Last day in London

It's a usual matter for me, I always find it easy to describe things, nature, historical places, or even people, but I can't describe my feelings. As long as it's not a new thing, I won't break this habbit, I'm not willing to change at the moment, I'm not a friend with this habbit, I don't even like it, but maybe, because I think it's safe, I want to save my ass, I feel more secure if people don't know how I feel, but sometimes I pass hidden messeges, because I usually have no fear to say negative feelings, I either decide to say it or not, but the problem is with those positive feelings, I don't know how to express, and sometimes feel afraid to make mistakes in my expressions.

Classmates from Wimbledon Language Academy - London
Classmates from Wimbledon Language Academy

It was one of the sadest days in my life, because it was full of pleasure that I'm sure I won't get again, because everyone I see today, I won't see tomorrow, "I'm going back home tomorrow", I said goodbye for them, or rather, I said see you, because I was sure that I will see them again.After this trip, I started to feel more, and be more convinced, that the world is a small village, it's not because you can communicate with any part of the globe easily, but rather because the same people are everywhere, the same pain, the same pleaure, the same suffering, the same minds, the same problems and challenges.

For my bad luck, just a few students attended the class at that day, most of them attended the farewell, but some had to go to work or other issues, Martin, the teacher, and Patricia promised to join us later in the near pub, I had a short conversation with Erdal before Martin and Patricia came, I never had such a conversation with him, I talked in things that we never talked about before.

We spent like an hour then everyone started to leave and other people started to come, I talked with Patricia, I talked about new things, she told me that in Poland some people call the week "Sunday", so instead of saying "I haven't done this thing for two weeks.", they say "I haven't done this thing for two sundays.", it was surprising, because in my country some people call the week "Friday", I told her about olive trees and many things. I don't know, why we keep everything for the last day? Why can't we do it before to have a chance to do it again?!

Martin was the last one who stayed with me, we just left the pub when it was to close, we talked about many things, and I learned something at that night, I learned that "sometimes we think that we want to say something to someone else but we don't have the courage or the chance, then we realize that the same person wanted to ask us for the same thing that we wanted to say but didn't have the courage or the chance."
London Tower in West End - England
London Tower in West End

I left Martin a qurater to mid-night in South Wimbledon going to Wimbledon train station, in my way, I said goodbye to everything in London, I said goodbye to the bus stop, resturants, walls, streets, telephone boxes, to everything in London that I built friendship with. In the train station, I had a feeling like I want to say goodbye to everyone, people who I don't know, no one knows that it's my last day, but I had a chance to talk with a very kind woman, and I said goodbye to that woman in the name of all Londoners.

In my culture they say a story of "a man who went to a graveyard, he looked at the ages of dead people, they write the age of every person when he or she dies, he wondered that all of their ages were short, one who lived for six years, one for five years, and some of them lived only for a few months, so he asked people to explain, 'in this graveyard we don't write the actual age of a dead person, we rather write the real time that he or she lived, we collect the nice moments that they lived, because age is not counted for the years that a person spent to eat and drink, it's counted for beautiful times that they spent, so for that man whose age is three months, he lived for longer than seventy years, but only three monthes of them were beautiful.' they said."

According to this story, I consider that night as part of my age.


Edinburgh: Green and Historical

From the Castle of Eninburgh - Scotland - UK
From the Castle of Eninburgh - Scotland
When we came back from our tour to High Lands, we went to a pub in Edinburgh, that pub was so different and wonderful, men in their 30's and 40's come to sing folklore and country songs, for nothing but the joy, they are not paid, they just come to sing with guitar or with no instrument at all, eevryone sings then they clab and then another one starts.

The second day we had a tour within the city in a bus that you sit above with no ceiling to see everything, you can see buildings that go for very old time, and sometimes building have stories, like a building that was the first school in Scotland, or the first university, or maybe one that was built by the richest man in the world at that time.

Beside hostory and anceint places, we say Edinburgh Eye, Edinburgh has an eye as well. You can see green fields everywhere within the city, you live in green places, and you might have an accomodation, or make shopping in one of the old buiding.

You can notice how Scotish, not scotsh, how they are concerned of tradition and culture, you'll find many shops that sell the traditional dress, and sometimes you might see people dressing so, however, scotish people are so friendly and helpful. Regarding the name, Scotish, this is the way it should read, not scotsh, because scotsh is kind of wine, any way, Scotland is famous of good wine.

