Ssshhh

Sneaking in ever so quietly…..

SuniSneakGif

How has everyone been? I missed my internet fam. There have been sweet comments left on my blog by the absolute sweet sisters that made me melt.I shall get back to responding.

I am back. No, I didn’t get married (fortunately) as some had asked if my husband forbade me to blog. I would rather chuck the husband out than my blog. I had gone overseas and returned back to start my Masters (which is what desi girls do when they don’t get married by the end of Bachelors :P). Masters is draining the hell out of me. Classes all five days 9 to 6 with assignments and assessments. Anyway no excuse will justify my long absence. So let me just make it up by letting your Aussie girl inform you about the weird facts of good ol’ Aus you might not know.

  1. The fact that toilets and bathrooms don’t come with locks. Not all houses, some, but still. My friend bought this house and one of the toilets doesn’t come with a door!! Apparently you have to pay extra for the toilet door.
  2. People in India just drop in without calling. People in Dubai call to let you know they shall be visiting. People in Aus are soo polite that its annoyingly cute. They don’t come. At all. You have to send an invitation and ask them to come because you have started talking to walls. I bet even for my funeral, I shall have to call everyone 2 hours before my imminent death with invitations and ask them to RSVP.
  3. Day light savings.
  4. That my little cousins attend “colleges” (primary level schooling) and my brother and I attend “schools” (a.k.a universities).
  5. That there are alcohol shops next to schools, ahem I mean “colleges”. The two colleges I got to attend here, both had them so I am assuming its a norm for all (Could be wrong. So far no drunk kids spotted.)
  6. Return policy : you can return any item (except bedding,cosmetics and used nappies) as long as you have the receipt. This is the main reason why NRI’s here don’t want to go back to India lol.
  7. The water that flushes the toilet is as filtered as the water that I drink from tap (Let that sink in.)
  8. Almost all shops close by 5 p.m. Worst thing ever. One gets back from work/uni/college/school whatever by evening and the shops are closed. People here don’t sweat about it but as a Dubai mall girl I seem to find it highly unfair that the plaza is open only for housewives.
  9. The public transport system is so unreliable that one is forced to force her brothers and parents to drop her off to station so she doesn’t have to wait for 40 minutes for the bus and walk 1 kilometre to home.
  10. They make you book in for a doctor’s appointment and call you in an hour late than the scheduled time but when its the other way round and you arrive just 5 minutes late, they have to reschedule your appointment to another day because you are late and they weren’t able to torture you to the maximum one hour they are allowed to.
  11. Mcdonald’s also known as Maccas. So when a friend first asked whether I would be interested going to Maccas, I assumed Makkah and stared at her nonplussed. Refused because I hadn’t saved enough money for the pilgrimage when really she was asking whether I would like to hang out for a 4 dollar McFlurry milkshake.
  12. The slang language. Barbeque = barbie, afternoon = arvo, etc. There is a whole dictionary full of it and I could write a post just on it.
  13. Honey soy chicken chips.Like whaaaat? So its a potato chips chicken flavoured. All good yeah? But no, lets vegetify it and add soy. Make it a little bit healthy. Let the vegetarians taste the goodness of chicken. But wait, what about people with a sweet tooth? Can’t forget them now can we? Ergo honey.
  14. Vegemite. Nuff said. For those who want to have a lick at it, I have one that expired a year ago that I received when I got my citizenship and we got it from the council for becoming an Aussie. So you shout Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi (while balancing the Aussie passport on your head) and then scoop a chunk of vegemite and dunk it in. If you can’t eat that scoopful, you aint becoming an Aussie. That’s how Stralians play mate!! We keep that honey soy chicken close and vegemite even closer. (Disclaimer : Not sponsored by Vegemite or the chickens.)
  15. Australia is the only country where it is legal to eat the national animal. But I mean kangaroos!!! Why??Kangaroo-Selfie.jpg

Any Aussies reading the post : you can come at me. These are my observations and the intention wasn’t to offend/insult Australia/Australians. I love me my Aussie barbie and we can have a nice chat some arvo.We can have vegemite together too.

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He won’t bite. He will just maul you to death.

