The Reality of Dreams

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When I was younger I had a dream that I would move out, live life, travel the world and be independent. How wrong I was.

It’s easy to watch a movie, read a book or even hear a friend talk about dilemmas and think/advise- why do you not just go for it, sure you’ll will disappoint someone but it’s your life and as long as you’re not hurting anyone why not live the way that makes you happy? But when the tables are turned it’s never that easy.

A South Asians families expectations of their daughter:

  1. Get consistent A*s in all subjects (Art and Physical Education excluded) preferably getting 100%. Even if you get 98% they will question where the remaining 2% went.
  2. Be a good and obedient daughter. That means no unnecessary hanging out with friends and definitely NO boys that are friend or otherwise. If you get caught with a male friend all hell will break loose, because it is assumed that you are dating every guy you are in contact with…
  3. Get into a top ranked uni to study an important subject like MEDICINE or LAW, no airy fairy subjects like Literature or Animation.
  4. Learn to be a South Asian master chef before getting married.
  5. Get hitched. Be a great daughter-in law and wife, a chef, a career woman until you have 3 kids and then be a stay at home mum.
  6. BE PERFECT. FULL STOP. Anything less then perfect automatically reflects badly on you, on your family, on your upbringing and so on and so forth!

Being a South Asian girl born and raised in London the things that I want and the culture that I come from are constantly conflicting. Wanting to spend time for yourself is not really an option. Going on a journey of self discovery to figure out who you are and what you want from life is absolutely absurd. There is the set list of how things should pan out and it ends with marriage!

Don’t get me wrong, there are many aspects of my culture I find amazing, but some of the fundamental ones that affect my life directly make be feel utterly caged. It is hard to break free of the shackles of family and cultural-expectation. Those who do live life as they want are often ostracised by family and the community (depending on the kind of family you come from). I assume it would be like living in Victorian Britain. To rebel against these expectations, if you’re family are not more liberal or supporting in the first place, will open you up to a barrage of constant criticism. Coming from a family who prefer to shun those who ‘transgress’ cultural norms and boundaries, it is extremely difficult to pursue my dreams. My culture stresses the importance of family. When making a life decision not taking your families hopes, wishes and thoughts into consideration above your own is considered an act utmost selfishness. People who live in similar situations to mine will understand the difficulty of breaking away and trying to live your own life before marriage, because lets face it for South Asians the position of wife is a full time job. There is no life real time to yourself, education, work and then marriage for girls. As soon as you have a stable job it is timed to get hitched! That is the order, a social and cultural obligation that I am expected to fulfill. And to want anything different to this is completely ridiculous!

I love my family and I know that they sincerely believe this is the best and respectable route to take in life.

Just like a bird in the cage, my family and culture keeps me from pursuing certain things and living a completely independent life. Should I wish to fly towards my dreams the door is always open, it’s just about altering my state of mind and fight for what I want. I deliberately took a year of before doing my masters, much to the dismay of my parents, and have decided to take a route into teaching which will take another two, maybe three years.  In the mean time my parents will be forced to stop their London-wide search for eligible Asian bachelors to set me up with. Ha!

*Taking control of my life*

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Make-up Mix-up

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My dad and I went to do some shopping on Oxford Street this weekend, whilst I was browsing a rack of jackets I see my dad being approached by an old lady near the payment counter and ‘bit-and-pieces’ stand about 5 feet away from where I stood.

Old lady picks up a big blusher brush from the sales section, turn around and asks my Dad: “What is this used for?”
My Dad picks up one of the the big blusher brushes too, examines it very carefully and answers very truthfully: “You use it to clean your face.”
The old lady picks up two and takes it to the counter. I know I should have run across the store and stopped her but I just could not stop laughing.

My dad’s still non the wiser and the poor old lady is probably using it to scrub her face…

Breaking the Cultural Taboo

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‘What?! He’s not South Asian?! You’re parents are going to kill you!! How are you going to tell them?!’

My boyfriend is African/Middle Eastern. We have been together a little over three and a half years and we are still learning new things about each other because of the different backgrounds we come from. I’m not saying things are rosy twenty-four/seven, that would just be absurd. We have our ups-and-downs like any other couple in a long-term committed relationship. But ultimately our differences keep things interesting!

