Update.

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It has been a while. A little over 10 months to be exact; and so much has changed. For one, I am currently writing this blog post on my dining table in Dublin. I am here on an exchange program, for one semester. A month in and I am finally starting to feel settled. It is cold and dreary and I love it. I have been told I will not feel the same in a month. We’ll see about that.

Being a world away from home and Bahrain has been an odd experience. Back in April, I was overwhelmingly excited to hear that I would be spending the first semester of my fourth year in university away. I needed to be away for a little while. IC1 was a challenging semester in every aspect of life. My friends were all suffering with life dilemmas, my family was going through difficult times, I didn’t care about the material I was studying and as a result my anxiety sky rocketed mid-way through the semester. I have never talked about my anxiety, deeming it a personal subject but this is my blog- so really, it is all mine for the taking. My bouts of anxiousness were different this time around. When usually, they would cripple me in front of whoever happened to be around; this time they left me feeling numb, in a constant state of sadness and as a result I spent an awful lot of time locked away in the comfort of my room. How I made it through the semester is by the grace of God- He gets almost all the credit because I could not get myself to care. In March I gave in and allowed myself to swallow in self-pity and as you can imagine, that did no one any good. Scraping through the semester cast a negative light over 5 months of my life when there was also SO much good. I traveled to Berlin with some of my friends and saw so much physical history come into play every day I was there that I left a different person. To see the WWII artifacts, concentration camps and memorials in person, within touch, cemented the notion that if we do not do good by others, we all collectively suffer in the end. I took part in the talent show and sang for the first time in front of a crowd of loved ones and strangers and it felt out-of-this-world-good. The feeling of performing and leaving the stage to screams and hugs from your friends is indescribable. I will forever treasure that night. I went to the beach so many times this semester, I lost count. My favorite trips consisted of sitting in the car and looking out into the night whilst my friends laughed over stories and an afternoon of dancing in the rain and chasing seagulls; moments that made my heart feel so full.

The start of the summer was a strange time. Everything I had looked forward to seeing was noticeably missing- the serenity that usually embraces my family was missing; my friends traveled for the majority of the summer to work and for once in my life, I had nothing pre-planned, so I resolved to spend my summer catching up on work, writing and studying. 3 months went by too fast and before I knew it I was crying in the airport saying goodbye to my family who were flying out to Sudan the day before I was set to come to Dublin.

Getting onto the flight to London, I was the physical embodiment of mixed emotions. I was incredibly nervous but more so excited to discover all that is in store for my friends and I. How would the environment be? Would people be kind? Will Mariam and I find a place to live? Will I keep losing my phone? It has been a month. The environment is accommodating. People are lovely. Mariam and I are not homeless and yes, I will always misplace my phone. I wanted to get away and see the world without the comfort of family or friends. I wanted to get away from everyone and everything that surrounded me and re-discover my love for medicine and my want to heal people. I wanted to be. No one told me how hard all of that would be to accomplish though. On my third week here I was hit by a massive wave of homesickness. I missed my people fiercely; the feeling was relentless. Slowly, but surely, through clubs, societies and friends here, I am starting to feel more at home though and missing home-home has subsided into a dull ache in the back of my head. I took ballet and horse-riding lessons this weekend (no one tells you how hard both of those sports are… there was no warning to how much work both require- SO. MUCH. EXERCISE. INVOLVED); I went to an Art club session and went out for dinners and laughed until my sides hurt over the ridiculousness that is my university. So I guess you can say life is looking up.

An incidence that took place right at the beginning has been a constant reminder that things are never as unbalanced as they seem. I went to the Cliffs of Moher during my first week here and after receiving the greatest news, I saw God in everything. That sounds awfully dramatic, I know. But it is true. It is fact. God was in everything I laid my eyes on that day. In the way the sun shone down on us as we waited for the bus, in the rain in the distance as we drove through the countryside (because Irish weather is as unpredictable as American politics) , in the beautiful cliffs and the steep drop into steel blue water. What was meant to be a normal day trip turned into an immensely moving spiritual journey. I don’t think God hasn’t left my side since so things can only get better from here, right?

