Selfish almost.

Sometimes I’m so focused on my own personal growth I don’t notice the growth that’s surrounding me. Once we immerse ourselves in our minds, we become selfish almost – more accurately egocentric. Who can blame us? We only feel how we feel, we only know what we think and we can only imagine what others are going through. Is that selfish of us? To function as we’re meant to function? To live our life for ourself, is that selfish? These are the questions I’ve been asking myself lately.

To start, I’ve been growing to see life in a more egocentric point of view. I’ve been focused on my own goals, and my own journey that I don’t think even think about other people. I use to believe this focus I had was great, the right kind of focus (Jangan pijak tepi kain orang kinda focus yknow). But this way of life that I’ve immersed myself in drowned me whole. I only care about me, me, me. Mostly focused on my personal growth that I fail to realise the growth of those close to me – My parents. It took me to stand behind an old couple struggling to go up the stairs of the tube to realise that my parents are growing too. To see a recent photo of them from what I used to know, to realise their hair are getting greyer and their wrinkles are setting deeper.

IMG_4963.JPG

Have you ever felt like time stops around you? When I was younger and I would always be asked how old I am by aunties and uncles and I would always be aware of my age, and know how to answer correctly. However, when teachers or anyone else ask me how old my mom was I would say 43 years old for 3-4 consecutive years. I would do the same with my sister. I would tell people she was 16 for years. This serves as the earliest evidence of egocentric behaviour from myself. I wouldn’t notice other people’s growth as I would with my own growth. Though we would celebrate my mom’s birthday every year, it just doesn’t register to me that she too grows old. Especially when you’re growing so fast and each year is such a huge step, what is 43 compared to 44 right? You get me? Looking at old photo albums, I only notice difference in appearance when it’s half a decade apart. But looking at my old photo albums, I can see the difference within months of the pictures taken. Who would know you better than yourself right? There’s nothing wrong with that.

But now to see the growth that I’ve missed of my parents because I was so self centred, it’s something I can’t take back. We’re all aware that our parents’ observe and document our growth; they know every firsts, and everything you’ve done. They can map out each scar, and tell each story. They were there for your whole life, and we came only half way through theirs. What scars can we map out? What stories can we tell? How well do we actually know our parents? But while we’re growing to achieve our own personal goals we shouldn’t lose touch with the growth of our parents and those surrounding us. Time doesn’t stop around us, I know that by now. Time goes on whether we like it or not and time with our parents, are ticking whether we realise it or not. You’re not the only one growing, they’re growing too. With their own personal milestone like, my dad retired last year and my mom started wearing the hijab. They’re growing and we should just be there to observe and document in any way we can while time continues to tick.

IMG_4964.jpeg

Advertisements

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.

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.

Bravery 

I grew up watching Disney movies and Harry Potter and without a doubt most of the time, the main characters were brave (Except for Ron Weasley obviously). Growing up with all these characters, I could never relate. C’mon I did the quiz which Harry Potter house are you, I was put in Hufflepuff !!! Even watching Jennifer Lawrence shoot at arrow right at that Apple, made me shriek. I have no drop of bravery in me. I blame my parents. It’s just not in my blood. My parents have always taught me to avoid the situations, be careful rather than be brave. Fair enough, they want me to survive long enough to be brave one day, right? That’s what I think anyways. It’s not like I have a dragon to fight anytime soon in my life, or compete in the hunger games to survive.

I’m trying this bravery thing out and a movie quote keeps ringing in my ear. All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage and I promise you something great will come of it. One of my favourite movies – We Bought A Zoo.


I had a period of time where I’d say yes to everything, and gave everything a shot. Then something really bad happened !

