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July 18, 2012

Here’s the bad thing about London…you basically pay 10 times what you’d pay anywhere else for the privilege of staying in a room the size of a closet. I’ve accepted this.

I complain about it (of course) but I’ve accepted it.

But after two days and two nights of serious claustrophobia, we beat a hasty retreat from the overrated Langham and checked into the randomly named – but beautiful – Rocco Forte Brown’s Hotel instead.

Talk about the right decision. The hotel was even kid friendly! They had everything from kid’s toothpaste and bath toys, to a Maya-sized robe/slippers and a personalized cookie. I was seriously impressed. And so was Maya.

Or so I thought until she took a look out the window and said: “Could this view be any more terrible?”

Now if I’d ever dared to say something like this, my Indian father would have smacked me from here to kingdom come and back. And then, 6 months later, he’d smack me again out of the blue when he randomly remembered my obnoxious comment.

Me? I have a “hands-off policy” and thus launched into a lecture instead about how ungrateful Maya is, how she needs to watch her mouth, and how she should appreciate all that she has instead of wanting all the things she can’t have.

But later, when my blood pressure had settled a bit I realized something: Maya’s just mimicking me. I mean, instead of being grateful that I was in London, there I was complaining about how troublesome it was that the Langham Hotel elevators were the size of coffins.

I’m going to try to practice what I preach for a change. I’m sure I’ll fail. But I’m still going to try.

88 Comments leave one →
  1. July 18, 2012 12:22 am

    Oh man, gratitude is key. It’s funny, you(as in me, or anyone really) can be sooooo grateful for life and still find stuff to complain about. Sometimes having stuff to complain about is good though. If there weren’t anything bad in life, I wonder if I would appreciate the good?
    If everything tasted like chocolate….

    • July 18, 2012 8:05 pm

      So true. When everything is good I feel like I take things for granted. So maybe Ramadan starting in 2 days is timely?

      • July 18, 2012 10:29 pm

        It will definitely make you appreciate getting to eat while still light out!
        It must be nice when Ramadan comes in the winter, hehe…

  2. July 18, 2012 1:44 am

    It’s funny how we take away lessons from the most unexpected places/people! Like you, I am guilty of complaining and really need to make it a point to express gratitude for all that I’m blessed with! Saying thanks is not something we should save for big holidays like Thanksgiving- we need to make it part of our daily routine! Hope settling back into the swing of routine is going well, Ameena :)!

    • July 18, 2012 8:06 pm

      Agreed. We should definitely not save the thankfulness for holidays! I’m about to embark on 30 days of realizing this…

  3. July 18, 2012 3:15 am

    Candid and thought provoking! It’s true our kids do everything that we do!

    Have fun!

  4. July 18, 2012 3:24 am

    It’s uncanny, how your kids reflect the real you. Gives me a shock sometimes. However, seeing the pics, I really wish I was in Maya’s shoes right now 🙂

    • July 18, 2012 8:07 pm

      I wish I was in Maya’s shoes all the time. Literally and figuratively. 🙂

  5. July 18, 2012 3:31 am

    that “maya” cookie is the cutest!!
    i find for myself that it is very easy to let negative comments about a situation be the first words out of my mouth…in efforts to add more positivity to life, i have to think before i speak…my parents are often very negative as a first reaction (when there is a lot to be grateful for, to be happy about), and that annoys me, so i am trying to change my attitude – progress has been made!
    glad you could switch hotels!

    • July 18, 2012 8:07 pm

      I am terrible about thinking before I speak. I have this terrible habit of just going on and on and then regretting it later. I am trying to change too!

  6. July 18, 2012 3:40 am

    We were both on the “grateful” wavelength today. It’s so hard when you dislike something your kids do or say and then realize, wait a minute I do that. I would highly recommend the Stafford, new rooms/suites that were fantastic when we were last in London. Is Olympicmania in full force?

    • July 18, 2012 8:08 pm

      We stayed at the Stafford last year and it was fantastic. This year their rates were through the roof so it wasn’t an option. I guess because of the Olympics?

  7. July 18, 2012 4:40 am

    I have never heard of a hotel catering to kids so well! But then again, I’ve never had to worry about it, either.

