Archive | July 2009

What I Missed in Orlando, Florida

This is probably the last of my blog posts for the florida trip.

Here’s what i wanted to see/do, that i didn’t get to:

buzz lightyear (at magic kingdom)
spiderman (at universal studios)
cat in the hat (at universal studios)
ariel (magic kingdom)
the shuttle launch from a closer vicinity.

take a picture with:
snow white (i did see her from far though at magic kingdom)
winnie the pooh and tigger (stood in line forever, and then gave up)

men in black – stood in line forever, and had to leave because we were running late. we had to leave the park early that day to drive down to see the shuttle launch attempt (that was canceled).
simpsons – left park early cause of the shuttle launch attempt.

i heard neither were very good though.

eat at: the halal dairy queen (minutes away from our hotel)

oh, well… there’s always next time. 🙂

Orlando Favorites

I figured I’d do a separate post of favorites from the trip.

Favorite Meal:

My favorite meal was at “Adam’s Philly Steak & Gyros”, where we had lunch the afternoon of our flight. It served halal food, which was of course a plus… but best of all, the food was absolutely delicious… and the portions were large! Anyone in that area should definitely dine there. The only thing i was disappointed about was the fact that we didn’t get to go there until our last day… even though i had looked it before our trip.

I was pleasantly surprised at how many halal restaurants were near our hotel.

Favorite Theme Park:

my favorite theme park from the ones we saw was epcot (magic kingdom came a close second)… because of the shows we saw (the shuttle launch and soarin were my favorite!)

the part of epcot that features different countries was quite amazing as well – each country was very well represented!

also, considering the amount of people in the park that day – the restrooms were immaculate! i was definitely pleasantly surprised and quite happy (magic kingdom was the total opposite).

Favorite Ride:

from epcot – soarin
from magic kingdom – splash mountain

Favorite Show:

from universal studios – shrek, twister (my god, it was SO realistic!)
from magic kingdom – mickey’s musical

Favorite Picture:

My favorite picture would be the one of all sixteen of us at epcot right outside of the character spot (where i got a picture taken with mickey, minnie, goofy, donald duck, and goofy).

Favorite Character:

My favorite characters that i saw would have to be minnie mouse and cinderella!

Florida, Continued.

Monday, bright and early (8 AM), we went to epcot. This was the only day that all sixteen of us went to the same park. Epcot was probably my favorite park overall because of all the shows we watched.

at epcot, my favorite two rides were soarin’ and this other one (that i can’t remember the name of) where it simulated a shuttle launch and we end up at mars. in soarin’, we literally we’re soaring over los angeles – it was so cool!

Tuesday, we spent ALL day at magic kingdom (got to the park before 9 AM and got back to our hotel after midnight). The parades and fireworks at magic kingdom were beyond amazing… of all the fireworks i’ve seen, the fireworks at magic kingdom were beyond spectacular… a definite must-see!

The only major dissapointment from magic kingdom was that i didn’t get to take a picture with snow white or winnie the pooh/tigger. i saw snow white from far, and after waiting in line forever to take a picture with winnie the pooh and tigger – my brother faraz and i gave up to move on and do other things.

Wednesday was our day to sleep in (by which i mean waking up at 8:30 AM). We went out to eat lunch at “Adam’s Philly Steak & Gyros“, and it was my absolute favorite meal from our trip. the portions were large, the taste was delicious… and it served halal food!

from there, we went to the “Florida Mall” to go to the M&M’s World, which was really cool.

at that point we still had some time to kill before our flight, but we decided to go to the airport anyways so we could try to see the shuttle launch (that had been delayed AGAIN)… fortunately, that paid off because we finally saw it happen! there were a lot of people gathered towards the east of the airport (and we could see a lot of the workers gathering through the windows down by the planes as well).. and it was awesome to see the shuttle launch and follow the orange glowing streak as it headed up… it was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity!

soon after, we boarded our jetblue flights… not knowing of the crazy storm heading our way (and the tornado just south of us). after an over 2 hour flight delay, we were finally on our way. the first half hour or so of the flight was pretty scary as the lightening was still pretty strong (i was definitely concerned about flying in it). i mean if they were going to delay the flight over two hours because of the storm… what was another half hour or so? even worse, the pilot announces that we would be the first to take off after the storm (um, thanks? that makes me feel better… NOT!). Fortunately, everything went fine.

I can’t believe how fast the five days flew by! Don’t you hate when that happens?

