Monday, February 27, 2006

External appearances

I am sitting here wondering how much a person’s external appearance can affect their behaviour.

I know as a female who wears the hijab, there is never a moment where I forget that I am representing Islam. I am always ‘myself’ yet I am a lot more controlled in the way I speak in public, and more importantly, I make sure that my behaviour and actions are that which represent Islam. I enjoy breaking down stereotypes of Islam, showing how content I am with my faith, and educating people who are curious about learning more on why I am a practising Muslim and what our belief entails.

This topic was triggered off in my head because I noticed the difference in character of one of my colleagues. As an introverted tobacco smoker who seemed kind and thoughtful, he occasionally chatted to me, making small talk here and there. But then the chin ring came along. This tiny pointed metal device inserted into his chin has turned him into an introverted smoker with a “bad boy” attitude.

So, getting back to the topic at hand - has his external appearance affected his behaviour? I wonder whether he is simply going through a rough spot in his life and this is making him appear to be gloomier than usual. OR, whether his chin ring has made him believe he has to adjust his behaviour to suit some rebellious heavy-metal-loving-dungeon-living-weed-smoking-dragon type of profile.

Whatever is the case – only time will tell.


I’m craving a donut.

So much for fruit and vegies being filling!

I rarely crave donuts. Weird.

My mum is making my favourite cake tonight: “peanut butter cake”. It is so delicious!!

Forced feeding

The fruit and vegetable eating isn’t going all that great. My bananas have turned brown from the air-conditioning unit being switched off during the weekend. On my second day into my increased fruit and veg eating intake, I was told by a colleague that I should limit my fruit intake because fruit is high in natural sugars, and increase my vegetable intake instead. You can imagine what that did for my motivation.

Oh, it is my birthday today. Happy birthday to me! I just had a flashback of my birthday last year. I remember I was crying. InshAllah this birthday is a much happier one for me.

As I sit here eating my sweet corn and four bean salad for lunch, I am finding my swallowing to be almost forced. I’m not tracking too well with my healthy eating campaign, am I?

The scent of vinegar from my salad bites at my nostrils. Ewww.

I’m looking forward to some proper food tonight at the restaurant :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I got 5 on it

I have never been a big fruit eater and I am unsure sure why that is the case. I was told from a very young age that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Well isn’t that ironic. I was never a fan of apples. I rarely ate them. If the formula is: not eating apples = increased exposure to doctors, then this formula in my case has sorta proved true. In which way exactly? Well Alhamdulilah I have always been quite healthy hence hanging around doctors has never been my “thing”. The reason I bring this up is because my fiancé is a doctor. Not eating apples does have its benefits that means. I won’t tell any young children that however ;)

I decided today (yes, spontaneous decision as always) that I wanted to incorporate more fruit in my diet. Why? Well yes, I rarely eat fruit! (unless it is chopped up into pieces and hand fed to me by my mother. Okay, I’m kidding. Well, kinda). Plus a “5 a day” campaign was released by the Department of Health in the UK (I stumbled across a website) where they promote the healthy eating of 5 pieces of fruit/vegetables per day. What portion of fruit/veg and the types of fruit/veg were outlined on the handy website. This inspired me to head out on my lunch break (okay, it was my second lunch break for the day) to the nearest supermarket and make some fruit/veg purchases. I like to work with the “convenience” motto. If the fruit is sitting there on my desk, I will eat it. If there is nothing sitting there calling out at me, I will probably crave chocolate (and devour it) or just starve until I get home (and home is a 1 1/2 hour drive!).

I even purchased a fruit bowl so as to make everything look pretty! So far so good. I have already had 3 out of the 5 recommended servings of fruit. When I get home I might have some vegies so that I reach the “5” quota.

If I keep this “5 a day” policy up, I will be most pleased with myself. I might even incorporate this into my life as a lifelong change. How cool would that be? 5 portions of fruit/veg a day, 5 daily prayers, giving high-5’s to myself for self encouragement, watching “Hi-5” on DVD with my nephew, and listening to “I got 5 on it” by Luniz…

Sounds like a plan.

I’ll keep you posted.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Cake anyone?

