Category Archives: Travel Diaries
By Sameera Ali
We have spent so many vacations at home that we have even run out of ‘fun’ activities for the kids to do at home. The idea of spending one more vacation cooped up in an endless routine of ‘push, cry, complain, time-out’ made me frantically search for an escape this past March Break. I was looking for someplace fun and affordable where a 3-4 day getaway won’t make a big dent in the wallet. That’s when I came across the Deerhurst Resort.
Embracing Peninsula Lake, Deerhurst Resort is a year-round retreat in Muskoka, one of National Geographic Traveler Magazine’s ‘Best of the World 2012′ recommended places to visit. It is also just a short five-minute drive from downtown Huntsville and 45 minutes from Algonquin Park which makes it easy for you to check out the area.
It was just a short 2 and half hour drive from our home in Mississauga which was great for my family as I have four kids ranging from 10 to 1 year old kids. Short trip also means less pee pee breaks! Score!
The resort offers hotel style rooms that are located in the main building or condo vacation rentals, which are one bedroom suites complete with a working kitchenette that includes all the essentials. They also have a separate living room, complete with a fireplace, TV and convertible sofas for family time. For our family of six, this was the best option.
We got there a little before check in time at 4 pm and the staff was courteous and efficient and all our keys and towel passes – to access the pool area – were ready for us. Once we entered the suite, we were pleasantly surprised to see the suite looked exactly as advertised on the website. The view over the golf course in winter was very pretty.
A concierge called us promptly to ask if everything was ok and if we wanted any help. She also let us know about all the activities and events happening at the resort that day which I found to be very helpful. In the coming days we also received daily emails keeping us up-to-date on daily March Break activities. Being a busy mom I really appreciated that.
March Break activities included:
Indoor rock climbing was inlcuded in the March Break package, reservations are required.
One had to pay extra for dance classes, Kids and Critters, Dog Sledding, Horse Sleigh rides and Decades – The Musical.
Use of 11,000 sq. ft. holiday play zone including a variety of giant inflatables (slides, jumping castles, ball pits, army style obstacle course), Xbox stations and much more all guaranteed a great family time together.
My kids did the Pony program at the Stables and we were so impressed with our guide Stephanie. She was really great with my kids and took extra time with us. Well worth the money.
We spent most of our days at the playzone or in the pool. Both were not too crowded and were considerably clean. My kids had a blast at the indoor pool! The daily family movie nights were another hit.
For food we passed on the Eclipse Restaturant located right at the resort, instead we got Pizza from Ginos one night, made sandwiches from patties I had brought from home the second night and had Dinner at Kelseys the third and last night. We also did breakfasts (eggs, omelettes, toast) and lunches (pasta, sandwiches) at the suite. It was a little bit of work for me, but the nifty little dishwasher made it easy for me to clean up.
The highlight of my visit was the Decades Musical Show presented right within the resort! Oh what a marvelous production!
Canada’s longest running musical variety show and also renowned as the show that helped launch Shania Twain’s career, Decades mixes chart topping hits from the 50s to present day incorporating a wide range of artists from Michael Jackson to Lady Gaga. The 2014 line up has been revamped with newer content and hits than ever, including songs by Pharrell Williams, Mumford & Sons, Lorde, Katy Perry and Robin Thicke to name a few. The theatrical performance features over 65 songs and300 costumechanges in 90 minutes, all delivered by an incredibly talented cast. It was a feast for my eyes and ears and I totally got ‘Jiggy With it’ when a cast member pointed at me!
All in all it was a great stay, one we will remember for a long time. Infact we will be back soon in fall to check out the amazing Muskoka fall colors and go hiking along the Algonquin trail.
About the author:
Sameera Ali is a full-time freelance content writer /SEO expert and a mom of four wonderful kids who keep her busy and forever thankful.
Here we are again with more “funny” stories from the travels of our Muslimmoms.ca Team. If missed our first segment, be sure to check it out on our website! Enjoy Adventures of the Travelling Muslim Moms; Part I.
