Harsh comment

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This blog has been running since 2007 and it is my way of documenting this home ed journey of ours as well as hopefully being a source of help to others.

Last night, I was at a sisters get together and happened to check my phone (I receive emails on it) and came across a very harsh comment from my last post from a sister who remained ‘anonymous’. Constructive criticism is one thing but this was something else. I’m sure the sister is reading this post and perhaps it will make you think twice about sending such comments. The comment read:

Assalamu alaykum, sis. I can’t believe you would do this to your children. It’s breaking my heart just reading about your little one crying over Skype. A mother should take care of her kids. I would feel so guilty and heartless doing this. I just hope this separation doesn’t adversely affect them psychologically.

Upon reading it, I shared it with all the sisters at the get together as to be honest I was quite shocked that someone would write such a thing without a) knowing me and b) the circumstances completely. I was wondering how I should deal with it and so here I am blogging about it (writing about something helps me take it out of mind and then I move on)

And so I’m going to say this: How can anyone judge someone and say that by letting them go to visit their family thus keeping ties of kinship is heartless. You do not know the circumstances of my family and why I remained with my youngest. Different cultures do different things and perhaps you may want to read up a little on the seerah/life of the pious predecessors in that it was normal to send their children out to the desert for tarbiyyah for many months. Letting my children go for 4 weeks was not easy but they are with their father and other family members who love them dearly. It was natural for my Z to cry when seeing me but he was very quick to say ‘Salaam’ and rush off laughing to play with his cousins – such are children. I have absolutely no fear whatsoever that they will be psychologically affected by a great experience in beautiful mountains with their blood relatives who love them. It is me who it is finding it hard and not them.

Right, with that said, the sisters advised me yesterday (I am glad I read this comment around good sisters) I am the type of person who is very open and pours her heart out – and the sisters said perhaps I am too open on my blog. And yes, I think they are right. I just don’t know how else to blog – its my style. But, it is at times like this where I feel that perhaps making the blog private is better.

Anyway, I’m glad I got that off my chest. It has also made me reflect on how what I say could really be hurtful to someone else and so I take lesson from this and will try to keep my mouth shut unless there is something good and positive to say.

And in Allah we place our trust.

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36 responses »

  1. salam alaikum sister, the blog is a diary of ur life and i really enjoy reading it, learnin from it. the ups and downs that u mention keeps me steadfast upon realising ok its not all suppose to be perfect and other peoples lives are also not perfect even though it may seem so, but they still carry on. it gies me inspiration and encouragement. And if it helps you carry on by writing ur mind down, then do what u feel is good for you, and dont get affected by comments of people who put their emotions in front of their eyes and see nothing else.
    since i have followed ur blog, i know that R has been there b4 wid her father and the experience must hav been good, thats y u and ur husband decided they could go again.
    it will be a great experience in their life. Here R is always with you, it will develop her confidence being without you insha Allah which is necessary for her future. and for boys its brilliant, outside atmosphere just what they need, he will learn soo much insha Allah. ever heard the phrase ‘better a broken bone than a broken spirit’? its a great adenture for him to build his spirit i’A. England is quite a difficult place to climb trees, travel across alleys, develop strong. its all good masha Allah its real life. and the best thing is ur in laws seem soo lovin towards the children, plus their father is with them…so whats the worry?

  2. Assalamo alaikum,

    You know your children are happy and well looked after, so don’t worry about what judgement others want to make!

    If i’m really honest I might have felt the same way as your commenter until a few years ago. A few of my friends used to send their children (and still do) for holidays (even when they were very young) and I was rather shocked by it. Although it is something that I still wouldn’t like to do, i realize now that it is an insecurity within myself, I fear that if I am seperated from them that they may love me less 😦 i think this stems from my own childhood but is something that i can’t really shake off.

