From Lemons to Graduation


*Dedicated to my mother, my father, Rana, Rwan, Noor, and lest I forget a name, I will say everyone who has a special place in my heart that is doubtful to ever fade away.

half lemon

Who enjoys eating simply raw lemons?

Yes, this question is for real, and I’m expecting you to legitimately think about it: When given a large option of sweet juicy fruits, who goes for sour, eye-watering, face-wrinkling-in-disgust, did-I-mention-very-sour lemons?

(If the answer is ‘you’, then I concur your taste buds are malfunctional.)

All the raw-eating lemon fans are planning to report this post as spam probably, but before they do, allow me to quickly follow up with one last question:

Who enjoys lemons in some water and sugar… who likes fresh lemonade?

Oh boy, you’re probably wondering exasperatedly. Is this going to be one of those cheesy when-life-gives-you-lemons-you-make-lemonade blog posts?

Well… Maybe. I’ll try to avoid the cheesy aspect of it all.

You see, here’s how I felt at my convocation ceremony: I saw the past five years at McGill flash past my eyes – and realized my life is nothing but a glass of lemonade.

The glass itself is the time frame. I’ll tell you where the lemons, water and sugar come in.



University life was tough. Besides the struggles and headaches and heartaches that occurred throughout, perhaps the most ‘sour’ fact of them all is this: I lived with my family in the same house, yet usually took off in the morning while most family members were still asleep, and often returned home late when most of them were back to bed. If there was anyone awake who was ready for some quality sister- or daughter-bonding time, my mind would be partially preoccupied with that midterm, that upcoming assignment, that deadline, etc, so that the stress would be written all over my face and I would not be fully present in the moment.

How could you miss your own family while you’re living with them? Such was my case. That, I think, was probably the biggest lemon down my throat.



While there were many courses I did greatly enjoy and benefit from in the long run, there were all too many courses that made me seriously question which pathetic hopelessly mundane mindset I was under when I chose to pursue a double bachelor’s degree in one program. Really, Aya? I’d kept thinking wearily after every painful assessment. Did it really have to be this?

The answer to this question was finally answered. Walking across the stage to receive my diplomas, I realized in a surging rush, Yes. It did have to be this. It couldn’t have been any other way. I would not be who I am if I didn’t go through what I had to go through – academic or non-academic wise.

The all-nighters and the rare unexpected nervous breakdowns completely paled in comparison to the successes and unforgettable wonderful times I had, which came washing over me, every bit of it – from friendships to yes I got it! moments to weekly halaqas to MSA life – everything.

So sweet. That is the source of the sugar.

lemon and water


After the ceremony, surrounded by parents and sisters and friends so dear to me, I felt what an immense blessing it was to have all these people in my life. I didn’t (and still don’t) deserve any of them, yet here they were, when I hadn’t asked anyone to come in the first place. The mercy I felt from God was overwhelming. (Emotionally I will either cry or become super hyper, and so I chose not to ruin the mascara and opted for the super hyper reaction.) While I didn’t always have the time for everyone, they always seemed to have time for me – especially when I most needed it.

God’s mercy on me, on YOU, was always there, is always there. But unless you acknowledge it, your life will always appear dry. The moment you realize it’s all around you, that you’re swimming in it, your whole perspective changes.

His mercy is the water in my lemonade.

The journey to graduation is a phase, like every phase in life, merely a transition from a lemon to some lemonade.

So you see, every phase in life has its ups and downs, university life no less so. But if you keep in mind that in life, the lemons are bound to be there, no matter which path you take… and that the sugar will come soon, if not there from the very beginning… and if you simply become aware with your merciful surroundings and realize you have all the water you need to decrease the sourness… Then you, my friend, have your glass of lemonade.

