Hectic March



March was way hectic. Between projects after projects that needed to be attended to at the office, and settling my "loss of use" claim from the 3rd party insurance (it's a ridiculously low amount of money that they're offering me, but at least I get some), and going shopping here & there to buy stuff to bring for family in UK.

Got sick for at least 2 whole weeks! I tell ya, it was helluva month! Alhamdulillah I managed to survive.

And now it's only 2 days away from my UK trip. Tomorrow's my last day of work. I am going to have myself a very quiet 2 1/2 weeks in Tetbury. My phone's gonna be turned off, so if you need me... well, better find yourself another person.

Toodles! See ya in May, after my birthday party in the UK!

Of lists and whatnots


I'm flying to UK next month, InsyaAllah. It's going to be a 3-week holiday & I'm trying to settle off as much as I can on the 2 projects that will be going on during the period when I'm gone.

I'm also in charge of doing the currency exchange for all 3 of us. Buying & picking up items that we're going to bring over to UK for Mak Leha & family kat sana. I'd say it's a busy month for me. 

So I have myself quite a number of lists:
1. List of things to do for work - handover.
2. List of items to complete for Project #1.
3. List of items to complete for Project #2.
4. List of things to do for UK trip.
5. List of things to buy (in Malaysia) for family in UK.
6. List of things to buy (in UK) for family in Malaysia.

Yep. Those are just the list. You don't want to see the breakdown of items in those lists. 

Blerrrggghhh!

Apa pun, I hope my trip goes well. Selamat pergi, selamat kembali & selamat dalam perjalanan. Dan I hope my projects will go through smoothly because I do NOT want any of my bosses / colleagues to call / text me during my holiday.

2 more weeks to go! I can do this! :)


The Continuation



Yep, I've been gone for TWO whole years. I ran out of things to say because life just got more & more complicated.

So I guess I'm here again, I'll try to post as much as I can.
So, see ya!

Welcome, 2014.

I promised myself I'd write about 2013, but since it's already 2014, I am just gonna leave it at that. But in conclusion of 2013, it was the year where everything happened.

I mean, EVERYTHING. All jammed up in 12 months. The busiest year by far in my 31 years of living.

And as I search in this blog, I couldn't find my resolutions for 2013. Guess because I couldn't bother to make one, and it kept changing as the days went by anyway.

So this year, 2014, I have simplified my resolutions. I believe it's going to be achievable. Here we go:

My resolutions for 2014
1. Read & finish at least 100 books.
2. Have at least RM10,000.00 in hand.
3. Lose at least 10kg.

Those are to be achieved by 31 December 2014. And self, please update this blog of your achievements. If you manage to complete all 3, you deserve a pat in the back. And you deserve a trip to Morocco.

Happy new year, all. May your year be filled with love & joy.

:)

Raya Haji 2013 Trip

Day 1 - 2 pinggan nasi & meat for lunch.
           - Chill out minum2 at a cafe

Day 2 - Getting some sweat on
          - Drive, talk, sing-along sessions, laugh

Day 3 - More driving, more talk, more singing

Day 4 - Travel, snap pictures, talk, laugh, sing

Day 5 - More singing, more talking, more goofing around
          - Awesome chill out session
          - Kambing sampai pening
          - THE best day

Day 6 - Laugh. Bye.

Day 1 - Pre departure

My journey starts today. Some people say it's those times where you want to "find" yourself. I am found, I just need a break & I want to be alone. And I want to be close to the person I miss most.

* Get ahold of yourself, Jihan. Don't cry in public. *

In a way, I'm going back to a part of my roots. I really hope I can set my feet there. I miss him a lot. I've been seeing his face ever since the beginning of the year. But I can't be close enough, so I'm trying to breathe the air that he once breathed.

* Oh shucks. I'm already in tears. *

This is going to be one emotional journey.

------------------------------------------------------------------

As of this morning, I've met Encik Mohd Aziz, a taxi driver, and a Tabligh. Alhamdulillah I had myself a good muslim driver. It was 4.30am & I was alone, so it was scary. Anyway, he talked to me about Sunnah, how to live it & threw some questions that I stuttered to answer.

Happy, energetic young Indian boys welcomed & helped me onto the bus. How can you be so cheerful so early in the morning? Have you had extra dose of coffee or something? Oh the young ones..

Reached the airport at 6am wanting to feed myself some Coffee Bean breakfast set which I love, but they're out of stock. So had to chow down chicken puff & a cup of coffee. 20 bucks, man! Add a little ore and I'll have myself that nice breakfast set I long for.

