Bali Oh Bali..!

 

 

Few weeks ago, we packed our bags, booked our flights, and with a dancing heart and a warm smile, headed to the land of a thousand temples, and a million smiles: BALI, in Indonesia.

Now let me tell you, the journey is not for the faint hearted, nor for parents of small kids either (unless you are very very brave, or crazy lol). We took a flight from Bahrain To Muscat Oman, which is 1hr30 min long (They just inaugurated the new airport, and it’s so beautiful and very artistic), we then took another flight from Muscat to Jakarta (Indonesia). Then we had to go through customs and go collect our bags (they can’t send the bags all the way to Bali, for some reason, so you will have to collect your bags and then check them in again in another terminal), then we had to leave the airport, walk with our 2 suitcases, get up and down escalators, and finally take a Skytrain (it is about 5 minutes away, the ride is another 5 minutes and it takes you to the terminal of domestic flights).  The whole thing took about 1hr30 minutes, so if you are planning flights, make sure you have enough time before the next flight (we had 3 hours and it was perfect!). We then took a 2 hours’ flight to Bali! We reached around 7 pm and we were so ready to have a nice warm meal, and just sleeeeeeeeep.

My husband chose “Westin Nusa Dua” Hotel in Bali, and I seriously couldn’t be happier with his choice!  It is in a gated community, surrounded by other 5 stars hotels, the beach, and beautiful nature. Very calm and quiet if you wanna recharge and relax. Next to the hotel there is a great outdoor mall, called “Bali Collection”, with tons of amazing restaurants, cafes and shops, there is also a supermarket, and many ATMs. The hotel also has an amazing Kids’ club, very spacious and has so much to offer, the staff are so lovely and very helpful –but hey the whole population of Bali is, they are so peaceful and very kind!

 

 

Our trip was about 10 days, so we decided to do some fun sightseeing as well as to spend some time relaxing by the pool and the beach, this way we will still explore Bali, and also have time to relax, and it was a great decision!

 

Uber, and Grab, are not very popular in Bali, I’ll even dare to say that they are not safe to use, as the local Taxi drivers do not appreciate the competition, but you can always find kind drivers that will take you around and not charge you an arm and a leg. We had the chance to meet a lovely friend/driver: Mr.Lanos , he was so knowledgeable, helpful and so very kind (message me if you want his details, I can’t recommend him enough!). He took us to many places, and told us tons of stories about Bali’s culture and traditions. He has 3 kids so he is very sweet and good with kids too (always a plus when you are a parent).

One more thing about transportation in Bali, you can also use their local Taxi company which is called:” Blue Bird”, they always use the meter, and you can download their app and just order cabs from there anywhere and anytime. However, be aware that there are many similar taxis: similar color-Blue- similar logo-a blue bird- and even a similar name (sometime Blue Biro, or Blue Bir…etc), so you think they are Blue Bird, and take the cab and then be charged a little fortune since they do not use the meter, so just be careful.

 

 

We visited many places like:

  • Tegenungan Waterfall: You can book your tickets online, or just buy them at the door. It is a great spot for nature lovers. Before you reach the entrance of the waterfall, you’ll find plenty of art and souvenir shops. There are bathrooms, snacks and ice cream shops too. The falls are only few minutes’ walk down the trail beyond the shops. The water’s volume is impressive, and you can even enjoy a little dip in the water, if you want.

  • We loved visiting Ubud, a very lively “village”, with lots of shops and restaurants. Great for walks and if you wanna get some exquisite souvenirs

 

  • The Monkey Forst: Yes as the name suggests it is a forest full of monkeys. It was amazing to see that great amount of monkeys lol. Just a small advice, do not leave any food in your bag because MAN  they will steal it, even if it is just a bottle of water- which might of might not had happened to us hahaha.

 

  • Tanah Lot Temple in Tabanan : An amazing temple on the beach. Such amazing scenery that will take your breath away, and if you are lucky –as we were- you would witness the most magical sunset ever! No better place to witness the glory of God. You will also find many many shops there, for art and souvenirs and with great prices.

 

 

  • Kuta village: such a beautiful place with great big malls, and a whole neighborhood filled with amazing furniture, clothes, and souvenir shops, it also has a great beach. A stroll in Kuta village will probably take a whole day or at least a whole afternoon.

I also really enjoyed the Balinese food and the very cool and stylish restaurants and cafes. You can also find all sorts of cuisines you like: Italian, Asian, …etc.

