Why Morocco?

The first question people ask me is, “Why Morocco?” and to that I have no answer. I've been thinking about this country since I was a little girl. Something has always pulled on my heart and I never knew why. When I moved to Los Angeles, people back home would ask me, “Why LA?” and to that I said I was looking for a change—a place with opportunities, things to do, new climate, a place that was fashionable, stylish, and by the ocean. I knew I could never live with snow and cold weather again so off to the West Coast I went. Following is a little background of how I came to live on the coast of Africa.

Part One: The City of Angels. I packed everything into my car and drove across the country with no plan, very little money, and I didn’t know anyone in LA. Somehow I just knew that I’d find a way. Before I got there, I sort of had this “dream list” of things I wanted to do and accomplish out there. At the time some of them seemed unrealistic but then again I had no idea how unrealistic Hollywood actually is.  Over the first few months I got to familiarize myself with the city and its people and I was amazed, shocked, intrigued and inspired. 

Pretty soon I found myself in situations I never imagined I’d be in—I was throwing weekly parties at the Thompson Hotel in Beverly Hills, designing custom bowling shoes for Gene Simmons, painting artwork for Kanye West, working on HBO shows like Big Love and True Blood, working production for different music videos and commercials, and I even got to work in the art department for an Eva Mendes movie. Not exactly what I expected to do when I left Kenosha.

That's a wrap!

After a while, I got tired of the pace of LA life.  I’ve always dreamt about Morocco and I found myself thinking about it more and more often. In September 2010 I decided I wanted to move there. I didn’t know how I was going to do it or what it would take, but I always love a good challenge. So I called my mom and said, “Mom, guess what? I’m moving. To Africa. By myself. In 3 months.” I’m sure you can imagine her reaction. My mom and dad have always supported me in every single thing I’ve wanted to do—whether they agreed with it or not. My mom said, “Jaim…at this point, nothing you do shocks me anymore.” So as long as I had the green light from both of my parents it was time to start planning.
I’ll make it really simple: I quit my job, sold everything besides what I could fit into one suitcase, and off I went. I of course flew home to Wisconsin to say goodbye to my family and friends and that’s when my adventure began.

My first stop was in Dublin. I had never really thought about going to Ireland before but most of the flights to London had layovers in Dub. So I figured as long as I’m going to be on Irish soil, I may as well stay and check it out for a few days. So that was fun. Next stop: London. I’ve been there before in the summer of 2005 and it was hot and gorgeous. This time, it was winter and freezing. I say it’s like Chicago—a Cubs game at Wrigley in the middle of July is nothing like standing in Millenium Park  in thu sub-zero temperatures of January. The season changes the whole experience. Either way, Londontown was fun. Now? Destination: Morocco…

Next Stop: Africa

The Airport:  My New Life

As I was descending the stairway from the plane to the runway, everything felt so surreal. It was so hard to comprehend that I was actually in Morocco. I was alone, but ready for my new life.

The December nighttime air was warm and clear. The sky was pitch-black and the stars sparkled like diamonds. I couldn’t believe I was under the African sky. It all felt like a movie. Everything I had dreamed about was coming true, and I was happier than I’d ever been.

Over the course of the next few months, my new life was like a fantasy. I did some amazing things that I never imagined I'd do. I traveled all over Morocco--to the countryside, Marrakech, Casablanca, Rabat, Imsouene, Essaouria, El Jadida, Paradise Valley, and Taghazout—multiple times. 

There was a lot I had to adjust to and it definitely wasn’t easy. I suppose the people here will never understand what I went through until they see where I came from. We accept eachother’s different cultures and do the best we can to understand that everyone is different.

There are so many details I’m leaving out, but I can’t really summarize 4 months in a few paragraphs. From now on, I’m going to post about what is happening currently, and if you have any questions about anything from before or if you want more details about something, just let me know and I’ll post about it. I get so many questions from people all the time and I find myself answering the same things often. I figured if someone posts a comment or a question, it would be a good way for me to answer whatever you’d like to know.   :)

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Amir Vaughn said...

I'm sure you wrote this somewhere in your blog, but when did you start learning Arabic, and how hard was it? Did you learn then Moroccan Dialect or classical Arabic? Are you taking classes? My Father is from Morocco and I plan on moving there, I know my basic survival skills in French and then some. This is one of the coolest blogs I have found, I can relate to it because I believe the same things you do, and my dream is to live in Morocco. I'm still in college, but my next move is buying property there. You wrote that you were from wisconsin, not too far from MN! haha Cheers, and thanks for the posts!

Jaime Brown said...

When I first moved here I didn't know one single word. All I knew was how to say "Assalaamo alaikum." The Moroccan dialect, called Darija, was more important for me to learn than classical. I needed to be able to speak with people on a daily basis and most people here don't speak classical. I learned by just listening to people, asking questions, writing down words in my phone and trying to memorize as much as I could. It's a very simple language compared to English so I think if you moved here, you'd be able to pick it up after about 6 months or so--maybe faster since you speak French.
Sooo many people here speak French but very few people speak English so you'll for sure have an advantage.

Have you ever visited here before? What part of Morocco is your father from? Where do you want to live?

Glad you enjoy the blog. Feel free to share it if you like :)