About Life

Change

Change is part of life. Change cannot be escaped. Change is everlasting. And change is good no matter how challenging it might be! With change comes the positive side where a fresh embarkation is founded, clutter from previous years is removed, and growth is achieved. At the same time, different responsibilities arise, that unfamiliar beginning needs to be well established, and fitting in a new society calls for patience and observation.

Embracing any kind of change, especially those which we have taken upon ourselves, could be daunting as, by human nature, we feel helpless when we try to decipher how that change will affect our future. Questions like, ‘Have we done the right decision? Do our children feel secure and satisfied? Are we heading in the right direction?’ tumble on our heads making us feel the heaviness of our actions.

With our move to Muscat and the humongous change we have implemented on ourselves, came waves of unhappiness, stress, delight, relief, responsibilities, and solitude. Such tides have been inducing in us a variety of emotions and reactions. Some were high and comforting, and others were low and crashing. Psychologically speaking, that unhappiness results due to the fact that we are aware that we need to adjust to everything about this new life, yet the inability to manage our old habitual social activities, and fit in the new daily pattern leave a gap where only time knows how to seal.

As much as I knew that it is very important for me to sacrifice my career life and be present with my family to help them settle down easily, I also realized that I need to live for myself as well. I won’t deny that I terribly miss my profession and the time I have given in socially connecting with people in Abu Dhabi and Dubai through my blogging journey. But life goes on! That is why, recently, I have been listing all the benefits we have gained in our move, and in a way I am overlooking what I have left behind. Not that I want to forget, but I want to hold on to that period of time as beautiful memories which will soon become stories we lived and appreciated once upon a time.

By nature, and if you have been following me for some time now you might know very well, how positive I am – to the extent that sometimes I doubt my perception of things. However, this positivism has helped me before, and will continue to serve me when I feel alone – without the presence of my dearest persons around me. I am also aware that it takes a simple decision to lead a happy life, and that was my compromise!

For the sake of my husband and children, I wanted to reflect happiness as much as I could. Despite all the fatigue, the new responsibilities, and the house chores which I am still doing mostly on my own, I am trying hard to maintain my anticipation and cheerfulness. To do that, I knew I had to indulge in activities that would interest me and add up to my learning development. That is when I decided to take piano lessons. Oh how I love it! In fact, every week, I would eagerly wait for my classes, as I continue to practice playing the notes on a daily basis.

We arrived to Muscat, almost two months ago, and I cannot ignore the fact that there were some shocking realizations which we have experienced. At the same time, the warm and welcoming attitude we have encountered so far is unique. People, who do not even know you, would offer help in any possible way, making you feel supported and appreciated.

Yes, change is tough, and for some it might take more time to adapt to the new distortion. However, in my case, I knew that the sooner I make a constructive decision, the easier and more delightful our adaptation will prevail.

So dear Muscat; dear Oman, I am so ready to explore your beauty and explore whatever you have planned for us in this new settlement.

How many of you believe that change is beneficial despite its challenges?

Parenting, Reviews, special occasions

Why Travel with Your Significant Other?!

Going on a short vacation with your significant other, allows serious growth in your relationship. Ever since our eldest son was almost two years old, hubby and I decided on having some time on our own – away from the usual parenting routine. We soon found ourselves booking a staycation for a few days, every summer, where we used to keep our little son under the care of his grandparents. As the years passed, and the number of our children increased, we reduced our break to a day or two. Still, as a couple, those short breaks helped in rejuvenating our relationship. However, this year, we decided to take our break to a higher level and headed over to Amsterdam for five days! I fully acknowledge that without the support we have, we would have never been able to achieve our goal. It is indeed very true that it takes a village to raise a child – and in our case our support system is even beyond that village! To that, we are so grateful!

So why is it essential that couples get some time on their own?

We are fully aware that sooner than we expect, our children will embark on their own and soar around the world. That is why, we need to establish common interests together so we enjoy ourselves when we are older and on our own. We are also aware that if we do not work on strengthening our bond as a couple, by time, the sparkle might lose its glimmer. Having this in mind, we both put whatever effort is needed to preserve the solid connection we have!

