Change of Plans or When Your Mom Says You`re an Idiot

“What`s new?” my mom asked me.

“Nothing much…” I said. “My arabic class finished just now… Oh, by the way, I am submitting my Bachelor thesis. Soon I am gonna become a COMPUTER SCIENCE ENGINEER.”

We were talking on the phone.

“Molodets…,” she said [which means “good job” in Russian].

“But I don`t want to stop studying. I really don`t… I want to continue learning.”

“That`s good. I am not telling you to stop studies.”

“You are not?” I said, teasing her [I already kinda knew that she wanted me to do Masters].

“Of course I am not. I told you that already.”

“There`s this cool British school I am thinking about.” I muttered. “Maybe I should do my Masters there.”

“How much would it cost?”

After telling her how much it would cost to study in the UK, and some of the advantages of studying in the Czech Republic, I started talking about all the stupid stuff that was going on in my head [it can be pretty messy there sometimes].

When I told her about opportunities in the UK, Germany, and Saudi Arabia [yes, you read it right – Saudi Arabia], she was like:

“But how about America? I thought you wanted to study in the US?”

I kept silence for a moment, because she sounded annoyed and clearly didn`t want me to answer her rhetoric question.

“You are changing your plans so quickly: yesterday you wanted one thing, today you want another thing, and tomorrow you want something totally different. YOU ARE NOT SERIOUS!” she kind of scolded me.

“Mom,” I said trying to calm her down. “I was not talking about my PLANS. I am just sharing my THOUGHTS with you… just thoughts.”

After I said that, she seemed to calm down.

But when I said goodbye and clicked the red button, I started thinking: WHAT`S WRONG WITH CHANGING PLANS ANYWAY?

I think, it is totally okay to change plans. Because I read everyday. I learn new things. I find new opportunities. Then I USE those opportunities. That`s why sometimes I change my plans  – so it is actually a GOOD thing, isn`t it?

UNTIL I AM 30 I want to experience as many things as possible.

Besides, I am only 23 years old: I am just not capable of being serious about my life right now.

What else would you expect from a kid like me? 🙂

Maybe I Will Stay In The Czech Republic

I am writing the last pages of my Bachelor thesis in Starbucks.

A group of students are sitting  in front me. “This is the most stressful exam, believe me,” said one of them [they are like 10 people].

“There is too much information to learn, and too little time to study,” the guy explained to the rest of the group.

“Man, you have to concentrate,” I tell myself.

The deadline to submit the thesis is near — 17 days left.

So, I talk to myself [that`s how I concentrate]. I got focused. Looked at the screen of my Mac. And carried on doing research for my thesis.

After a while, I heard one of the girls saying “If there are no questions, we are good to go. Let`s keep this meeting short.”

Then, a guy said something and all of them laughed. They all stood up and left, leaving behind white Starbucks cups with their names on them.

I thought: “If I continue doing Masters at one of the British universities in Prague, I will be one of these students next year.”

Around that area, there are 2 British schools. And these students studied there [for sure].

Their English was perfect. They all looked cool. They were active, passionate, eager to study.

I wanted to be one of them: “Do I really need to go to America to study? I could get a good Management education being in Prague.”

There is one British-American school in Prague, called “University of New York”.

They have a 1-year Masters program in ‘International Management’ for $12,000. After completion, I would get a degree from England [meaning, I would get the same degree if I studied in the UK].

This is not a bad deal at all. The same kind of degree would cost me at least 3 times more expensive if I studied in America or the UK.

After submitting my Bachelor thesis, I should sit down and put down all the pros and cons of moving to the US.

Maybe I should stay in the Czech Republic, after all.

My Little Niece

I have an aunt. She has a daughter [my cousin]. And she has a daughter too [my niece].

When I was in Uzbekistan 4 years ago, my niece was so little that I used to play with her like I would play with a little baby [because she was an actual BABY].

Today somebody messaged me on instagram: “привет меня зовут Oминахон [Hi, my name is Ominahon].”

When I opened her profile, there was a photo of my pretty niece. I thought, my cousin is messing with me, putting her daughters photo on her instagram profile and stories.

“Hi, beautiful. How are you?” I replied, messing with her too.

“We used to go to your place with my brothers. Do you remember me?” she said.

“Of course, I remember.” I texted.

Soon I realized that it was actually MY LITTLE NIECE messaging me herself.

I was shocked for a moment. It took me a while to understand that my niece has become old enough to have her own instagram profile. She texts me without even making grammatical mistakes.

It is blowing my mind off when I think how fast she grew up. Unbelievable.

American Embassy or How I Got Visa To The United States

“Do you have anything electronic in your bag?” the security officer asked me.

The appointment was at 9:15. I arrived at 8:45.

“Yes,” I replied to the guard, pulling out my computer, headphones, and a charger out of my bag.

It was good that I came early, because there was a queue outside. When my turn came to enter the embassy, it was almost 9:15.

“Put them into this box,” the officer ordered.

