Entry 23

12:03
I woke up at 8:30 today, but I decided to just stay in bed until 10 which was a bit stupid to be honest, because I didn’t enjoy it. Unfortunately, my brain decided to remember the dream I had the night before and I hated it so so much. It was a dream about Sam, so I guess that means my sub-conscious is low-key telling me to deal with this, but at the same time I just don’t want to deal with it. The dream left such a bad taste in my mouth. I never remember my dreams, and the one time I do it just had to be about Sam. There is a reason why haram relationships don’t work. Of course, we didn’t do anything, but either way it was haram. I firmly believe in it now, they just cause unnecessary anxiety and they’re so uncertain. Either way, I don’t even want to think about relationships – I don’t want the topic to occupy any part of my brain.

I have a lot to do today. Since I took up two electives (and one of them is a master’s level elective) I have double the amount of reading to do. For my first class of the week I have around 150 pages of reading to do, but for pre-reading for the whole week: maybe 300 pages? I’m not sure yet. So, I definitely have to get into that!

23:12
I bought one of those boards where you write with a marker and you can erase stuff? I wonder what that is called in English… Oh well, it’s nice! I put it in front of my desk and I already wrote:

Most loathsome is it in the sight of God that you say what you do not do.

– Holy Qur’an [49:12]

Under that I wrote 3 things I wanted to get done today and under that six small reminders, because I was feeling a bit weird today. I have this leftover unsettling feeling in my stomach, for God knows what reason. I have like a whole entry where I wrote about it. It’s been two weeks and strangely enough I still feel like that. But, I’ve been getting stuff done. I’m almost done with my reading for today and right now the house doesn’t feel as empty. My sister left maybe two hours ago. We studied for a couple of hours and then just talked and I got to see her new apartment. It was quite nice, spacious and with these great windows that had a pathway to the roof.

I’m actually really curious about where these feeling comes from? If someone bursts into tears out of nowhere, for no apparent reason and they can’t seem to think of anything that could have caused the reaction – it’s unresolved feelings, right? I don’t cry per se. I’m not a crier – it’s just not my thing. I’m not stressed either, because I don’t get stressed (mentally), usually my body gets tired. I rarely get overwhelmed! Overall, I’ve lived a mentally stable life throughout my whole 20 years. This is a bit strange for me, a bit intriguing too. Who knew the brain could react so strongly to something that is stored somewhere – getting dust and because I haven’t dealt with that issue, I’m paying the price now. Huh? Strange.

23:26
I think I’ll just finish what I have left of my homework, copy some hadith to my notebook and just sit on the prayer mat for a while and sort this out. Goodnight!

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Entry 22

12:40
It’s a Friday so that means I don’t have courses, I only have a political science lesson and that’s quite short so I’ll be done with that in no time. Yesterday, I came home from the library at around 10 at night but I didn’t get much done, because my friend was distracting me a lot. We stopped by a pizza place after and got takeaway. I stayed up until 1:30 in the morning reading “I have the right to destroy myself” from Young-ha Kim. It was a very short book and I finished it quickly, but it was so morbid.

For some reason, all books I’ve read from Korean authors have been along the same line. This one was morbid, but “The Vegetarian” from Han Kang was disturbing. The type of books that make you feel uncomfortable. It’s not necessarily the piece itself that astounds me, it’s the fact that a real person has thought of this, has edited this work, has put it into a piece of paper and make it come to life. I am firm believer that there is a very small difference between thought and action. You can’t distance yourself from your thoughts. If you put words into your characters, they come from you. As an author you can claim that you are simply trying to give life to an empty canvas and you are putting yourself in the characters shoes, but I do not believe in that.

There’s no such thing as trying to shield yourself from what you create. If it comes from your pen, it streamed from your thoughts and your thoughts make your being. You cannot claim to be outside of the boundaries of your own book, looking at your creation as if it is not your extremity. Authors that write books like “The Vegetarian”, must be at least mildly disturbed.

Honestly, I only started the book “I have the right to destroy myself”, because of the title. I genuinely liked that title and I am currently reading a book on the philosophy of existentialism where the essence of it is:

… having found myself thrown into the world, I go on to create my own definition (or nature, or essence), in a way that never happens with other objects or life forms. You might think you have defined me by some label, but you are wrong, for I am always a work in progress. I create myself constantly through action, and this is so fundamental to my human condition that it is the human condition, from the moment of first consciousness to the moment death wipes it out. I am my own freedom: no more, no less.

