How to Teach Your Kid to Read in 3 Steps.

Your kid is of reading age, and he isn’t very confident when it comes to reading? Are you not satisfied with your child’s reading skills? Are you waiting for a magical solution? Wait no more, grab a cup of tea and keep reading. 

The simple three steps to transform your child into a reading wizard are as follows:

1- Take a deep breath

2- Read to your child all the time.

3- And stop wanting to teach them how to read.

Yes, you got that right! Do not try to teach your child how to read, as simple as that. Before you frown, close the page, swear to never fall for a “how-to” article again, just give me a chance to explain.

First of all, let me reassure you and tell you that you are not alone; many other kids seem to hate reading and turn their nose up the idea of holding a book and struggling to decipher letter after letter, word after word. The experience can be agonizing to those who have difficulties connecting to the text they are reading. The worst you can do is push them too far because that will only make them resentful towards reading and will increase their already existing anxiety, which researchers have linked to developing depression or other mental health conditions in the future.

The pressure surrounding this subject is steadily growing and is becoming parents’ worst nightmare. The more parents push their children to hold a book, sit and read, the more kids push back and resist because they either can’t read yet or because it is simply not fun for them. 

Kids nowadays aren’t kids anymore; the amount of pressure and stress we put on them is immense, they are expected to excel at school, eat healthily, behave all the time, do better than the neighbor’s kid next door, and the list is long. We are robbing our kids of the one thing they can never get back! Their childhood! There will never be another time when they can be free and without a care in the world, yet we burden them with our expectations. 

Kids learn new skills at a different pace, from walking to talking and so on. Each milestone has to happen when the child is ready for it, and even though as parents, we only want the best for our kids and we are always cheering for them and trying to introduce them to new challenges and help them learn new skills that will help them in their future, sometimes it is difficult to draw the line between healthy pressure and when you should take a step back and let the child learn through the experience he is having.  

 Kids can learn this vital skill by listening to their parents, teachers, or caregivers read for them. It is crucial to expose kids to books from a very young age, even if they aren’t of reading age yet; that’s how we prepare them to embrace the reading culture and encourage them to read in the future. 

There is no magical solution here; just sit and read for your child as much as you can and let them be kids while they can. 

Ouiam El Hassani

Enjoy Bahrain, During Covid.


The tree of life

For so many people, 2020 has been a year of waiting and uncertainty. Waiting to see family members, waiting to find another job after you lost yours, waiting for a loved one in the hospital to get better. As 2020 ends, and some of us are letting out a sigh of relief, it is by no mean the end of our waiting game. As we say goodbye to a difficult year, hardships may still be coming our way; however, surviving 2020 has made us invincible. It had taught us what no one could learn in many lifetimes. If anything I had learned, it’s to have fun and enjoy every second we have…cherish the moment, always.

With the beast (aka Covid) still hovering around waiting to pounce at any moment, going out and enjoying life as we once did before can seem scary and even dangerous to some. Some of us have been stuck at home for way more than anyone should ever have to, yet the idea of venturing to Malls, Cafes, and Gyms might still be daunting.

Today I will share some activities that you can enjoy with your family with some ease and a little comfort (because, to be honest, Covid is EVERYWHERE, you can never be too comfortable!).

The Tree of Life: People now are looking for deserted places where they can almost be sure not to interact with anyone. As is the case when it comes to any infectious disease, people want to avoid crowded places by all means. And what’s better than the desert itself.

Pack food, drinks, blankets, jackets (it can be freezing over there), games (puzzles, board games, cards..etc.), and enjoy the calm and the beauty of that one majestic tree in the middle of nowhere.

The tree of life

Karzakan Forest: Truly a little hidden paradise! It is a10 to 15 minutes hike in the middle of trees and nature. It ends with a beautiful little pond, where you can admire the most magical sunset. Lower your expectations, and avoid going in the afternoon as it can be a bit crowded then.

Karzakan Forest

Candy Making at Spun Candy:  If you have kids like I do (I have one), staying at home for almost a year is unimaginable. Finding activities that are safe yet fun is a challenge. We went a couple of weeks ago to Spun Candy in the Avenues (near Blaze Pizza and the food court). We booked a session that is around 40-50 minutes. They take groups of up to 5 people and have special prices for families. They would book the whole space for you, and you, with your kids, can make candies.

