I dream of love and adventure. I dream of underwater kisses, And dances in the moonlight. I dream of a backpack and midnight flights, Of jetlags and foreign cities. I dream of open hearts and pretty eyes, Of wild hair and crooked smiles. I dream of imperfection, Of flawed people and beautiful souls. I dream of a gentle hand in the darkness, Telling me not to be afraid. I dream of warm nights at the beach. I dream of deep conversations over good food, And a drink or two. I dream of waterfalls and light streams, Of woods and deserts. I dream of brown people, blond people, People with ginger hair and others with black curls. I dream of colors, Anywhere, everywhere. I dream of a boat, Of a plane, Of a car, Taking me somewhere new. I dream of ancient times, Of pirates, knights, and adventurers, Of warriors and dragon slayers. I dream of what life was And what it could be. I dream of those who never let go, Of those who always get up when they get knocked down. I dream of those who dream. I dream, and dream, and dream. And with a little luck, Those dreams might come true. Truer than a quick breath We take in a cold morning. Truer than a stolen kiss In front of an airport. Truer than life itself.
Of all the things in this universe, Kindness and smiles are what keeps us alive. There are a lot of things I am thankful for. And I know this might sound crazy But I’ve made a list. I am thankful to the moon and the stars For keeping me company at night, When my mind is running through a field of endless thoughts. You remind me of how beautiful and vast The universe is. To my best friends, They’re few But they’re enough. Thank you. For keeping me steady during the sea storm. I am a boat and you are my anchor. Your presence makes me want not to drift away from the world. You make everything around me alive. You see my faults, my weirdness And you embrace them. I am thankful to my parents, For being the first people to put a book in my hands. With one simple gesture, They made a writer out of a lost child. To my siblings, Little sister, little brother, I don’t say it enough, Or maybe not at all, Since all we ever do is endlessly bicker at each other, But, thank you. For proving that I wasn’t The only crazy, weird soul in our family. To my grandpa, Thank you. You, out of all people, Taught me the importance of love. I remember when I was a kid You used to wait for me at the front door of your house So you could offer me candy And throw me high up in the air As I laughed at your funny ears And your tender smile. The day they called us At 7 in the morning to tell us you were gone, A part of me went with you to the grave. I don’t believe in afterlife, But if I’m ever wrong, I am sure about one thing: You deserve the most beautiful one. I am grateful to my third grade teacher For believing in me. For always encouraging me To write more, To read more, To do more, To be more. To my first love, Thank you for setting the first sparkle To the fire in my heart. Really. I know, my infatuation with you was silly. A kid’s game. But to me, You were a mystery that I wanted to unravel. I hold my memories of you in a special place of my heart. Because, more than anything, You taught me that love was all about letting go. I want to thank the sun and the sea and the forest For being my companions In those moments Where I felt lost and miserable. The sound of the waves And of the wind singing through tree leaves Is the most beautiful melody to my ears. I am grateful for my weird and eccentric hobbies. For, without them I wouldn’t be whole. They shaped me into the person I am today. I am thankful to all the books I’ve read. For teaching me that even the quietest of voices Could speak up and be heard. But most of all, I want to thank words, poetry and art For simply existing. They are my personal super heroes And my saviors.
It’s a new year, and I’m right now riding a bus to Tangier. It happens that I’m reading, rereading actually, one of Mohamed Choukri’s books, named “الأخطاء زمن” (it’s in Arabic, for those who don’t know, Mohamed Choukri is a Moroccan writer), which literally means “The time of errors”.
As I write these words, my hand is shaky due to the constant moving of the bus, but my heart isn’t. My heart is as calm as a gentle spring breeze. And my eyes are waiting for the city to unfold its beauty in front of me.
In all of his books, Mohamed Choukri wrote about Tangier as if she’s his long lost lover. And he’s right. Tangier is every writer’s long lost lover. From Paul Bowles to William S. Burroughs, Tangier was their cursed mistress. She, yes she, for that city has a soul and a heart, bewitched them with her strange beauty. It’s doing the same to me. I am continuing the old tradition of writers falling in love with this city, the bride of the north as they call her (this is not a Game of Thrones reference, though I wish it were).
What could I say about Tangier? There is so much to write about, so I don’t really know where to start. This isn’t a guide to the city of Tangier, this is an ode to this magical city of eccentric artists and tiny balconies looking up to the Atlantic.
You can’t go to Tangier and just visit. You have to soak up all her beauty and be taken by her invisible traditions. You’ll have to go to Café El Hafa, sit there drinking your mint tea while watching the sea and watching old men playing checkers or smoking their pipe. Wandering through the tiny colorful streets of the Kasbah, you will understand why so many writers were taken by beautiful Tangier. There is nothing more poetic than getting lost within the old city and discovering places you would have never seen if you followed a guide.
