“Friends”

“Fatimah, I want to tell you something,” he said.

They were in a small cafe with 3 cozy sofas, a small kitchen in the basement, and one waiter.

Table. Two cups of tea.

“You are the most amazing girl I`ve ever met in my life,” his hands were shaking. “And I`m afraid… so afraid… that I might not be able to…. find a girl… like you… ever again.”

He was so stressed that he couldn`t even look at Fatimah`s eyes as he was saying this.

He thought to himself: “I should smile at her… so she understands that I`m totally honest.” and he literally “forced” the muscles on his face to smile [it was really difficult].

Fatimah noticed his struggle.

“I really think that I love you…,” he finally muttered.

She was looking at him, with her head bent to the left and with a subtle smile on her face. She was feeling happy… but surprised.

[Why happy? Because she just heard the most beautiful words, from a guy she likes.]
[Why surprised? Because she didn`t expect it that day.]

Fatimah lowered her eyes… thought for a second.

Ali got a feeling that she became sad. But he couldn’t understand why.

Then she looked at him and said, “I can only be FRIENDS with you. Right now I cannot go beyond that. Sorry.”

He felt his heart broke down, really. After all, it was the first time he fell in love with somebody so seriously.

[to be continued]

Little daughter

“I am getting married, bro 🙂,” my schoolmate messaged me from Uzbekistan like 2 years ago. I was studying in the Czech Republic.

“Congrats, my friend!” I messaged him back. I was honestly happy for him with all my heart.

Last week he messaged me on Instagram: “Qizlik bo`ldim o`rto.” [“My daughter was born, man.”]

His daughter [!!!] was born last week.

With this friend of mine we spent 5 years, sitting at one desk at school [a middle-school]. We are at the same age. And he is saying that he is now a FATHER.

“Bro…,” I messaged him. “I am so happy for you. Let her have a long life!”

I always thought that we would be together whole life [I mean, with this friend of mine]. That we would marry in the same year. That our kids would be of the same age. That our kids would go to the same school [as we did].

I was so young and naive.

If somebody of my age, who sat at the same desk with me at school, got married and already got a child [A CHILD! I still can`t get used to that], then does that mean that I should “hurry up”?

Am I legging behind? Is it time for me to be more WORRIED about building a family and things like that?

….

I had those thoughts for several moments.

But… I remember somebody told me… [I know it`s gonna be funny now… but, anyway]

Barack Obama became a President when he was 47 years old.

Donald Trump — when he reached 70.

Does that mean that Mr Obama did better than Mr Trump? That Obama is smarter, luckier, more hard-working than Trump?

“Age means nothing. It is just a number.”

To reach success, some people take it longer than others.

I came to learn that every person has a different destiny. Everybody has his own way.

So… I guess, I am doing just fine. Time will come and I will be a FATHER too 😉

$10,000 a month?

“I always wanted to have my own company,” explained the CEO [or “Director”, if you want].

We were on a business trip in Berlin, Germany [last month]. Even though I don`t work for his company, he invited me to go along with his team to a german conference. “We need somebody who speaks German,” he told me, inviting me. “All the costs of the trip are on me… if you have time, of course.”

I was honestly happy to go to this trip with him. One of the reasons: I wanted to get some advice from an experienced businessman, regarding the business school that I am planning to go for my Masters next year.

I accepted his invitation. The next week… We went to Germany.

“Do you think investing $50,000 in business school is worth it?” I asked him, as we were standing at the stand of his company in Berlin conference.

“Yeah, I think it is,” he said. “Any investment in YOURSELF is worth it.”

“But… I mean, it is not little money after all…”

He nodded and said: “I understand that. Let me put it this way: If I were you, I would go to a good business school without hesitation and get a Management degree.”

I kept silence and listened to him attentively.

“Look,” he continued. “After you graduate from the business school, you will find a job on a management position. You will have a management career.”

I felt like I was at the lecture of a business “professor” at university. But this lecture was different than any other lecture at uni. It was INTERESTING, because this professor [unlike many others] has actual EXPERIENCE running his own business.

“After some 10 years of management experience, you might even get into the board of top management of some company. The average salary of these guys is around $50,000.”

At this moment he stopped, looked down as if thinking about something and then said, “You know, I always wanted to manage my own company. But if you work for somebody [as a manager], that is not bad either. You will manage NOT YOUR OWN company, but you will manage a company of SOMEBODY ELSE.”

He smiled at this point. Then he laughed at his own thoughts and said [smiling with all his white teeth]:

“If that company goes bankrupt, you don`t get stressed at all. You just change the company you work for.”

For a person who is 100% responsible for the success or failure of the company, this was true and funny at the same time, because if his company goes bankrupt he cannot afford being NOT stressed.

