Sunday, September 29, 2019

Summer Holiday '19 (Dubrovnik)

Spending my Sunday at home, I thought it was about time that I start writing about my summer holiday. I took 3 weeks off this year, it got people at work jealous; shocked that I was allowed such a long holiday, bless Gary for approving that. I had an amazing holiday in Croatia, Bosnia and around Southern England with my family. Thanks to Aisyah for being our travel agent, it was a smoother holiday than the one I planned last year. 

Our holiday was based on the cheapest flight in and out and so we decided to do Dubrovnik, Sarajevo, Konjic, Mostar and lastly Split. We flew into Croatia via Norwegian Air and out on Scandinavian Airlines. Hakim came a few days before we were due to fly off and he went around  Berkshire with Aisyah while I was at work preparing for my long leave. 

Our holiday started with a train into London, meeting up with Zariq for CocoCurry and of course - Yolkin. We then took the train to the airport where we waited for a while until security opened and then headed in to get a meal deal from Boots. Hakim went a bit crazy and got 4 sandwiches thinking that we were going on a 9 hour flight (I have no idea where he got that idea). 


Flight was smooth and I got 3 seats to myself because we were sat at the back which was a great start to the trip. Arriving into Dubrovnik, we got onto a bus, I sat on the left side and got to see the amazing sea view along the way to the old town. Arriving there, we lugged our luggage and dropped it off at our accommodation which was just off the main street. 


Walking into the old town through the city walls felt like walking into a theme park. The sun was shining down on us, which wasn't a great feeling because it got too warm to be comfortable but as soon as we got to see the sea, I moaned a lot less. It was amazing. I just genuinely enjoyed being there. 


After cooking/having lunch at home, we went out to explore the town where we went through alleys, climbed stairs and got lost. And after that, I managed to convince Aisyah to walk 30-45 minutes to see the sunset by the beach because Hakim's always up for it. Hakim and I swam in the sea, in the sunset; which was a dream come true because my parents would have never allowed us to do that (because you shouldn't be out during maghrib). It was definitely the highlight of Dubrovnik. 


We woke up early the next day to get onto the city walls, I had to get the 1 Day Dubrovnik Card because only certain student IDs were accepted like the ones from Totum. I got it online just because it was cheaper to. I was mesmerised by the view from the walls for the first few minutes but then the sun just got to me. It was still amazing to have walked all the way around the city so I would definitely recommend. We then took a break and explored the museums. In the evening, we climbed Fort Lovrijenac and had our afternoon snack up there while enjoying the view. It was beautiful. 

We wanted to head to Sarajevo early the next day but it was sold out. So, always book your bus tickets early even if people tell you that you don't need to! Therefore, we had to get the one that left a bit later which was fine since everyone then had no choice but to play monopoly deal with me.  

We then got on the bus where we had to pay for luggage and the journey was one to remember but I'll continue the next part of the journey next time!

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Eid 2019

Expecting Eid this year to be very hambar, I'm surprised it wasn't! The scale of everything was much smaller than last year and though I decided to not take the day off on Eid itself, I did do very Eid things on the weekends that followed.

I can't say if it's bad or good but Ramadhan as a whole just felt like a normal month to me just that I was on a diet. Friends and colleagues were astounded with how I was actually able to do it and some was even worried about my health. I had iftar twice at my colleague, Roaa's place. I was so happy to just have been invited over for iftar and she was the sweetest to have invited knowing that I was doing Ramadhan on my own here. I also went to Aisyah's place a few times and went for an iftar-do at her friend's house. Malaysian food would always bring you back home for awhile.

The day of Eid itself was uneventful except that I had my braces done on the day! Rest assured, I had Eid food the day before courtesy of my new roommate. I had eaten soup and liquids for awhile until I discovered (out of desperation for Eid food) that I could actually eat a lot of food!

We were over at Abang Lan and Kak Ida's and I had lodeh and sambal kacang - obviously tambahed a few times. And that was my official first day of raya! We went around London, enjoying the sun with our baju kurung. Talking about baju kurung, I finally got one that in a design that I've wanting since forever, unfortunately, it was all black and on certain angles, it'd look like a jubah. Which was not what I was expecting.

On the second week of raya, we held our own open house. We had soto because lets be honest, it's one of the easiest things to make. Had Abang Lan and Kak Ida, Aisyah's friends from Oxford, the castle court gang and my work friends come over. It was a bit all over the place at first since everyone suddenly decided to come at the same time! But then once I stopped worrying, things just fell into place. Here are some photos from the day:







Thursday, May 2, 2019

Got through


It's been 7 months since I started working but it feels like I just started yesterday. Minus the nervousness of going to work, anxiety of being around people and not knowing anything at all, of course. The first few months had been a journey for me and now that I've gotten through it, I don't really hold back on telling everyone I meet about it!

