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Posted on Jan 9, 2014

Christmas Break Reflections- Goa, India

Christmas Break Reflections- Goa, India

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Christmas in Houston

It’s the end of Christmas Break, the kids are outside building a fortress, and I’m here inside sucking on some holiday mint M&M’s. We’re like monkeys, minus the eating lice eggs part,  picking lice eggs out of each other’s hair as a relaxing pastime. Unlike it was in Houston, it’s hot outside, there are cows and buffalo roaming the streets, and no one, including me, wears deodorant. Sangita our maid/cook/gift from a heaven has quit after one day on the job. It’s been a week since my transition from daughter/sister to mother/wife. Though I had wanted a month in an ashram near here, I got instead a month of reenacting childhood dramas but with endings and hidden character feats I had previously been unaware of.

As I told Yael who insisted I could all the work I had hoped to do with my childhood, nuclear family, “It’s so much more romantic, and safer in the ashram,” and so it would have been. Solai and I watched a hummingbird float around a white flower yesterday. It reminded me of the cheery red cardinal I watched outside my mother’s living room window. I guess you can be fully present and mesmerized by the magic around you now matter how exotic your zip code.
And that’s what I feel like talking about today: what family life in a third world country feels like after a month of singlehood first-world metropolitan-ism.
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Writer’s Block and a General Sense of Apathy
It seems as though I had never had this before, but I have no desire to write, to blog, to share, to be out there, vulnerable, to the world. I want to work on my healing, I want to work on being present, I want to work on cultivating the loving relations I want with my husband and kids, and I passionately want to work on realigning my back to the way it was meant to be.
The Journey of Chronic Pain
Not fun. I’ve detailed a lot of my tale of injury and constant pain in my typical TMI-fashion in When a Body Doesn’t Work series. And I waited with bated breath to return to Goa and have at least a couple of weeks with Yoga-extraordinaire and pain therapist Lauren Ohayon here in Goa. FYI: Lauren and I have become the most intimate of friends. She’s a longtime fan of both The Nomadic Family and GabiKlaf.com and is offering my readers a gift that I wish I could take for myself. She does this week of yoga, divine food, and soul-healing relaxation to Tatumo, Mexico each year. This year it’s from February 1 – 7. She’s offering my readers buy one, get one half off. And while I will enjoy her Holy Shift workshop this Friday in Goa, and I’m adoring the one-on-ones she is giving me and Kobi here, yes, I would love a week away with her as my guide.
So, the shame-free plug is almost over, but know that
a- I’m not getting anything for promoting her work and
b- I’m only sharing it with you because she is slowly taking me from chronic pain to less pain to, eventually ( I am sure of it) pain-free, so if you suffer from back or body pain, Lauren is a rare gift who teaches a methodoly and view of health I had never encountered beofre, which is step-by-step reshaping my life for the better.
If you do want to go, tell her Gabi sent you, and either your friend goes for 50% off, or you both share the severely reduced price. And do me this one little favor if you do get to spend a week with Lauren… At some point look up at the heavens, raise your arms up high, and smile while you say, “Hi Gabi”.
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Making A Healing Space
So, I’ve made my own heaing chart with the six things that I think will be most beneficial to me done on a daily basis. First on my chart is Holy Shift, Lauren’s exercises. Having functional scorocsis ( a deformed twist in my spine) and a camel’ s hump on one side, while madly sexy, is not how I want to spend the rest of my life. So,two times a day, I’m doing the exercises and moaning in that good pain way, gladly knowing that through it I shall heal.
Besides my personal rehab, I’m also drinking tons of water, [theoretically] eating a roughly 75% raw food diet, reading/writing/meditating on something that inspires my soul, and waking up between 6 – 7 am and going to bed between 9-11 (usually by 9:30 I’m out), as opposed to the owl night life I used to live. Kobi made me add one more section to the chart, this one thing that without, he claims, I can never reach optimal health. Yes, Sex with Kobi is now on there too. I know! I have to live with this guy!
 
The Differences Between There and Here

1- Here in Goa, when the dogs act frantic and the crows caw angrily, you go out to see if it’s buffalo, cow, cat, or ( most likely) the tribe of monkeys that rule this neighborhood. In Houston, at night, you’d never go outside to investigate the commotion, but you probably would check if the alarm was on. During the day, you’d most likely assume it was the Fed Ex guy that my mom and sister stalked for fun.

2- In Houston, I took long, leisurely, hot showers uninterrupted by anyone’s hysterical details of battle number of 52 of the morning through the door. Here, I share my refreshingly cold shower with all sorts of crawling visitors and horizontally-challenged whiny folk talking through the door.  Presently, I’m using this divine exfoliating handmade soap from the kids’ market day, but I’m waiting enthusiastically to use my soap gifts from Skin Day Spa.