So WordPress does this weird thing where you save a draft and it schedules it to post and you schedule a post to be posted on Saturday and it just publishes it which is what happened with this one.I quickly removed it but it was too late and people who got my new post in subscription feed emailed me to ask where the new post was.So I quickly finished it up and am posting the would-be Saturday post today.Enough of my blabber.Enjoy.

This post is inspired by Sulphurman’s post on dogs.Go check it out as his posts will have you nostalgic for the hassle and dazzle of Indian streets and golgappes,chaats and the cows that form a makeshift round-a-bout where ever they chose to sit in the middle of streets.

Although my fair share of experiences with dogs have been little than what most people can go on for hours about, there are two incidents that stick in my mind. For dog-lovers and dog-owners who are reading this : I DO NOT let me repeat DO NOT hate dogs. Ever since Simba came into my family, I have mutual love for all animals. Animals that don’t seem to jump up to your shoulders to sniff and bare their canines (pun unintended).Even so, my fear for animals have decreased considerably. In fact I go all mushy when I see kittens or baby goats and had the opportunity to pet the latter while on my visit to India last year.

baby goat

Onlookers came to know that I didn’t live there, that I was an NRI, born and brought up abroad, because who really looks adoringly at the goats chewing loudly, minding their own business?

India, with its already booming human population, can also easily account for the highest dog population, given the amount of stray dogs barking at every corner or howling at night throughout suburbs and cities. One dog starts howling, the whole pack imitates and pretty soon the next street dogs and then the whole town is filled with collective moaning of dogs. It was some thing I got used to while falling asleep and so, when I returned to Australia, the sheer silence of nothingness kept me awake for hours at end.

Once I was out to shop with my mum and we were stuck in the traffic. In bustling India, being stuck in traffic is awesome because there is never a dull moment. You get to hear verbal abuses of drivers “Chal bey, dekh ke nahi chalta (Oii move!!Fool can’t see where he is walking)”, the afore-mentioned cows walking ahead ever-so slightly at a snail pace, swishing tails in the process and looking at you in mock innocence and incomprehensibility when you honk the horn at them to hurry up. Then a driver gets out of his car to smack the cow’s behind. Meanwhile you hear a baby crying and turn your head in the direction to see where it is coming from. Aaah little kids running through the dirt, one fallen onto the gravel, crying,holding up his bruised knee. Anyway so I saw this stray dog minding his own business, when a 25 year old something guy, just kicks it in the face. The dog howls in surprise and pain and receives another kick. My heart lurches at this assault and I wish to get out of the auto and run to this sadistic guy and kick him the face but I can’t and I don’t. To this day, I wish I did. So yeah, I don’t hate dogs, I just fear them. Something that white Australians don’t get. What they do get is offended if I see a dog and run in the opposite direction. They would rather I scream at the sight of their 6 month old baby than shriek at the sight of their munchkin boo Lady Diana.

Incident 1 : I had gone to my neighbour’s house with my 3 year old cousin and was waiting outside after knocking the door. The door opened ever so slightly and a black daschund-size dog whizzed past my legs onto my baby cousin prancing in delight.Dog prancing not my cousin.My cousin was running around my legs in circle crying and shrieking asking me to pick him up, the dog chasing him and I am frozen in terror screaming my head off. The aunty doesn’t know what to do so she calls her teenage son who bribes the dog with treats. Dog leaves, I pick my cousin up and we dart out of there forgetting the purpose for which we had gone to their place. To this day, I avoid any sort of contact with the next door neighbour.

Incident 2 : It was a nice sunny day and I had taken my 3 cousins (aged 10,7 and 3) to the park. I was pushing the 3 year old on the swing and the 10 year old was pushing her 7 year old sister and we were laughing and chatting away when a door nearby park opens and a huge dog (what is with all these huge dogs? why not a chihuahua?) comes rushing.

