Sitting outside in front of the mosque

So today I´m at my favorite coffee shop yet again and all is right with the world. I finally have found some of the baking supplies that I´ve been talking about so I can make some sweet stuff. Since being here I´ve developed quite the sweet tooth. I think it´s because the sweets here compare much to Mexican pastries because they are not so sweet. Very much unlike American sweets. So this week I made some nutella no bake cookies that I saw on Facebook. They came out good considering that I don´t have measuring cups so I eyeballed the ingredients. I also added some fresh strawberry which I think made the cookies not set up so well. What I have to say is that it doesn´t matter if they didn´t set up there is nothing better than chocolate and strawberries. So I deem them a success eventhough they only stay together when they are almost frozen.
So today I´m out and about we are going to go shopping at the souk for vegetables and I´ll be making turkey and dumplins for dinner. He´s never had turkey and dumplins so this should be interesting. However it won´t hurt my feelings none if he doesn´t like em I´ll take care of em papa. So since I´ve been here I haven´t had a haircut and I now need one. I stopped this lady on the street that I saw with blonde hair like mine and got the phone number of a shop so I´ll be calling them today to see when I can get a cut. I put a hair straightner on my hair, the first time I have ever done that and I´m still trying to get use to it. I´m not sure I´d do it again but for now I am living with it. LOL at home hair products are the devil. They are tempting and for some they work quite well. I never thought I could blow dry my hair and it be straight so it works that´s for sure.
Recently Mbarek and I have been having some conversations about me being bored. I must admit that I´ve been somewhat bored now that we have settled into everyday life. Boredom can be horrible for those who suffer from depression and that coupled with my shoulder hurting alot it doesn´t help. I think I´ve just been through a huge transition and my body is catching up with me. One of the conversations we´ve been having is about me being out in public without him. I know for many of you, you were waiting on this. Many of you said that he would change once we were married. Well he hasn´t changed but he has expressed some rules for when I´m out in public without him. Let´s say this did not go over well with me AT ALL. I kenw when I came here that the women covered themselves up and I also knew that we were in an old Berber town. Berber people are less progressive than the rest of Morocco. It´s not a bad thing at all but sometimes the idea of what people say about you is something that I´ve always had in the back of my mind. As a child I always worried what people thought of me from how I matched my clothes, did I carry the right bag with my outfit, how was my makeup and hair all of it worried me. I always went out wondering how people perceived me. As an adult I have shed that mentality somewhat but coming here I have been faced dealing with it on another level. I hear Mbarek tell me you don´t have to wear makeup out just to go to the souk or just to have coffee. Well I don´t know about you but as a western woman I am not one who goes to Walmart in my pj´s. I don´t mind going with no makeup but now that I have the time I don´t want to go anywhere without makeup and my hair done. It´s something that I do. He joked with me the other day when I walked up to get cigarettes. He was getting out of a taxi and someone told him I was getting cigarettes so he came to join me in line. When we walked back home he joked and asked me if I was bitchin. Bitchin here means a woman walking the streets looking for men. Now Mbarek is jealous and his worst fear is that someone will steal me from him. Someone with more money and a smooth talker is who he´s afraid of. However what he will get to know is that I see him as the most handsome, intelligent man I´ve ever known and he´s my husband so I couldn´t be happier. He is just learning to come to terms with the fact that people look at me. I don´t blend in. Even when I wear my hijab I still don´t blend in. Even if I wear my workout clothes and tennis shoes I don´t blend in. I came to terms with this early on and it´s one reason I don´t wear my hijab most of the time. I once asked him why the younger girls wear their hijabs. He told me that they see their mother do it so they do it. When he made the remark about me wearing my makeup to get cigarettes I told him this is the same principle. I watched my mother do it. My mother fixed her hair all the time and she put on makeup. All the women I know do this. Now there are a few that don´t and no one looks down on them but for the most part in the US if you don´t wear makeup to work one day then people think you are sick or that you have problems. Here it is the complete opposite. If you wear makeup here people think you are out bitchin or you are going to a wedding. This explained alot to me as to why he said this to me. I told him that he knew this about me when he met me and hey it´s THOSE photos of me that attracted him to me. We talked about this with my mother on a call one night and everyone ended up laughing. He couldn´t deny it, beauty was the first thing that caught his attention. I know in the US there are many of you I see, especially men, who want to show off their sexy momma when she´s all dressed and glowing in beautiful makeup. This is the norm for us in the US. I understand if you work on the farm and get dirty but I am not yet. One day I will be and I assure you I will always have my nails done and makeup not far away. A great eyeliner and mascara can make you look 100 times different.
