Saturday, December 31, 2011

Here's to another 8760 hours

But of course there's going to be a New Year's eve entry. If there's anything I'm good at, it's being predictable, no?

Whether or not we keep them, let's admit it: Resolutions are fun to make. With 2012 looming and despite talk of the world ending, here are a few I hope to see through:

1. Write more. I feel like my passion for writing has taken a backseat in the past year. With bills to pay, I had to focus more on the money-making projects and put my creative juices bottled for a bit. While I can't complain on the moolah I made, part of me feels like a sell-out for not really pursuing what I love most: creative writing. Not writing for a website or copywriting a brochure. Writing children's stories. Poems. Short stories about a psychotic teenager poisoning her best friends. You stuff. On that note...

2. Attend the Ubud Writer's Festival, October 2012. I got to know about this event through a fellow literati and missed 2011's do. That said, she gave me a head's up for 2012 and by-golly-suck-a-lolly I'm gonna do my best to attend this one. It would be great to go with a fellow writer (who can put up with my quirky travel habits and nervous flying disorder). Let's see how this goes.

3. Babies. Come on, I'm sure you saw that one coming. To be fair, I actually achieved this (twice mind you) in 2011 - almost, but not quite. I'm far from giving up and although I get a little nervous thinking about this journey again, I am hopeful. WE are hopeful. And your prayers and kind words have not gone unappreciated.

That's it. And if I fulfill 1 out of 3, that calls for celebration. This year has been a test of strength for me. It's the last day of 2011 and I'm still standing so yes, I am blessed to have another year.

Raise your glass and may it always be half full.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Merry Christmas, baby.

As I began to cross out the boxes on my desktop calendar, I came across a date in December I had marked a couple of months ago. I drew a smiley face on that date and for a moment, I couldn't remember the significance of it.

So I backtracked a few weeks, and then a month. And realised I had marked that date as a reminder that I would be three whole months into my pregnancy and would be able to announce it to the rest of my family and friends. I was extra excited because it would be Christmas.

I've been coping well since my second miscarriage, I must say. Mainly because I've thrown myself into work and projects, which won't allow me any time to sit around and go, "boo hoo poor me". But today, flipping through that calendar, it all came flooding back.

It still pains me to think of my babies who never came to be. In my mind, they are perfect, healthy and happy - but not ready to be with us. This Christmas, while I will remember my loss, I will also appreciate my blessings, no matter how fleeting.

Merry Christmas, baby.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Colour of Courtesy

I spent a few days at a 5-star beach resort in KK with the H - just to get away from the craziness of everyday life (but that's another blogpost altogether). The resort is absolutely breathtaking and the service is hospitality at its best.

We were probably the only non-tourist guests at that time and the staff kept asking if we were Korean or from Hong Kong. None the matter, we were treated wonderfully during our stay until we started hanging out by the poolside. You get the usual spatter of Caucasians sunbathing topless (face down of course) and the Korean family frolicking in the pool or the quiet Japanese enjoying the sun. And then there was us: The two local Sabahans just wanting to get away from the city and the usual faces. However, when we walked by looking for available sundecks, a waiter would run up (i kid you not, RUN up) to us and ask, "Excuse me, may I have your room number?" and we would of course give it to him.

I didn't give it any thought until our next visit to the pool. Again, as I was slathering on sunblock a waiter came up to us, "Hello, what is your room number?" and I gave it to him, slightly annoyed. I decided to sit back and see if they did the same to other guests visiting the pool. A silver-haired Australian couple sauntered by and sat down. No waiter asking for their room number there, instead they were being served drinks immediately. Another Caucasian couple came by and even 10 minutes of wading in the pool, no one asked for their room number. Hmm.

Half an hour of swimming later, I decided to soak some rays and moved to another deck chair just behind ours. As I settled in with my book, the same bloody waiter/poolboy comes along and says, "Hello ma'am, may i have your room number please?"


I'm sorry, did I just transform into an unrecognisable person after that dip? Did you not just ask me this? At this point, I am convinced it's simply because a) I'm not white and b) I speak English but don't have a pretentious foreign accent. I told him my room number AGAIN and he says, "Oh sorry sorry, you moved seats?" Well done, Einstein, did you figure that out all by yourself?

Now I'm really starting to get pissed off. Yes, everyone else has been extremely pleasant to us during our stay but I'm really getting sick of being suspiciously questioned each time I lounge by the pool. And no other guests are getting this treatment so it really makes me wonder. Is it because only a local would 'sneak in' and abuse the facilities? Is it because there is no way a local could afford a RM1,200 per night room? Is it because I don't matter as much because I tip in Ringgit and not US Dollars?

