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Islam: Post-reversion, Accomplishments and Drawbacks

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I've been through A LOT since I became a muslim. This new world is literally full of surprises - both good and bad ones. But hey! Don't get me wrong... Islam is wonderful! The real "problem" is what comes next.


THE DOWNSIDE


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If you live in a place where there's NO muslim community whatsoever, things can get ugly. I'm not saying that I would expect people to protect/nurture me or anything - after all, I know exactly that I'd still be own my own (because others just don't care about you), but life is not easy... Having someone around when the going gets rough is vital - ESPECIALLY when everybody else seems to be against you for the simple reason that you've chosen a religion other than theirs. This way you can at least get things off your chest (even if that would last for no more than a few minutes).

The point I'm trying to make here is that I didn't expect any of that. After I became a muslim, I was still going through a moment of my life when I was trying to get back on my feet (because of some personal matters), and when I thought I was finally ok, life basically smacked me down and took the wind out of my sails - to say the least. Uh, let me lay it out real nice to you: rejection is what hurts the most, and it UNFORTUNATELY comes from the ones closest to me. "Words are sharp and cut like a razor through the soul." I knew I'd have to go through this sort of thing, but what really blew me away is that it happened right in my own house.


THE LETTING OFF STEAM


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When it comes to my personal beliefs, I don't give a monkey's about what others will say or think. I don't need them to be like me and you can be sure that I'd never try to convert anyone, but I also appreciate being respected likewise. This is such a delicate matter! Why can't they wrap their heads around the fact that the old me is long gone? I mean, I'm still here! For heaven's sake! It's not like I'm a terrorist fighting or blowing things up somewhere else! I'd love it if people could at least spend some time studying about it BEFORE making stupid assumptions. It sounds almost as if they'd prefer to see me with a bunch of teenagers hitting the booze and sleeping around... Seriously, that drives me nuts! These arguments are turning into a broken record that is literally burning me out. I'm trying my best to keep my cool, but I don't know how much longer I can hold this thing... I could sure do without all that annoyance

Ok, time to drop this whole drama.


THE GOOD STUFF


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"_Isn't there anything good to talk about, Aryel?" Heck, yeah! I mean, uh... It's been a month or so since I finally got my hands on the NMA (New Muslim Academy) certificates! After sharing the news with my friends on Facebook, a page called Mission Dawah somehow stumbled upon it and got the word out. That was great! This has gained me a ton of new friends, and I just love it! I had never received so many requests at the same time in my whole life! There's also this other page called ISLAM is ? that shared the post about my conversion. Same story...

OMG, I almost forgot! Long before this whole thing happened, I met a Yemeni guy online (he's the same age as me). Although we've never really met physically, our friendship became very strong. I feel like we're really close friends! As soon as he found out about me being a new muslim, he managed to send me some gifts (including a Quran and a prayer mat). Now, that was a surprise! It made me so happy! InshaAllah, I'll repay the favor someday! I'm really thankful, bro!

Whoa there! I know what you must be thinking right now. "_So... Is it all that Islam has brought into your life? Gifts and fame?" Of course not! Come on! I've changed A LOT! Now I see the world in a totally different way... I don't know why, but I've been feeling more compassion for others, the urge to help my parents and my friends when I know they're in need, hunger for knowledge about my religion, more respect towards females, aversion to alcohol, pork and intoxicants, the need to be humble, modest, patient, kind all the time and whatnot! In a nutshell, let's just say that I try to keep myself as far as I can from what displeases Allah.


THE TAKEAWAY


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I know I'm not the first to put up with religious intolerance, and it's very likely that I will not be the last one. Despite all the things I've heard, I haven't been kicked out, I still live in a wonderful place and my parents give me a life that most people would surely die for. It could be way worse, right? Although I don't have any kind of religious support down here, I truly hope that someday I'll be able to move out and change my life for the better. I'm sure that overcoming these obstacles won't be a smooth sailing - after all, "life is not a bed of roses," is it? BUT, patience is a virtue! I still have the Internet anyway... May His will be done!

