2016: 2 years on

It’s cliched but it’s true. Time flies. Especially when you are having fun. In my case that is also true but also mainly because I just got caught up in the challenges of life in the mid-thirties. My last post on this blog was two years ago.

So what hasn’t change in my life since then and what has?

No I’m not married yet. And no I don’t have a kid.

Yes, I still live in Malaysia in the same apartment.

Yes, my job suddenly got busy in early 2015. Responsibilities soared. Suddenly, in a matter of 3 weeks my boss resigned and left the company. I was left all alone in the department. Everyone assumed I knew everything, which wasn’t true. By default, I was the one in charge. By default, I was the expert in everything. By default I was the head of the department but without the experience, the salary nor the title. I blame the incredible stress as one of the major contributors to my back pain and resulting depression. Someone very thoughtlessly told me, it seemed like every company I joined, everyone leaves. For a year, it was very challenging. If I learnt anything, it was how not to be bullied and being comfortable about being me and that people are going to say bad things even if you do good, so just do things that you feel are right. Things have improved though in the past 6 months since I now have an assistant and someone to share the burdens with at work. I am however, not discounting new opportunities.

Yes I had health issues involving a slipped disc and bad sciatica since September 2015.  There was a dark period that I wondered, do I really have to live like this for the rest of my life? Not being able to sit for  more than 10 minutes. Unable to drive for more than 30 minutes without excruciating pain? Lying in bed every night with pain? Being on endless painkillers and spending every other evening at the physiotherapist or chiropractor or osteopath and feeling like the tiredness and pain would never go away? Being unable to do the daily activities I was used to? Simply bending to pick up a dress to do laundry hurt. Tidying up my house hurt. Walking too much hurt. I stood up at my desk for months to do work. People offered unsolicited advice, “You should lose weight” “You should eat less this and that or more this and that.” or simply blatant  and pointless ones like “This is a condition which has a long recovery period.” My back pain is only now finally improving after almost 9 months and it’s a reminder for me, how lucky I am to live without constant pain. I am slowly returning to my previous level of activity but still reminding myself to have adequate rest.

Yes, I have been in a relationship for almost 2 years now with someone I met online. I’m not exactly sure, since we don’t celebrate any anniversaries. He is not someone who is monetarily rich, or someone who is good with words or big romantic gestures. There are ups and downs but mostly, he is kind and understanding. He is accommodating and generous towards me in both his time and money. He’s willing to accompany me when my wanderlust strikes. We spent NYE overseas the past two years, end of 2014 in Hong Kong and end of 2015 in Taipei. This year we have plans to spend NYE in Japan. Spending NYE out of Malaysia is important to me because I have bitter memories of some NYE in Malaysia and since then I have made it a point to start the year on a good note. Also, to me the year starts on 1st January and not CNY which is a yucky season for me. We create our own traditions, no? He has also thus far, through my work dramas, family dramas, health issues and emotional downs, always been there for me.

Yes, I crossed off diving at one of my bucket list places- Palau in Micronesia in April 2015. AH-MAH-ZING!! Really unforgettable. How I got through going for a MRI of my spine: alone in that cramped MRI machine with strange sounds, all I thought about with my eyes close was the the beautiful Survivor Island beach, the graceful manta somersaulting right in front of me and the absolute peacefulness sailing in the middle of the Pacific ocean, totally cut off from the forms of communication I am so used to, namely the mobile telephone and emails.

Yes, I finally bought a new car this year, replacing my Proton Wira of 15 years. I love my new little red Mazda 2 It’s super nippy and super sporty. Importantly, it gets me places, keeps me cool on sunny day, keeps me dry on wet ones and it doesn’t trigger or further aggravate my back pain.

Yes I took up French language classes for about a year. I can speak and understand some basic French now. Enough to get by when I visit France for work without feeling lost and like a total idiot.

I have also realized that I have drifted apart from some friends whom I would consider close friends these past two years. Some who stay far away and some even stay in Malaysia or in KL itself. Two of them, I was actually bridesmaid at their weddings. It’s no ones fault honestly. It’s two way. We just reached a point where we stopped calling each other or messaging each other. Even if we talked, it was obvious how different our lives were now. I don’t feel any anger or even regret. I think it’s just part and parcel of life. I do still have some friends whom we still can find common ground in spite of our different circumstances and make effort to keep in touch on what’s happening in each other’s lives. We meet up as often as we can. We celebrate each other’s joys and we mourn each others sadness. For that I am grateful.

My brother’s wife is expecting a baby boy in June 2016. I will be an auntie soon and my parents finally, grandparents. I am hoping this will keep them occupied so they will be less bored. I am considering going to visit the baby in the US but there are many complex considerations. So we shall see.

I hope it won’t be two years again that I write another entry here.

 

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Serendipity

Sunset at the Luxembourg Gardens

So, I am back from my business trip to Paris.