And now here I am, still in Coffee Bean, in the calmer part of the airport. Sitting right under the brightest light in the store. Using the airport's Wifi and minding my own business.

I'll write soon. Nature's calling.



Good bye?

I've been away. Yes, I have.

Away with a broken heart. An almost-broken hope. And a broken smartphone.

Maybe I'll be back, maybe I won't. Am going away for a while. I need a break.

I think I'd name this post "Random stuff about me"

Oh goodness, this blog has been abandoned for so long! Been busy with work. Or I may just be too lazy to even write a line.

Anyway, I've been monitoring my life from the outside of my own skin. It wrecks, of course, as I'm writing at 2am on a Monday morning in the office - but let's not go into that. Let's talk about being - what else - single in your 30s.

Seriously tho, I'm not a picky person. At least I don't use to be when I was younger. As I see a lot more of human behaviors, I became one. And at this age, frankly I don't really care. I may not be financially stable. I may not have enough money to support my own self, let alone Mummy & Makton, but hey - I'm sure everything will turn out fine, InsyaAllah.

So at this age, with half of the male species are married with children and the other half is gay.. chances are I"m gonna stuck alone forever. But please don't get emotional over this & try to put some motivational words to me - as I said to Pizli - motivation can suck itself.

From what I see now, I could get married & start a family, but it would be out of convenience. I mean, like in movies where they marry based on a contract? Yeah. Like that. With benefits to both parties & the agreed-upon prenups. Just an example - maybe if we constantly travel together, having parents in the same hometown, about to be homeless & trying to find a decent house to live in...

I don't mind that. Why would I? It would save me some money. And assuming the guy's not gay, I could finally get some. I'm sure you get what I mean.

I do NOT want somebody who:
1. Is selfish.
2. Does not respect the elders, especially my Mummy & Makton.
3. Wears a t-shirt with the collar up.
4. Likes to wear matching outfits.
5. Spits in public.
6. Goes overboard (in fashion, esp) to impress god-knows-who *rolles eyes*.
7. Too much into politics.
8. Talks about politics too loud with strangers beside him in a flight & thinks that he's opinions are the best.
9. Does not know how to drive.
10. Is a vegetarian.
11. Is a womanizer (but believe me if he is, he wouldn't even glance my way).
12. Is prettier than I am & wants to get "perfect" physically.
13. Has anger issues.
14. Is not a believer of any religion.
15. Can't do anything & makes me do everything.
16. Keeps secrets from me.
17. Ask for money on the 1st date.
18. Constantly broke.
19. Give bad comments on everything I pick - food, clothes, etc. And of course, thinks that his opinions are the best.
20. Wear white pants.
21. Drives a car with a huge & very loud boombox.
22. Drives a pink-colored car. Or yellow. Or any other striking colors that has been pimped.
23. Unhygienic.
24. Talks a lot. A WHOLE LOT.

I don't think that's all there is - it'll build up along the way.

So looking at things, it seems like I'm not gonna get it, yeah? I guess not.

Also, I watched a TV drama recently - Scandal. Olivia Pope told his ex-husband / fiance that maybe she likes fire & pain in her relationship. Not the exact words la, but you get the picture. Well maybe, just maybe, I am somewhat like her. Maybe I don't like the conventional relationship. Maybe I like what I can't have - explanation to why married men appear to be blueberry cheesecake before my eyes.

Note that I say blueberry cheesecake, and not chocolate cake? Because that's a reserved cake for my current married-man-crush-who-is-also-may-going-to-be-my-future-boss. Haha.

Oh and plus, all my life, I've never expressed my true feelings to any men. I just look from afar, became their good friend who listens & eventually everybody goes off with somebody else.

Ah. That's all for now. Problem with server, Maybank IT guy can't fix it, have to wait til tomorrow, yadda yadda... and I'm off for sahur at home. With my beloved emptiness.

Toodles!

Saigon

Ever since I saw Anthony Grey's book "Saigon" on my cousins' book shelf, about 20 years ago, I've always wondered what it means. And when I know what it meant, I've kept it in my heart that one day I will set my foot in that foreign land. Of course, thanks to AirAsia and adulthood, I have achieved what I set for. Even if it takes me 20 effing years!

And I have to say, I enjoyed it very much. I enjoyed my companions, I enjoyed the food, the culture, the language (although I was cursed every second I spent in their markets) & most of all, I enjoyed the drinks.

