what i learned over quarantine

what did i learn over quarantine? that’s a question that i will most likely have to answer in almost every class on the first day of school. when considering what i learned “nothing,” was my first thought. i learned how to sit at home, maybe? or perhaps i could say i learned how to properly wear a mask? but even if it’s not something like playing an entire new instrument or learning to sew, we all did learn something over quarantine. it’s hard not to learn anything after spending five months (or more; quarantine could hardly be considered over yet) at home, alone. i learned about myself, realized my privilege, and learned about friendship.

since i spent a lot of time with myself these past few months, i’ve learned more about myself. i learned that i have a lot to say. i learned that i’m actually kind of funny. i learned that there’s a lot that makes me angry, and it’s okay to feel that way. and i learned that maybe i’m not that bad of a person. we all put on metaphorical masks everyday when we go out. for school, even if i did try to “be myself,” i always did act different than how i felt. now, i let myself feel emotions. when i was sad at school, i would hide it and sometimes even be extra cheerful to compensate. but now, i have nobody to perform for. so when i’m sad, i lay in bed and i watch my favorite show and i do whatever i feel up to. now that i’m not forced to be quiet in school for six hours or forced to be loud for two hours to entertain my friends, i find myself less drained. i do have days where i’m sad, but i feel like it isn’t as often as it was in school. the lack of forced interaction with others has helped me learn about what kind of a person i am, and has probably helped my mental health.

despite the many flaws school as a whole has, i learned that it is a privilege. the fact that we get to go to this place every day, have opportunities to learn and make friends and have teachers who answer your questions. i realized that i took so many things for granted. when we went on vacation every summer, i never took time to think about how lucky i was to be there. even going to concerts, while i was obviously extremely grateful, i still feel as if i wasn’t grateful enough. going out in general was a privilege and i didn’t appreciate it as much as i should’ve.

finally, i learned about friendship. not all friendships are perfect or meant to last forever. not all friendships fit as well as you might think they do. after facetiming my best friend everyday, i’ve realized that with some people, you really do click. even if we’re quarantined, and there’s not much to really talk about, somehow she and i can never stop talking. but i’ve also learned that some people are just school friends, and that’s all they may ever be. when there’s no school to talk about, conversation falls flat. you’re only friends because you’ve been friends for a long time, and suddenly, once everyone’s at home and their masks are lifted, you realize you don’t share as many interests as you thought. that doesn’t mean certain friends aren’t worth having, though; just that some are long-term and some aren’t. 

so, even if i didn’t take up five new hobbies like some teachers seem to expect me to, i did learn over quarantine. and honestly, i think what i learned is a lot more important than a new hobby could ever be. covid-19 is obviously terrible and i really hope doctors find a vaccine and cure soon, but i’m glad it at least gave me a chance to look at myself, my privilege, and my friends.

artemis fowl movie review (aka: why you should not watch artemis fowl)

Recently, the long awaited Artemis Fowl movie was released on Disney+. As a huge fan of the book series, I’ve been looking for news about this movie since I was nine. You can imagine my devastation when I found out that it was supposed to come out in 2008, but never did. I assumed the movie was never going to come out until I stumbled across a casting call in 2017. The casting call said, “Artemis is warm-hearted and has a great sense of humor, he has fun in whatever situation he is in and loves life.” If you have read the Artemis Fowl books, you would know that that is pretty much the exact opposite of Artemis’s character. I decided then that the movie was going to be terrible.

The released cast list only further solidified my low expectations of the movie. e. Why was Holly so young? Why was Commander Root a woman? (I understand the need for diversity, but Root being a man and Holly being the only woman was valuable to the plot.) 

When the trailer came out, I thought it couldn’t get any worse.

It had gotten worst. 

My expectations for this movie were on the ground, but this movie somehow went lower than that. 

I could name maybe one scene that was actually in the book – and even that scene changed things. There was nothing at all about this movie that made it Artemis Fowl. Its plot is completely different from the book. In fact, even the selling point of the book – Artemis being a villain – isn’t included in the movie. While they do attempt to make him a villain, it was poorly executed due to the complete lack of evil in his character. Artemis claims to be a criminal mastermind, but he doesn’t really do anything that could be considered criminal. The bad things he does are justified, and he doesn’t even go through with them. Taking away this part of his character takes away his entire character. I think the only similarity between the book and movie I could name plotwise is the characters’ names. At this point, they might as well have made an entirely new movie.

This movie also unnecessarily changes things. Throughout the entire book, everyone addresses Artemis’s butler as Butler. We don’t even find out his name until the third book, because he is not allowed to tell anyone his name unless he’s about to die. However, in the movie, the narrator says to only call Butler by his real name, Domovoi, or Dom, but never by Butler. This change literally makes no sense, as it makes no difference in the movie at all, and even takes away from the plot of a possible third movie. They could’ve just kept Butler’s name how it is in the books and this movie would’ve remained the same. Speaking of Butler, his sister in the books, Juliet, is suddenly his niece in the movie? This is another change that has no impact. It’s like the writers, McPherson and McColl, read the Artemis Fowl book, and decided they would change as much as they could. 