A little over 2 weeks of working, living, breathing, opening my eyes as wide as I could, literally and figuratively, trying to take everything in with all my senses, walking everyday till my feet ached and trying to maximize every facet of this opportunity presented to me.

4 days post-Paris, I think my emotions are still reeling from the experience.

I was pleasantly surprised that despite the initial hiccup of a burst zip of my brand new luggage bag and flight delay of over 10 hours (rather minor in retrospect) and after getting over my jet lag, how much I enjoyed myself working in the corporate Headquarters. Despite not speaking French, I found a strange sense of belonging and acceptance at how they appreciated my sense of humour and how well I actually got along with the colleagues there. What made me feel assured and gave me added confidence was how natural it felt and how I fit in without so much effort as it sometimes may take me, even at home. I felt like I was myself at my best.

I recall a recent government conference I was involved organizing and participating in, and even then among fellow Malaysians (of a different race mainly, I won’t state which but I’m sure any Malaysian reading this could give an educated guess), I realized how far I was from being the inside crowd or “the same”- that in all likely hood, because of my race- in spite of speaking the same language, growing up in the same country, eating the same food- I would never be one of them even if I may have worked with them or known them for years.

Hence, it was slightly surreal to be in Paris, tens of thousands of kilometers from home to find a place I felt I belonged, with people of a different nationality, from a different continent where perhaps the only things we had in common were our work and English. It seemed I was accepted for my differences, in spite of my differences, in fact valued and respected for my differences.

What tugs at my heart the most painfully though was that I met someone and connected with someone so randomly, so serendipitously that, if not for the many pictures I took, I would question if I ever met him at all. It is strange how comfortable and happy I felt with him despite him speaking only conversational English at best and me no French at all. I always felt light-hearted with him, genuinely cared for, protected and his gentleness and patience touched me deeply. For a little over a week, my life leapt straight out of the script of a Hollywood rom-com movie, filled with romantic outings interspersed with my klutzy behavior for comic relief.

I would jolt awake sometimes in the wee hours of the morning in my little studio apartment on the Rue de Grenelle, thinking, did that really happen the night before?

Did I really have dinner and wine by a chic sidewalk café in Paris with its cramped tables barely enough to fit two, walked by the Siene, visited Notre Dame, traipsed around Marais, had wine at a random bar in Quartier Mouffetard, shared Jewish street food snacks, walked hand-in-hand in the Luxembourg Gardens with the scent of Spring in the air and the sun setting on the horizon, rode on a strange French guy’s motorcycle through the Parisian street past the famous Parisian Icons- the Opera House, the Lourve, the Pantheon, danced in a club, visited his apartment with a beautiful view of the Paris skyline accompanied by his home made potato gratin, French cheese and Bordeaux wine and on another occasion me cooking him my Maggi Kari mee in a cup for us and sharing Daffa fish snacks? It still feels like something that couldn’t happen to me.

Did I really laugh with the carefree-ness of a child and just feel so comfortable in an almost stranger’s company? It felt like he felt the same way too.

The view from his place, it is something that I will find it hard to forget so soon. Perhaps I don’t want to ever forget it. Parisians may get jaded that the Eiffel tower sparkles at night on the hour until 1am (from the flash of the Japanese & Chinese tourist’s cameras he said), but to me, I find it hard to believe I could ever tire of such a magical sight, the eternal icon of everlasting love and hope.

As for him, I felt so exhausted from the whirlwind of event of the preceding week when it was time to say good bye, I said nothing. Perhaps deep down I was hoping he would say something like I really like you and maybe we could work something out despite the distance, but he didn’t. I guess here is where my life contrasted sharply from the script of a typical rom-com movie.

Life can be so bittersweet. I don’t do face to face goodbyes very well as my depth of thought is best expressed in writing.

So now we are separated by the thousands of miles in a few time zones apart. It still causes me pain to think of the circumstance that brought us together for too short a period of time and then pulled us inexorably apart again. I can’t help but wonder how many French people have visited my off-the-beaten-tourist-track hometown of Ipoh, not once but 4 times? Why did we meet each other in Paris? It shakes me deeply sometimes being the die-hard romantic that I am, was it meant to be something more? Did he want something more? Did he really mean it when he said he was tired of working in Paris for 14 years, and actually wanted to come to KL to work? Did he mean it when he said “So maybe I will see you in KL, though I haven’t bought my tickets yet,”?

“I don’t know when I will see you again,” was my rather bemused sleep-deprived reply to his words.

I don’t have any answer to all these questions swirling inside me and that makes it all that more hard to bear. The loneliness comes in waves, it ebbs sometimes but in other instances, it is so overwhelming that it inevitably brings tears to my eyes at some inconvenient times, like at work. Every day since I came home, I go to bed resolving tomorrow I shall forget but yet, there are still instances that I find myself missing him and wanting to share my thoughts with him about some mundane thing that happened to me.

