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In 2008 my husband and I went back to Morocco, the first time since we had been married with our then 1 year old son. I had desperately missed Morocco and all of the things that I had grown to love and associated with that magical place. We were able to have a Moroccan wedding party and aqeeka (this is like the Muslim version of a baptism party) for our son. One of the things that we had to do while we were there was to try and register our American marriage and get our son’s birth registered.
Sounds simple enough right? If you think so, you would be wrong. We had to take the train from Marrakech to Rabat (almost 4 hours) to try and complete the paperwork, only to be told they couldn’t do it because we lived in the USA. (Funny they told us in the US we would need to do it in Morocco..) After an exhausting two days of travel and bureaucracy we got ready to go home. We had just enough time to stop in a corner shop near the train station to grab some food for the train. We picked up some rounds of bread, spiced olives and black olives and grilled kofta. Everything was wrapped in paper as we hurried to catch our train. As we neared Casablanca we took our lunch and set ourselves a small picnic on the table in our carriage. Maybe it was our frustration and exhaustion but something about that meal tasted so good. It was very simple and yet as we both sat eating and looking at each other in silence we realized it just might have been our favorite meal together. It was after those days of frustration and anger that we both realized we really needed each other and that no matter what we had each other’s back.
That’s why every olive I eat reminds me of this picnic on the train and the epiphany of our marriage.