Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What we've been up to, and post-Peace Corps updates

It's been a busy few weeks! How have they been busy, you ask?

Travels with Liz and Dave
The same morning that we said goodbye to my brother Neal and future sister-in-law Erin in Casablanca, Justin and I rushed up to the Rabat airport to meet his sister Liz and brother-in-law Dave. They visited during a school holiday in Morocco, so we were able to take some time to travel around with them to a few places: Rabat, Meknes, Azrou, Fez, and of course Tiflet. A few photos are below, and look for future blog entries about some of our travel experiences!

Dave and Liz in our riad in Rabat.
In Rabat's Kasbah, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Justin and me in a beautiful old Koranic school in Meknes.
Liz and I try out Moroccan style scarf-wrapping in a cooperative in Fez.
Justin and me in an old Koranic school in Fez.
Dave shows off his scarf-wrapping, in Fez.
Liz and Dave, at a beautiful outlook en route to Azrou.
Justin and Liz in the Chellah in Rabat.

Springtime in Tiflet
Even though we were traveling, it was very much a working holiday! We have lots of exciting plans for the coming months, and now that we're back in Tiflet, expect more posts soon as projects come to fruition. Meanwhile, spring has (finally) arrived in Tiflet with beautiful sunny weather every day! And with that beautiful weather, I have proven myself as a gardener. Check out my handiwork:

I harvested the spinach to make a birthday pizza for Justin, at his request. But I've planted a new round and am keeping my fingers crossed that the green thumb wasn't just beginner's luck :)

Women's Leadership Workshop
One of the projects that I had been preparing for was a women's leadership conference in Rabat, that a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer planned along with a Moroccan NGO called "Association Démocratique des Femmes du Maroc."  I brought 2 women from my site to the training, and I stayed for the weekend to help the Volunteer. Being around this group of 20 women, of all ages and backgrounds, from small and large towns across Morocco, was absolutely inspiring. Here's a photo of all of the workshop participants and the trainers:

Post-Peace Corps Plans
I haven't really written much about it on this blog, but post-Peace Corps plans have been a topic of much discussion, consideration, and anxiety for Justin and me, really since before we even came to Morocco. One of the things we knew we wanted when we left the US was change, and Morocco has given us plenty of that. As we think about returning to the US, what seemed impossibly far off when we first got here is now surreally close, and we’ve finally decided to continue that theme of change by readjusting back to life in the US while at the same time integrating into a new community, the Washington DC area. Granted, it won’t be nearly as different from New York as Morocco was, but will certainly be quite the change from our lives now! We’re confident that our skills and experiences from integrating into a new community here in Morocco will serve us well as we return and reintegrate in the US.

Now here’s where you come in, dear readers. I plan to return to the marketing/advertising world and am seeking opportunities as a Marketing or Brand Manager in the Washington DC metro area in late summer/early fall. If you are involved in the marketing/advertising scene in the DC area, know people who are, or your company is looking for a new marketing person, I would be immeasurably grateful for any and all tips, leads, referrals, or introductions! The same goes for any insights on places to live in the area. Click here to view my resume, or here for my LinkedIn profile, and read a bit more about my marketing and advertising background. And you can be sure that we’ll be experiencing as much as we can of this amazing country as our remaining time ticks by - and of course sharing it here! 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Doorways of Fes

Greetings from Fes! Justin and I are finishing up some tourist/tour guide time with his sister Liz and our brother-in-law Dave. Full blog post on their visit coming soon, but in the meantime, I was struck by the beauty and variety of many of the doorways in Fes. Enjoy :)


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Family and Travels

Well, I'm back in America now.

April Fool's!! Yes, I know that I'm a few days late, but I've been busy. Speaking of America and being busy, just what have I been doing??

As you can see by the lookers in the photo above, I've been spending time in Morocco with my big brother Neal and my soon-to-be sister Erin! Here's a bit about what we've been up to. Justin and I met Neal and Erin at the Rabat airport and brought them to Tiflet for a night. They experienced the ambiance of a small town, enjoyed some Moroccan mint tea and traditional breads with our host family, and chowed down at one of the restaurants in exciting downtown Tiflet.

Neal and Erin had booked a 10-day tour which started in Marrakech, so from Tiflet, we journeyed with them to the other side of the country to spend a bit more time together. And while Justin and I have been to Marrakech a few times now, there are still sites we have yet to see and lots that keep changing! On our own (while Neal and Erin were with their tour group), we visited the beautiful Majorelle Gardens along with a Berber Museum, which really impressed us with the quality and quantity of information offered about the Berber heritage in Morocco. And with Neal and Erin, we got a second opportunity to see the El Badi Palace, which since our first visit has been restored in several new places, some of which we hadn't even been able to visit before. It was really amazing to get to literally experience the restoration on our visits. And we got to eat some new Moroccan foods, namely the "tangia," a local Marrakech specialty that is cooked similarly to a tagine, in a clay pot but more of an urn shape and typically cooked by burying in hot coals for many hours. Like a tagine, the meat cooks low and slow, creating a very tender, juicy dish.

After a few too short days with Neal and Erin, we waved goodbye as they headed off with their tour group. We'll meet back up with them this weekend at the end of their tour and can't wait to hear about their Moroccan adventures! In the meantime, enjoy a few photos from Marrakech, at the Majorelle Gardens and the El Badi Palace.