Tea Anyone?

So tonight I made hot tea for my husband so when he comes home he has a nice warm libation.  Last night, well, I didn’t and believe you me I got a lashing.  I say a lashing but he teased me all night about not making him hot tea after I was home all day.  Some days everything is a struggle and yesterday was one of them.  I have had a nasty respiratory infection that lasted about a month then little did I know it caused an ear infection that sneaked up on me over night.  So for the last few days I’ve been on antibiotics to try and rid the infection along with the water that has accumulated in my ear and oh the smell, yuck!  It’s funny I can always smell and ear infection when my animals have one but I couldn’t smell mine, however my husband did.  12 years ago I had two operations, one on each ear, that restored my hearing because I was legally deaf.  The surgeries I had replaced the tiny bones in my ears which had calcified together causing no vibration and hearing loss.  Now I have nice prosthetic pieces in my ears and my hearing is perfect.  I remember the first time I could hear again, I had water on the stove and I could hear this rumbling from my bedroom so I went in search of the noise and it was the water boiling.  Hearing the birds for the first time again was magnificent.  So when I get something like an ear infection it could be detrimental to me because of the scar tissue it leaves behind.  That’s what caused my hearing loss to begin with all the scar tissue from child hood ear infections.  Anyway I’m pretty much over that and I can wash my hair again, thank God.

We finally got a washing machine!  I have been washing a load of clothes every night in effort to get all of my summer clothes clean so I can pack them away for the winter.  I swear I have taken for granted all of the things that I had when I lived in the US.  I remember the night that Mbarek brought it in the house, his mom and sister were in the salon and they looked at it as if it were an alien that had just landed in their house.  They have never ever had a washing machine so I’m not sure how they will come around to the idea of a machine washing their clothes.  When we finally got it hooked up his sister congratulated me on my new appliance.  She knows I struggle to wash clothes by hand.

Finally today I finished all of our laundry and am on to bigger and better things after I clean the floor.  I’ve had to succumb to the Moroccan way of cleaning the floor and for me it can be back breaking because I am fat so all of the bending over gets to the back.  However the results of cleaning the floor with a rag and squeegee are a spotless floor and mine is way over due for a cleaning.  Finally I have gotten the furniture in our room perfectly arranged where I am very happy.  It’s hard when you have a small room with alot of furniture but the idea of downsizing is not something I will consider at this point.

I believe there is another box that should be here and this time it’s a 26lb box from mom.  I can’t wait to see what she’s squirreled away over the past few months.  She always amazes me because she is able to fit so much in one box.  I think she’s becoming a packing pro these days.  Actually she has packing parties with her friends, they come over, have dinner and drink wine while they pack the boxes.  I love that she has her own circle of friends now that daddy is gone.  There are some days when it’s very hard for her still but she is doing well.  This Halloween she went to a nice field/barn party and took many pictures for me.  It’s nice to see her having fun and not sitting around doing nothing.  Since my dad passed two and a half years ago it’s been very hard for the both of us.  Our relationship has really changed but that was something that I didn’t expect to happen.  I am just lucky to still have her and wish I was closer to her in her older years.

Sewing is going very well, I am making fabric drawstring bags with square bottoms.  I will sell them very cheap and hopefully people will like them.  I know it’s rare to find decent gift bags here so if I sell them for $1.00 they should be a hit.  I am decorating them with some embroidery that is simple and I think pretty designs.  Right now I’m working on a circular Allah symbol that I’ve made into a rose.  That one should be complete tonight along with several others that I’ve made up.  Several people have come by the store with input all of which were religious in nature so I’m gonna see if I can’t capitalize on their suggestions and ideas.

A friend of ours recently got married, his name is Yasine, he’s 26 and lives in Spain.  He is the nephew of our good friend Sadilla and now he’s been hanging out with Mbarek at the store.  He is here from Spain for a couple of weeks on his honeymoon and is setting up his new apartment here which we have helped with.  We didn’t know he was getting married until the last minute and since the invite came late we already had plans so we didn’t get to go.  He will be taking me to Spain in 12 or so days to get the renewal of my visa.  This should be fun because we get to take the bus back.  I’ve only been on a coach once and that was back in college and it was a private bus so I’m kind of looking forward to my first public transportation ground ride.   With all of the, helping our friend get his new apartment together, it’s made me think about things.  Here they are starting their life and when I congratulated them on getting married they also congratulated Mbarek and I on our marriage.  It was interesting when that happened because it feels as if I’ve been with Mbarek for years.  From the minute I met him in person it felt like I’d known him for years and years but we actually are newlyweds.  I have to remind myself that we haven’t even been married for a year yet.  Actually I wish I’d met Mbarek 20 years ago then I might not have all of the trouble with adapting.  What I struggle with is the financial responsibility I feel I need to fulfill.  I feel that I need to be contributing and I feel guilty that he works and I really don’t.  I mean this is coming from someone who has always had a job of some kind since I was 14.  I tend to stress and become anxious when bills come due and we don’t have the money because we’ve invested in inventory for the store.  I stress bad too.  It comes from all of the many years I didn’t have a partner and had to shoulder all of the financial burden of life.  See these things are what make it difficult to adjust and ultimately what causes stresses in our relationship.  During the month I just stopped stressing about this because it was doing no good for myself or Mbarek.  I’m just not use to someone shouldering this burden for me and believe me the idea that someone is taking care of your every need is something that makes me feel extremely guilty. The long and short of it, I have had major difficulty becoming dependent on someone else.  I’m not sure that this feeling of guilt will ever go away.  It’s not a loss of independence that I feel it’s more guilt.  Yes we’ve had this conversation many time and he assures me that he was ready to shoulder all of the responsibility because that’s what marriage is.  I’m just working on the guilt part and trying to do as much as I possibly can to grow my little business so I can contribute will ease the guilty feelings.  What I realize is I can do my part to make his home life less stressful.  I have been cleaning more and keeping things tidier so that when he comes home he can enjoy my company, eat the good things I cook, play bite bite with Butchie and just kick back and relax.

The way Mbarek has taken up with Butch is amazing.  They truly love each other!  Mbarek never ever thought that he would love Butch like he does but each day their love grows deeper.  If I ever had to leave Morocco I could never take his dog away from him because that bond is deep already.  I remember the first night we spent together, we were so exhausted after my hours of travel and his hours spent preparing for my arrival.  We walked in our room and both of us just plopped on the couch exhausted and exhilarated that all our preparations and planning were over, we were finally home, together.  For the first time we could really just relax and talk face to face without skype or any electronic devices.  Believe me it was such a strange feeling because I had never met him in person.  We knew immediately we were soul mates and sitting on the couch together in our room just made it real.  We just chilled for a couple of hours and got the animals settled then got ready for bed.  Keep in mind he had never slept in the same bed with a woman before so the mere idea of sleeping with someone was an exciting but foreign concept to him.  We look over at our bed and low and behold Butchie had taken a shit on our white comforter, ON THE FIRST NIGHT BUTCH TAKES A SHIT ON OUR BED!  I was so upset, I can’t even express it even almost a year later.  Mbarek cleaned it up without much adieu but I was upset.  Now to look back and see how daddy/dog relationship has bloomed it’s very sweet.  We often joke about that night when we are reminiscing and now we laugh, sometimes laugh really hard about it.  All I could remember thinking is that he would send me back home.  I mean what a first night huh?  After a while Butchie settled in and now we haven’t had even the slightest accident in over 6 months, thank God.  I know now though that Mbarek is attached to this little guy and even he can’t believe how they are best buds.  It’s funny to see this big tall man, 6ft 4″, with this little bitty 11 lb chi weenie walking down the street.  They really have developed a special bond those two and since we have no children it’s perfect.

Soon my one year anniversary will be here and I kinda feel like comparing it to a pot of tea where the longer it steeps the better it gets.

Well I’ve got to get some sewing done and I can’t do that if I’m typing.  I hope everyone who’s reading is doing well.  Peace and best wishes to all until next time.

Love,

 

Julie

 

