If you like this blog…

…then puh-lease vote for it!   This blog is in the running for the Best of Morocco Blogs awards, otherwise know as the Bombies. Voting starts on New Year’s day January 7th over at www.moroccoblogs.com

The main reason I want to win is: it would be nice to keep that bling-y badge over on the right.  Just kidding.  Sort of.

This blog has been such a wonderful way to share my little insights about life in Marrakesh that I already feel like I’ve gotten an immense amount of reward out of it. When I started blogging, my voice was tentative and faltering, not really sure what to say or who was listening.  One of my favorite quotes kept ringing in my ears.  Don’t be paralyzed by your fear of imperfection. So I started, knowing that my blog wouldn’t be the funniest, the deepest or the most gorgeous blog out there.  It would just be the way I filter the world, and that filter has gotten a lot of fine-tuning from blogging.  I started blogging because I found that although there are many English language blogs about Morocco, hardly any of them are written by Moroccans.  I realized that I had the benefit of access to this culture.

And I have stumbled on a real supportive and thoughtful group of readers.  With you listening, I found my voice.  Thank you so much.  I cherish each comment.  I even reply to every 11th one.

This blog has taught me that everyone has a story.   There is never nothing going on. And every story is worth telling, worth considering.  So I wrote about Nezha, el gardien and Chaima’s mom.

This blog…has made a lot of people hungry.  One of my friends says she makes sure she is full before she opens up this page.  You never know when you might find pictures of Seffa, couscous, or all that yummy food I had in Jordan.

When I first started blogging, I did not mention anything explicit about my spiritual path, Islam.  I gave myself a number of good reasons: I’m no expert, I don’t want to limit my audience, religion makes people uncomfortable, and so on.  I actually thought my blog was just going to be funny (humor and cussing seem to be two of the ingredients of blogging success).  But two things happened that made me change my mind.  One was the whole mosque controversy which made me realize how little is known about Islam, and how much hatred and poison there is coming from certain sources.  My own experience as a Muslim has just been so positive, so healing, that I just can’t see the connection between the Islam that I know and have experienced all my life, and this other totally distorted image that I see on certain news channels.

The other thing that gave me the courage to speak was spending two months in the United States this summer (although I’ve spent time and lived in the States before).  This time seemed different.  Maybe it’s just that when you turn 30 you start to be a lot less awkward (which has been just awesome).  I was so comfortable being myself, a Muslim woman, answering various questions that came up.  I even gave a talk/slide-show about this blog  and its various topics, and it went well.  I realized that all the reasons I’d given myself for being quiet were not true: I’m not an expert, but I know enough…my audience will determine itself so no need to try and please everyone…and religion distilled to its essence does not make people uncomfortable, in fact quite the opposite.  So I wrote about the altered state of fasting in Ramadan (my most popular post), praying in the Koutoubia mosque, and the transformative power of charity, which are three of the five pillars of Islam.  (I have not made the pilgrimage, yet!).

What else?  This blog is not really about my kids, but they have slipped in here once in a while.  Karima’s birthday trip to El Jadida, or the letter I wrote to Amin on his fifth birthday.

I wrote about how not make a complete fool of yourself when you’re invited to a Moroccan home.

And my plans to 2011?  I hope to write the famous American women married to Moroccan men article I’ve mulled over so much.  I hope to be a tourist in my own city, and take my kids to all the famous spots: Jardin Majorelle, Medrasa ben Yousef, Bahia palace, etc.  They’ve never been!  In fact I can’t remember the last time I’ve been.  For shame.  I hope to post my secret recipe for how to make cheesecake in Morocco.  I hope to write an article on Moroccan proverbs and what they reveal about the culture, like this one: entering the hammam is not the same as leaving it.  I hope to slip in an article about Yousef, my little 3 year old, just to be fair.  And I hope that my readers (sounds so pretentious, sorry) will send me awesome suggestions for what to write about!

To recap: vote for this blog in www.moroccoblogs.com starting January 1st.  Spread the word.  I’ll remind you on January 1st, oh don’t you worry.

Also, let’s hear your New Year’s resolutions.  Here’s one of mine: Spend more time cloud-watching.

18 thoughts on “If you like this blog…

  1. Assalam alaykum Nora.
    Maybe I’ll be the first one to vote for your blog,as I was the the first one to comment on it (LOL).I have a
    charitable project idea that I want to talk to Mr Abderrahman and you about,I taught you may be interested in. God willing ,I’ll contact you when I come to Morocco at the end of January 2011.

    • Wa alaykum salam
      Thank you, you certainly have been around since the beginning! I always appreciate your comments and thanks for voting for me. I can’t wait to hear about your project idea insha’allah.

  2. Sara Morgan says:

    Well Nora, you definitely have also succeeded at the humor aspect. I have perhaps never left your blog without a smile on my face, as well as a sense of uplift.

  3. Jennah says:

    Insha’Allah I will surely vote for your blog. I have enjoyed reading it so much! It keeps my dreams alive that I will someday return to live in the land I left my heart in six long years ago. Can’t wait to read the post about proverbs and about Americans married to Moroccans, I sent you my e-mail to be a part of it when you had requested it in a post so long ago. I thought for sure you had changed your mind. Best of luck!

    • Thanks Jennah. I did receive your email and I appreciate your input. I tried to write the article several different times…and feel like it’s a serious and sensitive subject so I want to do a good job…i thought of just having individual stories instead of a global article. What do you think?

      • Jennah says:

        Assalamu Alaikum,
        I think individual stories might be good, because everyone is so different rather than a broad generalization, but at the same time, I feel like so many of our stories are the same: Fell in love with a country, a man, possibly a religion (Not in that order!). Maybe a once a month/quarter profile of someone. I so enjoy your blog and know you will find a clever and interesting way to portray these women, insha’Allah. By the way, your photography is very good.

  4. Na'eemah Martinez says:

    As-salaam alaikum,
    I stumbled upon your blog through Itto’s blog and love coming back to it often.I am a Canadian who lived in Morocco for 2 years and like the other comment, left my heart there ever since!I will if posssible(busy home schooling mother of four),vote for you!

    • Wa alaykum salam Na’eemah,
      Homeschooling four children! Where can I vote for YOU? For most dedicated mother. I pray that Allah puts ease in your studies, and blesses your children with useful knowledge and expansive hearts.

  5. You’ve got my vote! I absolutely love reading your blog. I tell everyone about it. You provide a lens on life here (in Morocco/Marrakech) that has become an indispensable perspective in my own musings and reflections. Sana saida to you and your family!

    • Oh Tiffany, thanks so much. I also enjoy reading your blog and seeing life here from your perspective. I like the things you notice and how you choose to celebrate the positive.

  6. Assalamu alaykum,

    Is anyone to vote? I’ve never been to Morocco, know one person from there (a dear friend of mine) but have fallen in love with Morocco through reading your blog and Itto’s and now it has become one of my dreams to someday visit this beautiful place. I hope I can vote :b

    • Wa alaykum salam. Si, qualquier persona puede votar. Todavia no ha empezado, manyana insha Allah.
      Ojala puedas visitar Marruecos algun dia. Tampoco he olvidado que me habias escrito sobre tu blog. Tengo comentarios que te enviare por email insha Allah. Que Dios te cuide a ti y a tu familia.

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