Monday, December 27, 2010

Past and present

The year-end is approaching and as I reflected mine, it was within my expectation i.e. full of roller-coaster, consistent to the life of a mocha lover. *grins* There were things that could have gone better but I supposed it was part of the ‘bigger picture’.

I got to do stuff which were on my wish list. It included lots of chick-flick series and books, coffee time as well as mamak joints, volunteering, polishing cooking skill and exploring the world of baking, etc. Most importantly, I managed to relax and unwind in the company of my loved ones. I hope it made up for the loss time when I couldn’t be there for them. Juggling myself as a mom, a daughter, a sister, a friend and now, a partner, proves to be challenging but not impossible. I had an awesome time and hope that they too enjoyed my presence.

Here’s from us wishing you a truly blessed year. May it will bring beautiful things that life has to offer. And to spice up this post, let’s do it GG’s way:


“The new year isn't about what happened, it's about what's to come. But the past is always with us, just waiting to mess with the present. And when it does, I'll be watching. XOXO. Gossip Girl.”

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dazzled

It is to no surprise that I absolutely loathe my job.

However.... the Project Director is sooooooo damn good looking and charming. It is not helping when he keeps calling me, or to be precise, his PA, to join his meetings as he needs my approval on money matters.

How do you say no to that? Isk isk isk...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Lioness

A handful of you would know by now the issues I am facing at work and last week I reached to a point that I couldn’t tolerate it anymore. As a result, the lioness in me was unleashed.

I despise people who have no respect for others and couldn’t comprehend why this is happening at my workplace as it is supposed to be an “established” company. People are rude to one another and non-executive or lowly paid staffs are treated as if they have no place in the hierarchy.

So at one the many meetings I had with a Project Director, who was nice and good looking by the way (a few things that make my office appealing), he invited the ‘moron’ who deals with people from my department on regular basis. I witnessed his stupidity the day before when he shouted at my staff over the phone. As I ended the meeting, I said to him to stop harassing my team as they are merely following my instructions. The Project Director tried to hide his grin while the ‘moron’ had a puzzled look on his face.

After 4 weeks being there, the ‘kerek’ guy asked how I felt about the company. I couldn’t compare as I worked with big brands before, so of course it was different. He finally asked where I was before. I think his facial expression changed the moment I mentioned the name and city. Dude, I was in London doing things you could only dream of. Stop being such a smart ***.

My weekly presentation to the Kapitan this time had no else but us. I feel (and hope) he is gaining his trust in me and was happy with my explanation. We had this issue which had been around for 2 weeks and as much I tried to avoid bringing it up, I had no choice but to do so. So he called the ‘bossy and uncooperative” lady into the room and asked if the matter had been resolved. She too couldn’t answer as she was not aware of it (can you believe that I spotted the errors in her team and she was clueless??).

I suppose this week had opened people’s eyes that this lioness can roar, big time. I may not have the support from the department (or anyone below director level) but I know my role is to deliver results and I will try to improve areas which are very weak in this company.

I have also made up my mind that this is not my cup of tea. So we will see what will happen in a few weeks time.

Until then, I hope they will pay my Nov and Dec salary this month and I shall reward myself a new handbag. *winks
*

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Expectation vs reality

Office hours
Expectation:
Office hours is from 830am to 430pm. I thought it’d be good enough to stay until 6pm.
Reality:
I am there from 8am to 8pm almost every day. Sometimes I continue my work at home for another hour or so, and a few more on weekends.

Meetings
Expectation:
2-3 times a week, of which one with the Big Boss.
Reality:
I spend 2-3 hours average a day on meetings and see the Kapitan every day! Hence explains why I am there early and leave late to catch up on my things. Oh, in almost every meeting, I’d be the only lady. Sigh...

Busy period
Expectation:
One week of late nights, while the rest are fairly reasonable or easy.
Reality:
Been here for 3 weeks and it only gets worse each time. Perhaps there is no such thing as low peak season in this company, unlike in Europe where most practically close their office during summer.

Lunch
Expectation:
Half an hour at a minimum.
Reality:
Say what? Apparently there is no such thing as lunch break. If you do eat out, make sure u add the hours i.e. leave at 5 or 530pm.

*******
I dont know how long I can survive at this place. If I knew it’d be this bad, I might as well join the banks or specialised firms where I’d be enjoying the role. At least I’d be spending my time on something I love doing
.

Ps: The young lady is definitely not happy. :(

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Observations

Scenario 1:

While going through an analyst’s work who was also new to the company, I realised he had done a lot within the last three months. When I told him what I thought, his reply was, “you are the first person who acknowledges my hard work. Thank you.”

Scenario 2:

I went to the procurement girl to ask about the status of few important invoices as I needed to see them physically before giving my sign-off to the bankers/consultants. After seeing those documents and knowing it would be approved by today, I went back to my place and continued my work. Few minutes later, she came to me and asked, “How did you know that I handle the approval side of payments?” I explained that it was my job to understand such line of chain and who was responsible for what. She then replied, “Some people have been here for months and even years but they still dont know what I do or the processes involved. I’m amazed that you managed to find out in your second week.”


**********

I am still struggling with this role and at times I feel I am losing it. It doesn’t get easier when I am given ridiculous deadline. If the issue has been there for years and people who were given the chance to resolve it within 6 months time frame couldn’t do it, please dont expect me to come up with miracles in 2 working days.

I am just speechless
....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Women on top

I dont know which is harder; being a lady boss or an asian woman. It is so freaking difficult when everyone gets defensive whenever I pose a question that I want to slap them then and there. It doesn’t get any easier when I am the only female at my level. Heck, one “peer” has yet to acknowledge my presence despite having daily meetings but I was told by the HR guy that it could be due to the fact that I have more knowledge and experience in what he is doing. Dude, I am not taking over your job. Get real!

Thankfully the directors are sensible enough to entertain my requests in my pursuit to understand the business and my role better. Slowly I am gaining respect from some staff upon their discovery of my background.

It is not easy to be a woman on top, especially when you are asian, in an environment where most people are old-school-minded.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Singing in the rain

Video ini ditujukan khas buat peminat-peminat Glee dimana jua anda berada. ;-)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A perfect finale

Sometimes the only thing that makes all these bumps and bruises all worth it is her. A smile on her face and simple appreciation gestures take away all troubles and sorrows as if life is a walk in a park where birds sing melodious tunes and beautiful butterflies can be spotted amongst those blooming flowers.

And so today I am taking her to see one of her favourite bands, another mummy-and-me session. She is all geared up in her Selena Gomez’s style while I try my best to appear as a cool mum, whatever is that supposed to mean.

All I know is that no matter what, we’ll have a good time tonight, a perfect finale for my career break. I hope she’ll remember the moments we had over the past nine months. I hope she enjoyed it as much as I did. I hope she’ll cherish those precious memories in years to come.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

In the end, she's a gold digger

First it was Kanye West where we both danced like crazy to his Gold Digger song. The young lady did it so well that someone captured her dance on video cam while others cheered on her. Tonight I'm getting some time to myself to watch Linkin Park.
I tried so hard
And got so far
But in the end
It doesn't even matter


Watch this space. *winks*

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Coffee table

As I mentioned before, since I moved here I have become a book junkie. With no tv and phone connection as well as mobile broadband with speed as fast as tortoise and the closest cafe located 20 minutes walk, I had to find a suitable activity to keep me occupied. The weekly trip to the mall meant a few books in hand and it’s a bonus when the bookshop I love has ‘3 for 2’ offer.

Here goes some that made it to my library over the past 2 months:


Blue Blood series – I read #2 and I couldn’t put it down. I then got #1, #3 and #4 immediately while #5 came out recently. It’s a cross between Gossip Girl, TVD and Buffy/Angel. Initially I hated Mimi Force, typical high profile teenage socialite but she proved to be a strong leader and showed a softer side in #4.


An offer you can’t refuse, J Mansell – Utterly hilarious! I was practically laughing to myself, much to the amusement of the partner as he thought I was losing my mind.

Breaking up is hard to do, 2 authors – Not bad but some parts and storylines could have been written better. Well, it is meant for teenagers, so I shouldn’t put too much hope.

Narnia series, 4 books – What can I say? I simple love kids’ fantasy book and Narnia is a good literature choice; words and plot. The ending was a bit sad and I didn’t expect it to be that way. Oh, I got the books through the young lady, courtesy from her awesome school library.

