8 Tips For Moving/Living In A New City While Pregnant

| 8 Tips for Living in a New City While Pregnant | 

Moving to a new city can be extremely difficult. However, moving to a new city and being an expectant mother at the same time is arduous X 100 and a completely different experience. Shortly after getting married, my husband and I moved to Cleveland for his residency (add that on top living in a new city while pregnant) and became expectant parents. Obviously, he doesn’t waste any time. If I could describe the experience in 3 words it would be tasking, emotional, and lonely. Now, this article isn’t supposed to depress you, in fact I hope it’s helpful. For all of my expectant mothers in a new city I have some tips that can better prepare you for what will truly be an enlightening experience.

1. Find A Doctor

I know that you might have a whole bunch of moving headaches to tackle, but finding a doctor is more important. It can take weeks, sometimes months to get through to a doctor and find an OBGYN that meets your criteria. My husband and I moved to Cleveland, which has one of the highest rates of infant mortality in America so I was extremely picky about finding the right OBGYN. Even though, in many cases there is no way to prevent SIDS or certain cases of infant mortality and it involves the mother more than the physician, I was still nervous and picky about picking a physician. Ask for recommendations and make sure you have your medical records.

2. Find Friends

I moved to a city where I knew absolutely no one. On top of that my husband is a resident physician so I barely see him as well and that has been difficult as a newlywed too. I recommend finding a group of friends and socializing with them to get your mind off of the stressful move. A lot of ways to do this as an expectant mother are yoga, pilates, and expectant mother classes. You can go to the classes specifically for pregnant women and build you a group of friends in your new city. Some may even become lifelong friends and how cool would it be to have your kids grow up together?!

3. Stay Active

When I say “stay active”, I simply mean making time for a bit of exercise to get your mind off of your anxieties. You don’t have to compare yourself to the pregnant fitness Instagram models in the gym all of the time with perfect photo shopped pictures. Walking daily, pilates, cycling, or whatever exercise you like best will be helpful. Whenever you think about binge eating to get rid of your anxiety, go for a walk instead, you aren’t supposed to eat for 2. And yes, I know this is easier said than done!

 4. Wait on baby shopping

You are already trying to unpack and get settled; the last thing you need is MORE stuff immediately and if you haven’t quite moved yet, remember, relocation will be cheaper. Once, all of your original belongings are settled then you can begin NESTING! You will also be able to better assess what you really need for your new baby!

5. Don’t Be a Hero

Please! Please! Please hire professional movers unless your husband is already a professional mover and you trust him to move even your most fragile of belongings by himself. I wish somebody would have told me this before I thought it would be a good idea to do any heavy lifting. I ended up getting a hernia and now have the worst back pain ever even in my early months. On top of, nausea, headaches, fatigue, and more, the last thing you need is a hernia or more back pain.

 6. Listen To Your What Your Body Wants

As much as we think we can do anything, and we can, sometimes it’s best if we don’t. Don’t over exert yourself, listen to your body. If you are feeling tired, go to sleep! You should sleep at least 8 hours a day, you are growing another human inside of you. And that’s not just my recommendation that is the Mayo Clinics too paraphrased in my more enthused words. In a brand new city, you probably have even more tasks to do and things on your plate but you have to avoid pushing yourself to much. I promise, some things can wait.

7. Be Realistic and Communicate

Being in a brand new city and expecting a baby are not going to be easy and you don’t have to carry the difficulties alone. I know that we all want to be independent and for everyone to know it too but it is okay to ask for help and know your limitations. I am still having a really hard time with this as I hate asking for help. I pride myself on being able to do everything on my own but honestly sometimes you don’t have to. If you are one of those people who do have family and friends that would help if you asked, please do as some people are not as fortunate. Communication is also key, it’s important to communicate with your family and your spouse about your emotions, what’s going on, and things you may need help with. Communication with your significant other I believe is the most important because you will need to come up with plans to prepare for your new baby and you might have different expectations that you need to discuss and get on one accord. My husband isn’t a talker and I could debate, talk, and plan for hours on end (I’m a Virgo), but honestly it helps to hash everything out and prepare yourselves for what’s to come. I mean c’mon, you have to get used to a new city and you’re expecting a new baby. It’s not going to be all peaches and cream.

