Things I love

  • ~Louis
  • ~Family&Friends
  • ~IceCream
  • ~MyKindle
  • ~CoffeeBreaks
  • ~Sparkles
  • ~Knitwear
  • ~Vanilla
  • ~AllThingsLUSH~
  • GossipGirlxoxo~
  • Chips&Ketchup~

27 August 2013

Are you ready?

A while ago I mentioned that I would take part in a blog challenge. I had come across this when one of my closest friends took part in a blog challenge last May with the lovely Jenni from Story of My Life. Since I was still doing my dissertation at the time, I saved the details and decided I would do it once things settled down. 

Coincidentally, Jenni just posted about doing a blog challenge starting next week - Blogtember (love it!). So, that's my inspiration there! It's basically a way to focus on and enjoy writing without worrying whether what you're writing about is cool or not. Her topics are varied, ranging from fun to thought-provoking, so I'm really looking forward to it. It's not going to be a daily thing, weekends are post-free, and I will try to keep up with the schedule. Below are the "rules" and the topics for the month (taken from Jenni with a few amendments so that it applies to me). 

Hope you'll join me!


Here are the rules:

1. There really aren't any rules. If you miss a day, you can make it up or skip it. The blog police will not come knocking.

2. I will be including a linkup option at the bottom of my post each day, so you are welcome to leave your links here for others to peruse, as well. 

3. You can still post other things every day, too. 
4. I'll include the "Blogtember" button provided by Jenni somewhere on my page. If I can't include a button, I will make sure to "link" my post to Jenni's blog.

5. Here are the topics. You can be as creative and awesome or as boring and bland as you like with these. Take 'em and run with it. Use creative post titles. Interpret each "prompt" however you like. There's no wrong way to do it. Have fun.

Tuesday, Sept. 3: Describe where or what you come from. The people, the places, and/or the factors that make up who you are.
Wednesday, September 4: If you could take three months off from your current life and do anything in the world, what would you do? (bonus points for fun photos from Pinterest, but don't forget to cite the source!)
Thursday, September 5: Pass on some useful advice or information you learned and always remembered. 
Friday, September 6: A story about a time you were very afraid.
Monday, September 9: Take this short personality test and respond to your results. (at the end, find the detailed profile of your personality account - click "click to view" under "You" and "self awareness and personal growth." You can even google your type and find more info on it!)
Tuesday, September 10: Describe a distinct moment when your life took a turn.
Wednesday, September 11: Share links to your favorite online shops, preferably with a few photos of your favorite items in each shop.
Thursday, September 12: Discuss ways that blogging or social media has changed you.
Friday, September 13: A self portrait
Monday, September 16: Write a public love letter to someone in your life. (It doesn't necessarily need to be romantic.)
Tuesday, September 17: A memory you would love to relive.
Wednesday, September 18: Only photos
Thursday, September 19: Creative writing day: write a (very short) fictional story that starts with this sentence: "To say I was dreading the dinner party would be the understatement of the century."
The story does not necessarily need to have a conclusion - you can leave your readers wishing for more!
Friday, September 20: React to this term: comfort. 
Monday, September 23: A "life lately" post. What you're up to, how you're feeling, how you're doing on your goals, etc. Bonus points for great photos!
Tuesday, September 24: Review a book, place, or product.
Wednesday, September 25: Write about a time you screwed up - a mistake you made. 
Thursday, September 26: Go to a coffee shop. Order a favorite drink. Write about what makes you happy and what makes you sad. Or write about anything you'd like! Bonus points for including a photo from the coffee shop. *if you can't make it to a coffee shop, at least leave your usual space and write someplace new.
Friday, September 27: An anonymous letter to your Facebook friends. Be as snarky as you'd like. (but don't include people's real names.) 
Monday, September 30: Share a photo of something old. Maybe something that has personal history for you, that was passed down to you, and that has special meaning to you. Tell us about it and why it's special.

17 August 2013

There are 8 exits on this plane...

Hot stuff.

I'm really not the biggest fan of flying. Actually, I'm not a fan at all. Which is a 180 degree flip from when I was younger. You see, when I was a little itsy bitsy Saba one of the things I wanted to grow up to become was an air stewardess. 

Aren't they glamourous? They wear heels 35,000 feet above the ground. Their make up is always in place. Their hair! Pulled up into sophisticated chignons. And they were always so nice. Handing out those [let's be honest] kinda horrible puzzles that have 12 squares but only 11 pieces so you could solve them. And they are always friendly and take care of you. 