I am not quite sure why I started writing this post other than that I needed to get all these feelings down in writing. I watched Grey’s Anatomy today and that fact is important for three reasons- 1) the entire premise of the episode was miracles. The miracle that is life. The miracle that is family. The miracle that is being able to do what you set out to do in life. 2) They played a song by Andreya Triana called ‘Heart In My Hands’ and it perfectly reflected the aim of this semester away from both of my homes. 3) The aforementioned points are why I put fingers to keyboard toady. If you are reading this blog-post then you will agree that we are so privileged to live the lives we were selected to see through. The chance to be where we currently are in the world is humbling. The right to an education is a fundamental human necessity yet it remains an inaccessible right to 60 million children; to have the liberty to attend a university and study the course of my dreams is one I hope I will never take lightly again. So many people are not given the chances we are handed every day. So take chances and do good by yourself and those who surround you. Let go of anything that no longer serves or grows you. Do more of what makes your heart happy and remember how fortunate you are. No matter the difficulties you face today, tomorrow or in the next year, I hope you know that unless it’s death, you can overcome it (cause yanno, the latter would be difficult to overcome if you ask me).

Life is so good if we remember in our times of darkness that there is always a way out- you just have to look for it. You have to work hard for it.

Verily with every hardship, comes ease

{Quran 94:6}

Know that greater people have also suffered. That lesser people have made it. That you will make it because we have so much to offer to this Earth of ours. And whilst you are stumbling your way through, remember to pick up anyone temporarily crippled on your path. It is through helping others, that our true reason for living shines through. On the other hand, do not be someones anchor and watch yourself drown. Like so many things, it all comes down to balance and I trust that we’ll get there in the end. Trial and error never go amiss at times like this so just try. Trust the journey and do not give up. The moment before you quit, I’ve been told, is usually the moment right before a miracle happens.

I hope we all make it.

*If you made it this far, well done! Now refer back to the picture at the beginning. We can do it.

Dear Tariq

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I know that your friends wrote messages for you on a cute little book and I could’ve just tagged a message on there too; but, knowing you, in a weeks time that book will be long gone- so this blog post seemed a little more permanent.

I hope you’re having a safe flight. For someone who’s only ever been on 7 hour flights maximum, I hope the 16 hours weren’t too rough and that there weren’t too many crying babies surrounding you.

In my 2 and a half years away from home, I think I’ve picked up on a few life lessons here and there. I thought I would share a few to hopefully help you in the next 3 years:

  1. Home really is but-a-phone-call-away. You’ll be in Texas for 8 months out of the year meaning that chances are, you might miss this place and the people in it once or twice. I would be lying to you if I said you’ll miss us everyday because university life is hectic; you’ll  be constantly attending lectures, events and in the occasion that you have time off, you’ll spend that time with your friends . But there’ll be moments, when you’re laying in bed rereading lecture notes you made a month ago, or in the kitchen making yourself some lunch (who are we kidding, on the ride to grab yourself some lunch) that it will hit you how much you wish you were home, even for a day. On those days, know that we are all just a face-time call away. It does not matter what time it is, if you ever need to talk, I’ll be there. I know it isn’t the same as being here, but there’s plenty of time for that in the summer and you’ll quickly realise how nice it is to have a place to call your own.
  2. Speaking of carving your own space in this world, Texas in a few months, will be home to you. Don’t get me wrong, good old Dukhan will always be first but after a few months you’ll develop a routine, make new friends, if you’re lucky you’ll start to love the place you’re in and then before you know it, you’ve made a new home for yourself.
  3. University isn’t hard, it’s hard work. Don’t listen to the people who tell you how impossibly difficult your course is or how you’ll never make it out alive. If you prioritise your life, make sure you keep organised and keep up with the workload on a weekly basis, you will be more than great. If you put in the work- it will show, I promise. I can’t promise to be of much help academically anymore- aviation and medicine aren’t exactly all that compatible. But, I LOVE list making and organising, so as soon as you start classes, you know who to hit up to help keep you on track.
  4. In a similar vein, all that hard work I was just talking about- yeah, you won’t get the most out of it unless you work smart. Instead of spending hours on end at the library trying to absorb information by staring at a textbook, watch videos, make learning cards, start a study group with a friend or two and see how much faster you’ll learn.
  5. Pray. It has never been more apparent to me that God is here to help you, than in this year. I’m not here to preach, but know that if you pray in your times of sadness and stress, and if you pray when you feel at your highest and most blessed, God will always answer your calls.

