Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Long after you're gone, gone, gone.

In a few hours time (depending on where you're located), we bid goodbye to 2014.

It has been by far, the most extraordinary, demanding and arduous year.

I remember recapping 2012 and 2013 on the last day of the year respectively in this blog. 

Looking back at all the posts I've written, I am absolutely glad I put in the effort to pinpoint my thoughts and feelings that moment or simply just concluding the day I had- despite how tempting it would be to forgo blogging when fatigue or laziness overtook. 

It has been gripping, riveting and enthralling to revisit those days. 

It felt like ages ago, but in fact, were dated only a few months back.

Time, you sneaky little fellow.

Without realising, the pages of the 2014 calendar have been flipping through swiftly, as though without a care in the world, and before 2014 draws its curtains, I thought I would do an update on my life in the UK, starting from my preparation to the UK and when I first set foot in the UK.

Let's trace back to September 2014.

My friends made it immensely difficult for me to leave them. 

I remember having so much fun with them each time we spend time together. 

It got me thinking a couple of times, "Do I really want to leave M'sia? Yes, education is important, I'd probably never get a chance to experience learning in the UK, but my happiness is significant as well, and my friends mean so much to me- how do I live without what has been once so familiar to me?"

Can you recognise my handwriting? :D

I remember reading this quote that runs along the line of, "an appreciation not expressed, is a gift wrapped but not given out.", and I wanted to write them all letters before I left,

That night (about 2 weeks from when I left?), I carefully wrote a letter each for my friend. 

After I had finished writing, I tied them with ribbons, then placed them in a plastic together with a soft toy inside that I selected specially for my friends according to their personalities and what I understand of them. :)

Yes, I am aware that these looked like certificates. Hehe.

Unlike most of my friends, who have attended the orientation week, I had to miss the welcome week programme due to issues relating to my visa. For weeks I have been driven up the wall with anxiety. I approached many friends with questions related to my distraught (Thanks Chloe Lau, Janice Ho, and Vivian Pun). All my friends were already in the university attending the orientation and I felt horribly worried and left out at the same time.

In fact, had I blindly waited for the email letter to be sent to my mail, I might have to delay my arrival 2 weeks (or even a month!!) later.

Extremely grateful for that one afternoon when I told my mum during lunch that we had to go to the office. An instinct told me my visa had arrived despite not receiving any emails from the office. 

Upon listening to my explanation, my mum dropped everything she was doing (literally- she was in the midst of getting her hair dyed but without hesitation got up and ignored the fact that she looked quite the attention-provoking person ha ha because of her half-way dyed hair) and within an hour plus of its closing time, my amazing mum drove us both to the office in KLCC. 

To my greatest delight (and relief!), I finally got the visa in my hands, and we proceeded to book the flight ticket. 

Less than 2 days after purchasing the ticket, I was on my way to the UK. I didn't think anyone would have believed me. I hadn't even finish packing my luggage!

It was insane. It was madness. It was crazy. It was ridiculous. But that's life. And I am thankful. 

Thursday, 11 December 2014

A traffic fine.

I used to wonder why dad has to exercise such discipline when it comes to eating and exercising. 

I don't understand the need to control the amount of food he puts in his mouth, when clearly he was losing weight. I couldn't fathom why the need to be active everyday, be it a short 15-20 minutes walk, he'd take it. 

I mean, I was glad he cares for his body, but really? Isn't life supposed to (sometimes) be spontaneous and fun and that means letting loose every once in a while?

For instance, if this were to be served to him in a restaurant, I can be certain he would consume no more than 40% of the food there, and all the deep fried, artery-clogging, phlegm-induced food would be found untouched. 

To start off with, he wouldn't even order such food in the first place. But he works in a very Malay dominant company, so it is expected that such food will be served all the time, with a side of an endless supply of syrup, I'm afraid.

Looks SO good even as I'm posting this. And it's in my camera roll because a friend posted it in WhatsApp. Heavens forbid I have access to such food in the UK right now. I will have Malaysian people in particular coming to me ALL the time asking me where I discovered this hidden gem (restaurant). 

