Its June. A time of year in the life of an expat when a whole new season comes along. Its my 3rd such season. My 3rd journey from being in Morocco for 10 months of the year to being in Canada for 2. It is WAY better than Christmas. Better than anything really. Its a pilgrimage that marks me as someone who lives in two places. Not one but two. Squarely and completely.
The source of this transition is 100% heat driven of course. It’s a time in my chosen country-of-residence when I go somewhere else in order to simply be more comfortable. I could go anywhere of course, but I have designed this life to be able to straddle my two loves. (Whoa! That sounds dirty). The gift that comes with this is truly remarkable.
I have written a lot in this blog about adjusting to life in Morocco and what its like being an expat. But things are a bit different now from when I first arrived. I am used to the quirks and follies. Some things drive me insane about this place and more things remain absolutely enchanting and magical. But its my place. And more than ever I feel a sense of complete comfort and belonging. I love living here. I stood at the side of the Route d’Ourika yesterday, waiting for a friend to buy some plants, and said out loud to the street, “Damn I love living here.” I have 0 plans to move from this place at any time in the foreseeable future. This is home.
Last year was an amazing summer and I was lucky to have been able to make it happen. This one will be more “ordinary”. Last year Ramadan was in the month of June. I took the month to travel Europe and Croatia. I went back to Canada and did some more travelling with my “bestie.” We visited the Rockies and went to Quebec. We did the tourist thing in Toronto and had a really amazing time. I was happy to be in Canada. Happy for my two worlds to meet up for a time and to be able to enjoy so much movement in the world.
This year I’m going for 2 months. Nine weeks more accurately. This year I am not planning any travel. This year will be more about family. More about just being “home”. One of my nearest and dearest will be my main focus due to some passing, albeit serious health concerns. This year is a time for just enjoying all that is. For helping out. For enjoying my family and friends.
Its has occurred to me just this past week that I don’t think about the west for 9 1/2 months of the year. I stay in touch of course. I keep up with friends and with family. I book my flights and plan my time there. But I don’t LONG for things. I don’t sit around in December wishing I could hear more Christmas music, or long for a snow day in February. I don’t day dream about stopping into a 7-11. I get my fill of retail on my trips to Europe. There is nothing that I feel that I am “doing without” at all. Not a thing.
You see I am starting to really find my stride and my tribe in Marrakech. I live here. There is nothing tentative about that. Just yesterday I made some decisions for things that I will do (and REALLY look forward to) when I come home in September. Things that will change my experience here and things that come in the natural course of maturing into a place. Our business is established now. I feel confident in that. I feel established. Rooted. As permanent as anything is permanent in a world that shifts and changes on a dime. Bigger, bolder steps can and will be taken forward. I have a list of things that I am so looking forward to doing in September and I am thrilled and excited for that time.
And I am going to miss Morocco when I am gone. It’s not at all a matter of “relief” this return to Canada. I think the first year I was sad to go home but I was relieved by the familiarity it provided. Last year I wasn’t so worried about missing Morocco because it was a big part of my summer home. This year though. This year there are things that I will miss here. Leaving is disrupting my routine. My flow. Things are left behind. New born babies, weddings, religious events, family visits from Europe. Things that I really want to be part of but just can’t swing it. I feel a tug at having to leave my friends, my family, my local community, my cats, my routine, my gym, my cafes. I feel so excited to return and get back to my routines and build new ones. I am as connected to this place as I have ever been.
This year, as I run about town getting food to satisfy two different schedules, as I plan to meet friends for f’tour, (breakfast during Ramadan), as I head to the medina for some shopping, I realize my life is more “here” than “there”. But that’s the thing. I believe that for 9 1/2 months. But then in one phone call, it all washes over me and the sense of joy overtakes. This is not like a trip to Italy to see my Canadian friends. This is a trip HOME.
I heard a little voice on the phone the other day, one that I have known since the day he was born. I heard him say, “when are you coming hoooommmmeee?” In it, I heard a small boy who goes about life with no sense of time or days or distance, but one who finally senses the concept of “soon” and he can start to put this on his radar. Like me. Canada is on my radar now. It’s a thing I can start to get excited for.
I can drive a car. I can have lunch with Susan. I can hang out with Craig. I can go to Shoppers Drug Mart. I can buy fruit at the grocery store that will stay in my fridge FOR A WEEK! I can eat chemical laden delicious-ness. Packaged food. I can go to a movie theatre in sweet over air-conditioned blissfulness and drink wine at my seat. I don’t have to think of every sentence three times. (1. Are you talking to me? 2. What language are speaking? and 3. What did you say?). The language will be English. All the time. The food will be familiar. The roads, the cars, the bars, the stores, the faces, the clothes, the morning news on the TV, the commercials on the TV (!!!!) will be familiar. The habits of people out walking their dogs, the BBQ’s, the loud and raucous life at my little oasis on Arcadian Circle will all be SO familiar. If only for a time it will be familiar. I will enjoy it so deeply and with such pleasure because its familiar. And it’s short. And to have something so precious for such a limited amount of time is so amazingly sweet. I am thrilled to overflowing with excitement.
But the best part of all, the thing I can not wait for, the thing that makes this whole lifestyle worth so much more than anything I could have ever dreamed of; the hugs.
Those long, deep hugs when I get home. The ones that take all the love that has been building up over many months and put it all into one delicious, heartfelt, warm, loving greeting. I can’t wait for those hugs.