Getting down to business

It’s been a really long time since I have made an entry into the blogis phere but alot has been going on and my connection hasn’t been so great. However for those of you who enjoy reading my blogs, I’m back.
This summer was the hardest summer I’ve had since I’d say 1988. I remember 1988 being so hot, actually that summer in Kentucky set record numbers and we had a drought that year so the ground was cracking in our front yard. At the time I thought we were dying in the heat then the next year, of course, it got better and was cooler. Since then I have always dreaded the infamous hot summer that was inevitably going to come again at some point in the future, I just never expected that it would come during a year that I moved to another country and didn’t have air conditioning. At some point in my life, early on, I vowed to never ever go without air conditioning but this year I did. The weather here was hot, so so hot, tetering between 95-115 degrees every single day. It was literally hell because our room is an indoor room in the house with one window and a door to a hallway which has an open roof but no real air flow. Well it felt as if there was no air flow but in fact there was but it just didn’t cool off enough outside and the buildings were heated up so they never cooled off. I remember one night we went outside and sat just to cool off. When I put my back against the house the building walls were so hot that I just had to scoot away from them. Finally at the end of July my husband brought home a portable air conditioner, the kind that has the blower unit attached to a fan by thick heavy wires. We made room for it in our small room and hung a heavy heavy matress pad in the doorway leading to the outside. Finally I had some relief at night while we slept. I don’t know what I would have done if we had not gotten the air conditioner. Maybe one day after being in Morocco for years I may be able to tolerate the summers. Now I’m being told that the summers are not normally this hot so I’m gonna rack it up as I survived my nemisis of a second LONG HOT SUMMER.
In August we opened a small electronics store so Mbarek could expand his buisness. Since he is th only supporter it was important to get him a place to do business. Also I wanted all of the tv’s that he had at home, in our room, gone. I discovered during this time that I wanted to sell a few things myself. I took a course in embroidery in 5th grade, I say it was a course when it was actually one man who taught us the basics of embroidery over the course of a week for about 2 hours a day, his name was Sunshine Joe. I will never forget him he was an awesome man of color who was a wonderful embroider and he had an illuminating smile. We were to make a classroom quilt using squares that we made, my square was of a smiling strawberry and it was placed in the center of the quilt. I felt so accomplished. Since there is a lack of craft supplies here in Khemisset I did what I knew to do and that was buy needle/thread and fabric. We headed to the sewing store and I came home with $10 worth of goods which wound up sitting in a bag for several months untouched. I’ve always been a crafty person and my interest had lied in painting. If you’ve ever been to my house or my mothers home you would certainly see my work on the walls. So when the opportunity of being able to sell my art seemed possible I started to be as artistic and crafty as I could. I figured I could put my sewing material in a plastic shopping bag and carry it to the store everyday because it was something small and was easy to transport. So every day when I went to the store I sewed/embroidered. I drew a design on fabric using a dvd as a circle template and then improvised with the designs to fill in the space. I didn’t really know what in the hell I was doing at the time but it was something that I was doing to fill my time. I figured I’d just throw my finished goods in the display and who knows someone might come by for a glance or if I was lucky may ask a question or give a compliment. So my first project took me two weeks and I thought it was divine so I put it in the display. Just a piece of fabric with embroidrery on it. I had no idea that it would be the catalyst of my creative energy. If you have read my blog before you know that I had been struggling to find something to keep me busy. For the first time in my life I was free to do what I wanted but had no idea how to focus on anything other than the life I left behind, the bordom of not having a job, and the adjustment of newly moving to Morocco. I was trying to find my purpose in my new life. I remember the day when I had my first visitor looking at my single piece of embroidery in the display. She didn’t buy it, of course, but when she walked away I realized that this is something I could actually do. Question is how well could I do it and could I sell my art? Would anyone buy it? Hmm. Most people who know me will tell you that I am very artistic and I’ve overheard my mother say to people, “She has no idea how good she is at things, I’ve never seen anyone who can just do so many artistic things without following instructions, using a pattern, or without training.” “She can literally do anything when she sets her mind to it”. I find those words very encouraging because I’ve always been very humble about the things I create and I never ever really considered myself an artist. I remember the first painting I ever did, it was of a chili ristra and I was offered $150 for it. Someone just in my home saw it and offered me money. I couldn’t believe my ears, I thought he was insanely crazy but he was very serious. I didn’t sell it because I loved it and now that painting hangs in my mothers home. She spoke up very loudly when I moved to Morocco, in fact she took all of my paintings and art to her home when I left the US. So I decided to act on what my tarot cards had been telling me for months, that I was going to have a business using my creative energy. I took over the display and sewed for 10-12 hours a day making anything and everything I liked to put in the display of our store. Who knew my art would actually be unique here in Khemisset, Morocco. I would have never thought it would sell, that I would actually sell my art in Morocco. Who knew I would actually be pretty good at embroidery. I’ll let you judge for yourself in the pictures below. I’ve had two orders so far and many many inquiries and it’s only been 4 months. Embroidery is time consuming so I’ve been literally working my ass off to just have some display items. I’ve spent $50 for my supplies and I will make all of that back after I finish these two orders. I’m so happy literally. I’ve now named my little business and I will continue to plug away at my many ideas to actually have my own store one day, seperate from my husbands. Just as things seemed to be looking up my husband buys me a sewing machine. He bought me a vintage Swiss made sewing machine and I found out it was made in the 1970’s. It’s pristine like literally in mint condition, not a scratch on the machine and all of the original hardware. I’ve never seen anything like this sewing machine and it only cost $40. What a deal! Now I haven’t sewed anything on a machine in over 15 years but it’s like riding a bike, you never forget how to do it. I’m rusty at sewing on the machine but that will change as I make more things. Pretty soon The Pink Poodle will be a huge success in my town, it’s just a matter of time.
I really have been looking forward to the cooler weather and since it was so hot this summer I knew that there would not really be a fall season. Sure enough it went from hot hot weather to winter over night and of course that made me sick. The change of the seasons in a new place hit me and has lingered for a month. I’m finally recovering from the nasty respratory infection I had, thank God. Recieving a box that momma sent sure helped in this recovery process. I love getting presents and boxes from my mom because it makes you really feel like you have a piece of home. I never thought I’d be excited to get the things I use to buy at Walmart every week or month. Be sure that you will never appreciate your home land until you don’t live there anymore. I took for granted many of the things that I had every day when living in the US but I would never ever change my decision to leave and see the world. I’ve actually made some good friends here in Morocco and they have helped make the transition easier by offering mental support and advice. Joining the English speaking Expat sites have been the best thing I could have done. It helped me realize that the struggle of adjusting is real and not all in my head because for a while there I thought I was going nuts when in fact everything I had been going through was normal. Wow all of what I went through was NORMAL, holy shit.
Now that I’m settling in and feeling comfortable I’ve accelerated my language learing. I’m studying French, Spanish and Arabic. I realized that language is imperative to making my life here a success. French is coming very easy because of my extensive study in high school and college. I have a minor in French from WKU but when you don’t have anyone to speak it to over the course of 25 years you seem to lose what you once learned. I’m doing very well now relearing and speaking French. The hard part is understanding what people are saying to me. I could always read it, french newspapers are my friend, but speaking and converstion is very very very rusty. You never really can learn a language unless you work at it and I didn’t so much back in college, now I must re-learn alot. I spend about an hour of internet lessons then I am able to practice it with our friends. They love it when I speak to them in either French or Arabic. I will say something in Arabic and they don’t seem to understand it so I turn around and say it in French and they get it. It’s kinda fun. I’m learning to do the very same thing with our Spanish friends. I think American schools need to focus on teaching students foreign languages. I think it needs to be a must in the schools because the world is larger than the US and you need to be able to communicate. Needless to say this is one piece of the puzzle that is helping me adapt.
Recently Mbarek and I have been getting out more, thank God. I spent alot of time cooped up in my room when I first arrived and for the first 6 months really. He would go off to work and I didn’t really have much to do so I got really depressed and bored, then we opened the store and our lives changed. He still isn’t use to having to be at a job every day so this is a huge change for him. Normally we spend anywhere from 6-8 hours a day at the store and it’s every day. He and I differ on the ways that a business should be run. I run a strict business and he is very liberal in the way he does business. I tend to be less lenient when it comes to money but he insists that business is done differently here than it is in the US. I don’t know but we are going to try it his way for a while and if it doesn’t work then we will discuss doing it my way. So far so good. When it comes to my business I will run it as if I were in the US, ha ha ha.
If you are wondering what I’m talking about with regards to business’s being run differently here I’ll explain. In this town people don’t have alot of disposable income because it’s a little town that struggles with jobs. There are many young people and even older business men that struggle to support their families because there are no jobs. People cannot just afford to put out the money for even a used appliance so they pay you on credit or a lay-a-way policy with out the lay-a-way part. Literally we finance their purchases and they pay us on a scheduled payment plan. This frustrates me to no end! We are not rich and some of these people just want to take advantage of a payment plan, some can afford to pay in full at the time of purchase but don’t because if you want to make a sale you have to extend them time. I will not operate my business that way. If you want it then it will stay right here until you pay me. Unfortuantely many people will not buy from you if you don’t do this extension of credit because they are afraid if they don’t walk away with the item after paying you half that you will re-sell the item to someone else and they won’t ever get their money back. So literally we extend them credit in order to make a sell. I don’t think buisness works this way in the larger cities but here in this small town it does. Like I said it frustrates me to no end and Mbarek and I differ in this practice. I trust him though because he’s been doing business here for a very long time so again we will try it his way and see if it works. Afterall eventhough I am the major stock holder, so to say, it’s his to operate and run.
I’m looking foward to momma sending more boxes. My birthday is Christmas Eve so I get double the presents next month. In order to get everything on my list she has to send a box every week. Boxes are not cheap either, pretty soon she will have spent enough for a round trip ticket for me to come home for a visit. There are so many things that I have asked for, most of them art and craft supplies along with clothes for Mbarek. See in Kehmisset there are not many places to buy NEW stuff clothes included. Most all of the new clothing stores for men are all professional wear and they are very expensive so he results to buying used clothes imported from Europe. Now this is interesting because as I’m searching for fabric options for my work I have discovered to get the fabric I want I can buy used clothes and upcycle them or recycle them. So literally the other day I took a pretty plaid mens shirt and made a head tie, reused the buttons to fix his clothes and made a bread bag with plaid accents. I still have 3/4 of the shirt left. I really like the idea of no waste sewing! Up until I got my sewing machine I had been hand sewing many things like all of the little purses I made. Not only did I embroider them but also hand sewed the construction and people seem to like that here.
For Christmas I’ll be getting a crock pot, YAY! They don’t sell crock pots here for some reason. I cannot wait for that alone now the next item I will want is a cast iron skillet. I really considered bringing mine from home but I didn’t think I had room for it. Looking back I did have room in one suitcase. Man the things I could have brought if I’d of known I had an extra 10 lbs.
All of my animals at home here and abroad in the US are doing well with the exception of one. Ruby my shephard mix, who lives with my mom, is not doing very well. In fact momma has broken the news that she will have to put her down soon because of hip displaysia. Ruby just refuses to stop jump jacking. She really is a big jumper and there is nothing you can do to keep her from doing it, it’s beyond me. I trust mommas decision and it will probably happen before Christmas, sad 😦
Next month I will travel to Ceta, Spain to get my visa renewed, hopefully for the last time. We are soon going to apply for my residency here and I will be so happy when it’s approved. The man who approves residency has met with us a couple of times and has offered wonderful insights on how we should do things to make it a smooth process. It’s amazing when I think I have been here for 11 months now that I haven’t driven a car in almost a year. I haven’t had fast food in almost a year and I haven’t had alcohol in almost a year. That’s all so very different for me. The weight loss continues and I’m looking forward to getting some smaller clothes in all of the boxes I’ll be getting. Since the weather is cooler I walk to and from work every day with the exception of this week I’ve been home taking care of things here and sewing, of course. I spend alot of time on the internet learing new ways to make the things that I want to sell like how to die fabric with vegetables, fruit and nuts. I collect soda bottle caps from the coffee shops so that when my jewelry making supplies arrive I can create some fabulous things. Tin can art and candle making is on the agenda as well. One thing you can’t buy in my town are large candles, so I will make my own with the cat food tins. I’ll decorate the tins and make the candle. This will be a hit considering that most of the candles you find here are very small sticks.
Since winter is here the city is starting to cut the electricity once a week again. I really hate that because you might get to the store and have no electricity. The coffee shops next to us operate on generators when this happens or if they don’t have one they lose business. I don’t see how the government allows that. I think this may be an issue to write the King about. I mean if you don’t voice your opinions and ask for change they won’t change.
Last month I excercised my right as an American citizen and voted. Now this is a touchy subject since the results are in and Trump is now the new POTUS Elect. I watch news all the time and I must say I am disappointed as to how the news have been egging things on after the election. I’m shocked to see the biasedness that they broadcast. I voted for Trump and now the news is trying to make me feel bad about my vote, but that will not happen. I read how much hatred is being directed at people who voted for Trump and I am angry. I voted for him on the basis of creating jobs… period. Some of my friends have asked me how I can do that since my husband and I are Muslims. Well to many peoples surprise my husband would have voted for Trump if he could have. He is the one who really helped me make my decision because when I came here I had a sticker on my computer from 2012 where I supported Clintons run in the 2016 election. Yes I was a Hillary supporter and yes my Muslim husband changed my view over the course of the year. I want what is best for the people and creating jobs gives the individual dignity and self confidence. It creates a sense of successfullness when the man of the house can bring home a paycheck that will support his family instead of relying on government assistance. There is no reason everyone should not have a job unless they are physically or mentally unable. Many of my friends said that my views are liberal but my vote is conservative. Yes that is true but there needs to be a balance and my vote was cast for the greater good not what I personally wanted. Corruption is rampid in the US and many of the powers that be have been in power for 30-40 years, they need to go. People need to quit electing the status quo and not be afraid to elect something new. If you are unhappy with your choices then change the choices, run for office yourself, start changing your country from the soil to the blooming flower. When the soil of a country is tainted it grows a sick people. Start fertalizing your soil, make it healthy, make changes in your neighborhood, run for local office, volunteer with your state offices, make your voice heard. Even farmers know you should burn your field from time to time to replenish the nutrients. Be a part of the fire, get off your asses and get out there, don’t wait until it’s bad then bitch about things. I applied for a Governor’s Board in the State of New Mexico and was appointed. I later became Chairwoman of the Board. I was the Chairwoman of a $5 million dollar fund for the State of New Mexico. You can do it as I did. My voice was heard and I served. I like to think that if you want change it’s you that needs to make a change. I don’t have children but that doesn’t disqualify me, evidently it didn’t, from becoming the Chairwoman of the Board of the Children’s Trust Fund which funded the CYFD program in New Mexico. The CYFD program was the department of family affairs who would investigate child abuse and so on and so forth. Now if you aren’t into serving in a public office then you should write your elected officials with your concerns because it’s not the President that makes most decisions it’s YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS so write them. In Albuquerque I wrote my Mayor, Governor, and all of my Representatives all the time with my concerns. Many of you have never written to your officials and voiced your concerns. For those of you who say that it doesn’t do any good you’re wrong. You voice your opinion regardless how many times you have to write them, just keep writing them. That is what is great about America…. YOU DO HAVE A VOICE. Unfortunately you cannot have everything you want! Obama did many things that I approve of and many things that I did not approve of. You can’t have it all! Never ever when I disagreed with his policies did I ever attack the race of the man. When you attack race or sex you cannot be respected in my opinion. Eventhough I did not like most of his policies he did do some extra ordinary things such as approving same sex marriage. I would never ever approve of the reversal of that nor would I approve of the reversal of any of the equality laws that are important for the LGBT community. I do not approve of anyone degrading or demeaning anyone for their religion or beliefs. If you want to wear a collander on your head because you worship the god of Spaghetti then so be it. I might think you are crazy but it’s your right so get on with your bad self, I’m not gonna stop ya. But when it comes to jobs, the one who worships the Spaghetti god need to be able to get a job to support your family too. That’s why I voted. I’m not on the Trump bandwagon like some others but I do not support corruption, which is why I was on the Governor’s Board making my voice heard. I wanted to make sure that the powers that be allocate money to benefit the children of New Mexico to the children and families. I wanted to make sure the money was being spent well and I did. When you want to make a difference and change you will find a way, but sitting back bitching won’t get it done. Pick a cause, focus, make your voice heard and get the change done. OK enough on that.
So today I will be sewing place mats and will make my first Dhiram tomorrow. I will have photos.
Peace and Love,
Julie