Nothing has changed in my life since I left for Paris, but perhaps I have been affected in some deep yet subtle way that is only apparent to me.

I’m writing all this down here, because my memory is getting increasingly bad for details and I want to hold dear the experiences I had and the emotions I felt. How much I felt alive, like I had at last found a place to stay for a while if not longer and someone to care for and acceptance of who I am. But perhaps, holding on too tightly isn’t good for me.

****

It is 3 weeks post-Paris, and I finally feel ready to share my precious memories here. I do still dream of Paris and occasionally fall asleep or wake up with tears. But my life still has to be lived doesn’t it?

I signed up for an online dating site a few days ago.

The loneliest people are the kindest, the saddest people smile the brightest, the most damaged people are the wisest. All because they do not wish to see anyone else suffer the way they do. ~Annonymous~

Reflections of 2013 meme

1.    What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

Stand up and sing in front of a large crowd of work colleagues at my company’s annual meeting in Cape Town, South Africa. (I’m a scaredy cat at things like this). Visiting South Africa itself.

2.  Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don’t believe in making new year’s resolutions- it sounds too serious, timeline-driven and too much like work.

I have given thought of course to things I hope to achieve in time. Off the top of my head is building a stable financial reserve, learning a foreign language and learning to enjoy cooking more healthy meals that are yummy too.

3.  Did anyone close to you give birth?

No one close to me but friends yes.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No and I’m grateful for that.

5.  What countries did you visit?

Taiwan (Personal), Thailand (Work) Germany (Work), Philippines (Diving), South Africa (Work), United States (Personal)

On top of that, I did dive trips within the country- Redang with the cousins and Perhentian twice.

All in all, a bumper year of travel  and diving for me! No wonder my bank account is so lean. Sigh.

6.      What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

Having “a person”

7.      What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

1-Jan-2013: Unofficially got together with the most recent ex (TMRE)

24-Mar-2013: Broke up with TMRE 4 days before my birthday

25-Apr-2013: Quit my job without a secured job in place, going against I daresay all career advice columns and articles. And this is actually the 2nd time I have done that. It goes to show, do what you think suits you best. It’s your life after all.

24-Dec-2013: First time having a Christmas Eve party with family with the whole works, including turkey, a Christmas tree, gift exchange and Christmas crackers

31-Dec-2013: Ushered in the New Year in Las Vegas, the first time ever celebrating New Year’s in a foreign country. Truth be told, my recent New Years are mostly spent at home usually alone, sleeping early or watching fireworks from my apartment or on TV.

You could say, I started and ended 2013 with fireworks and happiness, surrounded by people who loved or at least liked me. That’s a nice way to look at it isn’t it despite what happened in between? This somehow reminds me of essay writing techniques we were taught in school- always start and end with a bang.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Really pushing myself the most out of my comfort zone and putting myself out there. Also trying to really appreciate each moment while it happened, especially the good ones.

9.      What was your biggest failure?

Being so affected by my previous job that I was affected emotionally, mentally and physically. To a certain extent, I think it affected my then relationship too.

10.  Did you suffer illness or injury?

Thankfully, no major ones. Maybe a bout of (minor) depression earlier on in the year.

11.  What was the best thing you bought?

A plane ticket to San Francisco.

12.  Whose behavior merited celebration?

My dad.  He fixed my car for me while I was away on holiday by driving my car which had a cracked bumper and something wrong with the engine (something along the lines of guzzling black oil and engine overhaul needed) down from KL to Ipoh and then up to KL again after it was fixed and taking a train back to Ipoh. My car was spotless and smelled of disinfectant. He also bought me a steering wheel cover set and new rubber mats. I am bad at doing the car thingy, so this really helped me heap loads. I was very touched.

 13.  Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Appalled- A married friend with a baby barely 1 year old who proclaims to be happily married & his attempt to manipulate me to be in a friends with benefit situation.

Depressed- TMRE and his often times callous treatment and words towards me and generally, a progressive lost in faith and naïve-ness towards men, marriage and relationships stemming from getting acquainted with people outside of my usual social circle in my attempt to move outside my comfort zone.

14.  Where did most of your money go?

Travel, diving and food

15.  What did you get really excited about?

Diving and travel

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?

Passenger’s Let Her Go , Milley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball, Anna Kendrick’s Cups (When I’m gone), Kety Perry’s Unconditionally

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– Happier or sadder? Happier

– Thinner or fatter? Thinner

– Richer or poorer? Poorer 😦

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Not basing my decisions on the approval of others or letting myself be easily affected by other’s moods, words or actions.  I am still trying my best to do this on a daily basis.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Reacting emotionally to things too promptly. Sometimes silence is the classiest and smartest thing to do. One of the hardest too for me especially when my emotions are involved.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Travelling from San Jose to Los Angeles, on the first leg of our California-Nevada Road trip with my mum, brother, sister-in-law and brother-in-law.