It's very interesting to remember about how just a few months ago, I wouldn't go a single week without crying in the shower. And how I'd think ten thousand times before and after talking to anyone. How I would always be in this bubble of insecurities where I'm always thinking that everything I did was wrong. I wish I knew what had changed so I can tell all of you going through difficult times what it was but I really couldn't pin point it.

But for all that matters, I love my life right now. I love the days when I'm able to sleep in for a bit longer in the morning but I also enjoy the days when I'd be up at 7am all fresh ready to start my day. I love how evenings don't feel like forever anymore but I also appreciate the days when they do because it feels like I have some extra time for myself. I love how I get excited for work but I also acknowledge that there will be days when I won't be.

I guess, in some ways, I survived it but I don't want to go through it again...
whatever 'it' is

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Poland... again!



For all of you who don't know, I went to Zakopane, Poland again! Initially, I planned to go somewhere else I've never been to before but seeing as I was 'solo-travelling', I decided to go somewhere I was familiar with. Whilst planning the trip, however, my sister decided to come with me. But guess who cancelled! That aside, I LOVED MY TRIP, so I'm going to share it with all of you.

Spending


Throughout my trip, I told myself that I wasn't going to restrict my spending and therefore, I bought and did everything I wanted to. What I didn't do, though, was I didn't convert any money and just brought with me whatever my sister had left from her previous trip. Instead, I used my Starling card and paid using my card for almost everything. However, there were two times when I needed to cash out money and for both times, I got unlucky and had to pay a transaction fee thinking that it was a new thing they're doing. BUT, YOU CAN GET ATMs THAT WON'T CHARGE YOU! So don't be lazy, search for a free one!   I roughly spent £350 for accommodation, transport, travel insurance, food and activities. 

Getting there



I flew in and out of Katowice on RyanAir which costed me £57.44 for a return from Stansted. Fortunately, my long time best friend, Hana, was in London at the same time so, I crashed at her hotel room in London, saving me about £20 on the journey to the airport. Things were pretty uneventful as I made sure to get the coach from Katowice to Zakopane a few hours after I arrived, I prebooked my ticket as I was unsure how busy it would be. I paid for my local bus ticket from the airport to town using my contactless so don't worry, that magic card will work. 

Accommodation



I had a pretty tough time selecting my accommodation because obviously, every room would be more expensive if I were to stay alone. Therefore, I was contemplating on what to prioritise - distance, comfort and/or price. I went with distance and price - though I didn't get the cheapest place, I regretted not spending a little bit more. The place I stayed at (OW Jaskolka) served really good breakfast, had a big bathroom, came with a balcony, was close to the city and was quite spacious but they didn't have the comfiest bed. 

Activities



Yall know why I went to the mountains, it was to snowboard so that's what I did. On my first full day there, I spent half the day snowboarding at Nosal (because I'm not very good), fell a few times and hit my head on the slope. But, after the first time I went up the button lift - where my snowboard flew across the slope and into a ditch because I didn't fasten it properly - I no longer felt uncomfortable using one. A guy even congratulated me for using it so well (he probably saw what happened the first time). 

On my second full day, I decided to give skiing a chance so I went to Syzmoszkowa for skiing lessons and I'm so glad I did. I was able to somehow get over my fear of heights (again) and went down a slope that I was extremely scared of because it looks hella steep. It was all thanks to my instructor though, if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be able to get down. 

On my first ski down, I made the mistake of not looking at my instructor and instead, I looked down and I FREAKED OUT. I lost control but then he got me to concentrate again and I was ok after that. An hour later, I skied down non stop until the park closed. 

After all of that, I decided to take the lift up to the highest slope to enjoy the views. On the way, I saw people walking down the slope and I wasn't surprised. It was extremely steep, though I do hope for a day when I'd have the guts to snowboard/ski down it. 



On my last half day in Zakopane, I had to decide whether to go for another snowboarding lesson (had one before my previous Poland trip) or to go on a hike. I made an instagram poll and it leaned towards snowboarding... but I decided to hike to Dolina Strazyska. It was torturous. I should've prepared better and got myself spikes. So I struggled, and struggled and nearly gave up but I didn't. At one point during the hike, I had to convince myself that the worst that could happen is me falling and dying. So with that, I gathered up the courage and basically ice-skated the rest of the way. It went pretty well. 

Food



I was pescatarian whilst I was in Poland, so, I had WHOLE trouts which surprised me a lot. I'm not a fan of having to eat things that I would have to debone but I survived! I also had some potato pancakes but because I don't eat fried food much anymore, the oiliness got a bit too overwhelming. 
I had grilled cheese and dumplings. The grilled cheese, I was a fan of but I'd prefer it if the dumplings were crispy. I basically just had two meals a day because I would eat breakfast at around 10 and then I would be out on the mountains the whole day until it was dinner time. 