He checked me [from head to toe].

“Please go left and then upstairs,” he showed me directions to consulate part of the 3-storey embassy building.

I took a ‘number’ from the machine [I don`t know what it is called] that gives out numbers to people in the waiting room, to organize a queue.

My turn came after some 10-15 minutes. The consulate officer called me to “window #6”.

“Hiii,” she said with a a nice American smile on her face.

“Hi,” I responded with an UZBEK smile [on my Pakistani face].

“What is the purpose of your visit to the United States?” the officer asked me.

“To visit a few universities,” I said looking straight into her eyes.

“Aha…,” she said as if waiting for me to continue.

“I am thinking of visiting Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee,” I carried on. “I was there last year.”

“Oh, my sister lives in Nashville,” she interrupted. “It is a nice town.”

“It is a beautiful city,” I agreed.

“Do you want to continue your studies in the US?”

“Yes. I am thinking of doing my Masters there,” I answered.

She nodded her head twice. Looked at her computer. Then without moving her eyes off the screen, she ‘robottically’ said; “Your visa has been approved. You can pick it up in 3-4 business days.”

I have picked up my passport. They gave me a visa to America for 1 year.

Pretty Ukrainians

I woke up. Took my phone. Opened facebook. The first notification: “Football is cancelled”. ‘Great…’ I thought.

I look forward to Saturday the WHOLE WEEK and then I see this…

I lied in my bed the whole day [getting up only for prayers], chatting on the phone with my brother in Turkey.

Thank God I had an Arabic class in the evening so I was forced to go out.

“His wife is from Ukraine…,” my tutor routinely said in the middle of the conversation, when we were chatting over a cup of tea.

“Have you noticed that actually a lot of [Arab] brothers are married to Ukrainians?”

“Hm… Really?” he replied.

“Well, yeah,” I hinted [in my head] at a few brothers from Jordan, Emirates, Saudi Arabia. “I even know an Uzbek brother, who is married to a Ukrainian sister.”

“That`s true,” he carelessly agreed [with my “incredible” observation], texting something on his phone at the same time.

I mean, for real… I know so many Arabs who are crazy about East-European girls.

“I am wondering why… Why Ukrainian women?”, I muttered.

After thinking for a few moments, he simply said: “They are pretty.” [He smiled at me].

“That`s true,” I agreed.

But…

I believe getting married just because of the ‘physical beauty’ of your spouse is the worst mistake you can ever make in your life.

Beautiful women are like DELICIOUS FOOD:

If you eat it EVERY DAY, after a while it will taste like any other ‘normal’ food [you know what I mean?].

Maybe that`s why our Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Choose your wife based on her FAITH.”

In many ways, ‘Faith’ means — ‘character’.

So, mathematically speaking [and this is just my own humble opinion]…

Character > Beauty.

Religion

I was going down the stairs in my faculty building.

One of my old friends [we attended a couple of classes together 2 years ago] was going upstairs. We bumped into each other.

“Hey, man. Long time no see. How are you?” I said.

“Hi! I`m good, how are you doing?”

We started chatting right in the middle of the corridor, as people were passing by.

“I thought you already graduated, bro.” I told him being confused.

“Man, I have been studying forever… I am at this uni for 7 years, and still haven`t graduated.”

We walked to the ‘lounge’ on the first floor, so we could chat a little more.

“What`s new with you?” he asked me.

“Well, I`m graduating soon. 11 weeks… and I will officially become a Computer Science engineer,” I boasted.

“Great. What next?”

“Honestly, I don`t want to stop studying. I want to continue…”

“Like what? You want to continue in IT?”

“Nah… not IT. I want to study something religious.”

“Oh, really? Like what?”

“You know, I come from a religious family,” I confessed. “I always wanted to learn Koran by heart — and right now that`s all I want to do.”

My friend was a little confused about why I chose to study IT if I had actually been more interested in spiritual studies.

I tried to explain to him that the main reason I  studied IT is not because I liked it, but because I wanted to study something that would bring me consistent income.

Now that I have IT degree, I can find a job anywhere in the world [be it America or Uzbekistan].

If I studied Koran first, I wouldn`t be able to make a living out of it.

Now that I have a stable salary, I can spend my time doing things like I actually enjoy — for example, learning Koran 🙂

After all, I do believe in the life after death. I believe that, when we die, we will either go to Hell [if we were bad people] or to Paradise [for good people].

I also believe that knowing Koran by heart will help me immensely to get the keys of Jannah 🙂

[I`ve done so many bad things. Maybe now is the time for me to do something good].

If you want to help me, please, make du`a: ask Allah to make learning Koran easy for me [or at least, just say “Ameen” here]. This will help me a bunch 🙂

I Like Psychology [more than IT]

“My name is Daniel Balcha… ,” our Psychology teacher introduced himself today. It’s the first lecture at this semester.

The lecture hall was full of students. Some of them couldn’t even find a place to sit down, so they had to STAND the whole lecture.

I was sitting in the very first row.