Have a nice week! :)

#10 Handy Websites for Language Learners

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In today's world, we could say that learning a second language (or even a third one, depending on the case) is essencial for most people. Have you ever been turned down after a job interview just because you couldn't communicate with foreigners? Oh, that sucks! Believe it or not, I have some friends who have been there before, and wow! They were SOOOOO frustated! They had EVERYTHING to get that position, and then... Bam! This second language thing got in their way. Do I need to say anything else? Well, if you've been reading this blog for some time, I believe that you are already trying to avoid this kind of situation, right? Right! So... We're in the same boat! During this whole journey that I took to get here, I came across some websites that can be really useful to you. Curious? Then read on!

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#1 Duolingo

I guess I don't really need to tell you how much I love Duolingo, do I? OMG, this is one of my favorite ones - especially if you don't have a teacher around. Maybe you really feel like learning German or Dutch, for instance, but you have no idea how these languages sound like... Which one should you go for? That's where Duolingo comes in! Besides being totally free, this page offers you a complete immersion. You can learn Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Dutch, Irish, Danish, Swedish, Hungarian, Turkish, Russian, and then some! Will you get fluent just by using this tool? Of course not! BUT, at least you'll learn A LOT. After that, you'll just need to brush up on your skills. I've been using it myself in order to learn French, and guess what? It works! :)

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#2 SharedTalk

Ok, you've been learning a certain language for some time, you have these peaking listening skills but, unfortunately, you are NOT a jet setter. To top it off, you live in a small town where you'll almost never find a foreigner walking around. How to practice with someone in this case? Well, that's why we have the Internet! It's time to get your lazy fat a#^{% off of the couch and do something productive! Not having someone around is not an excuse. There are thousands of websites out there for people like you and me! SharedTalk is one of them. There you'll be able to connect with people from all around the world. You guys can chat or even call each other if you want. You'll probably find someone who's willing to spare some time with you. Just give it a shot and you'll see!

P.S.: The only thing that I completely hate about SharedTalk is that you must have Adobe Flash Player installed on your device. Therefore, if you're an Apple addict like me, forget it! At least on the iPad, iPhone and the iPod. :(

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#3 Speaking24

This one is almost like SharedTalk, but you don't have to create an account in order to use it. Although you cannot chat or call people through their website, you can always get their Skype IDs and hit them up over there. I find it a bit more feasible if you prefer to use mobile devices. But yeah, you can check it out on your PC too. Why not? I use it everyday! :)

P.S.: The website itself is for those who are learning English. However, if this is your native language and you're learning something else, go for it! There'll always be someone willing to do an exchange.

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#4 InterPals

Try to think of a facebook for language learners... Got it? Yeah, that's it! This is what InterPals is all about. You'll set up a profile, post some pictures, add people from other countries, chat with them and have fun! You can make a lot of friends over there! There WILL be someone whose native language interests you. Believe me! This is a fantastic place to put forth all the things you've learned so far.

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#5 English Baby

As the name says itself, English Baby is for English learners. But, hey! You're not a dummy, are you? Don't let it put you off! You know the saying... "Chance only favors the prepared mind". Ok, English may be your native language, but so what? Don't pass up this opportunity! Take your chance and go find someone to practice with. You have the advantage here... You have something that they want REALLY bad! Now you just have to find someone that has what YOU want. This is not that hard, is it?

Oh, English is not your mother tongue?! Suck it up! If you're reading this article, you CAN speak this language, I guess. If this is the case, you can also use it to your own advantage. They want your english, you want their language and you're pretty much set. Be smart!

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#6 LingQ

I don't really use this website in order to learn a language (although this is what it is for), but they have an awesome forum where you can get other people's Skype IDs and get in touch with them. Whatever it is you're learning, yeah, there's someone who speaks it over there. Give it a try and you'll see!

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#7 Memrise

This one is absolutely fantastic! It is almost like Duolingo, but it comes with some additional features that I'm not giving to you in detail right now. Anyway! What it boils down to is that it goes beyond learning languages. You can basically learn anything with it. Check it out and it will blow you away!

