Past and future letter to myself

I was recently asked to write a letter to my younger and future self for my linguistics class. It was very hard to write, but It was a powerful exercise that I believe everyone should experience. Here is my letter…

Sweet young Fai,

Where do I start… Oh, the places you’ll go – It seems like you’ll never leave your small town life, but all of this will change with years to come. Lots will change when you go to college. Your decision to do a study of abroad in London and move to the across the country for med-school will be stressful at times but you will be happy you did. The friends and memories you make will be lifelong. Those you meet on your journey will embrace you. As you meet new people, be kind. Smile, make friends, get to really know them, and treat everyone well even if they don’t.

Don’t waste any opportunities that are brought to you. Just one rare opportunity can change your life forever. Knowing all the elements in the periodic table may seem lame and nerdy in middle school, but believe me it will come in handy. You will have a career that will take you to places you can only dream of. That cereal you brag hooyo (mom) to buy for you and the fancy makeup at the mall that you cannot afford someday you will be the formulation Research Scientist behind it. So many great things will happen. I can’t explain to you what they are but you know soon.

Your body is embarrassing to you and your introvert attitude is intimidating to others, but you will realize is what makes you, you. You’ll grow to love it. Your circle of friends will change; and the ones that fall like leaves, will be the ones your mom have predicted. Her repetitive advice will finally sink in. See that your sisters are your best friends and biggest supporters.

I can’t stress how much your parents love you. They’re willing to do anything for you and will give up all to make you happy! Your dad will need you more than ever, especially the last year of his life – remember what he’s given up for you. Make sure you’re willing to give everything up for him. Your mom will go through many dark stages but you will all be her light. Sometimes it will be hard to stay in that “I’m so blessed” mode when part of your world is missing. But even with the biggest lump in your throat you’ll wake up with so much gratitude; because you know It Could Always Be Worse.

Hold tight to your beliefs, your love for God, and your roots. Somedays it will be difficult to give back and easy to give up on Somalia, but you will find a way for Somalia to love you as much as you love Somalia. Speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. There will be a lot of obstacles in your path. But remember, the struggle you go through will make you become patient, kind, compassionate and humble.

Love,

Future you

Dear Future Faduma Sahra,

Take a breath. I wanted to write this letter to tell you how far you’ve come, even if you don’t feel it. You’ve been doing this adulting thing for a while now, and it’s safe to say you don’t totally suck at it. I admire your passion for God, people, and travel, and I hope you never lose that. When life gets hard, I hope you always remember how strong, funny, and capable you are! May you never forget the times you’ve endured and use that strength and courage to know that you can overcome. May you always choose fear over comfort!

I hope you don’t allow the pressure and opinions of others to be a catalyst for decision making in your life. I hope you continue to put God first and keep building that relationship. Remember that this life is much bigger than you. I hope you continue to use your passion and purpose to propel others. On that contrary, I hope you married, the love of your life and you are living out of your dreams.

I can’t wait to celebrate the future with you, and watch you develop into who God’s called you to be. You are so enough, even when you don’t feel like it.  I would be remiss to end this letter without telling you how proud I am of you. You are one the strongest people I know. I love you so much, and I hope that you keep learning to love all the parts of you, not just the ones that easier to love.

Love,

Faduma

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Pumpkin spice latte

I love love love Starbucks pumpkin spice latte. While I’m loyal customer, I often like to experiment in my own kitchen at home. Don’t get me wrong the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks can be fairly healthy (Steamed Milk , Espresso and Pumpkin syrup topped with optional Whipped Cream and Pumpkin Spice) however I knew I could replicate the recipe with an even healthier twist.

Ingredients:

• 2 cups non-dairy milk (I prefer Almond milk, but soy milk works well)
• 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
• 2 tablespoon cocoa powder
• 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or All Spice)
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• Optional: Stevia or another sweetener to taste
• Optional: ½ tsp of instant coffee mixed with 4 tbsp. hot water

Instructions:

• Combine all ingredients except sweetener in blender.
• Blend at medium speed until smooth.
• If the sweetness is not to your liking, add sweetener to taste and blend until combined.
• Pour into a saucepan and heat, stirring at regular intervals, until steaming. Pour into two mugs and serve.
I thought this recipe was all too perfect… latte to wake up to. Why not add more pumpkin? 