21. Did you fall in love in 2013?

No.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

New Girl

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No.

24. What was the best book you read?

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Spotify

26. What did you want and get?

My current job

27. What did you want and not get?

Moving to work in a foreign country. Well, actually I had a job offer in Singapore but I turned it down. Maybe not managing to build my own personal financial reserve then.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

The Great Gatsby

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

Had lunch (Japenese at Bangsar Village) and tea (at her house) with my best friend and her baby. Had dinner with two good friends at the Mexican place in the The Gardens and drinks with another good friend in Taman Desa. I was 32.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Falling and staying in love.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

Living more colourfully through my clothes. I bought my first red dress in my life.

32. What kept you sane?

My close friends.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Zoey Deschanel.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

The blatant cheating in the May 2013 General Elections.

35. Who did you miss?

No one. I think I made the effort to keep in contact and care for all the people who mean something to me.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

My boss

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.

Want what you have

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

These bruises make for better conversation
Loses the vibe that separates
It’s good to let you in again
You’re not alone in how you’ve been
Everybody loses
We all got bruises

Train & Ashley Monroe from the Album California 37

‘Tis the season to be jolly

Rudolph car

I laughed when I saw this car in my office parking lot yesterday. Rudolph the Rednose Myvi?

Today is my last day of work for the year! Happiness! I am so glad I managed to complete my submissions just today, after living, eating, breathing and grappling with the system for the past weeks at night. I am mentally reminding myself to stop for  a while to celebrate this achievement of mine. 🙂

I also got my early confirmation at work yesterday! Woo Hoo! It’s the first time ever I think since I started working that I have been confirmed early before the 6 months probation is up. I’m really happy because this means I will be entitled to a bonus, albeit pro-rated to 4 months or so to fund some shopping in the US. Feel blessed to have a good boss, at long last.

Note to self, to be restrained in my shopping. Hahaha.

My holiday mode is officially ON!

Fatigue

IMG_1510

Yummy charcoal egg tarts from Imbi Market, 1-Dec-2013

“Hey, someone is thinking of you, there’s an eyelash on your face,” he said, out of the blue, on that grey-skied day in the midst of our friends and other runners. Despite that, if felt like we were in our own private bubble, and our surroundings were a pixelated blur and voices, a dulled hum.

I clumsily, as only a person caught off guard sans mirror can, tried to swipe at, unsuccessfully, the tiny offending bit of hair away. Maybe my body language spoke to him, or maybe it was an instinctual response in him, whatever it was, he reached out and gently, picked the eyelash off of my face. A moment later, he turned to me and said “Here, blow it away and make a wish.” As if I were in a dream, I blew softly and I silently wished as always, for happiness.

He didn’t ask me about my wish, and I didnt tell him. I left it unspoken as it seemed like a lot of things between us were.

It is not that I am unhappy really. If there is anything I feel, it is a weariness of spirit and heaviness of head especially apparent this past week.

Perhaps it is the year end blues or I am coming down with a flu with the rainy weather of late. Oh the rain, it is strange how it has matched my mood. Innately, I have never been particularly an upbeat nor energetic a person even on sunnier days, I have to confess but lately it has been really hard to get out of bed and my puffy eyes, despite logging in the hours of sleep are testimony that I perhaps did not get sufficient rest due to an overactive mind. In spite of that, I am the most content I think going to bed (bedtime is divine!) or lying on my couch, reading or occupying my mind with a mindless game on my iPhone, terribly solitary activities. Days can go by if I choose, not speaking or meeting anyone outside of work colleagues. Sometimes I notice, the nature of my job and the fact that I have been staying alone for a while now, both of my own choice mind you, makes my speech halting and awkward and is creating a hermit out of me and it worries me. I have to conciously plan social activities because deep down I think I have this fear of becoming socially inept, nevertheless, sometimes the best time of the day is when I reach home and I don’t have to cater to be a certain “person” anymore (I know, expectations I put on myself!) and I can just sit silently and stone on my couch. The irony of it is, too much solitude has a negative feedback effect on my well-being.

Perhaps, I have too much free time outside of work (in spite of my efforts to plan activities) to overthink things and this being the year end and all, it makes me even more introspective than usual, thinking if I have achieved  anything worth while in the past year. I know I have, in fact overcome and gone through a significant rough patch at the beginning of this year. Perhaps, I am feeling a bit mundane what with the “excitement” of the tumultous period and hectic travel at the beginning of the year. Heck, I even sang (L-O-V-E) for the first time ever in my life, impomptu, in front of a crowd of a 100 over people. Now if that does not count as pushing myself out of my comfort zone, I don’t know what else to do. *smile*

To leave this post on a positive note, I shall be travelling soon to the US in a couple of weeks for Christmas and New Years and I hope that escape will do me good, and I can start 2014, refreshed and rejuvenated both in mind, body and spirit. Wishing everyone reading this a Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year!

