DECEMBER: WHAT A MONTH

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✌️ I began the month in Amsterdam. My mum visited me the weekend of the month and appreciated that she came down to visit me. We spent one night at my place in Maastricht (I`ll never forget what happened before she came, haha…) and one night in a hotel in Amsterdam. We walked around and my mum mainly did some shopping. All in all very nice to see my mum again and to be in Amsterdam again.

✌️ I came back from Amstedam on the 2nd and the next day I was in Italy for the first time. It took me quite some time to get there and I also got to spend about two hours in Switzerland before I caught the bus from Zurich to Milano. It`s a nice city, but at the same time I feel like the city centre itself doesn`t have that much to offer, as f. ex. Paris? I might be wrong, but I had a good time there! I spent two nights at a hostel there, which was interesting and got to learn that it can be a struggle to speak English with Italian people.

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✌️ I visited Krakow after six and a half years. I spent one night there and wish I had more time, but for now it was enough. It was weird to be back there, but oh, so nice. I also visited Auswitch, which I`m so glad that I did. A post about my visit there will be up very soon!

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✌️ Missed my plane in Italy. I was so stressed when it happened, but afterwards I just… I`m not sure, but I can tell you that much that it`s not the first time.

✌️ Ordered something from the Motivated Collection of UnJaded Jade. I was so excited to pick it up when I received a notice about it being at the post office.

✌️ Surprised my mum in Norway! HAHA, so much fun. She got very much surprised and I`m really glad that I went back home for the holidays.

✌️ I think I visited the christmas market in Oslo for the first time. I can`t remember having been there before, at least, so it was cool to compare it to the ones that I`ve been to in Maastricht, Achen and Krakow.

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✌️ Met a few of the exhange students that came to Oslo last semester. It was so sad to say goodbye to them and it made me even more thankful about the time I still had left in the Netherlands.

✌️ I also surprised my dad and my brother, and visited my family twice during the holidays.

✌️ And I mainly enjoyed some chill days in Norway. The weather was really nice. It should`ve been much colder, but it wasn`t plus the snow looked beautiful on the ground.

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✌️I ended the month and the year by celebrating the New Years at our neighbours` house. They had invited us over and we had a great time.


All in all, December was an amazing month. I spent time in five countries and got to see my family and friends again. The month was also “easier” to enjoy because I knew I still had about a month in the Netherlands, which I`m enjoying right now.

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ANOTHER SURPRISE & A FEW CHILL DAYS

Hola people! Hope you`re all doing well and that January has been treating you well so far. 🖤 Since last time I`ve managed to come back to the Netherlands. Yep, I was out of town for a few days. More specifically, I was in Germany. I decided in December that I was going to surprise my family there (my aunt, my uncle and my cousins). Maybe some of you remember that I went to Frankfurt am Main at this time of the year about a year ago? Well, this time they had no idea. Nobody in my family knew, so you can imagine that I was pretty excited, haha. I showed up at their door and not only did I surprise them, but I also scared them for a while. Mission complete. ✌️

On my way to the station in Maastricht I thought about how I couldn`t remember the name of the bus station where they live. I looked through some old photos and found one of the bus station (that`s why you should have pictures of the stations, because you never know). Then I thought about how to get into their building without having to ring from outside. Guess what? I met one of the women who lives in the same building and whom I met last time I visited my family on the bus, so that wasn`t a problem. When I rang at their door bell, I hid so they couldn`t tell who it was from the little window on the inside, HAHA. I could my cousins whisper “who is it?? It`s a thief, don`t open the door”. AH, guys. I know I`m crazy, but it was also fun and something my cousins won`t forget at first.

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I spent only three days, but really had a good time. Had good food, played a lot of “ludo” with my cousins (which we always have done and we never get bored), watched a few Pakistani dramas and enjoyed the entertainment of my cousins. They`re some years younger than me and do weird but funny things, which make me laugh. All in all, a good weekend!

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetOne of my cousins was so lovely and bought me a milkshake on his way back from school because he knows I really like them. That made me emotional. I really appreciate it when people do little things for me and remember details. Processed with VSCO with m3 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 preset

I came back to Maastricht yesterday afternoon, went almost straight to school, hung out with some of my friends for an hour and then went home. That reminds me… I managed to loose my bank card somewhere in Germany. I KNOW, don`t even mention it. It`s annoying, but what can I do. But everything works out in the end and at the end of the day I have plenty of crazy, funny stories to tell.

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHERE I BELONG

“Go back to where they came from.”

Those seven words have hurted many. Seven words. You can hear them being spit out on the street sometimes. On the internet it seems like they’re everywhere. I read and read. Get annoyed, imagine things I would’ve said but don’t say because I don’t know. It feels like some will never get it anyways. I don’t get offended. Not that anyone ever has said those words directly to me, but they’re said to “people like me”. “People who look like me”. People who to some extent believe in the same as me. People who don’t look Norwegian.