– Sarah Bakewell, At the Existentialist Cafe , page 6

The title reminded me of this theory and it sounded nice – that’s the only reason I got the book. I’m not sure yet whether I like it or not. I felt at the same time, it was too short. I had questions. How does one come to the decision that they want to assist people in committing suicide? What leads someone to that “work choice” – a past disturbance, joy, or the fictious belief that you can play God? 

Either way, I have to study. The plan today is to read through the leftover material from week one of the second semester, summarize the material and maybe read a bit more or watch a movie? Updates later!

20:32
I managed to get some work done, today. Not all that I wanted to do, but I guess I still did well enough. Now I just want to lie in bed and read for a couple of hours. I feel somewhat uncomfortable again – just the tiniest dot of underlying anxiety. Does that even make sense? I don’t know.

I had a talk with one of my friends and she was talking about relationships. I find it’s a common topic with the two of us… and I don’t mean to sound awful, but I am so tired of it. It has come to a point where it has become ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, if a good man comes into my life and we are compatible with one another that’s great – that’s fantastic, even! I would not push him away, however I am not in the business of actively seeking for someone. Why? Why, should I? Why do we have such a hard time just being alone (in a romantic sense)?

I am not less fulfilled, because there is no man in my life. The same thing for Emmett. He is constantly looking for a partner, and even if he is not looking for one I know he is thinking about it. He is thinking about why he is alone, wondering if that is a flaw in his character? Since, when did solitude become a flaw?

Entry 21

20:59

I feel thoroughly uncomfortable.

The past days, things have happened and for some reason – for some insane, crazy reason I can’t stand my house. Coming to my apartment after a long day of school was always the best part of the day. Don’t misunderstand, I still love being home, but for some reason I feel very uncomfortable there. The house is empty and it’s very quiet.

Normally this wouldn’t be a problem. In fact, I actually enjoyed the silence. Outside my apartment it usually gets very crowded and noisy so I used to love the days when it was silent. I can’t stand it anymore. Every since that happened and it’s already been almost 10 days – I can’t seem to get myself back to how I was. Now, it’s quiet and the quiet makes my heart heavy.

I’m one of those people who like to ponder over things. After something happens, I believe in overcoming not avoiding. Avoiding a problem, a situation, a heartache is just going to make it resurface a couple of months later and cause me distress when I cannot afford to be distressed. What is more, accumulated heartache is just ridiculous – it’s like a recipe for an unhealthy mind. So, I go about the healthiest, most annoying route of dealing with my life and that is to talk myself through the situation. I will actually examine how that heartache that I experience affected me and what do I do to get a bit better.

Overall, I am great! That’s the damn strange part. I felt very sad for a day, very insecure for three days and after that I had talked myself through the heartache and have now come to a point (10-15 days later) where I genuinely enjoy what I’m doing and the decision I made. I am utterly content. But apparently, not content enough in my solitude. I don’t particularly want company, but I want background noise. This place is standing still. It is so quiet. I wonder how much more time it will take me before I’m okay with the stillness too.

Maybe I’m homesick?

I hadn’t thought about that option. Since that happened, and that affected my life for a good 7 month period, I think I have a before and after that in my mind. I forgot to take into account other things that could affect me.

I do miss home. A lot. It’s very different from my first year abroad. This year, the courses are heavy, I’m constantly busy. My study days are more than 14 hours of work – every single day. I just wish there were people around the house doing their own thing while I was doing mine. I don’t particularly want to talk to anyone. The house in my country is always full and there’s always background noise. My parents discussing a book, my sister playing League, my little brother laughing at some movie and my grandmother snoring – my aunt cooking in the kitchen.

I miss the scent of coffee from back home and my father’s opinion on the newest political problems. I miss the people. The sun. The warmth.

It’s so gloomy in here, no wonder this country has the highest rate of suicide in the world. What do you do when you only have brief memories of sunshine?

But, I want to work through this and I have been. Accepting a problem and rationally looking at is one of my fortes. I’m very realistic with anything that happens in my life.

On a brighter side, I’ve been reading a lot. I finished another book from Malcom Gladwell “The Outliers” (which is of course brilliant – I love the way he writes). I read “Do not say we have nothing” from Madeline Thien and that’s such a good book, so heartbreaking. In the beginning it wasn’t as pensive (it never is light to be honest), but the last 100 pages were so meditative. I really liked one of the questions she asked: “Can a single hand cover the sky? How can we live like this and know so little?”

I read “Please look after mom” from Kyung Suk Shin. It’s a good read, but to be honest it’s not that memorable… It’s one of those books that makes you feel horrible about not calling your mother more often. I started calling my mom everyday after reading it. My sister borrowed it and she says the same. She was telling me that she was just going to read it when we went back home so mom will be right there and she won’t feel so bad.