4 months along

It has been 4 months since my last post. When I re-read my last entry, I am reminded of the pain I was going through then, albeit greatly dulled. It is true then, that time heals most wounds.

I want to write this entry just to remind myself of my journey, and how far I have moved on from that low point in my life.

Things are looking positive for me at the moment with my new job and fresh off a two month break from work where I indulged in a crazy amount of diving: 5 dive trips in the span of that two month- Perhentian twice, Redang, Tioman and Anilao. It felt great to make new friends and also spend some time with my cousins and bond with them. I also obtained my advance diving and Nitrox license in the process.

Despite the last dive trip to Phillippines being with my ex and his buddies (he asked me to join them and I bought tickets in January), I came out of it relatively unscathed. A little affected emotionally- but of course, the first time meeting an ex after a breakup is always awkward- however nothing major. His lack of courteous concern or caring, intentially or otherwise for me in any way whatsoever throughout the trip, just reminded me again why I should not be with this person. In his own words, we are too different. Different wants, different needs, different frames of minds. A little bit too simplistic, but sometimes things can’t be made too complicated can they? Just to illustrate how I felt- I had to take a taxi back alone from LCCT at 1am in the morning, and he didn’t even care to ask me to be careful. In fact, one of his friends (just a random person I met for the first time on the trip, displayed common courtesy and concern to ask me to text the group chat my taxi number and let everyone know I had reached home safely). No courtesy or concern to even ask through out the trip, how are you? Is your job better? Etc. I felt “something” a feeling that escapes me in words.  Perhaps I actually felt a sense of lost, of the fact that this trip could have been something we could have bonded over, soemthing that we could have been witnesses over, a shared experience we could look on back together and I felt a little sad we were there as strangers. I also inevitably noticed he had started smoking again- social? Don’t know. I recall once when we had a horrific arguement, he had a smoke, breaking his 7-month smoke-free period and he posted that photo of ciggarettes on FB, in a spite. I think I am just espousing what I felt during the trip. Things have changed, I have moved on. I blamed myself no more. I should close this chapter officially and just accept what I went through with him as one of life’s myriad of experiences and look forward to experiencing better things.

I am 4 days into my new job and thus far things are OK, I daren’t say great as it’s early days yet. I hope and pray things will remain as such.

In this span of 2 months of not having a 9-5 job, I have embraced the freedom and flexibility yet felt the pinch and stress of not having a steady income and having to rely on savings and a part-time locum job at a pharmacy. If there is anything I am resolute to do, it is to build a solid amount of reserve that I can count on as a single person to increase my self-reliance. That being said, I have felt very thankful for many things and how I am really very blessed in every way. 

There was a discussion over lunch on my first day at my job here with my MD and boss, and it was saying that even in the chase to achieve greater heights, we also need to want what we already have. Philosophical, but true. And I am embracing what I have. It is through periods when I have a lot of time to think and reflect when my mind is not as cluttered and stressed with work that I feel the clarity and peace.  

I am thankful for all the people who have and continue to believe in me, even when I sometimes question myself. I am thankful for everyone who has listened to me, commiserated with me, encouraged me, agreed to be my work referees: agreed to meet face to face with a consultant my employees hired to interview them, bought me drinks and meals, helped me with cash flow issues and just really, be there for me whenever I needed them and even if they can’t because of their other commitments, I know I can find a way to be OK by myself. 

I am thankful I got the job I wanted all along although I had to wait 3 months for it and having to go through 5 interviews for it along with the uncertainties and constant worry that the offer may fall short or fall through. I also want to remind myself that I had 4 other job offers on the table, including one in Singapore, besides the one I accepted and that, in this case, knowing what I wanted worked out well in the end and I should not doubt my capabilites not undermine myself. And when there is something you feel it’s worth waiting for you should wait, eventhough there may be others with their own agenda telling you negative things.

That being said, If there is something a little sad about being single, it is the fact that you feel your downs and your eventual ups, seem to have no witness to them. Perhaps it is also about seeking validation or self-worth for me. I am unsure, but it does feel a little hollow althought I know that the things I have overcome and achieved over the past months, I should be proud of.

In another train of of thought, I have also realized how I should base less of my decisions on how things appear to be. Place less evaluation on packaging and outward projections and how I “fall short”. This is quite hard but I have realized that many things aren’t what they appear to be and how people, can be deceiving and complicated. I know I am contradicting my earlier statement that things cannot be too complicated, but I have experienced first hand how some people who seem to have the perfect lifes and families are really maybe, just a real-life version of the couples living on Wisteria Lane, minus the dead corpses- I hope!

In a concious effort be a happier person, I am trying and getting increasingly succesful at stopping the negative frame of mind I sometimes can get into for no real reason and trying to overcome the “hollow” feeling. It does get easier each time I try.

And you know, sometimes that’s the best we can do, to try and try again each day and not ever give up.

