Sunday, 13 August 2017

Always trying

*retrieves blog from top shelf*

*tiup habuk*

Hi blog, it's been a very very long time.

I don't know what's my excuse, really. Once in a while I do think about writing something on the blog but for some reason I always feel like it's nothing too interesting to share. Can't believe it's been more than a year since my last post. Yikes. I've done a looot of growing up since then – maybe even a bit too much than I'd liked. But ready or not, like it or not, life happens. And I just have to bulldoze my way through it. 

Anyway, just a quick fill-in since my last entry last year......

I graduated from university with a degree in Psychology. I was unemployed for 3 months and a bit, just because. But of course I started getting the "When are you going to look for a job?" questions from my parents hahaha so I applied for some (all different things because I was unsure where to go and what I wanted to spend my days doing) and went to a few job interviews without knowing exactly what to expect.

[I digress: I've always envied people who know exactly what they want to do in life. While I'm not entirely clueless (I know what I don't want to do, so there's a start... right?), I don't have that ONE thing that I had my sights on since school. So when I finally completed my formal education, I was faced with the frightening question that a lot of us know too well: What next? It was very daunting to think that I finally have to decide what I want to do with my life, so if you're in that situation right now, remember that you're not the only one who feels this way. Not everyone is lucky enough to have found their calling earlier in their life. Just remember that as long as you're trying, you'll be fine. InsyaAllah.]

I went to a few interviews and was rejected. Then I got my first job offer, but turned it down....

.... to accept an offer at my dream job.

It was a bit hush hush at first because I was so scared that I wouldn't get it, and I didn't want to get my hopes up too much.

Some people have asked me how I got hired and what the recruitment process was like. For those of you wondering, I went to 2 interviews. The first one was fairly standard; Min Jee, my current boss, asked me about the basics – about myself, my background, education, what skills I might have from my past experience in dealing with people, yada yada yada.

After that, she sent me a task via email. This was the hard part, to be honest. There were a few questions (I don't exactly remember what they were) and one of it was to write a press release. I had no idea what, how, and why, so I Googled it and read a few examples. I Facetimed my best friend Raihan while completing the task because I was so anxious so she was just accompanying me through it. I stayed up till the wee hours to perfect my answers. Effort!! I was very nervous about the whole thing because I really wanted to do well and get the job. A few days later (was it? I don't even remember) I got a call from Min Jee asking to come in for a second interview, but this time I had to prepare a presentation about dUCk. "Anything about dUCk, it doesn't matter. What is dUCk to you? It can be in slides, or a mood board. It's up to you."

Which brought me to the question: What on earth is a mood board?!? I was quite hopeless la really. With a bit of guidance from Najwa, I came up with this:

I even put a picture of myself in it because they asked me what I pictured dUCk could be in the future and it was my way of telling that I should be a part of it. Hahahaha #confident. (Thank God I was hired.) If you couldn't spot me in the mood board, here, let me help:

But yeah, that's basically it. After that my life has mostly been about work. Learning about 1000 new things, figuring things out along the way, trying to get my bearings on this thing called work. Trying to juggle work and personal life, trying to separate frustrations/exhaustion at the workplace from the home. Trying to do things right and trying to improve on whatever we get told off about.

It's really just one big game of Trying. If anyone ever thinks that I've got my stuff together, it's only because I never show when I break down and cry from work (yes, it's happened a few times!), or when things go awry.

Nevertheless, all in all I do love my job. Even now, 10 months later, sometimes I still find myself taking it all in and trying to digest the fact that I'm working with a brand that I love. How lucky am I?

So much has happened in the span of a year, especially work-wise, but for some reason I just didn't think anything would be interesting enough to share. I'd received a few messages from strangers asking me when I would update my blog which surprised me because I didn't think anyone would care if I abandoned this space, haha. I'd be lying if I said I don't miss writing at all. Sometimes it's so tempting to rant here, particularly when Instagram seems too public and 140 characters on Twitter isn't enough.

Perhaps it would be great to come back to blogging. Can't promise that I'll blog regularly, but well.... I'll try.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Super belated wedding post

As proof that I am a horrible horrible blogger, I just found an incomplete blogpost from months ago; but (if I may toot my own horn) it was quite a nice story so I'm just going to shamelessly finish it off and publish it on the blog.

Just pretend that you're reading this in January okay. Hehe.


