No job title to my name.

these days
life moves in cycles
of positivity– wonder,
a certain hope
apathy
(jealousy, sometimes)
something close
to desperation
and unassuming happiness

I write answers
to testing questions
wonder if it’s all for nothing
study my keyboard
listen to lectures
consider all the possibilities
arrive at meaningless conclusions
quietly dance with the darkness I used to know
only to come back because there’s nothing there.
Nothing.
How many others have felt like this?

I question the value
of my existence
without a job title
to my name.

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Media//Questions

I stay home
whilst nature takes revenge outside
With the world
pouring out from my screen
incoherent
wild
compassionate
angry
senseless

Would it be better
to go out into the storm?

Would my mind find refuge
from the stream
of images
of war?

Is it worth knowing
what happens,
if only for those
few
stories of hope?

Summer Colours.

A couple of weeks ago I posted my Summer in Grayscale. Well, this is the colourful side of summer. I’ve enjoyed this summer very much and I am thankful for all the people who’ve made it possible. Most of all, I am thankful to God for giving me the opportunity of witnessing such beauty. I’ve also been reading a book called Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi; it’s such a good book! Below you can see a photo of one of my favourite passages, where the author reflects on the purpose of a novel.
Earlier this year I went through some pretty sad stuff and one of my friends told me that maybe the spring would bring a little rebirth. The spring wasn’t that great but this summer has definitely felt like a renewal in lots of ways, especially emotionally. Apart from friends, family and the wonderful people I’ve been working with; taking photographs and reading Nafisi’s book have helped a lot, as has upbeat hip-hop! I am immeasurably thankful.

“There’s so much more to life than we’ve been told
it’s full of beauty that will unfold
and shine like you struck gold my wayward son…”
Josh Garrels, Farther along.

30110022birds.15181920pages.2324272829 30 31 32 3335 36 40 Brussels. 38 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 51 52 54 55

The Med

I swim in the Mediterranean on a sunny day
its waters are warm
pleasantly, they rock me to and fro–
I lie on my back,
basking in the sunshine,
soaking up the experience
of swimming in this
expanse of water.

Miles away others lie face down
immobile
after their Herculean strife to
make it to this continent
in the pursuit of a dream.

Europe, you have become my home
but when this happens I am reminded
that I am an unwanted presence.

Je suis une migrante
And if it weren’t for a piece of paper:
I’d be un sin papeles
illegal
a target for unlimited detention
and deportation.

Today I am just another person
swimming in the Med
I travel across the Continent
without thinking of fences
and borders;
without fearing La Guardia
or the Home Office
But there was a time
when Dutch police
seemed intimidating to a gut-wrenching degree
And there are times when newspaper articles,
government campaigns and uninformed opinions
remind me that I don’t belong.

But it is much bigger than I am.
I wonder if I would still be human
were I trying to jump the fence in Melilla
or on a dinghy on my way to Lampedusa.

What does it take to belong?
What does it take to be seen?
Not as a victim or part of a crisis,
not as a number, not as a burden…
but as a person.

recovery/heartbreak

Slowly I am shedding
pieces
of a life I dreamed about

With great effort
I walk forth
leaving behind
the arguments I never started
the quiet tears
on the other side of the phone
the storms in my
chest
when his words thundered down
I leave too
all the little ways
in which he brought me joy

I look ahead
and hope
for better days;
wiser choices.

Daily
I choose to do things
God’s way
whatever that looks like
I know it will lead me
where I am meant to be.

A summer in grayscale.

I’ve had some adventures this summer. In early June, I visited my brother in Spain and we went to an amazing aquarium in Valencia — a city I’d never visited. I battled the heat as best as I could and enjoyed myself.
A couple of weeks later, I had the privilege of visiting Brussels. A friend who lives there showed me around the European Institutions and the old town. I took advantage of my short time there to explore and take some photos. I loved the buildings, the food and even the constant confusion as to what language one should speak. I tried Dutch several times but it didn’t quite work; apparently it depends on the neighbourhood you’re in. I was happy to meet some Flemish-speaking Belgians at the airport, even though it was time to leave.
In early July, my mum came to England to visit me. We did some tourism in London — I ended up walking with her along some of the sights where I usually take language students. I took the opportunity of being in London for my own enjoyment to take some photos of popular tourist attractions.
There was plenty of colour this summer but grayscale highlights lines, shapes and the intensity of colour. These features bring forth something that, I think, often gets lost when we see an image in full colour. Enjoy!

1
Valencia
2
Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, Valencia
3
I love signposts. Valencia.
4
Ashford Internatonal; waiting and more waiting…
5
Bruxelles/Brussel
6
Brussels
7
Brussels
8
I love that everything is in two languages! Learnt some useful phrases in French because of this.
9
The Royal Library, Brussels
10
The camera couldn’t quite capture everything. I love the books on the windows!
11
Beautiful balconies, Brussels
12
Brussels
13
This made me smile, Brussels
14
Brussels
15
Growth
16
View from a friend’s flat, Brussels
18
View from a friend’s flat, Brussels
19
Southark Cathedral, London
20
London
21
In London with mum
22
Westminster bridge, London
23
My first ever photo of the London Eye!

Some thoughts on what happened in Charleston.

Sadness; at the sound of your phone notification telling you that it happened. Again.

You imagine sitting in a prayer meeting and this happening in front of you. Because hatred runs deep in the South. But I’m not even from there. I’m on the other side of the Atlantic.
Why should I care?

Well, racism isn’t an American thing. It happens here too.We don’t have guns but it lives and breathes in the school corridors; and many sayings of European languages. It lives in the petty concerns of the privileged and in staff room banter.

I care because the people who died are my brothers and sisters. We share faith in Jesus. I care because they are fellow humans.

I care because it is indignant that people are using mental illness as an escape goat — yet again!

I care because this freedom-preaching, democracy-adoring society has a government
that claims to be waging a war on terror and they clearly do not recognise an act of terror when it stares them in the face.

I care because it doesn’t matter how many times we Tweet and share the disgusting fact
that we categorise criminals according to their race, it doesn’t seem to change anything:
Muslim; terrorist
Black; thug
White; mentally unstable “introvert”

I care because if anyone involved is listening, I’d like them to know that they’re not alone in their grief.

I am writing this because even if it doesn’t change anything and even though I know it will happen again. It is better to speak up joining the voices of those who are countering the clutter.

I am writing this because all I have is anger and sadness right now. And I am called to forgive and to love my enemies. Saying that it’s difficult is an understatement.
But I believe God’s grace is enough. And even though my heart rages at what the shooter did; Jesus died and rose for him, too.