Hidden Gem in Al Maadi, Cairo

If you are an expat family living in the old area of Maadi, one of the things that you might notice right away, is the difficulties of finding any public playgrounds for kids to play.  One of the hardest transitions for me, has been the lack of public green spaces for kids to burn off their energy.  Everything here seems to be privatized, where you need to pay an expensive membership in order to belong to any sporting clubs. There are a couple of public places where you have to pay a small fee but it might not be in the best of conditions and/or safe for kids to play in. Egypt does not have many public green spaces but in old Maadi you can find areas with gorgeous villas surrounded by exotic and local plants, trees and a couple of facilities that offer play areas for kids.

I found this literally hidden gem (since there are no signs at the door) online while searching for kid’s friendly coffee places. I came across Osana Family Welness or what I like to call “the pink door” or “the place” and fell absolutely in love with the place.

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The Osana Family center is a facility that focuses on holistic approaches to health, mainly through many types of yoga, massages, acupuncture, facial and they even take care of your psychological health with couple therapy and many more. On their website, under their vision statement Osana said;

Osana aims to take holistic living to new horizons within the local community. By facilitating wellness in all its forms, we promote a lifestyle that exists beyond its walls and hope to assist those pursuing a wholesome life in achieving it.

This place also has great, fresh, organic, healthy food all made from a chef in house but most importantly they sell one of the best coffees in the area.

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My favorite part about Osana is the openness, it is surrounded by greenery and various spaces to sit and chill with a playground and a sand pit where kids can play away. To top it off, you don’t have to pay any entrance fee which is so rare around this area and the security guy at the gate is the most genuine and helpful person I’ve met at a working place thus far. Osana has a great working culture where all employees are qualified and trained to deal with customers with respect and in a polite way.

This is a truly special place and  no wonder why it is gaining it’s popularity and success through word of mouth. I can go on and on, talking wonders about this place that you would think I am getting payed for. The truth is, I have all the respect for a business that carters towards the overall well being of its community.

If you are in the area than come by and see all the hype for yourself. Make sure you check out their website Osana Welness Center. If you think they don’t offer what you want, at bare minimal, it is a place where you are literally chill, read a book and enjoy nature in this chaotic, brick jungle.

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30 Things I’ve learned in 30 years

My birthday is coming up very soon and since I’ve been having lots of contractions on and off , I don’t think I will last until my due day month of August. I thought I would share what I’ve learned in my 30 years. It will not be in any order, it will be just random thoughts that pop into my head as I write. I just hope I can think of 30 things. Here we go!

  1. My mamma always told me in Portuguese, “You catch bees with honey.” This saying has many interpretations but what I took from it is, to be kind, it will take your further than rudeness.
  2. Being patient does not mean you sit around waiting for something to happen. You have to work hard even if it means waiting forever to see the outcome of your hard work.
  3. Crying and letting your emotions out does not mean you are weak, it means you have courage to deal and confront with your problems and emotions.
  4. Mothers are always right! My mamma told me I will understand her when I have kids of my own and oh boy was she right about that!
  5. My crown is my hijab. I wear my faith on my head and there is nothing more powerful than that. It keeps me in check and conscious of my every action.
  6. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. First impressions are not the most important at all. Great people can pass right by you because of misjudging at first glance.
  7. Everyone has a story worthy of telling. Worldly problems can be solved through story telling, we would soon discover how similar we are than different.
  8. You can’t change the world but you can work in changing yourself and hopefully something good will come out of it.
  9. Things never happen according to our plans. It doesn’t mean we can’t work hard towards our goals and dreams. But I strongly believe that God has a better plan than we do. There are things that we want right now that can actually harm us, if our plans are shifted by God’s will it’s for a purpose.
  10. If something is meant to cross your journey it will and if it is not meant it will not.
  11. Never assume! So much negativity comes out from assuming something of someone or situation. The truth is only God knows our true intentions and if we don’t ask because we assume we know everything than we stay in a stage of ignorance.
  12. The best stories come from our elderly friends. Truly they are like libraries, if we do not communicate with them, we miss out on a lot of experiences, expertise and knowledge.
  13. To take care of your health. Health is best richness we will ever have. Health is worth more than money. We shouldn’t take health for granted and try to take care our body, mind and soul as much as we can.
  14. Society has undertaken the value of a mother. Being a stay at home mother is viewed as a failure in life and a waste of time. Stay at home mothers don’t get the same respect as a women who establishes her career and is aggressive in the workforce.
  15. Societies that value and support motherhood are overall a more successful society. Take some European countries as an example, such as, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands ect. look at their crime rates and quality of life.
  16. Peace and tranquility lies in the remembrance of God and not in beautiful island far away.
  17. Men and women are not created equal that doesn’t mean we are not equally important and valued. I should not strive to be the same as men nor should I want to strive to be like a men for the sake of his manhood but for his motives and accomplishments. Giving men the standard of what a women should strive for is just reiterating that women are inferior and to be superior like them, we should work to be the same as them.
  18. A person’s self value does not come by the things one has or achievements but rather by ones intentions and good action.
  19. What use does knowledge have if one uses for evil?
  20. Knowledge is everywhere it is not restricted by standard education.
  21. You may look to your right and find someone who is in much better situation than you but if you look to your left you will find someone else in a worst situation. Be grateful.
  22. Look for the things that you do have and not what you don’t have.
  23. Don’t take your mood out on people. This is actually very hard for me because I can’t control my emotions very well, whether its anger, sadness or happiness so I tend to act the way I feel but the reality is, no one deserves to be treated unkindly only because we are not having a good day.
  24. Everything has it’s time. Another one that is hard for me as well. We might see everyone else successful around us while we are stuck in a puddle but we don’t know what the future has installed for us.
  25. There is no such thing as a picture perfect. What we see in the exterior might not be what we really think it is. Doesn’t mean someone that looks happy in the exterior is actually in a stage of contentment.
  26. This wordily life is not meant to find happiness it is meant to find God and our purpose in this life.
  27. Kids are not a burden they are a blessing. I am tired of hearing how expensive and time consuming kids are. There is nothing more worthy in this world than passing along your legacy and hard work that one puts towards raising your kids.
  28. Let go a bit! I used to pride myself of being spontaneous and going with the flow. Now, I feel I am very controlling and have to organize my time. Although, I believe it is good to have some sort of organization in your life, it is important to let go of things and try to enjoy unpredictable moments.
  29. Traveling is the most enlightening experience in the world.
  30. Spend your money wisely. Oh how I wish I could take my own advise!

