Tuesday, August 12, 2014

4 Years Later

It’s funny how time passes quickly but when living it we complain about how slow it is. I still haven’t processed the idea of completing four years in the UK, graduating and coming back home. It didn’t sink in yet. For all my brain knows I’m on my summer holiday and I’ll be flying back to Leeds in a month. 

Leeds has been a home away from home. Every step, every corner, every cup of coffee. Every pound spent in Waterstones, Boots and Tesco. Every journey from the train station; to Manchester, London, Cardiff, Birmingham, Buckingham, Edinburgh, York, Newcastle, Durham. Oh how much I’ll miss afternoon tea. Every assignment I have submitted, every exam I sat, every trip to the library, to the cluster, to the lab, to the union. I had days where I knew exactly why I was there, I was sure of the course I have chosen and understood my lectures. But I also had days when I was completely confused, didn’t know what I was doing and wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing. I failed a module, passed others on the edge and did extremely well in others. Years passed. I knew the path I enjoyed the most in my field and currently deciding on what to do next. Studying abroad is a journey on itself that I’m glad I was given the chance to take. But I still don’t know myself well.

I graduated, not as good as I hoped but I made it till the end. I did extremely well in my dissertation and I’m relieved that acknowledging myself at the end of it wasn’t an embarrassment. I’ll miss my friends, they’ve been a big part of all of this but I’m sure I’ll stay in touch with them. It’s not easy to forget people you have lived with for 4 years. 

I’m not sure what’s going to happen next but for now I’ll enjoy reading books till further notice. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Turning Point

In the quest to write more, one of the signs was from the blog I recently started following, Sometimes Sweet. Danielle, is doing weekly posts called Journal Day where she posts a topic every Sunday. The 1st prompt is:

Everyone has a time in their life they view as a crossroad. Sometimes you can see it as it's happening, and you're able to choose one way or another. Other times you may not realize you're there until you look back, and see what a turning point it really was. This week, write about a time you view as a marker in your life; a distinct place where things changed, for better or worse.”  
Before the age of 16, my decision making revolved around ice cream flavors, favorite colors and if I prefer glitter or rainbows. At the age of 16, I began the mission of convincing my traditional father I wanted to change schools. Let me tell you a bit about the old school:
  •   I’ve been part of it for 12 years (KG to 10th grade)
  • All my siblings were in that school and my 2 elder siblings graduated from it
  •  It’s a gender segregated school
  • They taught the Omani system

 I was attempting to convince my traditional father to move to:

  • A mixed school
  • It taught an international system (IB)
  • It’s a “better” school

In the old school, I was the first one from my siblings to go through international exams (IGCSE). Before that, my siblings studied the IGCSE material but didn’t go on to do the exams because the school didn’t offer them. Being the person I am and wanting a bit of a challenge, I asked to be moved to the new school to do a better, more challenging system that will help me with university.

Now I’m sure that my father accepting my move has nothing to do with my attempt to convince him, but rather because someone else convinced him it’s a good idea and IB is a really good system. I still pretend I had a role in convincing him though.

Doing IB has changed me a lot; it surely was a turning point for me. I feel like I prefer leading, initiating ideas and don’t like the idea of following what I don’t like. In the old school it was more of going for the sake of learning and nothing else. The new school helped me experience and join new activities, go to new places I would never have thought possible before. But again, if you don’t ask the answer will always be no and I always assumed the answer will be no

Knowing that you proposed a decision to be taken into consideration means you have to live with the consequences and outcomes later on. Doing IB didn’t end the way I had in mind, I didn’t graduate with flying colors, I just passed. “Just passing” was never my thing. But just passing got me into genetics and studying abroad so I’m learning to live with that. I do realise this isn't much of a turning point compared to other people, but this has changed a lot in me and I think to the better.

After the age of 16, I felt more responsible with my future.

What was your turning point?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

My February Mood board

Here is a thing about me that you don't know, I love going to galleries but I'm not the type that spends time admiring a piece of art and trying to interpret it. Mentioning that, I've recently realised that I spend time admiring mood boards like I never do with art pieces. I just think mood boards help you use your 5 senses and your 6th if you have one.