Lipstick Jungle – It was average for me. I could pause, read another book and then continue back to this novel. Perhaps the tv series is more exciting, not that I watch any in full.

Starbook, B Okri – I started reading this before I left London and stopped after a few pages. I decided to continue from beginning about 3-4 weeks ago and still couldn’t finish. Each time I read, I couldn’t help feeling like I’m studying literature as a subject at university.

The Art of War for Women – Most parts are worth reading and put you on the ‘climbing the corporate ladder’ mode. The last few chapters were forgettable.

Nice girls dont get the corner office – The art of war is definitely better.

There were other books such as nudge, blink and those I read before I left London i.e. accidental mother (another hilarious book) but I cant remember them all. I doubt I will have the same luxury after this but I will try to pick one every fortnight. We say that all the time but reality is, it will be hard to achieve.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Blunder

I was watching G**d M*rning America few minutes ago and they talked about 4 happiest places on Earth. Lion City was one of them. (Fishy here as I dont think they know the work culture in that city).

If you think that was interesting, wait until you see the map they used. It was Peninsular Malaysia, coloured in yellow and a huge 'Sp*re' sign with an arrow pointing to it. *smack*

Now we know why a lot of people are misguided. I suppose I could forgive our local media for committing such blunders as even a well-known program does it.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

These shoes aren't made for walking

It has been done. Today was the day I signed the offer letter and I am due to start in about two weeks from now. I texted Lady of Persia saying that I felt slightly nervous as it has been almost nine months since I was in corporate mode. Hopefully I will be able to talk sensibly and get my groove back.

After searching high and low I found a nanny who met our requirements. Her previous role was with a British family, 35 hours per week with a pay close to a graduate back home. She’ll start this weekend and hopefully it will be swift. Apparently she’s also a good cook, bonus point there.

Schools will be closed for a week during Eid and I think we’ll busy with lots of things. F1 invitation to fulfil, Jonas Brothers’ concert to be considered, trips to Fashion City and safari parks to name a few. It will be our first time watching the race and I hope the young lady wont get funny ideas that it’s a norm to be enjoying it from the box. Tix are courtesy from a friend who is the kapitan of one of the sponsors. As for the concert is concerned, I should come prepared with cotton balls in my bag as the decimals of shrieking teenage girls will be excruciating.

Instead of receiving a basket of flowers as congratulatory gift on first day at the office, I will be getting a new suit, maybe in silver, in advance of course. A practical approach for a person like me and I pray that our trip to Fashion City will be fruitful, size wise. Since we are there, why not add few shirts, a bag and a pair of shoes? *grins* Yet I must refrain myself from spending as the Shopping Buddy might come over in case she gets bored in London during Xmas week. We will definitely check out Blahnik and perhaps it is time for her to reward herself with a pair of those. I doubt I will get anything as they usually come in high heels and unless they have anything in two inches of height, I’ll just have to close one eye.

In the mean time, the only soles I want are these:



Picture from metro

Have a good weekend friends! Oh yeah, do make sure you are on high grounds for those who are affected by the flood.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

10 things I hate about you

I mean the city. Here goes:

1. Finding a good salon is like searching a needle in a haystack. To make matter worse, they aren’t as visible as you expect one to be. I suppose it’s for privacy purpose but for a woman like me who is new to the city, it is a frustrating process. A few weeks ago, I tried a threading service but I was left disappointed as it didn’t meet my requirement. Too much glam I must say. I miss my Italian beautician back in London. Sigh.

2. Weather and atmosphere aren’t kind to my skin. Instead of just having one zit on monthly basis, they appear like mushroom after heavy rain. Maybe my diet is partly to be blamed as I haven’t been stuffing sandwiches or soups as I usually did.

3. Of all the big malls in the city, only one has both book and dvd/cd stores equivalent to Books etc and HMV, hence explains my regular trips to that place. At least if everything goes according to plan, the potential workplace will be there, more the reason for me to accept the job offer.

4. Public transport is a nightmare. I know I shouldn’t be comparing to London but seriously, I miss taking the bus and underground.

5. Drivers are insane and not a day goes by without an accident in the news. As the lanes are wide, some zig-zag as if they are F1 drivers, without giving signals! It doesn’t help when cars are cheap and most take this advantage by getting 4-wheel drive or powerful luxury types.

6. Every time you come across the local women, rage of jealousy surfaces. Underneath the black attire, there is a woman who knows how to style herself immaculately. Not an inch of her body is spared. Their hair and make-up appear to be done by a professional stylist while their fashion sense is to die for. Just one look at their shoes will send shivers to your spine. Oh, and these are the ones you see at the malls. Just imagine how they’ll look like at formal functions.

7. It takes too much effort to get any paperwork done. I am still figuring out on how to get my Oz certificate be attested by the Oz foreign affairs for the work permit purpose. The partner suggested that I should let HR handle everything, “if they want you, they should find a solution.” I am nicer than him, thus try my best to fix this without troubling them.

8. Recently I went browsing for clothes and it hit me that it was close to impossible. MD and Zara start from size 8 and while TH has a handful in my size from time to time, they aren’t my taste.

9. I am a shirt person and unfortunately, I have yet to see shops similar to Charles Tyrwhitt or TM Lewin. This will be an issue once I start working, especially since I was used to buying a shirt at a fraction of the price frequently.

10. Schools start early which means I have to wake up at 5.30am to prepare her packed lunch and breakfast. How I long for 7 to 8 hours of rest which was easy to get during autumn and winter. I treasure my sleep since I was deprived of it when I was young due to the ‘kiasuness’ in me for wanting to excel.

That’s a wrap, people. Have a nice weekend!

*Ms B couldn’t believe that she finished reading three books within a week. The lure of Blue Bloods was so strong that she couldn’t put the novels down. She thinks she’ll be on the prowl this weekend to find the fifth book.*

Monday, October 25, 2010

The accidental role

Sometimes I feel my life attracts chaos and mayhem, an opposite to the way I want it to be running as I do love things to be in order. Perhaps there is an unknown factor inside me that seems to think it will be colourful to have a little bit of mess.

For example, while I was lounging on the sofa and enjoying the program yesterday morning, my phone rang showing a familiar number. The HR manager was on the other line, apologising himself for breaking the news at the very last minute. The CEO would like to see me at 10 o’clock.

Great! I had 90 minutes to get ready and find my way to the city. Remember I told you that I live in the middle of nowhere, hence it would be challenging to get a cab.

It didn’t take me long to dress up. I chose the most practical gear, a mocha A-line dress with white cardigan matched with beige D’Orsay pumps. The problem was getting to the place. I knew it would be quicker to walk to the main road and hail a taxi than calling the cab centre and direct them to the house. I was prepared for the twenty-minute march but luck was on my side when I saw one in sight after walking halfway. Clearly it was a good sign.

I showed up 10 minutes before the meeting, reflecting the ‘British’ side of me.

Anyway, it was a short interview and moments later, the HR manager took me out for coffee as an apology for putting me in a very tight situation earlier. Mocha was in order and as I was extremely hungry (I didn’t even have time to eat anything before I left!), I decided to have chicken quiche. As we both chatted and enjoyed our drinks, he passed me the offer letter.

I must admit that this was the weirdest interview I ever experienced. The amount of time they were investing on me was admirable. Four formal meetings and two informal discussions were enough to convince that I’d be ok. For the first time, I had an opportunity to negotiate my package. I had more things at stake if I were to join compare to the company’s risk in hiring me. The initial offer was already good by my standard and at the top range of my market rate but it wouldn’t do me harm to ask for a higher amount.

The final package was 15% higher or 50% more than my previous remuneration, at gross of course. If at net, my friends’ eyes will turn green. *rolling eyes*

Perhaps I am meant to take this path, adding another skill to my resume, further pushing me to be a ‘Jane of all trades’. It will be challenging as I will deal with the three Kapitans (British, Aussie and Asian) directly, jumping over the Director, as well as managing external parties. I hope I will be ok.

And if I dont, please expect a lot of grievances channelled here. *sceptic look
*

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A fishing trip

When I left the house this morning, I was still unsure about this role and couldn’t see how I could sell myself. A salesman needs to understand his product well before he can convince others to buy. It was my main problem as I had no clue what I was up against.

