Friday, August 18, 2017

2017; On Parents~

Bismillah...

7 years after I graduated, most of my friends are already expecting their third child. And it's pretty normal to see my friends captioning their children's pictures with "Don't grow up too fast..."

Well, this is not a post about my desire to become a parent myself or anything. It's just that recently I had some conversation with my cousin and some friends about our parents..

"You know, my mom terasa betul bila I nda mau ia bayarkan makanan..."
*You know, my mom was so upset when I didn't want her to pay for our food (at a restaurant)*

"Aku stress betul bapa ku bagi hadiah yang nda di minta ni..."
*I'm so stressed that my dad gave me a gift that I didn't ask for*

"Bukan style aku bha ni mo meminta minta dari bapaku pulak.."
*I'm not the kind who ask money from my dad*

As we grow we actually don't want to trouble our parents that much anymore and tried to be independent. We try our best to settle our own problems, pay our bills and pay for their necessities as well. When I just started working, not being able to contribute to my parents can cause me a lot of stress. I feel so obliged to pay my 'debt'.

But I realized that even though we have turned into an adult who is able to manage our own life, our parents actually haven't lost their parenting instinct. I guess, it gives them peace of mind that we have grown so well. But deep down, they still want to feel they are needed.

It disturbed me at first when my Dad buy breakfast for me everyday, when the Milo jar is already refilled after I've just bought one because I'm always the one who finished it, when I keep getting my favourite Ayam Penyet even when I didn't ask for it, when I woke up late and my favorite Tapai and Rojak Johor is already served on the table etc etc...

I thought, I don't want to be treated like a kid anymore because it's my turn to give back.  And when I'm given something that I don't want at that given time, it will end up wasted. I tried to tell them that it's not necessary but the pampering continues~

After I noticed this pattern, I'm guessing that they just want to feel that they are still needed. Still a big part of their child's life although the child no longer fills them with the details of their life as much as before like in school

"Mommy, tadi kan si N kena marah cikgu~"

or ask them curious questions

"Kenapa rumah nenek ni nda cat?"

So these days, to avoid wastage, I'll come up with my wishlist beforehand. And my wishlist has always been FOOD...

And one more thing that I think that is very important to parents besides seeing their child land a good job and live a comfortable life is.... to see their child still embracing the good moral and spiritual values that they've instilled~


RWMF2017 (^^)

Bismillah...

I just came back from a short trip to Kuching and the reason why I was there is none other but to attend the Rainforest World Music Festival for the 3rd time. It was one of my bff's wishlist back then, if it was not for her I wouldn't even know the existence of it. My first time was in 2014 and I immediately fell in love and vowed to try my best to go to this event annually. I didn't get to attend last year's because I was in India at that time.

The most common reaction that I will get from most people when I told them I'm going to a music fest, they would have this image of a wild party where people wear scanty clothes, dancing around and drunk. I won't deny there were drunk visitors every time, but they were not causing any trouble and I was always in a safe zone.

Maybe people missed the word 'World Music' which essentially means the music are of various genres and not always those that you can dance to. This event actually gathers musicians and bands from all over the world and this gives them the opportunity to introduce their music along with promoting their country and culture.

The event is for 3 days; during the day there will be workshops and interactive sessions while the concert will be held at night. There are many things going on at one time in different venues so you have to really scrutinize the schedule and decide what type of music you would want to experience up close or what type of dances you would want to learn and do show up early at the venue to get the best view.

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For this year, I was so relieved when JF agreed to come with me without any hesitation and we were lucky to get cheap return flight ticket ~RM 160. As for the ticket, they only have this 3-day pass and 1-day pass so if you are going for 2 days then you have to buy two 1-day passes. We met our junior in school who bought her pass even before the early bird ticket was released and she got it for RM 84. Ours was RM 134 per pass and the early bird ticket was slightly cheaper than this. You can still buy at the ticket counter during the event but of course it will cost you more.


