All hail word diarrhea…Past midnight random thoughts.

HELLO!

SO I’m well aware it’s been incredibly overdue but as the saying goes better late than never, right?

I have now spent almost two months in London and I’ll say one thing, I sure am going to miss this place when I get back home. Now I know most people would be scoffing by this claim because it’s too soon to think of going back home when I still have three months left here. BUT I guess I’m just one of those people who thinks of the ending rather than the present. Pessimistic? Maybe. However, be frightened no more because, I’m trying to live by the great words of Dr. Seuss “don’t be upset it’s over, be happy it happened” or something like that.

Other than my slight melodrama feelings about leaving this place when my exchange finishes, I shall try to talk about the present.

I cannot tell you enough about sweet potato chips. And yes that’s chips as in ‘fries’ but here they call them chips. Personally, I’m not that big of a fan of sweet potatoes but my God, I feel like I’ve missed out on them my entire life. How had I managed to live such a sad life without ever EVER having tried delicious sweet potato chips?

Hereafter, on the non-edible side of amazing things here in London, books. More specifically novels. I have been positively surprised at how (in my opinion or anyone from Scandinavia in fact) cheap it is to buy a novel here! Now I have been made aware by some friends recently that it is SUPER, I quote “nerdy” of me to be so excited for cheap books when in fact there are so many other things to be excited for, their words not mine. Because YES I’m very excited about seeing how cheap the books are here.

Anyways it’s 3 in the morning here and I have class at 11, maybe I should get some sleep.

For now,

– Zulaika.

London as an exchange student! 

Hello again!

It’s been so long, I know. However, I must say I feel well excused, I have been predominantly busy preparing for my student exchange journey from January 2017 to June 2017.

And now after billions of applications, emails and on top of that my exams, I have now ascended from the black hole and wound up on the other side and the other side being London.

I arrived on Saturday, 7th of January and made my way to my sister’s place in order to get a helping hand with all the essential things bought, gathered and packed to take with me to my dorm room.

I arrived at my dorm on Tuesday, 11th of January and slowly got settled after a day or two. This was, of course, all while meeting new people from all over Europe, because my exchange program is the Erasmus (European) Exchange program. So far I’ve met people from France, Netherlands, Italy, Norway, Finland. Lovely people, truly.

On another note, I would very much like to mention that in my 20 years of life and the 10-15 of those years where I was more or less more conscious of my surroundings; I have never seen a squirrel (at least not alive). This was all changed as soon as I came to London.

Are all the squirrels in the world gathered in London? I bear witness to at least an average of 3 sightings of squirrels per day. Here is a lovely one just on my way to my dorm.

Despite the abnormal number of squirrels here in London, there are of course so many other great things that I’ve seen so far. This is a picture I took of the university I’ll be studying at (University of Greenwich) and then I tried to capture a bit of the Thames river as well.

Another picture I took is one of the more famous spots to take pictures of in Greenwich. This beautiful venue is used not only for weddings and ceremonies but also for many big shot movies: Thor, Sherlock Holmes, Pirates of the Carribean, this specific shot can very well be spotted in Gulliver’s Travels with Jack Black, but these movies are just to name a few as there are many many more.

Lastly, on our last day of introduction week we were divided into different groups and were sent on a scavenger hunt around and about Greenwich. This is a picture I took of the view from The Royal Observatory which is just a brief and worthwhile hike passed the University of Greenwich.

In this picture one can see the university of course, but also the O2 arena and the skyline on the other side of the river of Thames.

So far it has truly been a wonderful experience and I can’t wait to see what these few months have in store for me. I have so much to see here in London, also I am determined to see as many free museums as possible!

More updating to come.

For now,

– Zulaika.

 

 

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Why “travelling” doesn’t have to be outside your country!

Hello again,

So recently I went to Viborg here in Denmark and I realized just how beautiful this town was. viborg-6

I have to admit I have always been one of those people who felt like they needed to travel all around the world in order to truly say they’ve seen something.

However, I thought to myself – well why would I go on and on about so many places I want to visit, when in fact, I haven’t even seen more than a handful of places in Jutland, the very place I live… viborg-5

I should perhaps mention I had work to do in Viborg, I wasn’t just visiting it out of pure curiosity.

But when my work was done I decided to explore just a little bit of the town, in a very little amount of time I should say, and to my surprise, I left feeling so content with my day spent there.viborg-2

I quickly looked up any places that might have been of interest for me and which was also close to where I was.

I ended up visiting both “Pilehaven” (a small garden) where you can have a beautiful view of “Nørresø”. Afterwards, I made my way over to “Borgvold” and I can honestly say I was so happy to have been to these two places, they were so pleasing and calming. viborg-3

I also took som pictures around the different places and the day ended with me eating at a local diner “Dolly’s Diner” with a friend.