Poetry isn’t just pretty words on paper. Poetry is felt. Poetry is seen. And Tangier is nothing than pure poetry. Having diner, late at night, in a tiny restaurant of the Kasbah is poetry. Waking up to the smell and the sound of the sea is poetry. Drinking a hot, sweet mint tea from the balcony of your studio or the rooftop of your hostel, while watching the city lights, is poetry. Everything in Tangier is art and no one better than Mohammed Choukri knew how to describe it.
Not everyone can see the beauty of Tangier. She only unfolds her hidden secrets to a few chosen ones. I was lucky to be one of them. I am lucky to be one of them. Tangier makes writing and art seem easy. She has inspired so many beautiful souls and she’s continuing to do so every single day, hypnotizing people’s hearts.
Tangier, you are and will always be the love of my life. You are my most wretched and mysterious lover. I wish nothing more than to embrace the hidden beauties of your Kasbah, and wake up every morning to the sound of your seagulls.
Thank you, Tangier, for being such a magical place. My heart is yours. My soul is yours. My art is yours.
If any of you read my last blog article, then you must know that I spent my summer in Busan, South Korea. And no matter how many years I lived in Morocco, eating couscous and dancing in incredibly fun weddings, life in South Korea was way waaaay better (well, I guess because I was there as a traveler and not as a native). I love my country dearly, but fuck if South Korea didn’t seduce the shit out of me. Because I loved it so much, I’m going back there next September, after my graduation. But this article isn’t about my next trip. Nope, this article is about how fucking incredible South Korea is at doing some stuff, and believe me, that country is pretty incredible.
1. Karaoke nights: Forget about karaoke in bars, where you’re too afraid of taking the mic and singing your heart out because duh everyone will be watching you and secretly judging you. In South Korea, you get your own room in noraebang(karaoke in Korean) and you can sing all you want with your friends for 60 or 90 minutes, for less than 20DHS each. And, if the owners are feeling generous enough, they might even add more free time for your room, that’s what they call service (basically, getting free stuff. Yep, South Korea is pretty cool). 2. The food: What I miss more about South Korea isn’t the landscapes, or the karaoke, or the cool clubs, or the nice bars, or not being catcalled in the streets (actually, I REALLY miss that), what I miss most is the food. Even thinking about it right now makes me want to take the first plane to Seoul just to eat some tteokbeoki and heotteok and a nice bowl of gukpab. The food is spicy, full of flavors, and most of all, CHEAP. Ah, I can’t wait until I go back there and eat all the Korean food I want.
So, this thing that looks like a drop of water is actually a rice cake. Yep.
3. The service: As I said, South Korean businesses, especially restaurants and karaokes, often offer free stuff to their customers. But, it isn’t just that that makes the service there the best. Wherever you go, be it makeup stores, restaurants, street food stalls, or shopping centers, you’ll find staff members who are nice to you and actually treat you like human beings (a big change from some Moroccans working in this sector who treat you like a beggar, something that personally happened to me a week ago in a makeup store, but this is a subject for another day).
4. The street food: I know, I already talked about food, but street food by itself needs its own entry. If you’re a foodie who’s not afraid of trying the weirdest things ever, go to South Korea. There, I got to try blood sausage (which ended up being not as disgusting as it sounded), silkworms (I’m still debating if trying that was the worst decision of my life. I think not), and live octopus (it stuck to my tongue and nearly killed me… I LOVED IT).
Mandu, oh how I long for thee :'(
5. Fried chicken: Yes, another entry about food. Sorry, I’m obsessed. But Korean fried chicken needs a section of its own. Ah, how beautiful and delicious it was! If I close my eyes and concentrate real hard, I can actually remember the taste. God, I fell in love with fried chicken, it was one of my best discoveries there, and one of the main reasons I’m going back to South Korea (along with the hot guys and soju). 6. Parties: If someone tells you that Korean people don’t know how to party, you should know that that person is a shameless liar. Koreans love to party and they do that well! I can still remember all the crazy nights I spent dancing with my friends, or simply hanging out outside convenience stores (yep, that’s actually a thing in South Korea) drinking somek, people watching, and meeting random drunk persons who came to strike up a conversation with us (3 people that I can still remember until now are a German guy we called Random Chris, a Nigerian guy I used to call The Always Drunk Guy who tried to start a fight with one of my friends, and a random Korean girl who didn’t speak a word of English, but still sat with us, bought us canned coffee, soju and beer, and gave us free lipsticks.)
A picture of us right before going into a club and fucking shit up... dancing, I mean dancing.
7. Friends: The best thing I experienced is South Korea was making friends from all over the world, who somehow became my family. But most of all, it was my Korean friends who made my time there unforgettable. From teaching us Korean drinking games (least I can say is that those games are damn complicated), to taking us out to nice restaurants, or just genuinely being there for us, they made me love South Korea. And this is the main reason why I’m going back there!
