Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ring in the New Year!!

On behalf of everyone here at Symphonic Discord, I would like to wish you a


May 2010 be everything 2009 wasn't for you.

(InshaAllah-God willing)

Be safe and partayyyyyyyy like it's 1999!

(Is that still the cool thing to say?)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Beer and Hockey, eh?

I came to Mississauga for winter break. It wasn't my idea. I really wanted to go to Chicago. Everyone and their mothers were going to there. So yea, I wanted to jump the bandwagon and go too. My parents were insistent on visiting family in Canada instead.

So I'm here right now, chillin with little cousins who are obsessed with jumping up and down, telling stories, and getting piggy back rides. I'm tired and I want to go home!!!!

Okay anyhow...the day after Christmas is "Boxing Day," right? Everyone flocks to the malls to shop til they drop. It's actually pretty ridiculous. My sisters and I decided to go just to get entertained.

I used to live in Mississauga back when I was in 9th grade, just for a year. My dad had a short job transfer. The thing that amazed me most was how ethnically diverse Mississauga is. For the first time in my life I didn't feel like a minority! For the first time I wasn't the ONLY Muslim in my class or the ONLY brown-skinned person in the school. It was quite refreshing.

Going to the mall was such a great experience. There were people of all colors and languages. I mean I was looking through clothes at Urban Behavior and heard English, Urdu, French, and Chinese being spoken at the same time and no one thought twice about it. Personally, I usually get embarrassed to speak Urdu (my parent's native language) in public. Mostly because I suck at it, but also because people may think its weird. Yet here I was in a Western country and speaking a foreign language outside is completely normal.

I decided that as much as I miss home sweet home I really do love Canada. A lot.

God says in the Qur'an, "O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes so that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted." [49:13]

In one of the classical explanations of this verse, its said that the word in Arabic "to know one another (تعارف)" implies '
that you may acquire knowledge of [the customs of] one another and not to boast to one another of [whose is the more] noble lineage.'

I hope that all of us are able to attain this quality of getting to know one another and not being so prejudiced. It's easy to find different cultures as weird or abnormal. But the reality is that we are afraid of things we don't know.

So the solution?

Get to know people of different backgrounds! The more we learn about each other the less strange the differences will seem.

Monday, December 28, 2009

What do you think of America?

My dad has been trying for a number of years to bring his brothers and sister and their families to America. Over the past five years, it finally happened and they are all here, all 20 members (minus a few here and there).

It's funny to meet relatives that I've never met before. My siblings and I feel kind of famous when we're with them sometimes. They know so much about us. And you can totally see the resemblance between all of us that it's downright freaky sometimes.

The place that my family is from overseas, is not exactly the most caught up with the Western world. My family is from a very small, very rural village of Bangladesh. A place where electricity and running water are new. And a place where you'll be lucky to find a doctor that can treat you when your ill and provide you with the correct medicine. The past ten years, this place has not made much progress and advancements.
But it was/is home to my father and his family. My uncles were highly-qualified teachers who taught the community about the religion of Islam and its fundamental practices. They were affiliated with the local mosque since it was founded. Their children were all part of that community as well and went to school there with their friends.

Of course I've never been there, I'm just going off of what others have told me.

So since they've all come to America, they have been asked countless times:

What do you think of America?

Not everyone is like me and says they love America and cant get enough of this place. My Aunt actually thinks it's too cold here. Well of course she would. This is the first time they've seen snow. The first time they've had to layer and wear socks, mittens, and boots. It's the first time they've been in a car with a female driver and the first time they are able to visit another relatives house without an incredibly long journey ahead of them.
It's home to me, but not to them. It's a foreign world where everyone speaks a funny language, wears different clothes, and eats weird birds. (They all had turkey for the first time the other day at our house.)

My uncles think it's extremely boring here. With the cold weather, they are cooped up inside the house all day long. It's also a culture shock. Over in Bangladesh, they only saw Bangladeshis. And now here in the states, they see a multicultural world. Black, White, Polish, Yugoslavian, Bosnian, Syrian, Palestinian, Yemeni, Pakistani, Indian, Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans. Not to mention the different languages they hear too.

My cousins say they love it. I think they're just saying that for fear of offending us.

It sounds like my family is a bit Amish, if you ask me. Minus the riding buggies and electricity bit.

Seeing them out of their comfort zone makes me feel sad at times. America is my home. Not theirs. The only reason they came here was for a better life. Same reason a lot of people came/come here. Our family is just a generation late with the process. My dad wanted to bring them all here for hopes of them gaining a good education. Let's face it, education in the area they are from is not up to par with what it should be. Lack of books. Lack of teachers. Lack of resources.

And it sounds like they came from a totally different era, not a different country. But this is real. Although we're living in the 21st century and it may be hard to believe, people out there still live in areas where something as minuscule as electricity, is a luxurious item.

I just hope as the years progress and as they become familiar with the Western world, they can at least call it their second home.

Friday, December 25, 2009

These are my confessions

Whoever created the website, Post Secret, is a genius. It sucks though, because sometimes I look at some of these websites and really think that if I was faster, then I would have been that genius.

Anyways, I kinda wanna send in some secrets there but I'm too cheap to buy a postcard and a stamp. Also I get paranoid that someone might find it and find out that its my secret and expose me to the entire world.

I mean, not that I have some deep dark secrets to get out of my system anyways. Maybe one or two that are semi interesting.

But not really.

Recently I've been thinking. I've been thinking a lot. I have nothing better to do seeing as my holiday vacation is being spent at home instead of out of town like everyone else who's in Toronto or Chicago or Texas or NYC or wherever the hell else people who go out of town go.

So here I am, thoughtful and all and thinking that it sucks when you drift away from certain people.

And I don't mean in the sense, like "Boohoohoo, we're not as close as we used to be" but in the sense like "Oh crap. I don't talk to him/her anymore, but she knows so much about me, what if he/she tells others."

Don't get me wrong, yeah its sad and you get emo and sentimental thinking about not being as close to someone as you once were.

But that's when you're PMS-ing.

When you're back in reality and fully in control of your emotions, though, then you're kicking yourself in the head for revealing so much about yourself to another individual.

And you wonder, "Can he/she keep a secret?"

Let's hope so.

The final Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) says: If anyone removes (one of the) anxieties of this world from a believer, God will remove (one of the) anxieties from him on the Day of Resurrection; if one smooths the way for one who is destitute, God will smooth the way for him in this world and the next; and if anyone conceals the faults of a Muslim, God will conceal his faults in this world and the next. God helps a man as long as he helps his brother. If anyone pursues a path in search of knowledge God will thereby make easy for him a path to paradise. (Muslim).