One other update. I’ve stopped talking to Sam, we decided it wasn’t a good idea to be friends. I agree. I never really liked him while we were friends, so it wasn’t that big of a change for me, but the prospect of me doing something stupid and eventually like him was there, and I wanted to avoid that at all costs.

21:23

I’m practicing what I was preaching and I’m going to finish my assignment in complete silence. No background music, nothing!

22:41

I really can’t get into Ernest Hemingway. I just – ugh… What’s up with the story “On the Quai at Smyrna”? What the hell, man.

23:00

Currently having tea and a pomegranate. I bought a bunch when I went to the market with my friend today. It’s a pain to cut open though, took me straight up 10 minutes of cutting to be able to finally eat it.

Entry 20

15:38 – 02/10/2017 (Monday) 

I know not how it falls on me,
This summer evening, hushed and lone;
Yet the faint wind comes soothingly
With something of an olden tone.

Forgive me if I’ve shunned so long
Your gentle greeting, earth and air!
But sorrow withers e’en the strong,
And who can fight against despair?

The poem is called “I know not how it falls on me” by Emily Bronte. I like the first and last verse so much. I read the poem in Katherine Mansfield’s journal, she had jotted it in her notebook I guess.

It will be Sam’s birthday soon and I got him a nice gift. Well, I hope it’s a nice gift. I don’t know if he will appreciate it or not, but I hope he will. On the one side though I know I should probably cut all contact with him. It’s very confusing being his friend. I’m meeting him today and I don’t know why but it makes me feel strange.

Exam season is coming up and it’s not that I’m stressed, but I want so badly to do well. I want to get such a good great that it feels like a burden has been lifted off my parents’ shoulders.

21:42 – 03/10/2017 (Tuesday) 

I forgot to post the entry yesterday, but I’ll just continue the next one here. I met Sam and now I feel so lonely. I met him yesterday at 12 in the morning, and gave him his gift. We went for a walk like the long ones we used to go in when I was with him. We walked around the entire city and talked for a long time and now… God, I feel so utterly alone now.

Not necessarily because I want him, but more so because I want what he can give. The company. I crave the company of a man I like with whom I can have these ridiculously long walks and talk and talk about anything. Sam hugged me hard and I didn’t stop him, not because I craved his hugs, simply because I wanted to be hugged like that. I wanted to be appreciated and hugged as if I am worthy of being a companion, a loved one.

Today, I want that so much. I wonder when I’ll be able to have it and when I wonder about it, it makes me feel even more lonely and loveless. What if it never happens for me? What if I am stuck thinking that there won’t be anyone with whom I will feel as natural as this? It is easy with Sam, talking to him is natural and requires no effort. The funny thing is that it does not have to be Sam, it just has to be someone. I hope I wake up in the morning feeling fulfilled and content. I hope I wake up tomorrow and crave nothing but my own company. Insha’Allah. Insha’Allah. Insha’Allah.

Entry 19

13:04 

Listening to the soundtrack from the show “Chicago Typewriter”. I remember I watched the show awhile ago, at least 2 months for sure. It was very good. In some parts it lacked substance since it tried to appeal to a broad audience and get high ratings. However, I really liked the theme of it. The premise. A group of young people against a totalitarian foreign regime. Revolutionary intellectuals have always been my kind of trope.

The soundtrack was nice, I have to admit. I borrowed two books from the library, the day before yesterday. One is the letters and journals of Katherine Mansfield and the other one was the book “chocolat”.

I don’t know why I got the book with the letters and journals. I’ve never read anything from Katherine Mansfield, had never even heard of her. However, I like her journal entries and her letters. They are beautifully written even though she is cynicall and gloomy. Not necessarily my type of person however I can appreciate her pen.

I haven’t started the next book yet. I think i might just borrow books from the library for a while, I don’t want to spend too much money and I only really spend money for books and food. I was talking to my mom and dad in our group chat and it seems money is tough. I’m worried about them and I’m worried about the burden my sister and I are putting on them. My father is in his mid fifties and he has yet to have one single day of break. They work so hard and it hurts my heart sometimes. I can’t wait for the moment I’ll be able to repay everything.

I wonder if my husband will read for leisure. It’s something that I always think about. It would be a bit difficult for me if he is someone who dislikes reading, or doesn’t understand it. There’s this man in front of me who is reading a big book with a red cover, hardback. I can’t see the title, but he’s spread out, cross-legged with one hand under his chin and the other supporting the book. And he was smiling widely at one part that he was reading, and then he stopped – abruptly, it turned into a poker face. It was funny to see. I wonder what made him change expression so quickly.

