Baby. Shower.

Part I

Couple of weeks ago, I attended a friend’s baby shower. I took Savanna with me to the shower. I tried to explain to her that’s a party, but she kept asking me why we are watching a baby getting a shower.

After the baby shower, she seemed quite satisfied to learn that when a woman is expecting a baby, she gets a party with great food, balloons, and gifts. In the car, on our way home, she said, “Mommy, I want a baby shower.”

I said, “Savanna, when you are pregnant, Mommy will throw you a shower.”

Savanna said, “What are you going to throw at me?”

I said, “I’m not going to throw anything AT you. I’m just going to throw you a party, as in, organize a party for you. But anyway, it’s way too soon to talk about this now. We’ll wait till you are having a baby.”

Part II

This morning, Savanna announced at breakfast, “Mommy, I’m going to have babies.”

Being still sleepy and not completely with it, I said, “Oh yeah? Why’s that?”

She said, “So you can throw a party at me.”

Morocco

“Epic” would be the word I use to describe our trip to Morocco. At the end of the trip, I was exhausted and ready to go home, yet still craving for more at the same time.

First of all, I can’t tell you everything about the trip. I just don’t have the words. I can’t describe how much the craziness of Marrakech hits you like a freight train and leaving you breathless, yet the Fes calms you likes the ocean waves; how all the different shades of blue that makes up Chefchaouen mesmerize you and you can’t stop staring at the walls; how getting lost in the 9,000 streets of the oldest medina can lead to the best smelly surprises of the leather tannery.

The opportunity to share my love of travel and exploring the world with Savanna is something that I wouldn’t trade for the world. What I didn’t expect is how well she traveled. She never complained about being bored. She explored every place we went to, tried all sorts of food, slept in different beds soundly through the night, and just generally enjoyed herself.

I tried editing the photos, but there are just too many. So, here are some mostly un-edited photos, loosely grouped in some sort of order. The camel ride pics are here.

Marrakech: Cooking Class at Amal Women’s Center 

Proceeds are used to fund the NPO that trains abused women to cook and learn life skills so they can work and support themselves.Amal Women's Center Marrakech

Amal Women's Center Marrakech

Amal Women's Center Marrakech

Saffrone

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The ladies who work at the center

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Our tagines cooking on coal fire

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Finished product–which we ate for lunch.

 

Marrakech: Bahia Palace

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Marrakech: Food

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Sheep heads

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Eating where the locals eat.

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From left to right: sheep tongue, brain, and meat

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Sheep tongue sandwich. Sooooo good.

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“Pancakes” with onions. A lot like the Chinese green onion pancake without the green onions.

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Fruits are weighed on the balance scale and sold. I ate some of the sweetest melons I have ever had.

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Pastry shop

 

Marrakech: Random

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Lamp shop in the souk

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Window display of a barber shop

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A random street outside of our riad (guest house)

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The square in front of the mosque is covered with mats for prayer time

 

Fes: Medina and Leather Tannery

Fes medina

Fes medina–one of the biggest and oldest medinas in the world.

Fes medina

Inside the Fes medina

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The empty streets of Fes medina, early in the morning

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A section of the medina wall

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Leather tannery–the big vats contain a mix of cow pee and pigeon poop to soften the leather, then later color is added to color the leather

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Despite the smell, the tannery is a visual feast of colors.

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Hanging the leather out to dry

 

Fes: Random

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Moroccans LOOOVE children. Savanna had her cheeks pinched and kissed by so many strangers. This guy is our tour guide, and Savanna loved hanging out with him.

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Savanna and Ali hanging out at the palace.

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The details of brass work on the palace door. All hand made.

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The door knob

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Mosaic tile work

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Hand painting pottery. After firing, the purple turns into blue.

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Mosaic work

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I REALLY wanted to take this mosaic table home

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All hand made tagines of various sizes and colors

 

Chefchaouen

The small town is known for its blue walls.

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Cats

Cats are absolutely everywhere in Morocco. They own the streets. If you are eating on a patio, they come and beg for food. If you don’t shut the terrace door of the riad, they get into the riad to make a mess.

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Hands down, the funniest cat I have ever seen

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They gather and wait under restaurant tables for scraps of food

Sherry

Sherry in Morocco-1I just know that Sherry is going to be horrified that I’m writing a blog post about her. She’s got this weird allergy to attention. (Don’t worry, Sher, I won’t post any incriminating photos.)

Why a post about this woman? Because she came to Morocco with Savanna and I, AND we are still friends. That means she is a superwoman. I have serious respect for her.

I knew Sherry is easy going and fun and all, but I was still a little worried before the trip. As a parent, I don’t expect anyone without kids to understand the absolute shit that kids put you through–the temper tantrums when you put the sock on their left foot first instead of the right foot, or the tears when you give them the fork that isn’t the right color, or the demand to watch Ice Age 3 for the thirty-seventh time on a trip, or taking up most of the space in a big bed with their tiny little bodies. Parents, you know what I’m sayin, right?

I was bracing myself for the risk of turning Sherry off of kids for the rest of her life. That would really be a shame.