Photos won’t upload…   geez the story of my life.my-storeimg_0008picture0008

What can you buy in Africa for $120….

Tonight I’m here at coffee again, my favorite place on the square and the weather is nice. As it sit here at the last few days of Ramadan I am in awe of the celebrations that I’m seeing. I didn’t realize that the closer to the end of the holiday the more people celebrated. I’m going to try to get some of that on video for my FB friends so they can see what I see. The sad part is that you can’t smell what I smell. The food smell will make someone hungry even if you’ve just stuffed your face. So now I’m hungry but will wait to eat because street food can be “iffy” if you know what I mean. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the people I encounter while I’m out walking the streets here in Khemisset. I’ve been sitting here for less than an hour and already 5 people have walked up to me asking for money. I realize that this is a poor town and most of the people who have asked have been older women. I’m sure they need the help but when Mbarek leaves me here at my table and goes to work he normally leaves a few dirhams with Hassan, the waiter, and I send those people to him. The beggars on the street are like they are anywhere, classified into those who really need help and those who just don’t want to work. This is why Mbarek leaves money with Hassan because he knows who those people are and determines if they really need the money. Almost every time we are out we give to the needy because it’s our duty to do that. I see so many people who really need help and if I were rich I’d be doing alot to spread the wealth. It makes me sad to see so many people that are in need, especially here because you know they need help.
The other night we were at coffee at a different place and we saw a young man walking alone. He was obviously from one of the sub saharan countries and we knew he was not a resident of Khemisset or Morocco for that matter. So Mbarek and I got to talking about this young man and we started discussing a Moroccan Anti-Discrimination campaign that the government just rolled out. The way the posters read are somewhat insensitive but I think that’s just me being American and how I’ve been taught political correctness. However the message on the posters are clear, please be kind to those immigrating from other countries. It goes into detail informing the reader that many of the immigrants are from the sub saharan countries. (Sub Saharan is the region below the Sahara Desert south of our country.) It clearly states that many of the people are being discriminated against and that this is wrong. As we discussed discrimination based on race we also got into a discussion about the conditions the immigrants are fleeing from. What I believe alot of people in the US and the Western World think is that modern day slavery exists only in the sex trade. That is the furthest thing from correct. I’ve read documentation since I’ve been here in Morocco that clearly says there are many people escaping sub saharan countries because of slavery. So I found this very interesting and to think that I’m now in Africa where this is still an issue. There are several countries in Africa where slavery is still very real and what I didn’t know is that there are many different types of slavery in existance. As I see these immigrants walking the streets of this little town I begin to wonder what their stories are, I probably couldn’t even imagine. When I got home I started to research about the modern day slave in Africa. I’ll say that many of the countries below of the Sahara still have a slave trade. Mauritania, Mali, Chad, Kenya all still have people who own slaves, even whole communities and it’s not limited to the indigenous peoples either. I read an article published by the Los Angeles Times where a reporter was in trouble in Mali for buying a person, a slave, for $120. I sit here and I still can’t grasp this concept that you can buy a person, a human life, for just $120 in the year 2016. Hell most of us can’t even pay our utility bill with $120 and yet it buys a human life, very troubling.  This reporter paid the money for a few of them and then set them free. In turn the reporter found themselves in hot water with the government and the slaves were recaptured by their owners. Even though the governments like Mauritiania and Mali have all signed laws to abolish slavery and make it illegal, it still exists. So you ask yourself, why don’t they just leave. It’s the 21st century why don’t they just leave and go to the authorities to report they were held as a slave. Well it’s not that simple. Signing a law that gives slaves rights doesn’t make them free evidently because the slave owners go to great lengths to make sure they don’t know they have rights. Modern day slaves are kept in the dark about their life and human rights. They are uneducated, poor, and they are bound by the fact they have accepted that God intended for them to be slaves. They are taught this by their owners who use religion as a way to keep them bound because of their skin color. They have no idea that they have rights under the law.
I read another article that just made me cringe, sick to my stomach to the point I couldn’t read anymore. It was an interview with an escaped slave and this person spoke about the forms of torture that are used. They explained the owner would put tiny ants in their ears then stuff rocks into the ears, bandage the ear completely up and leave it for 10 days. It sickens me to think that another human would do this to someone. I cannot imagine the pain this type of torture brings and my heart hurts. I cannot imagine even after escaping being afraid for your life, running to avoid recapture. Again the sad part is that many of these people don’t even know that they have rights. Now I realize that many community governments of these countries could be corrupt and actually support slavery even when the national government has condemned it. What I’ve learned about being in Africa and seeing the news is that many of the countries of this continent are very corrupt and very poor countries. I know the rest of the world knows this but they are too entrenched in their own struggles of every day life that they just brush it off. There’s little attention paid to these poor countries and thus you have overwhelming poverty, no education, no reliable governemnt and it’s these things that allow for people to abuse others and enslave them.
I will give you a sinero that I’d like you to think about. There is a man who has a family of 3, with a baby on the way, living in Mauritania. This man would like to start a business, let’s say a very small store to sell home goods like toilet paper, water, snacks, some food, diapers etc. This man has no means to start his store because he is poor. Many of us in modern countries, who have a job, would go to banks and take out a loan right? You can get a small business loan to start a business especially if you are a minority fairly easy. But in these underdeveloped countries people have zero collateral and own nothing, so how does one go to the bank for a loan? Enter, The Man, the man who is going to give you a loan to open your store. Let’s say he gives you $1000 USD. Yes in reality you can start a store in these countries for just $1000 USD or less. I look back on this and that’s what I paid in a house payment every month when I lived in the states. But ask yourself, if you loan someone money you have to know they will pay it back right? How could this man possibly pay back the money loaned when he has no job or house to offer up for collateral. I realize when you take out a loan you do have every intention of paying it off one day, however you must supply some collateral. What they do in these under developed countries is use their children, even unborn children as collateral for things like this. In the case the person cannot pay back the loan the family is strapped for generations paying it off.  I’m not saying everyone does this but it happens more often than it should. So the man upon the receipt of the $1000 decides to sign over his unborn child as collateral. This man does very well in the business and has half of the debt paid off in two years then he contracts the Ebola Virus and dies. Enter, The Man, the one who loaned the money, he’s come to collect. The Man takes the business and determines that the debt has not been paid in full so he has the right to the child and takes the two year old baby. The Man then considers the debt paid in full. What happens to this child? All I can say is this is one of the many sineros of how some of these people are slaves. Many people are very afraid of trying to start a business in these under developed countries because they fear the repo man, or shall I say the Reaper. God bless these souls, sad. What does happen to the child? Many go to work on farms, many beg on the streets for money, many are sold to God knows who. Regardless of the situation they walk among us and they have it HARD. Harder than any of us reading this blog will ever understand or know, including myself. There is still a very active slave trade in Eastern Africa and many of the slaves are still traded along the Arab Trade Route which has been around since before the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, which most of us are familiar with. These slaves, many of them children, are trafficked into Asia and the Middle Eastern Countries to work on farms, house hands, sex slaves, it’s impossible to think about what happens to them. It is shocking to me to see the statistics of how many are traded and sold. I mean we are in 2016 not 1716. What I’ve learned is that wealthier countries are raping people of their basic human rights and it’s the rich countries that are doing this. I remember watching the movie Blood Diamond for the first time. I love this movie, it’s one of my favorites. I really got into researching the country of Sierra Leone and the struggles that the people had with the rebel group, The RUF. How many of you really researched about this movie?  How many of you didn’t go farther than the movie? The reason I ask is because this was not just a movie. The RUF, Revolutionary United Front, demolished this country and it took over 10 years of civil war to bring some minimal peace to this country (1991-2003). My heart hurt for this country on the west coast of Africa and I started to subscribe to the newsletters of the government, reading the newspapers from Free Town, the capital, and listening to the music of Sierra Leone. I ordered many CD’s from artists who were trying to make a difference with their music and call attention to the hurt of their country. Two of my favorites out of Sierra Leone are Project X and Daddy Saj. I’ve never had much money to donate to funds but I did have a little to buy music with. I felt that anything I could do to support the artists of Sierra Leone would help the country and the communities heal. Every day I would get to work early just to check the news of the day from this small country, that even after the war ended, had so many problems. They had a struggling government, thousands of people marred by the war missing limbs that could never ever begin to provide for their families and the ones I read about were just happy to have their life. Get that… they were just happy to be alive and with their families even though they couldn’t walk or had missing arms. They were happy to be alive even though their children were killed.  When was the last time any of us have felt that way? Many had escaped the slavery in the diamond mines marred, wounded, near death, missing limbs, injured near death and they were just happy to be with loved ones and/or to be alive. Tears are just rolling down my face here at coffee because I know what I read and how it changed my view on the world. We as people are only as strong as our weakest. I see it here every day the weak the poor and granted Morocco is a very progressive African country, it’s still a very poor country. I believe my heart has been in Africa for much longer than just my six months of being here. I wanted to experience the world and I don’t think sitting behind a computer in the United States working every day just waiting for a vacation allowed me to do that. I know when I moved here I ran the mileage on the maps and did some research on what it would take to visit Sierra Leone. I would love to spend some time there in the country that is still healing from a war that ended many years ago.It’s my destiny to visit there one day.  It was over a week ago that I started this blog and since then we have had many lives lost in the United States which saddens me. I will say this … there is no place in my heart for hate and if my brothers and sisters are hurting in the US then I hurt. I felt many years ago the people of Sierra Leone were my brothers and sisters as I learned about their world and struggles, even though I knew I’d never identify or know what they were going through. They were screaming for help back then and I listened. I couldn’t do much to help them but I learned about their situation and became outspoken to my friends, educating them about Sierra Leone. I had someone ask me once, “Julie why are you even concerned with this it’s sad”? I literally jumped all over them and told them, “I can care and I can educate you about the pain of these people.” If I could just open one persons eyes to what happened in that country then I had succeeded.

