Guest Post: Why I Love Tunisia
Today, guest author, Christina Hatt, founder of The Spring Within Holistic Retreat shares her reasons for falling in love with Tunisia and the healing role it has played in her life.
I discovered Tunisia in the late 1970’s, after welcoming a young Tunisian girl into our home in London. My husband, children and myself were encouraged to step out of our comfort zone and visit North Africa.
I immediately fell in love with the culture, warmth and the deep sense of spirituality. Thanks to our Tunisian girl and her family, we were introduced to a fascinating way of life which visitors rarely saw.
Our Summer holidays were spent at their beach house, full of relatives and children. The soft sand and warm sea was sheer delight, and my children played all day with their new friends. They all loved diving into the sea – rushing out and rolling in the sand – then running back in to wash it all off. I loved to see their joy and laughter which surpassed all language barriers. Sometimes the Tunisian children would sing popular songs in English, as a way of communicating.
Eating different food, taking turns to be fed in a large household, getting used to different bathrooms and toilets, was a whole new experience for us. I was proud of my children as they adapted easily and soon got used to the rhythm of life in Tunisia, even succumbing to an afternoon siesta like everyone else.
We had to save our energy for the very social Summer evenings, which are all about weddings, parties, family visits, and everyone gets dressed up to look their very best. We had never seen such glamour. Our first Tunisian wedding was amazing. We were invited to a special celebration of about 500 women and children. They all looked so beautiful, the drum music moved our souls, and the warm night air was full of the intoxicating fragrance of fresh jasmine flowers.
The dancing was hypnotising, as we watched women and girls tying various scarves around their hips and moving in such an unbelievable way. There were so many wiggling bottoms, all different shapes and sizes, and it came so easily to them. We did our best to have a go, as this was the only type of dancing going on. As the years passed, my daughter and I took belly dancing lessons in London and became very proficient indeed!
We loved the warmth of the people, the way they kiss and embrace one another upon arrival, the closeness, the caring, sitting with friends and family during a loved one’s illness or passing. People make time to stop and chat, they smile, and they go out of their way to help someone in need.
When I first used to visit Tunisia, I had a very stressful life and job in London, and would arrive totally exhausted. Within 24 hours of setting foot on the soil, I was like an empty bottle being filled up. The tightness in my chest went and I could breathe better. After a few days of looking at the same old tired face in the mirror, I saw a different face, with brighter skin and eyes. I laughed easily, my shoulders relaxed, my backache went, I felt younger and prettier.
Tunisia became my sanctuary and was the place to escape from traumas and tragedies. I took my mother there after my father passed over, and she loved the flowers, the palm trees and the sugar-white houses. People were so kind she said. I took girlfriends who were going through difficulties. I started visiting at different times of the year, to experience the changing seasons. I looked forward to the taste of each crop of fruits and vegetables, arriving in different months.
Through divorce, redundancy, heartache, loss and sickness, Tunisia has healed me. The energies are quite unique, as my Reiki friends realise when they arrive and their hands start tingling. I also found that this was the ideal place to convalesce during my cancer treatment, and am now thankful to say that I am clean and clear of all tumours. I thoroughly recommend this wonderful country to everyone wishing to rest, recharge and feel revitalised again.
Next month, Christina will be hosting a holistic retreat in Hammamet, Tunisia.
Full details can be found on the website: http://www.thespringwithin.com