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10 September 2013

Turning Point

Tuesday, September 10: Describe a distinct moment when your life took a turn.


One moment? Ok.

11 September 2002.

The day I boarded a Yemenia flight to London Heathrow to attend University in Sunny Leicester. Maybe this is a bit of a cop-out, because it's such a big event and I can rely on it "satisfying" today's prompt. But things really did change from that moment.

I had always wanted to leave home and Sana'a and live independently and alone and all that jazz. I remember I took only one suitcase, because I would have to shop in England and make sure I bought winter clothes. I remember waking up one October morning to a rainstorm like I'd never seen, and being cold in a manner I never knew I could be so I rushed to Topshop to buy the biggest, longest coat they had. I remember brushing my teeth in the morning darkness, absolutely confused as to what was going on. I remember sharing one bathroom with 5 other girls and being surprised that it was ok.

I remember being terrified of accepting any drinks from anyone, because my mom had warned me of murder stories that started that way. (R, remember that?) I remember being afraid of travelling at night, especially on buses. I remember going dancing with friends and sleeping when the sun came up. I remember not knowing ingredients to so many different dishes and having friends stand by and vet what I could and could not eat. With no judgment and never making me feel like I was causing any hassle.

Most of all though, I remember the transition. It was slow but I'm so thankful for it. 

I learned to trust people. Whereas in school, as a teenager, I guarded my feelings and secrets, revealing them only to my journal (ohhhhh yaaa I'm one of those), I opened up to friends and realised how incredible it is having people around you whom you could rely on. I realised that being vulnerable is not weak and, given the chance, people usually open up to you in return, and that's when you bond with them and hope to God that everyone has a chance to feel that way with at least one person. 

I learned to question myself and not be afraid of the answers. At first, it's scary. No, terrifying. Everything you thought "real" or true, is scrutinised and analysed until you feel that you don't know anything at all and you want the pain of going through this growth to stop. I found this particularly difficult. Many of my friends around me were used to analysing everything and coming to their own conclusions. I had somehow lived in a bubble until the age of 18! Which, I am grateful for and would not change. I learned that just because I or someone else questions something, does not mean that it is not true to me. On the contrary, it strengthens who you are. 

I learned not to take myself too seriously and to allow myself to change. And I learned how to lessen the amount of importance I placed on certain things so that I could be more open to other things that could be (or not be) more important.

I also learned to take night buses and trains without having a heart attack! And I did love living independently. It was worth it!



  1. I love this post! (I love all your posts, but you know what I mean). You write so well - not only do I get an insight into who you are, but since I remember the time you're talking about, I get warm fuzzies looking back and remembering how I was, and how we all were, back then. :)

    I am so glad you got on that flight 11(!) years ago!


    1. You are SO wonderful! Thank you for always taking the time to read and comment! Doesn't it seem like a million years ago?! I always fondly think back to first year. Pretty much about this time 11 years ago you and I were sitting on a night bus talking a random American out of a fight!! Do you remember that?!

      Love you so much!



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