Within the last few weeks I have been attacked and called a racist and that hurt me bad. I’m a person that feels accusations, such as that, as a dagger to the heart. I pondered over being called racist for over a week, and still it bothers me today. My answer to that is I love and I always have. I don’t fight with people over that because I will stand up for what is right. I consider myself to be a person who has compassion for others. I don’t pick who I have compassion for, even if you are an asshole I still have love for you. If you are a racist then you have no place in my life unless you want to learn from me about how to open your eyes. Now I’m not above common sense and calling bullshit in situations but all in all I respect everyone’s opinions, doesn’t mean I won’t call you on bad behavior or ethnic slurs.  You better not use slurs around me, you might get knocked out..
For many of you who started reading this and who thought that I just pulled this article out of my ass, you’re wrong. I’ve been attuned to what’s going on in Africa for a long time. Since 2006 I’ve been a loyal subscriber to many of the publications of this continent even though I had never been here. Another one of my countries I follow is Zimbabwe. I remember when I first got here I was pushing to get married, running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off. When in Rabat at the last office I went to I sat down next to a young man to wait for my number to be called. Not many of us spoke the same language in there because we were all wanting to marry a Moroccan, so you had to get the paper stamped. While waiting he said, “hello how are you”. Shocked someone spoke English I was excited. He was a very handsome black man who was sitting with his friends. I started to talk his ear off and he just smiled the whole time. Once I was done he said wow and he smiled at me. He said I’ve never met an American who talked so much, then laughed with me. He told me his story and how he was from Niger. I quickly said “that’s down there next to Zimbabwe”. He was shocked that I knew where his country was and that I named many others around his. I told him I knew more about Zimbabwe than Niger but that I would have to do some more research. He immediately told his other friends that I knew where their country was and next thing I know we were all talking and laughing.They were surprised that a random American knew about Africa.  Of course you know when you are out of your element finding a friend is the best way to feel comfortable so that’s what I did. All of these young men were marrying Moroccan women so we all had something in common, marrying a Moroccan. As each one of their numbers were called and they left one by one they each gave me a hug and we extended our well wishes to each other as we said our goodbyes.
Another country that I had began to do research on is Mali. Mali is one country still struggling with slavery eventhough it’s against the national law. When I was in Paris on my way here, I had gotten my animals checked in and had been back n forth through customs then got my ass kicked by Air France for my carry on bag being over the 12kg weight limit. Finally I was able to sit down and call my mom. There was no one in sight in the wing I was in because I was early so I picked a spot and planted my ass. while on the phone my mother stepped away from the phone so I got quiet. Then I hear someone from behind me say, excuse me ma’am and I turned around to see a handsome young man smiling at me. He asked how I was talking on the phone, which service I was using and I told him skype. It took a while for my mom to get back and when she returned I told her I was going to go for a minute and I’d call her back. I turned around and began a conversation with this man. Come to find out he was going to be on the exact flight I was on flying to Casablanca. We talked about him being from Mali, living in New Jersey and how hard it was for him. He had to fly to Casablanca, had no where to stay the night until his flight left the next morning for Mali. He went on to tell me that his family risked everything and took out a loan to get him to the United States, where he could go to school and make something of himself. We talked at least 45 minutes off and on. We went to board the plane and he was in front of me, they delayed me like I said they hassled me, but I went running up to him and patted him on the back proclaiming him as my travelling buddy to Casablanca. We had a 4 hour flight and I slept the whole way then when we landed who did I see after I had gone to the restroom. I caught up with him again in the hallway on our way to customs. He helped me get through customs and then gave me a big hug.
I know I will never see any of these gentlemen again in my life but they really did have an impact on my life. I sit here hoping that the man from Mali and his family didn’t sacrafice a loved one as collateral in order to get him a better life in the United States. I only hope that the young men I met in Rabat have a life of happiness with their new wives. They sure did make my life different just spending some time with them. In the end we all went our seperate ways and will travel to our destinations alone. See in this world we are all travellers on our own journies, it’s the people you meet along the way that helps us make our journies unique.
So for all of my black friends in the United States and around the world, I feel pain and my heart breaks for you. I will never understand why you are treated the way you are, why the world is so unloving, so unkind, so mean. I will never be in your position but I can be a good will ambassador to extend my kindness, empathy, sympathy, my heart, my hand, my friendship to you.
And yes all of the men I met were amazing black men just travelling through this world like me. I hope they know that by just being there to talk to me they made a difference in my life. God really is good.
Now I’m going to clean myself up because I’ve been crying through this whole blog. I hope you reach out to someone and give them the best of you, it’s all we have in this life to give. Be appreciative of what you have because there are many more people out there that do not have what you have. Extend a helping hand or just hold the hand of someone else who is struggling. Be kind to each other.
As far as me being called racist… I know the truth about me.
Have a wonderful day and I hope I’ve given you something to think about.
Change yourself to change the world around you my friend.

Love,

Julie

After the first round of crying at coffee.   Yes there was a second when I proof read….  13658958_10207814260448135_6441888954324366066_n