It pisses me off when some foreigners look down at us Asians but it pisses me off EVEN MORE when our own people treat us like shit. Tidak sedar diri kah? Why are you tripping over yourself to open the door or carry the luggage of a Caucasian woman and not care less about the woman in a tudung, struggling with her 2 year old and lugging her luggage? Sincere common courtesy should apply to everyone across the board - no matter what currency their carrying.

It's called being a decent human being.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Do laundry. Meet clients. Write articles. Laugh. Drinks with friends. Do brunch. Go for a pedicure. Read magazines. Walk the dog. Attend meetings. Make money.

But all I really want to do right now is close my eyes

lie in bed

and be very still.

The lights are on but I hope you understand if nobody's home.


Here's a portrait pic of yours truly. The H wanted to do some test shots with his new equipment so I became the willing subject. It was past midnight, I had just finished an emceeing gig and I was tired as hell. But hey, anything for the camera.

Vanity. It's my favourite sin - Al Pacino, The Devil's Advocate

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Haters. You gotta love 'em.

This is a year of many things but it will not be a year of holding my tongue. Or in most cases, my words.

Perhaps it should excite me rather than rile me that my words cause such a stir. I have never been one to ruffle feathers - in fact, I'm the person who glues the feathers together so they don't so much even flutter. Maybe it's my age. Maybe my hormones. Maybe the luxury of having more time to think, sit and write.

Or maybe it's me just giving the world the finger, thinking, "You know, I CAN have opinions."

I can't blog about my past - even if it's, GOD FORBID, the truth - for fear of knocking certain people off their pedestal? I can't express my rights as a consumer if I have an opinion about your lacklustre service? I can't tweet about food/religion/sex/monkeys unless it jives with your opinion?

How is it that I have found myself in a position where the demons of my teenage years are back to haunt, taunt and guilt me? And an internal e-mail, which miraculously found its way to the wrong hands, has led to a possible lawsuit on grounds of defamation? (by the way, I stand my ground that you are a completely arrogant and lousy vet - yeah, great, you gonna sue me now for 'implying' I'm talking about you?)

But as I said, perhaps I should see this as a compliment. After all, who would Salman Rushdie be without the Satanic Verses? Or DH Lawrence without Lady Chatterley's Lover? Or even JK Rowling without the Harry Potter series (for crying out loud...witchcraft? sorcery? anti-Christian? really?). Controversy isn't always a bad thing. It makes people think, ponder and sometimes, even face demons they never knew they had.

So I guess I'll continue to write whatever churns my butter. You don't have to agree with my thoughts and opinions. And if you hate it, I'm flattered that you even took the time to read it. That's five minutes of your life you'll never get back, so technically.... I win.

Haters. You gotta love 'em.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Baby do. Baby don't.

So those of you who know my story are aware that the H and I are trying to have a baby. And those of you who know my story are also aware that we recently succeeded but unfortunately lost the pregnancy. Dr. C - a very kind, professional and caring doctor, I might add - advised that we wait a whole cycle before trying again. "This happens more often than you'd imagine and these patients of mine go on to have very successful pregnancies," he consoled me while I choked on my sobs in his clinic. He held my hand, handed me a tissue and told me he was sure he'd see me again in a few months. Bless him.

Almost a month has passed and we get by with our lives. I've mourned my loss but I need to look forward. And I must say, the past few weeks of taking it slow has been refreshing. Apart from a few unnecessary dramas, I'd say we're doing pretty okay. And now a cycle has passed and the H and I look at each other pensively as we decide the next step. Too soon? Later? Now? Physically, I feel much better although my hormones act like they've been on a five-day rave party and are now suffering a major hangover.

We want a baby. No questions about that. But the past month has been great without the calendar-marking, ovulation-testing, diet-watching and whatever else TTC entails (TTC = trying to conceive. I've been reading so many books and articles, you catch the baby-making lingo fast). But we don't want to waste much time neither. So baby do, baby don't? Who knows anymore. So at this point, we're just forging ahead, fingers crossed and minds open. It has been too stressful planning our life around a possible pregnancy (oh we can't travel in December cuz I might be pregnant, oh we can't spend money on that because there might be a baby coming soon...).

Right now, we're just grateful to have each other. A baby may or may not make its way into our lives but in the meantime, we will focus on the awesomeness of being together, uninterrupted.

If baby makes three, I'm sure we can handle that too.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Nice girl. Good girl. Don't say bad things. Be diplomatic. Accommodate. Say yes. Be helpful. Be generous. Be kind. Layan. Layan. Layan.