As for transport, some people drove to the event but their cars were parked far away. Some were parked at walk-able distance and some were parked too far away but there were shuttle buses prepared by the organizer but I'm not sure of the fare. As for us, we took the shuttle bus from Kuching city. I'm not sure if there has always been the free shuttle for ticket holder because before this I bought the ticket at the counter but ya this year we redeemed the free shuttle with our tickets. It was written 'Limited Free Shuttle' at the shuttle bus counter so I guess we were lucky to have got it for both days. There were 3 stops; Hills Shopping Mall, Harbour View Hotel and Plaza Merdeka


This lady is the leader of the Tahitian dancers


We just passed through the entrance when we saw men and women dressed in Hawaiian-like costume. We guessed they were the Tahitian dancers and we were right! We were puzzled because the group was about to conduct a dance workshop in about 30 minutes so what were they doing there? They went down from the wooden walkway to the grassy area and started to play music and dance! It was my first time to ever seen that live so I got really really excited and just stayed there until the performance ended although I was standing at a non-shaded area.


We manage to catch the string instrument workshop which was in the same venue with the Tahitian dance and later we went to the South African dance workshop. The South African workshop was a full house. Later we learnt that they were among the favourite performers for the first night concert so that explains why it was full house that evening. I enjoyed their music and did follow some of the steps but the area was too crowded that I decided to stop and just watch and listen. For a moment it felt like I was in Zumba class although normally we dance Zumba to Spanish music, and that time it was African music.

My 3rd time; I already know that a mat is crucial for maximum comfort during concert


That night, it rained heavily after the second performance which was the Tahitian. JF and I donned our poncho and sat there in the rain and continued to enjoy the concert to the end. My favourite would be the At Adau, a local band from Sarawak and Hanggai a Mongolian rock band.


The rain was even worse on the second night but we enjoyed the show anyway especially Calan from Wales. They made amazing music with the bagpipes! I also love the last performance by Bitori from Cape verde. The music is called Funana, which is accordion-based and according to the emcee it was once banned by the Portuguese in Cape Verde as it is said to be subversive

Overall, this event never disappoints me. It always make me want to come to the next one. Next year it will be held on 13th July to 15th July. I might go if the dates does not clash with our trips (^^) I didn't get to take a lot of pictures or videos during the concert due to heavy rain


Our breakfast on the last day of RWMF2017

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Norway: Svalbard Part 1

Bismillah..

Honestly, I really miss those days when Malaysian travelers used to blog about their traveling experience. There are still some around but not as much as in the past. Since traveling have become something trendy and affordable for Malaysians for the past few years, people tend to love sharing itineraries, pictures and budget rather than stories. But.. Yeah.. We travel for different reasons and mine is always to satiate my curiosity. If the place is common for others and I haven't been there, it's not because it's cliche, but because there is nothing I'm looking for there.

So I was in Norway for the polar bear because I still can't afford to join the 2 weeks Arctic Expedition. I really really want to experience the roof of the world so I searched from where does the north pole expedition usually starts because I thought that must be among the northernmost point that I can go to other than the actual north pole. There are 2 starting points; one is Svalbard, Norway and the other is Murmansk in Russia. I decided on Svalbard for the ease of travel since no visa is needed.


I tried making our route for this trip with the lowest cost possible and all of us were monitoring for ticket prices for many months. So it was,

Oslo - Tromso - Svalbard - Tromso - Bodo - Oslo

Tromso to Bodo was by bus while the others were by air with SAS and Norwegian air. I missed the cheap ticket for Oslo to Svalbard so my ticket was somewhere near 200 euros while MR's was about 100 Euros. The ticket never dropped to lesser than 100 Euros to Longyearbyen.

While on transit in tromso


For SAS flight, it stopped for about an hour in Tromso. We got off the plane and there was security and immigration check before we board the flight again. We were greeted by a tremendous view when we arrived because the weather was very good that day that there was not a single cloud in the sky.



Everything is so organized in Norway, as expected of Scandinavia. When we arrived at the airport, we don't have to worry about the transport to our guesthouse. There were three tourist buses waiting outside with each of them had their bag compartments opened and there were papers with the names of the guesthouses that they are stopping at hanging at the door of the compartments. So we just placed our luggage in the compartment with our guesthouse name and board the bus. You can either pay by cash or debit card and you will get discount if you buy the return ticket.

