Wasps in Germany , Sweet menace in Summer

 

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Enjoying outdoors last Vater tag ( Father’s Day in Germany) in the Donaustrand, sans the Wasps!

It’s summertime again! ( feels like it already!)

The last few days, it  feels like summer already here in Bavaria. People are all over under the sun , engaging in any outdoor activity you can imagine. Swimming , doing Sports, devouring Eis ( ice cream) sunbathing in their balconies, grilling, children are playing without shirts all day in the playground, BBQ everywhere, cycling til they drop, walking their dogs, lounging in Beer gardens, crazy over running & Triathlons, and yes, sleeping under the sun!

With the long weekend holiday celebrating the Ascension Day  last May 25th, the same date as the ‘Vater tag'(Father’s Day)  here in Germany, we’ve got  the perfect mood and  weather for it. As I always share in most of my posts, Germans love to be outdoors the moment the sun is up. We are having a simmering 25-32 degrees C nowadays and I can tell you, this pool season is also a signal for the Wasp season . This is one thing that I observe to plague Germany, especially here in Bavaria when the temperatures gets warmer.

In summertime, the flowers are blooming and super radiant. Our little garden is already full of roses and colorful flowers, I love this season!  But if you think that Wasps only hover on any pretty flower, then you are mistaken.

 

Two years ago sometime in August, I first met the nasty crazy German wasps. On our trip going to Moselle and Trier, we had a stop over in one of the restaurant and we decided to eat outside since its very warm. My daughter wants to walk around and I already noticed so many critters flying.It’s hard to ignore them especially when they are literally hovering all over you.Also,it is very rare to find a restaurant in Germany that has an air conditioning. This is one of the times where I really missed the all year/all day AC we have back in Kuwait. When summer comes, it can really feel toasty here, added the annoyance you get from the flying wasps. Inside the restaurant, there are ornaments filled with wasps and bugs caught by the sticky fly swatter and nets.

How can you eat when in your sight is a giant plate-full of wasps, flies, and critters?

Wasps love to fly over your food and they can really sting badly. This is why I don’t want to mess up with them. As a kid, I had been stung by a bee and it’s something I  don’t wanna experience again, let alone watch them sticking to my Schnitzel, or to my curry sauce. I am very careful about this because I have a daughter who is crazy about critters, lady bugs and spiders. She thinks they are cute ‘toys’ and she is chasing them!

I know you might wonder, what’s the difference between Wasps and the normal bees?Though both wasps and bees are relatively harmless unless provoked, it is good to know the difference between the two.The German wasps – called yellowjackets – have a nastier sting than the common wasp and are currently at their angriest.

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Wasps are members of the family Vespidae, which includes yellow jackets and hornets. Wasps generally have two pairs of wings and are definitely not fuzzy. Only the females have stingers, but they can sting people repeatedly.German wasps are bigger than normal wasps but smaller than hornets, have three black spots on their face, and can sting repeatedly.

 

Bees are fuzzy pollen collectors that almost always die shortly after stinging people (because the stinger becomes embedded in the skin, which prevents multiple stings). Bees don’t die each time they sting, though; the primary purpose of the stinger is to sting other bees, which doesn’t result in the loss of the stinger.

You might be interested to read on these basic facts ;

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If you see German wasps in your garden the nest is usually less than 500 metres away. The cold kills the wasps, apart from the newly hatched queens in the autumn. They look for a warm dry nook to hibernate over winter. If you are planning to enjoy your coffee and cake in the outdoor cafe, don’t be surprised if you have someone to share it with. They just love to destroy summer picnics and cling on to any sweet fruit or fermented drinks.

I hope the above info could help you be aware of this. 2015 was a terrible year of wasps in Germany and thinking of the rising temperature, they are bound to be hovering everywhere and swarm over your face! So, don’t let the bug carried by these wasps destroy your summer mood.

Have you enjoyed this post?Tell me,  have you ever been stung by a bee? or a wasp?

 

 

 

The taste of Dusk | Evanescent

“Dawn comes slowly, but Dusk is rapid..”

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My Expat Life : One fine but swift taste of Dusk in Kuwait

If you live in the Middle East, like for example in Kuwait, you would probably shun the abundance of the sun, but I have never met a sunset that I did not like. With the heat during summer that rises up to 52 degrees C, and that needs to getting used to, the mild 25~30 degrees now that we have here in Germany feels like a tropical summer sans the humidity.But in real life, it’s impossible to completely divorce our perceptions of the sun scenes from our awareness of the hour. These times are both crucial, first getting ready to start our day and the latter is ending it, rushing to get home.

How do you really know the taste of dawn from the taste of dusk?

