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Adnane Ben.
Boston USA
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From Los Angeles to Casablanca!
04:12:05 PM Friday Nov 9, 2007

Welcome to one of the new recent members bouala. His profile description caught my attention, so I thought it could make a good discussion.

"Half french - Half Moroccan .. now living in Casablanca with my wife and my two children. I spent 3 years in Los Angeles to study "International Business" and work today as a manager."

I would really love to hear from bouala, and anyone who shared some of his experience, how does it feel to live in Casablanca, Morocco after having spent years in LA, and probably in France. What attracted you to move to Morocco? what do you like about it? what is it you find difficult? and what advise do you have for those who are considering to work in Morocco?

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6:37 pm    November 21, 2007
Suzy Cameleon
I agree that spending half the time in Morocco and the other half in the states would be great for me too. When I lived in New Orleans and was living in my own space before Hurricane Katrina I didn't feel the need to anywhere else because I was "home". But now since I am in a particular state of exile within my own country I dream of being somewhere else. All this actually brings up various ideas about "home' in general. Where do we actually feel "at home". What makes "home" home. But that's another can of worms to be opened.

3:56 pm    November 21, 2007

Salem message
Today, when I was going to work, I heard an interview in the Arabic-speaking national radio station, with a physician specialist in anaesthesia and pain, directly from Texas/Huston via phone line. A 45 years old casaoui. I was proud of him as I learned about the successes he achieved as a physician and as a professor at Harvard University. He was speaking in perfect Arabic despite his 3 decades long stay in the USA. He said he was in touch with the health environment in Morocco, being solicited to come over (to Morocco) to perform tricky surgical operations and give lectures to a public of students and professionals from the health sector.

This is an interesting example of an educated, successful, skilful Moroccan, living abroad and finding it difficult to choose between two "exiles". I would personally choose that solution of spending, somehow, half time of the year in Morocco and the other half in the country of residence, whenever that would be possible. An optimal solution that would satisfy my need to keep "my roots well watered and my branches well oxygenated".


1:33 am    November 18, 2007

Salem message
It seems that migration is not a strange phenomenon for Moroccans throughout history.

Following the Arab-Islamic conquests beginning in the seventh century, mostly Arabic-speaking population groups migrated to present-day Morocco.

Large numbers of Muslims and Jews migrated from Spain to Morocco after the “reconquista” of the Iberian Peninsula. Far into the 20th century, the slave trade constituted an important form of forced migration within and towards Morocco.

Over the second half of the 20th century, Morocco has evolved into one of the world's leading emigration countries. At least three million people of Moroccan descent live outside the country.

Money remittance by Moroccans abroad is now vital to Morocco. But their skills and know how may be of even more importance for Morocco’s development.


11:12 pm    November 12, 2007

Adnane Ben. message
Suzy ~ I believe there is reality in a lot of things you said. Your post actually spawns a number of threads worthy of discussion. It is true that unless a person frees himself from what other people think of him, he might not unleash his full potential in life. It's a mental baggage deeply rooted in how status and success are defined in his familly and environment. America, and exile in general, provide a temporary relief from the elements that bring to surface that mental baggage. When in a foreign land, one finds himself/herself living anew, almost as a newly born baby. One can shape up his own definition of success, and execute it. Some find satisfaction and stability in this new life, this new person they've become by process of exploration, and simply end up making their exile permanent in quest for this very environment that they perceive is bringing the best out of them. Or could they find the same environment in their homeland but they do not see it clearly yet? could this environment be a mere state of mind?

Returning to the homeland becomes an exile from the exile. The same principles might apply. You're going back, and this time, is it in quest for an environment that brings the best out of your new little familly? is it in quest for business opportunities? is it to be near parents and familly? is it just the way people before you have done things? is it a natural phenomenon? could it be the phase in your life whereby you can say: I've done it! what is this second exile all about?


1:30 pm    November 12, 2007

abdelilah message
I think that we Moroccans living abroad, having traveled a lot and lived in three different countries, become disconnected with the Moroccan reality, and we develop a certain exotic image of a Morocco of the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. It is really interesting to see how the Moroccan embassies are coopting the Moroccans of abroad through Moroccan associations "created" to help the "poor" back home. I mean, let us face it, the makhzen back home is not relinquisjing its power to its own subjects there, so how in the world do we think that we might be given some booty just because we say "Gooot it" or "bottom line." It is the fear of dying incognito in the land of the nazarenes. lol.

12:02 am    November 12, 2007

Salem message
I have traveled abroad quite a lot because of job, but I never emigrated nowhere. So I don't pretend I know exactly the psychological mecanisme behind that behaviour. But it makes me pleasure to make a comment though.

What you're talking about is part of Moroccan culture, I believe. It has something to do with that "being somewhere between dream and reality". That's probabely the most fascinating magic that brings you closer or brings you back, makes you deadly nostalgic when you have been away for long time. I don't think there is something to do about it. Openess and generosity are major reasons to live for moroccans. I know moroccans who spend the savings of one year in one month vacations in Morocco, giving money to family members, inviting freinds, living huge tips for minor services, or simply giving money away, and you can see how much they're happy doing so.

But everybody knows about some negative aspects in their behavior while in vacation in Morocco, but these negative aspects generally weigh much less compared to the good and nice ones.


2:53 pm    November 11, 2007

hudhud message
Suzy - that's pretty intense and I agree that I've seen some of that mentality here too. I think it's the result of a bad experience that can make a really long lasting impression unfortunately, but again not everyone is like that. Personally what I have witnessed firsthand is that the Moroccan community here in America is extremely supportive and close-knit compared to many others. Take Algerians. I have never seen that level of support, caring and community spirit with the algerians that I've encountered here in the USA compared to that of the Moroccan community. It's an enormous difference.