    I love the idea of R bringing a journal home, it will be really interesting to see what she has documented, please do share with us inshaAllah xxx

  3. Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh, please don’t let this comment cause you any worries sis. I know I don’t comment often but it is a pleasure to read your posts; you are an excellent mother mashaAllah and it’s not like you sent them off with strangers is it? The way that Z behaved is sooo normal and I know from experience that the children do momentarily get upset when they see you but are fine otherwise mashaAllah, they are with people that love them and they have their father with them! It does the children good to be without their mother at times, it’s character building, especially for the boys mashaAllah. So I would just say carry on sis and ignore these types of comments, we all love you just the way you are and if it was such a worry for the person they should have been brave enough to speak to you personally rather than air their concerns public subhanAllah.
    Fi amanillah my dear sister xXx

  4. Assalaamu Alaikum sis,
    I guess the anonymous sister forgot that you did leave your kids for Hajj recently as well and that time the kids were not with the father. And Allaah still looked after well innal hamdalillaah. Keeping ties is also an obligation upon a Muslim just like Hajj and I truly cannot understand how she could judge you by this, subhanallaah. We know the sacrifices you have made through out sis as we are your readers for many years now. and above all Allaah knows your intentions and actions and that is what matters. May Allaah bless you and your family, increase in every good and protect you and your family from every evil. Aameen!

  5. Assalamualaykum,
    Excellent points above, maashAllah. I tend to think that comments like that are more about the person posting the comment than anything else. They have transposed something from their life onto your story. I’m glad you had good support around when you read it. The kids are with their dad. Nothing to worry about.

  6. Asalamu alaikum,

    Im normally a silent reader of your blog, but felt the need to comment here. When I read that your kids were going to spend a few weeks in the Berber mountains all I could think was mashAllah tabarakAllah wish I was them. Also wondered how i could meet an Algerian family so one day my kids could go too. The experience you are giving them is one in a million!
    You are the one sacrificing for their sake, like you said they are with their dad and know they will be coming home to you soon.

  7. As salaam alaikum ummraiyaan,

    Just like the sisters said-no worries- your children are on an awesome adventure, maashaa Allah. They are with family who love them. Like Umm Salam mentioned, I also may have felt the same way that several years ago, but I have grown as a person and now understand that different cultures have different thoughts on raising children. I would now jump at an opportunity like this for myself as well as my children should it arise now, insha Allah.

    Also, I would like to make du’a for the spiritual growth of the sister who left that comment. We are all at different points in our spiritual journey. I have learned how important it is to be nonjudgemental and empathetic when dealing with other humans and with women especially. No one wants to constantly feel judged and criticized. Relationships can’t flourish like that. We should continue to live by example and just love each other regardless of each of our faults and weaknesses.

  8. As salaamu alaykum,

    To the sister who left the email message:

    Food for thought

    The Prophet Muhammad, salallahu alayhi wa salaam, spent time away from his mother when he was an infant. He had foster mothers, Halimah, Umm Ayman, and I believe, possibly one more.

    wa salaam

  9. Assalaamu alaikum sister, I don’t usually comment even though I have been reading your blog for years. I felt sad when I read your post as I know how you feel. I got the same criticism from some sisters when I went abroad with my husband and left my children with my family. The sisters didn’t know how close my children are to my family(it was one big sleepover for them!) I was the one who found it hard. Alhamdullilah for mothers like you who let their children Experiance life.
    Please don’t stop blogging as I really benefit from reading your posts. As a Homeschooler I do sometimes wonder about the statement of our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) about keeping our blessings to ourselves, so as to protect us from the evil eye. As your blog is open to everyone you don’t really know what kind of people are reading it.
    I’m hope I haven’t put you of blogging, I just know that you can come across all types of sisters and even though we have good thoughts about our sisters, there May be some who do not feel the same.
    I’m glad you have good sisters around you who encourage you and keep you positive.
    Wassalaam

  10. Asalamualaikum,
    I read your blog & although I don’t home school I just moved to a new country and am ‘friendless’. The fact you have 2 boys and a girl, you are Muslim and married to an Arab means we have these things in common. I love to hear your thought and about your lovely kids. Please if you do make your blog private, can you include me? Just to say, about the mean message you received… Obviously the person doesn’t read your blogs regularly and in any case they have no right to say those things! May Allah increase your goodness, bless you and reward you for all you do. Xxxx

  11. Subhana Allah!
    Please don’t let the subjective views of one person who obviously doesn’t really know everything that’s going on change the way you do things!
    Just like me sooo many people benefit from your blogs, although I don’t comment on the posts much.
    I agree with all the sisters who have commented below, masha Allah tabarakha Allah for everything you do and may Allah SWT increase for you and your family all good in this life and the hereafter Ameen