But, since about 2005, which is when I believe this random fear started, I have been terrified of flying. 

Some people don't like the sensation. Others get travel sickness. Some don't like the food. For me, I don't like turbulence. In particular. In general? I don't like the idea that I am tens of thousands of feet above the ground and can "fall out of the sky" at any moment. It's crazy, I know. But I sit there, all tensed up, wondering when we'll hit turbulence or when the plane will just fail in what is was made for. Many a flights I spent on the edge of my seat, unable to enjoy movies or food because I was petrified that "it" would happen at any moment. And sometimes I sit, paralysed, afraid of getting up and going to the bathroom - my walking up the aisle may SHAKE the plane! I mean, this borders on is madness! I wouldn't sleep, because of all of the adrenaline, and this was when I was still mainly doing 7 hour flights. Madness I tell you.

So one summer I decided to go and get some form of calming pills. A friend had told me that they use them and I thought "why suffer?". Plus, enough of grabbing random people's hands and getting asked "is this the first time you've flown?" [so embarrassing]...

So I get to the pharmacy and I tell the pharmacist "I'm terrified of flying, anything you'd advise?" 

His reply?

"Do you want something to calm you down or something to knock you out?"

*blink blink*

"uhh just something to calm me down thanks..."


You might wonder why I didn't pick the second option. Aha! You see, not only am I afraid of flying, I am even more terrified of getting DVT and dying. Yes, I would rather suffer 8 hours of anxiety than risk the possibility of getting a blood clot due to sleeping on a plane. Even though I don't smoke and I'm not obese. Yet I resist DVT like the plague. I constantly drink water on airplanes and pee every 20 minutes because I do not want to die after I have reached my fabulous destination.*

Some flights are better than others. And sometimes I do just pass out from exhaustion and sleep through it all. Which makes me wonder why I don't just get over my fear. 

The worst times are when I'm just starting to relax on a flight and *bump* turbulence and then...

...the fasten your seat belt sign comes on...

My brain goes into overdrive. 

omgomg we're gonna hit major turbulence
omgomgomg it must be bad if the pilot needs us to stay seated
what?he's also announcing it?this is going to be bad 

My palms start to sweat. My fingers feel prickly because of all the adrenaline. My mouth gets dry. My breath shortens. My stomach does somersaults. I need to pee....can't leave my seat...Sometimes I have a little cry. It's pathetic.

My ultimate worst experience? Flight from Dubai to London. Sitting with my brother, watching movies. And we hit the worst turbulence I have ever experienced. I mean, the stewards and stewardesses were told to sit down and buckle up. And that plane was shaking. The plastic cup on our table got knocked over. The lights were dimmed (it was nighttime). Then the TVs were switched off. And as you are in your seat, shaking like a polaroid, you suddenly look forward and realise that you are in a metal barrel in the sky. I was so scared. Squeezing my brother's hand. Asking the lady next to me if she wanted to hold hands too. It's a bonding experience. For sure.

The cherry on top? When the turbulence did eventually pass, some lady a couple of seats in front of me (who, by the way, SLEPT through the ENTIRE ordeal) turned to the stewardess and said "when will the TVs be switched back on?".

I hate those people. 


*a another crazy side of me that I will share...eventually...maybe...

07 August 2013

Weekly Wish List

It's Eid!! Eid Al Fitr (which marks the end of Ramadhan) celebrations are very similar to Eid Ul Adha celebrations, mentioned here.

And, since it is tradition that you wear new clothes for Eid, here is what is on my wish list for this blessed holiday.

Eid Mubarak everyone!


Image 1 of Oasis Square Face Chain Link Watch
Really into square watches since seeing this one. Since Chopard is just way out of my budget, here's a really sleek alternative from Oasis.
My Warehouse obsession continues!
There is ALWAYS room for glitter!
And, although this doesn't fall in the clothes category, I am totally saving up for this camera!

04 August 2013

Ramadhan Birthdays

Tonight (the eve of 5 Aug) would have been my Father's Hijri (Islamic) birthday.

And today (5 Aug) is my birthday! What a great coincidence! :)

The reason we used to celebrate my Father's Islamic and not Gregorian birthday is that his birthday falls on what is considered the most religious night in the entire year - Laylat Al Gadr (Night of Power). Laylat Al Gadr's exact date is not specified in Islam beyond the belief that it falls on one of the final 10 days of Ramadhan. Most people accept that it's the night of 27 Ramadhan.

