Making Home in Morocco — Part I

Alia One Month in Morocco

Alia One Month in Morocco

We’ve been in Morocco one month today and we are just now really feeling settled. When we first arrived and saw our apartment, my “first world” eyes assessed the amenities quite differently than my “adjusted” eyes do now.

In spite of the luxurious accommodations (electricity, hot and cold running water, shower, toilet with seat, refrigerator, propane cook stove and a huge balcony for summer outdoor living) THERE WERE NO CLOSETS!!!


College Dorm 1

College Dorm Room — Day I

Children's Bunk Beds Day One

Children’s Bunk Beds
Day One

Bedroom Day Two Still Too Short for Tomas

Bedroom Day Two
Still Too Short for Tomas

This has always been a big deal for me – not that I have that many clothes, but I like things to be at hand and yet out of my line of sight. I told Tomas we had about five days to “solve this problem,” because after that he would have a crazy woman on his hands. For one reason or another (we were too tired or there was some other really exciting activity going on) we postponed our trip to Tetouan to look for furniture that would allow us to unpack our suitcases and put our clothes away.


Marjane - Moroccan Target

Marjane – Moroccan Target

Finally, last Sunday we headed for Marjane (Moroccan Target) to see what we could find to organize our apartment and make our home base a more gracious and efficient living experience. While we were standing out in front of our apartment waiting for the bus or a taxi, our neighbor, Omar, came out and got into his little Dacia (a mini-compact co-developed with France and produced in Morocco.) He motioned for us to get in with him. Omar was a very careful driver and our ride to Tetouan was pleasant and comfortable. Tomas and Omar were able to speak just enough French to get us to a Tetouan taxi stand, so we could take one to Marjane.

We were not disappointed. However, it was that same “big box store” environment and being that we went on a SUNDAY – we had LOTS of company. Within an hour or so, we had filled one large cart to overflowing but our “tanks” were empty. What to do with a full shopping cart and empty stomachs? We went over to the customer service desk and politely asked the attendants if we could please park our cart there while we went to lunch? They politely agreed and recommended Pizza Hut, which was in the same mall but outside of Marjane proper. How long had it been since I was in a Pizza Hut? How old is my youngest child? 30 years, maybe?

Well – Moroccan Pizza Hut was an unexpected surprise! The food was great but it was NOT fast food. It was a leisurely dining experience and I began to wonder if our cart would still have our items in it or if the staff had given up on us and put our things back on the shelves. We lucked out – it was all there (well, almost all of it, as we found out later.)

We showed the customer service people our shopping list – items crossed off and those still to get, so they would hold our first cart “a little longer” – and with a second cart in tow, we set out to complete our shopping.

Even with a strong coffee under our belts, we began to deflate rapidly. Going through checkout was a true test of endurance, as many of the bar codes wouldn’t read and had to be entered by hand and a couple of codes were missing completely and had to be called for. Therefore, checkout took about a half an hour.

But we survived Marjane, decided to pay a full taxi fare (which means we paid for six people, so the driver would not stop for more passengers) back to Aouchtam and arrived home about 7 PM, exhausted but too excited to sleep. So we began to put a few things away. It was then that we discovered that one of the main items we had gone to purchase was not in our possession: the automatic drip coffee maker with which Blue Star and I had looked forward to brewing our morning coffee. It seems that someone “lifted” our coffee maker while we were at lunch. At least we didn’t pay for it.

A Rack for Hanging Up clothes

A Rack for Hanging Up clothes

However, the main coup of our trip to Marjane was the purchase of a clothes rack to hang up a few of my skirts and nicer blouses AND two five-shelf fabric “wardrobes” to accommodate the rest of our clothes! Tomas assembled those items the next day and we greatly enjoyed getting ourselves out of suitcases – just before our fourth-week anniversary of coming to Morocco.

I have to admit I did all right with this process and did not even approach the brink of insanity.

As usual, when setting up a new household, the first cut exposes all the OTHER items that need to be added to make it a truly workable system. So my next post will tell the tale of our second trip into Tetouan to get the rest of the things that we didn’t know we needed and some of the things we simply hadn’t been able to find on the first outing – and of course, a coffee maker.


One 5-Shelf Wardrobe for Each of Us

One 5-Shelf Wardrobe for Each of Us

Out of the Suitcase Yet Close at Hand




2 thoughts on “Making Home in Morocco — Part I

  1. My motto has always been worker smarter not harder. Organization is such a contact high for me. 🙂 As one who lives out of a suit case on the road for work quite often, I completely relate to the joy of not feeling like one is perpetually camping. As I think the external is very often a direct expression and creation of an internal state of mind, how wonderful to find easy access and tidiness!

    Last month I was thinking that later in the summer I would be make a road trip on the coast going south here in Oregon and had planned to see if I could meet you and T for lunch and hugs in person. I will laugh now if one day this now happens on a visit to Morocco instead! -x.M

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