However, when you are put in a room with a man who has served more than two decades with a huge corporation and was posted to major cities around the world, you cannot help yourself from listening to him with an open heart and mind. From his appearance and gestures, there was a clear indication that this was a man who possesses qualities that a strong leader should have. Despite his position and achievements, his willingness to spare some time with me made this whole thing a humbling experience.

Instead of being tested, it felt more like him convincing me on why this role would be good. When I walked out of the room, my perception on this path changed. It caught me by surprise when the HR manager came to see me after the meeting was over. He was very keen to know how I felt spending time with the CFO. He understood my concern of doing something different and how it’ll affect my career.

A few hours after the meeting, I received a phone call from the bubbly HR lady, asking me if I was free tomorrow to spend an hour with the Director for a “3rd interview”. Apparently he would like to show the workplace, explain the tasks and role in detail, etc.

Why do I feel like everyone is trying to sell this post to me?

My friends think that they are doing their best to ‘pancing’ me. What do you reckon?


ps: This post was written last night.

Back to life

It feels so good to have the TV back that we just couldnt get enough of it. The young lady conquered it the moment she found out we got our satellite up and running. As for the internet, well, for the first time in many weeks, we could watch YouTube or listen to music stream with ease.

Such sweet pleasure of life...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A twisted interview

Do you know the feeling of wanting something so bad that you would go all out to get it? Even if it means sacrificing your sleep, racing against bad traffic or spending ridiculous amount on fine suits?

Well, I didn’t have any of those feelings. In fact, I felt the whole interview was poor by my standard. Too many grammatical errors and hesitations were made that I thought I should really spank myself for giving such performance.

I had no excuse for not delivering my finest act. Well, maybe I did. I wasn’t sure the role suits me and pretty convinced that I didn’t have the skill and experience. A day before the meeting, I browsed the company’s website and saw the role advertised, clearly wanting someone from similar background.

So imagine my reaction when the Director asked, “why should we offer you this job?”

I didn’t have a clue on how to response as I was uncertain if this path was right for me. Still, I tried to give a realistic answer to the question as what any other candidates would do.

When the opportunity arose, it was my turn to shoot questions which took both of the interviewers by surprise. There I was, counter-arguing why I wasn’t fit for the role and demanded an explanation from them for wanting to see me when there was nothing on my resume which suggested I had the right recipe.

The HR manager then explained that they had interviewed a dozen candidates who met the requirements but somehow, none of them fit the bill. The role has been advertised for more than two months that it was time to look at things from a different angle, hence me in the picture.

The meeting which took place on Thursday afternoon only lasted for half an hour, cut by me of course as it was time to fetch the young lady from school. Throughout the weekend, the scene kept playing inside my head just like a faulty tape player, highlighting the moments where I made myself a fool.

Today, shortly before 10 o’clock in the morning, I received a phone call from the HR girl. I have a second interview with the CFO this week.

Unbelievable!

And I am still not convinced that I am the right ‘man’ for the role
.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

of being different

Being an Asian woman has proven to be my strength, not my weakness. If I were blue-eyed, blond male and had gone to the same schools and learned the same things that they had, I wouldn’t know how to set myself apart. It is tough to compete with people who are identical to you. Being different gives me an edge.

~The Art of War for Women
~

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Honeymoon is almost over

Yesterday I received a phone call from a HR lady of XYZ company which has something to do in energy. She wanted to arrange an interview between me and the director which will take place next week. Now, before you start to wish me good luck, there is something you should now.

I’m being called for a role which has nothing to do with my skills and experience! I believe my 2-page CV has done a good reflection and nothing between those lines suggest that I have the knowledge to carry the required role, especially at decision-making level.

So just imagine when the nice woman on the other line had to repeat the role that I was “applying” for as well as the name of the company when clearly I had no clue of the subject matter. Perhaps she was thinking if her boss was at the right state when he asked to arrange for a meeting with me.

I knew the partner was sending my resume around but it would have been nice if I was made aware of the companies so that I don’t appear a fool when they call. I think I’ve had enough share of making myself looking like a lunatic in the past and try my best to minimise it.

Anyway, friends have mixed reaction. Some said I should go for it whilst others think it’s rather risky i.e. being responsible for a subject which I have no clue. There is no harm in going for the interview but I should at least make the director aware that my experience may not be suitable for the role.

Ideally, I would like to see myself landing a place with an investment house but it seems I have missed an opportunity. I was told one has made a tentative offer to someone and awaits for his/her acceptance but the CEO is still keen to meet me (they only received my resume yesterday). Now, should I proceed to see him when I know that the job has already been taken? Is it wrong for me to pray for that person who was offered the position to decline, giving me a small chance to nail the job?

Ironically, the partner wondered what was so special with my short and simple CV that I was getting the right attention. His exact words, “I am jealous. I need to see what is wrong with mine (re resume) now.”

Right... getting attention from companies gives him buzz but not when men ogle me. *rolling eyes*

I better make full use of my honeymoon period, thus more cooking and baking over the next few weeks. Once I join the workforce, it will be back to desserts from the bakery shops and cafes
.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Of lemons

(Pic from wikimedia)

Sometimes, despite your best efforts otherwise, life will give you lemons. When that happens, you've got two choices: you can wear a sour face or make lemonade.
~ Burke, Love Happens ~


The thing about unpacking is that you discover old items which trigger memorable events, or get you thinking why you got that in the first place.

Today while going through my CD collections, I found this Malay album compilation which had Khayalan by VE & Ruffedge in its playlist. I saw they were signed; the cover and discs. I began to wonder who gave me the album but the only clue I could figure out (or eligible to read) was the dates. I suppose the mystery remains unsolved unless my memory decides to give me a treat by giving glimpses of the past.

If I am not mistaken, songs are usually given by member of the opposite sex. Then again, being me, I am always oblivious with this stuff.

Anyway, I wanted to write about lemons but got sidetracked by this discovery. For as long as I could remember, I have been able to make lemonades whenever life gives me this citrus. One cannot avoid from having lemons, although it would be nice if they can be replaced with melons once in a while. Unless you happen to be at Hyde Park on a hot summer day where melons can be spotted from a far, nicely wrapped in bikinis or bounce under tank tops, please expect lemons coming your way.

Even when they were pouring down like there was no tomorrow, I could still turn the excessive fruit into pickles. It gives a nice flavour to Mediterranean dishes and lasts longer.

Yet there is a limit to how much a body can consume lemonades or space to store preservative. If a person can die from drinking too much water, I am certain that lemonades will have similar effect or worse, accelerate the process.

Besides, it takes less effort to wear a sour face and from time to time, one should be forgiven for choosing the easier way to reflect one’s emotions for having a downpour of lemons.

Oh well, at least I was able to bake lovely scones yesterday
.

Monday, October 04, 2010

First term at Malory Towers

(pic from Brownies' website)

While hanging out with Professor Chic during my recent trip back, we talked about how privilege our kids were. Having a small family and leading a moderate lifestyle mean that we are able to provide more for our kids. She sends her kids to a good private school (not that she needs to as they are bright and have their parents’ genes), allows them a bit of fancy toys, allocates holiday trips local and abroad, including one for her and the girlfriends, to name a few.

The young lady is currently leading a life which I could only dream of when I was a child. As she enters into her fourth week, I am beginning to see the perks of attending an exclusive school.

I had no complaints about her former place in London. To me, it was definitely better than what I experienced when I was at her age. A small school with adequate and attentive staff as well as being ranked top 1% throughout the country this year, it was a great place to be.

The current one however, gives a different perspective. They encourage independence, creativity and self-discipline in students as well as respecting diversity. I suppose it is the same in any given school but I feel they take a step further in achieving these goals.

For example, Year 4 to 6 have already adopted Upper School’s system where one has to go to subject’s room when lesson changes. It is not as often as senior students but enough to keep them alert i.e. lesson and destination. The first two weeks saw them lost a couple of times and it got interesting when they were separated from one another. I think only two or three subjects are taught in their own classroom or base as they call it.

Middle school (aka their year group) has its own science lab which makes the subject appealing. Imagine a proper lab with equipments and tools fit for 8 to 11 year olds. Apart from Art, they have Design Technology where this term’s syllabus is paper engineering. I believe everyone loves Drama, especially when they get to play ‘wink murder’ and act death scene. The school has an affiliation with a leading performing arts academy and students can sit for examination to get some form of certificate (I only read this briefly). So far, the young lady enjoys her languages’ lessons and has picked up a few phrases. Sometimes she gets mixed up with her French and this is where I’ll jump in.