Even though I don’t say a single word online when I read such comments, I get frustrated. So many opinions, so many thoughts about humans they don’t really know, but think they know because we’re from Middle East, North-Africa, Pakistan. Because we’re Muslims. Because some are immigrants, because some can’t speak French or German that well. It’s like being talked about, but not talked to.

I don’t feel offended, nor do I feel discriminated. I feel sad and frustrated on behalf of myself and people who apparently “are like me”. Or maybe not, maybe I’m one of those “successful” stories because I am in several ways integrated physically in the European country I live in. I study, I socialize and I speak Norwegian fluently. I feel frustrated because why does anyone have the need to throw those seven words to someone else, just because they come from another country or have roots from another country and are not ethnical Norwegian or whatsoever? Why does it matter? We have one earth we are supposed to share together. Just because you were born in Norway and have parents whom are Norwegian, does not mean you have the right to be here more than someone who was born in Kenya. Just because your family has been living here for many years, does not mean immigrants can’t be here. We do have countries and boarders, but remember that those are boarders decided by us. And if our boarders are not open, then we should at least open up our hearts.

I don’t know if this is the reality, but it seems like one of the reasons why “they should go back to where they came from” is being “they’re” not Norwegian enough in their eyes. Not American enough, not French enough. Not enough. There are for example many Norwegians out there who say that immigrants need to respect the laws and rules of Norway. If they don’t respect the culture, they can’t expect respect in return. I don’t believe in that kind of respect, but if that’s the case: shouldn’t it go both ways? Shouldn’t the people who already live here also respect the cultures of the immigrants? Apparently it seems like for those people it’s a one-way thing.

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I was born in Norway. I’ve been living there my whole life. I’ve grown up there, went to school there and now I’m studying there. And despite all this and so much more, I don’t feel Norwegian, whatever that means. Should I be shameful? No, why should I? Should I give in to the Norwegian culture and assimilate myself? No, the process should come more naturally. Do I have to be “Norwegian’ and feel Norwegian in order to live in Norway? In order to integrate in the Norwegian society? No, who decised that? Some people, and who said that I have to listen to them. And what on earth does it mean to be” Norwegian”?

Stop telling immigrants and people of other ethnical origin what they should feel like. They should learn the language, they should socialize with the society they’re now a part of but for God’s sake, there’s a lot we should do too but we don’t do it. It’s easy to point at other people, laugh at them and say that it shouldn’t be done like that, but like that instead but only they know wht exactly they have been going through and are going through. Stop preaching about Norwegianness and Americanness and let people decide what they want to feel like, as long as they respect the laws and the rules. You can’t force people to feel a specific way.

No one gets to decide what I should feel like. No one else gets to decide where I belong. That’s something I would know, that’s something I feel. And if I don’t, I’ll hopefully figure it out and if I don’t; well, I know I’m Iqra and I’ll survive.

 

 

SO YOU DON`T FEEL MOTIVATED?

I`ve been studying for more than a two and a half years now. Like I wrote in another post some days ago, I haven`t been motivated to sit down and study all the time. In fact, the first three semesters (and then especially the first two) I would do other things and procrastinate when I was supposed to study. The last semester, which I`ve spent on an exchange semester in the Netherlands, have motivated me and done me well. I feel quite motivated now and want to share some things I think are important when it comes to studying, motivation and productivity. . Hopefully they`ll be handy for someone out there, and if you have any tips you use to stay motivated when it comes to studying or just life in general, feel free to share those in the comment section below.

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🌻Make yourself a to-do-list every morning. This is something that I`ve just started to do. Some days I`ve made a to-do-list later in the afternoon, which can work too, but I think you should definitely do this in the morning before you start your day. In order to make this work, the list has to be as realistic as possible. You can also make a timetable, which will tell you when you have to do the certain tasks you`ve set for yourself that very day. Another idea will be to highlight the most important things which you have to get done that day. As you get through the day and accomplish the things and goals you had set for yourself; tick them off. That will also give you a little motivation-boost.

🌻 One thing that has been motivating me quite a lot, actually, is watching the videos of so called “Study-toubers” on Youtube. It`s weird, in a way, how watching someone else study and be productive actually can motivate you and perhaps I`m still in denial, but it has helped. Maybe because I needed exactly that. If you`re interested in who`s videos I watch: UnjadedJade and Ruby Granger, mostly. I`ve also watched some videos of Eve Bennett and Holly Gabriel. They for example have “study with me-videos and videos where they talk about exams, productivity and motivation. Watching them have made me want to be more productive + I`ve also gained more tips on how to do that. During my last exam I also used UnjadedJade`s video called “real time study-with-me”, where she was studying and I studied “along with her”. I can`t explain how it works, you just have to watch the videos and see if they have that kind of affect on you too. Do give it a try, even if you`re sceptical! It might change something. 🙂

🌻Stationary hauls. I don`t think this point alone makes the biggest difference, but to me at least it does make some difference. Having the good equipment can be quite motivational. I get that not everyone wants to buy a pen that`s a bit more expensive when a cheaper one can do the job for you too, but there`s something about having more colourful, pretty, well-worked notes that you can use for revision before your exams. Ah, and pretty notebooks!! Even though I mostly end up leaving them in my shelves because they`re too beautiful to be used. Anyone else who can relate? But really, it`s weird but it just makes a difference. I don`t know how else to explain it, haha. Speaking of stationary: where do you buy notebooks and pens? Let me know, I’d like to know.

