Friday, December 25, 2009

A Floody Merry Christmas...

First of all I have to admit that I don’t have any christmas feelings at all. Winter in Morocco can obviously not be compared with the northern European one. There is no snow, no cold, no traditional christmas food and no family gathering. The plan was to go to Tafraoute, some five hours south east of Agadir. It’s a village in the Ameln Valley up in the Anti Atlas Mountains surrounded by red granite mountains. I had really looked forward to spend a few christmas days there, but the rain has more or less stopped any activity in Morocco. The dead dry river banks are now filled with wild rain water crashing into the Atlantic and according to what little I could understand from the TV, a few people have died in the floodings. So, the trip to the mountains just have to be postponed and I’ll have to do my best to gather all the christmas feelings I can home in Taghazout.

At least I dressed up in as much red clothes and accesories as I could, and invested in a big bottle of Coca Cola as substitute for the much longed for Julmust. I’ve done my best with the christmas cleaning as I could, but that’s easier said than done with water pouring in everywhere. And no, I don’t live in a mud house, but there is water coming in from the main door, and for that I can do little but clean the worst up.

Electricity has been out since last night and didn’t come back until a couple of hours ago, and the internet is down as well. All thanks to the heavy raining I suppose. All Moroccans are happy about the rain, and I suppose that I should be too. It will help the farmers, fill up water tanks, feed more people and in a week or so the hills and fields will once more be green. But I can’t help to feel sorry for myself for not being able to do anything special for christmas. But oh well, you can’t have everything in this world eh!

I’m thinking a lot about my family back home in Sweden and hope that they’re ok. Although not considered a religious person, christmas is still an important holiday for me. Not because of silly traditions but because of the cozy family gatherings when everyone is happy and the kids are exhaulted with the waiting for Santa. I wish I could be there to hug them and wish them a merry christmas. God knows they deserve one!

Anyways, Merry Christmas to all of you!

With Love,


Monday, November 2, 2009

Things I've learned about Morocco:

- If someone calls you fat, don't take it as an insult or even something negative, it's simply said as a fact that your body mass is above average, which is not a problem at all.

- Beware of gigantic cockroaches that will try to strangle you in your sleep. Easiest way to get one to sleep with the fishes - and to teach his relatives a lesson - is to run for the kitchen and turn the gass fully on. Then crawl along the floor towards the exit while holding your breath. When two minutes have passed, light a match, throw it in and run for cover. Watch as the sooty remains of the motherfucker curl up in the heat. Don't forget to be fully insured.

- Being on the road (no matter if it's as a pedestrian, in a car, bus, motorbike or anything else that moves on a road) is a matter of life and death. The general rule of driving is to honk whenever there are other vehicles or people around, flash your headlights when you want to take over, no matter if there are oncoming cars in the opposite lane or not. 34 people are killed in traffic every day here.

- Paper work is serious business, and the supposedly simple procedure of getting a birth certificate can take weeks and several visits to a varying amount of offices and authorities. You may be able to half this time if you're willing to be "nice" to the officers, meaning fiving them money under the table,

- The waves of the wild Atlantic is highly recommended for anyone who wants to:

a) feel like a child again
b) drown if you can't swim or are not aware of the strong under currents
c) surf

- Tea is mandatory in every Moroccan houshold and is easy to like and get addicted too.

- Useful words to know in Moroccan Arabic are:

labas -
bkheer - hello/how are you?
hamdlillah - thanks to God (for example "bkeer hamdlillah", meaning "good, thank you"
safi - enough
srakzit kbir - huge cockroach

- Discussing the royal family and the West Sahara is a bad idea unless you want to get in trouble.

- The Moroccan sand is EVIL and sticks to every part of your body unless you're being very firm with it.

- Saying "ksss ksss" in public does not mean that you're calling for a cat, but that you're a prostitute who wants to let other people know that you're open for business.

I expect the list to be longer as time passes and I learn more useful things. I will keep you posted.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Cockroaches, studies and a beautiful day!

What an absolutely gorgeous day! Ok, yesterday was shitty. I failed my first exam in Pedagogy and realized that I'll be very low on cash this month. I was really pissed off and wanted to go see Rachid at work, but then I found a cockroach in my shoes and couldn't find the keys. But no worries. Apparently there were quite a few that failed so at least I'm not alone, and on Friday I'll get my second chance. I finished writing the second exam, which is due on Wednesday, so now I have a couple of days extra to rewrite the first one. Phew!