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#8 Alison

If you've been learning English, French, German, Spanish, Swedish, Arabic, Irish or Chinese for some time, Alison can come in handy. The best thing is that they even grant a certificate to those who finish their courses. Don't worry, it's free! If you're a total beginner though, I wouldn't really go for this one - since the classes are a bit more advanced than they say they are. I've tried it once to no avail. I was trying to learn Arabic, but the lessons were way too advanced for me. But maybe you're smarter! Come on, give it a try!

P.S.: Like Memrise, Alison will provide you with much more than just languages. You can learn anything over there!

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#9 EngVid

If you're not learning English, don't waste your time reading about this one. Just skip it and move on! EngVid basically consists of a bunch of native speakers doing exactly what I do on this blog. The difference is that they shoot videos instead. There you'll find lots and lots of tips on how to improve your English and thousands of lessons about street language, slang, grammar and whatnot. And yeah, it is for free. Enjoy! :)

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#10 Buddy School

All right! You've tried all the previous methods and none of them seems to work for you at all. Maaaan, that is serious! Ok, if you have some extra bucks laying around and you need help with something more especific, Buddy School will do just fine. There you'll be able to find a tutor online and finally have your doubts cleared up once and for all. Cool, isn't it?

That's it! As you can see, learning a different language is not just about books and worksheets. You have to use it or else you'll never be able to hold a conversation with someone. I don't know about you, but I just love this whole thing! I've made so many friends on these websites over the past few years! Friends that InshaAllah (God willing) I will visit someday.

Please, let me know if you've been using different websites. I'll be really glad to check them out!

Do you have any questions? Ask away!

Have a nice weekend! :)

#10 Things You'll Need in Order to Work in Brazil

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A few weeks ago I wrote a post on what foreigners generally need in order to study in Brazil. I'm happy with the feedback that I got... I never thought it'd help so many people! That is quite satisfying... :) It didn't take long before I began to receive messages asking about what to do in case you just want to work over here. I have to say that this one is really tricky. It depends A LOT on what kind of job you're looking for. And again, I'm NOT a migration expert. What I can do is to give you some basic pointers, but you'll have to figure out the rest by yourself. This is just a rough outline... I can help you if you want, but I'll need to search a little bit more about your specific case in order to come up with something more precise for you. Just hit me up through this page. As for now, I'll try to stick to the basics. Ok, time to cut the nonsense. Let's begin!

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1 - Do you speak Portuguese? No? That's not good... How do you want to come to a country where everybody speaks a language that you don't? And what's worse, how do you think you'll ever get a job in this place if you can't even communicate with its own people? It doesn't make any sense. So... Forget all the rest! First, you'll have to put a lot of effort into learning this language. Then, as soon as you're done with that, you can think about what comes next. Besides, what are you afraid of? Portuguese is not hard... Come on! If you don't know how to get started with it, why don't you try Duolingo? It's free! I'm actually using it for French right now. :)

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2 - That is the most obvious thing on this earth! What is it that you need when you're going to a different country (most of the times)? A visa! Brazil is not different. If you want to work in this place, you'll need a work visa. And how do you get it? Mmmmmm... Good question! To the best of my knowledge, the employer must file a petition on your behalf (he/she will have to read up on this PDF). That means that you'll basically have to get the job first! So... I don't how you're going to do it but, if I were you, I'd try to get a tourist visa (which is really easy by the way), come here and look for something in my field during my stay. It's worth pointing out that people from certain countries do not need a visa if they're here for pleasure only. Check out this page to see whether or not you'll need one. If you can't or don't feel like doing it, there's always the internet! The following pages (in Portuguese) can be a good match for you and your skills:


This type of visa lasts for 2 years, and you can renew it once. If you need to renew it again for some reason, they'll grant you a permanent visa. If you want a detailed guide on how to get yours, check out this page (in Portuguese).


3 -
Just like when you're coming here to study, once you get here you'll have 30 days to go to the Federal Police Department to create a temporary ID. If you don't, you'll receive a penalty charge for each day of delay. In order to avoid it, go to this site and download your GRU forms (click on services, on the left side of the screen, and use the codes 140082 and 140120). 140082 stands for the ID card fee (≈ $56.00 USD) and 140120 stands for the fee related to the registry of foreigners (≈ $30.00 USD). Print them out, go to any Brazilian bank and make the payment. Don't throw your receipt away! Take it with two pictures (3x4 - 3cm = 1,17 inches / 4cm = 1,56 inches - white background), your passport and a copy of all pages of it to the FPD and wait for their instructions.