This trip allowed us to destress, renovate in new ways, and appreciate what we have established during those fifteen years of marriage. Further, it served as the perfect occasion to focus on being husband and wife instead of putting all our attention into being Mama and Papa.

Not having our children around us, broke up that parental routine making us closer to one another. We were more understanding and patient with one another. We could feel that it strengthened our teamwork skills, and mostly we had plenty of time to discuss new plans and clarify certain points of view. Sometimes you feel more connected when you’re away from your comfort zone.

As we freely roamed around the beautiful streets of the city, we enjoyed the uninterrupted closeness to one another. Moreover, once we left the hotel, we were completely disconnected from our phones and had the chance to live in the moment of just being with each other!

After all, this voyage has enhanced our emotional connection and cut the monotonous work and stress we endure all year long. It also provided us with enough time to spark some romance. The latter could be easily concealed after a few years of marriage, due to the endless parenting obligations.

What we also appreciated is the fact that we got to discover new things together. In addition to visiting A Beer Brewery, The Red Light District, and The Water Canals, we also got the chance of being educated together through the rich museums of Van Gogh, Anne Frank, and the Diamond Museum (to name a few)…

We also loved how Amsterdam presented a real example of a society which is composed of a variety of people who practice different forms of employment. At the same time, everyone is so welcoming and warm-hearted making tourists enjoy their stay.

Personally, I strongly recommend experiencing the world with your significant other. Not only is it an enriching experience for you as a person, it’s strengthening as a couple and can honestly take your relationship to new levels.

The indelible treasure engraved in the heart and mind when experiencing something together, can be everlasting. After all, any new sort of experience creates a memory that will be forever unique to the relationship between a couple.

Together, we have built up those great memories which we could hopefully go back to once we are old and gray!

What experiences have you learned through traveling with your partner? Let me know in the comments below!

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About Life, special occasions

40, 5, And More!

By human nature, people all over the world tend to mark certain milestones according to age. For example, parents celebrate their child’s first birthday where they spend a lot of time and effort to signify this special occasion. We, then, move to the two digit number ten. From there, we look at the age of thirteen, with anticipation, and the cycle continues as we move along the years.

Turning forty is one of those notable occurrences in a person’s life. It is that four decade phase where a lot of contemplation and reflection hit a person who still feels very young, yet realises major modifications in both her mental and physical growth.

Personally, the minute I realised I was approaching the forties, I admit I was a bit anxious about the transformation those coming years will bring. At first, it weighed heavily on me, thinking that I cannot do anything about it and that annoyed me.

Physically, my body has changed. Even if it is minor, one can easily notice some white hair strands showing from my thinned hair, a scarred belly from my last delivery with the twins, and a few wrinkles that have engraved their marks around my eyes and neck.

But guess what? It is just another birthday, and apprehension is not something I easily submit to. That is why, it did not take me long to realise that it is just a mindset which I can control. Whatever I make myself believe in will definitely have its effect on me. So why don’t I attract the beauty of this age into my being?

To all those who really know me, I have never resrtriced myself to a number, and age is after all a number. Besides, I have never had much interest in Math.

That is why, I perceive age as an achievement. Age is wisdom acquired throughout the years. Age is maturity. Age is continuous learning. Age is a gaining process.

Despite that, I cannot totally strip myself of those numbers which, in a way, have a control on our daily lives, so I use them as a significant reference in my existence.

Coming to this point, I wonder what I have established in the past forty years! One of my greatest achievements is having my own family of seven which is composed of a beloved and caring father and five boistrous and healthy children. To that I am infinitely grateful. It also happens that at the age of forty, I am celebrating fifteen years of marriage where we took the vows to love, protect and support each other through thick and thin. On top of that, at forty, I feel younger than when I was a teenager. Being the woman who eats well and exercises whenever I can, are what help me maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is no secret that I have avoided consuming specific foods and drinks, years ago, to which the results I have reaped now. Finally, my profession as a teacher has helped me in applying a fixed and well maintained routine which facilities my life being a working mom of five.

