In 2017

 

I learnt a lot about gratitude this year. To be grateful, is to look at what you have instead of what you do not. I’ve been really grateful for a lot of things in my life, from the simplest thing of having all 4 limbs attached to having the opportunity to move to the UK for my studies. I’m grateful. In Islam, Allah said be grateful and I will give you more. I believe I was drowned in blessings this year. Although it was still a challenging year. I had a lot of things stripped away from me, mainly my home and my comfort. However, that was the catalyst that taught me to be grateful. That’s what taught me to look at all the things I have instead of all the things I did not have. So this final blogpost of the year is a list of things I’m grateful for.

 

I’m grateful for …

 

1. My skin clearing up from acne. Having a full face of acne was really challenging. It ruined my self confidence and really affected how I saw myself. It made me focus on who I was inside instead of how I look like. Although I’m grateful for clear skin, I’m also grateful that I experienced acne, it really emphasised the saying that beauty comes from within for me.

 

2. My family, my parents first and foremost. For sending me off to the UK and settling me in too. For spending their money just for me to experience studying abroad. Be real, they get nothing out of this! They could’ve spent that money on a vacation or anything else that’s more worth while. It demonstrated to me that the love parents have for their children is not only selfless, but full of sacrifices. And not to forget my sister, who has been the nicest to me ever in life – for giving me pep talk through my breakdowns and pushing me to venture out and grow.

 

3. The challenges I faced this year. I’m thankful for all the shit that came my way that forced me to grow. Without being pushed, excused me..SHOVED ( to be exact ) out my comfort zone, I wouldn’t have grown as much as I have this year.

 

4. My health. My community service experience during summer holidays truly taught me to be grateful for what I was born with. For the things I’ve always taken for granted and never thanked god for having. You never know when they can be taken from you, yknow? So I’m thankful for having these blessings for as long as I have.

 

5. The Boys and the leechers of Beeston. I’ve never spoken bout the boys (and Nina) in Nottingham that has taken care of me and reminded me of home while I’ve been here. They made nasi lemak to cure my homesick and more importantly they opened their home to me. Made me feel like I have a family here. To Mario, Hamzah, Haziq, Jack, Mag and Alif (not to forget Nina). Thank you for being family and making me feel like I’m at home.

 

6. The people at home. For never losing touch, and always being there for me no matter the timezone. The late night calls, 5 am FaceTime. Sometimes the accompanying me to walk back home at night calls. The good news and bad news call. Thank you for using technology in the most beneficial way.

 

7. Amirul. To have grown with me, and to continue to grow with me in the future. I can’t thank God enough for giving me you.

 

I want to end 2017, with a massive final Alhamdulillah for every little blessing and unspoken prayers answered.

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Character Development

I’ve always screamed “I’m a strong, independent woman. I can do it myself !” This was just referring to carrying a lot of groceries bag to the house from the car because to go back was for losers. Ammirite? I would always joke about it. I took it as a joke, calling myself strong and independent and a WOMAN. I’m a child. Let’s be real. I’m learning to realise that. So that’s step 1.

 

When I turned 21, I felt young. I felt like I have my whole life ahead of me. Funny, because I was dreading the official premier to adulthood the whole of my 20th year. I’ve always thought I was growing up when I was paying for rent myself. I thought I was growing up when I started to drive myself around. I didn’t realise, all these were just the first few milestones of many more. But I wasn’t grown up here *points at head*. I’ve been told that I was wise, but really tho, I’m not. I’ve just realise, a whole new aspect to explore.

 

Let’s say my life is like a book, I realise my character lacks development. I want my character development to be as strong as Rachel’s from Friends. From being a clueless baby to independent and successful. I’ve been stationary in my growth for a long time. I can’t say I haven’t grown, I have. Just not dramatically enough, and also not independently. I’ve grown with the people I’ve surrounded myself with. My friends, and my family. Decisions were never 100 percent my own, there were always external factors that I had to take into considerations – mostly the permission of my parents. #asiankidprobs. I thought I knew myself very well, to a certain extent I did. I knew what I liked and did not like. But I just stayed in my comfort zone though. I would never do anything that would completely push me off the edge of my comfort zone. I wouldn’t try anything new without analysing them first, and consulting with my other half or my friends who knew me well. They would go “oh no you wouldn’t like it.” and I would be swayed by what they say and not do it. My self identity was defined by who I was hanging out with and, how they described me was how I would describe myself. I had no sense of independence at all.