Next is the break. The school has no bell, probably on purpose. They get two breaks; a 15 minute time out in the morning and lunch which lasts for 50 minutes. Kids have to be mindful of their timing. She didn’t need a watch before but now, it plays an important role. She always manages to squeeze a trip to the library during her morning recess. I was told that it is big and cosy, with many PCs on high-speed broadband (she emphasises the SPEED) and bright sofas. She has borrowed four books todate and checks her email from time to time. In addition, Middle School has their own common room where one gets to lounge and gossip (ok, maybe chat and play. Gossiping is for upper school).

The school accepts special kids and they are not treated differently. I suppose they get an extra hour for special class or swap certain subjects with something else e.g. physical therapy but the rest of the lessons are taught in the same manner. A classmate of hers is one of them and she goes to almost all lessons, and yes, including zooming from one place to another in her wheels. I think it is awesome as it creates a positive environment to kids and promotes high level of acceptance.

Not forgetting is the school trip. On her first day there, I received an email detailing the trip. It’s a four day camp at an adventure centre located near a fishing port where many outdoor activities take place, including trekking, mountain biking, kayaking, dolphin watching etc. I wasn’t ready to let her go as she had many changes in the past three months. Plus, it is in another country. Perhaps next year and maybe by then, she’ll have more confidence to go on away trip. It is a stark contrast to my experience as my first overnight outing happened when I was twelve and it was only two hours away from home.

So you see, in many ways, the young lady is lucky and will reap many benefits if she maximises this opportunity. Of course just like everyone else, sometimes she gets a bad hair day and that triggers all the horrible moods, hence missing London terribly. It’s an adjustment but the way she sees it, all her friends either are in transition mode or have gone through the phase. It comforts her knowing they are in the same boat.

The fact that she is making plans on what she wants for next term or next year eases me too. *smiles
*

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Scrutinising thoughts

When I first started blogging, it was meant to be a place where I could voice out freely as I was not the type of person who could do so on personal matters. It was weird to see a side of me who was blunt and proactive at work or socially but not when it came to matters of the heart. I found it therapeutic each time I vented my steam like having a stress bubble pops, not that you could see one. I’m sure it would be a huge relief if we could see the stresses inside us come out in that form and burst into thin air.

Perhaps it was easier to express myself knowing no one was actually listening. Even when this blog was slowly gaining its voice, it was still a good place to reveal my thoughts as I remained anonymous to all.

Then somehow I made new friends through this channel and began to share with closest allies. I suppose if I was seeing a shrink, he or she would probably say that I was taking a step forward; could be a healing process based on Grey’s therapist.

Yet sharing this came with responsibilities. I began to scrutinise my thoughts and found myself in a crossroad of talking about subjects in general or touching personal stuff. Take today for example. I am torn whether I should write about her life at school or issues in parenting. I am sure my friends are dying to hear her fabulous life yet it may be perceived differently by others. Similarly, when things dont go my way, I am afraid my post might trigger concerns among my dear ones and the last thing I want is to worry them! (esp those high in hormones due to certain “condition”. *winks*)

I know I have come a long way in this journey of rediscovering myself. Either way, I am sure I will write about something instead of talking whether I should just like this crazy post. Bear in mind that I am still without tv, phone and decent broadband, hence it is no wonder that I am beginning to sound like a mental patient. I do not even bother to check how many tv series have I missed over the last four weeks as I am sure it will make it more depressing.

Let me see.... TVD, GA, NCIS, Bones, Castle, WC... and the list goes on. Sigh...

Have a good weekend people. We’re heading to a nearby city and I’m planning to grab more dvds to keep myself entertained (or sane).

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cekodok and celebrity tales

Not wanting to waste the overly ripe bananas, I decided to mash them in a bowl and added flour, salt and sugar. I couldn’t remember the last time I made ‘cekodok’ but I reckoned the formula was about there.

Anyway, they turned out quite nice actually and the young lady was slowly depleting our brunch snack. I wasn’t sure how the partner would react as his first response upon seeing those bananas (before I mashed them) was to throw them away.

Imagine my surprise when he said he liked it; “hmmm, these are nice. It would be better if we serve them with jam and honey”.

Hmm, who would have thought that ‘cekodok’ is a Malay version of scones? *grins*

On another note, while enjoying our coffee at Marina Mall, we saw our picture in the City’s weekly magazine. The Eid gathering that we went was featured in their ‘People and Places’ section and perhaps the dress we wore caught the photographer’s attention. The young lady was beaming with joy and hasn’t stopped talking about being famous.

What the heck? Bukannya senang nak jadi celebrity, kan? *winks
*

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Look at me

A few days ago I received an email from a headhunter based in London who specialises in international placement and they have offices in most of the big cities. It was only yesterday that I decided to reply to her email and included my contact number as well as preferred time to chat.

An hour later (which was 9am UK time), I got a phone call from her.

Now, this reminded me of a question posed by someone which I intend to answer hopefully through this post. How to get yourself noticed in an ocean, assuming you are targeting a bigger market?

When you are a graduate and competing against thousands, you need to have something unique to set you apart. If you happen to come from a reputable university, you might have an edge. It will be nicer if you consistently achieve good pointers or awards such as dean’s list. It will be brilliant if you happen to do all that while doing volunteer work, working part-time or actively participating in clubs. Err, the sensible clubs of course and not any hidden (dark) societies. Maybe Twilight fans are exempted.

Never assume things are so trivial or unimportant that you leave them out from your resume. Those that you think sound simple or silly may actually get you noticed, although it is best if you discuss it with someone just to make sure you are on the right track.

For example, a few months ago I reviewed a CV of a young graduate. It was boring! I mean, she had all the academic excellence (awards, honours etc) but there was nothing catchy. I asked why she didn’t put her modelling experience as she did quite a fair bit while studying. She didn’t want to appear as if she wasn’t serious in her studies. Like DUH! Obviously she did really well in her exams.

So I asked her to include it but rephrase in a manner where the reader could see that she benefited from the experience. In addition, I told her to include a few other activities which she did while doing her undergrad.

Anyway, she landed herself a few interviews and from glancing across the desk, she saw all of them highlighted her modelling stint. They were more interested in her glamorous short-lived career and asked why she didn’t pursue that. It made her noticed in a room of hopeful candidates. Imagine if she left that out.

Of course it was equally important on the way she handled the question i.e. why not be a supermodel and earn lots of money. Suffice to say she got herself a few job offers and thanked me for insisting her to include ‘trivial’ points on her resume.

I can’t give you the right answer to get to where you want. One has to be creative to get noticed. Most companies have online CV submission and there are plenty of good jobseekers’ websites where you can register yourself and find something suitable in your field of interest.

And sometimes you just need a little bit of luck. After all, it is a big pool out there. *winks*

*Ms B is feeling excited as the the cable guys are coming today to fix (or install) tv reception and phone connection. She hopes they show up unlike the furniture guys who were supposed to deliver the young lady's study desk two days ago.*

Monday, September 20, 2010

Stairway to heaven

I was on my way to the road of Prozac (it’s an exaggeration, I know) when the partner decided to take me out of the house on Friday morning to have breakfast at the cafe which was 3 minutes away. Somehow we realised the plaza has two other diners, a decent size supermarket which stocks up lots of western goods, magazines included, as well as spas, among others. Anyway, while reading Time Out magazine, I found out there are a few salons within the area, supposedly hidden.

When we were done with our plateful of eggs, sausages and smoked salmon, the partner came up with the idea of enquiring the beauty spot in the plaza. We thought it was meant for the airline staff based on the name of the place, thus never bothered to ask. That day, he felt compelled to find out more about the spa and went to its reception.

Hmm, maybe I’ve added more wrinkles on my face and my hands were as rough as rocks that he thought it was best I got myself an overhaul.

Surprise surprise! It was open to public. Marvellous!

The partner decided to send me to boot camp and as the young lady wanted to tag along, I chose to have a massage which wouldn’t take too much time. I was practically telling the masseuse that I was in heaven, except from time to time when the lady popped into the room to ask question on her DSi puzzle game. *grins*

I thought my trip to the land of bliss ended when I left the spa. Imagine the look on my face when he said I should take the whole day off while he did all the housework.