Spring, the season of hope

I really meant to blog more when I started this new blog but somehow, I have not managed to and perhaps it was due to sheer tiredness, laziness or procrastination on my end, but whatever the reason was the fact is it has been 6 months since my last post. So, I decided that this weekend, I should sit myself down and write.

A dear friend mentioned to me a couple of months ago that I didn’t even do my usual recap of the year that was for 2012, a tradition I have been doing ever since I started blogging. I am surprised that people still continue to read my blog despite my long lapses in blogging and less than spectacular posts. I personally seldom read my past entries but I think it is nice to document things for one day, maybe if I ever feel like reading about my life, I could. I was just browsing some old emails dated 2010 and realized there were many things I had forgotten but because I wrote to a friend about it, the memories were in a way preserved.

So I think I shall start where I last left off this blog, in October 2012. This is going to be a long rambly post, because I’m not really in the mood to edit my writing for any clarity or impact. It will just be my flow of thoughts.

I recall that weekend in October vividly, because somehow, I somehow despite breaking up for more than a year, hearing the news that my ex had officially announced at work that he was together with the girl he cheated on me for, still pained me. To add to the sordidness of the affair, all 3 of us were work colleagues. Nevertheless, I am truly over this now and looking back on the pain, although I always wish I didn’t have to go through it, I am stronger because of it. Walking away from that relationship wasn’t the easiest thing I have ever done but I can say today, it isn’t the hardest. And the fact that I can say this, I wonder is that actually good or bad?

In November, I met someone else. A friend’s friend and our mutual friends thought we had a lot in common (which we do) so one day I saw he had added me on Facebook and we traded messages and one thing led to the other and we met up in December. My first impression of him was he was arrogant. But you know, that day I was 1.5 hours late for our date (and I’m usually quite punctual a person) because I took the wrong road and got stuck in jam. Hence my point is, I thought first impressions could be wrong, because certainly, I didn’t present myself in the best of light. In December also, I had the most amazing diving trip to Mataking and Sipadan island in Sabah and things were going well with the new guy. So despite my colleague’s resignation, leaving me alone in the department, I didn’t feel too bad ushering in 2013. In fact, it’s one of the more memorable New Years I had. I don’t normally do anything special for New Years, but this year he came over to my place, we watched a movie aptly called New Years Eve and toasted the New Year low-key but happy. I actually wanted to hit a club, but my girlfriend had a last minute family event so she couldn’t make it, which was how I ended up spending New Years at home with him. I started it feeling hopeful, though I remember shedding some drunken tears over past hurts and some of it were tears of mirth over turtles swimming peacefully in the sea and lying peacefully on coral.

With my colleague’s departure in January, work started looking a whole lot more horrible for me and I really crumbled, couple with my own personal travel commitments, work travel commitments, family CNY commitments in February. The period between January to mid April were dark, painful months for me. It  was the lowest I have been in years. I was plagued by insomnia, depression, low immunity resulting in an on and off flu/ cold/ sore throat/ toothache, persistent shoulder and backache. It was horrible. I was also worried about finances and everyday, I thought about quitting my job but my financial situation could’t allow me to just quit. I was under tremendous pressure at work, they refused to promote me or increase my salary, but I had to do a 3- person job alone. I was told this was an opportunity for me, I should just be patient until they could recruit the “right person” for the job. Utter rubbish I think as they knew they had my hands tied. On the emotional front, the aforementioned guy I was dating didn’t help in fact I think he added a lot more stress at a point in time when I really felt low. I felt I tried so hard but I couldn’t work it out and felt sadder and sadder. I needed someone to understand why I needed to hang in there despite the bad work situation, I needed someone to show me care and unwavering support, I needed someone to be able to have an open discussion with me about our issues and be willing to work them through. I didn’t want to be told that having to pick me up on our dates was unfair for him. I needed someone who understood why I would never love CNY. I needed someone to understand that my family would always be difficult and I will always whine about them but even so, I cannot simply solve it by just taking off by say meeting my friends when I am supposed to be fulfilling family obligations. Despite the arguments, tears, the worst time at work,  when he told me in March, just 4 days before my birthday that “things are not working”, it shouldn’t have too “to be so difficult” and that the issue was he couldn’t lift me up when I was sad and it was affecting him and hence, he would withdraw and he didn’t have the courage to do otherwise, it made me fall into to a whole new level of low. Honestly, I was in so much pain I couldn’t think straight or make any rational judgement  I was just a blurry, teary mess and jumble of tangled and tightly knotted emotions. For a while, I blamed myself for letting work affect my personal relationships. Blamed myself for not pulling it together and being happier. Tried to tell myself I should have been nicer, softer, gentler, kinder and a score of other synonyms of nice. I find it funny also, how I summarized months of pain into a simple, matter of fact paragraph. I guess you had to be there to go through it with me. And if you weren’t….

