I first “met” Natalia of Culture Baby when she asked me for reflections on celebrating Ramadan with kids, particularly in a non-Muslim country. (You can find the post here) When I began planning to have guests posts while we get settled in Morocco, I asked her if she wouldn’t mind sharing her reflections on living in Morocco – and here they are! You can visit Natalia’s online shop full of gorgeous world goods, read her blog, and connect on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter.
Just as MarocMama is arriving in Morocco, we are sadly leaving it. We have spent almost 10 months in the capital of Rabat and have had the chance to travel over much of this beautiful country. For all that I could write about ancient fortresses, the sights and smells of old medinas and souks or the quiet dignity of arabesque art and architecture, what I will remember most about this country in the years to come will be the way is opened its arms to us and most especially, our son.
The Moroccans adore babies. One of my very first culture shock moments occurred before we had even left the airport on arrival. A man walked right up to my then 18 month old, cupped his little face in his hands and planted a big kiss on his cheek mumbling “zween”…beautiful.
Our son has since been spoiled with the attention. The central part that children play in the Moroccan household and society mean that these is seldom a place where they are unwelcome. Our son has always had the run of any restaurant or hotel, shown the kitchens or hidden rooms by staff. The presence of a child always seems to be one that smooths any introduction, even where language is a barrier.
When we return to the US, I will be grateful for many things that we’ve done without here….organic produce, reliable schedules, functioning play ground equipment. But I will miss the easy understanding, commiseration and openness you receive here from shopkeepers, or waiters. It is much better than the nervousness or outright panic you can often encounter from their American counterparts.
I remember when we announced to friends and family that we were taking our then 18 month old to North Africa. There was wide eyed disbelief and questions about how we would keep our baby fed, safe, etc. But for all that there have been challenges this year, I cannot think of a warmer more welcoming place for our child to have spent a year.