What’s Happiness?

Long ago, I posted somewhere, “Learning to live a happy life”. I can still relate, I have and will always be a happiness-seeker. But, Whats happiness? I may not give you a precise answer, but I can tell you what happiness is to me.

Happiness is waking up early in the morning and start writing after 8 months of no writing!

Months ago, I stopped writing. I don’t know what happened exactly. The thing is passion for writing was still there, it’s been there all the way. But, writing itself became a painful practice. To want to write, but not to be able to write. After months, I am now slowly, slowly getting back to writing, first with started with poetry and here I am today writing my new post. I haven’t had breakfast or anything, right now nothing matters but putting ideas and feelings into words. I can’t find enough words and tell you how this feels like…

Happiness is taking a walk in the park in an autumn afternoon with your best friends

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An afternoon walk.

I know many of those who are madly in love with autumn. There is something different about this season, something that goes beyond just changing colors or that smooth feeling of the breeze on your skin. You can learn so much about autumn, it makes you adapt and accept change. And how about an afternoon walk in a park with your best friend to talk about all sort of issues on this planet, from politics to education to health to food, etc.

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Beautiful autumn.

Happiness is spending time alone and creating your own magical world

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A little note I wrote for myself on my birthday.

I like socializing, don’t get me wrong. But, I like spending time alone too, it makes me happy. I like sitting in a cafe shop all by myself and engrossing myself in a world of my creation. I love those small moments of imagination. I like to believe that everything is possible, even if that meant ‘possible only’ in my own world. Solitude makes me feel strong and powerful. Sometimes I don’t even have to be alone in a room to live moments of solitude. You can take me to a room full of people, and I can still manage to re-create and live a world of my own choice.

Happiness is reading an interesting book and living it!

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Ah.

I am a nerd. I have always been one, in school, in university, always. Reading a book of my interest is as fascinating as traveling somewhere I love to see. But, one thing is, I am a very slow reader, I can’t finish a book in just few days, at the same time, I can’t read a book twice. I love imagining, living, and foreseeing the story as I flip pages. I love remembering the characters, their features, things they love and things they hate, their lifestyle, everything (but I am not as good in memorizing names!). I make a whole new story in my mind while reading. Recently, I read “The peculiar life of a lonely postman”  by Denis Thériault and what a book! If you are a poetry person, and if you have some knowledge about Haiku and Tanka (two very old types of Japanese poetry) then you will definitely love the book. The book revolves around a postman who lives in solitude and chooses to fall in love with a woman he has seen in photographs only. I was so fascinated by his lifestyle that it took me three weeks to finish the book.

Happiness is going to the refugee and IDP camps, listening to and learning from their stories

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Schoolkids waiting to get inside the school in the refugee camp.

I started working with a Japanese NGO about 7 months ago. A big part of my job requires me to be in the camps almost everyday and it gives me a chance to meet new people all the time. I love that. I am the type of person that hardly stays in a job for more than three months if the job is not interesting. Ever since graduation, I have been going from one job to another. Many of the jobs I stayed just for days and left. May be it’s not a good thing. My family always worry about me. They think I will never be able to settle anywhere. May be they are right. But, this time I was able to stick to one job for 7 months (I am still working with the Japanese NGO).

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On the way to the refugee camp.

 I love waking up early in the morning and going to the camps. I am not the office type of person, I can’t sit behind the desk for days. I like moving. But, what makes the job more interesting is the small moments in the camps. I like it when a little girl runs after me, calls my name just so she could give me a little flower and a cookie. I love how people love it when I tell them I am there to listen to their needs and help. I love their warm welcoming and  hospitality. I love the cup of coffee they offer every time I visit their tents (more like a home). Every single day and incident lived in the camps, I will remember forever. And for that, I am so grateful.

Happiness is finding new passions in life and discovering new aspects about yourself

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On a rainy day…

About few months ago, I realized that a new love is coming to life inside me. It was love for photography. I have always appreciated the art of photography, but never in my life before that I thought I would carry so much love for it. Just about a year ago, I bought a new phone. I fell in love with the camera.

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Playing with camera.

So I started taking photos here and there. Surprisingly, taking photos made me happy. So I thought, why not go further and improve my skills. I opened an account on instagram and started sharing moments. I am still on the way learning about the art of photography. But, it’s not the destination that matters to me, it’s the journey. Beautiful and meaningful photos captured, is what makes photography so important to me. Just enjoy doing it!

Happiness is saving up money for a cause!

I used to think money is not important at all, but it’s not true. The fact that I see refugees and IDPs everyday, hardly surviving, living under difficult circumstances, makes me realize how important is to have money. Sometimes people approach me in the camps, old men, women, and even children and ask for money. It breaks my heart.

