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Posts Tagged ‘childhood’

In Uncategorized on November 17, 2012 at 06:05

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.-M.Angelou… #latergram from quite a while ago… #girl #child #drawing #creative #creativity #mydaughter #daugter #childhood #toddler #highchair #linandara_people #linandara_retro #leaks #vintified #ребенок #рисунок

In Uncategorized on September 4, 2012 at 08:38

Life’s #blossom… #kids in #Russia. They’ve started the High School today… #daisies #field #childhood #children #flowers #wildflowers #countryside #twins #silhouettes #evening #warm #soft_tones #walk #walking #дети #цветы (жизни:) #beautiful #growing #linandara_plants #linandara_people #petals #weeds (Taken with Instagram)

In Uncategorized on August 6, 2012 at 06:08

#читальня на сухой яблоне… she has built a #readingnook / #treehouse for herself on a dead #apple #tree… #garden #Russia #reading #kids #girl #mydaughter #summerpleasures #summer #trees #creative #childhood #book #яблоня #сад #all_shots #stump #orchard #appletree (Taken with Instagram)

In Uncategorized on November 11, 2011 at 13:26


I hate orange Skittles: About faith.

In Uncategorized on October 29, 2011 at 07:03


Listen, I was born and raised a Muslim.

My mother is one of the most devout Sunni Muslims you’ll meet. She’s also kind of a Luddite, unknowingly racist and has a great disdain for the United States. All Americans are liars and violent warmakers in her eyes. And yes, she hates Israel. I have to tell you this so you’ll understand where I’m coming from.

Growing up, we were told all kinds of things about God, heaven and hell, and sins and doing good deeds. My mother teaches Qur’an recitation (the kind with proper tajweed). She’s supremely strict about it because she believes that if you don’t recite the Qur’an with proper tajweed, you’re effectively sinning. I remember, as a kid, long hours spent with the Qur’an in front of me, my mother in her prayer outfit, making me recite the same verse over and over again because she wasn’t satisfied with how I was reading it.

I remember reading through tear-filled eyes and digging my nails into my thighs or punching them because I was so frustrated. With her and her controlling and condescending way of teaching. I wasn’t the only one to suffer through it of course. I have an elder sister and an elder brother. All of us had to go through it. My father, as far as I can remember, never read the Qur’an for the sake of reading, although he did his prayers five times a day. He preferred to be out of the room when my mother taught us. My sister screamed and cried too, My brother would shout and slam his door, back when he had a door, before that period of time he didn’t have a door but that’s another story. But we got through those times; all of us has completed reciting the entire Qur’an and to this day, tajweed comes almost second nature to us. I suppose I should be thankful for that.

“Syurga di bawah tapak kaki ibu” <- Heaven is at your mother’s feet. That, and that hadith where the prophet (pbuh) said to respect your mother three times before he said ‘your father’, as the most often heard hadiths in my house. And this verse in the Qur’an which told us how you shouldn’t even raise your voice to your parents. My mother used them like shields, whenever we rose up against her. She is a controlling woman, and everything has to be her way or else. And if we disobeyed her, or pointed out that she was wrong, she would quote those at us, saying we should listen to her even if she was wrong because she’s our mother. It didn’t make for a very healthy parent-child relationship. Before long, it was us against her.

This wasn’t meant to be a post about my mother. Sigh. It’s supposed to be about my faith.

So, being told you’re a Muslim, and being taught about Islam, and being brought up the Islamic way, including 12 whole years of religious school, takes a toll on you. There were some aspects of it I liked, I guess. I liked that our uniforms were all identical sacks and hid our body shapes so no one felt uncomfortable about their bodies growing up. I liked that I didn’t have to care about my hair. I liked that boys stayed away from us. I liked the stories teachers told us about the history of Islam and about their own lives (I love my school, ok? Whatever propaganda they fed us, they did well in raising us). I liked that I was going to heaven no matter what, cos I’m a Muslim.

I didn’t like that girls were put behind boys. I didn’t like having to be led by boys all the time. I didn’t like being told that we were too noisy to be proper ladies. I didn’t like that people stared at me when I board a bus or train in my uniform, especially when I’m alone and no one else like me is near. I didn’t like the way people talked to me like I’m an idiot because of what they my school was like. I didn’t like that Muslims were being called terrorists elsewhere in the world.

