When you can’t look on the bright side, I will sit with you in the dark

I know you feel very overwhelmed right now

I know your moods are swinging and the ground is shifting beneath your feet, but focus on the things you still have.

You have food, clothing and shelter.

You have a family, no matter how much they drive you crazy.

You have health, no matter how much you feel it’s compromised.

Live in the moments that make your heart swell, even though sometimes it hurts like hell.

Bask in the sunshine, soak in the rain.

It seems like life is pain right now, I know, and it’s hard to hope for a better future, but even in the middle of the chaos, there is magic. You just have to look for it.

Try to laugh. I know it’s hard, but memes help.

I know you feel so lonely right now, so you distance yourself further because you don’t want to burden anyone. You don’t want to have to explain all the drama, so you avoid talking altogether so you don’t open up. You’re not alone. So many people out there feel the same way.

I know your heart is heavy and your mind is messy. But you’re going to be ok.

Places to visit in Turkey: AyaSofya

Hello 👋

How are you doing today?

How are you coping with everything going on in the world?

Today’s post is going to be about AyaSofya. I don’t know much about it but I know it used to be a church, then it was turned into a mosque, and afterwards into a museum. I feel like you can’t go to Turkey without visiting AyaSofya.

I’ve been to AyaSofya twice, once in 2016, and once in 2018. I enjoyed the 2018 one more because I saw it in more depth and I went with different people then. Today I will be writing about my 2016 experience.

Sadly, I barely walked around and snapped some pictures on this specific trip because some of the people I went with didn’t like historical sites.

I remember there was a long line and there were renovations being done on one side of the museum (the next time I went there was a long line and renovations as well).

So basically I will just share some of the pictures I took, including the stone on which is written the history of this museum.

I felt my biggest fear materialize

A friend of mine asked me yesterday “how is not venting going?” and at 1st I thought to myself “I don’t know” but then I started realizing that it’s not going well.

With not venting, my loved ones have no idea what’s on my mind, and then when I get mad at them for not being considerate, I realize that they have no idea what I’m going through because I didn’t say. This is besides the fact that I’m not sleeping well, I have migraines all day, I’m edgy all the time. My ears are ringing, I started getting pain in my legs and my back, my shoulders are tense, I’m spending 7 to 9 hours on my phone a day, and the negative thoughts swimming in my brain are not being challenged because they’re not being vocalized.

I feel more communication problems arise, more resentment and exhaustion. And as my exhaustion increases, I feel that my presence is not that important anymore. I can imagine them fine without me, and it terrifies me because I don’t feel irreplaceable anymore.

I try to vocalize my fears but I don’t see any willingness to listen. Why would they subject themselves to my negative thoughts again? They have been freed of this burden. They have peace of mind, while my thoughts eat at my mind and body and suck the energy from my soul.

I was supposed to write a blog about Aya Sofia today, but my migraine has got me keeping my phone at a distance, so it’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

I just wanted to write that I will go back to venting because it is how I process my emotions. Sometimes I will vent to my husband, like I did just now and he reassured that I am not replaceable. Sometimes I will vent to a close friend, or to my sister like I did on Saturday. Sometimes I will vent on the blog. Sometimes I will vent through poetry. It depends on my mood, energy levels and what I’m venting about.

I think it’s safe to say we are all struggling with our mental health in these circumstances, and I want you know you are not alone. If you need to vent, I am here. If you need validation or advice, please let me know. Any blog topics you would like me to discuss, let me know in the comments.

I don’t understand daylight savings 😕

Last night I was still awake at 11:54pm. A few minutes later, I checked my phone and it said 11:02pm.

I don’t know about you, but when this happens, my biological clock gets all messed up and I’m unable to sleep. It took me hours to fall asleep, and the few hours I slept were intermittent. I’d wake up every 15 minutes with a jolt.

I woke up in the morning at 7am, and I was fine until 11am when I started a migraine. By the time it was 2pm I was struggling to stay awake. I think I napped (it’s usually very difficult for me to nap) at around 4pm and woke up at 5pm to find out the sun had already set.

It’s really weird. It usually takes me a week to adjust to the new timing, and I didn’t write a blog for 2 days because Saturdays and Sundays are for family, but the daylight savings didn’t help.

My son who already gives me trouble with bedtime is going to need some time to adjust too.

I’m just so tired and I feel like the day passed so quickly and I don’t feel like sleeping but I’m exhausted so…

Does daylight savings mess you up too? Do you prefer long summer days or long winter nights?

Places to visit in Turkey: Galata Tower

Hello 👋 reader,

How are you doing today?

