I am Sixteen, Going on Seventeen..

On Saturday, May 7th 2011, I turned sixteen.

I’ve got to say, this was unlike any birthday I had ever experienced. After all, it was my Sweet 16.

I had been looking forward to this day since I was a child – getting to dress like a princess, having a huge party, and of course, getting to drive! But two days before the big day, I realized just how much I didn’t want to turn sixteen.

I had been counting down since the end of April, but as the day grew closer and closer, many different realizations hit me. First of all, I was going to be driving! That’s huge! I would have billions of people’s lives in my hands every day, including those of my own family and friends. Wouldn’t that be awful if something happened while I was in the driver’s seat?

Secondly, I realized that the huge party I had planned to have since I was a child was not going to happen. I hadn’t made any plans, and I realized I really didn’t want to. I was okay with having a low-key birthday with close family and friends. However, it still felt wrong to not acknowledge this milestone in the way I had originally imagined.

Lastly, I realized that when you are sixteen, you are exactly half-way through your teenage years. Isn’t that a scary thought?

I then named my condition a “mid-teen crisis”.

Now, let me tell you a little story. It starts on May 6th, 2011 – My last day being fifteen.

I was in mosque, just like any ordinary Friday. I wasn’t having a particularly good day – at mosque it seemed like everyone was ignoring me, and I had to clean the mosque all by myself since everyone had already gone home.

My parents told me that after mosque they wanted to go out for dinner with some family-friends. I reluctantly agreed, but I told them I really wanted to be home before midnight. We had originally wanted to go to this Indian restaurant in Burnaby, but apparently they were full, so we decided to go to Earls instead.

When I walked in, I was welcomed by the sounds of many party horns, complemented with the sounds of all my friends screaming “Surprise!” Being the amazing friends they are they had planned a Surprise Sweet 16 party for me. I couldn’t believe it. That’s why everyone had been so secretive in mosque, why everyone had “Gone Home”, and why the Indian Restaurant was “full” – it was all because of the party.

My sister had even brought the dress I had bought a while ago, which I had intended to wear for my Sweet 16. They had decorated the table with huge signs and party favours, and insisted that I wear the tiara they had bought. It was all so perfect – and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start my birthday.

What made it even more special was the fact that my parents and my grandma stayed for the fun 🙂

The next morning, I was ready to start my day as a sixteen-year-old. I had planned out the whole day. I had wanted to go out for breakfast, take my driver’s test, go out for dinner, and then go to mosque. It was a simple, but fun way to celebrate my birthday.

However, nothing went according to schedule. I had planned to study for my driver’s test the night before, but of course I didn’t get a chance. Therefore, we had to skip going out for breakfast so I could review for the test.

I got to the Driver’s Licensing Office one hour before closing, just like the website had instructed. When we got there, the lady at the front desk told us they had stopped testing at 2 o’clock, and the current time was 4 o’clock. She said I would have to come back another day.

I was devastated – I had missed breakfast, and now I wouldn’t be able to get my license on my birthday either!

On the way home, we got stuck in a huge traffic jam, and got home too late to go out for dinner. We would have to go straight to mosque. Instead, we ended up having dinner after mosque – which I was totally okay with!

By the end of the day, I had decided that being half-way through my teenage years wasn’t a bad thing after all. It’s up to me to make the most of what I have left, and enjoy every second of it. I even created a “teenage bucket list” which includes random things I want to accomplish during my teenage years.

Looking back on the day, I realized that even though the day didn’t go according to schedule, it couldn’t have been more perfect. I ended up having a party, not being able to drive, and being able to cure my mid-teen crisis!

Handmade Wordle

So, I haven’t presented my English project yet – So I can’t say too much about what the words in the picture below represent, but basically they are quotes and ideas I took from the album “Dark Side of the Moon”. It’s almost like a handmade Wordle 🙂

I will provide a better description after I have presented tomorrow, and it will probably make more sense! Comment if you have any ideas about what it could represent!

Pink Floyd

Indepth #8 – The Finale :(

So folks, this is the last of the in-depth blog post series. Of course, I still plan on blogging about my progress before in-depth night, but this is supposed to be our last official blog post.

So for in-depth night, I have decided that I want to apply mehndi for the guests as my learning center. I think this will be a good representation of what I have learned over the past few months, and is also something they will be able to cherish and remember after in-depth night. (Equipment people: I am only going to need a table for my learning center!)

I’ve been practicing my speed of application, to make sure I will be able to be able to attend to many people during the night. My goal is to be able to finish a design in 5-7 minutes. Right now I’m averaging about 15 minutes, so I still need lots of practice.

I have also done my first mehndi design on a hand! It turned out way better than I expected it to! I’m not going to post any pictures though, since I want it to be a surprise for in-depth!