Lean forward. Show interest. Ask questions. Show you care. Care. Always care. Concerned. Bend over backwards. It's ok, really. My pleasure. I insist. No, I'm not busy at all. Must be liked. Liked by everyone. Is she angry at me? Go make her happy.

Nice girl. Good girl.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Flutter by, butterfly

Flutter by, butterfly
You rest upon me so swiftly
even before I can admire your wings
your grace, your dance

Flutter by, butterfly
You flew away too soon
without so much as a graze upon my cheek
or whisper upon my skin

Flutter by, butterfly
I knew you could not stay
You ride the passing breeze
and turn to say goodbye

Flutter by, butterfly
you were not meant to be
I know you'll flutter by again someday
As butterflies always do

Flutter by, butterfly
Our tears will dry, you'll see
I'll hold you close again, my child
but for now, fly high

fly free.

I thank the Lord for giving me such joy even though so briefly. Thank you for your prayers.

Monday, July 04, 2011


Sometimes, it's okay to not read classics and just flip through another man-centric issue of Cosmopolitan.

Sometimes, it's okay to not know the GDP of Myanmar or the birth rate of India.

Sometimes, it's okay to not have an opinion about which political party could potentially lead the way for our country.

Sometimes, it's okay to confuse Michelin 3-star gourmet ratings and Michelin tyres.

Sometimes, it's okay that you're not sure how to spell exaggerrate...exageratte...exagger...?

Sometimes, it's okay to not want to spend a weekend reading to the orphans, volunteering at the animal shelter or sorting your garbage for recycling.

Sometimes, it's okay to toss the gluten-free, tastes-like-rubber muffin out the window and dig into a Big Mac. With fries. And extra mayo.

Sometimes, it's okay to say no simply because you don't want to do it. Even though you could. So don't.

Sometimes, it's okay not to listen to 'musical legends' like the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin or Bob Marley, because frankly, the Spice Girls are more fun.

Sometimes, you need to realise nobody is watching or listening. And if they do, they probably don't care.

It gets so tiring to be so many things to so many people for so many reasons. Economies will not crash, a species will not go extinct and an angel will not lose it's wings if I choose to sit back, drink tea and paint my nails pink.

For just one day.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Biting the bully bullet.

On a laid back Thursday night, I did my usual channel surfing and landed on a made-for-TV movie about a teenage girl being bullied by her so-called friends. So this movie isn't going to win any Oscar nominations and the theme of rising against bullies has been done over and over again but this time, it really struck a nerve.

As I watched the protagonist of the movie go from hanging out with the popular girls to being sent hate mail after overdosing on sleeping pills that went along the lines of, "Wow, you can't even do THAT right," it was a reminder of how cruel teenagers could be. And somehow, unleashing itself from the crevices of my subconscious mind, was the memory of my secondary school days ...

And the bullying I experienced.

Over the years, I've managed to bury this ugly part of my life. I have refused to remember, let alone acknowledge, the fact that I had let myself become the target of teenage hatred and ugliness when I was 13. It wasn't until I watched the movie did the bits and pieces of that horrible time come back to me.

Me. Bullied. Can you imagine it?

I come from an all-girls school, which can prove to be the best AND the worst schooling experience, trust me. Teenagers can be cruel as it is but teenage GIRLS can be the evil incarnate itself. It was sometime in the beginning of Form 1 when it all started. It was a stressful time for any 13-year-old: the transition from primary to secondary, meeting new people in a new school, finding your identity which could potentially stick to you for the next five years.

I thought I had it quite good. Me and my 'best' friends managed to land spots in the school of our choice and we would be best friends forever and ever and ever. I had done well in primary school, having been class monitor and Prefect all my life up to then, placed top 5 in class during every term exam, represented my school in oratory competitions (and undefeated champion thankyouverymuch) and was even awarded Best Student of my school during my final year in primary school. I was the Nerd Supreme!

Little did I know that everything I had achieved was slowly working to my disadvantage. I was naive not to realise that my 'friends' were not happy with the attention I was getting. Tagged a little 'show off', having my mum teaching in the same school did not help. It just gave them more ammo to hate me. And it all came to a climax when we entered Form 1.

Long story short, a pathetic rumour began to spread: Melissa Leong stuffs her bra. In hindsight, I should be flattered that I was filling out so convincingly that my flat-chested peers thought I was PADDING my bras! The whispers and pointing began, the snide remarks and, in true gossipy fashion, more nasty statements. Melissa Leong is fat. Melissa Leong should run home to mummy and cry. Melissa Leong has the worst handwriting. Melissa Leong is so stupid at math. Nobody wanted to sit with me at recess. I got chosen last for teams at sports. Eyes rolled whenever I raised my hand in class. I had never felt so unwanted and alone in my life.