Ah, he even made lunch; baked trout and grilled vegetables
.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Desperate Housewives in the making

(pic googled)

I always wonder how my SAHM friends handle home affairs without jeopardising their appearances. A step into their place, one cannot help but to feel impressed by its spotlessly clean and neat arrangement. At the same time, they always look great and leave behind a trail of sweet fragrance wherever they go. It seems cleaning and cooking have little effect on them, even if it involves preparing a dish which requires ‘belacan’ or chilli paste.

How on earth do they do that!?!?

I am beginning to miss the old abode where it only took me half a day in a week to maintain. The small and cosy space meant less area to clean while laundry was kept to minimal as there were only two of us. Cooking was bliss as mine were usually simple dishes and if I didn’t feel like it, there was always M&S pop-in-the-oven selection or nearby restaurants for take-away food.

The house is now a few times bigger and constant TLC is required. There are always things to be done or perhaps it is just me who couldn’t stand unkempt place, as if there is a decree in managing household. I wish I could just turn an eye blind but dishes won’t magically wash themselves nor the dust disappears on its own.

At the moment, I am currently located in the middle of nowhere, though the young lady is having a hard time understanding the term as she keeps saying that there is no such thing as nowhere-land. It’s a popular place for expat and within our villas of 12 (or 10), six are occupied by blondies while two could probably come from Mediterranean. There are at least three international schools and many private institutions within 5 minutes drive radius.

Yet, the nearest civilization has only ONE coffee place, a good one thankfully. At least if I feel like taking a break, we could head there for the full English breakfast or gourmet burger for dinner. The place is so brand new that they have yet to install connecting cables to the nearest station for tv reception! We found out yesterday that neighbours have been using ‘special’ satellite dish to get their tv up and running. I am seriously considering that option. As for internet is concerned, I have been relying on my mobile broadband but 3G is so low that the speed is as fast as tortoise race.

Don’t get me started on school stuff. No doubt it’s a prestigious school but the glitches could have been handled better. I am not paying peanuts here, thus I expect better from them. The lessons are longer by an hour compare to her previous school to cater for additional subjects i.e. languages and drama. The young lady looks ok so far but once after-school activities kick in, she’ll be finishing by 4pm. It is probably longer than the working hours of government officers.

In the mean time, let’s just pray that I can keep my sanity
.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Marhaba

We landed the Land of Emirates shortly before midnight local time on Sunday. It was quite refreshing to be greeted with smiles and warm gestures, an opposite to what I experienced in another city in this region. The feelings escalated when we saw a familiar face as we made our way out from the arrivals gate. She quickly jumped into his open arms and he swept her off her feet.

It was good to be back by his side.

As we reached our new residence, we couldn’t contain our excitement and felt a sense of serenity to this place that would be our new home. The young lady was checking one room to another and going up and down the staircase. It only lasted for a while as fatigue kicked in and we went to bed to catch the much needed sleep.

The next two days were spent making this place more homely and settling school matters. The young lady will commence next Monday as the school breaks for Eid starting today. We have also sorted her school bus and I believed she’s one of a few upper primary students in the coach to our route. Most are in foundation or FS1. I told her that if small children can take the bus, she definitely can cope. It’ll take her 20-30 minutes to reach home, not bad considering it takes less than 15 minutes drive door-to-door.

We came to realise that there was another school less than five minutes away. Although it’s Canadian stream, it would have been helpful to note it earlier due to its convenience. For now, we’ll settle with this British international school.

As for Eid preparation, I managed to bring five types of cookies. However, the partner said I forgot to bring his favourite snack. I was cracking my head thinking of its name when Momster told me its correct reference. So I mentioned to the partner I’ll try to remember taking scissors snack (aka kuih gunting) next time around.

Oh, remember I said that we didn’t have much planned to celebrate unlike our days in London? Apparently we’ll be attending a brunch gathering at a nice hotel with his fellow country-mates. I plan to come in our traditional baju kurung and we’ll probably be the colourful ones. I was told we’ll catch everyone’s attention as their ladies prefer western dress.

If only I got him a matching baju melayu. It would look great in picture. *grins
*

In case I dont get to write, Selamat hari raya and may you have a blessed eid!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Raya preparation

I haven’t done much preparation for eid. In fact, I couldn’t be bothered to get a new pair of baju kurung knowing I will only wear it once a year. The old ones are still as good as new and I am sure nobody at the new place will notice should I have to host lunch or dinner on that day.

The young lady on the other hand would like to have our traditional dress, preferably in blue. She saw a few that she liked but it was either they didn’t have her size or the quality of workmanship wasn’t as good as I expected. Perhaps we can use Monday to find one that meets all requirements.
I reckon this year will be our simplest way to celebrate eid as we have yet to make friends in the new city. I assume the partner’s friends and colleagues will be away to spend time with their family in their respective hometown, thus reducing the chances of having an open house. It will not stop our kitchen from up and running as the young lady has requested our annual pulut kuning and rendang as well as a few other dishes from his country. Hopefully someday I get to master the cooking and receive less criticism but for now I shall leave it to the partner to prepare them while I focus on making our local dishes.


Pulut kuning and rendang (pic googled)

Pumpkin dessert (pic googled)

A few days ago while enjoying my mocha at a nearby cafe, I texted a friend in London. I was telling her that life here was different and that I wasn’t ready to settle for good. Perhaps the combination of the change in my character and my circumstance led to that conclusion. With the path I chose, it seems unlikely that I will reside here unless of course if I find a pot of gold coins at the end of a rainbow which allows me to have a home in the respective cities, making it possible to retire early and divide my time accordingly.

Hmm, I am not sure if leprechauns would be kind enough to leave their treasure unattended or better, if they visit on my side of the world. Perhaps I have higher chances in striking luck if I go to the Land of Irish.

Leprechaun in his pot of gold (pic googled)

Anyway, I hope I can squeeze a few jars of cookies in my luggage. The partner seemed to like ‘kuih bangkit’ when I introduced it to him back then while the young lady simply enjoys most traditional cookies. As for me, my all time favourite has always been pineapple tart and I used to make them when I was an undergraduate. I think I liked to experiment baking and cooking when I was in my late teens, yet gradually the interest faded away over the years.

Oh, before I forget, I stumbled upon the last book in Twilight series in paperback version. The price was only half than the ones available in UK and as it was on sale, it became almost one third. It didn’t take me twice to think and I grabbed it. To my own surprise, I finished reading in one day.

I still think Jacob is hotter than Edward.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

High School Musical no more

After three nights in a row having dinner at fine dining places, all I wanted tonight was to chill at a mamak joint or equivalent. Thankfully my two buddies were game for it and we decided at this corner restaurant in Telawi. Since Ramadan commenced, I had yet to taste a cup of teh tarik, thus the strong urge to have a sip of this local favourite.

True enough, I had two mugs of this drink and as a result, my mind decides to stay fresh at this hour. I hope I can wake up for sahur and not drift to dreamland.

I wasn’t planning to write but why waste this energy as I know my thoughts are composed better when everyone is having a stroll in their dream. I only wish that I have nicer things to write when truthfully, all I can think of is sarcasm.

People are prone to change but I am sure we expect better from those who are close or used to be in good terms with us. Somehow our act of kindness goes right down the drain, resulting the uncalled behaviour or reaction.

Come to think of it, it wasn’t me who remembered what I did for these people. Instead, it was my friends who highlighted and that annoyed them.

But hey, when there is a domineering party who loves to be the centre of attention, eventually others who get close will get infected. It is not surprising when they too start to portray similar traits.

Anyway, I am learning my lesson. I should be careful where generosity is concerned. I shall think many times before I let a ‘friend’ uses my car, wears my clothes or stays at my place. They could be wearing a different mask in future.

Some people are still living in the past and who they were before is more relevant than what they have become. Others have achieved significant milestone and I believe that matters more than having a so-called ‘colourful’ background.

Even the young lady and her friends have stopped following High School Musical. If only adults share the same sentiment and move on
.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Language for dummies

Me: Do you want to go to Pasar Ramadan?

The Young Lady: No. There is too much food there. Let’s just go to **** restaurant and order.


Hmm, I was quite surprised hearing that from her. Probably she couldn’t be bothered by the food feast. She just wants a plate of her favourite dish for iftar and unfortunately, I couldn’t make them as the oven in this house isn’t working. She prefers her old routine of breaking fast with a simple meal (roast chicken is super quick to prepare) followed by dessert for supper.

Somehow going from one stall to another is too much for her.

One thing she does enjoy is the variety of kuih. I try to get different ones each day and she has no complaint so far unless it happens to be too spicy e.g. cara berlauk.

