29 Aug 2013

Different Reality

Sometimes opening up about certain experiences in our lives are scary. But I will follow what my heart tells me to do…keepcalmandwrite

This summer changed the way I think and trust in people. This summer, just like three summers ago, I grew a little bit wiser. My world flipped upside but from the new perspective I saw how Mighty is our Lord and how mysteriously He really works. 

I am not personally going through what I’m about to share, that’s why I hesitated a little bit about writing because I felt as if it’s not my right to write about. On the other hand it’s one episode that changed, not just me but, the way my whole family view things..

June 29th, four days after we returned from our lovely family vacation in Naples and Sorrento, hubby read the following message from our family Facebook page “Help, I’m in the mental health department of this London hospital.”

The message was from my youngest brother, G, who turned 27 on August 27th. AMI and I both thought he was joking or maybe one of his friends was playing a prank joke on us. AMI’s sister who was sitting in the living room with us suggested we phone the hospital to check.

To our horror the staff at the hospital confirmed that my brother was in the hospital and they’ve been trying to contact his family without success until we phone that afternoon.

I spoke to him and he said “I made a decision.” he kept asking me to go there to give him a mobile phone and he will be fine. That sounded very strange to me. I kept asking him who took him there and he kept answering “I made some choices”

“So, it’s your decision to be in a mental health department.”


“And all you need from me is a mobile phone.”


“You want me to come all the way from Devon to give you a mobile phone.”

“Yes.” That was not right but I couldn’t understand what was going on. I saw my brother in Italy eleven days before we got that message. I was cross with him because while I was there he embarrassed me in front of his friend by saying lies regarding me and our mother. When we got back to Britain I thought about phoning him, but I waited for his phone call because I was convinced he was going to phone me and pretend nothing had happened or to apologise telling me that his weekend partying in Italy had made him say silly things.

But he never phoned and I never took the initiative to phone him. I only wrote a message on my phone explaining how he had made me feel but I never sent it.

So after our strange phone conversation I left the room to go and shed a tear or two because I didn’t know what happened to him between 19th until 29th.

June 30th my sister in law, the one who was in the same room as us when we found out about G being in the hospital, drove us the four hours journey to London. I thought that the hospital had made some kind of huge mistake and that they wanted us to confirm that he is who he claims to be. I packed few cloth items for myself and AOI because I was convinced were going to go back to Devon the same night with my sister in law and my brother.

But we had to stay in London, living in our little suitcase, for next five days. Over two nights we slept in two different hotels and then we managed to contact one of my aunties who invited us to go stay at her flat.

The rest of events are blurry to the memory but I know that I didn’t take many pictures because the love to document everything parted from me. We had to travel around London, with my heart in my throat, to go and talk to the doctor and nurses who were looking after my brother. They told us that the working diagnosis was psychosis with schizophrenia.


Or no, they were mistaken. How can my brother have schizophrenia. He was overtired and though he had a psychotic episode that didn’t allow them to say he had schizophrenia. He had been very busy over the four years studying for his aeronautic engineering degree which he just completed a month ago. After that he didn’t stop to chill out but he found a job work to be able to live in London and support himself. He is a hard working guy and maybe lack of sleep, overtiredness, too much partying in Italy made him have the psychotic episode. There was nothing wrong with him. He just needed rest.

Those were my thoughts and opinion about the episode. During one of our many visit he told me that he believes somebody put something in his drink while he was in a club in Italy. Though I didn’t believe that, I also didn’t discard that possibility.

I questioned what if his intolerance to alcohol or any form of drug had caused the first episode of psychosis?

The nurse agreed that could be a possibility but it was not possible to have a reaction even after a week. I argued with AMI because he easily accepted what the doctors were saying. I argue back stating that people die from overdose from drug so why can’t some people react badly to drugs and alcohol. I asked him if he would simply accept the idea that one of his sisters schizophrenia after a first episode of psychosis. Nobody would easily accept that but first look at bigger picture because, after all, doctors are only humans and they are capable of errors. Because if doctors were always right my niece would have not died back in December.

