Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New Semester

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New semester is supposed to bring new hope, the brightness of your whole future ahead of you, a fresh page and a new leaf. Determination to make today better than yesterday, this semester, better than the last. But panic seizes up inside of me. I realize I'm now a third year student, a final year student, one that will, insha'Allah, be a graduate by this time next year. I'm not ready for this. After all, what do I know? I'm suddenly a senior that needs to dish out advice to my juniors if they come asking. I'm supposed to have a degree of surety in whatever i have been taught. University life seems so short. I have not accomplished anything worth shouting about, and I’m definitely not armed for the reality of the outside world. My life, as always has been the protected, sheltered one. One that, you could say, was on the easy rote. Family always never more than a few minutes away. Environment, familiar, as were the faces.

I'm hoping it might just be new semester jitters, but I’ve been in an abysmal mood since the first day.


One of my seniors said, as an architect, you can’t just wait around for things to happen. You have to be ahead of the crowd, you have to know your strengths and not be shy about telling people what you’re good at. I don’t think I could ever do that. The thing I hate most to do is to be an imposition on anyone. I don’t want to be putting anyone on the spot. Which is why I don’t ask the questions that really bug me, even if they eat me up inside. But I digress.

Cheer up, Maryam! C’mon…

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Food for thought

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Today I joined my friends Nadiah and Ilham as volunteer tour guides for Masjid Negara, under the Islamic Outreach program. It was my first time and I was really just supposed to observe how my friend did it and what she said. But as it turned out, Masjid Negara was swarmed with tourists that day and there weren’t enough volunteers around. So Ilham and I decided to give it a shot, even though at first you could tell from our faces we were terrified! The first couple we approached was this Indian couple, who weren’t Muslims, but they still sat down in front of the main prayer hall and bowed their heads, I assume paying their respects like they would at a temple. But they were in a hurry so we didn’t get out our full arsenal of information, just the parts that we remembered. But it was enough to get us warmed up, get our juices flowing.

I talked to some American ladies afterwards, a grandmother, her daughter, and her cute baby grandson. Her daughter’s husband works in KL so she was visiting them and her grandson. It was really fun explaining to them about Masjid Negara, it was like I was putting all that stuff I learnt in architecture to good use. And they were really very nice and friendly, and interested in what I was telling them they even asked some questions about prayer, hijab, etc. they even wanted to take a picture of me! :P

Later on we were asked to give guided tours of the mosque so at first all three of us showed two Australian ladies around, but later we broke up into 3 groups, Nadiah taking the Aussies, Ilham had a French guy and an Indian lady, and I took an Italian couple from rome. They didn’t seem too engaged though, maybe because of my own lack of enthusiasm and maybe because they weren’t that well versed in English. But the lady asked some questions, but knowing that I had done a less than satisfactory job I handed them over to a senior uncle who took over. But what was weird was that the uncle seemed a little unsatisfied that we were allowed to give tours since we weren’t properly trained yet. He seemed really peeved. *shrug*

It was a really enlightening experience, and good for me because it meant I had to think on my feet and sharpen up on my knowledge about not only Masjid Negara, but about Islam and Malaysia as well. Time to get studying...Hoping I can continue doing this throughout the semester and beyond, but we’ll have to be properly trained first. Anyone interested can contact me for more details. Training will be sometime in early August.

Later on we prayed Maghrib at Masjid Jamek Kampung Baru. I haven’t been there in the longest time, and it was nice to see all the familiar small lanes and alleys that I used to visit as a child. We then ate at this really nice thai place called… okay cant remember the name but it started with an “S” and ended with a “vit” food was good and decently priced, ambience was commendable and service was quick. Only thing that ruined our dinner was this creepy guy who asked us for money. Really freaked us out that we left. o_O

I love my friends. Whenever we get together we always talk about really interesting topics. Okay, they talk, and I listen while offering my thoughts here and there. But its always fun nonetheless.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What I’ve been up to lately

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Well, most recently I went on a long overdue family vacation, but not anywhere far away. We were planning on going to either Penang or Terengganu, but the hotels in Penang were fully booked and the one in Terengganu was not available. So in the end we drove a little bit down south, to port Dickson. It should’ve taken an hour and a half but my dad took a really weird route through PJ/Kelana Kaya/KL making a huge loop before eventually joining the highway. Our hotel was nice, if you can call it that. I mean, the room part was nice, but the bathroom was really strange. The room space planning was a total fail! Imagine opening the door and seeing a huge bathtub on one side and a sink on the other side of the entrance. Entirely odd.

The surrounding area was industrial, we had a Sime Darby Energy plant or something in front of us and a coal burning station a few kilometers away (it was beautiful! Seriously, ask my sister. I was oooh-ing and aaah-ing all the way)

We also headed a bit further south to Melaka for a daytrip, where we did all the normal touristy stuff plus a spot of bowling ngehehe;p We only went to the beach right before leaving PD, for about 45 minutes or so. Not even enough to get sufficiently tanned, not that I need any help with that!


Further back, a reflection of my 3rd semester. I only took Arabic and Integrated MultiDisciplinary Project, both, as it turned out, entirely enjoyable subjects. Arabic was tedious but my classmates were really cool and friendly, and our teacher who always looked sleepy in class was also funny, in his own weird way.

Now integrated MultiDisciplinary Project – I had to explain to my non-kaed friends time and time again about the whole “office” thing. Basically, all the different Majors in Kaed (except URP, so that means its architecture, Applied Arts, Landscape, and Quantity Surveying) join up and we’re divided into groups, and we set up “architecture firms” or rather, “design firms” with the team comprising of all four disciplines (thus the course name) We’re given classrooms that serve as our office for the whole semester, and even though officially the course is Mondays and Fridays the whole day, we end up spending almost every waking (and sometimes sleeping) hours there as well.

My group , Basis Consultants, was based in TR10, where, according to my friends, had a great history of producing winning teams. Oh yeah – another aspect I forgot to mention, the firms are given projects (1 for each section) and we compete to be the winners of the project. Something lilke that. So anyways, our project was to design a book cafĂ©, and we took it by the horns and churned out a design that eventually allowed us to take first place. Yeah!! (See previous post)

Made a lot of new friends last semester, friends that I will definitely miss, or rather, am already missing.


Now it’s the holidays, and I’m thinking of what to do. Chores, of course, but what else? I need to get my license, but junky decided he doesn’t want to start so I cant practice on him, and since it’s the semester break I don’t know if there are still people who rent out their cars on campus. Anyone know?

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