As an American living in Morocco, I always get asked why: Why would you live here and not in the U.S.? Why haven’t you returned to the U.S. yet? Have you thought about going back? Isn’t it hard living in Morocco?
And, the usual: “Africans/Moroccans would kill to have the option to live in the U.S.! What a waste it is for you to stay here!”
When they hear I’m from New York, the shock really takes hold. “NEW YORK?! That’s a GREAT city! Why would you leave THAT to live HERE?” *Cue exaggerated, very Moroccan hand motions indicating frustration and exasperation.*
Now, I’ll be honest, it is harder to live here than it would be in the U.S. The internet doesn’t work very well, public infrastructure isn’t the best, people are rarely on time for anything, the government is a mess, etc.
But the good outweighs the bad, depending on what you want out of life.
My parents are originally Moroccan, so most of my family lives here. Until 2003, when we moved here, I had only seen them during the summers, a month at a time. I barely knew them. Since moving, I’ve been lucky enough to spend weekends and entire summers with my loved ones, some of whom have now passed.
My aunt passed away a few weeks ago. Because I live only half an hour away, I visited her a few days before she died and I was there for the funeral. Many of my family members who live abroad couldn’t make it.
Being physically close to my family has been very important to me. Not only to enjoy the good times but to also be there during the bad, to hug it out when in pain, to laugh as we reminisce. That’s irreplaceable.
Quality (and cost) of living
I live in Casablanca, the largest city in Morocco, and yet I never feel stressed like I do when I’m in New York. Life is slow here. People are relaxed. You won’t see men in suits rushing towards their offices.
What you’ll find instead are women chatting with the fruit and vegetable sellers, kids playing soccer on a lazy afternoon after school, and friends laughing as they…