New house

 

 

 

 

 

 

How many times did we move to a new house? 🤔 don’t count, please!

 

This is not because of me ( sometimes not always) but our circumstances change: having children, finishing studies, my husband starting a new job in a different city, problems in old house, …

 

When my children watched their old photos, they would say; how many times did we move mama? That house was the best? Yes, we remembered that doll’s flat, we cannot remember that one, we were too little, … it’s fun to talk about moving but it’s really a hard time: packing, unpacking, tidying, cleaning, changing address, and endless list of chores

 

Our new house key lock is so hard, it takes time to open the door, sometimes it’s stuck. My son gave up, every time texted me; open the door mama, I’m very close. I would have ignored his text and let him try till he open it, but it might end up with an extra charge for door damage.

 

 

Though different but this reminds me of our first flat at university accommodation which was like a maze; every time when coming back, I tried hard to open the door, and it refused, no way it insisted, until I gave up, raising up my face, oops It wasn’t ours. When we became friends, I told my neighbour about those countless numbers when I thought hers was mine; ‘ I have never noticed that,’ she said, ‘ and ‘ this is why we become friends,’ I thought.

 

Wishing you all the best,

 

Nahla

 

 

 

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Reward or Support

There are still about 5 months left for the month of Ramadan, but today one of the songs has refreshed some precious memories into my mind and heart.

My boys started practicing fasting early and gradually. The hardest time for them was when we have this once in a year beloved visitor during the summer, days become too long,  the dawn so early, and the dusk so late.

One year, my middle son was doing very well though he’s always impatient, would have a hundred snacks per day, full of energy and never listen if I ask him to have a nap at noon or play indoor. One day when it was too hot, he came asking for money to buy a new mini sweetie juice that one of his friends was drinking and enjoying so much and ‘ I’ll have it after our Iftar (breakfast),’ he said. After he got the juice, he disappeared in his room and when his brother and friends came inquiring if he would join them, he shouted from upstairs ‘I’m tired, won’t play.’ This was weird, wasn’t it?

I went to his room, he was lying down in his bed, when I asked him if there was anything wrong; ‘ just tired mama tired,’ I sat at the edge of his bed,  my eyes were trying to find out where was that juice. ‘ Won’t you show me this sweetie special juice?’ I asked. He quietly got up and brought it from behind the curtains.  I knew that he was not tired but sad, deeply sad.  His fingers and lips and the juice were blue.

‘Did you drink it?’

‘No, I didn’t,’ he said without looking at me

‘ But why your fingers and lips are blue?’

He couldn’t lie anymore, he went to the mirror and stuck his tongue out, it was all blue. He told me that he wanted to smell it, pulled the lid up with his teeth, he accidentally squeezed the bottle and the juice splashed into his mouth. ‘I didn’t want to drink it mama, just smell it,’ how he cried and how sad he looked really broke my heart.

‘It was a mistake, my son and I did dozen like this when I was in your age.’

‘ I’m still fasting,’

‘Yes, even if you do this when you’re a grown-up, you’re still fasting.’

‘Can I go and play now?’

‘But you’re tired.’

‘Not anymore.’

In another year, my elder son, was about 14 years old when he came back from school, telling me his news, picked up a large glass, opened the cold water tap, filled it up to the top, and drank it all in one gulp, leave not even a drop, I was looking at him, puzzled;

‘Couldn’t you fast today?’

‘Of course I’m fasting, it was too hot but I’m ok.’

‘Of-course you’re, you’ve just drank a full glass of water!’

‘Oops, I forgot!’

Was it a reward for patience? Was it a support from the Merciful? I believe it was both.

Wishing you all the best,

Nahla

 

 

 

One of the best

 

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One of the best things I have started in 2017 was blogging or in other words writing.

Writing has always been my best hobby and though I didn’t keep anything of what I wrote when I was young, I remember very well that writing was not hard, boring or odd for me; simply because I love writing and I write what I love.

At university, I mainly studied English Language and literature but we also used to study Arabic literature and grammar as a main part of the BA programme. One day our Arabic literature lecturer asked us to write a free piece, anything we like, as one of our main tasks and promised that extra marks would be added to the mark we got at our Arabic exam. This wasn’t everything, he also promised that the best five or six (can’t remember the exact number) pieces would be published in his book which we would study that year (of course as appendix). So there were no worries about being marked down or getting a fail, just a page or half, but it had to be done before our next lecture; We all were so pleased and thought that was a brilliant idea, wasn’t it?

I did not care that mine would be one of those chosen pieces; honestly I believed that our lecturer would never read all of our writings; I just wondered what to write but finally I decided to write about my father.

At the beginning of that year, my father passed away, and so I wrote about death, the final fate that we cannot change or escape. I wondered if one has a choice either to die before or after his/her beloved ones, what he/she would choose. I thought of my father and believed that he would have willingly chosen that same time because he loved us.

Before the following lecture, and as promised, the book was available and five pieces were added at the end; mine was one of them. I was totally surprised, delighted and nervous, too nervous indeed; I was surprised because I didn’t make any great effort in that piece, and delighted because my writing was one of the best, and nervous because I became popular, everybody started asking about me, including our lecturer who hadn’t known any of our names before, and I wished I could hide under the desk for the rest of that day.

