i am posting this blog to commemorate and thank my family and friends for their remembrance of a very important day in my life, my birthday.
first of all, I would like to thank my parents - we had online chatting a day before my birthday and she wished earlier and my father who sent a brief YahooIM message at early hour of my birthday. Next, goes my siblings... Hani, Elina and others for their friendster and yahoo messages.
next most important are my friends, or should I say, family, here in UIUC. Thanks to them, my birthday can't be more memorable despite the absence of my loved ones - my immediate family. And here the story goes...
midnight (about 12:15am, 2/13).
i went out with is, nad, ezra, and ijan to play snow and catch some pictures. those were the earliest who verbally congratulated me for my birthday and the earliest who gave my birthday 'present' - hurls of snowballs! Sure, after that, we did crazy (literally, crazy) things during the eve of the snowstorm - we played snowball fight (that's a prerequisite everytime when it's snowing), walked upon the frozen (umm... not so frozen) lake and took pictures while posing on it ( at the same time, secretly wished that the frozen surface won't crack), mocked dead on ice, climbed on trees, pretending to be snow angels, and buried ourselves in ice. The jollymaking ended at about 1:45am.
and oh, before we went out playing snow, my dorm mates (Global Crossroads residents), those i could recall - dustin, steph, takashi, sameeraj, and few others, swarmed on me and wished me a happy birthday! I was surprised! How did they know my birthday? I suspect facebook must have told them. They cheered and clapped. For that, i thank them.
yea, throughout the dawn till dusk, i received streams of yahoo messenger , friendster, and facebook messages from my family members, friends and acquintances - all kindly wished my birthday. Those are my old friends - primary school friends, fellow Tunazians - now in PTPL, MCIIUM, IIUM, UNIMAS, TUNAZ, Jordan, etc.; INTEC mates, my inner circle cliques, fellow GC members and even friendster acquintances. Thank you for the friendster and facebook testimonials, messages, and kind wishes!
about 8:15pm, 2/13
and perhaps the climax of this day is when they, my UIUC friends, invited me to Busey to 'have some coffee'. at first, ijan called me. then, ann msg-ed me and meena's msg followed. i was too lagged by those invitations - i didn't want to go to Busey because it was way too cold and a blizzard outside with an 8-inches to 1-feet of snow to trudge upon. Thanks to ann's, meena's and ijan's clever words, ehem... persuasion, i fell for it. fine, i'll go!
on the way to Busey...
shoot! such a loooong and tiresome excursion. The PAR contingent (safwan, ezra, nad, ijan, asma, milah and i) made our way, with hardship, stomping upon the 12 inches thick of snow at the Illini Grove. Gosh, going to Busey had never been this 'far' and hard. But still, for a cup of starbucks coffee in my mind, plus with mates already waiting me at Busey, and a holiday at the next day, I persevered and made it to Busey. (Of course, along the way, the PAR contingent indulged themselves with some snowball fighting, ice 'swimming', body slamming on ice, and the classic picture taking - until we realized that we were gasping and there is a long, harsh, way to go)
at Busey... fuh... *sigh of relief*. Thank God, we made it at last. When we arrived, I saw Nick, Ezamil and the LAR girls were already there. Okay, I thought, such a jolly night - thanks to the snowstorm, the classes on the morrow are canceled, and those are as far as my expectations go.
then, i realized something fishy was going on. Why are those people relatively quiet? why are some of them whispering? hmm... i didn't care that time. i proceeded with usual chats to those who sit nearby me - trivial talks as usual.
then, ann, resty, qilah and ziha arrived. okay, the LAR girls were all present, with ann (wearing hijab! masha Allah and alhamdulillah!) and then somebody presented a round of chocalate cake - my birthday cake, and suddenly they bursted, singing Happy Birthday song to me! Masha Allah, such a great moment to celebrate with such great friends. And yea, then the picture taking spree was in the air - ezamil was excited, with of course the usual cake-cutting session (and i was not very good at it, so, i requested milah and asma's help) and there goes the night at Busey.
about an hour and a half later, we dispersed but the celebration did not end there. along the way, again, i was greeted with snowballs, this time, massive in size as Nick, Ezamil and Ezra made a set up upon me. Occasionally, girls also threw those snowballs upon me! (Of course, I was not on the defense everytime, hehehe...).
