Saturday, July 5, 2014

For the love of Newlyweds: First year of marriage

For the love of Newlyweds: First year of marriage

The magic isn't in getting married.. It's in staying married.

In the beginning when you first get married, you feel the need to be careful of which parts you expose of yourself, your family & your past.

You try to conceal that really bad morning breath by waking up earlier just to brush your teeth or trying to hide the fact you really don't know how to make the kaathi daal you promised him (pre-nuptials) you make the best there ever was,  by quickly defrosting your moms frozen bag.

You always show the best side of yourself... Even if usually you always get very cranky when you're hungry or very emotional before that time of the month you try to control it by stuffing your face with chocolate just for the sake of him not thinking he married a psycho.
If being the best means hauling yourself out of bed before noon(something you haven't done in months while living with your parents) you do it. Just to make him that fresh set of chocolate chip pancakes he loves. Or pack him that delicious gosht ka Salan for lunch just so you can get a text from him after he has eaten it at work saying just how much he adores your cooking is ALL WORTH IT.

You love all the tasks that involve him. You want to iron his clothes, warm up his dinner, get those ice cubes for his cold drink, because you as a desi wife just looooooove the pleasure of serving your husband hand & foot.

Until... The honeymoon stage passes. Then you wonder why the heck am I doing all the work. He sits on his butt the entire day at work, shouldn't he share the load too?!  Then he starts thinking wow she was so amazing when we first got married, why can't she be like that again. Why did she change.

That is why I believe it is SO important for newlyweds to overlook the honeymoon feeling when it comes to splitting responsibilities. Ofcourse you want to do everything for him-- all power to you. But there will be a day you won't want to! And when that happens you shouldn't feel like ugh I'm doing him such a favor by doing so & so.

The secret to a good marriage(in my humble amateur 1 year experience opinion)  is maintaining that "need to impress him" stage f o r e v e r.

After all, who else is worth you being on your best behavior with if not the man who works tirelessly to support you, to protect you, to defend you, to make you smile every opportunity he gets, your partner for LIFE.
Even when your friends dessert you, your kids grow up & leave you. He'll still be the one you will be sitting with on the porch holding hands sipping lemonade.

All this is easier said than done, & believe me I get that. Of course more often then not he's way better to me than I am to him (my family/neices/nephews will gladly attest to this) but that doesn't mean I just fold my arms, throw in the flag and give up. You will have those off days, and sometimes ALOT  of them. But you should always renew your intention to be THE BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF TO HIM. No one else deserves it more than he does.   After all, Allah says

And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect(Qur'an 30:21)

If there are any topics you'd like me to write about or expand upon this one let me know by commenting below or email me at :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

For the love of Doha,Qatar

After Umrah... Doha was the perfect layover to rest, rejuvenate before the next leg of our trip... Or so we thought! 
Doha has so much to offer we rarely had moments to feel bored. I really thought it would be a tiny rural city.. But quite the contrary. It's an up & coming city filled with life, character, tall rise buildings & delicious food! 


During our stay, my inlaws made to treat us to the best foods in Doha. One of my most favorite places was the "Afghan Brothers Restaurant". It was here that I first tried "mandi".. And those who have never tried it, let me tell you. It's the closest to heaven you can get!! So delicious, the meat is soooo tender it just falls apart in your fingers & the rice full of flavor from the juices of the meat. *drool*

When you first walk into this two level restaurant, you are guided to the upstairs section which has small little rooms all over with tiny doors. In this, you sit on the floor & eat Arab family style out of one huge plate!
As me & Nabeel were sharing one plate... And it came down to the Last piece of meat, our relationship almos didn't make it because neither of us were in the mood to share this piece of heaven! 

We visited the Katara-- a Qatari outdoor museum where I ran into this awesome door! 

 We also went to play at the mosque while at the museum..& what a beauty it was! SubhanAllah. I had my husband take pictures for me from the men's side:


Another popular masjid is Masjid ul Waahab it is a HUGE masjid which can hold up to 30,000 people. Their parking lot is so big that they have "Buggys" that come pick you up from your parking spot! And when you arrive inside, you are handed a cold bottle of refreshing water.  On the inside the masjid is so spectacle. They went all out on EVERY detail imaginable. From the speaker system to the TV monitors which display the men's side, the kutbah to the beautiful ceramic, mosaic artwork in the corridors.

