A cat got in the car. No wait, that’s a monkey! (Adventures with Todd and Jill)

Todd and Jill (Scott’s dad and step mom) joined us for Christmas this year.  It was their first time visiting Morocco, and they definitely got the full experience.  They arrived a couple days before Christmas and we mostly just showed them around our small coastal town while also preparing for all the festivities.  Also 2 peace corps friends joined us for Christmas day.  Here’s a pic of all of us.



The 26th we decided to take Todd and Jill to Fes (this time of year Fes is COLD and RAINY, but there was a small window in which it wasn’t raining, so we jumped on it).  We played tour guide and explored all over the old city.





DSCF0895*I must mention here that all these photos were taken by my incredible photographer husband.


Here’s Jill doing what she loves most, SHOPPING!



And of course Scott and Todd at the Henna Souk, which has been taken over by pottery stalls (Fes is famous for their pottery).


As we were exploring we got pretty hungry and we met a guy who had a restaurant that wasn’t too far away.  We were in a residential area without many other options, so we decided to take him up on his offer.   He lead us to the restaurant but there were a couple TIGHT alleyways along the way.  This was one of them.


I was also SUPER stoked that I found the way back to this loom I love.  They make incredible scarves, and as long as you speak to them in Arabic, they also give you decent prices.



Here’s us overlooking the city.



On our way back home from Fes, we made a couple detours.  The first was Volubilis, so Todd and Jill could see the ancient Roman ruins.  It was pouring rain however, and it’s all outside, so only Scott and Todd braved the rain and explored. DSCF1014

Jill and I stayed in the car (after seeing these ruins about 6 times, I’m allowed to stay in the car…especially when it’s raining and cold.)  Not to mention I needed some time to recuperate after the monkey incident.

Yep, so my love/hate relationship with monkeys has turned into a straight up hate relationship.  When we pulled up and parked at Volubilis, Scott was driving, Todd was in the passenger seat, I was laying down in the middle seat taking a nap (with my shoes off), and Jill was in the way back of our defender also laying down.  Scott and Todd opened their doors, got out of the car, and were gathering their things to take with them…when all of a sudden Scott noticed a small furry creature enter the car through the drivers side door.  Scott thought, “Oh it’s a cat.”  But it wasn’t a cat.  Instead it was a monkey!

It jumped onto the drivers seat and started glaring it’s teeth at me.  I started SCREAMING!  Being enclosed in small spaces with smart, hungry, angry animals that have little hands is not something I enjoy.  The car keys were sitting between the monkey and me, however, and I thought, “If this monkey takes the keys, we are never gonna get them back!” So in between screams I grabbed the keys and the monkey hopped over to the passenger seat.  When it comes to fight or flight responses, I’ve learned what I am.  Seeing a way out, I jumped over the center console, leaped through the drivers side door (still not wearing shoes), and landed on the muddy ground in the freezing rain, screaming the whole way…also leaving Jill in the back seat to fend for herself.

Jill is the opposite of me when it comes to flight or fight.  The monkey jumped to the middle row of seats, glaring it’s teeth and snarling at Jill (who was still in the back).  At this point she grabbed the closest thing she could see, Scott’s jacket, which had a bright orange lining.  She started waving it around, fending the monkey off like an experienced matador.  The monkey got scared and ran out of the car.  It was all very exciting.  Here’s a pic of the monkey on our car. Don’t let his cute pose fool you.  He is a vicious creature.



As if we hadn’t had enough adventure for the day, Hamza (one of the nephews in our Moroccan adopted family) was getting engaged and they were having a big ring ceremony/engagement party that they wanted us to come to.  So after driving all day we finally made it to their house around 8:00pm to attend this party with them.  Jill and I quickly changed into some traditional fancy clothes that we had borrowed, and we loaded up the car to drive to the brides house where the party was held.  DSCF1042


The groom’s family buys tons of presents for the bride (milk, dates, flowers, pajamas, makeup, shoes, shampoo, perfume, etc.)  Then they put all the gifts in these cone shaped things and bring them to the brides house.









The men and women sit down in different salons and after tons of pictures, tea and cookies, a 3 course dinner, more tea, dancing, and an outfit change for the bride, they do the ring ceremony.  First the couple offers each other a sip of milk.IMG_3294


Then they feed each other a date.IMG_3289


Lastly, they exchange rings and are officially engaged!  This couple especially was super cute as they met at school and have been “friends” for a long time.  Marriage relationships here are much different than marriage relationships back home.  Frequently the marriages are arranged and the man is much older than the woman.  So it was refreshing to me to see this cute, young couple, so in love.IMG_3309

Oh, and Todd and Jill were such troopers!  The party lasted until about 1:30am and nobody spoke any English (except for us of course).  I was so proud of them.

The last night Todd and Jill were here, we took them to our favorite, fancy, French restaurant in Casablanca.  It’s quite expensive (for Moroccan standards), but it’s delicious and for just a moment you feel like you’ve been transported to somewhere in Europe.DSCF1214





  1. bethany
    Feb 12, 2014

    oh my gosh! I hate monkeys, too. one bit me and I wasn’t able to get all my rabies shots and wondered if I was going to die.

    I lived.

  2. Todd
    Feb 15, 2014

    I just relived the trip. Truly amazing and gracious hosts! Great to see pics of our new Moroccan friends. I look forward to a return visit. Thank you!!