This plate of goodness would tempt many people, but not my dad, and it's hardly about gaining weight because... He eats just enough or under to supply his body with energy and nutrients to function.

This bowl of ice kacang...  

I wouldn't quite know how to resist this in Malaysia but in this weather currently in the UK... I'd say it's not too tough of a challenge. 

Anyway, point here is... After many years, as I grow up and learn what illnesses, diseases, deaths are... I have a much better understanding of why dad lives his life the way he does now. And I truly respect him for that.

Not just for his well being, not just so he could live a long, healthy life, but also so that he has many more years to execute his role and duty as a father to my siblings and I, a husband to my mother. 

The WhatsApp message on the top of the pic is from my mum... It's regarding a fine. I received a letter this morning from the university security team imposing a £15 fine because I didn't have lights when cycling in the dark. In my defense, it completely slipped my mind to buy them (I am usually organised but there are simply so many things consuming my thoughts lately) and subsequently putting them on. I now have lights on my bike, okay?

I paid the day itself (2 hours upon receiving the letter) to prevent myself forgetting about it. 

Angry and frustrated at myself but there is no one to blame. Very thankful my mum is understanding and didn't chastise me for it- probably because she knows it's not going to help matters however she don't just let it slip... she always provides me with sound advice to make sure I learn from my lesson.

My mum is kind, wise and amazing. I turn to her whenever I seek comfort and advice. Mums truly are a girl's best friend. To me, at least.

Anyway... How did we drift so far.

This Facebook post. My sincere condolences to his family members and loved ones. But looking at these posts reminds me strongly why exactly my dad chooses to eat a balanced, healthy diet, and exercise regularly. He insists on eating whole foods instead of heavily processed, oily, unhealthy junk. Supper is never in his dictionary. He encourages small yet frequent meals. (Although he eats very little and not very frequently, I don't know how he does it).

I must take care of my body. Only then I can take care of this family for a long time. Even if I'm physically unable to work very hard when I'm old, at least I will not be a burden to you or your brothers or your mother.

This is not to say he doesn't enjoy treats in moderation. Although in this picture, it's only because one of his best friends in university (Uncle Ow Yong- the man on the far right) insisted to go for ice-cream. 

I don't even know what he craves. My Mum's cooking, I suppose. Seriously! He loves my Mum's cooking. We all do. 

I love that he has such strong sense of responsibility. The responsibility to be healthy in order to provide a stable, happy life for his family. 

My mother often points out how disciplined my dad is- and I am secretly wondering where all that good genes (high cheekbones, big eyes, powerful memory, good in maths and physics, super diligent, organised and neat, impressively disciplined...) were passed down to. 

I was kidding. Not about how he has delightfully admirable traits and habits and characteristics, but kidding about how I didn't inherit any of that. My parents have been great enough role models and if I am not half as decent as they are, the problem lies in me, not in them ever.

The family pictures posted excluded Ken my big bro and I feel bad but I have transferred all the pictures in my phone to the laptop and in my camera roll I could only find pictures from our Melbourne trip which happened to exclude him because he was on a ski trip in the UK. 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

(Furiously) rolling routine.

It's been a while, hasn't it?

Well, I definitely have way too many long over due posts, but for now, a short update will have to suffice!

I haven't had much time to properly recap the events and happenings lately, but those who follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook would know roughly what I've been up to.

