Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A child First Steps

My son just started a summer camp. Its his first ever school setup. He is 4. I know its very late by some standards for a child to go to school or any such place, but to me it felt right. It is taking him some time to adjust to being around strangers and a new environment without his mother. Yes he is taking his time. If I agree to the policy of the many schools  (and the one he is attending) here of how the child settles in his new environment is not the point of this post. Its going to be a rant and i want to dedicate a special place for that.

What i want to share with the world right now are my little soldier first steps to being independent. Yes i know very well he started taking them as soon as he was out of my lap and on to the floor crawling away from me. But they were still in his own world, familiar to him, known to him, around the people he trusted and cared for and knew were there to hold him if he fell. But this time he took his steps out in the world that is foreign, strange and scary.

These first steps are indeed like the ones Armstrong took on the moon.One small step for the rest of the world. Big Giant leaps for my Baby and Me. Yes me as well. The thought of writing this post came to me because i am sitting here on my computer since the time he has gone wondering what he will be doing? Is he happy? Is he Sad? Is he enjoying the work the school is giving him?? Is he comfortable with what he is dealing with? and just then it strikes me. This is what my mom must be doing since i went to school ( shorter period of time) then college (slightly longer time), Uni ( much longer) and finally married and no longer with her. Today i completely understand what my mom goes through and has been going through all her life.

My child has taken his steps toward the world. Exploring and learning from it alone. I know as a parent thats my biggest job. To prepare my child for this world. But how hard it is for the parent, who has dedicated all his thoughts and time for his child. Does the worry ever goes away? Does the parents ever stops wondering what my child is doing? How is he doing? I am hoping and praying that my son will not take a lot of time settling in to this new change in his life but i wonder if I ever will?

Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Rendevous: "An evening with Productivity"

This weekend i went to an event organized by a non profit group called YIG.... there Facebook page is this: http://www.facebook.com/groups/148229451861219/ Mashallah the work they do for the community are commendable and i would urge you guys to take part in such activities....


     They had held an evening called "productive Muslim Saudi seminar" at the Jeddah chamber of commerce. They had invited a speaker named Mohammed ......... founder and CEO of productive Muslim website that aims in providing Muslims tips and information on how to become a productive member not just for themselves but for the society and Muslim Ummah too.










        The venue was 11th floor of Jeddah chamber of commerce. The room had beautiful Saudi Traditional D├ęcor. We were provided with our name tags, a copy of the slides, copy of some very interesting articles and recommendations. The seminar kick started at around 5:30 pm. It was an open event for male, female and kids who can follow what the speaker is talking about.












       We discussed about


  • physical productivity
  • spiritual productivity
  • focus management
  •  beating procrastination


   During the seminar there were sooo many times that you would feel that he is talking about your life. How we have made our lives "look busy" kind without having any productive meaning to it. How we are leading it in the complete opposite of what the Quran and Sunnah tells us about our lives.




All in all it was an extremely useful seminar. Have i changed my lifestyle.... NO.... not yet ... but the Seminar definitely gave me tools through which i do hope to bring in the positive changes in my life as well as in the lives of people around me INSHALLAH......


Please do check out their face book page: http://www.facebook.com/productivemuslim
Website: www.productivemuslim.com  

They hope to do more of these kind of seminars and i hope to attend them and would ask you guys to join too....  


Keep watching the space..... more good things on its way :)




Some shots of our beloved Jeddah from 12th floor of the building :P..... It looked Amaziiinggggggg :)





Sunday, April 22, 2012

Monday Rendevous: Fun in the Sun

Last weekend I took my first cruise trip in the Red Sea... I have been in Red Sea for boating, jet ski and even once crossed it to go to the Egypt but this time around it was different. 
The cruise was arranged by a group of young adventurers that goes by the name of Jeddah Backpacks and they keep on arranging different kind of activities and events all year round. One of the very good things i like about them is that they try to have these events for a cause, be it helping cancer patient, or helping needy ppl in and around Jeddah. 


                                                                 Cruise  for a Cause - Help the poor in Makkah 


We set out on the adventure quite early in the morning.... Meeting point was at Marsa Alahlaaam around 6 am.. And for our own surprise we managed to get there by 6.15am.. Now i had seen this Marsa Alahlaam  place from outside but never had a chance of going inside and  believe me its quite a sight... Lets just say i wouldn't recommend any single ladies to ever go there on their own :)....
We boarded the ship and almost around 8.00am we started our journey into the red sea. Before we started we all signed a liability clearance paper since many of the ppl on board were going to swim, scuba dive and dive.  




Popped in some sea sickness tablets and away we gooo!!! 




 It took us almost 1 hour to get to the spot for diving but then i think it took us another 45 min. to get the right location where the anchor could reach the ground properly.





