From Morocco To Oman With Love!



My niece arrived few days ago from Morocco, she is visiting us for few weeks. This is her first trip abroad, and to see the excitement on her face each and every time she sees or experiences something new amazes me. This actually reminds me of the first time I traveled from Morocco to Dubai to visit my sister, 16 years ago, and how similar I was then to my niece now, and how I have changed in so many ways and “Demoroccanised” (if that’s even a word) from when I was 14 till now!

 

You see, 7 years ago I married an Omani, and because I fell in love not only with him, but with his beautiful family too, I have embraced their culture, lifestyle, and all the tiny little details that make a person Omani! So now with this fresh dose of Moroccan breeze and goodness, from my niece, it’s simply hilarious (to me) to see that even though both countries are Arab, the differences are HUGE! So I have decided to write a post and include all the funny little things that my old self (aka Moroccan) and my new self (aka the wife of an Omani) do differently, just because my husband and his family are  Omanis.

 

1-      In Morocco Pjs are considered decent and official clothes, you can run to the grocery store, while wearing your Pajamas. I’ve done it many many times, yet now whenever I go back home and see people wandering around in the streets in their Pjs, I still chuckle and find it very funny! Pjs are also the official wear when at home, you would expect everyone to be wearing their pjs in their houses, so if you’re visiting someone, it’s just super normal to be received in Pjs! Now try to picture that happening here (or in Oman lol)

2-       In Morocco, if you travel to visit a family member and you are planning to stay in their home, you still need to take with you your towels, your shampoo, your shower gel, and every single thing you need. It’s just NORMAL. However, Since I got married, I learnt that wherever you go in Oman, friends and family think that it is their responsibility to stock up on these things for you, so no need to take any of that! Now whenever I go to visit, I barely even take any clothes with me lol

3-      FOOD: In Morocco we have 3 official meals, yet it seems like all we do during the day is eat! There is Breakfast, Tea and sweets at around 10am, Lunch, Tea and sweets at 2pm, Coffee at 5pm and Dinner at 9pm, and of course tons of snacking in between lol

4-       We have a place called “Hamam” (Bathroom in English, or as everyone might know it: Moroccan bath!!! It’s like a huge Sauna room, where you are supposed to take a shower and get scrubbed by a “Kiyasa”- A lady who will lay you down on a table, and scrub the hell out of you lol- So no matter how many showers you take a day, you still need to go there once every week to scrub all the dead skin and become “clean” again lol. I guess before I head to Morocco this year for a vacation, a trip to the Hamam is a must lol

5-       Contrarily to what every person in the Gulf region thinks, In Morocco Couscous is NOT similar to rice, we don’t eat couscous everyday! Couscous is just one of the many many dishes we have in the Moroccan cuisine. It is usually prepared every Friday in almost every Moroccan household though.

6-      If you are Moroccan and planning to visit Oman soon, please be aware of the language traps! Even though both are supposedly derived from the classical Arabic, you might want to think again before you say publically the following words: “barefoot” or “spoiled” in the Moroccan dialect, because they mean completely different things, and you don’t even wanna know lol, also when someone in Oman tells you: “Allah Ye3tik Al Afia” ” الله يعطيك العافية”، they are not really asking God to burn you in hell hahahahaha they are just asking Him to bless you with good health 😉 

7-      I don’t know about NOW, but growing up ice cream was ONLY available in summer time, there was no way you’ll see it when it’s cold and snowy outside. while here Adam and I (and pretty much anyone living in this area) can indulge in this luxury any and everyday! In the Gulf, ice cream is treated just like any other life necessity, you’ll always find it in supermarkets all year long .

 

I had a serious fit of laughter while writing this post, I hope it makes you giggle a bit too 😉

 

From a Moroccan married to an Omani, with LOVE!

 

Ouiam

THE Question…!!

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When you live in a small town, you kind of master the art of small talk. Every day you meet new people at the supermarket, at the gym, at the Startbucks next door, and you always stop for a chitchat, while waiting to pay for the groceries or after a session of Pilates, or while waiting for that Tall Vanilla Latte! And asking THE question: “Where are you from?, seems inevitable! For some reason, we all become curious to know this information and wait on it, as if it will somehow reveal a hidden side of that person standing in front of us! And once we hear the answer, we rush to open all the files in our brain, and see where we can categorize this person based on his nationality and tons of clichés. A little bulb lights up in our brain the minute we hear the answer and an image pops in, almost instantly, if it is “American” then we see Mac&Cheese and Barak Obama, If it is “French”, we see “La Tour Eiffel”, “Egyptian” then it is Pyramids and Koshary, Moroccan, then it has to be Couscous! In less than a second, we shrink hundreds of years of civilization into a dish, and a whole person and his perfectly structured identity to a place! Then we toss the whole thing into the bin, because yeah it is small talk after all and who cares anyways! Right?

So when someone asks you “where are you from?” What should your reply include? Where were you born? What passport do you hold? Where have you lived most of your life? Where are your parents from? I would say: Morocco! My case is easy because I was born and brought up in Morocco, I lived there about half of my age, my parents are from there, and I proudly hold a Moroccan passport. But I guess if you ask my son, it will be a little complicated, he was born in New York, USA. To a Moroccan mother and an Omani father, and he lived all his life in Bahrain! So where is he from?