Wow, I can’t believe I made it to number 30 and I can’t wait to have 60/70/80 and 90 more tricks under my sleeve. Let me know what were some of your life’s biggest lessons. I would love to learn from you.

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Ramadan 2017-Day 8

I was not planning on posting anything today but since insomnia is beating my behind I decided “why not” make my lack of sleep useful.

I want to write a post about the difference between Ramadan in the States and in Egypt but to be honest I feel quite lazy to do so. Instead, I am just going to pour my feelings out and I will be very raw about it.

Today was no doubt the hardest fast ever. Fasting is a wonderful experience both physical and spiritual but it doesn’t make it less hard. In fact, I love fasting and everything that comes with it so much that I decided to give it a go even being 7 months pregnant.

Ramadan is not just about fasting, it’s also about detoxifying yourself from all the bad from this world. It is about building a true connection with your Creator by establishing sincere acts of worship and always calling your Creator in your prayers. It is a clean slack, where if you are completely true to your intentions and actions during this month than hopefully God will forgive all of our sins. It is the time to prioritize what is the most important thing in our lives and try to fix and eliminate our bad habits. During this time, Muslims not only fast but they pray more with extra sincerity, they call upon God more throughout the day and try to be as conscious as possible of our behavior and intentions.

It is all easy said than done especially when you have two toddlers who happen to always make their mom extra tired when she is already tired. It seems like children love to test their parents limits when they are in their absolute worst mood. But in fact is that we as parents are also humans and need to sometimes plug out.

I was my worst self, the self that I don’t like and my kids are not happy about it either. I was completely aware that my behavior was affecting my kid’s behavior as well. However, for some reason I was not able to switch off even though I really wanted to. Today, I just wanted to hand my kids to one of their family members and just take an one hour rest.

The truth of the matter, everyone in Egypt is exhausted. This country is not an easy one to live in for most Egyptians not to mention for an foreigner who is stuck in very authentic Egyptian life without any language resources. I think the language, culture and having to lean on someone to always help you in the simplest to the toughest of the problems is what is making this experience a very tough one. I can’t solve most of my problems so things just keep on adding on and on until I become an emotional rack.

If you are reading this from the Western world than you must be thinking right now “poor girl, I wish I was there to rescue you”. However, leaving here a little more than a year, all of my problems seem to be minuscule to most people in Egypt. In fact, I do feel very blessed as I have seen so much despair in this country and the world. The horrendous acts in Syria, the constant perseverance of the Palestinian people and knowing that there are people today all around the world that go to sleep and wake up hungry. Countless people who have lost everything due to natural disaster catastrophes and those who live in slums that don’t have access to clean water, food and medical treatment.

No matter how bad my day was today and I am sure I will have many other bad ones. I still feel blessed that my days are mostly affected my tiredness, hormonal changes, pregnancy moods ect. Ramadan is not about being perfect and setting perfect expectations, to me it is about being honest and striving to improve always. The one thing I want to get out of Ramadan the most is always leaning on God to help me with my problems and to trust what he has destined for my journey in this life.

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