Wednesday, January 18, 2017


There is a poignant Moroccan word, "ghorba." It means something along the lines of "melancholy nostalgia for one's home. The English transliteration of the word does nothing for it because like the sentiment, the Arabic ghayin lingers in the throat like the emotion it conveys.

This morning, I left Rabat. I left the closest thing I have to my own home.  I left the closest thing I have to a routine. The morning walks along the corniche; coffee with the fellows of the cafe; the daily mix of orange-grapefruit juice; the stray cats whom I started to recognize; the afternoons studying French in the tea house in the kasbah; the evenings hanging at the corner of the bakery with the shebab; the nights cooking from the bounty of the souk.

I am finding that letting go of routines gets harder as I get older. Leaving Medellin was hard; leaving Brussels was harder; this one takes the cake.  And yet I am buoyed by what I believe will be an imminent return. Inshallah.

For now, it is onto Marrakesh.  Then onto Spain of Mallorca, of Dali's Figueres, of my pilgrimage to La Mancha. And back to Tunisia and Algeria for one last good fight.

Journey on.

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