I have/had family/friends that know certain events, incidents, or stories about my life that many don't know.However it comes a time though, when you literally pick and choose who you don't tell things to. Not because you don't trust them but because you would just rather be safe then sorry.

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘Guard your affairs by concealing your secrets, for indeed every blessing has one who will envy it.’

Right now, there are about a handful of people that I know I can be completely honest with and know that if we were to go our separate ways, whatever I left with them would be safe.

Now is it wrong to conceal things about yourself for fear of it being revealed?? Whether it be intentionally or accidentally???

Personally, I dont think so.

I feel like others would disagree. Actually I know others would disagree. Because others have disagreed. I don't ask to know personal things about others. Yeah I want to know but that's just my nosy side. Do I constantly pester them to tell me? Maybe. Sometimes. But if they truly didn't want me to know, I would leave it at that. It really bothers me though, when the roles are reversed. You didn't want to tell me, I respected that. Now you respect me.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I feel like I need to watch what I say these days. And to whom I say it to.

I wish I didn't have to feel this way. And its nothing personal against anyone. Just me and my thoughts and probably some over-analysis on my part..

To each his own though, right?

P.S. Here are some post cards from Post Secret that I found amusing:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The World is Never Ending

I think I'm obsessed. Honestly, I am. With traveling. It's like I have a traveler's itch. I've been back from my ventures across the Middle East for only 3-4 months now and I'm ready to fly out somewhere else.

So I bought the Lonely Planet Europe on a Shoestring. This book is over 1,000 pages of pure amazingness. I asked my parents if I could get permission to go backpacking across Europe for my college graduation. They would pay for my flight and I would pay for everything else. My mom gave me permission so long as she knew my completely itinerary. Then my dad just last week told me some old Asian fable at the dinner table about this man dreaming about something that would never be. Something about goats, milk, and land. I think he was trying to hint something at me but I'm currently choosing to ignore it.

Anyhow here's the list of countries I want to tackle at least: UK, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, and Turkey.

I keep highlighting places I'll go and the buses I'll take from country to country. I should probably stop but I can't help it.

A girl can dream can't she?

In other news...I started reading graphic novels. My sisters and I discovered a plethora of them at the library and ended up borrowing about 10 all together. We're crazy. Ohh and we watched the movie 'Up' which was one of the cutest movies ever. When the wife died in the beginining I was so upset that I almost stopped watching it.

Anyhow, this is random but I came across this awesome video on this website I absolutely LOVE.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's all about that holiday jam.

Friday was our last day of school before Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah/New Years/ Holiday/Winter break.

I felt like crap the whole time. And I'm usually super happy and excited on Fridays, since the weekend is basically here. I greet my students in the most enthusiastic manner. They look at me like I'm a freak because I'm so happy.

But since that morning, I kept feeling dizzy and nauseous and really, truly did not feel like being at work.

I told my students that I did not feel well and asked if they would stay on their best behavior seeing as I was dying and it was the last day for break.

8 hours of pure torture lay ahead of me.

Most of my kids managed to stay on their best behavior.

When telling them I wasn't feeling well, one student rose her hand and asked,

"Ms. Attitude, can I give you a hug?"

Which makes me smile every time I think of it.

The couple of kids that didnt give a crap how I was feeling, felt my wrath throughout the day. But two of them redeemed themselves by writing me these cute notes (I couldnt upload the originals. BLAH):

Dear Ms. Qume (
that's not how you spell my last name),
I hop you fell better by time it is your birthday.I hop you have fun! You area nice teacher. I am sorry that I am misbehaving.

I am kind of sick.


Dear Ms. Q, You are the best teacher a child could ever have and lucky I was on green on wensday because my dad was going to whoop me.

And usually on Fridays we do this thing called "Fun Friday" for a good hour and a half at the end of the day where kids who remained well behaved or on green and yellow throughout the week got to participate. If you reached blue or red, you were sent to detention.

Being in the holiday spirit, and not wanting to bother ourselves with having a seperate detention room, the first grade teachers, including myself, allowed every kid to participate in Fun Friday.

And so we had a dance off.

This is what the kids were jamming to. ( It wont let me embed it.SIGH)

LOL. My kids are so hood.

And kids are the best dancers. They never look awkward or lame.

I wish I recorded some of their moves.

Next time.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I've decided that there are two ways I could look at what's going on in Afghanistan and Pakistan. A) with sadness an trepidation or B) like a very good Dan Brown novel. I think I'll go with B, I mean as long as I feel better right? ;p.
When I pick up the New York Times, I read the headlines like a 3D adventure that the media is taking me on. And whose to say I'm wrong? My views don't hurt anyone, they're just my opinion. Along the same lines, I voted for Obama-obviously-and I can tell you now what I will twenty years from now, I will vote for him again and again and again. Why? Because I would rather have a centrist, cerebral President than a "maverick" with a psycho right wing Vice President. You don't like Obama's policies? Let's take a stroll down the 'what if' lane, shall we? What if McCain and Palin won? What if instead of putting regulations on the financial sector, they didn't? And what if these financial institutions that were on the verge of collapsing, taking down our economy with them, were allowed to fail? What kind of America do you think we would be living in?? What if McCain followed the Bush Doctrine and decided a pre-emptive strike on Iran would solve all our problems? (bomb bomb bomb Iran, anyone?)
Ick. It's no fun traveling down the what if lane. So in conclusion, I don't regret my vote. I never will. Does that mean I love every decision this man has made?? NO. But it's still 100 times better than any decision the other man would have made!
Off to enjoy my New York Times!
snake charmer

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tell me what you see

We were driving home. I was sitting in the back left seat of the car. Absentmindedly, I was listening to the coversation my mom was having with a family friend. She was also in the car with us, right next to me.

I don't even remember what it was about. But the car in the right lane, slightly in front of us, caught my eye. It was night time but for some reason the driver just caught my attention. He had blond hair, and kept on running his hand through his hair aggressively. As we slowly passed him I watched as he kept wiping his face, switching arms while driving and then running his hand through his hair again.

He looked extremely stressed out. So stressed out that it seemed like something terrible just happened or was about to happen. And I couldn't help but watch him as our car drove by. He even caught the attention of my family friend who paused in the middle of her conversation as she glanced at him.