“Who can define ‘Psychology’?” Mr Balcha asked the audience, with an African accent [his English was perfect].

A few students raised their hands to answer the question.

“Yes, please” the lecturer pointed at one of the students.

“It’s a study of human bahavior…”

Usually during my standard IT lectures, I barely keep myself awake.

But this time… Throughout the whole lecture [almost 2 hours], I was so focused at the lecturer that even I felt weird.

Why this happened to me? I have 2 possible explanations:

1. Either because I was sitting on the first row and had no other option but to sit straight.

2. Or because I am naurally more interested in Psychology rather than in IT.

And something is telling me that the second reason is the case here [because I always sit at the first rows at lectures, and still fall asleep at IT classes].

When Your Boss Appreciates Your Work

My boss pinged me on Skype today: “Hi, Abdulla.”

“Hi,” I texted back.

“Are you in the office?” [it was 6pm and almost nobody was in the building]

“Yes, I am.”

“Can you please walk by my desk?”

His desk is like 30 meters away from mine. I walked towards him. He said with his Dutch accent [smiling, as usual] “Hey, Abdulla. I’m trying to find…”.

He was sitting at his big desk, next to a large flower plant, with some papers in his hand. He was trying to read the papers and understand what they are about. After a few seconds, he looked at me and said:

“Zeid told me you wrote a post about him and me.”

“Yeah, I did,” I replied being slightly embarrassed. “But I never mentioned your name anywhere… so you don`t have to worry.”

“Oh, that`s okay,” he calmed me down.

“Did you read it?”

“Yes, I did. I actually liked it. It`s good. ” he praised my little work. I felt appreciated [the best feeling ever].

These people — my bosses — are the ‘engine’ of my development.

These little ‘encouragements’ [even when sometimes my work is poor] from the people I admire is everything I need.

Football And Podcast

Today was a ‘football day’ for me [like any other Satuday].

Take the ball. Pass the ball. Take the ball. Pass the ball — This is the football style Guardiola taught Barcelona players between 2008-2012 — ‘tiki-taka’.

Result: two times the champions of Europe.

I enjoyed this style of football so much in Barca, when Pep was coaching the team.

I love watching players make these ’smart’ passes. To me, that`s a REAL piece of art.

We finished playing at around 5pm. I changed my clothes. Said goodbye to everybody. And headed towards metro with my blue bag on my left shoulder.

One of my friends was with me.

“Hey, you know what I`m thinking about?” I said to him.

“What?”

“I`m thinking of starting a podcast, where I would record my blogposts as AUDIO content with my own voice.”

“Podcast? What`s that?”

“It`s aahmm…It`s kinda ’radio’,” I tried to explain it to him in simple words, but he seemed to not understand.

“Look,” I said, trying to explain in another way. “BLOGGING usually comes in 3 ways: written posts, video, or audio.”

“Aha,” he exclaimed. “So, blogging with AUDIO would be ‘podcasting’.”

“Yeah, bro. You got it. They say podcasting is the FUTURE. It is a new TREND.”

I get all these ideas coming to my head all the time. But these ideas cost nothing. Absolutely nothing.

I remember when I was studying at a British university, one of the teachers said:

“Most people have brilliant BUSINESS IDEAS. But only few people are actually able to turn them into REALITY.”

Apple had an excellent idea to manufacture high-end tech products. But if they wouldn`t turn those ideas into reality, those ideas would cost ZERO dollars.

What I am trying to say here is… it`s great that you can tell people that you have this idea of podcasting.

But if I don`t actually start doing it, this idea is a total crap.

Friend Got Promoted

“So… Zeid is leaving to another company…,” my boss told me today, using the tone of voice he usually uses when he tries to start a chitchat.

We were moving our stuff in boxes to another floor.

“Yeah, I know…” I said.

Zeid is my friend. We study together at uni. But at work he is kinda one of my managers [one rank above me].

“Zeid is now a big boss at the French company,” I muttered, smiling.

“Oh yeah, he is a big boss now,” he agreed.

“There he has kinda the same rank LIKE YOU do here,” I replied.

“Actually, I think he has a higher position than mine. Because he has 5 direct ‘reports’ [meaning, 5 employees ‘under’ Zeid who kinda work for him],” he made a pause, feeling proud of Zeid.

Of course he feels proud of him. Zeid is his protege, after all.

“We have to call him Mr Sleiman now. I think calling him by his first name wouldn`t be appropriate anymore.”

“It`s true,” he replied immediately, smiling. “He might get NERVOUS if we call him by his first name.”

At this point I laughed out so loudly that some people looked at me like at an idiot.

I am honestly happy for Zeid. He has been always so nice to me all these… [I would say ‘years’, but I`ve worked at DHL for only half a year now]… all these 7 months.

And even before coming to DHL he`d always been a good friend to me. I wish him all the best at his new job. I know that he is gonna KILL IT there just like he is killing it here.

[Mr Sleiman! Yalla, habibi 😉]