     

    “God is anxiously waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has been. But He can’t if you do not pray, and He can’t if you do not dream” – Elder Jeffery R. Holland

  6. Finally, have fun. When I went into a 6 year medical course, I thought they would be the longest years of my life. I am so wrong. I’m almost half way through and just like that the years continue to whiz through. Enjoy your time at university. The friends you meet are friends for life and the connections you make will always live with you. The years you spend at university are supposed to be the best so go out and see the world. Step out of your comfort zones and immerse yourself in your community. Do what makes you happy.

That brings me to the end of my ‘little’ list. Look at me, sounding like I have it all figured out. Truth is, I don’t. Not even close. But the things I’ve listed for you above really did help me out, I hope they’ll do the same for you, even if by a little amount.

I don’t have much more to say other than the fact, that I’ll miss you. I’ll miss having you in the same time zone and I’ll miss having you a short 5 hour total trip away. I pray that Allah continues to protect you. That He showers you with all His blessings and that you’re granted the very best of everything in life.

I hope this is a stepping stone towards a brighter future than any of us can ever imagine for you.

I hope you grow into the amazing person you have the potential to be, baby Captain.

But most importantly, I hope you know how proud we are of you.

We’ve come a long way from Barbie dolls & monster trucks under the dining table huh?

See you soon, King. x

 

 

 

Stolen Moments.

If you ask me to name my top 5 moments in my life thus far, I would be able to list them in an instant; but today I would like to share two of them.

I went on a ski trip to Italy in 2013 with some of my closest high school friends. During our fourth day there, our instructor finally trusted in our abilities enough to allow us on the biggest mountain in the vicinity. It was momentous and I was incredibly nervous but so excited. Once we rode the cable cars to the summit, we were allowed to swirl down a winded pathway to the foot of the mountain, one at a time. Coming down that mountain, surrounded by trees and breathtaking views with the wind blowing around my face, I approached a straight pathway that was at least 400m long. In a rare moment of complete and utter aloneness I resolved to not slow down. There was something so liberating, so honest, about that stretch of snow. For a few seconds, I was just me. It was bliss. I remember actually throwing my hands up into the air and my head back and savouring the freedom that was that stretch of time; a freedom I was afforded. I was allowed to find happiness in a moment of serenity, not plagued with worry and constant stress. Some people are not permitted that freedom; their serenity is obliterated before their very eyes.

In the exact opposite nature of that moment, one day during this summer, my mother wanted to visit our local bank and eager to leave the house, my sister, brother and I hurried to accompany her. As she stepped out of the car and handled a transaction at the ATM, my brother plugged his phone into the AUX of the car and started playing ‘Flex’ really loudly -I’m talking car-vibrating-to-the-music loud. If you know me at all, you would know that that kind of music is not what I listen to at all. But, as I watched my brother and sister goof around and dance with no care to the world, I decided to join them. The sight of us was probably something to behold, but it was 11PM and no one was around and who actually cares anyway? We laughed until our tummies ached and gave our mother a spectacular view that probably made her question her choices to reproduce.

I am so grateful for the blessings that are my family and friends. I am aware how cliche that sounded, but the fact that I can spend hours, days, with them, not worrying about anything in the slightest, is gratifying. Some people do not have that privilege. Some countries are waged with natural disasters that cause them to lose some of their most loved ones. Some countries are waged by war.

The people who live in these countries are living human beings who suffer on a daily basis.

The conflict in Syria is about to enter its fifth year. Millions of refugees try to maintain a semblance of normality in threadbare campsites. The violence they have endured has taken away their homes, killed or severely impaled their friends and family and their prospects of returning home in the near future are continuously diminishing. Their opportunities to restart their lives in exile are harder to come by then they seem. These people are children who could have been your little sister or mine, they are people my age who should be worrying about how to do well in university than whether or not they will make it to tomorrow. They are our mothers and fathers, our grandparents, our family. They deserve to live lives full of treasured days. They should be allowed to look back at moments of complete content and unreserved happiness. They are owed what I have in irreplaceable moments, to what you have. It so easily could have been us.

I live in the Gulf and as such, I am choosing to back a Gulf initiative to help the people of Syria, the only way I know how.  11 million Syrians were forced to leave their homes and there is nothing we can do to turn back time; but we can help make their living comfortable. Dig deep and donate whatever you possibly can to the cause so that little boys like Aylan Kurdi can live to see their fifth birthdays. So that they are afforded moments other than those permeated with fear, dread and destruction. So that they too can throw their heads back in glee.

