Friday, January 17, 2014

Mont Blanc~ I'm in love


Hehe Ceria kan muka aku di pagi hari!!! This was a pic we took on our way to the cable car station. MR was already in her winter coat. She was the most prepared for the climate amongst us!

And this is the view from our room balcony.. Yes, mina san.. that is Mont Blanc! \(^^)/Aku excited betol sampai masuk selumbar dalam kaki masa berdiri di balcony (^^")

On our way to the train station, I went berserk with all the beauty that surrounds me. I started taking pictures from every corner of the town. We were very lucky to have clear sky that day. Back in Paris, it was almost always gloomy except during the last day when the sun was out. If it weren't for the blue sky, we wont be able to capture the nice snow cap there... What a bliss~

Bagai kan mimpi...

Okay enough~
So we bought a combo ticket for the cable car to Mont Blanc and  train ride where you can see the glacier.. tapi nda sempat pon pi naek train!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! T_T cry cry~

There is another cable car that connects Mont Blanc to another peak in Italy. I don't quite remember what the name is but yeah it was actually part of our plan. It was supposedly already opened for public. But I guess, summer came late this year and the weather was unpredictable, so the cable car was still closed at that time. Kecewa jugak la...

But still Mont Blanc memang mengancam!!!!

The queue at the station that morning. Most of the Europeans were there to ski or climb while the Asians were obviously the tourists who came for sight seeing atop the mountain. I was of course eyeing on their gears.. Their ropes, their carabiners, their bags, their windbreakers, their shoes.. Everything! Cantiknya~

Kamu tengok ni pakcik!!! I don't know whether I could even climb stairs if I'm at his age (^^") 

So that is the cable car. No chairs; everybody stand. It's very fast; about 20 minutes.. I think,  that's too fast to ascend to that elevation in such speed. My friends had AMS! But they tried to tolerate with it. It was very scary when the cable car jolt and swing every time it passes the posts. Everybody goes "o0o0o0o0" and "Aaaaaah" haha

The first thing that I did on top of Mont Blanc was.. bergambar dengan lelaki Perancis ini haha O mai~ gedik betol aku dalam pic nih!!!!!!!!!!!

He was actually looking down at the snow below us from the platform so I, meramahkan diri sana, asked

GG: It's a nice day to ski, isn't it?
French guy: No.. Not today..
GG: Why? Everybody is skiing..
French: You see, that smooth layer over there. That's not good for ski. You could fall.. And when you fall, you only fall once...
GG: O0o0o0.. I never know that. Never ski before..

When I asked "Can we take a picture with you?" Boleh boleh dia jawab "NO!" with a serious face.. And then he continued "I was joking," Fuh~ Sikit lagi kuyak!

I don't know how to correctly describe this place. There are lots of buildings at different heights. These buildings are either connected by bridges or by stairs or by lifts or by tunnels. And these buildings have terraces where you can conveniently view the panorama.

While my friends had to deal with nauseous feeling and dizziness, I suddenly became hypothermic. I turned blue and start to shiver uncontrollably. "Gg! Kenape gg biru!? Gg ok x nih?" "Ok je.. tapi sejuk.."

So we spent almost 10 minutes to heat me with MR's heating pads.. Astaga!!!! 

Selesai misi menyelamatkan GG

Dalam menggigil gigil tu sempat jugak aku snap pic dorang nih
So now lets look at some of the pics...

Group pic (^^)


This is one of the best spot to stand on. You can see the small town below, you can see the mountain range opposite Mont Blanc, and you can see the layers and layers of the snow-capped peaks that seems to have no end over the horizon.. Subhanallah...

Standing in such height is when I'll be reminded that I'm just a speck in this massive planet.. It reminds of Allah, the Most Exalted, the Most Knowledgeable.. How can all this be in such a beautiful fashion, in such a beautiful order if it's not for the Great Sustainer and the Magnificence.. .MashaAllah...

From the naked eyes, you could actually see the different shades of blue of the layers of mountains. It is so picturesque that it literally took my breath away..

If you look closely, you'll see there are actually workers on top of the roof. Sweeping off the snow.

We were above the clouds (^^) View from the cafeteria.. 

This is the tunnel that leads to the starting point for skiing. Those macho macho men are preparing their ski gears.. And we just watch them, inquisitive.. Living in the tropics, we don't get to see this at all!

And there goes our macho macho skiers...

The valley below us... (^^)

Muka semakin happy dari yang pagi kan?? Heeee I lost one of my leather glove while on top (^^") and I felt the altitude sickness as I ran up the stairs when I was trying to find it. Pergh! It was uncomfortable. I stopped and took a few steps down the stairs and waited for the dizziness to wear off. Luckily, that worked..

