I lived in Morocco for a year and a half. The half was spent in Ifrane, a tiny university town in the Atlas mountains, 70 km from Fez. I taught English at Al Akhawayn University. Afterwards, I spent a year in Casablanca teaching English at the American Language Centre. I’ve been back in Toronto for close to a year.
I stumbled upon this forgotten blog that we created at the beginning of our stay and I didn’t feel quite right about the overall vibe it gave off. This inspired me to reflect on my experiences in Morocco and try to paint a more holistic picture of what I felt there and why.
First of all, I think to even begin feeling ‘settled’ in any new country (or city) can easily take a year; settling into Toronto has taken me this long. The first few months are a whirlwind of fear, excitement, observation and plenty of other emotions. Experiences can be shocking, overwhelming and often misunderstood. Difficult as it may be, it’s incredibly valuable to really reflect on these things rather than form quick opinions; it’s easy to criticize and be cynical.
My memories from Morocco are some of the most vivid, beautiful, colourful, exciting, terrifying, tragic and amazing that I have. The challenging times were balanced with the sunshine, palm trees and relaxed lifestyle that I was fortunate enough to have. The people I met were so eclectic and I have never been so motivated to create something as I was while living in Casablanca (see thesmokeyolive.com – a westerner’s perspective of the fun that’s hiding in Casa).
Probably my biggest issue was (and still is) comparing. I couldn’t get past a lot of the things that worked in a way that was unfamiliar to me. This is a reoccurring issue, even in Toronto I struggle with accepting life as it is and simply being present.
It’s useless to think about how I would do it differently if I could go back because that’s not possible. Instead I’ll carry what I’ve learned forward and share my gratitude for having had the privilege to live in beautiful&sunny Morocco. I truly recommend that everyone who is open-minded and looking for a little adventure spend some time there.
I don’t know if it’s cheesier to end with my previous sentence or a quote, but for all those times your mind is clouded with pessimism, remember:
“Nothing in life is quite as important as you think it is while you are thinking about it”.