  12. السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
    Dear sister,
    Hope u are well. Firstly I want to commend u on a job well done. I have been subscribed to ur blog since 2008/9 and have been greatly inspired by you. To the anonymous sister who felt justified in commenting on how heartless u are, I’d like to ask here, does she send her kids to school or does she home-ed, if they go to school isn’t she more heartless that she’s separating from them daily and sending them to strangers. Also from ur previous blogs I know how u deliberated whether who should go and I know it wasn’t an easy descision to send R and Z with their father and for u to stay @ home with Y. May الله make it easy for u bcoz u are truly u are an inspiration and a motivation to all of us. keep up the good work. وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله و بركاته

  13. I just had to reply, what an opportunity your children are having with their Father. They will gain so much by this experience, what could be better then travel with Dad and visiting and forming lasting relationships with relatives. I am praying for the other Sister that her eyes will be opened and she will reflect on comments left from now on. Blessings Mandy

  14. salaam sis
    lets hope whoever left you the message has the gus to come on here and apologise to you and in future refrains from saying such harsh things without knowledge of you and your circumstances. Don’t let it bother you and keep blogging.

  15. Salam sis

    After reading everyone’s comments mashallah I wanted to add a different angle and mayb the anonymous sister is reading……in any normal situation mothers are the primary careers for their children, within this normality children are taken to school whether they like it or not, made to go to different activities whether they like it or not, and in actual hours, spend a lot of time away from their mothers and feel distress for longer periods of time in these ‘normal’ situations. At the end of the day everything should b seen in context, their are children in Syria at the moment who have had their familes wiped away and I know children personally who’s mother passed away so let’s be grateful to allah that we are not in these situations and mayb these children who actually suffer ( not kids like umm rainy and children or ours) will be some of the strongest muslims……I hope it made sense

  16. As salaam aleikum sister,
    I don’t comment that much but today I felt like I really have to. I have been homeschooling my children since the summer of last year. One day while trying to find homeschooling ideas I came across your blog, around the end or last year and once I read it I immediately decided to subscribed. You sounded so familiar, and it was nice to relate, and hear I’m not the only one that has doubts at times due to difficult children, or just whether I’m doing the right thing in my decision to homeschool.
    Last year my Z (5yrs at that timew) spent a whole month with his dad abroad visiting his grandmother, uncles, aunts and many other relatives. I was not worried for his safety as I had no doubts he was taken care of. It was just me missing my husband and son, and also not being use to not having them around everyday. Alhamdulillah my dear son took the phone from his dad almost everyday and called me just to make sure we are okay and to tell me what he’s been up to lately. When I read your blog about the house being quiet, I said to myself ” oh! The sister is going through what I was going through! lol Thank you for your blogs!

  17. Salam sister, I find a lot of inspiration and encouragement though your blog. It is sad and shameful that there are people out there who would judge and criticise to such an extent. Everyone is entitled to their own views but nobody has the right to push these upon another. It is evident that you work very very hard with your children, Masha Allah and would do as you see best for your children. This sister, whoever she is, does NOT have the right to make you feel bad about a family decision you have made with your husband and family. As you say, your children are with family who love them and not with strangers! I firmly believe that as home educators we can offer our children a rich and varied upbringing full of a whole range of experiences most other children do not get, and travelling is one of these experiences!

  18. ASAK sister, thank you so much for your wonderful blog-it has been a great source of information & inspiration for me from the time I came across it. I’m so sorry that you had an experience that probably shocked & hurt you at a time that you were particularly vulnerable. I was a psychiatrist for 12 years before I moved on to be a full-time mum to 4 boys. You don’t need any of us to tell you that your decision was a good and correct one. You thought & prayed about it. Others here have restated the positive aspects of the trip & separation. InshAllah there can only be positive psychological effects for both you & them. Some people here have reminded us of our imperfections, our differences & the attitude changes that may occur as we journey through life. We should not judge each other harshly. However, I am disappointed that someone posted an anonymous comment. It may have been designed to provoke a reaction. Only Allah knows what is good for us, this experience has shown that many people hold you in high regard & rally to support you. Don’t let an anonymous comment wound you. I pray that the person who made it has learnt from the experience & is allowed some generosity from others. Enjoy your ‘holiday’ dear sister! X

