An Interview with: tryingnovelty

A post or two ago I asked if anyone would be willing to, and Hiba from tryingnovelty responded. Hiba is the youngest of four, two brothers and a sister, and I’m glad she responded to my plea because she has a very interesting life! The interview was conducted via email which made it hard to like build on questions, but she did a great job answering the several questions I sent her! So thanks Hiba!

In Hiba’s initial email she told me that she had moved around a lot and carried with her a lot of different cultures.

Since you said you move around a lot where have you lived and which place did you like the most?

I was born in Abu Dhabi (AD), the capital city of the United Arab Emirates. Quick backstory- my parents are from Sudan, Africa. To this day that’s where my parent’s (and my) families live. My dad moved to Abu Dhabi because of work opportunity; apparently he only planned to live there a couple of years and then go back… he ended up working in Abu Dhabi for 28 years, so, that plan worked out… haha.

Up until I was about 12 years old, I lived in Abu Dhabi, apart from one year we spent in Canada, when I was about 3 years old. We were there because I think my parent’s were thinking about moving then, but for certain reasons they decided to postpone that. Anyway, it’s easier to say I grew up in AD, and moved to Canada the summer before eighth grade. In this time, we spent every summer in Sudan with my family there. 

Now for which place I liked the most. Hmm. The thing about these 3 countries is that they’re all so incredibly different. For the longest time, Abu Dhabi was HOME. Like home. But if you asked me right now, I would say I don’t have a home, except for my literal house. Abu Dhabi is an incredible place. My life and the lifestyle there is so completely different from life in North America. For starters, the country is loaded. Like seriously rich, and so life there is just reaaaaally easy. I always had nannies growing up, I went to a private international school, we traveled all the time, it was a sort of paradise. This made way for the huge reality check I got when I moved to Canada. But I’ll get to that in a bit. School was lovely, again, it was an international school so you see a lot of different people, even though the majority were Arabs, but for the most part I have positive memories. It was in English, but we had to take Arabic as a second language (which was fine for me because Sudanese people are Afro-Arabs, so we speak Arabic) and French as a third. And it was the same school from kindergarten up, so you know everyone and it was great. I had two extremely close girlfriends who are my best friends till this day, even though we live on opposite corners of the world. I’ll talk about Sudan now. Sudan, well it’s kind of the opposite of AD. What is the unfortunate reality of too many African countries, there’s a lot of poverty in Sudan. And it’s obvious. The houses, shops, roads… just everything. But Sudan is rich in something I haven’t experienced in any other country I’ve seen, and that is their incredible hospitality. For that reason, Sudan is basically home to me, because the culture and the family and friends is just so warm and beautiful. I absolutely love everything (minus the heat) about every stay I have there. I miss it a lot.

