Neither short nor sweet

I cannot tell you how goooooooood it feels to be back on this blog! To be writing again… Phew that’s what, 3 months’ worth of dust??.!!!

Here’s to please those who have been asking me to write again. Thank you for pushing the last button! To be honest I did draft a few things here and there and some were, you could say “getting serious” and you know, they were going to make it to the “publish” list, but then I lost them. This happened a few times; I was quite persistent at first. But by the third time I had already lost my patience and decided not to write again for a long while until I’m really settled in one place and have actual news to share.

Anyway, let’s pray this be short and sweet- though I doubt it would be :p Here’s a quick update on what has been going on lately. So obviously I’m no longer in Yemen. Alhamdulillah. So for about 2 months I stayed with my family and now I’m back alone again. And in uni! Yes, in Yemen I had attended uni as well, but that was for my Arabic diploma. Now I’m settled

 in one of the most unique universities in the world, majoring in English Literature. To make sure I don’t forget my Arabic, I have decided to take it up as a minor and later inshaAllah if I can cope with the workload, covert it into a major. That would mean that I’ll be graduating with two majors. Biithnillahi ta’ala!

Now please bear with me while we take a step into my brief history before I get across some points :)

As most of you know, I’d gotten my A-levels 2 years ago. That meant that I could have gone into university two years earlier. However, as explained in my Yemen blog, I was tight on the financial aspect of things, and had decided to take things slow. There was a line-up of opportunities alhamdulillah, but you know when something isn’t for you, no matter how much you chase it (or how much it chases YOU), the two will never meet. So I worked and travelled and worked some more. Did I regret joining university at 20 and not earlier when I had the chance to? Not at all. I could never exchange all that I have experienced and gone through and learnt in that span of two years for the universe and all its treasures! I realized that college did not really mature me. I was in quite a bad shape- new kid in a new environment, almost always clueless- and this was really an eye-opener. First of all, when was the last time I was a “new kid in a  new environment”? Maybe some 7 years ago. Because all this while my mom had been working in the school that I was in; I never had to pay attention to any school memo, or get my mom to sign something from school, or had my parent/s called up from school etc. My mom managed all of that for us siblings and I never had to worry, and was never clueless.  Secondly, I was known. Everyone knew my mom and they knew me. Quite well, I’d say. So to put it all in a nutshell, I was pretty much cooped up in my own comfort zone. My environment had always been that protected, that Muslim environment. And suddenly… college. A methodist college. Christianity was something that came up a lot especially in our Seerah (religious history) subjects, but only as ancient characters. Finding myself in a not only 90% Chinese environment, but a Christian one too, did overwhelm me a little. I had to get used to people from the opposite gender giving me high-fives, handshakes, side-hugs and group hugs. I had to be smart about not getting myself invited for lunches outside because that would most likely mean that they have to arrange their plans according to what I’m limited to in terms of halal food and finding a place to pray (musollas are plenty, it’s just a bit awkward to excuse yourself for prayers) it’s all just a bit uncomfortable. Anyway you get the idea.. I had to learn how to deal with many new things, and coping with new subjects altogether brought about a very different me.

I was different than how I was known to be. Back in school I was the loud one, opinionated, always strived to be top in class alhamdulillah, outgoing, a bit sporty than the average etc. But in college I was limited and this made me quiet and private. I had no background in Economics, and I wast exactly a number cruncher. Seeing graphs and numbers make me cringe. My first exposure to it as an Alevels subject made me shy away from it entirely and I wasn’t all that worked up on doing well in it. I could have done okay I guess, but the environment in that class wasn’t one I was particularly a fan of, and I automatically rebelled. (in terms of studies lol). But despite all that, something sparked within me. In that environment that was choking me from inside (simply because I couldn’t click with anyone) I discovered what I was really good at, and it became something I grew to love. It was English Literature. Although generally in college I was reserved, in E Lit classes, I was no doubt myself. I would volunteer to read and answer questions, I wasn’t afraid to give my opinions, I did most of my work diligently and strived to be better with every assignment. I even wrote two papers which circled around religious issues. Looking back, to be honest, I don’t know how I did that, but… I did. And I’m glad that that Yasmin did :) I also made a friend along the way, and she was literally the only person I talked to. I grew very comfortable with her and writing this and thinking about her is making me teary-eyed. :{ / If you’re reading this E, I miss you sooo much!