Enough is Enough!
We went to India with a 5 year old and a 1 year old. On the way back, I packed about 15 diapers in my diaper bag. My daughter started to have terrible diarrhea one hour into the flight. I changed her diaper 45 times throughout the journey. Funny part was: there was another baby with diarrhea and air hostess said that their diaper supply is finished as well, so if either of us need more diapers, we would have to take it from other parents. Alhamdollilah we didn’t need any extra 45 was enough. This was NOT funny at the time! - Bushra Aafaqi
The Mystery of the Great Suitcase Switch
My story is so sad it’s funny! When I accompanied my husband to travel to Canada two weeks after getting married, we stopped over in London UK for our “honeymoon” for a week. We had packed just one suitcase for our stay in London and the rest of the luggage was locked and stored at a family friend’s place. Trouble was discovered once we landed in Toronto, and I decided to finally unpack all my luggage! I opened one of our largest suitcase (which I knew had contained most of newly made bridal outfits) only to discover it was full of some old cotton western clothes! At some point in our journey from Khi, PK to London, UK to TO, we had lost our luggage, instead picking up someone else’s identical suitcase full of junk!!!! It’s been 22 years and to this day, I sigh when I think about this incident. The worst part?! That suitcase also contained my mom’s black and gold Kashmiri shawl which she was given at her wedding! Okay I am going to go cry myself to sleep now! - Rahila Ovais
I am Woman, Hear Me Ignore You!
Mine would be before I got married. I was working for a TV channel in Dubai and when I boarded my flight, the head of the news department, and my boss was also on board (I’d fought with him to get my vacation). He was at the peak of his career and loved to brag. The entire cabin crew was fawning over him. I was seated next to him because he did not want a mother/child sitting next to him on our two hour flight. Anyways, once we settled down he proceeded to tell me that he had to go to Islamabad to interview the PM. That was my cue to start heaping praise on him, instead I told him he would probably need to rest and took out my book to read, ignoring him for the rest of the journey. Needless to say, I could not last long at the channel! I still find the whole episode funny… especially when I returned and my colleagues shook their head in dismay at my having wasted a golden opportunity to ingratiate myself into the inner circle and fast track to promotions! Absolutely no regrets! - Aaisha Zafar Islam
Not Without Our Luggage!
We travel to Pakistan every year. We are a family of 5 so when taking international flights we are allowed a luggage allowance to 2 pieces per person. Of course being typical Desi’s we always travel loaded with gifts and every knick knack on the planet. Heaven forbid I won’t be able to find the exact shoe to match my outfit in the entire city of Karachi so I must travel with at least 10 pairs of shoes. Every year, it’s a joke(a rather painful one) that we all squeeze in to a minivan with 8-10 suitcases, get off at the airport where everyone stares at us, some with disdain some with sympathy and understanding. Since our kids were too small to help us move the trolley,s my husband and I would have to take turns to actually move 4 odd trolleys through the airport until we check in. Needless to say, our toughest ordeal is actually getting to check in, the 18 hour flight is a piece of cake in comparison! - Muneezah Jawad
Hello? It’s Nature Calling!
I enjoy travelling with kids by air and by road. We usually take road trips to the US with a bunch of friends so we have a decent group with kids.
The funny part of these road trips are when we get sms’s or calls for a pit stop when someone’s kids want to go to washroom in the middle of now where. Everyone starts searching for a nearest Rest Area or a fast food chain to stop at. Once we all had to stop on a road side to accommodate one such incident. The hilarious part was all 5 vehicles standing with hazard lights on and every other car would stop by to check if all was well. Poor family and kid were very embarrassed. Until now we recall that one incident of a sudden emergency… when nature calls you have to answer! - Rumina Rizvi
By Anisa Tayab
I always wanted to go away somewhere down south, sit on a warm beach and enjoy a mocktail! I was always afraid to take a trip because I didn’t know what to expect and if it would be appropriate for my kids to be around people drinking and in swim wear all day. I just didn’t know how my kids would react to so many “new” experiences around them.
