Two months ago, I was in North Africa. Two months. I can’t believe that so much time has passed so quickly since that glorious adventure.
Two months ago, I was finishing up a hammam at Les Bains de Marrakech – feeling high from the rose oil and steam and orange flowers and sweet mint tea. Upon everyone’s suggestion, I booked the full afternoon of relaxation. For a mere $70, I received the works, including:
* A hammam scrub – wearing just my skivvies, I was soaped up with black soap, then scrubbed me down aggressively with a stiff mitt. This experienced “scrubbing lady” worked wonders: rubbing layer after layer of dead skin away – leaving me pink and clean.
* A 90-minute massage. Heavenly.
* A 30-minute rosepetal bath. Dreamy.
* A 30-minute nap. Indulgent.
* A plate of sticky pastries stuffed with almonds and drizzled with honey. Gluttony.
Two months ago, I was writing in a journal every day – recording thoughts, experiences, ideas and dreams. Within the pages of the journal, I decided to give the Juicy Olive a whirl – resolving that sharing my philosphy of life with others may just make a difference. I wrote about how shocked I was at the drastic misunderstandings we Americans have of the muslim world. I sketched pictures: little boys hammering metal into lanterns, women offering to paint my hands with henna and the old man with pliers and a jar of teeth offering to cure my dental dramas. I tallied the prices of my purchases: $1 for a pair of earrings; $10 for a silk and cashmere scarf; $100 for an antique wedding blanket; $90 for a camel hide pouf. I recorded the way the clear, dry sun felt on my skin and the way the preserved lemon smarted on my tongue. I jotted down words in arabic and wished that I could learn the ancient caligraphy of such a gorgeous language. I rushed to write down the little history lessons I acquired throughout the day. I spent a whole day writing in french and was pleased to realize how quickly it came back to me. I transcribed lyrics from songs that were programmed into my iPod that week – knowing that it was partly music, but mostly their association with that trip that made me so desperate to remember them. I pasted ticket stubs, receipts and business cards; leaves, petals and fabric into the pages – knowing that one day they’d make memories come a little faster, emotions return to me with very little effort.
Two months ago, I left a little bit of myself behind in Morocco – the unsure woman who feels burdened by some of life’s meanness. I came back with a new piece – the woman who is interested in showing the world who is boss and who knows in her heart that the good life is something everyone can have. It may not come in the same form for everyone, but it’s something that everyone deserves if they want it and are open to it.
Two months may have passed already, but I plan never to forget the times I had in Morocco. I want to keep finding new adventures to add to these memories. That’s what Juicy Olive is: a quest to share our pursuit of the good life and encourage each other to go the hell after it.