Anyways, I woke up in a great mood. Maybe because of happy dreams that I can't remember, or maybe because I in my sleep realized that everything will be ok. No need to worry or get stressed up because of problems that aren't really problems at all. So I got up, made myself a subway á la Morocco with white beans and stuff and sat down to study for a couple of hours. I then slipped in my cockroach free shoes, found the keys and went down to the shop where Rachid is working. We went to the beach, found ourselves a nice little spot on the rocks, had a swim in the great waves of the Atlantic and dried ourselves in the warm sun. Ah... at times like that I wish I could share the bliss i feel in my heart and soul.

A few days ago Shasha Marley got a friend. We found Ziggy Marley all alone and full of fleas on the beach and decided to take him home. He's about the same age as Shasha and they are now getting along very well. It's also way cool to have a pitch black and a snow white cat! The fleas were taken care of with vinegar and garlic. I hope they'll stay away for good. Fleas are well disgusting!

My tomatoes are growing healthily too. If I'm lucky they'll be fully grown by the time parts of my family gets here. It would be great to offer then fresh vegetables from my own garden, especially since I hate fresh tomatoes myself : P


Sunday, October 25, 2009

First month in Morocco

I can't believe I've been in Morocco for one month already. It's the end of October and all is well. Things are more than well really, I'm still happy as can be and wouldn't change a thing in the world as it is now. Moving to Morocco and to Rachid is one of the best choices I've made in my life so far. We are getting installed in our small apartment; the tiny garden is growing healthily, we got ourselves a fridge and a stove and now there's not much we need to be comfortable. Well, a proper toilet would be nice of course, since I'm not used to the hole-in-the-floor-toilets that are the common thing here in Morocco. I suppose that anyone from back home would agree that it's definitely nicer to have a toilet to sit on instead of having to squat every time. But hey, I'm not complaining. Moving to a new country takes to get accustomed to new things, and if a little squatting is what it takes to continue to stay happy, then so be it!
We've been to see Rachid's family. It was great meeting them but I regret not knowing enough arabic to be able to talk to them, but insha'allah I will learn it in the future. If all goes as planned, my mum, darling Anton, my nan and her partner will come to visit in mid November.

I'm really looking forward to them coming here. I'm sure they will find many things here alien, but I'm also sure they will enjoy it, just as I will enjoy their stay (and of course all the goodies they will bring from Sweden - things that I of course already have on my mental list!). I'm also sure that certain family members will be less concerned about me when they get proof that I do live a good life here, and that I am, in fact, very very happy. I wish that my dad and the rest of my brothers and sisters will be able to come vist soon too. Do I need to remind them that the fishing here is supposedly great (I wouldn't know since I don't eat and/or kill animals ; )?

And speaking of food. A couple of days ago we went to the souk, and I tried my very first Aknari, a delicious fruit that grows on certain cactuses here in Morocco. It tastes like some mix between pears and melon and contains hard seeds that you apparently can make really really expensive oil from. The same day Rachid tried to convince me of drinking a darkish foul smelling hot soup, which is made of... behold; snails. The horrible smell stayed in my nostrils all night. Ewwww!

About a week ago we found a skinny black stray cat that we took in. His name is Shasha Marley, is about two months old and is wearing my bead bracelet as a collar. He has gained some weight and is constantly either in my lap, on my chest or on my shoulder. Lately he has started to spend some more time with Rachid too, but my guess is that it's because he ususally gives him food ; )
I miss everyone, especially Linda who is pregnant. I really wish that I could be there for her, but I hope that she knows that she is always in my heart and mind. I can't wait for her and the kids to come visit once the baby is born and properly installed into the world!

Tomorrow I'll be going to Agadir to run a few arrends, and will also try and get a post box here in Taghazout so that everyone that loves me back in Sweden can send me tons of snus and salty licorice : P

Love you all!

Friday, October 9, 2009

How wonderful life is!

Ah, how wonderful life can be! Every day I wake up and see the sun shine through the window. I get out of bed, get dressed and open the door to the yard. Outside there is no cold hitting my face, no rain washing my skin, just the sun warming my smiling face. If I then open the door to the street, I’ll meet equally smiling people, all heading to or from the beach, where wild waves are crashing and sea gulls are diving for the remnants of blue fishing boats. My bag is packed with a bottle of water and a thin blanket, not much else is necessary for a short escape. The water will moisten my throat when it goes dry and my belly with the love for life when it goes empty. I had forgotten what it was like to be genuinely happy, to feel true bliss. Now I know.

