a woman's worth.

photo from

my hijab is my identity, my responsibility, my fashion statement.
it is my will, my choice, my voice.
it does not undermine me, nor does it oppress me.
it makes me stand out, rather than stepped on.
it is not a punishment for being a woman.
my hijab is my honour, my pride, my right.

Happy Women's Day.
know what you're worth!

what is your name?

problems arise when you try to directly translate a word, phrase, or even worse, a sentence.

one of the most fundamental questions we learn when we first become acquainted with a new language is "What is your name?". the Russian equivalent of that question would be "Как Вас зовут?". equivalent in sense, but not really when you try to do a direct translation.

i was teaching Dasha the 5W and 1H of question words when i realize that it's much harder than i have anticipated.

firstly, "Как" (pronounced 'kak') is not "What", but "How". so technically "Как Вас зовут?" pretty much means "How are you called?", rather than "What is your name?". but we don't go around asking people "How are you called?" do we?

oh my God where do i even start to explain?

after much exhalation on my part, and a series of frustrated "Я ничего не понила!" (i don't understand a thing!) from her part, i came up with a conclusion that "What is your name?" is actually "Какая ваша имя?". yea, why didn't i think of that?

now Dasha is a very opinionated girl. she still wanted to stick with her 'How', and wouldn't take my 'What'.

but then again i am after all the teacher. so i veto-ed my way out and we agreed (to disagree?) and she was like "fineeee. you win." LOL

and then the second problem arises.

as in German, French, Arabic and who knows what other languages (except English and Malay, that i know of), Russian nouns have genders. so the table is a 'he', and the lamp is a 'she'.

and it never occurred to me how difficult it is to explain to her that in English, all non-living things, and all animals (except maybe our pets) are "it".


seriously man. it's very challenging. God knows what tricks i have to pull out of my pocket the next time we meet.

wish me luck!

Twice a week, I am Aini.

i like to think that when we give something to someone, that 'thing' we give was never ours in the first place. that we're just a middle-man of some sorts.

by giving money, we don't become any poorer. that money wasn't ours in the first place. we're only entrusted to hold on to it for a certain period of time, before He brings us to the right place, the right time and the right person to give the money to.

by giving food, we lose our hunger. because food, when shared, tastes better.

sometimes we thought we're only giving, without realizing that we're actually getting so much more.

life is almost never quid pro quo. an eye is usually not for an eye. because God's Fairness doesn't work like that. it's unfathomable by man's sense of equality.

last two weeks, i signed up as a volunteer at a refugee center in Moscow (yup, that's the commitment i was talking about in the previous post). i've always wanted to get involved with humanitarian activities but the procrastinator in me kept hindering me from actually doing it.

then, somehow the spontaneous part of me, driven by severe boredom, made me do it.

i kept telling myself, i should've done this sooner! but then again i'm glad i did it. never too late, right?

so twice a week, i am Aini. i'm currently tutoring English to Dasha, a 14 year old girl from Kyrgyzstan.

it's only been our third session, but i have learnt so, so much.

firstly, teaching is NOT easy. not that i thought it was easy in the first place. i've always known that teaching is not for everyone. one needs talent, passion and perseverance (lots of it!) to be able to do it. it's definitely A LOT harder than i thought! teachers, you're the bomb!!

secondly, even though i am teaching Dasha, she is actually in a way, my teacher. half the time (or make it 3/4 of the time), she's brushing up my Russian. and i can proudly say that since last week, my spoken Russian has improved quite a lot.

and i met so many amazing and inspiring people! people who gives unconditionally, people who devote their time for the benefit of other people without expecting anything in return. people who would do anything for knowledge, people who are in hunger for education.

all in all, it's a motivating atmosphere to be in.

i think i can say that those kids are somehow lucky to be unlucky.

and i thank You for showing me the way to them :)

okay, pen off for now. there are so many things that i want to tell, but let's save it for next time.

wish me luck, people!