  19. Asalamo aleykom. What a beutiful web site you have! I see ur blog regularly as my kids r homeschooled 2. Dont get upset by this comment – maybe take the good from it and take it as a learning opportunity. The comment is a bit blunt but sometimes ppl who disagree are a bit intimidated 2 post their feelings. Maybe this person was expressing what many of us also feel but feel a bit shy to say? Don’t take this wrong but young kids need to be with mum. I was taken aback u left ur kids to do hajj which u could have done when they were older but that’s ur choice. U also have 2 respect sisters who disagree with this. Thats wot writing blogs is all about, right? Free xchange of opinions. U r still a young parent and new to homeschooling looking at the age of ur kids so we all have things 2 learn something. I think the point about psycho damage might also have some basis as there is evidence that prolonged separation from parents in childhood can be a risk factor 4 later mental illness but inshaAllah ur hubby is with them so it won’t be too bad. It was ur hajj that maybe left them a bit vulnerable but thats in the past now. Wot us said bout salafs leaving their kids – cud u give us a reference 4 that cos I think that was the actions of the pre-islamic arabs. The salafs regarded bedu as ignorant and uncivilised mostly. Prophets salAllahu alehi wasallam parents were not muslim so we dont take them as our role model. I hope i havent offended u. we r all here 2 learn from each other – sometimes the best starting point 4 this is 2 see our own faults & take advises from others.

  20. Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullaah,

    just a reminder to me first then the sister that it is easy to make our own assumptions even though Umm R is saying how difficult it is for her…we, as the readers don’t always know the full situation… for example what would the sister say if Umm R was planning to go together as a family and perhaps could not afford to pay for 2 more tickets so she sacrificed for the sake of Allaah and her beloved kids and stayed at home and sent the three of them ahead to enjoy time with their family there? in such a case, wouldnt it be even more hurtful for her to hear such comments…? As the hadith says: whoever believes in Allah and the last day…let him say good or remain silent…

    Umm Muhammad Saalih

    • Assalamu alaikum to all the sisters who commented mashaAllah. May Allah reward you for your supportive comments. Ameen. There’s one comment I would like to address and that is to ‘seekingjanna’. The sister shouldn’t feel intimidated – we are all free to express our opinions but there is a way in doing so and the way she did was very offensive and way too personal for someone that does not know the situation in its entirety. To be honest, even if 100 sisters felt the way she did, I would not really care as I know that what I did was absolutely fine for all family members involved alhamdulillah. Yes, my choice in leaving them to go to Hajj with fantastic friends who are more like family to my husband and I was a choice that I consulted with Allah about. It was such a hard decision but my Lord brought the opportunity my way and I did not wish to turn this fulfilment of a pillar down. And the fact that I went, came back and alhamdulillah all is well shows that my istikhara was definitely to go. In Allah we should always place our trust. If you sister feel that this was wrong – then thats your opinion – it might be wrong for you but it wasn’t for me. I am not that new to homeschooling. We have been home edding for 5 years now and my choice in going to Hajj or letting my children go and visit their extended family on their father’s side with their father has nothing to do with home ed or how new I am to it! Your comment about the psycho damage – seriously sister – 4 weeks amongst loved ones – I doubt very much that there will be ANY psychological damage. They are having a wonderful time surrounded by nature with people who love them. Some children are more psychologically damaged living with their own mothers due to coldness and rejection in the home than those who are away from their parents for a holiday! As for the evidence – all you need to do is read biographies of the scholars and you’ll find some. I must say, I found your comment just quite offensive too. You have no right to state that the psycho damage won’t be too bad because they are with their father’. Constructive criticism is one thing, but negativity I do not welcome at all. Sisters don’t know why I didn’t go on this trip as a kind sister noted. Taking advice from one another when done ‘properly’ is a beautiful part of Islam and I emphasise when given ‘properly’. And Allah knows best. JazakhaAllahu khairan to the rest of the sisters for your kind comments.

