other circumstances

It was the one thing I was just not prepared for, at all.
It was what we had planned and expected the least. Never.
We have been very happy and really busy enough with four kids and our growing school project, alhamdulillah.
I was happy to gain back more and more freedom, now that they were all growing older. After nearly fourteen years of being pregnant, breastfeeding, diaper-changing and caring for very small children, even the smallest one shows, with his four years of age now, already large amounts of independence.
So I enjoyed myself so much in just having sometimes a few hours alone, in being able to travel a few days without children, in engaging in bigger projects outside the home, in being myself, thinking about myself and being just with myself.

 

And then this:
menses already ten days over, a tearing belly, knowing that this might not be just an early menopause-symptom,… and the result of the test: positive!!!!
Pregnant with the fifth child!

Oh—my–God. It just cannot be possible, mashaallah. It cannot!

A whole world of dreams and plans broke over me. I felt weak, and old, and imprisoned, and forced into something I just was not ready for.
Astaghfirullah. Lord, forgive me, make it easy for me…
It was horrible, I immediately began to feel very sick, uncomfortable, tired, miserable, with no joy in anything and ready to vomit every moment.
Scenarios of having a big pregnancy belly, giving birth and holding a baby came to my mind like horror and it just felt so strange, so far away, and so not at all me any more, I thought I was over all of this.

Towards the outside world I didn’t’ show these thoughts.
I hid it, the pregnancy and my awkward feelings. I felt ashamed and embarrassed. I maybe looked like I’ve got it all together, but inside, I felt like standing ankle deep in crap.
I first had to make peace with it myself.
I had to learn how to find the magic and wonder in this mess, in become a baby-mother, again. I had to gain back faith and confidence and trust.
I had to learn to surrender in Allah’s will, to be thankful.
I had to learn to accept and to let go, to drop myself and to give up my selfishness, my wish to control and my ego-claims.
I had to accept that I cannot just close our family-door and all the blessings and prosperity we live in, if God wishes us to take this task and to care for another child. I had to accept this duty.

It took time. These whole summer vacations I spent pondering, meditating and working on this.

I slowly feel better now. I still have some nausea, but I begin to accept the situation and even begin to feel something like joy, honor, gratitude, pride and excitement with it, alhamdulillah.
I begin to accept this mission that was imposed upon me.
I look forward to a house full of children, to a small one who needs us all and who will have his place among our wonderful-crazy family-tribe, inchaallah.

My faith helps me a lot – I just know that everything happens for our highest good.
I find inspiration and encouragement in blogs from moms who have more than seven or ten children, in movies like “cheaper by the dozen” and especially in the belief that destiny (God’s way) is always perfect for us.
And I find joy in the joy of our kids who are eager to welcome the new family-member.

So many wonderful women do and did it, nearly all my neighbors have more than four kids – yes I can, as well, inchaallah.
I still have nearly six months to grow into it, and time will help.

When life gives you lemons – make lemonade!
– Up into this new adventure, into this new learning opportunity, into the joy of being a family of seven!
I mean, honestly, having a full handful of children, being “mom of five”, sounds not so bad at all…

 

 

Summer Reading

August – time of vacation, of nothingness, of days spent without timetables and social obligations…
time to read without real purpose, just to the pure pleasure of it.

Some old summer-classics, beautiful Muslim fiction and a new field guide:

Anne Morrow Lindbergh “Gift from the Sea”
Naima B. Robert “She wore red trainers”
Rosamunde Pilcher “The Shell seekers”
Katie Daisy “How to be a Wildflower”

Happy summer days to you!

 

My Marrakech Favorites

 

Some of you asked me for special tips and my favorite places for food and shopping in Marrakech.
I am happy to share with you those places, but I have to say, that I am Moroccan now, which means that I eat Couscous and Tagine every week and I can buy Djellabahs, Kaftans, Babouches and all the other lovely typical crafts whenever I want; so when I go to the big city, I do much less look for the typical Moroccan places, but more for places where I can find the taste and the style of Europe and the world….

Also I have to admit that going to Marrakech always means something like “consumer noise” – twice a year I simply enjoy then a little shopping-intoxication…
and I have four children now, alhamdulillah, and going to the city is always a bit tricky – so when we all go together, we sometimes even visit places like McDonalds’s because the taste is always and reliably the same and reminds me of my teenage-years, the toilets are clean and they have the most beautiful playgrounds in the country…
Here you go with a mixture of favorite places that actually come to my mind (I am sure I forgot some…):

Typical Moroccan Shopping

The souks of the medina, in the old town of Marrakech – a labyrinth of little shops and handcrafts-ateliers

Centre Artisanal, Avenue Mohammed V, after the Koutoubia mosque towards Guéliz

Cafés, food, snacks, restaurants and nice places

Amal Center, Guéliz,  Rue Ibn Sina, women-empowerment-project that offers great food

Pinocchio Gelato Ice Cream, Sidi Abbad

Le Vôtre, patisserie (best cream tarts)

Les maîtres du pain (whole wheat bread and others international bakery products)

Ayaso concept store for eco and organic things, Bvd Zerktouni, Guéliz

Café des épices, Rahba Kedima place, souks in the médina

Le Jardin Secret, medina, rue Mouassine, souks in the médina

The terrace of the C.T.M.-hotel, Djemma el Fna, a quiet simple place, but good to have a tea/coffee and to gain an overall-view of the big crowded square

Dar Bellarj, medina, behind Medersa Ben Youssuf, quiet museum and cultural place

Café du livre, rue Tariq Ben Ziad, Guéliz

Marrakech has a huge offer of very chic and stylish places to eat and drink, but they are also very expensive, so we often eat in the small and not so stylish restaurants in the outside quarters of the city where the locals eat. There you find good tagine, barbecues, chawarma (kebab), beautiful fresh fruit juices and else

Huge shopping places

AlMazar Shopping Mall, 7km route d’Ourika (including the best bookstore in Marrakech: the Virgin Megastore)

Menara Mall, Boulevard Mohammed VI, luxurious shopping mall with some good stores and a nice huge terrace with an overview towards the Koutoubia mosque, many snack bars on the roof (for ex.”Bagels and Donuts”)

Carré Eden Shopping Mall, Guéliz, Avenue Mohammed V, many european stores like H&M, Starbucks, …

Marjane, Decathlon, Mc Do, Pizza Hut, Kitea, Toys Shop,… and many other tall brand shops, end of Allal Fassi/route de Casa

Carrefour, route de Targa, not too big supermarket with a good selection

Places to relax and enjoy some peace and greenery

Riad Sirocco, 15km route de Targa/Souihla , great for hot days out of the city, only 10,- Euros for access to the nice swimming pool including a lunch and drink – great with children to spend a day when it’s too hot

Anima Garden, 28km route d’Ourika, a quiet paradise and a garden of art and beauty with beautiful café

Jardin Majorelle, the well-known garden with the typical clear-blue-details

Terres d’Amanar, 37km route de Asni/Tahannaoute, climbing and adventure parc for much outdoor fun, especially with children

Wishing you a happy time in the red city! 

My Marrakech – enjoying food variety

Marrakech – a moment to change from everyday life in our remote mountains…
for example by enjoying the food variety and the huge range of different tastes we cannot find in the High Atlas… ice-cream, pizza, burger, fast food, slow food, juices, avocados, strawberries, cake, tarts, cheese, cappuccino, … chinese, italian, indian, american, … oh so yummy!!!