Back then I used to live in a flat located at the upper floors and I always enjoy watching the sun rising up, slowly, sluggard as the date trees swaying on an early morning dawn. I could take lots of photos while enjoying it changing the horizon from reddish, purplish, to burnt oranges. We have large windows and during sunset, I love the way our place is filled with these colors. A sweet and yet swift moments to enjoy.

I love jogging along the Arabian Gulf on early mornings and watch the sun’s  masterpiece almost every weekend and when I have the chance. If not, our bedroom window is like a giant screen showcasing this beauty. With the sea in the backdrop, life back in Kuwait is full of precious, evanescent  sunsets.

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A fiery show in the sky during dusk here in Bavaria during Fall.

But then thorough watching dusk is a different thing. Or is it only me who notices this. Now I have written before why I adore watching  sunrises and sunsets in my life, whenever I have the chance and wherever. In different place, there is a different magic that happens when the sun sets. It is a swift, rapid, retreat. From coming home from work, I can watch the sky while the sun sets, or when I passes by the sea nearby our home or watch the boats docked in the harbor create a magical atmosphere, like a graffiti artist burst his colors on his canvas. Here in Germany, where we have 9PM sunsets , more often I am too tired to stay outside to watch it or I am too caught up with putting my daughter to bed.

I have read an interesting article how to distinguish the difference of dawn from dusk. I couldn’t really tell if its true or not but it says that the first is in our heads. At sunset, our eyes are daylight adapted and may even be a bit weary from the day’s work, or eyes might be strained already. As the light fades, we cannot adapt as fast as the sky darkens. Some hues may be lost or perceived in a manner peculiar to sunset. At sunrise, however, the night’s darkness has left us with very acute night vision and every faint, minor change in the sky’s color is evident. In short, you may perceive more colors at dawn than at dusk. [Red-Green & Blue-Yellow: The Stunning Colors You Can’t See]

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As swift as a ride back home, the skies changes into a rapid kaleidoscope of colors.

Great thing to know, right?

I’m sure if you are a keen observer, you will distinguish these colors, as evanescent they might be.

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Watching my life away during sunsets in Kuwait

The most important thing is, a peaceful sunset, watching the sun sets can really change the way you feel about your day, a proof that any bad day can still end up beautifully. This is by far the best mantra that I wanna keep.

Do you love this post?

If so, when was the last time you have let yourself get lost in watching the sun sets and tasting Dusk?

This post was inspired by this week’s DP Photo Challenge |Evanescent

I made it! My First Biotope- Cycling tour in Germany

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My cycling-mania is still ON over here !

To think that the cycling season have just started  here in Germany and summer is still a month away, more fun begins as we continue to enjoy cycling .The other day, I’ve written about how we are falling in love with our bicycle and guess what—–we joined our first cycling tour!

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Biotopradwandertag 2017 route map

Yes, with my husband and our little Adventurist, off we go for a Biotopradwandertag for a sweet 30 kilometer cycling tour. This is my very first time to experience going on a bike tour like this so I’m definitely excited. The distance and the event itself is all new to me. At first I was hesitant, thinking that maybe my daughter will get bored and as always, I kept worrying about the weather.What if it rains, or  what if she gets  cranky because its her nap time as well.

But then we made it to finish line!

Sweating, hurting my ass, but totally energized. My knees where shaking when I am doing the uphill part and my heart is pounding at some points during the trip but my stamina is still up. I don’t wanna give up. My endorphins are on high and I am very glad that I made it. I haven’t cycled for years and to be able to participate in an event like this makes me feel so at home here in Germany.

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Active Germans ready to cycle!

Believe me, cycling can do wonders on your mood.

The Biotopradwandertag is a cycling tour to promote awareness of the region of a habitat associated with a particular ecological community all around in Ingolstadt and the regions surrounding it. This year was the 29th Biotope Cycling Day ( May 21, 2017) and was personally organized by our city mayor. This Bike tour is an annual event in any weather.

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In my first Cycling Tour !

I saw this ad in the newspaper and after googling a bit and translating, I asked my husband and few friends to join this tour. Good thing it falls on Sunday, and the weather was perfect. A bit cloudy in the morning but up until the end, we cycled under a carpet of beautiful sunny skies.

The tour started at 9 AM, we get the tour map & information from the Stadt theater and I was really impressed how organized the event was. The trails were properly signed, there were visible sign posts for the directions for the cyclists. Along the way, there are guides who helps us go in right direction. For a fee of 3 Euros per person ( kids under 16 are free), all Finisher receives a gift, drink & food vouchers that they can enjoy after the tour. Major sponsors are Willner/Farradzentrum, Nordbrau and Sparkasse. Emergency help lines are also set-up.

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Pit stop in this beautiful lake.

Along the way, the scenarios are really beautiful. So fresh, and the air feels so clean. Acres of Rapeseeds, a sea of wildflowers in different shades, and  very clean neighborhoods. I didn’t expect that Bavaria can really be so green ( literally!), with hills and fields, and to discover all these while cycling is the best way to enjoy our Sunday.

