PREFACE: This post will be in two parts, of sorts. The first part will be addressing the title of this post – that it is our “babymoon!” – so if you want further clarification on that, keep reading! The second part of the post will be about our time in Morocco and will be more matter-of-fact with info and pictures, so if you’re only here for that, keep scrolling!
I: Our “Babymoon”
I’m going to refer to my recent Instagram post to share about this *very exciting and special* piece of our recent trip to Morocco and Portugal. There I shared this …
“So, this trip isn’t just any vacation …. I had a really specific vision for what I wanted this post to look like but it wasn’t able to happen. And I think it’s totally appropriate that it didn’t. Because here we are … just us, nothing “special.” Sitting in the city center in Porto … a little cold … but filled to the brim with gratitude and HOPE ✨ A very happy place to be in together after the super big ups and downs of the past two years.
Our journey to parenthood has not been easy but thankfully we have a God who we know has been with us every step of the way and who sees us and loves us 💗 We’ve had a lot of hard questions for Him that may never be answered this side of Heaven and we’ve come to accept that. We know He still hears every question and we trust He is good even when our circumstances don’t make sense in the moment.
All this to say (and there will be a lot more to come!) … we are … BECOMING FOSTER PARENTS! 🙏🏽🎉🥰💕🌟 So this isn’t any vacation because it’s our “babymoon!!!” I AM SO HAPPY TO FINALLY BE SHARING THIS!!!!!!!!!! Before we even started trying to grow our family, Caleb and I knew we were curious about fostering / adopting. To be honest, we had a different timeline in mind but we are constantly learning that life rarely seems to go “according to plan.” Over the past two years, we find ourselves with countless opportunities to ‘let go’ and to be present with ‘what is.’ As hard as this can be for me at times, I am SO thankful for what our story has already taught me. It is so freeing to let go and to accept what is; to stop resisting and CHOOSE presence, joy and gratitude.
Our hearts for fostering have, like, EXPLODED 💓💓💓 Of course, we don’t know what will happen until we are IN it, but right now, it’s safe to say we feel more than called to jump into this crazy opportunity to LOVE (foster kiddos, birth parents, caseworkers, etc). I definitely plan to share more, especially now that you simply KNOW!!! So I’ll say it again, 2020 – we are so, so, SO ready for you – all the unknown, all the wild, all the hope 🤟🏽🤟🏾🤟🏿”
SO YES – the news is out and we are THRILLED. We cannot WAIT to share more about our journey, foster care, and parenthood in general going forward! More to come : )
For the first part of our trip, we spent one week in Morocco. We flew from Chicago to Lisbon, and then from Lisbon right to Marrakesh as we wanted to have our connecting flights in the beginning portion of the trip and not at the end when coming home (you know, in case something went wrong or got delayed!).
When planning our time in Morocco, after doing quite a bit of research and talking to friends who had previously visited the country, we decided to book a private tour. Essentially, you have an English-speaking local tour guide, who drives you throughout the country to do and see whatever you are interested in doing and seeing : ) It is a very customizable experience. We booked our tour through “Trek in Atlas” per the recommendation of our friends and were SO HAPPY with our experience; we simply could not recommend them enough or traveling the country via this type of experience!
So, what did our specific tour look like?
For the first two days, we did a trek that led to summiting Toubkal in the Atlas Mountains which are the tallest mountains in Northern Africa! We both agreed that this was our favorite part of the whole trip / both countries. Our guide, Said, led us on the two-day trek and was such a special part of our trip!
On the first day of the trek, you hike to base camp and stay overnight in a refuge. Then, on day two, you wake up at 4:30 AM to begin the summit to the top of Tobukal in time for sunrise. It was challenging and cold, but BEYOND worth it. I actually cried when we made it to the top because I was so overcome with emotion! After watching sunrise at the top, you begin the trek back down since you do this all in one day. We had over 40,000 steps on day two! Coming down the mountain, on the steepest parts, was in some ways more difficult than going up! But the views were amazing every step of the way!
Because of the tour, all of the planning and meals were taken care of for the trek. We just had to show up and worry about making it through ; )
Following the two-day trek, we spent the next three days driving to and then spending time in the Sahara Desert! Something that REALLY amazed us was how diverse and absolutely breathtaking the different landscapes of Morocco are. From the city, to the mountains, to the gorges, to the desert … we quickly fell in love with this country!
We were SO thankful for our second guide, Hisham, who traveled with us for these three days. He was incredibly hospitable and knowledgable – we honestly just had so much fun with him! He took us to a lot of cool spots, many off the beaten path, and made our experience that much more enjoyable than it already was! One place I just have to mention is the “Riad” we stayed in while visiting the Dades Gorges called Riad Gabsi Dades. This was our favorite lodging in Morocco – hands down. It is run by a family out of their home and not only is the hospitality SO warm and inviting, but the space is beautiful and the cooking out of this world! I am still dreaming about it!
The Dades Gorges / Valley was beyond beautiful! The colors are spectacular and views almost unbelievable. I am using a lot of adjectives here but it is really hard to describe! And honestly, pictures don’t do it justice – but we’ll try!
Our final stop of our tour was the Sahara Desert! We road camels out into the desert where we stayed overnight in tents tucked between the dunes. We sand-boarded and watched the sunset together which is honestly something I will never forget!
The very last day of the tour, on the way back to Marrakesh, we made several stops to break up the drive and experience more of the local culture. We visited a women’s cooperative to purchase a Moroccan rug (P.S. this blog post helped tremendously as we thought about and prepared to purchase a rug!), tasted and bought some famous Medjool dates, *Caleb* drank fresh camel milk … and we saw more beautiful cities and sites!
On the last day of our time in Morocco, we adventured around the city of Marrakesh. Here we explored the famous souks (markets), tried some more authentic food, and simply wandered the city. It was very chaotic and busy, and one day was enough for us before heading to our next destination, Portugal! Coming to the blog next week : )