The view from inside our bus


The view on the way to town was splendid that I didn't regret spending so much money flying to that part of the world. Our guesthouse is located at the end of town since it is one of the very few cheap options (which is not cheap at all). It cost us  ~ RM 400+ per night for a small room but it was very comfortable and I don't have anything to complain about for as long as the heater is working well. What I like about our rooms in Norway, even though most of them were with shared bathroom but all of them have a sink and a mirror inside so it was really convenient for ablution and the water is drinkable so we don't have to go to the kitchen to get water.

On the day of our arrival we were supposed to do ice caving but there was a miscommunication between the receptionist and our guide, so our guide went off without us because he thought we were not there (^^") So we took the opportunity to walk around town that evening.



It took us more than 30 minutes walking to the center although we were told it should be around 20 minutes walk. I think it was because we were not used to walking on icy roads and we just walked slowly to avoid from falling. I did fell on my butt once because it was so slippery. We took pictures around town but sadly, besides our GoPro, all of our devices shut down because the battery can't withstand the low temperature.

I told MR, I think they are no Muslims in Svalbard. But then, as we were walking towards a convenient store, two teenagers greeted us with Salam. They were smiling broadly at us. I think it must be quite rare to see people with hijab in Svalbard or they are just happy to see another Muslim.

We went to search for some souvenirs at the store and I got myself a puzzle because I already have too many fridge magnets and mugs and I don't want to have anything that will collect dust. Surprisingly, things are cheaper on that island due to the tax free status. I was surprised to see the Coke was 3x cheaper than in Oslo. I refrained myself  from drinking Coke in Oslo because it was 25 kr (~RM 12 ++) per can there! It was 7 kr (~RM 3.60) in Svalbard. When I first saw that I literally said to MR,

"Dorang pakai currency lain ke kat sini???" And leaned closer to the price tag to look at the currency

As we walk back to our guesthouse that evening, MR and I saw 3 huge animals with white fur from afar walking towards our direction. We can't really tell what they were at first and thought they were some wandering wild huskies but then we thought, "Ade ke wild huskies? Takkan lah tuan die lepaskan macam ni?" But then as the three got closer and closer (because MR and I stopped walking because we were afraid if they are some dangerous creature), they were actually 3 reindeer! And.. both of us got excited.

I have problem transferring the pics from my GoPro so it's going to be a while for the next post, I guess...

To be continued...

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

99 Cahaya di Langit Eropah



Bismillah..

I haven't been writing about the books that I read for nearly 5 years! I used to love doing book reviews in the past and occasionally I did get email of appreciation from the authors too! Nowadays, I only updated my Good Reads bookshelf once in a while but I never leave reviews. Just to keep track whether I have reach my number of books read per year target or not. My target is very low, just 12 books per year; that's one book per month.


This one is my latest favourite, written by an Indonesian lady. It's not that hard to understand since there are not many Indonesian words that are unfamiliar to me. It's basically a travelogue while her husband and her lived in Austria for a few years. It was about how they had to adapt from living in an Islamic country to being a minority in Europe. And how they discovered the history of Islam all over Europe and come to love Islam more and more thereafter.


The first part of this book tells about how the expansion of the Ottoman empire was halted in Austria. Then they went to Paris and was accompanied by a historian who brought them into the Lourve where she showed them the exhibits that proves how Islamic culture was highly regarded for centuries in the past. Then they went to Spain to learn more about the Al-Andalus.


I'm quite familiar with the Islamic history and I remember them quite well from watching many documentaries but this book tells me a lot of things that I've never  heard of like how Croissant is related to the defeat of the Ottoman. I also love how the couple responded when their devotion were questioned by those who didn't believe in God and how the other characters that they met worked hard to portray that Islam is a religion of peace.


