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.