Cambridge

It was around 11:50AM, Friday, Frankfurt. I was walking towards a local mosque.
My phone rang: a call from London, the UK [Usually I don’t get calls from England. In fact, I NEVER get them].
“Hallo?,” I said, getting excited. I was actually waiting for that call for a long time.
“Hi, Abdullah, is it comfortable for you to talk right now?,” he asked.
“Yeah, sure,” I responded. “How are you doing, Sir?”
A couple of months ago, I sent my documents to a British consulting firm that assists students get admission to British universities [they got my CV, university GPA, and other papers].
“I am doing great. How about yourself?” the consultant said.
“I’m calling regarding your application to Cambridge,” he finally confessed.
“Aha?,” my absolute focus was on what he was going to say next.
“Looking at your papers and all the things you’ve achieved, we can say that you have very good chances.”
[wow, I thought]
He kept going: “You’re highly likely to get admission to these 3 universities: Cambridge, Oxford, and London School of Economics.”
My brain stopped working for several moments when I heard him saying “Oxford and Cambridge.” I didn’t know what to say.
Eventually I said: “What should I do for that?”
[Later, I realized this wasn’t what he wanted me to say. Instead, I should’ve said something like “woow, cool, thank you!”]
“Well, just keep doing what you are doing,” he said as if responding to a dumb question. “Remind me, how much time left until your graduation?”
“1.5 years,” I replied.
“Good. Pretty good. As I said, just keed going. I’m 100% sure that you’ll get admitted to those three: Cambridge, Oxford, LSE. And I have to say, LSE is the best one in your field.”
“Thank you so much! I really appreciate it.”
After we thanked each other and finished the call [we talked for more than 30 minutes, I almost missed my Friday prayer], different thoughts started coming into my head.
I thought he exegerrated. How can he be so sure that I will get to Cambridge and Oxford?
“Probably he tried to sound SO SURE just to MOTIVATE me,” I thought.
Maybe he didn’t tell me the whole truth. But you know what? If he just wanted to motivate me, he freaking managed it. Because right now I am motivated like hell.
I have decided to take GMAT one more time in May 2018.
I’m investing $4000 into my Cambridge preparations right now.
I’ve always done what my mentors told me to do. This time is gonna be no different. I am gonna do what my mentor told me: Keep going. Just keep going.
Let’s it do it, baby.

Citizen Of The World

“I’m kinda… little bit… afraid of living in another country,” I said, talking to a man, who was a leader of an engineering team at Ucell [big communications company in Uzbekistan]. “I’ve never lived abroad. I don’t know how it feels like, and how I should think, act, or work there.”
“Do not make a big deal out of it,” he gave a big laugh at me. “Let me tell you how it’s gonna happen. You enter the airport in Tashkent. A few hours will pass. You will go out from the airport in Frankfurt. And baaam! You are in Europe.”
He was mocking at me. However, he was right: it’s really not a big deal to move to another country.
This year was the craziest for me. Never in my life I have traveled so many countries within ONE YEAR [I love traveling, I wish my full-time job was just to travel and blog].
My conlusion from all of this experience is as follows.
When you go out of the airport in a foreign country, almost everything stays the same as it was in your own country. Your clothes. Your hairstyle. Your way of thinking [at least first days]. All of your knowledge you have collected that far. Even the way you smell stays the same [haha].
It is only after 3-4 weeks you will notice a gradual change. Change in your style. Change in mindset. Change in HABITS [this is my favourite]. Change in how you look at the simple things. Sometimes you will say to yourself “Maaan, I’m walking in the streets of Frankfurt right now! Frankfurt! Yaaaay!”
Do you want to live in another country? What keeps you from not doing so?
When I asked one of my American pals, who was longing for going back to the States, “Why are you living in Czech Republic, not in the States?”, he replied rather succinctly: “My girlfriend is Czech.”
Family is probably a legit reason for NOT doing what you want to do [not always, though]. Maybe, VISA issue is another hurdle for staying in one place.
Other than that, as one of the vloggers I follow on Youtube once put it “Nowadays there is no excuse for not doing what you want to do.”
Perhaps, that’s how you become a citizen of the world.
It’s interesting, because such people as Albert Einstein [physics genius] and Pavel Durov [technology genius] consider themselves as citizens of the world. Very interesting.