O ya, if you're wondering about halal food; there is one halal Kebab restaurant and an Indian restaurant that serves scrumptious fish briyani!

So next, Switzerland yaw!!! 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Chamonix.. My honeymoon destination~


So here we are back in France.. Well, we haven't bought any tickets to Chamonix until the last day we were in Paris. We were still deciding what is the cheapest way to go there. So, finally we decided to take the train from Paris to Geneva and then take a bus from Geneva to Chamonix since this is the most convenient but not the cheapest.

Konon2 tengah tulis notes of our journey~

Well, it took us about 3 hours from Paris to Geneva and then another 1.5 from Geneva to Chamonix. The train ride was scenic but I guess, again, it's the people that we met along the way was the most memorable. On the train I sat next to a very nice middle age lady. She went to Malaysia once so we talked about that and also her interest in gardening. And I, as usual, promoted Sabah. But the most touching part was when I told her that we are going to Chamonix and she started to ask around of where we should stop. She even went to see the conductor and then the conductor went to ask the manager and then later we found out that we have missed the station where it would be easier for us to go to Chamonix from.

The lady felt really bad and went to the tourist center with us at the train station. She queued and went to the counter with us to ask how to get to Chamonix from Geneva. Well, actually the info was not much difference from what we already knew that is we can take a bus from the airport. She then took us to the ticket machine and helped us to purchase train tickets to the airport..

GG: This is too kind of you. We appreciate this very much.
Lady: It's ok. This is normal..

Masa ni hati meronta-ronta.. NORMAL!!!!!!!!?????????? O my.. satu dalam 25 juta kalo di Malaysia...

You'll see a lot of these along the way... Yellow~ Conola

Then we rushed to the train and was surprised to find ourselves in an empty coach.. A guy was sitting near the door..

GG: Excuse me. Is this train going to the airport?
Guy: Yes it is. The airport is at the next station which happen to be the only one.
GG: Heeee.. Really? *malu* Is this the first class? It's kinda empty..
Guy: O0o I dunno if this a first class or not. The airport is about 3 minutes away and I see no conductor. I think you can sit in this coach.

We talked along the way. And again he's an Australian guy who migrated to Switzerland and been in Malaysia for a few years.. "Perhaps when you girls weren't born yet.." He said... And when we got off the train, surprisingly he offered to help us find the bus to Chamonix. Again, he went to the tourist info with us and asked the lady at the counter. We were told there might be some bus to Chamonix at the airport. And as we walk towards the airport..

GG: Is everybody in Switzerland are so kind? You're the second one to help us today..
Guy: No darling.. I'm an Australian, remember? So what are you girls? Students? Or some kind of professional traveler or something?
GG: Hahaha! Owh how we wish we are... Professional travelers... (^^)

And when we arrived at the junction where the path to the bus station and the airport meet...

"So here we are! I have to go that way because that's where the intercity bus is. And that way is the airport. And inshaAllah \\(",) you will find the bus to Chamonix there. Nice to meet you girls. Have a safe journey.."

Serius kami tergamam masa dia buat gesture menadah tangan sambil menyebut inshaAllah itu. So cute! Kami tergelak lepas tu. We never knew if he is a Muslim or not. But I guess, he does understand that concept of 'God willing' in Islam for he's used in a correct sentence. We will remember you Mr. Bruce Willis-look alike!

Nota ku~

Yup! We were right about the coach and the counter was quite easy to find. Our mistake was that, we didn't make online booking which could actually reduce the price quite significantly. So, we decided to book for our return transport as well to avoid further time drag in our trip. The journey to Chamonix was on a scenic highway. The highway was leveled so high from the ground that I actually freaked out a bit.."Ni kalau ada gempa bumi, MAMPOS!"

We arrived slightly off schedule and the chalet office was already closed. Nobody answered the phone when we dialed the number on our booking confirmation so we were stuck for almost an hour, not knowing what to do. Then we thought, maybe we should try find the chalet. There could be another office there. so, aku, si pegawai perhubungn awam, pigi la bertanya dengan this old guy who looks like a local.. Sebab nda nampak macam dalam percutian

Tengah jaga beg.. Dorang pi cek ofis chalet...
GG: Excuse me. I'm looking for this address..
Old man: Vous ĂȘtes si belle *Ini aku reka2*
GG: Oh tidak! Ko nda cakap english ka pacik? This address, do you know??