    Even though I’d like a personalized cookie every once in a while. Geez… ha ha

    • July 18, 2012 8:08 pm

      Once you have kids you realize how important it is that they get their silly toys and cookie. 🙂 It makes all the difference in your trip!

  8. July 18, 2012 4:54 am

    When I was a kid I would have been too busy scarfing down the cookie to even notice the view. 😉

  9. July 18, 2012 5:07 am

    This is classic and made me giggle so much! I think my kids also don’t appreciate all of their privileges as much as they should. And, I totally blame myself (and my husband. Maybe I can completely blame him since he will never see this comment?). We have spoiled them too much too. It’s so hard not to do that when you can give them more than what you had.

    That cookie is awesome!

    • July 18, 2012 8:09 pm

      You can absolutely blame your husband! I blame mine all the time. 🙂

  10. July 18, 2012 5:21 am

    I love the realization you came to. Sometimes the views are terrible, this can’t be helped. 😉
    I love how kid friendly the new hotel is!

    • July 18, 2012 8:11 pm

      More often than not the views really are terrible….

  11. July 18, 2012 5:26 am

    LOL!!! I was cracking up at the paragraph about how your dad would have smacked you. I completely understand!! I have gotten smacks and retrospective smacks as well. Speaking of small spaces…Bombay!! Everything here is closet sized and shaped, but no, I will not complain, lest I sound like an ungrateful you-know-what. So I am going to be grateful that I have a very comfortable space which I don’t rent. Feeling better already.

    • July 18, 2012 8:11 pm

      “Retrospective” smacks. That’s exactly what I should have called it!!

  12. July 18, 2012 6:25 am

    At least it was just the two of you and she didn’t blurt it out in front of the hotel staff or something. Nothing is more horrifying than when your kids have an ungrateful moment and there are dozens of judgey parents around to witness it and pretend that their kids have never done anything like that ever. Appreciation and grace definitely come with age… they all act a bit ungrateful at times. Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure we all do.

    • July 18, 2012 8:12 pm

      You are absolutely right…there were no judgey parents around so I am lucky. And I too dislike it when parents pretend their kids have never said/done anything similar!!

  13. July 18, 2012 8:55 am

    Hi lovely friend. So good to read your posts again. I need to catch up! I tend to be a complainer when we travel…which I learned from my mom….and will likely pass on to my child. But thankfully, we have some pretty amazing traits that they will pick up as well. Hugs!

  14. July 18, 2012 8:56 am

    Like mother like daughter! And hey, it’s all relative I suppose. She just happens to be a kid who is lucky enough to have access to some amazing luxuries in life. Now, when I was a kid I got excited about the Best Western; never mind that the room looked out onto the parking lot-but that’s what I was used to. So then if we stayed at a Hampton Inn I was REALLY excited but if we stayed at a Motel 6 I mighta been complaining a bit. Those hotels look sooo nice!!! I cannot imagine complaining about anything except the price but I’ll never have that opportunity because I am doubtful I will ever stay in a place that expensive!! Maya is a lucky girl and that’s great that she gets to do so much. Just keep trying to keep her grounded and to understand that she is lucky but realize that because of what she’s used to her expectations are gonna always be a bit higher. Hope you are enjoying your new digs!!!

    • July 18, 2012 8:13 pm

      I remember staying at the Holiday Inn in London when I was a kid. And I was enthralled! Maya has a very different perspective on things!

  15. July 18, 2012 9:34 am

    **, my Indian father would have smacked me from here to kingdom come and back. And then, 6 months later, he’d smack me again out of the blue when he randomly remembered my obnoxious comment.**

    OMggg, that is hilareous!

    btw, I love love love LONDON ❤

  16. July 18, 2012 9:56 am

    Uh, that food spread in the photo looks pretty divine. Doggy back for me please! I’ve never heard of a hotel having kids stuff before. Super cute! Sorry about the view though. Hopefully you aren’t spending much time in your room and instead are out and about and exploring…and eating scones.

    • July 18, 2012 8:15 pm

      We were in our room to sleep and that was it. Which is usually the case on our vacations!