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All of us start screaming. In reflex action, I forget my cousins and rush for my dear life (Hey, don’t judge. It was a do or die situation). The dog runs after me and I am screaming and crying and running circles in the park, the dog chasing me in joyful barks with its tongue lolling around its chin and my cousins screaming out my name like a jinn had possessed them. The owner is calling out the dog’s name but the dog is busy enjoying my squeals of terror to listen to its master. Like in any horror movie, I trip and the dog is over me and I close my eyes because it’s all over.The owner yanks away the dog and mutters an apology but he is clearly insulted at my offensive behaviour. I don’t know what he was expecting : for me to bow down to his dog or what? Naah man ain’t gonna apologise for your hyper canine mate.

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Dogs and desis do not gel.Well 95% don’t. Apparently Pakistanis are up in the game with most of my friends adopting furry poodles but for Indians and Bangladeshis :  well the hatred is as much and as real as for each other.

***Images and gifs courtesy of Google.

What is Sleep??

I am sooooo tirreeddd!!!Fridays are usually lengthy days at uni for me.I get up at 7:30,get ready, get to station at 8:15 and reach university at 9:00. Head to the library to print out my lecture notes and then to the lecture at 9:30.Lecture runs from 9:30 to 11:30, then an hour break in between,then a tutorial from 12:30 to 1:30, then an hour break and then a lecture from 2:30 to 3:30. On alternate weeks, I have a practical lab from 2 to 5. By the time I head home, its 5/6 in the evening and I am a walking zombie. Except zombies, with their outstretched hands, drone out BRAINS!!BRAINS!! while I mumble SLEEP SLEEP.

zombie

So today I got home from uni and before I knew it, I was flat out. I woke up just a couple of minutes before to go to the loo, and remembered I hadn’t posted today.With 2 more hours until midnight, I am like Cinderella, rushing to find mice to turn into coachmen (I am rummaging through my sleep-addled brain for words to make a coherent post).

I have only told my one friend (that I just got to know) at uni about my blog (She will be featuring in a post very soon). I wanted to observe the power of social media. I wanted to see how long it’s going to take before my friends/relatives get to know about my blog via my WordPress,Tumblr,Facebook Page,Twitter or Instagram. I haven’t promoted or gave an inkling to anyone as yet and my family is on the deal as well. It’s hard because if I would tell them, they would be supporting me and actively reading and I would be getting more views than now but I like this too.In fact I prefer this anonymity, the calm before the storm (storm might take years to come lol). I can blog my mind without writing too biased or preferential just because a certain friend/relative is reading. I get too conscious and shy as well. And right now, it’s a small team. My parents, brothers, and you lovely readers. At least I know who will be in my thank you speech when I shall be accepting the Booker or the Pulitzer Prize.

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I am thinking of writing twice a week, instead of 5. Reading this post, I am sure you agree with me. I prefer quality over quantity. I would rather put everything into my two posts than write 5 posts of crap. I have 24 hours during weekends that are exclusively mine, to furnish and publish my posts rather than rush through uni, write my posts on train and trams and come home,add my gifs and memes and just give it away. I have been debating for quite some time, but it’s hard to break a promise that I kept with myself. It’s just been 3 weeks. I didn’t even last a month (Cry emoji). I didn’t want to sound like I was getting lazy, or losing motivation because I haven’t. I am still enjoying this. I just want to balance studies, blogging,tutoring and volunteering. At the moment, the balance is tipping heavier towards blogging,tutoring and volunteering.

You know what, I shall write 5 more posts for the next week. So that, at least I shall have fulfilled my promise for a whole month and feel satisfied.Yes, that’s what I shall do.

Until Monday.

***Image and gifs via Google Image.


Email : aaliyahzahra@hotmail.com (old school with no facebook,twitter,insta? Got your back. Email me)

Tumblr : http://www.aaliyahzahra.tumblr.com (For those, who don’t have wordpress, I made tumblr.Currently running 2 posts behind WP.)

FaceBook Page : http://www.facebook.com/pages/AaliyahZahra (Invite your friends to come like, support,share)

Twitter : @Aaliyahsblogs (Tweet about my posts, that’s all. Shall start tweeting real stuff soon coz first things first, I am a realist.)

Instagram : @aaliyah_zahra (Brag about my new blog post here. No, I don’t have food photos/selfies.Shall have a post on that shortly and then I shall post that on insta.I do follow backs.Actually I would love to see your food posts and you.Do follow.)

