Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020 Wrap Up

WHAT A YEAR.


Where do I even start? I have officially quarantined for at least 10 weeks, have had 6 swab tests and 2 RTK tests. 

There was a lot of people in and out of the house beginning of the year with Sara moving in long term with us. I remember how grateful I was with how Laura and Amy allowed me to choose my own housemate and gave me the all the time I needed to find the right one. Luckily, this all happened before the lockdown because I couldn't imagine being stuck in the house alone without Sara!

We then went into February where I spent quite a bit of time in London with Zariq and Yen (and Aimi), running for the last train home on Saturdays. I remember thinking how Saturdays are never long enough because I had always wished I could spend more time with them! We had the most interesting conversations that never ends!

March was when everything related to Covid-19 started affecting us... unfortunately, it was during my ski/snowboard trip to Bankso when this had happened. I came back home to Maidenhead having to quarantine for 2 weeks. But my line manager and colleagues were extremely attentive and helpful during this time. They had sent my IT equipment right to my front door so I could get set up. What a blessing!

April, May, June and July was filled with video calls, phone calls, texts and Formula 1. Super thankful to have had people who layaned me, checked up on me and tolerated me (because I would have personally given up on myself). I was also lucky enough to have had Zariq with me on some weekends because it feels good to feel like home when home feels so far away.

August was a lot of money spent due to very last minute plans. The fluidity of the pandemic meant that a lot of decisions made were made based on feelings rather than consequences. Fortunately, the only consequences were time lost quarantining and money. I had a 3 week holiday for Aisyah's wedding which I also spent trying to recharge myself before returning back to Maidenhead. 

Unfortunately, coming back felt a lot worse but got better as soon as I was able to go back to the office again. We, the 'haram gang' (or was it halal?), who are my friends from work, started doing Friday nights dinner at mine. It was one of the best things we had initiated because that was primarily what made me get through the days!

The news on the second lockdown then came. At that point, I had already told Nurul I wouldn't make it to her wedding, have cancelled my flight and things like that. But together with the second lockdown came news from the company that the office will be closed. Therefore, I moved my stuff to Hannah's (grateful that she allowed me to do that earlier than my tenancy start date!) and bought a flight ticket a day or two before my flight back. 

Coming back, I had the best staycation/quarantine for two weeks in a hotel where Kak Aisyah and Kak Lang dropped stuff off for me. Again, grateful and thankful for the people who spent their time keeping me occupied throughout the two weeks and made it all bearable. I had a week annual leave post-quarantine where I spent a lot of time with family - games nights and all. 

Immediately after that, I became a close contact to a friend. So that was another two weeks of quarantine but with family. I was partly grateful for the quarantine because it helped me get set up with my new work schedule without draining me. And at the same time, made me feel a lot more closer to the baes because of all the appointments we had to go to and the stress that we endured because of the inefficiency of the system. Sort of felt like it was filling up the gap that I felt was there because I've been away for so long. I have also realised how much I now prefer people driving me around (unsure if that's a good thing!)

For Christmas, we arranged a last minute trip to Ipoh and went to an amazing waterfall (one of the highlights of my year!). Spent some quality time with family and Kak Lang. Gutted that Kak Aisyah and Syameem weren't able to join but I'm sure there'll be more opportunities for that.

Upon realising how I need to do a lot of catching up because of the two weeks extra quarantining, I've been filling a lot of time this week with my best friends and family to make full use of my annual leave. Which also meant going on an eventful unplanned cake run after dinner (which I wouldn't have done before this cos malas!) and climbing structures and swinging off them.

What a year it has been, a lot of blessings but also a lot of misfortune. I don't have any expectations or hopes for next year but I know it will be a massive challenge because I would need to make a lot of important decisions. But I'm going to live it by the day, try to be happy and face things as they come instead of worrying about it too early.