4 - If you want to work on the books, you'll certainly need a Carteira de Trabalho (a sort of Work Card). Here is a step by step (in Portuguese) that will help you with that. If the employer wants you to open a Brazilian bank account, for instance, you'll also need a CPF (this one is like the American Social Security Card). On this page (in Portuguese) you can learn how to get a CPF. This one can come in handy too.

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5 - Depending on your field, you'll need to check on the accreditation of foreign degrees. This subject is way too long! But if you're an engineer or a doctor, for instance, you'll definitely need to revalidate your diploma and take some examinations (you'll need to take a test given by a brazilian public university to regularize your diploma and another given by a public department - like OAB, for lawyers, CONFEA, for engineers, REVALIDA and CFM, for doctors and so on - that grants the license that you'll need to work in that specific field) in order to work legally. I can't give you all the details on this one, because there are too many careers out there. There's a different procedure for each one of them, so... Keep an eye out!

P.S.: Ministério da Educação (a public department that is responsible for the Brazilian education) and Estudar Fora (a useful website) can provide you with detailed information (in Portuguese) on how to revalidate your diploma.

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6 - That may sound a little bit silly, but don't forget that you'll also need a place to stay. In my opinion, big cities are always the best option for foreigners - especially if you still want to see people from your home country every once in a while. Besides, chances are that you'll find more English speakers in these places. As I said, Portuguese is essential, but it doesn't really mean that you'll have to use it all the time. Maybe you'll miss speaking your own language... If you feel like hanging out, there'll always be someone like you out there! If you're in a small town, however, it's likely that you'll be sucked into a different language for a long time!

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7 - Brazil is a huge country! We're literally a mixture of the whole world. We don't have a single race or a single culture. So, where do you want to go to? You can go wherever you want, I agree, but if you're Japanese, Chinese or Korean (Asian, generally speaking), for instance, I'd say that São Paulo is definitely a place for you. If you have an Afro or an Arab background, maybe you'll feel more comfortable in the Northeast. If you're Indian, maybe North is the place you're looking for. If you're European, maybe South will do just fine for you. If you're North American, Southeast can be a good choice. So... I'm not trying to promote racism or any of that. I'm just telling you that, since these places are a little bit more like yours (the culture, the people and other aspects in general), it's likely that you'll not feel like a total alien. As humans, we like to mix in (even if we're introverts). That's logical. But again: we're mixed! Totally mixed! You'll not find a certain type of race only - no matter where you go, there'll always be a huge variety. It's just that like in every other place, we have majorities and minorities. Pick the one that is best for you (if you do care about it at all).

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8 - Do you have a health insurance? If not, start thinking about it. You do NOT want to depend on the public service provided by the hospitals (which is called SUS, by the way). Believe me... Go get a health insurance NOW!

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9 - Depending on where you want to go to, you'll need to get some vaccines. After making up your mind, make sure to search the web and see if you need to get any shot before going there. Do NOT forget it!

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10 - Is your family coming along? Do you have any kids? If yes, try to find a good school for them beforehand. I hate to say that, but public schools suck in this place. I'm not making that up. I definitely know what I'm talking about! I studied in a private school for almost my whole life. Then, when I went to High School, I moved to a public one and OMG! That was one of the worst mistakes I've ever made... I love the friends that I got, but the education itself was just a joke. During my freshman year, I felt like I was going through the previous year all over again! So... If you have enough money to afford a better education for your children, don't hesitate. Just do it!

As I said in the beginning of this post, this is just a rough outline. Make sure to contact the Brazilian embassy/consulate in your country for detailed information and/or consult the Company or Travel Agency that will be assisting you in this process.

Oh, I almost forgot! Don't forget to check out the pages below. They can be really useful!



If you're Brazilian who understands about this topic or a foreigner who's already working here, feel free to chime in!

