The magic of the Medina and the Souk…Adjusting to a new environment isn’t always easy…Lots more photos..

This was the view as we dined in an outdoor café on Tuesday. 

It’s only through our 17 months of travel, 14 of which have been spent outside the US, that we’ve come to realize how convenient life was in the US. We had access to anything we wanted and could afford.

“Tuk-tuks” lined up to take customers to other locations in the Medina. So far, we’ve hoofed it.

The Internet on our phones and in our houses was something we rarely thought of unless something occasional went wrong. Cable and Satellite TV provided a massive amount of options, enhanced by services such as Netflix.

Carts with donkeys are often used to transport merchandise.

Yes, I know, two donkey photos. Maybe I need a little more time to adjust to the lack of animals in my environment.

Movie theatres were within 20 minutes for most of us. Restaurants serving food that we could and would eat were a hop, skip, and a jump away. If we needed a new pair of socks, a trip to Target was all that was required.

Check out the size of these strawberries!

If we were cold, we turned on the heat; hot, we turned on the whole house AC. If we decided to make a special recipe, a short trip to a grocery store was all that was required to find the necessary ingredients.

Tassels, a common decorative item in Morocco and colorful plates.

When we fell ill, a phone call and usually short drive to our family doctor was all that was required to get us pointed in the right direction. We drank water from the kitchen tap. And on and on.

Munchies for sale in street kiosks in the Medina.

Dried figs and dates are a common snack and are also used in cooking in Morocco.

More dried fruits and snacks.

Yes, we took all of this for granted but, why wouldn’t we? It was the normal course of life for many of us. Yes, there were many others less fortunate. Our hearts broke for them and some of us, we did what we could, however small. 

Beautiful handmade dresses are on display in the souk.

We were caught up in our comfortable little world of work, responsibility, love, family, and friends. We found comfort and familiarity in that life. And, for many of us, we found a level of happiness, at times intermittent, at other times, constant. 

Although these pots appear to be chocolate something, it’s actually “black soap.”

At different times in our lives, we were unhappy, unsure, grieving, in pain, and in sorrow. For most of us, in time, we’ve found a level of peace in a world we could live in and fit in.

Each night at dinner, Madame Zahra serves the main course in one of these clay pots which keeps the food warm.

For us, world travelers that we are, most of this has changed. Here in Morocco, we find some of our greatest adjustments: not being able to shop for and cook our own meals; having difficulty staying warm after nine months of hot weather; finding foods we like and can eat in local restaurants and, the language barrier with only a few locals speaking English. 

Cats are everywhere in Marrakesh, seemingly well fed and accepting of the crowds.
These kittens were playing in the street. 

None of this is a result of a problem with Morocco, our hosts, or our current home. All of this is “on us,” as we strive to adjust. We find this to be the case in varying degrees in every country in which we’ve lived for a month or more. 

Lamps and lanterns are a common theme throughout the souk.

We realize that many of our posts are filled with excitement and wonder over these very differences. Our eyes are wide open to the adjustments we must make in order to continue to revel in the differences, as opposed to complaining about the necessary adaptation required to fit in and to feel at ease.

Tom is usually smiling. Catching him without a smile is an oddity. He thought his hair looked like Squiggy from the TV show, Laverne and Shirley after the wind whipped his hair.
That’s my guy with the usual smile on his face as we waited for our meal at Yamy, an outdoor café in the big square.

It would be so easy to complain. We chose not to. Instead, we continually strive, each and every day, to find ways to enhance that which we may find difficult.  

It was hard to believe the reasonable prices at this casual café when MAD $40 is US $4.82. My seafood salad as shown below was only MAD $40!  It was delicious. Tom had an excellent burger and fries for MAD $32, US $3.85!  He eats the same of the foods that I can eat when dining in, with Madame Zahra cooking and, splurging when we dine out with no objection from me. 

Tom doesn’t care for spicy food. But, I do. When I cooked I’d use a gentle touch to ensure our mutual satisfaction. We adapted, meeting each other halfway. Moroccan food is very spicy, all of which I love. With nary a thought, Samir spoke to Madame Zahra to cut the spices in half for all of our meals. 

The orange in this salad is slightly cooked carrots which I can have. The remainder consisted of small bites of shrimp, squid, and chicken. I put plain mayo on the top as a bit of dressing. It was divine. I’ll want to have this in the future. But, first. we’ll try many of the other restaurants before doing repeats.
I was so wrapped up in my own plate of food, I forgot to take a photo of Tom’s food before he dug into it. He said it was great, the first American meal he’d had in a restaurant in a long time.

Last night’s dinner, after Madame Zahra graciously made this adjustment, was flawless. We couldn’t have enjoyed it more. We practically ate everything on all those little plates as shown in our photos with barely having room for the entrée. 

My vegetable first course, made by Madame Zahra last night. Peas contain starch so I only had a single taste. I never knew veggies could taste this good.
Tom’s first-course vegetable plate. It’s hard to believe that he’s eating all these veggies and actually enjoying them.

The more we adapt, the more we ultimately find joy in the experiences, which we take with us when we leave;  a new understanding, a new knowledge, and deeper confidence in our ability to grow and learn from our varied experiences.

My plate, with Chicken Tagine, cauliflower, and salad. Lately, we do “mono” eating, having one item at a time, which we find allows us to savor each item for its varied flavors.

No, it’s not as easy as it may often seem. Let’s face it, in South Africa, it was hot, humid and there were bugs and snakes. But, we found a tremendous diversion in the pleasure we gleaned from our amazing visitors and our equally amazing friends.

Our shared salad of which Tom only had a few bites. I had at least half, eaten after my entrée, a habit I have acquired since leaving the US. Eating the salad after the entrée, allows the entrée to be eaten while still hot and also aids in digestion (so they say).

Morocco will be no different. We’ll embrace our surroundings, the food, the unique flavor of the country and its people. And after a short time, we’ll once again, be home.

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