September went by in a blur for me, mostly because I was trying to meet multiple deadlines for freelance projects alongside balancing my part-time job, as well tieing up as many loose ends as possible before my trip to Southern Africa on the 28th. Fortunately my two amazing friends did most of the planning for this trip, but I did have to run around town sorting out jabs, buying essentials etc. as you do. This, combined with my wavy health and trying to come to terms with a gazillion personal dilemmas that arose, meant it was at times quite a challenging month; but as usual, all trying times come with a dose of good stuff. Here are my highlights from September 2018 🙂 :
1. Watching the Netflix original chick flick ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’ with my sisters. Haven’t watched a chick flick in forever and this was actually just what I needed. It was a super-entertaining evening with my sisters as a spider the size of my face decided to join us in the living room and we all started screaming. My nephew had to come along and get rid of the spider (i.e. kill it -_-), but this whole scenario of 4 adults jumping onto the couch and screaming is absolutely hilarious (during) and in hindsight. I would recommend this movie if you’re craving a cute old-school-yet-modern rom-com ❤️
2. Seeing the first illustrations for the book I am working on- Crash Course: Psychology. It’s an amazing feeling that it’s all coming together and it was great to send in all my final bits for the book before heading off on my African adventure!
3. Meetup with my Sotonian Oxbridge crew at GBK to celebrate Hannah’s bday and send off to the University of Oxford to finish off her final term. We had a hilarious catch-up regarding multiple breakdowns, Bumble dates, cold corn-on-the-cobs and how I’m clueless about most things in life. Also came to the conclusion that I will always be in awe of the savagery that is Hannah’s chat.
4. Spending quality time with one of my best friends, Matthew, after he’d been through a difficult week and playing Street Fighter on an old school Super Nintendo, where I whipped my way through to an easy win with my all time faithful go to, Chun-Li.
5. Settling into my new home – thank you to everyone who sent me cards and home-warming gifts. I appreciate it more than you know ❤️
6. Southampton sunsets:
7. My 30 day gym challenge 2.0 – this involves going to the gym everyday for 30 days straight. I wanted to re-start this in order to prep for my trip to Africa where I knew I was going to be on the move quite a bit. I got to Day 17 before I had to fly out so plan to finish it off when I get back. Follow me on my personal Instagram (@razwanasquadir) if you would like to keep up to date with my progress or join me on the challenge yourself!
8. Inappropriate public displays of affection at Waterstones.
8. Hosting at my place for the first time. It was just a small little make-shift picnic gathering in my living room to welcome back one of my best friends, Tom, after his six month travelling adventure across the world with his boyfriend Alex, and also my best friend Rong and her partner Jon, as they were down in Southampton for the weekend. Lots of finger foods and just a good old catch-up.
9. This potato heart which I took as a sign from the universe that my love life may not all be doom and gloom. Late work nights and hungry rampages in the kitchen led to this miraculous discovery:
10. Coming to terms with my faith and how I practice it in my own time and on my own terms.
11. Reading Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. Simply brilliant and a must read for all.
12. BSoc (Cambridge University Bengali Society – a society that I started and put together by recruiting some very talented and committed people back in 2011) catch-up in the rain at Pop Brixton in London and eating Made of Dough pizza, which was super-delicious. And as usual, talking about all sorts, from love and other drugs to the sexist misogynist Jack Kerouac.
13. Enjoying listening to Ariana Grande’s new album ‘Sweetener’ whilst working late into the night reading up on psychology studies and the potential money to be made from technological investment into bacteria management. So much fun 😀 (this may come across sarcastically but I actually really enjoyed the latter project, although meeting the tight deadline amongst my other commitments was somewhat stressful).
14. Returning to work at Coffee#1 on a rainy Sunday on Shirley High Street. I used to spend a lot of my time here in 2017, but haven’t been for a while. It was nice to see all the staff again and an old school friend of mine who works there. I also got to try their delicious pea mint soup – it’s always sold out but I finally managed to get my hands on it!! Worth every penny.
15. Meeting people IRL that I’ve connected with via Instagram, including @snoodlehead (thanks for seeing me and saying hi!) and @endangered2_ for a long overdue catch up about fitness, food and life.
16. Gary Janetti’s insta posts. If you’re in need for some comedy head over to his page- you won’t be disappointed.
17. This Wahaca bowl of uber goodness on a recent dinner date. I didn’t get to finish it all though as I was distracted but it was super Y U M M Y.
18. Long catch-ups over the phone with my friend Becky in the US about all things life ❤️. She’s just the best and our WhatsApp video calls always make me laugh and leave me feeling so much better, especially if I’m having a stressful day or negative thoughts.
19. Completing my Invisalign treatment! After 1.5 years my teeth are officially no longer wonky. Moving onto retainers now, so still going to have a full-time pout for another year or so, not that I’m complaining 🙂
20. Getting offered a new job as a result of a freelancing project that I was working on. I am really pleased about this; although it means that I am back to full-time work, which wasn’t really a part of my plan for my ‘year out’ (I only wanted to work part-time), it’s a great opportunity and aligns with my future goals. The role is also really interesting and gives me a lot of freedom to set the strategy and marketing direction for a relatively new organisation/consortium. I’ve met the whole team already so I am really looking forward to starting the role at the end of October.
21. Bumping into my sister’s friend Yasmine (who is now my friend as a result) during lunch at work and having long chats about pretty much everything- from work, dating, social media and travelling, to friends, ambitions, religion and the future. It was so great to connect again after a long time- I think the last time we saw each other was over coffee in the summer of 2017! Time flies when life is mental.
22. Traipsing about town with one of my best friends, Tom, after not seeing him for half a year. Just catching up about all sorts and as usual, he helped me sort my shit out regarding buying all the things I needed for my trip to Africa. Grateful as ever because I tend to get side tracked quite easily.
23. Buying fresh flowers for my kitchen on Sundays for the week ahead.
24. Texting ferociously.
25. Lounging and catching up with my good friend Zhuo’er in the BA Business Class Lounge at Heathrow before our flight out to South Africa. Free flowing food, drinks and snacks was exactly what I needed before a 10 hour flight to Johannesburg and then a 6 hour coach journey to Bostwana.