In late 2012 MarocBaba and I decided we were ready to make the move to Morocco. This was something we had always planned to do but it took many years until it became a viable option. Our plan was to move for one year beginning in August of 2013. Our goal for this move was that our kids would learn Arabic in one year.
(If you’d like to read our moving announcement and early information you can find it in this post: New Category – Expat.)
We put all of our belongings into storage in the US and had every intention to come back after one year. However, halfway into our first year we realized it was going to take longer for them to learn Arabic and we extended our plan by a year.
2022 marks our 9th year in Marrakech and our journey has taken a lot of changes along the way. As time passes I get more and more messages and emails from people who are considering a move to Marrakech.
Whether this is you or you just are wondering what it’s like to live like a local in the red city I’ve put together all the information I’ve shared here. I will try to keep this as updated as possible but you can also search the archives in case something has slipped by! I hope on this page you’ll find our story of moving and also ideas and inspiration if you’re living overseas or considering it.
Table of Contents
Planning an International Move
I asked readers what their big questions were about moving to Morocco and did my best to answer them in this post.
If moving overseas to Morocco or elsewhere is something on your radar, you may want to read through this post and consider a few things before making the leap.
Buying the tickets was the easy part. Organizing our lives to prepare for an international move was a completely different ball game. I walk through the things that I had to take care of to get our lives in order for the move. Did I mention I’m a project manager by training? This might have been my biggest project ever.
Insights from a fellow mom who made a big international move with her family – she shares some ideas to make your dream of international relocation a reality.
So many people have told me how lucky we are, how they too wish they could make the big move. Guess what? You can! There’s nothing special about us – honestly. If you’re thinking of making this big step then start here. If you wish you could do it but think you can’t – start here.
This is where I sum up all those last minute thoughts and feelings before we prepared to leave. Things I wished I would have done differently and how I would have scheduled my time in the weeks leading up to our departure. Heed my advice!
Our Moving Story
Just a few quick thoughts on the realizations I made right after our move; what I struggled with and where my head was after such a big change.
At almost two months into our new life I offer another update on life and adjusting. In this installment we get our boxes from the US. You’ll find advice here about how to retrieve items from the Casablanca port if you ship them ahead, and how to change your residency with the American consulate. Also, I had to make a somewhat emergency trip back to the US.
The four month update! Our boys adjustment to school in Morocco and trust me it’s not the sugar coated version. There’s a healthy dose of restaurants and food options because well that’s my favorite thing to do! Also Christmas in Morocco?
6 Month Update of Living in Marrakech
We hit the half year mark! This update really focuses on my own struggle with my surroundings and finding peace with life around me and from within. Looking back I also see this is where the real culture shock was going to hit me very soon. It’s also where I allude to starting our business
9 Months in Marrakech
Towards the end of our first full year in Morocco there was a lot going on! Travel, writing, and new opportunities filled up the days until we were counting down for our summer vacation to the US.
Then I went an entire 10 months without a general update on our life in Marrakech! We returned from the US and got back to life as usual. Our second year in Morocco wasn’t planned. We thought we’d only be here for one year but that turned into two and now we’re up in the air about how long we’ll be here. If you’ve read the other installments you’ll immediately see how this update is different from the rest – and no I’m not having a baby!
Month 30: An Update
With almost a full year between my last update on life in Marrakech, and a lot has changed. We’re closing our third year in Marrakech and things are much different. In some good and bad ways. Find out what’s happening in this post.
This was the last update I made (we’ve now been living here 6 1/2 years as of January 2020) about our life in Morocco. It may be time to do another update!
A list of resources for those who are calling Marrakech home (doctors/dentists/shops etc)
A letter I wrote to myself and others who have dreams of living and traveling far away.
Language and Schooling
If you’re raising, or considering raising bilingual children a major question you might ask is if you should move overseas or not. Our answer is yes, you should consider it but there’s much more to take into consideration than just that.
Planning to live in Morocco to learn Arabic? I put together several resources to make your language journey a bit easier – or at least get you started with where to look.
Practical tips if you’re teaching your kids a new language – and it works for adults too!
My children are in an environment where English is the third or fourth language. Here’s how we keep English language learning alive.
Do you worry that speaking several languages at home could become too much or are just not sure how it all works? This is for you.
Want to learn darija but you’re not living in Morocco? Discover this great tutoring resource I’ve tried.
Gain the basics of Moroccan Arabic and familiarize yourself with expressions that you’ll find useful in Morocco.
Practical language information for you on chores and daily routines.
We moved to Morocco for the primary reason that we wanted our children to learn Arabic and French, the two languages taught here. I share about the struggles of putting older children into Moroccan school, how the school system works, and what to expect
Beginning learning the basics of Arabic with the help of your phone.
Paperwork and Employment
As an American I am able to stay in Morocco on a 3 month tourist visa. However, with the intention to live here I needed to apply for a residency permit to make life easier. Without this I would need to leave the country and return every 3 months. Here’s how it works when you’re married to a Moroccan citizen.
My very unfiltered insights and frustrations on the process of moving to Morocco and getting around the systems that need to be navigated.
Wondering how you can send money from a foreign account into a Moroccan account. This is the easiest and least expensive way we’ve found to date.
Maybe the number one question that people have is about income and life in Morocco. I provide a budget breakdown for our family of four as well as some other estimates from expats who live in other Moroccan cities. I also answer some commonly asked questions.
Driving in a foreign country can be a challenge but what if you can’t even read the street signs?
Adjusting to Life in a New Country
It’s not easy to fit in when you live in a new place. This post shares some ways you can try to make new friends and adjust to your new home.
The dark side of moving abroad – when the depression hits. It took a long time for mine to surface, so long that I thought it wouldn’t happen. But then it did and it was just as terrible as I was afraid it would be.
My reflections on American Thanksgiving while living in Morocco.
My reflections on Christmas, being Muslim and being away from family during this time of year.
It’s not always easy -here are my thoughts.
Practical advice and insights to the gift giving and compliment giving practices in Morocco.
It might seem virtually impossible but you could also be surprised to learn it’s more attainable than you think.
How hard is it? My thoughts on this topic.
Basic, practical insight and tips to decorating and making your temporary home, more comfortable.
TV bridges that big gulf sometimes – my story of how TV helped me get through the difficult times.
Want to see my neighborhood? I took part in a global blogger hop to share neighborhoods around the world.
It’s so important! Find out how-to strategies!
There are a lot of misconceptions people around the world have when it comes to living in a foreign country. American expats share what they’ve heard about their adopted countries from other Americans.
Worst travel nightmare? Getting sick. So what happens when you live in a foreign country and are faced with a potentially serious illness or surgery? In this post I talk about our experience with the medical system in Morocco and our son having surgery here. I also discuss how things work so that if you are in need of medical services you might have a general idea of the procedures.
Family, Kids and Relationships
Do Moroccans date? Can you date in Morocco? Guest author Brenda shares her experiences in this post.
I get asked this question a lot so I decided I would put down some of my thoughts and experiences on the subject.
Challenges and tips to navigate through this rough topic.
Practical steps of how to go through the process in Morocco when one partner is a foreign citizen.
Not entirely expat related but an important topic that is brought up when at home or abroad.
The reverse of the above post!
It’s common in Morocco for extended families to live together- like we do. But, is it all peaches and cream? No holds bar on this one!
Your ideas of privacy may be very different than your Moroccan family. Discover what some of these issues are.
An in-depth article walking through my process of pregnancy, child birth, and the newborn phase in Morocco.
A look at discipline of children in Morocco – what’s considered a norm and how to deal with it if it falls outside what you believe in.