Anna and Tyler were our first visitors from home! We were so excited to welcome friends from our heart-home to our new-home. They even brought a bit of Seattle rain to cool the desert drought! Hamdullah.
When they arrived in our city by train from the Casablanca airport, we lost every semblance of cool. That first evening, we played Moroccan Host Family and served them a traditional kaskrut (the third meal of the day in Morocco, between lunch and dinner) with offerings from our favorite bakery. At the last moment, we decided to make the tea mussus (direct translation “bland,” but in practice means “no or less sugar”) and put a third of the typical sugar blocks in the brew. When Tyler and Anna sipped from their crystal glasses, their first reaction: “Wow… this has a lot of sugar.” We laughed at this inadvertent, unexpected, unnoticed way we had become used to Moroccan habits.
We spent two days in our city, including a traditional couscous lunch at Mama Ryqqia’s house. Then we peaced to visit Marrakech for the weekend.
It was a lovely time of souk-wandering, garden-traipsing, and palace-exploring. We bargained our hearts out for Anna and Tyler (with swagger in our voices at the rare chance to show off our language skills to Americans). We drank hot milk with louisa (vervaine) every night and slept soundly. We had affogatos at Cafe Clock, where my friend/project partner Bochra performed along with Hajj, her Storytelling Master. (Check out this cool Al Jazeera story/video of Hajj and some of his other apprentices!)
And to my surprise, I liked Marrakech in the rain.
Living a daytrip away from Marrakech and having a few friends there, we know the city quite well. But we were also newbies on the next leg of the adventure!
We left Tyler and Anna and went back home for a bit, but met back up with them to journey up North to Chefchaouen. From the Red City to the Blue City.
We were unexpectedly swept away by Chefchaoen. Being so well-known and touristy, I wasn’t sure I’d like it all that much. But it utterly charmed us. Such a relaxing, happy, low-key place.
In fact, Chefchaouen was so wonderful that Anna and Tyler decided to cancel their hotel reservation in Fes and stay and in Chefchaouen for their last two days.
And so many cats! We certainly made a lot of fuzzy new friends.
We were very sad to say goodbye when the time came, but our amazing friends left us with a whole bunch of American treats to remember them by! It was very fitting that Tyler, who I first met in Italy when we were studying poetry there together, was the first to visit us in our far-flung home. He and his sister Anna are the sort of beautiful human beings who we hope to be friends with all our lives, no matter where in the world we are.
Robert & Julie