... in which I kill time by the hour ...

Dec 22, 2012

The unfortunate case of the stubborn blacks

Turns out my hair, which has been pretty much in ruins since my teens due to the ill curses of envious bastards (or so my father loves to claim), is a lot stronger - or rather, pigheaded - than we thought it to be.

Today marks the first time in my life in which I attempted to colour my hair, attempted being the keyword because the jet black pigments of my hair are just far too stubborn to be coaxed out by bleach. While Sai and Sabi got immediate results, Rif and I needed at least three applications of bleach. Even then, the few strands of hair I allowed my cousins to mess around with only turned a darkish brown in colour. 

I was sorely disappointed.

Thing is, I've never liked the idea of dying my hair. Sure, I love burgundy hair or highlights, but as for my own, I've always loved it black. Mostly because that is the only factor about it that I really love now; it used to be gorgeous and voluminous and straight once upon a time before self-destructing at some point of my life, but even now, so many people comment on how unnaturally black my hair is. Not even the tiniest hint of brown, which apparently is uncommon among Maldivians. So I've always loved it like that.

But today, peer pressure happened. My cousins love dying their hair every colour imaginable. I've always been terrified of destroying my hair even more than it already is, so I've never allowed anyone to mess with it, until today. Still, I only let them bleach a few strands under the condition that they don't touch the roots.

So, imagine my disappointment when even three washes of bleach only resulted in dark brown strands. True, I like my hair black, but if I am to highlight it, then I'd like the full result, please.

Since I didn't have much to work with, I decided to dye my poorly bleached strands with a strong pink colour. It was the right decision because it at least gave my hair a pretty reddish hue. (However, I may or may not be mildly jealous of Sai's current burgundy hair, and Sabi and Rif's red, dark pink and blue highlights. Sai's hair in particular got bleached nicely into a beautiful gold colour on the first try...)

Later, I changed my mind and decided that I quite like my hair in spite of everything. It starts off with a dark pinkish tinge at the top before fading into a reddish brown to the tips. And besides, 97% of my hair is still jet black, so the slight contrast looks nice.
(In addition, Sai playfully added that the muted colour is probably a good thing since a brighter colour might have freaked my mother out. Good point, though surprisingly Mum did say that my hair looked nice afterwards. Unexpected, but I'm not complaining xD Mum is more terrified than I am about the possible negative consequences of messing with my hair lol)

This episode will probably never happen again, because there is no way I'm gonna go through all this trouble on my own just to highlight my stubborn black hair (one of the hair dyes promised it would cover even stubborn greys; Pity there ain't any for stubborn blacks >.>). Unless my cousins and I end up together again like this - it's been two years since the last time all four of us were hanging out together - then I might try.

For now though, let's see how long this reddish pink hue lasts ^^

Dec 20, 2012

IT'S PAI, NOT PEE

In which Arvy feels guilty for not blogging in forever because she is, you know, lazy, but hates the thought of having a blogspot for no good reason anyway no, Nao, just having a blogger for the sole sake of reading your silly thoughts does not count lol jk jk i luv u and besides, she is in India now so she might as well write a short post, but should probably stop this silly run-on sentence (and referencing to herself in third person) now already.

For starters, my mother is finally letting me grow up. It's been 21 years, but heck yeah, finally. Because, by mother's standards, allowing me to fly off to Bangalore, India alone with no chaperone or flying buddy is the human equivalent to the mother bird letting her chicks leave the nest. 

This is not my first time here - I went to Trivandrum when I was 6, and then to Mysore when I was 16 - but the feeling is still the same: everything feels new. :D 
Or maybe that is just the refreshing feeling of being anywhere that is not Maldives. Or rather, Male' - which is suffocating in every sense of the word.

There are the highways and the half-naked children peeing by the walls and the traffic traffic traffic as we speed our way through Bangalore city to get to Mysore, but the moment when it actually feels like India is when you see either the free-roaming cow on the street and/or the racketing kurolhi bungling along. Whichever; take your pick xD. 
(Pity I'm not in Jaipur; might see elephants then lol)

When I last visited my cousins in Mysore five years ago, we went to sight-see all sorts of places like the Brindavan Gardens, the Bird Sanctuary, the zoo, the Mysore City Palace (riding elephants and camels hurr), the Shimshore Waterfalls (I have no idea how that is spelled >.>), the Chamundi Hills, etc. But since my uncle recently went through a serious surgery and my father's already been here two months to help him till he gets better, driving all over the place is a no. Though my dad and I've been dying to go to Ooty for years now. 
But it's fine since the sole reason for my visit this time was to visit Rif, with Sabi and Sai who flew over a week later from Malaysia. Fitting, since it was Rif and I who visited them in Malay in 2010 xD

I forget how fun it is, being with my cousins. I have cousins all over the place, but this particular batch from my father's side is the spazzy, shameless, insane ones. xD AHHHH I'VE MISSED YOU BISHES~<3

The "adventure" this time is, of course, small-scale due to afore-mentioned reasons, but no less fun, I find. 

It goes without saying that food is one of the main perks of being in India (or any place that is not Maldives. Seriously, this is going to be a running gag in this post, be warned). All the usual places - McDonald's, KFC, Dominoes, Pizza Hut, etc - are places I've visited before, but it's been years since my last time, so my taste buds were singing in bliss these past several days. ^o^ (I sincerely hope my grandkids will get to experience this in Maldives even if I can't >.>)

However, this time, with no parental supervision to hinder me, I was all set to introduce my taste buds to real Indian cuisine as well. Not that my parents are against traditional food or anything, but it will be a cold day in Hell before my mother will come within a five foot radius of a roadside stand or kada to eat a bowl of steaming hot gobi manchurian straight off from the fire. And yes I have done this and yes it was effin' delish and yes I am fully aware of the hygiene issues surrounding these stands, but I'm still going to indulge in this experiencing-India-the-Indian-way I've got rollin'. :D 
(Besides, we're using Rif, who doesn't hesitate to eat from these stands, as a template. Like Sabi so aptly put it, if she ain't dead yet and walkin' straight, stands to reason we will, too. lol)

And don't get me started on the little restaurants and bakeries hidden in nooks and crannies all over this place. Eating Chinese here is so freakin' different than eating Chinese in Male' (and so much more worth your money's value); and oh-my-gawd ... I do not even want to set foot in a bakery in Male' ever again. /crying/ Why can't I live here and just get fat(ter) and die happy and satisfied?

