Looking from within


As I walk down the market area and view all that I have embraced since moving away, I ask myself if I have lost my identity. Being of Hispanic heritage and living abroad among a culture of so many people except a minority of Hispanics that may be somwhere around the country I still question my place in society.  To an outsider, the lack of transparency in the culture can be frustrating. One learns about some things quickly, such as couscous or the djelleba, but the real secrets lie much deeper. It is impossible even to know where to begin, which questions to ask. However, to grasp the evolution of Moroccan culture in its complete context, it would be necessary to master the history of the entire Arab world. Such an effort is possible, perhaps, but it is too much for one person. I have noticed that some native Moroccans at times know less about their own culture than I do. This lack of self-awareness isn’t really the Moroccans’ fault.  As I have observed it is the culture which has evolved over the centuries, and is integrated into the rhythm of their daily life. The only way to know it is to live it.

I can hear and see from my balcony a woman’s gestures as she expresses delight with certain words or gestures to her children. The tailor shops filled with different fabrics that could be expensive labor for westerners turns out to be a word of contentment as the owner praises with “Alhamdulllah.” The shop keeper is just trying to make a living. All of these sight, sounds and smells are part of memories that I share with rasing a young child in a world that I have embraced with satisfaction. I know that we can always retreat into the comforting embrace of tradition, which will only remind us of familiar places. Although it can sometimes be poorly understood as an outsider, it has turned into what everyday life is.

No doubt this is true of any culture as rich and layered. Thus, I have not lost my identity I have only gained an appreciation for diversity. For now, to be a friend of the people who I share in their joy and suffering and whom I consider to be a part of an extended family.

From this end, an identity is something we create and it is a what we live whether it be that a person gains or loses interests, habits or opinions. In living abroad as a Westerner, I have seen this opportunity as a dynamic experience I wish everybody could share someday.



5 responses to this post.

  1. Yeah ………….. I know what you mean.

    Raising a child in western country and at the same time trying to give him the same values that we were given,is pretty challenging but it can be done.

    May Allah bless everyone and lead him to the straight path,Ameen


  2. Posted by UmAbdurrahman, "Blanca" on October 18, 2007 at 5:39 am

    Yes sis, raising children anywhere is an experience and a blessing. Thanks for stopping by.



  3. Nowadays, it is also difficult to raise good children in muslim counries too.
    Culture is something makes a nation united with each other. I dont think if people take good part of different culture it is something bad or weird as long as it doesnt make them away from religious aspects for it means being away of humanity. (for me devine religions, spc Islam are school of humanity)
    You as a hispanic or generally westerner, doesnt loose your identity if like or practice some parts of moroccan culture. It is your flexibility toward any beauty in the world. 🙂

    Anyway, i think i wanna travel to morocco someday. It is in our plan! I personally like Africa.. 😉


  4. mash’Allah beautiful entry sis! I find that is true, you don’t necessarily change you just become more diverse. I also agree with what Shrazad and Maryam have written here. Raising a child is difficult anywhere. For example, I see Indonesian children faced with much the same influences and temptations as American children. Thanks for sharing a bit of your life with us. 🙂


  5. Yes, sis Shahrzad, Africa is intersting and there is so much to see. Insh’ALlah, you will be able to travel to this continent.



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