Not only was this movie completely inaccurate, but it wasn’t even good as a standalone movie. For example, the Aculos, the item Artemis and Butler spend the movie chasing after, is hardly explained. As the viewers don’t know what an Aculos is, they can not grow invested in the plot. I’m still not sure what the Aculos was supposed to be. It’s really just a pointless object used to move the story along. It feels like Disney thought the plot was too dark, so decided to give it a flat, uninteresting plot with flat, uninteresting characters instead. 

Regarding characters, we know very little about them by the end of the movie . There’s no character development, and the movie fails to teach us about the characters through their relationships with each other. Holly and Artemis’s relationship has no development; it goes directly from enemies to friends forever. Artemis and Butler’s relationship isn’t touched on, either. None of the characters had a chance to showcase their personalities or have relationships because this movie is so poorly  paced. It could be called fast-paced, but in the way that makes you feel like you went to the bathroom in the middle of a scene and are trying to understand what you missed constantly. There were so many points in the movie where my family was asking each other what was going on, because the movie is so confusing.

I didn’t like a single thing about this movie. Maybe I’m being too harsh, but for something I was waiting for for so long, it was a huge disappointment. It’s not representative of the book at all and just isn’t a good movie. However, I did like one scene, so maybe I’ll give it a one out of ten.

i cut bangs because quarantine

when quarantine first started and everyone was doing things to their hair, i decided i wanted bangs. well, i had already wanted them. but, i hadn’t had a chance to go to a hairstylist and i decided this was the perfect time to do it myself. 

there was only one thing stopping me from taking my pair of white metal scissors to the front strands of my hair: my mom. i begged and begged, repeatedly mentioning this was the perfect time. she said no. after that, i asked with increased frequency that month, and she declared that if i did it, she would take my phone away.

i had completely given up. i spent hours of my time watching videos of people messing up their hair, and i wished i could do the same. since i couldn’t, i just settled for dying my hair teal. 

as the months went by, i pushed my desire to cut my hair to the back of my mind. i still wanted bangs, but not as much as before. i stopped thinking about it. 

but then, one random day in july that was just like any other i began to wish for bangs again. hesitantly, i tiptoed down the stairs, on my way to talk to my mother, bracing myself for a no. i didn’t feel like getting my phone taken away anytime soon. i was shocked when she said yes. 

my mom’s list of conditions included

1: I had to cut my hair after eid, because she was pretty sure it would look bad in pictures.

and with that vote of confidence, i eagerly awaited the day after eid.

so from that day on, i adopted a new routine, where every single night i would spend hours watching videos of girls cutting bangs. examining those videos, i would practice sectioning my hair for bangs. at times, it felt kind of obsessive, but i was really excited.

as the day i would chop my hair off approached, i started to feel a bit more nervous. what if it turned out terrible? what if i had to attend my google meet classes with my newly botched hair? i casually asked my mom a second time if i could cut bangs, just to make sure she hadn’t changed her mind, and she continued to agree. i was kind of bewildered when i noticed that despite being totally against it before, my mom seemed kind of excited, or at least supportive for what i was about to do for my hair. ultimately, after probably a few seconds of consideration, i didn’t back out.

fun fact: cutting my own hair is something that’s on my bucket list. more specifically, cutting bangs. my mom actually wanted to do it, but i refused. not only was it something i had to cross off my list, but i felt like she wouldn’t do it exactly how i want it.

finally, on the night after eid, after watching probably every bang-cutting video to exist on the internet, i was ready.

i washed my hair, blow-dried the part i planned to cut, and picked up the scissors. my hands were shaking – with fear or excitement, i wasn’t sure. maybe a bit of both.

i decided to let my sister and cousin watch me. 

but then they kept screaming and being annoying, so i kicked them out.

finally, i forwarded through one last tutorial of how to cut bangs, before i turned on my phone camera to film myself cutting my hair.

then, i cut it.

my hair fell onto the counter as i leaned forward to make sure it didn’t get all over the rug. i sliced and chopped and cut at my hair, until finally, it was to my eyes.

after curling it, i decided it looked weird. i definitely didn’t regret it, but i looked really strange. that was probably mostly because the rest of my hair was still wet.

anyways, so now i have bangs! i would absolutely say it was worth the wait, because i do really like them. they definitely make my face and hair feel more interesting. that might just be because i’m not completely used to them, though.

if you wanna cut bangs, or do anything to your hair in general, i 100% recommend you do it. even if it looks bad, at least you can say you did it instead of spending forever wondering if you should. but most of the time, if you thought it over for as long as i did, it’ll probably look great! so if you plan on cutting or dying your hair, good luck!