• Summer work and adventure

    Sometimes work and adventure overlap, because sometimes work becomes adventure and other times adventure becomes work… We gladly to leave it up to you, dear reader, to decide which is which.
    From July to September, we had enough of both, plus plenty of sun and heat. Right at the beginning of the summer, we took an intensive French course to give our French skills a boost. Actually not so much to the knowledge as to the speaking 😉 For three weeks, every evening from five to eight o’clock pm, we were sitting in classe. Klaus had 14 classmates, in Fränzi’s class there were only six. So there was enough time to discuss topics like, discrimination and prejudices, wind energy, or whether there can or should be happiness at work or not. From time to time I had to google the vocabulary first, because in daily life and encounters I rather need the everyday vocabulary about house, nature, market and food….. But it was exciting.

    After this course, we went on an adventure weekend that we started planning with a friend back in January and that we were looking forward to. Our goal: to climb the highest mountain in North Africa. The Jebal Toubkal, 14764 ft above sea level. The hike from Imlil village (base camp) was to be 49212 ft to the summit and then back. The difficulty was not the length, which we had spread over three days, but the altitude of all together 7546 ft.

    Imlil is situated already at 5581 ft above sea level! On the first day we hiked (rather climbed) to the Refuge les Mouflons (mountain hut intermediate camp) located at 10522 ft above sea level. These 4593 ft of altitude we covered on a path of 38058 ft length. The good thing was, that our luggage (except for a small daypack) was carried up by a mule. And since I had a bit of a cold and a very dry, acrid throat, which made it difficult to breathe in the dry high altitude air, I was allowed to ride along on a mule for the last quarter of this distance. Of course, for a small fee for the animal’s food (the price of which had tripled last year due to the drought)! Finally arrived at the hut we spent a quiet late afternoon and evening with “tea maroccan” and Uno game. For dinner we had a deliciouse tajine. We slept moderately well, because from two o’clock in the morning on, there was always noise because different groups left at different times for the summit storm. Nevertheless, after breakfast we were fit enough to leave.

    It should go 14764 ft to the summit up and also down again. And on this route, a little over 2953 ft of altitude should be climbed and then of course descended again. (I hope, I got all the calculation from meters to feet right!) Since my throat was still not better and I had some concerns anyway that my knee would not make the sharp descent, I decided to stay down. Contributing to this decision was the fact that if one of the group „couldn’t take it anymore“, the whole group would have to turn around… It wasn’t worth it to me to risk that. So I watched from below for a while as Klaus and our friend tackled the first steep slope with our guide. And I watched as the sun slowly rose over the mountain they were climbing. I had a nice quiet day „down below“, exploring the immediate area around the hut, enjoying a cup of coffee or two and staying nicely dry when a thunderstorm came in the afternoon.

    The small group climbed higher and higher, struggled up and was wonderfully rewarded at the top. They had a great view, which they enjoyed very much. After or before all, God made our world so beautiful!!!
    Then on the way down they were accompanied by sleet and rain. There was thunder too, but no lightning. The rain made the already difficult descent even more challenging. But they arrived back down safe and sound, but dead tired. And then it was time for storytelling…. And the more they told, the more grateful I was that I had not gone along. No chance, that I would have made it! God doesn’t make mistakes and gives us the courage to make the right (and safer) choices. We all had a full, beautiful and eventful day!

    The next morning we made our way back down to the „base camp“, Imlil. Again only with light luggage, because a friendly mule carried our bags. We enjoyed it again to admire the nature. At least whenever we stopped briefly to look around. Because while walking we should rather pay attention to the path and our feet, because there were also some quite steep pieces to climb down on this route. We all made it back just fine. I felt my knee after a while, but it went well, for which I am very grateful. The soreness though will be with us all for a few days. Well to all of us except our guide. He grew up in the village and has climbed mount Toubkal over 400 times. The first time it was with a tour group led by his father. He than was just eleven years old!

    We enjoyed a nice quiet evening in Imlil (some souvenir shopping included) before heading home the next morning after a delicious breakfast. First by car (with driver) back to Marrakesh and from there by train to Rabat.
    It was a full, beautiful, „working and team building adventure“.

    Two days later we continued with a new job. We took our first course in Moroccan Arabic. First a week of intensive basic course and then we will see if we continue to do courses or just practice with people on the street….. Or may be both ?

