Sunday, 26 June 2016

Summer Adventures Part II: George Town and Kuala Kurau

Summer week two, we were headed down to George Town, Penang!

The silky clouds and pure uninterrupted blue skies that stretched seamlessly across my field of vision, the waves like ripping blanket of brilliant blue made for a spectacular view on the Penang Bridge where mum took over the driver seat after I drove a part of the journey as Dad was handling multiple work phone calls, and we were glad we got to share the course of driving safe.


Penang (island) featured clean streets, low crime rate, rich heritage, this unique and beautiful island marked many fine-looking, historical buildings, coupled with the efforts of the government in Penang to retain natural greens and Mother Nature reflected in the array of lovely beaches, preserved forests, botanical gardens, and rolling hills. 

It is no wonder I had spotted many Westerners at this impressive tourist attraction.



We checked into G Hotel along Gurney Drive in Penang Island, where Dad hurried off to attend to his work, and Mum and I went on a much-cherished mother-daughter date.

I absolutely relished in the fact that Gurney Plaza was only a few steps away from G Hotel. Scorching hot, drizzling wet... the weather couldn't have mattered when the distance and location made for such easy and convenient access to hunt for clothes and FOOD. 'Cause that's what we live for, right? Fatty alert, I mean, foodie.

When dazzled with endless restaurants and food chains before our eyes, we decided on Chili's because I was craving for Western food. Needed a break from that Asian inside of me. Mummy willingly complied. 

 
Mummy- best company ever!

We ordered a Caesar salad to share, with the option of grilled chicken over prawns. 



It was delicious, but we both agreed we totally needed reminding of just how large the portions were served in Chili's. 



Usually my heart bursts in delight seeing a decent portion served in restaurants (given the economy recession and measly portions everywhere) but after a large brunch and lying down immediately after my meal at the beginning of the car ride, my stomach rebelled hard hours later. It acted in the queerest way possible nearing dinner time, so with a stolen appetite, I could barely make it through the meal (definitely strange and rare) and mum had to help me out.  

All of this was later explained during a terrible, horrible, painful episode of acid reflux that midnight.



Salmon, brocolli and rice. I can eat this everyday.

That midnight I woke up with a irritating, excruciating chest pain. I felt something corrosive and piercing hurting my throat. I tried to ignore it but the agony roared and screamed, as I clutched my chest trying to make my way to drink some water. I started grabbing hold of my blanket as I sipped the water bit by bit, as though the harder I gripped the bed sheets, the sooner the torture would fade.

I was close to tearing up. It wasn't the first time I experienced an episode of acid reflux, so I was certain it wasn't a heart attack, but the second time around was dreadfully tormenting- the excessive hydrochloric acid  moving up into my esophagus threatened to smolder and consume my every organ, sick and angry of my betrayal on my body, reminding me of all the times I stubbornly or unintentionally skipped my meals amidst the discomfort. 

I tried drinking a packet of nutrient drink, drinking warm water, sitting up, walking... Of course I tried googling for home remedies but I wasn't at home- I was at the hotel, my two parents fast asleep after a day of being worn out at work... was I to shake them up? How could I? Even when I was aching so badly, a rational part of me was adamant about letting my parents rest- my situation was brought upon by my self, after all. 

Well... that enlightened and sensible side of me didn't last long. After gritting my teeth and clenching my jaws so tightly for a good 2 minutes... I gave in. I gently tapped mum on her shoulder and used every bit of my remaining energy to explain to her my misery.

We tiptoed around and whispered, of fear of waking up my tired dad who was catching up on sleep. We went down to the lobby, and because this story is boring even myself, I will recap in the briefest manner: Found a 24 hours clinic on Google, drove out, forgot to bring the phone, completely got lost without Waze, drove back to the hotel, retrieved the phone, arrived at the destination... only to realise Waze hadn't update recent enough... much to our dismay, the clinic was replaced by an optometry clinic. Devastated, apologised to my mum for the trouble I caused her, ever caring and loving she told me that it's alright, fatigue seeped in and we both fell asleep. By then it was already 6 in the morning. 

My heart is just filled with gratitude for my mum thinking about it now.

After getting some shut-eye until about 8 in the morning, we went to Gurney Plaza again to try our luck if there were any clinics there, none as reported back so we visited the pharmacy to get whatever remedy available to relieve acid reflux (I was seriously desperate at that point), was recommended Gaviscon, swallowed a packet, bought a couple of pumpkin seeded bread rolls at Bread History bakery in the morning, and hung around until Uncle Ping was scheduled to arrive around 10. What a coincidence as he was staying at G Hotel as well! Mum and Uncle Ping had agreed to meet up for work discussions. 

