Miss Aida
One of the things I have always appreciated about Eid is having your family around, and catching up with those precious relations that you so rarely have the chance to see under normal circumstances. Eid has always been a strong family tradition, where the family makes their way back to our grandmother's quaint wooden home and the whole extended family comes together in one loud, laughing group of cousins and uncles and aunts and siblings.

That's why Eid is so hard for me is so difficult being away from home. The season reminds me of the sanctity of family, and it is times like this where I miss them so much it almost hurts.

One of the best parts about Eid is the ritual of forgiveness, where one takes the opportunity to forgive all those who have sinner against you. It is a family ritual to have the whole family sit in my grandmother's drawing room and take turns forgiving each other.

I find asking forgiveness is easier thought of, or visualized, than actually said. Words that seem so simple, but has such a powerful impact spoken.

As with most students overseas, my friends in the same apartment were enthusiastic about Eid celebrations, and we went all out in planning the event. We cooked traditional Malaysian food from scratch, which took us over two days, and planned the day from start to finish.

It was the first time I celebrated Eid here ever, in the whole three years I'd lived in Melbourne, only because I had been so incredibly homesick I couldn't bring myself to celebrate.

This year though, I was dragged, albeit a little unwillingly, by the enthusiastic new bunch of people from my apartment block who I'd grown close th throughout the year to all Eid festivities, and despite my homesickness I found myself enjoying the day more than I thought I would.

I admit to being reluctant to partake in the festivities, almost as if it would be a betrayal of sorts to my family at home, but I'm glad I did.

That night, we opened up our apartment to friends and family, and it ended up overflowing with people. I had no idea we had so many friends; and it seemed like all the effort we had put into cooking the whole day paid off tremendously, just watching the crowd mill around.

Yet, it was only after, when it was down to our core group of friends, and we made our way to the park and played with sparklers, that it was when I felt really happy.

It was only when we lined up, ceremoniously, and took turns forgiving each other for our sins, that I really felt the spirit of Eid.

There's something so powerful about words. Heartfelt, words that you had to mean when you asked forgiveness from your friends. I felt raw, like my defences were down, and I wasn't the only one affected. I think there was barely a dry eye among us, and as we clasped our hands and wished each other, each and everyone of us seemed to be touched by the words.

To Chap and Phreax, who unexpectedly told me I was like a older sister to them.

To Iyra, my roommate who's to graduate the end of the year, who I will miss incredibly.when she leaves. Here's to those good times we had.

To Azreen, who I will also miss terribly. Having someone from home makes such a difference.

To Amir, who was a surprising tower of strength when I needed you. I didn't expect him to be so sensitive, but that morning, I realised how much he meant to me.

To every single person in the Astorial family.

Maaf, zahir and batin everyone.

My heart may be there, but you guys made all the difference.
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