  • When language and culture get practical ;-)

    Since I wanted to get away from desk learning for a bit, at the end of one lesson I asked my language teacher, if she would like to show me, how to prepare a Moroccan dish in the next lesson. She said she loved doing that and continued, „But lessons we can still do, because Moroccan dishes take a long time to cook on low heat….“ So we made the next appointment and I got a shopping list for the „Tajin Poulet aux légumes“.

    First I went then with Klaus to the large pottery located at the end of town. This is a large area on which there are many small potteries and stores. This gave a nice Sunday afternoon trip, where we could marvel at many beautiful clay and ceramic things: Plates, cups, flower pots in all sizes just as the tajins, large, small, medium and colorful or simple. We decided on a simple, classical Tajin in the size: 3-4 persons. It should be big enough for any guests to be.… (But the pottery photos are from another market 😉

    The day before the cooking experiment I went to the market to have all the vegetables and the chicken legs as fresh as possible, together with a few typical spices were on my shopping list….
    Then the special day dawned and my teacher came and brought the parsley, which I did not have on my list and therefore not by it. Together we cleaned and prepared the ingredients, which was already interesting and enriched with many good tips. Not every culture stores, cleans and uses the products in the same way 🙂 But that does not matter, because even in cooking the saying „many roads that lead to Rome“ becomes true.

    And in the end it not only smelled good, it also tasted very delicious. Especially because we had plenty of time to „practice dry language“ with the delicious smell coming from the kitchen until everything was cooked. Since in the timetable of my teacher’s daughter (we had planned that she would be with us for this special event) had shifted something, she unfortunately could not stay for the meal and so it was enough for the two of us for two meals. Since we had forgotten to buy pita bread, we had to eat the Tajin quite unculturally with knife and fork ;-(

    The tajin is the typical „cooking pot“ for traditional Moroccan dishes. It is usually made of clay, the same material as the brown flower pots, except that the tajin is glazed.

  • Family visit ;-)

    Since it was too cold in February to visit and celebrate, we had postponed the celebration of my 60th to the end of April. Since it should be a bit warmer, so you could do a lot outside.
    So my sisters, my mom and a cousin set off to explore our new home and surrounding for a week and celebrate with me 😉 Since they flew in via Marrakech and we had no idea yet with the transfer from the airport to the train station, Klaus went there to pick up my family, guide them through the city and safely escort them safely by train to Rabat, while I prepared the “mass camp” at home and did the last shopping for dinner. We could not go, as we had planned at 17 o’clock to eat the traditional Couscous, because the Ramadan was extended for one more day at short notice, because of the moon position and that`s why still everything was closed. So I prepared a big pot of delicious spaghetti with tomato salad, which we enjoyed very much in our home…

    Since it was our first Ramadan in the country and also our first Eid afterwards, we were surprised by the fact that even in the first two days following Ramadan, (just, the Eid, which can last up to three days), everything is closed. Restaurants are open only after 6 p.m. at the earliest, the markets are closed and almost totally empty and only very rarely there may be one little shop, which is already open. So in search of our breakfast we had a long walk along all our favorite restaurants still closed, until shortly before noon we found a (mainly for tourists) open restaurant down by the river. The breakfast tasted wonderful 😉
    We then enjoyed walking along the coast, marveling at the huge waves and testing the warmth of the water with a short dip into the Atlantic. Strolling for souvenirs we postponed to the days still ahead of us, which we had planned to spend in Marrakesh.

    But before that we enjoyed a day of relaxation in my „100% women salon“. We six women enjoyed the hammam, massage and pedicure. The two female employees of the salon had quiet a bit of work with all of us and were happy about the many foreign, satisfied customers. They had even prepared coffee, tea and real Moroccan sweets for us. Although this Monday, because of the Eid postponed at short notice actually would have been a holiday, they came especially for us to work and to pamper us….

    The next day we went to Marrakesh for four days, where we still had enough time to rummage around in the now reopened markets, find souvenirs and „lose some money“. Or just to sit in the coffee at dusk and watch the hustle and bustle on the „Place Jamaal el fna“, the tourist attraction place, which wakes up only towards evening.…

    Oh yes, the weather was also good. In Rabat still pleasant 22°C (76°F), in Marrakesh then it was hot and dry up to 40°Celsius (104° Farnheit).