This is going to be the final year in a while that my birthday falls in Ramadhan. Next year, I'll hopefully be stuffing my face with cake as soon as I wake up (or refuse to come out of my room like Rachel in Friends when she turned 30, haha!).

Ramadhan this year has been unusual for me. While I missed Ramadhan in Yemen when I lived in the UK, being in an Arab country that wasn't Yemen and not recreating all of Ramadhan's traditions magnified the nostalgia. Having said that, I have to admit that I haven't spent Ramadhan in Yemen in a few years, so perhaps my sentiments are a little skewed. Still, every evening when the Maghreb prayer got closer, I could almost smell the samosas frying (actually, could've been the neighbour's samosas...).

So, Ramadhan in Sana'a, Yemen. With the entire family. Let's start by saying that blood sugar levels ran very low for approximately the last hour of the fasting day. Gathering round to wait for the call to prayer, we'd squeeze around a tiny round coffee table, not much larger than 1 metre in diameter. One of us would pour the tea, so that it would be cool enough to drink as soon as we could break our fast. Get this timing wrong and you get some disgruntled "who poured the tea today?" questions and efforts to balance the temperature out by pouring more tea over it and then it being really hot and then not having time to drink it (cue more disgruntled grunts)....timing is everything really.

When you break your fast after a day of not eating, everything tastes so much sweeter. This year I've been craving a lot of the food we have at fatoor (or iftar as it's known in some places) so I'm gonna tell you what we used to stuff our faces with in the 10 minutes of eating before praying. Dates. Tea with mint. Samosas (meat ones, chicken ones, cheese ones, veggie ones). Potato cutlets (mmm). Ma'asuba - which is Sana'ani bread pieces, smothered in butter (or ghee, traditionally) and honey. Absolutely delicious.

Then my father would rush off to start the Maghreb prayer, and we'd chase after him while Praying Maghreb together is a Ramadhan tradition. It's only that one prayer of the day that we share, but every year we do it. After that? We sit down for dinner - which is an ultimate fail since we're stuffed (four types of samosas remember?!). Ramadhan dinners for some reason have to have a soup and at least 3 different kinds of juices. Even though, for the other 11 months of the year, we manage just fine with a few dishes. Never a truer time to apply "eyes bigger than the stomach" saying.

After dinner (Ramadan is focused around family/food, at least in our household!), we'd sit down for dessert (baklawa or cheesecake or konafa or  something equally sweet :D). And with our sweets we drink Yemeni dark coffee, to help wake up from the imminent food comas. When there were a lot of us living at home, we would play cards every night. And then we'd have a different type of Yemeni coffee, one brewed from the shells of the coffee beans (sooooo yummy). Once we were sufficiently caffeinated, the house would slowly empty out as everyone went off to start their evening's entertainment (seeing other friends, watching tv etc).

My family's Ramadhan evenings were quite different to those of my friends'. First, we never had dinner in front of the TV. In fact, we rarely watched or followed any of the series released specifically for Ramadhan. Also, we rarely stayed up late. Bed time was around 12 or 1 am (especially if it was school time, I'd sleep around 10!). We'd usually wake up to eat sahoor rather than skip it or stay up and eat late. And, we rarely slept in until anytime after 12 pm (and that was if my mom didn't wake us up!).

When we celebrated my Father's birthdays in Ramadhan, we'd always invite my aunts, uncles and many cousins for dinner, cake and an evening of family fun. I loved those nights. While the "adults" would sit in the deewan chatting and chewing and drinking tea, my cousins and I would rush outside to play the yearly hide'n'seek game in the dark. It was the only time we were allowed to play in the eerie garden at night. And it was always so much fun. We'd run around our garden and hide in the trees or on the other side of the house (so creative). And we'd buy fire crackers and light them up. For hours and hours.

Ramadhan is really wonderful, especially around family. But, as with many things, there is a sadness that surrounds it. Remembering family members and friends that have left us is inevitable. So many of the memories I have for Ramadhan, Eid and my Father's birthdays contain many family members that have sadly left us. And since Ramadhan is also a time for reflection and prayer, thinking of them and missing them makes the month very bitter sweet. I guess now is our turn to make our own traditions.

I'm very lucky and fortunate to have these memories of my family. One thing that I really want to do more of is to take more photos, since I couldn't find a single picture on my computer of spending Ramadhan when I was still in high school.

So here's to another year, hopefully one full of family gatherings, birthday songs and photographic memories. 

Happy birthday Baba.

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