Thursday, August 20, 2015


After a mysterious bureaucratic adventure of signatures, stamps, queues, and inspections that Pedro had to suffer in the heat of Casablanca, we have our shipment! I feel like it's my birthday, unpacking and unraveling, excited to see what each cocoon of paper and bubble wrap holds— there's the beautiful mug my student gave me on the last day of school, the letters Suzi sent, my yellow t-shirt, the carved wooden spoons Paul gave us, the photos of our dear After School Artists in Nepal. Though there was something appealing about the minimalist lifestyle we have been living this summer, it is so wonderful to have all these memories in my hands. Our little apartment is a chaos of boxes and newsprint, but I couldn't be happier!

peeling white paint

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

colours and distractions

I went to the colourful Salé pottery market today intending to photograph the artisans at work, but did not get very far— there were these reed baskets you see, and a stunning Saharan carpet that the entrance to our apartment was meant for. I got a little distracted.

Friday, August 7, 2015


Chellah's examples of zellij, or glazed terracotta tile work, are mostly crumbling away on weathered orange stones, but the portal of the ruined mosque and its stunning minaret make it easy to imagine how splendid the structure must have been.

There was also some lovely mosaic work in the ruins of Roman buildings:

Thursday, August 6, 2015

fortress of storks

There's a wonderful ruin of a fortress on the edge of Rabat called Chellah, and it has been completely taken over by White Storks. In the remnants of a 14th Century mosque, the percussion of storks clattering their beaks rises and falls, overwhelming the hum of cicadas hidden in the lush gardens.

Patrolling the walls of the ruins, younger birds who have not yet learned to fear, eye trespassers with large, curious eyes.

I have never been this close to a stork before, and dare I say the experience is magical— it almost makes a person forget their surroundings. With a 10 Dirham entrance fee (one dollar), you get an archaeological site, a botanical garden, a stork sanctuary, and shade. How amazing is that?

my first moroccan sketch

Over my first tajine and taste of pickled lemons (which are my new favourite things— oh, and prickly pears, which are sold all over the streets at the moment), I sketched this man:

marhaba morocco!

I keep pinching myself in disbelief... I get to live here!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

and away we go

I'm leaving Lisbon in a few hours for my new home, with a wide range of emotions to accompany my luggage. It's a bit strange not to be flying back to Istanbul, and yet, with all that's happening in Turkey right now, I feel a sense of relief. I don't know what this new place will bring, but my gut tells me that I'm about to have a great adventure, and above all the anxiety, I am excited. It's been a dream of mine to go where I'm going.

Stay tuned.

Monday, August 3, 2015

red rocky land

At sunset we drove out to the tip of the Karpasian Peninsula. As I stood under the blushing sky, the sound of waves and flags snapping, I oriented my body towards the border between Hatay and Syria, my feet pointing with the spear of red rocky land. Thoughts swelled, running like a tide, with the consistency of sea foam.

I might never get to see the place where my father was born. The little Syrian border town with the hospital named after his father—he was a doctor there— the dusty streets where my grandmother bought chocolate from a Turkish bakkal on the other side— I had planned to see it all with my Tante Leyla before the war. It was supposed to be during an April.

I inhaled deeply, wondering if the scent on the wind was edged in Syria or Turkey.

On our drive back to the hotel, the radio began spattering in Arabic.
The only words I understood were 'Daesh' and 'bomb'.


wood, iron, and stone