 8. Make Time For Romance

One of the things I learned about that I had no idea existed was a BABYMOON! I know you are probably thinking, I have so many things to do and so much to pay for already for this move, I can’t take a vacation. However, a babymoon can be for a short weekend and it doesn’t have to be expensive. My husband is a resident for heaven’s sake and he’s made time to take a weekend road trip to our hometown Chicago to see Hamilton on Broadway. A babymoon is basically just you or you and a significant other taking time out for yourselves to relax and enjoy the expectancy of the baby and not the stress of the baby. And when you have just moved to a new city, any break helps. It’s also great for the guys too because they also need a break, they aren’t necessarily carrying the baby, but they worry about you and the baby too. Not only that, but pregnancy can be lonely and dull for men sometimes too because they don’t get the “oo’s” and “aah’s” from family and strangers and they aren’t as close to the experience as you with your baby literally growing inside of you. Men are babies, okay.


I hope that the aforementioned is valuable and that you did not read all of this to be even more stressed! Relax, you truly have a miracle on the way, but prepare. You can move while pregnant and not go crazy and you can live in a brand new city and not feel horribly homesick. Personally, pregnancy has been tasking, emotional, and sometimes a bit lonely but it’s also been beautiful and exhilarating. Honestly, I love it, expecting this miracle to come is fun within itself. Once you finally get settled, trust me it gets better and the NESTING isn’t a chore, it’s exciting.

To Cairo with Love 🌹

| Cairo 🇪🇬 |

For my new readers, I am newly married to a handsome Egyptian-American man who has taken me on a roller coaster ride of new cultural experiences. I must tell you this beforehand because it truly impacts the way I travel now and during my trip to Cairo, Egypt visiting his family I truly got to experience Cairo as a tourist and as a local. Because of this I am going to take you on a journey and give you some insight on traveling to Cairo, Egypt.

Cairo is a city that never sleeps. We landed in Cairo at 11pm at night, don’t worry if you’re flight gets in late as there are still taxis and tuk tuks (a bike taxi) available as the city of Cairo stays alive well into the wee hours of the morning. If you’re still hungry, want to wind down at a Shisha Lounge (hookah), go to a Jazz Club, frequent a bar, or shop at the many nights markets, you can still do those things and more after your arrival. If you arrive in the late evening as opposed to the aforementioned wee hours of the morning, I would recommend the following:

-Nile Dinner Cruise
-Sound and Light Show at the Giza Pyramids
-Cairo Old Market: Khan Al-Khalili Souk
-Hang out at Almaz (nightclub lounge)

We stayed at the Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel & Spa. It has a beautiful view of the Pyramids and is extremely close by. It has 4 restaurants, a spa, and an outdoor pool. It is also very affordable with prices at around 60 USD a night.

In the morning we went to go see the most well-known and major highlight for travelers to Cairo: The Pyramids of Giza. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world and still remains preserved. If you do not arrange this excursion with your hotel or purchase beforehand with a touring company, here are the costs to get your ticket upon arrival: You can buy your ticket at the entrance security desk/kiosk. Beware of your taxi driver taking you elsewhere to purchase your ticket, don’t bargain with them, just have them take you directly to the entrance gate.

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Ticket to enter the Pyramid complex: Egyptian Pounds 80 ~ USD 9
Entrance Inside The Great Pyramid: Egyptian Pounds 200 ~ USD 11
Entrance into 2nd or 3rd Pyramid: Egyptian Pounds 40 ~ USD 2
Great Pyramid (Pyramid of Khufu): Egyptian Pounds100 ~ USD 9
Meresankh III tomb: Egyptian Pounds 50 ~ USD 6

I thoroughly enjoyed the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx, I had no idea what to really expect. We took a horse and carriage ride around the pyramids and then we rode a camel around the smaller pyramids. I found the archeological site to be fascinating and if you are into history and architecture, you will too. Nobody still knows how the pyramids were built and it is so interesting hearing all of the locals opinions on its construction. The question remains unanswered and it makes me even more curious and enchanted.

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The next stop was to visit some of my new family members and even though this is probably not something that would be on your itinerary, I learned quite a bit that would be useful for any traveler. Some of the phrases that the kids had me perfect that you should know upon arrival are:

No: la
Yes: naam
Please: min fadlak (m.) min fadlik (f.)
Thank you: shukran
Your Welcome: Ahlan beka
Sorry/Excuse Me: assef
Welcome: Marhaba
Goodbye: salam (peace)
My Name Is: esmi
What Is Your Name?: esmak eh? or Ma Esmok?
How Are You?: ez zayyak? (masc) ez zayyek? (fem)
Nice to Meet You Saadot belkak
I Don’t Understand: ana mish fahem
Do You Speak English?: int betetkalem inglizi?
Can You Help Me?: mumken tsaa’dni?
What Time Is It?: el-saa kam?