My mind is meditating, relaxing , my muscles are working, and  my body is rejuvenating.

After 2.5 hours of cycling, at about 2/3 of the trip, we had a pit stop in the check point where we have time to stamp our papers, get free drinks and food, and a bathroom break.I saw Germans of different ages, from toddlers to the not-so-young anymore, but are still very active in cycling. Everyone is having a great time.

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There is always a reason to stop because I see so many sights and I don’t wanna miss it.We finished the tour on time and we had  lunch provided by the organizer. The whole Stadt theater was converted int a Beer garden where people devoured their beers, Schnitzels, potato salad, bread and assorted drinks!

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Bikes and All Bikes!

Cycling with toddler stress-free is possible here in Germany and I am glad that my daughter has the chance to experience this on such a young age. Children should not stop us from doing what we are passionate about. I am sure I’ll be doing this again next year, maybe a bit more farther!  If you have the chance, I highly recommend to join this type of outdoor activity, it’s healthy, fun and it’s best enjoyed with your whole family! I think more than the hype, it’s all about doing what you enjoy and what makes you feel good.

 

Have you ever engaged in a tour of your favorite sport ? What are your favorite summer activities?

 

If you enjoyed this post, Make sure to follow my Blog for more of my Expat Lifestyle stories and if you are in Instagram, please connect with me to see more photos of my adventures here in Bavaria.

40 Little things that (really) matters

“It’s the Little Things that make Life Big … “

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Cherry Blossoms from Keukenhof Gardens, Lisse, The Netherlands

Today I wanted to make a “Gratitude post”.  I want to share with you the 40  Little things that really matters to me personally and to everyday life, and that I am forever grateful for. Many times, my mind is cluttered with worries as a mother, nuisances as a woman and grievances of a normal human being. I’m sure I am not the only one who feels like this, but our responses to situations could be different.

Sometimes I felt like Life can be so big and I become  so overwhelmed by it. Maybe I am overreacting but  would you believe that I am constantly worrying about the weather, on my future, of the health of my love ones, or would I pass the exams after I finished the course I registered, or  would I really be fluent in German? Everyday, I’m plagued with questions on what to feed my tiny human ( or does she eats enough?), or when will she completely potty-trained?, on how to  improve my painting skills, and what have I accomplished in my life? etc.. etc…

Just the other day, I asked myself after I put my daughter to bed : “Am I being a good mother to her? Is this the best that I can give…? and my mind drifts far away…

Social media can be  superficial. Our real lives is not as perfect as the perfect Instagram feeds, or the flawless Blog posts. Sometimes, or rather unsolicited and unwanted, my feed is  full of materialistic things that make me feel so little, giving me pressure to follow the trend and desire to get appreciation from others. The way we see things affect so much on how we respond to it. I decided to change my perspective and shift into being optimistic. Rather than focusing on my worries, why not list down things that REALLY matters to me. I realized that through this, I felt thankful, I felt even more grateful to be able to realize this.

Have you ever thought of “What really matters to you?”

 

 

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Dramatic beauty of cherry blossoms in the Netherlands

“Never get tired of doing Little things for others, sometimes those Little Things occupy the biggest parts of their Hearts…”

During our first legit Bike tour last Sunday, I learned a big lesson.

When cycling, especially on tour, it is so easy to focus on speed and missed out. The thing is,it is  very vital to enjoy the journey.  I took time to notice the fields, the glistening lake against the sunshine, the only red Poppies flower among the vast green fields, the yellow rapeseed farm with the ICE train passing by behind it, the heavily ornamented spire of the church, the clouds and its formations & so on…At the end of the tour, I felt so grateful that I had experience all of these, sweat, aching muscles & everything!

I have tried to find beauty in everything. I took notice of the LITTLE THINGS!

Here are my 40 personal “Little Things”that makes a BIG part in my life:

1.Our little garden. It’s a haven for us.

2.Warm Coffee before the toddler wakes up!

3.Making hand made cards for my friends and love-ones.

4. Tulips! having a vase full of Tulips in our home really makes my day. Anytime.

5.Peanut butter and blueberry jam sandwich.

6.Reading my mother’s offline messages to me, facts of living in different time-zones!

7.Watching the  sunrise and clouds every morning in my kitchen while I prepare breakfast.

8.German Brötchen, and warm bread straight from the oven for breakfast.

9.Lazy sunday walks.

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Glory days for the Cherry Blossoms | Keukenhof, the Netherlands

“YES, Small things, matter..”

10.My husband. For his love , support, tolerance and when He comes home in time!

11. Dutch Gevuldekoek and receiving surprise goodies from my parents in law !

12.Running along the woods, nature parks , river, and a lake all within 30 minutes!