We moved to Canada when I was going into 8th grade, because my dad was retiring. Since he was retiring, we couldn’t really keep up with the expenses of living in AD had we stayed, so we moved. We’re Canadian citizens, so that’s why we moved to Canada (obviously). At this point, one of my brothers attended uni in Canada and the other in the US. My sister was going to start high school in the town that we moved to and I middle school. Canada was a huge reality check. Although, to this day, I live in standards that I am so thankful and appreciative for, it is obviously not the same as life in AD, but I’m kind of glad for that. It was a good reality check. The hard part is not being able to go to Sudan or AD that often anymore, me and my sister only went back once in the five years from when we moved. I’m content here though, and now I go to school 6 hours away so everything is different. Is Canada my favourite place? Probably not, but then again, I couldn’t pick just one. 
What culture the unique culture of you?
My culture is definitely a mix of all three of these main countries, and for that reason I tend to find it hard to fit in. I’m not Sudanese enough for Sudan, I’ve changed a lot from most of my Abu Dhabi friends (which I sadly realized after I visited two summers ago) and as a result, lost contact with mostly all of them except for my two dearest friends, and have yet to find people in Canada that I’ve really clicked with. I’m still hopeful though!
As I was stalking your blog I saw that you spend most of the year in Ottawa- a major city in Canada I haven’t been to, what’s you’re favorite part about it?
Yeah, I go to school in Ottawa. My favourite part about it is that it’s a city but not too busy like Toronto or elsewhere, and that the downtown area is absolutely stunning. Abu Dhabi is definitely a city vibe which I love, but the town I went to high school in is so small and boring, so Ottawa was a good transition. I also love the independence I get living alone.
In the US (where I’m from) 17 is almost two years younger than when most people finish their first year of University/College. Is that the average age in Canada or are you ahead of the game?
That’s the exact same case as Canada, I’ve always just been the youngest in my year haha. If you remember from my monologue of an answer for question 1, I said that I lived in Canada for a year when I was around 3 years old, so I did my first year of kindergarten there, and when I went back to AD after that year, they let me skip to first grade without doing the second year of kindergarten (I was obviously too much of a genius for nap time). That mixed in with the fact that I have a late birthday is why I started uni at 16! People tend to assume that I’m really smart because of it, and I never correct them.. haha.
What made you start to blog? I gather that you want to be a writer, but why blogging? (She doesn’t want to be a writer, my mistake)
Perhaps my favourite thing in the world is admiring people’s ability to use words in a beautiful and powerful way- that’s why I really REALLY appreciate poetry and spoken words (I have a little red book where I’ve collected my favourite poems over the years). 
I started blogging because I had a compilation of thoughts and ideas that was quickly building in the Notes app on my phone, ones that I jot down every time I get, and I decided to just kind of develop them, so I started my blog! I figured that a blog is probably a better option for opinion based pieces. I don’t actually want to become a writer though, because as amazing and unparalleled the feeling of finishing and being proud of a piece is, writing really stresses me out.. I tend to get insecure and unhappy halfway through my pieces, and I end up just discarding or saving them as drafts. It’s especially annoying when it’s a thought that I find really important, and I can’t articulate it. I love editing though. I’m actually a premed student, but I hope to incorporate writing/editing courses into my curriculum.
Does your title “tryingnovelty” mean anything imparticular?
The title tryingnovelty can be taken exactly as it is, as starting something novel to me. I was getting extremely sick of my routine- I realized that I was not doing anything worthwhile with my time apart from studying, and that I had the potential to do so. I wanted to write at least a couple of decent pieces and to read and be inspired by the amazing stuff that fellow bloggers have written, so starting the blog was just that- trying something new. 
Do you have a blogging inspiration?
My blogging inspiration mostly comes from things that I experience or read or see. When I experience something in my life that I want to write about, I try to write about it in a more general way so that it’s relatable to other people rather than just a personal complaint. I’m also often inspired by things, usually things that shock or sadden me, that I see on the news. 
Since starting your blog three months ago, is it going in the direction you thought it would?
The only expectation I really had when starting my blog was that I would write a lot more- like I said, I have a reaaally long list of things I’ve wanted to write about saved on my phone, but for many of these topics, I started and stopped halfway through. And weeks and weeks go by between posts, which is something I’m really not happy about. So that’s really not what I expected, and I need to keep working on it.
I love your post on friendships, did something happen to spark that?
*Blushes* Thank you!! That means a lot. 
That post was definitely inspired by my personal life. I have been unlucky with friendships, to say the least. I definitely don’t think that I’m perfect and that everyone I met sucks or anything, I just attribute it to bad luck. Moving has taught me who my friends are. When I moved from AD to Canada, my friendships with two lovely girls managed to stay strong and to this day I consider them my best friends, even though I have seen them (physically) once in 5 years. Obviously, when I lived in AD, I was friends with many more people, but time and distance drifted us apart; it was hard but I moved on. Eighth grade and high school was a whirlwind in terms of friendships, as that time period always is, but by the end of grade 12 I thought I had my people, you know? Then I moved 6 hours away, alone, and my closest friends went to the same uni in my hometown. In just one year I felt like we had completely drifted apart, despite my best efforts. It happened again. This experience I took a bit harder, and to be honest sometimes I’m still a bit bitter, especially being back and having everything be different, but I really wouldn’t change a thing, and I’m happy with how things have worked out.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I definitely, definitely can not answer that question. I have absolutely no idea where I might see myself. I’m in pre med, so naturally I would hope to be in medical school, but I just never tend to think about the future… it freaks me out too much. And I know how fast things can change, haha.
What’s something you have always wanted to do, but you never have?
I’ve always wanted to go to Brown University, but I didn’t get in. Apart from that there are probably a million things I’ve wanted to do and didn’t… “no regrets” isn’t really my motto.
Thanks again Hiba! I think everyone should go and follow her, her link is at the top. I think this type of thing is a great way to promote other bloggers so people can learn more about each other to find more blogs to follow. If you want to be interviewed leave a comment or email me at and I would be more than happy to! I think it would be cool to start an interview series.