Who I am… let me tell you

Moving to Morocco has been tough on me but it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. There have been a few times in my life that I can actually say that about decisions I’ve made and I think that makes me lucky. At least I am fortunate to be able to say a decision I’ve made was the best. So since I’ve been here 6 months it’s been a real humbling experience. Under the covers I’ve dealt with a myriad of feelings and hostilities I didn’t even realize I had accumulated over the course of my life. For the first time in my life I haven’t been searching for a job or been worried about how I’m going to pay my bills. For the first time I have had to deal with myself. When a person has to deal with themselves and discover who they are at 42 it’s very humbling. I had a great 3 months here then after I got married things slowed down and I became bored. I was struggling every day to wake up and try to do something. I became very angry at my decision to move; I felt trapped here with no way out. I lashed out at my husband and just wanted to pack up and leave this place. I read my tarot cards, prayed, blogged, journaled, spent way too much time on the internet and became obsessed with finding something to keep me busy. My husband would come home from work and I would be in tears just bawling or sometimes even catatonic, my body flaccid not able to talk to him or get up. I started researching what in the hell could be wrong with me and I determined it was Culture Shock and I had all the symptoms. It’s amazing how bad I felt and the easy thing to do was say, “I’m just gonna go home”. Well I’m still here and I’m happy I didn’t give up but there was more going on than just culture shock. Man I remember the days when I just saw no hope and all I could see was I was losing my independence and had lost my life. My tarot cards kept telling me I was bound by my own chains and that I needed to search inward for my answers and happiness. Oh brother that was the last thing I wanted to hear. That was the farthest thing because to me I didn’t have any problems, I had left them all behind when I moved. WRONG. You know the old saying, “Where ever you go, there you are”, well it’s so true. Granted I didn’t have any of the problems like paying bills or worried that the bank was going to kick me out of my house anymore but evidently there was something that I was missing because I was still misreable. My poor husband just kept trying to help me and unfortunatly there was nothing, nothing he could do. I’m very lucky he didn’t decide to send me home. I just didn’t realize that I had so much internally to deal with. I spent many days and nights in tears. I spent some time just leaving this house and getting out to just walk around alone not thinking people would be worried about where I’d gone. I remember not too long ago I wrote a note to Mbarek and left it on the computer. “I’m going back home, I need the internet so I can get a job, That’s it I’m done!” I left the house and went off on my bike. It was one of those days that I didn’t care, I just was done and I wanted out. Yes he came across town to get me at the local park where Butch and I were having a great time just enjoying sunshine. But I suppose what I want to say is that this particular day I was ready to leave. Deep down I was ready to go. I came home and after that things have not been the same with me. After that day I have thought more about things and really have accepted that I have been done wrong by people in this life. I’ve been done wrong more than I’ve done others wrong. I am a very strong woman and it’s not for lack of intelligence, self esteeme, kindess or honesty did I find myself in a mess. The direction that I had planned for my life just got off track by trying to make a bad situation work. There are not many of you who know that many years ago in 2010 I worked for a company where the owners accused me of soliciting myself to their employees. They accused me of prostitution and used that as the reason they fired me. Now that’s not what they told me when they fired me but when I went to file for my unemployment that’s what they reported. I fought and fought for myself because it was not true. I wrote the Governor of New Mexico, our Senators, City officials, county officials and told them all of my story on how the owner sexually harrassed me and discriminated against me. I lost a portion of the life I built for myself all because they were just evil people. I had just built my house and then they fired me for something so so so uncomprehendable to me. They said they had witnesses so I took my case, without an attorney, to the EEOC and the US Department of Labor. I represented myself across the table from the evil ones and I stood up for myself when no one else would and I did it alone. After years of fighting these people I finally decided to put it behind me because I needed an attorney and I didn’t have the money for one. I had to leave it behind and it was the root cause of many of the problems I had. (A few years ago their so called witness came to my house to appologize for his false testimony only after he had been done wrong by these people, fyi) When something like that happens you have trouble finding a job but luckily I had to just tell future employers the truth about these people. I discovered I was hirable but due to the economy I lost many good jobs over the years, people just couldn’t afford to pay the salary I required. Boy talk about the fight of my life, I should have left Albuquerque then but I was determined to stick it out. Then the last job I had I was fired for being a Muslim. Holy Shit would this ever end? I ask myself why these things happened to me. Why did employers feel they could talk to me bad and the only reason I could imagine is that I let them because I needed my job. I needed money to live so just quitting wasn’t an option and they knew that. I had moved on from a dead marriage when I moved to Albuquerque and here I was again in a dead spot. So I did the unthinkable I walked away from EVERYTHING. I realize now I tried to run and run fast away. I ran away and left it all behind, or at least I thought I had. It’s been hard work dealing with all of the hurt and feelings of failure, it’s been overwhelming. I’m lucky I’ve had the time to really sit here bored alot and my only responsibility is to take the dog for a walk. Even then I wasn’t dealing with the internal issues, the concequences, the coming to terms of what hurt I have endured. What I realized is that I never dealt with things that I had done back in my late teens. I have spent time thinking about why I even got married back in 1997. I have spent time pondering the loss of my daughter and all of the feelings I still carried with me of hurt and anger because God had taken her. There’s been time sorting through all of the decisions I had made in my life from the small ones to the large ones. I’ve surfaced so many things from deep inside that it scares me to think that I was carrying all that around for so long. No wonder I was a fucking mess. My mother has always told me, “People know when you have problems”, and I tend to believe she is right but it goes further than that because most people don’t know how many real problems they have or how to deal with them. People, like myself, get so good at masking their problems as they mount and don’t deal with them to be able to move on. I would have loved to have taken some time off work just to soul search and deal with all the shit. The two things I said when I was planning my move to Morocco. One, I wanted to slow my life down. Two, I wanted to eat healthier. I never planned that there would be a third, clearing my mind from many years of baggage. The hamster wheel had become my life with no hopes of getting off. I had no future in the direction I was travelling. I really didn’t know what to expect of myself moving away and getting off that wheel but it’s been harder than I thought.
I read something today said by the Dhali Lama when he was asked what surprised him most about humanity and it goes like this: “Man. because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
There is much truth to this and I am lucky enough to have made a decision to live. It’s taken 6 months to get my mind straight, to recuperate. I would have never ever been able to do this in the US because I couldn’t have taken the time off. I can’t seem to remember a time when I wasn’t worried about tomorrow or the future but I will say if you can take the time to slow things down you need to do it. Maybe adults in the western world are on so much medication for depression and bi-polar conditions because of the fact there is no time to deal with what’s inside so they prescribe an RX for that. That’s what happened to me. I had gotten to the point in the US where I thought I was crazy, yep crazy, ready to check myself into the psych ward. I was on medication only to mask what I just couldn’t surface to deal with. See it all makes sense to me now. Maybe if people could take a year off work just to get straight you wouldn’t have so much hositility in the community. If it wasn’t all about money for survival, if there was a window for a break we may be in better health. My husband insisted that it would take a year for me to discover myself, he’s right I’m only just now opening my eyes, there’s still much work to be done. There is a light in the distance. I suppose I was right that day at the park when I told him I believe this is my breaking point because I’ve been different ever since.
It hurts to let go, it hurts to surface those things deep inside, it hurts but maybe not for much longer.
Peace and love to you all. If you do one thing today take the time to close your eyes and smile with your face, your brain, your stomach even your liver. Appreciate the moment you have right now and smile.
Tonight I will begin my blog on slavery in Africa. It’s interesting so stay tuned.

One week to go

I’m sitting here tonight on my 6 month anniversary of when I first arrived in Morocco.  It’s hard to believe that I’ve been here for a whole 6 months but I have.  I talk to my mother every day and our conversations vary each day but mostly I tell her about what’s goin on here.  It’s true that I’m not a fan of Ramadan so the last 3 weeks has been horrible and talking it out with her has really helped.  I really was never one for holidays I think that’s because my birthday is on Christmas Eve and most people forgot about it.  Don’t worry some remember so those are the true friends or they are the friends that are dedicated to FB notifications.  My family always did a great job celebrating my special day and tried very hard to separate it from Christmas.  Yes, there are many two in one presents in case you were asking yourself that.  Now that I’m in an Islamic country I believe that at least my husband and mom will remember, as well as a few others.  Anyway, Mbarek and I were talking the last few nights about Ramadan and I told him maybe next year I will go on vacation out of the country.  He kind of got this sad look on his face so I quickly added, “Maybe next year we will have our house in the country and I will make all kinds of food”.  Sometimes I’m so quick to say things and in my case I’ve always been guilty of my mouth running, sometimes not in a good way.  Being married to a non American who speaks English as a second language you really have to be aware of what you say.  Mbarek doesn’t get some things and you have to explain them but sometimes you can slip things past him, not that remark though.  Remember that if you ever marry a man or woman from another non English speaking country.  So I ran my mouth and sort of hurt his feelings.  I am still learning Islam even though I converted over a year ago so my question to him was, why is Ramadan a celebration?  I see it as torture kinda.  You can’t eat, you can’t shop during the day because NOTHING is open, you can’t drink, you can’t do a lot of things so to me it’s horrible.  If I were back in the US I could at least keep busy doing something.  I don’t think that anything would have prepared me for Ramadan in Morocco.  This was one thing that was much more different that I ever imagined.  I thought there would be lots of food and get togethers.  I mean I wasn’t expecting dancing in the street or fire eaters on the square.  That would be cool to learn to be a fire eater though, just saying, or even see one on the square.  I think that things are a little different for my family though because they don’t socialize much.  They kind of keep to themselves and so do I but when I get out I like to be a social butterfly.  I suppose it’s like Christmas is as far as the religious meanings but I haven’t seen a celebration yet this Ramadan.  Oh well I’ve decided that next year we will have our own house and I will be cookin up a storm.  I will fix big meals and I think I will do a Thanksgiving meal at the start of Ramadan and at the end.  Maybe it’s destined for me to be the one to host the celebrations and family gatherings.  If it wasn’t so hot I’d be cooking things in my room, but firing up a gas cook top in a small room heats it too much when it’s 94 degrees outside and there’s no air conditioner.  So after quickly thinking about what I had said about coming home to the US for a month I realized that I’ll just turn it the other way and stay here and make my own traditions.  It’s kinda cool that I actually get to do that though start traditions of my own for a whole family.  Wow as I’ve been sitting here writing this it’s made me realize how cool that is going to be.

Well I’m here having coffee at 9:45 PM and a steady stream of people have begun to make their way into the square.  I will say this, during Ramadan people get out and hit the streets.  They even have to close a few streets off because there are so many people out and about.  The shops are bustling with people and the coffee houses are full.  I have had to be more modest with my clothing during this time.  I don’t go with my arms and shoulders showing out of respect and you’d think that people wouldn’t stare at me as much, well they do.  The other night we left my coffee shop and headed diagonal across the square, toward the end there was a group of ladies, there must have been 10 of them all sitting on the ground.  One of them looked at me then immediately all of them looked at me.  I did a twirl, my skirt was long and full so it twirled then I waved and said, “take a good look it’s only things you see in movies”.  My husband started laughing and said, “good, stand up for yourself”.  It’s funny that only recently he’s noticed how the women look at me.  I just get tired of it honestly.  Even if I wear my hijab I still get looks, it’s crazy, really crazy.  One of these days I’m gonna have to be rude to some people even though I don’t want to be but a person can only take so much.  I begin to wonder if I will ever fit in?  I don’t think I will honestly which is why I want to get my white ass to the country a few miles out of the city where I can do pretty much as I damn well please, like I’m used to doing.

So my recent adventure during Ramadan was to go to Spain to get my visa renewed.  I have to cross into another country every six months in order to remain in Morocco or at least until I get my residence visa.  Now this residence visa paperwork is almost as much as it required for us to get married.  I don’t believe they make it this hard in the US but we shall see because Mbarek decided after my trip to Spain that he needs a US Passport.  So before this next president is elected I will make sure to have filed the paperwork for that because you never know what his chances will be after December especially if Donald Trump is the big man in charge.  Hopefully within the next 6 months I will hold dual residences.  I was thinking about that today as I watched The Breakfast Club.  I was thinking that back in the day just as that movie had made it to HBO I was staying up late just to watch it and now I’m in Morocco watching it.  I would have never dreamed that back then as a kid in middle school that I’d ever be watching that movie and living in a country other than the US.  It’s amazing where life takes you huh?  I still get great enjoyment from watching that movie, however for many many years I know every line so I spend most of my time mouthing everything along with the characters.  Mbarek didn’t realize that I did that to a few movies, he finds is fascinating at first then gets irritated because I say their lines in advance.  I’m really bad about that when watching Silence Of The Lambs.

Spain was beautiful.  I don’t know if any of you remember from history class that Spain has a territory here in Morocco.  Also recently because of the Brexit I was reminded that Gibralter is actually an English territory so my next visa renewal, if it’s needed, will be to the little English city across the strait.  So Cueta sits on the area where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean.  MY GOD WAS IT BEAUTIFUL!  I went over there to buy a few things as well but came back empty handed.  Now one thing you can’t get here are tampons because it’s an Islamic country and they religion forbids their use.  You can’t buy them here but you could in Cueta.  So the first place I hit was the Pharmacia and the lady behind the counter told me she wouldn’t sell them to me.  I tried twice and was furious.  She told me that they were too expensive for me.  I insisted I’m American and I can afford them but she, for some reason, wouldn’t sell them to me.  The man that I went across with had never been there before and he spoke Arabic and Italian, along with some French.  Oh boy this was a nightmare trying to communicate with him.  He was really nice but I lost my cell phone service and couldn’t use my English Arabic Translator, nor was I prepared to speak Spanish.  I thought that this guy had been to Spain before but as we passed through Spanish customs Mbarek called me and told me that he didn’t know anything about where we were, he had never been there.  I wanted to just get in the driver seat but I couldn’t even tell him that.  I tried showing him a map of where I wanted to go, because I knew where I wanted to go, but he was clueless.  So I wound up in tears along the Mediterranean and decided to just come back across into Morocco.  On our long way home Mbarek surprised me that he was taking me to a city that I have wanted to visit.  The city is Chefchaouen and it’s in the mountains on the eastern side of Morocco.  We travelled along the sea and finally delved into the mountains.  Words cannot describe the beauty I saw that day.  When someone tells you a place is Exotic they must be talking about Morocco because it’s just … EXOTIC.  Chefchaouen is known as The Blue City.  It’s a city that sits in the mountains, literally is built on the side of a mountain and many of the buildings are painted blue.  The only way I can describe it, if you’ve seen photos of Santorini Greece, it’s just like that minus the sea below.  The streets were small and there were tourists everywhere.  It was everything I expected and I have to say there are a lot of places that often are not what you expect them to be but this was.  I am looking forward to going back there to spend the weekend at least, it’s a wonderful vacation spot.  Our ride home from there was over 4 hours on these small European style two lane roads where you had to drive over the yellow line in many places.  Crooked curvy roads and Mbarek was sick, his IBS was acting up, it was not fun.  We finally got home about midnight after me demanding the boys driving quit sight seeing and get us home.  I was up and travelling for 48 hours so I was exhausted and demanded they end the adventure.  I hit the bed and decided that next time I would be going across the strait to Gibralter by myself and I will come back home with my tampons god damn it.

