The Day I Cried Over a Silly Thing!

Who else in this motherhood journey, has a million and one things to do? Who else makes hundreds of to-do lists, while they are laying awake in their beds trying to fall asleep? Who else plans their car’s trajectories, based on how many errands they can check off their lists, everyday? Who else cooks, washes dishes and eats all at the same time? I suspect we are many here! You see, this is not unusual for me, I always loved and excelled at multitasking. In fact, I get bored with single tasks, and I struggle to stay focused! I take an immense pleasure planning my days/ nights and weeks. I love crossing off things of my to-do lists, and so far it has been an absolute delight.

 

Few days ago however- a Sunday afternoon to be exact- my son and I were not feeling well, so after we had lunch, I was wondering what we had planned for the day, not feeling like leaving the house at all. My calendar was empty, so we stayed home, made a cake and played in our little garden. A little over 24hours later,  after I put my son to bed, and finally sat on my sofa to relax, I remembered that we have missed our French class, the previous day! The class was a simple class for a 3 years old, so not really a big deal, yet knowing that I forgot, that I missed something, that I failed to keep my schedule up to date killed me! So right there in my living room, I sobbed for 10minutes, because the system that I have been counting on, and that has been working so perfectly well for me, and my very busy schedule, has failed me. Because I wasn’t perfect, because …… Well I don’t know why exactly I was crying, but it felt like I have FAILED!

 

The feeling was horrible, I always took pride in being so very organized at all times, and in always being on top of things, but that day not only have I missed something important, but I only came to remember that I did, more than 24hours later! It took me a good 10 minutes before realizing what was really going on: I was crying because I missed a stupid class (The class is great, but it’s definitely not something I should be crying about!), I was crying because I failed in doing ONE thing that day, and overlooked the fact that I woke up that same day at 5am, taught a Tai Chi Class for an hour, trained myself for another hour, came back home, made breakfast, got my son ready, did our homeschool class for 3 hours, cooked lunch, made a cake with my son, played with him outside, had so much fun throwing water balloons at each other, then finally put him to bed! And all that while being sick!!! How can this be a failure? I was caught up in that web of what I should do, and forgot all about the things that I already do. Partially because I never give myself credit, because I am always sitting with a red pen in hand, waiting to make mistakes, ready to correct them with a big frown on my face. I rarely pat myself in the back and say: “You are doing great!”

 

Even though I am always trying my best not to forget to take care of myself, because I know how important it is, I still … well, I still fail at that too! That’s why I do Tai Chi every morning at 6am, that’s why making time for my books, and my readings, is vital to me. That’s why I try my best to meet the few friends I really enjoy their company, and just laugh as much as I can, yet somehow I sometimes forget to give myself a break. Sometimes I am way too hard on myself, sometimes I forget to laugh over silly mistakes, and just go on with my day.

Luckily God is always there to remind me of what’s really important, and to send me few wake up calls here and there, from time to time. Sometimes I need to cry for a good 10 minutes to finally see it clearly, and that’s fine. 

 

The point of this post is to remind each one reading it that self care is not just a good manicure, pedicure, or a massage. Not just a coffee date with a friend, not just a nap, but also and most importantly to give yourself a real break! To accept that in this crazy journey we will make mistakes, and that some nights we will put our heads on a pillow, glad that the day is finally over, that sometimes all what we would like to do is pack up and leave, sometimes we will fail and mess up greatly, sometimes we will hate ourselves, and cry, but what really matters is to be kind to ourselves. To give ourselves a pat on the back and to remember that tomorrow is another day, and another chance. Cry if you feel like it, but always be kind to yourself.

 

Ouiam

A Tribute To My Master.

Today marks the closure of a great chapter in my life. Someone very dear and close to my heart, left Bahrain today.  A mentor, a Chinese Martial Art Master (even though she doesn’t like to be referred to as such), a mother, a friend, and a role model. Shao Nian Bates, her Chinese name means: “Youngster”, and in the Chinese culture the name is strongly linked to being a traveler to all 4 corners of the world. A name that she carries well, since she has been to all 4 corners of the world, physically and metaphorically.

 

I have known Shao after I moved to Bahrain and since then her presence in my life has been vital. I saw her every morning at 6am, we trained together, we drank tea together, we told each other stories, we ate together, we watched people joining the studio and witnessed them leave, and today I, here alone, am witnessing HER departure.