    It was a full weeks of fun, enjoyment and fellowship that went by almost a little too fast. But one nice souvenir of my „family sixties celebration“ remains in addition to a few hundred photos:

  • February trip

    February is our birthday month. Since we are so far away from our relatives and friends to celebrate together and since we had to “hop across the border” once again for a new stamp in our passport, we thought: make one of the two events. In addition, my sixtieth is a good reason for an extended celebration trip. And to dive deeper into culture, country and the understanding of the people…
    So we took the ferry to Tarifa and back and then spent than two days in Tangier.


    From there we made a day trip to the “blue city”, Chefchauen.
    Not only the city is impressive with the old buildings in blue and the stories that the city guide told us. The way there is great too. Hard to believe how green the mountains and fields are now that we’ve had a few rains. After having seen them in the summer drought it was hard to imagine! But we saw it…


    Before we took the TGV (high speed train) back to Rabat, we looked at Cap Spartel and the Hercules cave. At Cap Spartel, “the Mediterranean sea and the Atlantic meet. That is impressive, the vastness of the sea, without end and with different shades of blue on each side….


  • January challenge

    Since our hammer had been broken for some time, but I had a few nails to hammer in, I packed it in my shopping bag one day. So I went to my „carpenter“ at the market with my hammer with a broken handle and asked him if he could help. Well, asked?? More like gestured, because he could only speak Arabic, and I only (broken) French, and my smartphone translator doesn’t speak Arabic either. But somehow we still understood each other very well. The problem was visible. Laughing, he took my hammer, turned around, and grabbed something out from behind a pile of wooden sticks. Then he put the two hammers on the work table, one without a handle (mine) and his. On his, the handle was whole, but the hammer head was broken. So there we had two useless hammers. Without further ado, he took his hammer handle and planed it to fit my hammer-head. That was a bit of work, but after a while the handle fitted in the hole of my hammer-head and we were both satisfied at the end and smiling at each-other.

    A few days later I went to him with a plan for a shoe rack / wardrobe. I had been thinking about it for a while, because there was just nothing suitable for our hallway in the stores, or nothing, which was pleasing to us. So I then drew a construction plan with Klaus. That is, Klaus drew it according to my measurements. He can do that better than I can. When I arrived at my carpenter, his colleague was working and said that his co-worker was still on his lunch break. (It was already after 3pm). I should just wait, in 10 minutes he would be back. He came quite soon and together we looked at my plan. We talked, drew, explained, tried to understand…. for about half an hour. We also laughed and tussled 😉 but everything seemed to be „clear“ (from his point of view) and he gave me to understand that he already understood his craft and that I should not worry. In a few days the shelf would be ready. Well, I wasn’t worried, but I did have a few concerns. It seemed to me almost a little that in other countries plans are not drawn and read in quite the same way as „at home“….. Still, after so much friendliness, relating, smiling, eye-rolling, helpfulness, and haggling over the right price, I just didn’t have the courage, didn’t have the heart, not to order my coat rack. So it is now ordered, and in a week it should be ready….. Just before I said goodbye, I explained to him that I wanted the shelf to be only screwed, not glued. He couldn’t quite understand that, because „glued, it would be more stable“, but he understood that I wanted to disassemble it for a possible move.

    One week of construction time then turned into two weeks. But that was not due to the slowness of the carpenter, but to the weather. Because we finally had a little rain every now and then. And when it rained, my carpenter explained to me, he couldn’t varnish, because the varnish wouldn’t dry in the damp air, and delivering it home wouldn’t work in the rain either. Well, that made sense, I could understand that. Nevertheless, I was getting a little impatient. I was looking forward to my wardrobe and was really excited and curious of what the carpenter would have build from my plan.
    Then finally the time had come: I was to come to his booth at the market and then we would organize the transport home. I was there on time. The shelf was very nice to look at and with the varnish I had chosen, the wood grain really came out great. And it also looked really „according to the plan“. At first glance, because when Klaus stood next to it, I saw that it was shorter than Klaus. According to my memory, however, it should be 190cm high, that means a little taller than Klaus 😉 also, the top shelf seemed to be further up than my memory of the plan suggested to me. But well, I still liked it a lot and didn’t want to grumble. I didn’t like to disappoint the carpenter in his enthusiasm. I liked him too much 😉 and the whole thing was a great experience. Moreover, he had been so pleased with his work, (which had so nice and much space in the middle for the TV screen, he explained). In his opinion, something so beautiful could probably not be a wardrobe/shoe rack, but a piece of furniture for the living room 😉 Also, I was not quite sure whether I had expressed myself correctly with the numbers, (they are always quite tricky in foreign languages), and whether they had been really legible on the plan… So I paid the remaining amount, a little extra and he called his transport friend. He was there a few minutes later and we were able to load up and head home. Whereby one said goodbye with many „Thanks a lot and see you again soon“.