 


After that, I learnt that maybe saying yes to everything and giving everything “a shoot” wasn’t the best thing to do. My phobia for snakes got even worse, I can’t see a picture of one without having nightmares about them. I don’t take that much risks anymore – saying yes to them when they asked me to stand on stage was a risk okay! I didn’t know what was going to happen. What were they going to do to me ? What animal was going to be handed to me ? I remember thinking it would be a bird for some reason. But the hell not! It wasn’t. IT WAS A MASSIVE BLOODY SNAKE. It was quite hard after that – to say yes blindly.
Though my life doesn’t require dragon slaying or saving the country for the pride of my family. Life does require a bit a bravery. Even the littlest things, because sometimes the things on the other side can bring you so much joy and is probably worth the risk – like getting to take a picture of the llama first. So inhale courage and exhale fear.

Time to grow up 

Yknow how you never truly feel your age, until you’re 45 with a heart condition and you have to stop yourself from ordering McDonalds? Okay it’s not a common thing to think about. But when I was preparing for my UK exchange, I felt my age bar rising.

It goes DING

21 !

21 !

21 !

21 !

21 !
Going to the bank by myself, having to explain what I need while they stared at me like I made no sense. Collecting all my documents – crying at the photocopy machine because no one was there to help me and I didn’t know what I was doing thinking if I mess up my visa it’s all my fault.
GROW
I had to look for accommodations with the only advice from my parents were to stay within the budget. I would constantly have to google map the potential accommodations distance to the campus and nearest bus stop and even grocery store. I had to communicate with the landlord and the agency myself, and sign the contract – signing my name. MY OWN NAME. Not my parents nor any other guardian.

GROW THE FUCK UP ALINA. 
I guess, it could be an Asian thing. Like when we watch TV shows about the western culture, kids move out at 16. Some start a family by then. It’s nothing new. By 21 they should be working earning their own money, living in a bachelor pad with their friends. However, in the Asian community – we’ve been fed with a silver spoon all our lives. Having our parents do everything for us. Maybe I can’t speak for everyone (I’m sure everyone grows at their own pace). My sister went to the UK when she was 19, all alone. Here I am about to fly with both my parents. Hey, I am the baby of the family ok. Don’t judge.
It was really different compared to the time I registered for UNMC. My parents didn’t register me, but Amirul did. He helped me move in, he registered for me and also got my student card for me (all I did was smile for the picture). This time round, Amirul would be registering for himself at UEL and I’d be registering myself for UoN 2 hours apart by train.
Time to rely on yourself Alina. You’re turning 21 – STFU and grow up.

 

What I didn’t tell you about my trip

I didn’t even tell my parents this. HAHAH

Basically, we had to fly from Melbourne to Sydney. We woke up at 6 am just for the journey to the airport because Great Ocean Road was quite far from the airport, the estimated journey was 2 hours. The thing about Aussie is that you can’t speed your way through to reach your destination. Their laws on the road are so strict, even the sign boards are so straight forward like “drink, drive, die” “fasten your seatbelt or suffer the pain.”. It guilt tripped Hong from driving fast. Especially the fact that we already got a fine to pay for the parking in Melbourne.

Everyone else slept in the car supposedly to take turns to accompany Hong but only I stayed awake, and the journey took longer than we anticipated. We did not stop other than to refill the tank. So Debbie and Hong dropped us off at the airport to check in our bag (WHICH BY THAT TIME CLOSES IN 25 MINUTES), while they send the rented car. We were dropped off all the waaaaay other end of the airport, so we ran! We ran all the way dragging our bags and we made it right on time to check in our bags!

So we went right inside to our terminals, and had some mcdonalds for breakfast. While we were ordering, we called Hong. And he didn’t answer. We called Debbie, she didn’t answer. None of them answered after 10-20 calls. Until, Debbie called us back. She told us that Hong left his phone in the car and he’s running to go get it, while Debbie was alone at the airport with the bags. Intan went out to go see her, while Esther and I waited at McDonalds to update them with the status of our gate. We were sooooooooo chilled, Esther and I. We just sat there, and I bought some tea to wake me up. And Intan called to ask us, if the gate is open and if people are boarding. When Esther and I were about to walk to the gate, “Ms Ahman (typo in my ticket) Nazri, Mr Zan Hong, Ms Fan Wei Ru, Ms Deborah Lee, Ms Nur Intan.” echoed through the airport from the speaker. NEVER HAS MY NAMED BEEN CALLED THROUGH THE AIRPORT SPEAKERS. We walked to the gate, and called Intan informing her that everyone has boarded the plane, except for us.