To close this up, I have to say that I wouldn't have been able to get through the year without my pillars and support system. Thank you and I love you all, you know you are. 💕

Saturday, October 31, 2020

adbhkabhfy

It was difficult today and it's only hitting me now that I have time think. I wish I hadn't started certain conversations and said certain things because all I've been doing this evening is going through bursts of break downs. It isn't great when you're alone and without a person to distract you from it. I had thought that this might be a way to let it all out so I could process my thoughts but I don't know what it is? 

I think it'd be fair to say that at this point of my life, I should really start being careful of who I start conversations with. At least with the people I already know and trust, I'd be able to discuss ideas and find solutions. But leaving discussions open ended and with more questions can be quite deteriorating, at least, for my mental health. 

I've pretty much occupied my time all afternoon by calling the people back at home but it's not like I could call them until morning. Nonetheless, I appreciate each and everyone of the calls that were being picked up. The lockdown news... wasn't great either. There's too much going on in my head for what I can handle and at this point, none of them is something that I could address immediately.

Maybe sleep might be good for me now, I'll try that. 

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Birthday Week

 It's my 5th time celebrating my birthday abroad and in all previous occasions, I've always had my best friends and/or my sister with me. This year... none of them were around so knowing that, I braced myself to not celebrate it.

However, the Saturday before my birthday, Abg Lan, Kak Ida and Emma came over to surprise me with a cake and presents! I was deeply touched and realised it was good start for my birthday week. So, I did get a cake, I got people singing me a birthday song and I spent it with people who mattered.

I then realised that I really didn't want to spend the next weekend on my own. So I texted my colleagues to come over on Friday. I texted my uni friends if they're free for lunch on Saturday. And I texted my Malaysian friends if they're free for dinner on Saturday. It was a yes for all.

On my birthday itself, I spent some time receiving calls from Malaysia wishing me a happy birthday. My best friends stayed up until I finished work to have a group facetime call and it was very sweet. Sara and Barney even came over to say happy birthday! Which they didn't have to but they did. I even received a poster of Formula 1 circuits. How can I not be happy! Especially receiving something that I didn't particularly ask for but have always wanted.

The day after my birthday, I came home from lunch to see two boxes of flowers on my doorstep! These were from two groups of best friends, they obviously did not tell me they were to going to get me anything but it arrived and I love it. If you know me, I wouldn't buy flowers for myself but it always feels good receiving them. I then arrived home after work and saw a package addressed to Nurul. Knowing it was for me, I opened them up and found house slippers that I've been meaning to get but never got (God planned that well) as well as a top that I would never get myself.

I believe it was Friday when I then received another present that I was not expecting at all of a scratch map from Kak Suzy, Abang Didi and Baby Isaiah. It also came with a very sweet message and it made me realised that I am truly not alone here. 

That afternoon, I came back home, prepared for everyone to come and we had so much fun playing pictionary. We then realised that maybe, I should start hosting at my place every weekend. Especially seeing how now, all of the snacks and drinks are in my kitchen. So I need to remember to invite people again this upcoming Friday - but for T-Dog's favourite game this time, of Jungle Speed!

I cleaned up the house and went to bed at 2am just to wake up at 6am - unable to go back to sleep. So I did my chores and got ready for lunch. I met up with Nicholas and Jonathan at Rasa Sayang and had some chilli king prawn which was pretty good but a bit too much for me. Note to self, get something that seems like a proper meal next time. We then went ahead to Yolkin and I got myself a pandan ice cream before I what I thought... would be when everyone would go home. BUT! The boys said "What does the birthday girl want to do next?" I then realised they were going to spend the whole day with me! So... as usual... what else would you do in London if not go to the pubs. So that's what we did until 7PM, when I had to leave. 

I headed to Dishoom where I met up with Syahiid, Norman and a new friend, Idlan. Food was amazing and I'm so glad that I asked them out for dinner. I felt like my homesickness was partly cured. I felt like I was at home and lets be honest, with Norman, you'd just always feel like you've been friends with him for the longest time even when you've only met him once before. So that felt really good. We then parted ways and I went home very happy and content. 