Every time I was sick, she would rush to her kitchen, prepare some kind of herbal tea, warn me of how sour and undrinkable it is, then hands it to me, while telling me all about the benefits of the herbs in it. Every time I told her things that were bothering me, she would tell me a story similar to mine, and give me, unintentionally, an example to follow. Every time I wanted to learn a new form she would tell me that I didn’t need to, and that I have learned enough, yet she would cave in, and teach me some more. Some mornings she would tell me that I looked beautiful in whichever color I was wearing, some other days she would say: “Hmm those colors don’t look good together”, yes she was brutal like this, she would never say something unless she means it 100%. The first day I met her she almost sounded rude to me, but the force led me to go again and again and again, and every time I sat with her, and learned about her, I loved her even more. Then she gave me a book she wrote about her life, and that was the turning point in our relationship! A woman who served in General Mao’s camps, who found her way into learning a new language and even writing in that new language, she did the unthinkable and left China, she faced life’s hardships in bulks, not one or two, like me and you, but way more than what one can handle in a lifetime. She built houses and businesses, she traveled around the world, met many many interesting people. She experienced the other side of the pink rosy world, she lost money, friends, family, and survived it all quietly and humbly.

When I met her I was 21 years old, a little girl, who knew nothing about life. I looked at her with wide eyes and a dropped jaw every time she told a story. To me she was the most interesting person I have met in my whole life, 10 years later, she still is! Now I wonder whether the universe has sent her my way to teach and guide me in a time when I knew nothing, and now that I have seen, lived and experienced a little more, it was time for her to leave. Now that I have matured enough to be able to live on my own, it was time for her to move, and probably go nurture another soul somewhere else.

 

What always impresses me in this magnificent woman, is that even though she is 70 years old, not a minute goes by where she isn’t learning a new thing. Her moto in life is: “if they can do it, I too can do it”. She lived and still lives her life to the fullest, she doesn’t waste a minute worrying about life, or entertaining any negative energy, or simply doing nothing.

We went to many breakfasts, lunches and dinners, we laughed and cried, we talked freely and openly about anything and everything. She was my companion, more than she was my teacher. We celebrated birthdays, Eids, house-warming parties, Ramadans, and many more events together. We also shared a passion together, which is taking pictures! Boy did we take pictures! She is the kind of person, to whom you can tell your deepest, darkest secret to, and she would just sit there looking, listening and simply fully present. She took care of everyone, she knew what everyone liked and what they didn’t like, she was a mother to all!

 

We both shared the same Chinese horoscope: Tiger, and we were very similar in so many ways. We are both fierce, stubborn, faithful, and honest. We both loved tea and drank tons of it. We both loved reading. So some mornings, instead of training, we would just sit, drink tea, and talk about books.

 

We both experienced life’s ups and downs together, we both made mistakes together, we both saw how life can unfold. She knew me as a little girl, and now she is leaving a strong, woman behind, a wife, and a mother.

 

In the 31 years that I have lived, I have been blessed with many motherly figures in my life, beside my wonderful mama. I have shared and connected with many older women, and learned so much from them. I always became friends with my friends’ mothers, and that’s because I have an old soul, yet somehow they all seem to vanish and disappear at some point of my life. Somehow it is as if they are on a mission, and once the mission is done, they leave. I have said way too many goodbyes in my life, and somehow I got so used to the idea that all the people I meet come into my life for a purpose, and once it’s done, they will leave. Seeing friends leave is always sad, and even though I truly believe that the universe always has a plan for you, yet this time, it’s a bit harder and a little more life changing. I am not only saying goodbye to a friend, I am closing a whole chapter in my life, and getting ready to open a new one.

 

So to Shao: You are taking a piece of my soul with you, I know that we will meet again, if it is not in this life, then in the next one. I will not promise to send you emails and pictures, updating you with what’s new every once in a while, simply because I know that won’t happen, yet I promise you that in my heart you will always have a beautiful, and very special place.

From Ouiam with Love…..

