Ramadan: An outsider’s perspective.

It’s Ramadan again here in the Hashmite Kingdom. It reminds me of Christmas in some ways. Lots of food, gifts and special time with friends and family. It is also reminder to me of the thankfulness that my salvation is not a result of good works, but entirely because of my faith…phew, thank goodness for that!

I love Ramadan – a whole month where our Muslim friends and neighbours fast from food, water and cigarettes from sunrise to sun down. A month where a guy walks the streets at about 3am banging his drum every day waking up people so they have chance to eat a meal before the day begins. A month where the workdays are shorter and the roads are quiet. A month where if you are out driving at the time the fast breaks, Ifta, a person will bring you a date and some water at the lights so you can break the fast. A month you have the playground to yourself first thing in the morning. A month where the kids and I have to eat and drink rather sneakily when in public. A month where you can see some shop doors open ajar for people to sneak in and have a quick smoke. A month where the liquor shops are shut – boo!!

I have a great deal of respect for the Muslims who do Ramadan.  There’s majority who basically just switch their days and nights around, sleep all day and play all night. The reason I know this, I could hear the neighbourhood children having a football match this morning at 2am. ‘Goal!!!!’ The celebratory screams abruptly woke me from my deep sleep. On goes the white noise to drown out the noise so I could sleep. It is guaranteed that I won’t hear those children again until about 5pm. Their families will sleep all day.

I’m not sure I would be very friendly to be around if I was doing Ramadan. But, for the Muslims who choose to do it correctly without switching their days around, they have my uttermost respect. A lot of them continue working, even serving food, making food at the few of the cafes that are allowed to stay open during Ramadan during the day. I don’t know how they do it.

I do love Ramadan. There’s a buzz in the air, everyone is relaxed, and the entire city shuts down during daylight, except for the expats that take full advantage of the empty parks, roads, hotels and shops in the morning. It’s bliss.

Ramadan Kareem everyone.

 

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Celiacs in the land of bread: Would you like gluten with that gluten?

My expat journey just got a little more challenging. Whilst it is helpful to know the reason for my health challenges, being given this diagnosis in the land of bread is hard.

In Jordan, they have Pita bread with and in all their meals. There are salads with fried bread in it, kebab served in or around bread, bread in hommus. Even if you get bbq meat, there will be a piece of bread on top of it and underneath it. This isn’t cool. Hello constant cross contamination.

What’s worse? I spoke to a Jordanian friend the other day and asked her what the word for Celiac is in Arabic, she said there isn’t one. FANTASTIC!!!! I’ve learnt the Arabic word for gluten and wheat, but they dont understand me. Some know what gluten is, others don’t. I can ask for meals without bread which helps, but I’m still left wondering if dishes have gluten or not. I’m literally walking by faith in every meal, doing my best to eat gluten free and leaving the rest to God.

The joys of living in the Hasmite Kingdom.

What’s next? The unsettled peace of an expat.


We’ve been in Jordan for 3 years now, living abroad for 6. It’s hard to explain, but I always have an unsettled mind and heart about where I am and what’s next. I guess it is a common mind of an expat, but I find it all consuming, whereas some are able to be at peace. I dont know what this means, this uneasy feeling, but what I do know is that it hinders my ability to feel at home. It hinders the relationships I make and the decisions I make. Should I paint a blackboard wall? Should we move to a different location? Do I buy a new washing machine? All of these decisions cant be answered easily if you dont know where you’ll be in one years time. You do your best to guess where you’ll be, but you never know for sure. I guess nothing is ever 100% certain for anyone, but surely it shouldn’t be this unsettling. I work hard at not worrying about what’s next and allowing God’s plan to unfold as He seems fit, but I need peace, if not for my sake, for the sake of my kids.

The scary power of politics: How one person’s words can cause so much pain

It was a struggle working for the government, being official representatives of our country overseas had its challenges. One of the main challenges for me, was having to respectfully accept any statements our Ministers reported. Even if these statements were causing an internal combustion inside of me, I had to keep my opinions to myself. That was hard especially when some times those inaccurate statements put my family and colleagues in danger. 

 I’m thankful to be freed of this responsibility and be able to openly share my opinions. Yet again though, the frightening power of one’s words has been shown through Trump’s statement. A statement that has not only caused an increase in hostility between Palestine and Israel, it has jeopardised the safety of Trump’s own Consulate staff in Tel Aviv, many of whom  probably disagree with Trump’s statement. I also feel for the Israelis and Palestinians who simply just want peace, whom don’t even want to play a part in the fight for land. Trump’s words have taken away any glimpse of hope they previously had. It is a sad reality that one person’s words can have the ability to do this. I sure hope Trump is enjoying sitting back watching his Netflix tonight while the reconciliation process between Palestine and Israel takes a massive step backwards.

Is your nest full? Mine sure is.