*Old man reads the address*

Old man: Oui oui! *sambil tangan dia lambai2.. mari2*

And then I made my friends worried because I went missing for almost 20 minutes. We went in and out of alleys.. Went behind houses and through bushes and voilla we found the chalet!
"Astaga pacik.. Kalau di Malaysia mati kena bunuh sudah aku ni ikot strangers begini.."

Well, actually the chalet was not far from the office where my friends were waiting. There was no need to go through all the bushes but I guess the old man was confused of where the address is haha aku pon "merci beaucoup! merci beaucoup!" la hehe

And this is our room! With ensuite toilet and bathroom. It's very cozy and warm.. And we have a balcony outside. And the internet is very fast. Did a video call with my junior who aspire to travel but he's getting married soon haha So that evening, we went out for a stroll around the town..

Setup tripod jauh2....

Itu gunung opposite Mont Blanc. It was too foggy, we didn't get to see Mont Blanc that evening

Air bersih.. Biru~ Tapi nda nampak dalam pic

Gunung belah lain~ Bahagia aku dikelilingi gunung~

Aku nda ingat ini Hyatt ka Sheraton ka LeMeridien ka apa.. But it's a famous hotel line la.

Sunset approaching~

This place is home to a climbing community so aku agak bahagia tengok banyak banyak barang climbing disini.. But, we still have lots of places to go so I decided not to buy any.. It will be troublesome to travel with these gears while traveling from one country to another and it will add up kilos to my baggage and we have lotsa flights ahead.

Aaaawwww... Comel bukan...???

I'm so in love with this place... Ok la.. nanti ai sambung pasal Mont Blanc yea~ Patot tukar title.. "The nice  people we met on our way to Chamonix...." (^^)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Tabligh... Informativeness...

I was browsing through our pictures when I saw this pic. This pic was taken inside the Grand Mosque of Paris.. At that time, I was waiting for my friends and was taking pictures of the main hall when I heard a warm greeting from behind. I turned around and saw an old man greeting two non-Muslim tourists who were standing in front of the door looking at the worshipers inside..

"You never seen Muslim prayer before?"
"No. This is our first time.."

And then the old man start to talk about the concept of monotheism in Islam, the 5 daily prayers, explained the importance of purity and cleanliness as to why ablution is required before performing prayers etc etc. He stuttered in his speech but you can sense the purity of his intention from his effort to explain despite his poor English and how simply he had explained everything; trying to make the two understand in the limited time they had.

This brings me to a short conversation that I had with a dear friend a few weeks ago...

"Kadang-kadang segan jugak nak share bende2 Islamic kat social network.. Takut lak orang kate ape.. Macam nak tunjuk alim sangat.."

"GG pon dulu fikir jugak macam tu... Tapi bila fikir balik, bile orang laen post, I get inspired. Some post got me thinking.. So fikir2 balik, tak nak pedulik lah orang yang kate GG nak tunjuk Islamic ke ape. Nak fikir, bile kite post, walaupon maybe ade yang kutok, tapi mesti ade yg inspired.. And yang inspired tu matters. Maksudnye dapat pahala kan..???"

But, to tell you the truth, that leap of perspective had came rather late... It came right after Nurul's death..
Ok.. Chill this is not another melancholy post.. I just want to share how this little girl taught me about tabligh~

It was one of the Ramadhan night in 2011 and the whole family went for tarawikh prayer at the mosque. Nurul and I chose a spot at one corner and I started praying tahiyatul masjid. And when I finished, Nurul pardoned me, 

"Kakak, ustaz cakap dalam solat kena ada tomakninah.. Berhenti sekejap sebelum perbuatan yang seterusnya.."

 I was taken aback, of course. Not that I was offended. But at that very moment I realized how I'd forgotten to do that part of my daily prayer for many years. Perhaps for at least 5 years. Well, it was most obvious when I stood from my prostration because when I first get to do my prayer by standing again, I could not fully bend my knees. And I'd unconsciously made that a habit. And from that night onward, I'd tried to improve my prayer.

It was one of those nights after Isha' prayer after Nurul have left us. The whole family just finished reciting Al-Quran in the living room and it was time for some discussion. Aunty shared what Nurul once told her about Surah Al-Mulk that it will protect from the torment of the grave. I was again baffled and listened quietly as they talked about it. I was both touched and abashed at the same time. I'd acknowledged that fact more than 10 years ago, when I was still studying in the same school as Nurul.. But I never cared to share that simple fact what more to teach my family to recite the surah. Astaghfirullah.. 

