It’s been a year now since we embarked on our Moroccan adventure. We got on the ferry in Genoa and landed at Tangier med 49 hours later. It was exciting, exhilarating, scary, and stressful as big changes can be.

After a year here, I am reliving those memories of our arrival and examining how I’ve adapted (or not) to the customs and culture. The call to prayer echoes through my apartment and the city five times a day marking the passing of the day. Sometimes I am soothed by it. Sometimes it is such a normal part of the background sounds that I hardly notice.

Shop owners smile and welcome me now. Usually they know what I’ve come for and are ready to help should I decide in my schoolgirl French to ask for something different.

Still, the language continues to be my biggest challenge. I’ve studied French for a year and a half and feel confident in my reading skills. These are important since menus, instructions, products, signs, and most printed materials are in French. Speaking is another matter. My pronunciation is poor, not as many people speak French in Tangier as I had thought. Sometimes I speak a little Spanish or resort to Italian for Spanish speakers because they usually understand it. This year my goal is to learn more Darija which is the Moroccan Arabic dialect spoken throughout Morocco. I know about 70 words now but can’t string a full sentence together.

The weather is a highlight of living here. Hot summer days with cool nights, sunny winters with moderate temperatures, a short rainy season, and the time in-between with perfect 75-degree temperatures and lovely breezes.

Seeing the sea every day is now a necessity. It is easy to do, as there are glimpses almost everywhere you go and every street you are on in the Medina and in Centreville. Still, none of the views is as stunning as the one from my apartment window.

Daily life is slow and lovely here. The days start late and the shops think about opening around 10:30 or 11:00. Lunches are normally at 2-3 and dinners at 9-10.

Additionally, fresh vegetables, fruits, and lovely fresh fish appear at the market every day and on Thursday and Sunday, individual farmers make their way into the city to sell their wares. The quality, size, colors, and tastes are incredible.


I’ve learned about the necessity of the hammam experience and it is a part of my routine now. The bathing and cleansing ritual serves as a physical and emotional detoxification and releases stress, anxiety, and allows deep relaxation.

There are things that I don’t like. Some areas of the city need improvements in sanitation pickup and trash removal. Sidewalks and roads can be in a state of disrepair. Also, poor people with disabilities, injuries, or mental health issues ask for money on the street. Stray cats that are unhealthy or injured are left to fend for themselves. All of these usually found in large cities throughout the world.

Overall, the year has been full of wonder, adventure, education, and pleasure. I love living in Tangier.

Above all, we’ve had many friends and family to visit. We’ve made new friends here and settled into a social network that includes meals out with friends, dinner parties, movies, day trips, beach and pool days, volunteer work, and I’ve taken on a new part-time job teaching English.

Most importantly, I can’t wait to see what the coming years in Morocco will bring.

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5 Comments

  1. The weather is usually quite nice but July and August are usually very hot and humid, made worse by the fact that air conditioning is rare in Tangier. Also it can be quite a windy city. Sometimes the wind gusts are too strong.

    I agree about inadequate trash pickup, and stray cats. Just yesterday I saw a tiny little kitten who looked emaciated and covered in flies and bugs. He will probably die soon. 3 weeks ago I found a dead kitten on the sidewalk behind a tree.

    Poverty and inequality is a big problem here. On my walk yesterday I was approached by at least a dozen different people begging for money. Two seperate shop owners bemoaned to me how expensive food and gasoline has become. Wages are really low in Tangier and Morocco in general.

    The unfortunate and unsustainable reality is that the large majority of the population is really struggling with food, medical, and transportation costs. Tangier can be a nice place to live in for those who are relatively well off, but there is only so much the masses can take when wages don’t keep up with the rising cost of food, housing, and transportation.

    Nonetheless, I agree the sea views and fresh vegetables are quite nice.

  2. Sherri McFerran Reply

    After watching https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzDDHLm-UOM it seems like the Roads are generally in pretty good shape but that the Sidewalks (especially @ 3:30 – 4:00) leave alot to be desired, and that there are no Bike Paths.
    Are female-only yoga and exercise classes available in Tangier ?
    Thanks for your interesting blog articles 🙂

    • Karen Mills Reply

      My husband and I both had bikes when we lived in Florence, Italy. I would be terrified to ride a bike in Tangier except maybe on the Corniche. Taxis, pedestrians, and the regular traffic are dangerous enough. There are some gyms around and as most things here, men and women have separate times of day that they can enter. I don’t know about yoga. I haven’t seen any studios. I would think it might be rare.

  3. Nanette Moseley Reply

    Ahhh, so interesting!
    And here I wanted to make contact with you since I am coming to Florence in a few weeks!
    Your new life sounds interesting, and with your positive attitude in life, I am sure you will find much to love.
    Years ago I crossed into Tangiers from Spain traveling, and then back across again. Not doubt it has changed much throughout the years…..
    I hear Morocco is a great vacation destination these days, and I remember it in the early 70’s as being warm, beautiful and intriguing. I love reading about your adventures….

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