Yep, I can rave about food forever anyway, so moving on -
I've never been happier that my uncle chose a house in a slightly rural-suburban area ... definitely beats living in the city and definitely beats living in Male'. :O This post is turning into one with me hating on my home island now, but so be it. The houses here are kinda quaint, but spacious and lovely and homely and has nearly everything I've dreamed of having in my dream house ... I do not want to go back to living in a "flat" again - this is what a home should feel like...:3

And wow, shopping. I hate shopping with a burning passion and going into clothes store even in the malls here bore me out (not as much as Male' does, but I'd still rather not step foot in clothes/accessories/cosmetics/shoe shops), but the bookstores, man ... the books. Need I even say more? I can actually get stuff here, yanno? Here it comes again - the good things about places that are not Maldives. Told you it's be an ongoing gag.
There are still more bookshops to visit, so I'll just contain my spazzing for now. But my JKR and Murakami feels? OBTAINED. FOOK YEAH.
(I also came across the books of A Song of Ice and Fire and The Complete Collection of Calvin and Hobbes. My fingers are itching and OHMYGAWSHSHUTUPANDTAKEMYMONEY but getting them all home with a weight of, like, 10 kg extra? I can't ask my parents to spend that much just for excess baggage money T.T)

I recently found out that Athena Cinema in Male' finally reopened as Schwack Cinema and that it is actually pretty up-to-date now, without showing movies from, like, half a year ago. As happy as I am to hear it - though Schwack is a horrible choice for a name, though it might be a chain name, I dunno - I still doubt I'd enjoy a 3D movie experience there ... My first 3D experience of watching Avatar at Athena is a topic best left undiscussed and I still have not forgiven the staff there.

On the other hand - 
Watching Life of Pi here (LOL IT'S PAI NOT PEE AHAHAHAHA PISCENE PISSING LOL SORRY COULDN'T RESIST) is what I actually count as my first 3D experience. It did not involve wearing silly paper glasses with one red eye and one blue eye, and the screen was actually big enough for the 3D effect to work, and it did not induce a migraine unlike some places I could mention, and it was freakin' enjoyable. :D Yay more good things about places that is anywhere but Maldives.

That said, I would love to write a review for Life of Pi, but it's such a beautiful movie - visually and plotwise - and meaningful in a way I cannot really define right now that I think I'd like to see it a second time before I even attempt a review (but that probably won't happen, considering how carefree and lazy I tend to me lol)
I also intend to search for the book now since I've learned of its existence (the real good thing about movie adaptations, seriously).

ANYWAY. I WATCHED THE HOBBIT TODAY. ALSO IN 3D. ALL MY TOLKIEN FEELS. I CANNOT. I HAVE LOST THE ABILITY TO CAN. DEKINAI-ING ALL OVER THE PLACE. PETER JACKSON IS MY HERO. I CANNOT EVEN COMMENT ON IT RIGHT NOW WITHOUT LOSING ALL COHERENCY SO I SHALL NOT ATTEMPT TO MAKE SUCH A FEAT. /SOBBING/ WHERE IS 2013 ALREADY? I NEED MOAR.

There is still more fun to be had such as visiting Fantasy Park (aka water amusement park huzzah it's been two years since Malay xD) and arcades and possibly even the Innovative Film City which Rif has been bragging to me about for more than a year now. And of course, there is more food to be had and special ice cream parlours to visit and more spazzing ahead.
(Rif and I slowly brainwashing Sabi into Kanjani8 now. She was Ryo-baited into it lol xD Just like me. Liking insane dorks ... I swear it's a genetic thing...)

Huh. So much for a short blog post. Ah well, whatevs. Might write more later ^^
Will be back in Jan 2. Time is flying by too past T.T

Nov 7, 2012

All my crays~

I purposefully put off writing this blogpost for this particular day to rub all my crays in your face.

More than a month or so ago, my day started out perfectly. 
Made it to Uni on time and the first class of the day was Bio, about the only interesting class I had this past semester - I will always love Bio no matter how sadistic a subject it is and how much whining I'm holding back about it, but that's another story - and my prof starts off what's looking to be a good day with,

"So, who's signed up to go to Japan?"

Needless to say, that caught my attention faster than the huge honking double-decker bus that nearly killed me (and Rif) on a Malaysian highway once upon a time.

I whipped around in my seat so fast the chair jarred over the floor and stared at the prof with such a stronger version of the deer-caught-in-the-headlights look than I gave the double-decker, that my prof actually looked mildly startled at my reaction. (I may or may not have also been wearing a very demented leer on my face, which could possibly have been a contributing factor).

She then told us about Kizuna, the student exchange programme the Japanese government is funding for fifteen Uni students to go to Japan. The prof was really enthusiastic about the idea, 'cause it'll be a wonderful experience and all. 

My friends Di and Naai and I were really excited about the prospect. Actually, they have no idea how excited I really was, 'cause won't lie, the second thing that popped into my head was, 'Huzzah, I now totes have a chance of bragging about this to Nao, Rif and Neji mwahahaha >8D!" 
(The first thing was something along the lines of, "ALSKJDLFHJKASHFSKAJHFA JAPAN ASLJKDHJKF NIHON AJSHKJSDFH OSAKA AKLJSDFHAJKLSFHJ TOKYO KJHSAKJHKJLHA CULTURE AKLJAHLKJHF FOOD ALKSJFDAKLS KANSAI BEN ALKSHLHJKHFJH KANJANI8 AKLJDHJAKLSDFHAJKSFH MY LIFE IS REACHING COMPLETION")

I totally blame my prof for my ensuing lack of concentration during the remainder of the class.

As soon as lectures were over, we ran to check the noticeboard and were like, "WTF THE DEADLINE IS BY 3.00 PM TODAY WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PLACE?!" 
Not that that really deterred us. We immediately downloaded the application forms and had them printed out like a baws before the rest of the students even really knew what was going on. (Speed and being silent about what we were up to were very important, because there were only 15 available places and priority would be given to third-years. >.< I'm only a second-year, but my marks are good and the notice did say that the Japanese would be looking at academic achievement too, so I had high hopes...)

And then things took a turn for the worse. I was in the middle of filling out my application when my third-year guy friend appeared and admitted he'd love to go to Japan as well, but he was not applying.

"Why the heck not??" I mean, c'mon, the chance was freakin' here!

"Because I can't . My passport's expired. So I chucked the application."

... passport?

Which was when the first stirrings of dread started creeping up my back. I flipped through my form and saw that, indeed, a copy of my passport needed to be attached. And it also struck me that I had no idea when my passport had last been renewed.

So, I panicked and called up Dad, but it wasn't like he had a miraculous photographic memory, either. I could barely sit still, waiting for him to pick me up so we could go home and actually check. In the meantime, the calculating started:

"I went to India in 2007, so I definitely had my passport made or renewed that time, but that's 5 years ago and my passport might have expired month-wise by now," I ranted to politely-listening-guy-friend. 'But wait! I did go to Malaysia 2 years ago - but argh! I can't remember whether my passport was renewed then. If it was, it won't be expired now, but if it wasn't, it totally could be expired and sh!t, I need to send in my application today, I can't possibly renew my passport now in less than four hours -!"

