A Little Girl’s Father

I was flying kites recently with a friend’s little nephew. He soon lost interest and would rather play on the slides. A little girl in the public park took his place and befriended me – she wanted to fly a kite, which we happily did until my kite broke.

I listened to her talk and I couldn’t but adore her pure innocence, her pure heart unadulterated with malice, her cuteness. I chuckled as she shared how sorry she was about my kite. It was, after all, barely worth $2 at Wal-Mart. But she was still too innocent to value things on their price. I foresaw my daughters being spoiled.

What the little girl said after that struck me for days.

“Let’s go to my dad.”  She said, with a confident voice. “My dad can fix it!” I smiled and looked up. As if to convince me, she continued, “My dad can fix anything!!”

The father is a girl’s first love, I’d read, and here I saw it in her eyes. The trust in her flawless, invincible hero, who could do anything, who would always be there for her, to protect her, to provide for her, to guide her.

It was that age. It was why I was heartbroken when I saw a picture of a little Palestinian girl looking on, towards the lifeless body of her superhero, her invincible man, her love –  her dad.

Her face said it all – her bubble had burst. Her dad wasn’t invincible, after all. He was dead.

Her dad couldn’t do everything, after all. They always learn later, but it wasn’t time yet, for her to know that.

Growing into young men and women, through their rebellious teenaged years,  everyone learns of the flaws and imperfections of their precious dads. Maybe they continue to love them despite their flaws.

As a son, I remember when I looked up to my dad that way. And then, I discovered he wasn’t as perfect as I thought he was. I disrespected him sometimes as an angry teen. And then, I grew further. I could now see him in full. If the love I had for him as a child was like that of an animal, blind and complete, where I would rather get hit by a brick than have a pin prick him, it was now total love with him with reason – the man, the human being, the father, the husband, the brother, with full knowledge of all his imperfections amidst his strengths. Father-and-Son1

My dad the husband has shown us children a beautiful marriage with our mother. My parents have long conversations. He jokes with her, he lightens her up and tries to please her when she’s upset. He has been a mountain of support –  physical, emotional, financial to my mother when she recovered from cancer.

My dad the brother is someone my uncles, aunts and cousins rely upon for support. Everyone in the extended family goes to my dad for advice, help and mediation.  As I play that role in my circle of friends, I wonder if it’s It’s something I learned from him.

My dad the father has been more amazing than anybody I knew – he pushed all of us toward academic success – my three siblings are medical doctors. Dad had a great career himself – our mother loves him for his industriousness, efficiency and hard work. My dad is a spiritual man. He encouraged and motivated us to give religion, Islam its importance in our lives. He didn’t force us, and he succeeded in what he wanted.  For the strict parents who forced a moral and religious code upon their children, we have seen how the good boys and girls in front of their parents have secret sinful lives hidden away from them.

My dad is street-smart. He fixes things.  He would rather wait an extra day before he calls a plumber, an electrician, a laborer, a mechanic or any other specialist, because he would like to fix it himself.

 I am twenty years older than that little girl, but I would still take anything to my dad to fix – my broken kites, my broken heart, my broken toys, my broken work, my broken spiritual life. That I live far away from him tempers with this wish to share with him, to ensure I don’t worry him with my problems.

My dad says he loves his daughters more than he’s loved his two sons. I smile, because I know my sisters love him immensely for he has given them every reason to love him as much as that little girl flying a kite loves her father.

 When an acquaintance asked me who in the present world I would like to emulate the most, my answer wasn’t Steve Jobs or Bill Gates like the others. It was my father, the employee, the husband, the father, the brother, the son.

Uncollecting Things

My mom jokes that I’m a hoarder. My mom and I obviously disagree on the semantics.
I like to preserve things. Too many things, she says.

I have saved bills from restaurants, movie tickets, grocery bills, screenshots of phone calls, autographs, newspaper cuttings, old fliers,  Q-cards from events, coins from other countries,  hand-written notes and letters. You get the idea.

Hand-written notes and letters. I have a special thing for them. I still carry around a handwritten letter my dad sent me in 2009 in my wallet.

It reminds me of what I shared here in 2011.

Oh, my wallet. My sister gifted that to me more than ten years ago on my birthday.
Everything I preserve has a history behind it that I cherish, such as this wallet.