Life of a Loner

If you read the title and assumed that I am going to complain on how lonely I am while others are out socializing, you would be wrong. I am not complaining but I am not too proud of it either.

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Ever since I can remember, I used to enjoy parties and socializing and having a good laugh. But coming home and entering the sanctity, the warmth and solitude of home, now that, I enjoyed that more. I still do. While everyone else is posting on social media about how much fun they are having on weekend or meeting up with their mates, my only accomplishment worthy of mentioning would be that I was successful in making delicious chocolate mousse. While everyone is clicking selfies or snapping away on Snapchat on a recent meetup, I am at home, in bed, checking it all out. Now it’s not that I don’t get invites.I get heaps of invites, both on Facebook and personal. Why don’t I attend? Various reasons

  1. Religious reasons (I can’t go places such as clubs, pubs and discos (total no-no).My friend is a DJ and has invited me multiple times on Facebook to go clubbing with her and I can’t explain to her without offending her. She seemed nonplussed when I replied religious reasons and I don’t really know how to delve into it deeper without having an hour conversation).
  2. When-there-are-no-kids-your-age reason. This mainly happens during desi get-togethers. All aunties and uncles are busy gossiping away, leaving me in charge of their little kids. They don’t officially ask me to babysit but what you gonna do when you are stuck with kids whining and crying? Keep them entertained of course!!I get bored in the process. So now I attend a party once in a while but try to avoid them if I can.
  3. When your Muslim friends invite you to a lunch and choose a restaurant which sells halal chicken but also sell pork or an Indian restaurant that has all chicken and beef menu but also sell alcohol. Now the restaurants claim that they cook and fry separately, which might be true but when you have teenagers behind the counter cooking and cleaning at such places, you can’t assume they would be too careful not mixing oil or changing oils of the fryers or cleaning dishes well enough before using it for halal chicken. I mean cleaning their own rooms seems a hurdle to them. And I was a teenager once. And I know that even though I am a perfectionist when it comes to cleaning and scrubbing, even I used to get lazy once in a while.Even if there aren’t teenagers working but adults, I still wouldn’t risk it.The chicken is not halal anymore if a drop of oil that was used to cook/fry pork gets on the chicken. I avoid such places altogether.
  4. When you go to a party but people have already formed groups or you go to a party and have seen them after ages while they have been meeting practically every weekend and are having a conversation about something that happened at a party two weeks ago to which you did not go to and hence have no clue what they are talking about. You sit there clueless, not really getting the jokes and they are laughing so hysterically, they are in tears. You feel a bit lost or the feeling that you don’t belong there. So then you vow that either you will attend EVERY party from then on or mute and exit the group.Knowing me, I do the latter.

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And hence, tis the life of an eternal loner who would rather spend weekends writing blog entries and playing Sudoku or word puzzles than be turnt up for the weekends. And that’s nothing to be ashamed off or pitied on.Do what makes you comfortable. The only downside is your friends are going to think you are a haughty snob but oh well, doesn’t warm tea (or coffee) and warm bed sound heavenly?

girl with tea

*** All images via Google Images. Excuse the spelling of “Because” in 3 reasons image. I inserted it  because it was spot on and fit with the article perfectly.

In the grey…

As a student at RMIT, living in the suburbs, I can safely say that I have done enough travelling to and fro city for a lifetime. 4 days a week, sometimes 5, bus and train drivers as well as ticket officers would know me by name now. The mundane task of dragging myself to get dressed and attend lectures now seem exciting to me as I near the end of my Bachelor days. I used to assume that one needs friends for the whole university experience to be unforgettable. Listening to my parents’ and older brother Khalid’s stories of hostel life and adventures or silly pranks that they used to get into, I set my foot into university in 2012, promising myself that I would make it one of those memorable experiences worthy enough to relate to my kids.

