A birthday confession


Well, I guess I just have to confess how special birthdays are to me. I know that for some, birthdays are just like any ordinary day of the year and it would not be surprising if they let it pass by: unnoticed. For some others, it is even worse- if I could judge it as such- because, for them, birthdays are but a reminder than another year of one’s life has elapsed and that they have stepped into what remains of their life (too optimistic, huh?!).

Anyways, I can’t trace back my zeal for my birthdays, for I have no idea as to how that started. Yet, I remember that on a given birthday, I told my mother that that was the last birthday I was going to celebrate. Of course, I did not mean that as I was only throwing hints that I actually wanted a birthday party that year instead of just getting a kiss on the cheek and probably some small gift. And what did she do? She took it very pessimistically and told me to stop that nonsense, for she probably took it as a bad omen!

As the years went by, I grew looking forward to my birthdays; I’d even experience the birthday feeling a week before. I was never looking forward to gifts, but only that feeling of probably being special, or maybe I just fell in love with that date (July 15th), maybe it was about those texts, messages, words, wishes I was getting from my family and friends. They always reminded me of who I am, how my people see me: with a quasi-permanent large smile, bright determined eyes, a loving heart … well, that always gives me the chill and makes me feel special…

So, here it is…. I think that birthdays are special because of all the kindness that surrounds me on that day, that it is actually the loving thoughts of my people that make them so special and precious, and that makes me so grateful for who I am and for the people I have in my life. Because of you all, I am reborn, each and every birthday ❤ ❤


On change and memory


What is it aboutlife that makes it so elusive and changing? And how do we accept those changes that could be least described as dramatic?

Contemplating change, it seems to be but unavoidable. On the one hand, everyone has something they are not satisfied with, somewhere they want to go, or something they want to achieve. And that, whether one wants it or not, entails change. On the other hand, it would be traumatic to be having the same experiences all over again, to be standing at the same place forever and always, and that where change comes.

Some changes are of course something we have worked on, something we have probably wanted, planned for and looked forward to achieving. There are however sides to these changes that we were not really planning or maybe just did not really think about. Maybe while planning to live abroad, we do not really plan on leaving our cherished ones behind, yet that becomes a fact; or a collateral damage; they call it. We do not really plan to exchange our world with another one. The only thing we probably care about then is this need we feel inside, to just leave, to flee an injustice that inflicted us, the scent of our past memories, a love story, as it could be anything else… maybe we wanted to achieve something, somewhere else, to challenge ourselves, or to enjoy privileges that were not within our reach where we were initially!

Or maybe, change was at work while we were not even paying attention to that; it was eating up our lives, the people around us; eating us. Maybe change started when Ba H’md, the mint and herbs seller, passed away, or maybe way before, reaching its climax when grandpa passed away too… we all want to blame it on time; ‘times have changed’ ‘time flies’, well, somehow it does and at some point, turning back becomes so painful because you know when you will knock that door, no one is going to answer and even when you decide to intrude, they are not going to show up, even if you spend your lifetime waiting. Nothing will change, or maybe, once you go out, you will not recognize the outside you see. People are not the same and neither are the buildings.

Today, my day started with pictures of the remains of my grandmother’s house, posted by a cousin. The house that was once full of life, cheerfulness, and love seemed about to falter. There was dust everywhere. The kitchen still had some utensils testifying that, once, someone lived there; that once there was love, there was life around this place. This made me very sad. A feeling I have never experienced before sprung from somewhere deep in my heart, a feeling of total impotence, and some urging questions: where does our past go? Where do the people that made it go? It sounded like I have become un-whole, that part of me had crumbled somewhere, without me realizing it. I’ll never be the same again. Time took something from me that I cannot retrieve.

Not knowing how to handle this burden, I took refuge in my only solace, this little piece of flesh, blood and nerves that harbors my past memories and sensations.  That was enough to take me back to the school holidays we would spend at my grandmother’s. It was so good that we would stay until the holidays’ last breath. That meant only one thing; that we would have to take the earliest bus in the first day of school. Lalla would wake up, make us some delicious breakfast- coffee; semolina bread and olive oil- which we would eat, regardless of how sleepy we were. There was a special sensation to those early mornings; it was still dark, you could hear dogs barking from afar and the kitchen light was so dim that now, imagining it, or seeing something similar, all the emotions from then flow all over my body. What do we have left from those who have departed? Memories, scents and heartburns!


Back to life

I11351470_1568589473401172_910218471930676264_n have long thought of what my come back post should be like. Should it consist an apology for having deserted this blog and probably with it my readers? The more I thought about it, the more I postponed writing. Then, I just decided to apply one of the lessons I have learned: When something needs or has to be done, then do it. Do not think too much about it.

And now, here I am writing and letting my thoughts flow freely, creating their own sense. Still, I cannot let the question as to why I have not been writing escape. Talking about writing with a friend, he told me that happy people did not write. I considered this thought for a while. Have I been too happy to write? Nah, I have been too far from happiness. In fact, I have been drowning for some time. Life has been incredibly hard on me and on those surrounding me. I have lost a few dear ones, to death or to some unknown force, with or without a reason. In sum, life has slapped me in the face, back and forth. Therefore, I can claim my right to say that it is not only happy people who do not write. You could be too bereaved to write, too heavy to write…. you could be going through a phase where all your feelings are stocked in a bundle. Then, there comes a time when you let it all go and tell the tale, and I guess this is high time I told my tale… Here is I am back.


One thousand grains of sand


What if all of a sudden you are disconnected from any and every thing familiar to you? What if all of a sudden you get stripped of your belongings and put in a land, totally unknown to you- a desert even? Such was my unbelievable experience- my Connecting Cultures desert excursion. In fact, it was somehow a mimicking of what was happening in my own world.
Suddenly, I was in the middle of Sharqiyya desert, Oman, accompanied by groups of faces I have encountered only few hours before. We were all stripped of our phones and all means of communication with anyone but us, the desert lying before us, and its people.

