All these still feel like a dream

 

All these still feel like a dream. A dream I never had actually because going overseas for a degree was not on my list. It never came into thoughts. Or maybe it was just me, so afraid to even dream about it. And I say a dream because sometimes I truly feel like this is just too good to be true.  Nonetheless, I thank no one but the Almighty for this opportunity.

They say for every beginning there is an end – that’s how life is. And that is the nature of every event in our life. As I write this, I have about two months left in York, the place where I started studying almost three years ago. Only two months left, but the memories of when I first came here are still fresh on my mind. How did time flies so fast, and what have I done for the past three years, I questioned myself, and sometimes the answer is simply – I don’t know.

Since I didn’t get to write a good beginning,
I thought I should at least try to make a good ending.
Since it’s impossible to back in time to undo my mistakes,
I thought I should be more careful of not repeating them again.
Since today, I truly regret not doing the things that I wanted to because of all the ‘what if(s)’ in mind,
I thought now I should just follow what the heart feels right.

This small city holds a special place within, taking up some considerable space in me. This is where maturity comes in, my perspectives widen, answers to the big ‘life’ questions are seen, and where friends become so important since my family is physically miles away. Where family is, what I learn as the greatest blessing from above, and my gratitude will never be enough to thank Him.

I thought I didn’t change very much from three years ago. But actually, I do, and very much so, I can’t choose where to look first.

A lot of the things you experienced here is your ‘first-time’ encounter. You mustered all the courage inside to overcome your weaknesses. Sometimes things didn’t turn out good, but sometimes they did. And it gets even better when you receive more than what you expected – which you will never know unless you try.

You have met a lot of people, of different personality and character. You made some changes here and there to fit in but this sometimes makes you feel less than what you are. You learn to be true to yourself because you live for yourself and not for others. And it’s okay if you find yourself out of place because there will always be some other place where you will feel belonged. In all honesty, you can’t expect everyone to be the same. Everyone is different but accepting the differences makes you handle the situation better.

Time is always going to move forward without waiting for anyone. And they say youth is actually shorter than we know – so remember to keep up and progress with time. There is so much potential in you and me that He has granted us with. And surely they are given to us for a good reason, no?

In receiving, you see others who have less than you. In receiving, you learn about gratitude. In receiving, you realise that giving back is necessary. And in giving, you received something else, a feeling that is hard to describe, something positive, that makes you feel content.

I should say that the list goes on but maybe it is best to keep it to myself. Or maybe if I continue it will be endless because three years is definitely not short. There are just so many memories and lessons that I’ve picked up along the way, making who I am today.

Sometimes I forgot that the journey to get to where I am right now was once so difficult. Dreams somehow could cloud the memories of a bitter past. But just like a real dream that fades when you wake up, this one is also fading into reality. Nevertheless, just as for every beginning there is an end, every ending is also a new beginning for the next chapter of life. And so, I began to question myself again – are you ready?

Monologue II

York, United Kingdom

Winter has passed. The three to four months of coldness has finally come to an end. And spring has come, the most anticipated season of all. I feel like the gloomy ambience is alive again with the presence of bright yellow daffodils, and soft pink cherry blossoms, adding colours to everywhere’s view. This is only the beginning of spring but even now the atmosphere is livelier than before. And later, when the tulips and more flowers have fully bloomed and when we can see more of the sun and its radiance, I bet it will be even more beautiful. I will try my best to live in this moment while it lasts. And I will remember my last winter here.

Monologue

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It’s so chilly tonight. I can feel it right through my bones. I am so used to the warmness of summer that I had forgotten how cold and windy autumn could be sometimes. I have to admit that I did underestimate autumn a bit, and now I am left unprepared for the extreme wind and chill and sudden rain. But being in a four seasoned country, I really should brace myself. For I knew very well about all the changes in the weather. And to avoid the weather is an impossible thing to do. It’s true, even if you decided to stay indoor and had your heater turned on, the wind will somehow find a way through the window’s nooks and crannies to send its breeze inside the house. Oh well, maybe this is just how autumn wishes you a happy birthday. Cold and subtle but nothing can beat the beauty that autumn could offer.