It is BD9.4 per kid. You must book in advance.

At Spun Candy

Ice Skating at Delmonia mall: Finally a decent Ice Skating place in Bahrain (no offense to fun land, but it had served its purpose for way too long if you ask me lol).

For now and for obvious reasons, they only take bookings for coaching. They have different slots: 15mins, 30 mins, 45mins, and 1hour. And you get an extra hour for ice skating alone without the coach. They also have different packages.

Ice skating

Al Jasra Farm: In Al Jasra-Al Mozareen road- a beautiful organic farm, with solar energy and free-range chickens…. What else to desire? You can enjoy the fresh air with your kids. You can also pick vegetables and get some honey and free-range eggs! A beautiful escape.

Nada Pottery: A private pottery class, for two hours, to learn basic skills and techniques in making and coloring beautiful pieces. The session is for all ages and is BD10. Call: 33300855 to book.

I hope you can enjoy some fresh air and some exciting adventures in this new year. Stay tuned as I discover more hidden gems and share them with you.

Wishing you a truly blessed and joyful 2021.

Ouiam El Hassani

The “Abaya” Dilemma.

Few days ago I posted  a poll on my Instagram, to find out whether women -in Bahrain, and Bahrain Only- felt a difference in the way they were treated, based on whether they wore an Abaya or just regular western clothes. The reason behind my question, is that I did feel a certain difference, and wanted to see if other women felt the same. The response was overwhelming and shocking at the same time. It was an eye opener because: Yes most people felt there was a difference, however, different people had different reasons and explanations. So yes most women thought that people would treat you differently, at malls, in coffeeshops, and everywhere else in the island, but some thought that wearing an Abaya was a privilege, and others saw it as a curse. What was interesting however, is that some of the women who don’t wear abaya, thought of it as a privilege, and some of those who do wear it, thought of it as a curse.

Let me clarify: I never used to wear abayas before, I just never saw myself wearing them. However, my attitude changed a year or so ago, and I started wearing an abaya, from time to time, here in Bahrain. So here I am, the same person, frequenting the same places, the only difference is that now I would have an Abaya on. I sensed a little change in the way people were treating me. The difference wasn’t a favorable one though, I felt that the same  people at the grocery store now smiled less, were less nicer, less helpful and automatically assumed that I spoke no English. Of course this wasn’t everywhere, BUT I have noticed this change in almost all places I was frequenting. It is almost like if wearing the Abaya made them look less of me. 

Therefore, this became some sort of social experiment that I was now conducting. I added a scarf to the mix, and it ruined any trace of friendliness that there ever was towards any stranger, it simply made things worse. This was a shocking revelation to me, because we live in an Arab, Islamic country, and you would think it would be just the opposite.  I am definitely not generalizing here, but this was my own experience.

When I asked friends and families about their opinion, I realized from some of their messages, that they actually felt just the opposite. They felt that women who wear Abayas were treated better than those who don’t. At grocery stores, at government agencies, at petrol stations …etc. They felt that wearing an Abaya was some kind of badge of reverence that women wore in the gulf, that immediately granted them RESPECT. Most of these women however, NEVER wore abayas, they were JUST assuming from what they have seen or heard. 

I found this extremely interesting for two reasons: 

1- I still can’t fathom why or how the abaya can determine how I am treated by fellow Arabs, in an Arab and Islamic country – or even expats for that matter. 

2-  No matter how strong and clear our ideas and opinions can seem to us, other people can have the exact opposite ideas, and that would be based on each one’s personal experiences and stories. 

I am still not done here, and I would still love to hear YOUR experiences and YOUR opinions!!! Please spare some time to share them with me.

Thank you! 

Online Vs. On-Campus

Be Kind !!

Online or on-campus?

Which team have you been so far? Team Online, or Team on-campus?

This is a question that mothers all over Bahrain have been dwelling upon. I know friends who have been losing sleep over this matter, and some that are torn between the excruciating guilt of sending their child to school, and the agonizing guilt of keeping them at home and the fear of missing out! Guilt, guilt, guilt!