I have no idea how far my writing will go, but I believe it’s a wonderful gift.

Wishing you all the best,

Nahla

2017

Have you achieved your goals for 2017?

One of the many things I have planned to achieve in 2017 was to PASS my driving practical test (I think I have taken more lessons than anyone else) My husband used to say that the money I spent on driving lessons would have been enough to get me a brand new modern car. This is exaggeration! 🙂

The good news is I’ve learned everything and did drive at all times, different roads and cities and in all weather conditions without causing any damage. 😀😀

The bad news is that I still couldn’t pass my practical test. 😭😭

I learned with different instructors and this was really a great advantage and fun too.

My first instructor was so funny, she told me about her life and we kept laughing and talking most of the time, she said it was all about nerves and believed I can pass my test but I didn’t pass with her.

Then we moved and my new instructor was different, highly qualified, so serious and rude, it was the first time i saw an instructor yelled at people and other drivers on the road. She believed she was horrible and when I told her i think she wasn’t, she was really touched and said I ‘m the first one ever to say so. I learned a lot from her but I was always under pressure, supposed to make no mistakes and believed i could never pass my test, I did not continue with her.

Then after a while, I started again, this time my instructor was so old and apparently didn’t feel well. She was too calm, smiling all the time and never mind my mistakes, everybody does mistakes she said. But i was uncomfortable, and felt under pressure again but this time because of thinking what if anything happened to this poor old woman, she believed i could pass my test but i thought it wouldn’t be with her, and so i stopped

There are two more 😀

We moved again and i started taking lessons again but this time i was no longer learning but practicing and remembering things. My instructor this time barely said anything, just giving directions, nodding, that’s fine, yes yes, no problem, this will do. I believe if I hadn’t learned before, I would have never learned driving with her, and I didn’t pass my test with her either. And I decided to stop taking any lessons for months.

My last instructor was a young lady, quite and calm. I love practicing with her, at my first lesson, she wondered why I  didn’t pass so far, so I booked my test but suddenly because of certain health problems she stopped giving any lessons and I cancelled my test.

Then I’ve become busy with other things and forgot about driving but seeing that 2017 is almost over, I remembered my driving journey again. And I remembered that story that my son told me when I started learning long time ago :‘ mama, …..’s dad failed 7 times before passing on his 8th go but he didn’t like driving.’ ‘ What a wonderful thing to say,’ I told him, mine have not been 8 yet and hopefully they won’t be. 🙏🏻

When looking back on all those memories, I believe that I did my best and learned better than all my friends who passed their test. Actually, it doesn’t bother me anymore, everything comes in time and may be better things are coming in 2018.

Wishing you all the best,

Nahla

His Birth

 

Soon Muslims will celebrate the birth of Prophet Muhammad. He was born on the 12th of Rabie al-Awal (third month of the Islamic calendar). To be honest this is more cultural than religious event, as in all my studies, I have never heard that Prophet Muhammad, his friends or followers had celebrated his birthday simply because Prophet Muhammad will always be in our hearts. I think may be these celebrations started in the Fatimid period  but I am not sure.

I like some of the poems and songs that have been written and repeated on this day; I feel it’s just different in meaning, tone and performance. This occasion always takes me back to childhood years when I was in primary school. Every year, before the Prophet’s birthday, we usually have lots of preparations and rehearsals to offer a good musical performance at our school for parents and visitors. I don’t remember anything more than the poem we were learning by heart as well as our kind teacher that had made a great effort to help us do our best on that day. She was a Christian but she loved singing that poem with us. She was very enthusiastic and sang with all her heart. She was always smiling, a dove flying with her accordion and leaning towards those shy little ones. I still remember those precious tears in her eyes though at that young age I did not understand why?

Was not that great?

By the way the poem was a praise song written for Prophet Muhammad ages ago. I will try to translate the simple lines we used to sing at that celebration:

All the hearts have always longed for the remembrance of the Beloved

I have my evidence and witness

When you say the name of Muhammad,

The tears flow freely from the eyes of those loving The Beloved.

I remember how we, as little boys and girls, used to wear long white shirts; the girls with white head scarf and the boys with white skull caps, standing next to each other facing the audience, and were always supported by our wonderful teacher.

May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon you Prophet Muhammad and upon all God’s prophets and messengers!

This one is one of my favorite, hope you like it

Alsamlamo Alyka

Maher Zein

 

Wishing you all the best,

Nahla

Dreams

We all dream while sleeping even though we sometimes can remember nothing but this does not change the fact that we dream. Our brains are indeed miraculous! And we cannot deny this fact either. Have you ever think about your dreams? I usually think in two ways.

The first is that dreams are a reflection of what we have been experiencing during a whole day, week or month that has disturbed, upset or delighted us most.  In this case; dreams reflect one’s deeds, endeavours, and even thoughts and feelings. This means that if my son was watching a horror movie at night, he would probably have a nightmare and I would say; ‘this is because you have watched such a scary movie at night.’ Logical thinking!