When my boys were 5 and 3, we decided to take the plunge and took a trip to Mexico. After weeks and weeks of researching we chose a resort that we thought would accommodate our needs the best. We wanted to have a relaxing time while not comprising our beliefs or having to explain the actions of others to our kids.
Location, Location, Location
Cancun is known to be a party city in Mexico. The hotel zone is full of hotels, clubs and lots of party goers. It is a popular destination for spring breakers. We knew we wanted to stay far away from that environment. We chose a five star resort in hopes the other guests at the resort would be mature guests and not the party crowd. This made a huge difference in my opinion. Once we got there, most of the other guests were mature adults, young families or extended families vacationing together. We also chose a resort that was away from the hotel zone. We were not able to walk to another resort on the beach so it was completely private.
I have yet to find a resort that offers Halal options (wouldn’t that be great?!) but most resorts do have a variety of seafood and vegetarian options. If you mention your dietary concern to your wait staff immediately they may even be able to “cook” something special just for you. Mention your dietary concerns at check in so there is a note on your file in case you order room service. From my experiences I found that most staff is more than willing to help you out to make sure your stay is enjoyable.
Since most resorts are all inclusive, you’ll find a lot of people drinking around you. Your kids will see multi-coloured drinks and want to order them. Keep in mind, almost everything you see can be made “virgin” which means non-alcoholic. Some of our favorites are Mud Slides (Banana and Chocolate Milk), Virgin Pina Colada (pineapple and coconut) and Miami Vice (strawberry and pina colada). Keep in mind the juices are fresh so we would order pineapple juice and mango juice all day.
To avoid any confusion with our order, we always take our own tumblers with us. Tervis and Contigo make great ones. The staff will rinse it out between drinks and they will learn that your cup means no alcohol!
Can’t wear a bathing suit? No problem? We all know about the burkini but you don’t have to invest in one. I always wear a bathing suit and cover it up with a rash guard on top and active wear (tights or lounge pants) on the bottom. This gives me the chance to change my outfit every day. There are so many rash guards to choose from and they protect you from the UV rays.
I also found by lounging around the kid’s pool you see more modest swim wear since it is all families. Most moms have the same concerns as each other. What surprised me was that my kids didn’t even mention anything about the exposure around them because they were too busy playing and having fun. I think adults tend to pay more attention to those around us than kids do.
The sun in the Caribbean is very hot! I didn’t think I would burn (I’ve never burnt in my life) but not only did I burn but my entire family did. It’s so important to wear a strong sunscreen and keep re-applying. There is nothing worse than burning on vacation. Always wear sunscreen and a hat!
Most resorts offer entertainment at night. We asked for the show schedule at check in so we could pre-plan our nights. Most resorts have family friendly shows: Michael Jackson, Circus themed and Fire Acrobats are some of our favorites.
Relax and Enjoy
An upcoming vacation is a great time to teach your kids about different countries, the currency used there and the culture of the country. We always try to learn the native tongue of the country we are visiting together as a family before our trip.
Don’t forget why you wanted to take a vacation. Sometimes it’s hard to just relax but it’s important to take a break from our daily routines and enjoy our families and make memories.
About the Author:
By Mona Ismaeil
Keeping children entertained while travelling can be very tricky! Long lay-overs can be more exhausting than the flights themselves! Luckily for us, most airports have some sort of a play area to entertain your little ones. I have compiled a list of some popular airports that make it to the itinerary of Canadian families.
Edmonton International Airport
Although EIA has four children’s play areas they are not that great. My two year old daughter did not find them entertaining. However they do have another neat idea for those parents planning ahead. They have a printable activity book for older children with more than 20 pages of fun activities.
Toronto Pearson International Airport
There is a small play area at the end of the terminal near gate D22 (up a flight of stairs from Gates D1-D15).
London Heathrow International Airport
This very large airport can be hard to navigate due to its size but if you have a layover here; you will not be disappointed. There are a number of family-friendly areas throughout the airport.