It just got me thinking. About what he might be going through and the weird thing is, it felt like such a common sight. With the recession and everything going on, from commercials to people we know, those actions showing frustration have become a common almost like symbol.
A symbol of the times the world is going through, families are going through, what our economy was going through.

We all know that's how people express frustration but I feel as though it's become something common in most households. Or at least in many households.

The first thing that popped into my head while watching him was that he probably lost his job. I just felt bad for this random guy driving his car looking as though he had no idea what to do. Couple minutes later I had forgotten about him and went on thinking about my own problems.

And he might have gone on to screaming in his car or driving to his friend's house or tried avoiding the problem. Or he might have gone on and started crying or even gotten into an accident.(insh'Allah/ God-willing hopefully not)

I'll never find out.

I guess there really isn't a point to this post. But thinking back the experience did make me feel insignificant.
To somebody else I'm that guy with the blond hair stressing about my problems and wishing the world would stop and help.
Okay so instead of blond hair I have a scarf. And I'm a girl...despite screaming and sneezing like a guy.

But do you get what I mean?

In those 30 seconds I saw into a stranger's life. I didn't see much but it didn't seem much different from mine. I don't know how his story will end and most of you out there will never know how my story ends.

We've all got our own stories to worry about.
But there's 6.7 billion other stories going on at the same time. Some starting and others ending.

While I feel insignificant and even feel bad for those that need help but can't find any, it feels good to know that each of these stories is at least significant to God. Because they are.

Anyways, regardless if you believe in God or not, I believe everyone you meet has something to offer to your life. Even if it is you glancing into someone else's life for 30 seconds. It all depends on you and what you take away. But it makes our lives feel like threads. And these threads sometimes connect with other ones, or cross each other's path, maybe only once in its entire span or sometimes get knotted together.
Okay I don't know why I'm talking about thread. I mean, I do. But I'm going to stop here before I confuse myself with talk about thread.

There is a song I've wanting to share with everyone for a long time. It's by a group called Outlandish (made up of two muslims and a catholic from Denmark)

To everyone that might take offense to their lyrics, they are not trying to attack American citizens but are trying to shed light to lives that we are ignorant to.

The lyrics of the song are a poem written by a teenager from Palestine.

But this song in my opinion represents voices from many different countries.

Once again, don't sit there and start saying, "How dare they?" or "they don't know anything"

It's a song.
It's meant to inspire us and make us think. And it's true. And I can admit that.

So close your eyes and open your mind. Imagine yourself from a different country under different circumstances. You don't need to agree with everything but take what you can from it. I really was impacted by this song.

Look into my eyes
Tell me what you see
You don't see a damn thing
'cause you can't relate to me
You're blinded by our differences
My life makes no sense to you
I'm the persecuted one
You're the red, white and blue

Each day you wake in tranquility
No fears to cross your eyes
Each day I wake in gratitude
Thanking God He let me rise
You worry about your education
And the bills you have to pay
I worry about my vulnerable life
And if I'll survive another day
Your biggest fear is getting a ticket
As you cruise your Cadillac
My fear is that the tank that has just left
Will turn around and come back

Yet, do you know the truth of where your money goes?
Do you let the media deceive your mind?
Is this a truth nobody, nobody, nobody knows?
Has our world gone all blind?

Yet, do you know the truth of where your money goes?
Do you let the media deceive your mind?
Is this a truth nobody, nobody, nobody knows?
Someone tell me ...

Ooohh, let's not cry tonight
I promise you one day it's through
Ohh my brothers, Ohh my sisters
Ooohh, shine a light for every soul that ain't with us no more
Ohh my brothers, Ohh my sisters

See I've known terror for quite some time
57 years so cruel
Terror breathes the air I breathe
It's the checkpoint on my way to school
Terror is the robbery of my land
And the torture of my mother
The imprisonment of my innocent father
The bullet in my baby brother
The bulldozers and the tanks
The gases and the guns
The bombs that fall outside my door
All due to your funds
You blame me for defending myself
Against the ways of my enemies
I'm terrorized in my own land (what)
And I'm the terrorist?

Yet, do you know the truth of where your money goes?
Do you let the media deceive your mind?
Is this a truth nobody, nobody, nobody knows?
Has our world gone all blind?

Yet, do you know the truth of where your money goes?
Do you let the media deceive your mind?
Is this a truth nobody, nobody, nobody knows?
Someone tell me ...

Ooohh, let's not cry tonight, I promise you one day it's through
Ohh my brothers, Ohh my sisters,
Ooohh, shine a light for every soul that ain't with us no more
Ohh my brothers, Ohh my sisters,

Americans , do you realize that the taxes that you pay
Feed the forces that traumatize my every living day
So if I won't be here tomorrow
It's written in my faith
May the future bring a brighter day
The end of our ways


Ooohh, let's not cry tonight, I promise you one day it's through
Ohh my brothers, Ohh my sisters,
Ooohh, shine a light for every soul that ain't with us no more
Ohh my brothers, Ohh my sisters,

[with kids]
Ohh let's not cry tonight I promise you one day is through
Ohh my brothers! Ohh my sisters!
Ooh shine a light for every soul that ain't with us no more
Ohh my brothers! Ohh my sisters!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I wanted to do a Gossip Girl post but it failed because we dont have any drama in our lives, which I guess we should be grateful for. Alhamdullilah

Constructive Attitude here, with tidbits from the lives of some of the SD authors.

Spotted: Artistic Logic finally crossing the stage and completed her undergraduate studies and is now officially a mechanical engineer!! We have a teacher, social worker,dentist, doctor(s), and now an engineer in our midst!! She also has some really awesome friends that attended the ceremony with blow horns in full swing.

Spotted: Controlled Chaos still suffering from tendonitis. Will she ever recover from it and be able to live a normal life?

Spotted: Mrs. Cullen sporting the same pair of pants for the past two weeks because finals and studying for a huge exam that could determine the course of her future, have taken over her life until December 29th. She even went so far as to delete her facebook and twitter. ::gasp:: Please keep her in your prayers.

Spotted: Simply Me bumming around her new home, until she begins taking classes again starting February 2010. But this time up in the NYC area instead of the Midwest.

Spotted: Falling Up currently MIA because med school likes to take over people's lives.

Spotted: Yours truly wanting the winter break to begin as soon as possible (December 18th) and kinda thinking about begging her parents if she can attend an Islamic retreat in Chicago since they declined her request of attending another Islamic retreat in Toronto. Maybe they'll say yes to something that is in the continental USA. Who the heck knows.