On a different note, the other day something tickled me and as it was Ramadan, I refrained from making further comments. There was no point getting into an argument with an old mamak ‘pak haji’.

I wonder how people define themselves as Malays or Muslims. It baffles me when I see their reactions towards others who do not fit their ‘mould’, especially where kids are concerned. My friends’ children shared their views when they came back from abroad. They were ridiculed for having an accent and after a few months, they started to speak ‘manglish’ in order to be accepted.

People are quick to judge when they see someone different from them. I dont see the point of mastering the language when their values are long gone. The social ills in this country are alarming that I wonder where we went wrong that these youngsters are behaving the way they are.

I dont blame my friends for wanting their kids to be better at English. They simply want the best for their children and this language serves as a good platform to widen one’s knowledge. Besides, if they want to read as many books as they want, why should we stop them?

Further, how do you a expect someone to be good in Malay when we have different dialects for every state? I remember my daughter said she couldn’t understand her cousin as she was speaking the language East –Coast style. Even I need a translator whenever a person talks to me in strong dialect.

I am happy to entertain kids in English regardless where their hometown is. They talk to me sensibly, love their parents dearly and try their best to be better Muslims. It seems they are on the right track compare to some Malay-speaking kids I’ve seen. One who is able to speak bahasa may not necessarily possess its values nor appreciate its culture.

Before anyone makes anymore noise about my girl not speaking the language at par, at least she has no qualms eating durian, sambal or petai. Some Malays couldn’t see themselves near these items!

Hmm, adakah catatan ini mengurangkan pahala puasa saya?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ramadan thoughts

This is our first Ramadan here in six years and it feels different in many ways. I appreciate the moments share with my loved ones but at the same time I miss the simplicity of fasting atmosphere in London. Being in company where one must think many times before expressing one’s thoughts and feelings, I slowly find myself longing for a place where I can define as my sanctuary. In between my hectic schedule, I squeeze in private outings to nearby ‘mamak’ or cafes to get a sip of ‘teh tarik’ or mocha on my own.

While enjoying my drink, I usually find myself lost in my own world reflecting on life and the journey taken so far. I have received mixed reactions but most of them were positive. There are things that I do not share with others but I think it’s a natural act for everyone not to disclose everything. To the handful who knows more, they understand my course of actions pretty well.

There are times that I find myself stuck in giving my views as it may be perceived as strong. I haven’t mastered the art of hitting around the bush and tend to give an honest view. Take for example an invitation to meet people from the past, if a person had an experience of ‘bad reunion’, they simply ask up front if we would be comfortable to meet and if not, it is ok if we want to avoid. Sometimes if I have given similar thoughts on the subject before, I usually avoid giving an opinion again, fearing it may not be what the listener wants.

Of course not many would see it that way.

Anyway, I hope you have a blessed and peaceful Ramadan. Take this opportunity to reflect and appreciate what we have. Often we are caught in our busy life that small things tend to be neglected
.

ps: To Ms Khairunnisa, I havent forgotten your questions. I will try to answer them in due course.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Fillers

While waiting for a friend at a cosy cafe, someone approached at my table and suddenly sat opposite me:

Guy : Miss, sorry my English not so good. Can I talk to you for a few minutes?
Without waiting for me to answer, he continued rambling and I tried my best to follow. To sum it up, he was seeking for donation. All of a sudden, he asked;


Guy: Miss, so where are you from? Here on holiday is it?
Me : Saya orang sini (I am a local). *with a stunned look*


The guy then left and I wasnt sure who was more confused. Perhaps he thought he could easily squeeze some money from me when I have seen this kind of scene many times. I looked around to see why on earth this person thought I wasnt local. Perhaps it was the place as most patrons were foreigners or my attire as I was wearing a floral maxi dress.

Hmm, next time this question arises, I should probably say “Jawa mari”. *grins*


By the way, anyone knows good places that serve fish head curry for dinner? Warung style please and within KL/PJ/ Klang Valley.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Two weeks summary

I promised Momster that I shall update this blog tonight, thus here I am trying to keep my eyes wide awake and compose something in an orderly manner without the help of caffeine as I had three doses of those today alone.

Oh by the way, I truly enjoyed myself today. Too bad our kids couldn’t tag along and I am sure the young lady would have enjoyed speaking to your boy. *winks*

Anyway, it has been more than two weeks since we got back to tanahair. As like your usual ‘balik kampung’ trip, ours is not spared from trying to squeeze time to meet people and tick those on the ‘to-do’ list. It seems everyone would like a piece of us when we could only offer so much. Space and time are proven scarce, thus explains my lack of blogging (and blog-hop). I apologise to my dearest ‘kakis’. Fret not as you are still close to my heart and even when I am away from the blogosphere, I try my best to continue being your texting buddy.

As much as I want to stuff myself with delicious local food, I begin to realise that my stomach can no longer expand as it used to in the past. There is a limit in my calories intake but suffice to say, I think I have done myself proud and managed to cover nasi lemak kerang, satay, mee goreng mamak, ikan patin asam pedas, durian, rambutan, to name a few.

My daily mocha dose has been replaced with teh tarik and Nescafe, making sure they are served with less sugar of course. From time to time when I start missing the usual atmosphere, I purposely arrange to meet at cafes which serve decent coffees.

Initially I was looking forward to this trip. I was under the impression that some things remained the same or perhaps showed signs of improvement. Oh boy was I wrong. There were times that I felt compelled expressing my views but I knew they could only be accepted by those who have an open mind. I am adjusting my expectation as I go along as well as managing those around me, the young lady in particular.

Without a doubt, both of us miss London and I am doing my best to make sure the feeling doesn’t escalate. I remind her and myself that change is good. It doesn’t help when I miss the better half badly which I find it strange as distance has always been in our dictionary. Even the young lady is sensing his absence and quickly interrupts whenever he’s on the line.

Yet I know my place is here. For now, I am using this opportunity to spend time with my loved ones. I am doing my best to fulfil the many roles I am required. As much as I yearn for his presence, I have these responsibilities to shoulder and I couldn’t have done it without his support and blessings.

Sometimes it takes a moment like this to make us appreciate those special people in our life. *smiles
*

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Always be my baby

I wish that the Talent Fairy could hear me
and sprinkle some magical dust
so that for just one day
I get to be as creative as you
or at least have half of your skills.
I would make a pop-up card
Featuring all your favourite things
Ponies, dolphins and fairies
And perhaps a knight in shining armour
Who looks exactly like Justin Bieber,
Or I could sing his songs
Just like you whenever we hit the road
With a perfect tone,
Alas I am only me
Who couldn’t draw or sing
Or in most creative things for that matter.
And so on this day
I hope you will have a wonderful time
Blessed with those who love you from near and afar,
And no matter what
Even if you have blossomed into a fine lady
You will always be my baby


Happy birthday, my love. May you are blessed with beautiful things in life.
Salam kasih,
Mummy

Thursday, July 08, 2010

He's a good kisser

I never thought I’d be saying something like that out loud but the feelings were exhilarating that I blurted. Not only he was good at dancing, he actually kissed pretty well. His skin was so soft that I bet women would be fuming mad, thinking how he got himself a perfect beauty ritual. On top of that, he didn’t smell, much to my surprise.

Who is he?


He is a bottlenose dolphin called Blade. Yup! We had an awesome time yesterday. The young lady and I couldn’t resist this fella. I was the first to volunteer to play with him one-to-one and naturally, I chose to dance and so did my girl. *grins*. Obviously we were falling for this handsome and charming young male.

Now, if only men have his qualities. *lol*

Monday, July 05, 2010

A refreshing start

I do not know where to begin. One thing for sure, our life changed the moment we stepped into this city.

Gone are the days of tubes and red double-deckers for our mode of transportation. Grey cloudy skies are replaced with clear blue backdrop and blazing sunshine. Ice-cream parlours and sweet delicacies cafes can be seen in every block.

On our first day, I was extremely tired and sleepy as our flight arrived after midnight as well as the lack of rest due to packing, cleaning and “emptying” our flat in London a few days before. The cleaning lady came that day and I never felt so much lighter knowing my laundry would be in good hands. She knew we were about to go out and asked if I needed any ironing done. I couldn’t remember the last time I wore anything ironed by someone else. It also felt nice when I was referred as ‘madam’. *grins*

As we enjoyed our outing, for once in many days I felt peaceful as if all my burdens were lifted. The stress I experienced over the past few weeks seemed to have disappeared.