I’ve recently started a series on this blog “Places to visit in Turkey” and I mentioned the Istanbul Aquarium and مطعم المدينة (restaurant of the city). Today I will be talking about Galata Tower.

I was reluctant to talk about this one because I personally didn’t enjoy it much, but nevertheless it was a nice memory to look back at and laugh, even though at the time I wished we hadn’t gone there. Then again, the whole 2016 trip was a ball of hurt for me for a very long time and I’m partly writing these posts in order to focus on the positives.

So here it goes… Galata Tower. A very tall tower. I don’t know the details of where it is and how it is, but the point of it is that it has a very nice view.

Galata Tower

The thing is, I think our hotel was too far from the tower. We had to take 2 busses, and then walk a bit, and then go up 100 flights of stairs!

We then had to stand in line for over an hour just to get in!

We were at the back of this long line to get in
Continuation of the line

Once we were in, you have to pay a certain amount (I don’t remember how much) in order to go up the elevator or stairs to the top. There is a 3D view of the tower with the history, but you need to pay extra for that. I wanted to do it but we didn’t. At the top there is a restaurant so you can eat and enjoy the view but we didn’t eat there. The thing with going on trips with other people is that you have to go by their agendas and you can’t do what you want. I think that is one of the most things that bothered me about that trip and didn’t allow me to enjoy it, among other things that happened. Anyway, the view from the top was nice, but we stood there for literally 2 minutes before they told me we are heading back. Maybe if we ate at the restaurant I would’ve enjoyed it more.

View from the top
View from another side of the tower

In conclusion, I think whenever you travel, you should find a hotel that is close to the places you want to visit (Turkey is so big and has so much to offer, it will take endless trips ro fully be able to really see everything and appreciate it) and also to go with people who are not in a hurry all the time and who appreciate historical landmarks like you do (if you do).

Update!

I’m finally all caught up with week 1 of October posts. I just saved posts from after that. Won’t be reading them today because I am going to watch a movie now.

Nancy Drew and the hidden staircase

So what did I learn from 3 days of reading blogs?

They are all good advice, things I mostly knew, in addition to personal updates of stranger’s lives, which was really interesting to read.

I’m glad I didn’t write during these 3 days because I was a bit messed up inside, and I don’t like to preach about positivity when I myself felt like I was failing at life.

So today I literally cleaned the dirt off my windows, to get a clearer view, and figuratively, I felt a deeper insight to what was going on inside of me.

I’m always reading so much and feeding my mind with podcasts and youtube videos and blogs and books (currently reading The 7 habits of highly effective people) that I don’t give myself the time to reflect and act on them.

I have this fear of missing out, but not on parties and going out. I feel like I need to fill myself with as much information as I can, because there is so much information out there, it’s exhausting to try to keep up.

I also realized something else in these 3 days. I don’t have many friends, not in the real sense. I think everyone I communicated with, I reached out to them, even my sister.

It’s sad, but don’t feel bad for me just yet. I kind of connected with my son and husband more. Kind of. It’s a process.

I’m basically trying to be a better human, and I’m trying not to complain. I slept well last night, but I still got a migraine from being on my phone too much.

So what to expect from me in my next blogs:

I’m going to lay off giving advice until I get myself together, but I enjoyed talking about Turkey so you will see more posts about my time in Turkey in 2016. I will try to post 1 blog post per day. Let’s see what happens.

My stats suffered greatly from my lack of blogging for 3 days. They were booming and then they shrunk. I expected my friends to keep up with my blogs during these 3 days, but they didn’t so… I know they’re busy but still…

Anyway, I need to remind myself that I’m blogging for me. Here’s something interesting, not blogging made me feel so confused like I couldn’t explain how I feel. Now I feel like my thoughts are stale and stagnant.

I don’t know what I’m doing wrong but I am taking it one blog at a time.

Reading blog posts

Good morning, actually it’s noon now, because I’ve been binge reading blogs for the past 3 hours.

I’m really behind on reading blogs, and even after reading all morning, I still have 88 more blog posts to read to finish the blogs of the sites I follow from the 1st week of October!

I follow many sites. I don’t just follow people because they follow me. I have a wide range of interests, thus I follow many blogs. But the feeling of overwhelm from reading too many blogs in one day and not being able to retain anything because I’ve read too much got me thinking.

I’ve written 13 blogs in the past week (14 including this one) and as much as I noticed that I’m more of a writer than a reader because I’m more of a talker than a listener, I’m afraid I may be overwhelming my readers with too many blogs.

It’s just that I have so many ideas and so much to say and I need the feedback as much as I need to vent. However, I don’t want my readers to have to binge read and get overwhelmed by the 10% of what goes on in my head.

