Morocco

After two months, I’m finally settled in my new home: Casablanca, Morocco. Well, my home for two years at least. Like moving to any place in the world, I needed time to adjust and I did just that. I set up my apartment, started my job, and got into a groove that works for me. I had my first authentic Moroccan experience I’m happy to share!

I’ve been working with a woman, who’s my teacher’s assistant. She is so sweet and married with a family. She asked me not to use her name or photo for this blog, so to respect her wishes I’m going to call her Kelly. Kelly invited me to join her and her family for lunch on Sunday after church, to which I quickly obliged. I met her at (here) and started walking around.

I’ve never been to a souk before and was slightly taken aback by the overwhelming amount of people walking around and haggling over prices. I stuck closer to Kelly and she reassured me it was fine. I was hungry so I didn’t feel the need to argue otherwise. She showed me her favorite shops and her favorite place to eat! Kelly had pulled me into a habbous, with rows and rows of fresh meat hanging from wall to wall. I’m far from a vegan so this was heaven on earth for me. I had seen videos on the habbous but this didn’t compare. I noticed a camel hanging in one of the stalls and needed to inquire… surely camel meat wasn’t for sale, it was. I immediately asked Kelly if we could have it.

After ordering a fair amount of meat, including beef, camel, sausages, liver, and hearts, Kelly took me to her treasured restaurant to have it grilled for us. Although Casablanca gets rather hot, it’s made easier by eating outside. Took me back to South Korea, I really miss eating outside and watching people live their day-to-day lives. The smell of sizzling barbeque could be smelled for miles, and I couldn’t wait to relish in mine.

The meal is presented with grilled tomatoes, onions, and soft bread. I was nervous at first, as I didn’t see any plates or utensils placed next to our fresh meal. I sat waiting, as Kelly and her family immediately dove in. I learned that bread is used as a utensil to not burn fingers and absorb all the juices of the meat. I’m very familiar with eating from a communal plate, but rarely if ever with my hands on the same plate. Kelly assured me it was fine and culturally acceptable so I didn’t hold back for long. Absolutely delicious meal. Check out the Habbous while visiting Casablanca.

After such a filling meal, I packed the leftovers and followed Kelly around. She ended up taking me to her home. I was thrilled to sit with her and her family and talk about cultural differences. Her family would love to live in America, and discussed cultures, politics, and different customs. What I enjoyed most about being invited to her home was the fact she took off her hijab. It was my first time seeing her uncovered. I’m not sure why, but this felt like a privilege. I was allowed to fully see her when the rest of them could not… just those close to her. Notwithstanding the fact that the Habbous was wonderful, the food, everything… This was the finest of the day.

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