    The space for the wardrobe shelf at home I had already cleared before. It also fit wonderfully, only there was a little too much air at the top and a little too little length in the middle to hang the jackets. But that was not a big deal. In our many years in different cultures we have learned to improvise and Klaus many manual skills could be used again and again well. So also here: We began to „redesign“ the shelf, to better suit our needs.
    How good that it was really only screwed and not glued!!! So the redesign was completed after we had unscrewed a few screws, moved some boards and screwed them tight again.
    The joint work now serves its purpose and we are richer by a few laugh lines, cultural experiences and differences and have one more story to tell 😉

  • December in Rabat

    December here in Rabat was marked by the World Cup in soccer and the non-existent Christmas tradition. The World Cup soccer championship really set the mood here. Morocco’s „Atlas Lions“ not only played well, but made it to the semifinals. No team from the African continent had ever done that before. Bravo Atlas Lions!!! In almost all restaurants, the chairs and tables were moved for each game so that everyone had a view of the big or small screens. And after the victories, the cheers and „toots“ (trumpets) could be heard for hours all over the city. The streets were full of people rejoicing and celebrating their team. There was almost no way to come through for cars, decorated with flags and waving people in them. The celebrating fans had conquered the streets for themselves and with every victory the celebrations became longer 😉

    Christmas spirit has not really moved in with me yet. I do have a small Christmas decoration in the living room and in church we light another candle every Sunday and sing carols, but my Advent routine from “back home”, which I have grown fond of, doesn’t fit here and I haven’t been here long enough to find a new one. But I have already baked Santa Clauses for the sixth of December. We celebrated Christmas Eve with the international community here. We are almost only foreigners from almost 50 different countries… that is a multicultural mixture and just as colorful-different and very tasty was the meal after the Christmas party, we shared together.

    By the way, the Christmas tree with the country flags has nothing to do with soccer. It is the Christmas tree in the church. Each flag shows the home country of one of the visitors.

    In all these weeks we have been looking at potential spaces for the business again and again. It feels like there are almost a hundred of them, we already looked at. But the right ones were not there yet. We hope and pray that God will soon open a door for us, so that we can move forward with the business project…..

    And then, on December 25, we received the best Christmas present ever: our very first grandchild was born and embraced by everyone (who is close enough around) as a great gift. We have closed him first of all very firmly and gratefully in our heart. We have to postpone the embracing until later. But we can look forward to many photos and signs of life over the Internet 😉

  • Info and contacts

    It is beautiful and encouraging to experience how God brings us together with people through your prayers, who provide us with helpful information about starting a business and like to stay in contact with us. The day before yesterday we were in Casablanca in the „branch“ of the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce, because someone had advised us to ask there for tips and possibilities. It was a short conversation with a friendly woman who could give us really helpful tips and a few addresses.
    The next day, a lovely elderly couple took us to another city to visit friends of theirs. They had worked as representatives of eyeglass frames in Morocco before Corona and had gained a lot of experience. It was a nice community and a good exchange, even if some things had to be done with translators. Thank God there are always people who know English and Arabic well and are happy to translate. But we are also working hard to improve our French. But it is not going as fast as we would like. But starting next week Klaus is meeting with a young man „to put the language theory into practice“…..