Have a nice week! :)

What Does "Maria vai com as Outras" Mean?

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Hey there! I missed you! I've been quite busy lately, so... I don't have so much time to write like I did before. But anyway! I will not leave you (God willing). Sometimes I spend hours and hours thinking about what I should teach you in these posts (there are so many things that I'd like to talk about that I usually end up losing myself in my own thoughts), but the answer always comes when I least expect it. A few days ago I was talking to this friend of mine, and I heard the expression Maria vai com as Outras. That is so popular in Brazil! I can't believe I never brought it up before. Do you know what it means? No? Mmmmm... All right! Check it out!

Maria vai com as Outras (used for both males and females) is someone who always agrees with their superiors or other people that they like in general (even if they don't really like what they're saying). Because of that, it sounds like they don't have their own personality, an identity - they're not original. They always say "yes" no matter what! In other words, they don't take their own decisions. This expression can also stand for someone who likes everything that everyone else likes, because they want to look cool. In English, I think the terms "yes-man" and "to be/follow like sheep" will do the trick. I guess that "wishy-washy" also applies to this case (depending on the context, of course). 

Sometimes you'll also hear the term João vai com os Outros. Since "Maria" is a name used for girls, some people like to use "João" when they're referring to men. This one is not that popular though, but I like to cover all the bases. :)

Let's go through some examples:

Ex1.: Já estou cansado desse cara. A princípio ele disse que iria me ajudar, mas por causa do amigo dele, ele acabou desistindo... Ele é um baita Maria vai com as outras!

-> I'm sick and tired of that guy! At first he said he'd help me out, but because of his friend, he gave it up. He's such a sheep!

Ex2.: Se quer convencer a minha irmã a fazer isso, sugiro que você converse com o meu tio primeiro. Como ela gosta muito dele, acaba agindo como uma super Maria vai com as outras...

-> If you want to have my sister do it, I advice you to talk to my uncle first. Since she dotes on him, she always ends up acting like a sheep...

Easy, isn't it? 

Have a nice weekend! :)

#10 Things You'll Need in Order to Study in Brazil

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I've received quite a few messages from some of those friends who just dote on this country. Most of them usually want to spend some time over here (studying and/or working), but what often happens in cases like this is that they don't really have someone who could give them some pointers. That's why I'm here! First and foremost, I'd like to say that I am NOT a specialist. It's ok to ask me about such things (after all, I'm a Brazilian), but keep in mind that I may or may not be forgetting something important. I'll try to be as helpful as possible but, again, there may be something missing (since it depends on where you come from, your nationality and where you're going to).

That being said, let's get down to it. In general, these are the things you'll need:

1 - You'll have to pass our college entrance exam. Most universities will accept ENEM (it is almost like the American SAT) marks as a way of admission. Some of them have international academic partnership programs. If this is the case, maybe this test will not be necessary. Maybe there's one like that between Brazil and your country. Who knows?

2 - A student visa (it usually lasts for a year, but you can renew it without any trouble - you have to do it a month before it expires). If you get good marks on the ENEM test, you'll be able to enroll in the course that you want to take. It's possible to select the university according to your needs and to their availability. When you're done with this, take a Proof of Enrollment with you. Then, proceed to the Brazilian embassy/consulate in your own country.

P.S.: This visa will NOT allow you to work in this country.

3 - A proficiency test called "Celpe-Bras" (Certificado de Proficiência em Língua Portuguesa para Estrangeiros). This test is like TOEFL and IELTS, but for those who want to study in Brazil. You must speak Portuguese in most cases.

P.S1.: You won't need it if you're just a High School student.

P.S2.: Depending on your major, some private universities (such as USP, Fearp, Unifor and PUCRS) will provide some classes in English, but this is not something that you'll easily find. If I were to choose one of them, I'd go for PUCRS.

4 - Proof of High School Completion and High School Transcript.

5 - Some universities will requinte a Statement of Financial Responsibility of at least $400.00 USD/month.

6 - An international health insurance. What if something happens to you while you're staying here? Most of the universities will require something like that.

7 - A vaccine against yellow fever. It lasts for 10 years (recommended).