 Since i don't know how to swim ( nd trust me i have tried learning many times :S) , there was no chance of me going anywhere near the water... But seeing other ppl all geared up and excited to go into the sea, made up for my disappointment of not being able to do these activities :) I did see lots of jelly fish though so i am counting that as looking into the sea ;)!!        




 The weather was perfect.... beautiful sea breeze... shining sun.... relaxed atmosphere.... away from your hustling bustling thoughts.. just pure peace.... For a moment i thought how amazing it would feel to wake up every day to this feeling..... but then the thought of the deadly sea based movies like Jaw, deep blue sea...even Titanic was enough for me to wish back for my land life :)      




 We stayed in the sea for almost 2 hours and had plans of going to another location and try our hands on some fishing but for some reason we couldn't do that.





We got back to the dock around 3.00pm. It was a really nice experience... filled with good company and good food. I do hope to be among those who went in the sea and not just watched other ppl doing all the fun stuff but for now i am content with what i was able to do :)....  


     This is the link through which i get to know about these events... 
I do hope that all of you who are here for long time or short get to experience the Red Sea 
this way....  


Keep watching the space.....more good things on its way :)                      
                   

Friday, April 20, 2012

Pregnancy Saturdays:Pregnancy and Superstitions

This to me I have seen is the norm of life. Whenever u have a good news there are almost many superstitions attached to it. They may be because we are constantly hearing things like after every sorrow comes a happiness or every cloud has a sliver lining but it vice verse tells us that it can be the other way round too. Nothing is permanent so every time we are happy, joyous , successful we are in fear of losing it.




In my desi culture we are in a constant fear of the Evil eye. According to Wikipedia,  "The evil eye is a look that is believed by many cultures to be able to cause injury or bad luck for the person at whom it is directed for reasons of envy or dislike. The term also refers to the power attributed to certain persons of inflicting injury or bad luck by such an envious or ill-wishing look". What is its significance in Islam I am not the one to ask. I do believe in it. For further info you can refer to these sites here and here. For a little fun and to what extent we overreact read it here. Then again i will repeat these are my opinions and please do your own research before following anything.


Anyways, even  though i do believe in the evil eye and i have seen that almost every culture does, I don't let it ride over my head most of the time. If i feel something bad is happening and something is wrong i pray to Allah and that's the end of it for me. But there many are superstitions attached when it comes to Pregnancies. Because in my culture and many more around the world one unit families are not that common, and in joint system families Pregnancy is not only related to the mother and father but lots of other people are involved. SO the more people the more superstitious and fears are attached to it  and i sometimes do understand the worry behind these superstitions. Who doesn't want to protect something so cute?


Here I will list some of the Superstitions a Desi mom might have to face.


The first three months are a hush hush period. I have read that this is common in most of the cultures. You are not suppose to announce the pregnancy to the extended members of the family or friends until the first trimester is over. The sensitivity of the first trimester might have started this superstition but why it started is something nobody knows but it is followed by many people still.


 Superstitions related to the sex of the baby is something else. The elder ladies of the house are mostly involved in these. Guessing what the sex might be by looking at the pregnant lady. If she is craving sweets, has gotten prettier and many other things like that, it is a boy. If the lady is craving salty and spicy stuff and has skin problems then it might be a girl. Such superstitions are found in many other cultures as well. You can have fun reading here.


Eclipse are another thing a pregnant woman has to be afraid of. She is not suppose to go outside or use a knife on that day as it may live a birthmark on the baby.  

In our culture we do not have Baby showers, although I personally think this is a very practical party for a mother-to-be but, we are not suppose to reveal to the world that what sex the bun in the oven is. This sometimes is extended to the extreme that the parents do not shop for the baby until it arrives. These things are changing a bit now. The younger moms do want to enjoy themselves and have fun. So we do see many baby showers now a days. 

Funerals, grave yards and walking alone in the dark are some of the things asked to avoid by the pregnant women. Evil spirits and all that.

Here are some more fun reads. looks for the one that says if a baby is born with teeth it might end up a vampire. 

For some around the world pregnancy superstitions read here.

This is all for fun. Do not take anything of this seriously. As we say these are only superstitions and not based on any truth. Please take care of yourself and pray to God and all will be well Inshallah. 
Take care.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fashion Wednesday: Spring Trend

"Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush."

Doug Larson 



I was in the Mall the other day and saw a lot of colors in the windows. Indicating very very Happily that the Spring is here. One of the latest trends i spotted were the colored skinny jeans.




They looked good on the mannequins but i don't know about the longevity of this trend.


Personally for me the regular jeans is the way to go. but if you do need to add some color to your wardrobe it would certainly be a colorful addition.


