Top Ten Tuesday | Non-Bookish Things I’m Thankful For


Hello everyone! It’s that time of the week again! Top Ten Tuesday is a book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Basically, you get a different bookish topic every Tuesday, and you comprise a list of ten (or however many you’re able to list) relating to said topic.

Today’s topic is ‘Ten Things You Are Thankful For,’ and I thought I’d take a break from all the bookish posts around and do a non-bookish post about ten things I’m super thankful for in my life. Of course, there are more than ten. Life’s good, alhamdulillah (eh, that means ‘thanks to God’ in Arabic. xD)

I don’t think these are in any specific order!

1. I’m thankful for my parents, duh


If you didn’t know, I’m an only child and this situation comes with its own problems. The general stigma surrounding families with one kid is that the parents are overprotective, the child is overly dependent, spoiled etc. But I’m so thankful to have parents that just let me be. They let me test the waters of life on my own. They let me make my own decisions. They let me figure out my own path, but they’re always there for me just in case I slip. I don’t think I tell them how much I love them enough.

2. I’m thankful for my boyfriend


I’m not going to turn this into a cheese-fest, but I couldn’t compile this list without mentioning him here. We’ve been together for six years now (!!!) and he’s supported me through thick and thin, through so much shit I’ve been through during high school and college. For the past two years, we’ve been on the opposite sides of the world and he’s stuck by me even through all the hardships that distance throws at us.

3. I’m thankful to be living in New York City


I don’t think I appreciate my surroundings as much as I should. New York City is such a vibrant, diverse, fast-paced city to live in. There’s always something to do. NYC is like the not-so-aggressive Tumblr of the world; there is so much acceptance, so much diversity, and even though it’s huge and crowded and sometimes scary, the people are always there for you. It’s such a privilege to live and study in this wonderful city.

4. I’m thankful for being able to go to my university


We all know that university can get tough and scary. Sometimes you just want to freeze time and catch up on some much-needed sleep and put college on hold. Sometimes the amount of assignments drive me crazy. Sometimes the pressure builds to a point where I get physically sick. And it’s terrible at times, because if I lose my scholarship, I wouldn’t be able to afford this university. But this hardship is worth it in the end, because this college is everything I could have asked for. The people are warm. There is so much diversity and acceptance. The professors are amazing. The location is fantastic. The opportunities are endless. And I would endure many many more exam-fever-induced states to be able to graduate successfully from a place like this.

5. I’m thankful for music


I’ve had a tough childhood for reasons I’d rather not get into. And there were two things that let me escape from reality as a kid: books and music, the latter being the far more influential than the former. Music has always meant more to me than words can possibly describe. The feeling you get when you listen to a song that aligns perfectly with your emotions – there’s nothing quite like it. Just the fact that the songwriter, at some point in his/her life felt the way you feel right now gives you a sense of belonging that most else cannot. Music (especially rock music, if I’m being honest here) got me through some dark, dark times in my life and I’m truly grateful that it exists and will continue to exist.

6. I’m thankful for online streaming


Okay, the serious stuff aside. I do not know what I would do without streaming websites. I never have time to sit down in front of a TV at a specified time and watch a show. I think I’ve done that a total of 3 times in my life. So yeah, praise the Internet for providing me Netflix and other streaming services that let me get my much-needed fix of Doctor Who and Supernatural and Game of Thrones and Jane the Virgin and Grey’s Anatomy and uh… okay, I’ll stop. OH, and thank you for letting me go back from time to time so I can binge-watch Breaking Bad without ads and without sleep. Kudos to you, Netflix.

7. I’m thankful for my job


For those of you who didn’t know, I work as an assistant-teacher-kinda-thing for kindergartners at a public school. I got the job through my university and it has several perks: 1) since my full-time job is being a student, I usually get days off when I have to study for exams and such, and 2) FLUFFY, ADORABLE LITTLE KIDS. They say the cutest stuff sometimes, like this child who couldn’t believe I was 19 years old and had to ask me several times if I was married. And also this kid who suggested we rob a bank to give to the poor. I see a Robin Hood-esque future for you, child. Precious little cinnamon rolls.