13:28

Reading man is still here. I don’t know what i should do today. I have finished everything for this week and I wonder whether I should start studying for the next week.

13:44

I’m kind of worried about a small thing. I think I’m substituting intimacy with work. Isn’t that a bit pitiful.

This poem is nice:

The clouds had made a crimson crown
About the mountains high.
The stormy sun was going down
In a stormy sky.

Why did you let your eyes so rest on me,
And hold your breath between?
In all the ages this can never be
As if it had not been.

It’s called “A moment” and it’s from Mary Elizabeth Coleridge.

I want to write a story about my country, but I’m scared that I won’t do it justice. What if my baba reads it and sighs.

14:11

There’s another person who is reading, this time it’s a man. It’s a small hardcover book and the outside has a print of an apple cut right in the middle. I don’t know what book he is reading, can’t see the title.

14:33

Listening to Bill Evans & Chet Baker, and reading my book.

Entry 18

19:17

I’ve been studying all day, non stop. Well, actually I had a small reading break in-between. It’s been a long time since I wrote something, but nothing eventful has happened as of yet.

The day started nicely. My sister is still in my appartement so I had to be quiet when I was getting ready in the morning. I had coffee and read Qur’an. I find my day starts so beautifully if I read Qur’an in the morning, even if just a couple of pages. I feel more thankful and more connected and remember to say zikr more often. SubhaAllah…

After that I had lectures and then I went to the cafe I always go to, had another coffee, half a sandwich and worked from 1 until 6 in the afternoon. I had reserved a room in the library for 6 until 12 at night, and I’m there now. One of my friends has joined me. I had a really productive session in the cafe though. I finished my assignment and my reading for private law, so now I just have to prepare for work on Thursday. I have three days to prepare so I’m happy about that.

Last week was crazy busy. I had a lot of work to do and even though I finished everything on time, I had a bad fever for a couple of days which lasted for a week because I wasn’t taking care of myself and I forgot to eat. This week I meal prepped for my sister and I, that way I don’t go without food. Also I made my schedule better so I won’t die under the amount of work I have to do.

I read (well half-read) the book “Call me by your name” from Andre Aciman. I think. I don’t remember the author’s name. To be honest I didn’t know what to expect from the book, because I knew it was not really my thing. Like it’s a romantic book which I never read, but it’s also a book about two bisexual men – which is something that I am not and something I cannot relate to.

However, I’ve always believed that you can’t restrict yourself to only the type of knowledge you want to receive. So I bought the book and I kind of had to stop reading it because it was way too explicit for me. The theme of the book was not eroticism or something along  the lines of it, but there were several pages that bordered on that. I don’t read these types of books at all no matter the protagonists. Mainly because I genuinely cannot relate to that type of desire for someone else (no matter the gender of attraction), because I’ve never had it. You can’t deeply crave or miss something you never had. This is my belief, it is not tangible to me therefore it is as if it does not exist for me.

Basically the book focuses on three characters:

1) Elio, which is the seventeen year old sort-of-confused-but-not-really boy. He is also the person that is telling the story and obviously from the manner in which it is told, it does not end with him being together with the man he loves. It’s more of a coming of age and understanding yourself type of story.

2) Oliver, who is the foreign American that comes to live in Elio’s house for the summer. Oliver is 24 years old, very intelligent and with obvious experience. Oliver is also cold and interesting and enticing to Elio who has never known anything like that.

3) Marzia, is an Italian girl who floats in and out of the story. This book is not about Elio and Marzia, it’s about Elio and Oliver however I feel Marzia is there to show the difference between the two attractions and how they can co-exist.

On one side, there’s Oliver who puts Elio in a strange, discomforted position of wanting something but also never wanting to cross the border of that something. As he says in the book, once the border is crossed – you can’t return to how it was before. On the other side, there’s Marzia and how calm she makes Elio feel. Marzia is the past and present, which seems static, known and welcome. Oliver, while welcomed comes with a lot of confusion and tribulation.

However, I can’t say I’m an expert on the book because I couldn’t finish all of it. It’s not really my thing and I had to skip pages because there were some super intense feelings, or some super intense scenes which again, not my thing.

Since I dropped the book I’ve been reading “All the Shah’s Men” from Stephen Kinzer. It’s about the fall of the only democratic leader (Mohammad Mosaddegh) at the hands of a very power-hungry UK and US. Well, UK was the instigator, however US (CIA) was the executor. On on the Irani side, you have an anti-Western prime minister. A lot of people associate radicalism with “anti-westernism”, however in this case it simply means an Irani leader that was not willing to stand still while foreign forces (UK) exploited Irani natural resources. A leader that wanted a democratic Iran, an Iran free of foreign powers – a safe and quiet Iran.