I fell asleep but woke up 2 or 3 times throughout the night to answer phone calls and reply texts. So that was me temaning iman to work, kacau-ing hakim and then talking to Amir which then later became a catch up session with Hannah too. Thinking about it, we should've included Zaf to complete the group but he wasn't in our mind. 

Formula 1 then came up, it was relatively boring today. But Daniel won so I'm very happy for him but at least now I know that Nurburgring isn't as action packed as Monza or Mugello. Ending my day, I realised that tomorrow is Monday which means I would need to get back to work and I'm not ready for that. I am however, feeling a bit down because I'm back being alone. So here I am, recalling and writing about my happiness throughout my birthday week thanks to everyone who was a part of it. 

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Reality

If you have been following me on twitter or have been unlucky enough to be included in my close friends list on Instagram, then you'd probably be a lot more familiar with the downside of my life. 

I know I live a life a lot of people want to live. I work abroad, I have stability, I have work-life balance when I want to and I can afford to live comfortably. But I think a lot of people working abroad would also understand that with this, it comes with a lot of worries, loneliness, being homesick, the feeling of missing out and things similar to that. Things that if we were to express it, people would instead say "count your blessings."

I can't deny, there is a lot to be thankful for. I sometimes sit and stare out the window realising how blessed I am. I have such a good life here, I can do whatever I want and not be judged. I am living in a lovely home. I don't have to think three times before buying anything. I don't worry about my bills, my rent, my pay or having to put food on the table. I can go snowboarding for a fraction of the price compared to if I were to go from Malaysia. My colleagues are amazing, supportive and helpful. I don't get shouted at  at work. I basically have what seems like a fairly simple pathway ahead of me...

But I also sometimes sit and stare out the window thinking how the next time I see my family, they would've aged. I have missed so many birthdays and important events. I know that my family and friends have hid things from me knowing that I won't be capable of taking it in when all I want to do is be there for them. I am only able to give my loved ones money and cards to show my appreciation. I would come back home from work feeling lonely, and only have Formula 1 to look forward to in the weekends. I am constantly homesick and would need to put a lot of effort into ensuring that I'm in the right head space before going to work. 

For the past two years, whenever I felt like giving up or whenever I felt homesick I would always just beat myself up over it. Thinking that I'm just being weak and ungrateful. But it wasn't until I was in Malaysia the other day and met my landladies that I realised a lot of people living abroad probably feel the same way a lot of the time. They had told me that they're coming back home earlier than planned and one of the reason was - they said - "Even you've seen my mum more than I have!". 

And that had hit me in the right spot. 


Sunday, September 20, 2020

Aisyah's Wedding

I was about to write a whole blog post on an instagram caption about my sister’s wedding but realised, hey, I actually have a blog to write on.

It's been a week and a bit since I've gotten back from my very long holiday which I wish had been longer. But now I’m back, I’m just very desperate to be able to start working from the office again - which will start this upcoming Thursday!

Going back to the wedding, it was actually the main reason why I had gone to Malaysia within this unpredictable period. I had bought my flight ticket a week before I was due to go back, but then on that week itself, a new directive came out which meant that I had to immediately fly out in order to be able to quarantine at home. Which lead me to buying a very last minute flight 5 hours before take off - on a working day. Felt very blessed that my line manager was ok with it as I was only able to tell him while I was at the gate. 

I digress - now, back to the wedding. I was pretty much not involved in much except for the arguments that I sparked. And even then, everyone at home had to deal with it while I was here - upset but obviously away from all other emotions. But in it all, the wedding went perfectly well, I’d say. But only because everyone was involved and helped out.

I pretty much ran errands with Aisyah, sometimes on my own while stealing some time to meet up with my friends that had confirmed the plans with me before I even arrived in Malaysia. Did a lot of driving more than anything else, but my second favourite thing of the wedding prep was going to Seremban with Papa really early in the morning to pick up bunga telur. It was actually quite funny because lady didn’t realise how far Seremban was when she decided to order them!