“Do More of What Makes You Happy”

This is a very cheesy saying but I strongly believe that everyone should follow it. The summer before my senior year I made this my quote to live by. I’m not going to lie and said it made my life a bundle of roses and turned me into happy-go-lucky Mary, but my life definitely has improved. I had been surrounding myself with people that were bringing me down and holding me back, I wasn’t reaching my full potential. It was that summer that I had made friends that wanted to hang out with me, they never made funny, and I was a happier person around them. A lot of my old friends saw this as me choosing my new friends over them, which I probably was but I had to, I was just happier this way. I had to let the people go who were a detriment to my happiness. They were not letting me be happy, I was happy with my new friends, not because they were new but because they seemed to genuinely care about me. If I tweeted something they took noticed to see if I was okay, I didn’t have to ask for help, they offered. I was slowly becoming friends with people who were actually there for me and didn’t hold me back, and I began to see what real friends were, and that’s really when I started using this quote in my life more and more.
Many times breaking these old friendships was very hard. My best friend for the longest time was really more of a detriment to my happiness than anything. After my crush on him passed I realized that our friendship had been built around my feelings for him. I no longer found him cute or funny when he was making fun of me, rather I found it insulting. Since I no longer put him on a pedestal like I had for so long, he began treating me as less than the person I was (does that make sense? I don’t know), and he may have been doing this longer than I noticed just because I was head-over-heels for him. For the first time in almost two years I stood up to him and we had our first fight, and last. However this also opened my eyes to new people, I began talking to new people (who would still break my heart) and I let myself branch out and talk to people he normally wouldn’t have permitted because of their different beliefs. I no longer had my best friend, but his place was quickly filled. This quote helped me push past a horrible person. I no longer miss him, or miss the person I thought he was, but I miss the time that I spent trying to please him and trying to get him to notice me and fall for me like I had fallen for him. I was happier without him.
Doing more of what makes me happy has made me a happier person in the long run, and really changed my senior year. People that I had been friends with told me that I shouldn’t do a graduation speech, but I did one and rocked it because it made me happy. I stopped doing things that most people my age didn’t like crochet, carry a briefcase, making videos, and blogging because that’s what made me happy.
This quote has also inspired me to think about everything I do. That’s why my major is no longer communications or going to be political science major because that isn’t what’s going to make me happy. What’s going to make me happy is a rewarding career in Global Studies where I can go abroad and help people, rather than do something that is going to make my parents happy. If I lived in a perfect world (which I don’t) this is what I would do for a career travelling the world, but that my friends is impractical. Now you may be thinking “Mary, why aren’t you doing communications then?” Well, the people that are communication majors are often quite assholes, not all of them, but most are. They are very competitive and very full of themselves and those aren’t the kind of people that I want to surround myself with for the next 50+ years of my life. I’d rather surround myself with happy people who love and serve others, and that way I can still do this also, well that is if I’m still doing this in four years (I hope I am).
I encourage everyone to live by this more because really you aren’t going to get the most out of life if you aren’t doing what is making you happy. This is something I wish I would’ve taken to heart a long time ago so I would have saved so much time and energy on people that were holding me back because I spent so much time trying to please them rather than myself. If you really look at life in the schema of everything you have about 75-80 years and you have to make the most of every single moment. As hard as it get sometimes (and believe me it does get hard) we really have to try and be happy. One of my favorite songs is by Secondhand Serenade, “A Twist in My Story has a really good lyric which is *clears throat* “Slow down the world isn’t watching us break down, it’s safe to say we are alone now, we’re alone now,” and I think this ties in perfectly. You have the time to break down and the world isn’t going to watch you fail. Everyone goes on, nobody’s waiting for you to fail, so if you fail while you’re happy it doesn’t matter. Just do what you need to do to be happy because what really matters is your happiness and if other people are bringing you down they probably aren’t worth your time or energy. So a message from Mary: Let’s try to be happy together!