The coments you make about the expectations back home and financial well-being -- don't expect that to change. People who grow up with that mentality often feel burdened and feel the need to show what wealth they could gain when going back home, be it in the form of fancy gifts, big tips, or otherwise. If you ask your husband why he left Morocco in the first place, he'll likely tell you it was to get a better job in france or usa or wherever, to make a better income. This is a very common theme with most north african immigrants - which is not to say that's wrong or anything, but just be aware that's the climate he probably grew up in, so it's only natural that he thinks that way.

"no mental baggage" -- as you say that's the key.


10:47 am    November 11, 2007

Suzy Cameleon message
Sure we can talk about how Moroccans - at least my husband - acts when he goes home. He feels restricted at home in Meknes. He left home in his 20's and moved to France for about 20 years. I think there was a lot of expectations put on him by his family. He only wants to go home once he has "made it". For him it's shameful to come home without money and resources. Now that he is in the states and is making money selling the traditional crafts he feels like a "big man" when he goes home and he can give money to his mother and help her so much more. He leaves big tips on the table and tips everyone very well when he's there.
I remember once I was talking to his sister and it got back to him that I had said that the economy was slow and business was slow at that moment. He got very angry because his sister interpretted it as if he was not doing well. That was not what I meant to say. So it confirmed to me just how much he feels like he has to prove something to his family. Making money seems to be interpretted as being successful for him however it's a big issue for American men too in general.
I remember some of my husband's first reactions to the way people acted in New Orleans (which is by far a very free spirited city). He started going outside without a shirt on in the summer while he cut the grass and hanging out on the porch in his boxer shorts like other American men something he would never do in Meknes.
Living in America has let him become freer in some ways because he doesn't really care what people think about him here. There's no mental baggage. But in is home town he thinks people will talk about him and gossip behind his back which is funny to me because after 50 years old who the hell cares.
I myself was born free and nobody ever told me to do or not to do anything. My family was always supportive of me and no dream was ever squashed that's why I continue to dream up big ideas. I am not successful financially but that hasn't stopped me from traveling the world and doing my art. For me money is a means to get some things but it doesn't buy happiness. Networking and making great relationships with people is what makes me happy. Working with others is a real way of making things happen.
One thing about my husband is that he is rather mistrustful of other Moroccans. He had some bad experiences and now he doesn't like to share ideas with them or do business with them. Does anyone else out there feel this way? This way of thinking in general does not help people come together to do big and better things. But I have seen this in the Black community in America where poor people bring each other down - they relate it to crabs in a bucket where instead of helping each other crawl out the crabs pull each other down and nobody escapes. We all need to think collectively and give back to each other when we get a chance. The problem is that the system keeps making it harder and harder to move along.
What are your thoughts on this?

7:43 am    November 11, 2007

Mohamed Brahimi message
Does it always boil down to how well off you become before you start toying with the idea of going back??
Is wealth and resources the only determining factor to where one chose to settle down ??
Have you at any time while living outside of Morocco tried making that place home, or the idea of Morocco being the ultimate home has always been on the back burner and therefore channeled all your dreams and plannings
I would love it if you could share
Thank you

5:39 pm    November 10, 2007

Adnane Ben. message
"My husband feels freer in the states than he does at home in Meknes, but I told him that is because when he's "at home" he returns to the state of mind he had when he was a child and trying to prove something to other people."

Suzy ~ this is an incredibly deep thought. It is worth more elaboration, would you mind? thanks


4:49 pm    November 10, 2007

Suzy Cameleon message
I am an American and I am trying to get to Morocco to live and work. I love the way I feel "inside myself" when I am in Morocco and it'e not always because I am on vacation. My husband imports the henna lamps and leather bags to the states and sells them at festivals so we go back and forth fairly often.
I am older now and it's true my priorities have changed and I am incredibly focused on my art and want to teach art and the craft of silk painting to Moroccan children and adults. I appreciate the lifestyle and the things Moroccans take for granted like - hammam u atay koll n'har (trying out my Arabic there).
My husband feels freer in the states than he does at home in Meknes, but I told him that is because when he's "at home" he returns to the state of mind he had when he was a child and trying to prove something to other people. He feels freer when he's in other cities especially anywhere along the beach.
Anyone from Agadir or Asilah out there? Those are the areas that I want to settle in and start a gallery.

12:36 pm    November 10, 2007
It has been exactly one year now that I moved back to casablanca after seven years living in NYC. I personally would encourage any person to make the move as long as the person has well defined his/her priorities in life and carefully weigh the pluses and minuses of life on either side of the pond. Living in the US offers endless career and financial developpement opportunities. Living in Morocco, on the other hand, offers the unique human warmth that only family can give and especially for people who are living in the US while their parents are still in Morocco (and most likely their parents are growing old). I had plenty of friends in the US and kept very busy with work, travel, and in general all that NYC has to offer but no friend or activity can make up for an afternoon tea with chiba with a parent or a sibling. Besides, things are moving forward in Morocco from the economic and financial perspectives and there is a lot that we could bring to the plate as Moroccans who had the chance and opportunity to have lived abroad and learned from what those countries have accomplished.
My advice is lwahed ytwakkal 3ala allah, keep realistic expections, know your priorities in life w maykoune ghir lkheir inchallah.

Adnane Ben.'s notes (341)
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ghir bessyas a moulay!
Moroccan Playing Cards Game ronda v1.0
A Call From Algeria to Help Suffering Little Boy Mounib!

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