My big move… (Part 2)

…to Edinburgh!

Read Part 1 over here.

My sister and I flew in to Glasgow to visit the Dumfries campus of University of Glasgow. I had emailed and arranged for a meeting with the programme administrator and the programme leader. We left the next morning to Dumfries – had no idea what was in store for us. It was nearly a 2-hour train ride from Glasgow city centre to the town of Dumfries. Or should I say the village of Dumfries. It was a completely isolated town/village,and there were literally 3 taxi guys who could take us from the station to the campus. Yep. We somehow managed to call one and reached the campus a tad bit late. The administrator welcomed us and started showing us around the campus building. Impressive. We sat with the programme leader and discussed the course and how likely was I to get into the tourism course with them. He was a nice old man, did not sugar coat anything and the conversation was honest and productive. The administrator then took us around the library and told us the accommodation was just a few minutes of walk. She also told us that this village was isolated and just to bring in some population, three universities opened their campuses together in Dumfries. She also told us how bad the weather got the previous year: they were all stuck in their homes because of the snow and this stopped classes for days before it got manageable to be outside. This made me think thow weird it was to move all their tourism-related programmes to this campus where no tourism existed!

On the way back I told my sister that this did not seem the place for me. And she agreed.

We had Edinburgh Napier University planned for day three, and had set up an appointment with the international officer at the Craiglockhart campus. We experienced a 30-minute delay in between as the train services to Edinburgh stopped due to a technical fault on the railway lines, and all the trains that were supposed to depart after us had been cancelled. At least we were lucky enough to have stopped half way into our journey. We caught the train again and naturally reached late. The officer himself was late at the campus, but was there before us. We met him in the rotunda, got a tour of the campus and got answers to the questions I had prepared. He was kind enough to invite me and my father for an alumni event they were hosting in Dubai, and I obviously accepted it. After leaving the university, we visited the Bainfield and Orwell university accommodation but unfortunately could not get a room tour as they were in full capacity. Anyhow, we were famished so went straight to Pizza Hut right opposite the Bainfield accommodation to have lunch. We then left for the train station, picked up our luggage, went to the airport and flew to London to our sister’s. 

Our next stop was the University of Winchester’s School of Art, which was around 2 hours away from my sister’s place. The MSc was in Art Curation and we had arranged to meet the coordinator and get a tour of the campus. It was pretty impressive, we got a chance to meet the programme leader as well to ask a few questions. The campus was located in a small, modern town and and was accessible to pretty much everything. However, the degree itself was not my top preference, so I left without feeling WOW-ed by it.

Although we were supposed to visit Loughborough University, who were offering MSc in Sports Marketing, we decided not to for the 5 hour train journey that was ahead of us. So a straight no to that!

We then spoke to our dad of all the options, and I decided that Edinburgh Napier was the best choice out of the three. My dad was still not convinced but agreed to attend the alumni event with me in Dubai, which we did. He spoke to the Dean of the Business School, the alumni coordinator and a few of the alumni and was FINALLY convinced to send me to Edinburgh Napier University to pursue my postgraduate degree!!! WOHOOOO!

And so from that day to this. I have been in Edinburgh since January 2019. I am done with my masters dissertation and will receive my results in July. I will be graduating soon, but not sure when it will be in this pandemic. Nonetheless, Alhamdulillah. I am so grateful to Allah for this experience and this time. I am going to cherish it and miss it. But now I am eagerly looking forward to what’s next and where will life take me from this point onwards.

I know the ending was rushed, but I had this draft saved since July 2019. 

Reblog: ‘The Truth About Travel and Homesickness’ by Phil’s Next Stop

“This clingy, nostalgia-inducing attachment shouldn’t be something to avoid or ignore. Accepting it as a building block of your perspective, a cornerstone to your identity, can help enrich the time you spend away from home.

 

Homesickness is inevitable; we all come from somewhere. It’s as certain as the color of your eyes and size of your feet. It stays with us because we know where we hail from and who awaits us back home.”

This is the only way I can share Phil’s post. I stumbled upon him a few weeks ago at work while searching for blogs that were not too technical, easy to read and somewhere I could find inspirtation for my own blog. In other words, blogs that are written concisely yet not too fancy.