There is no right answer to this question. In the midst of the total uncertainty and the immense confusion everybody is facing right now, this question only adds insult to injury. I have been avoiding asking anyone this question because I know no matter what their answer is, it will still make them feel awkward. 

There has also been lots of finger-pointing and lots of judging going on, in both camps. “How could you send them when the virus is everywhere?” or “ You have been keeping them home for the last 9 months? They must be so bored… and their social skills must be diminishing!!”

If you are being tormented right now by this question, I would totally encourage you to forget about what other people are doing, or saying, and focus on what works best for YOU and YOUR CHILD. Each one is different, each one’s convictions are different, each one’s reasons are different, therefore it is foolish to compare your decision with someone else’s. Even though we all face the same beast: Covid 19, yet we all are reacting to it differently, with lots of caution yes, but differently nonetheless!

Ask yourself what will each choice bring you and your family? And never forget that whatever you choose, you do not have to justify it to anyone! Ultimately everyone will have a different opinion from yours, so never think too much of others and their opinions. 

Make a list of pros and cons, and write down your reasons for each one. 

Include your child in the decision-making, ask them whether they would prefer to go back to school, or continue at home? Because at the end of the day, this mainly has to do with their life. They might feel anxious and prefer staying at home, or they might be feeling anguished from being at home, isolated from friends and classmates, and obviously their opinion count the most.

For a second (and only a second) switch off your heart and use your brain, use your logic, bring fresh eyes to the situation, and see what you might have been missing? Or what things you might have been looking at from a different angle. 

Whatever you choose, do it with love, and don’t worry about what other mothers might think of you or of your mothering style! The judging game have just reached another level with Covid, among moms, so don’t worry, whatever you do , you will be wrong ;), and if you see a mom struggling with this choice.. remember: Be Kind!


What Kind of Mother Are You?

When I first became a mother, I was the first friend in my gang who had a child. Most of my other friends weren’t even married or even in a serious relationship. I was also in a foreign country, with no family to lean on for help and support. In that glorious haze of continuous feeding, burping, changing, and putting baby to sleep kind of cycle, I was a complete zombie…  I was trying to figure out what kind of mother I am. I didn’t know how things were “supposed” to be done, and even though I read a lot of parenting books, articles, blogs, I still wasn’t sure how I will mother my baby! 

I was lucky enough to meet two very inspiring ladies whom I am incredibly lucky to call my friends, and to whom I would be forever grateful. Through them, and without them ever intending to teach me, I learnt so much –I still do everyday! –  They both are completely different and both use completely different approaches when it comes to parenting, and that’s the beauty of it all! They do it almost effortlessly and most importantly they do it shamelessly. They tend to their babies the way they feel comfortable and safe, without caring about how society will label them – Helicopter mom vs. chilled mom- 

Being a mom is a never-ending, perfect mixture of guilt and second-guessing yourself constantly, and when you throw society in this already not so pleasurable mix, you get a recipe for disaster! Being seen and judged for overdoing it –as a mom, or underdoing it for that matter, isn’t cool at all. My absolute favorite mantra of all times is: You do you, and I do me, and we all win! 

Throughout my motherhood journey I can safely say that I have been both! I have been a helicopter mom, as well as a super chilled one, depending of the situation. And I am so damn proud of it! If I decide that I am going to stick around in the park and tell off that annoying kid trying to violently push my son on the slide, then Hell YEAH! And if I decide that we are going to walk barefoot today and connect with nature, or just the concrete … then Yes I will! Again I do me, and you do you! -and before the internet patrol jumps on me, there is nothing wrong with any of the examples above, they are JUST examples, K?! 

Society takes pleasure in labeling every single thing, whether you like it or not, and people enjoy throwing unwanted, and unsolicited comments/advices whenever they get a chance. This is just how things are, it doesn’t make anything right or wrong, it just exists… kind of like wrapping paper lol, you wrap the gift just so that the person receiving it unwraps it!   

You don’t have to be this or that, it is a matter of “pick and choose”, lots of trial and error, and when you finally find what works for you, don’t be apologetic about it. Whether you are a helicopter mom or not, this is what works for you, and your family, who gives a hoot what others might think! 