🌻It’s important to treat yourself in-between. Something that keeps you motivated. It could be buying that dress you’ve been wanting for some time after getting a B on your exam or just treating yourself with a packet of chocolate after a long study session. It’s useful to have a difference between the time you’re studying and the time you’re not studying. The same goes with your phone. Don’t use it while you’re studying. I know it might be tempting to for example watch your favourite show if you know that a new episode just came out, but finish the work and relax properly afterwards instead. You’ll enjoy the time you spend chilling even more then, I assure you.

🌻Keep track of time and what you spend your time on. Getting things done does not always mean you’re productive. So make sure you know where your time is going and that you spend it wisely.

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I hope those tips help someone out there! And remember that you are not a failure if your exams don’t go well – there’s so much more to life than just this. 🖤

 

 

 

I DON`T WANT TO THINK TOO MUCH ABOUT IT

I don`t want to think too much about it, but the past day has kind of forced me to think about it. Or it`s just me. Two of the girls I`ve gotten to know here, are leaving this week. One has already left, actually, and we said bye last night. She might come back on time before I leave; I really hope so. The other girl is leaving this Saturday and even though I still have time, I`m being reminded of that “damn, my time here is about to come to an end.” Today the guy from the housing corporation who welcomed me when I arrived at my place here in Maastricht came for the first inspection of my room. It was weird to see him again this time because I`m soon moving out, like what. Someone please explain to me how the past four months just flied by.

OKAY, enough about that for now. I`m pretty sure I`ll be more than sad in a few weeks. For now I`m going to try my best to enjoy the time I have here. I`ve already had my first seminar and lecture. This course is going to be intense, but I`m sure I`ll be fine. I just need to read the readings, attend every seminar and lecture and be productive. Yes! I`ve been working every day so far this week, which has also been nice. I like doing a short shift in the morning or early in the afternoon – that way I`ve worked a bit and still have the rest of the day.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 presetYesterday after work I went and got myself some fries, which were delicious. Almost got late for my lecture, though. Which was held by an anthropologist, by the way. She talked about ethnography, her research and how to do interviewing. Quite interesting, but since I`ve “been in” this field for some time, I felt like most of it was not breaking news for me, but it`s great to gain some good tips for my bachelor thesis which I`ll be writing… not next semester, haha. THIS semester. We`re in 2019 now, Iqra.Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Last night I hung out with my friends from here. It`s been so nice to see them again. One of the girls was leaving a bit after midnight, so we spent time talking, playing a and just chilling. It was weird to say bye to A last night (I`ll call her that), but oh, I appreciate those experiences and meetings so much. Hopefully we`ll see each other again very soon and if not that, then one day in the future. 🖤

I`ve been up since about 05.30 because of work, and I just looked at the clock and was like “is it only 12.39 now???” Now I`m off to an office at the university and then to the city centre so see if I can find anything I want among the sales. Have an amazing day y`all.

SO MUCH TO LOOK FORWARD TO

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To be back feels so surreal. While standing in the kitchen earlier tonight, I asked myself “am I really here?” Ah, perhaps that`s a sign of enjoyment and pleasure. I arrived Maastricht 1 am last night. When I arrived the airport in Amsterdam and checked the timings for the trains, I realised that I might not be able to arrive Maastricht the same night. I got worried, but everything works out, you know. Everything does, in one way or another. So, I made my way to my place in Maastricht last night and I was happy when I saw my bed which was covered with a pink duvet. Little things matter so much.

I have less than a month here, which is sad, but that`s going to make me make the most out of my stay here. I have quite a lot to tackle study-wise. A short interview, a presentation and a take-home-exam on 3000 words. In less than 4 weeks. I know I`ll do just fine and I`m trying to think that if I get through those days I`ll be able to get through the semester that`s waiting for me in Norway. On another note; I already have plans for the upcoming weekend and I`m beyond excited. Oh, and I have my first class of this period tomorrow which means that I`ll meet some of my friends from here again. So many things to look forward to and right now I`d rather focus on that.

SO – let`s do this. Bring it on Maastricht.

LET`S GO BACK

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Good food, surprises, Oslo, lazy days and some productivity. That pretty much sums up the past three weeks. I`ve had some chill days here in Norway and now it`s about time I go back to Holland. I don`t need to say it, but I will: I AM SO EXCITED. I`ll land tonight and then have a almost three hours long train ride ahead of me, so I won`t arrive my place until midnight today, but that`s okay. This is all a part of a very fun adventure. 🖤

Talk to you from the Netherlands!!