GLAD I GREW UP WITHOUT A PHONE IN MY HAND

In Pakistan I`ve been surrounded by little kids and I`ve been noticing the difference between kids here in Pakistan (especially in small towns) and in Norway. More kids in Norway have access to mobiles, computers, Ipads – the internet world, in general. Here, the world is different for many kids, but my cousins have asked their aunts about their phones because they`ve been wanting to play games and that reminds me of what my own childhood was like.

I didn`t know what a phone was when I was little. It wasn`t that normal to have phones in your pockets when I was born, but look at how different things are now. Eight years old kids have big phones in their hands. I`ve seen little kids playing on their phones instead of talking to each other, on the metro. Less kids play outside now, it`s become less common to ring on each other`s doorbells and it`s become more common for parents to exchange board games with iPads.

I remember my brother and I used to watch TV with excitement. We both had our favourite shows, but nevertheless we weren`t picky. I loved Winx Club and used to get up early on Saturdays, to quietly go downstairs and turn on the TV. But, we weren`t allowed to watch too much TV and we were okay with that, because there were so many other things to do! Jumping on the trampoline, playing with my dollls or with Lego, using chalk in front of the house, playing hopsotch, football or hide and seek. I also enjoyed drawing. What do kids do today? And what do parents do? Way too many give an Ipad or a phone to their kids so they will be quiet and not irritate them. It`s easy to do, but the consequences are many. Childhood isn`t supposed to spent inside, staring at a screen for hours and hours. A child`s supposed to play with other children, get to know the world and play games outside.

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I`m glad I didn`t grow up with smart phones in my hands or with parents who handed me an iPad whenever I was annoying them. I`m glad we were many people jumping on our trampoline and I`m glad I got to enjoy a world without internet. Kids don`t need smart phones, they need attention, love and people who see them. It`s also important that parents put away their phones when they`re with their kids, because Facebook and Instagram won`t disappear, but the time you get with your kids will.

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WOULD I LIKE TO LIVE IN PAKISTAN?

I`ve been asked whether I would like to live in Pakistan or Norway a few times now, and I think it`s an interesting question. Mainly because my opinions are divided. Norway and Pakistan are different countries in so many ways, that I don`t know where to begin. And yes, I haven`t lived in Pakistan but I`ve spent enough time here to know that my life in Norway suits me better.

I like being in Pakistan because of my family. Two of my aunts and their families live here, along with other family members as well. But the way of looking at things is too much for me… I like some things with the Pakistani culture, like the food, clothes and the idea that family`s important. But there are many things that annoy me, as well. One thing that has gotten to me for quite a long time now, is the phrase “what will people say?” God, that one sentence ruins my mood, because I know it kills more dreams and ideas than people will ever realise. It`s worse in small towns – people are more tensed about what people will think about your dressing, appearance and the way you act. As a “foreigner” in one way, it sometimes looks like everything`s okay on the surface, but I know that`s not completely true. I`m glad this idea isn`t stuck that much in people`s minds in Norway, because I don`t care that much about what people say. I`d be wrong if I said that I don`t care at all, but I believe in individualism more than many people here and I value feelings, thoughts and emotions more than what dress someone`s wearing.

This might look like a negative post, but I just want to share another thing that bothers me and makes me appreciate my life in Norway more. The women`s situation here in Pakistan makes me very sad… Women that get married when they`re 17-20, without having a little of their lives sorted out. Some want to, but many don`t and I know that. Don`t tell me women in Pakistan are living a good life because many more study now, because education is only a part of it. I`m glad more women seem to attend college and university now, but there`s still this idea that it`s more important for men to study. Some can`t leave the house without their husbands. There`s this idea that woman should stay at home and take care of the house and their kids, and act a certain way. Pakistan`s one of the worst countries to be woman in, according to some research done by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, and the Peace Research Institute of Oslo. I guess that says a lot.