And all those girls who were supposed to be my 'friends' had turned against me. It didn't help that one of those girls was the Principal's daughter, so I knew going to the teachers or any adult would make no difference. I had gone from having so much to having an absolutely lousy time in school. There were two camps: those who hated me and those who were indifferent - I'll give them credit for not feeding the rumours but they didn't quite back me up neither. That's me, aged 13, sitting next to the class teacher. It takes a lot to knock that smile of my face, biatches...

I was one hell of a miserable teenage girl. I cried almost every day and dreaded going to school. It got so bad that one day, I begged my parents to let me stay home. I begged and I cried and I pleaded with all my heart. Which was when my dad realised something was very wrong at school. I told them everything and felt such a release. My parents were so upset that they didn't blink when I asked them to transfer me. My dad started looking at other schools and I was all set to transfer to All Saints' when word got around to the Principal. I then got called into her office along with her daughter. What transpired from that meeting remains a blur to me but I do remember her saying, "Oh such a pity to see your wonderful friendship go to waste over a misunderstanding", her pooh-poohing my plans to transfer as 'drastic' and we were made to hug and make-up there and then. Next thing I know, I'm in the same damn school for the next five years.

It haunts me to this day the 'bullying' was played down to a 'misunderstanding'. And it bugs me that I forgave and forgot so easily. These 'bullies' swept everything under the carpet as if it never happened and some 20 years later, I'm still supposed to call them my 'friends' when I run into them in the street. But I must state that during this tumultuous time, I did have a couple of friends who stood by me (one of them was my cousin and the other monkey is still my closest confidant until today).

I think I buried this memory so far and deep because I refuse to acknowledge the fact that I could ever be a victim of bullying. Only losers and the weak get bullied right? How could I have been an over-achiever, please everyone and STILL be bullied? It was the anti-thesis of bullying.

It took me almost 20 years to understand the simple truth: Losers and the weak don't get bullied. They ARE the bullies. They played on my insecurities to feed theirs. There was nothing I could've done to prevent it (short of binding my breasts lah but even that's no guarantee).

So yes, I was a victim of bullying. No shame in that because it has made me who I am today. And seeing the losers they've ended up marrying, failed attempts at decent relationships into their 30s and the boring people they've become, karmic retribution paves the road for me to move along. Thanks for being such bitches - you've made me realise I'm stronger than I give myself credit for. And yes, I still have awesome boobs.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I am thisclose to chucking this piece of a$$-wiping, c!@k sucking, father-mucking piece of crap out the window, into the ocean, swallowed by the pits of never-ending hell.

But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Let me recap.

As of late, I have discovered how technology has become more of a bane than a boon in my daily life. What used to be a tool that allows me to communicate with the world on a more regular basis with ease has turned into an invasion and molestation of my private existence.

In other words, I'm constantly hounded by never ending calls, text messages, BB messages, emails and the like. And why yes, they're all URGENT.

It seems that in today's world, having a smartphone (which is anything but in my opinion) seems to indicate that you are now literally available 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Calls and smses used to be bad enough but now with instant messaging and e-mails coming through directly, communication has never been an uglier bitch.

Why oh why, pray tell, do people think that just because I own a Blackberry, I am expected to be 'on top of' my e-mails, calls, smses and instant messaging? I don't recall signing a contract with my telco provider that states I shall henceforth be surgically infused with the smartphone of my choice till death do we part.

The irony is, I grew fond of my Blackberry because of the convenience in terms of dealing with my clients. They could send me inquiries and I could get back to them almost immediately. I stress: ALMOST immediately. Or at least I could send them a reply saying, "Got your email. I'll get back to you this evening." Good enough, right?

Apparently not. These days, when you get an email, text or instant message, you are expected to get back to them in the next five seconds or, heaven forbid, your genitals will rot and fall off. Do people EVER consider that maybe I'm not sitting in front of my phone, staring at the screen, going "OOOH I can't wait till someone gets in touch with me!" When I discover the art of eating, shitting, showering, driving and having sex while replying e-mails, I will let you know.

So while I am so so so grateful that the mobile phone allows me to communicate with the human race, I will not be enslaved to it. I cannot answer the phone at any given second nor can I reply a 2-page email using the pathetic excuse of a keyboard on the Blackberry.

