Updated: Sep 19, 2021
Long time, no see. I haven't really been traveling because of a pandemic and I've been trying to minimize unnecessary travel. Over the last year, I've gotten settled back in the US.
At the top of 2020, I had a grande idea to go to Morocco for my birthday. Then there was COVID. So,I pushed the celebration back to 2021 because surely, I overestimated how quickly our governments/societies could get a handle on this thing. (I've never lived through a pandemic before, please excuse my ignorance.) I even tried to 'silver lining' this thing and say now I can celebrate my Golden Birthday in Morocco and make a celebration of it.
For those of you who don't know, a 'Golden Birthday' is the celebration of the age that corresponds with your birthday. So if you were born on the 5th, your 5th birthday is your Golden birthday. If you were born on the 26th, then your 26th birthday is your Golden Birthday. Legend has it that the year following your Golden Birthday is supposed to be lucky... Verdicts still out on that.
As birthday 2021 got closer and closer, I realized that I wasn't going to be able to go to Morocco (again -_-).
I let go of those aspirations and said, 'Okay, maybe next year'. I then had an 'aha' moment. I asked myself 'why not?'. Why can't I still celebrate my Golden Birthday? Everything else has been virtual this year, why not a birthday celebration. I reached out to my friends and kinda organised a celebration at the last minute.
I sent out some quick Save the Date RSVPs to give attendees enough time to schedule me in. After I got a response from the attendees, I added them to a calendar invite from which I would send periodic updates about the festivities (that I was still planning).
The objective of the evening was for us to have a Moroccan immersion. So, the main event was us to do a virtual guided cooking, and then eat what we had a couple of jokes, and ended.
I decided, since a lot of my friends don't regularly have Moroccan cuisine, let alone cook it, that they probably have to go out and purchase all of the ingredients. I thought it would be a goodwill gesture to send them the nonperishables instead of having my friends go on a scavenger hunt for the virtual immersion. I didn't have time to get the ingredients to Australia, but I found solace in knowing my Aussie friends are foodies and have a lot more access to the ingredients.
I've never been to Morocco and I wanted to do this as accurately as possible. I did a lot of research for it (I also was an event planner and a former life). I was able to come up with a couple of icebreakers and virtual trivia for as entertainment during the evening. I also researched a couple of recipes, sent them out the recipe cards two weeks beforehand. I also sent out the nonperishable parcels to the US attendees who RSVP'd.
The evening of the event. I was cooking in my kitchen. The main recipes for the evening was a lamb Tagine and couscous. For dessert, there was a simple preparation of oranges and cinnamon.
I had a lovely friend James who is a chef, out of Miami who has his own personal catering business called Solful Kitchen Creations . He was gracious enough to host the guided cooking portion of night. I have another friend Stephen, who has his own career as an creator, and he's actually written and directed for the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh.
And he generously offered to assist with the trivia portion of the evening. I was a little bit nervous about all of my friends getting together. Not that they aren't all amazing people, but because when I travel, I get to know a different part of myself. I'm in a new environment where no one knows me an I learn so much about myself. Having these people who know me in different iterations of my life, come together I was wondered how the different parts of me would reconcile. Apparently I had nothing to worry about. Because all of my friends had nothing but compliments to say about each other, which is great because I was worried they wouldn't get along. But also, I guess I've told everybody about my zombie apocalypse survival strategy, so that was a nice joke.
Also made me realize that my secret survival plans aren't very much a secret. Lol What can I say? I want all my friends to be prepared. (Meet you at the rendezvous point ;) ).
...or am I?
During the event actually had a lot of people to RSVP, and that made me feel very special but it was also a little bit stressful because I had to coordinate for all these people and make sure that they are all informed and entertained throughout the event so I created a calendar that sent off the prepackaged non perishables to the American peoples, and to start the event. It started at 6pm Eastern Standard Time, We were across three time zones 14 cities and 17 attendees, And we opened the evening with our "arrival"
As an icebreaker, there was a little slideshow of US landing at the Marrakech airport. Once we all congregated we took turns saying where we were all "flying in from", what our favorite travel tips are and where we want to go next.
I would say my friends warmed up really quickly with it. We got some really good travel tips from our travel friends network. The main event of the evening, James lead with a prep for this evening's meals. As we waited for the food to cook, Stephen lead us through some trivia.
It was really funny to hear my friends take their best guesses about Morocco. I asked questions that you would know the answers to if you lived or explored Morocco. The people who had been to Morocco before they were kind of the team leads. And so it was fun to see alliances formed based off of who'd been to Morocco before. It was a lot of genuine laughs.
As I talked to my friends post event, they all enjoyed themselves (my biggest concern). Funnily enough, all of my friends actually were curious about each other. My American friends were curious about my Australian friends. My Australian friends were curious about my American friends. It was really interesting for them to finally have a face to the names and the stories that I tell. It was very cool experience, because, you know, short of me getting married, I don't know when any of these people would be in the same room ever again. So, I definitely thought that was very special and probably one of the few times that my friends have overlapped like that. #NomadProblems
I still feel sad that I wasn't able to actually go to Morocco, but in the grand scheme of everything that's happened in the last year and a half, I know that this is small potatoes for me to be concerned about. I still throw them into at my birthday I'm very glad that I created an alternative action. And if you guys haven't seen the YouTube video. Please check it out. It's a lot more details about the event, and I spent a lot of time editing that because I'm so rusty. All right friends.
hopefully I have some more updates for you soon.
And until next time,