It`s not that I absolutely can`t live in Pakistan, but I don`t think I could live in Pakistan AND live the life I`m living in Norway. I`m more free in Norway and it`s where my life is. I`m able to go to the mall alone and I can finish my studies. Also, the way of thinking there is different and makes it easier for me to live my life there as I want to live it. 

I FEEL MORE LIKE MYSELF

Happy 17th May to everyone who celebrates Norway`s national day. Every year, and then I really mean every year, there`s a debate about what being “Norwegian” means, what flags are allowed during this day or something else along these lines. Tiring each time people just have to talk about these things , because we don`t seem to find any correct answer – not that there is any correct answer. People these days are also so petulant – you`ve barely said anything by the time they`re offended.

A Norwegian politician sometime ago had a speech, in which she said “immigrants who want to live here, will have to respect Norwegian values and rules.” She`s not the first one who`s said something like that. I agree that you have to follow the law, but could someone tell me what “Norwegian values” are? Many would mention things like “freedom of speech” and “gender equality”, but how are these “Norwegian” values? Who decide that they`re Norwegian? Who own these values? Last time I checked, these values can be found in many other countries around the world, so why the words “Norwegian values”? I don`t really care much about whether a value is “Norwegian” or “German” – if it`s something I can stand for and if it`s something I believe in, it`s a value I can “take in” and accept. This politician also talked about “Norwegianness” in the heart and said that some people are “Norwegians” on the paper, but not in the hearts. Who decide who`s “Norwegian”? How do you become a “Norwegian”? And again; what does being Norwegian mean? And how do others know whether you`re a “Norwegian” in your heart or not?

I was born in Norway and have lived here for more than twenty years. Twenty years and I wouldn`t say I`m Norwegian at heart. Some people would say I`m a “Norwegian-Pakistani”, which is okay, but what I feel and how I feel about myself and my identity is more important to me than what politicans say about identity and it`s more important than the labels and stereotypes that are out there.

I don`t feel like I`m Norwegian at heart.

I don`t really know what being a “Norwegian” means.

I feel more like Iqra at heart and you know what? That`s cool enough for me.

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PEOPLE NEED TO CHILL

It`s so interesting to hear your thoughts about this year`s Eurovision Song Contest! I get so engaged when people talk about Eurovision – it`s a show I have quite a lot of opinions about. 😃 Right now I`m even listening to the Eurovision radio, that`s what you got to do when the contest is over for now. I`m still in love with Italy`s song, it`s so beautiful! I still like “forever”, which was Belarus´ entry, but I liked the vibes the music video gave me better.

Speaking about Eurovision… what`s up with people jumping to conclusions when it comes to Netta, her performance and her song? It`s as if people all of a sudden know her and have an opinion about her because she won. Throwing the conflict between Israel and Palestine on her, as if it`s her fault. Netta represented Israel, just like Alexander Rybak represented Norway. Celebrate that she won and if you can`t, at least don`t be mean. And don`t bring politics into her victory, “just because”. What the Israel as a state does isn`t really in her hands, anyways. This makes me sad and also disappointed on behalf of the other participants. I`ve been following this year`s contest for several weeks. I`ve watched videos of pre-parties and meet and greets, in which the contestants had fun, made amazing memories and celebrated music together. That`s what Eurovision was and is about for them and now people are fighting and calling each other ugly names because Israel won (and because the contest might be held in Jerusalem).

As if that`s going to change everything.IMG_2409IMG_2405

Enough about that for now. I went to school this morning and spent some time there reading about the Cold War and Middle East. Curious about what assignments we`ll get to choose between on the exam next week, but I`m also worried because I have two exams straight after each other. More nervous about anthropology, to be honest. Wish me luck!! I for sure need it.

A MESSY HEAD

I don`t think people realise how the things you go through, can make you strong and also get inside your bones and remind you forever of what you went through.

I`m not a person to stay mad forever, nor do I have the need to forgive others. But I can`t help being affected by what people do to me. I wonder if they`ve realised that the things they`ve said and done to others have affected them. Do they know that actions can hurt and do they know that words can hurt even more? I wonder if they`re okay, if they`ve all moved on, if they ever think of the pain they threw at me and then claimed it was “just a joke”. I wonder if they regret.