We spent 4 days 3 night, which to me was not enough. Should've stayed there for a whole month so we can go to Hanoi or go bicycling at the countryside & maybe take a flight out to Pnom Penh for a while. But then again, I don't have a gold card. So I should just shut up & suck it up.

Anyway, the first thing you'll notice when you enter Ho Chi Minh City is of course, the motorcycles. There's not an inch of the road which is not occupied by these motorcycles.

And get this - they have the cutest helmet ever! It's like a cap, protecting your head from scratch and not from having it crushed to the ground. It's adorable.

And the second thing you'll notice is the wires. Oh my goodness I can't even begin how to describe the complexity of the wiring in Ho Chi Minh City. I truly believe it is the most complicated in the world.


* Try to have one of 'em short circuited & have it on fire, see what will happen. 

We pre-booked our hotel through AirAsiaGo.com, selecting Saigon Hotel Mini 6 as our shelter for the whole 4 days. The price was RM63 per night, and on top of that, there's a 20% off the total price. Thanks to a promotion period they were having.

The hotel is located in Bui Vien Street, somewhere in District 1. This district is the central urban district of Ho Chi Minh City (information thanks to Wikipedia). This street is rather calm during the day, and turned hectic at night because of the bars, pubs, clubs & seriously cheap booze.

Room @ Saigon Mini 6. Yes, I am a mess.
All of us don't drink alcoholic beverages, so we found a small stall along a busy small lane that sells a helluva good, refreshing fruit juice. A large cup costs up 20.000 VND which is equivalent to around RM3. We had this drink about 2-3 times a day, and by the end of our trip we became best friends with the auntie that sells the drink.

Bui Vien Street
Mango fruit juice


Our hotel is about 10 minutes away (by foot) from the infamous Ben Thanh market. Crossing the road, at first, was a super hard task. There's screaming involved. The thing about crossing the road is, you just have to brace yourself & cross. They will honk at you, but just to warn. Chances are, you won't get hit at all - they go by at a slow speed, and they are very skillful at avoiding pedestrians crossing.

Crossing the street on an easy traffic
Traffic at night

Just opposite of Ben Thanh market is Nguyen An Ninh Street, a.k.a Malay Street. They don't speak Vietnamese or English here - they speak Malay. And yes, majority of Malaysians who love to shop at Ho Chi Minh will stay here. There's 2 halal food restaurant, side by side. The most famous one is Hjh Basiroh. We experienced our first Pho here. It was to die for! The meat was tender, the chili was hot, the portion was generous. Price is around 75.000 VND. 


Kampung Melayu, a restaurant next to Hjh Basiroh, served more choice of food, with a protected & air-conditioned environment in which you have to pay for by their expensiveness in food & drinks.

For Muslims, I would say that you'll have to spend more on food. You'll be spending around RM15 per meal, for food and drink. So I am thankful that we have a Circle K across our hotel & auntie's fruit juice back in Bui Vien Street.

The only HALAL instant noodle in Circle K
Ben Thanh market - my first impression : oh my, a whole lot of shops! Whatever things you wanna look for, you'd probably find it in this market. Well, except for electrical goods, I guess.

Directory of Ben Tanh market
The best coffee is found in Ben Thanh  market, Ho Chi Minh  City, Vietnam

We went lost, of course, the first time being in the market. There were pulling & touching involved once you enter. At first I was kinda angry with people constantly touching me, but after some time I got used to it. Bargaining is difficult. Sometimes they don't understand you & most of the time you don't understand them. The language barrier. 

There is another market, Binh Tay, located around 20 mins away (by car) from Ben Thanh - in Chinatown. Much cheaper, much more aggressive pulling, touching & cursing involved. I don't see any westerners here, probably to them Ben Thanh is already cheap.

Cho Binh Tay

So Farah & I, the ones who do most of the bargaining, are being cursed by them at all times. Yes, I'm pretty sure they curse us for bargaining too cheap & walked away when we don't get the price we wanted. Us girls are interested in the materials. They sell mostly cotton. From English to Japan, from viscose to chiffon. Only half day in Vietnam & we've bought ourselves at least 3 - 6 pairs. 

Cotton from 1st shop @ Ben Thanh, RM21 each
Cotton from 2nd shop @ Binh Tay, RM20.50 each
Cotton for Omar's family
Chiffon + lining for RM20 each

Cotton for RM20.50 each

Above are only some of the materials that I bought. Mind you there's another 12 pairs that is missing from the picture. Those costs me RM23 each. And the picture below, I took from a shop that sells ready-made baju kurung with a heavy duty beads going on. 

