Wisdom, Writing

Tell us

 

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One day a young man asked the wise man in his village:

‘Please our wisest, tell us; who can be the dearest, the closest to the heart: your brother or your friend?’

The wise man looked at the questioner and said: ‘My brother,’ and paused, ‘when he becomes my friend,’ he added and left.

I agree.

Wishing you all the best,

Nahla

 

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Family, Writing

Do you worry?

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We all worry, maybe not all but most or some of us, at different levels; something that can be normal, mild or severe.

One of my friends told me once about her mother-in-law. She thinks too much about her health and her worries turned into suspicion. She does not eat at anyone’s house. She doesn’t eat any food. She rarely accepts to eat out. This is strange but who knows something might have happened to her that resulted in her being such a worried person.

Raising up children on your own in a foreign place where it is just you, your spouse and just friends who usually left, went back to their countries, is enough to make you experience worry with all levels. One day, about four years ago, my son texted me; ‘mama the bus didn’t come and I still waiting at the bus stop next to my school.’ That wasn’t something normal because my son’s school was too far from our house; it was in a remote part of the city. And on that day, he could not take the school bus because he had basketball club and finished at 4:30 pm. What made it worse was that he didn’t text when he missed the first one. He kept waiting and texted about 5:30. Why? Because he knew if his mother worries so much, he wouldn’t join the club in the winter.  Honestly, that was my decision but I didn’t tell him at that moment.

I don’t know how many times, I called and texted my husband but apparently they were so many. I still remember how he was breathless; talking while running down the stairs at his work telling me he was on his way.

When I called my son and told him that his father was on his way, he said; ‘the bus has just arrived. Shall I take it?’

‘Of course, jump on.’ I told him and he did. It was a long way from school to our house and I didn’t want him to wait any more at that far place.

‘What about papa?’ My son asked

‘Oops!’

I believe my worries were normal that day. What do you think?

Wishing you all the best,

Nahla

 

 

Writing

We!

 

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‘Good morning, mummies,’ A mother texted her friends

‘Good morning,’ replied one of them

‘Where are the others?’

‘Always disappear when we decide to plan for a day out.’

‘Maybe busy?’

‘ No one is busy to check the texts.’

‘Ok, let’s plan something this weekend.’

‘Other friends are better than this group. Others always have ideas, always ready, always well organised.’

‘ We will agree this time.’

‘We!  We won’t, we will never do.’

(My God, why it’s always you online?) The mother whispered to herself.

‘What about this Saturday? A barbecue in the park? It’s sunny for the whole week according to the weather forecast.’

‘My husband is working this Saturday. I cannot look after my three monkeys.’

‘We will do.’

‘I won’t have the car.’

‘We can arrange for this too.’

‘Oh, I forgot my children have a swimming lesson in the afternoon.’

‘At what time?’

‘3-4.’

‘We can start at 3 and you join us by 5 when the food is ready.’

‘No, no, my children will be so tired.’

(Why on earth I keep texting you?)

‘What about Sunday?’

‘My children go to their Arabic school. They finish at 5 and sleep at 6.’

‘6???’

‘Yes.’

‘So you cannot do anything this weekend.’

‘See, we will never be able to plan anything? I really think to leave this useless group.’

‘That would be the best plan ever!’

I thought of this story in the morning and wondered how some people always complain though they are the main cause of the problem.

Wishing you all the best,

Nahla

 

 

 

 

Family, Writing

My son is 18

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How did hours, days and years go that fast?

It was like yesterday when I held him in my arms, close to my chest and cried.

My baby with his little eyes, his little nose and his little mouth had arrived safely.

His hands were so tiny in my hands. He cried. He yawned. He had a good night’s sleep.

Today, he is 18 and I am so proud of my young man, the eldest.

Now he is taller than me, stronger than me, and smarter than me.

Now he is more like a brother, a caring brother.

But in my heart, he will always be my baby.

May the future of our sons and daughters be bright, purposeful and prosperous.

Wishing you all the best,

Nahla

 

Writing

Can we try?