It was a great way to end my day in Viborg.

Below are a couple of more pictures I took around Borgvold and in Dolly’s Diner.

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When my friend and I went into the diner it was so strange. I had just spent a couple of hours looking around different parts of Viborg, so many places that had so much history to it, and then here was a completely American inspired diner, it felt like we were in another country.

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The point is that, I often go on and on about wanting to visit this place or that place and that just stops me from actually exploring the places that are well in reach and a lot easier to go to than say a completely different country.

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And if I hadn’t just wandered around Viborg I wouldn’t have ended up at Dolly’s Diner or seen those beautiful parks, which makes me think that perhaps I should explore the places around me before I venture out any further.

And the food was great by the way.

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For now,

– Zulaika.

Definitely not a ‘one-trick pony’! – The Lumineers “Cleopatra”

 

Hello again!

This time around I would love to mention a wonderful album! 

The Lumineers came out with another little gem of an album in April this year.
Even though I am a bit late discovering it, I made sure to make up for it by listening to it on repeat the past week or so.

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The Lumineers, an American trio from Denver. Claimed the spotlight on various charts with their single “Ho Hey” in 2012 (which is also the time I heard about them) and their debut album really took off when they toured around the would and gained an abundance of fans everywhere they performed.

Now they are back with their second album to really show they weren’t just a ‘one-trick-pony’!

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This album has so many great songs and the best part is that there is a cohesive story throughout the album, genius isn’t it?

The album consists of 11 songs in total and at least four of them have their own music videos:

  1. Sleep On The Floor (Track 1)
  2. Ophelia (Track 2)
  3. Cleopatra (Track 3)
  4. Angela (Track 5)

The music videos are just as great as the songs. I really loved and appreciated every song on this album and I can honestly recommend it to anyone who wants to listen to soothing vocals, great lyrics, and musical comfort.

For now,

– Zulaika.

Why would I laugh when I wanted to cry?

Hello again,

It’s been very long, I know. In my defense, I would like to say I have been extremely busy. And I still am very busy, but I have to talk about this book I read. Well not really read, but listened to.

In 2015 Jon Stewert (previous host of The Daily Show) left the show The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and was replaced by the young South African, Trevor Noah who had previously only made some appearances on the show as a guest and a contributor.

“The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” was aired in September 2015 and here came this guy out of nowhere and took over a show which had been made famous by the legendary Stewart, people were therefore rightfully skeptic. But, to most people’s surprise (including mine) he impressed us.

He is humorous, intelligent and the accent is the cherry on top. However, there is so, SO much more to this man who came out of nowhere and impressed with his wits, smarts, and charm.

I realized he had written a book which would come out soon and when I found his book as an audiobook I realized it came out the day I found out about it (November 15, 2016) I figured I should definitely give it a try and see what it was about. The book’s title caught my attention “Born A Crime – Stories from A South African Childhood” it sounded intriguing and confusing. I wondered how someone could be born a crime. Was he not allowed to be born?

I started the book and made it my “listen to on buses” audiobook for four days and I finished it. It was amazing.

I am so, SO happy I gave it a try. This book has everything. It has humor, sadness, anger, excitement and action – and this is an autobiography!! His way of telling the small stories from his childhood are so much more than just someone telling you a story. It becomes so much more than that because you get sucked into these small stories of his and they are told with a sense of humor all the way through.That’s why as the title indicates: you question why you’re laughing when you really just want to cry.

I DEFINITELY recommend it! I listened to the audiobook on the app “Audible” you can also find it there or just go purchase the book from Amazon.

For now,

– Zulaika.

P.S if you do end up listening to it as an audiobook, notice the fact that my name is mentioned in Chapter 15 (12 according to the book I think) at around 2:43. Can you imagine you’re just walking around a store (as I was doing) and then suddenly you hear your name in the book you’re listening to. And this might not be such a big deal for most people who have more or less “common” names but for someone like me, who has NEVER heard/read her name in ANY books, this was a big deal okay. My name is not Sarah, Anne or Emma okay, it is Zulaika, which is almost impossible to find in any modern book or any book for that matter, written in English at least. Therefore, yes I freaked out a bit and had to listen to it a couple of times to be sure I heard it correctly.

 

 

 

Deeper meaning of Black and White. 

I would like to share some illustrations by an artist whose work I’ve come to like over the past few months. The artist is a Korean illustrator named Daehyun Kim and is very talented. He draws black and white drawings or illustrations and with just that, black and white, he creates stories that are so deep and mesmerizing.