After a month since we stopped seeing each other and as I sit here to write this post, I have reach a point where I want to stop blaming myself. I think I have. I treat myself better and consciously want to move on and live my life happier and prettier and fuller. Do I still feel occasional bouts of sadness? Yes of course. But also anger and less and less self pity.  I can only be myself and I don’t think we could have ever worked out when we couldn’t talk openly and every time I attempted it, I felt rebuffed and that I had to tread on eggshells for fear of hurting him more. So I officially give up, if it wasn’t official before and I don’t want to care anymore and moving forward to living my life as happily and colorfully as I can. And embracing being alone without people to drag me down.

I also quit my job last Wednesday after obtaining the bonus I have been waiting for. Funnily, I had an extremely positive job interview on Friday (it seems things only happen after you really decide to move on!), and the interviewer told me she liked me a lot, she liked my attitude and that we had the same wavelength. She told me that after 17 years of being in this line of work, she could see when a person would be a good fit for the team and she would speak to HR. So things seem to be looking up!

So for now, I just want to sit in the sun and enjoy the pretty, colourful flowers.

Broken Hearted

At the end of another disappointing, tension-filled work week and  along with a host of other ailments afflicting the corporate serf, I looked forward to a Saturday morning of sleeping in and low-key activities mostly involving dressing up prettily, going out and looking at beautiful things to buy after a leisurely and scrumptious brunch. 

The token nugget of information surreptitiously whispered to me at the end of Friday night drinks at a colleague’s farewell left me feeling like someone had wrenched my gut (and heart) out and it was too familiar but unwelcome especially when that shouldn’t have affected me anymore. Nonchalant indifference was what should have been appropriate upon finding out how low some people have stooped, considering my foreknowledge that aforementioned people were certified scum on Earth.

Yet, I drove home feeling sad but I refused to allow myself to cry as people like them didn’t deserve my tears. After a fitful night’s sleep as past images and imagined future images came to mind in the moments just as I was about to doze of, I awoke at noon after almost two hours of lazing in bed, alternatively playing a game on my iPad or burrowing deeply in my bed and hiding with my duvet over my head. 

I decided that first things first, to ignore the heaviness in my heart, I would run a simple errand. I trooped resolutely out of my door downstairs to pay my maintenance fees in the management office downstairs of my apartment and it was quickly settled without any fuss.

The worst part about this thoughtless errand was that 15 minutes later when I arrived home, I couldn’t open the front door of my apartment. My keys turned the lock, but the door simply wouldn’t budge! After several futile attempts in opening my door, I resignedly called the neighbourhood locksmith (Thank goodness I had my phone with me!). Over the phone, upon hearing my description of the problem, he decisively informed me in Cantonese that “Peng soh hai gum yong ge la. Sum tuen chor.” (This is a typical problem with cheap locks, the heart is broken.) I didn’t really know what that meant, but I felt the brunt of the irony in his words.

As it panned out, 2 hours, a broken lock and several drilled holes later, it turns out my heart’s lock was originally not broken. However, according to my knowledgeable if unknowingly philosophical locksmith, Andy, a broken heart was the most common cause of stuck doors hence he had followed the most common way of fixing such issues: picking breaking my lock. It was one of those situations that felt hilarious because it was so horrendous. Well, certainly my lock’s heart is broken now I thought staring at the bits of metal at his feet although I couldn’t muster a laugh.

As it turns out for my case, the inside latch of my door had somehow locked itself because it was jutting out just at the exact correct fraction of an inch where the door could close from the outside but was impossible to re-open. If the latch were a millimeter more either way and the whole incident wouldn’t have happened.

I was feeling really depressed and sorry for myself at my spot of bad luck in light of the incidents of the night before and the bad week, when Andy brightly told me “This incident is just an accident. It’s not your fault. You couldn’t have done anything to prevent it. In fact, you are really really lucky because we managed to unlock your door and I didn’t have to ram your front door down of which repairs would have cost at least RM 500!”

I suppose I am really lucky to have escaped with nothing more than a broken heart, now repaired, a few drilled holes that have been filled with some white sealant and would almost look new with some sandpaper and paint or so Andy tells me.  

You and me both hope, Andy. 

Andy, and my poor battle-scarred door

The Car

Just the other day, at the car workshop for the 3rd repair in a month on my 10-year old and then some, but still beloved Proton Wira hatchback, my dad asked me casually what my dream car was.

I replied without hesitation, “A VW Beetle.”

I recall my final year in Uni in UK when I would look out of my room window which overlooked the parking lot and ogle the cutest yellow VW New Beetle driven by this Caucasian girl who liked to park at the same particular spot. At that point of time as a poor student, owning my own car seemed like a dream, much less a VW Beetle which even in my ignorance of cars in general, I knew was way above my budget.  I loved it so much, I took photos of it before I came back to Malaysia after graduation.