More than friends, we were a family (and yes, this picture was taken outside a convenience store, which also was our HQ)
Also, here's a diaporama. Yeah, I felt like putting one here, it's my blog! So long losers! (no really, I love you, "losers" is an affectionate nickname)
Babe, I’m no Lyanna and you’re no Rhaegar, But we’ll make our own song of ice and fire. I know it’s still not canon, That’s why our story is even better. We’re no fan theory, we’re real! And at least, we won’t die after a few months… I hope. Babe, I’ll cross the narrow sea for you. But I ain’t coming to get revenge. I’m no Arya or Daenerys, All I have is love. I will be your wall against life’s white walkers, And the shield of your heart’s realm. Night’s Watch reference, yey! We’ve got that Lannister love, Jaime and Cersi madness But without the incest (thank the old gods and the new). Whenever I see you, my heart is on fire, And not even a trip north of the wall Will tame that dragon in my soul. When you hear epic love, You think Khal Drogo and Dany. But these two have got nothing on us. Because, one, Drogo was a rapist. Two, Dany was thirteen. Three, you’re not a savage warlord and I’m not a queen. But still, our love is good, if you know what I mean. I don’t need you to be my knight in shining armor, But you can me my black ranger and I’ll be your wildling. Or we can ride on the back of undead horses like the Night’s King. Damn, this poem is getting creepy. They say that night is dark and full of terrors. But with you, it will be as sweet as a Dornish wine. Babe, I know I haven’t made an error, When, like Littlefinger to Cat, I decided to make you mine. Shit, that’s a bad comparison since it didn’t end up well for him. I’m sorry; I made that last verse on a whim. I know all these analogies might seem silly, But the nerd in me can’t help it. She just wanted to write a cool love poem, really. So she chose Game of Thrones, because she knew it would be a fit.
One, I’m in love. Not with someone. My love is greater than that. I’m in love with life, With the feeling of letting yourself go And just breathing, Knowing that the world is here, right in front of your eyes, Asking to be seen, to be heard, to be felt, To be touched, like you would touch a lover’s hand. Two, wanderlust. That need to roam the earth, To discover the unknown… So you can fill that gap in your heart and your soul. Three, escaping. When your whole life feels like a cage, One single dream can be your salvation. The only window you can look out from. The speck of light in a pool of darkness. So you hold on to it, Grab it with both hands, bloody fingers and all, Promising never to let go of that life buoy. Fighting the pit with all your strength So you do not drown, or float away. Four, empathy. Three times a week, when going to my part-time job, I pass by an old man in a park Selling candy, cigarettes and tissues. And several times, I’ve seen him feeding stray cats. It is those tiny acts of kindness That make me believe in a greater world. And I know, that in every corner of this earth There is an old man feeding hungry cats. And I want to see that with my own eyes and be moved to tears. Five, curiosity. The world is big and full of wonders, And it is my duty, as a human being, As the vassal of a soul lusting for adventure To witness its beauty. So I can tell everyone how magnificent it is, And how you can see the whole universe In a drop of rain, In the eyes of a wild animal, Or in the toothless smile of a newborn. Six, myself. I’ve learned that it was okay to leave everything behind and go. It’s okay if you want to see the world When the world within you is too dark and full of sorrow. It’s okay to be selfish that way. It’s okay, and that’s why I’m going to travel the world.
DISCLAIMER:Those words are mine and mine only. I am not responsible for the way you interpret them. So, if you ever feel like ruining your life too after reading this article, please don’t blame me. If you do, I will fuck you up (or something like that…. Leave me alone, I am not good at making threats, I’m a pacifist!)
This article has been brewing in my mind for more than 3 weeks now, and I think it’s time to let it out.
I think I finally did it. I finally ruined what we call “normal life” for myself. “How?”, you might ask. Well, by finding my calling (damn, I sound dramatic).
To put it simply, I went to Busan, South Korea and spent the happiest, most euphoric two months of my life there. And that changed me to the core. I am not exaggerating. I have never felt as much as home as when I was there. And that’s when I finally got it; home isn’t the neighborhood or the country where you lived all your life, where your family and friends are. Home can be in the other side of the world, where you feel utterly accepted, and most importantly, where you feel celebrated for simply being who you truly are. And that’s what traveling did to me. Maybe I wasn’t in Morocco (and thank god for that), maybe I wasn’t with my family and my lifelong friends, but I was still the happiest I could be, and I felt free to be my weird, odd self. I met incredible people there, people that I would never forget, people who changed my perspectives. People I can now proudly call friends.
When I came back to Morocco, three weeks ago, I made what I believe is themost important decision of my life: I decided that success as in “graduating, finding a good job, getting married, buying a house, buying a fancy car, having kids (then dying of boredom)” wasn’t for me. Some people might want that, and it’s all right. But I don’t want it. I need adventure, I need novelty, I need laughter, and I need travels and new places, to feel alive. I feel like I have been waiting 22 years to start living, and that’s what makes me the saddest. I am not waiting anymore.
