It’s a New Year…

The other day, I was reading Seconds, a graphic novel by Bryan Lee O’Malley. He also wrote/drew the fantastic Scott Pilgrim comic books, which were adapted into the film Scott Pilgrim Vs the World. I loved that movie and so had sought out the comic books it was based on.

Which is why I was interested in Seconds. It came out in mid-2014 but I was reminded of it only recently as it made a lot of “Best of 2014” lists. In the book, the main character Katie has opportunities to change a few things in the past. I don’t want to go into detail and spoilers but I’ll just say that there may or may not be house spirits and mushrooms involved. As can be expected, things don’t always work out the way one would like for them to.

Reading a book about that kind of topic was kind of perfect as the New Year starts. Looking back on 2014, I could easily come up with a bunch of things, events, conversations, that I would maybe want to change or tweak at the very least upon reflection. But, the way everything played out is the way it was all meant to be. Even though I didn’t quite fulfill everything I wanted to this past year, I realized that I can’t do anything about it anyways so there’s no reason to dwell on what I haven’t achieved. I’ll just have to focus on the present and continue with the goals I started and/or actually start them in the first place, InshAllah, and just aim to be a better version of myself in general.

On to some random thoughts on 2014! Topics in bold for easy perusal!

As a Coffee Drinker – I had some cool coffee experiences in Portland, Detroit, Sacramento (I know, right?), and great conversations about coffee with Usama Canon of Oudimentary and Ta’leef Collective and also with Mokhtar Alkhanshali of Mocha Mill (interview on the blog soon!). I hope to continue to add to my coffee experiences for 2015, InshAllah.


As a Muslim American (or American Muslim, whatever you prefer :) – The Serial podcast from the makers of This American Life became huge and due to its popularity, brought the Muslim American narrative to the forefront. However, it made me wonder that as much as people may ‘tolerate’ Muslims, they may still be harboring a lot of stereotypes of Muslims.

For example, Sarah Koenig, the journalist/narrator of Serial, asked Rabia Chaudry, the lawyer who first brought the case/story to Koenig, if it was true that Adnan giving Hae a scarf signified his ownership of her. Koenig is an educated professional and yet believed something so ridiculous. Chaudry brought this up in a blog post she wrote after Episode 10 of the podcast, an episode that infuriated me because of how it was so obvious that racisim/bigotry played a role in Adnan Syed’s conviction.

And then I couldn’t help but think of what people, and by people I mean friends and everyone I interact with on a regular basis, really think of me. Do I represent the fact that Muslims are normal people or, to them, am I just an exception to the norm: “Well, Muslims are messed up, freedom-hating individuals but Bushra’s okay”? It saddens me that I even came to that thought because of the podcast. Folks, listen up, if you do think like that, let’s talk. I promise to hear you out if you promise to hear me out too so I can clear up any misconceptions you may have.

Anyways, if you listened to Serial and believe Adnan is innocent, donate to the Free Adnan Syed Trust on Launchgood!

As a Book Reader – I’m not going to lie to you Marge, I could’ve read more this year but there’s always 2015! One book I wanted to mention that I read but never got a chance to write about is the latest book in the Voice of Witness series: Palestine Speaks- Narratives of Life Under Occupation. I went to the book launch in San Francisco and was incredibly impressed with the two editors, Cate Malek and Mateo Hoke and the dedication they put into this compilation of narratives. They spent time in the West Bank and Gaza and got some amazing stories from the people who live there. Considering all that happened in that area in 2014, a book like this is even more important. I found myself connecting with pretty much every narrative in the book and can’t recommend it enough.

As a Movie-Goer – I lost count on the number of times I went to the movies (okay, I can probably figure it out if I thought about it for a minute). Besides the blockbusters that I enjoyed (i.e. X-Men: Days of Future Past, Captain America 2, Guardians of the Galaxy, Big Hero 6), there were a number of smaller movies that I got to check out and really liked this year – Boyhood, Snowpiercer, Begin Again, Nightcrawler, Dear White People, Comet, and Before I Disappear. Let me say – Snowpiercer wasn’t exactly a “smaller movie” as it played wide internationally but stateside, it barely got much of a release so I had rented that from Amazon Instant Video/VOD earlier this year (it’s on Netflix streaming now). VOD is how I also saw Comet and Before I Disappear. There are a number of movies that aren’t worth one’s time that are available via VOD but man, that seems to be the only place to watch some pretty cool movies.

On Family – I got to reconnect with some family in 2014. Between my trip to Tampa to visit my cousin and her family and going to Canada for a family wedding, I got to have some pretty awesome moments with family members that I don’t get to see and hang out with on a consistent basis. Ah, shoot, this reminds me that I never sent some cousins the pictures I took of them in Canada…

Anyways, on to 2015. InshAllah may all of us have an awesome year!

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