From my heart to yours. A.M

I am back, and intending to be consistent this time… I have come to realize that Writing is therapy. The past week or so, I jot down my feelings almost daily and after every piece (unpublished) I have felt instant relief and comfort.

I have gone through a very rough patch, and to be honest I still do. Being  disappointed by people you trusted, hurts. Coming from the least expected people, and if you are a kind pacifist, it digs in even more. But it makes you refect, and what you did, on what you do and somehow rearrange all aspects of your life. And how you probably should tame those traits you thought were qualities, such as trusting and forgiving a lot. 

 All that aside, I am back to share my thoughts and reflections with you, consistently this time, for I have been told by more people than I can count that I put into words what so many people feel but can’t express.  And that is both a honor and responsibility. I intend on sharing most of what goes on my mind, my woes and my emotions, strong or weak.  Embracing the complex matter that is the human mind with its ego, pride, weaknesses,  strengths, sorrows or joys; and all that I deem worthy of your time, and that could bring you some positivity, insight, lessons from experiences so you won’t have to go through, or simply a pleasant reading time.

Assya Moussaid.

The rose that goes around comes around..

Today, I was given a rose while I was buying roses for a friend who had surgery.
The merchant gave me a beautiful red rose as I approached him. I did not have enough cash to buy a bouquet that comes with a clay vase,  but he said I could come to pay later. I asked if he was sure and mentioned that I lived really close by, he seemed to trust me, and I was very thankful and flattered. I didn’t have time to go to the bank, withdraw money and come back, not to mention it would have been unpractical. 
I promised I’d come back later in the evening, and he said it would be okay if I came back another day. It is very refreshing,  seeing that most merchants have become completely skeptical. Not just merchants, just about most people have.

So I headed to my friend’s house. While there I picked up his two year old daughter, Hiba, a breath of fresh air, we chuckled and she made my heart smile, pointing at the bouquet and saying “zarda” baby talk for Jardin, meaning garden. .
I let her pick a rose, then I did the same for her cousin who’s also two, and of course just like most kids, she did pick the same color as Hiba. Also a peach rose.
Total roses given : two.
image

On my way back,  I went  to the same roses merchant to give him the rest of the money, and to buy roses for my place, and he greeted me with another free rose, this time fushia-pink.

image

image

I asked him for a fushia and white bouquet, and he made me a gorgeous one. I then asked him how much, he jokingly said 5000dhs only,  so I removed my glasses and said “here you go!” And smiled. He laughed and then said : only 20dhs. . 

Again, I was touched, because while he’s already let me go to pay him the difference later, he also did not take advantage of that act of kindness to charge me more, in fact he was willing to charge less than usual. ( I expect 30dhs+ for that bouquet)
So I gave him a bill that covered what I had owed,  the bouquet, and then some.. he was very touched and happy. And said:  “Thanks Assya!”

There, he remembered my name from earlier today.  I told him : ” I  owe you, my name is Assya”

Today I gave two beautiful roses and  received two. So to celebrate I decorated this rose and painted my loved ones’ names on it, my parents and my sister..
And there surely are other people in my heart, and even if their names are not on those leaves -or probably are- , they could certainly feel that.

Also intensely on my mind today,  my late grandmother, Aicha. That I love and miss beyond words. 🌹

Assya

#GlassHalfFull

image

image

My Solitary Weekend Surprise: Sadness turned Smiles.