Thyroid 101 -Part 2-

 

 

A little late but as promised, this is the second part of Thyroid 101. Today I would like to talk about autoimmune diseases. An autoimmune disease develops when your immune system, which defends your body against diseases, decides your healthy cells are foreign. As a result, your immune system attacks healthy cells. An autoimmune disease can affect one or many different types of body tissue, depending on the type. It can also cause abnormal organ growth and changes in organ function. There are over 80 types of autoimmune diseases, with many many symptoms that can very much go unnoticed. The tricky part is that whenever the organ being attacked by your immune system is completely damaged, the immune system then moves to attacking another healthy organ, and so it is a never ending circle of damaging healthy cells, organs, and tissues. Which also means a never ending series of symptoms such as anxiety, depression, digestive issues, heart disease, sleep disorders, weight gain, problems with memory and concentration…etc

Before we go deeper into autoimmune diseases, let’s first learn a thing or two about the immune system itself:

1-Your immune system protects against diseases, infection, and helps you recover after an injury.  Having a fever and inflammation can be unpleasant, but they are signs that your body is doing its job. Fever releases white blood cells, increases metabolism, and stops certain organisms from multiplying. Inflammation occurs when each damaged cell releases histamines. The histamines cause the cell walls to dilate. This creates the redness, heat, pain, and swelling of inflammation. As a result, your body limits the effects of the irritant.

2- Your immune system and gut health are inextricably linked. Did you know that approximately seventy to eighty percent of your immune tissue is located within your digestive system? The gut is often the first entry point for exposure to pathogens (bad bacteria and virus’ that can cause disease). The digestive system comprises of cells, proteins, tissues and organs which work together in a complex way to defend the body against harmful bacteria, infectious diseases and toxins. A variety of illnesses can occur when these protective functions of the gut are compromised. So your gut immune system needs to be thriving and healthy in order to avoid illness.

3- Stress damages your immune system: Your immune system is ready for anything you can throw at it. But it can only handle so much. Stress has a significant effect on your immune system. During stress, a series of events release cortisol, adrenaline, and other stress hormones from the adrenal gland. Together they help your body cope with stress. Normally, cortisol is helpful because it decreases the inflammation in the body that results from the immune responses caused by stress. But if a person is chronically stressed, stress hormones can affect the way the body functions over time. It can also cause different autoimmune disease, or make them worse if it is a preexisting condition.

 

Now let’s move to Hashimoto’s disease, which is one of the many wildly known autoimmune diseases. Hashimoto’s affects women more than men, suggesting that the progesterone and estrogen hormones may play a role. Furthermore, some women have thyroid problems during the first year after having a baby. Although the problem usually goes away, some of these women may develop Hashimoto’s years later.

It is very difficult to diagnose Hashimoto’s, because it takes years before your Thyroid gland is damaged and your TSH level is high enough to alarm your doctor. You might suffer silently for years, from chronic fatigue, depression, weight gain, paleness or puffiness of the face, joint and muscle pain constipation, inability to get warm, difficulty getting pregnant, joint and muscle pain hair loss or thinning, brittle hair, irregular or heavy menstrual periods, slowed heart rate, and many more ugly symptoms that can turn your life upside down.

While doctors can prescribe the synthetic version of T4, like Levothyroxine, and this will enhance your overall health, however, it will not solve the problem. Your immune system is busy attacking your own Thyroid gland, and so even though the prescribed medications are helping with the symptoms, the source of the problem is still there. Your immune system will keep on attacking your thyroid gland, till it is completely damaged, then it will move to another organ. That’s why Hashimoto’s is strongly linked with Addison’s disease, Graves’ disease, premature ovarian failure, type 1 diabetes, lupus erythematosus (a disorder that causes inflammation in a number of the body’s systems, including the lungs and heart), pernicious anemia (a disorder that prevents the absorption of vitamin B12), rheumatoid arthritis, thrombocytopenic purpura (a disorder that interferes with the blood’s ability to clot), vitiligo (a disorder that produces white patches on the skin due to attacks on skin pigment cells). So even if you are taking your medication religiously, you are still at risk.

If you want to know more about how to survive your Hashimoto, live a normal life, risk free (whether you have Hashimoto’s or another autoimmune disease), stay tuned to my next blog post, where I will talk about natural remedies, and simple changes you can do in your diet and lifestyle that can help you greatly.