Ironically, t
idy and organized that she is, the same sister is quite the opposite of me in this regard –  she had made me get rid of my notes from a class in middle school to clear the “trash.” I’m sure they would have been a fond addition to my collection.

We’re different. We’re wonderful and distinct in our own ways.
But I understood why she was more efficient than I was at organization after I spent hours together sorting through my belongings and cleaning my room the past weekend. It’s only been months since I moved.  Given how much money changes hands for every hour I spend working, it wasn’t a feeling of success.
I raised the threshold of the importance occasions or people would need to have to preserve  memories associated with them. Needless to say, I can travel much lighter now that I got rid of so much stuff.

Understanding the Pain of Separation

 I had tuned in to the Diane Rehm show on my long drive back home one evening. The interview this time was of an old woman well past her prime who was an accomplished and acclaimed singer.

While going over her past, Diane asked about one of her most successful songs. She revealed something that not many people knew at the time – she said the lyrics were actually composed by her husband.

Her ex-husband, she clarified. “He was very good with it.”

“Why did the marriage end? Diane prodded, It had been decades since her divorce with her first husband.

Silence.

I felt the pain in her voice as she gathered herself. “I don’t want to talk about it…it was a painful past.”

When I thought her ordeal was over, Dianne followed up with another question. “Were you relieved when it ended? Did you feel free and happy that it was over?

“NO! It was an ending.”

“It was very sad.”

It was a sadness that emanated  from every word she uttered. It made me sad. And think.

This was an area I hitherto had little experience with. There was no friend or family I had been attached to, that I had separated from, so painfully. Until then, that is.

If she had been as sad to separate from her man, and her husband was sad to separate from her, why would they go ahead with their separation? Don’t both need the other for their happiness? It had been decades, and she was still in pain from the memories.

Why do people have to leave each other, when their lives are miserable without each other?

In the days that I was pondering and still trying to solve the question for myself, I tried to use it for a situation that I saw in front of me.  I realized how everything appears simple and straightforward, superficially.

I had the answer to my question.

“It’s complicated.”

There would be no easy path. There would be hurt, misery and anger in any route one would embark on. It was a choice between continued misery, one that would bring much more pain in the future, or a lesser misery of separation, and chalking out an alternate life that would be happier with the painful memories still at the back of one’s mind.

 I realized that people separate because some or all of them change.

I also learned that people separate painfully when they realize in their saner moments that there’s no future.  The guest on the show realized that. She took a decisive step. She remarried. She was happy again. The memories haunt her, still. How does the guest look back at her life? She achieved much. She had her happy moments. She had her miseries. She changed her life. She brought back happiness in her life to mix in with her sad memories, instead of being stuck in an increasingly sad life. She changed, for the better.

Whoever said you could be perfectly happy in this world? That is what paradise is for.

Reflections on Valentine’s Day

I enjoyed reading what I wrote a whole year ago on the same topic. While my views may not have changed much since then, and I may still oscillate between being a clear-eyed pragmatist to a die-hard romantic, I know that I understand myself better now. I understand people better. I definitely understand the opposite gender better.

I now understand that among my weaknesses is that I care too much. I invest myself – my time, energy and emotions in the people in my life. I pay attention to minute details.  I hold on to memories and people tightly. It may sound funny or it may sound sweet depending on who you are, but all of this comes with a consequent problem – I haven’t been able to swallow the natural crests and troughs of relationships with people gracefully. I have been close to people in the past, and I am close to people now. But people have gone cold on me. I found out that this wasn’t because of anything that I did. Or it wasn’t because I wronged them. They just didn’t need me anymore for their happiness. They moved on. Slowly but surely, and without any formal notice.

This is still a fear stashed at the back of my mind. Would the people I love move on to happy new lives without me? Would they stop needing me? Would I get replaced in their lives? Would they tell me or just move away without explanation?

It’s more than likely of course, that this will happen. Even though this makes me vulnerable to get hurt again, I wouldn’t change myself. Because those people who move away or will move away wanted something shallow with me, which wasn’t, and still isn’t what I set myself up for. Only those people who need me in their lives would have me in theirs, as long as they need me.