Pros and cons


I thought I would feel pretty lonely but I really didn't have time to feel lonely except for those few minutes whilst waiting for my food to arrive and waiting for the bus to come. And there were moment when I would wish that my friends were around just because I couldn't deny that they'd make the situation less boring. There were also times when I would feel pretty scared whilst walking at night but I think that came from the trauma of what happened in Islington. 

However, travelling alone was amazing just because the only person I could be upset with throughout the trip was myself. It felt really good knowing that all the decisions are my own and that if anything goes wrong, then there's no one to blame but me. This all taught me to embrace myself and my decisions. In addition to that, I got to wake up, sleep and eat whenever I felt like it (without having to consider anyone else). In it all, I would definitely do it again. 


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Preparing to Stay after Uni

As some of you may know, I decided to move down south after I was done with uni instead of flying across the world where it's warm and lovely. I can say that I had it easy as I had parents who can afford to support me even though I did not prepare as much as I should have. Therefore, I thought I'd write about my journey of staying so that you can be better prepared if that's what you want to do. This post covers the period after university ended and immediately before I started work.

MONEY

I was on a 'loan/sponsorship' while I was studying so I had money being transferred into my account until the end of my final year which meant that if you're in the same position as me, from the time term ends and until you get your first pay, you won't have any more money than you already had. Because of this, you need to have saved up enough money, beg your parents to sponsor you or work. I begged my parents.

You would need to remember that if you're planning on switching visas, you would need to maintain a certain amount in your bank account for 90 days. If not, your employer would need to certify that they can provide you it. Therefore, when calculating how much you'll need, include that, your monthly spending, your monthly rent, visa fees if your employer will need you to pay it first, moving costs and your house deposit if you're relocating.

NOT LEAVING THE COUNTRY

Money aside, during the same period of time, I also got to see my friends, family and acquaintances travel abroad while I stayed because I didn't want to risk losing my Tier 4 visa. Obviously, you can risk it but it's always up to the people at the border that determines it. It really shouldn't be a problem. But with a graduate job waiting for me here and none in Malaysia, I decided to play it safe.



RELOCATING

I also had to relocate 150+ miles away. This took a lot of reading and researching though I left most of it except for finding a house to the last minute. This is because I wanted to stay in Sheffield until I got tired of it and Hannah didn't want to move to my new house with me until the term on our previous flat ended.

Finding the right house wasn't too difficult for me but deciding on my budget and the kind of house I wanted to stay in was a bit difficult. Moving down south meant that the rent would be so much more than it was in Sheffield. I am currently paying double my rent in Sheffield though I don't have much to argue about because I currently love the house and rent in Maidenhead is generally like that.



I used SpareRoom to find my current house. I contacted multiple landlords but my current landlord is honestly the best landlord I've ever had. As soon as I contacted her, she allowed me to view the house through facetime where my former housemate brought me around the house. She then asked for Hannah's (my former housemate) opinion on me to make sure that Hannah would be ok with me which is extremely considerate of her.

If you're too far away to visit the house before moving in, I would recommend you rent the place for the minimum period (usually 3 months) and then decide whether you like it or not once you've moved in. I initially planned on staying at my current house for a very short term because the rent is above my budget but because I love everything about it, I couldn't bring myself to move out.

Moving wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I reckon I spent about 1-2 weeks planning everything out. As I don't have a UK driving license, I wasn't able to hire a car for me to move. However, I found an amazing company called Shiply where I was able to find a small company to move my things for me... for only £60 which was probably cheaper than my train tickets!

This post is getting too long so I'll stop here, but if you do have questions, my email's up there. (Just casually ending my post like how Nurul did.)


Sunday, October 28, 2018

2 Months into Adult Life

It has been nearly 2 months since I started 'adulting'. I won't say that time flew by because in all honesty, I've just lost track of time. I'm unable to differentiate when last month was and when 2 months ago was. University seems to feel like it ended years ago but at the same time, I was shocked when Hannah told me that bonfire night's coming up because it felt like it was just a few months ago when my mates and I were discussing whether to go. I have a feeling that this is how it's going to be for the next few years, I just hope it won't be like this for the rest of my life.

However, there is always the weekends to look forward to though I have nothing against the weekdays. My weekends throughout the two months have been a mixture between doing so many things and doing nothing at all. There was a day when I stayed in bed the whole day just because I couldn't bring myself to do anything. It turned out that it wasn't a great idea because I was so tired when I got up, it was horrible.