If forty is considered to be the middle age of a life cycle, then hopefully there is still a lot to be acquired and learned. With this perspective in mind, one would worry less, appreciate the past moments, and grasp new opportunities to come. Although I would not be able to predict what the second part of my life will bring, I want to embrace the coming years in open arms, knowing that it will definitely serve in my growth. Being the positive person that I am, I would want to continue finding beauty in life and live the given experiences to the fullest. I hope that with whatever maturity I have gained so far, I will be able to face any unexpected obstacles which might arise, especially that now we are in the process of starting a new chapter in our lives.

So dear forty, I welcome you into my life where I hope you will find contentment and be wise. I hope you will be proud of the decisions I will have to take. I hope you will add patience and gratefulness into my soul. I hope you will serve in fostering more kindness and acceptance in my thoughts. I hope for a calmer me. Finally, I hope you give me abundant strength in my journey as a mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend and educator where I could actually be present for all those who need me!

Parenting, Poems by me, special occasions

A Toast to Every First

With her first child, a mom gets to experience every first for the very first time; the first contraction, the first labor encounter, the first overwhelming love, the first sickness, the first solid food trial, the first tooth appearance, the first step taken, the first birthday celebration, the first day of school separation, and the list continues.

With every new first, there is a mix of feelings. Feelings of happiness, and excitement or feelings of uncertainty, fear, and worry. No matter what the circumstances are, these emotions stay unique because they will always be the beginning of a new challenge in motherhood.

Last night, my eldest traveled on his first school trip. For this special event in his life, and in mine, I dedicate these lines for him.

Here is a toast for another first in my life as a mom;

Where did the time go?

You were my baby just a few years ago!

But you have grown very fast,

And those days are now part of our past!

There you are on your first trip alone,

With ease, you move away from my comfort zone!

But my heart is filled with joy

For you my darling, my big boy!

I am so proud of you,

And all the amazing things you will do!

Travel, learn, and enjoy your time,

Escalate any mountain you need to climb!

Explore, examine and rejoice

Let the world hear your voice!

This first school voyage is for you to keep,

Memories of friendships that are genuinely deep!

I love you with all my heart,

I pray for your safety as we part!

Son, have a safe flight,

God’s with you with all His might!

Until we have you back in a week,

I give you endless kisses on every cheek!

Love, Mom

About Life, special occasions

My Thankful List

With Thanksgiving coming just around the corner and the deep meanings it carries along, I decided to tell you more about my way of being thankful.

I can fill pages about the things I am blessed with as a mom living in the 21st century. Women of this era are bestowed with great opportunities which we could make good use of. Not only that, we really do exhibit a beautiful kind of freedom which makes us enjoy and appreciate life. We have reached a point where we have the right to vote, work, and participate in any domain we might be interested in.

Finally, we are all blessed with endless resources like nature, the sea, the moon, the stars, art, music, and modern cures. However, I will be stating only six of my boundless thankful list.

1. Faith:

I am thankful for the faith and trust I have in God. I know that whatever I plan for and whatever I aim at will be guided through His support. Faith gives me a sanctuary to accept challenges and over come them. Faith helps me accept peacefully what fate has designed for me. I do pray that I will always hold onto it as I progress in life, and be able to transfer this belief to my children.

2. Good health:

I am thankful I have all my five vital senses vivid and functional. Being able to read, write, enjoy food, and feel the beauty of life is a bliss by itself. It is true that we take these things for granted. Hence, exerting them without acknowledging this fact, and to only remember them when we lose them or when we are in pain, is shameful. However, that same pain that we sometimes experience, is also a blessing as it reminds us to appreciate the perfection of the human body.

3. My family:

I am thankful for the amazing gift of having my loving family which God bestowed me with. I am so lucky to have them in my life. In addition to having a warm house where we feel safe and sheltered, our home is loving and supportive. We are free to share our pains and fears, happiness and joy, sadness and disappointments – all the while knowing that we are there for each other. I would not have explored love or known the ecstasy of affection without each and every member of my family.

It is true that, like everybody else, we have our ups and downs, but it is through that kind of discomfort, we learn to stick together and solve our problems the best way we can.