Family lounge – Terminal 3
The Family Lounge is a dedicated area for families with play areas for ages 0-2 and 3-9, a children’s quiet area, and a Game Zone for children aged 10 – 15.The lounge is in departures, after security (near the Ted Baker store),just follow signs for Lounge A.
Play areas – Terminals 1, 2, 4 and 5
There’s endless pre-flight fun and entertainment for your children in the Stay & Play areas. With slides, soft play areas and separate areas for babies and older children there is something for everyone! You may even want to get in for some fun. Stay & Play is suitable for children aged 0 – 9.
Departure lounge (after security), near Caffè Nero and Dixons.
Main Terminal 2A departure lounge (after security), near Gate 16.
Departure lounge (after security), on the way to Gates 1-6.
Main Terminal 5A departure lounge (after security), near Gate A7
Frankfurt International Airport
In Frankfurt they are with the times! If you are travelling with a tablet, be sure to download their Children’s App with six fun filled games!
Also, they have a stroller borrowing service Free of Charge! The system is simple: in Terminal 1, strollers are available at the service point in the pre-security part of Concourse B and at information counter 10 in the B transit zone. In Terminal 2, you can pick one up at the service point between Concourses D and E in the pre-security area. When you’re finished, you take the stroller back to where you got it. Or, if you’re departing or changing planes, you can simply leave it at the gate. Airport staff will collect it there.
Singapore Changi Airport
This airport is probably the best I’ve come across when it comes to children’s entertainment. In every terminal you will find lots of options for your children including a large indoor playground, butterfly garden, movie theater and so much more! Check out their website for all the options! AND make sure you have a long layover in Singapore!
Tokyo Narita International Airport
There is a fun little play room in the Central Building, 3rd Floor after passport control. It is quite easy to find as it is in the middle of the restaurants and duty free shopping. It is best for children 0-5.
Hong Kong International Airport
Aside from being a lovely open and bright airport they have a few lovely play areas to keep your children occupied
Between Gate 23 and 25 in the Departures Level- Terminal 1 and between gate 509 and 510 in the Departures Level – North Satellite Concourse.
Near Gate 1, 15, 41 and 60 in the Departures Level – Terminal 1.
New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport
A compact and well equipped play area called Kids zone is available for children of different ages and interests after the security hold in the departure terminal.
Abu Dhabi Airport
Here, they also have FREE stroller borrowing services in various points throughout the terminals.
One part of making travelling with kids easier is to plan ahead. For airports not listed above be sure to visit their website before you travel. You can usually find details about whether or not a play area is available by looking through the Airport Services portion of any website.
About the Author:
Mona Ismaeil is a teacher turned blogger and writer. She’s the owner of Modern Hejab and stay-at-home mom to a sweet little girl. She loves to travel and see all the world has to offer with her family.
By Paige Aziz
Whether road tripping around the country or jet setting to exciting places, it can be challenging to stay on track when it comes to maintaining your clean eating lifestyle. Check out these tips to help make it easier to eat clean on the go.
A room with a kitchenette
By choosing a room with a kitchenette you can better control the food you and your family are eating. In some parts of Canada and the US, Halal restaurants are not available, so this way you can still manage to eat to your preferences. Even if you cannot afford a room with a kitchenette, as long as it has a refrigerator you can store healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, cottage cheese, yogurt, roasted chickpeas, peanut butter, whole grain bread, sliced chicken or turkey, and mixed nuts.
Before you hit the road jump on Google Maps and find hotels that are near grocery stores, gyms, or other important places ghat can help you stay true to your healthy lifestyle. That way even if you don’t rent a car you can walk to the store to pick up healthy food.
You are going to eat out, you are on vacation after all! Many restaurants now have their menus online, so check them out and find restaurants with a menu that fit your needs. If the restaurant doesn’t have online menus, you can ask them to send one to your hotel for when you arrive so that way you can plan before you head out.