“If somebody offered me such a job on a management position, maybe I would even stop doing this business,” he pointed at the green logo of his company and said. “and I`d probably accept that job offer.”

“Would you work for $10,000 a month?” I asked, being so curious about his story.

“No, actually… for 10k I wouldn`t work.” he responded with a serious look on his face. “But I`d work for 20k”

By this time one of the guys of our team [he also has his own company] had joined our conversation and exclaimed, as if being confused: “Really? Would you really work for 20k?”

“Well, yeah… Why not? This is quite enough: you will live in a good big house, you`ll eat good food, wear nice clothes, you`ll send your kids to a good school, travel…,” he was very serious about this idea. “Besides, you will not have to stress 24/7 like when you have your own business. Work from Monday to Friday. From 9 to 18. And spend the rest of your time with your family and for your hobby.”

This is one of the perspectives on life and work. Some people prefer managing their OWN company. Some people prefer managing a company of SOMEBODY ELSE.

As far as I am concerned, I want to get a degree from a good business school and have a management career.

Will I have my own business? Will I be just a manager at some company? I don`t really know. Time will show. I just want to spend my life doing what I enjoy doing 🙂

Deloitte Lessons

“Do you mind a photo of this meeting?” I asked my business coach at Deloitte, when the meeting was over. “It’s for my blog,” I added seeing she was not quite sure about that.

“Oh, I look terrible right now…” she said.

“Come on, Mrs Edwards,” I responded. “You look awesome!”

This way I “convinced” her to make a picture of us, sitting at a table, drinking tea, and talking.

When I won the start-up contest last year, becoming one of the best 6 start-ups in the Czech Republic, as a prize they gave me a private business coach from Deloitte.

When we first met, one of the first things that Mrs Edwards asked me was “What do you expect from our coaching sessions?”

I had already prepared the answer to that question before coming to the meeting: “I want to MONETIZE my blog.” [later, I changed my mind and decided NOT to make money out of it. I want my blog to be FREE, because it is more fun that way 😉].

My friends keep asking me, “What did you learn this time?” They think that Deloitte tells me “secrets of business world”, giving me “tricks” that will make millions of dollars fall from the sky into my pocket.

As a matter of fact, nowadays there is NO SECRET whatsoever. Any information is available on the internet [think: how incredible is the time we are living in].

Most of the time during the meetings, we talk about “dreams”, “long-term goals”, “spirituality”, “having a passion” [sometimes we even talk about my family issues]. I’d say, she is more of a PSYCHOLOGIST who helps “fix my brain”, rather than a business coach. [perhaps, nowadays this is the same thing.]

My coach simply helps me become “a good person”. She helps me develop my personality [which you cannot download from the internet].

Thank you, Mrs Edwards! 😉

Husband Who Sleeps With Other Women

“Do you love your husband?”

“No, I don’t.” she said with pain in her chest. “But he is the father of my children.”

Two sons and a daughter [I saw them. They’re simply angels].

“I live with him only because my kids call him ‘dad’,” she repeated, with such a lowering voice as if she was losing it.

They got married 5 years ago. At first, everything was beautiful. They both felt like they were at the peak of happiness.

After one year of marriage, however, the loving husband got bored [bored of the marriage life]. He missed his old bachelor times. He was rich back then too and could afford to change girlfriends every week [which he actually did].

The wife says that one day she “installed a recording tape into her husband’s phone”, so she could know everything: who he is speaking to, what they are talking about, how he treats other ladies… She quickly found out that he was sleeping with other women, cheating on her.

One day she even spotted her husband and his girlfriend, when the couple was walking in the park.

Seeing his wife, he panicked.

The mother of three started yelling at them from a distance, walking closer. When she came close enough to that lady, she punched her in the face, while yelling angrily at her husband.

4 years past after that story. She still lives with her husband under one roof, in one house. Her little daughter is already 3 years old.

He never apologized. He said “you never spotted us lying in a bed together. We were just talking. We are just friends,” he said [yeah… friends “with benefits”].

That father had brothers. One of them [apparently, who was single] once asked him: “Why do you sleep with other women when you have a WIFE at home?”

He answered [with another question], unfairly to his wife: “Would you eat the same food every single day? Can you imagine eating ONE SAME FOOD EVERY FREAKING DAY? Sometimes you want to try bananas instead of apples.” [did you get this?]

Today, the wife confesses: “I know what my husband is doing. But I can do nothing about it.” she finally burst into tears. “This is my fate,” she said to herself. “I have to live with this.”

For the sake of those angels, she sacrificed her life. She kept on living with her husband, washing his clothes, ironing his suit every morning, cooking for him, cleaning the house, not sleeping nights taking care of the kids.

