Tag Archives: Travel

Taking Children Out of School- Pro’s and Con’s

By Mona Ismaeil

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Winter (Christmas Break) comes at such a great time for Airlines but such an inopportune time for the average traveler. While children are conveniently out of school and most companies are giving time off, hotels as well as airlines and any travel related company are making you pay for those conveniences! Many families try to take their winter vacations a little earlier or a bit later to outsmart those corporate savages! Before, you get too excited thinking you’ve pulled a fast one, think about how this will affect the education of your children.

Pros: 

  • EXPERIENCES EXPERIENCES EXPERIENCES: Not to say laying poolside drinking as many virgin margaritas as you can isn’t a fantastic way to spend your vacation; it is; but opting for a trip with some sites, history, and culture is a better choice. Children can learn a great deal by travelling. We open their eyes to a world that most text books can’t do justice.
  • Family Time: This is very important. Time well spent as a family is vital for the emotional and psychological development of children. Our lives are chaotic and often the only time we get with our children after school, work and extracurricular activities is just a meal here and there. Getting downtime to laugh, tell stories and make memories is priceless!
  • Seeing the World Through New Eyes: Children experience the world very differently than we do. Travelling together can teach both parents and children a whole lot.

 Cons:

  • Missed Important Exams: Timing is important. Leaving school close to the end of semesters or report card terms can being detrimental to your child’s education.
  • Falling Behind on Curriculum: With lots to learn and just barely enough time, every moment in the classroom is vital. Depending on the length of time of your trip, students can miss a great deal of instruction as well as the activities and projects that go along with it.
  • Change of Routine: When in school, students get into a good routine. A steady routine that includes school, studying and extra-curricular activities. While on vacation those routines change and for some students it takes some time to get back on track once the vacation is over.
  • Extra Pressure Afterwards: With any time missed, assignments, projects and assessments will pile up. Students will still be expected to complete those assessments and learn the material. This can put more pressure on them as well as you and the teacher.

 Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Timing: Choose your travel time carefully. Like mentioned before, it is important to plan your trips around significant assessments, report cards, parent-teacher interviews, etc. It is ideal of course to plan trips to coincide with given holidays or long weekends.
  • Length of time: There is a big difference between being gone for a week and being gone for a month.
  • Age/Grade: Younger students will generally be affected less than older students.
  • Ability: This is probably the most important thing to consider. You need to be honest with the fact that some students should not be missing in class instruction. As much as we may want to take that trip if our children are unable to handle the pressure of being out of school, then we need to put their best interest first.
  • Teacher’s Input: Ask your child’s teacher their opinion about your travel plans. They know best when it comes to what your children need from an academic perspective.

Wherever you go, enjoy every moment with your family. Travelling with children can be tough but incredibly rewarding! It’s about that moment when they say: “Mama, remember when we went_________ and saw________?” That is just priceless!  Safe travels!

What are your thoughts about taking children out of school? What are your experiences?

 

About the Author:

Mona Ismaeil is  the Associate Editor Muslimmoms.ca. She is also an elementary  teacher turned blogger and writer. Mona is the proud 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.

 

 

 

 

Ed’s Notes: A Whole New World

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Canada is a beautiful multi-cultural country and this month we are dedicating the Muslimmoms.ca website to everything Immigration. Immigrants come to Canada with their cultures, traditions, food, clothing, languages and make Canada that much more colorful, tasty and amazing!

Everyone comes to Canada for their own reasons. Some come for new experiences. Others come to provide their children with a better life. Perhaps some are forced out of their homes.  For some, marriage and starting a new family brings them to this foreign land. Although their journeys and stories may differ, there are some things that all immigrants have in common. New home, new people, new experiences and unfortunately new struggles. We will be exploring the joys and the struggles of being a new immigrant in Canada.

This month you will be able to get tips on document evaluations. This is very important as this is the first step towards your immigration.  Also, it can be confusing in a new place to get basic necessities such as a driver’s license or medical care.

Family is so important and it can be a struggle to be away from our loved ones. We are happy to give great tips for dealing with loneliness. Also, children of immigrants have their own struggles and one of our moms will be sharing her own experience with us.  Further, we have some insightful tips on what resources are available for families with children with special needs.

So many fantastic topics to explore! Wishing all our new immigrant Muslim moms a great start to their new life. Remember you are never alone. There is always a Muslim Mom just a click away!

50 Shades Of Immigration

By Farzana Nur

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We must congratulate couples who take the initiative to migrate to Canada in order to have a better and more progressive life. But also keep in mind that immigration is one of the most stressful events in life. Canada is a land of opportunity for sure, and perhaps in the beginning we might not be able to perceive this wonderful place as we have been dreaming of it for so long since ‘Living with the familiar is one of the greatest needs of mankind.’

Starting with the detachment crisis to unfamiliar faces and a new environment,  one could easily be engulfed under the darker clouds of depression and anxiety.

There are few things that new immigrants should start as soon as they land. First and foremost they should let go of their old life. Next,  make a list of the things that to be taken care of immediately: accommodation and school, if you have children.

Second comes job search, this can include voluntary job as well. Also a short course or training in the preferred profession could benefit a lot for personal independent growth.  If needed or required, a course in English language can also be very beneficial. All these steps will help to raise one’s confidence and emotional stability – a much needed asset in a foreign land.

On emotional level, husband and wife should spend as much time together as they can. Both the parties should make an effort to stabilize and restructure the bond necessary in a new environment. At every step check each other to maintain a positive outlook, particularly about the things that are difficult, and try to to find a positive solution to problems together.

Do one thing of interest together as regularly as possible, a walk or even shopping for grocery together can help maintain a stronger bond.

In order to integrate and feel at home, get to know your living area, like take a daily walk, discover the local markets. Make new friends, foreign and local, in order to get a closer feel of the culture and society. Never ever alienate yourself.

One must look after one’s own health and of the family too. A healthy body helps keep a healthy mind. Expect the fact that situation is stressful but neither of the partners are to be blamed.

Laugh more often. Daily contact with the family back home could be a comforting source in times of loneliness. But be aware of getting into a nostalgic slumber, as absence always makes the heart grow fonder. Remember the reason why you moved in the first place…chance for adventure, good living and better opportunities for the family … so and so forth.

Show tolerance to each other’s reaction. Men and women react to stress in a very different manner. As women would like to have a shoulder to cry their heart out, men would often like to go into their cave or rather be left alone and watch a game .

Stay connected with your partner irrespective of the fact how emotionally drained you feel. Once in a while a warm touch or hug is worth a thousand words.

Keep your expectations simple and realistic. Living through the day and achieving small goals could be a great booster for the future as well.

And last but not the least, as Goethe put it:

Things which matter most 
Must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.

About the author:

Farzana Nur is a qualified clinical psychologist and a family counselor in downtown Toronto.

Adventures of the Travelling Muslim Moms; Part II

By Muslimmoms.ca Team sunset-landscape--colors_19-135709

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

Vacationing in the Caribbean- the Halal Way

By Anisa Tayab

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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.

Dining

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!

Staying Cool

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 Anisa iPhone-04262013 1046suit 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!

Nightly Entertainment

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:

Anisa Tayab is a working mom to 2 boys.  She enjoys taking trips to expose her sons to various cultures and sites.

 

Adventures Of The Travelling Muslim Moms I

By Muslimmoms.ca Team

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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

Illegal What?

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!