From a shop @ Nguyen An Ninh
Haggling is fun, but when you have to deal with 3 different currencies, it becomes a headache. We haggle in Ringgit Malaysia, but we only have Vietnamese Dong & USD. So you have to have a calculator for the conversion of currencies. And there'll always a plus minus price over what you've settled for. Apart from buying materials, you can also make suits. It is said to be nicely sewn & comfortably worn. See sample below:

The bold tailor & the 3 businesspersons 

We didn't only shop, we did some sightseeing & touring as well. Mekong river was done on my birthday, after a surprise birthday party the night before. I was seriously caught off guard, and so below are the only pictures that's appropriate for public viewing, if you know what I mean. 

The "room service" lady & her friends. Notice Rahmat's hair? 
My cakes & presents

So back to Mekong river trip, it costs us USD35 which includes pickup at hotel, breakfast, boat ride & tour with English-speaking guide, lunch, market stops & return to hotel. To me the price was OK, considering the food are all halal & there's only 6 of us in the group, so we're comfortably seated. Our Mekong tourist guide, I believe is a friend of Jack Dorsey's. She should be the blue bird representing Twitter. 

Tuwet (pronounced Tweet), our Mekong river guide
Big motorboat @ Mekong river
Small boats to raft through the canal
The boys must've been tired paddling the sampan. Yeah, right!

The next day we walked through the city. The sun, I believe, was just an inch over our heads. We were sweaty, thirsty. We got burned, and yet we still walk. I enjoy walking, so I would say that I enjoy our walk through District 1 very much. Along the way we stopped at an air-conditioned mall to shop (again), bought stamps at the post office, buy drinks, take pictures, get cheated by the coconut-drink seller & get our sweat on.

I enjoy getting lost in the city of the unknown.

Rahmat and the coconut man who did not cheat us
One of the parks in HCM city
Park nearby Ben Thanh market

And by the time we reach the back of the Notre Dame Cathedral,  everybody was super tired. I'm actually afraid to ask them to walk with me around the corner (because I want to look at the cathedral from the front), they would chop me up & eat me for lunch. So we took a cab home.

When we got back to the hotel, one of the girls from reception knocked on my door & handed me a birthday cake. They are the sweetest! So I took pictures with them :)

The girls of Saigon Mini Hotel

The next morning, Farah & Rahmat went to Ben Thanh early to do some last minute shopping. I stayed at the hotel, waiting for our tailor to come. The thing about Vietnamese is, if you make an appointment with them, always put at least an hour early of the time that you want. Because they will be at least an hour late. This happened 50% of the time. 

So while waiting for Lan, the tailor (a woman), Omar & I had some alone time. Finally. Nah, just kidding. We went out to get breakfast at Highlands Coffee. It was difficult to find a halal place to eat in Bui Vien area, so we just entered & ordered tuna sandwich. 

Notice the ring on his finger? My best friend's married & I don't know it.
My iced coffee is, again, to die for!

So after our morning runs, we settled down in 1 room to wait for 6pm to go to the airport. 4 of us, 3 of which is big-sized. 7 bags, excluding handbags. Cramped in 1 small room. So us girls stayed on the bed while the guys in whichever positions they were comfortable in.

Omar on the floor
The married couple organizing their bags

And thank goodness we did not run out of money & luggage size is not over the limit. Mine & Omar totaled up to 41.5 kg while Farah & Rahmat was around 37kg.

Safely arrived in Malaysia with smiles on our tiring faces. Thank you to my 3 friends who threw me the party & helped me throughout the journey. I love you guys!

We'll be back, Ho Chi Minh. That is a promise.


Smile, it's sunnah.

I have been smiling a lot lately. I am happier. Although, not entirely.

The thing is, since I've been like this, there's a whole lot of questions & assumptions coming from my friends & family.

Yeah, I said it - family. As if they don't know me la?

What is up with all that, dude? Come on, can't I just be happy on my own? Does the "boyfriend" question really have to be questioned?

No, I'm not angry. I'm just letting everybody thinks what they wanna think. If you assume I have a special someone, then yes, I do. If you think that I am in love, then yes, I am! And if you're guessing if I am going steady with that Indonesian guy, or that Johorian guy, by all means, I am with both.

Puas hati?

Time will reveal the truth. Eventually, when everybody sees that nothing is happening to me (read: getting married / getting engaged), they will get off my back.

And yeah, that smile you see when I'm Whatsapp-ing & those lovey-dovey tweets that you're reading... that may be part of the plan.