My father

Where are you, dad?

I remember the last time we met, when I was 8. I remember that day like it was 5 seconds ago.

Since then, they’ve been telling me: “Don’t talk about your father to anybody! ”

But, dad, for God’s sake… I’m tired of keeping slience. Seriously. I can’t do that anymore.

Are you alive?

I would give away everything I have just to find out one thing: whether you’re still breathing.

I promise, dad. One day you will feel proud of your son. I’m not young anymore. I’m no longer 8.

You’re my father, my hero, my teacher, my President, my coach, my mentor. You are the king of my world. My hero.

Maybe you’re already dead.

Is our next meeting in the Heavens?

When we meet up there, I want to tell you everything I’ve done to make you proud.

I promise, my dad. You will be proud of me. You will be proud of me.

Frankfurt

Me: Do you remember, when we were 11, we used to play soccer in Tashkent streets BAREFOOT?

Sulay: hehe… and now we’re eating lentil soup in financial center of Germany 😀

Me: that’s crazy.

Sulay: that’s crazy.

He lives in Canada. I live in Prague. How could you guess that one day we would meet in Frankfurt? Life is so interesting.

I’m blessed with friends who tell me “Whenever you’re in trouble, just give me a call. We’ll solve any of your problem.”

Because I have such friends as Sulay, I’m afraid of NOTHING. Absolutely nothing.

P.S. Germany has been amazing so far 😉 #TravellingIsPriceless

America Or Europe?

“Are you sure you wanna go back to Czech Republic?,” my manager asked me [at my second job]. He was driving me home in his black Nissan Altima after work.

“Well… yes… Why?” I said.

“How about if you stay with us in Nashville for the next 3 years? We’ll fix your Visa. It’s not a problem.”

I said nothing and kept looking at him with confused eyes.

“I mean,” he continued. “How much are you making per week right now?”

“C’mon, man. You know how much I make a week: a thousand dollars.”

“And how old are you?”

“Twenty-one.”

“That’s what I am talking about, buddy,” he said with a serious face. “Listen to me… When I first came to America 3 years ago, I had nothing except 600 dollars in my pocket. For three years I worked my ass off.”

Then he took his right hand off the steering wheel, made music in his car a bit quieter and said: “Do you know what I achieved during these three years? I got a car, financially supported my family back in Tashkent, built a nice house in Uzbekistan [that’s a huge one, I thought], and soon I am getting married.”

He made a pause for several moments [silence] and then said: “This year I am turning 30. Imagine you can do all of this before you are 24! I mean it’s up to you. I am just giving a piece of advice.”

In a way, he offers me a job contract for 3 years.

I phoned my best friend to ask for his advice. He said something close to this: “If you can make such money without a degree, think about how much you can make AFTER you get a proper education.”

Of course this is a pretty good job offer, which I don’t get very often.

However, I want to become a writer. Not a restaurant manager.

I am going back to Czech Republic next month.

But before that, I want to save some money for my studies and for my mom.

I want to take her to Paris. I remember when I was 13, she said: “Nima deb o’ylaysan, biz ham ‘Eyfel’ ni ko’rarmikinmiz? [What do you think, am I going to see the Eiffel tower one day?]”.

Looks like, now it’s the right time for me to make her dreams come true.

Mexican Brother or How Many Pairs of Shoes Do You Actually Need?

“Hi, Sir, how are you?” I said waving and approaching him.
“Good. How about you?,” the Mexican man asked smiling back to me.
“Hot!” I said.
“I bet! Hahaha!” he laughed.