So then the next day he comes home and I´m sitting outside the house on the sidewalk typing my blog with my tshirt on, hair fixed, makeup on. Then the next thing he does is look at the mosque after he sees me. It was the look on his face that I knew he had something to say. Now mind you Mbarek doesn´t pray and go to the Mosque but we live next door to one. It was not time for prayer and no one was there, no one was on the street except for a couple of little boys playing with their sisters. So he tells me that I need to cover my arms and wear my scarf if I´m going to sit outside the mosque. I said it nicely but I basically said … Like HELL I WILL. I am wearing leggings and a skirt that comes to my knees, a tshirt that didn´t show my boobs and my hair was down. Oh hell no! It´s not my fault that I live next to the mosque but I am respectful to the men coming to pray when they are actually coming to pray. I will wear my hood on my sweatshirt or throw a scarf on but when they are NOT in the street and the door to the mosque is closed I will do what I want. I don´t think me sitting there was any worse than the ladies that beg the men for money outside the mosque. So he and I have had a bit of clashing but nothing that we can´t work out and haven´t worked out. And well there is one thing that you should never do… Never tell me I can´t do something because I will then you can bank on it. So now that I´ve told you about all of that I can move on. LOL.
Today I´m having coffee and painting my nails black at La Place Coffee shop all while watching people walk by. It´s Saturday and everyone is out. The square seems to be a little quiet at the moment. The sky is blue and the Moroccan flag is absolutely everywhere. See the King was suppose to be in town this week on Tuesday so the city was scrambling to get ready. Last Sunday we went to see where he was going to be and saw all the workers planting trees, painting walls, picking up trash etc. Evidently the workers waited too long and procrastinated in cleaning up the city and preparing for his visit that the King heard the city wasn´t ready and it was still a mess so he didn´t visit. Everyone has hung their flags and I must admit that it´s quite beautiful to see the flag everywhere. All of the businesses and even private residences have the flag hanging or flying, the streets are lined with the flag on poles. I really do love the Moroccan flag it´s just beautiful crimson with the green star against the blue sky. I wish the US displayed the flag like they do here. The US flag is really beautiful and I don´t think Americans see it enough. I really wanted to go see the King and when I told Mbarek we are going to stand on the street to try to see him he asked me why. I know he knows I´m crazy but I told him, I´ve never seen a King before. I think it would be kinda neat to see the King. So when he decides that he´s coming to Khemisset again we will go. I suppose it´s the simple things in life that make me happy.
I´m really excited for next Monday. My friend Nabil will be bringing home his finace from the US. It will be nice to have someone who speaks English to talk to for a little bit. Genesis is coming and will be here in Casablanca on Monday. I told her that I want to come to the airport to meet her. It would do me some good to get out and have some fun. She sent me a message this morning to ask if there is anything she can bring me. I requested 2 cans of spam, dill, ranch dressing mix and a curling iron. It´s funny that these are the things you in the US take for granted. She said ¨I´ll just run by Walmart and pick them up¨. Ha what I wouldn´t give for one Walmart shopping trip right now. I won´t know what to do with myself in the US when I finally do come back.
So I´ve been playing with my home made tarot cards and they kept telling me that I would get a message. Well I got a message allright. My mother emailed me to tell me that she had hurt herself. She was carrying in groceries and lost her balance, fell head first against the sharp door facing, cut her head from her eyebrow all the way to the crown of her head. She has many many stitches, hundreds of stitches and is hurt quite bad actually. When Mbarek heard the news he was very concerned but when he saw the photo he didn´t know what to say. He was beside himself I actually thought he was going to cry. We showed the photo to our family here and they asked if I was going back home. Unfortunately no I will be staying here. Momma is hurt but she´s ok for now. I´m very lucky and I thank Allah for not taking her home because she was very lucky that it didn´t knock her out. Had it knocked her unconscious she would have died because she was bleeding so bad. I often times think that I should have moved closer to her or at least been in the US but the fact is I lived so far from her while in the US so I couldn´t have been there anyway. She´s a very strong woman because the fall happened on a Friday and she was back at her computer working on Monday. Luckily she works at home. I call her everyday to check on her but I normally talk to her for hours every other day. So I can keep an eye on her from afar. Maybe one day she will come here with me and live a nice life on the farm.