 

Ouiam

 

 

 

 

 

Thyroid 101 -Part 1-

Last week I made an appointment with a doctor to check up my thyroid levels, something I do about twice a year, since I have stopped taking medicine – I have had a hypothyroid for the last 18 years, and have been on Levothyroxine, until a couple years ago, when I got myself into the right lifestyle, made tons of research and learnt more about my condition and how to bio hack my own body, here is a little post I wrote about how I managed to get off medicine, last year. If you know me, you would definitely know that I don’t necessarily hold a soft spot on my heart for doctors….! I would never go see one unless I REALLY have to, for something major. I do however go twice a year to an endocrinologist to ask for some blood work. I know what I am looking for exactly, so I ask him to prescribe specific blood tests, I do the blood work, ask for the results to be emailed to me and that’s it. This time the endocrinologist I usually go to (who is fairly good, listens to me and tries his best to have a more holistic view that fits me and my philosophy), this doctor was on leave so I did a random google search, and came up with a random name. I figured since I only need specific blood tests that I can ask for, it should be fine. So I go to see this doctor, I tell him about my history with my hypothyroid, and I ask him for the following tests:

TSH

T3

T4

RT3

Antibodies

Iodine

And as I am getting ready to say my last required test (Vitamin D), he interrupts me, saying one word, that leaves me astonished! He said: “NO”!!!

Yes, he actually said NO!! he refused to write down those tests I have asked for, and said that a simple TSH blood test would be more than enough. He actually even had the guts to tell me that this was “ancient medicine” and that no one does those tests anymore! I really couldn’t wrap my head around what was going on! What the heck?!! I have lived with my Hypothyroid for the last 18 years! I have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis disease- which is actually an autoimmune disease- so how is testing for antibodies ancient medicine when it’s an autoimmune disease that we are talking about?!!! I tried to be as kind as I could (and believe me it wasn’t an easy task; no one wants to deal with an arrogant doctor!!) I thanked him for his opinion, and said that I would be more comfortable if he did write those specific tests for me….He still refused! It’s not as if he were to pay from his own pocket, and even if he was worried about my own pocket, he knew that my insurance will cover the costs, so why not!???? I knew then that our conversation was hopeless, so I thanked him for his time and left his office swearing that I NEEDED to write another post about Thyroid, inflammation and hormones, so women who also suffer from their thyroid malfunction can understand their conditions better, and know exactly what they need to deal with in order to have a normal life. So today I will start a mini-series of posts about the Thyroid gland, how it works, how to fix the root problem and not just the symptoms, and how to have a normal life even with a malfunctioning thyroid.

 

Usually whenever you go to see an endocrinologist, for anything related to your thyroid, they would ask for a TSH blood test.  TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) blood test is used to check for thyroid gland problems. TSH is produced when the hypothalamus releases a substance called thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH). TRH then triggers the pituitary gland to release TSH. TSH causes the thyroid gland to make two hormones: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). T3 and T4 help control your body’s metabolism. In other terms, it is the hormone that tells the Thyroid gland that it should work (less or more depending on the body’s needs). Now let’s see how it works:

T3 and T4 are needed for normal growth of the brain, especially during the first 3 years of life. A baby whose thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone (congenital hypothyroidism) may, in severe cases, be mentally retarded. Older children also need thyroid hormones to grow and develop normally. Now that we know these two essential hormones, let’s talk about how they function in our body:

 

The function of the thyroid gland is to take iodine found in many foods, and convert it into thyroid hormones: T4 and T3. Thyroid cells are the only cells in the body which can absorb iodine. These cells combine iodine and the amino acid tyrosine to make T3 and T4. T3 and T4 are then released into the blood stream and are transported throughout the body, where they control metabolism (conversion of oxygen and calories to energy).

Every cell in the body depends upon thyroid hormones for regulation of their metabolism. The normal thyroid gland produces about 80% T4 and about 20% T3, however, T3 possesses about four times the hormone “strength” as T4. So while a very small amount of T3 is produced by the Thyroid gland, the rest of the T3 is produced in a different way. The liver finishes up the thyroid gland’s job, by converting T4 to T3. However, in order to convert T4 to T3, the enzyme 5’- Deiodinase is required, and to activate this enzyme some minerals are needed such as: Selenium.

 

So, in order to determine if you have a functioning Thyroid gland or not, the process is much more complex than just having ONE blood test done. And that’s JUST the Thyroid itself, without even talking about Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune disease, and needs many other tests to detect it, other than the famous TSH blood test.