“Why do I even bother?” I am left thinking to myself.

I organised a nice healthy salad sandwich for work today. I kept everything wrapped up until lunch time and then made the sandwich up fresh (I’m not a fan of soggy sandwiches). It was great. It was filling. It was healthy. I have also been going to the gym (last week was a bad week so that doesn’t count, and this week isn’t going much better).

OKAY, so I am getting married (INSH’ALLAH) and although Alhamdulilah I am a small-ish frame anyway, I decided I have to either lose a lil or maintain my weight (a decision made at about 1am before I went to bed this morning). Hence this is where the healthy salad sandwich came into it. Hence how I felt so good about myself all afternoon, gloating over my new healthy eating habits – thinking this is just the beginning of bigger and brighter days for me.

Then the evil piece of cake sitting on the desk behind me tempted me like crazy. It whispered words of desire to me. Okay, that just sounds creepy. Basically it told me that I am thin anyway so I can afford to eat it. It whispered the words “mmmmm” alongside the words “butter”, “tasty”, and more “mmmmmmm” sounds followed. So, eat it - I did. The coconut butter rich cake was indeed a pleasure to my tastebuds.

The problem now remains around me trusting myself again. I have very little self control when it comes to sweets – I am the first to admit that.

The only way to go is if these tantalising tastebud tricksters are out of my way. The only reason this cake was here was because a lovely lady from work baked it for me (she even made sure all ingredients were halal!) to congratulate me for getting engaged.

Tomorrow I will wake up at fajr (prayer) time, and head off to the gym. I will make sure there is no cake waiting for me when I get to work. If there is…I am in BIG trouble! (and big, is NOT what I want to be!).

Im in love!

Alhamdulilah I was fine being single there for a while (between people’s kind yet disastrous attempts at match making me) but knew it was time to settle down sooner or later. I always thought that if I couldn’t find the right guy, I’d just ‘settle’ for someone who InshAllah had faith and would be a family oriented guy (yet I possibly wouldn’t be head over heels in love with him). Islamically I know that marriage is supposed to complete half of one’s deen (faith). So yeah, I thought if I couldn’t find the right guy in a few years, I would do the right thing Islamically and settle for someone who would basically help me complete half of my deen, and that I would grow to love. What an old fashioned mentality for such a modern day girl! (ha!).

BUT low and behold, I ended up finding someone who will InshAllah complete half of my deen AND who I will love forever and ever. Corny *spew*, yes, but let me tell you, I couldn’t have wished for anything better than this to happen. Alhamdulilah.

I’ve heard the word ‘love’ thrown around here and there from a very young age. Every song on the radio pretty much sings about it. As was highlighted by my man, the song So Sick by Ne-Yo sums up the topic just about right: “and I’m so sick of love songs, so tired of tears…” I used to wonder what all of the fuss was about, but at the same time I knew that it must be amazing otherwise the whole world wouldn’t talk about it so much.

And now here I am with the beginning of what I believe is the feeling of ‘love’ in my heart. And here I sit, thinking about this feeling, and thinking to myself “so, is THIS how love feels?!”. It is such a lovely feeling inside, and Alhamdulilah I feel so content and happy. I know that these are still early stages, but they are ‘sure’ feelings within myself, and my gut feeling alongside my emotions tell me everything I need to know rather than my brain. Brilliant! Usually it is my mind that controls everything but Alhamdulilah this is the first time in my life that I have let the iron walls down from my heart and this Ice Queen that I have evolved to be, is finally starting to melt. Either that, or the air-conditioning unit at work isn’t operating properly again (and no, this is NOT an opportunity to ask “aren’t you hot?”).

So, for some breaking news: on Valentine’s Day, I was formally proposed to by my man!!! I should really start calling him my fiancé now. I love that word. I love the way the little tick flicks up on top of the “e” in fiancé and makes it look and sound so fancy. Oh, and of course, lest I forget the most important factor: it means things are more official between us, as we have both made a commitment to marry one another!

Wow. He will be the man that I will spend eternity with InshAllah. Nothing makes me smile more than the thought of that.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Fire! Fire! Fire!!!