Pack a snack
Don’t be caught when hunger hits, always be prepared by packing easy healthy snacks to carry in your bag to tide you over until mealtime. Depending on your activities this could involve investing in a cooler bag to carry your snacks and water. This will help prevent over eating when you finally get to the restaurant and keep you satisfied (and sane) should you be experiencing delays, especially if you have young travelers in your sight-seeing group.
Portion your plate
Be mindful of how much you’re eating by portioning your plate. On your plate aim for 1-2 fistfuls of veggies, 1-2 palm size portions of protein (meat, fish, poultry etc.), a thumb of healthy fats (cheese, olive oil, ect.) and 1-2 cupped hands of grains. For larger servings have them bag the rest of it up for later. In addition do not be afraid to ask for modifications, more veggies, or less potatoes, or for sauces and dressings on the side.
For some, they may find themselves too busy to get a meal in, or be stuck on a long drive between stops. Bringing a protein supplement can help increase your dietary energy and see you through until your next menu. If getting adequate vegetable intake will be a challenge, you can also consider a powdered vegetable supplement such as Greens+. These are ok solutions for short term challenges and are not meant to replace fruits and vegetables in the long term. It is always better to eat real food.
Relax and Have Fun
Remember, you are on vacation! So don’t stress out over food, enjoy it! Plan and be prepared but also plan for some free’ mealtimes where you can relax, enjoy and savour the food and the company of people you are with, and the beautiful place you find yourself in!
About the author:
Paige Aziz has been in the fitness industry for a decade, specializing in helping women achieve their health and fitness goals. She offers 1-on-1 training in her private studio, small group boot camps, and online training and nutrition coaching. Her Lifestyle Studio is in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia. You can also reach her on her Facebook page here.
By Rahila Ovais
Travellers’ Diarrhea - What You Need to Know
Travellers to developing countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa may develop diarrhea during their trip. It is almost always caused by contaminated food or water. It usually gets better on its own in a few days without causing serious problems.
Tips to prevent diarrhea while travelling:
Pack a thermometer and medicine to treat diarrhea. Talk to your pharmacist about what medicine is right for you.
Before you travel, talk to your doctor about antibiotics. Many people bring antibiotics with them in case they get seriously ill. A few people need to take medication to prevent diarrhea from happening at all.
Be careful when you eat and drink. Remember the saying, “Boil it, cook it, peel it or forget it.”
Only eat or drink things that are not likely to make you sick. These include:
- Piping hot foods
- Fruit you peel yourself
- Cooked vegetables
- Carbonated beverages (with no ice cubes)
- Boiled or bottled water
- Pasteurized milk (properly stored)
Avoid foods and habits that will likely make you sick. These include:
- Buffet foods at room temperature
- Fresh soft cheese
- Food from street vendors
- Cold salads
- Raw vegetables
- Uncooked/cold sauces
- Unpeeled fruit
- Raspberries, strawberries, watermelon
- Ice cubes
- Undercooked meat or fish
- Large reef fish such as snapper, barracuda, grouper, jack and Moray eel
- Custard, mousse, mayonnaise and hollandaise sauce
- Wash your hands, especially before you eat.
- Avoid swallowing water while swimming.
- Do NOT drink local water.
- Drink bottled beverages from their original containers. Make sure the cap is properly sealed.
- Talk to your pharmacist about what to do if you have diarrhea while you are away.
Motion Sickness — What You Need to Know
Before you travel:
- Avoid eating a large meal within 3 hours of travel.
- Avoid dairy products and foods high in salt, calories or protein (such as meat or nuts).
While you are travelling:
- Try to get cool fresh air by opening air vents or using air conditioning.
- Avoid alcohol, smoking and disagreeable odours.
- Avoid reading and watching videos.
- Focus on the horizon or an object that does not move outside the car, plane or boat.
- Try pressing your head into the headrest.
- On a boat, try to stay in the middle.
- In a vehicle (such as a car or truck), sit in the front seat with a clear forward view.