Homemade waffles recipe

I love a stack of piping hot, golden brown waffles. I mostly eat them for breakfast, but they’re REALLY good for dessert too.
Waffles and ice cream is a total classic!

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Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Serves: 2

Ingredients:
2/3 c. whole wheat flour
2 tbsp cornmeal
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 banana, mashed
1 egg, whisked (Vegan – use 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce in place of one egg)
2/3 c. + 1 tbsp Almond or (milk of choice)
1 tbsp jam (I used strawberry)
1 tsp lemon juice

Directions:
In a medium-sized bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine all the wet ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just incorporated. Spoon the batter over your waffle iron and close the lid. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the waffles are firm and slightly crispy. If you’d like an extra-crispy waffle, pop them in the toaster for a couple minutes once they’re done cooking.

Homemade Strawberry Jam

I love Pb&J sandwich (peanut butter and jelly) – I can’t remember if it was 7th or the 8th grade that my teacher thought us how to make jam but ever since then I’ve been making my own homemade strawberry jam. Pb&J sandwiches definitely came in handy when was broke college student.

Here is my quick and easy recipe.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 qt ripe, organic strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 3⁄4 to 1 cup raw organic sugar (or substitute regular granulated sugar), depending on the
  • sweetness of the berries
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

 

Preparation:

  • Combine the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Bring the strawberry mixture to a rolling boil, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon and mashing the strawberries slightly (I used a potato masher for this). Turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer for approximately 10 minutes.
  • Put about a teaspoon of the jam mixture on the a plate and swirl the plate around. If the jam runs, cook for 2-5 minutes longer and repeat the process. (The jam should firm up when it hits the cold plate and should no longer run.)
  • Transfer to clean glass jars and cool. When completely cool, cover and refrigerate.

 

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Fall: Life Changes

Every year I get excited as the temperatures begin to drop, the leaves on the trees begin to change array of reds, oranges, and yellows. It’s almost autumn, my favorite season fun foods, festivities, and cooler weather – dreaming of pumpkin lattes, apple pie and campfire S’mores.

There’s something about the change to cooler weather that causes a mindset shift for me every year. Maybe the fact that my birthday is in November has something to do with it – a reminder to me to take a look back at the past year and reflect. It’s a time to sit down and analyze what went well this year, what I would still like to accomplish, and what I want next year to look like.
Once I’ve mapped out the final months of the year, I turn my attention to the year ahead. This process hasn’t always been easy for me, and I never really had a method to my madness. I would simply brainstorm a giant list of things that I want to do and insha’Allah(God-willing) accomplish.

I’m proud of myself for accomplishing some of the goals I set last fall. Putting my career on hold to focus on my nonprofit (although, nerve-wracking decision) was great idea. The past year I did the most personal growth leaving my comfort zone, letting go one-way relationship, and unhealthy friendships to create space for something better. I think it goes without saying that growth is necessary. It’s a thing that happens, right? As we continue to live, we continue to change, and much has been said about this type of change.One of my favorite quotes on change comes from a world renowned philosopher: “Everybody look at you strange, say you changed. Like you work that hard to stay the same.” Jay-Z

I’ve heard the phrase “growing pains” used to describe it, but that doesn’t quite fit for me because what I’m experiencing isn’t painful. I feel more than anything like I’m in a stage of change where things are infinitely possible, and being open to all of those possibilities is resulting in an awkward floundering and figuring out. It’s not painful, just unclear at times.