Maybe initially I didn’t want to know about schizophrenia due to my own preconceived misconception about the word. However, in the end I pushed aside my misconception and researched the meaning. After the research I started to feel less frightened. I still didn’t agree on the fact that my brother should be on medication but I wanted him to feel well and if the doctors insisted that the medication were working then I was willing to help him get well. They reassured me that they will slowly drop the dosage to a minimum.

However, we wanted him to be out from the hospital. he complained about the fact that the medication were reducing to a vegetable. He couldn’t feel himself. He walked like a zombie. I was scared that if he stayed on the medication for too long his muscles would be affected. On the other hand he was afraid he would start to look like a mad person. He asked me many times if he belonged there.

He didn’t belong in a mental health department, but he was there because when he was first admitted into the hospital he tried to leave the ward because he didn’t want to be there. Which I believe is normal behaviour for anyone who’s been taken to a place he never being to before.

He didn’t want to take any medication. Which is perfectly normal behaviour for anyone who is forced to take medication for an illness she or he doesn’t know exists.

My mother was coming to London on July 16th for G’s graduation. She had to rebook her flight and get into London on July 10th.

Meanwhile, we found a solicitor who would help G get out from the hospital. We went back to Devon over the weekend. We stayed in Devon and my camera documented our activities again. But my mind and heart were filled with pain and worries.

What if he doesn’t get out from the hospital in time for his graduation. He will feel so bad because he worked so hard and he was looking forward to that graduation day. We were all looking forward to celebrate his achievement and now this. In London he told me that he had supressed all his pain regarding the death of our niece. We shared tears together. I told him it’s important to share some bad feeling because that’s the only one can overcome a loss.

Monday night we returned to London and the following day we went to the tribunal in the hospital. G won the case and to our luck he was discharged the same day. It was a shock to the whole team but the doctor’s didn’t have evidence to keep him in the hospital. When we got home, that evening, he took one pill and decided to not take any more. I was worried because I didn’t know the side effect of suddenly stopping a treatment. But still I didn’t argue with him because he kept saying “Now, my own family thinks I am mad.”

That hurt because I didn’t think that.

In my opinion the popular notion of a person with schizophrenia is mistakenly viewed as a mad person – somebody with split personality. We unconsciously fear everyone with mental health disorder, but that a big mistake because not everyone with mental illness is going to harm you.

I wasn’t there when my brother was in the depth of his first episode of psychosis but a week after the episode he told me that his iPhone was telling to do things, for this reason he decided to throw it away and leave his flat. He told me that the phone could read his thoughts and the government was spying on him.

Schizophrenia is not literally a 'split personality' as the name suggests, but people with schizophrenia may view the world differently from those around them. They may hear/see/smell/feel things that are not experienced by others (hallucinations), e.g. hearing voices (which tends to be the most common hallucination). They may have an unshakeable belief in things that are not true (delusions), e.g. that people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts or plotting to harm them. As their world sometimes appears distorted by hallucinations and delusions, people with schizophrenia may feel frightened, anxious and confused. They can become so disorganized that they can feel scared themselves and can also scare those around them. {via}

We went back to Devon on July 13th. Mum and G stayed there until Tuesday July 16th. AMI and I stayed until 18th. We drove back to London the same day as the graduation. On July 19th mum and G went back to Italy for couple of days. From the moment they left Devon and they were busy in London going up and down the city my mum complained to me that G wasn’t sleeping well. When they were in Italy she asked me to try to convince him to take a sleeping pill to help him sleep.

On July 21st, on their way back to London from Italy, G refused to get on the train and the the plane to London. He wanted to stay in Italy, because that’s where his heart told him to be. Somehow my mother managed to convinced him to get back to London. But at the airport my mum understood that something was amiss. She took him to a hospital which referred him back to the hospital he was recovered late June and early July.

