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

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