8 - As soon as you receive your acceptance letter, and you're ready to come, don't forget to bring it with your passport (with your student visa), the university card (or a copy of the enrollment), and a proof of your health insurance.


9 - When you get here, you'll have 30 days to go to the Federal Police Department to create a temporary ID. If you don't, you'll receive a penalty charge for each day of delay. In order to avoid it, go to this site and download your GRU forms (click on services, on the left side of the screen, and use the codes 140082 and 140120). 140082 stands for the ID card fee ( $56.00 USD) and 140120 stands for the fee related to the registry of foreigners ( $30.00 USD). Print them out, go to any Brazilian bank and make the payment. Don't throw your receipt away! Take it with two pictures (3x4 - 3cm = 1,17 inches / 4cm = 1,56 inches - white background), your passport and a copy of all pages of it to the FPD and wait for their instructions.

10 - And don't forget to include eating costs, rent and transportation in your budget!

Well, these are the basics (of course!). There are way more things. This is not just a hangout with some of your friends on a Saturday night. We're talking about living 4 or 5 years in a different country! I'm sure you already have something in mind. As you can see, this topic is huge! I wrote this post based on questions that I've been asked. If something is not clear and/or you have a new question, feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch with me through this page.

Make sure to contact the Brazilian embassy/consulate in your country for detailed information and/or consult the School/University or Travel Agency that will be assisting you in this process.

Oh, I almost forgot! Don't forget to check the pages below (in Portuguese). They can be really useful!


Have a nice weekend! :)

My Conversion to Islam

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Hey there, everyone! Assalamu Alaikum! It's been what? Three weeks? OMG! Sorry again! I've been REALLY busy! I've taken French lessons on Duolingo, Arabic lessons on Arabic Genie (just to learn the alphabet though - it's really hard) and also some activities related to religion on the New Muslim Academy... Yeah, that's exactly what you just read! I am a Muslim now! :)

Taking this decision in a place like this actually seems a bit impossible. I live in a small town with a population no bigger than 30k and, to top it off, NOBODY follows Islam down here. That's right! You won't find any mosques, women wearing a hijab or men with that traditional attire. To be honest with you guys, I've never met a Muslim (physically) in my whole life. People over here DO know the basics about this religion (they teach us the five pillars and even a bit of Mohammed's history in High School), but since 80% of our population is composed by Christians (Catholics and Protestants) and the rest basically follows a sort of Afro religion that has something to do with spiritualism, there's not too much room for Islam. So... How come I converted to a religion I had never had any contact with?

Before this whole thing happened, I went through Catholicism (my parents' religion - a branch of Christianity), Wicca (neo-pagan religion) and Protestantism (another branch of Christianity). After that, I kind of took a break of a year or so. I literally lost my faith. I still used to believe in God, but for some reason, I was just aware of His existence. I didn't really try to approach or anything.

During this period, I had a dream. Believe it or not, I usually have way more déjà vus than the average of people do. That's why I take them seriously! This one, however, was more like a nightmare. As I was going to my mom's bedroom, I could hear her talking to my granny who, by the way, is already dead. Then, when I got there, they both started staring at me. They didn't say a word though. All of a sudden, they disappeared and everything was on fire. It was the worst feeling ever! The flames were not burning my skin. Instead, they were burning my happiness and my soul. Everything was sad, almost as if all good feelings had never existed. I was getting weaker and weaker, and then... Boom! I woke up... I was terrified, sweating and it was just 03:00 AM. I couldn't go back to sleep... I was afraid I'd dream about it again.

This thing was literally hanging over my head. I couldn't help but to think about it all the time. Then, after a week, a Muslim guy hit me up on twitter and said:

"_You are going to hell."

I was like:

"_Whaaaaaaat?! OMG This can't be happening!"

I didn't even know that guy. It was really random! Because of that, I started doing a web search on Islam. Yeah, I know it doesn't make any sense. "_So, a guy says you're going to hell and you simply become interested in his religion? Come on!". Don't worry, I'd think exactly like you. I wasn't a Christian anymore! At least I didn't feel like one. This whole thing about 1+1+1 = 1 had never made any sense to me. I just felt a connection. It's hard to explain. You have to feel it in order to understand what I'm talking about. The thing is that Islam was the first thing that crossed my mind. But let's not jump the track!