He was nice enough to not tell me to shut the heck up. 
(During my period of panicking, I also did overhear that some third-year girl had gone to renew her passport that morning itself, but it takes at least 24 hours for that, doesn't it? :/)

Dad was really trying to assure me as we sped home that there was still a chance that my passport's valid and everything turns out for the best, but I really was not listening. My once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of going to Japan solely depended on that one date printed in a little navy blue book. 
I probably irritated the heck out of my dad as I paced around agitatedly while he hunted down my passport and, somehow, even then, even before my dad flipped the hateful little thing open, I just knew there was no chance. The feeling had been growing ever since my friend had brought up the passport topic at Uni. I'm not usually a negative person, but I just knew. 

And I was right. My passport had expired five months ago. 

The disappointment you suffer really is much too painful once you've seriously gotten your hopes up for something. Even though I knew what was coming, I still couldn't speak. My throat actually got clogged up. I remember that I handed the passport back to Dad and left for my room without saying a single word and then I locked myself up and just ... existed, for the next few hours.

Before that day, I had never even dared to delude myself into thinking I might ever be able to go to Japan, which actually is one of my greatest wishes. I'm well aware of my situation in life. My family is not rich and we have our debts and I just never allowed myself to dream of extravagant vacations or trips. And then this golden opportunity where the whole trip is funded by the Japanese government cropped up and I couldn't even apply. Even if I wouldn't have been picked as one of the lucky 15, I'd have wanted the chance of being a legit possible candidate, but I lost that, too. 

I'm not blaming anyone, though, especially my dad. I could see my reaction had really affected him and he apologised for having neglected the passport renewal issue, but people in my family hardly travel at all because we can't afford to, so I totally do understand why he didn't bother renewing my passport earlier or anything. I mean, this was completely unforeseen. But it still hurt, the disappointment. It was despair, actually.

The day passed with my sister sympathizing and trying to reassure me, and my mum kicking up a fuss that I should still apply with my old passport for now and hand in my new passport later. When Di called me and said she didn't even have a passport and would have to make one, I finally decided to pitch in whatever luck we might have and called Student Support.

I made a point of telling the lady over the phone that you people are heartless cruel morons for putting out that notice with only hours left to the deadline, all you sons of - it was hardly fair for students to be expected to get everything ready on such short notice, how most of us only knew of the Kizuna exchange only that morning itself and that there were some students who needed to make/renew passports still. It was a Thursday and I knew Uni would be closed over the weekend, but after making the afore-mentioned argument, I asked very reasonably if we could send in the applications on Saturday instead. She said no, they won't be open on Saturday. 

"Then how about Sunday by 3?"

"We need to ship off all the applications to Japan on Sunday, so no."

"OK, first thing Sunday morning at 8, then?!" <--I was legit begging by this point.

"There won't be enough time to make all the arrangements, so no. We can accept applications only by 3.00 pm this afternoon and they must contain a copy of a valid passport."

I was ready to flip the whole world by then.
The lady also explained that they too had received the Kizuna thing very late and that they "put it up on the noticeboard as soon as we could", but that was only the day before. I'd probably left Uni before they put it up 'cause I finish early on Wednesdays, which was most likely why I didn't know then. If I had, I could have renewed my passport for Thursday and applied T.T

(The lady also did make a very snide comment in a very polite voice, "ID cards and passports are nationally important things that must be always renewed and kept at the ready for unprecedented emergencies like this. It is part of a citizen's responsibility". What she said is true, but it really struck a nerve and I now wish I hadn't been polite enough to hold my tongue and retort, "RENEWING PASSPORTS ARE FOOKING EXPENSIVE, BISH. OBVIOUSLY IF PEOPLE DON'T OFTEN TRAVEL, THEY WOULDN'T RENEW IT SO DILIGENTLY. AND FOOK ALL OF YOU, WE STUDENTS DESERVE TO KNOW OF THINGS LIKE THESE TRIPS AT LEAST A WEEK - NOT SIX BLOODY HOURS - BEFORE THE DEADLINE, DON'T YOU DARE PLAY THE VICTIM HERE.")

Our luck dried out on that front, too. Di just sighed and gave up when I told her, but it wasn't as easy for me. Unlike Di, who is just adventurous and wanted to try something new and see a new place, I actually wanted to go to Japan. Not just some random country. I've seen glimpses of the places and culture there from in front of a PC screen for years now and I wanted to go there and experience it for myself. 

My mum really dissed the Uni management for their poor handling and not giving us enough time and all that, but it didn't make me feel much better. And Dad was still feeling guilty about the passport thing, though I did tell him I understood and that I didn't blame him. But I was still in depression. "It's Japan. Just how many opportunities would someone like me, in a situation like mine, ever get to go to Japan?" I pointed out to my parents. And they know how much I love the Japanese culture and how obsessed I've been about that place for so long and how much I want to go there.

When I say I was in depression, it's not just a figure of speech. I was actually truly depressed for the first time I can ever really remember. My parents and sisters tried to cheer me up and they did point out how things happened for the better, even if we can't see it. What really made an impact is what my dad told me, ever so seriously, 
"Before this morning, you never even thought a chance to go to Japan would come up, did you? You never saw it coming. That's how things work. Imagine what might happen in the future, the unforeseen chances that might come up, just like today. Because things didn't work out the way you wanted them to this time, don't ever say you lost your only chance. Just like today, another chance - your real chance may come again in the future, and when it does, it will be better and just right for you, insha Allah. We as humans can never know when and how Allah will give us his blessings. So, don't feel depressed about what you think you lost, when in fact, there may be so much more to gain - now or in the future - even if you don't realise it at the moment."
I really appreciated it, because I know he's right. And it did make me feel a bit better in my heart, though I remained broody and depressed the rest of the day. Dad spontaneously took me out for Marry Brown and we talked a bit more over fried chicken, and then later we all had dinner at my aunt's 'cause my cuz Nutti's mum and stepdad were leaving for Hajj. 

I guess my depression really showed, because they asked what was with my face and the topic cropped up again. There were a lot of sympathizing and pitying, and Nutti, who also attends the same Uni as me, suddenly exclaimed that she saw the Kizuna notice on Wednesday itself. But she wasn't interested in going to Japan and didn't know I'd want to go, which is why she ignored it and didn't tell me. But if she had told me on Wednesday, though... 
Despite my father's words, all these little what-ifs of how I could have made it to Japan really got me down again and I got all the more upset and broody.

I later felt guilty about it, though, because the fact that I hardly ever cracked a smile, or talked and the blatant depressed look on my face that lasted the entire night apparently affected my aunt. Because, I guess she's so used to me being hyper and happy whenever I go over. I really couldn't help it, though.

I was feeling a tiny bit more normal and like myself the next day. Not totally though, mostly because in light of recent regrettable events, Dad took it upon himself to have all our passports renewed - which cost a fooking bish - immediately, but the whole time, in some deep dark corner of my mind, I was just thinking how it doesn't even matter anymore, because what's the point, I can't go to Japan now anyway. The depression went away more the next day and  more the next and so on. 
And now my exams are over - ended yesterday, actually - but the depression mildly came back again now. Because today or tonight - maybe even right now as I type this - fifteen lucky Maldivian University students are boarding a flight to Tokyo and I can't help thinking that I could have been one of them.