I recently decided to try and spend every weekend possible alone, to unwind, organize my thoughts and connect with my center. I made a quiet promise to myself not to interact with anyone for most weekends, unless I really have to, and that excludes text messages or phone calls with my parents.
I have never been a fan of parties or the habit of having to go out every weekend. Even when my friends invited me for BBQ on a sunday, or to go to the movies on a saturday night, I have to admit that I had to exert much effort to convince myself to get ready and attend the event.
So today is a sunday, and I managed to spend all saturday alone, being quietly productive, and slowly packing for my upcoming move to my new place. But today I had to step out because I needed some fresh mushrooms for my steak, which I could have tried hard to convince myself to give up on for other veggies that I have, but then I urged myself to go out when I realized I almost ran out of mineral water- Now that, I cannot do without.
 So I stepped out, ran into a neighbor in my building, small-talked my way out for 30 seconds, and headed to the nearby market. I bought the mushrooms, and while at it, a pineapple, – Gotta have those enzymes, oh so extra serious about my training and diet lately- and headed back to my place. I usually  buy the water from the corner store under my building, I picked up the water, and on my way out, I bumped into a poor woman and her daughter, I was embarassed to have only given her the tiny change I had left from my quick groceries, and said sorry.  She asked me to buy her half a liter of milk, I said I was sorry I had no more money, but two seconds later I realized that I could get her the milk and pay the store later, since I’m a regular customer.
I walked back into the store and asked for a liter of milk, he pointed out to a brand I didn’t know, I asked if it was very good, he smiled in a way that conveyed both contentment and surprise for my constant pickiness about purchases he knows I am giving away-  Then I said with a smile ” I am serious, does this milk go bad fast?”. He told me not to worry, ever. This had happened a few times before, and I had happily paid for beverages and sandwiches, because in a way that  does erradicate that little doubt we might have inside that we are being manipulated.
I grabbed the milk and gave it to the lady, she smiled and said thank you, and then her daughter enthusiastically said “May God keep you always shining!”. To see a child who is about 10 years old  be that happy for some milk and say those deep words… It felt as if something breaks your heart, and then the words that follow instantly mend it.
I walked in my building, took the elevator, wept for a moment, and quickly told myself what I usually tell it every time I am hurting, “Tears will make you feel better, for a moment, but they won’t improve anything. Get the good ouf of the bad. Make someone happy, you’ll be happy”.
I rushed into my place, grabbed some cash –I am obviously not trying to make myself look good; and I have no gain in doing such a thing- and those who do know me, those who are like me, they know it is no pretense- After all we see people how we are — I ran back downstairs and was happy to find her and her daughter not so far from my building.  At that moment, the mother told me “I hope you get everything you wish for from the heart”. and I said “Amen, sister, Amen…”  I wished her good luck, admiring their smiles, and feeling this immense smile on my face, and went back to my place.
Before I stepped out today, I had no idea I was going to speak to anyone – In fact, I had just had some coffee and was getting ready to do some strength training, and then all this happened. I am very happy I went back downstairs, because if I had just told her I didn’t have any money on me- and I really didn’t, and left, I would have kept on thinking about the pitiful poverty and not be able to focus on my training, or even train at all.
Now I feel better, for my small contributions might make only a few people happy, but they add up. I wrote for myself, in an attempt to let this load of emotions and reflections out in writing, and less vocalizing; and if I shared it to you, it is to inspire you to keep doing the good that you are doing, no matter how small it is, and to motivate people around you to do the same. It is true that some people who beg have made a profession out of it, manipulating passerbys and harrassing tourists or locals, faking a disability, or pretending to have disabled child, but the vast majority really are genuinely in need of your help. And even if someone has enough money but fools you into helping him or her, it is okay, because you did it out of a good faith.
And I firmly believe that what goes around comes around, not just in revenge and harm, but also in the form of goodness.
Assya Moussaid

Homesick for a home that’s not my home…

What do you call a homesickness for a home that’s not your home ?

When you’ve lived for a decade, maybe not necessarily a decade, maybe five years or so in a country that’s not your home country, and you’ve adjusted there, you had lived there for a while, you have experienced love and sadness, success and failure, and not necessarily all these fluctuating emotions, but you’ve come to love every part of that town, the streets and corner cafés, the walls, the culture, the respect and the free smiles in the morning from strangers, the respect for lines everywhere, and the respect for seniors or younger people, and being treated regardless of your social class.

When the first five questions you are asked by someone you just met don’t refer to your social class or degrees, or your father’s occupation. When you’re treated solely for being human and for what you do from that moment on towards that person you just met, and not based on your past experience, religious or social backgrounds.

When people only care about your experience as it’s reflected in your behaviour towards them, and not asking you about it upfront, or anything personal you might not be comfortable to disclose.

When you’ve loved that city that you’ve secretly called home for a while, but never quite told your family or anyone in your ‘real’ home that you actually felt like home abroad… And you loved every part of that society, even the walls in the streets, that don’t necessarily have anything fancy about them but you just liked those walls, and you don’t know why… You like that wall by which you had that long walk where you mentally drafted an e-mail, a letter or a project, or just going over your life, or just not thinking about anything in particular, probably just peacefully admiring the trees, or the rain drops on colourful leaves, and holding a coffee from that favourite corner cafe.  

And you don’t necessarily know all the streets because you go out all the time, but maybe just because you  love how that town makes you feel, that safety, the quietude, that serenity knowing you could spend half an hour or more, just walking alone, without anything interrupting your chain of thoughts, no violence, no abrupt bickering, no crazy drivers, no stranger coming at you for no reason, no person frowning at you just because they’re having a bad day. 

When you go to that corner cafe in the morning to grab your coffee, and people are all smiles, for free. They are not smiling because you’re dressed well or because they know you, they are simply smiling because they know they’re not losing anything for smiling. Yes, sometimes you could see someone who’s not smiling, neutral, just like you could be feeling sometimes- and that’s fine, neutral is good too, but often here, in our own home, you might have your day ruined just because somebody hadn’t had his morning cigarette, and he picks a fight with you just because you politely told him there is a line as he tried to steal your turn.

So you like that town, and love its culture, and you like every little detail about it, and then one day..you are done there, because you finished school, grad school –or any program that was the reason you initially travelled, thinking you would complete it and go back home for that brilliant career your foreign diploma can guarantee you, unaware of the tremendous lifetime impact that trip is holding for you– and it is time to leave the country voluntarily, and often involuntarily.

You go back home and you feel off place with the reverse cultural shock. Chances are you probably never fully fit in even before going abroad, maybe even in your own home before you explored the newfound home, you never really felt like home, because you didn’t really agree with the culture, the society and its contradictions, but you just never experienced better, so you sucked it in and lived with it. But when you finally went to that place, that actually gave you all those intangible things that you somehow felt you craved deep inside, but weren’t quite aware of, and where people understood you, and the culture offered you elements that aligned with your principles, and made you feel understood the way you wished to be understood. Then slowly, over the years, the bittersweet reality that you now have experienced something better and that there is no going back grows on you.

