Europe: Pictures & Life Happenings

I know it’s been a while (three months, actually) and I’m really sorry! It’s just that I’ve been so busy integrating my book blog (Symphony of Words) and juggling the move and everything that I didn’t have enough time for this one!

Just got back from Europe, and let me tell you it was definitely worth the wait and the cramps and the loss of reading time!

I loved Germany and Innsbruck!

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And Holland was beyond Tulip-amazing!

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And now for some snow pictures!

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And more tulips!

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I just had so much of fun and and more than thankful more having the opportunity to go to this place!

XOXO,
MADIHA

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My Love For Literature

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/writing-challenge-reflections/

I have loved anything to do with words since I can remember learning how to read. As a child, I cherished all the books I was gifted, and read and re read them, again and again and again, and just wished that I was in there with the characters, prancing around and fighting crime with them and laughing and going around town with them and sleuthing and talking with them.

One if the first books I have ever read – believe it or not, was Nancy Drew. I guess I was in the fifth grade at the time, and for me, it was perhaps the first real series that mattered and affected me. It was the first series I read with complete understanding.

The first Young Adult novel I had ever read, was Meg Cabot’s Jinx. It was honestly very thrilling and I’m glad I read it, for a variety of different reasons, which, of course, include Meg Cabot’s snark. She has got to be one of the funniest authors I’ve ever read, and I hope to meet her one day. (Yeah, yeah, don’t confuse reality with fantasy). So she introduced me to the YA genre of fiction, and I must say I continue to enjoy it through and through.

The first story I ever wrote, was, in fact, a small “book” about me and my friends, who apparently got trapped in a broken down motel which was haunted by the ghost of a girl named Shaista. I called it Sealed, and I think me and my friends even enacted out its movie. Way back, mind you.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is, reading and writing is a passion of mine that’s always been there, from the very begining. I read to let go of all the reality in this world. The feeling of jumping into someone else’s mind, figuring out someone else’s problems, ( and falling in love with someone else’s boyfriend) is something I routinely enjoy while reading. Escaping my world and locking myself away in a bubble with the book and only the book makes me feel like I am a part of the world I am reading about, and for me there is no greater feeling.

I write because I love reading – reading what I write is a wondrous thing, and every time, it only gets better for me. Writing what I think, what I feel, and then reading it weeks or even months later, leaves me nostalgic, and at the same time, oddly sated and happy.

This is me reflecting on why I love what I love. What do you think, guys? Do you feel the same way? No? Tell me. I’m all ears.

Aside

Fire In The Hole

I had gone to my friend’s house yesterday. Yes, the best friend, Zayn, you’ve all been hearing about. We were just lounging around and laughing and everything, me, Zayn and her sister, when suddenly her sister smelled someone smoking a cigarette.

Now, apparently this smell usually came from the house on top of their apartment, or below. So there was nothing to worry about.

However, though, after a while, it just didn’t go away. So we asked Zayn’s mom if there was anything connected to the sockets or if the iron was switched on.

It was the rice cooker that caught on fire. It was placed in one of the bedrooms, on the carpet, and it just up and burst into flames. Huge, raging, flames.

The smoke was everywhere. Thankfully, the first thing Zayn’s mother did was removed the plug of the rice cooker from its socket, thank god, so it could be dowsed with water. They didn’t own a fire extinguisher, so it had to be dowsed with small pots and and pans and jugs filled with water. Thankfully, no one was hurt and nothing was destroyed, except, you know the rice cooker.

And the carpet.

So they called their house maid to take care of the carpet by cutting a giant hole through it, and then the room was just left alone with the window open so all the smoke could leave.

Our food had also been destroyed. So we had to order. Anyway, not the point. I didn’t have the presence of mind to take pictures. You know, because the fire had to be dowsed and all. Later on, I did take a picture of the burnt carpet, but it’s in my camera, and right now I’m just too lazy to transfer it. Sorry!

I have had my first real-life experience with a real life fire. I didn’t panic or run or scream my brains out. No one did. We acted quickly and efficiently, and fast and intelligently, and in the end, that is what saved us all.

Thank God.

German – DAY 1

Happy First Day of Spring, everyone!

So I have been tasked with learning German by my father for our trip to Germany. It’s supposedly a very easy language and is termed “the cousin of English” because many words, I’ve noticed, just used the English term and add an -en or something similar at the end.

I now know German numbers from one to twenty, the fact that the beta variable in math and physics stands for the S sound, and a lot of other interesting stuff.

Did you know that the word “go” in German is essentially “gayhen? Gay-hen? I don’t know, it struck me as hilarious. Also, “thankyou” is called dunkey.

Truthfully speaking, though, I’m enjoying learning German much more so that learning French – I guess it’s because I’m learning German from a proper book, while French was just weekly exercises from the Duolingo app.

I’m just so excited to go to Germany and speak all my new found awesome German words. Any tips on how I can not go wrong with this? Has any one of you ever learnt German? Care to share?

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Abnegation – My Mother

Has anyone ever read the Divergent series by Veronica Roth?
Well, in this dystopian young adult book, the society is divided into 5 factions:

Abnegation : The Selfless
Dauntless : The Brave
Erudite : The Intelligent
Amity : The Peaceful
Candor : The Honest

When I read about how people lived in the abnegation faction, it grated on my nerves how nice they were. I mean, I’m all for kindness and love, but the degree of their selflessness was exhausting.

And now, people, I have realised that I’ve been living with an abnegation.

My mother.

She has possibly got to be the most selfless person I know. She’s an english teacher over at my school, in a place where everyone is looking for people to dump their work on. The one person who always says yes?

My Mother.