It’s windy today, just like it’s supposed to be at this time of year. The surf season has just started and the hostels and riyads are starting to get filled with happy surfers. They have been here before, they all have. Taghazout is the kind of place that leaves a person wanting for more, that stays with you throughout the year until it’s time for next holiday and your ticket is booked without you even thinking about it. It draws you towards its enchanting bosom year after year, until one day when you wake up and realize that you’re retired from work and would like nothing else than end your last few years in the place that has welcomed you for so long. It didn’t take years for me to realize that this is where I want to live, maybe not for the rest of my life, but long enough to build a solid ground for a new life.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Finally on My Way!

It's 8:27 in the morning and I'm sitting on the bus that will take me from Göteborg to Kastrup Airport in Copenhagen, Denmark. I estimate to arrive at the airport around 12:30 so I hope I will have anough time to check in and get the extra bag payed for and checked in as well.

Yesterday, the day before my travel, I got a problem, or rather two problems. I had gotten the information that i could bring two bags containing 23 kgs each, but just yesterday I found out that I can only bring one bag. So now I'm hoping that I can bring that extra bag as exceeded luggage and pay extra for each kilo that exceed the 23 kg limit. They said it will cost me around 100 Euro. Ouch.

Second problem was that I never had time to get my licence from my doctor saying that the medicines I'm bringing are essential to me and are legal. When I rang the doctor they said that it just wasn't possible to scan and email the damn thing. God knows for what reason. I'm guessing they were just lazy or just had no clue about how to do that. I had no option but to pack the medicines and hope for the best, in otherwords that they won't check my medicines at the customs and that everything will run smoothly from then on.

Anyways, it's raining when I'm leaving Göteborg and the sky is thick with grey clouds. My mum dropped me off at the airport and it was hard to see her cry when we said goodbye. I know they're worried about me, but this is something i really want to do, I even need it. At the airport I ran in to one of my very best friends Jakob by chance. It was really great to getto see him before I went and give him a hug. I'll miss you Jakob!

I'm trying to take in as much as I can of the green woods along the highway. I know I will miss all the green we have in Sweden. But on the other hand I'll instead be blessed with a wonderful man, lushy hills, snow covered mountains in the distance, endless beaches, palm trees and gigantic souqs filled with things that I won't be able to resist buying no matter what. Just imagine all the fantastic Moroccan handicrafts; lamps, clay pots, gorgeous fabrics, pouffs, scarfs and amazing wooden and iron furniture.

Please keep in touch everyone. I'd love to hear of any updates. Especielly Anna's wedding, Frida and Jona's gorgeous daughter Tyra, the growing belly of Linda, the life in Göteborg and everything else. So don't forget me just because I move to a different continent. Internet rules remember!

I love you all. And thank you for a great fare well dinner last Sunday. I know that some of you are worried, but please don't be. I promise that I can take care of myself and deal with any problems that may or may not occur.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Ticket is Booked!

Finally I got to book the ticket. I got a very happy surprise yesterday when I called the bank's phone service to check if possibly I had a few coins left and instead I realized that my first payment of the study loan had come through! I didn't expect it until the end of the month, so imagine how happy I was to be able to buy the ticket and move weeks in advance.

So, on the 22nd this month I'm finally leaving Sweden for a new life in Taghazout, Morocco. I was first thinking of flying with Ryan Air to Marrakech again but decided against it since they only allow 15 kg of luggage. I got another ticket with IBERIA for around 2500 SEK, which is an acceptable price. Then I'll be able to bring two bags with 23 kgs each, and land in Agadir instead of Marrakech.

I'm starting to get a bit nervous. There are tons of things I have to deal with before I go, but at least the ticket is booked and paid for and most of my course litterature is on the way. I hope I will get all the necessary paper work before I go, but if I don't I suppose mum can send them to me as soon as I get myself a post box in Morocco. There's no turning back now; I'm going!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

In every obstacle there's an opportunity

So I got admitted to the online Pedagogy class at University of Umeå and today my application for study loan came through too, which means that in about a week I will get my first payment and will be able to book a one-way-ticket to Morocco. When I got the news about the loan I literally started to shake. I know I didn't really have a reason to worry about wether I would get it or not, because I've passed all my classes so far, but there was still a tiny part of me that was prepared for something else to go wrong so I would have to postpone my move even longer. But al-hamdulillah I don't have to!

Now there are a ton of things that needs to be taken care of before I can go; school books to be ordered and delivered, a new passport, insurance, various paper work and a mighty big suitcase. And of course a course of treatment using penicillin to get rid of a nasty infection.

If I'm lucky, then I'll be out of Sweden in less than a month. Hurrah!