Sunday, October 26, 2014

D.C. is formal, green and pleasant (so far)!

Living alone has its disadvantages, alarm clock is your only alarm, but it comes with its perks, amazing new friends!! Some of my friends have asked me to put together a travelogue but I, being me- enough said. However, I have put together a list of some new experiences that I enjoyed, some not so much, about US, travel and living here:

  • You meet new people from different backgrounds, cultures, languages and learning about all that is pure leisure. Gives you different perspectives; you start viewing things from various angles. Sure there are so many resources available but nothing parallels learning about a place from someone who has been born and bread there.
  • People want to learn about your culture and in the process you learn more about your own culture and get a chance to view it from a different lense.
  • You become more responsible. If you are out of shampoo, you will have to replace it- its not on auto-replace. That magical power is limited to Pakistan.
  • You realize that many simple things in life were privileges and start valuing them; fridge with food, grocery cupboard?
  • You start valuing simple things that were once privileges – jam paper glitter grosgrain with shamrock bow!
  • Broke doesn’t mean you have enough to survive broke money no cash in bank!
  • Things like frozen-packaged-chicken-tikka-masla-rice, anti-bacterial-lemon-musky-multi-surface-cleaning spray, lavender smelling garbage bags EXIST!
  • You explore yourself- I didn’t know that I was so bad at cooking. I have always known I was bad but didn’t know I was THIS bad. If you think it’s something easy and can be picked at any stage, you are sadly mistaken my friend- the language of food is e=mc2!
  • You pick on new habits or get to develop them- reading and writing. I have always loved writing and I have gotten the opportunity to write a lot more. My friends are amazed at how I can find time for pleasure reading with all the school readings- I am too!
  • One word: Planner.
  • Drinking is okay, smoking is not. Weed is cool, McDonals is not.
  • Pumpkin is popular and loved in this part of the world and it comes in all sizes, shapes and forms. You will find everything pumpkin from a muffin to latte to a shirt!
  • The definition of drones is very different in this part of the world. Popular use of drones here includes deadly, NOT literally, aerial photography.
  • Obesity was a cultural shock. I shall never EVER call Zakoota jin fat.
  • Protein bars!
  • Freedom of speech means freedom of speech but excess of every thing is bad.
  • Gender equality- means no separate (read: short) ques. L
  • Autumn is beautiful- red trees, yellow trees, green, red, orange, brown, russet?

Last but not the least, American people are not like the ones we see on TV- they are actually very friendly. I hope they can say the same thing about Pakistanis!

Photo credits: Miriam's AWESOME photography skills

Monday, February 10, 2014

Welcoming 2014 with open arms!

Writing my new year’s resolutions in February says a lot about my ‘being more organized’ resolution from last year. So, before I give myself the liberty to jot down 10-20 random feel-good resolutions, I will hold myself accountable against the 2013 resolutions.
Travel, write and eat. [Start having breakfast AGAIN!]:
Fail! Fail! Alright, I could do little about the travel part but less than 1 blog per month in 2013 is a slap on the face of my inner writer- the poor creature has so many things to pull him down already. Eat? Hmmee needs to be defined? healthy food or just food?
Turn the myth of work-life balance in reality.” [Motivator: Your family will accept you lazy and useless and still pay for your living]:
Good news is my work place is supportive of it but bad news is industry has ruined my habits pretty much so I am taking my time adjusting. So it’s a failed win.  
Hang out with friends more often:
Winnnn :D
Learn some new software:
Fail! I lack dedication and people are busy.
Be more organized:
Bashing already done.
Don’t trust people who are 20+, the characteristic of diplomacy develops with age:
Alright, I don’t know out of what disappointment I wrote this but sadly it is true for any age. But connecting with people is a mandatory survival strategy God put in every man’s mind.
Attend workshops, seminars, socialize:
Not so much! Working is time consuming enough and parents are only supporting enough; it’s better not to test the patience of either.
Be satisfied. [Inner peacewatch Kung fu panda for inspiration, twice]:
Getting there.

Now that I am done analyzing my 2013 resolutions; where I stand against them and how much I stuck to them, I will move on to listing my 2014 resolutions:
  1. Adopt a more healthy life style and, for my purpose, the way to go about that would be
    • Monitoring and controlling the intake of food: add variety to the menu, beef, mutton, vegetables.
    • Start exercising- at least once in a week.
  2. Watch a movie in a cinema once in a while. I had this theory that if you have to go watch a movie with your friends in a cinema, which requires silence and involvement, why not just do that alone at home, as a result none of my friends take me to movies anymore :p. So dear friends, you can include me in your movie plans and I, mostly, will try not to change them.
  3. Travel more. If I get the opportunity, I will maximize it. In sh Allah!
  4. So I have been preaching for a quiet a while now that ‘don’t judge people’ but the other day I was talking to my nephew, 5, and he was eating with his mouth open. I asked him to eat with his mouth closed and my reinforcement was that ‘what will people say?’. So that’s where this came from- thought provoking? Was for me. I rather not go in the “theory” I have about judging people :p, however, I will make a resolution around it: ‘don’t judge and don’t value judgments’. Who is anyone to judge me and who am I to judge anyone?
  5. Appreciate things, people.
  6. Be grateful.
  8. Be less selfish –moving from inwards to outwards.
  9. Read a book.
  10. Make a sketch. Keep brain cells alive.
  11. Write 1 blog a month on an average for 2014.
  12. In the spirit of coherent writing, here is the concluding food for thought: what are realistic targets? If they are realistic, are they targets? If not, why are they there in the first place?