We'll always have Casablanca

  • We'll always have Casablanca
Blog of the month
Published 2014-07-01 00:00
My name is Eleanor, and I am from Chicago. I thankfully found a job in an American school and moved to Casablanca right after graduation.

My name is Eleanor, and I am from Chicago.

When and how did you decide to move to Morocco? Is it complicated to settle down there?

I first went to Morocco as an exchange student at a Moroccan university. I spent six months studying there in the fall of my senior year. When I returned to the U.S. to finish my last six months of undergrad, I started looking for ways to go back to Morocco. I thankfully found a job in an American school and moved to Casablanca right after graduation. It wasn't very hard to settle down, because there were a lot of resources for the new teachers. I also found it easier to adjust having already been to Morocco.


Have you ever lived abroad before? How many countries have you visited?

I studied abroad twice in college (the second time being in Morocco) and was able to travel a bit, but had never really lived in another country.


What do you like the most about Casablanca/Morocco?

There are a lot of things I really like! The weather, the ocean, how easy it is to travel around the country, and fig season.


How is/was the cultural shock? What are the main differences with the US, your home country?

Moroccan culture can be very different from American culture, especially because of the importance of family and the separation of public and private life. Expats don't easily experience family life in Morocco, but if you do get an invitation from a friend to go to their home, they tend to be very friendly and open...and to feed you until you are about to burst! When you encounter people on the street, however, there is much more separation. This took some getting used to, and can be a little confusing at first.


Do you miss anything from your homeland?

Peanut butter! I guess I also miss my family, though they've visited me quite a lot this year!


Any 'memories of an expat' you would like to share with us? Your best souvenir? Or maybe your worst experience?

I recently went on a weekend trip to a Berber village outside of Marrakech, where we hiked up a mountain and then were received by a family who served us mint tea, msemmen (Moroccan pancakes), and fig and blackberry jam. We enjoyed their hospitality on the balcony, where there was one of the most beautiful mountain views I've ever seen. Morocco has so many beautiful places to enjoy, and Moroccans are so welcoming to their guests.


What does your typical day as an expat in Casablanca look like?

A typical day starts with going to work, where I teach English. In the evenings, I often go running (which involves a lot of dodging cars), cook dinner, spend time with my boyfriend, and read any English-language books I'm able to get my hands on. On weekends, I might go to a restaurant or to dinner at a friend's house, or walk around the medina (the old city).


When did you start your blog? For what reasons?

I started my blog a year ago, when I was about to move to Casablanca. I use it both to write about interesting situations and to keep my family and friends updated.


Did you make new friends with your blog?

I have a few blogger friends whose entries I read regularly... It's fun to see what expat life is like in other countries!


Why did you register on https://www.expat.com and what do you think of the website?

I registered to become connected with other expat bloggers. I really enjoy checking out other blogs from other countries.


Which advice would you give to the other Expat blog members who would like to settle in Casablanca (or Morocco)?

First of all, to learn French or Arabic if you don't speak either of those languages yet. Not many people speak English, so it would be really hard to get around without the language. Being patient is also important, both with others and with yourself as you adapt. And of course, to enjoy all of the new experiences!


We'll always have Casablanca

6 years ago

Hi Eleanor: Thanx so much for sharing your rich ex;perience in Morocco. I too am from the Chicago suburbs, and here right now, working on a Project. However, I live in Virginia! Though I have lived in more than 10 countries consecutively (1999-2007), I have wanted to visit Morocco, but not sure that I would want to live there. If so, I would not want to live in the big cities. I am 85% proficient in Colloquial Arabic, but not Classical. Moroccan Arabic is different I have heard, but it would not take long for me to catch it, though I am an older woman. Perhaps I might fit better there, than here in the states, because my lifestyle is more like their decent women. It would be nice to connect with one of the families there, especially if the woman is a widow like me. Would that be a possibility?

6 years ago

This is very beautiful. Good luck with your stay there.