  17. July 18, 2012 10:17 am

    yeah just when i *think* something is cramping my style i sit back and have a #firstworldproblems moment and want to smack myself. i’m glad most of my inner dialogue stays put and never makes it out into this world. i try really really hard to let the most simple things entertain/make me grateful because i know all of it could be gone in a flash. perspective really is everything!

    • July 18, 2012 8:15 pm

      As I embark on 30 days of Ramadan I’m about to realize just how many of my problems are #firstwordproblems…

  18. July 18, 2012 10:37 am

    I have a deep-rooted love of fancy hotels! But yeah, I still complain 🙂 Maybe if I had a personalized cookie?

  19. July 18, 2012 10:44 am

    haha, so funny! i think if salvador could talk, he would be complaining too. sometimes i just can’t help it 🙂 checked out both of those hotel websites…umm, now ready to book a trip to london!

  20. July 18, 2012 10:57 am

    Ah, I like the whole “coming full circle” thing you did there. However, I do also feel that you have more of a reason to complain since you’re also the one shelling out the money for it.

  21. July 18, 2012 12:21 pm

    Chuckling at the thought of your father smacking you out of the blue 😀 I can relate to that!

    • July 18, 2012 8:17 pm

      I knew that my dad couldn’t be the only slightly crazy one… 🙂

  22. July 18, 2012 12:33 pm

    Well there are 2 ways to look at this, I would say Maya is an intelligent kid and notice things…LOL. Kids to notice things nowadays then what we use to do back then.. So…
    B/W that cookie is real cute…

    • July 18, 2012 8:17 pm

      I never used to notice half the stuff Maya does…so true!

  23. SIL permalink
    July 18, 2012 1:11 pm

    HA! My dad would have slapped me to kingdom come and back as well! And you know what? I pulled a Maya 3 years ago in Tahoe…I opened up our curtains and saw the top of the rest of our hotel outside the window (all concrete). This coming from someone who was IN TAHOE!! Not like I was ever in the hotel in the first place. I was on the mountains! But yep, it happens. I try to be thankful, but every once in a while my inner “princess” comes out 😉

    • July 18, 2012 8:18 pm

      My inner princess comes out way too much too. I’d probably have the same feelings…I don’t like to see concrete either!

  24. July 18, 2012 1:46 pm

    nice to see this attitude. being grateful is such a blessing all on its own…it makes people stay happy. Btw Ramadan Kareem!!!

    • July 18, 2012 8:19 pm

      Thank you Eva! Ramadan Kareem to you as well (if applicable). 🙂

  25. July 18, 2012 2:46 pm

    Oh wow!!! I just loved that personalized cookie. That was so cute!!

  26. July 18, 2012 4:27 pm

    Haha! Oh Maya’s comment.. and lucky you, London!
    And thank you for your comment beautiful lady!

    • July 18, 2012 8:20 pm

      Lucky me London for sure. I can’t wait to go back!

  27. July 18, 2012 7:42 pm

    I think the thought of there being a mini version of myself out in the world scares me more than childbirth itself. Which is why a dog is all I can handle for now 🙂

    • July 18, 2012 8:20 pm

      Childbirth was a piece of cake. It’s everything else that troubles me.

  28. caloricandcrazy permalink
    July 18, 2012 7:43 pm

    A personalized cookie?! That’s so awesome :D!

    I’m assuming you are staying in London for the Olympics?

    • July 18, 2012 8:21 pm

      Unfortunately we had to come back! Work sort of takes precedence. 🙂

  29. Jeena permalink
    July 18, 2012 8:26 pm

    “And then, 6 months later, he’d smack me again out of the blue when he randomly remembered my obnoxious comment.”

    You crack me up.

    And let me just add that whatever your concerns, you’ve raised an incredible little girl.

    • July 22, 2012 8:29 pm

      Thank you Jeena…as always you know just what to say. 🙂

  30. July 19, 2012 3:21 am

    All you can do is try! I’m sure Maya is learning from your good qualities as well!!

    • July 22, 2012 8:30 pm

      I can only hope so!! The bad ones are far more numerous…

  31. July 19, 2012 6:45 am

    I’m catching up on all your posts, but only commenting here. I laughed out loud when I read about your father (smacking you 6 months later just from remembering your comment). I’m super impressed with that hotel too! And with Maya’s shoes that have little pom-poms.