4. Education:

I am thankful to have had the chance of earning a good education which has helped in quenching my endless thirst to knowledge. Moreover, through the right direction and guidance I have received, I was able to choose a profession that I truly enjoy.

Doing something that you rejoice in makes a person appreciate her work more. Hence, she becomes more productive.

5. Vacations and holidays:

I am thankful for the ability that we can travel, explore, and learn through our trips and journeys. Those moments are precious as we are able to enjoy our moments together, our children, our laughter – our bond!

Those ‘breaks’ help us get out of our speedy routine, and make us realize the importance of appreciating the given moment.

6. Technology:

I am thankful for the great inventions that were achieved across the years, with the most recent being the smart phones. Despite their negative aspects, my phone is the means through which I get in touch with my dear ones, and connect with people who can support me in my journey.

The relief I experience when I know that I can reach whomever I want by pressing a simple button, is gratitude by itself.

After all, whatever feelings I have can be easily shared with a close person, making the burden and discomfort evaporate.

By being grateful, people attract more positive vibes into their world. They create a cheerful and satisfied heart. They form a live soul filled with energy and ardor. Finally and most importantly, they reflect that exuberance towards others.

And you dear reader, what are you grateful for?

Education, Parenting

What Each of My Children Taught Me

The transformation that happens to a woman when she becomes a mom is something beyond words. The emotions she experiences are way beyond description, and the struggles she faces know no limits.
However, the things that a mom is not aware of are the endless lessons which she attains from her very own children.

So what has each of my five taught me?

My eldest D:
As I look back to that young mom in me, almost 13 years ago, I would smile and observe how much I have changed. I was six months pregnant with my first baby, and I was more than excited to that moment where I would finally wrap him in my arms, drinking in his scent.
I was still living in France back then, and life was not at its best. I was working as a full time teacher, I barely saw my husband due to the hectic work routine, I was homesick, and I felt bitter.
What killed me the most was the fact that I knew I had to keep my baby boy at a nursery at the age of 3 months and go back to work. I was simply not ready for that kind of separation and it tortured me to even think about him being taken care of by a complete stranger.
One night, I put my hand on my round tight belly and prayed with all the strength and faith I had, asking the Almighty to take us somewhere – just anywhere – away from the country. A month later, with happy tears streaming down my cheeks, I was packing to live in Abu Dhabi for a year – or that is what we thought would happen!
From that day on my first son has been my mentor in strengthening my faith and in believing that “To pray is to let go and let God take over.” And so He did!

Whenever I feel uncertain or worried about my big boy now, I know he has his own protectors and I humbly accept the difficult challenges I had when he was smaller.
Being a first time mom, back then, I thought that motherhood came with a manual where everything is perfectly set in place.

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First time mommy has taught me about strengths I never imagined I have. It taught me to endure physical and emotional pain. It empowered me in ways I did not imagine I would, and it made me more realistic than I have ever been.
With him, motherhood was a mysterious deep ocean filled with anxious wild rides through which I experimented all those new emotions with uncertainty. At the same time, I learned to capture unique successful moments through the tangled twists and turns which resulted in the mother I am now.

My 2nd Son R:
The arrival of our second son was a blissful moment. I was delighted to have two little buddies who were there for each other, play with one another, and take care of each other. As I knew that I would not stop at two kids, I welcomed being a mom of two boys with pride.

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Unlike the first time, I had a very smooth delivery filled with confidence and assurance. I even gave him his first bath, a few hours after delivery, knowing exactly what I was doing – not even looking at the nurse standing next to me.
Since the day he was born, I learned that a mom’s love is infinite and grows bigger and bigger with every additional child. That miraculous moment when a child breathes for the very first time and cries out, is just filled with a magical kind of love and gets repeated with every new child born.

My second son came to life with a thirst to learning and acquisition which taught me all about rationalism when it comes to parenting.
I learned that I could not force them to do what I want them to do. For children to learn to do things out naturally, they need to be convinced of its goodness and how well it serves them. It has to become a habit, a mode of living, and it is very difficult to attain. That is why, patience is the key. After all, it takes years of tears and trials for us to reap what we sowed.