For my foodies, what is the point in traveling to a new destination and not trying the local cuisine? I was really excited about the opportunity to try Egyptian cuisine in Egypt at a family member’s house and I tried everything, even things I was skeptical about, like pigeon. Stuffed pigeon is a delicacy in Egypt and consists of whole pigeon stuff with rice and many different spices. Some other foods I had that I recommend you try upon your visit are:

-Kushari
– An assortment of grilled meats
– Sausage and liver sandwich
– Baladi Bread
-Fava beans and falafel

They also welcomed us with a delicious cake, celebrating my husband’s birthday and our new marriage. Egyptian birthday cakes are a little different than American cakes. You won’t find buttercream and whipped icing cakes, but more traditional cakes.

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Later that night we joined some more family members and went out for coffee, tea, and juice. If you are a fan of juicing, this is your time to have fresh juices galore. I was in juice heaven as I love juicing and fresh fruits and they had a plethora of smoothie and juice bars. Try quenching your thirst at Juice Me Up or City Drink!

For a full meal out on the town, try Sequoia for a diverse menu and shisha, they also serve alcohol in a place where many restaurants don’t. The views of the Nile are breathtaking and the setting is trendy and romantic. I am also a fan of Andrea, simply because I love chicken liver and the Kobeba and chicken liver are a must have there. Also, the atmosphere is laid back, colorful, and old school. Your kids can even take a donkey ride. Cool right?

I had a great time in Egypt’s sprawling capital, set on the Nile River and I look forward to going again. I have never experienced anything like it, the traffic the noise, the hustle & bustle, and the people will deluge you, so give yourself time to explore, relax, and wind down with a Shay bil na’na (mint tea) or a glass of sugarcane juice. I recommend on your visit you also do the following:
-Egyptian Museum
-Mosque of Muhammad Ali
-Al Azhar Park
-Tahrir Square

Remember, when you are ready to make your trip, Cairo is no Dubai, in fact, it can be dirty, it’s not glamorous, there are many pickpocketers and scammers waiting for a tourist to slip up, and the air quality is horrible. However, even with all of these unfavorable traits, it is still incredibly beautiful and one of my favorite places I’ve traveled to and if I were to recommend anything to you, it would be to give yourself time. You need time in Cairo for your visit to be efficient, productive, and somewhat foolproof.

Personally, having been able to enjoy a local and tourist experience was incredible. I loved meeting my new family members, eating authentic Egyptian cuisine in a real local Egyptian house, camel and horse riding at the Pyramids, and taking in all of that Vitamin D that the Egyptian heat and sun truly provide.

Do you love to travel and see yourself in Cairo?

 

 

Follow me to Greece 🇬🇷 Why you should go to Greece now 🌎✈️

Greece is magical. 💫✨

Every experience I have in Greece is always unforgettable and I always long for it every time I leave. My first time in Greece was with one of best friends and we had a spectacular girls trip! Our favorite place was Mykonos, and every time we talk about plans for any other trip she always says “Take me back to Greece.” Because of my previous adventures in Greece I was so excited to go with my husband this time and show him what truly made my Greek experience incredible.

Our first stop in Greece was Athens and we stayed at NLH Fix | Neighborhood Lifestyle Hotels. NLH Fix Neighborhood Lifestyle Hotels is in a low profile neighborhood that is referred to as a new “old gem” and is right by the Acropolis. It’s ideal for long stays and is truly an accommodation that is a —place to live. There are guests that even stay there for months at a time and the design of interacting with the staff and people that live there further make your stay a unique adventure. In my experience, if you have a gelato craving at 3am, the staff & guests will be happy to assist you in making sure they find you a place where your cravings are met. My favorite part of staying there was how functional and spacious the rooms were. The hotel itself is very comfortable, stylish,  and it’s affordable (prices around $120 a night)!! Even though guests normally stay for a longer period of time, Santorini was calling us and we had to be on our way.

You can take a direct flight to Santorini from Athens but we decided to take a ferry. We bought a Blue Star Ferries ticket on DirectFerries.com and it was smooth sailing! I prefer a ride on the sea rather than a plane sometimes and the views on the way to Santorini were quite spectacular even though for the last 2 hours I won’t lie, we cuddled up and watched Netflix. But why not? The seats were comfy, there is a plethora of food and drink options, and it was spacious.

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In Santorini, we stayed by the Black Beach in Kamari and it is a perfect location for a couple looking for some R&R time. Besides the fact that it’s geographically amazing to lay out on a sunbed on a beach composed of black volcanic sand and pebbles, the row of restaurants on the beach were extremely appetizing as well. Our favorite restaurant on the Black Beach of Kamari was Alismari. We enjoyed a delicious seafood platter, good music, non-alcoholic cocktails, and superb lighting.

