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.

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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.

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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.

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.