The second way is that dreams reflect what the unconscious has better known than the limited conscious circle inside our brains. Actually I believe that this is true too. This is clearly explained when dreams have a significance in real life. In other words, when we understand what they symbolise and see how they turn into reality! This also explains why we might have a dream about something which we think we have never got any idea about or people who we think we have never met or known just a little about. This looks like a psychiatric job now!

One day, I went shopping with a new friend. It was the first time we went out. At that day, her mobile was ringing and she looked a bit worried and hesitated not to answer it. Then she said; ‘today is the result of my exam.’ I understood then why she did not want to answer the call. But at the same time, I remembered that I once had seen her in my dream looking very happy buying some new clothes. I had no idea that she was studying for an exam at that time.  I did not know what to say but I advised her to answer the call saying: ‘why not answering it? This would be fine.’ What do you guess?  She passed her exam and was extremely happy.  I then told her about my dream. Though I told her that I had totally forgotten about it, which was true, I did not say that I did not know why I had such a dream as I did not consider her as a friend at that time. We then started joking about my dream. She said: ‘you have special powers’ and I said:’ you have to get me a present for every good dream I would see for you.’ Definitely, I do not have any special thing and when I think about that dream now, I can see that its interpretation simply refers to the beginning of our friendship. We all dream:  the noble and the villain, the poor and the rich, the weak and the strong, the old and the young, etc. I believe it’s just something we all created with, something that we may not pay that much attention though we need to because in our dreams we can see guidance, warnings, encouragements, and true things about ourselves as well as others.

When I was writing this post I remembered the dream of Fir’awn or the Egyptian Pharaoh at the time when Prophet Musa (Moses) was born. Actually it was a nightmare! And I really wonder why, though got the right interpretation by his wise administrators, he participated in the suffering and ending of his life as well as others. He saw an enormous fire that surrounded Egypt and burned all the Copts. In his dream, it was only the Israelites who were saved. Did he think why? The answer is NO. He saw the same dream several times. Again, did he think why? And again the answer is NO. He just wanted a significant interpretation which he was given by his wise advisers. They interpreted it with the birth of a precious boy among the people of Israel who would cause the end of his life and kingdom. Again instead of thinking WHY? He though HOW? How to challenge that dream? Later and after many years that dream turned into reality. It was not just a dream! It was his unconscious sending him that divine warning in case he would listen.

Sweet dreams everyone! but do not forget to think about them too.

With all best wishes,

Nahla

 

Community

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When I was young, I knew the names of most of our neighbours and their children’s names. I know where they live and their flat numbers. I used to go to the nearby shop even if it was a bit late to get what I need and may pay later when my father visited the shop to pay for the shopping list we got without paying! There was a trust, safety, and intimacy; these concepts I had felt and known even before learning them at school.

But for my parents, this was nothing in comparison to their own days as they were raised up in the countryside where they did not just know about their neighbours’ names but also their family history. They told us how people used to support one another in good and bad times, how they shared their food, how their doors were always opened to all, how they did not worry about their old parents or small children because they were all close, and how the poor were sure they would get what they had asked for. I will never forget how my mother was very delighted when we spent the summer holiday at my grandparents’. She did not worry about anything even about us; her children, because everybody had known her and she had known everyone. She would always find someone around to give her a hand at any time!

This does not mean that life was perfect; of course it was not. There was all of these social vices that would exist in any society, modern or traditional, though in different context; e.g. poverty, ignorance, crime, superstition, etc. But this means that life was different; people think they were belonging not just to the place but more important to each other! Their daily interaction as well as cooperation regardless their differences make them happy.

Is this the meaning of COMMUNITY? I think; yes it is!

I experienced the meaning of community when I moved to live in the UK.  At the beginning, we lived in the university accommodation where I met with different people from different background; each one had different plans, thoughts and beliefs but we cooperate and do our best to help each other. We were remarkably happy which again does not mean that there were no problems or we all were wonderful friends; of course No. I think we just understood consciously or unconsciously that we need each other and we need to cooperate and to accept our differences to enjoy those years.

What happened then? Lots of my friends, living in different parts of the world, say the same thing; “We do not know our neighbours and sometimes do not even see them!” “We do not expect others to contact or visit except in social occasions!” “If we get a call from others it is not because they care but because they either have to or want something.” May be the life rhythm has become too fast, too rough, too technical, too expensive and too superficial to create the community that reflects the image of one body with its different parts. May be it is the rigid individualism or ego centered world that has cloaked this pure sense of community! I do not know! But what I know for definite is that there is no such joy as that experienced when living in a healthy community.
By the way, what inspired me to write about community was the new hijri year 1439. Yesterday was the first day of Muharram; the first month in the Islamic calendar. It’s a wonderful occasion to remember the image of community at Madinah. They too were from different backgrounds, different shapes, sizes, and colours may be different dialects and languages as well as different beliefs as Jews and Christians were living there too. But they cooperated to create that community that would enable them to enjoy their differences while living safe, happy and strong. And they made it!

Happy New Hijri Year!

And have a lovely weekend!

With my best wishes,

Nahla