Loving someone –  anyone, is challenging. The more the relationship deepens,  the veneer of perfection wears away, and we discover more of the flaws – both in others and in ourselves. This makes it risky. It scares people. It makes people vulnerable to being hurt. And deserted. And wronged.  They may be taken for granted. People treat those closest to them shabbily in sharp contrast to their politeness and niceness with rank outsiders who don’t mean anything to them. As such, people chronically trade such challenging, deep relations for these easy shallow ones’. I on the other hand, would sacrifice many of these shallow relationships for a chance to establish such deep ones’, even if much fewer in number.

What Valentine’s Day means to me.

“It doesn’t have to be that way. It is not going to happen with me.”

They laughed at me. I was sweet, innocent and childish, my older group of friends told me, among other things. I insisted I would not face the same problems as they did.

In a few minutes of uninhibited openness, I shared how I was in for a blissful future, a union extraordinaire. (Read the entire post before making conclusions.)

It could be a story from a fairy tale.  She, with a heart filled with the love of God. A heart that seeks His pleasure.  “A sweet, gentle, pleading, innocent, dedicated, sympathetic, loyal, untutored, adoring female heart.”   He, with a loving, comforting, supportive, insanely dedicated  heart for her, that sought her happiness.

This union completes both of them. “By her ease and liveliness, his mind is softened, his manners improved, and  “from his judgement, information and  knowledge of the world, she  received benefit of great importance.”  Some of these lines were from Jane Austen and they are etched in my memory for ever.  But there is a reason why I can dislike Jane Austen, because I think such a  marriage can indeed know what connubial felicity really is.

But still, Valentine’s Day, did not mean anything to me.

Not because of the dark roots of Valentine’s Day that has the moral police going berserk, or the fatwas against it, with it being an “imitation of another people.”

Not because of my dislike of the  crass commercialization – where “love” is bought and sold, where corporations promote the event so they could make $18.7 billion in sales. Where they need to create special days such as these for money.

Not because of my dislike of  the pressure to show one’s affection in a certain way, on a single day in an entire year.  Or for love to be packaged overwhelmingly to mean the lustful love between two individuals.
For a society as the one here with such overt displays of sexual love, 50% of first marriages, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages end in divorce.*

Not for anything else.

But simply because I do not have a woman who I am married to, or who I would marry, or who would marry me, as yet. This is an idea.

A dream.

A dream that has temporarily been put off till I can find my feet. Someone as needy as I currently am could not be trusted to be the support or mean the world for another individual.

 While women and men want  to be desired and yet  resist others’ unwelcome advances,  spending countless hours studying their reflection in the mirror  – admiring it, hating it, wondering what others thought of it, something about inner beauty gets lost in the conundrum. Where a 7/10 on the scale of physical attraction trumps a 10/10 in inner beauty that would make for a blissful living. I hope I am not one of those making the wrong choices in decisions with such trade-offs, when the time to make the decision comes.

What Valentine’s Day did teach me was the power of a clean heart sans any resentment, a general feeling of happiness with everyone . As with anyone else, I falter, and hurt others, or get hurt. But it is the power to forgive and patch up that separates people.

  I wonder if men and women can ever break out of this infinite loop, and be in  freedom. In a feeling of freedom. With wings flapping. And light. Light enough to find oneself in the skies. High enough that, when one looks down below, those stuck in cycles of bad blood, and resentment look puny.  With a life of pure, unadulterated happiness. Of the kind that simply runs out of scale. Of contentment.  Of God’s pleasure.

If there is indeed such a life, I  seek thee.

A Sleepless Night of Reflection

My eyes stuttered open yet again. It was dark.

I struggled to check my phone that doubles as an alarm. I  was angry this time, it was not yet time for my early morning prayers; my alarm still had some time to go off. It was the third time I had woken up from sleep that night in a matter of three hours. I felt helpless enough to decide to go for a walk outside.

I was clearly disturbed.

It was a friend’s birthday party earlier that night.  I loved being with this special group of friends that was there,with whom I was most comfortable being myself. I could speak without fear of negative judgement, and I could speak without fear of sounding stupid. I spoke a lot, and barely ever held back what I would want to say. Given that I was somewhat younger than the rest, I was pampered, and I felt treated like a baby. I enjoyed their company.

But on the downside, I would also get to meet people that had seen much more in life, that were more sure of what to expect in life, and more unfortunately, that were less optimistic about it for the same reasons.

For someone who is nearly done with school with a promise of a good life is laid out ahead, the more I heard from them that night, the more I was getting depressed.  I felt a strong urge to  leave but I did not want to be rude. Some part of me wanted to hear it all – for if it was the truth, I would have to hear it. Only exposing myself to positive thoughts and positive people would be deceiving myself, I reasoned, anxiously.