My dad is right and maybe one day, the chance for me will come again. Who knows. But for today, I'll just remain depressed, thinking of my lost golden opportunity to the land where the sun rises. It was a freakin' perfect chance. And I lost it.

Appropriate macro that would be funny if it were not so very very very true.

Oct 25, 2012

WIP meme (this is really quite sad, tbh)

Continuing the thievery of this WIP meme from Nao who stole it from Zai and so on which I fully intend to comment on /guilty/, because it brought back all the feelingz and guilt and, you know, I do kinda hate myself for all these incomplete fics despite 55% of it being the fault of IRL situations and lack of TAIM.

Post the first five sentences from every WIP you're currently working on have vague intentions of continuing, even if it's very short. Then invite people to ask questions about your WIPs. With any luck, the motivation to take that WIP one step closer to completion will appear as if by magic!

I've always told myself I'd finish any chaptered fics I'm gonna attempt. So far ... I have yet to achieve that >.> 


1. Three Pieces of the Puzzle 

There were rare moments when Kiritani Shuji realised that, deep down, he still had some things that he regretted. Or just one, at the very least, but he did not recognise it for what it was for a long while. It nagged at him somewhere at the back of his mind, sometimes when he was in the classroom, idly watching the other students laughing and enjoying themselves; or at times when he was alone, left with nothing to do and simply whiling the seconds away.

But mostly, the then unknown, uneasy feeling of regret came over him when he was with Akira. 

Strange, really, because ever since he had moved out of Tokyo, Kusano Akira was the one person in the entire new school in whose company Shuji felt at home and comfortable.


2. The Greatest Gift 

The moment Aya decided to give up on Kawamoto-senpai, her crush of four years, was the moment she started thinking about Asou Haruto. Only, she never quite realised it then.

She barely heard her mother’s cry of shock and concern when she returned to her hospital room, soaking wet from the rain. She was shivering from the cold and her eyes still gleamed with residue tears, but she took no notice of those. Instead, her mind was focussed entirely on the doomed “date” she had just had with a boy that had not even shown up. Instead, someone else had taken his place.


3. Why Scarecrows Should Not Drink

‘Why did you drag me here again?’ Sasuke muttered under his breath as he looked around the noisy bar/restaurant with disdain in his obsidian eyes.

‘To welcome you back of course, Sasuke-kun,’ Sakura smiled at him warmly as she stepped into the small place after him. ‘It was Naruto’s idea,’ she added, jerking her head towards the hyperactive blonde who had more or less crashed through the door in her enthusiasm and slammed right into the stoic Uchiha.

‘Yep, that’s right,’ sounded Naruto’s muffled voice from where her face was smashed against Sasuke’s chest; the dark-haired teen pushed her away unceremoniously with an irritable ‘Get off me, usuratonkachi.’

‘Yeah, I figured that this is exactly just what we needed to welcome you back home to Konoha, teme!’ Naruto grinned brightly up at her rival-slash-still-somewhat-best-friend-sorta, not seeming to mind his manhandling of her in the slightest.


4.  My Type of In-Laws

Nothing, absolutely nothing, can scare the living daylights right out of your backside like an enthusiastic, gushing mama (who was hiding that afore-mentioned gushing enthusiasm for the time being) demanding to know why you still have not brought your significant other home to meet the family. Uzumaki Naruto sat stock still – quite an unusual, landmark moment in her life – at the kitchen table, watching with wide, blue eyes as her mother paced back and forth in front her; the red-head’s arms were folded behind her back and she had a completely-feigned look of austerity on her pretty face.

The scene was quite reminiscent of your average good-cop-cross-examining-the-bad-guy scenario. The table light – the only one Kushina had bothered to turn on – hovering somewhere above Naruto’s head certainly did add more flavour to the scene. All that lacked were a pair of handcuffs on the blonde and a police uniform on her mother with a baton to match.


5. The Ferret and the Weasel 

If there was one thing Draco Malfoy knew for sure about Blaise Zabini, it was that he was smart. Wise and intellectual, Blaise also had a treasure that many buffoons of late did not have: common sense. Thus, never had Draco even imagined that there would come a day when he would regard his Slytherin friend as stupid.

Until today, that is.

‘Zabini ... go to Madam Pomfrey. Now.’


Yeah, I'm gonna go and kill myself nao. For many many reasons. 


Sep 27, 2012

The Thulhaadhoo Chronicles - Part 3

Long overdue post about the last minor details of my Teaching Practicum, but I still want to blog about it.

This post pretty much covers all my feels related directly to teaching itself. But more than learning how to implement proper teaching strategies to adolescent brats - and when I say strategies, I mean holding-war-councils-to-plan-out-your-world-domination-battlefield-fighting strategies - the real deal of the whole TP experience, in my honest opinion, is the subtle journey I took with the brats where we actually established a warm understanding relationship between us.

Warning: sentimental shiz ahead. 

Perhaps relationship is too strong a word, considering I only knew them for a month, but heck, they are 'my brats' and - false modesty aside - I daresay we TP teachers built a remarkably strong bond with our respective students within that short time. More than most teachers can boast of, anyway. 

What started out as winning the students' hearts one by one during the measly 35 minute lessons per day we had somehow escalated to, I kid you not, actually 'hanging out' with each other outside of school activities. And here, hanging out translates into our brats seeking us out at our sharehouse on their own initiative without prior invitation, which results in either them hanging out at the house talking and playing card games with us or dragging us out in the evening to take long walks until the sun sets. 
No, seriously, imagine that - some fifteen or so teenage kids on the sandy island roads, marching their teacher along, rambunctiously telling their life stories to him or her while simultaneously giving overly-detailed histories of every nook and cranny to be found on the island. That is not a scene you can witness in Male'.

Yet, it is one of the most heartwarming things I can reminisce about Thulhaadhoo. Not only did it give me the chance to witness these different children in an environment where they were more relaxed and more themselves, but it was also a demonstration of the level of ... well, affection they had for us, I suppose. When we were out on the beach or roads and I saw how much fun my brats were having and how animatedly they talked to us and how genuinely happy and unrestrained they were outside the stifling atmosphere of the classroom ... well, just, feels OK. Of the warm fuzzy kind. Like, it was a reality slap to not only how positively fond they were of us, but how much they trusted us as well. 

I mean, how often do you go for walks with your teacher and actually feel comfortable doing it? >.> That barrier between us was broken. In extension, those newly laid foundations of trust and affection led to better classroom environments and I can honestly say I really enjoyed my teaching experience. There is nothing really like it.