Wow. Our lives are so boring.

Nothing like the Upper East Side. At all.

Hopefully something juicy will come along soon.

But until then, you know you love me.


Constructive Attitude

Thursday, December 10, 2009

(Oxy)Morons of the Day

Hello hello. I've missed writing posts for you guys so much, I'm sure the feeling is mutual =)

*stares awkwardly*

Well Okay then! Here are some random funnies I noticed around me recently:

Yahoo news headline: "Obama defends US wars as he accepts Nobel Peace prize"
I had to laugh when I read that one, its just so contradictory/ironic that I don't even know what to say.
CC and I pulled up to the university parking garage where we have to swipe a student card to pay and get in. Basically this card has a magnetic strip and it stores all your valuable information and we can use it anywhere in the university, in stores, vending machines, fast food restaurants, and mostly for parking as long as we put money on it . So as I'm rolling down my window to swipe my card at the gate, I see this note posted on the machine that says in big red letters "No Credit Cards!!" We both kind of paused and wondered what lame-o would have tried that.
I was driving home two days ago, when on the side of the road, outside a strip mall I saw this placard with the words "H1N1 available" and an arrow pointing to a building. It was sort of hilarious thinking of people lining up to get themselves sick. Ha Ha.
And last but never least, I so so so badly wanted to do a post on Switzerland's ban on building minarets on mosques (say that fast, 20 times). But then I thought this video is way better and says all the things I wanted to say. CLICK IT! I promise you will have fun.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Random acts of kindness

There's something cool about doing a good deed for perfect strangers.

Because the fact is, you don't know that person, probably will never run into them again and won't expect them to return that favor.

So it's all on you choosing to do an of kindness that might never be recognized, except by God. There is something magical about it. You feel as though you're one step closer to making the world a better place.

Maybe it doesn't feel magical to you when you do something. But have you ever been the person on the receiving end? It's like feeling something magical just happened.

I'm walking down my campus one day when I did a slight trip over nothing. I looked down to see that my flip flop had came off. Confused, I stopped and raised my foot and saw that my flip flop had broken.

I heard laughter while I picked up my shoe to inspect it. Yeah, I probably did look funny to them.

It was broad daylight, and there were several there people that probably saw what happened. Curious though, I glanced slightly to see where the laughter came from. Seemed like a group of girls but I couldn't care enough to make an effort to look at them.

It was hopeless, there was no way I could fix it and walk around in it. But they were my favorite slippers, so I stuck it in my Mary Poppins Bag (the bag that holds everything).

Sigh. I really love these slippers.

I looked down, trying to figure out what to do. I decided that my jeans would pretty much cover my foot and save me from too much embarrassment. I mean, besides from those that had seen what happened, and had found it amusing.

My dad was around the corner waiting for me anyways. I’d be there in another five minutes. I picked up my head, and kept walking.

Good thing I didn't drive today

Still, I was a bit conscious when I realized that my jeans weren’t doing a very good job covering my foot. And I looked kinda lame walking with an awkward shuffle.

Shuffle...slide...shuffle...slide... Awkwarddd

Surprisingly, I refused to let it bother me and kept walking.

Oh, well... Just walk. It's gonna be okay. Da dada dada da. Just walk. Walk. Walk. Walk.

While I was lost in my Lady Gaga song, I hear running behind me.

Why does it sound like someone running over to tackle me? Should I turn and look? It's coming closer...

I glanced around to see a Muslim girl running toward me.

Maybe she’s going toward the garbage....and is in a real big hurry.

So I kept walking.

“Excuse me! Excuse me!”

I stopped and turned around.

“Would you like to trade shoes?”

“Huh? Um... but...” But I’m missing a shoe, why would she want to trade shoes?

Still confused, I looked at her flip flops, and then lifted my pant leg to show her my empty foot.

“No my friends just saw what happened. They said that your shoe broke. I can trade shoes with you”

“OH. No it’s okay.” Oh…the laughing sound I heard was probably them.

“No really. My car is right here, and it looks like you have a bit of a walk. And it would be dangerous for you to walk without your shoe…”

“Oh no. Thank you so much but my dad is right around the corner…But thank you so much”

I hugged her, thanking her.

“Thank you again”

“Oh it’s not a problem”

And she walked away. As I kept walking happily thinking of the incident, I realized that I never asked her, her name.

Whoever she is, she is the sweetest person I have ever met. And wouldn’t it be great if everyone was like that? I wish I had gotten her name.

Monday, December 7, 2009

My School Needs New Plumbing

So the other day was a perfectly normal day. After my morning class I bought some soup, read a book while eating, then met up with a friend. We walked around for a bit, prayed, visited a super cool professor, prayed again, and next thing you know it was time for my afternoon class. My friend had nothing to do so I told her to join me and listen to the professor discussing STD's.

A half hour passes by and we're now talking about gonorrhea and how women need to get ask to get checked for the infection when getting their Pap smear. (Note to women out there: the noticeable symptoms of gonorrhea in women are almost nil!)


A loud sound emanated from the left corner of the classroom...above the ceiling. The next thing you know a dark yellow liquid starts dripping down, forming a brown pool on the dirty dark carpet below. Liquid is now streaming down the walls.

At first we're thinking... is it coke or something?


How did we know we were wrong? Because the tile in the ceiling starting collecting wet dark brown pellets and the liquid that was seeping through came down as really brown now.


The classroom was in uproar as the professor called maintenance and yelled over everyone, "Due to the disgusting nature of this situation, class is canceled! See you all next week!"

OMG. Thank God there was a second door to the classroom. Imagine being stuck in the classroom watching this and smelling the fumes ...

Or worse: imagine being the next guy who walks into that door only to step into urine and have fecal matter fall on his head from above.

Ewwwww. The thought of it is soo repulsive!!

That's it, I can't write anymore about this...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Teachers Gone Wild: Holiday Party Edition

Yesterday was our annual staff holiday party.

And boy was it interesting because it was open bar and karaoke night.

Even though I'm a teacher, it's weird to see other teachers in this type of setting and in their own elements.

I felt like an outsider observing the whole time.

First of all, I was dateless. Everyone had a wife/husband, fiance, or boyfriend/girlfriend. I really think having a husband or at least being engaged would've came in handy yesterday. As each person entered, they walked in arm in arm with their significant other and took couple pictures by the ginormous Christmas tree.