Because he was the father of her children. She kept living with him. Till the end.

My Wife or One Thing That Helps Me Get To Cambridge

“Please, tell me, what should I do for the next 6 months?,” I asked my educational consultant, who is helping me get admission to Cambridge.

“You should get your Bachelor degree, improve your GPA, read books regularly, take part at extra-curricular activities,” he responded.

“I was thinking, maybe I should STOP BLOGGING for a while because it takes some of my free time which I could spend on studying for GMAT, for example,” I hesitated. “What do you think?”

“Abdullah, tell me,” my consultant took my complete attention. “What are you planning to do after you graduate from Cambridge?”

“After graduation, until I am 29 I want to work for a media company [like New York Times, BBC, Al-Jazeera]. I want to write articles, produce short-films, lead a radio channel. Writing is my passion. You know that,” I said.

“Yeah…,” he kind of confirmed that he was listening.

“When I am 30,” I carried on. “I want to manage teams of journalists, bloggers, video producers on a global level. Maybe I’ll found my own company.”

“Well, then you shouldn’t stop blogging. By no means,” he assured me. “Believe me: this blogging experience will even HELP YOU get admitted to Cambridge.”

It became kind of easier to breathe after he said this. I felt relief and joy.

“If you stop blogging,” he explained. “This will be a CONTRADICTION to your plans. You know what I mean?”

“Yes, I understand.”

I was so happy that he advised me to continue blogging. Because my blog has become a part of my life.

My blog is my wife. I love her. She is always with me. She is the only relief for me after a difficult day, because no matter how difficult my day was, I always know that she is waiting for me at home.

My sister once told me, “when you love somebody, your life will seem more beautiful. You will always be motivated to do things. Even your worst day will become colorful.”

But do you know what is BAD about being in love?

When she doesn’t respond to your messages, you will get nervous. You won’t be able to focus. You will be thinking only about her. You can do nothing else. You will suffer emotionally.

The worst thing about loving somebody is that at difficult times, when she has to move to another town, and you don’t see each other for a long time, or when you are having hard time in your relationship, or when she simply doesn’t answer to your messages, you feel bad. You cannot focus on your work. The quality of your life will go down.

But MY “wife” is always loyal to me [so long as I have internet connection]. She always responds to my messages. She always travels with me.

Whenever I need her, she is always right there for me.

She messages me every morning, as soon as I wake up. She prepares my breakfast and cooks my dinner [okay, this one is not serious now].

The most important thing is: SHE LOVES ME! She freaking loves me. And I LOVE HER. We will always be together.

My wife will help me get to Cambridge.
[what a wonderful wife I have].

My Name Is Abdullah

After praying Asr, I was sitting down in the corner of the mosque.

I took my iPad out of my little bag, opened Evernote, and started writing my thoughts down in a diary.

I was writing about all the things happening to me in Germany at that time: about my studies in Düsseldorf; what a big city Frankfurt was; how the USA was different from Germany; whether I want to live with my family in America or Europe; about the wonderful girl I met in Amsterdam.

After 10 minutes, when I was still sitting [with my legs butterfly-shaped] and journaling my thoughts at the corner of the masjid, somebody called me by my name: “Hey, Abdullah!”

“Who is calling me by my name?,” I thought. “I know nobody here.”

When I raised my eyes, I saw a guy aged 24-25, looking at me [there were several other guys around him].

“Have you prayed Asr yet?,” he asked me politely [in German].

“Yes, I already did, brother. Why?,” I answered, still wondering how he knew my name.

“Achso..” he smiled. “Don’t get me wrong, brother. We just thought, maybe we could pray together…”

I smiled back at him and said: “No problem, akhi. Barakallohu feek!”

They gathered, stood up, and started praying. I was sitting behind them with my iPad on my knees, writing…

I spend a lot of time in mosques studying, reading something, writing and bloggging [sometimes even sleeping].

For some reason, when I am in a mosque I feel “at home”. At home… Maybe that’s because it reminds me of the sweet times when my dad used to take me to masjid in Tashkent, when I was 5-6 years old.

While I was sitting, I was still wondering “how on Earth did he know my name?”

Suddenly I got it! I got it! Do you know the meaning of my name?

“Abdullah” means “the servant of God”.

In Islam, every muslim is the “servant of God”. In Koran, Allah says “I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship me.” [Surah 51, Ayah 56].

In other words, if you are a muslim, then you can call yourself “Abdullah”.

So, any muslim is Abdullah. Not just me.

[Hey, Abdullah, did you like this story? Then why don’t you tag another Abdullah in comments? 😉]

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.