By doing this search, I came across a website called Islam Unveiled. It's a nice place for those who are learning about Islam. They give away free books to anyone. You just need to enter your personal information and voila! They'll ship them out to you in the blink of an eye. I even wrote a post about them. Check it out here.
Anyway!

When I finally received those books, I took some time to read them through. Since I didn't grow up in an environment that provides too much knowledge about other religions, I had to find my own way of breaking it down and unveiling the truth that I had always been looking for. After some weeks I felt like I was exactly on the right path. Alhamdulillah!
After that, I went to Skype and told a Saudi friend about my decision. He brought in another brother, we did a 3 way call and then I took my Shahadah. :)


How's my family in all this? Uh... I haven't told them yet. My dad is a deacon of the Catholic Church and my mom is crazy for Jesus. I'm sure they wouldn't kick me out, but uh... I wouldn't feel so comfortable with all the hints that my relatives/friends and they would probably drop. I know they're my family and that they just want the best for me. However, they're still humans and, as such, they can also make mistakes. I'm not saying that I'm better than them, but I'm just following what I think it's right. And just for the record, my dad and I are not on very good speaking terms anyway. We had a falling out about a year ago, and we haven't been talking to each other ever since. I don't think Islam would be a major problem in the middle of what's actually going on, but as I have a really short temper when people try to meddle in my life (trying to change my beliefs, for instance), I don't think I could cope with all the jokes that he would eventually tell. He'd probably take all the things that he doesn't like about me and chalk them all up to Islam. So... It's better to avoid more arguments!

Yeah, I know I have to fix my relationship with him, but I have no idea how to do it. It's easier said than done! That's life! Maybe I'll be able to take a step back and get my priorities straight someday, but that's something that takes time - a lot of time. Whatever!

Sorry for writing so much! I'm afraid I got carried away... I hope you didn't get bored with my letting off steam. :)

May Allah's blessings fall upon you and your family.

Have a wonderful week!

UPDATE (October 13, 2014): My mom found out about my conversion a while ago. Needless to say that she hates it, right? But, hey! Don't get me wrong! She is a lovely person. She won't treat anybody with disrespect just because of their religion. But this is another story. I'm her son! Can you imagine YOURS following a different path? Yeah, that's how she's feeling right now.

As for my dad, I took action yesterday. Since it was his birthday, I bought him a birthday cake and wished him a happy birthday. He hasn't really expressed his take on this, but we're gradually making up! Let's see how it turns out...

Brazilian Slang! #2

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Did you ever get that feeling that you're getting too old for something? If your answer is yes, welcome aboard! I'm still 19, but things are changing really fast. I'm feeling like most of the slang that I know are out-of-date and falling into disuse, which is really sad. I've always seen those terms as something innovative, expontaneous and natural. However, that was when I used to understand what they meant. Nowadays, I can't seem to mix in with teens and youngsters anymore. Most of them use slang all the time! It's really embarassing when you're talking to someone in your own language and you're like: "_OMG, what does that mean?". It sucks - literally. Because of that, I've done a new search on the "oracle of humanity" (which is Google) and ended up with #8 "new" terms that are really popular! Do you want to check them out? Read on!

  • Muleke zika: first and foremost! The correct term is moleque. Moleque is a slang that usually describes a little boy (or it did at least - in my day) who is really naughty and is always acting up. If you call an adult moleque though, man... That is serious! You've got a problem. It is really offensive, and it means that this person is irresponsible, heedless, a scoundrel, disloyal, acts like a child and usually breaks their promises. Now, muleke zika is someone who's not afraid of anything and is always getting into trouble. Because of that, this kind of person is often the spotlight. Sometimes it can be a compliment (it is among brazilian funkers), meaning that the person (+/- 14-25 y.o.) is really cool/popular but, in general, it comes with a negative sense. Zika (or zica) is another slang that means problem/misfortune. That's why! Just one more thing: on the web, you'll also find shorts for these terms. I've already seen mlk zika and lek (for moleque) and mlk top as a synonym. I don't mean to confuse you even more, but you'll have to check the context to figure out which meaning is apropriate for the situation.

