It's been a hectic week by choice. I asked my HR if I can work extra hours and from Tuesday-Thursday this week, I've worked for 13-14 hours each. I say by choice, because I have a lot of projects on my plate, and the only way I can accomodate all the projects and give them each proper attention is if the working day was more than 8 hours. If it was me from 2-3 years ago, I would have cracked under the pressure of juggling those projects. But no, I made it through. Successful project delivery!
That aside, this coming weekend is apparently a long weekend because it's the Queen's Birthday!
To start it off, my Aussie BFF, Issa, and I had a good walk around the city - window shopping (I ended up buying scent diffusers which were 50 percent off haha - now my room smells of coconut :)). After which, we found ourselves in Newtown walking towards St Peters and just looking through the vintage shops.
At some point, we found ourselves by a very homey looking cafe called Parliament on King. We didn't know what to expect from getting there, but since they were serving white wine, I was all good.
While at their outside seating, we met a Somali girl who works in the cafe and got to know her story.
Her name is Hani. She's a refugee. She writes poems about the struggle she had to go through to get here. She had a boyfriend who died in a building explosion by a jihadist when she was 15/16. She narrated her fear of being put inside a ship's compartment with several other people with only a couple of holes to breathe through. She talked about befriending a Filipino she called Uncle Ray who saved aside some breakfast for her because she often misses breakfast by waking up late. She's 19 and she will have a book of poetry published soon. She learned most of her English in the detention camp where she had nothing else to do.
It was a pleasant surprise meeting Hani. I could tell by speaking with her that she has strength and the right spirit to make it in life. 10 years of age difference, and speaking with her, I felt quite old. But in a way, despite the difference in age, I felt we're quite similar. She dreamt of a better life outside the wartorn place she lived in. She pursued her dreams and faced the challenges the journey will bring to her and she lived through the experience. Although not exactly the same struggles she had to go through, I share the sentiment with her of chasing my dreams and looking for something better in life.
It makes me thankful now that despite what I am starting to feel as a priveleged upbringing, that I have been blessed to be where I was, where I am and where I might be. Getting to know Hani, really puts a face to what a refugee is about and who a refugee is. All that I knew of them was from the media - talks about Christmas Island and detention centers. And now I know better.
In this world, you need to dominate your own life and steer it in the direction you want to be. You have to dominate your work to be sucessful. You have to dominate your struggles to make it through. You have to dominate your will and steel your heart.