after the crazy snow fight was over, people now generally dispersed. But nick, ezamil, ezra, ziha, ijan, rai, and i stayed to play nearby the frozen pond on the way to Illini Grove. Gosh, Ezra rolled like 'kuch kuch hota hey' kind of stuff and accidentally fell into the unfrozen part of the pond! Thank God he was not that too far away from the pond edge. Ezamil and I went quickly for him and he was okay. After the undue melange of events, we did crazy things, again; ziha and ijan attempted to walk on the not-so-frozen pond, nick and i tried to bury rai in ice (of course, rai shouted and tried to shower the snow back to us, but, to no avail), and ezamil was busy slamming himself on the fluffy ice. After tired with the crazy stuff, we finally 'ceased fire' and settled down, lying on the velvet white snow, gazing upon the night star, pretending to be snow angles, and chatted and chatted...
at about 12 midnight, we dispersed. nick and ezamil followed rai and ziha to LAR and ezra, ijan and i returned to PAR. Still, a long walk to PAR but not as eventful as previous PAR-Busey walk.
and the bottom line of the climax? Personally, i see concern and love as friends that made my February 13th, 2007, a great day. Thanks to resty, qilah, rai, meena, ziha, mar, ann, nad, ijan, milah, asma, safwan, ezra, nick and ezamil for being present to celebrate my birthday at Busey. Thanks to whoever covertly organize this wonderful birthday celebration for me. Thanks to whoever bought the chocolate cake. Thanks for the birthday card with genial wishes in it. Thanks to whoever bought/made the card. Last but not least, thanks for being my great friends, no, family, here in UIUC. My life in UIUC has been made memorable by your kind deed today.
as to those afar who reached me with wishes through whatever means, also, thank you to you all. Despite your absence, i know, because you remembered me that you made an effort to send me the birthday wish. For that, I am indeed delighted.
now i realized that my age has progressed to 20, already. As time tickles, much history of the past has shaped to be what I am today. I guess it is time to think and rethink about where to direct this course of life for the greater betterment. Now do I feel a great responsibility - to Allah, to my loved ones, to my friends and others around me. Yea, a day today is indeed a milestone in my life; on one hand, i had fun and i turned twenty - i'm a big boy now, hehe. on the other, responsibility awaits!
all in all, thank you again to you all of whom remembered my birthday. Alhamdulillah, thank you ALLAH, this is indeed great blessing from You - blessing of caring friends. Praise be to You o ALLAH, ever and ever, for this magnificient moment. And yea, thank You for giving me the chance, by pure coincidence to my limited understanding, to speak with the one near to my heart, just a day before my birthday, even with just simple typings on yahoo messenger. :)
For the one, half a world separated we may be... but if you read this, know that you and your wish is special to me! :)
All these are indeed priceless gifts, alhamdulillah! :)
Wondering what is what? Here is a glossary that you may find useful:
LAR (Lincoln Avenue Residence Hall) = An all girls' dorm where resty, ziha, mar, qilah, meena and rai live. It's about 5 minutes eastward walk from Busey.
PAR (Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Hall) = The dorm where alan, is, syafiq, safwan, ezra, shamini, milah, asma, ijan, nad and i live. It's about 10-15 minutes westward walk from Busey. It is a home to Global Crossroads (GC) living and learning community where international students usually reside along with Americans who are interested in learning foreign cultures and values.
Busey (Busey-Allen Residence Hall) = A home to one of the two coffee breweries in UIUC. We go there often to sip cup of coffees, snacking, socializing and studying. It has a classic-romantic-esque ambience; very suitable for hanging out without getting loud.
Illini Grove = A small mainly coniferous tree grove in between the road to LAR-PAR and PAR-Busey. It's a place where we usually have some sports and play some physical games.
The frozen (actually, not-so-frozen) pond = A peanut-shaped pond perhaps 20X35m in dimension. It is located northwest from Illini Grove and it takes two minutes walk from the grove to there. It has two fountains at each of the the fair sides of it. (Perhaps the sprinkling fountain keeps the not-so-frozen pond for being completely frozen).