This post speaks for all those living away from home. I myself can relate to each and every word of it. I also believe no one could have written it better than Phil.

Go ahead and read the entire post: https://philsnextstop.blog/2019/06/05/travel-and-homesickness/#comment-91

P.S. Phil, if you’re reading this: thank you!

My big move… (Part 1)

…to Edinburgh!

I won’t apologise for not writing in the last three months, but I had certainly not forgotten about my blog this time. My master’s kept me busy with assignments and submissions – mainly due to procrastination – and so did my part-time work as a dental clinic receptionist on the weekends.

To be honest, the move did not come so easy to me. I had to take a decision for myself to either pursue higher education for better career opportunities or just do with my then-current state of joblessness. (I wasn’t jobless per say, I was running my small calligraphy business and had good amount of work every month to keep me busy). I was pretty confident that I wanted to build a career in the field of Tourism and so began my research. I was sure I did not want to move to USA, Canada and Australia because 1) they are too far, and 2) I wasn’t ready to completely isolate myself from my family. I still researched for courses in those countries, but did not find a course that appealed to me.

Actually, from the beginning I knew I wanted to either go to Scotland or Wales or some place in England not close to my sister’s place in Surrey (am I a bad sister?). Europe was also on the cards, more specifically the Nordic and Scandinavian side. I found a lot of courses in UK which were tourism related, many of them in Scotland. Therefore, I narrowed my research to Scotland and a few universities in England.

In between all of this convincing my dad for letting me study tourism was the most difficult part of the process. My second eldest sister backed me up and agreed to convince our dad with me. I am not a confident person in front of my dad so convincing him was a moment of victory! I really don’t know if I put up a strong argument for him to send me to the UK to study tourism, but he finally agreed. At this point I had shortlisted 4 universities in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Winchester and Loughborough – two courses related to tourism marketing/management, one in sports marketing and one in curation. The one in Edinburgh also did January intakes, while the rest did September intakes only. It was already too late for me to apply for the September 2018 intakes: choices of January 2019 or September 2019 were the only remaining options.

My father and I agreed that I visit these universities in October 2018 and meet course coordinators to finalise one. And with that, my other sister and I flew to Glasgow to visit the first campus of University of Glasgow.

End of Part 1. To be continued in Part 2. 

 

For my sisters

Best thing I’ve read this week! Empowering…

Bloomwords

I see you
I hear you
I know you

I am lucky, I have a freedom perhaps you do not have
I will tell you that even if you do not have this freedom
Know that you are as worthwhile.

The way you cut tomatoes is just fine
Your thoughts are as valid
Your way is as pure and good.

Follow your inner nature
stay safe as necessary
but inside, rise shining in your heart.
Channel the Tiger.
The tiger is in you, it is wild, free, quiet, waiting.

you conserve your energy, in the day

and at night, when the darkness is as a shroud
see the moon, follow it in your mind
know your path
act as is in your heart
to act.

Know that the earth loves you.
Know you belong to it, and to it only
That the tree sees you as an angel
that the…

View original post 56 more words

Fast forward 5 years…

Gosh, I am horrible at making commitments! Made one 5 years ago that I’ll keep running this blog, but naaa-ah. Didn’t happen. Instead these are how my 5 years went by…

  1. Getting my calligraphy business up and running (go check it out on Instagram) and providing my services to a tonne of high end clients – Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Tanagra, GQ Middle East, The Dubai Mall – you name it!
  2. Doing 10 months of a proper full time, administration job (totally unrelated to my undergraduate degree in Marketing, but had a hell of a good time with my colleagues!) and not just random internships.
  3. Working as General Secretary for Pakistan Youth Forum (PYF, a non-profit youth organization for Pakistani students in the UAE) for 2 YEARS!
  4. Getting fit – going to the gym 5 times a week (ACHIEVEMENT!)
  5. Two of my sisters got married
  6. Addition of 2 boys (my nephews) in the Tariq household – we ladies are getting outnumbered. Women to men ratio (including brother-in-laws) – 7:7
  7. Performing Umrah in 2017 – thrice 🙂
  8. Performing Hajj in 2017 😀 Alhamdulillah!