So please understand that when I cannot attend to your calls or texts immediately, I am just busy going about my daily life and its routines. And sometimes that is far more urgent than any e-mail.

Monday, May 09, 2011

The Anti-Plan

Everything I've wanted in life did not arrive in neat little packages on the dot. In fact, everytime I planned something, it never went according to schedule.

So perhaps I am The Anti-Plan. It seems that everything I DON'T plan will happen. But how do you unplan a plan so that it becomes unplanned?

I know the whole Coelho-esque mantra of the universe conspiring to help me and I appreciate it, O Great Universe. It's worked out well so far so there must be some truth in that. I just need to find the faith, patience and strength to believe that, goddamit, everything does happen for a reason.

In the meantime, I'm going to have another Mai Tai and see if I can squeeze Bali in August.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Marrieds

Everytime I tell myself to let go of this one, it haunts me like a bad Britney song. Just to recap, some of you might have heard my ranting about a certain family member who has officially stopped hanging out with me on the basis that I've gotten married. I said this before and I'll say it again:

what the hell is his problem.

Way back when, the two of us used to hang out quite regularly each time he came back for a visit from KL. And I admit, i enjoyed his company and we always had a good time. Two years ago when news of my engagement got to him, his exact words were, "What's this I hear about you getting engaged?" 'Congratulations, I'm so happy for you' didn't make an appearance throughout this conversation, mind you.

Long story short, he was actually disappointed I had decided to settle down. He thought I was someone who 'would go places, do big things' but instead I was choosing to 'get married'. And, oh my lord, how this bugged me to no end. Was I LESS of an interesting person because I had met someone I wanted to share a life with?

I tried my best to not let it get to me. But a few months ago, when I realised i hadn't heard from him for a while since my wedding, I texted him to see how he was doing and if he would like to have some drinks the next time he was in town. His reply? A blatant 'No'.

He went on to say that he had nothing in common with married people. That, apparently, married people only talked about babies, housework and began sentences with "WE think..." or "WE believe...". So, no, he didn't really want to hang out with me anymore on the simple basis that I had done the most horrific act possible: Get married.

First of all, I was hurt. He was my cousin, after all. And then, I started getting angry. How completely juvenile! How insanely ignorant could he be? And what kind of lame-ass boring married people did he know to come up with a stereotype like that? But after a while, I started to feel sorry for him. Obviously, this guy had issues. A commitment-phobe who hides behind his smug singledom - and who better to take it out on if not his married friends. Was he bitter that we had significant others and he was still searching? Or were all his relationships such a disgrace that instead of bringing out the best in him, they just made him more cynical and hateful? People often think married people carry an air of self-righteousness and treat their single friends condescendingly. But my oh so single cousin has managed to prove that sometimes the shoe is on the other foot.

After a while, I've decided to let him go. I feel sorry that our relationship has soured simply because he has chosen to be judgmental. I know that my real friends are those who will stand by me regardless of my marital status and would love me even if I dyed my hair blue and tattooed 'Toyol' on my forehead (I don't know why I would do that anyway). I know what defines ME and if you can't see past my wedding ring, shame on you.

By the way, I can't wait to attend HIS wedding.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cubaan, cubaan, satu, dua, tiga...

Sejak kebelakangan ini, aku sering membuat kerja-kerja penterjemahan dari Bahasa Inggeris ke Bahasa Malaysia. Walaupun penguasaan Bahasa Malaysia aku tidak seberapa, aku tekad mencuba. Aku begitu teruja sehingga mendapat insipirasi untuk menulis blog dalam Bahasa Malaysia. Inilah cubaan pertama, kalau silap dan salah, tolong maafkan.

Tidak ada perkembangan yang mendadak dalam kehidupan sederhana aku, hanya projek dan kerja menulis menjadi temanku setiap hari. Aku duduk berpandangan dengan skrin komputer riba yang hanya mampu berkelip sebagai tanda perhubungan. Otakku bergeliga dan Kamus Dwibahasa Oxford Fajar merupakan kitab bahasa yang menjadi panduan dan pembimbing dari subuh ke senja. Oh begitu penat otakku diperah! Bilakah keseksaan ini akan berakhir? Namun, aku terus berjuang, dengan wang sebagai motivasi. Kita kena berhadapan dengan realiti : Wang membuat dunia berputar. Dan maka dengan fakta itulah, aku terus menghadapi cabaran penterjemahan dari siang ke malam.

Sampai di sini saja kisah aku pada hari ini. Anjing belum makan dan piring perlu dicuci. Ya, sudah tentu blog kali ini ganjil tapi kadang-kadang keganjilan itu menarik, bukan? Sekian dan salam mesra dari saya.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


My Italian pilgrimage in photos. Let me warn you that these are not in order because I cannot be bothered to move them around. Oink.