 

In my next post we will talk in details about Hashimoto, and other autoimmune disease related to the Thyroid gland, then on a third post I will be talking about how nutrition CAN reverse many autoimmune diseases if done right.

 

Almost 90% of the women I know are suffering silently from a hypothyroid, which is a disease that sucks life out of you, and turns you into someone you don’t want to be. It is strongly linked to depression, Lupus, infertility, and many other autoimmune diseases. While doctors only want to cover the symptoms by prescribing a synthetic version of T4 (such as Levothyroxine), the inflammation will still be there destroying every ounce of your thyroid gland, then move to destroy other vital organs. And if your liver isn’t doing a good job converting T4 into T3, you will still have a malfunctioning Thyroid gland even if you are taking your prescribed medicine. Therefore, it is crucial to fix the underlying problem rather than treating the symptoms only.

Stay tuned for Thyroid 101 (Part 2)

 

Ouiam

 

Nagging With Style!

 

 

 

Hello friends, so it has been a while right? Life has been FULL, isn’t it always full though? It’s crazy how no matter how you think you can balance it all, you always have to cave in, and admit defeat since the day is only 24hours long, and you will never ever get a minute extra!

 

So today I would like to talk about a very important topic, a topic that we- mamas- talk about a lot, especially on those rare girls’ nights out, that we get to have, once every blue moon; where we seem to take every opportunity we land on to exchange funny stories about all the crazy things our husbands do, and let’s face it we all have at least one of these stories that usually end up with some serious eye rolling and a bit of tongue twisting. Yes we laugh at each other’s husbands, and we all yell in solidarity with each other: “What the hell do they know…these husbands!?” and we leave at the end of the night a little more lighter and a little less bitter about those same stories we joked about; however, those stories and many many more happen on daily basis, we always have something to complain about when it comes to our significant others, and that’s exactly what I want to talk about today.

 

No one starts a marriage thinking of the hard times this same marriage is gonna go through, no one starts thinking about all the downs that will face this union, no one thinks about the natural, and inevitable consequences of living together under the same roof and leading the same hectic, stressful, unkind life we all live nowadays. We only think of the romance and the passion that usually and in most marriages fade after few years or after having the first baby, for the very simple reason: Life happens!!! We get busy, we get caught in the dark web of life’s excruciating demands, and we forget that there is a little seed that we need to nurture and keep close to our hearts, for the many years to come.

 

In a marriage, when you know a person inside out, and you know their weaknesses and their strengths, their perception of themselves and the way they like to be, their soft spots and their multiple selves, isn’t it enough data to embrace that human being fully and acknowledge their presence in your life just the way it is? The way they are and not the way you want them to be? Isn’t it enough to pass through and beyond the little details, such as who did not take the trash out last night and who left the front door open or who lost the only existing house key..? The answer might surprise you indeed!

 

I would like to think of it as an invitation to experience and test each other’s humorous side. What if we turned every fight and each argument into jokes? Just like we joke about them days later with girlfriends. Why don’t we try to find the funny side instead of calling out every dark thought we could get our “hands” on? What if we make that wicked, evil, irresponsible, forgetful husband of yours burst into a fit of laughter with each and every complaint you blurt out? Are you reading these last few lines out loud wondering what has happened to my sanity? Well it’s very simple: Humor is a very powerful tool that if used right can get you anywhere you want, in a very relaxing and fun way, so why not take advantage of that? Why not take at least one burden off your shoulders and deal with the biggest source of stress in our lives so lightly, softly and in a way that will definitely have a positive outcome for both parties: Husbands aaaand wives?!!

 

 

Life already does surprise us with few slaps in the face every now and then, and that to me is enough stress and discomfort any one should deal with. So when we don’t really take ourselves and each other so seriously, and let room for some fun and laughter, we discover a new level of satisfaction and fulfilment, of understanding and contentment.

 

So ladies, roll your sleeves up, and show those other halves of yours how women can crack jokes about that forgotten trash, that unfixed light bulb, those groceries that were never done and all those little things on the list that were never checked….Never done! Take a moment to breath and to remember that those little things are not the essence of your life together, they are not the true meaning of your story. Just breath and make fun of each other and make some space for all the new wrinkles on both your faces, from all the laughing you will be doing, that will mark a new start, and a completely different level, in your holy bond.

 

Ouiam

Disneyland Done Right!!