I love how she can incorporate the Quranic verses and Hadith in the paragraphs. This reminds me of "Ayat-ayat Cinta" the first book that made me fall in love with Indonesian books; they are just full of reminders that make me stop and ponder for a while or if it's something unheard of, I will search for itand get to learn something new.

What made it so exciting while I was reading this, I was in Europe! And I was in Spain when I finally get the time to read it since there were a lot of moving about while we were in Norway. The film is good, I was told but I decided to read the book first before watching it. I highly recommend this for leisure read (^^)

This book really made me think of how Islam reached its peak in the past. It was how the people of that time really understand and follow what was taught in the Al Quran and Hadith; they put knowledge on top of everything and observed good akhlaq. As oppose to people nowadays, there are even group of 'intellects' who are trying to challenge the interpretation of the Al Quran and Hadith to suit their lifestyle. Unbelievable~  

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

How stupid of me...

Bismillah...

This is a story of me being so stupid...

MR arrived in Oslo 3 days later than me and that day she was already late for breakfast. Her bag was lost during the connecting flight and it was snowing heavily outside, so we just lie on our beds and chatted.

MR asked, "Ramai ke orang mase breakfast..?"
"Ramai jugak.. Tapi kan.. Ramai orang tue.. Sampai at one point tu Gg seriusly ingatkan Gg kat rumah orang tua.."

And MR found my statement was very true the next day. During dinner we found ourselves surrounded by elderly..

"Ya Allah Mar.. Pakcik depan Gg ni tangan bergegar sampai tak boleh koyak paket gule. Patot ke kite tolong die.."
"Ish selalu ramai jugak jumpe orang tue.. Tapi ni tue yang tak berdaye ok!"
"Tu la.. Ni bukan tahap mak ayah kite.. Ni tahap tok nenek kte yang dah takde kot.. Omaigod Gg rase pacik ni ade masalah paru-paru.. bunyi nafas die pun tau.."
"Eyh ramai sangat ni.."
"Ke ade rumah orang tue kat area ni and tompang makan sini.."

We never found our answer...

On our way to the airport to go to Svalbard, an elderly woman board the bus and sat next to me. She was so old that I think she should be around late 80s. Her face and hands were all wrinkled, she had a roundback and her hands were trembling vigorously that it was hard for her to zip open her purse. I watched her try to put money into her purse which also looked like she was putting a lot of effort.

"Do you need some help..??" I asked. She replied me in Norwegian with a smile and continued talking even though I think she knew I can't understand her.

And there were subsequent events in which we saw a down syndrome lady who travelled alone from Tromso to a small village before Narvik and a wheelchair bound woman who travelled alone from Narvik To Bødø.

From my story, it's clear that Norway is travel friendly for people with special needs. But how does all these encounter brings to the topic of me being stupid...??? I was stupid to have thought that 30 was where all the fun and adventure should cease, where I should contain my curiousity, be stationary  and learn to be content with slow pace and everything familiar. And there I was in Norway, watching all these people who had the strongest of reasons to stay put but didn't.

Perhaps I was somewhat affected by one particular 'voice' that kept on pressing me about being single for too long makes one unworthy. I allowed this 'voice' to shroud my clear conscience about life and thank God I snapped out of it!

20's was like dark chocolate, I said. The sweet taste were the memories made while the bitter were the mistakes. The good; the  lessons learned are the things that makes the rest of the years to come be better, InshaAllah. 30's is not the reason to slow down, I finally figured out. It's time to 'speed up' because we are actually running out of time..

It's time to spend more time with our parents because they will not be around forever. Perhaps, I haven't got the means to make them live in luxury, but I'm trying my best to make life easy and comfortable for both of them. Perhaps I haven't been  given the chance to 'complete half  of my deen'.  But as I once said to a bestfriend of mine, "Takkan lah pahala berbakti dengan orang yang lahirkan kita dan jaga kita dari kecil tu lebih sedikit dari pahala berbakti dekat suami...??"

