Chronicles of one girl's journey to London - from conception to eventual migration.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

DADDY SHAAL

I mentioned before my father coming to visit me in London. He finally arrived Wednesday, 20th April. Qas and I picked him up at Gatwick and he stayed in a hotel across the street from my house.
I was a mixture of nervous and excited to see my dad - we haven't lived in the same house in over 10 years and I didn't spend more than an hour or two with him every week or so when I was in Toronto.
So, I was unsure how a week of constant contact with him would go. Upon his arrival, however, I realized I had no reason to worry. My dad and I get along very well, and always have. Seems I had forgotten that . . . I'm glad I got to spend that week with him because I think it's made my relationship with him much stronger.
We had a lot of fun together, especially visiting his old houses when he lived in England with his mother and sister as well as a very fun, very interesting family reunion with my English cousins in Burnham!

I miss him now but am looking forward to Venice tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

EXTREMELY GRATEFUL IN LONDON

We've all heard the story of Iman Al-Obeidi by now; running into the international press room in Libya, showing her bruises from a gang rape, being hauled out by military and carted to God knows where, forced to keep silent or risk her life. Stylist Magazine covers this briefly in their introduction to this week's article "Women of the Revolutions" and move on to tell the stories of three incredibly brave women risking their lives, their children's lives and everything they know to stand up to a regime they do not believe in. Marwa Sharfeldin in Egypt, Huda Ben Khalid in Tunisia and Tawakkol Karman in Yemen are an insight into what the women of the Middle East are experiencing at the moment. They have been beaten, they have been ostracized and they have been discriminated against in every way but each time these women have remained steadfast in their fight for their rights. As someone who used to live in the Middle East and have known women to be treated like this with no idea that they could have something more, this article literally made me cry.
Because I . . . I sit in London, at my computer at a job I can choose to let go of at any time, safe in the knowledge that I have a great support system, a loving boyfriend, an even more loving family and set of friends, a lovely house that won't be stormed by military anytime soon and my rights are secrurely in place. I can vote should I choose to, I can walk outdoors in anything I like, I can eat, drink, socialize, talk, laugh, scorn, support and opinionate any way I like. Other than my own conscience, I have no one to answer to.
So, in those moments when I cry for no reason, I want to remember that I have it really easy. I want to remember that I was given opportunities that I didn't have to fight for, that my life was never at stake in a very real way.

Read the full article at Stylist (starts at page 52).

Monday, April 11, 2011

GRAB YAH SUNNIES MATE!

It has been one of the nicest weekends in London I have ever experienced in my short time here. I am sunburnt! I spent my Saturday outdoors, sitting on the common, enjoying the sun, eating ice cream with Steve, Emma, Ben and Danny. I spent my Sunday at 'Blow Lounge' (Glow Lounge in the Yellow Pages) with Steve, Ben and sometimes Emma cause she works there and wasn't allowed to sit with us too long at a time. We drank Pimm's, ate chips and got tans. I don't even remember what we talked about for 5 hours but there we were . . .

I admit to very strong feelings of guilt this weekend, however. I missed Tez's birthday on Friday night. Qas has been ill all week and was in no state to go out. He needed some TLC and so I stayed with him, despite insisting to myself that I would go no matter what! I even put my make-up and dress on before I took it all of to play nurse to my ailing boyfriend (far more innocent than it sounds you filthy animals!) So, public apology to Tez. I hope you will forgive me (and ting).
I hope everyone in London really enjoyed their weekend!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

BRING ON APRIL

April has started off great! On Saturday, I finally got to have my birthday laser tag event with all my friends. Unfortunately, my sisters could not be there to help kick some butt but Monika and Ste were willing to step in. Abs also had to cancel last minute but Jayne saved the day! So, off we go the 12 of us to a laser tag/paintball centre in North Greenwich. We've already divided into 2 teams with Qas captaining one and me the other. The aim was to kick Qas' butt at all costs . . . and we did! My Green team (Ste, Jayne, Steve, Ben, Julainne, me + 4 other randoms) played excellently against his Reds (Nousheen, Bilal, Etch, Monika, Neil, Qas + 4 randoms) and we won by miles :) OK, I have to admit here that my overall personal score was dismal compared to his so he can have that! But I even won with a sore back and some hungover crew! Yay!
Unfortunately, I forgot my camera and there are no pictures of us from the actual day.

I'm also very excited about April because Daddy Shaal will visit, and then it's off to Venice for Qas and me!
I'm looking forward to a lot of things this month . . . including closing in on my one year anniversary in London! I made it . . . by the skin of my teeth, the hole in my bank account and the love and support of all my friends, I've made it.

Actually, let me take a moment here to thank you all for making this the coolest experience ever!
However, there have been a few people in London without whom I would not have survived my first two days here let alone my first year! Those people are Zab, Tez and Jabir . . . you guys made my first weekend in London amazing! You made my first two weeks in London the most memorable of my life. I'm grateful for all the help, guidance, laughs and hugs. Always.

Then there's Jayne, Ste, Ceri and Mummy Sofia. Watford Wednesdays (and now Watford any day) makes me feel like part of a family when I need it most. I love the love you give me!

Sanam, Abu and Salehs, my Northern family, have always been very kind to me! I will always appreciate my England Mummy Sanam!

JB, Etch, Rich, Ellen, Emma, Steve, Ben, Glen and Owen . . . my new friends in London who've made it so much fun! Danny, you get your own special thanks cause you're my lunch/pub buddy and you're a bit gingy so you ought to feel special :D

And in Toronto . . . I MISS YOU ALL! COME VISIT ME.

Finally, there is the person who has made London an entirely different experience than I ever expected and that's Qas . . . and what I have to say to you now is so simple: I love you.

UPDATE: Someone kindly pointed that I missed someone very important on this! TWO people actually . . . thing is, I probably left off lots of you because I wrote this as my mind prepared to shut down before bed. So, I definitely do need to mention Monica and Dennis. Because Monica is the reason I chose to move to Clapham. She showed me around, answered all my questions and made sure I knew what I was getting into. Dennis, while you were here, you talked me through lots of tough times in the beginning (read: boy troubles) as well as just generally being very helpful before I even moved when it came to areas to live, how the buses and trains and people work . . . you were my foundation builder!

Again, I'm very sorry if you feel you've been left off this (the trouble with singling people out to thank them is that you often offend someone else) but this was a spur of the moment thing :)