13.The smell of fresh laundry.

14.Eating German pretzels ( Brezen)!

15.Beach walks.

16.Complimentary buffet  breakfast in hotels.

17.The muscle ache after I run, it means I got active.

18.Living 10 minutes away from beautiful nature and river.

19.Painting sessions in my kitchen counter top.

20.Smelling my favorite perfume.

21.Shopping in IKEA .

22.My Father-in-Law subscribe and reads my Blog!

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Pure beauty…No filter needed.

“Each morning, we are born again.What we do TODAY,is what really matters most… ~Buddha

23.Playgrounds in Bavaria. They are heaven’s gift.

24.Listening to  my real soundtrack music ( a break from the nursery rhymes!)

25.My daughter’s hug every time she wakes up.

26. My  very kind neighbors.

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“Enjoy and be grateful for the little things in life,for one day you will look back and realize they were the BIG Things…”

27.Eating ice cream in Spring.

28.A great comment on my Blog.

29.Roses in our garden that blooms wildly and taking photos of it!

30.Making and receiving hand written letters, Snail mails!

31.BBQ’s in our garden in Spring and Summer.

32.Watching sunsets.

33.Cooking home-made meals for my friends.

34.Cards from the mailbox ! Especially from someone unexpected.

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It all starts from a bud. | Keukenhof Gardens, The Netherlands

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter…~ Martin Luther King Jr.

35.When my new German friends invited me to their homes just after they’ve met me. I feel flattered.

36.A good running shoes.

37.Cycling  on a sunny day.

38.When people  want to buy ( & actually bought) my paintings!

39. A jeans that perfectly fit on me .

40.A smiling stranger that I come across the street and say  “Morgen“!

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Don’t miss out the little things, they can be really Great!

“We can not do great things. We can only do little things with great love…” ~ Mother Theresa

 

 

What about you, what are the ‘Little Things’ that matters to you?

 

How to fall in love with your Bicycle this Spring

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Cycling through the golden fields in Bavaria

I want to share with you how I developed a new-found love-affair with my bicycle this Spring time.

No, it’s not the current trend here in Germany, nor a health fad, but yes, it’s the number one outdoor sport choice! Fortunately, I am married to a Dutchman, from The Netherlands, the land of cyclists. The land where Bicycles and people are like Bread and Hagelslag  or sprinkles (totally inseparable!).

For the record, Dutch people revolved their lives in Fiets ( Bicycle) and from the country with much more Bicycles than inhabitants, so yes, they have a serious affair with bicycles. Add the fact that I am  living in a country where cycling is ingrained in everyone’s mind. Cycling is a big part of German culture. If you will move to Germany, it is likely that you will buy a bike! It is very rare to find an adult German who did not grow up riding a bike and whose children, parents, and even grandparents probably still ride bikes. My neighbor who is almost 80 years old,  still rides her bike gracefully, twice a week doing her groceries by bike and doesn’t mind cycling during winter.Amazing, right?

So, I am inspired by this.

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I am not in the lowlands but I am cycling under a carpet of Cumulus clouds.

The weather nowadays is at its best here in Bavaria.Thinking that for the past 8 years I got used to 50+ degrees C temperatures outside, here on the other hand, a mild 10-25 degrees in a bright sunny day is absolutely amazing! Not too hot, not too windy and the chill is just right.

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16- Kilometers of cycling with a toddler rewards us some photo-ops in the Stables with lots of horses so shy from the camera.

My little old town, Ingolstadt,  can be explored extremely well on a bicycle.The cycling tours will take you through a typical Bavarian agricultural landscapes, Asparagus fields, and hop gardens scenic views to the south, up to the foothills of the Altmühltal nature park to the north. Pretty villages with public houses and Biergartens ( Beer garden) line the route.

We are joining our first Bike tour ( Biotopradwandertag 2017) this coming Sunday, with my toddler of course, so stay tuned for my stories later about it!

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Toddler and adventures kind of day!

However, much more than one day is needed to discover everything that Bavaria has to offer.If you are a tourist, a trip to the historical sites in the pedestrianized Old Town is a must.The easy-to-follow- biotop adventure path, with a total of 11km in length is also another option.The path consists of 18 stages. At each stage you can find out about the habitats of animals and plants and why do we need to protect them.This is an interesting cycling path for the nature lovers and for active cyclists.

Do you live in seasons? What’s the best way for you to enjoy Spring?

For me, soaking up under the sun, cycling til my ass hurts,BBQ and picnic outdoors, admiring the golden rapeseed fields, and chilling’ in beautiful gardens full of spring blooms! Sure thing I do miss the beach back then in Kuwait and the island-hopping in the tropical islands back home in Ph, but then, spring time in Europe is not that bad. It is actually a whole new experience for me.