 

 

Some of the restaurants I really enjoyed are:

Bale Agung in Denpasar- Pemecutan Kelod:  For Balinese cuisine.

De Verdant Kuma, in Badung – Benoa: For Vegan, organic food.

The Pirates Bay, on the beach in Nusa Dua: International food, you eat in Tree Houses, surrounded by the beach, beautiful scenery, and cute squirrels.

 

 

 

As there are many beaches in Bali, expect to be surrounded by mosquitos, so be equipped with mosquito repellents and creams for mosquito bites, especially if you have kids.

In the whole of Bali, there is an impressive number of squirrels! They are everywhere! Friendly though, they will never jump on you or anything like that.

Our trip was fabulous, just like we have expected, and more. We loved each and every minute of it.

 

Terima Kasih (Thank you in Indonesian)

Ouiam

The Story of Belle and her Mama Bear

It is funny how once you become a parent, your mind naturally becomes a constant search engine, that is automatically wired to look for and focus on what’s right and good for your child. We are always on a hunt for ways to talk to our children, for how to make them smarter, kinder, and more patient, for how to make our “mom guilt” a little less, all the time.  Becoming a mom also makes you profoundly aware of other moms, the way they parent, the way they talk to their kids, the way they live their life. As a mother myself, I always make sure to give a warm smile to the mom struggling at a supermarket aisle, with a 2 years old throwing a tantrum, because two years old are supposed to throw tantrums. Or give a pat on the back to my airplane seat neighbor, whose child is cranky, crying, and having a hard time, because airplanes are not fun for children, period! Or tell that mother sweating, and turning all red, at the park trying to get her child out of that slide, and go home. Tell her that she is doing great and that one day she will look back and miss all these sweet days!

The other day I was by the pool with my family, and there was another mother with her little girl Belle -what a sweet name-  and of course even though I was busy having a blast with my family, I couldn’t help but over hear the one way convo that was going on between the mom and her daughter: “Belle Stay away from the sun”, “ Belle, eat your banana”, “Belle get into the pool”, (if she was getting out), or “Belle get out of the pool” (if she was getting in), “Belle don’t throw the ball in the pool” -the beach ball that was designed to be in the water, “Belle don’t touch the squirrel” –the cute little squirrel that was passing by-….. and a whole lot of reasonable requests –from the mother’s point of view, yet not so practical for poor Belle. Saying those commands is a whole different story than hearing them, because as mothers we all say them –or similar ones- at least once a day, but listening to them felt almost like the mother didn’t want her daughter to have fun!  The mother’s voice kept on taking over the serenity and tranquility of the pool, and Belle as any other 3 years old wasn’t complying with all those above requests.

As a mama, I totally knew and understood where that sweet mama was coming from, she was just looking after her sweet Belle, however for a change, I put myself in the toddler’s shoes, and all I could hear is: ORDERS!  There was a total absence of connection between mother and daughter and sweet Belle wasn’t having any fun so of course she was being cranky, she was crying and screaming her lungs out, she was acting out and giving herself and her mama a hard time. Not that the toddler is controlling her mama by acting this way, it is just that she is frustrated and she has no clue how to face her big emotions.

So while sipping a cool drink, I did what I always do, I reached out to the tired and so pissed off mama – whom I found out later was pregnant, in her first trimester and was completely drained. I told her that she was doing a great job –because she totally was! All moms do- and I just started talking about the weather, about the beautiful pool , about where they were from…. Etc, you know small talk just to get her mind off Belle, and give the mama a chance to step aside and see things from a relaxed point of view, which usually always works.

Sometime being a child is really difficult, their curious minds are put into the test, there is so much novelty in their daily lives, yet and even though they are eager to touch, feel, learn, and investigate, we -grown-ups- don’t allow them to, because we are concerned about their safety, which makes total sense, so meeting somewhere in the middle does sound like a safe solution: Making their environment as safe and secure as we can, for them to explore and expand their little brains, and for us to say less and less ‘NO’s, how does it sound? Instead of forbidding them to go out, to touch something, to jump or to simply be a kid with a curious mind, let’s walk after them, as they explore; let’s scan the room/park/house, for potential danger and stand by it making a human shield, so they don’t get hurt. Let’s explore with them as they go, touch, jump…etc, making sure they are safe. Obviously no mom in the world has all that free time to be after her child –or children-  every second of the day, but we try our best, right? Instead of saying NO 100 times a day, let’s limit that to 60? Think of how many tantrums you will avoid; think of how much time you’ll save.