Mosaddegh objected strongly and without fear to the “claim” of UK on the oil in Iran. Therefore, UK saw as the only possible solution, a coup – convince Shah, convince US, overthrow Mosaddegh and replace him with a pro-western Prime Minister. A prime minister who would let them do as they wish in a foreign territory. President Truman was thoroughly against this and did not join UK, however Dwight Eisenhower had no problem with this action.

While the objective was clear: overthrow a democratic regime that does not suit us. The pretext was that Iran was going to become a communist state like North Korea. And so, operation AJAX started.

The involvement of US and UK in the politics of Iran, has had a lasting effect and led to the disquiet Iran that is today, and the great dislike of everything that is Western. With good reason to be honest. It’s a great book. I’m really enjoying reading it.

20:07 

I saw this little poem so I’m just going to attach it:

“雲想衣裳花想容,
Her dress is like a cloud, her face a flower.
春風拂檻露華濃。
The spring breeze reveals a peony after shower.
若非群玉山頭見,
If she isn’t a goddess on Jade Mountain,
會向瑤臺月下逢。
She’s a moon fairy from heaven I’m certain.”
-Faye Wong – 清平調 Qing Ping Diao

22:34

I just finished going over the material of one of my summaries and it took me quite a bit of time. All I have to do now is make PowerPoint slides of everything on the relevant topic and then I’ll be done with the subject.

22:53

I’m still in the library. I’m listening to 짙은 – Hero. It’s such a nice song. I actually love his entire album. I’ve been listening to a lot of music these past days, especially classical music since I’ve been studying a lot. Usually when I study I like to have background sound. I’ve been listening to Ludovico Einaudi (especially the album “una mattina”), to Roberto Caccapaglia “Quarto Tempo”, Shigeru Umebayashi “In the Mood for Love” etc.

From Roberto Caccapaglia, I really like Atlantico. It’s a musical piece I used to listen to a lot when I was a child, so it reminds me of home.

I missed the routine that I have when I’m here. I love being home, but that throws me out of my daily routine so I have to adapt to things over there during the month (or week) of break and then when I come back I have to re-do everything. It’s not that it’s tiring, but it changes my pace and I need to re-learn to get back in the grind of things.

I think I have this view and reliance on monotony on every aspect of my life, including love and relationships. To me, you’re simply a stranger, an acquaintance until somehow you become part of my routine. Somehow, I find myself talking to you more, meeting you more. You are there often at a constant. You become static in my life. When you become part of my daily routine, when you text me or call me at certain hours, I will inevitably start liking you.

This was  the thing with Sam, too. I didn’t like him because he was extraordinary, intelligent or extremely kind. I did not like him because he had a certain thing about him. I liked and enjoyed him because he became part of what I was part of. It’s like that quote from Warsan Shire:

“My alone feels so good, I’ll only have you if you’re sweeter than my solitude.”

I like my solitude a lot. I like doing my own thing. I enjoy waking up early for Fajr, going to the library, having my morning coffee. I enjoy spending afternoons reading and listening to some music.

By the way, I think I’m going to buy Warsan Shire’s book “Teaching my mother how to give birth”. It’s a book of poetry and it was quite cheap, plus I still don’t have a book of poetry in my collection except old-school poets so I might as well start with this one. I haven’t been all too excited with Rupi Kaur, I don’t know why, but I want to buy this book from Warsan Shire and of course I’ll buy the book Skin & Sun from Key Ballah. The latter is so expensive, though.

Entry 17

22:11

I’m listening to one of those “live” lofi hip hop stations in YouTube. They just spew out instrumental songs endlessly. Before I was thinking of listening to “In the mood for love” from Shigeru Umebayashi but I’ve been listening to that constantly the past days so I thought I’d switch it up.

The day was uneventful, but it was so enjoyable. I woke up at around 9 or 10. I can’t remember. I had coffee and read for a bit. I’m still reading Gladwell’s “What the Dog Saw”. It always takes me longer to read books that are not formatted as novels. Even books filled with short stories, I have to take a break in-between, think and daydream about what I just read.

Ah, how would you react in that situation? 

Isn’t what happened a bit ridiculous? Would that even happen under normal circumstances? 

If it’s something that has to do about history or psychology, I like to talk to my dad about it. He always has some fresh view-point on everything. The way he thinks differs very much from mine, so it’s nice to know his opinion on it. Especially if it’s books about war. My dad is always interested in those.

