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Defining {Home} When You’re an Expat

“Home is not where you live, but where they understand you” ~ Christian Morganstern quotes “Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.” ~ Matsuo Basho I’ve been grappling with the concept of home from the moment I stepped on the plane earlier this month. When people ask, “where are you going?” Do I say, “Oh, we’re going home!” But are we really going home? After a few days at my mom’s house MarocBaba asked how it was and I definitively told him, “this doesn’t feel like home anymore.” Then last weekend as we stayed near where I grew up I instantly found comfort in the forest. Not a single place just being surrounded by towering trees as far as I could see. So what is it, where is it?  Earlier this week I happened to go through some notes I have written down in a notebook I always carry. I am always writing but rarely go back …

Amanda MouttakiDefining {Home} When You’re an Expat

{Guest Post} Caity from Where the Heart Is

There are thousands of American expats around the world and I love sharing their stories! Caity studied in London during university and has decided to take the plunge and become a full-time expat. If you’re thinking about making the move or you’re already an expat, her post shines light into the desire to do it and the sometimes difficult things you may have to hear when you go public with your dream. It’s a tough road, when everything you want is a worlds away.  And I mean this literally – my dreams were on the other side of the world.   I spent a semester studying abroad in London during 2012.  What was normally a simple six month experience for most, changed my entire life. Being able to experience the world gave me a new prospective though, and living in London gave me the feelings that it was where I truly belonged.   I came back to the states in the …

Amanda Mouttaki{Guest Post} Caity from Where the Heart Is
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Finding Faith in the Baraka of Old Men

This year really tested my faith in a lot of ways. In the US it’s common to hear among Muslims (and specifically convert Muslims) how they simply can’t wait to move to an Islamic country for some type of Muslim-utopia they’ve imagined exists. Frankly, I’m far too cynical to even believe this exists (nor do I really know if it’s something I want to exist).  I went through a lot of stages in my culture shock journey. Some I wrote about here, some I wrote down for myself, and some I tried to quietly stuff away. I try not to be negative, but I do promise to be real. One thing that tested me to the limits was the unwanted attention of men. It’s somewhat unavoidable and for a long time I was terrified to even go out without my husband because I just didn’t know what to expect. Before we moved I had lost 100 pounds and was struggling with …

Amanda MouttakiFinding Faith in the Baraka of Old Men

Great Big Eid Giveaway

I hope you’re all having an amazing summer. I’ve been busy readjusting to life here in the United States while we’re visiting. The weather is much cooler and my boys are loving lots of open green space to run and play. We’ve had plenty of bike accidents already and K even got to visit a friends house and help out with their chickens! He came home full of stories about how he got the eggs and the families Amish neighbors and their horses. I keep thinking how wonderful it is that my kids will know so many different ways that people live from a young age. Really I am so happy I’m able to give them this life. As we’re away from Morocco, Ramadan has gotten away from us. I’ve had a coming to terms with my feelings about the holiday. I wrote about them on Multicultural Kid Blogs today. It took me a long time and a lot of …

Amanda MouttakiGreat Big Eid Giveaway

Why I Write

My friend Saira at Confessions of a Muslim MOMma-holic recently selected me to participate in a blogger “chain letter” of sorts talking about why we write. This came at an interesting time for me as I just recently have come to terms with identifying myself as a writer. I do a lot of things in my daily and professional life and it can become difficult, and long winded when someone asks “what do you do?” to explain. So now I simply say, “I’m a writer.” Now this label can garner some extra suspicion, especially at the airport in Morocco, and my favorite response so far has been, “oh do you write romance stories?” Of all the things I may potentially write, that is not one of them! But if you’ve ever wondered here’s a little glimpse into my writing life! What am I working on? It feels like I’m always working on something in my head. I have a hard time taking …

Amanda MouttakiWhy I Write
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Make Your Own Pasteis de Nata

There are few things that I enjoy more than dessert when we travel. Ok who am I kidding, I love dessert anytime! In Portugal the one dessert I heard about over and over again was pasteis de nata. These egg tarts are maybe the most famous culinary tradition Portugal has made. One friend described it to me ahead of our visit as “imagine a cupcake meets custard” umm yes! There’s no need to twist my arm.   The most famous bakery making pasteis de nata  is Pasteis de Belem and we of course stopped there (more than once). But if I’m totally honest even when I bought these at the grocery store they were delicious. So the only real problem was that once we left Portugal there would be no more. While you can’t replace the ambiance of walking down the streets of Lisbon while eating a hot pastry, I think you won’t complain when these come out of the …

Amanda MouttakiMake Your Own Pasteis de Nata