At the end we all do things differently and we all love those little rascals more than anyone can imagine, and that’s all that matters!

Ouiam

What’s The Problem…..Dear?

First of all: I am not your dear!

Second: Here is my problem:

What makes a total stranger call me dear??? In a shop, in an office, or in a supermarket?

What if I was a conservative woman who would be totally offended by a man calling her “dear”. What if my husband was uptight and would be angry to see/ hear a man calling me dear!

 

 

What usually upsets me more than dealing with a disastrous customer service, is having the same customer service agent/staff, responsible for the disaster, call me “Dear”! It makes my blood boil! My problem is with word “dear” itself, like what does it even mean? Does it fall somewhere between “darling’ and “stranger”?  Somehow here in the middle east everyone thinks they are entitled to use it on everyone else on this planet! “Dear, we don’t have the small size anymore” “dear, can you send me an email?” “dear, what color do you want?”, and with every “dear” I hear I feel like pretending that I don’t speak a word of English, hoping that at least I won’t have to deal with the D word anymore! -I AM NOBODY’S DEAR!! I am a total stranger, you don’t even know my name! –

It is mostly used when someone is trying to implicitly apologize without having to say it out loud, or trying to ask you to do something, which, in both cases, can be done without feeling the need to impose and destroy boundaries.

Am I the only odd one here, or does anyone else on this island, hates to be a stranger’s dear?? Let me hear it please …

Ouiam

Hello Grief… Again..

This post was the hardest to write, not because it is about someone who is no longer with us, nor is it because this person is my father whom a simple post like this one will never be enough to explain what a wonderful father he was. It took me days to be able to sit and think, mainly because I didn’t want to. It hurts way too much to think of the father he was to me and my siblings. Writing about his death forces me to deal with his death, which I still don’t know how to face. It has been over a month since my world had peacefully crumbled, and I have been putting off grieving since then. I always talked, praised and wished for change to hit my door, little did I know, some changes are so devastating that they leave you profoundly paralyzed.

I had never planned to live far away from my family and miss them terribly. I had never planned to shrink my time spent with my family to a couple of months each year. I had never planned to get news of who gets engaged, sick, or even who dies through the phone. I never had the intention to call home somewhere other than the one home where I was born, raised and brought up. Now looking back at those bright and joyful days, I had never planned for anything. Not that I lacked ambition or that I was too wise to worry about the future, far from that, it just seemed that life had it all figured out for me. At each and every intersection, life had already a road mapped out for me, without even giving me time to think of potential options, and I liked it this way. I was ready to take things the way they presented themselves. I never complained, even now I never do.

I also never planned to get a message from my mother at 11am telling me that my dearest father had passed away so unexpectedly, and without any warnings. Yet I did, few weeks ago, and suddenly I was faced with my worst nightmare, one that had kept me awake at night, many nights. One that I spent a lot of time analyzing, and somehow preparing myself for, knowing that at some point in life, the nightmare will turn into reality. Even though death was always present in the tinniest corner of my brain, way behind, in a very small corner that I rarely checked, but I still thought of it, how I would react to it, what will life be like after it, and whether or not I will get on time to say goodbye to the one leaving this life so peacefully, leaving behind a heartbroken family and loved ones. Yet still when that message appeared on my phone, I froze. 2018 was supposed to be a good year!! How can this happen!!

How can one deal with this pain in the chest, (an actual physical pain, and not just emotional) each night, when it is all quiet, and there is just you and your broken heart to deal with this stabbing pain, that makes you weep like a baby, and stops you from breathing? How could you ignore the guilt that comes with each morning, when you open your eyes, and know damn too well that you have a day to live, while your dearest father doesn’t? How do you adjust to saying “May he rest in peace” every time you talk/think about him?

Until now, every time life had showed me its ugly face, I had accepted the challenge happily, however this time the emptiness inside of me mixed with that terrible pain in my chest, and the profound guilt of being alive while he isn’t, those ugly feelings make me go on an autopilot mode…. living like a shadow. My knees are week, my breath is short, and I am like a walking zombie trying to get as busy as I can so that another day can pass. This is how I am doing it: One day at a time. It is hard to imagine any future without the kindest heart who had always wrapped us all, with a soft blanket of warm love and devotion!