  21. As salaamu alaiki ukthi,

    I haven’t commented on your blog for so long now, but honestly, I look so forward to reading your posts about your wonderful children (Allaah ya baarak feekum). Sis, don’t you dare for one second question your honesty in your writing I think it’s so refreshing to see someone so open and honest about their children. The love you have for them is so apparent Maasha’Allaah. You have sent them on a beautiful journey of discovery with their father. Let those who wish to critize do so. I ask Allaah ajawajal to protect your family and make their trip full of joy.

    Um Umayyah.xxx

  22. Salaam alaykum sister,

    don’t worry about it… we only read your blog, we do not know all the details of your life. i am sure u don’t take any decision lightly when it comes to your children.
    and let’s make excuses for the anonymous sister. maybe she was having a bad day, had a low point (like we all have from time to time), maybe something happened to her which triggered some sort of annoyance, or maybe the words just came out way harsher than she ever meant them. Maybe she will mail you to clear the air.. insha’Allah.
    in any case; don’t stop writing !

  23. Oh, what I forgot to say… about Hajj & leaving your children: our kids are a big fitnah for us. Sjaitaan will always try to keep us from our islamic duties using our children “ooh pray later, the little one needs a bottle”, “let’s postpone hajj because the children are small”, … you do not know whether tomorrow is in the books for you ! it is our obligation to perform hajj asap. some people even just think that to go on hajj you have to be old coz there is plenty of sinning to be done still. well, you did the right thing, and i am sure you didnt leave your children with people you didnt trust. don’t we say “speaking is silver, silence is gold”. if there is nothing constructive to be said, then it is better to leave it unsaid I guess.

  24. Assalamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah, I don’t comment much on your blogs normally but today I am sad to see that someone has upset you. I love your blog and what you share is of immense benefit. It is not just about homeschooling but about how you deal with changes, challenges and the constant improvements you seek. You are a good mum ad strive very hard for your children mashallah. May Allah keep you strong and successful. Your family decisions are your private business and for us to comment on unless you seek our advice. I don’t know you but love you for the sake of Allah. When you blogged about your kids trip and what great opportunity and adventure they would be having I too wanted same experience for my kids. They are fortunate to have a relations in Berber region and benefit from this experience. Keep up your great work and I pray to keep getting your blogs.X

  25. As-salaamu aleykum. I totally agree with Umm Raiyan that we should use the best of manners to advise each other. I do share the concerns of those sisters who have expressed their worries about repeated separation from the mother at a very young age. Little children get distressed very easily when separated from Mommy and that soon turns to despair if that separation is prolonged – they aren’t able to differentiate between valid and invalid reasons for not being with their mom.

    On a side note, “home schooling” starts at the age of statutory compulsory education which is five years in Great Britain. Zero to five is called taking care of your kids, lol! If we do the math, seven or eight minus five is just two or three years which is not a long time to have been doing the home schooling thing so a little advice doesn’t have to hurt. Everyone makes mistakes and a little humility is called for on all sides of this interesting discussion.

    • To ‘Blog Surfer’ – I had to laugh at your comment: ‘repeated separation from the mother at a very young age. Little children get distressed very easily when separated from Mommy and that soon turns to despair if that separation is prolonged’. You make me sound like a mother who is neglecting her children which I know I definitely am not alhamdulillah.
      In relation to your ‘side note’, I do not view homeschooling in sight of the law or the National Curriculum and so for me I have been home educating my eldest since she was 3 years old – I’ve been teaching her, rearing her and nurturing her. I do not consider the start of home ed just when the child turns school age. And if you read my comment, I was merely stating that how long I have been home educating has nothing to do with me sending my children away on holiday with their father! I couldn’t see the connection the sister was making at all. Advice on home ed – yup sure bring it on especially from those who have been home edding for many more years than I have and have passed through the stage I am currently at. And yes, I completely agree that humility is definitely needed and to remember that we will all stand before Allah with regards to every single word that we said or indeed typed even on a tiny blog such as this. May Allah make us all sincere and really make us wonder why we do/say things and how we say them. Ameen.

    • You don’t have preschool in GB? Where I live, homeschool starts whenever the child is ready for schooling, including preschool at 3.