It`d be easy for me to sit here, be angry and think “why me?” And maybe I`m angry on the inside, because even though the storm is over, I`m dealing with the pain they threw at me. I remember a while ago I thought the bullying hadn`t really affected me that badly, all it pretty much did was make me stronger. Now I`m thinking that`s entirely not true – the bullying, along with other things, made it harder for me to trust people, rely on them. It`s become difficult for me to not be sceptical to what others are saying. The words “I care about you” mean something else now.

And just now I thought “oh, life`s weird, I`m off to another country, I`m going to stay there for some months and most likely be sceptical to others there too”. But I tell myself the next adventure is going to be different. Yeah, I`m going to another country, but that`s the whole point. No drama, I won`t know anyone and even better: nobody will know who I am.  even though the pain will be inside my suitcases and remind me of my story, it`ll be nice to get away from everything and everyone for a while,

Something inside me is telling me that`s what I need.

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STILL UNBELIEVEABLE

I don`t know, but it`s as if I`ve ended up on a sort of sad road the past few days. I`ve been thinking a lot about Tim Bergling, and the latest news about his sudden death has made me think more about it.

I`m not a person who`s able to think that death isn`t a sad thing. I hope Tim is in a better place right now and that he`s making music somewhere up there without feeling the pressure, but I`m sad about what happened because I wish he was alive right now and felt love and support. I wasn`t a blood fan of Avicii, but I listened to his songs a few years ago. What makes me so sad are the circumstances, everything he must have been feeling considering his documentary which came out last year and the fact that he was 28 years old. He was still young and supposed to live life. He was supposed to be here, among us. I read a comment on Instagram earlier which said something along the lines of “now we have the memories”. That word made me so sad. “Memories”. That`s way too true. People who went to some of his concerts only have photos, videos and the flashbacks in their minds as memories. It must be weird to have been on one of his concerts and now know you`re never ever going to get that possibility now. It must be weird to know that the person who was standing in front of you, rocking the music industry and making you feel so much, now is dead. One week has passed and this is still unbelieveable.

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Sometimes when things like this happen, I “stop”, breathe and do a lot of thinking. Perhaps it drives me crazy, but I`ve been struggling with questions about life, people and death for quite some time now. I`m used to it. It`s nothing really that bad, it`s just my mind. I don`t understand death, I don`t know what it is. It`s weird and sad to think about how we`re born and how we all do things, when we know we`re going to die. Is that why we`re doing so much? Some people want to be rich, get a big house and become famous as if they`re going to stay here forever. Life`s not forever – that`s a scary thought. But people around me make it seem like it`s forever, when they take life and people for granted.

I wish I didn`t have any exams to revise for. I`d rather write down my thoughts about death, than about Malinowski. Ooooor when I think about it – perhaps not. The examinator would probably start wondering what`s up with me.

LIFE, YOU KNOW

It`s always sort of weird when a person you`ve known about for years, whether it`s a celebrity or a family member, just isn`t there anymore. Avicci isn`t here anymore, we`re all not going to be here one day and… oh, God. What a way to begin a blog post, but I can`t be the only one feeling this way. I`ve been reading through some of the things people have written online, and someone wrote “it`s part of life”. Someone else replied “it`s not a part of life, it`s the end of life.” I just felt that was way too true, but Avicci`s music and words are going to live on in people`s hearts.

IMG_2353A picture from last week. Now there`s barely any snow left. My camera is acting weird and not working properly, so right now I can`t really take any pictures with it… Hopefully it`ll get fixed very soon.IMG_2364

One thing that I`m enjoying about spring, is that I wear my sunglasses. They`re sunglasses and “normal glasses”, so they suit my eye vision. Very practical. I like “hiding” behind my glasses, I feel cool, haha. Plans for today is to finish half of an assignment I have in history and find out what apartment in Maastricht I like and book it. Everything is slowly falling into place.