However, my favourite part of the wedding prep had got to be when all of us were sat in the living room doing the door gifts. We had to ribbon them up and add tags before they went through a rigorous QC. There was a time when Aisyah wasn't around, we managed to get a box out in terrible quality compared to the others because we had boxed it up before she got to see it. 

A day before the wedding, the whole family and Aisyah’s bestest friends (who are God sent) went to the wedding hall to drop things off and set things up. All went well and it was also the first time I went to the hall - I thought it was gorgeous! Aisyah and I then went to set up the nikah hall which was horrid but air conditioned and I guess that’s what matters most.

Wedding day itself was hectic. There were a lot of things that were raised on the day itself, last minute changes and unwanted surprises but I was happy that we had reserved parking! God bless! It all went way better than I thought it was though except for the fact that I had forgotten to practice smiling with braces in so all the photos with me in looked very ugly. 

Aisyah’s songket looked so good! I was super shocked by it and Nani made her make up look amazing. I was glad she went with the songket in the end. 

By the end of the day, I was just dead tired, I had blisters on my feet and wasn’t able to walk. I was about to ask her friends to drive Aisyah to her photoshoot but then realised that there wasn’t space in any of the cars for me to go home in. So I had to drive them to Ampang, taking a nap in the car with Nawal while waiting and then finally drove back home.

It was in the car that I realised that I hadn’t eaten anything except for one kuih in the morning! And basically, missed out on good food. There was a bit left though but apparently all the good ones were finished. So tip to self for the next wedding, eat.


Saturday, March 14, 2020

Bulgaria Trip During the State of Emergency!


If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram (and can see my instastories), you’d probably know that I’m currently in Bulgaria. But I’m not just in Bulgaria, I’m in Bulgaria while it’s at a state of emergency due to the virus Bulgaria. Funny enough, the reason why I was okay with Bulgaria was because at the time I planned the trip, there were zero cases and I thought, not a lot of people visit Bulgaria so I wasn’t expecting anything to happen. I guess I took that for granted and didn’t check right before I left because today is the first day of the emergency! Bare in mind - Bulgaria only has 0.4% cases in comparison to the UK.

I arrived into the airport at 3AM this morning with the intention of waiting at the airport until the first public transport but hey hey hey, the airport closes after our flight lands. Therefore, I didn’t have a choice but to find my way into the centre which is pretty straight forward tbf. I took a taxi and told the driver that I’d like to go to a 24/7 McDonalds but on the way there, we were talking and he asked me where I was going etc. Then suggested that I should go to the central bus station because it’s definitely open 24/7 and he doesn’t want to send me somewhere that may be closed. Agreeing and grateful that he was nice enough to have told me that, I spent the rest of the night at the bus station, talking to a bulgarian guy about Malaysia, life, career and... the corona virus. He gave me some strength and said I shouldn’t worry too much about my career because it seems like I have my life set. I then left for a comfier seat and spent the rest of the night watching the Formula 1 netflix series (it’s so good). 

At some point in the morning, I realised that I wanted to have a bit of fresh air and decided to head to Starbucks that opens at 7AM while waiting for another cafe that was supposed to open at 10AM to fill my time before my 11AM walking tour. I bought my bus ticket to Bansko for 4PM, stored my luggage and headed out to the Starbucks in the middle of town. I used the Metro which looked as if it came out from a movie and took time to appreciate it.



As soon as I got to Starbucks I realised that it was still closed and it didn’t seem like it would open and I thought - what’s going on here. I walked around the place and saw a sign in front of a restaurant that said something about a national emergency and decided to search it up. That was when I realised... (the person sitting behind me is coughing, should I run off?). That was when I realised, the Bulgarian government decided that today would be the first day of that and all schools would be closed and people aren’t allowed out unless to go grocery shopping. 