8. I’m thankful that sometimes God decides to take a shower and makes it rain on this beautiful earth


That image has been etched onto my mind ever since I was a kid. I think that’s just how rain was explained to me when I was too young to understand science? What is snow, you ask? That’s God shampooing. I’m sorry, I’ll shut up now.

9. I’m thankful for cute male celebrities

also mine

I have several, but there are two that stand out above and beyond the rest: a Brazilian model named Francisco Lachowski and an Indian actor named Sidharth Malhotra. THEY ARE PERFECTION PERSONIFIED. I do not understand their faces. Like? It’s not fair? How are you two that perfect?

10. I’m thankful for being a Pakistani

IMG_0102I saved this for last, not because it’s the least important, but because I have a lot to say about this. There are so many misconceptions about Pakistan. Despite living in New York, which is arguably the most diverse city in the United States, I’m often bombarded with ignorant questions. Examples (and these are 100% true, I swear!):

  • “If you’re from Pakistan, how do you know English so well?” Um because we learn English in our schools. Fun fact: did you know Pakistan’s official language is English? Most schools teach English as their first language even though our national language is Urdu! You may be surprised, but people can communicate in English…
  • “Did you go to school in Pakistan? I thought girls get shot for going to school there.” Yes because one isolated incident in a rural, backward area is the perfect thing to judge an entire country on. More facts: according to the Constitution of Pakistan, women’s education is a fundamental right. And while discrepancies do exist because of the aforementioned backward areas, women and men receive an equal education in the majority of the country. In fact, statistics show that more women receive higher education degrees than men do. So yes, I’m a woman and I know how to write, I can do adequate math and I know what mitochondria do despite having studied in Pakistan until university.
  • And I think this is my favorite: “YOU HAVE INTERNET IN PAKISTAN?” I’m not even going to justify this with a response.

So when I say that I’m thankful for being a Pakistani, it’s because I grew up in a wonderful, wonderful country and culture, and experienced it first hand. Because if I hadn’t, I might have been the one asking these questions. I might be the one making Pakistanis feel bad globally because of the gross misrepresentation of their country in mass media, including shows like Homeland. 

Because the Pakistan I know and love is very different from what most people see on their TV screens: the people are kind and generous. They give more than they can and they do so happily. They will go to bed hungry but they will NEVER turn away their guests without an adequate meal. Because when you go to shops, they offer you free sodas even if you don’t buy anything just because it’s a hot day and good conversation is better than profit. Our THREE-DAY weddings are better than any party you will go to: we have sweets and GREAT FOOD and we dance for hours, and nobody goes home before 2 am. Northern Pakistan is stunning and it shows the earth in all its majesty. I’ll show you (btw, these were taken from Google oops):

Concordia Base Camp
Hunza Valley
Neelum Valley
Badshahi Mosque

And while problems exist as they do everywhere else, there is so much more there than people get to see. And I am genuinely grateful that I got to see this wonderful country from within rather than from the other side of tinted glass.

Okay, this post made me emotional and nostalgic. I’m sorry. xD


  1. What a beautiful post!! <3

    I am an Indian. And, I love watching Pakistani Dramas. I would love to go visit Karachi and Islamabad. Ignore the idiocy, you know you've lived in a beautiful land. That is all that matters. Also, six years. It makes me really happy to see committed people, despite distance, time et cetra.