“My name is Abdu. I am a college exchange student all the way from Europe,” I gave a big smile.
“How can I help you?”
“I am the one who has been sitting down with all of the educational focused parents and teachers here in Modesto, California… [I made a pause here and smilied looking into his eyes] showing educational tools for high schoolers all the way down to little toddlers.”

“My kids are all grown up and gone. Even my grandkid is already in college.”
“I am on the wrong spot, then.” I said.
He laughed and said “Yes, you are!”

He had three cars beside his large house: BMW X6, Toyota Camry, and an old Crysler.

“That is a very nice car,” I said looking at his dark red Crysler and moving towards it into the garage. I started inspecting the car with big opened eyes, walking around it.
“Yeah, this is Crysler of the year 1946.”
“1946?!”
“Yes..”
“Wow… this is so awesome.” I said.

When I looked at him at this moment, he had the facial expression as if conveying the message “I am so proud of this car.”
“How much would it cost?” I asked.
“$40,000,” he said, routinely.
“Forty thousand bucks? Are you kidding me?”
“Haha… yes, forty thousand. If I manage to fix it, it will cost $100,000 or even $120,000.”
“What? Does it even move?”
“No,” the Mexican said, still keeping his smile.
“And people buy such cars for that price?”
“Yeap. Collectors do”

Some people buy cars [which do not even move] for this whopping amount of money.

“If I had $40,000, I’d love to spend it for studies at Cambridge… and some people buy toys for that money ”

“Well, this is California,” he said, kidding. “Money is the only thing we have. We don’t know what to do with it.”
He looked down, kept silence for 3 seconds [pondering about something] and then told an old Mexican story as if critiquing himself:

If you have TWO pairs of shoes, then you are RICH. Because you don’t need the second pair. We [most of the time] use only one pair of shoes, right? So the second pair is NOT A NECESSITY.”

Now think about having 3 cars in a garage. One of which cost $40,000 and it won’t even move. Is it a necessity?

The only reason some people buy “the second pair of shoes” is because they want to look “rich” in the eyes of other people [that’s what the ols Mexican man told me today].

How many pairs of shoes do YOU have?

Money Is Important

“It sounds cynic, but usually you are happy when you got money.” — I remember how one woman told me that in my childhood.

When I was on the 9th grade in school, there was one girl with long hair in our class. She was the most beautiful girl in the group and there hardly was a boy who did not like her [there is almost always such girl in any class].

I remember one day two of the boys got into childish fight, one of them shouting “How dare you sit with my girlfriend at one desk!?”. Each of them claimed that she is his “girlfriend.” [now it makes me laugh when I remember that day].

She never noticed me. Of course she wouldn’t. I was kind of “a loser” in the class. But one day…

One day my uncle presented me an iPhone 3GS as a gift [it was a super fancy phone at that time]. And I brought that cool phone to school. I showed it off to everyone. In the entire school there were only two kids who had an iPhone. One of them was me.

Guess what. The girl with long hair started noticing me, smiling at me, talking to me about homework. One day I even dared to text her “Привет! Че делаешь?” [“Hi! How is it going?”]. And we started “dating” [sort of “dating”] for whopping two months. And then in summer holidays we stopped it.

Notice that this “success” came to me AFTER I got that fancy black iPhone. Is it coincidence? I don’t think so. Is it cynic? Absolutely. But that seems to be how this life works.

The more life experience I get, the more I realize — money really matters.

To be honest with you, I don’t want to believe in that. I don’t want my relationships with people be based on finances. Yet, I can name only a few people with whom we have the relationship that is pure from any money matters. With everybody else money is involved one way or the other.

Sometimes we just need to accept the reality.

Get rich [if you can], but don’t get arrogant. Earn a decent living, but don’t forget about your past. Work hard and make money, and spend it on your family.

Get rich, but don’t get arrogant.