10 Best Things To Do in Bahrain with kids, this Holiday!

So the winter break has started and kids are off from school. It is all fun and great until they are bored at home killing each other, (if you have more than one), or just driving you insane, if you only have one!

I have been waiting for this break since September, because I miss our adventures from the homeschooling days. I needed a little extra time to be able to do it all over again, and what’s better timing than the holidays! 

So I made this list, of the places we want to go to, (or have already been to this week), and I am sharing it with you!

  • A cooking class at Furn restaurant, at the Westin Hotel, in City Centre. Every Saturday, from 9am to 10am, but if you have a group of 10 to 15 kids, you can choose the timing that suits you.

          Cost: 5bd

          5 stars! 

  • Ice skating at Funland. To check their timing, you can call: 17292313. Cost: 3.5BD per person. Super fun! 
  • Gravity Village: We tried this a couple of times and we LOVE it! 

You will need to book a slot, check their website: www.gravitybah.comfor prices.

A bit pricy but totally worth it.

  • Bahrain’s Botanical Garden. A wonderful place for a picnic, and for kids to connect with nature. Don’t go on Saturdays though, because that’s where the Farmer’s Market is held. 

Free and Amazing!

  • Jumairah Saray Hotel’s Winter Wonderland. Sat-Wed 4:30pm to 10pm. Thur-Fri 4:30pm to 11:30pm. 

Cost: 5bd  (We haven’t been yet, but heard great things about it)

  • Visit the “Dive Into The Jurassic” exhibition at The National Museum, to check out the marine fossil collection. From December 15thtill March 16th, from 10am till 8pm (closed on Tuesdays)
  • Visit Nurana island, a fabulous spot here in Bahrain, for a picnic, stargazing, or just some fun with friends. 

PS: You will need jackets as it gets so cold there. 

Free & Amazing!

  • Marassi Beach, Maybe not for a swim as it is getting a bit cold, but they have a great play area, and kids can play with the sand and connect with nature. 
  • Kayaking with Beach Culture. Call 33036362 to schedule an appointment. Cost: 9BD per person, for one hour. 12BD per person for 2 hours!

  • Bahrain Science Centre, A great place to visit with the kids, super cool stuff to see. Timings: Sat-Thur 9am-1pm then 4pm- 8pm

Cost: 1bd per person

I hope you enjoy your winter break and if you go to any of the spots I mentioned in the list, please let me know! X


What’s the Deal with Kids’ Birthday Parties?

Is there a manual regarding kids’ birthday parties? Is there a code of conduct written somewhere?

We were invited to a friend’s birthday party, a couple of weeks ago, and I think I have seen more than what my OCD can ever handle. 

The star of the show was a mother who was VAPING during the birthday! I don’t even know if she was aware of how wrong what she was doing is! 

Kids did NOT know how to interact with each other, with the presence of their mothers, because these women were more like monsters ready to attack if any other kid came closer to theirs! 

We had mothers ask if they could leave and come back to pick up their kids.

It was chaotic! Mainly because of the grownups! Kids probably had fun, but I left with a horrible headache and tons of unanswered questions! 

We have been involved with our homeschooling community for the last 3 years, and we have been very accustomed to our kind of gatherings, parties and meet-ups. They are quite simple, with a mixture of ages and genders (which you will almost never see, in normal gatherings if you exclude siblings of course!). What struck me the most, after being to a non-homeschooler’s party, is how ours were so organized even in the midst of chaos. Kids naturally get together, and do their own thing. The older kids guide the younger ones, they plan activities for them, they supervise them, and simply have fun all together. Which I absolutely missed during non-homeschoolers birthday! 

So all the above lead me to decide that writing this post is crucial. This is purely for the sake of my sanity for future birthday parties. Besides,  I would love to hear your perspective! 