These are the moments in Spring that feels like summer–like having BBQ with friends in our garden, grilling the Bratwurst ,indulging in fresh green salads, eating ice cream almost every day (OMG! burn the calories through cycling! ) and finally, wearing sleeveless shirts and shorts!

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Always looking forward to the next cycling adventure!

I have a 2.5 year old toddler, and it’s absolutely not a problem! We bundled her up in the kindersitze and she also can have fresh air and outdoor times. Packed with lots of snacks and bag full of patience, off we go! Last week, we did a 15km ride to the East side of the city with my daughter and it was great. The great thing about cycling is that you get active, relax, meditate, at the same time enjoying some quality family time. I never imagined in my life that cycling could be this good, it will leave you craving for more and more. Once you learned to create adventures with your Bike, you’ll be cycling for life. Also,this is what I love about Germany–spending outdoors with family is a matter of priority!

Through our bicycle trips, we discovered many playgrounds. A pit stop to a nearby Spielplatz (playground) always makes the day and erase boredom from sitting in the bike.We always make it a point to explore nature, local sightings, and fun kid-friendly activities.

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Along the way, finding beauty in everything comes naturally. No filter needed even if I only uses my iPhone to capture photos because its handy.

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Orange poppies can be so lovely!

A pit stop in another lake on the other side of the city was totally worth the hours of cycling. The lake, surrounded with trees, boats sailing, swans swimming, and a cheerful crowd busy having BBQ’s, picnic and just lazing around the lake. The waters still too cold for a swim but I can see so many people put up their tents, camping and fishing. This place is a picture of a simple, serene escape from the busy-ness of the roads in the city.

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Old ladies chatting up with each other, under the tree, beside the lake.

Watching the time goes by while cycling and Wandertag with nature is the perfect Spring past time.

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Having some quiet time along the river

Cycling through the river Danube is one famous bike trails in Europe.The Danube cycle path is one of the best- known and passes through the unique,natural areas.There are many other interesting routes to explore, such as the Via Raetica along the historically Roman road. I live 10 minutes away from the banks of Danube river and this photo above is one of my favorite place to stop and just breathe in. It’s so peaceful!

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Discovering the beauty of Peonies

One can enjoy the scenic river views and enjoy the splashing from the little creeks with the ducks swimming by.  If you have time to kill, you can even catch your dinner from this point.This is also a great place to catch a sight of some birds. The extensive Donauauen ( the wooden areas on the banks of the Danube) stretch from west to east, making it a great starting point for any outdoor activity. If you got tired and needed to rest, there are enough platforms along the Danube to rest on and watch the flow of the river.

In the end,how far can you cycle will depend on your level of fitness.

 

Do you like cycling?

What’s your Bucket list for Spring?

If you like this post, make sure you followed my Blog to follow my Expat life stories here in Bavaria and Hey, do you like Art? I have a gallery of my personal Artwork posted in my Instagram, if you’d like to follow, you can view it Here.

Thank you for reading my friends, hoping everyone of you are enjoying the weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

The Dhow ship: Kuwait’s timeless Heritage

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The timeless Dhow ship of Kuwait, a precious Maritime Heritage

Speaking of Heritage — The Dhow ship is probably my most photographed icon, next to the Kuwait Towers, from my years of stay in the Middle East. A distinct symbol of Kuwaiti culture.

This boat, the Fateh-Al Khair, is a graceful against the winds, beautiful boat, originally used for trading and fishing purposes have long defined this oil-rich country’s identity up to the present times. Wherever you go, the iconic Dhow ship is displayed in many public spaces in Kuwait and there are so many museums dedicated to this heritage.This one in particular is my favorite, next to the gigantic and huge Al Hashemi II, which garnered the coveted Guinness World Records for the largest Dhow ship ever built in the whole world.

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Dhow ships and fishing boats in Souk Sharq

One of the scenic spots in Kuwait where anyone, especially foreigners can have a glimpse of the Dhow ships and fishing boats displayed and docked gracefully in the harbour. This one is taken in  Shouk Sharq, one of the places where I buy fresh local fishes, just adjacent to the fish Market. Here, you can watch the hustle and bustle of the fishermen as they go about their day, making rigorous  bidding for their pricey catch.

An ideal place if you want to catch a beautiful Sunset from the Arabian Gulf.

 

If you are interested about Kuwait ‘s culture and Islamic Heritage, here are further readings which I have written based on my personal escapades while living there.Photo credit to my friend Ramil Sunga for the second photo. I used this photo as my painting inspiration for my series ‘Kuwait’.

 

Diving for pearls with Dhow

Life in the sea in Kuwait

How to beat the 50 degrees Heat in Kuwait !

