1,2,3 GO!! (Our Summer Vacation Part 2)

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So of course we did it! (For those of you who haven’t been following, this is part 2 of this), We made it to “Wadi Shab”, just us: Four ladies and Bruno, our faithful GPS! The trip was about two hours long. Once we reached there we were immediately struck by the beauty of this place. The peace that surrounded the area was astonishing! I have never seen anything similar… Those majestic mountains reminding us of how small we were as human beings, the freshness of the air we inhaled and never wanted to exhale, you could almost feel it satisfying every inch of your brain. The water of an incomparable pureness … so blue and still that you could see your reflection in it! Although it was already the end of May, but the heat wasn’t bad at all. It was bearable and there was this cool breeze that would kiss our sweaty faces, every once in a while, and it would make us stop to savour the moment, each and every time! My idea of what’s beautiful has changed over the years, but I think this trip has just lifted the bar so high!

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This trip was one of a kind. I learnt so much about myself and about who I am… deep down. When you peel off all the layers of “who you should be”, “who you want to be” and “who everyone wants you be”. Yes, those annoying layers that the community sticks on your back, and somehow you find yourself compelled to go with the flow. For once, I was certain that no matter what I did, I wasn’t going to be judged, scrutinized and inspected with a funny look from head to toe! What a relief…! This feeling didn’t leave me once we left this magical place. No, it stayed… until now, it never left! the sense of comfort, freedom and confidence this trip has given me was immense! My tank was full and surprisingly it keeps of filling itself automatically! The place was magical! Really magical!

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The trips that preceded this one, were of a different kind of magic! It was a different kind of beauty, a different kind of bonding and excitement.

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We always loved traveling, my husband and I. Having a child never stopped us from doing what we loved, we just took him with us everywhere we went, and the outcome was nothing like we expected! Our travels with Adam were way more meaningful and so much more fun! The memories we made and are still making are priceless! A treasure that I keep forever locked safe in my heart!

 

We arrived Amsterdam after a 3 hours drive from Brussels, we were to stay there for three days. My husband –as usual- did a wonderful job planning and searching for the best places to visit when in Amsterdam and came up with a plan for each and every day. We were so excited to discover this place…  Amsterdam the city of bikes- it is almost impossible to drive there because of the huge number of bikes on the roads, no wonder everyone there looks so fit regardless of their age!

 

One of the places we visited in Amsterdam was the Van Gogh Museum, which hosts many works of the famous painter. Although it was crowded and the estimated time of waiting to get the tickets was 45 minutes… Aghhh!!! Luckily we were eligible for “a special treatment” because we were with a toddler. Something that always warms my heart, when similar places understand the agony of waiting more than 10 minute with an excited, bored, full of energy 2 years old! So Thank you Adam and Thank you Van Gogh Museum lol

 

You might be wondering why would we even think of taking a toddler to a museum; Well it is something we love doing as a family, we also would like our son to go through life appreciating all what’s beautiful and peaceful. Plus, we couldn’t possibly go to Amsterdam and not visit the Van Gogh Museum! Few things that really helped us though were:

1- The short time we spent waiting for the tickets (Barely 5 minutes), if you intend to do something similar with your little one, it might be helpful to buy the tickets online, or check first if the place you are visiting have a special counter for families with babies and toddlers. This really saved us!

2- The first stop MUST be the restaurant! Even if you just had lunch. We passed by the cute little café, at the museum,  we had lunch there and a piece of chocolate cake that made our bellies happy and so ready for all the fun we were about to have!

3- Make sure you have plenty of water and snacks! It never harms anyone to carry an extra bag of grapes and a cold bottle of water!

4- Do not stay too long! We stayed about 45 minutes after we left the café, it was just enough time to see what we wanted to see! And we left happy and still excited. Nothing worse than a tired child in a crowded museum

We also visited the famous Anne Frank House, the flower market (Oh how I wish we had something similar here in Bahrain), and the famous Canal belt of Amsterdam! We were in awe with the beauty of this place, a place we intend to revisit again very soon!

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Although the trip to Europe was short -about one week long, but because of all the stops we made, and all the exploring and sightseeing we did, I was worried that Adam might not be too happy about it. So I prepared myself for the worst. Wanna know how we managed to enjoy every minute of our road trip? How we kept our little nugget happy at all times? Stay tuned and wait for my next blog post! There will also be lots of talk about treating sick babies with natural and herbal remedies, when you are miles away from home and when everyone around you is pressuring you to use that anti-inflammatory/ antibiotic already, while making you feel like you were a bad parent! Stay tuned xx

 

 

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A Breeze, A Storm, And A Little Piece Of Heaven!

 

 

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So… it has been a little too quiet in here right? That’s because we were on a very long vacation. It was a huge adjustment to let go of the little machines (aka smartphones), that would soon turn me into one, but I did it. I managed to stay offline most of the time. No Facebook, no Instagram and no blogging of course! I survived and guess what? I really enjoyed living the moment instead of capturing it, (just for that little while, but I am glad to get my machines back lol!), I still took a whole lot of pictures… click … click …click, but those are going to be saved for the rainy days…!