  1. Siblings and birthdays? How do we do that? When you invite a child, are you bound to invite his whole family (if you re not friends with them of course)?
  2.   What’s the best time slot to plan a birthday during the day? Morning? Noon? Afternoon? I guess my ideal would be 3-5pm. Kids can play cut the cake, then eat dinner. Or 11am-1pm, play, lunch, then cake? Which brings me to another dilemma:
  3.  Food first? Or cake first? I know the most logical answer is food first then cake, but in a slot of 3-5pm for example, what meal is served in that duration? Lunch? A very early dinner? A snack?  And should there be food to start with? Or cake is enough? Man this is more complicated than I thought!
  4. How acceptable it is to “dump” your child at the birthday party and go have some “me-time”? Is the host supposed to keep an eye on your child, while taking care of another 100 things in her own kid’s birthday party?? Feed them, take them to the bathroom? And wipe their butts if needed? Keep in mind we are talking about younger kids here! PS: if you are invited to one of my parties, please refrain from doing the above, because if you want some alone time, feel free to hire a babysitter, and I will happily send you some recommendations. 
  5. Party favors: PLEEEEASE tell me I am not the only one who absolutely HATES these ugly, unnecessary, and absolutely useless junk! What are they for? Just to add up to the pile of crap I have already accumulated from MacDonald’s? PLEASE STOP GIVING THESE BAGS for the love of God!
  6. Can we talk about gifts now? Last year I had requested all the guests and friends, to kindly skip the gift (We didn’t need more junk), and just put a 5BD bill in an envelope, because Adam had something in mind that he wanted to purchase, and it was a bit expensive. So we thought if every family contributed with a 5BD bill we would definitely have enough, and he would feel very proud, going himself to the store and buying what he had been eyeing for months. We had 25 families who were able to make it to the birthday, and out of 25 we had 2 families who did as requested! Even Adam couldn’t understand how was that even possible! 

When invited to a birthday, I usually ask the parent what do their kids need or have in mind before buying any gift. I also try as much as possible to get them experiences other than more toys and more useless stuff. How about you? What do you do? What do you buy? 

One of the best birthday parties we have ever attended, was one where the mother- a dear friend- contacted us the same day, and asked if we were free to go for a picnic, completely omitting the birthday part. We said yes of course, who doesn’t love picnics! So us and a bunch of friends, met at Bahrain fort, she had brought a blanket, a homemade yummy cake and some plates and forks. Obviously we didn’t know that it was a birthday, so we had brought nothing with us. Adam found a beautiful rock and gave it to him and the little boy was over the moon with his “friendship rock” as he called it! How amazing is that! 

Birthdays are a fun way to celebrate our kids’ very special days, shouldn’t they be more fun, and child-centered? How about a picnic in the park where kids can play and have a blast? How about simple gifts, no giveaways, and a bit less food waste? I am certain even mothers will have so much fun, especially when they don’t have to drive on a Thursday evening, get stuck in traffic, spend a little fortune on a crappy toy, that will definitely end up in a basket collecting dust. They will also have so much fun when they don’t have to spend hours planning for those much dreaded 2 hours the birthday will last for, and pretty often cost no less than a 100 BD! 

Can we please simplify these poor kids’ life? Can we please focus on what really matters here?

Please share some of your thoughts, rules, or just things that bother you about birthday parties? 


A New Chapter ..

If you have been following us for a while, you would know by now that we are a homeschooling family. I have been homeschooling my little Adam since he was 18 months. I had never planned to take the homeschooling path, it just happened, and it was exactly what our family needed.


For 4 years we have enjoyed all sorts of activities, and hands on learning. We played and explored so many topics that Adam would have never even heard of if he were in a formal schooling system. We traveled the world and learnt about different cultures, different languages, different countries, that Adam would have never known if he were in a classroom. He explored using all his 5 senses, he met wonderful fellow homeschoolers, who were like family to us. He used his imagination whenever he could, he played with sticks and started fires. He cooked, performed, and knitted. We read aloud many many many chapter books, we did math, science, music, geography, language…etc. We loved every minute of our day every single day.


People looked at us funny every time I would mention that Adam doesn’t go to school, and I couldn’t care less! We did what worked for our family, what I needed to do, what made total sense for us!


My son was only 18 months when we started, he thrived in front of my eyes, and I learnt so much from teaching him and from being his mentor. This summer at 5,5 years old, my sweet boy expressed his desire to join a “real school”. If you know my child you will sure know how mature he is, he thinks of everything before taking his decisions. We never win any argument with him, because he is so logical and so good at negotiating! We raised him with so much freedom and lots of love, he knows that we are always listening to his needs and his words no matter how silly they might be. So when he asked to go to school, we had a conversation with him, and he truly wanted to be a BIG boy and go to school and have fun. So ….. we obliged! And just like that our beautiful boy is going to SCHOOL! And he LOVES it! He is so excited every single morning, he made tons of friends already, and so far we are all happy with our decision.