So on the 6th of February, my parents, my brother Johann and I took a trip to Italy (along with 33 other people from KK - it was a tour group organised by my brother's company). The 10-day trip was a combination of things: tiring, long, amusing and fascinating. I discovered that my fear of flying is getting worse with age but I'll save that ramble for another entry. In the meantime, these are snapshots taken during my visit to Rome, Florence, Pisa and Assisi. Bellisima!

Yep, i'm going straight to the highlight of the trip: A visit to the Vatican City. St. Paul's Basilica, the biggest church in the world, is - for lack of words - mind-blowing. You see it in photos, movies, postcards but nothing prepares you when you actually step into the building. I found myself silenced at the greatness of it all - i couldn't take photos inside because my camera wouldn't do it justice. I really need a proper DSLR for moments like these, eh? The Basilica is one place I will be returning to.

We managed to be a part of the special audience with the Pope, which takes place on Wednesdays. I thought he was going to be on the balcony waving to people in the square but turns out it was inside a large hall where he addressed everyone in four to five languages! We received a special mention too 'The pilgrims from Malaysia, we welcome you' - wah, so glamour.

Here he is, Pope Benedict XVI.

I'm somewhere in the 15th row from the front. The hall had about 500 people - the atmosphere was electric.

The Swiss Army Guards. Yes, they have weird looking uniforms but a fascinating story. These guards are specially chosen from Switzerland for generations for a reason - There was once an attempted assassination on a Pope (i can't recall which one) and there were these 12 men who just happened to be visiting the Vatican on vacation. During the commotion, they protected and saved the Pope, sacrificing their lives for him. And yes, they happened to be Swiss Army Guards. So since then, the Vatican City exclusively hires Swiss Army Guards for their protection.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa. A major tourist attraction to say the least. You can go inside the tower but I didn't have time. Plus i was worried i might tip it over :P

For the life of me, I cannot remember the name of this church but I was fascinated by the prayer steps. Devotees will say a prayer on each step until they make it all the way up on their knees to the top.

The Vatican Museum was one of my favourites. We only had a couple of hours in here when in fact you'd need a whole day to appreciate everything. Next door was the Sistine Chapel - no photos allowed. I WAS IN THE SISTINE CHAPEL!!! Ya i'm a geek but it really was exciting.

Just to show you how much a typical meal would cost. That's in Euros mind you so that comes up to about 9 Euros a meal and 2 Euros for a cappuccino = RM45.00. Anyone's wallet bleeding yet?

One of the many temples converted into a church. It's like a movie set, I tell you. Too beautiful to comprehend. SO beautiful that I forgot the name of the place.

In Florence, a very vibrant and artsy town. This is a church from the Gothic era, the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, the cathedral (Duomo) of Florence. Unlike Renaissance architecture, the Gothic era is a little more 'cold' and dark, ie no fancy lines. I'm no architecture expert but the difference is obvious. For lack of better word, it just seems a bit more...creepy. Still, another piece of work that you cannot stop ogling at.

The medieval town of Assisi in the distance. Home of St.Francis.

And of course....monks from the Franciscan order!

The visit to Assisi held some significance to me being a St. Francis Convent student all my life. To learn more about his origins and way of life brought special meaning. Very humbling actually. Another place I would definitely come back and spend more time in.

Yes, it's true. Almost everyone rides a Vespa in Rome.

Basilica of St. John Lateran. The scale of the architecture and attention to detail, again, swept me off my feet.

You can see plenty of Egyptian obelisks around the city of Rome. I admire how the people appreciate and conserve their ancient buildings and monuments. It brings such character to a place.

Pasta in Italy? But of course! They go really easy on the spices and flavours, surprisingly. Nothing like what you get here in our local Italian joints. Some of the pasta we had was quite bland for my liking.

Tivoli Gardens - one of UNESCOs World Heritage Sites. This huge mansion holds the only natural water fountains in the world. All the fountains you see here are not manned by any equipment - only fresh water from the mountains and springs. Sangat amazing.

You tell me that's not gorgeous.

The historical Tiber River.

The Arch of Constantine, built in 315 and IT'S STILL STANDING. Why lah we cannot even handle a clock tower? Anyhoo, this was built just outside the Coliseum to commemorate Emperor Constantine's victory at the Battle of Milvian Bridge.