 

Being completely alone, and placed in a completely different scene feels like a blank canvas almost. I can splash any colour, and write anything. The fact that I’m only here for a year, makes me want to make a mess! I want to define who I am as I wish, by myself and for myself and definitely not for anyone else, nor is it to fit anyone else’s expectations of me. I’m here to explore my options. Try new things and keep the ones I already know I love. My sister keeps giving me a Pep talk about being alone – “Mak and Ayah raised you well enough to be strong.” True. They did. So next time I’m saying “I’m a strong, independent woman.” I’m gonna fucking mean it.

Community service diary 

In Malaysia, the government requires every student to do community service before they graduate their tertiary education. I did mine over the summer, and this is a collection of my reflection journal for my 3 days spent at PDK, a non profit organisation centre for disabled children in Semenyih

DAY 1
On Monday, at PDK were the cerebral palsy kids. These kids struggle with their minor muscle movements and can’t walk, some can’t even sit. I was in awe to see all the children incapable of their own voluntary movement – I felt grateful for being born healthy with all 4 limbs attached and well- functioning.

When we came in, they were all on the floor surrounded by 2 ladies (one teacher, one nanny/caretaker) each child giving the kids massages. The massage softens their muscles and also, their joints because with cerebral palsy their joints tend to tense up. We then learnt how to massage the joints too with guidance by the caretakers. We also bought some whistles and some bubbles for them to exercise their minor muscle movement of blowing. They were all so excited when they saw the bubbles, and tried so hard to blow. Some failed while other succeed, but everyone including the caretakers were laughing and enjoying our simple act.


I spoke to one of the mother of the children  about an operation available for the cerebral palsy kids. I asked whether she was considering it, she simply shook her head and said “God gave me him for a reason, to love him and care for him. Not to fix what was already made perfect by God.” It truly touched me, and left me stunned for quite a while. That someone could actually have so much faith, and be so grateful and accepting towards life and what God gave them.

That was my lesson for day 1 – to simply be grateful. Be grateful for whatever life has given, in whatever condition God gave it. Everything happens for a reason I’d like to believe. Sometimes life gives you problems that you don’t even need to repair or fix, but just accept.

 

Summer 2k17

I’ve always waited for inspiration to kick in before I start writing. BUT BLANK. My mind has been blank. Thus, no update since the last post in April. IT’S JUNE ALINA. But I’ve been meaning to write about my few final days before the summer holidays. So here is the post, that will commemorate my Summer 2k17

 

To start off, it’s difficult being friends with international students. Once it’s summer, they’re all gone. Each and everyone boarding on a different plane going back to places they each call home. Be it Singapore, Brunei, Sri Lanka, Dubai or even Jordan. Spread across the world, all we had was our shared final night in Nottingham. It was my final night at the place where I spent the first few weeks crying and struggling to find comfort in a home away from home, only to find myself surprisingly… dreading to leave.

 

It’s surprising what a foreign place can turn into when you put the right people in it. A room is only a room, but with the right people it’s a home. I discovered my love for my first year of degree reaching it’s peak during the final weeks of exams season. This is where we bond most I guess, while everyone face their own struggles. We tend to depend on each other more for emotional support. The Core Crew (lame I know), but we literally spent everyday with each other – breakfast, lunch, dinner. With piles of books, and empty packets of snacks on the table. Sharing movies in-between revision breaks with 12am quizzes, and 2am naps. Stress was instantaneously paired with laughter.

 

 

Other than my friends, I did fall in love with the place too. I found comfort in Nasi Kukus in front of Tesco, RM4 uber rides to McDonalds, RK Fatima Roti Telur for 3pm breakfast and all-day fluffy Pancakes at Breakfast Club. Although, I hated how far away UNMC was from the city, and I’m sure I’ve mentioned this numerous of times previously. But being in the middle of nowhere do have its perks. One major one as the visible starry sky. The stars that would accompany me during my pitch black walk back to my room from the Core, made me want to study longer into the night. Because the later the night, the darker the sky – hence, more stars. It would scatter all around, and sometimes cluster at one side. At the UNMC bridge, I would stand there for hours feeling so small comparing myself to the universe.

 

 

 

On my last night in UNMC, we did exactly that. But rather than standing on the bridge, we sat at the rooftop. Lied on the metallic roof, with the sounds of sniffling mice and stepping into the unseen puddles on the floor. We stayed there for the whole night. Only left to eat right before dawn. We lied flat on the roof, and tilted our head up to look above and noticed how infinite the universe is – realising the sphere shape of the world. Contemplating the existence of other creatures of God and how lonely it would be if we were the only living thing in the entire universe. Whenever, a bird would fly across we would be startled and, if we were quiet enough we could hear every plane that flew above us.