When you go back home, you’re hoping to adjust, you are trying to, and the more you try to adjust, the more you contrast and compare,- and the more you contrast, the more people get infuriated, telling you not to, and to accept that you are back home now, –It is as though the judge has made an irreversible decision, you are in jail, reminiscing the outer world, and a fellow inmate tells you to accept you’re in jail now– Maybe there is a little envy in them because they never experienced better, maybe they think they want your own good and out of good intentions ask you to deal with your own reality right now.

But why do you feel homesick for a country that’s not your home?  You try to figure out why…
I believe it’s a lot like when you fall in love with somebody and you don’t even know that it happened, and you dont know how it happened. Maybe because they understandingly listened to you when you were very upset, maybe because they made you feel like they knew exactly how you felt that moment you were dealing with the residue of denigration or a wrongful act, or maybe they managed to make you laugh because a sense of humor always makes us like people, or maybe because they reflect you – But then all those things add up and you find yourself loving somebody without knowing why, that, I believe to be the same process that transpires when you’ve lived somewhere that provided the safety, the serenity, the free smiles, the respect, somewhere that reflected your own principles and being.

You fully realized you fell in love with that town, that country, but now you have to go back home. You know you are missing something, and that you will be every day, you know what it is, but you’d rather keep distracting yourself and pretending that you don’t know what it is, than face the vortex of reality. 

You try your best to adjust, knowing that you probably won’t, realizing that the more you try to adjust the more homesick you become for that home… that is not your home.

Assya Moussaid.

image

Happy birthgiving day, mom!

March 3rd will mark my 33rd birthday, Yes you read right, I am a woman and I’m writing my age. I never saw the point of girls hiding their age; we were all a kid, a teenager, we will all get to the age some are ashamed of disclosing, if we are meant to live to that age, we will. 

But this piece isn’t about women’s reluctance or fear of telling their age. This piece isn’t even about my birthday (Not that I would write an article about my birthday!) but I wanted to share a perspective about this “special day” that I discovered some years ago, when I turned 26, I was thousands of miles away from home, I called mom and enthusiastically said “Happy birthgiving day, mama!”. She was so happy and touched, and that to me was my birthday gift. And from then on I realized how much more amazing it is to shift my perspective from the ego, to the selfless soul, and make this day about the people I love instead.

The day anyone is born is the day that marks the birthgiving day for their mother, the day the father became a father for the first time, or second. It is the day a grandmother celebrated having a grandchild. The day your aunt got excited for becoming one for the first time, or for having an extra nephew to buy cute baby clothes to.

So in writing, and in two days I will verbally I say, Happy birthgiving day, mom,  Happy New father’s day, dad. And to my grandmothers who passed away, God bless your soul, I know how excited you were for my existence, and how proud you were. You are on my mind every day. 

On your birthdays, wish your mother a happy birthgiving day, and watch her face shine, or hear the joy in her voice, that is your best birthday gift.
And for the people whose parents have passed, I am sorry if what I wrote has saddened you, but your birthday will always be the day that amazing person brought you to this world, and I wish you all much happiness.

Remarkable hotel restaurant in Åre, Sweden

My last dinner at the “restaurang”  of this wonderful hotel, with the sweetest staff! I added an extra night and Already can’t wait to come back!
The staff and management are beyond helpful and friendly.. from the snowmobile driver who picks you up when the taxi drops you off to the waitresses and manager.
After spending three nights at a posh hotel in Stockholm, and having enjoyed a fancy hotel room, and facilities like sauna and gym, there still was something missing; the staff warmth.  Before checking in that five star hotel in  Stockholm  I read some reviews that said great things about the hotel but I also did read some that expressed the staff was cold and rude.. I disregarded them but once there I realized how much truth there was to those negative reviews… more on that later!
But for now I want to focus on this beautiful moment, I am happy with Buustamons Fjällgård hôtel-restaurant which is about 15minutes cab ride from Åre village +  a fun snowmobile ride up the hill!
This place is 10/10: comfort, cleanineness,  facilities ( Ah! Sauna and exterior hot tub!) Fancy but relaxed amazing restaurant, an artist for a chef, and great genuine waitresses!)

Love this place and I will certainly come back again !

👌 Tack, Buustamons Fjällgård!
Shukran!

image

Dogsledding in Åre, Sweden

Dogsledding today .. -25 degrees and windchill.. instructor says it’s the coldest day in 3 winters so far!
It was fun.. but halfway bumpy roads made me jump up and down on the stiff sledge while holding trying to keep from falling off..(I dared the cold and took off my gloves to take some photos and a video once we got off the bumpy tracks)  I loved it.. although I was a little distracted with the dog on the right as he seemed to cripple on one leg he seemed to exert much effort to run, and the little blood on his back made me sad.. but the scenery was breathtaking.. Lovely experience overall. Hope the dog gets better ❤

image