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Inviting others for Iftar (breakfast); friends, relatives, or some acquaintances is a popular tradition in the month of Ramadan. Muslims believe that if one shares or offers a meal with/to others, he/she will be heavenly rewarded.  When I started writing this post, I mainly thought of the manners that both visitors and hosts are supposed to have in order to enjoy their time together. I did not think of those sophisticated rules of etiquettes; what to take as a gift, how to sit, how to eat, what to say and so on. These are great rules but I thought of something very general, sometimes that can be very hard to apply. Can we try not to poke our noses into others’ affairs?

One day, a friend visited me after I gave birth to my daughter. It was her first time to visit me and apparently she liked both the place and the house. After giving her warm congratulations; she started a series of investigations all about how many? how much? how far? All those ”hows” made her 30 minutes visit pass like 5 hours. I pretended that I didn’t know most of the answers and changed the subject to her little son. That was why she left early; ‘ You look tired,’ she said and left.

There was a story in Arabic; I have read recently. It teaches one of the visiting manners. The story was about a Muslim scholar whose best student used regularly to invite him at his house. One day, the scholar’s cousin offered to give him a ride to his student’s. Once they had arrived, the host invited that cousin to join them. They talked and ate and then it was time to leave.

On their way back, the cousin poured all his thoughts;

‘ Your student is a real gentleman; kind and generous. His house is so big, clean and tidy. His attire looks expensive and neat. And the food, it was the best I have ever tasted. His people have high skills of cooking. I’m sure he is very wealthy.’

The scholar did not comment. He was riding his cousin’s donkey and listening while watching the sun setting.

‘But they have bad manners; they let women serve food and drinks. Have you seen that woman who was holding the water jug for us to clean our hands after dinner? I don’t like that,’ his cousin added

The scholar looked at his cousin and said; ‘ I have been regularly visiting that student for ten years. I ate their food, I drank their juice and I washed my hands in their house countless times, and yet I don’t know if I was served by men or women.’

His cousin said no more.

The lesson is; they were invited to have a meal, not to interfere in other’s life.

Wishing you all the best,

Nahla

 

Ramadan, Writing

No Experiments

 

 

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It is nice to try new food and it is even nicer to cook it. Simple recipes are available everywhere, especially on social media. Food has become easy to cook, yummy to eat, and fast to deliver. But on the first day of fasting, it is not a good idea to make any experiments. Not only because there will not be enough time or energy to cook another meal, but it will be very disappointing. Imagine the boys and their father look at the colourful dish, smell its spices, wondering what it can be, then fill the spoon, and taste it. ‘Yuk! it’s the first day, mama’

No, I’m not going to try any new recipes; not today. Traditional food is the best for the first day, something we all like to eat. When my son came back from school, he liked the smell of the food but he asked; ‘ can we have some chips? Extra side, mama’. ‘Of course, not. I won’t add anything,’ I told him. But that’s it, I thought. If I plan to make any new dish, I will make sure I add large chips, just in case.

Wishing you all the best,

Nahla

 

 

Writing

Are you ready?

 

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Tomorrow will be the first day of  Ramadan. My sons kept reminding me; mama please don’t forget this and that when making this week shopping. They want the fridge and the kitchen cupboard to be full of snacks and desserts so after Iftar (breakfast), they will transfer those sweet and salty packets to their rooms when they usually disappear; ‘ we’re going to relax for a bit before night prayer. This relaxation means snacks + mobile.  That’s not all, the first thing they asked me: ‘ What are you going to cook on the first day?’

Don’t think that they love food that much. This is their way of celebration which they practised since they had started fasting.  When they were young, we used to encourage them to fast in this way, by getting lots of snacks to be shared by all of us after having our iftar. Now they are teenagers, taller than me,  but still, like to keep this habit.

By the way, the month of Ramadan is not about food. I like to follow you-tubers or others on social media sharing their recipes for the holy month, just for fun.

Fasting is an obedience; one of the main pillars of Islam. In this month, Muslims are supposed to do their best to obey The Lord, to show how far we can get close, and how far we can be better. It’s a reminder to care more for the soul than for the body.

 

This month, I will try to write a post every day. I will write about our experience of fasting this year. It might be so brief, but at least, I will try.

Wishing you all the best,

Nahla

 

 

 

Writing

My daughter’s guest

On Friday, at school home time, my daughter ran to me with a big smile. We had a guest. This guest was her class teddy. At the end of every week, her teacher picked randomly a name which is supposed to be the luckiest to have teddy over the weekend. It’s a wonderful idea because it encourages children to write about and express their feelings as well as sharing the fun with their friends. Every week they cannot wait to know whose turn it will be. They cannot wait to have this special teddy in their house, to take photos, to write about their adventures and finally to stick and arrange everything in the teddy’s schoolbook.