So needless to say since I’ve been sitting here there have been three people come and beg the patrons of the coffee shop for money.  I have to tell them I don’t have any and I really don’t.  Kinda sounds crazy because I’m sitting here with two cups of coffee, two bottles of water and a big cup of mint tea, oh and two packs of Marlboros..  but actually Mbarek normally carries all the money he’s just down the way working.  I hardly ever carry money on me anymore, in fact, I never carry anything but my cell phone anymore.  It’s strange to even carry a purse, wow right?  That’s the one thing they do have here, a nice selection of knock off purses and attire.  For a 3rd world country there are no shortages of NY Yankees hats or Chanel clothing.  This place is full of surprises.  The other day we were out walking around and I saw what I call a “Girl Store” so I had him run in with me to find out how much the Louis Vuitton purse was.  I couldn’t believe it just $15.  Well if I didn’t have a wardrobe full of them then I would have gotten it.  I suppose $15 is a half a weeks work for people here, some of them.  I love my purses now, especially vintage ones and this one was nice but I couldn’t justify spending that kind of money on it when I don’t carry them anymore.  My life has really really changed since I’ve been here and well I’ve lost 60 lbs in 6 months so my clothes will be changing soon as they won’t fit anymore.  I’m assuming that my weight loss will be like a bad hair cut, takes a while to sort it out.

So I see that most dinners and prayer are over and it’s 10:45 PM so there will be many more people out.  It’s interesting here, some restaurants close for the entire month.  There is one place that I like to get salad it’s called Snack Diafa.  The salads are not leafy green salads though, they consist of rice, potatoes, onions, tomato, ketchup, mayo and a chunk of tuna.  At first when he brought me a salad home I didn’t know what to say I was expecting something like a nice garden salad and I was disappointed but over time I learned to love it.  So when I’m craving salad I can’t even get it.  Other places make salad but they have the best.  I swear I am gonna make it maybe tonight, why not it’s healthy.  So the best part about Ramadan is the getting to stay up all night.  The last prayer is at 3:30 AM so you have to eat all you can between 8:00 PM – 3:00AM.  It’s funny because I have been fasting more than Mbarek but he’s working during the day too.  I’ll just be glad to get back to normal days and nights, we have one more week to go and I’m sure now I’ll make it with no problem.  Now I just have to prepare myself for next year.

I suppose if I’m going to have to stay here for Ramadan next year then I am going to insist Mbarek wear a dress for me.  There is nothing more that I want than to see him in a Moroccan dress.  I’ll make it happen, he may get attacked by me cause he’ll be so damn handsome, lol.   Well I am going to sit here now and play on FB so I’ll catch you next time.  13508972_10207671018107166_6334975537303801923_n13509079_10207671015347097_6500588043142440432_n13511023_10207670952225519_5861542196178515913_n13516226_10207671060628229_462700542012187561_n13516620_10207671058588178_7423178236779812021_n13516659_10207670925504851_603361791169185069_n13521905_10207670901784258_1684534285701674004_n

Adios Champ

Now that we have said our goodbyes to The Champ, The G.O.A.T, Muhammed Ali it is time for the world to take a look at the messages that were delivered at his memorial service.  It surprised me that the memorial service was broadcast live here in Morocco.  I was actually overjoyed to see that this amazing man, from my hometown, was making news here in Morocco.  I remember years ago seeing on the tv where he was visiting Morocco and that the King was to give him a prestigious honor, I think that was back in 1998.  Never did I actually think that 18 years later I’d be sitting in Khemisset, Morocco watching his last cruise through The Ville.  Many years ago a retired Fed Ex pilot told me that it didn’t matter wherever he went in the world he could never escape Louisville, Kentucky.  Every time he was in a different country and turned on the news there was news about Louisville, Kentucky and at the time it was in the 1970’s.  Next thing you know I moved from Kentucky and even in New Mexico there it was Louisville, Kentucky making the news.  Now here I am in Morocco and there it is again Louisville, Kentucky.  Literally I believe he is correct as it’s come true for many of my friends who travel internationally.  As Mbarek and I watched the motorcade tour my home town we were in awe of all of those who came out.  I think it shocked everyone that the turnout was so great.  When the memorial service started we had begun to watch it on WHAS streaming it live because watching France 24 had too many interruptions by the commentaries.  I will tell you that he and I were glued to the TV.  There were a couple of the speakers that we enjoyed less than others but all in all we were glued to the TV.  Now Mbarek kinda has ADD when it comes to sitting still, he always has to be doing something but in this case he was tuned in.  If you watched it then you know why.  The messages that were delivered were just real.  I must say that I loved John Ramsey, The Rabbi John Lerner, and Billy Crystal.  I did enjoy the family as well but I was speaking about everyone else.  The one thing I love about my husband is that he is very intelligent, he has vast knowledge of the history of The United States and many other countries.  I remember one of the things that attracted me to him was the fact that he could hold intelligent conversations about other countries.  I teased him when we first met about the fact he passed my test when I asked him to name the last 3 presidents of Russia.  He got them all correct and elaborated on them as well without me asking, that was when he had me, right then.

Almost immediately after the broadcast ended I got on Facebook to post.  I wrote, “Many important things were said over the last few hours.  Will the world learn from it?”  I wonder if the world will learn.  My heart tells me yes but my brain says no.  Now for those of you who missed it, you need to set aside some time and watch the entire service.  Muhammed Ali had many speakers but I must say that the most outspoken was the Rabbi.  The Rabbi really brought to the forefront many of the issues that are still lingering.  He mentioned the fact that people hate too much based on religion, the fact that there are still many racial issues in our country and around the world.  There is so much injustice in the world and there needs to be more peace.  Now all of that is known unless you live in a paper bag but to bring it to light in such a public way and with no apologies was phenomenal to hear.  I just know I watched in awe as many of the injustices against us as a people were called out.  I think his part of the service should be broadcasted everywhere that there is a communication venue.  So many people live in their own little world and rely on what you were taught to define who you are.  Many people I know are still that way.  Now Muhammed Ali, one of the most famous Muslims in the world, was able to do many great things during his life, some of which I’m still learning about even today.

I was born in 1973 in Louisville, Kentucky and yes there were racial issue back then but my parents really instilled in me that people were people and only their actions made them a good person or bad person.  If you stole, killed then you were a bad person.  Of course it’s more complicated than that but we all know some bad people in this life.  We all know good people too.  It’s only one’s ability to apply what you were taught and apply it to the world using your values.  I want to share a story about myself from when I was a little little girl.  I must have been 5 years old and was in kindergarden at a southern Baptist school.  I remember my parents took me to the park to play and my mom and dad were talking to this couple on the park bench, a black couple.  Their children were playing with me on the play ground when one little girl fell off the swing.  I walked over to her and helped her up.  I took her over to my mom and dad and sat next to her on the bench, she was just crying and crying and crying.  I put my arm around her and I said “don’t worry little n*^^er girl it’s all gonna be ok” and I kissed her on the cheek just holding her in my little arms.  WELL…come to find out my father was talking to her father and this man was the head of the NAACP in Louisville.  The first questions out of my parents mouth were asking where I heard that word… the N word.  I told them I heard it in school at my Baptist school.  My parents made the decision to send me to another school for first grade.  And yes they made me apologize to the parents and the little girl even at 5 years old.  I learned from an early age that the N word first of all is not something you ever say because it hurts people. I’d like to think that my parents were teaching me not to label people and to be kind to everyone.  As an adult I look back as to how I’ve treated people and I may have hurt a few people in my life but it never involved race I can say that.  My parents taught me to see the person on the inside.  I mentioned that I went to school at a predominately white school and Baptist schools through 4th grade then in 5th grade I went to public schools where it was more integrated.  It was the first time I’d really had the opportunity to make true friends who were of different ethnic backgrounds and I loved it.  I loved learning about everyone’s home life and how some homes were different from mine.  I learned about cultures that I’d later read about.  I learned about different religions that eventually lead me to becoming a Muslim myself.  I have always been one of those that was a truth seeker wanting to know the real truth about things. When I listened to the service and it was said that there is a little Ali in everyone.  I’d like to believe that.  I know that hearing the powerful words spoken in the service it has planted seeds in me that I could be more, I can be a champ in my own way.  In reality I feel good with myself and in my faith believing in the greatest God.  One of the things that made Ali so great as a person is he used his fame to better others.  I think that only certain people realized it when he was famous, he gave a voice to many.  He was outspoken and he was generous, he stood for what he believed in one of which was human rights.  Without great leaders like him I wouldn’t be able to have many of the equalities that men do.  Even though he didn’t speak out on women’s rights he did speak out on human rights and to that women in the United States should be appreciative of that because we wouldn’t have the rights we do without the civil rights leaders.

It’s taken a couple of days to write this and I just see that the US didn’t learn a damn thing from his passing.  I’m getting to writing another blog on that.

I will just finish this by saying I have been re-inspired by The Champ’s passing and the seed has been planted in me to be a better person and to look at life a little differently.

Adios big guy!

The Gorilla Killing

So I’ve not been voicing much on this subject but I’m gonna now.  You see it’s like this if parents made their kids mind then this wouldn’t have happened.  I’ve heard that the mother of this child was on the phone and several on lookers tried to get her attention.  Now first off you are in a public place where there are all kinds of people, people that could take your child like predators.  You know the simple thing here is that if you are at the zoo with your kid you need to watch them.  You need to watch them all the time.  If you can’t then you need to put them in the stroller and buckle them in this way they can’t go anywhere.  Second thing is even if the mother isn’t watching the kid, someone somebody had to see something.  Why didn’t someone step in.  I bet you there were eye witness accounts and you mean to tell me NOBODY DID NOTHING.  Obviously no one did anything because the kid got in.  Everyone wants to say oh it’s the zoo’s fault, it’s because they are black…  Bullshit I’m gonna tell it like it is.  YOU WASN’T WATCHIN YOUR KID!  PERIOD!