They had to sit at the food court while waiting for Din Tai Fung to open at 11.30 a.m. but because I needed to shop for some essentials (yes, swim suits and clothes are essentials) I excused myself. I joined them at Din Tai Fung when mum notified me. I ate, despite being extremely uncomfortable, because mum was worried if I was hungry (I wasn't- or rather, I couldn't feel anything apart from distress then) and it was the least I could do to assuage her of her concerns. 




We checked out of the hotel, shopped till we dropped, then went over to my relative's house to have dinner to celebrate and share the merry of my cousin sister who was getting married!


I'm afraid I don't have many pictures to offer because I remember twitching in pain most of the time throughout dinner. I was just grateful for the conversations with my relatives- perfect distraction.

The next day... Dad and mum kindly insisted that I visit the doctor so that I get hold of proper medication, I initially expressed reluctance because I didn't want to risk their being late, but  in the end we still went to the clinic and boy was I relieved I did because my digestive system needed the proton pumps... It turned out that the gate crashing and tea ceremony were delayed way longer than we had anticipated. So we talked, and ate to help time pass.




Caught me tip-toeing.

 

Congratulations, Li Wen Jie Jie and I wish you a blessed marriage!



Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Summer Adventures Part 1: Johor

I can't believe that June is nearly over. Summer is always packed with bountiful laughter, fun and joy, the tendency to over-schedule and fit in just about every single activity made possible and more thrilling thanks to the glorious weather... I'm afraid I might blink and the good times will whizz by under my nose. 

I'm gleeful that I've been spending less time locking my eyes to the laptop screen and hitting the outdoors more with this summer, traveling and moving my feet because the world has so much to show. 

I am now temporarily back to reality (sobs) after 3 weeks or so of being away from home attending weddings and visiting relatives, and while my heart already ache terribly from missing the spectacular places, food and most importantly, the people that I wish desperately to tuck them back in my luggage... I'm nonetheless strikingly grateful for time back at home sweet home (minus all the wacky construction going on in my neighbourhood- tell me, why do people take up to more than a year to renovate their houses?!). 

Feeding my stomach and soul with home cooked food and winding down the day in my bed have been terrifically comforting, the fact that I'm lazing around at home grants me time to recap all the summer wilderness I've been riding on!


 

So backing up to last month- post exams, a couple of nights after dinner Sean and I snuggled up munching on popcorn (who buys RM 60 worth of popcorn? That would be us) while watching movies that I made him promise me to watch together after my grueling and arduous exam period (which is a post for another day because I don't think you'd want to hear me talk about the overwhelming stress and tension that had me breakdown crying a puddle of tears several times).

Prisoners the first night, Our Times the second night, and Nightcrawler the third. We overdosed on our share of Jake Gyllenhaal (both Prisoners and Nightcrawler starred him).


I also took the opportunity to catch up with my friends. Many of them were busy digging their heads in the books preparing for exams so only Han Qin was free and available to meet up. We hung out at Main Place, had lunch at Chili's, and talked. Only he had lunch, to be more accurate, for some reason I decided to skip lunch then. 


HQ set out to buy a gift wrapper sort of thing for his girlfriend, and it was absurd that we ended up at Toys R Us trying to hunt for gift wrappers, but since we were there we thought we might as well grab whatever items we could lay our hands on and played insanely with the toys because we're secretly 5 years old.

 

Finally we returned to Daiso, not contented that we didn't find what we wanted the first time we entered, we succeeded the second time around. 

I offered to help HQ pick a box to contain the present HQ got for his girlfriend. We thought it'd be more suitable than a wrapper to prevent the gift (a matching couple tee) from getting crumpled. Instead of getting a ribbon to tie the box, I suggested that a gift bag would make a lovely alternative and HQ gladly bought the idea (pun intended).

It was both amusing and heart-warming to see your friend (especially a guy) all giddy and blushing when teased about his first relationship. I wish you and your special one the best! 

He revealed his girlfriend's name after much coercion which I had unfortunately forgotten- what happens when you have a brain like a seive- BUT it's also appropriate since she's probably not ready to be exposed on a random person's blog- random because we haven't met yet but I know she must mean a great deal to HQ and I'm genuinely happy for the both of them!


What happens when your guy friend starts to date... No more smiles for pictures. 

 

I was on the verge of pretending to stomp away so he finally turned his frivolous grin into a proper smile. 




I have been on cloud nine getting to simmer down and lounge around the house guilt-free- watching YouTube videos and playing sports and LEAVING THE HOUSE- entertainment that I was determined to revisit until after finals come to an end. 