Apart from complaining about the terribly cold weather, watching an alarming amount of modern family, surfing the net like it's my job, surviving on ludicrously little sleep, and eating way too much food than I ought to, I promise I've been involving myself with activities- going for netball practices (if I weren't part of the Nottingham Malaysian Games I would've been selected for the team nevertheless, I am thankful for the netball teammates), being the 1st year rep for the Nottingham Malaysian Society (which trust me, is no joke when it comes to meeting- I easily spend 1/3 of my day just attending meetings say whaaaaat?!), going for swims during the weekends (I just love swimming- it's my most effective stress-reliever and a great 'me' time to have), attending yoga sessions (which makes me miss my yoga instructors so much!! Hello Vivian! Mish you!!) and although I have missed a few lectures due to valid reasons, I am glad to announce that I no longer hate lectures like I used to in the first 2 weeks or so. :)

I am concerned that my sleeping pattern is off balance- I desperately need to work on it. but tonight, I just feel like returning to this little corner of the blogworld, and if any out there is still reading, say hi!!! I could use a little greetings! :D

It's the mid weeks! Wishing everyone a great week ahead! :)


Missing the parents especially much tonight. I remember one night when I Skyped mum, she told me that she noticed dad would occasionally stare at the empty seat where I would sit down and do my revision during those crucial, challenging months of preparing for A2 exams... as though I'd magically appear.

I laughed it off, but deep inside I was so touched and sad at the same time. I miss my parents so much. Particularly when reminded of the last few months I got to spend with them in Msia before I left for the UK.

I miss going on walks with mum. I really miss being able to share everything and anything (well maybe not everything but 90% of my life really) with her. I miss playing badminton with daddy. I miss seeing him arranging the files in the office, and then when I call out to him, "Dad, time for badminton!", he would look up at me and replied tenderly, "Okay, let me go change." And then when k got better in driving I would offer to drive him to the clubhouse.
He would point out my mistakes- depending on situations, he usually gently yet firmly explains to me... But when I would (very rarely and obviously unintentionally) give him the shock(s) of his life on the road, he'd be stern and furious toward me... and it's totally understandable. Sorry to put you through all the dangerous situations, daddy! Safe to say I am apologising in advance because when I return to my home country chances are... I will be learning from scratch once again? Hmm... We'll see. 
Life goes on... We shall not dwell on the past instead look forward! 
Last night though, because my flatmate threw an open party inviting every human being on earth to the party, it was a colossal mess in our flat. 
People were everywhere- the corridor was packed with strangers, spitting the f word ever 3 seconds like it were their jobs. And all that blasting of music and shouting .... I was on the verge of breaking into tears.
Finally I did tear up, because I was hungry (hadn't eaten since 3 p.m. then) and tired (meeting for 4 hours+ was madness) and awfully disturbed.

I told my mum, who happened to WhatsApp me telling me to sleep earlier, and I told her I desperately wanted to unfortunately couldn't given the circumstances.

Mum definitely did her best to console me, asking me if I had wanted to video call her so that she can calm me down... But I just told her that I'd be fine... Although I only cried harder.

At last the noise subsided because praise the person who submitted the complaint (still no idea who told the security but so grateful), the security came to our flat and carried out what was necessary to make the unwanted people leave. 

I went to the terribly messy kitchen and cooked myself a meal, did a bit more work on the laptop and called it a day.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

First Flight All By Ma' Self.

I am aware that a couple of my friends flew to the UK alongside their parents or siblings or friends; those who are scholars with their fellow scholarship holder mates, but because it was indubitably short on notice, and all my friends were already in the UK, I had to board the plane alone. 

As evident by my coat and camera being bought on the day itself that I took off- it was that accelerated. 

The first picture the camera took was taken in the camera shop itself.

The memories of my first time boarding an international flight independently are still fresh in mind. 

I took the Qatar airplane and had to transit. First transit: Malaysia to Doha. 

I was worried because of the several reasons below: 

1) I've never done a transit without adults' supervision  
2) I wasn't aware exactly how long is my transit period (one couldn't help but wonder if a person could be that spontaneous/ carefree/ ignorant) 
3) What if I overslept?! 

Then I got reminded:

Worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but doesn't actually bring you anywhere.
That being said, I was incredibly fortunate on my first flight. I was arranged an isle seat (specially requested because I am aware that the frequency of myself visiting the restroom is higher than average people and don't wish to drive the passengers nuts!!) 