The Pantheon - remember Angels and Demons? This was originally a temple for the Sun God and later in Christian times, turned into a church. There is a huge hole in the middle of dome which acts as a sun dial - back in the day, they used this tell the time. So ingenious. This was one of my favourite stops - I even bought a sketching of the Pantheon as remembrance.

Speaking of sketching, you see plenty of artists and students settled in front of the many buildings and monuments with their sketchpad and easels. Made me think of The H and wishing he was there with me.

Aquaducts! I almost leapt out of my seat when I saw this. Being a huge Roman Empire-type game fan, I was super excited to see an actual aquaduct. This babies were used to supply water around the city. Not very easy to construct but another testimony of Roman civilisation at its best (plus they are a bitch to build when expanding your empire).

Just striking a pose in my leopard-print turtleneck and leather boots trying to look local. Of course, my Asian hair and face kinda gave it away.

THIS is what the stylo Italians look like. They dress impeccably 24-7. Completely fell in love with Italian style. They are effortlessly chic.

Our guide for the first 3 days, Eros. Yes, he looks like Pavarotti. No, he wasn't very nice. Maybe it's the way he talks but after two days of, "FASTER FASTER, WHY YOU WALK SO SLOW???!" in our ears, we got tired of him real quick.

These cobbled roads outside the Coliseum are original - yep, over 2,000 years old! Maybe Sabah can learn a thing or two about constructing roads that don't need a patch up every two weeks...

Just outside the Coliseum are these grounds which served as a 'hospital' for injured or dying gladiators. After a battle, those who didn't die would be rushed here and receive medical attention....So that they can fight in the next battle ASAP. Gory stuff.

A cold day in Rome. My only regret is not having enough time to see the inside grounds of the Coliseum. Ah well, gotta save some experiences for my next trip, right?

There you have it. I can happily scratch off Italy on my 'To Visit' list. But I think i've moved it to my, 'Must Return To' list.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


And so Lent rolls around for us. A time of abstinence, sacrifice and reflection. In the past years, I've tried to be a better Catholic by observing lent and giving up some form of indulgence or vice for forty days. I gave up meat one year and although it was hard the first couple of weeks, it gradually became easier - however, when i say 'meat', I mean purely meat and not fish and seafood so I wasn't completely vegetarian. Another year I gave up alcohol and, trust me, this wasn't easy. It was during a time in my life where almost every social gathering took place in a pub and for 40 days I was Miss 'I'll just have an orange juice'. And somehow it's always less fun being the only sober person in a group of tipsy. A couple of years ago, I refused to indulge in gossip or listen to any idle talk about other people for 40 days - i must say, that was actually quite refreshing.

This year, I'm doing something a little different. Since I don't smoke or drink that much anymore, it would be meaningless to give up the usual tobacco and alcohol package, right? So this time around, I've decided to focus on something a little more internal. These days, life is full of 'white noise' - whining, complaining, arguing, gossiping, bla bla bla. And that's just from MY mouth. I do get sick of hearing my own voice, I must admit, and I believe I need to give more thought of what comes out of my mouth and listen more to what the world is trying to tell me.

Therefore, this year for Lent, I am dedicating an hour of silence every day (when I am awake of course - or else that's just pointless). That means no phone calls, no TV, no music, no internet, no distractions for an hour. Just 60 minutes of silence, in reflection or in prayer or simply just pausing for the day to think and gather my thoughts. I'm not expecting to grow a halo at the end of this but it's something I feel strongly about at this point of my life.

May you find a moment to pause in your buzzing life. Have a blessed Lent.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

She lives!

I'm back. I'm alive. I'm just a world-class procrastinator. Updates soon, promise! In the meantime, a sneak peek of my Italian trip:

More photos soon. Ciao!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Change of address.

No internet. No cable TV. No coffee table. Yes, we're moving into our new home hence the silence. It's been about a week and so far, so good. Everything in baby steps. I'd love to move into a house that has everything ready but where's the fun in that? heh.

So excuse me while I unpack the gazillionth box marked 'office/bedroom/kitchen/bathroom/anywhere appropriate.'

Hope your days are all happy, happy, joy, joy.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Note to fickle-minded, scaredy-cat self:

OMG why can't I just chop my hair off??? It's just hair. Grab those damn scissors and just DO IT, woman!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Money and Matters

Ever since I traded my 8 to 5 desk job for a freelancing life, I must confess it hasn't been without its highs and lows. And although I've blogged numerous times about the highs outweighing the lows, there are days when the lows are just, well, kinda annoying.