I spent so nice moment with Chiara and Vanessa, but when we wanted to come back we couldn't get in the same coach in the train, I got in coach "C", I sat next to a very beautiful lady. Front of us were three guys, two of them have their faces to our faces, and the third is sitting opposite of them. From the conversation that they made, everyone, me included, could understand that the third guy wasn't a friend of them, he was sitting in front of them so they made that long conversation with him, and everyone, me included, was excited about their conversation and the troubles they did in the end, before I tell you about the troubles, let me tell you, the third guy was scotish, he was going to London, but the other two were: American and English, the American guy was horrible, he was bald and he drank alot in the journey, and the conversation that they made was like TV shows that you'd like to listen, the American guy drank alot and when they, his friends and him, reached their station, he was a sleep and drunk, his English friend tryed to awaken him but he couldn't, they missed their stop, and they were to miss the second stop as well because of the American guy, everyone was laughing, however, our trip was delayed a little bit because of them.

Buildings in the streets of Edinburgh - Scotland - UK
Buildings in the streets of Edinburgh

Never mind about the American guy, nor the English one, beside me was a a pritty English lady reading a book that I wasn't interested to know, because I was just spending time thinking, is it possible that a woman can have this point of beauty? I used to ask her a question everywhile for the sake of building a conversation, I asked her for a meaning of a word, because I was reading "By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept" by Paulo Coehlo, the word was "Obligation", "It's something that you have to do, ... something ..." she said. I had a chance to look well into her eyes, and a chance to learn a word that I think I'll never forget. However, when that two guys made their trouble and got off, we had another chance to speak, but this time she triggered the conversation.

When I got to my place, I had a chance to talk with the woman who was hosting me, she told me manythings about Scotland, she told me that he ex-husband was Scotish. She was very kind, she gave something to eat although it wasn't her obligation, we talked about people and countries, she was originally from Kenya. I spent that wonderful weekend and was ready to go back to school then next day, and be ready to travel after a week as this would have been the last weekend in the UK.

Trip to Scotland with Friends from WLA

Buildings in the high lands of Scotland - UK
Buildings in the high lands of Scotland
I couldn't believe myself when Chiara suggested to go with her and other friends to Scotland, because I remember when I had been in the plane sitting next to the Kurdish British man, he told me that Scotland and Irland are good places to visit, "They are full of green lands." he said.
The very next day, I went to Wimbledon station to get the train ticket, but unluckily, I couldn't get the cheap price ticket, because I had to book in advance. The trip had to be next week, I thought that it's enough period, but I had to pay £111 for return trip, whereas my friends paid £25 each for return trip as well. I decided to go by coach and return by bus, but that wasn't much cheaper, but at least I paid a total of £70 instead of £111.

I'm in the station waiting for the coach, they starting calling for our trip at 10.30 pm, I got into the coach bus and chose a seat. It wasn't that fantasy in the coach, it was uncomfortable seat, with no food served or TV in this long trip, we arrived to Edinburgh next day in the morning, any we, we stopped for a couple of times in the way, to buy food or eat something.

I think it wasn't only me who spent the trip sleeping, although the seat wasn't comfortable, I bought a pad from a shop at one of the stops, I helped me to sleep especially that I really needed to sleep. After five minutes when we started our trip, we made a small accident, it was small, no one was hurt, the driver if anyone would volunteer as a witness but no one did.Chiara helped me to get to the hostel as I arrived, it was heavily raining that my umbrella was to fly from my hands, after I booked a a bed in a 16-bed room, we went to the tour office to got to High Lands.

A dog running in the high lands of Scotland - UK
A dog running in the high lands of Scotland

Mountains covered with snow in the high lands of Scotland - UK
Mountains covered with snow in the high lands of Scotland

Really Scotish people are so friendly, they smile all the time and like to help you, I handed the woman working in the tour office £40 and when she gave me back the change, it was different currency, not totally different, but it's different than the money Iused to have in London, really it's mazing, because in Scotland they use the same Sterling Pound, but they have different pictures on the back, I tell you, when I'd been back to London, some shops where wondering where from I got this money, and some of them spent time to look at it to make sure it's original.

We took a day-tour in High Lands, it was really wonderful, everything is green, water everywhere. We stopped at a resturant to have breakfast, I had Homemade soup, I had it with Rosy and her friend who come from Las Vigas in the United States, but she's originally from Costa Richa, I've met an Australian guy, an Indian couple and an Italian old man, and of course Chiara's friend "Vanessa" and her mother.

After we had a really nice time through the day, we planned to go to a traditional Scotish pub, we asked the Guid and he told us about one that have nice Scotish country music, by the way, we spent the entire journey listening to Scotish music, it's really nice, I know before that Scotish music is nice, I had already had a Scotish country music CD in Jordan.