It was magical to watch Savanna fall in love with Sherry. Even before our flight took off, Sherry had let Savanna put vegetable stickers all over her arms. Those two played pretending to eat soup for hours in Marrakech. When we were sitting in a warm train compartment, Sherry fanned Savanna to keep her cool. She played hide and seek with Savanna, did her make-up, braided her hair, and held her when she was tired. She did all this without me asking her to. Savanna loved walking down the street holding Sherry’s hand, and slept like a baby squeezed right up against Sherry. Before our flight home, Savanna said to me, “Sherry is my new sister.”

I was ok with doing less and seeing less on this trip because of Savanna. I chose to take her on the trip and I was willing. I didn’t expect Sherry to. But through the 10 days we spent together, she was never once upset about skipping a beat; not even a hint of impatience when I was slow or when Savanna needed some time to deal with her feelings. Because of her calm demeanor, she even prevented me from chewing someone’s head off when I was hangry.

As a parent, I am so grateful for her love for my child. As a friend, I am so grateful for her steadfast, upbeat, and adventurous attitude. The trip definitely would not have been the same without her.

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Camels are indeed super cool

Sherry, Savanna and I came home from Morocco last night. We can tell you that camels are indeed super cool.

Below are some photos from our camel ride, and having mint tea after the ride. We were all covered with cheich, but I think Savanna wins the cuteness contest in hers.

Of course, the trip was so much more than the camel ride. I’ll need some time to go through my 1,614 photos, and let my thoughts come together on how to tell you about the trip.

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Because camels are super cool

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(drawn by the super talented dude I married)

10 years ago, when I turned 30, I wanted to do something big to celebrate a new decade. I rode my motorcycle solo from Vancouver to Halifax, camping along the way and eating meals out of my camping stove.

10 years later, things look dramatically different at home. Josh is 5 1/2 and Savanna is 3 1/2. I can’t justify taking off for 2 weeks by myself. The truth is, I don’t think I would do that ride again. I was dog tired last time after 6,200 km, and I was a lot younger then.

My craving for interesting travel never stopped. I feel like this is the right time now to start doing some more interesting things again, involving the kids. Unfortunately, Cliff has to work, and Josh has school. That leaves Savanna and I to plan a girls’ trip on our own.

Savanna and I have agreed that riding on a camel in Morocco would be pretty interesting. We also convinced Sherry that camels are super cool, so she’s coming too to check things out.

I’ll report back in two weeks and let you know if camels are in fact super cool.

Stolen days

Technically, I work part time and get Fridays off. I say “technically” because it doesn’t happen all the time. But on a Friday where I actually do get to take the day off, I feel like I have stolen an extra day to be with Savanna.

Yesterday was a stolen day. I worked for a couple of hours in the morning, then I turned on my “out of office” notification, and put away my cell phone. I picked up Savanna from preschool, and we went strawberry picking at Emma Lea on Westham Island.

It was cloudy and a quiet day at the farm. We had rows and rows of strawberry to ourselves. Savanna was so focused on looking for the perfect berries, she refused to leave even when she was obviously tired.

After Emma Lea, we went to Westham Island Herb Farm to see their animals. They had some new baby goats that Savanna loved. Before we even got back on the highway, Savanna had fallen sound asleep. With a trunk full of freshly picked strawberries, and a sleeping preschooler in the backseat, my heart is so content with the stolen day.

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Skater boy

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When I was in elementary school, my dad bought me a red skateboard. I can’t remember exactly how old I was, but I remember exactly what the board looked like. It was a red plastic board, with red semi-translucent wheels. It had a tail on one end that tipped up, and a pointy/tapered front end.

Honestly, I don’t remember spending too much time on the skateboard. I didn’t have the best balance, and fell a lot. Still, I thought the board was pretty cool.

Fast forward 30+ years. Josh hinted that he wanted a 3-wheel skooter. I had a brilliant idea that a skateboard would be a good idea. I got online to look for one for him (because I have an online shopping addiction). Lo and behold, the skateboard I used to have is now considered retro but fashionable again.

The advantage of being old, is the stuff that was cool when you’re a kid is now cool again!

I clicked “add to cart” on a blue board for Josh. Then I had another brilliant idea–I’ll get one for myself! You know, so Josh has someone to ride with. It’s all for him, really.

Maybe it’s mid-life crisis. The month I turn 40, I buy a retro skateboard for myself. In hindsight, I’m not sure what I was thinking.

Anyway, the boards arrived, and both Josh and I were very excited. We took the boards with us on a trip to Whistler, and spent a few hours each day goofing around with them. Josh just wanted to sit on the board and roll downhill, and I let him. No point ruining his first experience with it by pushing him to ride it. I tried riding the board, and all the carefree childhood memories come flooding back. This new board rides smooth like butter and gets fast pretty quick.

Over the next couple of weeks, Josh rode while standing on the board with me holding his hand and pushed him along. Eventually, I could just push him without holding his hand. He was learning the balance pretty quickly. Then this past weekend, he was able to stand on the board and roll downhill on his own, without any help from me. I was so stoked for him!