The H and I are both freelancers - him with his design work and photography and me with my scribing - and every month is a roller coaster of 'Ok how much do we have this time?'. I won't lie: There are months where the jobs keep coming in and there are months where we both have to survive on one project. That said, we've managed to keep afloat for more than a year - and we had a wedding to boot!

Yes, I love the freedom and the flexibility of being on my own but I will confess that my hands tend to sweat at the thought of the other F word: Finances. Especially with a new home on our hands (which reeks of adult responsibility, yikes) and our baby plans in the not-so-distant future. So imagine my surprise when a lucrative job opportunity presented itself. It was a high-profile post with the government (let's just say my boss would be a politician). However, it would require me to sign a two-year contract and relocate to (oh yes you would've guessed it) KL. Plus I get to travel. But what honestly made my ears perk up was the impressive basic salary. And that was just 'BASIC' salary, mind you.

I started doing the math in my head - well, tried to do the math anyhoo. The H and I sat down and discussed our options. Could we really just pack up and go? After all our networking here? Fixing up the house? Taking on those projects? Tell our clients, "Uh, buh-bye, sorry" ?

Honestly, of course we could.

And then we started to envision our lives in KL. Both of us working long hours, commuting and me travelling. The high cost of living. And of course, it would mean to put our baby plans on the hold for a couple of years. Would that money be worth it? He asked me, "If you weren't married, would you take the job?"

And I told him, "In a heartbeat." But I continued by telling him that I AM married and while a time ago I would've up and left without a second thought, I know exactly what my priorities are today and I don't have a single regret. And while the allure of the money is indeed tempting, the urge to stay where I am and making the most of what I love is far more appealing. That big, fat paycheck isn't going to let me wake up slow, do what I love for a living while surrounded by things that matter most: My family, my friends, my home and of course, the love of my life: My cat, Blanket. Hahaha, i couldn't resist, sorry. So I decided to turn the opportunity down and I sleep well with that decision every night.

Although I'm not exactly having strawberries and champagne for lunch (eww, why would I want to anyway?) or living it up in a big city, I think my life is pretty damn awesome right not. My bank account may not be bursting at the seams - but I've never felt richer.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Resolutions a.k.a Stuff I'd like to accomplish this year but need to summon the willpower and discipline

I looked back on my older entries to see what new year resolutions I came up with back then and which ones I actually accomplished or stuck to. Wellll....I HAVE started working out more and I finally left my job (ok, so these resolutions took five years to accomplish but hey I got there somehow!). I even had one year where my list included 'drink more milk'. That didn't last a month by the way.

Ergo, the simple solution to increase the probability of sticking to one's new year's resolutions (and yes,I'm starting to sound like the guys from The Big Bang Theory) is to create more realistic, pragmatic and convenient ones. Let's see:

1. Fix the dent in my car: I went to a friend's wedding a couple of years ago and someone did a 'dent and dash' number on my Wira. It's still there, making me look like a careless driver, tsk tsk. I really should get it fixed this year.

2. Travel: I say this every year and I am proud to say, it's the one resolution I've never failed to fulfill. I can cross Vancouver, Canada off my list and this year, I'll be heading to Italy. *check*

3. Do something to my hair: I keep this vague because 'something' can range from a two-inch snip to platinum streaks. Or, thanks to a moment of boredom and too much free time, perhaps something ridiculous like this:
or how about this:
....Ya right, as if I had that much hair. If all fails, I can always go old school:

And I kinda like making a statement:

Ok, I digress...

4. Make a baby: This is one project that might actually be fun, heh heh. No pressure but the H and I have decided it's time to start planning.

5. Improve my Mandarin: Notice how I didn't say, "Learn Mandarin and master it". I'll be happy if I can muddle through a sentence without insulting somebody's mother or horse.

6. Cook better: I don't want to raise a family that feeds on instant noodles and soft-boiled eggs. I'm getting there and I'm actually enjoying myself in the kitchen. Sometimes, I cook in there too.

7. Spend more time with people who enrich my life and less time with people who bring grief. 'Nuff said.

and finally...

8. Drink more milk. Haha kidding. And finally, continuously strive to be more at peace with the person that I am. I find that as I get older, this gets easier. I have a lesser urge to please or impress people and you discover the people who matter accept you just the way you are. If only I knew this when I was 16.

Here goes nothing.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

New year, new you.

Thanks to Yo, I've finally stepped out of the Stone Age and changed my blog look. Okay so it's nothing drastic but it's a start eh? Just a heads up that I might be jumping here and there with my blog design so bear with me.

The only big 'oops' is that I didn't know I would lose all my blog comments. More reason for you guys to leave new ones! Happy new year. Here's to change being a good thing.