Of course we had another wave of roller-coaster. We spent our days searching for the right place and school. Today we finally made an offer on an abode chosen by the young lady. It is a stark contrast to our cosy 2 bedroom flat back in UK as the young lady will get to enjoy a shared garden right outside the patio. She even said that she would be able to mingle with neighbours within this low-rise development of twelve units or so. The rooftop terrace has enough space for her gardening experiment which I believe would only take place when the temperature is milder. Until then, I have a feeling she will be spending her time indoor in our planned study room/library.

The nearest school is only 5 minutes away but they are not accepting applications as their waiting list is already long. Thankfully, there is a new school which is within 15 minutes drive. It is also smaller compare to others i.e. each year has 1 or 2 classes, a good transition from her previous school which had one class per year.

As we have more or less sorted these two main items, we can finally go on an outing to a neighbouring city, hoping for a close encounter with the friendliest sea-animal. I am sure it will put a smile on the young lady’s face as she has been missing her friends terribly. We are adjusting and coping with these changes, slowly but surely
.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bittersweet journey

Each time I get lost in my own thoughts, which occurs quite frequent lately, the young lady would ask, “what’s wrong, mummy? Are you thinking?”

A common excuse I normally give whenever I start to stare something blankly when in reality I am caught in my whirlpool of emotions. It is best not to dwell into it much, especially when you are around kids. Sometimes I distract by taking her into a world of ponies, fairies or teddies, creating a storyline fit for a bedtime session.
Occasionally I let myself be pulled into the vortex and share with her my thoughts, just like today.

As the date approaches closer, I sense strong emotions making their waves. Happy, sad, anxious, excited, melancholy; all mixed together in a blender that I feel I could burst a colourful flavour.

My mom once told me that whenever she had to travel abroad during her career, she wished that her children would be able to see what she was experiencing, and perhaps do more. Little did she realise that her wish was to be materialised someday and I wouldn’t be surprised if she feels a tinge of regret as the longing can be unbearable. It becomes even worse as the young lady confidently chats away with the grandma, reciting poem that makes her nan speechless. I fear tears roll each time my mother hears the chatterbox, a usual response of grandparents who have been deprived from the physical presence of their grandchild.

My dad on the other hand is more relaxed. Naturally he’d prefer that I continue staying here, perhaps knowing we have been coping well with the environment. From the stories he heard through family, friends and strangers (a small world indeed that he met random people who talked about us), he knew we were doing fine. As any parent, he’d like to see that we are leaving all these good things behind for something better.

Of course it is everyone’s wish whenever a decision is made. We hope for a good or better outcome. Sometimes things go our way, sometimes it doesn’t.

I have many reasons to stay. The wonderful school with caring teachers and great kids, our annual ramadhan and eid routine, trips to the museums, picnics at the park, coffee, four seasons in a day (ok, that’s a bit extreme), to name a few. This city has been kind to us. We started from nothing and built our lives to get to where we are now.

I choose to meet halfway. I wouldn’t want to wake up one day knowing I had an opportunity but I didn’t take it or at least try. I wouldn’t want to regret for missing a chance.

And so I choose this path which I hope will give me happiness and love that last for a lifetime.

Both me and mini B would like to thank you; our friends, blogger friends and silent readers, for accompanying us during our London journey. We hope you have enjoyed yourself as much as we did. It has been a bittersweet ride, an unforgettable chapter indeed.


You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford ~ S. Johnson

Friday, June 11, 2010

Dresses dont lie

Two weeks to go and I have been keeping myself occupied with shopping rendezvous when in reality I should be focusing on the move. I think I've got most things covered. I've reached to a point where anything which is more than a year old or probably has less use or appeal will be given away. So far, a quarter of our things have gone to charity, a quarter to friends and family back home (toys, books and her fashionable outfits) and a fifth to the bin. I even have decided to leave it to the pro for this relocation where our things will be professionally packed and sail on a cruise which I can only imagine a five-star liner as the cost is higher than our flights.

Perhaps the stress is taking a toll on me as when I tried a few dresses yesterday, the sale assistant commented that I should try one size smaller. I quickly pointed out that they were the smallest in their range! She suggested I should check their youth section as they should have more sizes or different cutting.

A purple maxi dress got my attention and I took my usual size to the changing room. It was ok but another sale assistant took the liberty of getting a different fitting. Reluctantly I tried and when I came out, she was beaming with joy and said "now we found your size!"

It was UK size four....... sigh...

I cant wait for our two months break in Malaysia and indulge myself into lots of sinful food. Anyone care to be my ‘makan’ buddy? Momster perhaps?
Have a good weekend friends!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Who should marry him?



Watch the way the little girl plays with her hair. Such a natural flirt, eh? *grins* I bet it will be just a matter of time when the young lady asks to watch his concert. Probably I'll be more excited than her.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Baby you make me wanna die. Where are my guns & horses?

Somehow these songs have made it to our hit list. Jenny from Gossip Girl is a version of 'Good girls gone bad', in a nice way of course. Her husky voice really goes well with this song. I wonder if she's thinking of a career change.



Ellie is another blondie with a unique voice. I find the music video a bit disturbing, a cross between The Vampire Diaries and Alice in Wonderland, hence I chose the live version for this purpose.



As for this tune, the young lady makes herself as an ipod, asking me to "hit play button" and she sings the song. Once, while waiting in line to get coffee, she caught the attention of many when she sang it wholeheartedly. I believe there are many young girls who are in the same boat. Apparently he's romantically linked to Miley. *rolling eyes*

Thursday, May 27, 2010

If I had wings

If I had wings
I would touch a tip of a rainbow
And slide back down to land

If I had wings
I would taste a chunk of starlight
And retain it for someone’s birthday

If I had wings
I would listen to the whispering clouds
Telling me the secrets
Of the bright, queen star

If I had wings
I would gaze at the raindrops
And gather them up to make a picture

If I had wings
I would smell the refreshing wind
Calming myself from anger

If I had wings
I would dream of meeting the queen star
With her orange, long dress
And curtsy back to her

By Mini B @ school

When she recited her poem today, I was taken aback as it was melodiously written. She has given her permission for me to share it with you (esp for Little A & mummy, Momster, Aunty D). Her only request was for me to have it aligned centrally.

Now, dont you feel like having a set of wings too? *smiles
*

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Of becoming a Gilmore


Rory: I just got scared and I sat there.
Lorelai: I understand. You know, I'm still learning this stuff too and since I'm still learning, I think I haven't thought enough about what I'm supposed to be teaching you.
Rory: What are you talking about?
Lorelai: I'm talking about my own personal lack of commitment skills. I mean, look, I love that you have my eyes and my coffee addiction and my taste in music and movies, but when it comes to love and relationships, I don't necessarily want you to be like me. I would hate to think that I raised a kid who couldn't say I love you.

When the young lady first watched this series, the first thing she noticed was how much we had in common, “they are like us, mummy!” From the obvious to little things such as clothes (I was told that my dress was exactly like Rory’s), she got herself roped into this drama and keeps highlighting our similarities.

There were times that I could picture our life would be like theirs when the young lady hits in her teens. Rory’s journey from a small town girl to a gutsy Yale graduate has made her blossomed into a fine character. It is my wish to see my own little daughter to take a similar path, although getting into an Ivy League would probably mean long distance relationship for both of us, something we’ll find hard coping.

Sometimes I wonder what she sees in me. As I watch the emotional struggles of the Gilmore Girls, I realise their issues are similar to ours. The strong bond they share meant that the concept of sharing, and perhaps love, remain an issue. In her eyes, I am probably a super-cosmic heroine, capable of overcoming challenges and granting her wishes no matter how odd they may sound. We have our share of ups and downs and perhaps she understands me the most. I couldn’t think of a better person to be my soulmate.

Recently someone whom I haven’t heard for a while asked about me. I told this person that I resigned a few months ago and I am spending my break with the young lady. The news came as a shock as she probably did not see this coming. A person who did not know how to slow down has finally took the plunge into a world of SAHM.