In a moment of public consciousness, if but for a fleeting second, I ask you to help us, help them.

http://diy.rescue.org/gulf_for_syria

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Summer ’15

This is going to be a picture-heavy post. If you do not particularly enjoy photographs, consider yourself warned.

For the first time in a long while, I spent the entirety of my summer at home; and when home is a tiny little town on the outskirts of Doha, there’s only so much you can do. But when all your old school friends come into town, the months fly by and before you know it you’re heading back to Bahrain in 4 days.

So, without further ado, having finally found the time to finish this up a week into university, here’s what my life has looked like for the last 3 months. I’ve tried to keep each collage in chronological order.

Enjoy!

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First row from top left: The day the girls & I went out for a traditional Bahraini breakfast at Zaafran, so good / Tokyo group hangout at Sidra’s! We played ‘pick-a-story’, ordered in sushi, and ate too many chocolate bars for own good / Day out in Al-Reen Wildlife Reserve! The day didn’t start off quite as planned due to mall mix-ups but it turned out to be filled with so much laughter, bike rides, nail salons, viewings of Pitch Perfect 2 and all-round fun. Loved it.

Second row: Finally back home!/ Reunited with the little brother and sister (who are going to hate me for putting this picture up)/ Went out with mama and crew to watch Al-Sadd vs Al-Jeish

Third row: The first of so many days out with Nidhi & Jaffrin; watched Britain’s Got Talent at the beach and caught up with two of my favorites/ Went in to school to say hello to all our old teachers and goodbye to some of our favorite people who left Dukhan. Bittersweet day/ Ventured out to Wooqod with this lot and played cards by the beach- literally all we did this summer.

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First row: Contrary to Nidhi’s face, a visit to Fashion World was totally her choice/ Night out at the place to be this summer, Amwaj Cafe. You know when you’re on first name basis with the barista that you’re a regular / Attempted to bake Tanya Burr’s triple chocolate cookies. Did they taste amazing? YES. Did they look great? Not so much. Hey, you can’t win it all.

Second row: After playing cards at Amwaj, we headed to the oh-so-gourmet McDs. Pretty sure I finished their supply of cheese bites/ Embassy visits all day everyday; but look at how pretty the floor is! / New faces in old places (Ali & Omar joined us for the usual round of Amwaj then beach). Of all the things I’m going to miss the most about this summer, hanging out at the beach with this lot disconnecting from everything digital and just talking, is the thing I’ll miss most.

Third row: Took the hour drive to downtown Doha and went parasailing at Katara! So worth the drive, most defintely worth the waiting! / A second shot of me actually doing the parasailing. Wish I’d taken my phone up but I was too much of wuss. Plus, it was so serene and blissfully quiet up there, part of me is glad I didn’t / After parasailing we decided to go on an excursion of Souq Waqif! Lots of coffee shops, puppies and vintage things to enjoy. After dinner we headed to Villagio for a viewing of The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Basically, a day very well spent.

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First row: The first and last time I went to the gym the whole summer. Yay fitness / The Holy month of Ramadan saw me at the Great Mosque a lot; perfect for moments of reflection amidst prayer / My favourite little corner of the house and also my view from most Iftars during Ramadan.

Second row: Had to pretend to be purusing through this gift shop at the post office to get this outfit shot. Why did I never wear skirts before?! On a side note: my brother got caught illegally driving this day by the police (he’s like 5… or 16) and it was hilariously stressfull / Chilling at the Light Park with Reichel aka my chauffeur all summer long / Reunited with my favorite Sudanese ladies! Hadn’t seen my fellow medical student, childhood best friend, Aceel, for 3 years so it was so so good to see her face to face. Marwa graduated highschool this year (felt like a proud mother when she did), so it was lovely to fit in some down-time before she started university.

Third row: Just as quickly as Ramadan had started, it came to an end. Eid henna with the Sudanese besties. Great giggles / First day of Eid chaos, even though it may not look it in this photo. Having my whole family spend the day together makes me realise how fortunate I am to have a piece of Sudan at home with me. Love love love them / The biggest smiles with one of my favorite cousins.