So being all lonely, two of my teammates had pity on me and saved me a seat with them and their fiances.

All the staff was dressed up in their finest holiday attire. I couldn't recognize some of them with their cigarettes dangling from their mouths and beer bottles in their hands. And as I approached the bar to get a drink, a co-worker asks me:

Are you getting a drink?
Good for you!!! Sometimes you just have to unwind.
-......umm.....OHH.... I am getting a drink. But not that kind of drink.
Oh come on! Why not?
-Oh, well. Cuz...I dont drink.

One teacher got so drunk that she was making everyone around her so uncomfortable. And it was only 6:00. Dinner hadn't even been served. She's a really quiet-keeps-to-herself kinda person and once she was drunk she couldnt stop talking and was going around hugging everyone and saying I love you so effing much. Her boyfriend had to drag her away from each person and then she forgot her purse.

That's another thing. Apparently teachers are known to have real potty mouths. The eff bomb was dropped repeatedly throughout the night from just about everyone's mouth.

Karaoke was hilarious. The administration (principal and assistant principals) kicked it off with Dont Stop Believing by Journey ( I really like this song btw. Prob one of my favs). Afterwards one of the asst. principals and the Music teacher did a duet and some very very very inappropriate dancing while serenading people in the crowd. Quite shocking to witness.

But the whole night everyone kept asking me if I was doing ok. Haha. I think they all knew that I wasnt used to this type of environment and they all wanted to make sure I was comfortable. Which I appreciated a lot. I ended being the first one to leave and was teased for having a curfew. Which really isnt far from the truth. And I wanted to leave before things got a bit..wild. Apparently and according to stories from the last holiday party, as the evening progresses, it does.

Think: teachers dancing on top of the bar.

P.S. I'm so glad that there wasnt a mistletoe anywhere. Forget worrying about someone trying to shake my hand, could you imagine someone trying to kiss me?

Friday, December 4, 2009

"One Night At The Movies Long Ago"

The Kid at contacted us sometime ago with an idea for post. And we thought it was pretty cool so we jumped on to The Kid's bandwagon.

Instead of explaining the idea, I'm just going to copy and paste the email:

Hello All,

Anyways, I thought it'd be nice for us to blog, collectively, on a theme - and on December 3rd.
I'd like for us all to blog, in our own way - with a blog title - "One Night At The Movies Long Ago"
I'd like for you to blog about a memory you have of going to the cinema. You may have been 5, you may have been 32, it may have included your first kiss, or a friend getting arrested, or you may have accidently set fire to the screen. Whatever it is - I want December 3rd to be the day we blog with this title, a personal memory of a cinema experience gone right/or wrong/or funny/or tragic.

So today isn't December 3rd and we're super late. Just blame it on me ( C.C.)
And to the Kid-I'm really sorry if I killed your movie bandwagon with our delay. Please forgive me.

So without further delay here our posts:

My first cinematic experience...hmmm that's an easy one to remember. When I was a kid, a couple of my summers were spent entertaining some overseas guests. Not my guests, but my aunts'. You see her only child was a teenager at the time and her best friends who visited from Pakistan had kids my age. So my aunt would steal me for a week or two whenever they came.
This one time, the family took me out to the mall and we watched The Lion movie everrrrrrr!!! This was when it first came out. It was awesome. We had popcorn and slurpees and a whole lot of bathroom breaks. All in all the experience was fun, except for the part where Mufasa died, at which point I was hiding my teary face. *sniffles*
Afterwards we went out for dinner at KFC, where I had my first experience eating fried chicken I wasn't supposed to eat =(. (Because it was not zabiha i.e. prepared the Islamic way). Butttt that's a story for another time.

-Artistic Logic

Last year I got roped into seeing a movie that was not something I would EVER watch. I mean like EPIC FAIL. Anyways so I allowed myself to be peer pressured into going, about twenty minutes into the movie some random 16 yr old boy shows up on screen and the entire audience (the theater was packed) erupts into applause and hooting! It was soooo funny to me that I myself erupted into laughter, spewing my cherry icee on my very unsuspecting friend, Mrs. Cullen. Highlight of the evening.
The End.

-Snake Charmer

One night at the movies long ago…Well, it wasn’t too long ago. Actually, it wasn’t long ago at all. It was this summer (I think). Oh and it wasn’t nighttime either. I think. I remember it being light outside. And the story starts at school, not at the movies. Okay, back to my story. One day at school this summer…I was sitting with one of my friends at the library. We had to go to work in an hour, and we didn’t want to, of course. We called off work. Giving some lame excuses. I think I said that I had to drop my dad off the airport or something. So, we decided to see a movie and called one of our friends to join us. We drove to the theater. Oh oh! That’s when we realized the problem. A few of our friends were already at this same movie theater. We didn’t want to run into them. They had invited us to the movies but we said no because we had work. So, I guess we felt kinda bad? I dunno. Anyway. How were we gonna get inside without them seeing us? First we drove around and found their car. Yikes! They are defiantly inside the theater. Then we parked not too far away from their car. Stupid idea. Finally we walked to the theater, but didn’t dare enter! What if they were going to walk out any moment? What if they were getting popcorn? Ahh. So we just stood outside the theater. Well we hid, on the side for…I think an hour? Then we went back into our car. First one of my friends was on look out for our friends to leave the theater. Then it was me. Finally, probably after another hour, they come out of the theater and I spotted them!! Yay!! ….Oh no..They’re walking towards us. DUH. Their car is parked so close to us. Crap. We get into our car. And duck. The windows are down. There is a spider in here. My friend’s car is such a mess. Eww. We duck down for what felt like another hour. We didn’t know what to do. Where are they? Are they still in the parking lot? Did they leave? Sigh. So we decide to drive. Two of us stay under cover while the other drives. And she still sees their car parked. They are still here! What the heck. What are they doing here for so long??? Are they in the car? Did they enter the mall (that happens to be next to the theater)? We park again. Far away. Really far away this time. Ok. Its time to man up and just enter the theater. Whats the worst that could happen? Ok. Lets go inside. Not like this of course. We dress up like men. Well, I think one of us did. I remember stuffing my stomach and hunching; to look like a grandma. Oh. And I remember wearing a trench coat and popping my collar. One of us left the car and began to walk inside. Then the other friend. Then finally, I left. Keeping my eyes to the ground so I didn’t make eye contact with the friends (incase I run into them). Finally. We’re inside. Uh. There is nothing good to watch. We watch a really stupid movie. We are so stupid.