In retrospect, I guess I can safely say what they're teaching us at Uni is some real good quality shiz. I mean, we're putting that into practice and it is freakin' working! Not only do the kids get what we're yakking about when try to teach them something, but they enjoy it and they actually like us and open up to us on a level most students don't. To teachers, I mean. It reminds me of the handful of teachers I actually really loved and opened up to during my school days. Maybe I can be like them, too. ^^

I must also say we were really lucky in that the island residents are a good hospitable lot and the school staff are really kind. (I mean, they are seriously kind; they had reason enough to totally despise us because, to be brutally honest, the students were not at all subtle about how much they adored us and they doted on us and there is no way every freaking teacher in the school did not notice how entire classes would gather around the staff room just to talk with us whereas none of the real teachers got that kind of attention from their students, but they were helpful and understanding and treated us like actual colleagues without any prejudices whatsoever. Though, sadly, from some of the stories I hear from some other TP groups, their island teachers were not as kind and did end up hating them and made life Very Hard for those TP groups due to these same reasons).

And my TP group was simply epic. Apart from the Thulhaadhoo girl who is my friend, the other three people were total strangers to me until the day we left Male'. Yet, somehow, we clicked together so easily. It was not hard at all talking to them, getting to know them, becoming actual friends and having just so much fun together. Lucky us, that we all had the individual mindset to get along with each other from the very beginning and that we actually worked for it.
Since my friend was staying at her husband's place, it was us remaining four rooming together in the sharehouse and let me tell you, three girls and one guy living together is all sorts of insanity and hilarity and inconvenience. xD

They were some of the best experiences ever. Like all four us congregating in the kitchen everyday to cook our meals and how so much crack just gets automatically involved. From snarky teasing to blatant trolling to subtle perverse humour to shameless self-pimpage to sickeningly sweet look-we're-cooperative-helpful-goody-goodies-that-get-along-together-and-can-make-do-with-anything, those hours spent cooking in the kitchen and dining together at the same table spawned so many memories and inside jokes and just good times
And the after school evening hours spent in the sitting room with the TV open to some cheesy soap opera we all make fun of while simultaneously helping out each other to construct our teaching aids for the next day were just as precious. 
And the little things like dividing the household chores between us and taking long walks by ourselves in the evenings and actually going on a mas dhathuru during Ramadan which involved fishing under a glorious full moon with no other light and the long days spent leaping at every chance to make a teasing crack at each other and us girls loudly plotting to lock the guy out of the house for a couple hours everyday so that we can get some much needed semi-nude freedom and ... yeah ... just, awesome memories OK.

We still keep in touch. :) 
(And realised that, OH-EM-GEE, we actually go to classes in the same buildings of Uni, why didn't we notice each other before alkjshajfh?! Pfft. >.>)

One of the greatest highlights was having my family come over halfway through my TP. Or it was more like they took the advantage of my being already there to plan a weekend trip to Thulhaadhoo and basically setting a rah kudakurun mission.

It had been three weeks since I last saw their faces. That is longer than the time I spent away from home in Malaysia 2010. I actually took leave from school earlier to rush to meet them and it was just this huge explosion of joy in my gut, seeing them again in the flesh after so long. Certainly much better than only being able to call them over the phone every day and growing homesick to the bone at hearing their voices.

It was one of the best feelings, being able to tramp around an island with my insane family again. We have always been one to take over the whole freaking island during such weekend trips. I think it's a genetic thing :P But we are loud, rambunctious and near-bordering on shameless when we're together like this. To put it in the common vernacular, no fucks are given to public reception.
It felt so good to let loose again, even if just a little. Like I mentioned before, talk spreads faster than wildfire in these little islands. Everyone there knew in less than 24 hours that my family visited. Comments concerning it were made to me in school after my family left, including eye-witness accounts of what we did on a certain day at a certain time at a certain place. They're always watching ... and talking. >.>

Of course this meant I had to exercise some self control. I certainly beat down those natural urges to monkey around on trees with my dad, though I was dying to so badly. But I did allow myself to relax a bit and have fun, showing my folks around the island, making jokes and laughing together and having a good time just like we always do. I could not care what other people would think at seeing me so ... loosened up. I might be there as a teacher, but I am human too and I hate having to be calm and collected all the freaking time. I was determined to have fun and be at least a little bit crazy and weird when hanging with my family. So I did.

Thankfully, it did not backfire. My dignity held and along with it, the respect of my brats and peers. ^^

Hanging with family means taking a ton of pictures, but I'll just make a separate post for it if I can be bothered to later. After the fam left, the next two weeks passed by both agonisingly slowly and yet so fast. Before we knew it, it was time to pack up and leave. We'd long planned to treat the senior teachers and staff at the school to dinner as our thanks before we left, so on the last Thursday, we began cooking up a storm as soon as we got home.

Cooking for 20 people ... This TP was the first time I'd ever cooked alone for us four people even, but now we had to cook for twenty people. Won't lie, I was intimidated. We had to work out what to cook, how much to buy and how much time it'd take. It was one big blur, all that cooking and going insane in the kitchen, but again, it was one of the best memories. We ended up dividing the tasks between us and - oh my, it still gives me chills to think of it - but I actually managed to pull off making enough devilled fish for twenty freakin' people! Got the guy to cut up the fish into cubes - "you might as well make yourself useful, yo" - but I had to fry it all without it being under- or overcooked. And I had to prepare the sauces and make sure the taste was just right and aklsjakdlsfjaslkjsfjfhsdfkh. 

Not all things went according to plan either. So many little things were going wrong, but somehow we managed to bring everything together and I was quaking in my clothes when the teachers started coming in but I DUNNO SOMEHOW WE APPARENTLY SUCCEEDED IN OUR MAD ENDEAVOUR BECAUSE THE FOOD ACTUALLY TURNED OUT GREAT AND THE STAFF LOVED IT. 

WHUT. 

I DON'T EVEN. XD

A moment I will always remember - 
Guy teacher: Yo, who made the devilled chicken?
Me: Um, sir, there is no chicken up there. It's all fish.
Female teacher: Haha, dude, you don't even know what you're eating, do ya. xD
Guy teacher: *ignores* THAT THING RIGHT THERE IS DELICIOUS!
Me: O///O excuse me while I die and go to Heaven

Never thought I'd see the day when people would actually like my food. As in, real food. Not just desserts. And the sight of some teachers refilling their plates more than once - yeah, all five of us, we were on cloud nine XD

We cleaned out the entire sharehouse before leaving, and the night and day of packing up our things were chaotic and mad as heck, which also involved chasing after a rogue cockroach. xP Up till then, almost every household in the island had been inviting us to roadha villun and tharaavees every night and we had had no reason to cook at all for more than a week straight (until our feast for the teachers of course lol) XD The sweetest thing ever was when my brats held a tharaavees for us on the last Friday night of our TP. They brought food over to our house and gave us presents and ALKJSFHJKDASFHJ and I recall we got so full that night 'cause we had tharaavees at like five different houses too and some other students took us to eat ice cones as well and DID I MENTION THESE PEOPLE ARE EXTREMELY KIND AND SWEET? 
But that was nothing to the day we actually left. That morning, the whole sharehouse was in chaos. Students kept showing up and showering us with more and more gifts and souvenirs and teachers showed up to collect our luggage and I swear, an entire congregation of school staff and students gathered at the harbour to see us off.