Bookman or How I Sold My First Book This Year

“According to Eckhart Tolle,” I continued. “90% of the world population suffer from this disease. We have constant dialogues in our heads. We think without stopping about the events that happened in the PAST, and then we think about imaginary situations in the FUTURE. And those thoughts kind of take over our lives…”

I made a pause for a couple of moments and then asked my audience, “Have you ever found yourself in that situation?”

We were drinking coffee at a table in a cafe. There were 4 of us there: the old man [from Somalia], my friend [from Ethiopia], another friend of mine [from Kazakhstan], and me [from… you know where from].

The old man and the Ethiopian dude got so excited that they SIMULTANEOUSLY said: “Yes! It happens all the time.”

“How do you feel about that?” I asked.
“Bad, very bad.” the old man frowned. “One philosopher said that the life is only three days: yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And the most important day is today. We should always try to live now… to be present. But it’s so hard to do.”

“That’s exactly what this book is about!” I said, smiling and looking into his eyes.

He kept silence for two seconds and then said:
“How is the book called?”
“It’s called The Power of Now. I actually have it with me. I can show you.”

I took a small blue book out of my bag and presented it to the people sitting around the table.

“The power of now?” the Ethiopian exclaimed with a voice that was as if conveying the message: “What a weird title!”

The old man took the book into his hands [while I was still talking about the content of it], opened the book, quickly looked through the text, then closed the book, and once again took a closer look at the nice blue cover of the book. Then he asked, without raising his eyes:

“Where can I get this book?”
“I ordered it from Amazon Germany,” I responded.
“Can you order it for me?”
“Sure I can.”

It is such a great feeling when you feel that you contribute to the personal development of somebody. That man will read the book. He will become smarter. Based on his knowledge he will do a couple of good deeds in his life. And you know what? I am the one who initiated those good deeds in the first place. It is amazing to feel that somebody starts reading a book BECAUSE OF YOU.

Read books more often. Talk about those books. Discuss them with your people whenever you have a chance to do so. Because eventually, you will feel that you are making impact.

My Roommate or 2 Reasons Why He Is Amazing

I was sleeping. Somebody opened the front door with a key and entered the room. It was my roommate.

“Is it you?” I said, with a sleepy voice, hardly conscious of what was happening.
“Yes, Abu, it’s me,” my roommate said with an enthusiastic voice [he always tries to be enthusiastic when greeting people]. He took off his shoes.

I put my hand onto the desk [which was right next to my bed] and took my phone. When I pressed its button, it showed “02:45 AM”.

After several seconds I fell asleep.

When at 06:00 AM the alarm clock of my roommate went off, I woke up again.

“Are you leaving?” I asked when I saw from the corner of my eye that he was dressing up, as if preparing for an important meeting.
“Yes,” he said, smiling. “I have a meeting at 07:00 AM. Sorry if I woke you up.”
“Bro, you just came back home. You hardly slept 3 hours,” I said.

My roommate said nothing and just smiled.
After several moments of silence I said, mumbling: “You are like a robot.”

He merely laughed at my words. Put his shoes on. Combed his hair. Perfumed his neck and wrists. Opened the door. Wished me “a nice day”. And left for his meeting.

His father runs a pretty good firm back in Uzbekistan [I mean, they got money]. Yet my roommate works at two jobs and says that he is old enough to sustain himself and he “is not taking money from home.” You kind of have to admire his personality.

Sleeping 3 hours and working two shifts per day? I could never do that. I’m so grateful to Europe Union that it gave me a full-scholarship grant to study Bachelors. Without this grant, I would probably die. I don’t have the hard-working personality that my roommate has.

Here are two reasons why I admire my roommate:
1. He is one of the most hard-working people I’ve ever known.
2. He is passionate about his job. Sometimes in the mornings he jumps out of his bed, saying “Я люблю свою жизнь!” [“I love my life!”]

[Sometimes I really think that I am living with a robot].