Then, more and more stories about how Nurul had helped corrected her parents' and my mom's recitation with more patience than I could bear came into light. She is the softer and the more patient, that I cannot deny. But the fact that moved me most is how she had cared enough to share the slightest knowledge that she has with our family. That little knowledge that could actually make a big difference.. I was too proud to see that.. I should have just shared them though the chances that it might be made into practice is low.. I should have just shared with them of the things I've learnt rather than wait until I'm being asked...

Nowadays, I just waive away the thought of what people might say about me when I do this and do that. The most important thing is to set the intention right and to renew the intention every time it goes astray. Human's heart are made to change over time thus that's why renewal is just normal.

These days I've tried to be as informative and as patient as Nurul did.. But haha I think it's very funny when mommy would call me after Subuh prayer to listen to her recitation. Yeah, I would drag my feet to the prayer room, lay down on the bed and listen to her reading a surah with my eyes closed. Haha ikhlas itu payah especially when you have a mind setting "Balik Labuan is to relax..." But I am still trying hehe Susah.. Aku anak bongsu... Nurul anak sulung.. So that's why aku notty notty sket hahaha

Then again, isn't 'tabligh' is one the Quality of our beloved Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. He had spread the words of Allah with such hardship at the very beginning and why can't we continue that with much ease these days?? I believe all of us have heard of this popular hadith...

 ‘Convey from me, even if it’s just one ayah (verse)...' (Bukhari).

Hurm.. I think... I'M BACK!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

2013.. The year of three..

I just finish reading my '2012 Recap' post. Wow! 2012 was extremely awesome that I didn't expect 2013 was gonna be tough.. Why is it the year of three?? Here goes....

I don't really like changes that much... I usually have a hard time adapting to new routines. I will have some bouts of depression (but not that I couldn't handle) during the first few weeks in a new environment and it will take me some time to get that 'starting all over again spirit'.. I prefer to observe and take in as much info as I can before I execute something. Yup.. I guess, I feel very insecure of the unknown, of not being able to be in control.. But I guess 2013 is all about breaking that habit.

Believe it or not, I was posted in 3 different places on the same year.. I was moving about and even till this very day, it's pretty normal for people to ask me, "Kau di mana sekarang?" I was still in charge of the ID ward early 2013 and got called back to the main setting in the middle of the year to replace a senior who got transferred back to his hometown. After a month in the new setting where I'm supposed to be in charge of, I was called to replace another boss who was on maternity leave. That was the greatest challenge of all since I was replacing the person who is in charge of our section. I could feel this heavy burden on my shoulder every morning as I woke up. I felt people was expecting too much of me because I'm a senior and I have to deal with multiple tasks and every task was urgent urgent urgent that more often than not I don't know where to start... I've to admit that my pace was slow; I was slow at settling my tasks, I was slow at making decisions and I think I was slow in solving problems too.. After all, I can't be hasty, or it will affect many things. I only returned to the main setting for about a month before I was asked to take over.. So it is quite justifiable isn't it? To be slow, I mean Hahaha

But to think of it, I learnt a lot when I was in charge.. Honestly, it was really really taxing when I have to deal with a lot of reports, attend many meetings, entertain a lot of people, be involved in problems that wasn't even my fault and many many other weird things that happened.. Having them piling up on my once-carefree life so sudden like that really took its toll on me especially this huge responsibility was handed to me when I was extremely emotionally unstable from losing Nurul. But I have to thank my boss for allowing me to have another week time off after my Eurotrip so that I could settle everything back home when Nurul passed away. Although I was not ready when I came back to work, but I think that one week means a lot. I needed it...

During the 3 months ++, I'd learnt to be more patient. I learnt to prioritize. I learnt to think twice or even thrice before making decisions. I learnt to be considerate. Tried to be as firm as I could and stick to the things I said. Tried to accept the things I can't control and can't correct. Learnt to accept my mistakes and learnt to ask for help when I couldn't settle things on my own. I'm so lucky to have a very competent colleague who had helped a lot when I was away for my attachment and trip. I'm still learning all these things that I said and now I understand  life is all about progress.. That's where experience comes in handy.. For progression....

Adventures.. Well, my 2013 travels are way cooler than 2012! 3 incredible trips (^^) Definitely.. It's just that I have to deal with loss upon my return from the first two trips.. In March, I went to an unplanned trip to Czech Republic and Austria. I guess, That will be the most memorable trip of all since it was my first solo trip and most probably be the last because I missed my friends so much during that trip and I just can't stand the fact that I have to contain my excitement when I was alone. Because I tend to hop *melompat2 for real* when I'm excited. You know, I just can't melompat2 when I'm alone or that will look really really weird...