My sister, an amusing character by nature, called me up and startled me the other morning as I was driving to work. "I am attending a protest at Parliament House", she claimed. Thoughts ran through my head as my heart ached at the thought that Melbourne was going to see uproar over the Belgian newspaper that published cartoons of Prophet Muhammed. "Is the protest over the cartoons?" I asked her sadly. "NO!" she shouted. She then continued by saying "it is the fire fighters protest over work conditions". Confusion kicked in, followed by laughter as she said with much glee, "there will be firemen everywhere!!"

My sister’s history of liking firemen started many years ago. It had something to do with the TV series Third Watch, pretty boy Jimmy who was a fire fighter, and his amazing dimples.

It still makes me smile at how I thought of one protest, and she was thinking of another.

*smirk* (oh, is that a dimple?) ;)

Irony and the lizard

"Don’t rubbish our wildlife", was the sticker placed on the back of his white beaten up sedan. Alongside the sticker text was a cartoon of a lizard that could be seen with his upper half caught in a soft-drink can left lying on the floor. “Littering fools!”, the greenies would cry! It struck a cord with me also, as I sat there in traffic disgusted at how our rubbish could harm innocent wildlife.

Then the irony of the situation kicked in. When the sedan took off as the traffic lights turned green, white smoke could be seen blowing out of his exhaust pipe. This continued as we travelled along together, until I lost him amongst traffic later on.

Yeah, preventing littering is great. But what about the gases from your car killing our ozone layer?

Nice one mate.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Big decisions

It seems starting a life changing conversation is harder than what I first anticipated. I ran through the words a few times in my head in the car on the way there, but when I finally sat down with my man to tell him what had been playing on my mind, and what my heart had been telling me, my perfectly rehearsed lines were sort of blurted out in one go. The main thing is however, these essential words were said, and he understood the gist of what I was saying. Of course, in my typical style, I eased into the conversation by making a joke. It was simply a case of saying “actually, I wanted to talk to you about something”, where his face turned all serious and he said “go ahead”, with his heart probably racing at one million miles an hour. I followed on by making a joke which gave him a heart attack (something about me saying I was pregnant *yes, I was kidding*), followed by me saying “no, seriously, I have been wanting to tell you…” where I went right into the conversation. I made the decision in my head probably only the night before. And I made the decision subconsciously without realising it, because I was dreaming at the time when the decision was made.

I prayed ishtikhara the night before, as I had the previous 6 nights. Ishtikhara is a prayer that Muslims perform when faced with an issue when they require Allah’s guidance. In previous nights I had some weird and wonderful dreams. Three dreams stuck out in my mind: Dream One: My man saved a lady’s life. Dream Two: My sister who is currently 23 years old was a toddler in my dream. My dad was teaching her how to pray. And Dream Three: My man said he won’t be able to see me for a week because he wanted to spend time with his OWN family. He looked obese in my dream, and as he walked away, I was making fun of his weight by acting out his large stomach with my arms (trust me to be a clown even in my dream).

But it wasn’t the dreams that led me to my decision. It wasn’t even a magical feeling that came over me as a result of ishtikhara. Everything, all of the events that have unfolded since he waltzed into my life have just gone very smoothly. And yes, the overall feeling is magical. So when I prayed my 7th night of ishtikhara, I woke up feeling great. My decision to have this conversation with him was something I just felt compelled to do.

So, what was this serious conversation about? Was it about what kind of wallpaper we will use in our home? What movie we will watch next at the cinemas? The reasons behind global warming? Or, why Humphrey Bear cannot speak? No. It was about the possibility of me relocating to another country. The possibility of US moving together if we were to marry (InshAllah). And a decision like that is almost impossible for someone like me to comprehend seeing I haven’t spent more than 6 weeks away from my family. And I could be relocating for YEARS. But I have made the decision, and this is the sacrifice I am making, for InshAllah a lifetime of happiness. And his sacrifice is even bigger, because ultimately he is going to relocate for me, and leave his life and family for ME perhaps. I still can’t comprehend that! I will have to make sure I am worth it!

So if all goes well over the next few months InshAllah, this lil Miss Veiled Ninja could find herself having a Mr Veiled Ninja by her side.