Other great locations in Santorini to stay are Oia, Fira, and Imerovigli. Every location is incredibly picturesque. In Oia we had a delicious meal at Fino. It’s a super cozy 5 star restaurant with extremely accommodating and sweet staff. We thoroughly enjoyed the food and the atmosphere; as you can see the decor is extremely aesthetically pleasing.

The Red Beach by the ancient site of Akotiri was one of my favorite beaches in Santorini. The view is worth the trip alone but how could you not love walking along the red cliffs while a local man is playing music and people are casually selling delicious fresh fruit along your cliff walking journey. I don’t have enough hands to count how many times someone asked me how my fruit was and if they should get some from the vendors and partake too. Why yes, you should!!

We took a short flight from Santorini to Mykonos and stayed in Mykonos city. Ideal location with restaurants, clubs, shops, and bars galore. Most of our adventures in the daytime included me on the back of a quad bike scared for my life that my husband would accidentally drive us off one of the cliffs. However, I loved showing him around Mykonos as the last time I was there I had the time of my life. Last year, I was in Mykonos with one of my best friends and we danced the night away at Scandinavian Bar, Super Paradise, and wandered around Mykonos city eating all of the gelato and baklava we possibly could. However, this trip with my husband was more of a time for us to wind down and relax, especially on the last leg of our Greek trip.

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Greece is one of my favorite travel destinations and I recommend that everyone go at least twice. You should go once with a group of friends and have the ultimate Greek island experience. Swim, sunbathe, boat, and dance! Then, you must go again, with a significant other and explore the volcanic cliffs, beautiful blue seas, and famous white and blue architecture. Be that cheesy couple way to obsessed with each other and enjoy the food,history, and culture. Greece has something for everyone. 🇬🇷

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Traveling As A New Muslim Convert

 

|First stop in ‘ Traveling as a New Muslim Convert’ chronicle ✈️ Ireland 🇮🇪  |

Ireland is for lushes but also non-drinkers too. As aforementioned, I am now living in a Muslim household and will be raising Muslim children and one of the things that is prohibited in Islam is alcohol. As enlightening as it is being a new Muslim convert, it is more difficult than you expect not being able to pick up my usual glass of wine while watching The Bachelorette (don’t judge), Insecure, or This Is Us. So when my job invited me to Ireland to celebrate my achievements for my successes in the past year all I could think about was how am I going to experience the TRUE Ireland. How am I going to go pub crawling? What about the touristy Guinness factory tours? I’m a massive globetrotter and I always pictured me going to Ireland and getting to be apart of the Irish drinking culture. As necessary as I thought it was to enjoy Ireland, it wasn’t.

Ireland is a romance novel readers dream. The ancient lore, doughty castles, and tower houses nestled in an island surrounded by the Atlantic are more picturesque than you could ever imagine. Not to mention, the mythological traditions, traditional music, Irish literature, & historic sites will keep you busy and enraptured in love, history and humor as well. We went on boat rides and toured the Dingle Peninsula, the Wild Atlantic Way, and went on a horse and buggy ride in the Gap of Dunloe. It was truly a Game of Thrones watchers’ wildest dreams. After a few days in the beautiful region of Shannon, I was sure that traveling as a new Muslim convert would be no big deal. But then we went to Dublin.

Dublin seemed to be all about pub crawling and that was not an option for me. Having my Muslim husband with me definitely helped me counter my disappointment in not being able to do the brewery experience and tasting of Irelands famous beer (Guinness) or even one of a ton of Irelands famous whiskeys. While my friends were out and about drinking it up, pub crawling, and singing karaoke to Irish songs with Dublin locals, I must admit I felt like I was missing out and I was doubting how truly adventurous my travels could be not being able to drink. I mean, after-all alcohol is a big part of many cultures and truly apart of some countries’ history. I came up with something better though, something much better. A SPA DAY. Dublin has so many amazing boutique spas to choose from and my husband and I spent an entire day at one and no longer had any FOMO of the Dublin pub experience. After all the hiking and exploring of the Shannon landscape and terrain it was well needed anyway.

Basically, Ireland isn’t just for lushes, it’s for non-drinkers too and I can’t wait to go again. So for all my Muslim brothers and sisters, don’t be hesitant to include Ireland in your travel destination plans or bucket list too!

Now that I’m expecting, I realize how dramatic I was being for a week in Ireland, when I definitely can’t partake now and neither can most women for 9 months at some point in their adult life.

I must say the difficulties of being a new Muslim convert aren’t just about not being able to drink but in Ireland I was able to see how different my trips would be moving forward. While leaving and headed to the airport I knew my new travels wouldn’t be any less adventurous BUT then we arrived in Greece…….(stay tuned)

 

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