Combat Fit

Combat Fit sounds like a version of kickboxing, doesn’t it?  Punch, kick, kick, punch.  Well, if you’d shown up to my aerobics class under that assumption you would have been as wrong as I was.  It was less like kick boxing and more like…dance aerobics.  No, in fact, I’m pretty sure it was exactly dance aerobics.  A class I never would have signed up for.  A class I never would have attended.  A class I never would have dared to stand at the back of and shake my groove thing.  And yet, a class I thoroughly enjoyed.  

Moroccans like to dance, to sing, to move.  They are generally a life loving people who express their love through movement and music - among other things.  (I on the other hand am a life loving person who expresses it through reading and quiet contemplation….hhmmm…)  This aerobics class was packed full of women of every age, shape, and size who just wanted to move.  There were, of course, very complicated steps that I messed up every time; but if I tried to avoid watching myself fumble around in the room length mirror then it was all good. 

I like to exercise, but to dance for joy is something foreign to me.  Ask my dear friend Jen.  When we went to church camp the summer before our junior year of high school I spent the twice weekly dances sitting in the foyer saying things like  “Please don’t let me ruin your fun.  I’d hate to inhibit the way you choose to engage with music in a social context!”  (Nerd alert, anyone?)  She, bless her, tried to teach me to dance by having me first tap my index finger to the music and then move my hand and then my whole arm but without fail when it got near the shoulder I would call the whole thing off.  (Remember that Jen?  You are nice.  I was lame.) 

But anyway, this class was wonderful and I’ll probably go again next week.  I need the week to recover! 

But what else have we been up to besides going to the gym? 

Christmas shopping requires sustenance
Christmas shopping! A few weekends ago I had to work in Marrakesh got to work in Marrakesh on a Friday and so we made a weekend out of it.  We got a screaming last minute deal on a riad and spent the weekend combing the souks of Marrakesh for Christmas gifts.  I won’t go into details since my family are sneakers and they would try and figure out what I bought them, but suffice to say I have never wheeled and dealed so much in my life.  In fact, and I’m one part proud of this one part ashamed,   I actually got kicked out of a rug shop for haggling too much.  I worked the carpet seller down a grundle, but I was blinded by my own ambition and pushed it a step too far.  As we walked away I realized that his last offer was about 8 bucks more than my highest offer and I felt sick to my stomach.  8 bucks for crying out loud!  Keep it together Brooke.  What would that have cost you?    But as we were about to turn the corner the teenage shabb who had been showing the rugs for his shopkeeper tapped us on the shoulder and invited us back to another store.  Evidently the neighboring shopkeeper got wind that we were willing to buy but that we’d been given the boot by his sober neighbor and sent the boy to chase us down. 

The shabb brought us back to the same street and motioned for us to enter a dark set of stairs lined with carpets.  Is this our death?  Have they brought us back to kill us for shaming their profession?  I whispered to Max “um, is this okay?  Should we go in?”  And the little shabb from behind us whispered in a similar tone “Yes you should, it’s good.” 

After some additional wrangling to get the shopkeeper to honor our previous price  and some baksheesh (tips) for the errand boy we walked away with two red/orange Berber carpets.  What’s Christmas shopping without a little something for yourself? 

On the way home we accidently took the long way around Marrakesh back to Casablanca and got caught in an incredible rain storm.  We had black rock hills behind us and the snow capped Atlas Mountains behind them, the open yellow plains in front of us, and intermittent patches of bright blue sky and black rain clouds above us.  I’ve heard Morocco described as a place of paradox and this moment was certainly illustrative.  Like a total goober I stuck my camera out the window from time to time to catch a few photographs.     


  1. I always felt the same way about church/school dances. I could usually be found sitting in the corner trying to look inconspicuous as I stared awkwardly at the ground (what a pair we would have made had we known each other 15 years ago). And THEN I discovered Irish dancing. And belly dancing. And zumba. I still feel awkward at a real "dance." But give me a class, and I'm good to go. :)

  2. You know what's funny about you and me? We have a lot of dancing memories, mostly stupid, but memories just the same. I love each one of them.

    P.S. You don't fool me. I've seen you dance to a certain boy band and you've got grooves, sister.