July 22 He ended up in a different reality one more time. he had to finish his treatment. From tomorrow, August 30th he is going to be allowed to go on two weeks holiday in Devon. There he had to continue the treatment until he goes back to London to check how is doing. I pray he takes his medication and leaves the rest in the capable hands of the Lord.

We thank Lord for protecting him the first time he had the episode. For being with him when no family member was near him. I know he is just fine because he is shielded by Lord and in front of Him nothing is impossible.

27 Aug 2013

Bosley Va Al Mare: a bilingual book review

bosleyThe title of this post is the Italian translation of Bosley Goes To The Sea, a bilingual book created by  Tim Johnson, the author of the children’s book Adventures of Bosley Bear Series and founder of TheLanguageBear.

Tim recently asked me if I would be interested in reviewing one of his ebook children series. I was excited because I want more Italian books to read to AOI.

I got my free electronic copy, which I easily downloaded unto my kindle app on iPad (it comes in three electronic format, Kindle, ePub or PDF). Bosley Va Al Mare is about the adventure of Bosley at the beach one day and his discovery of the diverse abilities all the other animals at the beach have like flying or swimming. Initially Bosley would like to swim like a fish or fly like a bird. But in the end he realises that he can do something different from all the other animals like building sand castle. I love the message about self acceptance.


These series of books are specifically designed to teach young children new words and phrases in a variety of languages. The book is available with translations in Spanish, French, Italian, German, Russian, Chinese and Japanese. The book can be purchased through Amazon.

I love the bright illustration and the fact that you can increase the size of the images. One thing I would love is if it is available in audio format too because that would be awesome way to capture more children’s attention and help first time readers read a foreign language alone.

AOI loves it, as soon as I open the kindler she get hold of the gadget and doesn’t want me to read to her. She skips the pages and I find it hard to read it in one sitting but I still like to know that as she grows and understand that I can read to her from the iPad and she doesn’t have to be the boss of it, we will have a great fun bilingual book to read together.



Tim Johnson discovered the power of bilingual books while visiting Japan as a teenager. In 2007 he founded the Language Bear bilingual bookstore and is committed to educating children in foreign languages as a tool for increasing cultural awareness and gaining new perspectives.

He lives in Main with his wife and twin boys.

His dream is to raise his twin boys speaking or at least understanding many languages and help others do the same.

26 Aug 2013

Week 34 – I Wanted to Be Lazy

AOI 21st month footprintsYes, I wanted so much to be lazy this week but I wasn’t allowed. Time wasn’t on my side. In fact time is never on anybody’s side. I had so many things to do during nap time that I couldn’t allow myself to simply fall asleep as AOI sleeps.

Well, as usual on Monday we went to the swimming pool. In the evening, after meal, daddy took AOI for a walk by the river to see the beavers. When they got back I asked AOI

“Did you see the beavers?”

“Yep.” she said happy. Daddy told me that they’ve started a new invented story about an elephant called Edward.

Tuesday morning AOI helped me do a mini photo shoot at home. She was excited about that. After each click she demanded “Let’s me see.” as clear as that. After the photos we went to the local playground.

Wednesday morning I returned few items I purchased @Winners. After that, AOI and I went to the playground near C’s house because I agreed with her mum to have a play date with C and her nanny. There was a lovely girl, V. She is about seven and caring nature made me believe that in this world there will always be people who are ready to fight the right and honour of other human beings. She deserve a short entry on this blog. In the end AOI poured water on herself and started to cry so she got out of the paddling pool. I didn’t have anything for her to wear because the dress I brought was wet in my bag because I left open the water bottle. I had to let her wear my shirt while I dried her clothes. The rest of the day was about napping and colouring for AOI. Mummy was getting her blogging and writing act together.