  2. Aimal, this is a beautiful post! I love all the things you’re thankful for, especially your last point! Your last point actually stirred so much emotion in me and brought out my revolutionist side! Now I feel like I need to make a strong, clear discussion post about the representations of different countries and cultures and how it’s so easy to misinterpret countries based on how they are shown in the media! THANK YOU, because now I think I have my next Monday Musings post! 💓

  3. Oo! Non-bookish things! ^.^ Yay! Though, I can’t imagine living in NYC. That would be a little too hectic for me. I love some suburbs. :p

    Oh, I totally get you on music. The way the beat, rhythm, melody, and harmony intertwine is something that words can never quite attain. Music is everything. I am so thankful for it that I had to tattoo it on my arm. ^.^

    Who on earth has time to actually watch tv at the time that the shows are on the tv? I mean, honestly. Especially when you watch like 7+ shows. That’s one every day of the week or, if they’re on the same night, like 2-3hrs in one night in front of the TV. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

    I would like to state that I don’t know very much about the world, but I would not ask such rude questions. Even so, I thank you for enlightening me. ^.^ There are quite a few misconceptions out there about what happens in other countries and I think it’s great that you spoke about them. ^.^
    And… MITOCHONDRIA! WOO! Okay. Science geek moment over. :p

    • YAY A LONG COMMENT! Those are my favorite. I love you for this. 😀 😀 😀
      I totally get you. My parents prefer quieter surroundings so they’re always complaining about the city, haha.
      That’s so neat. I want to get a tattoo too someday. What’s yours, if you don’t mind my asking? 🙂
      Of course, I don’t mind when people genuinely ask me questions about my country. I enjoy telling people more, but sometimes the questions are framed so offensively that I can’t help but lose my mind, haha. 😀
      Thanks for stopping by! x

  4. I totally know what you mean about people not knowing about your home country… I live in Indonesia but I’m currently studying at the Netherlands and though the European culture is so different I still love my country of birth so much! I’d love to visit Pakistan, looks like such a beautiful country 😀 Check out my TTT.

    • Do you get strange questions too? Haha. I had a roommate from Korea last year, and this girl asked her if she spoke “Asian.” And my roommate was just like, “Uh, Asia is a continent…” Haha!
      I hope you’ll look into visiting some time in the future. x

  5. Great post! I love that you shared non-bookish things, unlike a lot of us this week! 😀
    Wow, six years, that’s a long time, congratulations!! I understand the struggles of long-distance relationships, but you’re going strong, I admire that so much!! Yay to you guys! <3
    You're so lucky to be living in New York City, I went there once and completely fell in love with it. I can't wait to go back there! 🙂
    And those pictures of Pakistan are absolutely gorgeous, it makes me want to travel so badly!

    • Thank you! Are you in a long-distance too? Sometimes I feel like I need a support group of people who can come chill and eat ice-cream with me while we talk about how much distances suck, haha! x

      • Not really, well for now only just during the holidays! I’m studying far away from my hometown, and I’m close to my boyfriend, but I always go home during holidays. At first we were long-distance, though, and it’s really hard at times. Well we can do that sometimes if you’d like, I’d love to, 🙂 x

  6. Wow, Pakistan is beautiful! And sometimes, I realize some people should be banned from asking questions. There IS such a thing as a stupid question and “You have internet is Pakistan?” is an example! And its not like American doesn’t have its backwards pockets of people either (I’m looking at you, rednecks!). I’m so glad you handle it with such dignity and grace!
    And I am totally with you on the internet streaming. What a great invention!!

    • Thank you so much! It’s totally okay if people ask questions because how else will they know more? But sometimes the questions are so offensively framed that I lose my mind. xD

  7. This might be weird, but I wish you did turn it into a cheese-fest and tell us more about your boyfriend! I’m a sucker for (real) love stories, haha. Six years is pretty amazing, congratulations! <3

    And I love #10 on your list. I’m not from Pakistan, but I live in an English-speaking country and I get those questions quite a bit as well. Someone even asked me once if I have television in my home country!

  8. I enjoyed reading this post a lot, each one was so sincere and heartfelt (yes, even the one about Lachowski and Netflix lol). Those pictures of Pakistan are gorgeous! I wish I could travel there someday <3

    • Oh, trust me, I’m VERY sincere about Lachowski. *heart eyes*
      I hope you’ll be able to look into visiting some time in the future. I know it can be scary, and I don’t blame people for being apprehensive. 😀


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