The Art of Islamic Patterns

This post is inspired by this week’s Photo Challenge | Heritage

A Reflection: The grass is greener in Bavaria

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Reflections at the Baggersee : My Expat Life in Germany  from a year’s perspective.

 

My favorite lake here in Bavaria shows amazing reflections in the water today. I took this photo with my iPhone only at around 5 P.M, no filter needed, only pure beauty. I could stare at these mirror-like reflections for hours and still wonder what did I do in my life that I deserve to see this.

My heart is filled with warmth.I couldn’t help but to reflect into my past  life, realizing that from last year—living here in Germany is actually one of my ( and my family’s )  dream that came true! 

“Remember, life is an echo. It always gets back to you. So give goodness.”

Today, I feel so grateful. I want to be grateful because I have many reasons to be thankful for. I can’t help but to appreciate goodness in life.

As we make a pit-stop from cycling and gaze at this view from the lake today, my heart is grateful that I had the chance to see this place, with all these  myriad of beautiful nature, right at my doorstep.

I still remember that at this same time last year (May 2016), we squeezed our lives in 2 cargo boxes , my travelling hand carry bags are tightly packed and ready to leave Kuwait, with 3 luggage on tow and an active toddler on a 20+ hours flight, alone,jet lagged, and yet so excited to cross time zones for a life changing move. From the time our plane landed at Schiphol in the Netherlands and the 6- hour train ride going to Bavaria, my mind can’t rest until I step on to our new home. I was truthfully exhausted,at same time,  I can’t wait to see our new place, our neighborhood and our new home, where we begin a new chapter in our lives.

Everyone dream of becoming rich, well, maybe not all in material terms. For me, I didn’t dare of dreaming about big houses, high-end cars or a grand lifestyle, let alone living in a culture different from where I was born with. I love to travel but I don’t have the luxury for it. The only reason I go abroad was for work purposes. If you must know, so many Filipinos get out of the country mainly for work, especially women and mothers. Leaving your baby across the miles is a huge pain in the heart of any parent, a sacrifice as others call it. A big population of the OFW’s ( Overseas Contract Worker) are women, with small kids & families left behind in Philippines.They work under contract for years and years to earn money and support their families back home.

Back then, I was one of them .

Almost all Expatriates along with their families aspire of a better life in another country. Some move because there is a job opportunity, some with a lucky chance to immigrate naturally. If you got the opportunity, both for a better future and a high quality of living then life abroad becomes bearable…and enjoyable”

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Life echoes through the reflections

“The grass is always greener on the other side (of the fence)…”

Staring at the clear waters with the reflections of a blue skies, I still couldn’t believe that I am actually living in here in  Germany. Imagine, for the past months, I  had my first taste of Summer, Fall, Winter  and Spring for the very first time in my life!

If you follow my Blog, you surely know it because I write all about them here.

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Local sightings : Kayaking in the Danube river in Germany

My husband thought of looking for a job in Canada but then life brought us here. I don’t like the cold so much but then the moderate climate helps me to appreciate my new life in seasons. Kuwait was not that bad, the cost of living is high for Expats but the balance between work and family is so bad, you always work for longer hours. In Germany on the other hand, to think that my daughter will have a better future in this amazing country is too much for me.Quality and balance living is achievable.We don’t live in big cities like Berlin, Hamburg or Munich, but we almost have everything here, within reach. My daughter will start in Kindergarten this coming September and she’ll grow up speaking multiple languages, getting better education, and having the opportunity to explore the best of both worlds as a Third culture kid.

Germans in general are very nice, friendly and hospitable people, ( at least from my own experience) the typical and traditional Bavarians who adore  Ruhetag  (Sonntag/Sunday) sincerely, my neighbors who are overly kind and all helpful. Our neighborhood which is just a stones’throw away from the Danube is full of simple wonders everyday. My little town here in Bavaria, Ingolstadt is a quaint, rich, lush city  full of kaleidoscope and charm. I couldn’t ask for more. ( Well, maybe a branch of Krispy Kreme someday…and Ikea! )

Germany is a beautiful country that welcomed us wholeheartedly. A place where Expats are treated not only as ‘Auslander’( or Foreigners)  but giving us a chance  to fully integrate into their culture,we felt at home at first sight. The moment I stepped out from the train, all I could say is that it is so green. I breathe in Life.

They say that people migrate with so many “pull” factors, and where the grass is always greener…

Literally & figuratively speaking, Yes, the grass is greener here in Bavaria.

 

 

This post was inspired by this week’s WPC Photo Challenge | Reflecting

The irony of Motherhood

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A Journey together… (Mother and Child)

Sharing with you once again my artwork inspired by my “Mother and Child “series. This one is done in 36 x 48 cm, watercolor paper, in artist grade inks and paints. If you’re interested for purchase, just drop me an email at justbluedutch@gmail.com.