- If possible, drive the vehicle rather than be a passenger.
Some people find that alternative remedies help them. However, there is no proof that they work. Try the suggestions above before trying alternative remedies, such as these:
- Eat or drink any of the following: apricot juice, carrot juice, unroasted pumpkin or squash seeds, parsley, peppermint tea.
- Try ginger root. This comes as candied ginger, powder, capsules and tea.
- Try acupressure wristbands.
Your pharmacist or doctor may recommend medication for motion sickness. Here are some things you should know about these medications:
- Do NOT take anti-nausea medication with alcohol.
- Most anti-nausea medications can cause drowsiness. Do NOT drive a car or operate dangerous machinery while you are taking these medications. They are as dangerous as alcohol when driving.
- If you need to be alert, talk to your pharmacist or doctor about taking a medication that does not cause much drowsiness.
- Anti-nausea medications can cause the following side effects: dizziness, shakiness, anxiety, blurred vision and constipation. Ask the pharmacist if your medication will cause side effects.
- When children take anti-nausea medications, they sometimes get very excitable instead of drowsy. Be sure to test the medication on the child before you travel.
Travel Medicine Checklist
- If recommended, destination-specific medication (talk to your Physician)
- Any prescription or over-the-counter drugs normally used at home
- Make sure that prescription medications are stored in their original containers from your pharmacy with the name of the person on the label. Pack these in your carry-on luggage.
- 1% hydrocortisone cream
- Allergy medication
- Antibacterial and antifungal spray/cream
- Anti-diarrheal medication
- Cold and flu medication
- Pain and fever medication
- Syringes or needles for medical use (if needed)
- Anti-motion sickness medication:
Give a dose to your kids an hour before boarding your flight, there will be no mishaps on board the flight and they will sleep well. When children take anti-nausea medications, they sometimes get very excitable instead of drowsy. Be sure to test the medication on the child before you travel.
First Aid Kit
- Adhesive bandages
- Adhesive tape
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (pack a few travel-size containers in each travelers’ carry-on luggage)
- Antiseptic wound cleanser
- Blister pads
- Disposable latex or vinyl gloves
- Packets of oral rehydration salts
- Safety pins and scissors (DO NOT pack scissors in your carry-on luggage)
- Tensor bandages
- After-sun lotion (for minor sun burns)
- Insect repellent (containing DEET)
- Aloe gel
- Ear plugs (to be packed in your carry-on luggage, helpful for take-off and landing)
- Extra pair of glasses or contacts (or copy of prescription)
- Mosquito net
- Saline eye drops
- Water purification filter or tablets
- Emergency blanket (if travelling by road)
- Mobile phone chargers
- Name, address and phone number of a family member or friend in Canada
- Name and phone number of your health care provider in Canada
- Address and phone number of your accommodations at your destination
- Address and phone number of hospitals or clinics at your destination
- Address and phone number of the Canadian Embassy, Consulate or High Commission office in your destination country/countries (and Emergency Contact Card)
- Emergency contact phone number from your travel health insurance provider
- Proof of your insurance coverage
- Copy of your immunization record
- International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis, if required
Sources: http://www.etherapeutics.ca/psc.showChapter.action, http://www.etherapeutics.ca/psc.showChapter.action?documentId=pitravdiarrhea, http://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/kit, http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/pack-smart, http://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/children
By Muslimmoms.ca Team
Travelling is probably one of the most exciting things you can do in your life. Going out to experience different landscapes, cultures, foods and traditions really opens your eyes to how much the world has to offer. Now travelling with a family is where the adventure really begins. The Muslimmom.ca team are excited to share with you their travel stories. Funny now, not so much when they happened!
Kids and Marriage?
When I was travelling with my daughters to India. My husband was not with me and my daughters have their father’s surname while I use my maiden name. The lady at the airport raised some routine questions……’How are you related to the girls? ‘Do you have a letter from their father’ etc. In the end she asked me ‘Are you married?’ which made my daughter turn to me and ask ‘Why is she asking that? Can’t she see you have kids’? I didn’t know how to explain to my daughter that one doesn’t necessarily have to be married to have kids.