  26. Salam sis,

    As a child we used to go spend summers with family overseas. Of course I missed whoever was left behind, but it didn’t cause psychological trauma! Those summers were an amazing experience, the most enriching of my life. It really was amazing, growing up in the west, to get a chance to experience how the rest of the. world live. It really opened my mind. Nd the. benefits to language were enormous. So please. sis,

  27. Salam, this is my second note, i think we should clarify this with Islamic ruling. As far as I’m concerned it’s not haram from Islam for a child to go with the other parent to a Muslim country to see Muslim family members in a safe and controlled environment. I don’t understand why this is a problem? Children have 2 parents? A mother and father. Islam requires a divorced couple to hand over the children to the father sometimes at a young age ….if it was so damaging then why would Allah allow this? This idea of psychological damage is mainly for single parent families in the west who struggle to bring up their kids or working parents who aren’t their for their children for prolonged years! Etc etc. also mayb some of these sisters don’t have husbands or extended family who they could imagine giving their children to to be taken care of properly unlike this sister alhamdulilah.

  28. Asalaamu alaikum sis,

    SubhanAllah your children are blessed to go visit their family tabarakAllah! 4 weeks with extended family…with Dad….meeting cousins, aunts, uncles, granparents….understanding their “identity”…keeping up ties of kinship…..what is wrong with this I can not understand!!

    Your children I am sure know exactly what is going on……they going for a nice holiday with their Father to meet up with their family and will be returning back home to Mum in a few weeks inshallah!
    My Father is Syrian, and as a child my parents sent me and my younger siblings at aged 11, 9 and 7 to Syria (alone!!!!!!!) for the summer holiday to spend time with family! It was the first time I’d seen them since I was a baby and when we arrived at the airport, they welcomed us with a bus load of family to greet us and huge banners saying “welcome along with each of our names”.
    SubhanAllah, we came back with some great memories, yes of cource we missed Mum naturaly……thats emotion…normal! But we had a great time alhamdulillah! And now almost 20 years later here I am, home schooling my children mashALlah…..and I think it is safe to say I don’t have a any phychological problems alhamdulillah………….I think I’d have phychological problems if I grew up alien to my extended family!

    Don’t worry sis, your kids are fine inshallah, having a whale of a time with people who love them ……and they know they are comming home inshallah!

    And just a quick point to Hajj…………Hajj is an obligation to those of us who are able to go….alhamdulillah you had a chance to go and had a good place with good people to look after your children while you went. ……..who knows if we will live long enough to go to Hajj when our kids are grown up!

  29. Assalam alaikum,

    You can’t please everyone- and really the only one you need to worry about pleasing is Allah. Your kids are getting an amazing experience that is priceless. More kids should see the world and Keep ties with family! Saying it will damage them to visit family without mom is puzzling- I would love to see the reseach and hadeeth/ayat to support that. What happened to the good old days when we used to visit family – and have a blast- without either of our parents- ah the wonderful old days!

  30. As salamu alaikum

    May Allah protect you and your family and give you strength to carry on with your lovely blog.
    We visited my husbands family last summer after four years of not being able to go. My youngest two children (aged 6 and 7) couldn’t even remember the previous time but they instantly felt the love and caring from a huge extended family to such an extent that my 6 year old son kept sleeping in my sister-in-law’s house and was making plans to live there and come to visit us in the holidays……………….this being the child who is the most affectionate towards me out of all my children.

    I know it’s not the same but it shows how children can cope easily if they are surrounded by loved ones, especially as they have their father. I missed him…

    BTW my son did come back home with us…………alhamdulillah.

  31. Assalamu aleikum sister,

    I am so sorry that this comment upset you so much. It’s true that a mother should take care of her kids but it doesn’t mean shey should physically stick together at all times. Some people send their children in boarding schools for the sake of their education, others send them to live with grandparents…Where I come from it’s normal children to be looked after by a granny just because life is tough and mothers have to quickly return to work. You gave a good reminder about the arabs sending their children to the desert mashallah. It’s all for the benefit of the children and not out of heartless ness. I couldn’t believe that an innocent family visit with their father would provoke such a comment.

    I hope you won’t make the blog private, it would be such a loss…You could probably just abstain from giving too much details on your family life and stick to the education process. Assalamu aleikum

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