The Irony of Motherhood

To be honest, I’m just winging it. Life, motherhood, and my paints. Everything.

Here in Germany along with many parts of the world, this coming Sunday ( May 14) is  Mother’s Day (or Muttertag) is being celebrated. This would be my 2nd time to celebrate this day as a mother and I feel honored to experience this. While motherhood is a 24/7 lifestyle, I just thought that maybe I reflect on some of the Irony of my own life.Have a read if you have time, and if you agree, you can leave some comments !

Ok, so why am I always cleaning? I need to finish this post within half an hour  or else it will be stuck in my 100+ drafts…maybe forgotten soon, because I still  need to clean up the mess, pick up toys,etc., seems like nothing stays clean as usual.

Did I mention before that when I say No, NO! Nein! It’s sure she understands YES, Oh yes Mama! And there she goes…

Before, staying up until 2AM is peanuts.I can still go to work at 7 am and still  feeling good. Now, I am utterly exhausted every time. All the time. Hitting the bed at 9PM is a luxury. Sometimes I think I should consult a doctor why this back pain never goes away! Now I understand what ‘different kind of tiredness” mothers have…can you relate?

I spent countless times searching  and creating  healthy toddler dishes. I go crazy looking for Chia seeds and that elusive Kale in the fresh markets, but my child only knows, Hagelslag, Spring rolls, blueberries, and bread.  Anything foreign looking food especially ‘green ones ‘ will be seen on the floor .

Sleep? What is it? how does it feel to sleep for a straight  8- hours? I totally forgot. Maybe because I am too sleepy… yes even now, yawns *

I don’t know about you but half an hour spent in a grocery shop seems like a lifetime. I can’t wait to be in the check-out counter especially when there is a raging storm of a whining, screaming kid trying to create a havoc in the line to the cashier.Thank God there’s gummy bears!

My two-year old still lives in diaper and onesies, but why is it that I have tons of laundry to do everyday? Laundry seems like an endless chore!

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Motherhood : A journey together

Pre-baby, I only know Mickey mouse . Now, I have never known so much nursery rhymes, cartoon characters and lullabies, after I had a child where I need to sing the whole playlist before bedtime.Everyday.On demand.

Can somebody please give me the formula of how to put your child to bed in 5 minutes?Do you think 2 hours is normal?

My favorite cardio-exercise : Running after my child in the playground and push the stroller.

I spent hours to choose cute outfits for my daughter but the moment she runs into the park, she rolls over in the sand, gravel and grass as if she is adoring mother earth!

Babies are often called bundles of joy. They are, in fact, bundles of screaming diarrhea, or a gooey  goo, a puke, or  pee. I can even smell it from a distance!

Motherhood is a whole lot of ‘fun’ than you think. It is more than cuddles and cuteness overload. It’s a whole Lotta ‘Hardwork’as well!

Why is it that she keeps on uttering “Oh no… Oh no…” she has her own way of getting what she wants.Terrible two’s…

Anyways, what is the common thing that painting and babies have in common?

They are both messy.

They are both hard to handle.

They are both time-consuming and energy-zapping.

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But then, just like any masterpiece, being a mother involves  real, hard , long hours of labor.There is no such thing as instant work -of-art. Motherhood is like a vicious artwork. Creativity comes with pain, ironic and delusional ideas.

But the moment your kid comes to you and in a tiny, squeaking voice says “Mama, hug you… ( she means she wants to hug me ) and tries to squeeze herself into my arms…I just wanna freeze the time.

She have this look on her face that I can’t handle. She can be so sweet, yet so annoying.

What else can you say?  or do?

I can’t explain what I am feeling when I am hearing her voice. It is just pure bliss. This time, no kidding, but these ironic blues turns into an artful moments.Sort of.

 Disclaimer : If you don’t have kids, single and have never had a child in your whole life, let alone never stayed up all night when your child is sick then you might find this post  totally unrelatable…I was once this type of person. I look in dismay once I see a mother with crying and screaming kids,  thinking “how can she not control her kid?” How could she?

Now I know how must she have felt. Now I know and just smiled…I wanted to give her a hug and say “I feel you”…

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Happy Mother’s Day ! (Aquarelle painting //justbluedutchArt)

I guess, you can never know the feeling of a mother, either being a stay-at-home parent or a full-time working Mom, not unless you become one. That’s the irony.

To all the sweet Mamas out there, here’s a cheer for you: You are remarkable!

 

 

Reflections from the lowlands

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 De Grote Kerk and the Georgiuskerk amongst the greens reflecting in the pond 

From our recent trip to the Netherlands last Easter, I snapped  once again some photos where mirror-like reflections of nature was so captivating and irresistible to ignore.This is one of my favorite subject to photograph in Holland, its water reflections. Be it from a small pond, dike, lake or in canals, the waters are ever-so-clear! As we walked through the woods, I found this little paradise, just in the outskirts of the old town.This is the thing about Holland, be it after the rain or not, beautiful water reflections of nature are just a normal thing. The waters are so clear that the images of trees, city landmarks, and the sky makes a great portrait!