A few weeks ago, one of my relatives made my day (actually, my entire weekend) with a very simple text. It said:

"I've got my man now, insyaAllah, but I need my girls too. Will you be my bridesmaid?"

Up until now, I've had cousins who'd gotten married and I was of course involved in the whole preparation running up to the weddings themselves, but I've never really been a proper bridesmaid before. And none of my close friends are getting married yet, so technically my application to be their dulang girl is still pending (indefinitely). So you can probably tell how thrilled I am about my first official bridesmaid duty. Matching dresses and everything! Suuuuuper stoked!!

I love love love family weddings, albeit all the chaos and stress that come with them. The prep usually drives me mad but after everything's over, I'm always left feeling so satisfied and content and sooo full of love and gratitude for my family. Family time is always a good time, so I'm very very excited for this coming wedding.

Anyway, speaking of weddings!

This brings me to my other winter break activity that I was gonna write about. I went back to KL for a short while in December for my cousin's wedding. The wedding took up one whole weekend – there were 5 events altogether. Friday afternoon was the nikah, Friday night was the Henna Night, Saturday afternoon was the reception on the bride's side, Saturday night we had a maulid at my uncle's house, and, finally, the groom's reception (our side) on Sunday afternoon.

I didn't attend the nikah nor the bride's reception, but there were still wedding stuff that I had to help with during those times. Just listing them down is bringing back the exhaustion of that weekend!

Ladies' Night

On Friday night, we had the Henna Night (aka Ladies' Night) at a hotel in KL. It's pretty weird to call it that because in the Malay culture, Henna Night (i.e. malam berinai) literally means drawing henna on the bride's hands, but in Arab culture, it has nothing to do with henna at all. So I'm really not sure how it got the name, haha. Basically the ladies dress up in fancy outfits and get together to celebrate the bride, so it's more like a bachelorette party. My girl cousins, Najwa, and I got ready at the hotel in the evening. Helped each other with hair and makeup and it was so so much fuuunnn, because we rarely get to do this together! It was chaotic of course, since we easily outnumbered the jamban and the mirrors in the room. I ended up doing my makeup in the friggin' bathtub k guys hahaha because the wall by the tub was covered by a huge mirror (thank God for that!). A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. #dedication

Since it was an all-ladies event, we weren't allowed to use our phones and cameras in the hall to protect everyone's privacy. This way nobody would feel unsafe or uncomfortable to 'uncover' themselves and have a good time. So sadly, we don't have any nice pictures of our outfits from that night! No squad pictures with the cousins either :(((

I'll just put a couple of pictures of what I wore that night:

The hooded robe that I wore over my 'party outfit'

We had a fantastic night though! There were some performances and of course there was food, and my goodness, was there dancing! It was such great fun to see little girls as young as 3 years old jumping along to the music, but even more so to dance with our aunts! To be honest that was really why we don't have any pictures – everyone was so busy dancing, nobody even remembered about taking pictures.

That night I also added a new milestone in my life: I danced the night away in 5-inch heels!! (They were the very same heels that I once tripped in, and then fell smack on my butt in front of a bunch of strangers. So yes, big achievement! I gotta update my CV.)

The Day After

After our long night of glamour and fun, our Saturday was anything but. I got up super early in the morning, got ready and packed my stuff. Once Najwa and my cousins were all set too, we checked out of our rooms and went home to send our overnight bags and have breakfast. Soon after, I had to drive straight to Putrajaya with Najwa and Maryam to help out with wedding errands. By that time we were all still pretty dead from the night before hahaha.

The heat was unbearable that day, which did little to help, but the sky was a brilliant blue and my heart swelled for the city that I call my first home.

It was a super duper long day but it was alright because we got kambing panggang and roti jala that night after the maulid. Big win.

The Reception

The last event of the weekend and the most tiring event ever. Ever!!! The reception was held at my uncle's house and we were expecting more than 1000 guests. I'm not kidding. When I found out about the size of the guest list, I thought my cousin had been joking. So gila!

People started coming at 11am. Masa tu makeup semua masih on point tapi masa tu jugak la matahari nak naik and cairkan segala usaha keras kita. And while the makeup was melting off our faces, us cousins were all busy being handed our tasks for the day.

This part is very, very important. Pro tip: when working at a wedding, get one solid task that you'll have to stick with for the rest of the day. It might be boring, but at least it's something. This is where I'd gone wrong. I didn't have a solid duty for the day and I ended up doing errands and getting tasks from left right and center! The best task I got that day was when I was almost melting off the face of the earth and my cousin suddenly pulled me aside and asked me to guard the wedding cake in a car that had the aircond on full blast.

