Under the sun but above the clouds. Floating with the wind until your feet touches the softest patch of grass. The entire experience of it all, from beginning to end is absolutely surreal even as I write this rant.
Who hasn’t put skydiving on their bucket list? Who hasn’t thought about it a few times but never really motivated? That was me. I’ve always wanted to go but never really motivated until my brother’s birthday came up. He wanted to do something wild and skydiving was one thing my siblings and I said, “let’s do it!”
Lots of anticipation, excitement, fear, and anxiety builds up between the three of us until we got on that plane. I can’t imagine going up 13,000 feet without those two with me, let alone jumping before me. Totally not jumped in the order we planned, I’m a good big sister, I swear. But before processing my brother’s over the shoulder look or my sister’s scream, I looked down -yikes!- and willingly jumped off the plane!
A few seconds of disorientation before I’m synced, remembering the instructions told to us just a few minutes ago. Part of which is spreading your arms when you get tapped since you’ve got to hold the harness for the jump. I catch Brad, my flying camera dude, in my sights. With fists in the air, I scream, “Oh my God!”
The hardest part for me was the parachute pull, it’s a backwards jolt that caught me by surprise. Think of it as a hard break while driving 120 miles per hour. Again, it takes me a few seconds before I’m synced and I’m literally just floating. My tandem dude, Toshi, makes sure I’m good and comfortable before maneuvering the parachute to allow me a 360 degree view of my surroundings.
The Bay Area can fit in my hands. Mount Diablo, the highest mountain in California, is just a mole. The entire world below is so small, but oh so beautiful. Our planet is beautiful, peeps. In that moment, there was a sense of peace all over me. By the grace of God, I breathed in the cool air breeze, I couldn’t close my eyes, I spread my arms as if they were wings and had to be conscious enough not to kick poor Toshi. Ha!
Before I knew it, we were slowly descending towards our landing point. My short self finally got to shout, “look out below!” as we landed on a soft patch of grass. Brad came up to me to capture my thoughts. “That was fucking awesome!” was my first response. Did I just fly? Did I just land? Wasn’t I just on a plane? Oh my God, I jumped off a plane!
Before you go on your first skydiving adventure, please do your research. Note that you will be signing waivers because you are taking a risk when you go skydiving. My experience may not have been what I expected, may not have been perfect but at the end of the day, when you go with a good crew, your experience is all the more better. We went with Bay Area Skydiving in Byron, California. Per our research, they’ve been flying for over 25 years so it made sense to go with them for our first jump. While there is room for improvement, the team deserves props because they actually enjoy what they do and share in that excitement of flying with us rookies.
I’ve officially crossed “Skydiving” off my bucket list!! Have you? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below or via Twitter.
I see it as my crown, my superhero cap, my microphone. A few years ago, I ranted about my personal thoughts regarding hijab, stating:
“I made this decision on my own at a young age when I learned the basic Islamic guidelines of hijab. So of course, there was a few times where I’ve checked the rear view mirror, reevaluated my decision and came to the realization that hijab was a part of who I am. So much so, that taking it off would not allow me to be myself. Hijab was not a fashion statement of mine -although I am quite fashionable thank you very much- but it’s a part of who I am as a Muslimah, a part of who I am as a person.”
That sentiment still rings true for me today, on World Hijab Day. As I love my hijab so very much, allow me to bless you with a few of my rocking hijab looks, from as recent as my birthday just a few weeks ago and going back a few years, way back.
And please, if you have questions about hijab, don’t hesitate to ask me. If you need a hijab, I got you, sista! (and so will my boutique very soon, Insha’Allah.)
“!اللي ليه عندنا حاجة ياخدها و اللي بيدينا حاجة يمنعها”
“If we owe anyone something, come take it. And if anyone gives us something, stop giving it.”
This is an old Egyptian saying on the insignificance of judgemental people. Those that always have something to say and butting in other people’s business. Basically, in layman’s terms – “I don’t owe you shit and you don’t give me shit to be all up in my shit.”
Still thinking about the delicious Thai yellow curry chicken with potatoes and purple carrots with a side of seasoned steamed rice my young brother made for the family iftar last week. 😋 I’m so proud!!
Mama got spontaneous with Natural Delights medjool dates the other day, filled some with Philadelphia cream cheese and Nutella hazelnut spread. The results were finger licking delicious! Would you try these? Have you tried other fun filled dates?
Throwback to My Dinner at Fouj Cafe
A Snapchat Story
By Ms. Hala
Here’s a throwback to my last few weeks in Qatar when I got to dine at Fouj Cafe on Grand Hamad Street (aka Bank Street), in Doha. My favorite, of course, was their take on the Qatari dish, chicken majboos.
I appreciate their gourmet take on the local cuisine without sacrificing on flavor. The chicken was fall off the bone tender and I was surprised I had a picture of it as it seems to have not made it to the video above. Oops! It’s seriously one of those dishes you almost can’t get enough of and can smell it whenever you crave it and right now, I’m having massive cravings!
They are well known for their deserts, with a wide selection as well as custom-made cakes, including tiered wedding cakes. I thought the one they had on display then was quite impressive. Their take on tiramisu that I had was so filling, I ate it slowly for three days, literally! I had to share the goodie bag with friends as it was much and I was moving out of the apartment. I can say though that nothing was left after about 20 minutes.
Shout out to the Fouj Cafe team for making my last few weeks in Qatar a delicious one!