Upon arrival in Oxford in the early hour of the morning of 27th October...we had to carry the bags by climbing to the top most floor...4th as there is no lift. We were lucky as our chauffeur Nadir originally from Afghanistan helped to bring them upstairs. The apartment is just nice & comfortable for the four of us. Climbing the stairs is not easy but it's difficult to get a place that is not too far from the Centre.
After we settled down then I dragged Aziah and my two children to walk with me to the Centre as I was still trying to understand the bus routes. It was a good 20 minutes walk. I showed them around the Centre. What a beautiful Islamic architecture with space, garden and fountains. It was just enchanting with a lot of calligraphy of Quranic verses. The auditorium was contributed by Malaysia and the wooden carving by a Terengganu craftsman and its such intricate piece of work. I am proud of it and people who came to the auditorium always admire it. Its just simply beautiful.
As a visiting fellow I have a room with a desktop and printer for me to sit & do my research. There are rooms for other fellows and visiting fellows. The place was totally quiet as if nobody was there. Later on the Director of the Centre, Dr Farhan Nizami who originally came from Aligarh India from a distinguished family of scholars popped in and I introduced him to my family. He was so kind and invited us to have lunch in his house. I stayed a few hours meddling with the desktop and printed something. We then left and decided to try the bus to the city centre. It was successful and we went to lunch at a South Indian restaurant. They have beriani, tosai, pratah and thali. Me and Aziah had a thali dish and my two children had beriani. That was our first day after arriving from KL. Totally exhausted we went back to the apartment. We did our prayers and by 7.30pm local time we were ready for bed.
The days get dark quickly. We woke up early at about 2am as in Malaysia its already 8 am. On the second day we went again to the Centre by PT. As it was a Friday after a couple of hours my family left me with my work at the Centre. I went to chat with my next door's neighbour from Pakistan. I introduced myself and after that we had a conversation about OIC and Myanmar. He had a lot of questions on OIC. I answered some and left others for him to ponder.
I prayed at the mosque of the Centre which is quite large & beautiful. During Friday, outsiders are allowed in. The mosque was full with people of different nationalities. It's nice to see all of us praying together in unison facing Allah. The khutbah was delivered in English. After that I went back to my room to continue my work. At five I decided to go back. Alhamdulillah I didn't get lost to go back to the apartment...I forgot I didn't have lunch. My wife cooked us a good dinner. After dinner we planned for what we would do Saturday. What an interesting induction into the life here at least for a few weeks.
FBSHApost@30 October 2016