(On the way there, we bumped into the new Japanese sensei, whom the school hired as a PA teacher on the very day our TP officially ended. We stopped a moment to say our first and last hello and goodbye to her, who was very nervous about teaching in Maldives. She demonstrated her limited Dhivehi to us - and I swear, that accent and all is the cutest thing ever - and, on a sudden bold whim that came out of nowhere because what did I have to lose at this point anyway - I demonstrated right back to her my limited Japanese. She was Very Impressed - "SUGOOOOOIII!!!" - and we actually held like a four-word Japanese conversation between us. #ForeverRelevant)

I don't think any of the students actually cried, but so many of them looked genuinely sad to see us go. I distinctly remember a girl who had taken to coming over to our house almost daily (though none of us ever taught at her class) told me that day that the reason all the students loved us so much is because we were all so close and friendly with the students. Apparently our teaching is great, too. Up until then, all of us had been individually and collectively begged by them to come back and visit Thulhaadhoo again (a boy in my class had asked me to come and permanently teach in Thulhaadhoo, on four different occasions ^^;). 

I'd wanted to avoid sentimental goodbyes because who knows I'll ever be seeing these kids again, but I can't deny the farewell did some funny things to my heart.

Overall, this TP trip taught me so much and gave me so many experiences and a level of independence I've never reached before. So many good times and memories and I am so glad I came out here to Baa atoll. It will always be for me, I think, the starting point of my teaching career.

Le Epilogue >.>
(More than a month or so later, I returned to Baa atoll again, but this time to Hithaadhoo. It was for a bio trip to the neighbouring uninhabited Maamaduvvari and Olhugiri. During that weekend trip, I could always see Thulhaadhoo on the horizon every time we were out on the dhoani, but it was not part of our destination. The whole time, all I could think was how my brats were just a boat ride away and how close they were to me, but I wouldn't be able to see them again. ;A; My gosh, I've really fallen for those kids~!)

Jul 26, 2012

The Thulhaadhoo Chronicles - Fandom Interlude

Because I need to vent this out somewhere D: Much whiny ranting ahead.

I swear, it is like everything to do with fandom was just waiting for me to set foot outside Male’ because no sooner than I came to Thulhaadhoo and tried to concentrate purely on teaching and being a kickass teacher that students actually like and being all sorts of awesome, all hell broke loose in the far east.

Super Junior made their come back, for starters. I have not seen the MV for Sexy, Free and Single  (what the hell, though, seriously xD). Nor have I downloaded the album and thus have no idea what the songs are or sound like. Because unlike in Male’ where I have unlimited internet connection, all I have here is a measly modem for which my father is paying and I can’t waste all the money he puts in it to download stuff that does not have anything to do with my TP or teaching aids.

And so I was left with a huge green monster on my back while Rif and Neji – YOU TROLLS – excitedly told me over fb, texts and phone calls how epic and catchy the music is and how mindblowing and awesome the MV is and how gorgeous and sexy everyone looks (NEJI IS A HUMONGOUS TROLL MONSTER WHO TELLS ME HOW FREAKING RAVISHING MY BIASES LOOK UUUGGGGHHHHHH~) and I cannot even spazz with them because UM I CANNOT RELATE BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW BECAUSE I HAVEN’T SEEN/HEARD ANYTHING YET D: D: D:

So there I was, trying to ignore the very existence of SJ because I hate them for making their come back when I couldn’t be there to join in all the grandeur and awesomeness of it, when my other fandom decided I hadn’t  been trolled enough.

The LJ Kanjani8 subbing comms were just waiting for me to leave, weren’t they!? D: They’ve been quiet for a heck of a long time, but as soon as I get here, they started releasing subs after subs after subs. D: I’VE BEEN WAITINF FOR THOSE FOREVER AND YOU COULDN’T FIND A BETTER TIMING, COULD YOU D: My sticky notes are full with all the links I’m saving, ready to download them all the moment I get back home.

As if releasing subs I cannot get my hands on yet was not bad enough, Kanjani8 decides it’s time to make their Eight Ranger debut and BAM! Out came their ER single just a couple of days ago and I was just aching to download the damn thing because SO MUCH NEED. I almost snuck a download on the school comp in the staff room (what, my  master teacher does it >.>) but the internet connection speed was being a bish and I couldn’t get the single after all.

I nearly went insane when they released the freaking PV – in three different versions WHUT – and the making of ER the very next day. EITO Y U NO WAIT TILL I GO BACK WHYYYY D: D: D: So now I have another music video I haven’t watched, an album I haven’t downloaded and biases – all seven of them – I haven’t witnessed in their new looks yet.

The only good thing? Unless I download the shiz myself, neither Rif nor Neji will be able to get their hands on the K8 goods, either. So  yes. SUFFER WITH ME UNTIL THE 4TH OF AUGUST TROLLS MWAHAHAHAHAA.

Er, wait. Just one more day before the release of the Eight Ranger movie. O___________O FORGET MALE’ WHY AM I NOT IN JAPAN FOR THIS A;SLKHJFAKSDHFSDKJHFKJSDHFSJKFF

The Universe. It trolls me.

The Thulhaadhoo Chronicles - Part 2

There really is nothing quite like the feeling you get when you enter a classroom for the first time, not as a student, but as a teacher.

I can’t quite describe what I felt on my first teaching day when I entered that quiet grade 8 class and dragged on the friendliest smile I could muster and looked around at those fourteen faces, all of which were reflecting that judging you so hard right now vibe, and it really struck home that Fook. I am their fooking teacher. I have fooking students. I am here to teach. Fook fook fookity FOOK.

It is something akin to stage fright, I think. And I have had my fair share of that. I still remember those instances during my primary school years when I was grudgingly forced on stage to act out some moral drama. I always got the butterflies beforehand, but the moment I am up on stage and all those hundreds of eyes are on me, the one thing that sticks in my mind is that I cannot afford to make a fool out of myself. That one solid thought is what always got me through those experiences; it made me perform my best and ignore the audience and just bloody do it and somehow I survive.