On another note, my mentor and I haven’t been able to find another date to meet. She was really sick last week, and had to go to the hospital, and I was really sick the week before that. She is feeling better now, so hopefully we will be able to meet this week!

That’s all for now, I will post again after I have met with my mentor!

Indepth #7 – Setting Goals

Hello World!

So the past few weeks my mentor and I haven’t been able to meet because she was busy with other commitments and such, but we are planning to meet Wednesday of this week. After that, I will be posting a more detailed follow-up blog post about what I learned. But for now, I wanted to talk about my goal for in-depth.

As you may or may not recall, in my first blog post I posted a picture of what I wanted to accomplish by the end of In-depth. Of course that goal is unrealistic, seeing as that is the works of a professional, and I have only been working at it for a few months. I don’t think I made a mistake by setting my sights to high, because having a high goal made me work harder. As the famous quote states “It is much more dangerous to aim low and achieve our mark than to aim high and fall short”.

But I did want to set a more realistic goal for myself, while still keeping my other goal in mind. I browsed online for a picture of something I may be able to accomplish, and found the picture below. I think based on my progress so far and the time I have left, I will be able to accomplish this new goal for myself.

That’s all for now! Be sure to check out my follow-up post!


Matter of Fact, It’s all Dark

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I decided to study Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” for my novel study project. Mr. Jackson commented on this post, saying:

“… [The titles] Almost works as a poem, no?

Speak to me
On the Run


The Great Gig in the Sky

Us and Them
Any Colour You Like
Brain Damage


I was then hit with the idea to create a follow-up poem to this poem. I wanted to take the first line of all the songs on the album, and create a similar poem. After I started piecing together this poem, I realized that the poem might work better, and be a bit more personal, if I were to use lyrics that I had specifically chosen, instead of using the first line from every song. Then, I drew up all the lyrics to all their songs, and chose one line from each song. I made sure that this process was fast – I didn’t want to think my desicion through, I wanted it to be chosen on instinct.

This is what I ended up with:

Very hard to explain why you’re mad, even if you’re not mad
Don’t be afraid to care

Live for today, gone tomorrow, that’s me
Why should I be frightened of dying?

Get a good job with more pay and you’re okay
And after all were only ordinary men.

I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon

Matter of fact it’s all dark.

Pink Who?

When Mr. J read out that one of our options for our novel study was to study the works of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”, I got a really good gut feeling.

For one, I love anything that has to do with 70’s – 80’s rock (AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Supertramp). These bands were the soundtrack of my childhood, and I still consider “Classic Rock” my favourite genre today. But for some weird reason, I was never introduced to Pink Floyd as a kid. My dad owned almost every 70’s CD possible, but we always ended up listening to AC/DC or Supertramp in the car. Pink Floyd occasionally made an appearance on a mixed CD my dad created, but the only song I ever knew of theirs was “Another Brick on the Wall”.

Also, my uncle in Ontario founded a band called “Comfortably Numb” (After one of Pink Floyd’s songs) which is basically a Pink Floyd cover band. Ever since I found out about his band, I wanted to start listening to Pink Floyd, but never actually got around to doing so. I thought this project would be the perfect opportunity. (And maybe I can show him this post and see if I can get free tickets to one of his concerts!)

When it came down to it, I had to decide out of reading “Hunger Games”, or listening to the mysterious Pink Floyd album. I asked my dad if he had heard of the album, and he responded with a very enthusiastic “yes!!!” He didn’t need to say any more – my dad and I have exactly the same taste when it comes to music, so I knew if he liked the album, there was a good chance I probably would too.

So that was that, I ended up choosing Pink Floyd as my first choice, and am lucky enough to get to study it! I’m really looking forward to it – In fact, I’m listening to the album as we speak!

Indepth #6 – Practice, Practice, Practice!

Hello World,

I’m finally beginning to see the progress I’ve made over the course of Indepth. Especially when looking back to my first few drawings, and comparing them to some of my more recent drawings, I realize how far I’ve come since the beginning. However, I think I’m still far from the goal I was hoping to achieve by the end of In-depth. But I’m sure with time (and lots of practice) I will be able to meet it 🙂

So over the last week or so, I mainly have been practicing the skills my mentor taught me at our last meeting. We didn’t get a chance to meet this week, but we are hoping to meet again sometime next week.

The skills she taught me included how to make mehndi cones, how to look for designs in everyday items, and how to draw these designs onto paper.

First I started by tracing some Indian-looking scrapbook paper I had. I then moved on to drawing some of my own designs, and attempting to retrace them. This is similar to what I did in my first few posts, except with a bit more guidance! Today I also bought a purse from the TALONS garage sale, and it had some really cool designs that I hope to draw onto paper and then re-trace with mehndi.

As I mentioned in my last post, next week my mentor is going to teach me how to make the actual mehndi paste – and then I won’t have to buy ready-made cones anymore!