Pretty Places: My Hometown

Pretty Places: My Hometown

I don’t know if I have ever put it out there but I am not exactly a fan of where I’m from. I was born and raised in Lancaster County. This past weekend I took a visit home with one of my friends. She is from Maryland so I decided to show her around the touristy town of Intercourse. Yes, that is a town name and it is where a lot of the Amish live. To be honest I have no idea why on earth anyone would want to name a town Intercourse but that’s Pennsylvania for you.
Even though I don’t like it where I live, I have to admit is a very beautiful place. The farm land, hills, changing colors in the trees, and sheer beauty of the land itself is actually amazing. Sometimes I lose myself in the beauty. I don’t really know what else to say, but if you guys have any questions on the Amish or Mennonites that occupy my area I will try my best to answer them. Thanks for reading and I hope you guys are doing well! Feel free to follow me on twitter and instagram @mrmilligan13

Pretty Places: Washington DC

Pretty Places: Washington DC

So guys I am super excited because at this very moment my first Pretty Places vlog is in the converting process! It should be posted very shortly! I don’t think I can even begin to express how excited I am for this! I hope you guys are at least looking forward to it a little bit, the editing and just a lot of things weren’t working out but I finally got everything to work!

So about two weeks ago my friend Katie came down to Maryland to visit me at school for the weekend. We had all day Saturday to do something fun so we decided to take an adventure into Washington DC. We drove to the nearest metro station and took that into the city. As many people know, our country has a lot of problems. This was also right after the government shut down, however with all of these problems we still manage to have an amazing capital city. We went to the holocaust museum, the natural history museum, and Nandos. It was really just awesome to get away for the day with one of my best friends.

Thanks again for reading, and I hope you enjoy the video :)


So here’s the link to my channel:

The video will be up soon! (hopefully if all goes as planned!)
My twitter: @mrmilligan13 (send me a tweet and I’ll follow you back!)
Feel free to subscribe to my channel!

Pretty Places

Pretty Places

I don’t know what you guys think, but the US capital is one of the prettiest places in the country. DC may be a dirty city in some places, but the National Mall is something that holds beauty. This past weekend my friend Katie and I traveled to DC for a day trip. My school is not far, so we decided to take a metro. We explored places such as the Holocaust Museum, the Natural History Museum and what seemed to be a business type area where we got Nandos for lunch. It was really nice to get off campus for the day and see some of the beauty that is within the walls of our own country. Here’s my volg of our day filled with some Complete Average Adventures :)

Okay so I’m posting this before the video is up, but I’m going to do another little post with the video in it as well. I hope you guys enjoy it!

Feel free to follow me on twitter for some more of my daily adventures! This may also give you a heads up to when I will be out and about and maybe doing some vlogging! I am really looking forward to what the future is holding in this aspect and I hope you guys are too! Thanks for reading and watching, love you all!


Pretty Places

Pretty Places

So here’s just a little blurb about another pretty place I’ve visited. Over summer 2012 I went to Europe with a group of high school students. In my previous Pretty Places post I did a quick paragraph or two on the beauty of London, this one is covering just a bit of Normandy. For those of you have never been to Normandy, it is one of the prettiest places on earth, yet one of most depressing as well. The water is such a clear blue, the cliffs (the only way I can think to describe the landforms), and the wild flowers can leave just about anyone speechless and astounded by the sheer beauty of it all. I have a few other pictures that I’ll probably post at some point. This one is just one of my favorites. It’s hard to imagine something bad happening at such a beautiful place. This picture in particular does not display any sort of war-torn area, no battle fields, no death, just beauty, and that’s one of the most suprising pieces of Normandy. No one expects a place of sorrow to be so beautiful.

Pretty Places

Pretty Places

Here is the first of many pictures from places I have traveled. Traveling is something I just love to do and I have loads of pictures from them. Two summers ago I went to Europe where I met my friend Lindsay (her blog is Musings of Lindsay), and this past summer I went to Ireland and Washington. This picture is from my time in London, it is the iconic Big Ben, and a simple picture does not do it justice. So sorry this little post veers from my typical long drawn out rant or little update, but I thought this might be something fun to look at. Hopefully my junior year I can study abroad and see these beautiful places everyday. I can’t wait to a future of traveling after graduation. It’s really my biggest dream (as you may know if you read my bucket list) and I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life. So this is just a random little thing for you guys to look at. Thanks for reading!