Our homeschooling journey will NEVER END! At every opportunity we have, we will still have our hands busy, and our minds full. We will be exploring, touching, feeling, learning, and seeing the world through the eyes of true adventurers!







Ramadan: Fasting, Eating, and Driving Like Crazy..


Everyone who lives in a Muslim country must know by now what is Ramadan. What it consists of, what it represents, and what it means to all the Muslims around the world.

The first concept foreigners -Non Muslim- struggle with, is the fact that we go all day with no food and no drinks, from sunrise to sunset. It is hard for them to fathom why would anyone starve themselves, and be thirsty when we live in a country with a million degrees outside. Once they understand -or try to understand- they struggle with point number two: If Ramadan is the month of fasting, then how come it is ALL about food? Here they seem to be stuck, because everyone around them seems to prove their point and no one is free to explain, because hey … Before Maghrib everyone is beat, after Maghrib people are eating like there is no tomorrow.

So after hearing these comments way so many times, I decided to try and give my two cents of the day, here:

First of all, Ramadan is not ONLY about fasting from food, it is fasting from ALL what your body might desire on normal days. Things that can bring you a little farther from where God wants you to be. Things that one’s self might desire more than it should or more than what it needs. So actually Ramadan is NOT about fasting, it is about controlling one’s self. It takes a lot of control to refuse a delicious, rich, and super moist chocolate cake, or a cold refreshing drink in the summer heat. Yet when you do it, you don’t do because you don’t feel like any of these delicious treats, No! You do it because God asked you to.

He also asked us to fast from talking about people behind their backs -He always asked us to do so, but in Ramadan if you don’t do it, your fasting goes down the drain- He asked us as well not to make love, when we are fasting, and to refrain from being lazy, argumentative, or stingy. He asked us to do 100% of all the things we need to do to be on the right path, to be closer to Him.

Some people seem to think that God has created Ramadan, because he wants us to feel what the poor people feel. It seems somehow logical, and a great way to instill compassion and empathy, until you think of those same poor people and how they ALSO fast in Ramadan, just like every other day too. Shouldn’t they be exempt from the whole fasting jazz? Not the case ha! No, fasting was set for everyone equally. Yes, in the process we do feel hungry and thirsty, during the day, and that might make us feel more for the people whose daily lives resembles our fasting days, but not by choice or conviction, just because that is their reality. Ramadan is not about fasting from food and drinks only, it is fasting from all the bad habits, that we might do throughout the year, because we are weak and we can’t resist. So in that one month of Ramadan, we do our best, we work hard, and we practice for the rest of the year, till Ramadan blesses us again with yet another holly appearance.

Now to it being ALL about food, before I start on this one, I would like you to imagine going to bed fairly late at night, knowing that when you wake up, you won’t be able to eat or drink. I want you to think that when you get dressed and get to ready to go to work, there will be no coffee, no eggs benedict, no orange juice and no cigarettes (if you smoke). Then during the day, you are exposed to all the sweet temptations, from an add on TV, to a post about a mouth-watering dish, or just a sweet craving that gets into you.  Then you check your watch and it’s barely 10am, and you still have about 8 more hours of fasting to go. Fasting duration differs from one country to another, in Bahrain for example, we fast about 15hours. 15 long hours, with no food or drinks, while your daily responsibilities don’t change a bit, instead, the lot grows bigger.

It is just natural to CRAVE food when you are fasting, and even more normal to cook what you crave, and enjoy it with family and friends at Iftar time. What is not OK, is to WASTE food. In Ramadan, sharing food is a very big tradition in Arabic countries. So most families cook big amounts of food, BUT they share them with friends, family, people in need and so on. So from now on, let’s normalize the talk about food before and after Iftar, let’s normalize the fact that supermarkets are full and shelves get empty so quickly, you never know if these people donate, share or eat their food themselves. Before judging, put yourself in the fasting people’s shoes, and you will see how normal craving, cooking, and eating food after 15 hours of fasting is.