The RCMP and the First Nations

Currently we are discussing Canadian history in Socials, specifically the time period between the 16th and 19th century. We were asked to think of a question or topic of inquiry, based on something we had learned about in class.

Originally, I was interested in Native treaties, and how the Natives felt in relation to the CPR. Since their voice wasn’t commonly heard or listened to during this time frame, I wanted to get a deeper understanding of how they felt about the goings on in Canada. As I started looking into this topic, I started hearing more and more about the formation and duties of the RCMP, and became more and more interested as I read. I decided that this was the topic I wanted to look into.

The North-West Mounted Police (Later to become the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) was formed after the Red River Rebellion, and the creation of Manitoba in the 1860’s. The main goal was to provide safety and security to Canadians, including the First Nations, from the Americans and other sources of danger. A “rush-order” was put into play when a group of American hunters falsely accused an Aboriginal group of stealing a horse, and brutally murdered two dozen of their people.

Even though Native Rights have never exactly been first priority to the Canadian government (Then and Now) I found it fascinating that the government put in so much effort and money to protect the Aboriginals of their country.

After reading an entry from “The Diary of Henri Julien” – who was a reporter and illustrator that travelled with the NWMP on their first journey to the prairies – and became aware of the fact that at that time they were still referring to the Aboriginals as “Indians”. This led me to another series of questions. If the goal of the NWMP was to protect the Natives, why were they still falsely referring to them as “Indians” if they knew full well that they were not in fact Indians? Isn’t this straight up ignorance? One of my theories was that perhaps the First Nations were commonly known as Indians, and in an attempt to ensure that the majority of the general public was able to understand his entries, he used the incorrect term. But still, to me this seems hypocritical if they were trying to provide the Natives with rights and such.

I still plan to further continue my research on the relationship between the RCMP and the Natives before Friday’s panel discussion, but I wanted to give you guys a basic understanding of the concepts and ideas I was researching before then!

Comments and Feedback are always appreciated 🙂

In-depth #5 – The Delicate Art of Cone Making

I had a pretty successful in-depth week. As I explained in my previous posts, I was having trouble meeting with my mentor because we couldn’t find a date to meet that worked for both of us. Therefore, I decided to try to find a new mentor – and I was successful. When I explained the project and asked her to be my mentor she was thrilled, and wanted to start teaching right away.

A few days ago I met with her for the first time, and I learned so much! She said she wanted to start off by teaching me the basics – how to make mehndi. The first thing she taught me was how to make a mehndi cone. What made it really difficult was that the hole at the tip of the cone needs to be the perfect size (about the size of a pin) for proper mehndi application.

First she showed me the material they use to make these cones, and also what size a good cone should be. She then made a few cones herself, while I carefully watched. After she made about 3 cones I gave it a try. Trust me; it is a lot harder than it looks! It’s so hard to get the tip the right size, and after 3 attempts of my own I finally got a cone that somewhat resembled one of her cones! My mentor also gave me a few sheets of material so that I could practice the “art” of cone making when I got home.

After that, she taught me a few basic mehndi designs. She showed me how to make basic flowers, and connect them through various designs. She told me the best way to learn mehndi is to practice, practice, practice. She said that when you’ve practiced enough, designs will start coming to you naturally when you are applying mehndi. She also told me to look for new or interesting designs wherever I go – in shawls, book covers, paper, and clothing – and try to replicate them on paper. I thought this was really interesting, because it’s not something you hear every day, but something my mentor had learned over years and years of practice. For now she said to start with a pen and paper to practice creating different designs.

Next week, she is going to teach me how to make the actual mehndi paste, and insert it into the cones we just learned to make. Then she will teach me how to use the cones to create simple mehndi patterns and designs. I can’t wait!

Indepth #4 – Coming Along!

Hello world!

As I mentioned in my last post, I have had a hard time meeting with my mentor. But luckily, I was able to find a back-up mentor, who used to do mehndi as a profession. I would prefer to meet with my first mentor, since I have seen her work, and have also been in contact with her – but worse comes to worse, at least I have someone else to rely on.

However, I was determined to continue my study of mehndi – with or without a mentor. I have been researching designs, watching YouTube videos, and practicing a lot. I am actually quite proud of my last designs. This week I started practicing more intricate patterns, and surprisingly they weren’t all that bad! I have posted a picture of my best one below.

On a side note, I wanted to share that I’ve created a goal for myself. The Muslim New Year is on March 21st – It is a huge celebration in my culture, and is one of the 3 days in the year in which mehndi is worn. My goal is to draw my first real mehndi design on a hand (rather than paper) for the celebrations. My sister agreed to be my first volunteer (Which she might regret later – but that’s beside the point!). Even though the date falls over spring break, I will keep you posted to let you know how it goes!