But if its something that is not your cup of tea as me there are many other options for your color fix.
The bright color trend is extended in all areas of accessories as well. But be careful when wearing them. Limit your bright to one or two pieces at a time.




The shoe stores windows were full of colors as well. the Ones that popped up for me were ALDO, Spring, NINE WEST. I saw a wide variety of colorful moccasins in Payless and Center Point as well.


My intersest these days is in finding a colorful sturdy bag that can easily double as a baby bag. So it needs to be big, have lots of pockets and yes Bright.















And what better way to add the spring colors if you wear Abaya or  Hijaab... Just use colored scarves :) You can get them very easily from any malls in Khobar and Jeddah and for cheaper option i always head to "Souuq Shatee" where you can get amazing variety of scraves.

 WE loveeeee colors..... nd as we showed you some of colored Abaya creations in our previous post..... not every one might be comfortable in doing so, maybe not even wearing a very colorful scarf... In that case adding a colorful brooch, or a colored under scarf can work for you. It will keep you comfortable as well as have you bring some kind of "springiness" in your look...     








You can also add colorful accessories like chunky bangles or a statement colored ring to your outfit or Abaya.





And last but not the least, if you want to follow the trend without breaking your bank just buy a new nail color.




The details for the nails color from here




Hope you enjoyed the post, Have a Fun, Bright and colorful Spring.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fashion Wednesday: Colorful Abayas

We have been in the Kingdom for quite sometime now. I have been told that there was a time in Saudi not that long ago when it was not obligatory to wear an abaya. I have many of my baby pics with my mom in a park in Riyadh with no abaya. The desi clothing we wear, the shalwar and qameez are in my opinion if not very fitted are very hijab friendly.

      Anyways, I dont know exactly but its in the early eighties when it became obligatory for every woman      ( dont know if its a written law anywhere but they do enforce it strictly) in the Kingdom to wear an abaya. The strictness of wearing the headscarf, I have seen varies from city to city. I havent seen Mutawwa or the vice police roaming the roads or the malls in Jeddah. maybe once or twice in my entire life there. And even then they weren't directly talking to a woman, they were just saying aloud to everyone to cover up.   I know that its  really really strict in Riyadh you can read the stories here. I know for sure its much more strict in other cities of KSA. In a mall in Hail. the mutawa are ALWAYS present and you HAVE to cover even your face. Khobar is another story. In the past three years, i havent seen many mutawwa out and about. I have seen westerners without an abaya or a headscarf in the malls in dahran. But yes I was once caught up by one. I was wearing  a very plain cotton abaya the only thing different in it was it was Purple. I was coming out of a shop and my husband was stopped by the vice GMC. they told him that your wife is not wearing an abaya as an abaya is suppose to be black.

       I am not an expert on Islam or How we should be covering up, or how much we should be covering up. I do know that it is left to the person in question. Modesty is the First rule in clothing in men and women alike, followed by no skin showing and the clothes being lose. The rest is between me and my Allah. I didn't get the Abaya being only black part much either. An abaya (outer covering) is suppose to help me cover myself up but what color it should be and how it should be made is not dictated. I do not like myself to be  lost in the sea of black. I do not like to be the black ghost either. I posted about this matter awhile back here.

 For that me and my sister have come up with some new abaya ideas. We wanted them to be simple, modest and not over  the top but it let us be the individuals we are ( helps my husband spot me in the mall when i am drooling over the jeweler store window as well).










Do tell what you think of them, We had made some dark colored abayas as well. Will show you those soon as well.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Rendevous: An evening of cultural exchange

As i mentioned in my previous post about Jeddah, it has become quite a trendy and a happening place over the decade.... Lots of activities, seminars, lectures etc take place but its still usually done on a low key. So in order to know about them you need to be linked to the right social network.

        I was able to attend two of such gatherings during the last weekend. One was a documentary screening and the other one was a talk i attended. Both will have their separate entries.

        Oook...let's talk about the Documentary screening. I got to know about it through different groups i had joined on f.book. I'll post all their links at the bottom of the post. The name of the documentary was called "Home: The Aramco Brats Story"... For people outside Saudia who don't know what Aramco might be, its an American company that has been helping Saudi Arabia with it Petroleum production since 1933.

            The screening was held in the Jeddah cultural exchange center who work hard in arranging special tours of Jeddah to make you understand more about the beautiful and unique culture of this place. You may visit them at http://www.jcec.com.sa/.



        The best part of the screening was that it was done on a roof top and the weather of Jeddah played its beautiful part in making the evening very pleasant. The movie as the name suggests was about group of ppl who had worked and grown up in Aramco and how living there has shaped up the rest of their lives.