Dear Autumn

University Of York

Some days are rainy, gloomy and cold
for maybe you are preparing us for a colder and gloomier winter
while some days are exceptionally sunny, bright and warm
for maybe you are letting us feel the traces of summer.
Some might dislike you for being so unpredictable and uncertain
and some just love the sight of your falling leaves
In all these circumstances
you taught me a very meaningful lesson dear autumn,
that life is a mix of all above
there are good days and bad days,
but nothing is certain,
even bad days don’t last forever
and for that,
I should thank you.

Kindness of strangers l

Athens, Greece

May 2016
10:30 pm

I got a seat beside a friendly, young English man, aged around early 30’s, I guessed. I can see his friendliness from the moment he entered the plane. I found it odd to see someone so full of energy at that time of the night. He smiled broadly and politely asked me to move over for him to get into the middle seat. Since I was having a bad headache that night, I didn’t have the energy to be friendly and replying his smiles was what I could. I managed to get some sleep but the pain in my head did not recover. When I woke up, looked around, he started a conversation with me. “It’s way past our bedtime,” he said, still with a smile. I agreed to it with a simple “Yeah”. The pilot had just announced that we were about to land in 10 minutes. Only then we started to have a ‘real’ conversation, which turns out to be a memorable one. He asked whether I am staying in Dublin(the flight destination), where I’m from and what I’m doing here(UK) -the commonly asked ones. I returned the questions back to him. I found out that he is a Ph.D. student from Sheffield, and that he once stayed in York before. I was a bit surprised when he told me that his father was born in Kuala Lumpur, and his mother who was a nurse worked with a princess from Malaysia – the way he put it. The latter was a bit funny, to be honest. I mean, of all strangers, in the plane you sat beside a person that has such an interesting story to tell, from his experience of having a Malaysian housemate to trying out Malaysian foods. For me, it’s such a new experience. Since it was my first time travelling (short distance only) alone, and to meet with a kind stranger, it really made me feel a little braver. I was always cautious and curious (and still am) about what the people around me think of me -a Muslim girl, with a headscarf, appearance-wise, looking different from everyone else wherever I go- cause people like to pick up the odd things. I don’t really feel the insecurities or anything travelling in groups, but this time around, I became a little bit too aware of the people around me. And so, this stranger man, made me feel a little bit at ease. How I felt the tiniest of connection just because he has some experience related to my country. It would be great though if he could speak some Malay words as well, haha.
But my main point is that the kindness of strangers is the best because you get to see the genuinely kind-hearted people. They are kind to you without really hoping anything in return cause you’ll only encounter them once in your life (well, most probably). And they do not know who you are, regardless of your age, or background, all are worthy of receiving kindness. Sometimes, it only requires a smile to make someone’s day and this is true (at least for me). There are still truly kind-hearted people out there. If you couldn’t find one yet, maybe be one?

Of changes and changing

 

Bruges, Belgium

 

Things will never be the same again
seasons change
day and night never fail to alternate
people come and go in life
a second later will never be the same as the one before.
And you,
you are dynamic
you keep on growing day by day
you can’t choose to stop yourself
from the natural growth created in you
and humans should experience more changes than any other creations do.
Changes are inevitable
physically, emotionally, spiritually
it happened even without you realising it.
Take a moment to look at yourself
to years before and today
you have had so many things going on
it was such a bumpy ride
you’ve met lots of new people with different characters,
being in a new surrounding,
in a different country even!
Adapting, adjusting, accepting
you sure are not the same person as you were.
When you perceive things from a different angle
you’ll realise that changes are not so bad after all.
So let’s accept them whole-heartedly
welcome them,
and not be afraid of them.
(no seriously, it’s not some kind of a monster that chew you up)