Enjoy it. 🙂

flying flamingo


الجنة على الأرض

For her birthday today, but these words apply for every single day.  

glamorous staircases


قد مللت الدنيا وزينتها

واشتقت إلى ربي

الودود الوهاب



فأشخاص الإنسان أشكال وألوان

جل ما أرجوه ربي

الهناء و الأمان



فبحثت في كل بقعة و مكان

كي أنال راحة القلب

و الاحسان



اصدقائي الأعزاء, من جميل خلقهم ما يسرني

لكنني أسأل نفسي

هل على الأرض جنتي؟



أريد أنساناً… تسعدني سعادته

أريد أنساناً… يحزنني دمعه

أريد أنساناً… أشاركه أحاسيسه



بحثت في الأسواق, في المجالس و المدارس

ثمّ وقّفت

لمّا لاحظت



تِبتسم… فأتبسّم

تحزن… فأحزن

تفرح… فأفرح



انشرح قلبي

قد وجدت حبيبتي

!كانت امامي طوال الوقت

أين شرد ذهني؟



أحمدك ربي

فقد نلت على الأرض جنتي

وهي في رضا قلب

حبيبتي أمي


colorful earth!!!



A Name

Walking in the rain has me musing about the most random of stuff… like names.


An ensemble of basic settlers

That came from a land of alphabetic letters

A simple initially empty word

That soon creates a crowded world,

Of oohs and aahs, of wows and hows

Or of yucks and tongue clucks, of sighs and rolling eyes–

A name.

Now allow your imagination to run amiss

And try really hard to picture this:

You stumble on a name of someone gone

Yet the name bears a legacy as bright as the dawn…

The name is associated with success & cleverness

The name is associated with intelligence & self-agence

A name.

The name became a brand, leaves a mark where it lands

The name was given life after the named left this life

A simple ensemble of lines called single letters

Meaningless at birth but meaningful seemingly forever–

A name.

And everywhere you encounter this name

It is always honored in some fancy hall of fame

And now take your imagination one step higher

And get ready for this – oh baby, you’re on fire! –

Because picture for a moment it’s not just a name…

A name. Your name.

… So what?

At the end of the day, the sun’s glory sets

Just as the body dies when comes its death

But the soul lives on in the reality of eternal states

Whether or not your name is written on dirt or clean plates

To leave behind a legacy and be fondly known

Should never be for a moment a goal on its own

Because your reputation and character are not always the same

Do not sacrifice the sacred for turning life into a game

A word that leaves behind meaning so incredibly much

But does it really mean as deeply as such…?

A name.

flying wallpapers letters background wallpaper


When He Breaks You

air balloon hopeful image

When He breaks you

It is to re-make you.


If given the choice

To give destiny your voice

You would undoubtedly have picked this state

Such is the irony of fate


He breaks you now

So you later see the how –

How the pieces of your journey come to be

A slow but eventual solving of this mystery


He makes you work work work – then fail

So that you realize your means are of no avail

Without His will –

But feel His mercy fill –

Even through the aches still


He punctures your bubble of hope

To teach you the meaning of struggling to cope

To avoid you saying ‘this was all from me’

Which you might say if it always did come so easy


He lets you fall

So that when you stand

It’s straight and tall

Your past sorrows

Not letting you drown

Without your ego

Weighing you down


Even while the road appears smooth

He lets you trip and trip again

So that you might stumble upon hidden treasures

From the dirt, which you may otherwise not gain


In essence,

He knows Best

The perfect Teacher

Who puts the perfect test


He breaks you

To re-make you…



Another Poetic Riddle

*Dedicated to anyone who was in dire need of sleep on the metro (and actually looked forward to it!)- only to have ended up writing a poetic riddle instead.

INTENSE lionnnn


I am…

The steep steps that you take

Difficult decisions you must make

The dry pebbles in your way

The sparkly rainbows with no grey

The tears that flow from your eyes

Your smiles that light up the skies

The bundles of anxiety in your chest

The sweet serenity that wipes out the rest –

I am…

Every knowledge that is unchoked

When gently probed from minds and books

The graceful movement of the hand

As it draws worlds on wood or sand

Every dream that is yet unfulfilled

And every hurt that was stilled

The multiple incredible expressions of love

That no doubt must have come from above –

I am…

Time; all in future, present and past

Everything that faded and all that will last

The sinking and uplifting realizations that are found

The sharp memories of sight, taste, touch and sound

Every truth you ignorantly thought was a lie

And every lie you failed to turn a blind eye

The ocean of emotions you constantly swim through

That lead to risks you take of things you need to do –

I am…

The intentions you act on, either out of virtue or vice

The road that is frightening and slippery in ice

But I can also be the road that is a breeze

With no fear of falling prey to mind and heart disease

Have you guessed the nature of my identity?

I am simply

the history you write

of your life’s journey.