And so, I was stuck. But you know what, I went around to see a few things anyway just because they were all nearby. At the same time, I still had some hope so I headed to the cafe I wanted to go to. Luckily, the shop owner arrived as I was heading off and told me that they won’t be opening today. That had rested some uncertainties within me. I then decided that right, since I can’t go anywhere in Sofia, I might as well head straight to Bansko. (She’s coughing again, should I really run off?) 

So I took the tram this time and went to the central train station because it looks newer than the bus station for the toilet. Reading reviews about the toilets, I had kept my expectations very low but was met with a very clean toilet. A lesson to everyone, don’t base your life on reviews, experience it and make your own judgement. Eceh.

I then headed to the bus station - with a lot of worry, mind you, and asked to change my ticket and/or to get a new one and lady said two words - no bus. NO BUS? WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY NO BUS? YOU CANT JUST CANCEL 3 BUSES STRAIGHT LIKE THAT. NO BUS? Of course I was confused, I was again... stuck. She had said the earliest bus would be at 2 and it wasn’t a decision I could make, to buy it or not? So I called the first person that I knew would pick up my call and could help me with my thought process - Kak Aisyah. She told me to save my money and just wait.


And so I waited. While waiting, an announcement came up so I asked a bulgarian lady what it meant and she translated it for me and then asked what announcement I was looking for - bless her! In return, I minded her bag while she went for the toilet. And so I continued waiting.... and got restless so I went to platform of the cancelled bus - not because I didn’t trust them but because as Graham L. had once said - you can’t trust everything you see. Heh? Did I just contradict myself?
Some random lady just came and approached me but then walked away... contemplating whether to continue or not... after I responded... she ok? Maybe she’s nervous? Maybe she doesn’t speak the same language? I digress.

I bought coffee and still waited and then realised, why am I spending so much time waiting and overthinking! I have a Plan B which is to take a shuttle to Bansko and a Plan C which is to stay in Sofia. So I realised the only way to stop it is by being productive - which is why, everybody, I now have a whole blogpost! 

It just turned 12.30, I have 1.5 hours left until the bus would arrive. Worried that tickets my sell out, I went to the counter and said please may I buy the 2PM ticket to Bansko? But she wasn’t really concentrating on me because there was a lady next to me that was frustrated with the language barrier. But then I continued, “but I have my 4.45PM ticket and I’d really like the 2PM”. So indicated with her hand, “lemme have it, dah-ling.” I gave her my ticket and she swapped it for the 2PM one. I was tempted to say I LOVE YOU, THANK YOU FOR MAKING ME FEEL BETTER but I thought it wasn’t appropriate as she was still really focused on the frustrated lady next to me. 

And that’s what happened in the first half of my day in Bulgaria. Also did I tell you that Trevor Noah’s Tour been postponed? I am quite sad but it’s ok. 

Right, I’m now contemplating whether to walk all the way to the train station’s toilet or to experience the bus station’s toilet. I’ll do the bus station’s and I’ll let you know if the reviews are right - and that it’s better than the train station’s.

Until the next time I find mysef overthinking and needing to do something productive.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Christmas Holiday


Christmas holiday planning went from Scotland to Wales to Paris to just Thorpe Park but ended up with spending time together in Maidenhead. As a summary, we spent 3 full days together talking, cooking, eating, playing games, dancing, eating, eating and more eating. You can see where I'm going with this.

I would've thought that my holiday would be boring if someone had told me that all we're going to do is stay at home but it was such an amazing holiday; I'm actually having withdrawals from it. So here I am, writing about what we did and how we celebrated our days off while I wait for a potential housemate to come over to view the house.

Right, so I got distracted because someone came over, three weeks later, here I am trying to pick up where I left off. We had Zariq and Yen over throughout Christmas and Roaa and Adham came for Christmas dinner. With a lot more hands to cook and knowing what to eat just made everything so nice.

