New Year 2021: Solo Hike Up the Salisbury Crags

Assalamualaikum wbt.

For the past two years I joined the exciting countdown with the crowds by the Newcastle Quayside before watching blazing, colourful fireworks soar up into the air to celebrate fresh beginnings. For 2021, I just video called Nini from my bed (hi if you are reading this!).

I had plans with friends for the next morning but unfortunately they got cancelled due to unavoidable circumstances. But the sky was blue and I wasn’t going to waste a blue sky day. So I spontaneously decided to venture alone to the Salisbury Crags, a series of cliffs next to Arthur’s Seat (an extinct volcano) – the general area is called Holyrood Park. I had never been to the Holyrood Park – surprisingly it was less than 30 minutes away from my flat. What I didn’t know is that is was SO. MAGNIFICENTLY. BEAUTIFUL. Subhanallah indeed. I mean, I’ve seen pictures of people climbing Arthur’s Seat and stuff but they mostly showed pictures at the top of the hill looking down below (and views never look that nice in pictures). I did a solo hike up the Crags and enjoyed it immensely. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

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Farewell, 2020 + Pixar’s Soul

Assalamualaikum wbt.

[WARNING: Spoilers for Pixar’s Soul]

I spent the last day of 2020 watching Pixar’s latest film, Soul. I feel like I wasn’t as deeply moved by it as other people. The reviews were so good and people were talking about how they were weeping and contemplating their life decisions, that at the end of the movie I was thinking, “Is that it?”. I prefer 3 Idiots instead, which is one of my favourite movies of all time, if not my absolute favourite. But I was impressed at the amount of representation of people of colour, in normal everyday spaces like classrooms and grocery stores – something severely lacking in Western films.

However, I do appreciate it’s central message very much – about how you shouldn’t rigidly limit your life to one single purpose, but you have to appreciate the beauty of just living. Joe Gardner is a struggling middle-aged music school teacher desperately waiting for his big break. He eats, breathes, and lives jazz – he makes sure everyone he meets knows that he was born to play jazz. But thanks to an unborn soul called 22, by the end of the movie, he realizes that jazz shouldn’t be his sole purpose in life. He now appreciates the beauty in everyday mundane things, like walking and sky-watching.

It’s an incredible lesson to be conveyed, especially to people like me who are obsessed with their passion or calling.

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