Blog Posts

Update: We’re travelling!



Not together, unfortunately, but we are getting the chance to travel back to our home countries; Ayah in Iraq and Asli in Somalia.

This is an amazing opportunity and we are hoping to learn a lot more about our individual cultures and hopefully a lot of life-lessons.

Iraq and Somalia are both war-torn countries recovering from decade long battles so though its a bit dangerous, it is our home & we are hella excited to go!!

So in the next couple of weeks you guys will see a lot of updates from us, sharing images, videos and reflections from both Iraq and Somalia.

It’ll definitely be interesting to see the difference and similarities between the countries.

We recorded a skype call between the both of us the day before Asli left (Ayah was already in Iraq) but unfortunately wifi is too horrible to let us upload so I guess when it’s available it will be attached to this post.

Hope you stay tuned!!

A book read: Fahrenheit 451



On this episode of: Videos Nobody Asked For, I read for 14 minutes on camera.

Lol, kidding. I don’t actually read for 14 minutes. I mostly go on a rant about the lessons I learned from reading this book called Fahrenheit 451. But yes, I actually do read parts of the book on camera LOL. kind of weird but whatever.

As per all videos on our blog, we like to keep it casual so ya I kinda just jumped into the video. I honestly don’t think this video is that interesting to watch (I am actually reading on camera, how interesting can I make it? )  but I just really wanted to make this and express my thoughts on what I learned!!!


Children of Immigrants: If you ONLY call yourself Canadian/American, I probably don’t like you


Why? Because this land belongs to the whites only

Lol, kidding.

Honestly, the reason why I ((((probably)))) don’t like you is because there is a high chance you have the same exact mentality I constantly heard from my fellow children of immigrants growing up.

Listen, I know it sucked being the odd one growing up here. Attendance roll call sucked, your parents never really understood where you coming from, and I always took “Respecting other peoples culture” was just another way of saying “let stop judging them for the weird stuff they do”. Growing up I learned very quickly that western culture has a superiority complex; other people’s cultures were never seen as a counterpart, but rather something that is either constantly mocked or used as some sort of costume. It’s hella annoying.

BUT, I seen many of you guys, in the process of absorbing aspects of western culture, also begin to develop that notion of western culture, politics, and traditions, of being superior, and begin to look down on the culture your parents carry. I don’t mean being embarrassed by it- that’s an entirely different thing. What I mean is that as I grew older, I see a lot of my peers join this ‘modern age’ where they believe they are pushing for a better lifestyle when in reality all that they are doing is pushing a western narrative and kind of picking at all aspects of their culture that doesn’t fit with western culture.

I have no problem with people living life the way they want to but PLEASE, for the love of God, stop trying to “””reform””” everything that clashes with western culture. You can view religion in a different light than the western world and it is not anti-science, ignorant, or extreme.  You can have political beliefs outside of western politics and is not barbaric, old-fashioned, or oppressive. You can have different customs and it isn’t something that should remain in the past.  You can have a completely different culture, one that has absolutely 0 similarities with western culture, and it could still be 100% modern. It is really disrespectful and borderline self-hate when you can’t even look at the culture of your parents as on the same level as western culture.

“Hahaha my parents do this weird thing where they….”

No!!!!! It’s not weird!!! Why is it weird???

Stop explaining aspects of their culture as some odd weirdo bizzaro thing. Explain it with dignity. Explain it as something that took centuries and generations of knowledge to craft, because it did.

I don’t have respect for people like that because its one thing to look down on another culture, but it’s a completely other thing if you are looking down at aspect of yourself. Whether or not you admit it, that culture and it’s tradition are a part of you and you are putting someone elses shit above your own?

You are changing your name, your religion, your traditions just so it fits nicely into western culture? Why? Why is it so hard to be proud of your heritage, even the parts clashes with western culture?

Stop confusing modernization with westernization. Nothing is weird, because there is no standard way. The only thing that is a standard on this earth is that you are born and that you will die, everything in between is free game. Theres no standard of politics, way of practising religion, or way of running a society. So to use western culture as some sort of cultural role model is something that I am so frustrated that I see children of immigrants do, and many (not all) times their claim to be from the western country their parents immigrated to is a reflection of all of this. It has nothing to do with claiming the land you were born in (rightfully) as your own, but more of why you want to claim it so bad.