Thursday we had a family day together. We had a lovely pizza at our favourite bakery/restaurant. I am just saying that their pizza is so nice AOI wanted to take the plate with her. She was crying for more pizza when we had to leave the place. I promised her I will take her once a month to enjoy a lovely pizza {I guess, I’m the only one who will remember that promise Princess}

Friday morning I drove to the paddling pool near C’s house because I promised V that we would go there because it was the last day before school start. When we got there I saw that the opening hours on Friday are from midday until four. It was going to be too late for us to stay because AOI takes her nap. AOI played with V and her sister for some about half an hour and then we went to C’s house, which is just across the street from the paddling pool.

They girls are learning how to take turns when playing with a toy. AOI is at the stage in which she doesn’t find it easy to give up on something she really likes playing with. Just two months ago she didn’t mind. C doesn’t mind giving up a toy but sometimes she has a toy which she doesn’t like to give up either and in that moment I find it very hard to explain to AOI that she is the guess and she shouldn’t take over C’s toys.

Just before midday we left because AOI had to nap.

When AMI got back from work, in the evening, he convinced me to go to one of our nearest lakes. I wasn’t very excited about the idea but once we were there I was happy to be there. Sometimes I need a little bit of convincing to do something that I don’t initially like. AOI was paddling with a sand shovel. She is the cutest Smile

paddling the lake

on the lake

Saturday morning was a lazy morning. Hurray! I was so happy to just lazy around the house. AMI set up the tent outside but we didn’t use it because it was a hot day. We went to the swimming pool late afternoon and then had Chinese take away for dinner.

Sunday we left church early because the sermon was just a research about the reading. The priest is on holiday so it’s difficult to fill his shoes. We went food shopping instead. After lunch and towards late afternoon, AMI decided he wanted to ride to one of our local park for AOI to play. I suggested a place I know. He said he knew where I meant and in the end we rode our bikes for double the length. Just imagine my annoyance. I wanted to kill him for making ride the bike more than need. Errrr! But in end we got to the spray park AOI brought the smile back to my face it was so fun to see her running away from the spraying water. I am sure she will enjoy more next summer.at the spray pad

Weekly iPhone Dump is back onWeek 34 iPhone Dump

Have a great week 35

24 Aug 2013

Portrait of My Child #7

These are the portrait of AOI from June. End of June and the whole of July were so eventful, filled with some good news, some bad news and some ugly news but all in all experiences of life. I managed to capture most precious moments even during those times.
Week 22AOI and teddy
a chat with teddy at Calgary airport “That’s bus.” she points a passenger bus then asks “You okay, Bear?”
Week 23a room with a view
afternoon in Napoli, a room with a view
Week 24pebble beach
playing with the pebbles on a Sorrento beach
Week 25her smile
Oh, her smile… her smile makes my heart skip a big happy beat
"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."
I want to capture precious moments this year, for this reason I am taking part in various photo projects.
Hosted by Jodi
52 portraits
My favourite portrait from the last link up was by inked in colour and that quote by John Lennon, I am so going to frame it

19 Aug 2013

Week 33: Just Great

I Feel Good by Mary J. Blige on Grooveshark
my little explorer

AOI in the riverIt was a really great week. Sunny, full of activities for a very active toddler and  lovely play dates.

Monday we went to the swimming pool after a long hiatus. AOI enjoyed it so much, she is such a great kid I can’t stop saying that, she was happy to be back swimming. She swims with the armbands and we tried couple of times without them but that didn’t work. However, she didn’t panic so much as she would have few months ago.

Tuesday I took it easy because, I must say after going so fast {meaning doing so much activities} over the weekend, I deserved a good rest. AOI and I coloured a giant colouring pages of Cars.

Wednesday we had play date at C’s house. C’s mum wanted to do yoga with the girls but in the end we just had to give up because the girls were more interested in just lying on the mat or bringing books and toys out from the shelves. We gave up yoga in the end and just talked about potty training and how we are doing that.