For me, it was something I needed, whether I was aware of that or not. My world had been in constant turbulence for months on; I most urgently needed to distance myself from it for a little while. I needed to hear my own voices, sometimes conflicting. I needed something; and there was the call of the Omani desert.

And there it was: our first encounter… I have never seen the desert but on TV channels, touristic brochures in Morocco, or otherwise through the accounts of friends who have been or lived. I have never pictured how it could be or feel like being in the desert, either…
As I walked through the billions of sand grains, I realized how not easy that was, but as I have been carrying one conversation after another with my newly made acquaintances, I forgot about the sand grainsthat infiltrated into my shoes to be utterly breathless by the sunset. The sun was being gulped by the distant mighty space, while the horizon wore wonderful colors… I was about to witness my first desert sunset… Once it was time, the view was majestic, warm and enlightening…

Sleeping in a small tent with my newly-met Polish friend was something new to both of us- my guess is. Having lived in Poland and she in Qatar for a year, we seemed to have some very deep understanding, appreciation and embrace of one another and so there was some sort of instantly felt affection between us… I could not stop tossing glimpses of my Polish experience every now and then- actually, it was the first time I discovered what love, admiration and belonging -yes- I have for Poland!! It was high time for self-rediscovery…

Exploring the desert, I also discovered how ignorant I had been about the many views and landscapes of the desert… Walking on the dunes was not any like walking on a solid ground… It was much more difficult than what we had on the first day. Then, arriving at the Ouadi, the view was just utterly majestic! I have been bewildered… I just fell in love with it… The Ouadi, extended proudly before us, offering an overwhelming aura of serenity- exactly what I needed.

Inside, I was contented, happy, proud, majestic… What an infectious effect it had!! Thinking of home seemed like an impossible task; home seemed distant in time and space, a quite intangible target… All I could recollect was the buzzing noise of horns in a fading street. I renounced. (to be continued)


Until further noctice

ImageSo, I have spent the past year in Poland- the experience being quite demanding but above all very rewarding. It has been a year of travels and encounters, of hopes and deceptions but above all of personal growth. Oush! Such a year!!

I have all along felt good about having a permit of stay in Poland which made it easy for me to travel around the EU Schengen countries and spared me the trouble of getting visas, which is not an easy task after all. I took advantage of that and travelled across 10 countries in one year (oh how proud I am of that!). The fun part is finished now, however.  My last day in Poland had been a complete horror as I turned into an illegal. That is, my visa expired one day before my scheduled flight and I have been horrified because I knew well  how sensitive this whole immigration legal or illegal is. What are they going to do to me? Everyone was telling me everything was going to be fine since I was leaving the EU, and everything was fine actually except for the quite not easy to explain look of the immigration officer that did not even bother to stamp my passport. My next concern was if next time I was going to apply for visa – which was to be a month later- there will be no issues. When I did go to apply for visa, the officer of course asked me why my passport stamp –from the Moroccan officers- shows that I came back only two days after the expiry of my permit of stay and I had to explain and tell stories and get questions about whether I mean to come back to Morocco when my next visa expires and that there would be more reasons for me to stay even illegally, oh! The shame! I got the visa anyways and I did come back to Morocco even the expiry of my visa.

My return! That is the story! I had to come back for something and I could not even grab my suitcase because I was in another place, so I left everything behind, all of my stuff stayed in Warsaw (but thanks God, safe at a friend’s). Now the issue is, if I want to go back for my stuff, I need to apply for visa again because the old one was for single entry. I need to have reasons why I want to go. I need to answer unnecessary questions. Hmm… Then, welcome to the 21st century. Welcome to the World that had turned into a small village! Welkom!


Yet another departure


It seems like death insists on keeping as close as never before. I barely started accepting that my uncle has passed away when I got another slap on my face. The day started slow, raining and somewhat cold. something was in the air but I could not tell what it was.

Then, all of a sudden, the news came from home.I started hating those news coming from home. They all have carry that feeling of repressive heat, the smell of smoke and ashes… The new fog of smoke announced the death of yet another uncle… Do I still have any strength to take it (the third person in a row)?


The Taming of the Shrew


Finally, the snow is something from the past. The long-awaited Spring is here and I am becoming more of myself. It has been the longest winter I have had in my entire life; in one word: A DRAMA! It was my first encounter with the snow, all previous encounters being looking through my window in Fes and seeing the distant mountains all clad in white. I never really approached the white mountains, being the cold-hater that I am.

In fact, I do hate cold, in all its manifestations. I hate the real cold that makes the body shiver, and I also hate that of people. For, yes, there are cold people and there are the too cold people. There are many types, like those who simply think they are above all when they score really below in the humanity scale. There are also those that have chosen to numb themselves and their feeling, probably in response to something really bad that happened to them. They have chosen not to feel anymore. In response to an unlimited number of things that occurs across the journey of life, especially when you start experiencing life, walking with all the pride and confidence in the world, energetic-ally, bouncily that you might close your eyes, then you get the first slap, something shrinks in you.  You become more awake- or that is what you think. Then, out of nowhere, the second slap downs on your face. Then, successive slaps pervade… With each slap, something shrinks in you. You try- or even endeavor to adjust yourself, to change, to tame the free spirit in you. The impetuous you- you call it…. Then something dies. You numb your feelings, your enthusiasm, your willingness to explore new things… You just cling to the new cage you invented for yourself… The shrew in you is tamed, not realizing you never considered how much you should be willing to tame…. without going numb.

P.S: The drawing was the outcome of  feelings triggered by an awfully  snowy day