 

Alright, so just to clarify things: There is really nothing you can do right while having a toddler at your feet, for very obvious reasons-well it’s a toddler we are talking about- but we can definitely make things go smoother, aiming to minimize any collateral damage.

 

Last month we traveled to Paris, the city of love and pastries, yet we were aiming  for a different kind of adventures. My genius husband had come up with a fantastic plan, in just a couple of days of researching “Where to go on a holiday with a toddler” –yup he is this cool! And he soon announced that we were to visit the one place on earth where you can pretend to be a kid, and no one will have a problem with that. I was mostly excited that my 3 years old son will finally meet his number one idol, the one and only Mickey Mouse! Yes Mickey the Mouse himself! The trip was going to be 5 days (or so we thought, little did we know that adults also can’t get enough of that magical land!). From the airport we headed straight to Disneyland filled with excitement and joy. I really didn’t know what to expect, after all I had never been to Disneyland before!

I would say, to do Disneyland right, you ll first and foremost need one thing: MY HUSBAND (just kidding lol). He really did such a great job researching and figuring out all the tips, dos and don’ts, and thanks to him we had a wonderful experience, so through this post, I will try to share his wisdom with all of you out there 😉 Here are some of the tips that helped us greatly:

Download the Parc de Disneyland® app: It’s a MUST!! It gives you all the info you need while in Disneyland: The location of the rides/games, how long you ll need to queue for, where to get food/ice cream from…etc!

 

Make sure you choose the right season to visit: as obvious as this might be, it can also be tricky. In Summer prices are obviously very high compared to winter, however, in winter it might be too cold especially if you are with kids, in addition to the fact that in winter some rides can be closed for maintenance. So you really have to choose carefully.

 

The park opens its doors at 10am, but you can aim to be there at 9 or 9:30am. First because the road from the doors to the actual park is very long, then because you would like to escape the crowds, and do at least one or two rides before you start queuing for crazy amounts of time.

The majority of the park’s visitors choose to go with the flow: clockwise around the park, try going against the grain: either go anti-clockwise or start from the back of the park (make sure to pick up a map or use the app) and work your way forward.

If your child is less than 3 years old, he/she gets a “child’s rate”, but you will be required to show proof, either his passport or birth certificate.

 

If you are new parents, make sure you use your ‘Baby Switch’ priority. If you’re bringing along a baby, you can definitely ask for a ‘Baby Switch’ card at the entrance. This will allow one of the two adults to queue up, while the other looks after the baby. And once the ride is done, the other parent can use the card to re-visit the attraction, this time without having to queue.

 

 FASTPASS: Quite simply, the best way to avoid the queues. Available to pick up as you go in, these special FASTPASS are valid for only an hour, so in order to fit the most into your day, I suggest picking up passes every two hours or so. You can move between the two parks as and when you wish. Some rides aren’t included in the FASTPASS scheme, so make sure to check out the list of those that are, beforehand.

 

You can rent a stroller for your toddler, at the entrance, for 20Euros. If you want to use it freely between the 2 parks, you can add a 50Euros deposit, and you will get a paper that you can show the staff at the entrance of each park in order to move freely between parks.

 

Now remember, you will be doing lots of running around, queuing, and walking, so NO HEALS!!  Choose your most comfortable shoes! You will also need to be wearing comfy clothes, that will allow you to move freely. Hats are a MUST too!! Especially for kids.

 

SNACKS!!!!!!!!!! Stock up on them! You will need them all day long! It also makes the wait much easier, especially with kids. Besides, everything there costs an arm and a leg, so you might wanna fill up that backpack. You can even pack a light lunch just in case the queues are too long and you (or your toddler) are too hungry to wait.

 

Be aware that some shops actually close at 6pm so always check what time everything closes (again, you can use the app for that).

 

If your kid is a Mickey Mouse junky –like mine- then make sure you don’t miss the “Mickey Mouse Club House Show”, available in both French and English, at the Walt Disney Studios.

 

Usually around the closing time (One park closes at 7pm and the other one at 11pm), The crowds tend to die down, so keep one or two rides in mind for that last hour.

One of the best rides that our whole family enjoyed was “Ratatouille”!! So so much fun. You will also find there one of the best restaurants in Disneyland: “Bistrot Chez Remy”, where you’ll get what it feels like to be a rat in a big restaurant lol.