The world seen upside down; but still so beautiful — or maybe even more beautiful!

The first known mirror in the world was perhaps a very clear and still water surface. There is an old Greek mythology about a beautiful boy, Narcis, who saw his reflection in the water and fell in love with himself. So deep was his love, that he didn’t want to do anything but watch his own reflection, and he did it until he died of lust. I don’t know if the water mirror really is that dangerous, but I’ve fallen in love with Amsterdam reflections especially the reflections of the gable houses along the canals. During sunny days, the houses are reflected in the canal water or in the windows of houses on the opposite side. In parks, the image of trees on the water surface looks like a Van Gogh painting.

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Reflections from the Netherlands

Still-life or not, this beats any type of painting. The waters are crystal clear that minute details are clearly seen upside down.

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Though the weather is not that perfect, but still with enough light considering  I am only using my iPhone, I am still impressed by the images that I captured. This simple demonstration of beauty of nature needs no filter and no explanations. It is just perfect.

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Mirror-like collage of leaves of trees 

 

How about you, what are your favorite subjects to photograph in your travels?

This post is inspired by this week’s  Daily Post : Photo Challenge | Reflecting

Flower Art therapy

 

 

 

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My First attempt to do some Flower Art Theraphy
Who doesn’t love flowers? I’m sure most of you does, just like I am.Flowers and Art can go very well together! I admit I can go crazy over a simple bouquet of spring flowers! The allure of Spring is so into me that I think I cannot get over with my recent Tulip coma and bicycling over and over again through the Rapeseed fields! Everytime I visit the Fresh market, I can’t resist getting some new blooms to add to our little garden as well.

When I check my feed, I always see posts about flowers, and different images of nature. There has never been a day that I don’t see photos of nature, especially now that Spring season is in full bloom. For me, there’s no such thing as too much flowers, or “ green nature overload “.  Every single one of it  has its own enigma.

If you are following me in this Blog then you must know that I love painting. The other day, I have tried experimenting  doing some water-color Flower Art. I admit that I’m not very good in making flower patterns , let alone sculpting the petals and leaves.  I guess my curiosity is the one that drives me to create something and I personally want to immerse myself in some kind of flower art therapy.

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What is Flower Art therapy?

“Art therapy is an incredibly basic, yet effective way to calm your emotions and thoughts.”

Just start drawing and painting. There are certain types of art therapy that can address certain feelings and needs. Give them a try!

When you’re tired, draw flowers. Drawing flowers helps re-energize your mind and clear brain fog.

Some people loves Adult Colouring, some are into gardening. Some just collect and design bouquets! You can even visit the garden houses and flower shops nearby your area to get some inspiration.I opt to do the watercolor fun part.

Combined with some rugged lettering, I experiment making some more flower art.This time, I tried making some floral patterns into cards. Now that Mother’s Day is coming up, I created some free patterns. I’m telling you, it can be addicting, at the same time, it helps me to learn some basic flower art styles.

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Want some ideas about what to give to your dear friends & family this Mother’s Day? Try doing some Watercolor Flower Art!
Here are some of the sample of cards that I’ve made by using flower art. What do you think of them?

If you have a paint, ink or a simple watercolor palette, you might want to try it for yourself. Who knows, it could turn out to be a hobby. I used some watercolor paper and cut them into the sizes that I desired. If you don’t have an artist’s grade paper, it doesn’t matter, but if you wanted to create a card that you wanted to give away to your friends and family, you can consider getting a good quality so it won’t warp or cringe once you painted on it.

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Creative Flower Art cards

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My framed Flower art 
You can make a simple ornament out of your creative flower Art.If you need some inspiration, try browsing some samples in Pinterest or this great piece for example.

If you have the materials then it’s so easy and fun to do. The options are limitless, you can create as many flowers as long as you want in any media that you use.Try it with colored pencils, pastels, acrylic, or even a simple ink pens.

You can create a single wreath, or just a frame full of spring flowers! The photo above is the first one I’ve made and I put it into the white frame and I love the way it creates a ‘Spring feel‘ inside our home!

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Are you looking for a DIY ( Do it Yourself) creative project which you can share with your kids or just for an outlet of your creative self? Why don’t you try doing some watercolor Flower Art therapy and you won’t regret it!

This projects is one of my Spring Bucket List, to create something inspired by Spring! Remember, anything personalised and hand-made is always special, so if you have the time, give it a go!

What’s in your Spring Bucket List?

 

If you like this post, make sure to check out my Instagram to see some of my Artwork!