I've been trying to think of new ways to express how I'm feeling and decided to just create a mood board and see how it goes from there.

Palm Trees | Pink Lemonade | Summer Makeup | Vintage Car |
Maxi Dress | Gelato | Coffee | Reading

What I hate the most about the UK is the weather. I've been here for 4 years and I still can't get used to it, I don't think you ever get used to it. I spend most of my time outdoors and when I'm out I forget to really breathe, smell the air and fill up my lungs with fresh oxygen. I walk as fast as I can to reach an indoor place and forgetting that I spend most of my day indoors. The weather has been messing around with my brain, I'm indoors as usual but the sun is blinding me but its 6 degrees outside.

My brain is in summer mode. I've recently applied for a master's degree to start this fall. It took me a while to submit the application because I'm scared I'll get rejected. Before submitting my application I secretly hoped I'll get rejected so I can give myself a gap year and apply for 2015 to study in California. California seems like a really good idea because the weather is something I could live with and the palm trees remind me of Oman.

I want to host an outdoor gathering, serve ice cream, lemonade, coffee and tea. Wear a summery dress and put on soft make up. Talk, laugh and enjoy my time. I really want to.

I want to find the perfect sofa or chair for my room along with a nice bookshelf. A reading nook to sit and read with the perfect cup of coffee. Reading takes me to all the places I still didn't get the time to visit. Allows me to experience some new feelings and helps me learn a thing or two.

I like mood boards.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Or So I Would Like To Believe

Sometimes a random gift can be a good sign

I've been in this coffee shop for the past hour. I added sugar to my coffee before tasting it and now I regret it, I regret a lot of things. I've finished a chapter of Finding Your Element by Ken Robinson and I am ready to write now,

I won't say this book, so far, helped with anything but I'd like to think that I haven't wasted £8.99 on nothing. So for the sake of positive thinking, so far the book has helped in assuring me that writing is my thing and that the reason I'm not good in math and chemistry is because I haven't been taught the subjects in my learning style.

I live in a perfectly round bubble, it has a pretty hologram everytime the sun hits it. Let's be honest, the sun doesn't shine much here, so when there is no sun the spotlights in my flat will do the job. In this bubble I live in, I'm a good writer. Not a book in me kind of writer but just good at writing to express myself. I really believe I'm good at it that I sometimes dream about it.

I first realised it was something I liked when I was in grade 7. They asked us to write about our role model and I wrote about dad. I can't stop talking about him, do I?
I no longer have what I wrote but I remember I went so creative in it, not revealing it was him until the end. I had to present it in a public speech assessment and I almost made myself cry that day :p

Sometime during IB, my english teacher gave me just the right push and I wrote and analysed like a pro (or so I would like to believe). After our mock exams he used the paper I wrote as an example of a "good paper". I had a goofy smile on because just a few lessons before that I was told I failed my chemistry mock exam. I hate chemistry and the teacher made sure to tell me I was bad at it. I decided not to put any effort in his class after that.

It seems like the universe is trying to push me towards writing. My sister, who rarely shoots a compliment, said I had writing in me. A friend, Salima, who uses words in the most magical way said I had it in me and she recently sent me the notebook all the way from the US. I went into Waterstones and got a 365 exercise book for creative writing and I didn't pay a penny, thanks to my loyalty cards ;). And a blog I recently started following, Sometimes Sweet, will be having a Journal Day series where she posts a topic every week on her Facebook page, more details in this post.

Thank you for the signs Universe.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

When I Understood What Death Really Means

found here

I’ve lost my grandmother when I was 5 but I was too young to really understand what death is or means. I’ve lost other relatives after that, but still, I didn’t really understand what losing someone really means. I’m not really sure when I started to understand it. I was probably 15 or 16. It happened so sudden and so fast. I realized what death really means. In one year, 4 of my friends lost their fathers in either a car accident or a heart attack and it was never the same after that. I used to get these nightmares that my father dies, they are all different but are the same in one way, at the end of it my dad is gone. Some of these dreams were really weird where people tell me he’s dead and try to convince me that. Others would be in school and teachers asking me to go to the principle’s office and telling me he’s gone. My father is the most important person in my life and those dreams made me scared of sleeping.

