Ben Nevis trek!

Climbing the Ben Nevis Mountain was never on my bucket list, but I soon found myself in Scotland standing in front of Ben Nevis. Although we were in the middle of August, the clouds were heavy, and it had covered the peak of the mountain. I tilted my face and stared up at this giant beauty. I was in awe. It was so beautiful! I always imagined mountains to be white, and really scary. Ben Nevis, however, was absolutely stunning. It was green, all green and so inviting. There was stream of water gathering somewhere, probably forming a big lake. I had to pinch myself because I was still in a daze; I had never seen a mountain this close! Being from London, mountains were something which was really out of reach for us.

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For those who have never heard of the Ben Nevis, it is the tallest mountain in Britain and stands peacefully in Scotland. There are many people who attempt to climb the mountain each year, a lot of them who are amateur like me. The summit is the remains of a very ancient volcano! I had never climbed a mountain before so Ben Nevis was a massive deal for me. Anyway so there I was standing in front of this giant mountain. I am a strong believer in God’s beauty and this confirmed to me that God really did care about his creation. The way this mountain was so carefully structured and moulded I could not believe it!

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Our guide gave us a safety briefing and gave us some tips. I was with a large group of young people who had also never climbed before, so we were all so nervous. As we began our ascent, we all huddled together so that no one gets lost and so that we were all at the same pace. Our guide told us the best way to start was start slowly, and to take smaller steps. As we climbed, I remember thinking to myself that it is not as difficult as I thought it would be. How wrong was I!  The views of the world beneath me was something I could not even comprehend. It gives me goosebumps even writing about this! As I tilted over to look at what was over the cliff, I remember seeing loads and loads of trees, lakes and masses of greenery. It was so stunning, it was out this world.

The guide had told us the trek would probably take up to 4 hours to climb. We were onto our second hour and we were still not even halfway up. It was probably the most difficult and most challenging thing I have ever done. I remember sitting down because I was so tired and mentally drained. The guide started barking at me to move and walk otherwise my muscles would stiffen. I just could not do it. My legs were hurting so much. One of the girls from the group sat down with me and massaged my leg for me. A lot of the team members had began to wander up by themselves. I guess it was each man for himself! The guide had then told me if  was tired then I should just turn back. However, he did remind me that my mind can cope with it. It was just my body giving up so if I really wanted to carry on then I would need to train my mind to see that I was strong and I was capable. The 5 minute mental strength talk got me up on my feet and ready to tackle the next 2 to 3 hours. However, many people began to turn back and go back down because they could not do it anymore. I didn’t blame them; it was probably more mentally tiring than physically. I remember having so many urges to turn back but I kept telling my mind to continue and to walk. As we climbed higher, it began to rain, it became harder to breath and we were in the clouds so we could barely see anything in front of us. People kept disappearing into the clouds, and there was a moment when I got slightly scared thinking everyone left me and that I was on  my own.

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I don’t know what kept me going; I guess it was what the guide had said about being mentally strong. Every step I took, I had to constantly remind myself that this was a challenge that I could overcome because although my body was tiring out, my mind was going. My mind was encouraging my body to keep going, to keep walking and that nothing was stronger than my own mind.

It took me five hour to reach the summit. We all clapped when we reached there. I just flopped back onto a rock, catching my breath. I didn’t know the people in my group, but we all hugged and cheered. It was such a beautiful feeling to know that I had climbed the biggest mountain in Britain and that it was all down to me. I made myself do one of the most challenging tasks, and I did it without fail. I was so proud of myself. As we were so high up in the clouds, we could not get a view of what was below us. However, this didn’t ruin my mood. I was just so relieved to have achieved such an a difficult challenge. After climbing Ben Nevis, I always find myself reflecting on this. Now when I come across a difficult task, I always remind myself that if I could climb Ben Nevis, I can do anything!

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Atlas Mountain Trek!

While we were out in Marrakech, we decided to do the Atlas Mountain Trek. We booked the trek the night before and we didn’t have the slightest idea what the trek would entail.

“They’ll probably drive us up to the foot of the mountain,” my sister had said. I nodded, maybe that’s all we would do and I was quite happy with that. My sisters and I did not come prepared to Morocco. We had no trainers or solid shoes. My sister had a pair of sandals, I had a pair of Flossy shoes and my younger sister had a pair of Converses. I guess Converse trainers were, at least, a bit more sensible than what I had on.

On the morning of the trek, we were awake early and ready to go. As we left our hotel, a slight breeze ruffled our clothes. My sisters and I looked at each other; no jackets and no sensible shoes. Let’s just hope the trek didn’t actually involve any trekking! A minibus waited for us outside our hotel. As we climbed into the bus, we noticed other people staring us probably thinking ‘typical British tourists.’ They were tourists themselves, but they were dressed appropriately and seemed to understand what the term ‘trek’ actually meant.