Now let’s think a minute.  If this child was abducted from the zoo who’s fault would it have been?  If the child had fell into the enclosure and died who’s fault would it have been? This is not a black issue.  This is a parent being responsible issue.  If your child is wild, and some of em are, then you need to do what you need to do to keep them close.  I don’t go out and let my dog off the leash knowing he’s gonna run into traffic or bite somebody.  Oh so I take my dog out to the coffee house and he goes and bites someone then it’s my fault.  See how simple all this is!  Social media is now coming to a new era and the public is finally calling out these irresponsible parents.  It’s about damn time.

I say when you do something that endangers your child, like this, then you need to be held accountable.  I know that during my days as a child this kinda thing didn’t happen.  Ask yourself why?  Because my momma didn’t allow me to climb on shit like that.  She watched my every move.  Even today my momma watches my every move and I’m 40 freakin 2 years old.  I can only hope through the death of an innocent animal that this parent learns to watch her kid.

And that folks is the way it is!

No hot water..

So marriage is something new to me after being divorced for 10 years.  Boy oh boy I didn’t realize what hard work it really was.  I’ve been married since March 13th but I’ve been here with my husband since the first of the year and it’s a struggle for me sometimes.  There are days that I wonder how I do it.  Going from being single for 10 years and then all of a sudden married was way different than my first marriage where we lived together.  Not only that I went from living alone to living with my husband and his family.  That’s the way they roll here in Morocco.  Although we have big plans that will come to fruition we have to stay where we are for a while.  You’d think that society here and the change would be the biggest struggle but it’s not.  The bathroom by far is my biggest struggle here.  Not only do you go to places and wear a long dress only to go to the restroom and see the dreaded squat-t-potty.  Now you ladies know if you are a big gal like myself that squatting down is a real struggle.  For me I get my ass down there in the squat position and can’t get my ass back up.  Keep in mind that these are not handicapped friendly places.  Hell I can barely get the door shut on the bathroom here cause most everyone is skinny.  What can I say Morocco hasn’t seen a big girl this fabulous before, they aren’t prepared, lol.  Anyway I struggle holding up my skirt so it doesn’t get on the ground then have to get my ass up.  I normally only go to the places that has the regular toilet, thank God there are some.

So back to having to share a bathroom..  these bathrooms are just washrooms there’s no tub just a standup shower and everything from washing clothes to wheat is done here so no doubt our bathroom at home is very clean.  However having to share a space boy that’s a complete different thing.  I remember growing up we lived in a 3 bedroom house and 3 of us shared one bathroom.  I could handle that because if one of my parents were showering I could always sneak in if I had to use the toilet bad enough.  Other than that we’d all announce we are going to shower, take a dump etc.  That way you had a chance to go before they got in there.  Well here it seems that people live in the bathroom.  I compare my sister n law and my 80 yr old mother n law to that of 13-14 year old girls.  They get in there and they stay and stay and stay.  Sometimes it’s just outta control.  I’m not one of those people that linger in the bathroom either.  I get my business done and get the hell out especially when I have to share it.  I’m not one of those that take 45 minute steamy hot showers either.  I’m in and out of the shower 20 mins tops from head to toe done.  Now I might have to go back to do my hair when I was at home but now I do all of that in my room.  So not only do I have to share my bathroom with the ladies and my husband but his brother comes over because they don’t have hot water at their house.  So now this guy I love him but dayum….   He comes over shuts the one tiny window in the bathroom, gets the hottest water and then takes a dump.  Now I’mma be real here…this is some nasty shit and when he leaves the bathroom is a damn stinky swamp.  NASTY!  But the thing is that they all close the door tight after their steamy showers and I just can’t handle it.  It’s bad enough without having AC on a 93 degree day then go into a steamy bathroom…  I’m sittin here at coffee just shakin my head God knows what you all are thinkin.

So this morning I go into the bathroom and I’m gonna take a shower.  I feel like I’m back in college mind you because you can’t leave your toiletries in there or someone will use them, so here I go in with my plastic bag.  I get in there and I’m thinkin I am gonna have a great shower…  WELLLLL……  two minutes into my shower the damn hot water runs out.  Now I know this is some bullshit because we don’t have a hot water heater so I know we have hot water.  So I bust out of the shower wet, naked (not caring who sees me), and mad as hell.  I am throwin GD’s around and the F bomb, you’d of thought it was Hiroshima.  Anyway my caring husband, bless his heart, goes in the kitchen to fix the hot water and adjusts the gas on the wall.  He gets the water running just right then I go in again.  Now I’m showering again, get in my bag for the shampoo and wouldn’t you know, NOT A DAMN DROP OF SHAMPOO!  Ok so at this point I’m livid..  I fly out of the bathroom again bitchin!  Who in the hell stole the last dab of my shampoo?  Poor Mbarek it wasn’t him and I know it wasn’t me.  Shit just got real.  I am gonna have to hide my toiletries like I hide money.  Being the wonderful husband he is, he walked to the store and got me shampoo.  Now mind you it’s small like you know those lil travel sizes but it’s what they sell here.  So after all this I finally get a shower.

I’m most certainly convinced that someone in the house is stealin my shampoo and then I’m convinced they are cuttin off the hot water while I’m in the shower cause 9 times outta 10 I have an issue with the shower.  I’m crackin up laughing because I’m sittin here writing about this.  I tell ya I think I have too much time on my hands lol.  But I’m tellin ya if you have ever had to share a bathroom with anyone you know exactly my frustration.

So then let me tell ya we were out of coffee and then cigarettes.  MAN today I called on Jesus and I’m Muslim but Allah wasn’t gettin it today, some things just need JC.  LOL

Well I’ll just say TIAL.  This Is African Life.  It’s funny though you can’t imagine all of the little things that just set me off here.  I think I’ve been way to privileged being from the US.  I could be like all of the others here who go to the community bath houses.  They just built a really nice one on the north side of town and it’s open now.  I am reluctant to go there because it’s way hot and everyone is naked there.  I just don’t like anyone seeing me naked especially all of the women who are in the streets giving me bad looks anyway.  If I went to the bathhouse and got naked they’d all be gossiping.  OH no not me cause the looks they give me are like daggers.  I think they just ain’t seen anyone this fabulous before always cute and smiling.  What can I say most days I love life even when I don’t have hot water.

I love ya’ll I hope you keep reading my blog.  FYI I didn’t spell check I’m flyin by the seat of my pants today.

Ciao

The Glamorous Life

So since I’ve disconnected with New Mexico I have reconnected with Louisville, KY in terms of news and following all that is happening there.  Louisville is my home town after all.  I have been following the news quite closely and I believe I’m in awe as is the rest of the community there over the loss of the two teen boys.  Sad sad, damn Sad I’ll say and I’ll just keep my opinions about that particular subject to myself because they aren’t good and instead of me letting the devil get ahold of my words I’ll look to Allah and pray.  During the last years I’ve been following what has been goin on there in the city because I have many friends and of course family there.  What I’ve seen is children runnin wild in the streets.  Gangs of children runnin the streets vandalizing everything in site.  Now I don’t have children but I don’t believe you have to have in order to speak common sense and truth.  These kids in the city of Louisville are out of control.  What we are seeing is our peers children out of control.  Like it or not the parents we are calling out are our own damn peers.  These childrens parents went to high school somewhere at the same time I did.   We then ask ourselves what the hell happened?  Was there a disconnect in society somewhere?  We want to know where the parents are.  So here’s your answer.  People are tryin to lead a life and they don’t know how to because drugs and pure laziness get a hold of you.  Yep that’s right drugs and laziness.  I know because I use to be an alcoholic and a pill head.  Many of you don’t know that about me but it’s true.  Now I’ve not been a pill head for going on 15 years now but the fact is I know just what that will do to a person.  I just woke up one day and was sick then I’d wake up the next day, not do pills, but be sick.  I was sick either way not doing them or doing them.  So I said what the hell stop spending your money on this shit and move on.  And I did!  Now I have done my fair share of other drugs as well but I never let it become another problem.  The problem is our people are all looking for a way out of their life.  You can have everything in terms of money but when it comes down to it there are as many druggies that are rich as there are poor.  Socioeconomic situation is only used as a crutch.  The problem is you!  People gotta figure out who they are and get on the right path.  Fact is most people don’t wanna look at themselves and say man I’m fucked up I need to get straight they just say it and laugh and move on.  I’m not blamin all things on drugs but let me tell you the research I’ve done on how to get pills in Kentucky, shiiit it’s easy to do because they are everywhere and I haven’t lived there in over 10 years.  Now with that being said people need to wake up.  People are bringing kids into this lifestyle.  People bringing kids into the world addicted to drugs.  I see posts on FB about needing people at the hospital to help soothe addicted babies being born to dirty mothers.

So now ….  this shit starts at home!  This shit starts in the womb people and it’s been allowed to New Jack Louisville.  I’d like to think that people “prey” on your children and get them into this world but let me tell you, you can cut it out in your house.  People are saying you can’t watch your kids 24/7 bullshit, you do what ever you have to do to watch your kids.  Quit your job stay at home and watch those kids because I would.  Now ya’ll know I’m not an advocate for anyone not working but if you had to quit your job and go file for welfare because you gotta watch your out of control kid who’s being preyed on in the streets I’d be all for cuttin you a check.  Responsible parenting starts at home and when you can’t control your kid you need to check yourself then ask for help.  I’mma tell you people say it takes a village to raise a child and yes it does.  Part of the problem in America is that you aren’t allowed to spank / discipline your children.  Here in Morocco if a child is doin something they ain’t suppose to be doin the public will discipline them.  I’ve seen children out of control here and a random adult will snap them up by the ear, give them a talking to right in public in front of everyone.  Adults here don’t hesitate to put the little ones in check here even if it’s not their children.  I’ve seen boys acting up in the street and a mother comes out of a house and spanks both the kids because they were being bad then sends them to their parents.  Believe me at first when I saw that my jaw was on the ground like a flash back from my childhood, but those lil boys didn’t act up no more on my street.  You see this is what is wrong with our society the parents are away and the kids know that no one will discipline them so they run wild and raise themselves.  I know when I was growin up my friends parents were allowed to discipline me if I got out of control over at a friends house, then I’d get it when I got home.  Parents were involved when I was growin up.  Now a days kids are allowed to do what ever the hell they want and they know it. Now we did have that one house where kids ran wild but at the end of the day those kids turned out ok because their parents finally stepped up but you always have the one family.  Shit this is neighborhoods your talkin about today, complete areas of town.

Parents need to step up and quit the bullshit and take care of your kids.  They do it here and let me tell you they don’t have 1/4 the money a welfare family has in the US.  Don’t tell me it’s cause they are poor, bullshit, there are tons of poorer people in the world and their kids mind.  The problem is you!