Ex1.: Caraca meu, o Marcos é um mlk muito zika! Ele é o rei das novinhas!
        OMG, dude, Marcos is really cool! He's such a stud!

Ex2.: Se eu fosse você eu parava de andar com aquele mlk. Ele é muito zika!
         If I were you, I'd stop haging out with that guy. He's trouble.


Ex3.: Vê (veja) se vira homem e para (pare) de agir como um moleque!
         Man up and stop acting like a boy!


  • Bonde: it's a group of people (usually friends). It's used a lot when it comes to brazilian funk bands. You'll find many of them that are called bonde dos/das something. When this word comes in its diminutive form (bondinho), it means cable car (like the one in Rio - bondinho do pão de açúcar). There's also an idiom known as pegar o bonde andando. It means that you broke into someone else's conversation without hearing the whole thing, and then you ended up making a statement that has nothing to do with that

Ex1.: Ah, cara! Vou chamar meu bonde pra (para) dar uma volta...
         Oh, dude! I'm gonna call my friends to hang out for a while...


Ex2.: Você chegou a andar nos bondinhos do Pão de Açúcar quando foi ao Brasil?
         Did you ride the cable cars at Sugarloaf Montain (in Rio) when you visited Brazil?

Ex3.: Meu Deus! Detesto gente intrometida! Eles pegam o bonde andando e já vão                  falando o que não sabem.
        OMG, I hate nosy people! They don't even hear the whole conversation and start               saying things that they don't know about!

  • No sapatinho (sometimes no sapato): when you act no sapatinho, it means that you are "careful in your speech and actions, in order to avoid causing offense and/or gain an advantage." You are very discreet and mind your own business. This way, you always end up winning people over. If you do something no sapatinho, you do it secretly. In other words, you try to keep it on the down low. If you hear someone saying dançar só no sapatinho, it means dancing without touching your partner.

Ex1.: O Daniel chegou no sapatinho e aos poucos foi ganhando a nossa confiança.
        Daniel walked into our lives and gradually gained our trust. 

Ex2.: Se você quiser se dar bem, fica (fique) no sapatinho.
        If you want to succeed, mind your own business.

Ex3.: Tô (estou) querendo dar um festa, mas preciso deixar isso no sapatinho.
        I want to throw a party, but I need to keep it on the down low.

  • x9: it's a slang for snitcher. x9 is also known as dedo-duro. I don't think I need to expain this one, do I?

Ex.: Toma (tome) cuidado com aquele cara! Ele é mó (muito/maior) x9!
      Be careful with that guy! He's such a snitcher!

  • 0800: that's a slang for free. If something is 0800, it means that you don't have to pay for it. 

Ex.: Cê (você) vai na (à) balada hoje à noite? Fiquei sabendo que vai ser 0800!
      Will you go to the disco tonight? I've been told that it's gonna be totally free!

  • Tamo junto: it means "you can count on me". On the web, you'll also find the short TMJ

Ex.: Precisando de mim, é só falar! Tamo (estamos) junto!
      Let me know if you need anything. You can count on me!

  • Ralar peito/vazar: it means "to go away", "to leave".

Ex.: Rala peito, mermão (meu irmão)! or Vaza daqui!
      Get lost, dude!

Ex2.: Nossa, essa aula tá (está) um saco! Quer saber? Vou vazar!
       OMG, this class is so boring! You wanna know what? I'm leaving!


  • Arrastão: It's an organized robbery done by a group of people (heavily armed). They usually cover their faces, wear black clothes and grab everything they can. A similar term in English? Mmmmmm... Well, the closest thing that I found is "steaming" (UK). However, the arrastão is not limited to buses and trains only. It can happen anywhere! I think "hit and run robbery" will do just fine.

Ex.: Ontem aconteceu um arrastão no banco!
      There was a bank robbery yesterday!


Well, that's it! Make sure to let me know if you have any questions. Have a nice week! :)
        

 
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