“Never mind,” I shrugged. I was sure they weren’t going to take us up to an actual mountain. The sun, however, made it’s appearance gradually and the temperature began to rise.

Finally, we had arrived at the foot of the mountain and our tour guide told us that we will first stop to see the Berber women who make Argan Oil. That was a fascinating experience; there were a couple of women on the floor who were crushing the seeds against a large metal tin. This was supposed to be the first part of the process. They use the seeds to make oil, and some of it was used for cosmetic reasons while another oil was made to put in food. We all purchased some oil and took pictures of the mountains ahead of us.

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“Ok, now we will go up to the mountain,” our tour guide shouted to get everyone’s attention. “Follow me.”

“What?!” I heard my sister screech.

I looked down at sister’s feet. She had on a pair of pink sandals with little straps across the sandals. I tried not to laugh. We looked up ahead at the mountains in front of us; it didn’t look too difficult. There were little Berber children running up and down like it was a normal path.

“But they live here, for them is second nature,” my sister grumbled.

We had no other choice but to do this task, That’s what holidays are for aren’t they? To do something a little daring and challenging?

We trekked. It went smoothly! There were a few times when we got stuck or almost slipped but we did it! We didn’t go right to the top because that could take days. We trekked till we got to the famous Marrakech waterfalls. It was so beautiful and so serene; the trek was worth doing. Water was flowing down smoothly making little splashes as it touched the ground.

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We ended the day by stopping near the foot of the mountain where there was a little outdoor restaurant. As we ate our food, we admired the beautiful mountains right in front of us.

Blind dates: When Mr Right isn’t right

After a three year rocky relationship, I took the ritual break of off men and the dating scene. I needed to breathe, and maybe cry a little. After the much needed one year break was over, I quickly jumped back into the wagon. I became less of a man-hater and more of a grown up. A fully furnished adult with no past history and no baggage. To my utter surprise, I now wanted a man in my life. I wanted that ‘special someone’. I wanted to hold hands and walk into the sunset. I wanted to stand on tiptoes and give him a kiss. I wanted to hug him with his arms around my waist. Yes, I wanted all things cheesy. Hmmm maybe I was watching too many movies.
So that day had come. My first date with a new man. My friends had set us up. I had never met the guy, so I was excited. That’s the usual thing a woman feels isn’t it? Flush of nerves, red cheeks and glossy eyes. The stampede of butterflies were already whirling in my tummy. As it was a casual daytime date, I got dressed in a pair of jeans and a chiffon top.

I knew that the mystery man had graduated from university the previous year and now he was working in a corporate world as an accountant. I also knew that the gym was his second home, and his gym membership was probably enough to pay off my rent for a month. He was a quiet character but now and then, he enjoyed going to social functions. He seemed to have a lot of opinions on things, and from what I had gathered, he didn’t mind getting his hands dirty from time to time. He seemed like the perfect guy. He had the whole package; a good job with a good income, a worked-out body, an adaptable personality and he knew his way in the world. That’s what we women look for in a man don’t we? And in the long-term, he was probably the best man to raise my non-existent children. I had created the perfect image of him; tall, built, confident and fun, absolutely hilarious and not the least bit polite.

I didn’t know where this man was taking me. Let’s give him a name, out of confidentiality of course. We’ll call him Mr X. So Mr X told me he wanted to take me somewhere nice. Of course, ‘nice’ could mean anything. I automatically assumed we were going out to eat lunch. That’s what any sane man would do on a first date. Quickly grabbing my purse, I ran out of my house and walked towards our meeting point. I didn’t know what was more exciting; meeting my potential life partner or going on a date. It had been so long that I had been on a date that I had forgotten the etiquette of it. Do I hug him when I see him? Or a handshake is more appropriate? Do I act shy and ladylike in front of him or shall I bring out my usual, loud persona? Do I kiss him at the end of the date or do I hold it off? All these questions were going around and around in my head, and as I walked towards the point, the butterflies in my tummy were becoming violent. Why did I even agree to this date? Ok, I just needed to be calm. He’ll be perfect. It’ll be like a Hollywood movie. My phone beeped bringing me to reality.

Three words were displayed on my screen. ‘I’m here now’. I whipped my head around, and there he was standing in front of me with a massive grin on his face. I actually wanted to walk off into a corner and cry. Why was I being punished for my past sins? At 5 ft 8, I towered four inches taller than him. I had prayed to God to never let me meet a man shorter than me, but God obviously hadn’t listened. For future reference, I made a mental note to make sure my good deeds outweighed my bad deeds. Mr X came towards me, and I grabbed him and hugged him. I didn’t want him to see the disappointment on my face. He hugged me back, and once I released him we had our small talk. The term ‘awkward’ wouldn’t even describe the situation I was in. He also looked slightly embarrassed. Thank God I wasn’t the only one feeling like this.