The best thing about being in a relationship with someone who is not from your own country is that things are always exciting and new. You continue to learn and view the world slightly differently as well as allowing someone else a glimpse into your world. Cultures, traditions, faiths, religions and beliefs all play a central role in shaping the person you are, the person you become, and the fundamental point in which these beliefs are either accepted or rejected  starts with family. Personally I have never felt comfortable dating guys from my own country nor any other South Asian country. It’s not because they’ve all crawled out from under a rock somewhere, there are a lot of very good looking and decent South Asian men. It is because all South-Asians feel like family to me, which makes it extremely hard for me to actually feel attracted to them.

For South Asian girls, such as myself, the idea of dating first of all is a no-no, secondly dating a guy outside of your own country is considered taboo and something that is kept hushed. For example, to stress the scale of the inability to accept such a union, if a South Asian girl wanted to marry a guy from another South Asian country (Bangladesh/India/Pakistan) there would be a huge fuss. Be prepared for a lot of shouting, tears, argument, threats, plates being broken, bags being packed depending on the type of family you come from. South Asian countries all have similar fundamental cultures and tradition regardless of whether you are Muslim, Hindu or Christian. Damn it, the women wear red and are adorned in gold on their big day, we take a lot from each others cultures, the language is more or less similar and we all love curry and naan! So why the big commotion? If South-Asians can scarcely accept inter-marriages with an individual form another South-Asian country imagine how they would react to someone who isn’t even from the continent! As I have reiterated in previous posts, not all families are like this but the majority are!

[Not] looking forward to breaking this bombshell to my parents when technically I shouldn’t even be dating let alone be involved in a committed relationship! That’s my parents arranged marriage plans out the window! Oh well!

Urban Street Art

I am obsessed with all things Aztec/Navajo/Tribal and animal street art! So imagine my excitement when I found all of those things rolled into one amazing piece of art! Whilst Google-ing for graffiti art images for my desktop I came across this awesome public mural by a Brooklyn street artist by the name of Trek Matthew called ‘cicerone//fox‘. The image led me to the Brooklyn Street Art site which has many more stunning pictures of the incredible process of this particular piece along with more street art similar to this.

I would like to one day travel the world and take pictures of famous (and not so famous) street art. London has an abundance of great street art dotted across the Capital, some very well known and others not so much. Note to self: must purchase a proper camera!

Related Links:

The Liebster Award

Yay! I have been nominated for The Liebster Award by a fellow blogger. Thank you so much arie-bea! Make sure to check out, follow, like and comment on her amazing beauty, style and lifestyle blog.

Up until 5 minutes ago I had no idea what the Liebster Award was, but I was excited nonetheless to win my 1st blog award! I didn’t even know there were awards for blogs! I confess I am a blog/social media noob (I think that’s a gamer term but I feel it fits in this situation)!

I found a very helpful explanation on LORRAINE REGULY’S LIFE blog: ‘The Liebster award was created to recognize and/or discover new bloggers and welcome them to the blogosphere.’

Rules:

1) Thank the person who nominated you! Link their blog to your post.

2) Copy and Paste the Liebster Award in your post.

3) Nominate 10 other bloggers with 200 or less followers.

4) Answer the questions given to you and create a new set of questions for those you nominate.

5) Notify your nominee’s via a comment on one of their posts.

Without further ado I shall answer Arie’s questions:

  1. Favourite brand of makeup: My favourite brand of makeup is Belle Pierre foundation in Cinnamon because the mineral product only has 3 ingredients and is amazing for your skin. I have very sensitive skin with some products leaving me looking like a tomato the next day and this does not affect my skin in any way! Plus it makes you look so so natural and flawless!
  2. 3 things that make me happy: Friends and family (I’m sure I can combine that into one?), good food and great books!
  3. 3 things that make me sad: Finishing a good book (I get overly attached to the characters!), old people (weird, I know!) and when things I do aren’t perfect (I’m a perfectionist! I’m not just saying that to make myself look good, it is a real problem! The littlest things bother me until I set them straight).
  4. Dream destination: No specific destination, I want to travel the world one day!
  5. Favourite part about Autumn/Fall: Getting to wear warm snuggly clothes and spending time drinking hot chocolates at coffee shops!
  6. Favourite store: Asos, because they always have great sales on on so many different brands!
  7. Animal: I would be an eagle because I would have the freedom to fly anywhere I wanted!
  8. Favourite drink at Starbucks: All time favourite is a Mocha Frappe with cream when the weathers hot. When the weather starts to cool I love a Hazelnut Hot Chocolate or a Cinnamon Chai Latte!
  9. Dream profession/job: A job that will allow me to travel as well as help people and make a difference.
  10. One person I can’t live without: Can it be two? My boyfriend and my best friend!