The Tree, people who stay in the memory

A tree
One day a little boy was travelling with his father to a very far country, it was a very long journey that they had to stop every a few days and stay in a village or a city in their way, this made their jourey quiet longer, but it was exciting as well, because every place they stay in, they find different people with different tradition and culture, not only different people, but different nature as well.

While they were travelling they had got very tired and were searching for any place to stop in, until they found a tree close to a spring sorounded by people, they sat in the shade of the tree, and took out some food they kept, after a while, the people of the village invited them to have dinner, and they hosted them for three days, the people were so kind and the boy spent amazing three days. It doesn't matter how long it was, neither the luxury that was offered, but he could see excitment in their eyes and eagerness to spread plesure upon them.

Thirty years later, the boy have become a father, and they had to travel back following the same path that he came from thirty years ago, and when they passed from the same village that he stayed in for three days with his father, he found everything's changed, the village is not lived by people any more, it was only an empty place with very old buildings that let you know that some people lived here one day, but none of them was there.

He asked his son to fill water from the spring, and then went to the tree where he had sat with his father thirty years ago, he thought that kind of relationship has been built between the tree and him, he liked the tree and he missed it, he knows that the tree also liked him and probably missed him as well, but he also knows that the tree has no way to move and visit him, it was his obligation to come to the tree and greet it, he sat in its shade, slept for a while, and had a very nice feeling that he couldn't ever explain.


A Mosque in Wimbledon (London - England)

It was really surprising me when people in London always ask me strange questions. "Is that the religion that a man can marry four women?", some of them asked, and most of them asked: "In your country all women should wear hijab and nikab?", little by little, I went into their minds, and I could understand what image they have, it was really surprising image.

Later, I could understand the source of such an image, it's not only things that they see at television, but things they see live as well, because although many muslems and Arab live in London, the people that you can know that are muslems or Arab are quiet different that Arab people in Arab countries.

On my second day in London, it was really the first morning after I arrived, I passed by a mosque while in search for my school, I didn't recongnize the mosque first, but I saw a man with beard and dressing the traditional Arabic dress, "Are you Arabic?" I asked, he noded but seemed unhappy for the question, assuming that he's really Arab I started immediately speaking with him in Arabic and asked him if today is Eid then asked him about the naerest mosque, he smiled and evenually spoke, but then I could know that he's not Arabic, and could understand the reason why he was unhappy of my question, I don't want to explain, but it seems that the last thing he thought about me is to be Arabic or muslem. He told me that it was Eid and pointed to a crowded place where many people are comming to make the prayer of Eid, "At that mosque the prayer will be, just at the place where people are comming -zayy el nas-." he said.

A Mosque in Wimbledon - London
A Mosque in Wimbledon - London
I've never been to such a mosque before, I couldn't imagin that muslems here are like this, all of them are dressing differently, maybe none of them wears normal jeans and a shirt, they wear either the Arabic, Indian or Pakistani traditional dresses, they look different than other people in the street, on the other hand the mosque corridore wasn't very clean, I tried to get in, but it smelled really bad.

Later, I had a visit to this mosque, inside it smells really bad, in the corridore, it's not clean, but inside the mosque it's kind of smell that is bad but it's probebly kind of perfumes, but it was really tirrible that I couldn't stand it for a long while, I asked some people in the mosque if I can take photos but they said: no, they said that I need to get a license, any way, I respect that, but when I asked why, one of them claimed that I might be a spy, "Who knows?" he said, then I said in my mind it's the same way that religious people think even in my country, they're always thinking of spies and afraid of other people, they imagin that other people were created just to fight us or kill us, they imagin that they have nothing to do except thinking of us and how they can attack us, they overthink about life, I found it much simpler here and more exciting than imams explain it to us.

I took some photos for the mosque from outside, it didn't really look good, but the guys in the mosque explained to me that this was originally a park then people converted it to a mosque, they told me that I should go to other places to see big mosques in London, and actually that makes sense, because just today, our teacher "Martin" told us that we have recieved an invitation from the imam of London mosque which is the biggest mosque in western Europe, but unluckily, I won't have a chance to make this visit as I'll leave London before. One of the amazing things about the photos that I took for the msoque in Wimbledon is that you can take a photo for a billboard and the mosque together, the billboard was kind of advertisment for Nokia showing naked man and woman from behind on the beach.

