A Gap Year in Morocco

I recently posted that our next post is Algiers, Algeria, but we just learned before we land there for a two-year tour, we’ll be in Rabat, Morocco for one year! And I am so excited about it.  For the food, for the climate, for the chance to explore a colorful new country. And for the inevitability of me starting a collection of tagines, pillows, and rugs that I’ll cherish forever.

Mr. Em in Jerusalem was assigned Algiers, but the job doesn’t start until summer 2019, and we’re scheduled to depart Jerusalem summer of 2018, so he had to find a way to fill that intervening year. The most likely option was looking like returning to Washington DC where he’d take language classes (French or Arabic) and fill the rest of his time with a desk job. He wasn’t excited about that possibility. And while I love DC, and some of my very best friends and my in laws are there,  I found myself feeling ambivalent about returning to my old stomping grounds for a year. Back when I lived there, I was a Washington DC reporter, had a great group of friends, and a cute apartment that I loved. The thought of being in DC with no job and living in an apartment furnished with someone else’s stuff made me sad. It’s a total ego thing, but if a few key ways in which I defined myself were gone, then who would I be in DC?

Instead, I can craft a Moroccan me, in which I wear white tunics adorned with colorful tassels, a wide brimmed straw hat, handcrafted sandals, and can tell you how to make the fluffiest couscous and where to get the best deal on hand painted tiles and shag rugs. Speaking of which, our friend recently did same year-long Arabic immersion program in Rabat and she acquired 22 rugs. 22 rugs! I love rugs! In fact, I love all Moroccan-inspired design, and am already looking thinking about how to decorate our Rabat apartment, even though it’s months away and I have absolutely no idea what it’ll look like. (But I’m still enjoying the heck out of our Jerusalem apartment, and I know I’ll be terribly sad to leave it behind).

Mr. Em in Jerusalem will spend the year in Morocco studying Arabic, and I’ll enroll in French lessons. And while I’m a tres lazy language student, I’ve wanted to learn French ever since my first trip  to Paris for graduate school. Is any language so voluptuous? Both Arabic and French are spoken in Morocco and Algiers, but by all accounts I’ve heard, French will be most useful for me know.  (Mr. Em in Jerusalem already knows French). We’ll also get a car stat after arriving (or else ship the one we bought in Jerusalem) and explore a country that looks gorgeous and vibrant. First stop:  The new  Musée Yves Saint Laurent museum in Marrakech.

The Jardin Majorelle, which was once owned by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé and is part of the Marrakech museum. Photo by ©saiko3p/Shutterstock

To Morocco,

Em in Jerusalem

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