Pushing aside our height differences, I decided to give him a chance. We could be friends. At the very least, we could be once-in-a-while-I’ll-say-hello-to-you friends. He was good-looking, which made up for his height. He wore chinos, t-shirt and a Louis Vuitton belt. His hands were quite like mine, but his biceps were bulging out from his short sleeves. He took me to a bar so I thought we’d go for a drink. To my dismay, I couldn’t have been more wrong. OK, to be fair he did buy me a drink but then we walked over to a table where there was a small group of people playing board games. Yep, you read that right. We sat down with these strange-looking people. That was when the slowest afternoon began. The slowest afternoon to ever even exist just took place then. That was the moment I actually thought I was cursed. The hands on the Quartz clock just refused to tick any faster. My fingers fidgeted and my brain zoned off every few minutes.

I don’t have a problem with board games or with people who play board games. But me playing board games? Especially board games which require me to use every single cell in my brain? My brain had never felt so numb. I pretended to be listening, and I nodded my head every few seconds but in reality, I had no clue what I was doing and I lost every game we played. To be nice, Mr X did show me sympathy and he realised I wasn’t enjoying myself. He still continued playing though, so I stood up and excused myself. I needed the toilet, or even better a back door exit. I grabbed my bag, ran to the bathroom and stood in front of the mirror. I needed to escape. I even looked for a window to push myself through. This was definitely turning into a Hollywood movie. I text my friend and told her to call me in five minutes pretending that my mum had fainted and that I had to go to the hospital. Don’t judge me. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Instead she text me back saying, ‘Lol, as if’. I was a friend in need and they were refusing to help me escape! What happened to being a Good Samaritan?

With a dreary face, I walked back into the bar, and to my delight Mr X was standing up and stretching. But then he slumped back into the chair and he began talking to the others about the exclusive corporate world. I wasn’t part of this world, and it all seemed high-class and private. I tried to contribute some conversation about this topic but my knowledge was limited so I just pretended that I was listening. All day I had been pretending, and putting on an act. If anything, I was a damn good actress.

At last, he decided to finally notice I was withering away so we went for a coffee. Seeing as we were on a friendly basis (there was no attraction between us; he came up to my chest while I got a good view of the world above his head and more), I decided to pay for his coffee. We sat down facing each other and we began talking. He was interesting and he had many interesting things to talk about. In fact, he only seemed interested in himself. I could hardly get a word in, and when I did, he only seemed to make me feel inferior. He had a new job earning a bucket load of money while I had just finished university, so the new job-pride was getting the better of him. The new job-pride twisted with a male egotistical pride. Urgh, I had enough. Big-headedness was a big put-off. The more he talked about himself, the more irritated I got. He even told me that he would help me with my CV. That was the last straw.

It was loud and clear; he thought he was better than me. He had obviously forgotten the word ‘humble’. It probably didn’t even exist in his dictionary. Just words like ‘self-centred’, ‘arrogant’ and ‘full of it’ floated around his shallow head. I got through the evening with a smile on my face. I gave him one last hug to be polite, and I’m sure I’m not imagining this but I felt him hold onto me tighter. Weird. He probably liked me. My jaw ached the entire night. Hopefully I never end up in another situation where I have to keep my teeth clenched.

I had given up. Searching for the elusive Mr Right was the most difficult task I had undertaken. It was becoming like a chore, a mundane chore with the most mundane results. I was meeting men who were replicas of each other. Literally. They all looked the same; they wore the usual denim jeans and t-shirt, their hair was parted to the side with layers of thick gel, and their hands looked almost manicured. No scars, or broken nails. No cuts or bruises. Nice smooth digits. It felt as if though I was holding my own hand, and let’s be honest, that is quite worrying. And their personality? It was beyond dull. Speaking to a brick wall would have been more entertaining. Let’s put it this way; my brain ached because of the tediousness. Oh by the way, don’t be deceived by their height; even small men have big heads.

For now, I will bask in the happiness of single life. Maybe when a man with flaws, happiness, quirkiness and a sense of adventure comes along, I’ll rethink my single status. I just hope, for the sake of my sanity, I never again meet a short man with smooth hands who plays board games. And oh, someone who shows off their six packs and then claims it’s an inherited gene. I forgot to mention that didn’t I?

New to this!!

Hi y’all,

I have finally decided to dedicate my spare time to blog writing. Still finding it difficult to get used to the layout. It’s all so technical! I have never used a blog before so this will take some time getting used to. Hope it doesn’t take too long though!

Anyway I will dedicate my blog to fashion, life and thought provoking words on culture and religion.

Enjoy!!

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