What Is It About Here?

A funny thing is happening here. I am going to try to explain it. It’s new to me. It’s delicious. But it’s new. So I’m navigating my way through it and I want to share it with you. Let me give a little context. 
I returned from Calgary/Banff/Canmore last week after helping out a friend who has her hands tied by the justice system. Following a day on the stand, (literally, no chair provided) I had the same sense of enormous relief that I had that time I gave the ring back and said, “this would be a GIANT mistake.” I mean, whoa. It was a feeling of peace that I have literally only known that one other time. After 4 years (well, 14 actually) of watching the events unfold, I had shared my views, told my story, laughed out loud in a court of law, and made the other side squirm. Hard. Mission accomplished. In fact, the whole proceeding gave new light to what has been a long tunnel with very little light and a very low ceiling. Phew. 

On arriving back in Marrakech, I set about my old routine. But something was different. There was a new energy. There was an underlying sense of…what? Then I realized. Home. I’m home. I had arrived home. To Marrakech. This is my place. These are my people. And it was different this time. I guess this is one of the stages of settling in as an expat, at the 4 month mark. But this was a tectonic shift. 

Not only did I feel at home, but I felt at peace. Well, mostly. There was one little sliver that was growing under my skin and starting to fester. Luckily I was able to deal with that nonsense yesterday and after one unpleasant conversation – pouf! Gone. No more.

I found I wasn’t moving around as a tourist anymore. Or even as a new person. I ran into people that I see on the regular and their smiles and greetings lifted my spirits. I caught up with a friend over dinner and enjoyed being out at my favorite local spot. I started to really plan out some of my next moves. Awesome next moves. And I’m getting REALLY excited for all that is to come. Inshallah. 

Things have come together almost exactly as planned so far. I can check off all the things on my list that I thought were going to get done in the first half of the year. We took a big step forward towards a new business goal this week, made some huge progress on another business goal – slow and steady. Building, always building. I’ve travelled around the country, to Europe, and have another little trip coming up next week. I’m so happy with the people that came into my life 7 months ago, and remain at the centre of it. And I’m really happy with the people who are starting to show up anew. Opportunity has been banging on my door relentlessly. All I have to do is make some tea and welcome her in. I even saw a doctor today. She is absolutely lovely. I am thrilled to know her and happy to know that one more thing is taken care of here. 

I am starting to really truly understand the difference between Moroccans and Berbers. I’m starting to really understand the culture and how I fit into it. With Ramadan right around the corner that is more true than ever as I try to plan how I am going to take part in and support the fasting process. Even the heat is not so bad and I am finding it possible to be in my apartment without air conditioning, which is a requirement when I am not alone there. 

I am really happy with the choices I have made. I mean – r e a l l y happy. In the past 24 hrs I have been brought to the brink of teary eyed twice. Once when I was enjoying the company of 3 brothers who I have grown very very fond of. Brothers in Morocco are very different from brothers at home. They don’t have baggage. They don’t hate each other or fight or undermine. Well they do. But I don’t have to hear it because it’s all in Berber. Ha. They love each other openly. They are the best of friends. They don’t / can’t suppress their feelings for one another. They are polite and SO respectful and while I was enjoying their company, my heart was full to the brim. I feel so lucky to have them as my friends, looking out for me. Helping me. 

The other time I was close to tears was when I remembered why I made the choices I made back in October. I was reminded of why I chose to move here. And why I chose to work with the people I am working with. It’s a choice I do not regret and I’m so happy that I came to make it. I’m so proud of what we will build together. Good job me! 

So as I sit here today, alone with my thoughts and enjoying a beautiful day before heading home to get down to some work that I thoroughly enjoy, I started to realize what this feeling is. I am able to pinpoint it exactly because the exact opposite has happened to me before, so I recognize it. 

It lies like a smoke over every fiber of my being. It is a weightless but all encompassing haze. It’s in every crevice and cavern and it enfolds me like a warm duvet on a cold night. The other times I felt like this, it was a sorrow and sadness so profound I didn’t think it would ever go away.  And in truth it will probably never leave me completely. 

But this time it’s happiness. A kind of happiness I have never experienced before. A kind of happiness that I hope will never truly leave me now that I have known it. 


  1. Susan Ventura

    Omg, your post has brought me to tears; I get it, oh do I ever understand what you’re feeling, “a kind of happiness I have never experienced before. A kind of happiness that I hope will never truly leave me now that I have known it.” Well said my friend, and please keep sharing your thoughts as it provokes all of us into thinking outside the comforts of our minds and spirits. Shukran prettykathi.

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