Some people might ask “But how are you going to do it?”, and the only honest answer I can give is, “I have no fucking idea.” And it’s okay. It really is. No one started following their dream with a specific plan (unless we’re talking about Hitler and… aaaaall right, that’s a sensitive subject, I better stop here). But that’s what makes it even more exciting! Sure, having a plan is always good, but I know myself well enough to know that I would never follow through, I am way too impulsive and I have the tendency to make decisions on a whim. And the thing is, all the best adventures start that way, by stepping out of your comfort zone and not being in control of everything. By letting life surprise us. Also, I really don’t have a specific plan and it scares the shit out of me so I’m trying to put on a brave face here, people! But there’s a quote that I read somewhere that said: “If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough.” And that is true. I don’t want to have easily achievable dreams, what’s the fun in that? So, in the light of all this, I took one simple decision: I am going to live, dream, travel, laugh, love and be happy as much as I can, and nothing will stop me from enjoying life the way I want to!
I tried to write the perfect love story But I got lost along the way… Perfection doesn’t exist, And I am thankful for that. It is too neat, Too boring. I want to be consumed by an imperfect love. I want you to touch me with fingers made of fire. I want our bodies to be one. This is my perfect story. A love so strong, A passion so consuming That I would happily drown in it. Some people wander their whole lives Looking for a speck of something like this. Then, they give up and settle. I am not one to settle. I will look for you in all seven continents. Because I know you are out there, Laughing, drinking, dancing, Living… Just like I am. So, love, Let us find each other. Let us kiss under the moonlight. Let us walk the streets of a faraway city, Locking hands and smiling foolishly. Let us hold each other during cold nights, When the wind is howling outside. Let us dance freely as if no one is watching. Let us be silly five year olds together. Let us hug each other when we’re sad, Or when we just feel like it. Let us make love like it’s our first time and our last. Let us live in our own world. Let us, let us, lets us be… I tried to write the perfect love story, But instead, I ended up writing you.
Kids, don’t try this at home. Poetry is a temptress. It will take over Your whole body. Your whole soul. Your whole essence. You will wake up one day And you will be narrating your life In verse and prose. You will be making poetry Out of coffee drops And make up stains. Out of rushed breakfasts, And cold showers. You will be making poetry In early mornings And sleepless nights. In slow train rides And walks through the belly of a city. You will feel it, Everywhere. Haunting you, One metaphor at a time. Then, comes a day When you will be thirsty for words. Poetry will have won over your heart Like it did mine. When that day comes, Know that the universe Has cursed you With a rare gift. So, hold it tight And don’t let it slip between your fingers.
Whenever I finish reading a book, I am a little sad. A little hungover. My eyes hurt and my heart hurts and I keep thinking about those fictional characters for a long time, because they became a part of me.
A book hangover is a beautiful thing. Bittersweet. You feel your heart stretching from all those emotions you’ve gone through, while reading an especially good book.
I love reading. Even the world “love” fails to describe that feeling I get when I start forgetting myself in fiction, drowning in the world and adventures of a book’s characters. Those characters become my friends, they make me feel, really feel. And in my head, they are real. They breathe and live and laugh and fall in love, and sometimes, they look like a colorful painting I would like to drown in. I cry with them (yes, I cry while reading books, I am crazy like that), I get angry at them for taking bad decisions, I smile when they’re happy and sometimes, I get overwhelmed with all the feelings and burdens that they carry. I even feel embarrassed for them when they’re making fools of themselves, and I have to physically make myself read the next line, paragraph or chapter, even though all I really want to do is dive right into the book, shake them like I would a piñata, maybe even kick their ass and call them names (stupid motherfucking wimp!!! Or something like that…) for taking dumb decisions.
I throw myself in books because, sometimes, life is dull, boring, and I find myself needing an escape route. But most of all, it’s because I love the words. I love how they make us forget our problems for a little while, how they close those holes in our hearts, fitting perfectly between our sorrows and our worries, making us dream, for a few minutes or a few hours. Sometimes, for a whole night. Sleepless nights spent reading a good book are the best of nights, and people need to experience it, at least once in a lifetime. It is magical, how the story swallows you up whole, and without leaving your bed, you’re time travelling, discovering a parallel universe, fighting a corrupt government, or even falling in love. And without even realizing it, it’s 5 in the morning and the sun is rising and fuck you’re supposed to be in class at like 8 and you haven’t had a minute of sleep because you were too busy living in your head. But believe me, even with the bloodshot eyes and the fatigue and the dizziness, it is worth it. It will always be worth it.
So, keep reading. It is free and yet precious. It is noble and it will make you discover treasures within the books and within yourself.