My Questions:

  1. If you could have any superpower what would it be (pick one) and why?
  2. What is your favourite coffee shop beverage?
  3. When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
  4. Would you rather have a crazy night out with a group or have a quiet one with a few good friends?
  5. Do you have a nickname? If so do you prefer it more than your actual name?
  6. If you had three wishes from a not-so-tricky genie, what would you wish for?
  7. Where would your dream holiday/vacation be?
  8. What languages do you speak and which ones would you like to learn?
  9. What is your favourite part about Autumn/Fall?
  10. How would you like to live your life, dream job or otherwise?

My Nominees: 

  1. The Year in London
  2. arie-bea
  3. Indian Love Story
  4. One Woman
  5. More Than Beer and Waffles
  6. Red Velvet Ratatouille
  7. by Jimmy
  8. Girls In White Dresses
  9. erinlouisehunt.
  10. Mara Eastern’s Personal Blog

Chia Seed Treats

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My parents have always drunk a mix of Chia seeds and a little sugar with their water or milk, it is something that is very popular in South Asian countries because of its health benefits as well as being refreshing. I have never really cared for the drink too much until recently. We always have a packet of Chia seeds in the house but I have never paid any attention to it, until now I did not even know they were called Chia seeds in English. The packets usually have writing in my own language and is called something else entirely (don’t ask me what because for the life of me I cannot remember!).

Whilst coming across a healthy eating article I encountered the word ‘Chia seed’ over and over again (have done for many years) and the description sounded very familiar so I typed it into trusty old Google. Google images gave me countless hits on appetising ways to make Chia seed puddings. I have given these a try and it is absolutely delicious!

My no frills, simple Chai seed Pudding consists of only a few ingredients:

  • Vanilla soy milk
  • Chia seeds
  • Honey
  • Fruit/Nuts of choice or dark chocolate (optional)

All you need to do is:

  1. Fill up your glass with soy milk and add the Chia seeds. Add as much as you like to make the mixture as thick as you like.
  2. Thoroughly stir the Chia seeds and leave to rest for a 2-3 minutes. The Chia seeds are tiny black seeds but once immersed in soy milk they start to retain the liquid making them plump and gelatinous (a little tapioca pearls).
  3. Stir in a teaspoon of honey can be added for a little extra (natural) sweetness. Top with chopped fruits or nuts to give it that little extra healthy kick!

This simply is a case of less is more! Sometimes I don’t add the honey because the subtle sweetness of the vanilla soy milk is enough. I like to add almonds, raspberries or pieces of dark chocolate if I’m feeling particularly indulgent!

These are some sites that have delicious Chai Seed Pudding recipes:

The picture I used is from on Chia Seed Pudding…, this is one of the most simple yet delicious recipes I’ve come across.

Dark Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

Mango Coconut Chia Pudding

vanilla chia seed pudding

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Bonjour Tout le Monde!

Bonjour Tout le Monde!

‘Hello World!’

So…I’ve been trying to learn French for the past few weeks, however progress is very very slow. I thought that this would be the most convenient language to learn (I couldn’t decide between French or Spanish) as it was the language I studied for three years at Secondary School and now I have a Canadian French speaking South Asian sister-in-law!

Unfortunately it was the one lesson I didn’t pay much attention in and ended up copying the work of the girl next to me. She was fluent in French as her country of origin was Morocco and the languages they speak are predominantly Moroccan and French. Sitting next to her gave me the grades I needed, but language exams were never as strict at my school as most of the core subjects. Because I knew that it was a subject I would drop when choosing my GCSE subjects I didn’t much bother with it.

I really do regret missing out on an amazing opportunity, but at that age all you want to do is excel in the subjects you deem to be ‘important’. All i remember are a few scattered phrases here and there from my school days…

As they say, it’s never to late to learn as learning is a life long process! I shall keep updates on my progress.

Au revoir!