I can’t even think of writing something about what a great father mine was, or how lucky I was to have him by my side as a kid, or as a full-grown woman, simply because it hurts to remember those days right now, and to remember that I no longer have him to create more of these blessed and blissful memories. So for now I will wipe my tears, get back to my busyness, and to pretending that nothing had happened, that my father is still alive, and just a phone call away because so far that is the only thing that makes this pain go away…… until it hits me all over again!

Ouiam

Words About 2017

What did your 2017 look like?

Mine was nothing like the years that have passed, this one was a little too salty, a bit soupy, and a tad too fudgy. It was the year I witnessed two tiny little hearts stop beating, I said goodbye to some friendships that have lasted years and years, but have reached an absolute dead end. I have had multiple punches in the gut that have left me crouching for a bit too long. I have answered the phone many times to be hit with terrible news. I have watched loved ones leave knowing that they will never return.

It has been a very very long marathon, that has left me breathless and without an ounce of energy, and I won’t lie, I am very happy the year is finally coming to an end!  Yet and without sounding too philosophical, throughout the year, I have had a beautiful home that I am blessed with and so very thankful for, I have always come back home to a wonderfully supporting husband, who in the midst of hurricanes have held my hands, not to tell me that it will be ok- because he knows way too well that this sentence over here makes me go nuts!! (No one knows that it will be ok, for all I know it can even go worse!)- but to tell me that we will work things out, we will figure out a way, like we always do! and that more than anything brings life back to my dying little heart! I have believed in myself and went back to the work field, on my own terms and with my own schedule as work will always come second in the list of my priorities -first comes my little ray of sunshine: my son- and this has brought so much joy and pride to my heart. I have harbored some new friendships, that have proved themselves to be loyal, and trustworthy. I have had the sunlight of my days and the smile that brightens my life always by my side, my beautiful son with the old soul, the one who fills my life with laughter, wonder and magic! I have also met some wonderful people who have inspired me greatly. Sometimes going through rough times makes you realize how blessed you are, and I feel 2017 was just that. It was God’s sign to me, to enlighten me and to show me the right way, to let me know that I needed his guidance, power and love and I have humbly accepted all the above.

There were many happy moments in 2017 that I will cherish forever. There were many other moments where love and empathy have filled the air around me making me feel so light and without a care in the world. More than I can count, and because of life’s weird way of showing us how vulnerable we all are, I was rewarded by connecting deeply with my loved ones, with friends, and with complete strangers too.

2017 has been too thick that it has left me not knowing what to expect from 2018. Yes, I am and I will always be hopeful and full of trust toward the one God, who has blessed me with countless gifts, some of which I have asked for and others that I didn’t even know I needed until they arrived. I know very well how life is all about different seasons and changing cycles, and that nothing stays the same, but with this year coming to an end, I simply am just too grateful that the year is over to have any expectations whatsoever for the next one!

Whatever 2018 will bring, I pray and pray and pray some more, to bring some wisdom with it, along with some new memories that can make the hardest times seem easier.

I wish you (and me) a wonderful year ahead, one where your heart will taste the absolute joys of life, and where your soul will brighten your being each and every time life decides to show you its ugly face, but mainly I wish that every night when you put your head on a pillow, you feel peaceful and whole, always, and forever.

Chanelmama

I Will Always Call You Baby…

To my darling husband ….

We were kids when we met, without a care in the world. We laughed till our jaws hurt, we played like kids, we never ever discussed what the future might have in store for us, simply because we didn’t care, because we lived our NOW like one should! Things were so simple, and all we would think about occasionally was where we were going to eat that day, and it was enough.

We got to experience life’s finest surprises, and we held hands and smiled.

Today we are no longer kids, we are grown ups, we have another human being to take care of, and life is no longer simple. Simple is a word that we now only use to describe our clothes maybe, but never us nor our life, because there is nothing simple about it now. We still hold hands, but now you hold my hand a little tighter. We still laugh but now we laugh harder, we still run around like kids, but this time we have a new little participant. We still make fun of each other, now we do it more often. We still send each other silly messages, they just got sillier, because with a kid onboard you sometimes need to use the weirdest words to describe your day.