I will do a post later on all the  shopping I did specifically, but one of my favorite places was Souk Wasiq. It is an outdoor shopping area.. But much more than that!  It has restaurants & music playing in the streets, street performers & young crowds smoking sheesha on every corner!  The scene really comes to life at night time.. Such a fun place to hang out & walk through the stores. One of my favorite finds was this charming little antique store filled with beautiful jewelry, swords & even vintage telephones! How I wanted to buy everything! 

Although the most popular thrill seeking activity for most tourists in the sand dunning...we opted out of this since we will be in Dubai in just a few weeks so we plan on doing it there, God-willing!

Instead, we went on a very beautiful boat ride around the Corniche (think lakeshore dr in Chicago? But just a big more lively & cultured!).
Since we went right before sunset we were able to catch beautiful skies & a great view of the magnificent Doha skyline. The waters were very rough that day.. Making the ride just a bit more fun!

Friday, May 9, 2014

For The Love of Mothers

My mother was 40ish when she had me. It's no surprise I was an oopsie baby, considering all my siblings are 13-15 years older than me. 

Exactly one year and twenty-four days after my birth my father passed away, on November 28th.  

My mother was completely dependent on my father for her well-being, she was merely a high-school graduate. And here she was left with the responsibility of my teenage sisters, brother...and infant me.  Any other woman at this point would have felt over-whelmed. 

I can truly say I have never seen my mom feel dismayed by any task(At 66 years old now, she can fully function an iPad, Skype, & hotmail better than most).  Not only did she raise us, move us  to America... she also educated us & encouraged us to pursue professional degrees and same time emphasized Islam. 

She always said, Allah took away your Abu but gave you to me as a gift instead. She says because of me she was able to have the will to live again, she had to heal so she could raise me. She had to be happy from within so I wouldn't be affected by her sadness.  I was that very much needed distraction for her. 

As I was growing up, especially in my teens I would realize my mom wasn't like most. She was a lot older...almost the age of most of my friends grandmothers.  It was hard for her to understand western concepts.  She would often rely on my oldest sister for guidance since she couldn't grasp it. But that didn't make me think any less of her, that made me grow love for her.  It made me appreciate how much she did to go out of her way...even  though she was in a culture she didn't even recognize or relate to. 

Like when I was in 6th grade, and being a newbie at an American school a classmate gave me a know those where if you don't copy this letter and give to 20 other friends you will never make friends again...or die.  Well being the fob-fool I was, I thought this was some kind of initiation and I had to do it.  So my mom and I sat there, HAND COPYING this 3 page letter for 20 different people. Mind you--english is far beyond my mother's first language.  Yet, she was so desperate for me to make friends she sat up wee-hours re-writing these letters with me. 

Memories of my mother like this make me tear up as I write this. All the instances she played like a kid with me, even though it was her age to rest and relax. Even if her bones were aching she would still be my one friend who would walk down the street to the dollar movie theatre and sit through a 2 hour english movie with me, just to give me company. 

          She was my best friend and I was hers. 

Growing up I would realize, I had to be more and more patient with her. She was so much older... so I started having to take care of her. Roles were reversed. She would often be telling me a story on the phone...and forget she told me...then repeat it all again later. Sometimes she would repeat the 10 minute story to me multiple times and each time I would act as if it were my first time hearing it...and each time I gave a unique reaction so not to hurt her feelings. 
I try to make anything she wishes happen for her. It gets really hard sometimes... sometimes I just want to be selfish and say "ughhh no mummy, that's too much work" 
But then I try to remind myself of how she took care of me as baby when it was her time to finally be done with motherhood & raising children she still took care of me. 

I really believe that all the good I have in my life is because of my mom. The duas she makes for me, are unlike any other.  When she lies awake praying tahajjud I know that she is the closest to Allah at that moment. The struggles she's been through in her life only show in her aged wrinkles. But not in her soul. She is the happiest and most content woman I know. 

May Allah bless mothers all around this world. The mothers without husbands to help them earn a living. The mothers who struggle to make it on their own. The mothers who selflessly night and day just want the best for their child. Allah give them strength and make for them a place in Jannah.  

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

For The Love of Istanbul

There are people who believe that honeymoons should only consists of beaches, lounging and warm sandy place to overcome the stress of the entire wedding process...but for us spending (wedding) money to lay around doing nothing wasn't justifyable! 
We wanted to begin our marriage with we headed to Turkey!

My husband was at work when I found a great deal for cheap flights to Istanbul...($750 RT) 
we decided to make the plunge. Few weeks later we were headed off to the airport!