Then we had our Eurotrip. We were in France, Switzerland, London for transit, Iceland, Belgium and the Netherlands. It was extremely fun. I got to drive for 629 km in Switzerland. It was not an easy drive so I'm gonna really remember that experience. The road looks exactly like the one in Grand Turismo or Daytona.. Serius scary! So narrow and minimal safety if compared to the ones we have here hahaha And Iceland was superb! It was totally out of this world. RARE is the precise word to describe Iceland

Mont Blanc


And our closing trip was to Tasmania and New Zealand. Tasmania exceed our expectations! It was gorgeous. We were captivated as much as we were in Iceland. Tasmania is untouched, the landscape keep on changing and you can feel how clean is the air. As for New Zealand, I think my expectations was too high. It is pretty but... I think it's too commercialized already and everything is about touristy. Maybe I should take that long hiking thingy next time to really enjoy NZ. But, the 4.6 earthquake that we felt in Christchurch was something hahaha Our room was literally shaking side to side! It was not just tremor! We were stunned and just looked at each other haha and yeah the whale watching was dream come true! Am gonna tell my travel stories in detail, inshAllah...

Gambar lepas hujan

And yeah 2013 is about 3 losses.. I lost my aunt when I was on my way to Prague. But I was ready because she was sick and I went to visit her before I left the airport because she was warded in the hospital I'm working in. She had cancer that had spread to multiple organs and I knew that her prognosis was poor. But like I mentioned in my fb status, her passing left me no regrets although I was not there during her funeral. Allah had given me the opportunity to assist her during her ailment. And I was quite free when she was sick so I got to visit her several times and even brought my mother all the way from Labuan because that was among her wish...

And, yap, my biggest test of all is of course losing my beloved Nurul.. Those who have followed my blog would have noticed that I talked a lot about her in this blog since 2008.. She is my pride and joy.. So many memories; since her birth to her death... There is not a single day that I've not thought about her.. Kadang-kadang, the least I could do to calm my heart is send her a prayer because that's my only way of expressing my love now that I can't see, touch and talk to her anymore.. Teringat pulak one of our last conversation on our way to the airport...

"Nanti kalo kaka gg kawen ni, kena la tengok date cuti Nurul baru bole pilih date kawen hehe.."
"Kalo kaka gg kawen, mesti Nurul sedih.."
"Eyh? Kenapa pulak Nurul sedih?"
"Ntah.. Sedih la.. Sebab kaka gg kawen..."

Bila fikir balik.. could it be she said that because she knew she won't be there...??? Wallahualam...

Although life goes on as usual, I have to admit it will never be the same again.. I'm still learning to cook alone.. I tried some new recipes and masih boleh terlintas  "Oh I'm gonna tell Nurul this taste so nice!" because I'm so used to that.. But, yeah, I think I'm getting better. I already stopped crying while driving to and back from work. That's a good sign... 18 years is such a long period and to forget her just like that is impossible.. Thank you Allah for blessing me with such a sweet little sister for 18 years... It was one of the most greatest feeling I've ever had, being a big sister...

Third loss.. Eyh bole consider loss ka ni bila belom memiliki???? Hahaha Yaaa he-who-doesn't-know laaaaa.. So the rumour is true that he is getting married soon.. Confirm suda ni so aku pon sedih la.. Sedih sangat sangat sangat sangat la jugak, to be honest.. But, yeah, what can I do to stop that from happening, kan?? Again, I have to do what I've been trained for throughout 2013 that is to be strong again.. Maybe Allah sent him to make me realize that I can learn to love someone again after all these years... Maybe Allah sent him to me to tell me that not all men are jerks. He is a good man.. With quirks here and there but I still love him anyway haha Like I said before, I don't quite understand why I have such a strong feeling for him from the moment we knew each other. He never flirt and we lost contact for a long time but the feeling never went away. It stays the same and increase even in his absence to an extend that I literally asked Allah 'why?' during my prayer.... Now that he's getting married to another woman, this makes it even more confusing for me hahaha tapi nda bermaksud aku nda redha... Semua ni mesti ada hikmah yang belom aku nampak lagi.. Now I just have to be strong and be ready to see his wedding pics on fb hahaha And yes, please friends, don't try to set me up with any other guy while I'm trying to forget he-who-doesn't-know. He's not just a crush. I love this guy :) and for that aku betol2 berserah and redha seja walaupon sangat berat.....

All in all.. I can say 2013 ni mematangkan.. With all that happened in 2013, I know it prepares me for more things ahead.. Allah knows best