The person next to me was a British man, about 30 years of age I assume? And he spent most of time sleeping and didn't once go to the restroom (that I can never understand).

My screen somehow got disconnected- which means I had no access to the TV, movies and songs on the plane- which also translates into a very bored me!! 

But somehow, somehow there was this angelic, beautiful and caring air stewardess who devoted so much of her attention and care towards me- I was touched by her genuineness. I wish I could do something in return to her act of kindness (Actually I could, but I missed the chance).

She would come over and check if I have enough water, food, meals, snacks etc. She also initiated conversations with me and I got to know that Qatar was the 4th airline she was working for! She has a work experience of 10 years. Impressive. 

She felt bad about my device breaking down (despite multiple times trying to reconnect it) that she brought over magazines for me to occupy my time.

What precious hospitality. I made sure to thank her every time she expressed her concern.

Shout out to the delightful air stewardess who catered for my benefit and welfare- I don't know your name but I will pray that the company recognises your dedication and award you for what you so passionately contribute to the image and reputation of the airline company! 
And that wasn't the end of what she did for me. She gave me a big bottle of water and insisted for me to bring along with me during the transit incase I need any water to hydrate! 

Beyond grateful, really.

Soon enough it was time to get down the plane, and bid goodbye to my favourite air stewardess! 

The waiting lounge basically looked like this. Hahahaha... 

I, for one, couldn't take any more sleep/ sitting down (8 hours+ on the plane is no joke man!) and stood up to chat with my family and friends. Pretty much voice messaged them and gosh, I was missing them already. Home sickness kicked in way sooner than I have expected. 

This was a friend I made at the airport during transit, to catch the Qatar airplane to London Heathrow airport. Her name is Natalie Yong, or more commonly known as Yaya. Such a relief to have bumped into a fellow Malaysian and to speak Malaysian Mandarin even after a while is just... Pure shiokness (<-- sorry I had to).

Again, unlike most of my friends whose parent(s) accompanied them to the UK, mine didn't. 

Not because they didn't want to- trust me, my parents had every intention to keep me company, I insisted for them not to because I understand they have work commitments and traveling long hours just wouldn't do their bodies good. 

Many of my friends later told me how their parents played a MAJOR role in helping them settle down and unpack, and while I was genuinely happy for them, I have no regrets- because there were still a number of my friends whose parents didn't come along as well- so I wasn't in the position to complain. 

I have to admit that it would've saved me plentiful of trouble and misery, however I'm extremely proud of myself for making such decision (ahaha so strong-headed but it's okay, there's a first for everything!).

After all, after some time, the wings need to learn to spread.

Unfortunately, on my second flight from Doha to London Heathrow, the guy next to me snored loudly in his sleep and kept leaning towards my shoulders. It made me highly uncomfortable because he'd be mad at me if I were to accidentally wake him up (but his hands were pressing against my hand bar so how was I supposed to lift it up and use the restroom?! 

The air stewardess and air steward provided me with snacks and meals which I didn't bother touching because I was overwrought and edgy.

Didn't know what to expect after all! Ahhhhh!!! Everything felt so surreal and I couldn't believe that I was touching down in another foreign piece of land a few hours later.

Next thing I knew, I touched down in London Heathrow airport, ready to embark on my journey to Nottingham (literally).

The sun was out! Looking back at that day, I can definitely understand how my seniors were telling me, "Oh, trust me, you don't see this often. It's a blessed kind of weather today." 

And I pay the price for not believing them. In my head I thought, 'How bad can it be?' 

It turned out to be... Very horrible. 


Spot my purple luggage!

A law senior, Jai and I. 

(What a coincidence it was!! She spotted me at the airport and approached me, "Hi! Are you June? I recognised you from Facebook."

I just couldn't believe that I'd bump into someone at the airport! In fact, I was (and still am) thankful that I met her because she was a great travel company.

The keep the conversation going, but also let you take a rest (aka sleeeeeep) people are kind of my favourite people to travel with!