    ….and here are some photos from the return trip of the business trip 😉

  • Everyday Life..…

    After a flu and a cold hit us when we were just about settled in, we are slowly regaining our strength. Somehow the months of traveling around, of being all over the place and nowhere at home, have taken more out of our reserves than we thought. How happy and grateful we are for THE source of strength within us that never runs dry and all the prayers that have strengthened and sustained us as well! We notice how we arrive more and more here, refuel and get strength again to go on and learn and work. And joy in everything 😉

    In between all the setting up and other things, though, we’ve taken opportunities to connect with people who might be able to help us with the business or let us learn from their experiences. For this we need a lot of wisdom. Not every advice works for us and not everyone who wants to work with us is the right person. And then again things have to be discussed with Opticunion Germany. After all, we are not „our own masters“, but here on behalf. With double order 😉

    We also searched around for a long time to find a suitable language course. First there were a few disappointments. Possibilities that would have been interesting, but simply did not fit in time and also financially. Then God answered our and your prayers and showed us the „Institut Français“. And it fits. We feel so comfortable in these courses and are diligently practicing understanding, speaking and writing. We are all foreigners in the courses, but almost everyone comes from a different country and brings their special accent, which makes listening and understanding sometimes quite challenging…..

    We are also slowly learning that we cannot go shopping here in the early afternoon. After standing in front of closed doors a few times, we now tend to go out after 3.30 pm for targeted shopping. Because before that, many shops are closed for lunch or prayer time or both. You can always go for a stroll 😉 because not all of them are closed for three hours, but if you want to get something specifically, it is better to go later, except for groceries, where there is rather „always someone there“…

    While colourful leaves are falling from the trees in autumn, here everything remains green (or grey-brown from the dust). But some trees and shrubs now, (as if they slept through the heat in „summer sleep“), begin to green and blossom and in a few weeks the oranges, which are still dark green now, will really shine orange in the trees.…

  • In search of an earthly home

    In Rabat, we were first able to „crawl under“ for a week with a co-worker and from there look for an earthly place to stay. Our preferred neighborhoods, where we would like to live, were all around the city center. Klaus searched the Internet for suitable apartments and made appointments. Also in other parts of the city, because we wanted to be open to God’s leading to the place where he wanted us. So we looked at umpteen apartments. With some we knew right at the entrance door that it would not work out, with others we wanted to think it over. After a few days we were so tired and exhausted that we were ready to compromise. We had visited an apartment that was on the other side of the river. A beautiful new apartment on the 5th floor with an elevator, nice balcony with super great views over the city. It was in a quiet area with nothing going on even during the day. And, it was on the other side of the city, even still on the other side of the river. We could imagine living there, but just not wholeheartedly. But we were tired and discouraged and thought: Sometimes you just have to compromise. So we agreed with the realtor, but wanted to look at the apartment again the next day. We went there, she was not there, but only the janitor. He let us in and then „Babylon“ began. Language confusion total, because he could only Arabic and called the landlord, with whom we also could not communicate, but the language confusion increased. Nevertheless, the realtor wrote to us via Whatsapp that we should come to her office the next morning to do the paperwork.

    Somehow we had lost the desire for this apartment through the whole thing and so Klaus searched the Internet for other apartments. He also found one in our favorite part of town and he wrote to it. This was not yet free, but from the same broker there was another apartment in the same district, which we could visit the next afternoon. We spent a restless night and set off the next morning with mixed feelings to the realtor. We considered strategies to get out of the verbal commitment for the „compromise apartment“. Well, we had worried for nothing, because when we finally found the somewhat makeshift office and sat across from the realtor, she immediately opened up to us that the apartment owner had informed her that he did not want us as tenants. She was very sorry to hear that and we were so grateful. I don’t think I have often been so grateful and happy about something that did NOT work out!

  • At the new hplace, but still without an earthly abode (September)

    We arrived tired but safe in the middle of the night in Fez, where it was still 30°C because of thunderstorms and high humidity. Sleep there was therefore for several reasons in the first night not so much. The next day we first went to visit all our favorite places and buy the train ticket for our move to Rabat. Walking through the city and sitting in a favorite coffee shop from time to time helped us to „come down“ and also to cope better with the humid heat (35°C). And we planned the probable „what, how, where“ for the next weeks and also tried to recharge our Moroccan internet map. Exactly, we tried. Because by a number mistake in the number got a „Mister unknown“ a small, early Christmas gift 😉 before then nevertheless also still on our account some money arrived…
    In these first days in Morocco, our last in Fes, we also made a couple of „last visits“ to say goodbye to our already dear Moroccan friends in Fes.