Making Home in Morocco — Part II

Two days after our first foray into Marjane for home furnishings, Tomas and I took stock of what we had and what we still needed to make our house a home. It was the “little” things that made such a difference, like the long-nose lighter for the propane stove, so that I didn’t risk burning my fingers making coffee in the morning.

Ah yes, the coffeemaker. We had three espresso makers, only one of which really worked. It made enough coffee for one of us and three of us usually wanted coffee about the same time. What to do?

The solution seemed simple: we would purchase the automatic coffee maker for me and Blue Star to use and Tomas could continue to use “his” espresso maker. Then we began to talk about where to KEEP the coffee maker in a kitchen with practically NO counter space. When the discussion veered off into buying a piece of furniture to set the coffee maker on, that’s when Tomas put forth his idea of purchasing a double-sized, stainless steel espresso maker (which he had already seen in Tetouan) so he and I could have coffee together and Blue Star could use Tomas’s original one. Still with us?

So – it turned out to be a “blessing in disguise” that someone had taken the automatic coffee maker out of our shopping cart on our first trip through Marjane. We didn’t need it after all. Cross that off the list.

First Computer Set Up

First Computer Set Up

However, the other big item that we had not been able to find was a computer desk to replace the coffee table we’d been using for a month. My back and neck were all messed up from bending over and then looking up to the screen. Even holding the keyboard on my lap didn’t solve all the ergo-dynamics of the situation. On our first run through Marjane, we had only seen a child’s model of a desk and it had no tray for a keyboard, nor was it really large enough for an adult but we decided to look again, just in case we had missed something.

Perhaps we were over-ambitious to think that we could complete our banking transaction from the week before, get Moroccan telephones AND go to Marjane all in one day. Make that one afternoon, as it was about 1PM before we finally caught the taxi – seven people up – into Tetouan.

We headed straight to our bank in Centre de Ville. The customer service person who helped us set up our internet banking and ordered our debit cards was welcoming and congenial. He took time to explain everything to us and even tried to talk about his favorite American sports teams with us. He actually knew more about American sports that we did (no surprise there.)

After the banking was done, we went to the roast chicken place we had discovered on our first trip and had lunch. We’d learned our lesson about shopping at Marjane with our stomachs half empty. But before Marjane we visited Morac Telecom to buy two in-country phones, so Tomas and I could keep in touch with each other.

This telephone acquisition part of the outing would have been enough adventure for one day. While the attendant spoke no French or English, she happened to have a friend visiting her at work who did speak very good French. Still, it took a while to get two phones up and running and for Tomas to comprehend the man speaking French trying to help us to learn the very basics before leaving the store. Once we got the phones home, we realized they were both set on the French language default, so we had to enlist the services of one of our very young friends to change them over to English, which he did in about two minutes. After that I was even able to set the time and date all by myself. Of course, it took me 20 minutes but hey – set is set.

We headed down the street toward the Medina where we had once been lost (but now we were definitely found) to buy the double espresso maker. Tomas bargained with the street seller and settled on a price that seemed fair, until we saw the same item in an actual store for 50 dirham less. Oh well, we’re still learning. We did, however, find a beautiful stainless steel saucepan with lid (all of the pots and pans that came with our apartment are pure aluminum or Teflon coated) and priced (for next time) a much larger soup pot with steamer, almost as big as the one my sister had given us some years back that we could not fit in our luggage.

Then we had the presence of mind to sit down and have some tea across from a beautiful plaza.

A Lovely Place for Moroccan Mint Tea

A Lovely Place for Moroccan Mint Tea

On to Marjane by taxi and this time we recognized buildings and intersections along the way. Also, this time we were there on a Wednesday and had the place virtually to ourselves. We first checked out the furniture section to see if we had missed a computer desk. There was one (ONE) lying on the floor in a box, as if waiting just for us. There were NO others — like it or unlike it. We put it in the cart. After that we pretty much knew where to go to get the rest of the shopping list fulfilled. Since we weren’t buying a coffee maker, I purchased a blender and when I went back to get another pair of shoes from the “bin” I made sure to write down the “code.” That saved us 20 minutes at checkout.

At that point, Tomas was flying at half mast, so I sat him down on a bench in the mall and handed him an ice cream – our first in Morocco. “Made in Casablanca,” said the young man who served us and spoke very good English. What a treat!

On the Way Home from Tetouan

On the Way Home from Tetouan

And now, the taxi ride back to Aouchtam and the first pass at getting things integrated, so as not to offend our minimalist housemate.

The next morning Tomas gave me the best present – a straight back and an un-crooked neck. The cutest little computer table I ever did see. And, of course, there are always a few more things that can be added to make a place EVEN better but nothing critically important.

New Computer Set Up with a Happy Alia

New Computer Set Up with a Happy Alia

We are feeling very much at home now in Morocco. Come in a set a spell.

Updated Sofa Look

Updated Sofa Look

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4 thoughts on “Making Home in Morocco — Part II

  1. Dear Lynda – Wonderful to hear from you. May your computer table (or straight back and relaxed neck) manifest now as easily as ours did. I wonder if Marjane has ever had (or ever will have again) something like what we found waiting for us last week. I think we may have pulled it through a portal from Walmart or something. So watch where you step when you go out shopping or you might wind up in Morocco — wouldn’t be a bad thing, would it? Much love to you ♥

  2. Dearest Alia and Tomas
    You are ahead of me in my intent to supply my yurt with the proper tiny table for my computer and I have been “looking” for 2 years. But I don’t have the same motivation, being here in the land of plenty-too-much and just imagining that it will materialize in my yurt. I do feel inspired reading your entry though to walk myself through a store or look at some ads or list my needs on freecycle or some such strategy to achieve a straight back and comfy neck. Thank you for that wonderful and encouraging narrative! Your back does indeed look lovely Alia, as does your smile!

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