The Grades Making

The combination of coffee, books, and writing are a home comfort. They are my soul food. Sitting in a coffee shop is where I recover from most things in my world.

This soft landing, I had denied myself since Sept 6th, which is when I began grinding for the Oct 1 French exams (because this is the date on which I was told that they would not be at the end of Nov, as expected). My schedule was studying from 8am until around 2pm. Cut to a short lunch break of no more than 30 min, before getting back to the books until 9pm if not 10 or 11. A quick 20 minutes of Duolingo and an episode of French television. I went out with friends for no more than 90 min each, seven times since Sept 6th.

Today was the first day since Sept 6 where my alarm wasn’t set for 7.30am. And now, after having spent every hour of the last month buried in French, I have all hours of the day free to do everything but grind for exams. What a shift, one I can only enjoy because of the pressures (which I placed on myself) of the last month.

I thought that I had really f*cked up the Comprehension exam, only to receive the news this morning that I made only 4 mistakes and have received an Exemption. In Government language, this means that I never ever have to do this exam again. As for the grammar exam, I got my level and am set for the next five years. Meaning, I am solid. AlhamduliLah.

When I opened the email originally, I misunderstood the results and thought I failed. So I messaged everyone and made them sad and/or angry. Like I keep saying, I am really dumb. Then I took a breath and looked again and even got Jenn to double check to confirm that I did good, friends.

After praying two ruk3aat of thanks, I sent updated good news to family and then went to my preferred home comfort of books, coffee, and writing. Without the shadow of these exams hanging over my head, alhamduliLah.

That deer you see? That’s a piece of wrapping paper which I purchased with the intention of marking the end of my French grinding. Hurrah 💃🏻

Listening to Chaka Khan, I decided to get a glass of water, and so I pulled her out of my ears to move. Which is when I overheard the two gentlemen in the photo above. They were talking shop, which is for me: theology, and morality. I listened for about 2 minutes, forgot about Chaka Khan and my water, and instead asked if I could join their conversation.

Saquib is a Muslim, of Bangladeshi roots.
Jonathan is Jewish, of Israel.
And me.

We spent perhaps 90 minutes discussing morality, with Jonathan (TAKE A BREATH Y’ALL) supporting the book The Game. Saquib and I were not supporting this theory of wilful manipulation of women, by men, for sexual gratification. We weren’t having any of it, but doing so very politely.

The conversation made me so happy. Saquib made me so proud, like a big sister. I was in heaven. And none of us knew one another before this moment in time. Saquib and I were basically riffing off of one another, volleying, picking up where the other left off. It was wonderful and I am looking forward to keeping in touch with him.

I eventually excused myself from the conversation to enjoy a walk through Ryerson’s campus, and land in a different coffee shop after buying for myself two little pieces as congratulations for the French exams. One heart, and one ocean wave. Perfect for me, aren’t they?

My evening is now taking me to El Rey (24 Kensington Ave),  where they’re rumoured to have some of the best tacos in this city. I’m taking my favourite date for dinner – a new book.

Today, I am grateful for:
1. A WhatsApp conversation with my girl Lalonde that resulted in my laughing out loud alone in one of the coffee shops.
2. Having my soul food back.
3. Getting the necessary levels in my French exams. And then some. ♥️

Toronto | Day 308 | October 4, 2019

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