I think the same thing happened this time. I am here on my Teaching Practicum and it is not a field I can afford to lose out on, so I just unwittingly handled the fear the same way I used to handle stage fright. And somehow … it worked well. Wow. I don’t even-

I never thought it would be so hard to explain what it is like to teach, but the feeling is … kinda overwhelming, in a good way. I always knew I had confidence deep down inside – or at least, a mask of confidence that hides my nervousness well – and I was able to bring that out and carry out the lessons in a not-at-all fail way. ^^;

I also like to think I was able to connect with the students on a good level. It stands to reason they were nervous around me the first few days, but I felt such a burst of accomplishment when I saw how they warmed up to me slowly as the days passed. Even greater is the feeling when I am able to handle the handful of naughty kids in the classroom and they actually participate in the activities with enthusiasm and answer my questions correctly. And it gives me those warm fuzzy feelings when the students initiate invitations for me to interact more with them or seek me out for whatever reason and I can feel our relationship building and solidifying. Those little things really do make me feel like all the pains I have to take to be a “good” teacher are so worth it.

So far, I’ve also taught chem to a grade 9 class, which has less number of students – only six! – but are more playful and active. It is a good experience, I guess, learning to manage two classes with very different behaviour, but if I may say so myself, it is far more fun to teach a class that is playful. Being obedient and silent is one thing, but being active and enthusiastic is another. As a teacher in training, I personally prefer to teach classes that have a bit of a naughty playful side. xD

Nevertheless, I’ve developed equal soft spots for both the classes and I so do not want to feel love for a bunch of kids I’m teaching for a mere month because I’ll have to leave soon anyway and I don’t want any sentimental rubbish to deal with later, but … oh yeah, I so totally have soft spots for them >.> (Heck, I refer to them as my brats now D:)

One of the perks of being a teacher is being given the chance to unleash one’s sadistic side on brats xD Well OK, so I haven’t been really sadistic – I’ve been trying to win their hearts and please my master teachers for one thing, so yeah – but it is still gratifying to know I have that power over them. /bricked
(If in some alternate dimension I end up on one of those hilarious Japanese shows I am so totally not thinking of Janiben OK and they ask me if I am an S or an M, I think my answer is obvious. :P)
But I have forced some of the more reluctant kids to be more active and engaged in the lesson by using my borderline sadistic powers of pigheaded persuasion, so it comes close xP Not to mention having to deal with naughty boys who ask extremely cheeky questions to which I fire off sarcastic replies that shut them up good; this is a case where I think both teacher and student enjoy the banter … to different degrees lol xD 

The major downside of being a teacher is losing the freedom to being a flaily spazz outside school, especially in a small island like this where everyone knows everyone and talks spread fast. I hate that need-to-maintain-my-dignity-at-all-times that comes with the teacher package. I need to unleash my insanity outside! But I can’t, because people – especially one of my brats – may see and they will tell everyone and losing society’s respect is a huge no-no. >.>

But well, things are pretty smooth sailing so far, teaching-wise. My master teachers’ feedback have been pretty encouraging and I have hope that I will, Insha Allah, pass my first TP. ^^

Jul 8, 2012

The Thulhaadhoo Chronicles - Part 1

So, here I am in Baa. Thulhaadhoo for my Teaching Practicum, an entire atoll away from my home island, alone. 

Well, maybe not technically alone since I did come with 4 other students from my Uni, one of whom is not only my close friend but a resident of Thulhaadhoo and most of us are living together under one roof. However, this is the first time I've travelled away from home without any family - even my "parent-less" visit to Malaysia in 2010 was with an uncle and cousin - so yeah, I'm pretty much all alone here.

Am I loving it? Yes and no.

It is both exhilarating and nerve-wrecking, the thought of fending for myself. Having lived under my parents' roof for 20 years, I guess it is natural to be nervous about doing things on my own.
Not that I am good-for-nothing or anything; I mean, I do do chores around the house etc, but it's always been Mum and I as a team-of-sorts. I was particularly terrified about the have-to-cook-for-myself part. Mum has always been the official chef of the house; I'm pretty much the assistant kitchen girl or something to that effect. Sorely lacking official cooking experience.

But, alhamdulillah, I guess things do have a way of settling themselves. Us girls cook as a group (since we're sort of share-housing here) and whatever skills I've learned from Mum, I've managed to implement them without really realising it. I cooked things on my own that I never have even tried before and the taste turned out actually pretty OK. Totally edible. xD 

Won't lie, that made me feel so relieved and good about myself, because apart from not wanting to humiliate myself in front of the rest of my housemates, I also feel the need to live up to the high expectations my relatives have for me when it comes to cooking. They all assume I'm awesome at it just because my mother is the best damn cook in our entire clan. Sometimes, it pisses me off - what, is it something that can be inherited or something? - but being forced to take my own crash course in cooking ever since I came here and discovering that I actually can make good food, I feel like I'm sort of proving myself.

So, cooking is fine. And living on our own is turning out to be fine, too. All of us can handle the household chores like cleaning and laundry, and we help out with preparing each other's lesson plans and teaching aids.Also, since my friend is staying at her husband's house, I can have our room in the share-house all to myself. Yay privacy and a queen-sized bed to hog all I want! xD I'm so used to having my own room - and the ridiculous amount of value I put into my personal space and privacy - so I was internally jumping for joy 8D

As for the TP itself, hmm, what can I say...? Thulhaadhoo is a small, quaint little island. Not many huge trees. Lots of houses. Hot in the late mornings and afternoons. And what with Hulhangu monsoon, the clouds get in the way of any breathtaking sunsets it may have. Not much of a lovely beach or sea, either. Mostly just the habour and lagoon. I also haven't had time to properly look around the island, busy as I am at the island school, which is pretty much as quaint and old-fashioned as the island.

I don't mean that in a bad way; just that they still use the old blackboard and chalk method for teaching. I've grown kinda accustomed to all the technological services available at our Uni and we did our preparations using those, so it's a bit of a challenge to revert back to the old style. But I don't mind much. It's more work, but I'm kinda enjoying it... :)

The first week is over, which was just full observation of the classes I'll be teaching. Thankfully, the Science kids seem pretty manageable. The 8th grade class is almost boring at times, they are so silent. Thankfully the 9th grade class is pretty fun. A little hectic sometimes, but fun ^^

The second week started today and I was supposed to take my first lesson today, which is Bio for the 8th grade class. I had butterflies in my stomach since yesterday and I watched a movie last night 'cause I didn't feel like sleeping though I should've slept well for my first teaching lesson instead of watching half of what legit classifies as porn (I didn't know it had porn, though >.> But it's interesting - A Frozen Flower [2008]) and ended being almost late to school and I spent the first hour rereading my lesson plan over and over again because I cannot mess up on my first teaching day, but none of it even mattered in the end because I was told that a previously postponed unit test had been scheduled to take place during my Bio period, so in the end, I didn't get to teach after all. UGH. So frustrating! Because it means that I gotta wait another 24 hours with those darn butterflies in my gut; at least I can overcome my nervousness after the first lesson. I hate having to wait for it...

There really is nothing much to say really, cos not much has happened. The PTA had a cleaning day to celebrate Working Day this last Saturday and we spent hours doing paid housework for people around the island and cleaning the boatyard etc. It was pretty great; lots of community service and getting to know other teachers better and yada yada yada.