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First semester was going really quiet and I wondered if I would graduate as a nobody when suddenly in my Scientific Skills class, another hijabi, Ayesha, came and said hi to me. Now one thing you must know about me is that I come across as shy when you first meet me but once you make the wonderful mistake of approaching me and getting to know me, I emerge from my multiple layers of shyness and blast you with my philosophical depth. By the end of class, we had exchanged phone numbers and details about ourselves and interestingly enough we had a lot in common so we hit it at the start. Since I was still on a Nokia, we exchanged Facebook details to chat and exchange memes and gifs. I don’t think whatsapp wasn’t even a thing back in 2012. A few weeks later, my mum got a call from Aisha’s mum and we were invited to dinner at her place where we got to know each other a bit more. Both mums sighed in relief when they realised that their daughters were studying the same course and would be looking out for each other against the big bad world. Inwardly I was mighty glad as well since I wouldn’t be stuck outside class or in practicals, wishing for someone to pick me to be their partner. As days rolled into months, I got to know every little itty bitty detail about Ayesha so much so that we were inseparable at university and at home (constantly chatting away). Other friends in my group circle would even laugh when they would spy either one of us without the other and ask how we were even alive without the other half.

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Alas those days were to end. Ayesha was engaged to be wed and had to finish off a semester during a vacation. I, with no such plans as of yet, am still trudging to university these days to complete my degree. While everyone believed that I would go into bouts of depression from which I would never regain to continue uni, I proved them wrong by still attending lectures and practicals dutifully. I won’t lie, I hated the first day. I felt abandoned and desolate among the chaotic chatter of excited first year students. As days passed, I realised that there was a whole different level of adventure awaiting me to explore on my own. I got more independent and organized as there was no one to remind me of due dates. I could decide whether or not the lecture was worth attending to without someone riddling me with guilt. I could leave the uni straight after the long hour pracs without having to wait for someone to get rejuvenated by a cup of tea from the cafeteria (I don’t drink tea, I watch people drink tea (well not watch, wait) ). I could be of free will and decide on plans without someone debunking them because they had other plans or simply weren’t up to it. I could just sleep in as long as I wanted to and get to uni 5 minutes before lectures/practicals without someone waiting for me hours earlier. I can now explore the city and travel in any direction I wish to without someone complaining of tired feet. I feel anonymous and obscure and I relish that feeling as well.maxresdefault

People assume that just because a certain someone has walked away, that life will never be the same. And that’s true. It will never be the same. It will be different. Sometimes that difference is what makes you realise you can still be you without needing someone. You are a whole. And while I will have many funny anecdotes of me and Ayesha to relate to my kids, I shall also have loads of nostalgic memories of my university experienced first-hand by me. No recommendations, no suggestions. Just me and the city.

*** All images are from Google Search.

Bored of board games??

I am a 90’s kid and as most people who grew up in the 90’s would know, board games, tamagotchis and Pokemon were the rage. In fact, my brothers and I have an ice cream box filled with Pokemon cards. My little brother Mikaeel and I were reminiscing about how we used to spend summer vacation nights playing Monopoly and how we had three tamagotchis, one for each. Mine and Mikaeel’s was a blue tamagotchi while my older brother Khalid had a red tamagotchi and we all had dinosaurs as pets. Somehow they died and I can’t recall if we ever named them. I, to this day, believe 90’s era was the best era to be brought up in.


tamagotchipokemon

My parents recently hosted a dinner party where the guests were a mix of aunties, uncles and the littlies (ranging from 5 to 12 years of age). To keep the kids entertained, we downloaded a couple of animated movies. When we questioned whether they would like to watch Minions, a general response of “We’ve already watched it” rang out. After giving them a series of options such as Home, Tangled, Frozen, Up, Toy Story (all three parts), Monsters, Inc., etc, and getting “no, nope, borrrriinngg, seen that, hate that” in response, I decided to settle for my final trump card : Lion King (a movie that even I (non-repeater of books and movies) would watch countless times over and still not be able to get over Mufasa’s death). I was shocked when almost all kids made a face in mock horror for me to be so stupid as to suggest such an old classic when they found the recents so ho hum and mundane. So then I brought my board games such as Monopoly, Ludo, Battleship, Snakes and Ladders, Scrabble and Pictionary among many others.