It's time to chase our dreams even the forgotten ones. I've always dreamt of travelling. As a child, I love climbing the small hill near my house and would start thinking of going abroad for adventures. Thus, I studied English diligently because mommy said if I can speak well, I can talk to anybody in this world. Traveling is not a forgotten dream. The abandoned dream of mine is my wish to study foreign languages other than English. I wanted to pursue on language after school but studying in a Science stream school and performing well in the science subjects prevented me from that. I always felt stuck although I've learnt to love my job (perhaps because healthcare gives you daily opportunity for act of service). Ever since I realized that it will never be too late to chase my forgotten dreams, I've become even happier with my day job (^^)

30s is not the time to cut off enjoyment and stop gaining experience, but it's time to do so in a more sensible and responsible manner that despite of still having all the fun, we still remember to take care of oursleves and not be drifted away. Have more savings and more money to spend for loved ones rather than splurged for our own wants.

After I came back from Norway, I've realized that aging is not the reason to totally abandon life and just exist. It's not the reason to just wake up, earn for a living, eat and sleep. Instead, it's the reason why one should be more mentally and physically active. There is no such thing as "I'm too old for this...". While we might not be as strong or as fit as the youngsters, but WE STILL CAN!

For instance MR and I drove on ice at 31 while the pakcik2 aviation investigators does that with us in their 50s!

Really.. how stupid of me and I'm just happy to be enlightened in Norway...

Whatever it is, in 2017 I will only accept marriage proposal from G-Dragon or Song Joong-Ki. Period!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Midyear post~

Bismillah..

So I haven't been updating my blog as frequently as I wanted to. I really really don't know why I'm so0o0o0o0 busy at 30! I seldom waste my time on social media nowadays, but I always always have other things to do. Perhaps, it's how we prioritize things at this age.

A mid year post is something unprecedented but it's going to be a summary of what I've ticked from my 2017 resolutions and all the other mundane things in life like...

I'VE LOST WEIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I will not post a before and after comparison picture but I'm currently 2 kg away from my weight when I graduated yeay! What prompt me to lose weight is not particularly aesthetic but it was more to how having more weight affect my physical well being. Well, at first it was really disturbing when more and more of my outfits became tighter. But then I started getting praises that I look better with more weight which was not helping; where from there onward I was actually encouraged to gain more!

But as days passed, I started feeling sluggish and sleepy during the day and even more tired at night. I started by doing regular tabata and man! tabata works miracle on my weight and stamina! And then I start going for regular runs (at least twice a week), I started joining sports tournaments again despite my deep-seated lack of confidence and I started rock climbing again! It was a struggle at first because I was not used to doing all these with my 'new' weight and it was actually slightly demotivating because the things that were supposed to be easy peasy became hard. But I told myself to be patient and not to expect instant results.

One of the videos I prefer when doing Tabata..
My friends said, "Ko suka dorang sebab hensem2 kan?" Hurm.. perhaps that's one of the reason why hahaha



I started this earlier this year in January and nowadays it's already a habit to must have some physical activities at least 5 times a week. Even during Ramadhan, I will go for evening walks and make sure to be home by the time for breakfast. Before this, I never realize how being physically active makes a lot of difference to my body because I've always been active. Nowadays, I can feel how my metabolism is being boosted and I feel terrific when I wake up in the morning. I guess, you have to lose what you had to appreciate it. I WILL NEVER ABANDON YOU EXERCISE! 

MY NEW OBSESSION: SKINCARE!




I just got my parcel from Althea.kr on Wednesday but not all of them are mine. But MOST of them are. I'm not an aspiring beauty blogger or vlogger; I'm not comfortable with having my face all over social media. But yes, currently I am super obsess with skincare routine and I noticed the difference and loving it!

I've been adherent to the basics since 3 years ago; that's the cleansing, toning and moisturizing. Sunblock has always been my best friend because my skin is so prickly when it burns and it will turn GREY when it gets darker.  I can see the difference then because I have regular acne outbreaks since I was a teen maybe because I was very active with sports and didn't straight away wash my face after I finished with training or tournaments but it improved with adhering to the 3 steps. Then, last year I started to add up my routines with the oil cleansing, regular exfoliation and masks. And this year I added up serum and eye cream as well hahaha

Thus, I have to start preparing for work 30 minutes earlier than before because I needed some time for the products to be absorbed before I apply the next one. O ya I shifted from Body Shop to Korean products because at one time there was stock problem all over KK when they wanted to change the packaging of the line that I was using. My friends recommended Korean products and I must say they are more suitable for Asian skin.

