Saturday, August 27, 2011

I miss...

I miss...

1) collecting fallen leaves beneath crimson shaded trees.
2) eating absurdly sweet and juicy plums for iftar.
3) celebrating eid at the mosque, classes and lectures, hostel and flats.
4) feeding the cats outside the hostel.
5) having my weekly usrah.
6) salads at Superman.
7) checking out what's cooking in the kitchen.
8) grabbing something to eat with my girl classmates during class breaks.
9) the crackling sound of my boots caressing the snow in -20s winter.
10) the sound of the train passing by at night.
11) watching ice hockey on tv.
12) watching biathlon on tv.
13) watching almost every other winter sport that doesn't get shown here on tv.
14) Fatin's fruit smoothies (and the ingredient-guessing sessions), Farah's pau sambal udang kering, Sakinah's ayam masak merah, Fahida's pandan cake, Kak Ma's nasi dagang and nasi kerabu, Kak Nadia's carrot cake, Naj's salad, Areena's any-spicy-dish she would come up with, Mekna's late night comfort meals, Mas's sardine rolls, Sakinah jr.'s doughnuts, Sharifah's moist chocolate cake.... ok, I need to stop.
15) praying together with my floor mates.
16) playing and having sleepovers with Aiko.
17) speaking the language.
18) chatting with nice, friendly patients ( who would assume I came from any country other than Malaysia, was 19, and had the impression that Russians were bad people).
19) watching sunrise and sunset from the window.
20) qiyams at Qalam.
21) running and 'lepak'ing at the embankment of Volga with Sin Ye.
22) tulips in April.
23) selling nasi kerabu and nasi hujan panas with Farah.
24) strolling along the central market street brimming with fresh fruits and veggies of the season.
25) pretending to sleep when someone enters the room.
26) Swinging by Kak Ma's and Kak Nadia's room and having meaningful and thought-provoking conversations with them (and other random guests).
27) class parties.
28) surprise birthday parties.
29) sealing the windows for winter.
30) MUMMY and kuliah ahad.
31) the excitement on the eve of every new cycle, wondering which teacher we'll get.
32) after-class detours to Radezh.
33) evening tea-drinking sessions with Fatin (and other random guests at times).
34) bullying Areena.
35) visiting the mosques at Lingoranskaya and Kirovskiy.
36) classes with Vasiliy.
37) outwitting Vasiliy with my classmates on my birthday.
38) first snowfall of the year.
39) praying in what would be considered as odd places elsewhere (i.e muslim countries)- classrooms, lecture halls, fitting rooms, corridors, under the tree...
40) making snowman, the one and only. ;)
41) chatting freely with friends at the stores without worrying that people might overhear our conversations.
42) makan-makan with Ar-Raudhah.
43) Milkis.
44) brisk-walking down the hill to the bus stop for class.
45) cute and cuddly Russian toddlers.
46) my maps and posters and postcards on the wall.
47) cross-country train rides with pearly white beds of snow in winter and gorgeous sunflower fields in summer, amazingly friendly fellow passengers who offer you pickles, lavash and nuts and apples as a goodwill gesture, and super small bunk beds which remind you to be thankful for your squeaky bed back at hostel.
48) skiing.
49) updating my 'budget book'.
50) picnic with Al-Hijr girls.
51) scheming for strategies to elude the hostel guard when the student pass is not at hand.
52) the ever-ringing smoke alarm (ok, this is not true).

Selamat hari raya to all my friends especially those whom I just parted with. Six most educational years of my life, alhamdulillah.

Friday, August 19, 2011


There are times when you feel like recoiling from the rackets of the outside world and nestle in your own quiet solitude.

There are times when you wish time wouldn’t seem to elude you so that you can get things done.

There are times when the details and niceties don’t matter and you just want to get to basics.

There are times when you feel frustration, exasperation, anger, happiness, and hope all at the same time.

There are times when you feel weak yet determined.

There are times when you truly feel that faith is the best thing you can possess because it keeps you sane.

Now is one of those times.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Return of The Dreamer

I had virtually given up hope on being able to write anything of more than facebook-status length anymore, when, one fine fortnight ago, I surprisingly managed to churn out a speech for my Malaysian commencement ceremony within one day. Of course, I had great help from my mother and father then, but it did give me a thread of hope for this one.

Four months have passed since my last tiny post, and a whole chapter of history has passed since then. I’ve graduated and become a doctor, technically speaking. I am yet to feel like one though, and when a staff nurse asked me whether I was a doctor (doing locum perhaps) at my father’s workplace the other day, I told her no, I was just the doctor’s daughter.

Indeed I was. But I have officially added another title of responsibility to my portfolio which will unquestionably be asked of me on the Day of Judgment- slave, daughter, sister, friend, neighbour, student, and now, doctor. No pressure. ;)

In practice, though, I’m still holding on to the role of a student I so cherish for just a little bit more, and if my current plan succeeds, it will be the most satisfying achievement in my eyes so far inshaallah (I’m being cryptic I know, don’t mind me).

I have grown so much over the years and I sincerely thank Allah for planning my life so beautifully for me, making me learn the way I did, something I probably would not have gained had I spent the last 6 years somewhere else on this good earth. I will sorely miss Russia (I already am, actually)- for the colourful seasons, nice local people I’ve met, great variety of sports, speedy internet, beautiful (but difficult!) language, amazing friends… but most of all, I will miss the bountiful lessons of life I’ve had from the whole time I was there. From the many hardships we had encountered, the lack of comfort and familiarity, to the little routines and activities that have become a part of what I was and am today, I treasure them all, and am most thankful for them.

Our weekly usrah sessions have given me better understanding of things that I thought I had understood well, the strength to carry on the message, and lifelong beloved sisters whom I know will always be there with me.

Our maghrib, isha’ and subuh prayers in jamaah (and all five during holidays) have taught me the importance of staying together, helping and reminding each other, and have let me truly feel the sweetness of companionship more than I have ever had.

The lack of halal food, the high-priced goods, and different ways of living have taught me the indelible skills of survival- to restrain, assimilate, compromise, and improvise where necessary. A trip to the grocery store never failed to lift my spirits.

The people at the dean’s office have given me the opportunity to test and build up my level of patience and perseverance.

The floor I stayed in has given me the idea of how an ideal neighbourhood should be, and how an ideal neighbour should be- people looking out for one another, lending things selflessly, offering free home-cooked meals every so often, organising get-togethers and many, many more. Things weren’t perfect, but it sure was close. ;)

Again, I thank Allah for always, always blessing me with good people around me. All the nasty ones usually just pass by fleetingly, those whom I don’t have to deal with constantly.

This is just scratching the surface on a topic I can spend hours talking about. But writing, at my present pace, would take a whole lot longer than that. I hope to get the hang of this once again and just, well… write.

Selamat berbuka puasa dan beribadah. ^_^

Volgograd, february 2011.