This question always somehow bothered me, because it kind of deletes the person’s identity and makes him fit into one of the mean boxes (some of them are really mean). And most people, tend to treat you differently, if you were American than if you were Indian (at least in this part of the world). Do not get me wrong, this is definitely not my opinion and I am absolutely not saying that it is right, but this is the world where we live in! Myself, I have experienced very unpleasant scenarios, where I simply was judged, fitted in a small mean box, categorized into a Moroccan Wh#$%, just because I am one of the 33.573.292 people of the great kingdom of Morocco! It sure used to bother me so much, that I would rather say I was from “Azerbaijan” than say i was Moroccan -because in what world will I meet someone who is actually from Azerbaijan and can figure out that I am lying lol- just to avoid nasty comments from nasty people! With time though, I realized that there will always be narrow minded people in this world, who will judge every move of mine, so I chose not to entertain them and I managed not to care anymore. I am who I am, period!

While it is true, most people are just trying to strike a conversation by asking: “Where are you from?” I find the idea of pairing my identity with where I come from is terribly wrong! We do not choose where or when we are born, and can never change it. I can only hope that my son will live in a world where he wouldn’t be judged by his skin color, nationality or religion!

Ouiam

Morocco, Oujda….. And We Meet Again! 

  

In my old room, in the home where i spent my childhood! Here i am again. With my son wandering around, the way i once did! Touching things i once touched! Living the life i once lived! And it feels absolutely delightful! 

Coming home has become a luxury i only offer my self once or twice a year. First, because it is so far and extremely tiring! It takes me about 24hrs from the time i leave my current home, till the time i reach my old home! Second, because now i have a baby and you try making this trip with an active, full of energy little boy like mine lol! However, once home, i forget the pain of the trip and get lost in the opulent comfort of being home, surrounded by the dearest people to my heart! Although we grow and evolve and change in so many ways, being home, somehow always makes us go back in time, to all the little happy moments, or the not so happy ones! Being home enables us to bring the child within us, without a glimpse of shame! 
I once heard that half the feeling of home is usually a person! And this is profoundly true! Home to me is my parents, my sister and her family, my cousins and my aunts and uncles! When i dream about coming home, i let my mind wander into all those little tea parties, we usually have, where everyone is talking to everyone- yes at the same time- yet we all have the magical power to understand, follow and even reply at the same time! This always fascinated me! And i crave it whenever i am away from home. I equally crave all the goodies prepared by all the beautiful ladies in my family lol! When i think of home, I fly to the mornings we spend talking over tea, just to be pleasantly interrupted by a neighbour who simply wants to say hi! Knocking on other people’s doors for no reason other than saying hello, is how i was brought up! And that is what i greatly miss in my life right now! The simplicity of life that we once had, yet lost in the craziness and busyness of life, is what i mourn! So when i come home, i try to recharge my soul, i try to soak up every minute and every beautiful, meaningful moment. 
One of life’s greatest pleasures, is being among people who truly deeply love you, no matter who you are, what you do or say, what you think or wear, what you have or don’t have, what you believe in or what you don’t! My family has been and will always be, my strength and my weakness! So for the next three weeks, I will let my self savor the time spent in my my hometown, with the people i love the most, i will also write a lot and post a lot of pictures so stick around ;)! 
Ouiam

About a picture

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Today I was looking at my pictures (because it is something I love doing and I do often) I stumbled into this one!  It is from our wedding in Morocco, four years ago. We were extremely fortunate to have two wedding parties! Yes we did! Why?  Well we come from two different countries in two different continents and we both have big families who love to celebrate! Therefore, we agreed to have one wedding in Morocco (where I am from) and one in Oman (where my husband is from).

I was about 5 years old when I started telling my family( my aunts mainly) that I was married and that my husband was a pilot, I was saying that while carrying my mom’s handbag, wearing  my sister’s high heels, and a scarf on my head imagining that it was my long beautiful hair! Was it an epiphany or was it a mere pure coincidence that 18 years later I actually did marry a pilot!  I guess I will never know. I met my husband in a birthday party. One would think that I met him on a flight (since I was a flight attendant). A flight going to Paris, when he came out from the cockpit to ask for a cup of coffee and he was dazzled by how beautiful I looked, nope! Sorry to disappoint you all but that did not happen lol We met through friends and we became friends lol.

This picture was taken during a celebration that took about 11 hours. Usually Moroccan weddings take this long. In these 11 hours the bride has to change outfits about 7 times, it sounds like a difficult task for the bride however and without a doubt, it is the most beautiful night in any Moroccan girl’s life. There is something magical about it! Moroccan weddings treat the bride like a princess from a fairytale; she gets to wear all these beautiful clothes while all her family and friends are there with her celebrating this beautiful night! She gets to sit on a palanquin of gold that her brothers/cousins/close friends, will carry, up above their heads, while dancing! Showing the world how proud they are of her. She will get to wear the most expensive, beautiful and traditional jewelries she probably has ever seen! She will be a Cinderella that night, a Cinderella with no curfew! (And with both shoes on) I was very lucky to have that night in my life! I just hope, one day I will see my own daughter having her own Moroccan fairytale wedding.

Ouiam