- Sadaf Afshan
The Cries That Never End!
We were traveling to Pakistan last year in December by KLM. The first leg of the journey to Amsterdam was absolutely great. No problem with customs, no issues with the air crew and definitely no crying babies on board. The Amsterdam airport was simply beautiful so no issues there as well.
The second leg started with us boarding for Abu Dhabi. This time it was totally a different story with toddlers and crying babies. Anyway, there was a family of five; father, mother, grandmother and three children ages ranging from 8 months to 3 years.
The middle child cried continuously for six hours until we reached Abu Dhabi. The whole time passengers were getting irritated but couldn’t do anything. And so were we. The mother was busy with the youngest, eldest was sitting with the grandmother so the father was looking after the middle child, but was a total failure in handling him. Even the flight attendants were visibly irritated as they tried doing so many things to make him quiet. We got off in Abu Dhabi with our heads spinning and air drums still echoing with the cries but thanking our stars that we would not be hearing the cries again. We were so wrong! The last leg to Lahore, the family sat right in front of us and the toddler started crying again. This time I glared at him and guess what? He stopped and went to sleep! Lo! And we were at Peace finally!
- Aruj Saleem
But I’m Canadian!
For our honeymoon we wanted to go to India and we were so excited! After our wedding in Egypt we headed out the next day to the airport. All is good, that is until we get to Abu Dhabi and realize we needed a visa to go to India! We were horrified! How could a CANADIAN need a visa to go anywhere?! We searched for any other country they could re-route us to but they were all so expensive! After pretty much an eight hour wait, we found ourselves back where we started… Egypt. We spent a week in a resort town on the Red Sea and it was amazing! We were looking for an adventure but not quite what we had in mind.
- Mona Ismaeil
I was all packed up with thirteen huge boxes and three large suitcases, two bored but nervous teens, one sniffling seven year old and a pair of bawling four year old twins. My husband hadn’t gotten his visa (he wasn’t a citizen we all were) so he wasn’t coming with us to Canada. This was not a visit, this was us moving to Canada. I was against it from the start, I did not want to leave without him, but he bought the tickets and said he would follow.
I had a bad feeling but he wouldn’t listen. My three younger daughters started crying nonstop the second he left us at the airport. There I was with the kids and the luggage oh and yes, six large handbags, my stuff was all over and I was trying to keep an eye on everything while standing in line, weighing in the luggage, consoling my crying kids, etc. When I went to the desk where I would show my documents I was told I didn’t have NICOPS. I had no idea what those were. They questioned how I had stayed in Pakistan without getting my visa renewed and they wanted to know how my kids got into the country without any visas on their Canadian passports. I informed them my kids were born in Pakistan. It turns out I was an illegal alien all those years in Pakistan and the way the guy talked to me and then called in the head of security I thought they were going to lock me up for illegal residence!
In the end after much talking, and calls made to people nothing could be done. I had to go back to my aunt’s house with my family. We couldn’t go to our house because we had sold our house. I was an illegal alien with five illegal alien kids being given refuge by my aunt. About a month later we travelled to Canada with husband in tow and NICOPS made. The moral of the story? Husbands should always listen to their wives’ sixth sense!
- Khaula Mazhar
Stay tuned for a sequel!
By Muneezah Jawad
A guide to what makes Turkey special
Looking back at my travels around the world, I can safely say that the stopover we took in Istanbul last winter, enroute to Pakistan, was easily one of the most memorable.
There are thousands of blogs and guides that tell you what to see once you get there. First time visitors to Istanbul can easily fill up a five day trip with visits to the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Museum, Hagia Sophia, the Bosphorus and many more unforgettable places.
Certain things in all vacations stick with you forever. A particular food, a favorite spot or an interesting anecdote. By no means a comprehensive list, I wanted to tell you about my list of little things that made Turkey such a wonderful memory for my family.