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3- In Houston, my mom’s pantry and fridge provided worlds of delights. Here, we consciously don’t buy much of that (for we all know I’ll consume it) so I’m fighting myself to change my habits back to less sugar, less snacking, and more raw. Though my thighs are bulging like they haven’t in a long time and I’m highly motivated to get back to my toner self, I’m was waiting for the big shift to gently settle on me. Because it did not, I’ve just decided. Thus, the chart.

I. Cannot. Stop. Eating. (But I’m determined to re-figure it out.)

4- There everyone wore deodorant and shoes, indoors too, and often I’d feel confused and unclear about my own natural beauty in ght of all the pampered, make-uped, and high-class invested Barbies around me. Here, especially after gaining some weight and being sick, I get that same confusion in light of women I see as so much more attractive than me. I’m guessing this is something I need to work on, irrelevant again to my exotic zip code. 🙂

5- In India, cereal boxes are turned into art posters, boxes and jars into containers, we don’t use toilet paper at all, and every bag is held onto and cherished for dear life. In Houston, everything was suddenly so big, so shiny, so much, so wasteful. In my mom’s neighborhood, right outside of the jurisdiction the city, you have to pay $30 a month for recycling and so… well, I wouldn’t pay it out of some demented principle either.  I detailed  my initial shock in After 18 Months in the East: Three Oddities of the West. And yes, I started using the TP again while there, but have since joined my family in our eco-friendly ways.

Home Bodies
We thought we’d put the kids in school and spend every vacation exploring India. I think The Nomadic Family has seen enough to last a few lifetimes. Everyone is chilled at home and couldn’t be happier about it. The kids are building fortresses, playing with the neighbor’ s puppy, and doing tons of art activities. The detailed and fascinating run-down called Sexually-Retarded Children: A Shockingly Unmodern Way to Raise Children is on that link.
Suffice to say, we’re in a season of hibernation, being around the house and choosing not to see friends or go out much. I’ m taking the kids on quality time adventures and then joyfully returning to our 1000 piece puzzle and the queer sounds of buffalo, cow, roosters, dogs, and monkeys around the perimeter of the house.
Tell me about your hibernation. Does your back hurt? Will you go to Mexico and think of me? What health issues are you willing to plow through like the warrior that you are? Ever gotten to that point when you just want to chill, and chill, and chill? Would love to hear your thoughts, but in the meantime, I’m going to scratch Orazi’s back. 🙂
Good night
PS: If you liked this, you’ll love reading Three Oddities of the West: After 18 months in the East. AND you’d adore Poverty for Christmas.
Photo credits: glasses on papergirl to sky.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Insanely unorthodox, embarrassingly honest, and on her path towards spiritual awareness, Gabi Klaf blogs about her family’s ups and downs in their now third year of non-stop budget world travel. This family of five has lived with an indigenous tribe in the jungles of Ecuador, hitchhiked throughout the world, danced with drunk Vietnamese at weddings, and hiked the entire Annapurna Circuit trek with a documentary film crew in tow. Gabi writes about the untold sides of family travel life, those moments that take your breath away, adventures and mishaps while globetrotting, and how bits of her soul remain in this small town and off the side of that river. She is a guitar-stumming, energy-healing, ADHD wind-loving scaredy cat. Hugely romantic, tantalizingly sweet, and hysterically funny, Gabi Klaf represents a rare Rubik’s Cube of family world adventure.

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We’re out doing crazy stuff and making our dreams come true, every single one of them, and a few more that sort of flew into our mouths while we were smiling into the wind. Should you like what we are doing as a family, BUY AN EBOOK to support us, share this, tell any media source or local newspaper, leave a comment. Your footprint makes all the difference in the world friends. Gracias!

Gabi and Kobi, Dahnya, Orazi, and Solai

And, sweet new news loves:  In addition to parenting, family life and trauma therapy, Gabi is now offering Make Your Dreams Come True/We Wanna Travel But.. Coaching too. Engage with Gabi!

27 Comments

  1. Ok I think you may need to look into “real” food as opposed to “raw” food-I am and it’s fascinating!

    • so real food is fascinating is it? well, i should look it up then, and i do love, i do. i really do eat a pretty normal diet i just keep it light. i guess, i think, i’m not sure cuz i just woke up but i saw your name so i had to say hi. love you melanie. gabi

  2. I understand and think it’s important to concentrate on your own healing. I too, have been writing less and spending time here on naturopath visits and meeting with shamans…I think I will wind up being a better writer once I get myself ironed out. And you are so beautiful…just like you are….don’t even think of comparing yourself to others…sending you lots of love!