My holiday started after lunch on Tuesday and when I got home, I cleaned up the house a bit while waiting for Syahiirah and Zariq to come back with groceries. On our list, our first meal together would be bangers and mash for Christmas Eve dinner because we wanted to really immerse in the culture - food included. But because we were still missing some ingredients, we waited for Yen to arrive before heading out. Her journey was horrendous because of all the train disruptions. I mean it's fairly easy to get to Maidenhead but apparently, not on the day when everyone would be travelling. That aside, we went out to town, got McDonalds but also more food, some decorations and drinks. Yen and I got ourselves a santa hat to feel a little bit more festive.


Because it was bangers and mash, we hardly had to do anything so that was pretty ideal. I also made pesto pastry shaped as a christmas tree because I had it in Vienna when we were at Gerda's. We also made cinnamon buns which was fun - for me at least because I didn't have to touch the dough at all! Syahiirah and Yen were involved in the messy part and I was quite happy about that because I hate that part about making anything bread!


But our Christmas eve dinner was a quality one! I believe we may have had jazz playing in the background. You might not know but Syahiirah, Zariq and Yen are all Aisyah's friends so I can't say that I knew them. But that night, we got to know each other - with Yen leading the conversations and getting us into thought provoking discussions on our emotions and personality. We went through 50 questions to fall in love or something similar to that. There was so much bonding that night, I extremely appreciated it. It was such a great start to the holidays.


On Christmas day itself, I woke up early so I had time to plant succulents for Laura W., Hannah and Holly. I didn't realise how hard planting is but I think some people are just born with it and I'm not. That aside, I really enjoyed making them and they turned out pretty which was my main goal. When everyone woke up, we had breakfast which were 'leftovers' from the night before. So as you may have probably already guessed, we had eggs and sausages and cinnamon buns. The rest of the day was spent preparing the Christmas dinner with festive songs playing throughout the day. We watched movies and played monopoly deal (my favourite game). But really, aside from the cooking we basically just lazed around.


Closer to dinner time, Roaa and Adham came by and I just loved the entire vibe. Roaa brought gifts which was the sweetest! But also, she brought soup. And I'm not a soup person but Roaa makes the best soups fullstop. So I had a lot of that too, despite me being quite full. We then played games before they headed home. But that was not the end of our night. I was quite glad and hoped that there was no one next door at the time because we laughed and were just loud in general. We had some songs on, we danced, we sang out loud, I basically had the time of my life. We played charades and I can't remember what else but we probably seemed drunk if anyone was looking in.


Boxing day was spent deciding whether to shop or not but we did a lot of sitting around shopping online but I didn't get anything. Again, breakfast was the leftovers so I had some extra pastry which I topped with pesto, chicken, tomatoes and cheese which turned out lovely. And if I must be totally honest, I can't actually remember what we had for lunch but we were sort of tired of the food we were eating. And thought, you know what, we sort of miss home and we just had to make nasi lemak. And so nasi lemak we made! It tasted amazing. They made roasted chicken that tasted fried but wasn't and it just blew my mind because sedap gilz nak mampz. I think at this point of the holiday we were calmer, less excited and was just relaxing because WE'RE OLD.


The day that I dreaded the most then arrived. It was time for people to leave - not because I halau but because people miss their homes and I totally understand that. Yen decided to go home but Zariq wanted to stay over for another night so rather than do nothing, there was one thing on my holiday list that hadn't been crossed out yet which was going on a walk. So that we did. We got an uber to Marlow, walked by the river and then just went around town to do some shopping and other things. We had dinner at the Botanist, my main meal was disgusting. Had like half of it and just couldn't eat anymore. But they do serve amazing chips so I'd go there for drinks and snacks but wouldn't go again for a proper meal. We then had to have dessert and had the most amazing carrot cheese cake at Baroosh. Headed home afterwards to watch a movie and ordered fast food because of that disappointing meal. My cheeseburger that night was amazing.


And following that, Zariq went home and then the rest of the holiday was just like any other day just that I was on house arrest because I had an assignment due. It was such a waste of time. I should've just gone out because I didn't actually start my assignment until a few days before it was due. I never learn, do I?