I stayed back after everyone left, with two trusted friends that were like my elder siblings. I had always been very needy; a female friend had remarked more than once that it was a twist of fate for a person as needy as I was to have had to live away from the closest loved ones’ forever. She was close enough to my extended family to be treated as one among my many cousins.

I opened up about my career, family, companionship and relationships, I opened up to them about the things that troubled me from the conversation we had earlier with everyone. I spoke about the transformation that I had seen in myself.

The expectations that I had from people, and how easy it was for me to get hurt and break, because for too long, my happiness was in the hands of other mortal human beings – skin and bones – who by their very definition could not be perfect, just like I wasn’t.  They may not return a phone call, they may be friends with me only when they would need me, they may be friends with me for their own benefit,  and they would consequently cut it off when I would be boring or not useful to them anymore.

That if I could break out of that cycle, take control of my happiness away from people and give it to God, to have Him as the source of my happiness, that would be a life of bliss on earth. Because God was perfect, and was a never-ending source of strength and happiness, who would never fail me, unlike His creation that was created to falter.

All of this was true, and I went back home with a lighter load after I shared it all.  But not light enough to get a good night’s sleep.

Birthday Musings

An additional candle was unlit, and another year blew away from my life. I was lucky to have another birthday. A couple of thoughts were swirling in my head since then.

First, the charm that there was in remembering people and their birthdays isn’t the same anymore. When I was small, I used to wait excitedly for mail – for one particular mail – on my birthday. It was an annual birthday greeting card from a cousin. The one year when I was most anxious for it, I waited the entire day but it never came. I was dejected. “Did she forget? Did she not care anymore? Maybe we’re all too grown up for this now?”
These questions do not come up now, and there is no anticipation and elation about others remembering to wish on a birthday, because they would be notified about it through Facebook, Google and the like without effort.  I was wished by around a hundred and twenty people this way. I was certainly happy and appreciative of the wishes even if most of them were triggered by online notifications. I realize that as much as I would like to be the closest one to every other person I know, it does not and cannot happen.  It would be silly to expect the same intimacy from everyone. In any case, it would be foolhardy to consider birthday wishes as a measure of that closeness, and more so to expect someone like the random person I met at a party the day before, to remember my birthday without automatic reminders.

I received phone or audio calls to wish me at three different mid-nights,  over six different time-zones and over two days. My family members were among the first to wish me this time, without needing online reminders.  I was especially touched by a friend’s gesture to phone me  even while traveling internationally, from a foreign airport.

   I would be upset if the people I meet on my birthday forgot to wish me before we part ways, and so, as in previous years, I did not take that risk. It is scary to consider consider the possibility of them not remembering or not caring about it. I  reminded them myself without waiting to see if they would need it. I was pleased of course, when my fears were unfounded with a younger friend who had actually planned a surprise party later that day.

The second thing I couldn’t help but notice was how much my friends’ circle had changed over the past year. At both parties I had this time – there was not a single person  from the past birthday bashes I had. I had grown increasingly involved with the MSA on campus; I had close relationships with the people on it, and they formed the bulk of my friends now – some closer than others.
However, most of my peers were out of college and had moved on with their lives with only a couple of them taking graduate classes. Most others in the MSA were simply too young for me to relate to closely, except for a few in their senior year and an older friend who still had time to finish.  This had pushed me more and more towards a bunch of fellow graduate Muslim students in other departments that I was not always close with, even though I had known them for long. Slowly but surely, we grew closer and formed a very well-knit group that got together multiple times a week. I felt loved and wanted here. I was coddled and pampered; I was allowed to be silly and talkative – perhaps by a combination of being immature and younger than the rest of the group by some margin. We were now like family, and I thanked God for having these people in my life.
The day ended on a slightly sour note when a childhood friend now in the Philippines failed to wish me; I couldn’t reach him either. This was the first time in about eleven years that we hadn’t spoken on this day.
Time flew by between my birthdays sooner than I realized, and brought changes greater than I noticed along the way. Time is slipping away now and there is obviously little anyone can do about it than to make the best use of it.  I wonder how my circle of friends changes by next year. But if there is a lesson I have learned, it is to value, thank and care for the people I have in my life.