-Mrs. Cullen

One night a long long time ago my mom took my sisters and I to the theater to watch Shrek II. It had been out for over two weeks by then so we expected few people at the showing. We got there, bought our popcorn, and walked into the runway lit theater room. And lo and behold no one was sitting in for the show. Literally. Not a single person!!! We walked the whole movie alone, just my mom and sisters! I don't know what was more fun....laughing loudly without hestitation or running up and down the aisle switching rows! =D

-Youthful Wisdom

For 21 years, I never stepped foot inside of a theater. Never. I don't know what it was that kept me from joining my friends and siblings. My dad told my siblings and I never to go to "cinemas". It wasn't exactly the type of setting he wanted us to get accustomed to.

My siblings all did it though. They all went with their friends all the time. However, I really really wanted to listen to my dad (I feel like I didnt listen to him in all other aspects, so this was the one thing I had).

Anyways, one summer my brother and sister in law, coaxed me into going with them. I thought I was going shopping but they wanted to watch Iron Man instead. And I tried resisting and that was a fail. For some reason, seeing my brother do it, made me feel ok. I know. It's weird.

But I had fun. Yes, I felt odd. But it was a good movie, and the atmosphere was nothing like how I imagined, i.e. people making out and doing shady things. I guess.

It wasnt a one time thing.(Although that night something awful happened and I was sure that God was punishing me for going to theater and going against my dad's wishes, and I told myself I would never go ever again) But I've been to a bunch of movies since then. And actually love going to the theaters. And have had some interesting experiences each time :)

One time two of my friends and I had the entire theater to ourselves.It's an awesome feeling to walk into a theater and to your surprise, no one else is there. Another time, my friend and I watched a really depressing action movie and counted how many times the eff word was said---100+. And watching Twilight with my sisters and CC was a blast. The entire movie was awkward and hilarious.

And then there's other moments that I'm too stingy to share.

-Constructive Attitude

Monday, November 30, 2009

Dear Mr. President,

Tomorrow night, President Obama is going to give a national speech at West Point in which he's going to either escalate the troops in Afghanistan or draw down. All signs point to the former, I know how I feel about this but found someone else who can articulate it better. This is Michael Moore's open letter to the President.

An Open Letter to President Obama from Michael Moore
Monday, November 30th, 2009
Dear President Obama,
Do you really want to be the new "war president"? If you go to West Point tomorrow night (Tuesday, 8pm) and announce that you are increasing, rather than withdrawing, the troops in Afghanistan, you are the new war president. Pure and simple. And with that you will do the worst possible thing you could do -- destroy the hopes and dreams so many millions have placed in you. With just one speech tomorrow night you will turn a multitude of young people who were the backbone of your campaign into disillusioned cynics. You will teach them what they've always heard is true -- that all politicians are alike. I simply can't believe you're about to do what they say you are going to do. Please say it isn't so.
It is not your job to do what the generals tell you to do. We are a civilian-run government. WE tell the Joint Chiefs what to do, not the other way around. That's the way General Washington insisted it must be. That's what President Truman told General MacArthur when MacArthur wanted to invade China. "You're fired!," said Truman, and that was that. And you should have fired Gen. McChrystal when he went to the press to preempt you, telling the press what YOU had to do. Let me be blunt: We love our kids in the armed services, but we f*#&in' hate these generals, from Westmoreland in Vietnam to, yes, even Colin Powell for lying to the UN with his made-up drawings of WMD (he has since sought redemption).
So now you feel backed into a corner. 30 years ago this past Thursday (Thanksgiving) the Soviet generals had a cool idea -- "Let's invade Afghanistan!" Well, that turned out to be the final nail in the USSR coffin.
There's a reason they don't call Afghanistan the "Garden State" (though they probably should, seeing how the corrupt President Karzai, whom we back, has his brother in the heroin trade raising poppies). Afghanistan's nickname is the "Graveyard of Empires." If you don't believe it, give the British a call. I'd have you call Genghis Khan but I lost his number. I do have Gorbachev's number though. It's + 41 22 789 1662. I'm sure he could give you an earful about the historic blunder you're about to commit.
With our economic collapse still in full swing and our precious young men and women being sacrificed on the altar of arrogance and greed, the breakdown of this great civilization we call America will head, full throttle, into oblivion if you become the "war president." Empires never think the end is near, until the end is here. Empires think that more evil will force the heathens to toe the line -- and yet it never works. The heathens usually tear them to shreds.
Choose carefully, President Obama. You of all people know that it doesn't have to be this way. You still have a few hours to listen to your heart, and your own clear thinking. You know that nothing good can come from sending more troops halfway around the world to a place neither you nor they understand, to achieve an objective that neither you nor they understand, in a country that does not want us there. You can feel it in your bones.
I know you know that there are LESS than a hundred al-Qaeda left in Afghanistan! A hundred thousand troops trying to crush a hundred guys living in caves? Are you serious? Have you drunk Bush's Kool-Aid? I refuse to believe it.
Your potential decision to expand the war (while saying that you're doing it so you can "end the war") will do more to set your legacy in stone than any of the great things you've said and done in your first year. One more throwing a bone from you to the Republicans and the coalition of the hopeful and the hopeless may be gone -- and this nation will be back in the hands of the haters quicker than you can shout "tea bag!"
Choose carefully, Mr. President. Your corporate backers are going to abandon you as soon as it is clear you are a one-term president and that the nation will be safely back in the hands of the usual idiots who do their bidding. That could be Wednesday morning.
We the people still love you. We the people still have a sliver of hope. But we the people can't take it anymore. We can't take your caving in, over and over, when we elected you by a big, wide margin of millions to get in there and get the job done. What part of "landslide victory" don't you understand?
Don't be deceived into thinking that sending a few more troops into Afghanistan will make a difference, or earn you the respect of the haters. They will not stop until this country is torn asunder and every last dollar is extracted from the poor and soon-to-be poor. You could send a million troops over there and the crazy Right still wouldn't be happy. You would still be the victim of their incessant venom on hate radio and television because no matter what you do, you can't change the one thing about yourself that sends them over the edge.
The haters were not the ones who elected you, and they can't be won over by abandoning the rest of us.
President Obama, it's time to come home. Ask your neighbors in Chicago and the parents of the young men and women doing the fighting and dying if they want more billions and more troops sent to Afghanistan. Do you think they will say, "No, we don't need health care, we don't need jobs, we don't need homes. You go on ahead, Mr. President, and send our wealth and our sons and daughters overseas, 'cause we don't need them, either."
What would Martin Luther King, Jr. do? What would your grandmother do? Not send more poor people to kill other poor people who pose no threat to them, that's what they'd do. Not spend billions and trillions to wage war while American children are sleeping on the streets and standing in bread lines.
All of us that voted and prayed for you and cried the night of your victory have endured an Orwellian hell of eight years of crimes committed in our name: torture, rendition, suspension of the bill of rights, invading nations who had not attacked us, blowing up neighborhoods that Saddam "might" be in (but never was), slaughtering wedding parties in Afghanistan. We watched as hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians were slaughtered and tens of thousands of our brave young men and women were killed, maimed, or endured mental anguish -- the full terror of which we scarcely know.
When we elected you we didn't expect miracles. We didn't even expect much change. But we expected some. We thought you would stop the madness. Stop the killing. Stop the insane idea that men with guns can reorganize a nation that doesn't even function as a nation and never, ever has.
Stop, stop, stop! For the sake of the lives of young Americans and Afghan civilians, stop. For the sake of your presidency, hope, and the future of our nation, stop. For God's sake, stop.
Tonight we still have hope.
Tomorrow, we shall see. The ball is in your court. You DON'T have to do this. You can be a profile in courage. You can be your mother's son.
We're counting on you.
Michael Moore
P.S. There's still time to have your voice heard. Call the White House at 202-456-1111 or email the President.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Um, can you NOT touch me?