         I was able to make lots of connection with the movie since i have lived in this country for almost lets say my whole life till now, but while watching it you do tend to wonder that group of ppl in the documentary, even though were mentioning the name of Saudi Arabia lots of time, they didn't get to see, meet and truly feel the taste of the country or the culture because of a) living in the compound and b) just the nature of this country. It wasn't only  my opinion but of many other ppl who were there. The movie does showcase what amazingggggggg benefit you can get by working and living in Aramco city but had lacked in giving you the taste of the country and how Saudi Arabia plays the part in their growing up.

    But then i guess Saudi Arabia is a country where even though you might be able to find ppl of all different backgrounds and nation but still they all tend to live in their own bubbles. Well at least thats what ppl i spoke to at the event talked about the most.

       So, if you have lived in Saudi Arabia, or in Aramco compounds or has some interest in knowing about it, it is a good watch.

You can order a copy from here http://bratstory.com/inv_order.html or maybe try to look it up on youtube.

          As for the event, we all were fed well after the documentary was finished by lovely snacks. I think a little discussion session after the movie would have been nicer.






        But nevertheless, it was a beautiful evening,  well organized and spent with very beautiful group of people. Organizations working behind this event was JCEC, Sussie ( from Sussie of arabia; a blog i have been following for a long time and was soo excited to see Sussie there!!! ), Jeddah heart, Nomad & Arabian Jewels. Links are listed below.... Defiantly check them out to stay updated on more happenings around Jeddah and what these organizations are upto :)

Stay tuned.....more good stuff on its way...:)

http://susiesbigadventure.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nomad-%D8%B1%D8%AD%D8%A7%D9%84/189283504453691
http://nomadarabia.com/
http://www.facebook.com/arabian.jewel
http://www.facebook.com/JeddahsHeart?ref=ts  

Friday, April 6, 2012

Friday's Kitchen..... Mr: Basboosa :)

Hello ladies,
    Few of you would know my love of Basboosa. An Arabic sweet dish tht look like a cake but doesn't taste like tht at all..infact it tastes much much yummier than ny cake... At least in my opinion :)


This love affair started almost more than a decade agoe when i had it for the 1st time at a frnd  house and it took  almost a decade of failed attempts to make me realize that i should go straight to the source who had introduced it to me.


        So lots of  weekends ago that's what i did. And here is the secret recipe right at ur disposal :)


U need is:

  • A very preety looking cup (we will be using this cup as a measurment cup for all the other ingredients)
  • 2 cups semolina
  • 1 cup coconut powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
Later for the topping:
  • one cup sugar to make sugar syrup
  • 1 cup condensed milk
  • 2 Tbsp pan dry fried semolina  

  
Pre heat the oven to 220 degrees. Now mix all the dry ingredients and then add the wet ingredients in them. The mix should look not very runny not too thick. Try to take a big oven tray so tht the mix is no more then 2cm thick. If you don't have one any baking tray would work. Just your Basboosa would be thick. Bake till its light brown.
  Now for the topping, boil the 1 cup sugar in half cup water and make a sugar syrup out of it. When your Basboosa comes out the tray pour it over. Its better to pour when the syrup is cool and the Basboosa Hot!! Then spread the condense milk on top. It gives the Basboosa sweetness as well as a gloss to it. U can sprinkle the pan fried semolina now on top. You can also decorate it with almonds, pistacho or wlanuts. Your choice and Volaaaa....... Enjoyyyyyyyy!!






Beware: Its not good for ur waist line cuz once it hits ur taste buds....u keep going for it until you r not able to scrape the baking tray any more :)



Plzzz....if by ny chance any of u do try to give it a try....would loveeeeee to c ny pics. or ny feed backs :)!!!


Keep watching the space.......more good stuff on its way ;P
   

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Fashion Wednesday: Revamp your Abaya

Today's Fashion Wednesday is all about Jazzing up your plain old abayas. These days the jersey abayas are quite in fashion, but most of them are simple. They work well for everyday errands and strolling the malls.But if you have a party to go to where we cant take our abayas off or a little coffee morning where we would love to be a little more then just simple and plain. For those occasions you can turn your abayas from plain old boring to completely bedazzling in just a few moments and without spending more then 20sr which is the way the desi's love to work cheap, quick and fabulous.

so these are some of the things we need to jazz up our look. 


It consist of an earring, one crystal broach, some random buttons and thread and needle

So tranformation no1.

You can easily attach the earring to the sleeves of the abaya using a thread and needle and sew it on. You can attach them with safety pins as well for less permanent look and easy removal.

   
In this one the crystal broach has been attached to the center of the abaya for a little bedazzling. It changes its look completely. And now you have one abaya and two looks for it. More broaches can be added to acheive a more formal look like for a wedding or something.

In short all your lost earring counterparts can be useful now. Just play around with the looks a little and have fun. Will keep you posted with more transformations in the future. 


Cheerios.