I also read a couple of poems, by one of my father’s favorite poets. An English translation would not do that justice, but I think even a well translated poem of this author would not affect a foreigner. All of his themes, even the most mundane ones are set under the backdrop of my nation’s hardships. There are names of alleys and fields and places that have so many pasts, so many shadows – the light never hits them the same way. Communism, also. His poetry, even the themes of love, affection and intimacy are showered in the heavy weight of the nation’s desire for true freedom, open borders, for our country to be whole. As it once was.

At around 1, Emmet and I went to the study advisor. I wanted to ask them about electives. I really wanted to take up extra classes related to company law and politics. They’re my fields of interest, but the study advisors weren’t there so I have to go again on Monday.

Emmet and I grabbed coffee after that. Most people here don’t “drink coffee” like we do back home. Where I’m from, coffee is always the number one way to socialize. Here they go out for coffee, have they’re coffee quickly, chat for a bit and leave. We like to sip slowly and take our sweet time. By the time we’re finished with the coffee, we’re 1 hour and a half deep into some really serious conversations about political conflicts and then when it’s reached two hours we say: “we should probably head out”

It’s a lie. We stay for 40 more minutes and then get up. Emmet wanted to get a pair of shoes, so we went to a store. He ended up buying nothing, and now I have a new pair of shoes…

I got home at around 16:30 and had lunch. I marinated some chicken and finished the meal prep for the week. I read two or three more stories from the book. I enjoy my solitude so much. It’s the nicest around 19:20. The sky starts getting dark and I just lay in my couch facing the windows. It’s so quiet during this time. The type of quiet that makes you become extremely aware of every movement you or your neighbours make.

Oh and I also bought four new books. I bought “A brief history of time” from Stephen Hawking; “Destroying a Nation” from Nikolas Van Dam; “Silk Roads” from Peter Frankopan and “All the Shah’s Men” from Stephen Kinzer. I’m really looking forward to reading the last one.

I’m going to read some more before school starts and it gets too hectic for me to read for leisure.

I saw a quote before that said:

Stay away from people that make you feel like you are hard to love.

I wish all my friends could understand this. I wish Emmet could. Your affections should never be a burden upon someone else, and never let yourself settle for people who make it seem as though it’s so difficult to love you. This applies to friendships too.

Entry 16

04:24 

I’m currently waiting at the airport and I’ll be here for at least the next hour and a half because the train for back home is at around 6. I left “home” – well my parent’s house at around 12 and just got back here.

A couple of things have happened the last days that I haven’t addressed because it’s been too damn hectic.

Firstly, I haven’t talked to Sam in over a week. It’s a bit strange to be honest because even after we broke up we still talked daily which was definitely an awful idea. I think I got greedy. I’m thankful for this ‘pit-stop’ because it puts things in perspective and it will also help keeping me in check. For awhile I even fell under the delusion that indeed no man will ever come close to how ideal he was for me, but I snapped back real quick. After all I don’t believe in one true love, in this one fictional being that will make me whole. My beliefs on love are very simple. I think we can fall and re-fall in love with just about anyone, and each of these people will make it feel like you’re starting over again because each of them will be different. Each will bring something new to the table. So for me to think “I will never be as comfortable with anyone but Sam” is blowing things out of proportions which is something that I really do not want to do. I’m taking a break from Sam, because I am certainly not contacting him first.

The thing is that the last time we talk, we had quite a serious talk. He is one of those people who want a very serious relationship and I’m okay with that. The other thing however is that he needs this “almost absolute” certainty that it will work out, which is something you can never really give to people. That is the reason why we broke up, because he said that there was a very big chance that it wouldn’t work out and he was scared. So I broke up with him because I deserve a lot better than a dead-end relationship.  Either way, I think he’s telling his parents about me, because he already told his sister-in-law and his sister already knows. The thing is his sister is pessimistic about the relationship while his sister in law is very optimistic. I don’t even know what to think, because Sam is not a liar but he’s not truthful either. He never puts himself in a position where he has to be open about his feelings and current situation so I have absolutely no idea what’s going on. To be honest it’s draining me a bit, because I keep thinking about him when all I really want to do was focus on my studies and get that 4.0 gpa this year. I’ve also taken up a big position in school that is rewarding but takes up a lot of energy so I need him to not be a burden to me.

Right now however I’m going to watch things unfold. I’m being patient, because honestly he is someone worth being patient for. However, if time comes where I have to let him go, I hope God teaches me to gracefully do so..