One of goals was to let go unhealthy friendships so; recently, I’ve been evaluating the quality of my friendships. I don’t have a lot of friends and my circle is definitely smaller than it used to be, but that would be unfair, because I have a lot of people that I feel blessed to call my friends. People who support me, and have been there for me in amazing times, and times where I’ve felt like I was down and I’d like to hope it’s reciprocal. Friendship like any relationships needs attention in order to thrive. I wanted to share a few ways on how I try to invest in my friendships

  •  Be there – Unrequited love sucks- romantic relationships or not. In my opinion a lack of effort shows a lack of interest. People are likely to do for you when they know that you wouldn’t hesitate to support them as they do you. Friendship isn’t tit for tat, but it’s can be unmotivating to cross oceans for people who wouldn’t cross puddles for you.
    But what does it really mean to be present? I like to think of being present as beyond physically being avail because truth is life happens, and physical proximity just isn’t always possible. Being present to me looks like, paying attention, asking questions, engaging, not assuming (working on this) and meeting people where they are at. I can’t stress the importance of meeting people where they are at. We’ve got to learn to meet people where they’re at and help them develop.
  • Asking for what you need. I like to think of asking for what you need as a good form of self-advocacy. Relationships are likely to drift apart when we feel like our needs aren’t being met. Doesn’t it suck when you feel like people aren’t there for you? People aren’t mind readers, and can’t always anticipate our needs; so for the sake the relationship, it helps to let people know what you need, and also asking them what they need. Sometimes asking for what you need requires some vulnerability, and that can be hard for some people including myself.
  •  I don’t subscribe to the “no new friends” stance, but as you get older building genuine relationships can prove to be somewhat difficult because there’s a lot years that this person is just catching up on and vice versa, and the question of trust comes into play. Like, how much can I trust you, vice versa. These things take time, obviously. However, I’m always weary of the people who are friends with everyone or have to question where a person’s loyalty lie.It can be pretty difficult to friendship without a good communication. Like being able to say, hey that happened and I felt like this. That means sharing, sharing when you’re good and bad news. Communication means no secret keeping. If I can’t trust you to be open about the small things or celebrate your success, are we even friends? Cheers to being friends who are there during highs and low. I don’t know about you, but it’s important for me to have friends celebrate the good times just as much as the ugly.

But for all that has been said of change and the benefits of it, the good that comes along with the fresh new eyes you get from growth, I wish more was said of that weird space in between.

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How to Pack: Guide

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One thing I don’t do when I’m traveling is check a bag (unless it’s long international flight then I bring tote bag with all my essentials) — I never, ever check a bag (even with Delta’s sky mile free bag) because I’ve had bad luck with losing luggage and being stranded clothes-less. It’s a very traumatic experience, trust me.

That means when I fly I have to stuff everything into a carry-on. And when I say stuff, I mean I have to hop on the suitcase to close it.
For my recent trips, I started packing my carry on methodically. Before, I would just stuff every cute outfit I owned into a bag and pray it would fit.  Instead of packing way too many outfits, although I really wanted to, I brought things I could rework. This outfit is a more casual version of this one.

Now, my game plan,  involves A) a color theme, B) limiting the quantity of items and C) bringing mix-and-match items.

In the end, the best way to pack is probably a mix of all of these: use the bundling method to keep your large wrinkle-prone items neat, roll everything you can to fill the empty. Knowing how to pack a suitcase rolling clothes adds quite a lot of efficiency to packing. But that can be easily killed if you bring the wrong amount of stuff. So how to know you’re not bringing too much or too little stuff?

Europe

I want to write an all-encompassing recap of my trip to Europe, but I’m not going to do since I’ve been there and done that before. You can read my previous blog posts or if you’ve specific questions over on Instagram (feel free to DM me).

Thinking about my trip gave me a feeling of this word that isn’t really a word, but more of a feeling —  sonder.

SONDER:
n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

There is only one thing I feel compelled to tell you – my favorite part of my summer trip, and what I took home with me. A lot of my worst days are spent feeling dissatisfied with where I am and who I am. The fact that I am growing, that things are still happening, that I still have whole lives left to live often takes a back seat to my less than perfect present. God willing, I will live to be a 100-year-old woman with a million chapters in my book (some okay ones and some fabulous ones), and really just experiencing all.

The family that eats together stays together

Because breakfast is the most important meal 🙂

Nothing like crepes in Paris 

Favorite Souvenir from Paris

View from the hotel: Seine river statue of liberty

 
 

Hello Belgium waffle

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