  3. You are such a treasure Gabi! I love what you have to say, as it hits home for me. I just never think to write about it. I don’t have chronic back pain, but my knee always hurts. I know I am not active enough and doing far to much sitting at the computer. I need to eat healthier and boy do I need water. I know what I need to do, but for some reason I don’t do it.

    Regarding hibernation, Ug! This family can so relate to that. Thou we have a home base in Spain, the family still gets in hibernation mode. Some weekends we don’t even leave the house. That said, we do get creative, play cards and games, so we get good quality family time.

    Just find that balance and enjoy your beauty no matter where you are.

    • This is, practically verbatim, what I wanted to write. Take time for yourself – you are, after all, the most important!

  4. I didn’t know you suffer from chronic pain — I’m sorry to hear this, and hope that you recover wherever you are!

  5. Gabi, you are such a sweet spirit. I can really relate to this post, as my hip turned to crap about a month ago. I’ve been waiting for it to get better on its own, but I’m starting to think I need to take some kind of action. Yoga? A visit to the doctor? Maybe both. Anyway, you’ve inspired me to pay attention and do something about it. Thank you. Happy 2014 to you and the family. 🙂

  6. Hello! Eat more curries! It makes me thin, vegetarian with lots of lentils, it might stop you snacking. I don’t snack when I’ve got solid food in me, and I lose weight. Being in the UK for the last month has seriously repadded my thighs, hotel cooked breakfasts and the devil’s own work…toast and jam! But I know Asia and real food are always out there, I will be thin again! You’ll get there Gabi, you know you will. Sorry to hear about your back, must be horrible being in pain. Enjoy, I’m very envious of you being in Goa, I’m adoring this time in the UK, I’ve really woken up to what an incredible country this is, but the spiritual me belongs in India. xx

  7. Why did your maid quit?

  8. We’re dying to take some time out ourselves. But we can’t free ourselves from the chains of capitalism and keep saying yes to more and more work. A hike would clear our minds. It’s just difficult to find a free day.

  9. My back is not great either Gabi, hope your’s improves! And yeah, what made your maid/cook/gift from a heaven quit?

  10. Healing and hibernation sound like a terrific recipe for starting the new year, at least for a few blinks of the eye. Feel better!

    • i should keep you forever close to me alexender. thank you dear one

  11. Hope you feel better soon. 🙂

    • THANK YOU DEAR ONE. I’VE MISSED YOU AROUND HERE. GABI

  12. Hope you feel better, gabi – sounds like you’re headed in the right direction!

    • jessie. thank you dear. yes, heading in the right direction! totally! gabi

  13. We’re enjoying hibernating this holiday and need the time to recharge and prepare for coming adventures- whatever those maybe. Thanks for sharing!

    • thank you mary dear. yes, we needed this time off. happy new year dear. gabi

  14. You’re in the best place to get your chronic pain healed! Take care of yourself; our bodies are our greatest asset.

    • hi dearest aleah. thanks to you i went to sijihor my dear. and now, i’m getting it all solved here. thank you. gabi

  15. Weare also hibernating. And IV been working on My health. Herbal teas, cleaning the diet up, nurishing foods, and more herbal teas. Im failing on the spiritual healing though. But im trying 🙂

    • amber you are perfect and i have missed you. tell me what’s the next step now. are you back home? love you and all that you are doing. my diet is ready for a shift now too. i am hopelessly addicted to sugars and am making the change NOW. mwah. gabi

  16. Wow.I have been trawling through your blog, headily lapping up your thoughts and adventures. I am planning our families trip ( late at night while the little ones sleep) and had just frightened myself away from Asia ( well actually the whole trip) by looking glumly at the malaria map. Thank you for reigniting my travel bug 🙂

    • sooo nice to meet you rissa. i hope you find us on facebook and youtube too. how did you find us dear one? please do not listen to any state department or the news or any malaria map. otherwise, you will never leave your front door. the world is a scary place, until you actually meet it. we never took a single malaria pill and lived for months in malaria areas. that being said, we were lucky and i don’t know what will happen to anyone else. read “i know nothing and 99 things the world taught me’ and click the ‘best of’ page at the top of the site to read the best and worst of it all. you may also enjoy the education posts and the misery posts. either way, you can do this love. my husband and i also used to dream when the little ones were asleep. how old are they? are you alone or with a partner? when do you plan to go? for how long? would love to hear it all. open a blog love. you’ll thank me one day. mwah, gabi

      • Thanks Gabi, there are literally tears in my eyes just now 🙂

        Me and my husband are brewing up this plan and my little ones are 2 and 5 . We want to go to China, Tibet, Nepal , Thailand and Laos and Vietnam and India or a selected variety of these few.

        Being in a cautious frame of mind, I am rejigging our plans to be at altitude in the wet season and to visit Laos and Vietnam and India in the drier/ colder seasons….

        … thank you for your kind words,

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