At O'Hare airport! 
Our wonderful friends who graciously dropped us off at the airport (Shoutout: Sanaa & Faraz!).

We stayed at a Hotel In the Old City, turned out to be a real close walk to Haghia Sophia and Grand Bazaar!
Thanks to our wonderful new neighbor best friends (Atif & Aleeza) who let us borrow their camera(since mine was stolen during our mehendi :( I can share with you all our picturesque journey through Turkey!
On our first day there... we naturally headed to Grand Bazaar for shopping!

Also visited the Spice Market where we bought our amazing sheesha for only $30!!

Beautiful mosque we came across on our walk to the Grand Bazaar

By now, our favorite go to food was Donner Kabob-- for one it was DELICIOUS, but also very cheap street food and we could eat it quickly and get the most out of this city!

This outfit bought entirely (head to toe) from Istanbul!  The flip flops are from Turkey H& feet were just unbearable in heels during our 7 mile per day walks. 

I felt like I was completely transported in time to a land far, far away where epic battles and love stories once took place. 
Pammukale, Turkey. Limestone everywhere! 

Fish Pedicure

Where's waldo?!

Overall, we absolutely loved this country...specifically Istanbul. It was filled with markets, very kind community and best of all... Muslims everywhere! 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I'm a DOCTOR!??!!

And just like that... my life changed forever.  My dream came true. 

For the past 7 years of my life, I have worked towards this very goal. 
I wasn't the brightest student, but my family constantly reminded me that it does not take a genius to make ones dream come true... it takes a hard-worker. 

So that is exactly what I did... I worked harder than anyone... because I had more to prove. Because I didn't have the "brains" they did. I had to rely on my work ethic. 

(Wow, if you're still reading this...then you must really  be bored...) 

I grew up in an immigrant family... you know the story. My father passed away at a young age leaving my mother to raise us 4 kids (so we moved to live the American dream) 
 I must have picked the lucky straw...because I was born the youngest...which meant I had 3 amazing older (WAY older) siblings to take care of me. 

My oldest sister & brother in law so kindly sponsored us to move here. We lived with them through my beginning years of middle school.  Then the responsibility shone onto my brother. 

Much of what I am today, I owe to him. During my second year of college, he pulled me out and said "you are going to be a doctor". I said what?   Next thing I know... I'm on a one-way flight to Saint Kitts. (Carribean Island...for those who don't know). 

I don't think it ever really registered that I was on my way to becoming a doctor..until I started studying for USMLE Step 1. That's when it hit me... this stuff ain't easy.

And I knew passing the Step 1 would be the hardest struggle I would ever have to overcome.

I gave up my friends, my freedom, my shopping addiction... in ex-change for Milano cookies, hot cheetos and my First Aid... and oh yeah, my butt glued to a chair in the library for 16 hours a day

Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, that is way great spiritual giants are produced.

Those were the hardest days of my life.. because my future was SO UNCERTAIN. I didn't know if all this hard work would ever really yield to ANYTHING. Would I ever even pass my boards? Would I ever get residency?  All this out of pocket costs...will they ever amount to anything? And all those family members I would let down. They invested in me with their life savings... with complete blind faith that I would amount to something. Would their investment ever mount to anything? 

When you are in troubled and worried and sick at heart 
And your plans are upset and your world falls apart, 
Remember God’s ready and waiting to share
The burden you find much to heavy to bear—
So with faith, “Let Go and Let GOD” lead your way
Into a brighter and less troubled day.

But those times, is what brought me closer to God. It brought me appreciation for money, and created a humbleness in my heart for the less fortunate. Struggle changes you. It breaks you, ruins you, mends you back together & polishes you...into a person who will fight fight fight for what they decided will be their destiny. No matter what. 
Step 1 Studying-- USMLE world non stop.

Spent a good 8 months studying for Step 1 from 8 am- 11pm at this very spot. Maryville University.

Getting through Step 1 was all about schedules. I made one weekly and stuck to it like white on rice.
During the holidays, when Maryville University would be closed I would study at WASHU. My sister would drop me off before work (which was 4 am) and my brother would pick me up at 11 pm. 

The Day I Passed Step 1-- I was in Chicago & had already started my first rotation when I finally got my results-- I had passed! I drove immediately to Saint Louis & surprised my entire family. Their reaction is something I will hold onto for the rest of my life. Totally worth it. 

The First Day of My Rotations in Chicago. 
And then... There is the day I found out I MATCHED!!!! God is great!