We need money to survive. I am not saying make money your final end, No. But, you need to be financially independent to support your family and yourself. The first time I got my salary, I was so happy. It made me feel independent. Sometimes you need money not just to support yourself, but others as well. Go out and pay a needy, a homeless, pay for education of a child, you can do a lot with your money, and this is both rewarding and beautiful.

Currently, I am on a mission to save money for some big plans for the future, I am not going to reveal them for now, but soon you will know! And I like that, I like taking out an amount of money from my salary every month and saving up for something important. It reminds me that I am saving up for a cause.

 

Those are few of my thoughts of happiness, what are yours?

The Solitude

She was the solitude

going back and forth

between imagination and reality

until the stranger came along

altered her world,

with every act of kindness

and what did she give him?

few unspoken words

on a blank paper.

 

 Ashna Shareff

The girl and the Butterfly

She saw in her dream,

the rare butterfly

so she sat on the mountain peak

and painted on the sky

the image of the butterfly

her wings made of rainbow

her eyes made of raindrops

 

she sat there and waited,

 

the butterfly flew above the heights

and spread in her sky

the northern lights.

 

Ashna Shareff

My words and their meanings

I spent last night thinking about my favorite words in Kurdish, English, Arabic, and Korean. I have never really thought about my favorite words before, so it was a kind of practice for me; but since writing is my passion, words are very important to me.

Words can be as devastating as destructive weapons or as sweet and warm as a mother’s love.

I love learning different languages.

When you speak a new language you become part of a new culture and you will be able to understand its history.

 

I speak three langues only, Kurdish that’s my native language, Arabic because I am surrounded by Arab countries so it was important for me to learn the language, and English because I love it and I am learning Korean now and I have to say I JUST LOVE IT. Though, it’s a little difficult to learn.

Words always sympathize something, they give meaning and value to a particular object. And the reason why we love some words over others is because they either remind us of something or someone remarkable in our lives.

And sometimes, we love the words just for their meanings.

To me, it’s mostly because of the stories behind the words. So I am happy to share some of my favorite words in Kurdish, English, Arabic, and Korean. I will give each word its meaning in English just in case you don’t understand Kurdish, Arabic, or Korean.

My favorite words in Kurdish:

Jargo: (liver) I never thought I would like this word someday, but the word reminds me of all the great people in my life and thanks to them, I love this word now. My friends and I call each other Jargo, so that makes us all Jargos.

Shirin: (Sweetness) The meaning says it all.

Daya: (mom) I’m positive that every Kurd loves the word.

Baran: (Rain) Because I love rain, because the word brings tranquility and joy to me even though rain is noisy, but noisy in a good way (like echoes of rain).

Galla: (leaf) Because each leaf recalls a story of its own.

Azadi: (freedom) Because I strive for.

Papula: (butterfly) Believe it or not I always see white butterflies around me no matter where I go, and I take that as a good sign from God.

Baba: (dad) The word is smooth, and because my dad is the only man who’s been able to touch my heart wholly so far.

My favorite words in English:


Peculiar: Because I am.

Moon: Because I talk to every chance I get, because it gives me hope and an ear to listen to my stories before I tell them to anyone.

Fly:  Because I am determined not to settle unless I find my sense of belonging in the world.

Hope: The word itself gives me hope

Faith: Because I live by it.

Beyond: I like the word for its pronunciation, but I also like it because I always tend to look beyond the ordinary and want people to see beyond what I appear to be.

Aurora: Simply beauty of the universe! I am hoping one day I will see it with my eyes.

My favorite words in Arabic:

 

مغامرة :  (adventure) Because I love challenges and going on adventures.

الطبيعة: ( nature) Because I love everything in nature, nature reminds me of who I am.

حالم: (dreamer) Because I am.

My favorite words in Korean:-

I am still a beginner, so am going to share few words among those that I’ve learnt so far.

 Chingu: (friend) Because I have so many great friends in my life, and they mean SO much to me.

Saranghaeyo: ( I love you) Because I love so many people and they are very precious to me.

Nnuen: (I) The word is very simple, I like it, and I am a firm believer that if you’re not able to use I confidently, then you won’t be able to stand up for anyone including yourself or anything in life.

Bogo Sipda: (to miss someone) I like the pronunciation of the word. And yes, I miss you. Note that the “S” is read as “Sh”.

I can’t wait to learn new words in Kurdish (because even though I am a Kurd, I still feel there are words that I need to learn), Arabic, English, and Korean. I can’t wait to share new words, new meaning and new stories behind the words.

What about you? What are your favorite words?