (no literally) to be in Europe, and for me, being in a place that feels like home. Pasteis de Nata, cool food market (Time Out Market), and drinking in the streets (Barro Alto) #happy
- To be posted next week…
On reflection over the last month, I can safely sum it up in these few words:
Morocco- March, Marrakech, medinas, mats, mint tea, mostly tajine, madness, men (and camels, cats, casbahs)
People have asked: so, worth visiting? 100%, Morocco is a very beautiful country with lots of unique experiences, and yes it’s very culturally different but that’s why you travel right? I have seen the ocean, the mountains, lots of cities, and the desert. And as much as I have gotten sick of the food now, tajine and couscous are freaking delicious. I will say this is never a place I could call home, it’s made me appreciate the rights I have as a woman in the US, and it could probably be seen in a couple weeks, not a month.
My heart and my stomach are SO ready for Lisboa!!