I am giving myself six months of leave but truthfully, I do not know how long this break will last. Even today I was asked if I was interested in a top finance role back home but of course that is no longer in the picture as the chances of us settling there is slim. For all I know, being a Mary Poppin suits me more as I appear to have less wrinkles as claimed by a few. *praying hard that it’s true*

Most importantly, I think we deserve to try this concept of love and share. It is good to be pampered by someone else apart from her and vice versa. At least there is another person whom she can argue even if it is online or on the phone until this move takes place. Sometimes we just have to tell ourselves to give us a chance when opportunity knocks and that it is ok to feel good about it
.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The curse of

Adamaya.

All because of a video clip, I found myself glued to this series and watched up to 14 episodes over the last two days! I even managed to squeeze in between advertisements while watching the finale of Gossip Girl.

Adakah jejaka-jejaka bernama Adam kacak belaka? *kenyit mata*

I met Maya some time ago here and we chatted for half an hour or more. I couldn’t remember how we ended up talking. As I was oblivious of the entertainment world back home, she mentioned she was an actress and had a movie coming. Quite a pretty girl and she sounds exactly the same in the series.

At the rate I am going, I should be able to finish in two days but it’s Friday, hence I have social obligations with the young lady. Plus, it’s 26 degrees today. Yippie! I am looking very summery in my short twirly dress and leggings matched with white cardigan and ballerina.

Have a nice weekend friends!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bumps and bruises

It's a common belief that positive thinking leads to a happier healthier life. As children we are told to smile, be cheerful, and put on a happy face. As adults we are told to look on the bright side, to make lemonade, and see glasses as half full. Sometimes reality can get in the way of our ability to act the happy part though. Your hope can fail, boyfriends can cheat, friends can disappoint. It's in these moments when you just want to get real, drop the act, and be your true scared unhappy self. ~ GA

My days are spent organising things to make it easier for this move. Six years of history need to be assembled in a manner comprehendible upon unpacking. Bits and pieces of items are tucked together in small boxes and folders, which included sorting out beads of four different craft-making sets of bracelet and necklace. Not an easy task when they were bundled in a big bag. Thankfully the young lady has an eye on details, thus dutifully helping me out. Phew!

Naturally, the act unfolds bittersweet memories. A look at a picture, card or gift triggers a flashback and we can’t help but wonder how did we get from there to here. All I can say is that there is no map or manual to guide us in this passage.

People tend to camouflage their life, thinking that by doing so, they would appear happy. Everyone has a different way in handling void in life and maybe this method works best for them. Yet chances are, it is a quick temporary fix and delays the act of facing the real issues, something most of us dread doing. It is better to have a distraction and get ourselves caught in that whirlpool until it stops at our own pleasure, hoping that by then we are ready to deal with the situation.

Unfortunately, we never are.

Perhaps it is good to let the distraction carry us away for as long as it takes. Perhaps it is better to appear happy and shiny all the time, despite whatever is going on in our head.

Yet, why can’t we allow ourselves succumb to our own emotions? Why can’t we tell ourselves that we should do things differently and face the music?

Sometimes it is ok to let our feelings have their way and that we should be permitted to stay in bed and cry all day. Sometimes we need to change the way we’ve been handling things so that for once, we might get a different outcome.

Letting our emotions flow shouldn’t be seen as a failure and one day in bed hardly counts. Similarly, doing something different and against the norm could be a good thing. Even I have to speak the languages of mythical creatures to understand what’s inside the young lady’s head.

Life is about having bumps and bruises. As long as we have our first aid kit by our side in whatever form, it should be ok. It makes life interesting.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

You're beautiful


Momster thinks I’m worthy enough to get this award which I humbly accept. Many moons ago I was told that she had been reading my blog quietly until one day she decided to leave her caller ID, resulting me becoming her stalker instead. From blogspot to wordpress, which I wasn’t keen at first as I had to give email whenever I wanted to leave comment until she brilliantly came up with the idea of fictitious address, and now back to blogspot, I have always enjoyed reading her post.

Now let’s start cracking on this.

The Rules are as follows:
Step 1. Accept the award and put it on your sidebar.
Step 2. Describe 7 things people do not know about you.
Step 3. Award the Award to 7 other Beautiful Bloggers and describe why they deserve the award.

Step 1: Done

Step 2: This is going to be challenging as my regulars are my friends, hence you guys probably know most of these things. I’m going to follow Momster’s footstep and change it to “might” instead of “do”.

1. People assume that I always maintain this figure of mine forever but there was a time that I used to be chubby and I blamed it on the residence’s dining hall during my undergrad. The three-course dinner was hard to resist and within weeks I successfully gained a few kilos (ok, close to ten). I managed to lose that weight after I broke up with my first love. He on the other hand tripled in size after he got married. I love Karma.

2. I was never an actress back at school. I always performed but they were only dance routine, never involved anything on script. I could never see myself acting until I did my foundation studies and performing arts was compulsory. The major assessment was performing at a theatre where everyone at campus was welcomed to watch. My friends were beyond belief seeing I was playing the most evil and wicked character.

3. I can’t draw, period. The young lady always gives me a hard time when this subject arises. She however has an artistic side and her horse looks like those sketched in story books.

4. I consider myself well-travelled. I’ve been to 12 countries I think (plus one if Malaysia is included) and some trips were taken with the young lady. I was a bit nervous when we had our first trip together but it gets easier as she becomes older.

5. I am a facial virgin. I would like to try but whenever I enquire about it at my trusted salons or beauticians, they usually tell me otherwise. Simply because my routine works for me or specifically, my skin. Perhaps less is better.

6. Currently I think Damon in TVD is hot and when he found out Katherine was never in the tomb, it showed his soft side. It makes him so bloody irresistible.

7. I am loyal to certain brands. I take my mocha from the Mermaid shop.


Step 3:
1. D – A creative writer. In addition, she is always there whenever I have an SOS situation, giving me the ‘check-and-balance’ view.
2. Naz – Another witty blogger and her post in Kedah slang puts a smile on my face, no doubt at times I find it hard to decode.
3. IDB – I always wonder how she manages to capture those up, close and personal pics with sea creatures.
4. Jumper – A father of two who happens to be a chocolate maker. He’s a chocolate maker, need I say more?
5. Danial – A photographer who loves sharing his view of the world through his beautiful caption.
6. Korean Lover – I think she should be hired as a Korean ambassador. From food to tv shows, she gets it covered.
7. Hunny – There is something about the way her mind works.

Ok people, please update your blog accordingly. Thank you for being beautiful
!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Of dresses and purses

It has been awhile since I last stepped into my favourite shops. Perhaps my desire to acquire pretty things has reduced significantly. Sometimes guilt consumes me as I am no longer working, thus I refrain from splurging.

I am passionate about lovely, dainty items and usually they hardly fall under the category of high street. I have my own set of rules when it comes to spending. Sometimes it means a handbag or a pair of shoes (or that long maple honey coat in January) in the shopping basket. Occasionally, only a few tops from those well-known brands from Spain and Germany can be acquired.

As I had to do some shopping for friends yesterday, I decided to detour to my usual places. Upon checking their goods, a SA spotted me and said, “I remember you. You came here with your friend. You got that handbag and she took the ballerina.”

This is one of the many reasons why I love shopping in London. Their attention to detail and friendly service do wonders to customers like me.

I told her that people have been asking about my arm-candy and many did not believe that I had it for almost a year. She then started to push the right buttons, “the new runway collection is out and I think you might like them.”

Obviously I saw something that I love (make it two) but as I highlighted above, I broke away my gaze with a heavy heart.


TH Catherine

The temptations didn’t stop there. As I walked along the street, my eyes caught the new designs by Campbell and Baker. The collaboration of these designers fell into my radar and I decided to check them out. To my surprise, some items at this place were quite catchy. I fell for a huge purse which goes well with my dresses whenever I dine out. Another item that caught my attention was the floral wrap dress, perfect for summer or alike which I am bracing myself at the new city.

TB dress

Alas, my brain ruled this time and I didn’t spend a dime during this impromptu shopping trip. Just a few months to go before my break ends and I’ll probably be back to the workforce population. I am already making plans on what I’ll get with the first paycheque. It feels like starting your first job after graduation. If only I can take away the wrinkles and look like eleven years ago.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Where are you, Nanny McPhee?


When you need me, but do not want me, then I will stay. When you want me, but do not need me, then I have to go.

Do you think she’ll bend her rule this time as I am in dire need of help with this packing? My home is like a shipwreck and getting those old stuff from our wardrobe, storeroom and under the bed storage is not helping. My dust allergy got so bad yesterday that I had to stop and went to bed early.

And today my migraine decided to keep me company. Just great!!!