No Wonder You Were Afraid to Ask #18 – Bushra Burney – The Caffeinated Muslim

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Bushra is one non-family member who I would take a bullet for. It has been over five years since I first met Bushra at work. Bushra and I bonded over many things, but our talk about writing, blogging, traveling and self-improvement often kept me going during our busiest months as project managers. For me, the most interesting thing about Bushra is that she is constantly seeking her truth. If you are like me, your life has been enriched by meeting her. If you haven’t met her yet, check her out online to get a better idea of the cool cat she is. You can find her here:

Instagram: bushra_b
Twitter: @bushra_b
Tumblr: Bushra
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bushraburney

Currently, as Bushra continues finding her truest self, she resides in Fremont. She says, “I’m still trying to figure out my passions but I do know that I love a good cup of coffee.” You can find out much more about Bushra and her love for coffee on her Web site at, Caffeinated Muslim – As a Muslim who likes coffee, that name pretty much sums me up.

When asked where she was born, Bushra said, “ I was born in the Bay Area here in California. The long story on how I got here: My dad went to college in Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo and after he and my mom got married in Pakistan, he wanted to come back to the States to work as an engineer although funny enough, they . only got green cards because of my mom’s profession – she’s a physical therapist. My mom’s best friend lives in a suburb of Chicago and she and her husband sponsored my parents to come over. My parents first went to stay with them but my dad couldn’t find a job there and he missed California from his college days. Also, it was February in Chicago so a little too cold for my parents’ tastes. Maybe if my parents were in Chicago during the summer, this would have all turned out differently.”

Bushra said the thing I’m most proud of is, “This one picture I took at the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. I had gone away from photography lately but looking at that picture recently reminded me of how much I enjoyed the experience of taking pictures and that I really need to get back to it.”

Window in the Alhambra
Window in the Alhambra

Bushra loves comic books too! Please check out her Web site and enjoy her answers to the bonus questions.

What is one meal or food you could eat everyday and not get tired of?

French Toast made with Cinnamon Challah Bread from Semifreddi’s, a bakery in the Bay Area. I love it so much and in fact, I have eaten it every day. During Ramadan, Muslims generally tend to eat a pre-dawn meal before they start fasting from dawn until sunset. The past couple of years, I have made myself French toast with the cinnamon bread as part of my pre-dawn meal pretty much every day during the month of Ramadan. You would think I would get tired of it but nope. It’s just that good.

Who is your favorite artist and what does their work say about the way you think?

Does a director count as an artist? Then I would say, Richard Linklater. My first introduction to him was the movie Waking Life and I then backtracked and checked out his other movies, like Dazed and Confused, Slacker, and Before Sunrise. That movie and its sequel, Before Sunset, are two of my favorite movies of all time. I’m not entirely sure what that says about the way I think but maybe just that being in the moment, taking in a conversation, and truly getting to know someone means so much more to me than meeting a lot of new people and consistently having to make small talk. That’s just not me but that’s the expectation almost, that you can’t really delve into topics that matter to people you just met.

I think the only time I got into a deep conversation with people I just met was this one couple that happened to get dessert from the same place as me after we all happened to see this one play in Berkeley. We talked over gelato and it wasn’t even until later when we were all leaving that we asked each other’s names.

What is your favorite City?

Istanbul. I’ve been there twice and can’t wait to go again. The food is great, the people are nice, and even the everyday moments are awesome. I’ve had some profound times in Istanbul during these moments: while I was walking around the courtyard of the Blue Mosque before the sun rose, taking the ferry from the Asian side to the European side during sunset, praying in the New Mosque (new=completed in 1665 funny enough) at a time when I pretty much had the entire mosque to myself, or eating kaymak with honey. Fresh kaymak is insanely good and while I found one place in the Bay Area that has kaymak on their menu, it isn’t the same.

Name a place you would like to visit?

Jerusalem and Palestine. There are so many places though that are on the list!

If you could be any profession at all, what would it be?

Voice-over actor. I watched a ton of cartoons growing up (and, um, may still watch some on occasion) and always wanted to be a voice for a cartoon character. I used to change my voice up when I was younger, do impressions, and all that but I don’t really do that anymore. Ralph Wiggum from The Simpsons and Wakko from The Animaniacs used to be my go-to impressions.

What is the most adventurous thing you ever did?

This may not seem like much but I would say traveling internationally by myself. I went to Turkey, Bosnia, and England on my own last year and it was a cool experience. I had been to Turkey and England before but even then, it’s different when you’re completely on your own. I met some amazing people and got to have some great conversations.

Bosnia - Pocitelj
Bosnia – Pocitelj

Did you have a particular birthday cake you had every year when you were growing up?

When my siblings and I were kids, we would have one of those Duncan Hines cakes from the box for our birthdays, the Butter Golden recipe one, either with or without chocolate frosting (which was also from Duncan Hines). I still like those cakes but it’s been a while since I’ve had it. I’ll be honest, I still prefer Duncan Hines cakes to some of the super fancy fondant topped cakes one gets these days at parties.

Who is your favorite fictional character?

Superman. He gets a bad rap sometimes because he’s the “Boy Scout” but there’s nothing wrong with trying to be a good person. Superman could rule the world if he wants but chooses not to. He’s a hero because he wants to be. Just a note, though, I’m not referring to the recent movie incarnation of Superman from Batman V Superman!

Do you think you could survive the zombie apocalypse? Why or why not?

I’ve thought about this and I think I need to acquire a few more skills before I can even think about surviving beyond a few days – I need to take a first aid class, take some archery lessons, and continue to work towards getting fit, for example. That and I also need to have a pact with a few folks with complementary skills to band together in case this scenario comes to fruition.

Do you enjoy hugs?

Not really and most definitely not from people I just met. I always hug my nephews and nieces every time I see them, though. I’m not a monster, Tony.

Is there a book you really want to read, tried several times, and still haven’t finished?

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. One day, one day….

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