I remember starting a draft one morning about how my Cyprus visit was coming to an end, and that I was going to be missing my parents. I never completed the draft and that was in February 2020. Here we are in March 2023, nearing yet another end to a visit and I’m so thankful we’ve had so much time connecting ever since my incomplete draft entry 3 years ago. Here’s to many more years, in spite of the distance. Technology helps but it’s not enough, so I’d like to give some credit to all of my family members for putting in the effort.
With the Mediterranean oranges still in season, I told myself I had to eat as many of them as possible. Otherwise I would have no valid excuse paying a ridiculous amount for a bag of tasteless oranges in the States when we get back. I love the accessibility of nature here. While many people don’t live a nature based life and rather a materialistic one in Cyprus, it’s still so easy to access a fruitful garden as well as the wild flora. As someone who doesn’t have roots in the States for at least a few generations, or perhaps because of the culture there, I feel nowhere near the same level of accessibility. My Italian neighbor shared the same sentiment with me the last time we had a chat. There’s more accessibility for other comforts in the USA, like a functional bureaucracy, wide side walks, and Amazon prime.
Speaking of accessibility, there’s more accessibility for educational resources in the States particularly for homeschooling families. The concept of libraries is nearly nonexistent in Cyprus which is probably reflective of the interest the local culture takes in reading — not that we visit libraries often in the States to be honest, but it’s so much easier to access educational books. I also love the seasonal workshops held at nature reserves that are suitable for different ages. The free admission days to several museums is likewise appreciated.
We’ve treated this visit as our extended holiday period instead of the summer time. I am excited to return to a homeschooling routine and have written out a plan. If we finish off strong this upcoming Spring, then we can take it easy in the summer and focus more on outdoors stuff along with some continued reading. We’ll be continuing with some Math Mammoth revision, some incomplete Singapore maths (I haven’t yet decided which I like best but I am leaning more towards MM), language arts, our next chapter book tbd — we are about to wrap up Caddie Woodlawn — daily outdoors ideally right after breakfast as long as the weather allows, a designated nature trail once a week. They will continue Arabic and Qur’an with their dad as per usual and I will sign up Zaynab to her sewing class again. We haven’t yet decided if we want the kids to continue their karate class. I think that jujitsu will be a nice alternative to try out especially for Abubakr as it’ll offer some more hands on techniques. I want to focus on more art consistently and ideally once a week. The children have plenty of time drawing and coloring on their own. However I want to channel my creativity through a class with them consistently too. Pinterest helps and there’s so many videos on Youtube that one can find inspiration from. I will be finishing stories of the Prophets and starting seerah inshaa Allah as we enter Ramadhan with a focus on Ramadhan’s relevance to the Qur’an and revelation as well as the spiritual dimensions of fasting. Without going overboard and consumerist, I am excited to bring a festive vibe into our home and will be making some touches here and there in the house with the kids.
My husband has been off of sugar and breads for nearly 3 months I believe, and I am intending to join the bandwagon in Ramadhan. The accessibility of ‘healthy snacks’ is widespread in the US and I want to cut out any prepackaged stuff no matter how ‘healthy’ they are, because I want to decrease the kids’ desire for those foods in between real meals. We had come to a point where offering apples, cheese, bananas with almond butter — check out Philosopher Foods, my fave — and so on in between meals was not considered ‘snacky’ enough, and they demanded biscuits (i.e. cookies), ‘gluten-free’ pretzels, potato chips fried in ‘avocado oil’ and whatnot. Basically anything that made a crinkly package sound of sorts. Of course the first (and last) step to that is to not have them available in the pantry, end of story.
I want to leave with the hope of being reunited with my family very soon, with gratitude in my heart for the simple pleasures, the fresh air, the delicious juicy citrus fruits, the fresh pecans, the lovely rocks my children picked out for us from the beach and the few peaceful minutes I had to myself while I painted them. There will never be enough hugs from my parents or enough laughter at the dinner table before I feel satisfied. I can only hope to be so present at those brief fleeting moments that when I’m taking my last breath I will remember them vividly. I am so grateful that in all of this magnificent creation and universe, no matter how small and insignificant the planet may seem, Allah has brought our souls into being and blessed us with an ever expansive consciousness. When I met a close friend of mine in Istanbul a couple of months ago after 2 years of not having seen each other, the first words that she said to me upon being united again was how it felt like I was never gone, and the separation had never taken place. I could really imagine that’s how it will be in the Afterlife and that is my prayer.