Secondly, I went on a family trip. It was only for two days, but it was real nice. Now that I’m talking about the family trip and I’m so far away from home it’s making me miss mom a lot. I have so much love for that woman and so much respect. How can someone be as amazing and patient and understanding as she is? Also the youngest cousin in our family was born a couple of days ago. I went to see him and he is as small as a peanut. His mother went through a tough pregnancy and it was their first child. This is my youngest cousin to my youngest uncle. My uncle is practicing Muslim and he was an imam for a while too. When I entered the room to see my little cousin, I saw my uncle praying Maghrib and I’ve seen him pray a lot of times, but I’ve never seen him bow his head for sujood with such a peaceful smile in his face. I can’t wait to see my little cousin grow up, he is going to be raised with so much love and affection. Isn’t it nice to come into this world and be loved unconditionally and whole-heartedly right away?

Thirdly, I’ve been reading more. While I was in our family trip I started reading Milan Kundera’s “Testament’s Betrayed”. It’s not really a novel, more like an essay in nine parts about Kundera’s observations of music, writing and art. I haven’t finished it yet, because it’s one of those things you take slowly. I also bought a couple of hours ago Malcom Gladwell’s “What the Dog Saw” because Sam send me a photo of the book. He was talking about the book with his sister-in-law, that was the last day we spoke. As far as I’ve read the book is quite nice, but I haven’t read a lot.

Now that I’m back here it feels a bit strange. On the one side, I really do enjoy the independence and being able to create a name for myself. back home I would always be known as the daughter of  _____”, but it’s different here. I have no one here. That is the good and the bad. However, my sister is coming here too. She’s going to study the same subject that I am and she’s probably coming here around the 26th. I like that. Me and her, we bicker a lot and often she pisses me off, but I’m happy to have family there.

13:37

I’m sitting in my usual cafe and finishing up some stuff. I want to get a head start before school starts on the 5th so I will read up the notes of a 2nd year students and try to finish them. I already ordered the books for one of my law courses and I’m waiting for them to arrive. They’ll be here on the 26th. I’m excited for the new year and really looking forward to getting a 4.0. I’ll start to make notes now just in case.

 

Entry 15

12:57

I’m just looking at my computer screen doing nothing. I thought I was watching a movie trailer in YouTube before but 16 minutes in and I realized it was a damn movie. I’m seating in my brother’s desk and he’s in bed watching youtube videos.

Yesterday my cousin had her engagement. Where I’m from, especially the region, we have formal traditions to engagements. Since I’m her first cousin and the daughter of the oldest son of the family it’s tradition that I’m there to help with the meeting of both families. I have no problem with that. You know, engagements are nice occasions. Isn’t it great to proclaim: “listen, this is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with.” There was something I found ironic though.

As I said my father has to be there, being the eldest son. The day before the engagement he had a funeral. It was a really close friend to our family. My father called him “the last friend of my little sister”. My little sister died when she was 9 years old from cancer and she had two close friends with very big age gaps. One of them died 2 years after my sister did and it hit my dad hard. He cried. That’s why this one was called “the last friend” – the last friend alive. Cancer is vicious isn’t it? He isn’t the last friend anymore.

The next day my dad had to be in a happy occasion.

My cousin started tearing up and crying. I got angry. I kept it to myself of course. I was thinking: What the hell do you have to cry about? You’ve never had any  reason to be sad. Just smile. What the f*ck are you crying for?

I know. Ah, I was being selfish. It wasn’t jealousy or anything like that. I felt pain towards my parents and myself, but my parents mostly.

When my mom saw my cousin cry, she turned her head and mumbled: “You must be lucky to cry in a happy occasion. It’s because you’ve never known sadness.”

And it’s true. She’s breezed through life. Of course God always gives you what you can handle. I guess my parents could handle more than most. You know I wish for them Jannah. I wish for them to live forever in happiness, to never shed another tear, to know only contentment and prosperity. I wish that after I finish school I can give to them double what they have given to me. I wish I have the strength, health and opportunity to repay them for the amount of sacrifices they’ve made for me and my siblings. I hope God is looking at them and smiling thinking: “These are people made for paradise”.

18:03

My dad just woke up from an afternoon nap and he’s making coffee for mom and him. In a bit they’re going to go outside in the garden, sit in the couch and have coffee together. They will also talk a lot. They always talk about everything. They’re kind of cute to be honest.

I’m going to try to read for a while. I’m reading Orhan Pamuk “Snow”. My dad recommended it to me and usually his recommendations are the best. When I was in 8th grade (14 years old) he recommended that I read “1000 Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hossein. I loved it so much. I remember that i brought the book with me in summer camp, but it was very noisy and people wanted to play and talk and I just really wanted to finish the book. So I found this tiny dark spot where nobody went and I read and read for hours until I finished the book. I remember the teacher getting so annoyed at me, because when she was doing a head count she couldn’t find me.