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First row: How cute is baby Hamoodi?! He makes my heart melt. Seeing him after a year and half was a definite highlight / Roaming around Dragon Mart with the siblings and munching on butter popcorn / Afternoon swim with the best friend

Second row: Reichel’s 20th birthday day out! Took the drive down to Doha, explored Katara and got some shaved ice; because does anything say summer quite like shaved ice? I think not. Then played Laser-Tag at Villagio, roamed Souq Waqif, grabbed dinner at Bennigins and ended the day at Jaffrin’s place with a few rounds of Mafia. A day for the books! / Surprise honorary birthday dinner for Majda! If you live in Doha and haven’t been to The Market by Jean Georges at the W, go! Great food and even greater company / I wouldn’t be doing Majda’s surprise dinner justice if I didn’t show you Nada’s brilliant cake-making skills. I mean, look at it! I don’t know what she’s doing in medicine either.

Third row: Last time we all got to hang out together. Going to miss these people. A LOT. / Shopping day out with Rei Rei. Don’t let this picture fool you. We stopped by Souq Waqif and it was 40 degrees out, so we pretend to want to buy antique portraits to get inside from the heat / Exhibit A.

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First row: Saying goodbye to my summer buddy / Last time at my second home, I am most definitely a beach baby / Shruti came back home for a grand total of 48 hours so we fit in a trip to Amwaj for iced teas and giggles

Second row: My favourite favourite favourite ladies / Bike rides with my little man. That day, the sprinklers were on full blast and it made me feel like it had just rained, which at 35 degrees celsius at the end of August, was a very welcome illusion / Surprise honorary birthday for my mum and aunt! Lots of tears and kisses x

Third row: At the airport, on my way back to university. I love how everyone, bar myself, wasn’t ready for the photo; perfect representation of the functional chaos that is my family / Just so much LOVE. I haven’t used the word ‘love’ nearly as much as I should, right? I didn’t think so / Surprise ‘Toy Story’ themed birthday party for Nada (wow that was a mouthful), who is literally the kindest soul I know. So much fun getting to spend the day with the Bahrain family and catch up on the last 3 months.

 

Some of these photos are incredibly blurry and unfocused but I adore them all the same. I love that I can now come back to this post and relive the bliss that was this summer. Whilst there were plenty days of stress and general downfalls, the overall feel for this season was of relaxed catch ups, days spent at the beachfront and a whole lot of family time.

I hope you all had a great holiday! What fun things have you been up to? x

B&W: Eid Inspiration

Eid inspiration, look number two!

This dress is beautifully simple. Wear it buttoned all the way up as a maxi dress, paired with a few statement pieces for a glam night-time look; or pair it with jeans & a white t-shirt & leave it completely open as a sheer kaftan for a daytime look.  You really cannot go wrong with a black & white dress.

This one is a little mare casual than the first, so perfect for brunch by the beach with the family or a day of strolling around town ❤try17

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What I’m wearing:

Dress: Splash / Jeans: Splash Denim / Belt: H&M / Sandals: Paprika / Bag: Paprika / Necklace: H&M

Posted in B&S

White On White: Eid Inspiration

Let me tell you the story behind these photos…

I took out my big girl camera today and after trying really hard to manipulate my limbs into shapes that might make me look ‘put-together’, the humidity stopped my camera from taking any shots. So armed with an iPhone these are the pictures we managed to salvage.

You’d be surprised what a little editing and cropping can do. They can almost make you look like you know what you’re doing. Almost.

But with Eid a couple of days away, I thought these outfits can serve as a source of inspiration for what you could put together for the next few days.

So, here’s outfit number one! Perfect for a day out with family & friends ❤

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What I’m wearing:

Blouse: Elle / Trousers: Splash Vintage / Sandals: Paprika / Bag: Paprika / Necklace: Aldo

Blogging some fashion

Fashion is a big part of who I am. I spend a considerable amount of time every day trying to come up with outfits I really like. I don’t see it as a chore or something I need to do; but something I genuinely look forward to doing every morning.

The clothes you put on your back are a good indication of the person you are inside and I am a firm believer in the power of self-expression through said clothing. So, in ode to my ever growing love of pairing things together, I will be posting a series of different outfits whenever I feel like it really.

If you are not into clothes, you might want to skip over these. If you are, I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoy piecing them together!

Seeing as Eid is literally around the corner, I thought I’d start off with a couple Eid clothing inspiration!

I hope you like them! x