Assalamualaikum Wrt. Wbt.
It’s been a month since I last blogged and a week since I last posted anything on social media. I have been really busy with life. Alhamdulillah I am currently in Istanbul, Turkey. I have been in Turkey for more than three weeks now for a student exchange in one of the universities here. InsyaAllah I will be here for the next four months.
Life has been quite overwhelming although classes are quite underwhelming to be honest. Classes are underwhelming because some classes are in Turkish and I am not really used to the way classes are taught here. However other than that, life has been quite a ride. I am blogging this so that I could reminisce again one day of the bitter sweet memories I have while being in Turkey without my husband and family.
Traveller – a person who moves around from place to place instead of living in one place for a long time (Merriam-Webster)
I would not really call myself a traveller cz I still call Singapore home. However ever since I got married, I am hardly seen in SG. It’s either I was in KL or just somewhere on earth. Right before I came to Turkey, my bestfriend’s mum whom have not met me for a long time suddenly asked me “lepas ni nak pergi mana pula” which translates to “where are you going after this?”. She didn’t know I was going to Turkey but her question just shows how predictable my life has become. Travelling seems to be a constant for me now.
Travelling is both a privilege and challenge. A privilege because Alhamdulillah I am able to witness the beauty of Allah’s creation that I may not experience in Singapore. A challenge because, yeah, I am on my own in a foreign country.
My husband sent me to Turkey and we had like a week of second honeymoon before school starts. Second honeymoon because we had our very first honeymoon in Istanbul, Turkey. Hehe. We managed to go to beautiful cities like Konya and Cappadocia. Alhamdulillah we got to ride on a hot air balloon despite the chances of flight (what hot air balloon ride is called!) were extremely low due to strong wind. If anyone would like me to list down the prices and itinerary for these two cities that we went, do inform me, yeah!
After a week, my husband had to leave. While Uber-ing to my dormitory alone, that was when reality hits me hard. I felt kind of vulnerable. Can I survive without my husband? I mean like, this isn’t Malaysia where I can just go back and forth SG as and when. This is the real deal. I am in charged of my own finance, safety and comfort. It.was.scary.
Scary or not, vulnerable or not, this is it. My husband and I have agreed to this and we are in it and no looking back. These are some things that I have learnt throughout 2 weeks plus being in Turkey without my husband.
1. Friends are families
I have learnt when I stayed in Jordan with my husband for almost two years, our friends are our families. Being kind to others and supporting one another like families are really important. Especially if you travelled to a country alone with no one whom you know, strangers became friends who eventually became like family. Alhamdulillah I have few friends who were stranger but I am able to call family now.
2. Problem? Solve it!Oh well yes. My husband has always been the one searching for the perfect home for us. The first week I was here, I stayed in a girl’s dormitory that was kind of far from my campus. It was actually not that far but argh… I have been to several Arab countries and I experienced their traffic jam. But nothing could beat the jam and sardine-packed bus here in Istanbul! SubhanAllah. I felt really bad whenever I am surrounded by huge men which is too close for comfort. Istighfar like nobody’s business underneath my niqaab, man.
I pitied my Malaysian friend for always having to hear me whine about the traffic so I decided to solve the problem by searching a new home for us. Well, it was not easy. Asked around Malaysian students here if they know of a place for two person but none. So I had to search websites after websites and scroll through properties from Airbnb app for daysss. I tried to make sure the location and place are suitable, calculated rent prices, sent messages to property owners, tried dealing with them, etc. I was silently hoping my husband is here with me to take over this job.
No surprise but Alhamdulillah Allah answered my prayers and gave me the best I could ever ask for. The location and size of current home is perfect, rent price is within budget, property owner is one of the kindest people my friends and I have ever met. Best part, we can finally cook our own meals! Rice everyday, Alhamdulillah!
3. Time management and being productive
To be honest, I am still trying to settle down and get productive. I have zero pressure from school and I have a list of things I wish I could complete by the time I end my exchange program which is in early Feb. However I am just not quite in the zone yet. I know it is as easy as just starting, but I am giving myself lotssss of excuses. I am quite anxious when I am reminded that I have less than 4 months here yet I have done nothing. InsyaAllah this post will be a boost for me to keep up with everything that I wish to do.
If you have not known yet, I have recreated an Instagram account (n.shikinsalim). As I have been quite busy moving place and settling down, I paused for a moment sharing my experience here in Turkey. My intention of sharing my stories so that those who are concern about my whereabouts will get informed of what I am up to and at the same time I am trying to display my clothing line that I am in with my mom and sister when I wear items from our brand, Maishi. InsyaAllah I will try to post on my IG daily!
4. Learning about myself
Well well well. Where do I start. I believe one of the greatest takeaways thus far is that I learn about myself more. Not that I do not know of a certain traits or characteristics that I have before travelling, but it becomes crisp and crystal clear. Good or bad, those are for me to ponder and work on. It is just something about being away from people whom you are familiar with which makes the experience of discovering yourself a little bit more different. I believe all of it builds my social awareness skills.
5. Highest tawakul in Allah
Allah does not burden His servant more that what he/she is capable of. Allah does not make things happen without any reason(s). I feel that this might be my ultimate test of tawakul. From studying in KL in 2013, staying in Jordan from 2014-mid 2015, to being separated from husband for 4 months (he’s in Jordan and I was in KL-SG). Now this. Allah was preparing me for something even bigger. I never know if this experience might be a preparation for maybe something much bigger. Maybe Allah SWT wants to test if I am able to overcome this privilege and challenges. Maybe Allah SWT doesn’t want me to be too comfortable and He wants me to live a life of a traveller and a stranger in this dunya. Maybe.
Surely the wisdom is abundant and I just have to keep searching for it.
There are so much more I have learnt from just this short span of time I am here in Turkey. I have so much more to learn and experience, and I am excited. If you would like to know more about my reflections, you might want to follow me on either IG or FB! Anyway, I might not be able to chat much on messengers or WA because when I am out, I will try not to flaunt my phone too much. I am either busy safeguarding my belongings or witnessing the rich culture Turkey has to offer, or both. So I really am sorry if I reply veryyy slowlyyyy.