 

 

 
However, it was Aimin’s Penis shaped constellation, Izran’s philosophy class and Mali’s laughter echoing across the night – that made it an incomparable night. The comfortable silence, of nothing but our heavy breathing accompanied with Coldplay’s music. I also finally found the sole purpose of it, it’s to be played for moments like this. To feel nostalgic for something that hasn’t passed yet, but we know will. We were harmonising to Yellow, and whispered all together “I want something just like this.”   And in that moment, while we stared into “forever” and celebrated each shooting star we didn’t miss – I felt both immortal and mortal all at once.

February diary 

Broga Hill – last minute trip ! Not prepared at all, but found an awesome Uber driver who picked us up at 4.30 AM and willingly guided us through the hill as he called it his playground. It was so risky, trusting an uber driver at such hour. Alhamdulillah it turned out well, he’s even a photographer who shot Malaysia’s Astronaut guy’s wedding. Crazy right? So he took the pictures of us as a group. Thank you Randy!

Monopoly deal – card games were what we played to kill time. Courtesy of Mali. (I still don’t know how to play)

My best friend’s birthday ! Aimin Omar Ali – We celebrated midnight by going to TREC the night before his birthday for the Nottingham’s charity event of Lock and Key (where all the girls get a lock, and boys gets a key and you’re meant to find your match). Pretty cute way to meet if you were single. But oh god the innuendos !!!
Picture of first day of sem 2. S02E01


Mahlstrom gear launch party – I was Amirul’s +1 for this event. The room was filled with tetesterone that night, Mel and I hovered just next to the buffet table eating away nibblets trying not to be awkward. The collection of the sportswear were of great quality, (as I am told by Amirul and Mateen). You can get more info – @mahlstromgear on instagram.


Valentine’s Night – First time celebrating Valentine’s Day with Amirul. And I got to say, never doing it again. Everywhere was packed ! I didn’t know Malaysia took Valentine’s Day so seriously. It was crowded everywhere, but we did manage to get a nice dinner in the end. I got flowers from him, after a long time of me saying I didn’t want any more flowers. And I gave him his favourite donut, a card (YODA BEST) and a luggage tag with a picture of Yoda on it. Since that week he was trying to convince me to watch Star Wars… Atlas now I actually know who Yoda is. Good enough right?

Highrollers – how did I go through a whole sem without half of yall ?

 

The month of January

In 2017, I begin my year prepping for my Semester exams. Great start huh? Sitting around, writing notes, talking to myself trying to understand everything while biting my pen. I’ve spent 90% of the time spent with Aimin and Nate. 2 lost souls that have made my time in Notts the best of days. It’s amazing how we got real close, real quick. In the span of A WEEK !!! Group chat named Little ho ho ho.


They’re the life of me in Notts. Waking up at 3pm, and meeting up for breakfast, studying psychology – discussing on how to change courses when we hit a bump in Cognitive that’s impossible to understand. We just instantly click. Lying in Nate’s room, sleeping on the inflatable bed while terribly singing songs while Nate plays the guitar. Drinking tea at midnight. They make me excited to go there which is the feeling I’ve craved for.


Being in Uni is hard. Half of my things are at home, the other half in my dorm room. Closet split in half, the other things.. well, I buy two of everything just to make life easier. I’ve felt half hearted, not completely feeling at home wherever I am. The moment I get comfortable at home, I have to go back to uni. The struggle is more emotional than physical really. But yeah, I’ve found things to be excited for both at home and at uni.

What else happened in Jan..
Debbie left 😦 She went back to Aussieland. I might not see her till next year?? (Remember its 2017 now) She’s not coming back for next christmas or mid year. So that’s gonna be hard. It’s hard having your best friends living in another country, so far away from you. It was so nice having her here, someone I have to talk to about anything. Not having to fill them up about the past to explain the present things, or not having the need to explain who I am as a person for them to understand. That was Debbie. Known me from 2011? But with internet what is distance right? I still have Mimi though, so it’s good. He’s not going anywhere.



But Mimi, started uni. Even though his uni is close by to mine, we only meet up on weekends. So far, we’ve met up every weekend catching up with stories and life update. We’re really close, it’s kinda funny. Mind you, I met this boy at tuition (after school classes). We had no mutual friends, not in the same school, nothing. Would just meet after school at night, for classes that lasts 1-2 hours. Yet, he’s the closest thing I have other than Amirul right now. Coming over at night, catching up with not only me but my family. So comfortable, lying on the floor talking about his crush of the week finishing up the ribena at home. Not knowing when to leave, until it’s just the two of us outside while he smokes and I listen.

I guess all this reminiscing is just my lesson of the month, the importance of friendship, great friendships to be exact. The friends you would live in an empty room with. The ones who would make the best out of nothing, but just of each other. How important it is to have friends to make an empty space a home just by filling it up with laughter. I’m thankful for these friends of mine.

#firstlessonof2017