ITEMS FROM WISHLIST UNLOCKED!



It's slightly harder to get leaves in my current department thus I've changed my holiday-taking pattern from taking a week off every 3 months to taking long leaves every 5-6 months my bosses seem more pleased with the current pattern.

So recently, I went to Norway with MR. RA can't make it because her little sister got married on the same weekend (but she already got her tickets when the  date was announced to her). Our main destination in Norway was Svalbard but we were in Oslo for a few days and were in Tromso and Bodo to get back to Oslo. The red pin is where Svalbard is located. It is the most populated nothernmost city in the world; that's less than 3000 people.



Norway is too well-known for the Aurora that everybody thought we were there for that. Unfortunately at this time, it was already 24-hours daylight in Svalbard which made it impossible to see Aurora at all. I'm in no hurry to watch Aurora because to me Aurora is not threatened by anything (not that I know~) which means 10 years from now it will still be there and I can always opt whether to watch the Aurora Borealis or Aurora Australis in the Southern hemisphere. But, the polar bear is threatened by the global warming and also hunting so I need to see them first!

We were lucky to find a mother polar bear with her cubs! I'll write the full story later (ayat cliche untuk semua post trip aku yang masih non-existent sampai sekarang)



And we also did ice caving there! We were suppose to do it in Iceland 4 years ago but then we came in summer at that time and the ice cave was no longer accessible. Likewise, the ice cave in Svalbard is also not accessible in summer but it's not because the ice melted. The ice doesn't melt there because the wall of ice is actually part of the glacier. But there will be water flowing inside the cave during summer.



After Norway I was in Spain and I got to go to TWO REAL MADRID MATCHES!!!!!!!!!!!!

Real Madrid VS Atletico Madrid (Champions League Semifinal)
Real Madrid VS Granada (La Liga) 

The semifinal was something unplanned. I was in Madrid to watch one of the biggest bullfight event in the world (and later sworn that as my first and last bullfight ever) and found out that the semifinal will be held on the day I was there. I was actually checking out whether the ticket for the  match with Granada was already on sale or not but end up buying the semifinal in Santiago Barnabeau.


I splurged for this seat and I regret it NOT!!!!!!! The ticket was selling fast on the 1st day of sale and how I wish I got the seats at row 1 or 2 instead. But Row 16 was okay because the view was clearer for both side of the goal. I heard that for EPL, ticket is sold only for season pass holder.

It's easier to watch match in Spain I guess because the ticket is open for everybody; only some seats are reserved for season pass holder. When I checked the Real Madrid site a few days before the match, there were empty seats in some of the best seats in the stadium. Those were the seats of the season pass holders who let go of their seats for the match. The price was comparable with mine too! But this is really based on luck. Better buy the ticket earlier than feel sorry for not doing so earlier.




Well, since I've watched the match in Madrid, I was thinking, "Maybe I could skip the one in Granada." But, bila kau suda di situ and have nothing to do at night, memang tak tertahankan suda perasaan. I end up buying the ticket while I was on the train from Seville to Granada and I regret it not too!

The price for the first row was waaaayyyyy cheaper here. And although CR7 was not here, I got to see James Rodriguez and Morata in action! And Isco, Karim Benzema and Marcello did their warm ups in front of me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And sepanjang dorang warm up la aku x tengok match lol~ The four goals happened on the side where I was sitting.

When I was about to turn 30, I thought of slowing down a bit; perhaps consider having my own family, travel less and take life more seriously. But this first trip as a 30 year old changed it all. Throughout my recent journey, I met a lot of people who didn't let age limit their actions and they continue to excel. I've decided I don't want to be affected by the societal ideals! I will just let this life flow as it should be and make the best of my time to live happily and in content YOSH!