Truth be told I don’t really think it was a book for a 14-year-old. It’s also a really heartbreaking book.

By the way I finished the book “The Vegetarian” from Han Kang. It’s so different from “Human Acts” and I don’t know if I liked it to be honest. Human acts was a beautiful book and it’s one of my favorites but this one I didn’t understand. It was a bit terrifying to be honest. Not really an easy read.

Entry 14

10:57

I’m currently seating in a cafe. It’s close to my mom’s office and I used to study here for my national exams. I remember my best friend and I would get together early morning and study for 5-6 hours. She had a short attention span so it would get in the way of me studying sometimes, but usually when I got together with her I would have finished everything. I always did it like that because I knew she would manage to distract me. It’s strange to think how much  things have changed since then.

I don’t live here anymore and neither does she. My friends have also left. I have another friend that I call best friend now. My cousin is getting married too. My country is in political turmoil and for some reason I have been thinking a lot about its communist past.

My grandmother lives a very short distance from my house. She lives with my uncle and his wife. Now it’s very hot inside so she’ll sit in the balcony. She can’t stand up for too long because of her knees. You know she had the option to have a surgery 10 years ago and fix her knee, but she was too scared. So now she lives with a lot of pain.

We were talking about my cousin’s engagement. I live in a pretty conservative country so there’s traditional ways to do these things. Since the moment you meet someone and you’re the girl – the boy has to ask for permission. This is a pretty universal thing, I think. I mean it’s also very rational in my opinion. Would you really want to be with someone for 3 years and then the parents meet him and they aren’t feeling the partner? Picture that. It would be pretty horrible. Certainly you’d have to choose. I love and respect my parents, but I am critical of their actions and words. They are after all a different generation. However, I would want their blessing. I want them to get along with my future partner, especially my father. I respect my father a lot even though sometimes I don’t agree with him.

My grandmother was telling me how different the family structure was during communism. She lived in the village where the communist party was tougher to deal with than in the capital. What is more, old codes of conduct were still applicable in the village. It was a tough life for a woman. My grandfather was openly against communism. He didn’t act out. He didn’t join any militia, but I still don’t know how he managed to survive. Thousands and more were killed for even uttering something against the party leader.

My dad left the village and he became a mathematics professor in a military university in the capital. He was unashamed of his democratic ideals. At the time, the university students had organized a protest. The communist party had ordered all professors to write down the names of every student and do everything in their power to stop the protest. My father resigned and fled the country.

I wish someone would write a book about my father’s life. That man has been through a lot.

11:52

I’m reading “Spring Snow” and I can tell it will end badly. Some parts I feel pity towards the guy. He doesn’t understand just how much he is contributing to him and Satoko never being together. Even in a mischievous way she is still showing affection and while Satoko can read his face, it doesn’t matter when he cannot express his feelings. When he is absolutely disgusted by how vulnerable she makes him feel.

I wonder why people fall in love with unavailable people. When I found out Sam was unavailable for me, I stopped dating him. Do they put themselves under the delusion that once this person falls in love with them, he/she will suddenly become available? I’m very realistic. To me we’re just fooling around until the moment someone says “let’s move in” or “let’s get married”. If he cannot see a future with me, why am I wasting my time?

Maybe I’m too straight-forward. If I like someone I will go for it. I will tell that person, no matter what. If they reject me so what? It happens, you can’t get a “yes” in everything you do  in life. What I can’t stand is false commitment. I can’t stand an undecided man.

I am a firm believer in “if he can’t choose you over and over and over again”, you’re wasting your time. If he can’t make plans for your future together, you’re wasting your time. But I mean it always depends. This does not only go for men, but for women too. If she can’t choose you without shame, without apprehension leave her. If she cannot commit and you want to commit, leave her. It’s best if you leave someone in the beginning of the relationship when you find out these things. The more you delay it, the more hurtful the break up will be. Because you will break up.

Or are we masochistic? Do we intentionally choose unavailable people? It all comes down to our parents. We choose people whose way of affection equates the manner in which our parents showed us affection. My father was always very expressive about his affection. My mom was a bit more reserved.

14:26

I’m in my mom’s office right now. My dad published an article in the news paper. It’s a political article, after all he is a politician. I read it. I don’t really know what to say. It’s a good article, but it’s so idealistic. I agree with the book “The prince” from Machiavelli: you cannot be a nice politician and a good politician at the same time.

21:09

I’m home now. My mom is cooking something nice so I can’t wait to eat. I had a small fight with Sam. I don’t care much, but I didn’t want to have a fight with him today because he had a big exam and he said he didn’t do very well.