So when I heard about the Volkswagen Auto Show at the KLCC Convention Centre recently, where the new VW 2012 Beetle would be officially launched, I really wanted to go if not to buy, but just to see.

I asked around my friends and it seemed none were free, had other obligations, were not interested or were just simply not up for it. It was  after some deliberation, I decided to go anyway even though I would be alone.

Lately, my approach to everything is this – Oh can’t make it/ do it/ help me? That’s OK as I’ll find something else I equally want to do/alternative help because my life doesn’t stop at you. Or because of you. Or I will just go and do whatever I wanted to do in the first place, even it it means I will be by myself. I have always been independent, but I think I am embracing it even more now. 

I think it’s also part of a way to manage my own expectations I think and to avoid disappointment and not to miss out on things I want to do or set limits on my life because of anyone.  For anyone.

I really had to psych myself to go as this being my first auto show, I didn’t really know what to expect and I thought it would be nice to have some one along to share it with, preferably someone who knew cars! Ironically, I knew people whom I think would go if I asked them, but I didn’t because I knew I’d rather go alone than with them not because I am anti-social, but because I am particular about the company I keep as people affect me deeply and I have learnt I need to protect myself.

But anyway, I am  glad I went in the end.

I did really enjoy my own company that day. I woke late-ish, didn’t even have breakfast and lunch just because I wasn’t hungry. It’s nice sometimes to not have to think about any one else’s appetite and needs.  I could stand in line to queue for a photo at the auto show’s Photobooth without worrying about wasting someone else’s time or feeling harrased that I was taking too long for frivolous photo taking and posing, being overly critical and nit picky about how I looked in a photo and shallowly wanting yet another retake.

Succinctly, I could eat whenever I want, shit whenever I want and sleep whenever I want.

Halfway to the carpark after the show, I suddenly realized I wanted to check out the bookshop at KLCC, Kinokuniya so I turned back, just because I really wanted to and I didn’t have to feel guity or bad because someone else was tired, or thirsty or hungry, moody or had another pressing appointment. I made a detour to a sports shop before the bookstore randomly and browsed at my leisure when I came across THE owl & heart fip flops from one of my favourite footware brand, Ipanema. I came across this particular model of flip flops  in Singapore or Hong Kong, I forget, and I was in a cost saving phase and so to appease the shopaholic in me, I told myself that I would get it it I ever came across the same design in KL. So I did-  it felt like a kind of crazy shoe fate, that it was the sandal meant for me. 

At the end of the day, it boils down to this, what I call the fish head noodle analogy. I will still continue to only like fish paste noodles, even if you feel it’s processed food and I should prefer fish head noodle because it contains real fish meat. I don’t purposely choose to eat fish paste over fish head just to spite you (though sometimes I tend to do that, because I hate to be told you should do something, just because). Innately, at heart I am simply not a fish head noodle girl.

In the first place,  if it were all up to me I wouldn’t even have ventured into a fish head noodle shop.

Happy Merdeka Day 2012

Today marks the 55th year of independence or Merdeka for my country and it was a day that I spent a quiet, lazy and peaceful day enjoying the public holiday by doing nothing in particular.

I did not have any fixed plans this weekend and did not make any efforts to make any as I felt I needed some solitude and alone time. Hence I had a lot of time to think and reflect, without the usual work, distractions and  obligations. Since it was Independence Day, the thoughts I had were mostly about my life and my country.

What I would like to see of course, would be a change for the better, hopefully the starting point would be the upcoming General Elections. I would like to see equality and fairness among all Malaysians, a much stronger Ringgit, improved opportunities , nurturing and appreciation of talent to retain them rather than losing all our good people. The thought of leaving this country has occurred  to me before and more frequently over the past 2 years  or so as I went through rough patches and also gained more work experience and insight into what I wanted to do. I also saw friends and even my sibling leave this country, but yet I  still have not. I know it is not the fear of starting over alone in another country, for I have no doubt I could.  

After reflection, I still don’t know exactly  why  but perhaps I do realize that if I ever leave it has to be for the right reasons. Among the reasons I wanted to leave were because I felt unhappy here or I wanted to earn more for what I do, a different lifestyle or because I felt extremely tired with the close-mindedness of people just because I was not in a certain phase they thought I should be. I had thoughts that a change in culture and surroundings would be good.  I still do sometimes, but I think they are not strong enough reasons. 

Undeniably, they are still parts of why I would leave the comforts of home for a foreign land,  but if these were the sole reasons, I think I would be still the same person I was no matter where I lived in the world. And if I left because of that it wouldn’t that just  be running away from my responsibilities and my roots and would it be worth it?

At this point of time, I guess my relationship with my country is not over yet because I still have hope and the best I can wish for is change for the better and improvement in the quality of life for myself  and all Malaysians who still remain in this country. 

Nevertheless, Happy Merdeka to all Malaysians! Wherever you all are, I hope you spare a thought today for those who are still living here and hope for the best for all of us.