No matter how hard my day is, in your arms I always feel like a little girl again, without a care in the world again. Only you can have the extraordinary power to make everything look and feel safer. Only you can make the biggest problems seem so small and almost insignificant. Only you make me laugh at myself till my stomach hurts. Only you can access my brain anytime you want and read all my thoughts. Only you make my heart skip a beat!

No one prepared us for what life had for us, but you my love were there to hold me, to heal me, to help me, to wipe my tears, to ground me, to take care of me. You are my personal travel agent, my tech-guy, my music downloader, my Netflix fixer, my graphic designer, and most importantly you make the best food in the world!

You are the only one who can read my horrible hand writing, you still laugh at my silly jokes, you cheer for me, you forget my clothes at the laundry –it’s ok I still love you-, you let me share your drinks – Ok maybe not, but I still do it- You listen to me when I ramble, you know it when I think out loud, and you get it when I randomly try to end an unfinished story-from the day or month before- without even an introduction.

You hate my ripped jeans, but you still say that I look nice in them. You don’t like me to take pictures of you, yet you still let me do, you even smile. You don’t like my gluten free, dairy free, vegan pancakes yet you still eat them. You think I don’t know, but I do…and it makes all those things way more special!

You support me and my choices, no matter how crazy they are. You give me the support I need to be the person I want to be. You encourage my sometimes irrational and unreasonable ideas, and you watch them with me as they become reality. You are everything, you are my tribe, my village, my rock and my safe haven.

I will keep on making fun of you even when we are old and crazy, I will still feed you healthy food even when your teeth are gone, I will keep on taking pictures of you even when your wrinkles are more than I can count, I will still let you handle my computer, phone, IPad, and whatever gadgets we will have then! I will always call you baby, even when we have grandkids to babysit, and I will always love you!

Ouiam

Why Blogging..!

 

Ouiam Blog Session-91

 

If you have asked me this question 4 years ago, I would have laughed and said “Why would anyone -sane- expose themselves, so raw and so vulnerable to practically everyone who has internet!” Fast forward, 4 years later, one beautiful son, and tons and tons of growing and evolving, here I am, pouring my heart and soul every single time on blank pages, sharing them with … practically everyone who has internet! Every time I sit in front of my computer, a light sweet wave takes me somewhere I have never been before, and as I write and keep writing, that wave makes me lighter and lighter till I am thin as air. A feeling that I have never experienced before, even though I have been writing and journaling my whole life, yet knowing that someone else- even if it is just one single person- also behind their screen is reading what I have wrote, makes it all so worth it.  It means that someone is probably feeling all the feels that I have poured straight from my heart and soul, and even though I might not even know them, we somehow would have connected so deeply and intensely through words from my world to theirs.

 

What I have never realized up until my son was born, is that writing is the cheapest form of therapy. Whenever life hits me on the face, the first thing I do is pick up my laptop, and strip down all the masks that we all wear in our daily life. The smile we wear even though we are struggling to keep the tears away, the “happy” we force just because we don’t want to burden friends and family with what troubles our minds and hearts, the empty look we wear when you know that everyone will sense the sadness and sorrow inside your soul, and all other sorts of ornaments we keep in boxes for special occasions. I get real, and raw. Whether I end up publishing the post or not that’s up to me, but at least I know that my feelings, my hurt, is no longer just inside my heart; it is somewhere else, either kept safe in my folders or out in the open, and this somehow feels like someone else is sharing those feelings with me, and this makes the burden a little lighter.

 

Writing is what feeds my soul, it is what keeps me balanced and on top of any mess life can bring to my life.

 

Sometimes when I have absolutely nothing to write about, I simply put some loud music on, close my eyes and let the magic happen. I can see the words dancing in front of me, I try to catch them one by one, and put them in the right order, because boy sometimes they just flood into my radar and I can’t keep up.

 

Each and every word has a story, and each story makes its way to my heart and takes a tiny piece of it, till the words are done, my mind is blank again, and words-free, only then I enter some kind of trance, one that leaves you high for hours and hours. A beautiful feeling that I won’t trade for the world.

 

And so just like that and soon after my son was born, writing has become the most essential and rewarding routine in my life. So yes, I now crave the feeling of being true to myself and sharing it with the whole world. From a pure introvert, a fierce and brave woman has risen, one who is not afraid to share and share and share, and share little more.

 

So there you go, this is why I have a blog, this why I write, and this why I get behind the screen to write, so you, who is also behind the screen can enjoy 😉

 

Ouiam