Thursday morning we went to Tim Horton’s for breakfast. After that we drove daddy to work and went to the playground for thirty minutes. We then went to so clothes shopping. AOI had the longest nap she’s had since we’ve got back from our holidays. After nap we spent the rest of the afternoon reading books and AOI singing nursery rhymes with me. Her favourites were monkey jumping on the bed, twinkle little star, itsy bitsy spider and teddy bear teddy bear. Another thing we enjoy doing was colouring a big plan canvas: the fridge.

Friday morning we went for a walk and on our way back home we stopped at the playground. I was so tired because the weather was super hot. After a AOI’s afternoon nap we went to a play date organised by one of our new mummy friends. There were two eight months old babies and one 6 month. Is so lovely to see how AOI naturally loves babies. I hope she keeps that nurturing nature.

Saturday we went to our local river beach, the same one we went to last Saturday. This time we had another single mother and her four year old daughter with us. We asked another family to join us but they came late and stayed at another part of the beach so we couldn’t see them until we were leaving. We had another great  and the children enjoyed playing with the filthy river foam. AOI didn’t sit still for most of the time. She sung and walked about in the water carrying a yellow sand castle bucket or a stick she found in the river. We had dinner on the beach.

When it was time to go, C’s mom found out that her car battery had run out because she left the lights on. Thank goodness she had the jump starter and we were able to start the car without too much problem.

On our way back home we saw the single mother we met that day holding her daughter in her arms. Her car was damaged on the front because somebody crash into it while they were driving. We felt so bad for her but they were okay and nothing serious had happened. Just they will be without car for some time.

Sunday we had a quiet day, just church and home.

colouring fridge


children at the beach

I wish everyone a wonder week 34.

xoxo, TOI

12 Aug 2013

Week 32: I Surrender

I had so much sad thoughts to share but suddenly I feel good and I don’t want evil thoughts to ruin how I feel right now. I found this song two weeks ago and it just lifts my spirit so closer to the Lord. I float in the air and I dance with my guardian Angel and I feel alive again.
I feel so LOVED!
I Surrender - Hillsong Live (Cornerstone New 2012 DVD Album) Lyrics_Subtitles (Worship Song) - YouTube by Hillsong on Grooveshark

I surrender to the Lord. I ask him to speak to me through my daily endeavours and though last week I cried more than usual I leave everything in the capable hands of Almighty because I know He is protecting me and He is working through me and will show me the how at the right time.daddyfishing

The week 32 was another busy one. Tuesday morning we drove daddy to the airport for flight to Ontario, he had to sit in as outside examiner for a PhD student. In the afternoon we stayed indoor because it was raining. Wednesday afternoon AOI and I went to our local paddling pool alone. Daddy got back home on that evening.

Thursday we met with C and her mum at their local paddling pool. At one point the girls who look after the pool had to disinfect the pool so they told us to use the playground while they did that. I was looking after AOI when a little boy about 5 came close to us and he noticed that AOI has one finger on the left hand. He let out a small laugh that I thought was mean for a little boy of five. I told him that she was born with her hand like some are born with blue or green eyes. He told me he has green eyes.

Later on he made a comment about AOI’s hand that saddened me so much because that comment was one of the many comments some bullies use to hurt people’s feelings and this one was coming from a 5 years old.

When we went back into the paddling pool area this same little boy went to AOI and took her left hand in his. I don’t know what he did because AOI had her shoulders facing me. I told the boy to leave her alone because people don’t go around opening his eyes to see the colours of his eyes.

I felt bad that evening because as a mother I want to protect my little sweet girl from pain but I know I can’t do anything when she will be out into the wider world without me or her daddy. I just pray God protects her against all evil and gives her the strength she needs to live in this world that can be so cruel.

Friday we went to our friends’ house and at one point we were all having a chocolate cake and AOI wanted some cherries so I was cutting some for. Another friend had her dog outside so she went to if check if the dog was doing alright. The next thing I hear is AOI screaming with her hands on her face.I rush to her and uncover her face to find a wasp in her eye. I was so scared, but thank God the bite was not serious. Her left eye was swollen but by Saturday the swell was looking better.