But that was when I was still an obedient little Muslim. Well, for appearances I suppose I was.

I was told, repeatedly since I was young, that to miss a prayer would land me thousands of years in hell and thousands of awful punishments. That if I showed even ONE strand of hair, that would mean a thousand years in hell. I was a good Muslim student. I was a high-ranking prefect, and I remained one until I graduated in 2005. The teachers knew me as one of the smart ones from that smart class. I actually wore long pants under my jubah, like the rules said I should, in case, I was going up the stairs, and someone might see my legs. I wore wristbands, so that I won’t show my wrists because the cuffs of the uniforms were a little loose. But for all my appearance, I was never really devout.

I tried, for a while. Sometimes I would feel connected to the religion, and this happened maybe two or three times, mostly when I read the Qur’an by myself. I subscribe to most of the beliefs, but I don’t hold all of them, really. As I went through junior college, where I had to don a different uniform (a short-sleeved blouse and a skirt that ended above the knee) I started to let go of some Muslim habits I was raised with.

I would hang out with guys, cos I found them just as easy to talk to as girls, especially the Chinese ones. I would be incredibly open-minded when people asked me about certain issues, because, even as I called myself a Muslim, the rest of the world didn’t, so it didn’t bother me what they did. I started seeing, really seeing, how Muslim women were being treated all over the world and there was such a disconnect between what Islam taught, and what people actually practiced.

I started questioning things. I started to defy some rules, and when there were no consequences, I kept on doing it. Now I don’t cover up and I don’t pray, except in the mosque sometimes but I fast, and no lightning has struck me yet. I still call myself a Muslim, but I don’t really feel like one. I am… so many things. I don’t think I fit this Muslim mould anymore. I still put on a show, more for my mother’s sake and for my ex-teachers’ sake than my own. But I don’t know anymore, you know? Whether I have an ounce of faith left anymore.

Some habits are still hard to break. I can read Arabic still, and I can read the Qur’an, if you need me to. I still remember, if I try really hard, the first few verses of Surah Yasin, and how to pray, and some common doa’s… When I went for the smaller pilgrimage two years ago, I went around the Kaa’bah seven times and prayed for two things: that my niece (who hadn’t been born yet at the time) would be healthy and intelligent, and that I would get my transfer. Both things did come true, though my transfer happened later than I thought. That still doesn’t convince me though.

I don’t know, maybe it’s cos I have so much skepticism over a lot things, and I think I do believe there’s a God, but I can’t begin to know how to prove it if an atheist asks me to, and I don’t think I want to. It’s a complicated feeling. Maybe I’m just one of those people who, well, if God turns out to not exist, then ok, but if He does, I’m gonna be covered by a religion. Like covering my bases. I wish I could have unwavering faith, I really do. But there’s so much doubt in the world, and so much in my heart. I know I can’t change who I am.

And I get so… indignant and defensive when people try to preach at me. ESPECIALLY Muslim brothers. I can’t stand them. I can’t stand it. And people will say, that’s cos syaitan is whispering in your ear, or that’s cos your heart is hard now because of all your sinning, and who wants to hear that? It all sounds patronizing to me. I have so many good reasons to turn away from religion completely, and the number one reason would I am largely a rational, open-minded person. And religion doesn’t allow you to question things so much, because if you do, your head will hurt because of all the inconsistencies. And Islam condemns so much; people and things that I don’t see a reason why we should condemn. And it’s so sexist. I guess that’s my main problem with it.

So… this long post has been a rant about how I may say I’m a Muslim, and occasionally act like one, but that’s largely because of my upbringing and the social expectations I have from my family and friends. If I was honest, I would say right now I’m unsure. And I may be unsure for a long time. And I don’t tell a lot of people this, because I have all sorts of friends, and they’ll all try to sway me to one side or the other, and I just want to figure this out myself. Yeah.

PS. reminded me a bit the story of me & Orthodox Christianity

I hate orange Skittles: About faith.

