Life in Morocco is so different than in any Western country. 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.
With breaks, I live in Marrakech for almost 5 years. And only after learning some valuable lessons I finally can call Morocco my home.
As some 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 expected. 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 get frustrated each time things don’t happen as expected, 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, odd things happen in Morocco. And when I said “odd”, it means odd 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. In Morocco, I learned how to relax, take my time, enjoy long takes with my friends…
You learn to enjoy doing nothing
I always was a workaholic. After my normal job in an office, I spent a lot of free time working on my projects. In Morocco, it is different. People love sitting in coffee places for hours, watching city life and chatting with friends. Or visit each other, walking, cooking, not rushing. I remember I had to pick up some stuff from my Moroccan fiend’s house. In Europe, I would just come, have a short chat, and then leave.
Not in Morocco. I spend all day with the family, eating, and talking. And only at the end of the day they gave me what I came for. First, doing nothing all day was a bit strange, 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.
To be valued as a member of masculine Moroccan society, a man is expected to put in his time, sitting, thinking, talking or doing nothing at all.”Tahir Shah, In Arabian Nights. 2008
You learn small talks
In Morocco, small talk is a crucial 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? Is everything 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 say hi and bye to a Moroccan.
Also, it is normal that somebody will start talking about life, family, and food in the money exchange office or the shop or any other place. Even if two Moroccans meet in the street for the first time, they can talk forever about where they are from or other small things. If you want to rent a house, or buy something in the market, be ready first to do small talk. Moroccans don’t like direct questions, and the best bargains happen only after the small talks.
DREAMING ABOUT MOROCCO?
I CAN HELP YOU:
- Travel consultations;
- Travel itineraries;
- Drivers, transport, guides, activities etc
- Shared tours for budget travellers;
- Assistance in events/photoshoots;
- Consultations for foreigners moving to Morocco.
* GIVE ME A FREE CALL!
Don’t know where to start? Not sure if you need my help? Have the itinerary and only want to book a guide or driver? Or want to say hi and ask how the weather in Morocco is? Let’s arrange a free call. My contact is here!