So I decided that after I post this, I won’t post anymore until I finish reading the 88 posts at least. I won’t read anymore blogs today because I’m already overwhelmed and I also need to direct my attention to my son and redt my eyes from the screen.

I may write posts and save them at drafts but I’m writing my decision here to hold myself accountable that I won’t click publish post until I’m done with at least the 1st week of blogs (the 2nd and 3rd week are another battle for another week).

I noticed that I put a lot of things on save or to do later. I still have podcasts from July 2019 and up until this date that I haven’t listened to, and about 70 videos on youtube on watch later and about 1000 posts on instagram saved that somehow keep accumulating and I’m never getting to them.

Anyway, I hope this week or so gives you, my readers, the time to read through my blogs and get up to date with them.

I understand now how much time and energy it takes to read blogs and I will try to limit to one blog a day in the future (after I finish the 88 posts).

On neuroplasticity: We can rewire our brains!

Why are bad habits hard to break? Because once something becomes a habit, it becomes something we do on autopilot.

How do you break bad habits? If you’re trying to stop eating junk food or stop going on your phone at bedtime or stop biting your nails, you’re doing it wrong.

In order to successfully stop a bad habit, you need to replace it with a good habit, and focus on that.

I recommend you read this book. It really helps to teach you about habits.

The same goes with negative thoughts. If you’re terrified of your negative thoughts and feelings and you try to bottle them up or distract yourself with other things to numb your brain, the negative thoughts will come back over and over.

The way to get rid of negative thoughts and feelings is to acknoledge them and then replace them with positive thoughts.

I recommend you read this book. It talks about types of automatic negative thoughts and how to challenge them.

So if you have negative thoughts, feelings, or habits, don’t lose hope. You can rewire your brain. It’s a process and it takes time and effort, but don’t give up. You can do this!

To clarify, a negative thought is one that harms you emotionally, like thinking you’re not enough, and a negative habit is one that harms you physically or mentally, like staying up too late every night.

Places to visit in Turkey: مطعم المدينة

This is part 2 of my posts from my 2016 trip to Turkey. If you missed part 1, click here to read it.

We went to this restaurant on the day before we traveled back to Lebanon. It is in Taksim and there are lots of shops around it. Taksim is an amazing area to discover. I don’t remember the exact sequence of the places we went to, but I am going according to the sequence of the pictures. It was an expensive restaurant and there is a famous Turkish chef who works there. It was a nice experience.

They are famous for doing a show of fire with the pottery as they serve you

I remember 1st they offer you a range of appetizers, which are delicious by the way.

I don’t know why I didn’t find as many pictures of this place as I thought I took. Maybe there are videos.

Kufta
This plate (chicken and rice) is what I ordered, but it feeds 3 people
I don’t remember what this is

This is a really nice restaurant to go to with family of friends. I’d go again but not if I have to take my son with me, at least not while he is 5 years old as he is now.

Places to visit in Turkey: Istanbul Aquarium

I live in Lebanon, for those who don’t know. I also love to travel. I wish I could travel the world, but so far, I have been in the USA and KSA as a kid, but as an adult, I have been to Syria and since I got married, I have only been to Turkey.

I’m super grateful I have been able to visit Turkey 4 times in the summers of 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. It’s nice that you don’t need a visa from Lebanon to Turkey with a lebanese passport. I hope it stays this way.

This summer, however, with COVID-19 and the economic crisis, we didn’t go to Turkey, and honestly, I don’t think we’ll be going for the next 5 years. I think it’s better that way because then my son will be 10 years old and won’t have tantrums if we go.

I was going to relate my travels by year and list all the things I did and all the places I went, but I wanted to give each place the value I wasn’t able to give it in the rush of the travel. Plus I took 1000 pictures in my 1st trip to Turkey so I can’t fit all that here. I picked the best pictures that don’t have the people I went with (for privacy reasons) and decided to pick my 2016 trip apart, place by place.

Today I’ll show you the Istanbul Aquarium.

This was the last place we visited (I’m going backwards) and I wish I was able to spend all day there just mesmerizing everything. We went there last minute on our way to the airport back to Lebanon.

I’m not a travel blogger so I can’t tell you, nor can I recall, exactly where it is (just that it was 10 minutes away from the airport), but I do remember the ticket was quite pricey but the more people went, the more discount you got. I wasn’t able to see the entire place so I settled for snapping as many pictures as I could. I will now share these pictures and let them speak for themselves of the variety and beauty in this aquarium.

The entrance to the aquarium
Shops within the aquarium
Stingray posing for the picture

I don’t want to overwhelm you with pictures, but if you want to see the rest of them, click here. I added them on Dropbox (90 pictures including these 10).