Society today is all the same no matter where you go.  Now here in Morocco they don’t play with the drug shit like what is allowed in the US so there isn’t a problem with heroin or meth here.  Again everyone works here because there is no welfare system here so you have to work to eat.  There is no disability program here so the family has to take care of the Downs Syndrome child or the family member who is handicapped.  No there are no motorized wheel chairs here they have just the basic ones and many of these people live upstairs so think about that.  There are no free food programs here so literally people give money to those who struggle.  I know that Mbarek and I give money to others every single time we are out.  Every single time we help someone with a dihram or two, even today we helped someone who was mentally challenged and we weren’t out the door not even 20 minutes.  The village seems to help the village here and they don’t have any of the resources that we do in the US.

Here’s the wakeup call ya’ll…..  THERE IS NO GLAMOROUS LIFE!  Life is hard, it’s hard for everyone everywhere in the world not just in your hood.  Get off your phones, turn off your tv’s and internet and look around, step out in your community, get a feel for what’s real.  Poppin bars and Gassin it is waistin your money and you’re kids are sufferin.  Hell you’re teaching your kids this shit. They see you handle stress by poppin a hand full of pills or hittin the bottle, your kids look up to you as a parent.  You are their way to this world and should not be their dead end street.  Wanna know why America is in the shape it’s in?  People trying to get in where they don’t fit in in stead of takin care of their business at home.  If you can’t handle it then there are things you can do.  Hell I have severe depression and sometimes I want to kill myself but you now what I have great people to lean on and so today I’m thinking here I am sittin here being able to write this and every fuckin day is a struggle.  No I’m not on medications because when I took them it didn’t work.  Medication and drugs is not the answer…..the answer is within you.  If your feel good is getting gassed up or shot up then you need to figure out something that makes you happy because at the end of the day you are the problem.  I know because I had to figure out I was the problem myself.  Have I made a better life without all that, NO DOUBT!  Was it hard?  HELL YEAH!  You don’t go from being a pill head for 15 years to straight and not have problems with yourself.  But I tell you this I don’t even drink anymore.  I quit that shit overnight too and I know some of you know I use to hit the bottle alot.  Not anymore!  6 months clean from alcohol too.  I’m not sayin I’m perfect cause I’m not by ANY means but I have to look back on my life now and deal with the shit I created and figure out why.

I just know the shit I’ve seen on tv the last week has got me so fired up that I can’t see straight.  I’d give anything to have kids and haven’t been able to since my daughter died as an infant in 1997.  It’s ashame that some people have kids and just have a cavalier attitude about them.  If you love your kids you will raise them.  Back in the day we all went through phases but you are grown now so quit trying to live The Glamorous Life.  Cause I got news those who are strugglin and raisin their kids to be responsible adults…  that’s glamorous right there!

FYI, you and I know you aren’t raisin your kids if…. they point a gun at the neighbors dogs, lettin your kids smoke weed in your house, letting them run the streets all hours of the night, runnin with the wrong crowd, not going to school, not knowing where they are at all times, lettin them hang out with kids you know does drugs or parents of those kids doin drugs.  Parties, guns, drugs, money are not things for kids.   Kids need sports, school, books, education, community service, good projects, etc..  Too many people raising their kids with parties, guns, drugs, money ….  which one of these spells FUTURE?  I think we all know the answer to that and if you don’t… then ask yourself…  where did parties, drugs, alcohol get you?  Cause that shit is adult fun…Raise your shorties right ya’ll cause they will do their own damage as they grow, they don’t need your help in that way.  Set em straight and be there for them and if you just can’t do it then give your kids to someone who wants them and be on your way.  No one will fault your for that I assure you.

Now that’s all I got say today.   Peace and love to you all!

 

When someone tells you NO

When someone tells you NO…    Free Will Right????

I don’t know about the rest of you but when I’m not doing anything wrong and someone tells me no I can’t do it this bothers me.  I find it hard to let go of the fact that someone scolded me for doing nothing wrong.  Could it be that person is doing something wrong and doesn’t want to be be caught?  So for instance today I was out in my neighborhood and was taking photos.  My husband bought me a new camera and I have been out trying it out.  For some reason it’s socially acceptable to have a cell phone and take photos of absolutely EVERYTHING and EVERYONE but when you have a real camera with a lens people get nervous.  I am enjoying my new country and I love to share what I see with the world so when it comes to photos I personally cannot get enough.  Keep in mind I mainly take photos of architecture, animals and detailed things, Not People.  My main focus is not on people.  So for those here in the neighborhood I will stop and share my photos with them as I take them.  Most of the people just kind of laugh that I’ve taken photos of tile and doorways and buildings.  However, it’s much more to me than just what you see every day.  There is the appreciation in discovering the details that I find fascinating.  So I’m walking along today snapping some photos of the neighborhood and I make my way to the main street where they sell vegetables.  I snapped two photos of people selling vegetables, only two and then a young guy in his early 20’s walks up to me and says NO, and shakes his finger at me like I was doing something wrong.  I looked at him and said What?  He said no, no no…then he walks to the vegetable owner, who’s back was to me and told him I was taking photos.  The vegetable seller looked back at me and then turned around like he didn’t care.  I stood there for a few seconds longer and the young man walked back to his chair where he was hanging out and sat back down.  Still he was watching me and when I walked away I pointed the camera at him and made a face then walked away.  As I walked back down the street I have no idea if he was watching me, I stopped and showed the kids my photos because at least they were interested.  A lady who was out cleaning wanted to see so I showed her.  You know as a person I have respect for everyone, maybe a little too much respect for others.  I tend to be very sweet and friendly but it pisses me off when I’m not doing anything and I get scolded by a thug on the street.  I will use the word thug because as I could see it he was doing nothing, just hanging out.  I never realized though that people get nervous when you do have a larger camera.  See to me it’s interesting and I want to see what the camera person is taking photos of, which is why I share what I take with those on the street when they look interested.  I think it goes a little more than that though for me.

Being told I’m doing something wrong when I’m not. I remember being at the police station and I went to take a photo of the stairs outside.  The police man said no no you can’t do that so I put my phone away quickly ok oops, no problem.  That didn’t bother me at all, probably because he was an authority figure and there were rules.  I could sit here all day and bash how primitive it is here and how old fashioned the people are, but instead I see how beautiful it is and I want to share it with the world.  Not all of the photos I take are good, as most photographers know, so there’s a great deal that I delete or just never post.  I bet, though, if I had my cell phone out taking photos on the street no one would say a damn thing. In fact I have and no one said anything.  So I have a hard time getting over things like that.  Why I ask myself?  Is there any reason an hour and a half later I should still be thinking about this stupid guy who said NO to me.  What surprises me is that people just do and say whatever they want.  I’m sure he saw a white woman and he said I’m gonna tell her no to see what she does.  Anyway I just need to get over it huh?  I’m sure that’s what most of you are saying.  Fact is I’ve been like this somewhat all my life.  I get my feelings hurt more often than not. When I’m out if someone looks at me wrong I’m constantly thinking about what he was thinking of me, what caused that person to give me that look, what did I do.  This kind of thing gets tiring in my mind.  Mbarek just realized last Saturday that when people look at me they also look at him.  He didn’t realize this until we were out in a very open area of the city then he told me he noticed people looking at him after they look at me.   I was reading an article today about anxiety and I really may be feeling anxious because this thought thing is one of the signs among others.  I’ve been going through a waterfall of emotions recently which is why I’ve had no desire to write.  After kind of doing some research on what I’m feeling I have discovered I’m experiencing anxiety and extreme culture shock.  Some of the symptoms of culture shock are:  1. Comparing your surroundings to your home and thinking negative thoughts about your current place based on how different the two places are.  2. Depression and not wanting to leave the house.  3. Speaking negatively about the traditions in your current place.  4. Crying out of nowhere and feeling trapped.  There are more but these are really the ones that I’m experiencing.  I knew this would set in I just didn’t know it would be so extreme.  Sometimes the thought of leaving the house to deal with this different world is just too much so I stay in.  Some days I just get my make up on, fix my hair, put on a pretty dress, walk the dog, then stay in the rest of the time.  So in efforts to break up this culture shock thing I have decided to get out and meet the neighbors and take photos.  Hell who knows maybe I’ll land a gig as a photographer shooting travel photos if the right person sees my picutes.  My neighbors are very interested in me and when I told them of the scolding I got on the main street they were talking about it.  I have no idea what they were saying but they were talking about it.  I know they told me to tell Mbarek about it, which I did.  Mbarek said that people here are afraid of cameras because they think if you take photos of them you are making fun of them.  Well that’s not what I’m doing at all!  This is why I show  people what I’m taking so they know that I’m not zooming in on them so to say.   I am just feeling out my new location and trying to bring some beauty into my life at the same time.  I’m trying to find something to do mostly since I don’t have a job.

I think people for the most part are not as adventurous as I am.  I don’t care about having my photo taken.  I’ll smile for anything pretty much.  Sometimes I don’t like my photo taken but it’s rare.  I suppose I am a free spirit and I just don’t see harm in these things.  See here I go… why am I even giving this anymore thought than I should.  Maybe it’s just the way I’m built.  I don’t know that I could ever be a member of the media, my skin isn’t thick enough, but maybe I could because I’m not afraid of doing it again.  In today’s society there are so many people running from the law, doing illegal activities, and other shit that they aren’t suppose to be doing that the rest of us have to alter when we are around them.  And how do you know who you are really around?  For instance we’d all like to think that when we go the shopping mall or park that we are around good, well I’ll say decent people.  When in fact we are not around good people at all.  I tend to think that there are more bad people in this world than there are good.  What is funny about where I live is I can hear everything that the neighbors do.  I can hear their tv’s playing, the conversations they have, the arguments, the scoldings they give their children, even … you know..     So really when it comes to taking photos of them, if I wanted to, I don’t see the big deal, I’m just sayin.  Ha Ha I already know all about you anyway skippy.

So as I stood outside with my mother in law telling her and the other ladies about my scolding they were all too happy to take photos with me.  Their children were too happy to pose with me for photos.  I think they know my intentions are good and harmless but above all I think they know I like to have fun and I’m appreciating their world.  I’m seeing the beauty in the very place they have lived all their life.  I’m showing them the beauty of it through a camera lens.  I know I’ve seen them remark how pretty the tile looks on the screen and they can’t believe that it’s the tile right in front of their door.  The very tile they walk on every day looks different when you see it through my eyes.  I think the most important lesson I’ve learned today is that if you are an asshole you are an asshole and no one will change you.  People only broaden their minds to see what they want to see and don’t care that what they say to others.  They want to exude their presence over everything.  This is why this little creature who told me NO is just that to me…  an ignorant little creature.

Ciao…  I have many photos but uploading is slow.  Check back a bit later when my signal gets better.

DSCF4930