And my current situation looks like this…

  1. Moved to Edinburgh, Scotland in January of this year to pursue a Masters degree in International Tourism Marketing at Edinburgh Napier University (WHAAAAAAAA?! There will be an entire post dedicated to this, promise!)
  2. Serving as an Advisor to PYF
  3. Becoming Associate Editor of a youth digest for Pakistani students – it’s still in its planning phase…
  4. Learning Spanish – Vamos Anam!
  5. Learning cycling (yes, I have never cycled for roughly 20 years except as a kid with training wheels on it)
  6. Being super, SUPER single! 

Yup, that’s pretty much my past and present situation analysis in 14 bullet points.

There is absolutely so much to write about, so much to do, and I wish and hope and pray that I am a regular on my own blog. I am a devoted journaller (is that even a word?) offline and I just love the entire process of collecting anything and everything on a trip, taking photos, printing them and sticking them in my dedicated journal notebook. I have a very fancy collection of high quality notebooks and pens and all kinds of stationery (hoarder alert!) which I mostly like to collect (guilty!). But I do write – a lot of it consists of brain dump and writing to clear my head.

Anyway, back to this blog. Just rediscovering this baby of mine is getting me all excited thinking the sort of things I can write about. So here’s me not promising, but hoping to making this another place to channel my life’s happenings – the mishappenings are for my dedicated offline ranting journal – and stories.

So hopefully, till next time. Whenever that is 🙂

All Things Anam

At the end of my Pentland Hills hike, near to Balerno

I’m back and it’s time

So it’s been quite some time since I’ve visited my own blog. And to be honest I hated the way it looked. Too black and too dull and very bland. That’s why I decided to renovate it. Maybe it will attract me towards it, and hence to write more on it. For now it still looks a bit dull but I refreshned it to pump myself up. And I renamed it from ‘Anam’s Blog’ to ‘All Things Anam’. Gives it a more lively and approachable touch.

Anyway, since the last time I posted a lot of things have happened. I’ve graduated from university with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing. And I haven’t managed to get an internship/job since then.

Actually, I never wanted a job in the first place. I’ve seen two of my sisters working their ass off at their workplace and it just brings them loads of tiredness, responsibilities and stress. And this demotivates me a lot. I don’t care about the money, but I’m just not able to take high levels of stress. I end up in a huge breakdown.
But then I also have some responsibility as a member of my family towards my parents. I don’t want to let them down. They’ve paid huge sums of money for my education and what I give them back is nothing? I want to give them a reason to be proud of me. And by giving them back I want to support them. But I have to be happy too.

Last year I stumbled upon two self taught calligraphers on Instagram – thefozzybook and melissapher. And I was instantly attracted to the art of penmanship and the style they learnt. Unfortunately I had no resources back then and I did not have a credit card to buy all the tools online. And plus I was still in my last semester so I wouldn’t have the time to practice it.
Fast forwarding events to this year, I bought the guide I needed, the tools and supplies with a prepaid credit card (genius stuff!).
But I’ve become so lazy lately with all the free time I have that I do not practice everyday, and sometimes I skip week(s).

So that’s why I decided to get this blog up and running. I would like to share my experience, work, practice and improvement on the art of calligraphy. It won’t be easy but I have to do it. I’ve finally got a chance to do what I like and I want to do it to the fullest!
If you people keep pushing me, critiquing and loving my work, it will keep me motivated and going.
And I really want to take this forward and learn all kinds of calligraphy styles once I’m ready to learn the next. And maybe this passion will lead me into something more commercial and maybe a small business.
I’m very keen and excited to learn and I want all the people reading my blog to get on this journey with me. I want to be motivated and I want to inspire people out there who are still on the lookout for their true and hidden passions and talents.

I will be practicing today (after a long time) and I will be posting my work regularly.

I just had to get all of this out and I feel very light to have done so over here.

See you until next time.