Another kind of comments that kept creeping into my ears was the following: “Aah these people they fast and drive like crazy… they better not fast” or “if you get angry because you are fasting, then better not to fast” or even “if fasting means being lazy so what’s the point” and while I absolutely understand and I am STRONGLY against driving like crazy (an absolute No No), getting angry randomly, or even being lazy in Ramadan -or any other time as a matter of fact- but first of all we need to keep in mind that fasting is not for the fainthearted! Food is what gives you energy to focus, to work, to be in a good mood and to be “normal”, once you take food out of the equation, you become somewhat like a zombie. Of course still not an excuse, but it’s a situation that requires empathy from the people around, and specially the Non-Muslim ones, who can’t understand what a big of a deal fasting is UNLESS they try it. Instead however, leading by example is a fantastic way to show how it is done.  So instead of complaining about these “bloody crazy fasting Muslims” -doing their own thing, in their own country- I suggest to try fasting, and driving properly, try being in a good mood all day long, while also working hard. This not only will put them at shame, but also will inspire them to do better, and it will be done without the slightest form of complaints, judgment, or resentment, so a win-win situation ;).

So whether you are a Muslim, or not, join me in wishing the Muslim people to get all the strength they need to complete their fast, the way God has asked us to, while being kind, compassionate, and with a smile InshaAllah.






Losing a parent is something only people who have lost a parent can understand. The guilt and the grief that come with it are unfathomable. The bad news is that no one can ever get over this loss, not in a year, two, or a lifetime. It stays, it comes at the strangest times- a memory, a hint of a smell in the air, bits of a song from an adjacent car. Sometimes you brush it off, and go on with the busy life -because life didn’t even have mercy on you, to give you time to break down, to collapse and cry till there are no more tears, and to just be sad and heartbroken- and some other times you process your feelings in disbelief, you try to make sense of what has happened, just to reach nowhere. One day they were here, you could physically touch them, hear them, see them, kiss and hug them. You could throw jokes in the air, and hear their laughter fill the place, you could see how they frown when they try to remember something, how they pause between sentences, to breathe, and to make you anticipate what they will say, how they ran their long fingers on their beard when they weren’t happy about something, and many many other  tiny details that make a person so very special. Another day those tiny details become faded memories, and the person becomes… nothing.. gone.. you will never see them again, never hear them again, never notice the smallest details about them, because they are dead.


As Ramadan blesses us with its serenity and spirituality, the memory of my beloved father becomes stronger and more persistent. He died over a year ago, so suddenly that I still sometime think that it was all a nightmare, a really bad and scary one! A year and 3 months, since he peacefully gave his soul to His Creator, leaving us, his family, shattered and heart-broken.

Special occasions, like birthdays, Eids, and Ramadans are not easy for us -us who have lost a parent. These beautiful celebrations of life, leave us torn between the desire to live and be happy, and between the sorrow felt to not share them with your loved ones who are long gone.


As a child, every Ramadan, I was the one in charge of preparing my Dad’s dates, and water, so he can take them with him to the mosque and break his fast there. As I hand them to him, he would say sweet little prayers for me, as I smile and say “Ameen”. Everyday I would wait for him at the door after the Maghrib prayer to eat Iftar, he would smile at me, hold my hand and guide me to the table. Everyday I would have tea with him before we go to Taraweeh, he was proud of me, and he didn’t hide it. Then, which feels like an eternity ago, I thought nothing of all these sweet little things, but now…. It’s a whole different story.


He used to make the best strawberry milkshakes EVER, so this Ramadan, to ease my pain, I decided to make some for myself…well the strawberry milkshake I made didn’t taste the same, so I left it untouched, afraid it might erase the memories I have of my dad’s special ones. You see, my dad was the sweetest man on earth, he loved unconditionally, and did everything he did with so so much love, and it breaks my heart to remember that I will never feel, or touch this great love again. Only through sweet yet painful memories that my father will be with me.. and it’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp. So to those who have lost a parent, today I say a prayer for you –and for me- May You Always have the strength to dance through life, with that agonizing, and permanent limp.