In 2009, my dad went for a heart surgery in the US and around the same time he was there we lost our grandfather, another very important person in my life. With his very old age we somehow had it in the backs of our heads that his day will come but having him around for a really long time has pushed the idea further and further away. I still remember when the help came to tell us that everyone left to the hospital because he’s gone. They said “baba” is gone and the first thing that came in mind was MY dad. I broke down. It didn’t matter if it was my dad or grandfather they both are important people and it really hit me that I can’t bear losing someone really important in my life.

In November 2012, my dad got into a serious car accident. I was with my friends for the weekend and woke up a bit late. I checked my phone to find missed calls from my mom and sister. I called my sister and she told me that he was in a car accident. Me being me, I thought that was her telling me he’s gone. She continued on saying he’s in a coma and stable. I broke down. I later realized that he was sedated and not really in a coma. He’s much better now and we thank god for that.

So to my dear family, when you have some bad news to tell me about, till me what I’m most afraid of right when you start the conversation and leave what you really thought was a good introduction for later.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

In Debt Before 25: Coffee

I introduced a series of post entitled In Debt Before and you could read the first blogpost here!

Arabic coffee is part of our culture but growing up my mom used to make sure we don't over drink it. Being away for university, and mom not being around, my coffee drinking went out of control. It started with a cup of latte with 5 spoons of sugar because I didn't like the taste. The sugar was reduced to 4, 3, 2, 1 and non. It went from a latte to a cappuccino to an americano and espresso sometimes. I still can't gulp down espresso that well so I leave it for when I really need the caffeine kick.

I think sometime last year I made a promise to myself that I'll start making my own cup of coffee in the morning rather than jump to one of the many cafes around. It worked out for the first few months until christmas time came and everything went down hill from there. Gingerbread lattes were my favourite drink around that time. Whenever I go into a coffee shop I'd look for it in their menu. I have got to say that Costa's was my favourite thanks to the little gingerbread man they add on top.

I live right in the heart of the city centre in a street where coffee shops are in every corner. A Nero in the neighbouring building (Chai Lattes or White Mochas), a Costa across the street (Americano) and a Starbucks on the other side on my way to uni (Caramel Lattes).

I justify my coffee purchases with those loyalty cards you get. 10 drinks in Nero and the next for free. Collect start from starbucks and get the 16th drink for free (I think that's how it works) and I'm not sure how the Costa one works but I think you collect points that can be redeemed to buy a drink.

I did make my own cup of coffee today so good for me! Lets hope I continue with it. The last thing we want is my dad being right :p

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

2014's Creativity Wishlist

Earlier this year I chose the word "creativity" to base my resolutions around. I mentioned how a field in science could suck out of you every inch of creativity because I don't feel there is much creativity out there in that field anyways. So here is my plan and I limited it to 3 in my wishlist because let's face it the more things I have the less I would create.

1. My first plan is to cook/bake more of all those pretty food I pin on Pinterest. I don't really need a KitchenAid to bake any stand mixer will do the job but just let us admire the beauty of this pastel blue (they call it ice blue) mixer, oh the beauty! If I ever decide to get a KitchenAid then I'll wait until I'm back  in Oman. There is no point of buying a mixer that costs 400 something pounds when I have only 6 months to spend in the UK before I graduate. I have enough clutter to pack

2. I have always admired pretty writings you see around instagram, blogs, tumblr and Pinterest. As much as I wish I was good at drawing and creating pretty illustrations, I'm not even close. I feel like mastering calligraphy or at least being good at it won't be that hard. I'll make sure not to only focus on English calligraphy but also Arabic calligraphy. The beauty of Arabic letters can never be ignored.

3. Finally sewing! I've always wanted to learn sewing, there is something nice about it. I've tried to once back in school but I hated how the class was big that mixed beginners and advanced students all together. I felt like I would never learn anything and so I quit. Seeing the work of an Omani blogger The Sewist from the blog Sew Chic and Unique inspired me to get going with this. Mayya makes beautiful things and her craft room is to die for. She'll be moving to a new place and I can't wait to see how her new craft/sewing room would look like. Again, I'd most likely create things from Pinterest.

I have my last exam tomorrow and I can't wait to be done and at least creating something. Anything!
How are your resolutions going?