And wishing all my Muslim friends out there a blessed month of Ramadan. 🙂

Astrologer says 20 Grand Slams for Federer is “very possible”

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Modern research based scientific astrologer Greenstone Lobo, who has a special interest in sports prediction, wrote on the DNA website that Roger Federer has the ability to achieve a historical record of 20 Grand Slams based on his “out of the world” horoscope. The 31-year old has “Uranus and ‘Planet-Y’ in exaltation concurrently” which is a rare phenomenon that Lobo wrote occurs only once every 200 years.

Enjoy reading the rest of my tennis blog entry on SportPulse.net: http://www.sportpulse.net/content/astrologer-says-20-grand-slams-federer-%E2%80%9Cvery-possible%E2%80%9D-9882

Wimbledon Legends: Roger Federer

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17 Grand Slams. 7 Wimbledon titles.

These are the fewest yet the only words that describe the Swiss ace’s career not only in tennis, but in Wimbledon as a whole. He has been one of the favourites at SW19 since he won Wimbledon’s junior title in 1998, only to become World No. 1 in the junior rankings as the year ended.

Read the rest of my article on SportPulse.net: http://sportpulse.net/content/wimbledon-legends-roger-federer-9014

Food review – Samad Al Iraqi Restaurant

So yesterday I tried this new restaurant serving Iraqi food called Samad Al Iraqi Restaurant. It is located on the Jumeirah Beach Road, right besides Chilis (if you know where it is, or you can just search as it isn’t so difficult!). When we entered and sat on our table, for a good 2-3 minutes we weren’t approached by the manager or the waiters so they could give us a menu. And that was a little bit ticking off about it. Then waiting for these few minutes the waiter finally came and handed us the menu. After a few seconds the waiter came back with some really good complimentary lentil soup for each one of us and also with green salad. It is because, as I read some facts in their menu, that it was a custom in Iraq to serve green vegetables before the actual food when guests came over. Hmmm, really impressed.
And then waiters would come with big baskets in their hands, and they would serve freshly made tandoor roti’s (hot flat breads made in pits where fire would be lit on coal). I would rate this as a plus point to their service to customers.
My stomach was half filled by having all this complimentary food and we had to carefully order the main course so we wouldn’t ending up saving food and taking it home. So we ordered two plates of Iraqi mixed grills (and each one was a single portion) and also 2 plates of Iraqi Kebab Yoghurt. Oh, and for the appetizers we ordered a mixed mezze (of appetizers). Although I am not a huge fan of Arabic appetizers but this one I found it really interesting. Loved the hommous as usual, and there was also this mixed vegetables section stirred in a sweet orange coloured sauce which was also quiet good, and for the first time ever I actually liked fatoush (green vegetables with dried pomegranate and other bunch of sour stuff). Didn’t try the purple vegetable (don’t know what’s it called) because it certainly wasn’t looking so mouth watering.
Finally our main course arrives! And I was really excited to get a taste of it as I was trying Iraqi for the time. The presentation of both the dishes were, I should say as being a food lover, very mouth watering with all that meat in front of me! So after all the dishes were on our table, I first grabbed for the Iraqi Kebab Yoghurt. And when I took the first bite, I lost all my apetite. Firstly, because it was sheep’s meat – and we never have it, it has always been either lamb or beef. And secondly, it was covered with A LOT of yoghurt. This ruined the taste of the kebab even more. So I forcefully finished it (thank God I took less than half of it) and went on to eating the boneless chicken and the entire chicken kebab. The chicken was okay too, not that great compared to the one we get at Al Hallab (this is a Lebanese restaurant). And for the first time I was actually thankful we did not order a lot (although a whole kebab was still left behind).

My ratings (out of 5):
Ambience – 4
Service – 2.5
Food – 3 (this is only because of the complimentary lentil soup and the mixed mezze platter)

Average – 3.2/5

Obviously I would not ignore the fact that there are other dishes that might have been better, as I looked up on foursquare people recommending the Meskouf Fish. So if you are looking to try something new, I will certainly recommend it. Although I wouldn’t recommend the Iraqi Kebab Yoghurt, but that also depends if you like sheep’s meat or not. And I would also recommend to read the summarized tales of food of the Iraqis inside the menu (there are many of them in it) – they are actually really interesting and you can catch up in some good knowledge while you’re still decided on your lunch/dinner!

Happy apetite!

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