When Feet Become Wings; Magical Marrakech

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Yet again, it’s been an age since my last post. I’ve been immersed in various life things, and lots of work things, and so the time has passed me by, and all of a sudden it’s nearly Christmas. I’ve always enjoyed this time of year: mince pies, bitter chills, and drinks that are both hot and alcoholic. The past few months have been so manic, however, that I’ve hardly had any time to enjoy any of that. Still, you can rest assured that I will be taking a break over Christmas.

In fact, though, my break already began at the end of last week when the teaching semester finished at KCL and my students went home for the holidays. I headed home to celebrate (with bubbles!) and to prepare for a long weekend away with some girlfriends. It was, after all, my hen weekend; a little early, I know, but I had anticipated some much needed respite at this time. I couldn’t have been more right. In the weeks leading up to this holiday, I had mountains of essays to mark, a lecture to write, and editorial and PhD work to contend with. I was getting to bed at around 1am every night (*morning), and was beginning to resemble the zombies that I’m currently researching and writing about. So, in short, the holiday was most welcome.

Not only was it welcome, but it was entirely stress-free (for me, at least). That’s because my best friend Emily took on the task of organising it, coordinating attendees, arranging flights and accommodation, booking activities, and making sure that we would have enough BOOZE to keep us happy throughout our stay. She did a magnificent job – as did those who worked to keep our destination a secret from me for the best part of a year. I was blissfully unaware of the stresses that they had all taken on in an effort to allay mine, and I’m truly grateful for all of their hard work. I realise that I am blessed to have such wonderful friends.

So, unbeknownst to me, they planned a trip to Marrakech – the beautiful bazaar of sensory stimulation. I was overwhelmed with excitement when they eventually let me in on the plan (although a little concerned that I had not been able to pack my own suitcase)! Luckily, my girls had thought of everything, and even threw in a bikini that they thought might be more appropriate for the hammam that we planned to visit on our second day. Every last detail was, in fact, planned out minutely, and encompassed my various loves of food, dance, music, dressing up, pampering and…perhaps best of all…haggling! They flew me away – in the most literal sense, of course – but they also flew me away from my worries, cares, and obligations, and I was able to relax knowing that they had it all in hand. I will never forget the lengths that they went to to make my weekend special, and it’s highly unlikely that I would be able to if I tried, thanks to the beautiful mementos that they gave me to remember it by.

There are few words I could offer that could measure up against the loving gestures made by all of the people that contributed to this trip but, I’d like to attempt to cobble some together in any case. To Emily, I’d just like to say THANK YOU. For everything. You are brilliant. To Emma, who put together my beautiful Berber wedding blanket, I’m deeply touched – and not just by the effort, but by the idea. To all of my remaining hens – to Rachael, Jo, Kate, Jess, and Sonia – I’m so glad that you could be there, and be a part of it all, and I couldn’t have asked for a better bunch of women to spend 4 days with. To the hen that was unable to make it due to the extra baggage she was carrying(!), a.k.a. Moussette, I was sad that you couldn’t be with us, but I was moved that you made your presence felt in spite of your absence, and I absolutely love the beautiful kaftan that you bought me. And finally, to all those who weren’t there, but were still very much a part of it all – to my mum, dad, and brother, to Jadey, Katie, Cat, Jane, Maureen, Alex, Sue, Amy, Julie, Faye, Toni, and Jen. And, last but not least, to Julian. Thanks for completely ruining me with your impossible quizzes (Arsène Wenger indeed!) I loved it all, and I love you all. Merci/shukran.

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