September 30, 2013

Weekly Wishes #3

I am really awful at keeping up with the weekly wishes post featured on The Nectar Collective. I am a week behind but it's ok. Better late than never, right?

Ok so my wishes for the last time I posted were as follows.
  1. Work out minimum of 4 days. I did really well last week and I want to keep the momentum going. If I can make it to the gym 4 times at least, I will be super happy. 
I am proud to say I kicked butt with this. I went to the gym exactly 4 days and I feel awesome.

   2.  Prepare all the activities for my kids ahead of time and have it all planned out. This was my  challenge this week and I want to be more organized and not run around trying to come up with stuff for them. 
This was also a success this week. I got my act together and prepped and it really made life a lot easier. Wohooo. Still have a ways to go but I am getting there. 

3.Stick to my 30 days cleanse. I cheated and had cake this week. I think I will re-start the 30 days and my goal is to make it through the next week without cheating. I was doing so well!!! I just want to commit to something and follow through completely.

I did pretty an ok job. I didn't have anything super bad for me, just 2 pumps of white mocha in my ice shaker at Starbucks. I won't beat myself up over that. As far as I am concerned I am still on track. Even though the pounds aren't melting away as fast as I would like, I feel good and healthy so I guess that is more important. 

My wishes/goals for this upcoming week are: 

1. Work out, work out, work out.  I will go to the gym 4 days.

2. I want to focus on my spending habits. I tend to be a little too free with my debit and credit cards and I don't need it to get out of control. I will put them away and only use cash that I have allotted myself for the week. Once it's gone, khallas. No more spending.

 That's it. I think those are pretty lofty goals. Inshallah I will have a great week!

September 28, 2013

A Different Kind of Wedding

Thursday afternoon I was at Starbucks awaiting the arrival of my coffee date when my phone rang.
It was a friend, a Somalian lady I had met a few months ago when she filled in for the school nurse.
She was super sweet and spunky and we hit if off immediately. We became instant friends and have been since then.

The reason for her call was to invite me to a wedding THAT night. Despite the short notice, I gladly accepted. I am always up to experience something new. I had never been to a Somalian, Muslim wedding before.

It was a bit tricky getting ready for the occasion. What do you wear to a Muslim wedding?
To complicate matters it was UAE wedding which meant blinged-outness. I knew everyone would be dressed up and sparkly.
I had nothing to suit the bill but that wasn't going to stop me from going.
My friend assured me that I could wear whatever I wanted but still, you just don't want to inadvertently offend anyone so I knew that it had to be somewhat modest.

I had a couple options but went with this dress that I had picked up at the Loft over the summer. I had a shawl for back-up.

The wedding was really interesting.
First of all there were no men for the first four hours.
The ladies arrived at the designated time to eat, dance and mingle. This is the time they can totally let loose; they take off the shaylas (head scarf) and Abayas and dance it up.
A couple hours later the bride arrived. It literally took her 30 minutes to get from the door to the beautifully decorated stage.

She had to stop every two minutes to have her train rearranged and have her picture taken.

They played a lot of Somalian and Arabic music. It was fun watching the girls do the Arabic and Somalian dances.
This went on for about two hours before the signal was made that the groom and the men were coming. The ladies quickly threw on the abayas and shaylas. They are super quick and very ninja like, it always makes me laugh at how quickly they can get back into character.

The men all came in in grand procession.
They were lots of greetings and posing for pictures.
After all of that was complete,the groom and bride had their first dance. Then they were joined by their friends and family. Loads of dancing and fun.
The cutting of the cake was left for the end. No kiss...and no actual  exchange of the vows.
Apparently that comes later, maybe the next day. Oh I might be wrong, may have missed that part when my friend was explaining to me how it works. Ooops.

I am happy I went. I got to experience a new culture and met some really lovely girls. They've already invited me to the next wedding.
Inshallah, I can make it.

P.S. Here are a couple photos of me and the girls.

September 24, 2013

The Bright Side

Often times when it seems like everything is going wrong in your life, it is super easy to focus on the negative but you can choose to look for what is going well instead.

