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Three years ago, almost to the day, I visited Morocco for the first time. Within moments of that first visit I knew I loved it, especially the rural areas. A slow rhythm of life in the villages with children playing, animals roaming about, and women in traditional clothing talking to each other and minding the household tasks. Birds sang, winds blew, rain came and went, tranquility! And exactly what I needed at the time.

Marrakech, however, was my least favorite place of all the places I visited that trip – – and a few more trips after that! It seemed “too much.” Too much movement, too many people, too loud, too much traffic, too hot, just too much. But with each visit, Marrakech grew on me and I missed the activity and movement of it all when I was away. I came to realize its charm and wildness and joy. There’s a vibrancy here, a pulse. It’s undulating with life and activity and I like feeling a part of it.

On each visit I met more people and became more comfortable with my surroundings. I got more of a sense of the real place and not just the tourist view I held before. I explored the medina, the old part of town that most tourists see and the new city as well. It started feeling familiar by finding stores similar to what I’m used to at home and restaurants dubbed “my favorite”. It became a place I wanted to visit over and over again. And I did.

On the 9th or so visit, I bought a house! After looking at dozens of places and analyzing neighborhoods, researching the feasibility of purchasing as a foreigner, spending hours meeting with lawyers (notaries, as they are called here), interviewing accountants, and visiting various government offices (where everything is done with pen and paper, many times, at multiple stations around a room for checking and double-checking later), I finally selected an accountant, a notary, and a home.

Taking renters into the home means having a bonafide business registered with the Moroccan government. I created it and called it Myriad Property. It means ‘an unlimited amount’ but also, separated, it becomes My Riad Property, so it has double-meaning. It’s registered and operational, soon to be taking in revenue.

The place is named ‘Dar Basyma.’ Dar = house and Basyma = Big Smile. I had a choice in spelling to name it Dar Basima (which means ‘smile’) but I chose the spelling with a ‘y’ because I have a friend named Basyma in Beirut, Lebanon and wanted to take that spelling for her. I think ‘big smile’ fits better anyway! Exciting for sure!

So now I’m at the house, getting things up and running for guests. Already we’ve had two sets of visitors and there are four of us working on it: an Operations Manager, a House Manager and a Housekeeper. It’s a lot of fun and I hope it continues to be. It’s already busy enough that we’ve had to turn people away!

This is the beginning of something big, incha’llah.