We tried delaying by just hovering in front of the gate. And once again, our names were called through the speakers “This is the last call for…”. Intan, called to tell us to board the plane first and they’ll come later. So we went inside, still confident that they’ll make it. Waiting and waiting in the flight, chilled. Then they started to close the doors of the plane. THATS WHEN I PANICKED. I looked to Esther who was several seats in front of me, and she mimed that Intan, Hong and Debbie are not going to make it on to this flight but will go on the next. We were NOT prepared for this, didn’t even discuss the  possibility of such scenario happening.

ESTHER AND I REACHED SYDNEY.

Esther called Debbie asking what to do with me, since she has to go on a bus to Canberra in an hour because they have exams the next day. Debbie gave me 2 options, either wait for her and Hong at the airport, or go to the hostel myself and rest there. Their flight was going to be at night, while it was still morning when I reached the airport. So to wait would waste a whole day in Sydney being by myself at the airport. Since I didn’t want to be alone at an airport with two massive luggages, (Imagine the struggle to go pee) I decided it was best to go to the hostel myself.

I bought myself a sim card, so I would have internet to guide myself there incase the taxi doesn’t know and also to keep myself company. Having a well functioning  and equipped with adequate internet keeps me feeling safe and sane. Then, Esther had to catch her bus, so she called my taxi and sent me off. At this time, I didn’t even feel anything. Other than thinking “this is like the start of a Taken movie.” The amount of times I recited the ayat kursi in the taxi was unreal. I WAS IN ANOTHER CITY ACROSS AN OCEAN FROM HOME, ALLLLLLL BY MYSELF. I didn’t even look out the window or anything, just kept my eye on the metre – thinking “man I have to pay this alone! No splitting with anyone else.”  I had a kind Russian old old OLD man sending me right infront of the Eva’s backpacker. I assured myself I could out run him if anything happens. HAHAHA.  The Eva’s Backpacker Hostel looked nice, some sort of comforting homey feel. I walked in, never checked in by myself for myself before. I stood infront of the counter, blur af. I called Intan, asking her what to do. And the counter guy was so young, around my age and he couldn’t be bothered with me, finishing off the briefing with “I’m sorry man, I’m not supposed to be working right now. I can’t be bothered right now. Room on the 3rd floor, door right there.” As he points at the staircase.

3RD FLOOR? NO  LIFT? I HAVE TWO LUGGAGE BAGS! HOW DO I BRING IT UP. I was still on the phone with Intan, complaining as I dragged my bags up 6 flights. One bag at a time, screaming “INTAN WTF! THIS IS MY WORKOUT OF THE YEAR! HE DIDN’T EVEN HELP ME!!!” “PUKIMAK MAT SALLEH!” Furious, as you can imagine.. I reached the floor and it was like a dorm room. A corridor of rooms, with half naked boys with their towel walking down the hall. I’ve never stayed in a dorm room before, and that was as close as it was going to get. Our bedroom had 1 bunk bed, and 1 single bed and there were 3 bathrooms, infront of our bed room. We had to share the bathrooms?! I’ve never felt more like a spoilt rotten brat. I didn’t know how hostels were, we stayed at an air bnb in Melbourne. But this wasn’t as bad from what I see in the movies, and for the price. It was a good one.

Got into bed, and crashed to sleep. Debbie and Hong came back at 8pm, and I was so hungry we straight away went to eat – N2 ice cream and Sushi on Stanley!! Thank god I just stayed in the room, because that night at around 10 pm everyone was drunk! There were homeless people cursing at the wind, and random people screaming “woo hoo!”

That’s my story on my flight to Sydney – 19, ALL ALONE, in a FOREIGN CITY.

All the ayat kursi I recited kept me safe. Alhamdulillah.

Untitled

Untitled 3

Untitled 2

Untitled 4