Although I could meet many Arab and muslem people in London that just look like us and like all other people, no one can know that these are Arab, I could know because I hear them speaking Arabic, but the westerners can only know them if they saw them wearing nikab or having long beard, they don't know that it's completly different in Arab countries, at least in Jordan, it was even difficult to convince them that there's a considerable percentage of christians in Jordan.


FUN x FUN in London

We sometimes draw an image for a person or a group of people, I don't know how we draw it, we might be influnced by other people's opinions or the stories they tell us, maybe jealosy, or maybe we just like their image to be so in our minds and we become happier to imagin them this way, that is not as important as when we realise that the image we'd drawn is incorrect, or quiet inaccurate, at that moment we are divided into two groups, those who are strict, those who are unwilling to change, those people will not change their opinion and won't draw a new image, it is as simple as they've become friends with the old image and are happy with it. But the second group which I belong to; they give themselves a chance to understand and are happy to change whenever they face facts that trigger them to change, personally, I won't edit the previous image, I would usually draw a new image from scratch based on the new information I get, I will accept the truth.

For many things we heard about English people, and westerners in general, I realised that many of them are inaccurate, and many of them were presented in a mistakened way, the same for them as they think of us in a different way than reality, but then I started talking with these people, understand them, like them, then wish if they like me.
The bridge of London
The bridge of London

With Chiara, Karl, Deria, Thires, Brono, Silvia and Laura I spent so many nice days, I've been to the cinema with Sivlia and Laura. Do you know what does it mean to go to watch a film with two Italian girls, it simply means to ignore the film and watch them, I suggest to everyone to go individually with Italian girls when you are going to watch a film that you are really interested in.

With the American system, everyone paid his/her ticket, being confused which film to watch, especially that everyone is ignorant about the interests of the other, in addition to Laura's lateness, Silvia suggested to Step up.
House of Parliament in London - Big Ben
House of Parliament in London

Laura'd come just a few moments before "Step Up" film started, the film was kind of those very simpe films that you know everything before it happens, any way, Silvia and Laura seemed to like Channing Tatum who was playing a role of a man who's interested in Rap dances, he meets Jenna Dewan whose the only thing standing in the way of her obviously brilliant future is finding a great dance partner for her senior showcase, they meet and fall in love. Personaly, I liked Sivlia and Laura laughing and commenting in Italian, I don't know, but Italian language sounds to be a dancing language, if an Italian is talking normally, it sounds like singing, I really like it.

Little by little, I started to feel at home when I go to school, and started to get familiar with people and feel that I knew them before, the streets, shops and buildings started to become friends of mine.

The Exercise of the Other

A man runs into an old friend who had somehow never been able to make it in life. 'I should give him some money,' he thinks. But instead he learns that his old friend has grown rich and is actually seeking him out to repay the debt he had run up over the years.

The go to a bar they used to frequent together and the friend buys drinks for everyone there. When they ask him how he became so successful, he answers that until only a few days ago, he had been living the role of the 'Other.
'What is the Other?' they ask.
'The Other is the one who taught me what I should be like, but not what I am. The Other believes that it is our obligation to spend our entire life thinking about how to get our hands on as much money as possible so that we will not die of hunger when we are old. So we think so much about money and our plans for aquiring it that we discover we are alive only when our days on earth are particularly done. And then it's too late.'

'And you? Who are you?'
The Scream panting
'I am just like everyone else who listens to their heart: a person who is enchanted by the mystery of life. Who is open to miracle, who experiences joy and enthusiasm for what they do. It's just that the Other, afraid of disappointment kept me from taking action.'

'But there is suffering in life,' one of the listeners said.
'And there are defeats. No one can avoid them. But it's better to lose some of the battles in the struggle for your dreams than to be defeated without ever even knowing what you're fighting for.'
'That's it?' another listener asked.
'Yes, that's it. When I learned this, I resolved to become the person I had always wanted to be. The Other stood there in the corner on my room, watching me, but I will never let the Other into myself again - even though it has already tried to frighten me, warning me that it's risky not to think about the future.
'From the moment that I ousted the Other from my life, the Divine Energy began to perform its miracles.'

This was from "By The River Piedra I Sat Down And Wept" by Paulo Coelho.