So Mbarek and I are starting to put together a plan for getting our house on the farm. We have the farm we just need the house. We just want a small house to start with something equivalent to a large studio apartment. We want one big room which when we finally build onto the house it will become the main living area. I think I am going to have an open house with big pull together doors. Just keep the house open when I´m home let the air come in and very open and airy. I love that idea. Ha a horse could walk into the house if I´m not careful with my plans though. I can´t wait till we actually live on the farm. I am going to make a landscape garden so I can sell my fresh grown things to the people on the street here to sell. I will introduce things like italian herbs and homemade soaps and lotions. I may actually have some bees. Chickens are the first thing I will have, won´t that be exciting.
Today typing is difficult for some reason. Since I´ve been here I have been stiff in the bones in some way or another. I attribute this to the humidity since I lived in the high desert for so long. The desert certainly is good for the bones and aging. It was not however good for the heels of my feet. Mbarek says that because I´m losing weight my bones are hurting because I´m moving things that I haven´t been able to for some time. I don´t know that I believe that at all but hey it´s a good philosophy. I am guessing I´ve lost around 20 lbs. I refuse to get on the scales though. I do know that I bought some skirts before I left that did not fit me by a long shot and now they fit so this is progress. I have more wardrobe options. I went from two closets of clothes to 4 bags of clothes. I really downsized in a drastic way. I have learned that I didn´t need all of the clothes I had and actually here I still have too many but I´m not complaining. So I have decided on the kind of jilaba I want. I want one in NY Yankees material for summer. I will have momma find the fabric and send it to me.
Well I think we are moving our location to the hotel to have another coffee. Today we are coffee shop hopping it seems. I know Mbarek has been wanting to take me to the hotel for coffee so today is a nice day for that. Spring is in the air here the weather is getting warmer. Today it´s 68 and the forecast is 80 for the end of the week. I will not be wearing a sweater in 80 degree weather I´ll tell you that. I wonder in countries that don´t celebrate Easter when is it appropriate to wear white. I am wearing a long flowy white skirt today with a little black sweater and sandals. I love sandal weather. Damn where has the day gone it´s already 3 here. I don´t know but I literally could sit here all day long and I have at times. I wonder what all of you are doing in the states this weekend, sometimes I miss the US. I can´t say sometimes I miss it alot. I miss all of the things that I am use to. Coming here was more of just a face value culture shock or a religious culture shock. There are so many things that all of you in the US take for granted. For example as I´m sitting here having coffee I realize it´s 3 already and I have nothing made for dinner. There is no luchmeat here so fixing a sandwich with chips is not going to happen. I can make hamburgers but let´s say I don´t want to cook. I would give anything to just open a can of soup for lunch or make a frozen pizza for dinner. Pizza rolls, nope not happening here. Go to the store for potato salad or chicken fingers, nope, not happening here. Fix a salad with salad dressing, nope not happening here unless you want to make your own dressing. You can buy salad here but they only make one kind of salad, potatoes, rice, onion, tomato, a small chunk of tuna and ketchup with mayo as a dressing. I´ve not seen a lettuce salad and only during the last trip to the grocery store did they have lettuce, butter lettuce. Hell I haven´t even seen spinach here. I do know that there is a green weed that people cook here that emulates spinach. This weed grows in vacant lots imagine that. I don´t know about it but hey it´s kinda tasty. I recently made french onion soup which was a huge hit with Mbarek, he´d never had it nor had he had carmelized onions. it´s funny he made an onion sandwich out of the onions before the broth was added. I love making him new things that they don´t make here. His sister finally loved something that I make….. Lemonade. She loved the Lemonade! I´m not sure what they think of the other things I make because they never say but then Mbarek never asks them. They don´t know what to think of my southern cooking. Wait till I make chicken and dumplins tonight.

Here are some photos of where we went today.  By the way the chicken and dumplins turned out fab and all made from scratch, which I´ve never done.

Ciao for now.

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