Its sad that westerners never acknowledge how close minded it is to view the world where your way is the only way, but its even sadder that children of immigrants, who are directly exposed to another way of living are incapable of comprehending that there are so many equal ways to view politics, traditions, and culture.

Please, start seeing the men and women in your “back home” country just as intelligent, advanced, and forward-thinking as westerners. The current state of their country does not define their level of intelligence. They have their own poetry, their own art, their own scientific theories, their own comedy and their own stages of life. If they want something to be changed, they have the power to do so.

And honestly, the world is much more beautiful when you start to realize that everyones culture is equal. Because you will start to see more art, you will see more theories, and you will start to see different outlooks on the world. It’s true what they say, travelling does humble you. Because you will start to realize how insignificant you are in respect to the rest of the world.

Kinda unrelated but that reminds me of this really great comic I saw on tumblr:

This is probably why travelling is such a dream of mine. So many different cultures, traditions, and people to learn from. And this is also probably why I get so frustrated at people who are so closed minded. The world is WAY too big for us to think we have some kind of superiority.

But why am I even writing about this in the first place?

Because this is my blog, I can write what I want to.

Lol, jk.

The reason why I am writing about this is because the topic of culture, society, and identity has been in my mind a lot lately. because I am finally getting a chance to travel again, allhamdulilah, and I’m getting to chance to visit Somalia, my home country, for the first time, inshallah.

I have a Confession of sin to make

Ok, can I open up and share a secret? I am actually afraid. Lol. Like hella afraid.

You’d think flying to a third world country that’s recovering from a civil war, famine, and drought is what’s making me so afraid, but it’s not. What I am actually more nervous about is that my identity might be robbed from me.

Looool that sounds so dramatic, but it’s true. Identity was never something that I struggled with growing up. I always, from a young age, considered myself Somali and nothing else.

I always felt as if Somalia was my real home, and that Toronto, where I was born, raised, and lived my entire life, I always saw it more as my adopted home. And just as an adopted child should, I felt extremely grateful for Toronto for raising me, educating me, taking care of me, because honestly adopted parents really don’t have to take on the job that they do.  But, going “back” and living in Somalia is a goal of mine some point in the future, so the idea of me hating it or feeling out of place is kind of scary.

Tick Tock Goes the Clock

As my flight to Somalia creeps closer, I am starting to feel this fluttery feeling in my stomach…Identity is something I never struggled with and I really don’t wanna start now.

Going forward, I am interested in what my reaction will be heading to Somalia for the first time. I wonder if my perspective of it being my true home will change once I get there.

What’s keeping me confident is this famous lyric in a Somali song which goes:

Haybad Waxaad Ku Leedahay Dhulkaaga hooyo // Hantiyeey macaan waa midaan, hooy lagaa oraneey

“Where you have dignity is in the land of your mother // What truly belongs to you, a beloved possession, (ie: the land) , no body can shoo you away


Thought of the Week

ayah smallHey, this is Ayah! So basically I realized that I’m not really interested in making traditional blog posts so I thought I would put my own spin on it and do something thats more natural for me & just talk in front of the camera.

I want to start off my first blog post by starting this series for myself called “Thought of the week” where I just share my reflection on the week and kind of talk about the lesson that I learned.

The reason why i want to do this is because i feel like once you share something beneficial with someone out loud, it really solidifies in your mind a lot more rather than just keeping it to yourself and forgetting it a week later. Plus, other people can maybe share their experiences, and you both walk away learning something.

So anyways hope you guys like my reflection, please feel free to share anything about this topic!!


Video in Review: Is there a problem with the education system?


As we said in the video, we initially started to make this ‘doc’ (I say with heavy quotations) to bash the education system, but as we continued to go to different events and talk to different people, we ended up growing a lot more than we thought we would. Anyways here are a few final thoughts and questions I wanted to share about this topic:

I wish I wish upon a star…

One concept I wish we had explored and asked about was the concept of creativity in schools. There are two questions I have:

  1. Academia NEEDS creativity to survive, but do schools create an environment that facilitate creativity?
  2. Stress-based learning VS interest-based learning- how much of a difference does it make?