Rude mothers

In Uncategorized on October 28, 2011 at 07:35

In Newtown I sometime see mothers taking kids to the Primary school swearing loudly among other parents and kids. I guess its supposed to be OK. Maybe its something wrong with me, but when I hear a person swearing I just feel like they cover themselves in horrible dirt and also are trying to spread it on others around them. I’ve heard in some places of the world you could be fined for swearing in public… I could forgive somebody dropping a hammer on his toe and swearing because of the pain but to do it because some strange pleasures involved… presumably…

Once me, my kids and their friend were walking back from school when a couple of 11-13 year old boys started swearing at all of us. The kids from our hill of the High School age must be from those families where they start teaching kids “manners” at Nursery! Curiously, every time this verbal harassment had happened I was caring my kids guitar or violin. Maybe the local children just are feeling jealous because they parents didn’t bother with they music lessons busy drinking & spending on themselves (sorry for harsh words)?

School blues

In Uncategorized on October 26, 2011 at 07:39

I had a happy childhood. Of course I hated or laughed at all that communist stuff but I was so lucky with teachers at school and plenty of friends. I hope my kids will remember their school years with happiness and warmth too.

I started school at eight and this didn’t stop me (or any of my friends in Russia) from getting to universities and colleges we liked. I’ve been shocked when in Britain at the time my kids were something like 3.5 or 4.5 a nearby school head teacher knocked on our door and said its time for my little ones to go to their Nursery (just for a couple of hours first). As I didn’t have any friends in this country, nobody for my kids to play with, and I wanted to do more art at home, I decided, OK, lets do it. It wasn’t easy for my son to fit in at first. Once when he didn’t want to get inside after a play time, a teacher grabbed and pulled him and he, scarred, baited her in the arm. Needless to say we received a very angry letter from school, got really terrified and had to apologise.

We and kids started to have colds continuously. And little ones started getting head lice. My husband and me we haven’t had them at schools – full stop. My mother-in-law didn’t had this problem in Britain, same my mother in Russia. Even in my grandmother times, during famine and incredible poverty of 1920s on the boundary of Russia, Ukraine and Belorussia, they didn’t had much of this head lice issue. So why its so bad in modern British and Welsh schools? Well it either 1) parents don’t care for the welfare of their kids so much now; or 2) headlice got more resistant to treatment; or 3) kids are starting school too early when they can’t understand that they shouldn’t touch each other heads; or 4) they encouraged to sit on the floor rather than at desks as we did, and that helps little insects spread; or combination of these.

In Russia kids haven’t been allowed to walk (almost everybody walked, of course) in school wearing outdoor shoes. You had to have a pair of clean ones to change. NOT HERE. All that dogs, birds, rabbits, cats droppings on the way end up in the classroom… Where everybody sits on the floor. Brrr…

There is a VERY STRANGE attitude to sweets in school. They are encouraged! Its your birthday – bring sweets for everybody, you have been good at studying – get a sweet. School parties of course only have sweets and cakes to eat. No surprise, the life expectancy is falling.

When we decided to move to Wales, people were saying how better the schools there are. We were delighted to here about it. What a disappointment! Our children had been doing joint writing for about a year, but at first here they have been FORBIDDEN to do this. Only typing (I can’t TYPE letters at all!). They had started a foreign language (French) but now have to forget about this because they are learning a little bit of Welsh (why not have both?). They also had to go back to reading very simple books again. At least now they have a free swimming lesson a week (but my daughter said that for two years now teacher didn’t bother to recognize she actually CAN swim…). Plus school meals. In England kids actually had some organic food for their dinners. Not here – and that’s for the same price. And lots of of potatoes in different forms.

Two more things make me really sad: encouragement of football and pop music culture. When I was at school we were told to strive for the best. If its music, it should be quality music. We don’t listen to much pop at home. It’s not OUR culture. Two years ago when my kids were preparing for their Christmas concert they had to pretend TO BE ROCK OR POP STARS. Something called X-factor? I have no slightest idea what it is (I only know X-files :). In England we had to choose if we want to send the kids to school discos or not. Here in Wales they are hold in SCHOOL TIME. And foolball. We don’t watch sport. All we see is drunken and swearing supporters we have to share trains with. Why our kids should be pushed towards that?

Sorry for some bitterness. Of course there are lots of positive things. Kids had interesting trips to farms and theaters. There are quite a lot of male teachers (unlike when I was at school), and most teachers looks like clever and friendly people. And there were affordable music lessons for everyone – well not any more, unfortunately.

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