    A little letter has made it’s way over to you – may even be there now. When does Ramadan start? I know my friend won’t be motivated to come visit me for an entire month once it starts. (Too much energy).

    • July 22, 2012 8:30 pm

      Ramadan started on Friday…and I don’t blame your friend at all! I can barely drag myself to work, never mind to visit anyone afterwards!!

  32. July 19, 2012 12:41 pm

    How amazing is that hotel for having all that stuff for kids?

    As for the gratitude thing, no one is perfect. At least you recognize it right? That’s gotta say something.

    • July 22, 2012 8:31 pm

      I hope that says something…I’ll take what I can get!

  33. July 19, 2012 1:21 pm

    It’s hard not to complain.. especially about hotels where you pay an arm and a leg and then they turn out to be the size of a closet. That’s Europe for you… can’t stand it, but I still LOVE it. THat’s so cute they had a robe for Maya and a cookie too. So sweet. I’ll put it on my list of hotels to check out. 🙂 Hope you have a great weekend!

    • July 22, 2012 8:31 pm

      I definitely suggest you check it out! It’s a great hotel in London…and there aren’t many of those at a remotely decent rate.

  34. July 19, 2012 1:44 pm

    Ah, kids. They teach you the best life lessons, don’t they? (But seriously. Europe is not claustrophobia-sufferer friendly.)

    • July 22, 2012 8:32 pm

      So true! Everything just seems much, much smaller. Even when it’s not really that necessary?

  35. July 19, 2012 2:58 pm

    Kids are wicked, wicked mimics. As I learned when my son, at two, watched the orange juice spill out of the fridge and said with exactly the intonation I use, “Ah, shit!”

    • July 22, 2012 8:32 pm

      Oh no! Luckily Maya hasn’t said a swear word. That’s one thing I’ve managed to keep to myself. So far.

  36. July 19, 2012 2:58 pm

    (And very cool place you’re staying!)

  37. July 19, 2012 6:40 pm

    I’m going to choose to totally miss the moral of this story and instead fixate on the following three things: The magnificence of that breakfast spread, how creepy looking I find the personalized cookie to be (though I appreciate the intent), your 11/10 bag.

    • July 22, 2012 8:33 pm

      Really? You think the cookie is creepy? So curious why?? It’s like an English ghost or something. 🙂

  38. July 19, 2012 10:21 pm

    Sometimes we all need somebody else to teach us about our own actions, and how we may often contradict what we say or think is right. Once we’re adults, we don’t have our parents to yell at us for being obnoxious/selfish/hypocrite/rude/anything we wouldn’t want to be…so we just have to be extra careful and learn from others’ mistakes and reflect upon ourselves…this may sound like I’m a know-it-all, but it’s actually something that my mum keeps telling me to remember.

    • July 22, 2012 8:34 pm

      You mum is a smart lady…and trust me, I reflect all the time. Not sure how much action I take but at least I reflect. 🙂

      • July 23, 2012 6:51 am

        It’s the thought that counts, right? 😀

  39. July 20, 2012 8:20 am

    Can I just say that breakfast spread looks amazing?! Also, it takes me a random thing or someone saying something (usually my husband or sister) to tell me to be grateful. We all try. 🙂 We just need some reminding sometimes.

  40. glamorous glutton permalink
    July 21, 2012 2:07 pm

    Browns is a great hotel and a bit of a London legend. Even so, I had no idea they catered for kids so well. Hope you had a great time. GG

    • July 22, 2012 8:35 pm

      We had a great time! And next time I will hit you up for more suggestions / legends. 🙂

  41. Piya permalink
    July 23, 2012 4:55 pm

    How cute is Maya’s robe?? Love the pics, looks like you had a great family vacation.

  42. July 23, 2012 8:01 pm

    He’d smack you again 6 months later?!? That has got to be the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time. Of course the reason I think it’s funny is because as a parent I can TOTALLY relate. My poor kids. I forgive, but I never forget 🙂

  43. August 5, 2012 7:34 pm

    Hi Ameena,
    That really looks like a beautiful hotel and I love the little cookie and robe for your daughter.Hope you all had a great vacation.


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