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What I didn’t realise was that these kids were the I generation, where iPhones, iPads and iMac dominated their eating,sleeping and waking habits. They slept with iPhone’s in their hands, woke up with it ringing and ate with Youtube playing their cartoons. So naturally the concept of board games as a form of entertainment not only seemed medieval but absurd to them. And no matter how exciting or appealing I tried to make the plastic counters and cardboard game board, the kids just seem uninterested and indifferent. In the end I gave up and fetched the iPad that resulted in squeals of pleasure and satisfaction and a few minutes later the ruckus died down as they found a video suited to everyone’s taste. I was left with feelings of woe and disappointment, seeing them huddled around screen, eyes wide, enchanted and motionless, almost brain dead as zombies, recalling how I used to scream and shout at Mikaeel for taking rent money from me when I was broke at Monopoly, not considering the fact that I was his only sister.

Maybe I consider 90’s to be the best, the same way my mum considers her childhood to be the best. Maybe these kids will grow up someday and shake their heads at their kids with 4D technology and futuristic gadgets and recount on how their childhood was simple and the best. And maybe I should just consider being grateful for having such great childhood memories while understanding that each kid is living the best childhood he/she can.

*** All images taken from Google Search

Haaalllpp.. I am getting a huge zit on my forehead!!

As a teenager in Dubai, I was one of those girls who had clear skin. No it wasn’t flawless (I did have dry patches) but at least my face wasn’t festering with red spots. I didn’t apply any creams nor lotions nor any makeup. I didn’t need to. That all changed when I arrived Australia at the age of 16. It was all going smooth until my mum observed this redness on my right cheek. When I peered into the mirror, I realised I had become victim to someone’s fit of frenzy jealousy. What I didn’t realise was my days of clear skin had ended and that I would look at someone’s flawless face and ache for what I used to be.

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I turned 22 a couple of months ago and while most of my friends are over that awkward acne filled, braced up stages of their lives, all dolled up and pretty, I am sitting in front of my bedroom mirror contemplating whether to apply a week (or 2 weeks) of absence from university to tend to this ginormous volcanic eruption that is about to occur on my forehead. It almost looks like a swelling or a bruise and my mom worriedly asked me whether I had bumped against a pole. On replying “no, it’s just another zit about to pop”, lil bro chimed in “NOT AGAIIINNNN” , which just goes to show how frustrating acne is for victims and viewers alike.

I have tried various creams, lotions, acne treatments ( natural and chemical), grandma’s cures & next door aunty’s remedies but I am still yet to recall the last time I looked in the mirror and was satisfied at what I saw. Sometimes there is an invasion to fight and sometimes there is scarring to treat. My face is the battlefield on which countless of wars of bacteria versus treatments have been waged on.

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Ramadan 2015, I believe was the best short period, I could have cherished clear skin for. It was almost miraculous that my skin hadn’t spoken out for so long, so much so that even mum commented on how my skin was clear. No attacks by the oil production company and my scars were fading away. All in all I was having quite a gala time and was fantasizing on what makeup and dress I would wear for Eid and was giddy with excitement that on Eid I would be looking flawless for once. Two days before Eid, I guess I got short on preparing and planning, or maybe the facial bacteria that were exhausted with all the fasting got excited about Eid and decided to help out by going into overdrive and lo and behold, I was the proud expectant mother of triplets or possibly quantuplets of pimples. While my left cheek and forehead were as clear as a cloudless sky, my right cheek and chin were having their own little Eid party. Three to four zits on my right cheek and it seemed like they had bullied one who went away and was festering on my chin.

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And that’s how Eid was. I had my own facial guests to attend to nevermind the actual guests and their reactions.

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Honey masks and lemon ice cubes, salicylic acid and aspirin paste, cleansers and moisturisers for acne skin, my face has seen it all. I bet even the zits are like “Really Aaliyah? Are you still going to fight us with anything and everything? Haven’t you seen our strength? Haven’t you realised that we are making up for those awkward teenage years that you missed by giving you awkward adult years? I mean, c’mon, let’s become friends now alright?”

NEVERRRRRRRR!!!!!

***All images are taken from Google Search.