I would definitely argue that the grading system is stress-based learning. Ultimately, what gets you to study for a mid term for 2 months or write a 10 page paper is your GPA.  If you don’t do well on this test you will get a bad grade, and if you get a bad grade it will ruin your GPA -> closes the door for jobs, grad school, etc. This is a great driving force for us to get stuff done.

Imported piskel

But as Dr. Dolderman mentioned, extrinsic motivations like grades aren’t really that great and tends to take the joy out of things. I know countless of people who start the year off loving their classes but towards the end of the semester they end up in this dreaded let-me-just-memorize-these-lecture-slides-so-I-can-get-the-credit-and-get-the-hell-out-of-here zone.

Reminds me of this ted talk (one of the most watched ted talks)(watch it as it validates my argument lol):

Anyways my question here is, do you think it is possible to teach and motivate kids solely through interest? Is that just being naive?
I mean, if you think back to the time of the molding of these subjects that we study so dearly, those men and women had literally no reason to spend their lives studying anything but out of their own curiosity.

imported-piskel3-4 Actually, in all innovation and research, like the drive to figure out whether light is a wave or a particle, or how we can get a man on the moon, none of these were because they were forced to figure it out. At the end of the day it is curiosity that leads to major discoveries, and you cannot force people to be curious, especially when they are so fixated on getting a grade.

My Personal Experience

I am not a good student. Not even close to one. Almost at the brink of dropping out, actually. Is my belief on the education system a reflection of how bad I am doing? Maybe. Am I just being petty because I’m so bad in school? Probably.

But as mentioned in the video above, we are killing the creativity and interest out of these children. Is it wrong for me believe that, if given different types of opportunity, there are a lot of students who would become successful?
Imported piskel (7)

What I learned

Moral of the story, From doing this video I very much started off very angst-y. The system is horrible, soul-sucking, yayaya.

As I continue to do this video, I kind of started to see this topic (and the situation that I am in) in a different light. Don’t get me wrong I still believe there is a lot that can be changed about the education system but at the end of the day (and this is probably the biggest lesson that I learned) it does not matter. It really doesn’t.

New PiskelBecause at the end of the day it is not realistic for me, an individual with only a set amount of time on this earth, to expect that every environment that I enter to be the exact way I want it. In fact, many times in life the reality is the exact opposite. Yes, ideally it would be great to have all the things wrong with the education system to be fixed tomorrow but if you are ganna sit around and wait for everything to be in the right place before you will do something, or keep quitting things until you find the perfect, uncorrupt environment, you will never get anywhere in life.

I will admit that I was very much spoiled in the sense that I felt everything is supposed to go right. I felt that since I have some skills (don’t ask me what), and an interest in what I am doing, everything is suppose to work out.

What I’ve come to realized is that in order to succeed in an environment that sucks, you need understand what exactly you are trying to accomplish, understand your strengths and weaknesses, then BE PROACTIVE. Figure out a way to get stuff done. There is always more than one path to get to any goal. Flaws, whether it exists within the system or an individual, are not deal-breakers.

Imported piskel (2)

The Big question

If I’m ganna get even deeper, I feel like I am still trying to understand when you should put the blame on system VS self. In the beginning of this video I was very much blaming the “system” for all the flaws in my situation, even if some of the flaws were mine. I also felt like I completely flipped and began to blame myself for everything that was going wrong, when sometimes it very well be the situation that you are in that is the problem.

The reason why I want to be able to figure this out is because I think this question applies to all “systems” that I will encounter in life, not just with school. I feel like I have met people who are stuck on the extreme sides of the spectrum of this question: On one side there are people who truly believe they can do no evil, are unwilling to take responsibility, and when things go wrong they are so quick to say that the system is out to get them.

Imported piskel (1)On the other hand, you have the other extreme which are people who have so much… idek what to call it… faith? Trust? Conviction? In the system that it seems like they are physically incapable to say anything’s wrong with it. They ALWAYS shift the blame onto the individual as the root of the problem, even when it is clearly out of their control (See: the arguments over the deaths of Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Jonathan FerrellJohn Crawford, etc). This can get dangerous especially in cases when peoples lives are involved or can lead to corruption.

Both are equally as bad. How to figure out when it is one or the other is something I am still trying to learn.

Let me know what you think!!!!!