I gradually learned to worry less as the frozen fears which I had, as a first time mom, slowly started to melt leaving greater space for me to enjoy them more. It was then that I quickly realized that children grow way too fast, and I wanted to make the best out of motherhood, in the finest way possible. I was more than happy to realize that I was no longer that apprehensive mommy.

My Third Son S:
I experienced the real joy of motherhood with the presence of my third boy. His addition brought me an extra mile of satisfaction. I was more confident, patient, mature, and I somehow knew more about the impulsive traps of parenting.
Being alone with him at home, while the other two went to school, he soon became my companion and my buddy. I spent such precious moments with him, and when the other two came back home, that joy was automatically transferred to them.
My Third, clarified the idea of being easy going and of not judging myself too much. He taught me of being happy for the mere fact of having them with me. His buoyant character and self confidence made me appreciate the presence of my three little boys beyond words. I was so grateful for that contentment which I truly feel to this very moment.

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Moreover, I learned to take any failure as a learning opportunity, just like them. I also became more focused on expressing my love towards them, and I deliberately attained the art of apologizing when I make mistakes or behave in a negative way.

The Twins:

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The birth of the twins was a simple reflection of life’s endless miracles, the faultlessness of human formation, and the perfection of how God deciphers His astuteness through us.
I confess I did not really get the chance to fully rejoice motherhood with them, as I wanted to be completely present with each one of them. Of course many are the times when that was not possible. It is then that I accepted the fact that aiming at being the ideal mom would leave me frustrated and hopeless. Slowly, I redirected myself into focusing on the present moment and dealt with what needed to be done first.
The first few months were tough on every one at home. We felt we were all moving in different directions, but the support system I had back then, reduced those worries and made me more focused.

So prioritising my duties according to what suits them best was the key for me to overcome that period.
Finally, the twins’ presence, despite the differences in character, made me aware of the precious bond these two beings have. The love and affection they feel towards one another is unimaginable. Their bond is so pure and true, and the delight they pour into our hearts is heavenly.

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It is really true that “While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.”

With my five I learned all about the ironic feelings of motherhood ranging from hopelessness to success, from acceptance to change, and from certainty to ambiguity. I learned all about perseverance, resilience, fear, guilt, and pride. I also learned about that unconditional love that drives us crazy many times a day. That is why, I will never cease to learn from them, and try my best to exert my patience in the best way possible in order for us to enjoy this period of time together.

What has your child taught you?

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Please share this post on your social media as it helps us connect with other moms and keep the learning opportunities wider.

Poems by me

My Faith

Out in the river I could see

Golden light shimmering with glea,

I held my breath and gazed

With this beauty I was amazed.

Nature is so perfect, so pure

It is my harmony, my silence, my cure

And if you listen carefully,

That silence is so godly.

The flawless light led me through

Preparing me to what is True!

Suddenly, it carried me in midair,

Making me aware

And opening my eyes,

Just to make me observe and realise,

That things change, and people leave

What remains is what you believe;

Faith, my ultimate weapon,

Is my guard, my armor, where I could summon;

Hope,

That secures me like a rope.

Strength and Power,

To face misfortunes of the hour.

Comfort and Peace,

Where my trust continues to increase.

Yet holding evenly to Faith is dense and hard on my soul,

As if I’m carrying hot burning charcoal.

As I am human after all,

And many are the times when I do fall.

Yes, I am far from perfect or supreme

I do have my sins, my guilt and misdeeds!

I sometimes feel weak and broken in two,

I get shattered not knowing what to do.

Sometimes I am hopeless and forlorn.

Poisonous anger pricking inside me like thorn…

Other times I feel empty and bare

Leaving me shiver with despair.

Oh that ego and its own bitter self

It just takes me away from the real Wealth…

But then I remember that perfect Light,

So I pull myself up tight.

Dwelling in that Faith of mine

Making it again my shrine.

It is then that I regain my serenity

And feel the One and His joyful unity!

I do pray that I honestly and deliberately…

deserve that ultimate Tranquility.

Rania Hussant

Oct. 2017