Life in Morocco is so different than in any Western country. With breaks, I live in Marrakech for almost 5 years. I always had this love/hate relationship with Morocco. And only after learning some important lessons I finally can call Morocco my home.
As I European, I had to adapt to a new way of living and doing everyday things. It was not, and it is still not very easy. As one wise person said, you have either to adapt to the Moroccan way of living, or you leave this country. I chose to adapt.
- You learn to be patient. I was never a patient person. More a choleric kind of type. I like things to be done as I planned. In Morocco, rarely something will happen as you planned. Even the simplest tasks can take a while to be done. If you plan to get some papers signed with the government, be ready that it can take an unexpected amount of time. If you make an appointment with a Moroccan friend, it doesn’t mean he will come as planned. If you will get frustrated each time things don’t happen as planned, you will never adapt to the Moroccan life. Try to adopt the “Inshallah” art (you can read more in my post THE ART OF “INSHALLAH” IN MOROCCO).
- You get used to weird things. So, weird things really happen in Morocco. And when I said “weird”, it means weird for us, Westerners. But even for Moroccan, some things in their country can look weird. For example, my friend’s application for some paper was rejected because in the picture his hair looked strange… Yep, that’s what they said at the police station. Don’t ask me what does it mean, his hair is a regular Moroccan curly hair type. Once, to close my bank account I went to the local bank office in Essaouira. The man working there looked at me and said “Sorry, I just came back from a long holiday today. It is Friday, lunchtime soon. Come back tomorrow, please.” I was like… what? Ok. Never came back there anymore. So now, if some weird things happen in Morocco, I simply blink and pretend it is normal.
- You learn to enjoy doing nothing. I always was a workaholic. After my normal job in an office, I used to spend a lot of free time working for my own projects. In Morocco is different. People love sitting in coffee places for hours, watching city life and chatting with friends. Or just visit each other, walking, cooking, not rushing. I remember, once I had to pick up some stuff from my Moroccan fiend’s house. In Europe, I would just simply come, have some short chat, and then leave. Not in Morocco. I spend all day with the family, eating, talking. And only at the end of the day they gave me what I came for. First, it was a bit strange doing nothing all day, just sitting, watching television and drinking tea. However, I came back home so relaxed and fresh. From then on, I enjoy doing nothing, chilling and meditating. I enjoy sitting on the terrace, watching the street and drinking coffee for hours.
- You learn small talks. In Morocco, small talks is a very important part of daily life and culture. When Moroccans meet or answer the phone, they first start this long tirade of greetings “Hi, how are you. Everything is fine? Peace is unto you. How is your mother? Peace is unto your mother. How is your father? Peace is unto your father. Peace is unto your friends….” There is no way you can just say hi and bye to a Moroccan. Also, it is completely normal that in the money exchange office or the shop or any other place somebody will start talking about life, family, food. Even if two Moroccans meets in the street for the first time, they can talk forever about where they are from or other small things. If you wanna rent a house, buy something in the market, be ready first to do the small talk. Moroccans don’t like direct questions and the best bargains happen only after the small talks.