  ‘How do you know when you’re done having kids?’, is a common question asked by mothers, even a question I USED to ask.  I read copious articles, said many prayers, asked many wise women, but never really found an answer.  When I had number 4, I was 90% sure I was done, but there was always a part of me that felt heartbroken at the thought of being done. I wondered if this feeling would always remain.  Would I always have this feeling of incompleteness?  

I’m relieved to be able to share that I feel done, I feel complete.  Before I fell pregnant with #5, I was 98% sure I was done, but still grieved the thought. How can a woman simply and peacefully say, ‘I’m done’, without any regret or any uncertainty as many of my friends have been able to do? How can the woman or man make such a permanent choice by undergoing surgery to stop pregnancy from happening? With the phone number for the Urologist on hand ready to go for the snip, I fell pregnant with number 5.  I was in shock. Unlike with the previous pregnancies, it took several months for me to get used to the idea.  Whilst I will always see pregnancy as a blessing, even now with a 3mth old, I have less patience than I used to with things like sleep training.  I also find myself getting excited about further study and job opportunities.  Now when people announce their pregnancies to me, I’m thankful it’s them, not me.  I can so peacefully say now, ‘I’m done’, without any uncertainty or any chance of regret.  I’m so proud to be mother duck of my tribe.  I’m so blessed to be their mother, what a gift, but I also feel a sense of completeness.  I feel excited about the next part of our journey together.  So for me, the answer to, ‘how do you know you’re done?’, is ‘oh, you will know’.  I write this with much peace, no regret, and a whole lot of thankfulness for this peace and my beautiful family.

Diving in: Regaining balance and reclaiming my life

 

The Biomed world is one I’ve jumped into. It began slowly, but now I feel quite deep in it.  With my Biomed doc easily contactable via email or Skype, and a cupboard filled with a silly amount of supplements, you’d have to say I’m in it deep.

We’ve just had some new supplements arrive to try since having our DNA results analysed, to try and treat my son’s aggression, irritability and impulsivity.  Seeing I have many issues that my son has (Pyrroles, ADHD…the list goes on), but just on a milder level, I’ve started treatment too. For a while now, I’ve been feeling edgy, irritable, lacking joy and motivation. I thought, surely there has got to be a way out of this rut.  I turned to our Biomed doctor for help. 

Over the last few days of beginning treatment, I’ve been able to handle more histamines in my diet.  I know it’s not placebo or all in my head (which I question often), because my baby has stopped projectile vomiting when I eat high histamine foods too. This is exciting. On an even better note, I’ve found my new best friend. Normally I expect it to take several days for supplements to kick in, not this time people.  I started R5P, a B2 supplement, and oh my goodness.  Within a few hours, I started feeling the best I’ve felt in a long time (years). It’s like being on an antidepressant without the numbing feeling.  My mind is clear, happy, excited and just one happy calm island. Wow, I hope this continues.  Most importantly, I will be giving this to my son when he gets home today before I even say hello. I’m praying hard that his calm island will return for him today too. 

Next stop on the road to healing: Genesville

  
Things are never dull in our house.  This week we’ve launched into an entirely new realm, something I know very little about. It’s genetics. On recommendation from our doctor, we had our son do a saliva DNA test.  The reason was because the supplements we were giving were causing more adverse reactions rather than improving things.  When we already walk on eggshells because of my son’s aggression and abuse, having this get worse not better, is frightening.

The results of the test have blown us away.  It’s confirmed his diagnosis and also our suspicions of histamine and Oxalates intolerance.  I’m so impressed with the test. It’s painted a clearer picture of why the aggression is happening too.  Those unhelpful people who believe ODD and ADHD are result of bad parenting can really just go and stick it. This test has revealed otherwise. Hopefully knowing this, seeing the results for myself, will help calm my farm on days when I feel like a failure as a parent. This defiance is because of his wiring, not all because of me. Phew!

What’s next?  These results have shown the doctor what genes are muted. She now knows which Enzymes he needs and which supplements will better support his body. Can you fix muted genes? Many of them are treatable, some will remain weaknesses but with supplements they’ll be barely noticeable.  This gives me hope.

I’ve recently been working my way through a wonderful Youtube presentation by Dr Russell Barkley (here). He believes in a few years time, when someone enters the doctors office with suspected ADHD, the doctors first step will be to do DNA testing.  If this test comes back positive for ADHD, the doctor will be able to better choose medication that targets the particular gene that needs supporting. I just find this idea fascinating and AMAZING. 

If you’ve been sick for a long time and not sure why, or your current treatments aren’t effective, see a Biomed doctor (so they can help you interpret it) and get your DNA test.  If you’re nervous about having your information out there, you can give them false names etc. I guess we will have to see if the supplements and treatment work, but for now this has given me a clearer picture of my son and his needs, and most importantly, the hope that I need right now.