I won’t say much more about it, but simply show a couple of his drawings and then I highly recommend you check out his website or the brand he has created for himself Moonassi. You will definitely not regret it and it might even be the most aesthetically pleasing thing you do all day.

With no further ado here are just a few illustrations of his:

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For now,

– Zulaika.

P.S Exciting things are ahead, which I will write more of in the coming weeks.

Why polymaths have encouraged me to become a polyglot!  

I have always been involved with different languages for as long as I can remember (and I have a rather good memory in this area) whether it was speaking one language at school, another at home or a third with friends and siblings.

Before I start I should mention that I have interests in so many things that there are days when I don’t even know what to start with (write something, watch something, learn a new language, bake a new cake, learn a new origami design or read a new book about a new philosopher.

This time I would like to talk about polymaths. Polymaths have been a fascination of mine like no other. There have been plenty of polymaths in history, and the only modern polymath I can think of this very second (in my opinion) would perhaps be James Franco but I would like to name a few older ones (Bertrand Russell, Avicenna, Leonardo da Vinci) just to mention a few.

These mentioned polymaths were individuals who had immense knowledge within completely different areas of studies. Take da Vinci, many would automatically associate him with his paintings, thus painter. But did you know he was actually famous for far more things than just that one occupation. He was actually also an engineer, inventor and architect among many other things.

Old sketches and such have been found as evidence that illustrate an idea for helicopters or airplanes, which da Vinci drew (we’re talking in the year 1400-1500’s people) it is insane in my opinion. I mention this because it is to illustrate that polymaths were/are people who have an incredible ability to understand subjects within different fields and often, if not always, in fields that have absolutely nothing or very little to do with each other.

Now I mentioned three polymaths, so I cannot help but talk about the other two as well. So to say that Bertrand Russell which I also mentioned, was known as a leading mathematician (and many other things), and this was surprising for me because I read a book of his once (The Conquest of Happiness, 1930) which made me think he must definitely be a writer and philosopher but that’s about it, therefore when I found out about his mathematician field in a course of mine at my university, you can imagine it raising quite the confusion whether we were actually talking about the same person.

But nevertheless, after I found out about Russell’s expertise in various fields I started to get a grasp and cohesive understanding of his book (the one I read) because suddenly things that didn’t make sense at first now made sense to me. I was wondering why a writer or philosopher would write a book about how to achieve happiness via a set of ground rules/approaches, it seemed rather systematic to me and not as abstract in some way (as I would rather see a philosopher or writer be), it was just very logical and definite in its approach, but now I knew “well he was also a mathematician, therefore he probably saw things more systematical or categorical”.

This I mention, because it is something I love about polymaths, which is that if they cannot convince someone of a view of theirs because the receiver does not comprehend what is being said/thought/expressed, then they can simply persuade the receiver with another approach (in another field of knowledge of theirs).

Lastly, the Persian polymath Avicenna, whom I thought only to be a poet/philosopher, suddenly turned out to be so many other things after I did some research. He was not just a poet or philosopher, many regard him as the father of modern medicine, and a leading figure in, if not father as well, a part of physics namely the concept of momentum. Thus I mention this briefly to underline the effect these polymaths had.

They did not only effect one field of our knowledge they effected many different ones. And hereby I can turn to the main point in all of this, which is – what does this have anything to do with me loving/wanting to learn new languages.

That is because, I grew up with different languages being a part of my every day: I spoke my mother tongue(s) with my parents (Pashto and Farsi), I spoke German and Danish at school and with friends, I spoke English with my siblings and now at my University and I was exposed to the Indian language (and picked up some understanding of it) because my siblings were fluent in it. This is to say that as much as I have loved the idea of polymaths then I still don’t know what came first: my interest in many languages leading me to knowing about polymaths or having an interest in polymaths thus wanting to develop my many interests, (it’s the chicken and egg story).

But nonetheless, of course just because I want to learn new languages that will not make me a polymath, it would make me a polyglot. But what I feel I get from my fascination with polymaths is that they have given me motivation and reasoning for why I want to learn new languages. Which is because I want to be able to connect with different people/cultures, I want to be able to express myself to someone in their native tongue so that they can understand me better and I can understand them.

This is what I think learning languages will give me: a connection to a completely different person with different beliefs/views because I see language deeply if not impenetrably rooted in culture. Thus if you break through the language barrier you will grasp and understand so many different areas of knowledge the language will give you (knowledge about history, culture, arts, values). Thus in some way you do become a polymath of some sort because you can be enriched with so many different areas of expertise every language can give you.

Lastly, I have mentioned in my ‘About page’ which languages I speak, but I would like to just mention the next language I have started to learn is Korean and sometime in the future I might even venture out in French or Italian.

For now,

– Zulaika