Archive | October, 2014

Morocco Morocco!!!

28 Oct

It’s been a month since I’ve been back from Morocco and like Thailand, it’s a place I’ve wanted to visit for a long time as I knew I would find another piece of the puzzle. I went with 3 friends and although we’re all at different places in our lives, we were all in the same place mentally, so it was more of a reflective and relaxing holiday. I decided to write about 5 things I reflected on during those days away.

This Time Last Year, This Time, and This Time Next Year

In the present day, I am entering two new chapters in my life and it made me think about where I was this time last year. September 2013 I was in Thailand on a whole different path, experiencing life like never before. Back then, I didn’t think I’d be here today; engaged to a blessed and wonderful guy with new life growing every day. Even though marriage and family life was something I always wanted, I anticipated I’d get there “sometime in the future” not knowing that “future” was only a year away. I had a completely different plan and picture for life in September 2014, which I thought was greater and bigger. YET, the quality my life is so much better than I imagined it could be and is finally aligning with my top values. It drove home that we really don’t know tomorrow. Sure we all have plans and goals, and sometimes it goes accordingly. But when things doesn’t work out like OUR blueprint, we may not see it or appreciate it at the time but Life is giving us what is essential to our growth and progress.

Life knows best...

Life knows best…

The things we want to do VS the things we need to do!

We got a nice package deal to Morocco, which included flights and hotel and a camel tour. However, before leaving London, my fiancé (just saying that makes me feel all giddy inside) and I agreed it’d be better if I didn’t ride the camels. I wasn’t too bothered at the time. The 2nd day in Morocco and our transport arrived for the tour. Once I saw the camels, I really wanted to ride but I had to put my safety first. I was really disappointed and felt left out when everyone was boarding the camels and taking pictures. Once the group left for the ride, I sat in the waiting room. I was tempted to sulk and indulge in a pity party about being excluded from this activity, but then I took out my books, put my feet up and sat comfortably amongst the fluffy pillows. Then the inspiration for this blog came and gave me the opportunity to relax and reflect, whilst I was alone. I was able to get lost with my thoughts, to read, to write and just appreciate everything around me. And do the things I generally love to do. I consoled myself by accepting that I didn’t have to be involved in EVERY activity. There would be plenty of opportunities in the future to ride camels amongst other things. But for this moment in time I had to just be still and remember the wonderful blessings that were already manifesting in my life.

Somewhere in the desert...

Somewhere in the desert…

Kindness pays

In a selfish and self-consumed world, one can forget the need to serve. And in a place where there is great lack, another can overlook courtesies to others. Every day, we were bombarded with people trying to sell us things, or help us in return for financial remuneration. Even getting directions from the locals they would expect you to pay them. But in those few days, we met a few special individuals that went against the norm and saw us as four ladies needing assistance as opposed to a means to a financial end. We made friends with a lovely guy called Ahmed, who worked at a restaurant we ate at a couple of times. He spoke good English and French, and told us about the different types of scams people run in Morocco and what were reasonable prices to pay for certain items in the market so we didn’t get exploited being foreigners. Then there was Mike, whom we met on the beach and he took me to get fish and chips. We passed many restaurants but he showed me where the locals get the same thing for less. I offered to buy him lunch to say thank you, but he persistently refused and when I accidently brought too many portions of fries, I gave it to him and he generously gave it to some friends of his that we bumped into. On the way back to the beach, I offered him money and he refused, saying he knows people are always expecting something but was just happy to help as it was a nice break from his work. Then there was Raida, our driver for the excursion to Essarouia with all his efforts to find my phone, calling back and forth to his office to get the number for the Argan Oil place and then driving us back to retrieve it. There were other nice people we met in Morocco, but these 3 really struck a chord. They were exceptionally nice people, and in a place that thrives from exploiting foreigners, they went out of their way with no ulterior motives and not expecting anything in return. It made us do something nice for them. Like tip extra, buy a gift or even say an extra special prayer so the Universe would reward them and encourage them to continue shining their light to strangers.

Who said chivalry is dead?

Who said chivalry is dead?

Self-control is the best type of control

As humans beings we have a deep need for being in control. Whether it’s to influence circumstances around us or direct people’s behaviour, we like things to be certain, complete, consistent and when they lack those Cs, we start feeling powerless and inadequate. Holidays are the best places to challenge your issue with control, especially when travelling with a group of people. Morocco was an idea that started in all four of our minds at different times. Decisions had to made about the type of holiday we wanted; beach or city break, duration of stay, etc all the while being realistic with time schedules and budgets. This wasn’t a typical holiday where I went alone, so I had to be considerate of what other people wanted to do. Throughout the trip, I had to really examine myself, monitor my thoughts, my attitudes, resist the urge to try and control everything (especially being the Time-Keeping warden) and be open-minded to the suggestions of the others. Some days we had plans, others we just went with whatever we felt like doing. I guess I was worried that only being there for 5 days, if we didn’t plan and organise ourselves properly, we wouldn’t utilise our time and maximise the experience. Though we didn’t do everything on the “Top Ten list of things to do in Morocco” we made the most of it. And I appreciated the excitement in not knowing what was next. When you take control of yourself, you develop tolerance, patience, and group contributions usually bring out better results than any one voice as you become more creative with ideas.

 

Let go and go with the flow!

Let go and go with the flow!

Everything ALWAYS works out for good.

From London to Morocco, then back to London so many things were heading in the wrong direction. We almost missed our train as I was late coming to the station. We made it with literally 4 minutes to spare. We almost missed our flight because Ugo was held back at security; and they confiscated a lot of her liquids and then she and Amanda were caught up in Boots. With 0 minutes to spare, we rushed to the gate only to join the queue of passengers waiting to board. After being in Morocco for about 10 hours, Amanda experienced serious culture shock and hated being in Morocco. By mid-afternoon the next day, after loads of comforting and haggling in the market place, she decided to give it a chance and ended up enjoying it. During our day excursion to Essaouira (3 hours from Marrakesh), I left my phone at the Argan Oil factory. Thank God for Liliane speaking French, we found it in the end. Then to put the cherry on top we almost missed out flight back to London. After waiting in line for about 40 minutes, we reached the front only to be told we haven’t checked in. We tried to explain that’s why we came to the airport 2 hours before departure to CHECK-IN. Anyways; we were told if we wanted to board the plane, we’d have to pay a penalty of “eight hundred and forty… EACH!!!” I almost had a heart attack. Now here’s the thing, in Morocco they love receiving Euros from foreigners; we pay for our airport transfer in Euros, city tax at the hotel, they say Euros, the eggs I ordered for breakfast, the price was in Euros. So when I heard 840, I automatically thought Euros and I nearly died right there and then. After a while, he clarified and said “840 dirham.” Phew. As much as I was ticked off for being charged for something that wasn’t my fault, (apparently, we should have received a reminder email 24 hours prior to check in but obviously that email disappeared in the mystery world of BULLCRAP!!!) along with now only having 15mins before the gate closed and still having to go through security, Liliane made a good point, “Thank God it’s only Dirham and not Euros or Pounds”. Which worked out to only £62 and compared to £840 is ABSOLUTELY wonderful. As much as I’d liked to have paid £0, you have to see the positive in everything. No matter what situation you find yourself in, remember it could always have been worse!!!

Being in Morocco, I was reminded that happiness is found in the simplicity of things. Life is really good and we have so much to be thankful for. All we need is a change of perspective. Sometimes the best thing to do is to let go, be still and do nothing. But don’t equate that with nothing being done, life is always happening!!

I have found calmness in the midst of craziness!!

I have found calmness in the midst of craziness!!

Ms Tola xx

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