Saturday afternoon we went to the river, in a spot that people can swim and enjoy a little bit of beach fifteen minutes outside the city.

Sunday sermon just confirmed what I need to know. To give control and just have faith in the Lord.

In the afternoon we went to our local forestry farm and AOI and her daddy fished in the pond. I am opening my heart up to the small things that made me happy just few weeks ago.

6 Aug 2013

Spotlight On: The V&A Museum of Childhood

a post by Kira Browdya-treasured-collection

Not all kids have an affinity for museums, many thinking that these cultural havens just aren’t cool enough for their liking, but the same can’t be said about the Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood. What child wouldn’t like to spend a few hours exploring the site and finding out more about the toys of past and present? With the summer holidays coming up, you may feel like spending a day or two in the capital with your offspring and rightly so. With so much to do, you can guarantee to inject a little fun and spontaneity into the summer break, whilst giving your kids the chance to appreciate just how good museums can be. Book a room in central London with Travelodge and you and your brood can enjoy a stay in the city centre without overstretching the budget – we all know how expensive the summer holidays can be, but you needn’t worry about unaffordable hotel rooms here.

Located in Bethnal Green, East London, the V&A Museum of Childhood has been part of the city since 1872, when it opened as the Bethnal Green Museum. While its use was more varied in the early days, it shifted its interest towards childhood in the early 20th century, focusing on services for children. Since then, it’s blossomed into the museum it is today, holding the largest collection of childhood objects in the whole of the UK.

Spread over four floors, the museum is chock-a-block with exhibits and displays that help today’s children enjoy toys and playthings from the past, while parents and grandparents will enjoy the nostalgia that emanates from the walls. Since its refurbishment in 2006, you can enjoy a grand foyer and balcony that overlooks the central hall, while the floors are full of things to explore.

From 18th century dolls houses to Victorian prams and fancy dress costumes, the displays are extensive and impressive. It’s certainly not a museum where you wander, quietly, observing the exhibits. Here, you’re expected to have fun and there are plenty of facilities available, including play areas and sand pits, that ensure this objective is met.

Make sure you spend some time on the mezzanine level, where your children can ride the rocking horses as well as various other interactive exhibits to get stuck into.

Whatever day you decide to head for the museum, you can be sure that there are various activities planned to help you and your family get more out of your visit. Check out the leaflet online to find out more about the events scheduled over the coming months.

The great thing about museums is that the majority of them are free, and this one is no different. You can enjoy as much time as you like here and you don’t have to worry about the entry tickets, which is particularly appreciated when it comes to big families!

The Bethnal Green tube stop is the closest Underground stop, just a couple of minutes’ walk through the quaint Museum gardens. You can access the station via the Central line that links much of the city with ease.

Enjoy a visit to the V&A Museum of Childhood as part of a trip to the Big Smoke. Book a room in central London with Travelodge and you can incorporate it into a visit that you and your kids will remember for years to come.

5 Aug 2013

Week 31: Busy

Last week was non-stop. We had so much to do that I didn’t even have time to think about  my worries.AOI hairstyle

We tried to go to the paddling pool but AOI nap time was overlapping so we skipped many outings. Also my friend is not feeling very well so we didn’t see them.

Tuesday was our 8th years anniversary. AMI book half an hour massage session for me. Meanwhile AMI went to look for canoes. After that we spent the afternoon together going to one of our local conservation area. We got there just thirty minutes before it closed for the day but we spent few minutes walking there. After that we went to Red Lobster.

Wednesday, I don’t remember what we did.

Thursday I took AOI to have her hair professionally styled. The hairdresser did a great work and AOI was such a good girl. She sat in quietly in the car the salon uses as chairs for the children. AOI haircut

Friday we went to buy a canoe and Saturday we had a BBQ at our house. Sunday we went canoeing in the lake with some friends, but before that we stopped to watch the beauty of wildlife. Today was Saskatchewan day so we spent the day at home, also it was heavily raining so we stayed indoors.at the lake

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