Finding even the smallest morsel of hope in the darkness can make a huge difference in your attitude and your outlook.

Today I am doing just that. Here are just a few of the things that I am thankful for.

1. An amazing cappuccino when you need a caffeine fix.

2. Apple TV so that I can watch my favorite tv shows without the hassle of always connecting my laptop to the tv. Multitasking made easier. Winning!

3. My mom because her love knows no borders or boundaries. 

4. Extra Virgin Coconut Oil because it makes everything taste ah-mazing. Oh and it serves double duty as a moisturizer for my hair and skin. 

September 23, 2013

Back in the Wagon...2nd Attempt at Paleo

This week I restarted my Paleo journey.
I was doing really well the past 3 weeks and lost almost 10 pounds.
Then this weekend the girls and I went to a Churascura and all went downhill.  It wouldn't have been so bad because there was so much meat and that's very Paleo, ok maybe not so much 'cause I wasn't paying attention to the cuts of meat to make sure they were lean. Oops
They had these yummy cheese bread rolls and I had to try them. Also, when you spend that much money you want to get all you can out of it. 
I had to try the rice and beans and there was cheese.  Had to have some of that and desserts of course.
So I ate a little too much. Needless to say I did not feel great, physically or otherwise.
I decided that I needed to get back on the wagon. I really love the way my body feels when I am eating Paleo. I don't feel like I am starving to death all the time. I have energy and I can sleep well. The weight loss is of course the icing on the cake (which I can't have by the way...I will miss cake). 

For dinner last night I made mashed Cauliflower with Organic Butter.
I served it with Baked Salmon and Green Beans.
Tonight I served up some Shrimp and Veggies with the last bit of Mashed Cauliflower. 
Everything was delish and I feel better already.
My goal is to make it through the next 28 days.  
I want to do a full cleanse of no processed foods. Then I will reintegrate some carbs like quinoa and maybe chick peas. 
Inshallah I will do it. 
Sauteed Shrimp with Veggies and Mashed Cauliflower.
Baked Salmon with Green Beans and Mashed Cauliflower.

September 19, 2013

Weekly Wishes #2

Wow week three of school is done and gone.
Time waits for no one.

Speaking of time, I can't believe that a whole year of me living here has actually passed already.
Year two is well under way and I am still happy that I made the move. No regrets.

I am participating in the weekly wishes link up on the Nectar Collective.

So here are my wishes/goals for next week.

  1. Work out minimum of 4 days. I did really well last week and I want to keep the momentum going. If I can make it to the gym 4 times at least, I will be super happy.
  2. Prepare all the activities for my kids ahead of time and have it all planned out. This was my challenge this week and I want to be more organized and not run around trying to come up with stuff for them. 
  3. Stick to my 30 days cleanse. I cheated and had cake this week. I think I will re-start the 30 days and my goal is to make it through the next week without cheating. I was doing so well!!! I just want to commit to something and follow through completely. 

That's it folks. I am looking forward to reporting my successes next Friday.

September 13, 2013

Me and my 'Fro

The weekend is upon us and I for one, am super happy.
This past week seemed to have slipped by so quickly but you won't hear me complaining, no siree.

I spent last night taking out my braids and freeing my 'fro. Yay! Feels so good to have her back.
I am smiling here because I am happy, my 'fro is free and behaving like I want.

I am sad because I think one side of my face is collapsing, like something is seriously wrong with half of my face. Look on the photo above and notice that fold of flesh on my cheek that seems to be taking over my face. Notice that deep line? That wasn't there before. Yikes!!!

My hair has grown a bit but of course you can't tell because after I washed it, it recoiled and shrank. Boo!!!
Oh well, such is the plight of the natural girl.

Life otherwise is good. Driving was way better this week.
I even went out to meet up with a friend for tea at the mall. Go me!
Oh a really sweet friend from work gave me flowers because she saw me navigating my way home on the highway and she said she felt so proud of me.
It was one of the nicest things someone has ever done just because.

my lovely flowers

I am looking forward to spending the rest of my weekend just relaxing and maybe getting some reading done.

Wishing you guys a wonderful and safe weekend.