Knowing and being purely honest to myself on focusing precisely and shunning from distractions when sitting for my exams was necessary and perfect as it left me feeling utterly justified and relieved when I was taking a breather and having a high time after handing in the final paper of year 2015/2016.




We couldn't pass up on a chance to pay Ken a visit who is currently residing and working in Johor.

We were only there for 2 days, but surely managed to squeeze in precious family bonding time.

First, we went to Premium Outlet in Johor, and I  had the best partners to shop with that made the entire shopping experience even more memorable and sensual. I walked away with a pair of olive coloured shorts which I love from Cotton On. I've been wearing it a lot ever since! 

Later that night we dined at a Chinese restaurant 安记楼 at Pasir Gudang.















Salted Egg Yolk Custard Buns. The bomb. Sean's eyes glimmered with excitement when he was informed that the restaurant serves this crowd pleaser. The waiter added that we had to order a minimum of 10 buns, and we didn't hesitate. Bring it on.























I was that maniacal paparazzi for the night. 

In all seriousness, I was over the moon watching Mum and Dad beam so wide watching the interaction between my brothers. Growing older means increased separations, and treasured times like these don't come easily... We remain immensely thankful and pleased for the continuous unyielding bond in our family over the years which has been strong enough to withstand the distance, the up's and down's, and great personal changes. 



We definitely don't take it for granted and I am gratified that each one of us play our part in safeguarding and honouring this much cherished relationship. 

 

 

We stayed in Renaissance Hotel for the night, which serves THE BEST BUFFET BREAKFAST. EVER. You've lived up to your 5-star hotel title, and we'll return (aka tomorrow. YES!!!)

 




 

 

 

I was busy stuffing myself silly and the phone camera got neglected so you only get to see 1/10th of the servings we had. 

 

 


Ken shot some of these decorations which were elegant and chic, adding just the right amount of colour into the dining area.

We helped Ken tidy his room, ironed his clothes, mopped his room... and had to dreadfully unwillingly say goodbye to Ken in the afternoon, and despite being awfully sad and sorrowful, we promised to continue to keep in touch and pray for his safety, happiness and health. 

We love and care for you, Ken! I'll see you so very soon (again if you didn't catch that earlier, I'm headed to Johor tomorrow!).

We stopped by a restaurant famous for its fish balls in Tanjong Sembrong on the way back to Selangor.

It was large and looked clean, so we decided to have a late lunch there. WRONG MOVE. I'd tell you why. 









This bowl of noodles that Dad ordered HAD A FLY IN IT. GROSS. JUST GROSS. Totally unacceptable. 

Much to our dismay, he only discovered it after making his way halfway halfway. Ugh. 



We fought hard not to let that ruin our mood. 




We continued our post exams celebration by going bowling to use up all the bowling coupons Dad graciously gifted us. 

Since it applied only to weekdays, Sean and I had the pleasure of hitting up the bowling alley and playing a total of 3 rounds each. 

 

Probably injured my back bending like that, I'm not sure.

 

 

As you can see from the impressive way we bowled, we were quite the professionals bowling players.   

 

 

Or not. 

 

The results was horrible- we wanted to bury ourselves.

Luckily we picked up the pace eventually.

Still unimpressive, but, better.


Gazing far into his future, I mean, the pins. 


Oh, you know, just waving at my fans who were cheering for me.



Eyes on the prize.



We looked at each other in the end massaging our tired hands and there was a mutual understanding formed there and then- no more bowling for the rest of the year. Quota met and exceeded! 



This was Sean's 'Oh, I screwed up that one' face. 

 

I need to learn how to coordinate my outfit better, I know.



And comb my hair...

 

And lose that belly...


As well as keep my hands off irritating the pimples on my face. Mum doesn't have to remind me that I'm 21 and that means acne scars take longer to fade since my skin cells don't repair and replace themselves as quickly as it used to be.


 

I am supposed to be packing for our 3 days 2 nights Johor trip tomorrow but I'm putting it off because neither my parents have started. To be fair, they're engrossed in settling important matter whilst I have plans to... watch Singaporean dramas. Now that I'm typing this though I feel lousy about this procrastination so I'm going to do myself a favour and go upstairs and pack now.

This whole packing and unpacking thing... I seem to be gradually getting the hang of it. Whoops. Awesome?

Can't say for sure on that but a pronounced fantastic thing is that I managed to get in a quick swim with mama today and that made a very delighted June. Love spending time with my fabulous mama!

I'll also be able to blog further with no where to go other than primarily the hotel tomorrow (ha ha) and will be furnishing you with more summer adventures so stay tuned!