A Reminiscence

 I am, on paper, at the prime of my life. I am twenty three. I am out of college – in fact, I  have nearly finished enough work to get a Master’s degree at an age when many people don’t have a Bachelor’s. I have the world ready and laid out to be conquered. I have an entire life ahead of me, to prosper, to enjoy, to conquer its peaks one by one, to make a good life after all the hard work of school with little to worry about. I have no financial obligations to meet other than to satisfy my own animal instincts of hunger, thirst, shelter. My parents are blessed enough that they do not need my money, nor do my siblings.  Things could be better but things are going great.  I have a great set of friends I love to hang out with. I have the best restaurants to dine at nearby, I am going to get my own car after I start getting paychecks, soon. What would I have to complain about?

On Eid day recently, I had the honor of being invited by a female acquaintance’s family to their home along with a few other friends. Few friends have introduced me to their families, so this was an exception. I knew her from the MSA, but had barely ever spoken to her – in fact, I had ignored her for months if not for a couple of years but had more recently interacted with her enough to get the invite.  It was a happy occasion but I cried or struggled to not cry later that day. Like a true gentleman, I never let anyone know of my turmoil. Hers was an amazing, lovely, happy family which looked cute together. I was missing my own. My family all together, happy and frolicking around , just like that.

I had selfishly moved away from my parents seven years back for my career. I saw my past years flash before me. I wasn’t really jealous here, or may be I was. But I wanted the same.  I missed being in my mother’s arms, I missed the hug from my father. The kiss on the forehead from my mother. Resting my head on my mother’s leg.  My father’s insatiable love for me  and the now unbelievable desire for me to succeed. My loving sisters, my brother who I fought with at times, but for whom I  prayed and wanted to succeed. We all made a pretty, lovely, happy family. Our sibling rivalries looked cute. The thought that those days are never going to come back brought a gulp in my throat then and tears in my eyes now. We went out every weekend, we had our family games of carrom and chess, snakes and ladders and a few other board games. We loved arguing what to order at the restaurant for our weekly dine-out. We loved shouting when our mother cheated by picking up coins from the Carrom board without pocketing them in with a striker.

We’ve all grown up. My sisters are married, and are away with their own new lives and kids. My parents are old and I am not with them.  My brother is busy and has a life of his own away from all of us. They miss me and I miss them.  I forget them all too often as I get engrossed with my life, but I know they do not forget me at what are supposed to be their happiest of times. I cried when my mother asked me to be with her on Eid.

I have given up so much for the time here that every moment that I am away from them is precious as diamonds that I have to try to extract the best out of. What I have achieved in the seven months since the last time I saw them does not seem to match up to that.

All I can think of right now, and pray for, is for all of us to be united in the eternal paradise, and live happily together, forever and ever. An eternal life of bliss and happiness celebrated together.  Bring on the monopoly with two dices, please!

A plane journey I will never forget !!- A memorable trip to the west coast

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So there I was, after some of the most boring days of my life between Christmas and new year, I finally got the go ahead from my aunt I was supposed to visit at the other end of the continent to take the flight. This was when my holidays were getting over the day of my flight and when I was supposed to start my research work from the next day. I should have been back home by now from my visit I sighed, but  for starting now, I had only myself to blame given my reluctance to buy tickets for earlier dates  what with the high prices. I stood to lose one week of work and money but I had always wanted to make this trip for years and there was no way I was going to miss this chance.
To give you a sense of why this trip was so, erm, so absolutely memorable:

  1. On the way to the airport, I realized I forgot my tickets back home, something not unusual when I am going places. Luckily we had enough time to go back and get them.
  2. My connecting flight to Newark was delayed – I had to catch my flight to the west coast from Newark.  – They offered me an Amtrak train ticket to the Newark airport instead. I agreed, though I did feel sick for having to go in a train when I loved traveling in a plane and had paid for it, (or rather had my aunt pay for it). Turns out the train was heavily delayed too – I had to wait for quite some time before I boarded the train. My date with troubles was just starting off here.
  3. I MISSED my airport stop in the train to Newark and went further ahead.  I foolishly went to the restroom without realizing that my stop was so near – by the time I came back to my seat, my senior co-passenger had that totally worried look on his face and he had me scurrying towards the exit . I rushed out with my bags only to have the train door close on my face. I had missed the stop.
  4. At the next stop, I just didn’t know how to get back to the airport and was worried about splurging more money to do so, or rather, wanted to get back on track paying as little as I could.I finally found an information kiosk but they were of little help.
    I believe there was this obvious anxious look on my face seeing which a girl who was at the scene approached me and said she was going to the airport too and I can join her, and that she knows the train route. She  turned out to be friendly and helpful.  After helping me buy the train ticket back to the airport,  we went together in two trains and had a nice chat along the way. She was from Chicago and was catching the flight back home after spending Christmas and new year with her folks near where I live.  She was surprised I wasn’t from Oregon and I was actually starting my trip to Oregon when the holiday season was ending.
  5. Inside the Newark airport – Another round of confusion – where do I go now ?? I didn’t know where to go in the Newark airport, and was walking all around the airport trying to figure it out – We finally got to the terminal, and she rushed towards the queue for the security check, asking me to follow her but I went around the airport trying to confirm from people that I had to enter the same line for my destination too. I lost her here and then lost my way like a small child- I was misguided by some of the security personnel there who had me go to a different floor. I  finally found where I had to go, went through the security check  hoping I wasn’t treated differently thanks to my different appearance and Muslim faith. It was, by God’s grace nice and easy and I recited a prayer of thankfulness to God.
  6. Boarding CANCELLED ! – Just as I was  at the gate, in a queue, waiting impatiently to board the plane, quite tired as I was waiting for a long time – I got to the gate much quicker than I thought I would –and since it had been a long day already  journeying by train, a security officer came by and asked the flight staff to stop boarding, had people seated in the plane to come out. I was like, what in the world is going on???
  7. Airport EVACUATED !! It’s a SECURITY SCARE  !!

There was a massive crowd jostling to get out of the airport, from the secure area – I could never recall seeing such a crowd even in the Indian railway stations, leave alone an airport. There were television screens in the airport and some people, including me stood watching CNN to try to understand what was happening – CNN would only say it was a security breach and therefore a security scare that was the reason for the evacuation in the Newark airport.

The emergency siren was on for hours together in the airport – it was freezing cold outside, so there was no way anyone was going outside and people were seated on the floor all around, there was little space to even walk. People were even sitting and sleeping on the belts and the computers where they check-in bags. I myself finally sat down behind a computer used to check-in luggage, plugged in my mobile phone to charge and also plugged my laptop on to a power source there and started playing Fifa 2009 to kill time.  An Indian lady in a saree sought help to contact her daughter who had dropped her off here and also contact Continental to change her flight, so some time went off trying to get help for her and chatting with her. As is so usual with Indians, she was not satisfied with my first name, and went on asking for more information until she confirmed which religion I am from – I have always believed Indians tend to be extremely racist, and race, skin color, religion decide a lot about how they interact with people.

In the middle of the night, the siren finally went out , there was a general sense of relief and everyone applauded for nearly a whole minute. By now, thousands people were outside and all of us were made to go through a security screening again, but they were thoroughly professional here and made it real quick.

8. Flight CANCELLED ! Finally, after a long wait, I went near my gate to find that my flight was cancelled. With no idea where to go now, I had to call my aunt late night there – she had to pick me up when I reach there and I was concerned since she had to get to work early morning too. I found an information desk, but there was a line nearly a mile long here and by the time I reached my turn, I went through five calls from my aunt and three hours of wait. They gave me an UNCONFIRMED ticket for the next flight five hours later. I didn’t ask them to give me a hotel ticket since I was dead tired and didn’t want to give myself any chance of sleeping too much and missing the next flight. So, off I went, near my gate and slept on the floor for sometime. I hate eating non-desi food with the halal issues, but had to continously make do with that for nearly two days.
Luckily, I got a seat in the next flight and made it safe, sound and in one piece to Portland, to be received by my aunt’s sister.
I never told my parents anything about what I went through – even during my phone calls to them during all of this, I acted as normally as I could despite being half dead with hunger, lack of sleep and fatigue.
Looking back, I felt it only served to make my trip memorable and fun – I had a great time in Portland after that – went sight-seeing, ate outside, been to a theatre for the first time in my life(seriously) to see Avatar in an Imax, and had a real family feeling after a long time.

9. I lost a lot of pictures I took in the process of transferring  them to my laptop, forever!

Leaving behind a few of the not-really-good pictures I could retrieve from my simple mobile phone camera.

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