A couple of months ago, I was at my cousins house for a dinner party.

While at her house, I was looking at a calendar and was reading about the Malaysian culture and how it is custom for guests to take their shoes off when entering someone's home. It is highly offensive if you don't. It's taken so seriously that if you fail to abide, you might get shot.

Not really.

That was a joke.

In the religion of Islam, a custom or rule, rather, that we have is that women should not touch a male and a male should not touch a female. Unless it is their mahram- a close relative, i.e. father, brother, husband. And the bottom line and reasoning behind this can be summed up to: One touch can lead to a whole lot of other things. If you catch my drift.

So that's why it should be avoided at all costs.

When I'm at interviews, I'm always thinking, I really hope a guy is not gonna be interviewing me. I dont want him to extend his hand for a handshake.

Truth be told, and I'm going to be completely honest with you all, it's frustrating to explain to people why Muslims cannot shake the opposite genders hand and why they cant give us a pat on the shoulder or give us hugs or why they shouldn't be grabbing us from the waist and trying to carry us to a karaoke bar in the middle of the night. (That in itself is another story, for another day)

But it happens. Men try to shake my hand and I'm thinking in my head: WTF do i do know.

I can hardly say, "Can you not touch me."

Although it might work for some situations, it's not your safest bet.

Do I shake it?
Yeah just do it this one time. Because you'll never see this guy ever again.
Phew. Now that that is done we can move on.
Yeah. Ummmm think again. ::As the guy comes to shake your hand as you depart and even pats your shoulder::

or another scenario:

Do I shake it?
No. Just explain to him that in Islam, we are prohibited from physically touching another man that is not our Mahram
Phew. Now that that is done we can move on.
Wait. I feel like he's looking at me funny. Maybe I've offended him. Oh God, he's totally judging all Muslims out there. He thinks I'm a freak. He thinks all Muslim girls are freaks. He's probably thinking What's the big deal if you shake a guy's hand. Now he's definitely going to think Muslim women are oppressed. That just confirmed it.


Or something of that nature. I might be over thinking a tad bit.

But let's get some things straight: Muslim women are not oppressed.

You already knew that?

Good. I'm glad we're on the same page.

So do you see why it can be kind of difficult to maneuver around this situation? It can be rough.

Lately, I have brushed my morals aside (which is not a good thing) and continue to shake the opposite gender's hand. When you think it will be a one time thing, think again. I shook one guy's hand when I met him. And now he thinks it's okay to give me hugs.

I mean he doesn't really hug me, but he'll put his hand on my shoulder or around my shoulder and he thinks its okay.

Ever since I started teaching, that's all I've been doing. When I met the CEO, I shook his hand. When I meet a parent, I shake their hand. When I meet a new co-worker, I shake their hand.

It seems like it's never going to end.

Howie Mandel, the host of Deal or No Deal, doesn't shake people's hands because he suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). And he makes people aware of this. The "dont shake my hand" thing. Not the OCD thing.

When in China, foreigners know that it's a custom to bow their heads when they initially meet someone.

Why can't people learn the customs of Muslims, I always wondered.

However, it's not that people aren't learning. It's that hardly anyone is teaching them.

(Obviously I speak about myself, before I speak about anyone else)

So as an attempt to change that, especially on my own part, I thought I would share it with you all.

Thus being said, if you are a female and meet a Muslim guy and know that he's Muslim, dont extend your hand, dont hug them, dont lean against them, dont pat them on the back, and dont kick them (unless they deserve it). And if you are a guy and you happen to meet a Muslim female, same thing goes for you: don't extend your hand.

It will save you a lot of awkward moments. Trust me.

Get it?

Got it?


I should really listen to my own advice, huh?

Either that or I should buy a pin that says this and wear it at all times:

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Eid

Today was Black Friday.
And today was Eid. Eid -ul-Adha.
There's no relation. I just though it important to mention both. Shopping is my thang.

We have two Eids: One after fasting {Eid-ul-Fitr} and another after a pilgrimage which is Eid-ul-Adha.

The pilgrimage is a journey to Makkah that every Muslim has to make, if he is financially and physically able to do so. We call this Pilgrimage "Hajj". Below is a picture of the Ka'ba. It was built by Prophet Abraham {Peace & blessing be upon him}. All those dot's around it? People!!!

There are a series of things one should do in Hajj. One is we go around the Ka'ba seven times. Another is we run between two mountains. It represents when Hagar ran between the two mountains looking for water for her son, Ishmael. {There are some more but then it'd get into a really lengthy post because I'd want to do it in detail. If you want more info let me know in the comments!}

Oh there's this place called Mount Arafat. We go and pray for forgiveness on that mountain. The day the pilgrims go there is a special day for everyone. If you fast on that day God forgives our sins from the previous year and the upcoming year. Two years worth of sins? It's a good deal. Especially for me. Kinda like Yom Kippur. This is the last day of the Hajj. And then we celebrate!!