Justin Timberlake - Mirrors


Aren't you somethin' to admire?
Cause your shine is somethin' like a mirror
And I can't help but notice
You reflect in this heart of mine
If you ever feel alone and
The glare makes me hard to find
Just know that I'm always
Parallel on the other side

Cause with your hand in my hand and a pocket full of soul
I can tell you there's no place we couldn't go
Just put your hand on the glass
I'm here tryin' to pull you through
You just gotta be strong

I don't wanna lose you now
I'm lookin' right at the other half of me
The vacancy that sat in my heart
Is a space that now you hold
Show me how to fight for now
And I'll tell you, baby, it was easy
Comin' back here to you once I figured it out
You were right here all along

It's like you're my mirror
My mirror staring back at me
I couldn't get any bigger
With anyone else beside of me
And now it's clear as this promise
That we're making
Two reflections into one
Cause it's like you're my mirror
My mirror staring back at me, staring back at me

Aren't you somethin', an original
Cause it doesn't seem merely assembled
And I can't help but stare, cause
I see truth somewhere in your eyes
I can't ever change without you
You reflect me, I love that about you
And if I could, I
Would look at us all the time

Cause with your hand in my hand and a pocket full of soul
I can tell you there's no place we couldn't go
Just put your hand on the glass
I'm here tryin' to pull you through
You just gotta be strong

I don't wanna lose you now
I'm lookin' right at the other half of me
The vacancy that sat in my heart
Is a space that now you hold
Show me how to fight for now
And I'll tell you, baby, it was easy
Comin' back here to you once I figured it out
You were right here all along

It's like you're my mirror
My mirror staring back at me
I couldn't get any bigger
With anyone else beside of me
And now it's clear as this promise
That we're making
Two reflections into one
Cause it's like you're my mirror
My mirror staring back at me, staring back at me

Yesterday is history
Tomorrow's a mystery
I can see you lookin' back at me
Keep your eyes on me
Baby, keep your eyes on me

I don't wanna lose you now
I'm lookin' right at the other half of me
The vacancy that sat in my heart
Is a space that now you hold
Show me how to fight for now
And I'll tell you, baby, it was easy
Comin' back here to you once I figured it out
You were right here all along

It's like you're my mirror
My mirror staring back at me
I couldn't get any bigger
With anyone else beside of me
And now it's clear as this promise
That we're making
Two reflections into one
Cause it's like you're my mirror
My mirror staring back at me, staring back at me

You are, you are the love of my life [x10]

Now you're the inspiration for this precious song
And I just wanna see your face light up since you put me on
So now I say goodbye to the old me, it's already gone
And I can't wait wait wait wait wait to get you home
Just to let you know, you are

You are, you are the love of my life [x8]

Girl you're my reflection, all I see is you
My reflection, in everything I do
You're my reflection and all I see is you
My reflection, in everything I do

You are, you are the love of my life [x16]


March 2013 - Bukit Tinggi, Sumatera, Indonesia.

I did a crazy thing this year. I got off from Jakarta & booked my next flight to Bukit Tinggi, Indonesia only 3 weeks apart. Well, to some (read: rich people), this is pretty normal, but for regular folk like me, this is kinda crazy. With the money, work & annual leave situation. 

I didn't regret it. I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was a relaxing trip. Just sit around & hang out with my 2 buddies. No pressure. A stress-reliever. 

Kawa daun, served in coconut shell
My dearest travel agent, Ade, brought us to this shop that sells coffee that is made from coffee leaves. And it tastes like tea - Kawa Daun, the name. To coffee lovers, this would be the most insulting kind of coffee that has ever existed but knowing the story behind it, you just have to forgive them & let it be.

It was during the olden days when Indonesia was still under the power of the Dutch. Their coffee beans were all being exported by the higher power & leaving them only with the leaves. And so, that's what the people use to make coffee.

Anyway, we had ours with tidbits - goreng pisang, cucur udang, tahu goreng with cili padi & another kuih which-I-don't-know-the-name-of. I kinda miss it tho. Eating & talking & laughing. Super fun time.


Later that night, Ade took us to his friend's wedding. So we had the chance to go to a Minangkabau wedding, in the land of Minangkabau! Yeay! 

It was the fanciest pelamin I've ever seen. However, the reception itself was kinda dull. It was the 3rd & last day anyway. They had no music, people weren't talking loudly, and the food was not to my liking. Good social experience tho. An of course, my first time going to a wedding in t-shirt, jeans & red Converse. 

I am definitely going back to Bukit Tinggi. I wanna try their mie ayam, murtabak, belut goreng, sate Padang & all the other food that I've missed out.