So that was where I discovered a passion for literature and linguistics. After obtaining my A-levels, I could have gone straight to uni, like what all my college mates did, but I went on a search to find myself. At that time I hadn’t considered E Lit to be my field of study yet. In fact, when E said she was going to the UK to study E Lit, I wasn’t the least interested although I did genuinely wish her all the best. I then went to do a lot of volunteer work, among which I was exposed to teaching foreign students. They were refugees to be precise. I’d learnt a lot from that first experience. And then I moved on to serious work for quite a while. I earned, and blew it in two days, every time. I’m not exactly a saver… Repeat that for a whole year, on and off. I switched up between various kinds of work; from personal assistant to social media manager to lots of data-entry. After that you all know I went to Yemen to study Arabic and to really just cleanse myself. I felt sick of routine life, of meeting dead-ends (I never felt content), I really was craving for something refreshing, some purpose in life, I wanted to focus on something interesting for a long time before I joined uni life, so I left for Yemen. There was a long process in between and it was up against another place as well, but I’ll spare you those details. I had a blast there, I really benefitted from my study and stay. Those details can be read on the Yemen blog (fromsanaawithlove.blogspot.com)  Let me tell you that there’s a huge yet subtle difference when you’re studying something which you’ve always wished you were, and studying just for the sake of a certificate, for example. I mean, the technicalities are the same, but the experience is beautiful. I fell in love with Arabic. 

Upon returning from Sana’a, Yemen, I had made up my mind that I would be a professional or an expert in the English Language as well as the Arabic Language. Yes, a long shot for the latter, I know, but things are beginning to look a little more positive. (inshaAllah). After two weeks of being here, there’s been a lot of drama of which I do not wish to get into details with, but I will tell you that I may have actually underestimated myself. I did not expect myself to be able to communicate in Arabic as well as I had back when I was in Yemen, especially after two months break with no one to speak it with, but I have been playing “interpreter” a lot here. A lot of Arabs that come here do not speak English well, and I jumped at the opportunity. So far I have settled someone’s lodging arrangements, spoke with their parents, liaised with mean seniors to excuse some individuals from the stringent orientation programs, assisted them with their visa and so much more. Before you jump to conclude that I am bragging, you ought to know that I hope for Allah’s ajr inshaAllah and I am grateful for their relentless, never-ending duaas. Arabs give such long, audible duaas mashaAllah. And they never seem to stop..

About helping them, to be honest it has tired me to my bones, and I had to take a few drastic and mean measures to stop doing their dirty work for too long as my own classes are starting, but the outline of work of an interpreter has manifested itself so perfectly into my view, that it would seem to some that Allah had wanted me to go down this path from the start! And it’s quite appealing to me, this picture. I’m beginning to like the idea of it, and I can definitely see myself doing this kind of work. I was never a 9-5 office desk girl. I’ve always wanted work that would enable me to travel and meet new people, learn new things and explore this amazing world. (Okay the last part is a bit cheesy, but what can I say.. oh and that also means more opportunity to discover myself. I’m always doing that not because I’m conceited, but it’ because I find that I change a lot, and my interests change too in accordance to the environment that I’m in. So in order to keep my goals in line with my lifestyle and vice versa, studying and writing about what I feel that I am helps heaps.)

I’m quite content with where I am right now; no big worries, good company and secure environment.. Alhamdulillah. I guess I should continue telling myself to enjoy all of this before something dramatic comes up to take me away from being too comfortable. God tests us when He sees us getting further away from Him. Yeah we always need that reminder anyway. To always be conscious of Him and to not lose sight of the real reward; Jannah. 

I’m not going to lie, and I think it’s obvious that I like to be in safe environments. And by “environment” I really just mean “good company”. I believe company is what *makes* an environment. A wild environment doesn’t bother me at all, just as long as I have good company, I’ll be good. Good company means reminders and I need that. Even if it comes in the form of a pious guy with a huduu’ (quiet, reserved) demeanor :) Yeah surprisingly I am not interested in guys who are “out there” and those “look at me” types. Huh. Hint hint: “I don’t know about you, but I like people who make me a better me”. Sounds familiar? ;)

Mooooving on, it’s also safe to conclude that it takes me a while to realize what I want to do. I do not regret those couple of years I took out before uni- it’s matured me and prepared me to choose what’s best for myself. I can’t imagine what I would be doing now had I gone straight to uni two years ago. Allah knows best.

And I’ll say it again, and again if I have to. I am ready to advise those younger than me who are taking their first steps out of high school. Take your time, really. It’s completely okay to take time. It’s IMPORTANT to take time learning the kind of person you aspire to become. Think carefully, get exposed to the world to know your boundaries and what you really represent. And then, uhhh flaunt it? :)

I can’t wait to share more thoughts on uni life, I’ll try to be more open about it and give tips and advice whenever I feel I’m in a position to. Maybe some of my uni essentials and thoughts on taking up minors and subjects that are completely different than your major? Whoaaa all in good time inshaAllah!

Before I sign out, I’ll leave you with some food for thought. 

“They only know the outside appearance of the world (i.e. matters of livelihood/how to make money etc.) and they are heedless of the Hereafter.” Ar-Room, verse 7. 

Doesn’t this remind you of educated people or university graduates who know nothing about adab, ethics and etiquettes, about having empathy and being human, and only know how to fend for themselves, make themselves richer and snobbier? Just what exactly is a degree certificate going to help you with if you do not know about the real life on the other end? Better to be successful in both worlds, right? Right, so that’s one way to interpret this verse. Remember that the Quran was sent to the Prophet, but it speaks to us too. Especially us.

I ask for your forgiveness from any shortcomings, and I ask that you overlook my mistakes and advise me where you see fit. 

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