Fun fact: Hajj is the largest annual pilgrimage in the world. About 5-6 million people come from around the world to worship God. I think dua to the swine flu situation there was an upper and lower age limit and some countries couldn't come.

It's pretty cool. Not the swine flu situation. Hajj.

I've never been, but I hope to one day. What's cool is that you can't tell who is rich and who is poor. You could have the richest man at one side and the poorest man on your other side and you wouldn't even know it. Everyone is dressed the same. Men are to wear two pieces of cloth that can't be tied/knotted and it can't be stitched. It's a simple garment. And they have to shave/trim their heads. I do not know how it stays on. I'm sure you can find a YouTube demo somewhere. There's no restriction on women, though. We can wear what we want yeeeah. But I think it should also be simple attire. The guy below didn't shave his head yet.

Anyways, Eid is celebrated after Hajj. During this Eid we sacrifice an animal. I think most people do a goat in my part sof the world. We keep 1/3 of it, give a third to other family members and another third to the poor. I know some people out there berate Muslims for this day, saying we love killing animals blah blah and that blood runs through the streets in some Muslim countries on this day. Honestly, what do you think slaughterhouses are?? They're cruel. They shock animals to death. Sometimes the animals don't even die and they're skinned alive. We have a certain way it should be done. And there's no or minimal pain. I don't know why people who choose to speak so hatefully against anything choose to remain so ignorant. At least get the facts straight. Then fight.
2) we give it 3 sips of water.
3) We say a prayer
4) Cut the Jugular vein so it doesn't feel any pain and loses conciousness immediately.
That's all I can remember. I think it shouldn't be a baby?? I've never done this and don't like watching it. Goats are my favorite animals, you know. I used to run after them in India when we visited as a little girl screaming "Bakkiiii!!" Bakri means goat but I couldn't say it properly.

Oh and I'd like to give a shout out to Best Buy for mentioning Eid. Although I have a feeling it was to get us out into their stores today lol. Oh and since Muslims go according to the Lunar calendar Eid won't be on Black friday next year. it's about ten days shorter than the Gregorian calendar.

Happy Eid & I hope you guys hauled in some nice stuff in the stores today. :)
Okay folks, I'm out of time. I hope that was a little educational and not so boring. If you do have questions, comments, feel free to leave them. :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


HiHi!! Todays my birthday :) yaaay!! Happy Birthday to me!!! :D I have to say that I have the most amazing sister and friends who took me out and made me feel super special :).
Not only is today special for me because it was the day I was born, but it's also the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It was created by the United Nations in 1981, designed to educate the masses of the abuse women face from domestic, to rape. Just letting y'all know :).

My gorgeous friend wanted to inspire me today, she wanted me to think about today as the first day of a career in living happily ever after. So she sent me this poem called Ithaka (a Greek island), and I wanted to share :).

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.

Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon-don't be afraid of them:
you'll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,

as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon-you won't encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;

may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind-
as many sensual perfumes as you can;

and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.

But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,

wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

The poem was written by Constantine P. Cavafy and all pictures were taken from It brightened my day I hope it does yours as well :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Sunday, November 8th was "The First Annual Queens Interfaith Unity Walk" in Queens, NY (particularly in Flushing) and I was lucky enough to know about it and participate in such a great event, Alhamdulillah -All Praise is to God-. It was SUCH a beautiful day. 63 degrees in November. I felt like we were down south. I think it was a sign from God. ;)

So Queens, NY is the MOST diverse county in the United States, which was all the more reason to have this walk here. It was a way to bring everyone together to promote peace and understanding.

Allah has told us in the Qur'an: "O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)." Chapter 49, Verse 13.

This verse truly reflects what you see when you're in Queens. I remember growing up here and being friends with people from all over the world. Good experience. *thumbs up*

We started off the walk at the "Hindu Temple Center", with a welcome and introductions about the walk.

The dancers did a bharatanatyam dance, which is a form of classical indian dance. The girls were so cute!

Then we walked around the outside and were shown the actual prayer area of the temple. We had to see it from the outside because you aren't allowed to wear shoes in the prayer area and taking off all 100 shoes would probably hold us up from the rest of the walk.

After the hindu temple, we started walking over to the "Gurudwara" (The Sikh Temple). We didn't step in, just heard the Sikh brothers give a little speech.

Then the walk continued to the "Muslim Center of New York."

A hafiz (someone who has memorized the entire Quran) read a verse from the Qur'an, the one about Maryam and Jesus, to show that the belief in Jesus is a uniting factor. This boy was about 9 years old. He was so cute masha'Allah.

Look at his feet, so nervous, lol.

We then proceeded to the prayer area and everyone took off their shoes. We were at the mosque just in time for Asr prayer (Mid afternoon prayer) so us Muslims just walked over to the side and performed our prayers. People asked questions like, "Do women have to pray? Can they pray at the mosque? Who choses the leader? How many times do you pray? How do you chose the verse to use for prayer? Is an imam higher than everyone else?"

I thought the imam (leader of the masjid) did a great job in presenting Islam and answering questions from the community. I was very proud! :)

After the mosque, we stopped by at the park to hear a few words from the Quakers and Buddhists. The Quakers offer prayer silently so we all bowed our heads and prayed for peace and love.

We then resumed the walk to the "Free Synagogue".

The rabbi sang and he had a GREAT voice, mashallah. After singing the prayer, he said:

"There's an old tradition in Judaism that "Our prayers are private and personal between us and God" and so if we say them out loud, everybody hears what we're praying but if we only say them to ourselves, we don't seem like a community. So we have this idea that if we sing out loud "Lai lai lai" and think our prayers at the same time, we can have our private prayer and our community prayer going on at the same time and it will stay let's follow along with this "la la song". Think your prayers for harmony and peace and love and good and sisterhood as you do it you'll pick up this melody almost instantly I know and if you're not singing, God will know..." and with that, he made us follow along with a "lai lai song" and it was so cool! It reminded me of the days I was in chorus (which was way back in the 5th grade). Although I'm not great, I still loveeeeee to sing! :)

Last but not least, the walk ended at the 175 year old "Saint Michaels Church" where food and drinks were awaiting.

Overall I lovedddddd the walk. I found out more information about Reformed Judaism from this Jewish sister I spoke to throughout the walk and it was great to see such a big turnout, it gave me hope. There was probably about 100 people that attended, all ages, religions and races. I think this was a great stepping stone towards peace and understanding and am so glad I was given a chance to be part of it, Alhamdulillah. :)