Yesterday, even though I stayed at home the whole day, I made earl grey cupcakes which to me, tasted amazing. I used The Hummingbird's Bakery recipe which you can get here but I cut down the sugar to 200g though I feel like you can go with even less! I made sure to taste it before baking it because there was this one time, I made thai green tea cupcakes using the same recipe but ended up putting too little sugar. Though it tasted okay, it definitely could've been better. I've always felt like a lot of cake recipes you find online use extravagant amount of sugar and makes your dessert taste sickeningly too sweet. Despite that, I would always end up finishing off what I baked which probably reflects why I've gained so much weight.

Getting back onto the topic, with the weekdays, sometimes, all I want to do is stay in bed and sleep all day but everyone who I've told that to would go "That's unlike you." It's just so different from uni because a lot of the things I did then was because I wanted to and not because I had to. I can't just suddenly not turn up for work like how I wouldn't turn up for 9am lectures... it just doesn't work that way. I know I'm always comparing things with uni but your girl 'just' graduated, my inability to move on is bound to happen anyway.

Now, I'm having difficulties with ending this post naturally so I'll end it like this. I have my 'Things I Would've Regretted Not Doing' 1/4 way done so that's on the way. But until then, bye.


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Things I Regret Not Doing in Uni

Even though I complain about my university life revolving around me trying to get a first class just to not get it in the end... I feel like I did so much in university that I should give myself a pat on the back. However, there are so many things that I regret not doing in uni and so, I'm going to list it out. 


1. NOT NOT STRESSING OUT


I most probably spent 93% of my uni life just stressing out about getting a first class. I had so many breakdowns, so many sleepless nights, so much binge eating (im struggling to get back to my old weight now) and so much hate towards myself. If only I had known that it was impossible (for me), maybe I wouldn't have struggled so much. Look, if you're smart and you're meant to get a first class, you'd be able to get it without making yourself feel horrible. So don't force it upon yourself. But, don't fail your degree... because what's the point of spending so much money on uni if you're not going to get a certificate.


2. NOT GOING TO KPOP PARTIES AND FINDING FRIENDS TO GO THERE WITH


I'm pretty sure the international society held a lot of kpop parties during my years in Sheffield AND I WISH THAT I WENT TO ALL OF THEM. These days, I sit around in my room just dancing to kpop playing on my echo dot but it just doesn't feel the same. However, to be fair, there are a lot of kpop parties in London but I'm too scared of going alone! So if you are still in uni, and you love kpop, find some less halal friends and go have fun. Because you won't be able to do that in Malaysia (ok maybe you can) or when you're married or something. 

3. NOT GOING ON A BUMMIT TRIP


Bummit is a hitchhiking event where you fundraise and hitchhike to a destination with your mates or strangers and then go on a night out once you've arrived to celebrate. Unfortunately for me, I only knew about it in my final year of university. As much as I wanted to go, there were more important  things such as passing my modules. In addition to that, I told myself that I would only really make time for it (and do whatever it takes so that I can go) if I didn't get the internship that I applied for. However, I did so in conclusion, I didn't go.

4. NOT GOING TO THE IFORGE ENOUGH


iForge is a magical place where you get to turn dreams into reality. I had to go to the iForge a lot when I was doing my final year project. My favourite machine is hands down the laser cutter. I personally feel that the 3D Printer is a bit too overrated just because I've seen people print the simplest things that would have probably been easier to make without using one. But as I've said, I didn't go there enough. I've been wanting to make a casing for my bearbricks, but I didn't have enough time to make it. I could have also made so many prototypes of my ideas but I didn't. I now wish that I was back in uni just so that I could go to the iForge again.



5. NOT GOING FOR PROGRAMMING CLASSES


I love programming, I love the outcome of programming. I feel like its an essential skill and should be taught as how they teach languages in school. But as much as I love programming, the only class I took was for Matlab. Once you're out of uni, programming classes are going to cost a fortune and you'd probably not have time for it. So if you're still in uni, go for it and create amazing things with it.

6. NOT GOING OUT EVERY TIME THE SUN IS OUT


I was one of those people who would just enjoy the sun through the small window in my room. But that was only because I never liked doing things alone and no one else wanted to hang out in the sun. There were plenty of time when I did go out and enjoyed the sun but I just wish I did it more often. Because after starting work, I've realised that I no longer have the privilege of being able to go out to enjoy the sun whenever I'd like to because of my working hours. However, I did get to enjoy the sun a lot more in my final semester.



There are definitely a lot more things that I regret not doing in uni but my motto is 'no regrets' and these are just the few that I have yet to move on from. There are a lot of things that I would have regretted not doing in uni too so that's to come as a blog post once I find the mood to write again.