Honestly, I don’t know how she does it. She’s already got loads of corrections to do, she teaches grades 6th to 9th (that’s two classes per grade, mind you) and she’s basically the foothold everyone finds to give all their work to.

My school board has just introduced ASL, [I am not aware about the A, but the S and L stand for speaking and listening], and my school principal is basically my english teacher. So, it his job, you know, to take the speaking and listening skills. Apparently there’s this new rule that the teacher teaching the class can’t take ASL for them (which I highly doubt so yeah, OK, don’t take our ASL, but for God’s sake find another teacher.

My mom is loaded with work, she has to make an average of marks accounted by 40 students in 5 subjects, she has to take care of my brat of a sister, she has papers to fill and forms to collect and stuff to pack, and now she has to take my speaking skill.

I should be thrilled, right? This would seem like a free ticket to getting full marks in ASL. But no, I am not relieved. It is excruciatingly sick and I’m tired and bloody irritated about how the staff of my school take my mother for granted. They respect her, yes (as they’ve said countless times) but they still take her for granted. And it’s like she has a physical disability and can never, and I mean never, say no to these people.

It’s a quality I love about her – her faith in God and faith in herself and that no matter how much work she has, she can accomplish it, is what gives me my strength. But it gets very, very..gah, I can’t describe it. Try a mix of irritated, on the verge of breaking someone’s face, full of anxiety, troubled, angry. Mostly angry.

My mother, people, is the perfect abnegation. Maybe more so that the characters in the book. And while I love her for it, I can see why I am not abnegation. Someone needs to keep her from going off the map trying to save others who are going off the map. Or something.

The Moment It All Changed

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/weekly-writing-challenge-golden-years/

I am a teenager.
This is something most of my followers probably know. I’ve just finished my finals as a sophomore, and will become a junior in July. Age is something I think about a lot.

My mother says I think too much about it. Give it a rest, Maddy, she says. I think about life way, way, ahead, imagining how the contours of my world will change and give way to something beautiful and unexpected and thrilling.

But I’ve never – not once – thought about my past. How I changed from who I was, to who I am now. You may scoff – after all, I was just a kid. Am still one. What could possibly have changed, or if it has, how the hell is it so significant?

Well, it is to me. As a child, I had a lot of problems to face. Problems I had to face all alone. These weren’t just some petty problems about my favourite color or my new toy that wasn’t working or whatever it is you’re thinking. No, these were major problems I faced – about myself, about what I meant to others, and simply what my existence meant in this world.
I was a quiet child – I didn’t share much, and didn’t have anyone close enough to share these problems with, except my mother, who was all alone taking care of my infant sister at that time since my dad was abroad working. When he did come to India to meet us, I don’t remember much, but I do know I was afraid of him. He had a very short temper. He still does.

So I bottled it all up, and it took a lot of time for me to start voicing my thoughts. The first person who ever, ever, knew me, the way I was then, was my best friend, Zaynab. We were both in sixth grade, I think, and she was the first person I ever opened up to, about my problems, about my life. Then came Sam, and I was possibly the most spoilt best friend you’ll ever hear of.

These two taught me to be the extrovert I am today. My relationship with my mother and father is now borderline hilarious, like we’re all best friends or something. My father has become amazingly easy going, though he still gets mad at minuscule things sometimes. It’s a mania of his.

My parents and I- We’re always making fun of this or that, and I am not ashamed to admit that my mother has been my best friend right along side Zayn and Sam (I love you both) throughout my whole journey,

Opening up like this isn’t something I do often, or will do in the near future. I’m not a sentimental person, but I do have boundaries. My best friends, they changed my life. New ones, and old. The two most amazing people I have ever known, have taught me how to survive in this world. They have taught me to be strong and appreciate myself and my life and what I’ve been given. Sam and Zayn – both of them are a large part of my life, and I have to leave them soon. We’re all parting now that sophomore year is over.

But I am thankful for them, and for this wonderful realisation that changed my life, personal or otherwise, that came from these two.

Okay?
Okay.

I love you guys.

How My Trip To Dammam to Get My Visa To Germany Worked Out

Since it never snows where I live (can you imagine, I’ve never in my entire existence seen snow in real life? Hail, maybe, but never snow), my family went for a little road trip from our small town to the city of Dammam to apply for our visas to Germany.

You know how in those horror movies, the group of friends go on a road trip and encounter something extremely creepy? Well, we encountered something even worse.

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An abandoned wedding limo in the middle of the dessert

Anyway, after the creepy factor wore off, we made it to the embassy building where we waited for about four hours for my father to speak with the guys in charge and get all the paperwork and passports sorted out and stuff, after which we took our fingerprints (very classy) and happily drifted out of the building for lunch….

…..which was heaven – Dominos style. With lovely cookies (my sister’s camera skills are a little askew, seeing as how she is only six years old, so the cookies were much better than they look) to complement this awesome pizza.

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This one was taken by me, mind you.

After this amazing eating ceremony, we visited the beach, or as the locals like to call it, Corniche. And I admit I went a wee bit mad about taking pictures with my camera. I’ve just got to share them with you, since I haven’t made my point about how spectacularly beautiful this place is.

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That’s my six year old sister, btw

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There were seagulls!

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And cats!

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This is me having my “QUEEN OF THE SEA” movie moment 😛

I took a lot more pointless pictures of basically the same thing, so it would be irrelevant to put them up here. All the same, I’d say this was one hell of a weekend, certainly more fun than most of my other weekends – I live in a town; there isn’t a lot of new stuff to do out here.

All I’m hoping for now is that our visa gets accepted. Imagine the pictures I’d take of Germany and Munich!

Fingers crossed!