So, my first full week here has been pretty uneventful. But I feel it was also very character building. I'm learning to be very independent and I like it :)

I miss everyone at home, though ... Little more than four weeks more before I return. Can't wait, seriously ^^

Jun 25, 2012

And then he was gone

There's nothing much to be said about it, really. It's over now. 

He's gone. 

And I feel nothing but just a great big emptiness inside me, like my whole body has been hollowed out. I didn't even cry. I couldn't. There's nothing left. 

My mother is the strongest woman on earth, I think sometimes. She sent him off with a smile, knowing full well she will never see his face with her naked eyes again. I can only imagine what she's feeling inside now.

Dad is pretty similar, too. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when he said his son's happiness is his own and that's all that matters right now. There is just nothing I can add to that.

I will also have to leave at the end of this week. Turns out I will be gone for my Teaching Practicum for an entire month. A part of me wants my sister and her husband and kids to come over and stay in my room until I come back. I don't want my parents to spend the first half of Ramadan alone, just the two of them in an empty house, so soon after Bro left. In any case, Sis will probably come over often anyway; she is possibly more worried about Mum and Dad than I am.

That's it, I suppose. There is nothing more I can say about this. I don't think the whole ordeal and its implications have entirely sunk in yet. Maybe that's why I feel so hollow. Maybe the waterworks are on the way, biding their time. Whatever. I can't be bothered anymore. I'm just tired.

Jun 23, 2012

The need to puke rainbows

Or I just need to puke. I don't know. 

My 4th semester at Uni starts tomorrow morning. How fast can a month of holidays end? 

  • *insert non-existent memories of the first two weeks of break which I honestly do not remember because right after that*-
  • hear that a man has been stabbed right in front of our house one night.
  • get the news two minutes later that the victim was someone that came out of our house.
  • worried, dad calls my brother who hasn't come home, but no answer. he always answers.
  • parents immediately leave to check the hospitals and i tell myself not to worry. because it can't have been him. it just can't.
  • fifteen minutes later, dad calls. he tells me quietly to get dressed. bro-in-law is coming to pick me up. my mind goes blank.
  • one minute later, mum calls. she's crying. i can't think anymore.
  • the ER is in chaos. doctors, nurses everywhere. the whole hospital seems to be staring.
  • half the family is already there. mum is crying; my sisters are close to. i still can't think.
  • dad arrives with the doc and i overhear the convo - 
  • bro wasn't stabbed. his throat had been slit. from one end to the other. slaughtered.
  • only a centimetre of the windpipe is intact. a centimetre... 
  • still alive and conscious, though. somehow. still alive. but for how long..
  • entire family shows up. aunts, uncles, cousins, relatives whose names i don't even know. some cry and some don't. i can't. 
  • dad finally notices me. one percent, he tells me. only a one percent chance of bro surviving. what is one percent? i finally break down.
  • they can't operate on him yet. waiting is torture. family is crying on and off. i feel so small.
  • dad returns from ER. there is no blood bank here, he says. they have to move hospitals, he says. a mere one percent chance of survival and they can't give blood here ... 
  • for the first time in my life, i see my father utterly break down. lose all hope. i don't even know what i felt then.
  • it's amazing. blood donors show up from all over. donors from the police, friends, strangers that are right there in the hospital ... we'll take the risk, the dr says.
  • more than an hour after i arrived, bro is wheeled out of the ER for surgery. nurses have his throat covered, but we still see anyway. the whole hospital sees. relatives that weren't crying before burst out now.
  • still conscious. by Allah's miracle, he is still conscious. he sees us - the entire maternal and paternal clans - hurrying behind the nurses and he raises his fingers and smiles. the man is on the brink of death, slaughtered like an animal and he fucking smiles like he's telling us not to worry, don't cry, everything will be ok. i break down all over again.
  • 4 hours in front of an operation theatre. can't remember a worse time of my life.
  • nearly dawn when drs finish and come out. they show pictures of the wound, before and after surgery. mum starts crying again. nearly the entire windpipe had been sliced open.
  • still alive, they say. surgery is over; there is more hope now...
  • danger's not over yet, though. coma or death ... 
  • a week in front of the ICU ... hardly anyone's allowed in. waiting, waiting, waiting ... i have never seen my parents and sisters in such conditions.
  • i've never experienced such a thing myself either.
  • bro regains consciousness halfway through. there is more hope now, drs say.
  • internal bleeding, vomiting blood, improving, deteriorating, improving again ... but still, he may survive, they say. he may survive.
  • he survives. Insha Allah. on the brink of death, nearly murdered, but he survives. the drs stare when he begins to walk, holding his head high. they had had no hope that he would. it's God's miracle, they tell dad.
  • nearly lived at the hospital for the better part of two or more weeks. terrified, miserable, conflicted and finally relieved. glad. ecstatic. we have witnessed a miracle! but then-
  • i'm leaving, bro says. i won't stay in this country anymore. i'll seek the right of asylum elsewhere.
  • he will never be able to come back. ever. i will never see my brother in the flesh again.
  • and i look at my mum and dad - who are two of the strongest people i've ever known, considering how well they handled themselves during the living hell they had to suffer for the past seven years (which was caused ultimately by my brother who's past is the most tainted slate from among all of us) - and i break down all over again because in the end, they are still losing their last living son.

I wrote this for myself. I had to get this out somewhere. I'm tired of keeping this in. 
There is a part of me that wants to write out exactly what I thought and felt on that horrible night and all the subsequent days in full detail, but I don't know if I can handle that all over again. But I needed to get this out. Even like this, which is hugely condensed, but it makes me feel better. A bit.

I could've never imagined that happening. But somewhere deep inside, I think we all always knew such a day might come. I don't know. It's still too much to handle.

And now with Uni beginning, my Teaching Practicum is about to start and I have to leave for the atolls for three weeks and I don't want to go because I don't want to leave my parents alone just yet. They will have the loneliest Ramadan ever. A son gone forever and me, too? I want to stay back for my parents. But I have to go. And just ... I dunno.

I think in all this, the greatest reason I feel so miserable and angry and terrified and like crying is because of what everything is doing to my parents. I've seen how they suffered for the past several years. They are honestly the strongest, most patient people I know. And it breaks my heart seeing how they are just being dealt blow after blow after blow. And this is the worst one. I can't imagine it getting any worse than this.

Maybe it's for the better. Maybe it will stop now. Maybe they will be able to live the rest of their days in the peace they have always wanted. The pain will always be there; it will never be perfect. Our family will never be complete and together again. But maybe ... it's better off that way. For all of us. 

I just don't know anymore. I'm tired and sick of everything. 
And we are just a tiny part in the cruelty of this world. There are so many people suffering, people facing horrors that are greater than ours. I need to be grateful for what I do have.

In the end, our lives and souls are in Allah's hands. I leave everything to Him. My greatest prayer now is for my parents' health, safety and happiness. Sometimes, I don't think I can ever be as good as them.