First I was Afraid .... but then

It's not so often to tell someone that you're from Jordan and they know it immediately, you usually need to explain more, such like saying "Petra", "Israel", "King Hussein", but just yesterday I was so lucky that two new people that I met, they were from Columbia and Greece, they answered me as following: "Oh, Queen Noor!" and "I've never been there, but I've been to Lebanon", that was great for me because it doesn't frequently happen, but what was interesting for me that on my first class, I presented my self to the Teacher "Rob" - his name is actually Robert, but this is a nick name that he likes to be called - "Good, so which city you're from?" he asked when I told him that I'm Jordanian, I told him that I'm from Amman and then got surprised when he added: "So you're from the capital of Jordan", any way, I could note that it's not something very common to know the capital of Jordan because I could read how other students faces were impressed as well.
Friends from Wimbledon Academy at a Halloween gathering
Friends from Wimbledon Academy at a Halloween gathering

I told you that I was afraid at first, but then I met a very nice girl from Brazil who had been to Palestine -or Israel as she said- "I wish to visit Jordan, I think it's very nice." she told me, she's rellay interested to know many things about people and countries around the wourld, particularly Middle East, because she's one of those minority here that knows that it's considered a holy land even for christians, I've also meet other people from Brazil who were impressed when I told them that the brazilian Tic Tic Tac song was very populer in Jordan in late 90's. "You returned us back 10 years ago." they said when I sang the first part of the song.

So, with many Brazilians, a few Italians and other people from different countries, I thought it's possible to make friends here, I've got some of their mobile numbers, and two Brazilian guys told me to come to a Halloween party in the pub where they work, after we spent with other students a wonderful time in another pub close to the school in the morning in the occasion of Halloween.

London Eye in West-end England
London Eye in West-end
Not to forget Karl, the 17- year old Swedish guy who I met for the first time in the pub at the Halloween drinks arranged by the school, I believe that although he's young, but he has a very good knowledge and he reads frequently, it was interesting that when I was telling him about a movie that I just had watched the day before we went together to the West End in London I got surprized that he was reading the same story as a book. I think many people have read, watched or at least heard of Oliver Twist, but watching or reading it while you're spending time in London becomes more interesting and has a different taske, since the story talks about an orphan boy who travelled to London. Any way, we spent nice time in the West End, whcih is considered the centre of the city, the same as we call the centre of Amman the Balad, we ate Italian food, played bowling, went into the boat in the Thames, went to a pub, I'll put some of the pictures here.


First Class at Wimbledon Academy in London

I couldn't sleep well at last night, I really couldn't sleep, I was waiting impatiently for my first day in London, I couldn't see the city well yesterday, it was night and almost everything was closed, now it's 9:00 am, and my class starts at 12:00, so there's a plenty of time, but yet I'm still stranger, but not in the night, that's the only difference, now many people are in the streets, I can ask any of them, and really I did, but found noone in Wimbledon that has ever heard of my school, then I figured out that my school is not in Wimbledon, it's in South Wimbledon, so I asked people to tell me which way I should walk to reach South Wimbledon, assuming it should be close to here as it's the same name, but it wasn't.
Wimbledon Language Academy building
Wimbledon Language Academy building
I walked alot but couldn't find Dane Road, the road where my school should be, at the end I decided to take a Taxi when I discovered that I'm mis-pronouncing the name of the road. Actually, even the driver of the taxi that I took from a Mini Cab shop, which is a place that people take taxis from, not directly from streets, even the taxi driver didn't know the road, but he looked it up from the map, and took me exactly to the school charging me £5 for a distance that a taxi charges JD 0.7 at most in Amman, which is around £0.5.

The school was quiet small, Patricia took care of me for moments and guided me to see the library, internet room, kitchen and classrooms, then she asked me to apply a test to evaluate me so they put me in the proper level.

I started my first day in the Advanced class with few students that they started to become more and more as the lesson had started, the teacher was Grob, yet I don't know if I'm splling his name correctly, but actually he didn't dedicate time to present himself, that was because I was the only new student in the class, it wasn't a course that has a begining and an end, it was kindof a course that anyone can join at anytime, the only condition is to start at the begining of the week; Monday.

I wasn't very comfortable, especially that all other students know each other well and I'm the only one who needs to know the others, and as I was previously prepared that I won't be most welcomed because I'm Arabic and Muslem, I wasn't very sad, that idea that I discovered it was completly wrong reduced my chance to get familiar with other students on the first day, except a Turkish girl that mistakened me by Turkish people, "You look like Turkish people." she told me, I told her that I'm Jordanian, Jordan is very close to Turkey, "Do you know it?" I added, she said "Yes, I think so.", she said that in an uncertain way.

Deria, the Turkish girl, helped me to get familiar with transport in London, and helped me to by Ostyer Travel Card, she was with me almost for the first three days to guide me, until I became able to use the buses normally.
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