Our trip was about 6 weeks long, therefore I thought I should write few posts to cover the whole trip. We did Germany, Morocco, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Germany again, before coming back to our lovely sandy island- Bahrain. With a toddler who was beyond excited to get on an airplane, travel to new destinations, and visit his family!

That’s not it….! To end this long vacation, I decided to go on a trip to Oman with my girlfriends…! Yes, a girls’ trip! Do you realise how wild and crazy that is…well at least to me! I never left Adam more than few hours with his dad, and going on a three days’ trip meant that he will stay all those long, tiring, busy 72 hours with his second favourite person in the whole world: his dad (let’s hope hubby doesn’t read this or else I will be in trouble!”.

 

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This year was all about getting out of my comfort zone, trying new, exciting and different things, pushing my own boundaries, and exploring my abilities. so the next logical step was to take this trip with my 66 years old Taichi Master (It will be much easier if we just call her “S” for now), and two of my friends “R” and “W”. We planned this trip to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the studio where we train. This year also marked my 10th year living in Bahrain. So it was a wonderful thing to do to cherish all the years we spent in this beautiful part of the word, a place we all call home now.

 

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Writing about this trip (and the rest of our vacation) feels like a must. Something that I need to share with so many parents who think that life with kids means suffocating the person we were before the kids arrived and becoming a new person that we don’t even relate to most of the time. I feel I have to write about this trip because it revealed the real person I am and gave me an opportunity to be authentic and true to myself. It also gave me courage to get back to my hectic life and dive into that crazy world of mine, with a grin. The adrenalin rush was something I craved and with the thrill and kicks of this trip, my prayers were answered. It liberated me and grounded me at the same time. I feel I have to write about every aspect of the trip, the beauty of Oman that I am sure I will never do it justice, the courage it took 4 ladies to travel on their own, rent a car, use a GPS for the first time, go to the mountains and explore the enchanting nature of Oman. to write about the bonds that flourished with this trip, the trust, the friendship. About how challenging our hikes were, yet we went through each challenge determined to succeed. We discovered the power of the mind and how your words have a great impact on your performance, and that just when you think you can’t take one more step forward, your legs will already be one step ahead of you! I have to write about the feeling of being a kid again, running, jumping, free, fresh, and at peace with your inner-self, laughing like a kid, breathing like a kid, joking and being silly like you have never done before! I have to write about the inspiration these 3 ladies have given me! A 66 years old, unstoppable, brave, yet kind and harbors the softest of hearts. A young lady who dedicated her life to work with children, and another young lady, so motivated that it seems she never lost the child within her! So you see why I will need more than one blog post? Where shall I even start?

 

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Up until the last minute I wasn’t sure I could get myself to leave home, knowing that I will not see my little nugget for 3 whole days! I should spare you guys those details about the tears, the ruined mascara, the uncontrollably fast heart beats, and the agony that possessed my soul! Yes, this is how bad things were that morning at 7am, when that cab pulled over next to my door step, and I really needed it to get in, if I wanted to reach the airport on time to make it to that flight!

I felt I was the big girl in this trip, even though I am pretty sure I was the youngest. Maybe because once you are a mother, you are always a mother! And you always feel responsible for everyone else around you, no matter how old/young they are. So obviously, I was the one in charge of the documents, the bookings, … you know… the big stuff! Somehow I also felt in charge of the ladies, there was always this feeling that I had to look after them and make sure each one was safe and happy.

 

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So there I was with a rented car in front of me, a GPS in my hand and three cheerful ladies next to me! Whoever knows me well, knows that the GPS and I are not the bestest of friends! I never used one and never understood that virtual world of “recalculating, on route and turn left then keep right!!!!!!”, yet, and just like a big kid, I installed that damn thing (Hell yeah I am a mother ….Nothing is gonna scare me!),I typed the address and we all cheered and welcomed Bruno (the voice of our GPS). S was our driver, and she wasn’t thrilled about using a GPS, she had a map that she bought from the shop at the airport, and decided she would follow it instead of freezing her brain and listening to a voice who clearly can’t give clear instructions!! (talk about inspiration and about that “turn right, keep left!” thing lol!!!). After several minutes of trying to convince S that Bruno is our good friend for now, and that may be listening to what he is saying wasn’t such a bad idea after all, finally she agreed, not convinced but I guess she was just too tired to argue with two restless young ladies full of energy, and not ready to be defeated!

We were heading to the Shangri La, an exquisite hotel in Muscat, that I have visited before with my husband. The road was nothing like what I have imagined. It was so easy and refreshingly simple. I must confess though, the whole journey from the airport to the hotel, all I could think of, was my little Adam and how terribly I missed him already!

The next day, we were ready for our hike. Up by 6am, full of energy and ready to challenge our bodies and souls! The drive was about two hours from the hotel. We got in the car with our bags, sunscreen, water, and our dreamy little minds. I had butterflies in my stomach, you see S appointed me as her Co-pilot, and I was nervous! Me and Bruno just started to get along and I wasn’t really sure we could make it all the way to “Wadi Shab”….. Wanna know if we made it there? Oh well stay tuned and wait for my next blog post!

 

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