Home Sweet Home

I’m finally back home… after like three weeks! Boy, am I exhausted. These past five days, especially, have been amazing! It was, by far, the best family vacation ever. Tiring, but amazing. We got back home at 4:30 in the morning! Our flight from Orlando to D.C. was delayed two hours… and then we went to our mamoo’s house real quick to pick up my luggage that i had left there from my trip to VA… and then finally left for the four hour drive home. I slept for most of the drive home… and went right to sleep when we got home – and didn’t wake up until 11:30! which is so not like me! even with all that sleep, i’ve been tired all day.

We flew on Jetblue… and i was pleasantly surprised. for some reason, i had the negative things i’ve heard in the past about it in my head… but flying for the first time on jetblue – my experience was good. the seats were roomy and comfortable, and the attendants were friendly.

Orlando was, plain and simple, absolutely AMAZING! There’s just no other way to describe it. Fortunately, the weather cooperated throughout our trip – we were very lucky! A crazy storm ended just as we got to our hotel the first night… and a crazy storm (including a tornado nearby) began once we were already on the plane… so aside from a 2+ hour flight delay… our trip entailed pretty much hot weather (the last day, with heat index it was like 116 degrees). during the days we were there, it was rain for like a few minutes sometimes in the evening… and then immediately clear up.

The first night we got there, we didn’t do much – just went out to eat at a halal chinese place. the rest of the days, however, were jam packed. Sunday, we went to universal studios early in the morning – where my favorite thing was the shrek 4D show and twister (SO realistic!). we left around five o’clock to drive 45 minutes away to the kennedy space center to see the shuttle launch. the weather was great until about 5-10 minutes before it was too launch… and then the storm clouds came. even though, there was no storm there – lightening was apparently visible within 10 miles… which caused the launch to be delayed another 24 hours.

while we were disappointed, we had no idea how annoyed and restless we would be when the 40 minute drive back to orlando would turn into a 4+ hour drive because of the heavy volume. man, i’ve never been more restless in my life! we knew then, that there was no way we would be attempting to come back the next day.

More on our days in epcot and magic kingdom, and the shuttle launch tomorrow (hopefully). it’s 10:20 right now, and i’m already exhausted… but going to try and hold off trying to sleep for another hour or so to avoid waking up crazy early.

Did i mention it was the best trip ever?

Virginia Today, Florida Tomorrow

I can’t believe i have been in virginia for two weeks! i came june 28th… and later today, my family and my cousins are driving down here as well because tomorrow we all go to florida, inshallah. All sixteen of us! When i say I CAN’T WAIT… i mean I CAN’T WAIT!! this week has been the longest week of my life because it’s gone soooo slow!

I’ve hung out with ajmal mamoo’s family mostly here in virginia, and it’s been a lot of fun! i’m definitely gonna miss them a lot!

Tomorrow at this time, we will be at the airport… i’m SO excited!

Why I Wear the Hijab

By nature, I have always been (or would at least like to believe so) very conservative and conscious of my actions. Even when I was younger, I would wear the hijab here and there – but my parents did not want me to commit to it until I was older and mature enough to make the decision.

As many others Muslim women would probably agree, a big misconception is that we as females are forced to wear the hijab. Or that we are oppressed. Or even worse, that our religion oppresses females! I am by no means denying the fact that there are parents out there that force their daughters to wear the hijab or that oppression is a huge problem in many parts of the world — but religion doesn’t dictate oppression. An uneducated and ignorant being does.

I chose to wear the hijab at the beginning of the eighth grade. I chose to do so because I feel like it gives me a sense of protection. It shows others I have respect for myself, and therefore I am respected by others.

More than anything else, it’s a reminder for no one other than me. It’s a reminder to myself that my actions are held accountable and stand for something greater. It’s a reminder to me about modesty and to exemplify modesty everyday – not just in looks, but in all aspects of life. It is a reminder for myself to never judge a book by it’s cover. Judging someone based on their looks can be, and quite frequently is, very deceiving. It reminds you look beneath the skin and be attracted to someone based on their personality and their character.

As it turns out, I had just started wearing the hijab days before 9/11 happened. Of course, the thought “why now?” went through my head. Several people in the extended family insisted I should stop wearing the hijab for the sake of my safety. I proudly live in a diverse area, however, and was lucky enough to never encounter any problems. Do I know that many others weren’t as lucky? Of course. With the support of my parents, if anything, it made me a stronger person. It was a test by He, and I knew He would pull me through it. That if anything was meant to happen, it would happen whether I wore the hijab or not. Yes, others would have the hijab to blame. But I knew better.

Had I not started to wear the hijab when I did, would I still have done so in the aftermath of 9/11? It was just another reminder to me, that indeed, everything happens for a reason. I never liked “what if” questions anyways.