So on Friday, it was my daughter’s turn. Her adventure started as soon as we left the school. She talked with her teddy about our daily walking journey to and back from school. She believed teddy was so excited because last time when we had him, we took the bus, so this time was different. As soon as we arrived, she took her guest on a tour around the new house, especially her room and introduced him to the new toys he hadn’t seen last time.

On Saturday, it was raining when we went shopping and my daughter said teddy would be very bored; he doesn’t like shopping. ‘He will this time,’ I told her, ‘because I will buy him a special chocolate.’ Teddy wasn’t bored anymore. He flew in the air; my daughter jumped to catch him and hugged him. ‘There’s a surprise for you,’ she whispered to her guest who all of a sudden changed his mind and decided that it would be fun to go shopping.

Sunday was the best; sunny and warm and we went to the seafront. There, Teddy had an ice cream. There, he collected stones. There he waved to the big ferry. What else, there he giggled when one of the little boys ran to the water to wash his chocolate ice cream cone. He gasped when his tiny feet touched the chilly salty water. But finally, he was tired and fell asleep. But on the way home, he got up and begged his friend to take him to the park. He wanted to go on the swing. And so we went there. My daughter set him next to her on the swing and took up to the sky. She looked after him so well and he didn’t fall.

It was really fun to have teddy. I think it’s a brilliant idea that can create a wonderful story out of a simple toy.

Wishing you all the best,

Nahla

 

 

 

Writing

One more!

 

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Today at breakfast, my daughter said; ‘I’m full, mama.’ There wasn’t much left and I asked her to try one more to finish her plate. ‘I’m full, mama,’ she repeated.

I did not force her because she ate well and sometimes you cannot add any more. I don’t know how people in food competitions could eat that much just to win or to register a high score. It’s really awful to eat more than you can afford. It is known that animals eat when they are hungry; they eat to survive although these days I doubt it. I think they’ve changed too. Have you seen how seagulls snatch, or better to say steal, people’s sandwiches, chips and crisps? When I was young I learned that seagulls fish close to the surface. They also eat earthworms, snails and slugs. But when I moved to cities by sea or rivers, I noticed how these birds have not only adapted well to live with man but also learned his greedy eating habit.

Many years ago, one of my friends went to a social gathering with people of her country at well-known Arabic restaurant. She visited me after they had finished and described the different varieties of starters, main dishes and desserts; hummus, tabula, green salad, stuffed vine leaves, kebab, baklava, rice pudding … yummy! The list made my mouth water. But she did not look well. She tried to lay down on the sofa but she couldn’t. She told me that she ate so much and her husband gave her more. Then, she couldn’t hold it anymore; she ran to the bathroom and vomited up all the food she had eaten that night.

Wasn’t it better if she said she cannot eat anymore?

Wishing you all the best,

Nahla

parents, Writing

Spiders

 

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Since we have moved to our new house, I have not spotted any spiders; this was good.

My middle son’s room is really really awful. His wardrobe is almost empty, and all his clothes are thrown out. I don’t know which ones are clean and which are dirty, but he said he knows.

Why do you have a wardrobe? I always ask him.

‘ I will pack them back,’ is his reply but he won’t, I know.

His muddy football boots were forgotten under the chairs. Plates, cups, water bottles are on his bookshelf. How many times I told him to clean it?  And how many times he promised, he will do? Countless times. Today, I wanted to surprise him and clean it. I expected to find spiders but there wasn’t any and now it is super clean. Hopefully, he will start to consider cleaning it regularly.

Then I moved on to my room, vacuuming and changing the bed sheet and covers, when all of a sudden, a spider, not big, not small was on my bed. He kept still, alive but motionless. I did not know where he came from. My room was not that bad. Definitely, it was not like my son’s. I did not think too much. I hit it with the duster, wrapped the corpse in a paper towel, and threw it in the bin.  ‘You’re in the wrong place’, I said

If I tell my son that spiders are escaping from his dirty room to mine, he will say that’s why he won’t clean it; to scare me. It’s better to keep it secret.

Wishing you all the best,

Nahla