September 8, 2013

Hello and Good-bye

Arc de Triomphe- Paris

Howdy folks, Happy Sunday!!!
This post is a quickie. Just popping in to say hey.

Today was the first day of school for the kids.
I was so happy to see my little ones, they haven't changed much. I thought that maybe they would have sprouted a few more inches but they are still super tiny.
Two of my faves aren't coming back, they're gone to private schools. Sadness.

I am looking forward to this year, hopefully I will get them speaking more English and beginning to read. That would be beyond amazing.

Driving has gotten much better, thanks to God.
I woke up on Saturday and decided to get my butt in the car and go to the grocery store. I felt such a sense of accomplishment, lol. The little things.

Later that day Khadijah had me chauffeur her around  town to get some errands done. It was great practice for me and I felt a lot more confident on the road.

The drive to work was a million times better today and my nerves were not in control of me.

Khallas, that is it for me today. I am so tired. Spent too many hours this weekend laminating and cutting stuff. Sigh....the life of a teacher.

Wishing you all a wonderful and blessed upcoming week.

September 6, 2013

Facing my Fears

Hey friends, Happy Friday!!!

Weekends are awesome aren't they?
After a long week, it feels great to just relax, put your feet up and chill.

I had a really rough week, probably the roughest I have had to deal with in a long time.

I mentioned in my last post that I got a car and I've been driving myself to work.
It has been extremely challenging because of my fear of driving. I literally battled with fear the entire week and thankfully with loads of praying it is going away.

There were many nights last week when I didn't sleep. The thought of getting into the car and behind the wheel caused a tight giant knot to form in my belly. My thoughts revolved around getting to work and back safely and alive. I could hardly think of anything else.
It was terrible.
The almost fender bender (not my fault) I had didn't help matters. God was on my side and nothing happened but I had an emotional meltdown when I got home. I sat in my living room sobbing like a baby.
The stress was just too much to handle at that point.

I called my mom and had her pray with me and immediately I felt a sense of relief. I won't say that the fear is completely gone, but I feel way better about driving.
I was able to sleep and I didn't think about driving as much as I did at the beginning of the week.

The positive side to last week's experience is that I feel myself drawing closer to God. Sometimes it takes us getting to a place where we feel absolutely powerless to feel his true power. I sought comfort in his words.
I have a bracelet my mom gave me when I went home in the summer. It has Psalm 91 vs 10 inscribed on it.
It says "No evil shall befall you, or come near your dwelling".
I repeat this to myself every time I feel fearful. This is a promise from God that he will take care of me and I know he never fails.

The entire chapter of Psalm 91 is beautiful. It was truly my source of strength and increased confidence. If you are going through something that you find challenging or have a fear you need to overcome, this is a must read.

Wishing you a wonderful  fearless weekend !

September 1, 2013

City Driving

It's amazing what a little confidence and a ton of prayer can do for you.

If you had told me a year ago that I would  have a car and be driving, I would have politely called you a liar. I just didn't think I could do it but here I am doing it.

This weekend was HUGE. I went to the car company picked out a little Ford Figo and spent the weekend driving around Abu Dhabi.

The hardest part was driving to work this morning. Unfortunately for me, I drive on one of the craziest routes in the city.
Picture huge buses transporting laborers, trucks transporting all sorts of commercial crap, drivers who hate to drive slowly and me, a brand new driver with less than a month total of driving experience.
Yeah kinda scary.
All thanks be to God though, I made it to work and back safely.

Parking is another beast I must tackle. The spots here are so tiny and I have to confess that I never practiced parking in parking spots only parallel parking.
Today a very nice lady had to park my car in the parking spot for me. lol. Don't know what I am gonna do when she isn't around tomorrow.
Everyone says it will get better and easier as time goes along.
I just have to believe it and continue to ask for God's favor and increased patience with myself.
I am really hard on myself for not mastering the whole parking thing but my friend Khadijah kindly reminded me that it has only been a day and I need to cut myself some slack. At least I made it through the day in one piece.
Inshallah tomorrow will be better.
Fingers crossed!!