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4 lessons I learned living in Morocco

Life in Morocco is so different than in any Western country. As I am 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 have lived in Marrakech for almost 5 years. Only after learning some valuable lessons can I finally 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.

Coming to Morocco? Book your consultation

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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 Moroccan life.  Try to adopt the “Inshallah” art (you can read more in my post THE ART OF “INSHALLAH” IN MOROCCO).

tameslouht graffitti morocco wall inchallah

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 it means; 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

cafe coffee morocco drinks
In Morocco, I learned to sit hours in a cafe with my cup of coffee or tea.

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, walk, cook, not rush. I remember I had to pick up some stuff from my Moroccan friend’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 for somebody to 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.

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  1. I born in volubilis.moulay Idriss, Zerhoun.
    Living in London for 60 years.
    Back to moroccan, visiting the young crops of my family 🎄 tree 🎄,
    Once I have visited few of my family cousins and uncles,
    Guess my reply?
    I felt stranger, the way they live, the vocabulary using to explain their matters made me at loss.
    I did not feel that old family values and wellcoming approach.
    Examineining my experience that I have experienced from the
    Branches of my family tree and the residents of this beautiful location in zerhoun Mountain,
    volubilis that confurm the solid evidence that the Romans did lived in this town 15 kilometres North of Meknes. Morocco,
    Coffee and food sellers, the chairs and tables fully occupied, coffee, tea glasses of water are served to any incoming customers, chatting, screening the passengers is the menu of the day.
    Houses most of them are newly build ground floor, fist floor second floor and butiffuly designed roof terrace inviting the occupant for enjoyable relaxing evenings,
    I can confurm that most of them drive latest cars, farmers, landlords, in Morocco are top of the menu, their bank accounts are well stoked.god provided them with land
    Water, hot weather, tractors, castles, children’s, horses, 4×4 cars pickups,
    For the kitchens, requirements are grown in farms, God help all of them.

    I would like to meet any journalist that pretend and publish that moroccan citizen are living in the poverty.
    I will change any person that can oppose me for the followings:
    1. Outside big cities, most of the moroccan families are willingly happy to offer free food and hospitality for any single or pluriel,faced with unfosering difficulty.
    I invate any volunteer to go to cadogan Gardens, Belgravia squire, vitoria treet,
    Fulham Road, Kings Road London,
    Buckingham Palace Road Victoria,. Mayfair posh houses and knock on the doors of 10 manchions, houses, and report, how gives you cup of coffee and salad Sandwick. Have guigle, your calls will never be answered, cameras are screening you from the head of the shoes. What left for you is to go at 20:30
    To the front shop of certain patisseries, boulangerises that offers food for free,
    To the public before closing times. That can’t sale next day..

    More to come in my free reporting 🔚

  2. Hi been very interested reading this blog, but what I don’t understand is is this a promotion of trying to say Morocco is better then Europe.
    Look all parts of the world have different ways of living after spending almost 20yrs living in Morocco myself I just don’t or didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
    I spent 5 hours at the police station to get my resident card always remember I had to fill in 5 cards the police officer give me one filled it in then took the paperwork as required back he then give me 2 more of the same cards to fill in…. Then 2 more later when asked was told this is Morocco 😂 😂.
    It’s not as easy as this story plays out European you need to pay 2 times more then a Moroccan to have any work done.
    Even to employ a maid or a gardner you need to pay CNSS which is a pension for Moroccans it’s you that pays it.
    If you sack someone say late or theft you a European will never win you need to pay them off.
    Community tax Europeans pay more the property is classified as a second home because your European.
    I could right a book of the scams that happen in Morocco by Moroccans from the street cafe to buying property.