Instead of Five days we stayed a week, this is how fun, and enjoyable Disneyland was, to all of us, not only to my 3 years old son!! We loved every minute of it. After that week, I sure had blisters and missed my sofa so so much, but it was aaaaaaaaaaaall worth it!

 

Ouiam

 

 

Lost In Germany….

Last May, I did something quite crazy, something not everyone will be able to do, especially with a toddler onboard. I planned a trip, following Google’s advice and my instinct. I looked up “Small villages in Germany” and randomly chose one, then I booked the first house that popped up in my feed, and booked my tickets. Just me and my 3 years old. My desire to immerse myself in nature was growing day by day, and I was daydreaming about a trip where all we can do is contemplate the breathtakingly gorgeous sceneries. It wasn’t really hard to choose a country with the above descriptions; Germany is one of my very favorite countries, The Country of Poets and Thinkers, as it was being called once.
 

While there,  it really seemed like I have left the planet earth and showed up somewhere where social epidemics haven’t yet found place. Somewhere in the state of Bavaria in Germany, a tiny little town, about a handful of houses and a park (of course, parks in this part of the world are more important than anything else!), I am not even sure if I should call where I was, a “little town”, the closest supermarket, shops, or any sign of civilization was 15 km away (which is also a little town called “Schöllkrippen”). Mostly old couples live there, surrounded by all kind of greens, nature and friendly neighbors- sheep, goats, dogs and cats- Few young people too. Since we landed in this forgotten peace of heaven, Adam and I have been experiencing all kinds of human interactions that were not possible elsewhere. When we first arrived we were greeted at every corner, we were offered rides and food, we were treated like part of the family from people whom we have never seen before, from people we don’t even share the same language with! People have showered us with kindness and compassion since the day we stepped foot in there, and I simply wonder how come this only exists there? This has made me think of all the times reckless drivers shouted and raised hands that I could see from my mirror while driving, or those times when neighbors passed by and omitted to say hello, or the times family and friends have failed to show the human side in them, and I ask myself how come? Why we lost that human side in us that made us joyful, peaceful and simple! It also made me think of that specific time in an airport where I was helping a random guy get his luggage from one of those famous airport luggage belts (you know what I mean, those ones where if you don’t get your bag from the first round you start experiencing a mini heart attack, and are bound to wait in queues for hours!!!), and he came shouting, and waving his big bulky hand:” THIS IS MY BAG!”!!!!!!  Of course it is yours, idiot, I am just helping you! It made me think of countless encounters I had before of human beings being so far away from humanity, times where kindness has become a distant memory only few of us can remember. The people in this tiny town obviously opted for another philosophy in life, one that was too rare to even be named or studied. One that was the epitome of kindness, compassion and love.

 

 

What is it that has spoiled and ruined the human race this much, and left it pretty much inhuman? What is it that makes people kill innocent people, judge them, feel superior to them or even be insensitive to their existence?

 

If you say technology, it is wrong! Because each one of the people in this little tiny town, has their smart phones, laptops and TVs lined up in front of them (or in their living rooms), so it must be something else.

 

Whatever their secrete is, it is working! People in that little town are not disconnected from their surroundings even with the existence of phones and TVs. People there crave the social interaction as we- in my part of the world- crave the social media. These people are open and tolerant, they are present and mindful. I find it hard to believe that with the lifestyle we live we are able to find the essence of humanity anywhere. Husbands and wives busy with their phones, kids busy with their electronics and neighbors busy ignoring their neighbors. Somewhere along the journey we have all lost our purity and innocence, even with the best intentions, we are transformed with others’ rudeness and disconnection from whoever we want to be to whatever we are now.

 

Where I was, no one sits alone in a café, random people show up and ask if they can sit with you! So you don’t have to sit all alone! You will never be or feel alone even though the population of this tinniest city is one tenth of any normal sized city, while in big cities like where I live, you will be sitting in a table with 10 other people you know very well, and you will be hiding behind a screen, you might even not notice if someone leaves or comes! And this is my friends, one of the biggest losses the humanity has ever suffered from!

 

I am so very thankful and blessed that the universe has sent me to this unbelievably rich little town, to relearn what is the purpose of being human and how to be human in an era of disconnection and impurity.


PS: Those gorgeous pictures were taken by the very talented Jessica Elm in Germany.

Instagram: @jessicaelmphotography

Ouiam