My cousins and I were moving around so much at the wedding that, again, we didn't have that many pictures of us together which was quite a bummer. My cousin (sister of the groom) has a company for event planning now and she was the one who set up the tent and pelamin and everything. It's not the best idea to plan your own brother's wedding though... She didn't sleep for a whole week and when we arrived at her house that Sunday morning, she was still in her pyjamas setting things up. So gila (part 2). But she did a great job 'cause everything looked so cantik.

Actually, when the reception was going on, I barely saw my cousins because we were all attending to our own crises. Najwa had to deal with kids at the candy station (imagine the horror). Syira had to deal with the caterers while also greeting the guests. Paah and I were just running around doing miscellaneous tasks and getting pulled in every direction for favours. My other girl cousins were nowhere to be found so I'm pretty sure they were facing the same thing. At one point I got so fed up that I went up to my parents in exasperation and said, "UGHHH I DON'T WANT TO GET MARRIED."

But later in the evening when the guests have all gone back, the family gathered together under the tent and watched the guys dance the samrah (not even sure if this is the correct phrase).

I wanted to convert the videos to gifs but it wouldn't work. Sucks because it was pretty cool actually. It was so meriah but chill at the same time and I could tell that everyone was enjoying themselves. They danced for about 2 hours 'kay!! That's like a few days' worth of cardio!

And then it was back to cleaning up the scene of the crime.... That's the downside of getting married at home kan? You have to clean the house and settle the preparations, you are the host, and then after smiling and talking to 1000 guests, you clean up (you = family of the pengantin). By the end of it all we basically wanted to pengsan for 2 days.

Man, weddings sure are
e x h a u s t i n g.

There's no denying that we all had a great time, but if you ask any of us singles about where we'll want to get married, we'll all tell you the same thing:

"I don't know, anywhere but home."

Thursday, 30 June 2016

My golden card

I always tell myself, you can't compare your difficulties to another person's. Everyone faces different struggles in life.

Some people have more serious problems than others, but kita kena ingat that none of these goes unnoticed by God. Every hardship that you face with faith and patience will surely earn you credit in God's eyes. The bigger the hardship, the bigger the reward.

Such is life; we were all dealt with different sets of cards. But I personally believe that everyone will have at least one golden card in their deck: something to be thankful for.

Almost every night before I go to sleep, I try to count my blessings but I always don't know where to start. It's really humbling to realise that you've been blessed in so many ways that you don't know which one to give thanks for first.

The roof above my head?
The warm bed to sleep in?
My health?
My education?
My tummy that's always hungry but also always kenyang?

It's impossible to cover everything every time so my list always changes from one night to another. But the one thing that remains a constant in all of my lists, is my family.

As I grow up and meet more people in my life (and hear more stories and watch more movies), I begin to realise that having a good family is not a right – it's a privilege. You don't get to pick what kind of family you're born into. Nobody chose to be born into a bad nor a good family. A rich or a poor family. A big or a small family. It's something that's given to you.

I always find myself wondering what is it that I did, and what I will ever do, to deserve such a blessing in this department. I mean I do fight and argue with my family members and we do give each other headaches more times than we'd like, but alhamdulillah after all the bites and scratches, the flying kicks and hair-pulling, we still love each other very very much* hahaha.

(*terms and conditions apply)

I'm also very close to my cousins on both of my parents' sides. My mum's side is quite small and we've always lived close to each other, so we're very close-knit. We gather at my grandparents' place on Fridays and the neighbours always say that it sounds like Raya on Friday nights because it's so meriah. Hahaha. We don't even do anything special; it's just dinner, TV, and we talk talk talk. And shout at the kids when they cause so much ruckus after 10pm.

My dad's side, on the other hand... we're a huge family. But even then, we practically grew up together although some of us live in different states. Because I don't get to see my paternal cousins as much as I do my maternal cousins, it's always a treat when we do see them.

I always look forward to family gatherings, even if it's just over breakfast at our family's favourite nasi lemak place. Family events are a big thing for me. Really. I've cried several times for missing out on gatherings hahaha. Crybaby™.

I used to take it for granted that it's a normal thing to be very close to one's cousins, but the more stories I hear from friends, the more I realise that it's not always the case. Some people don't really talk to their cousins and some don't even know them that well. I've had people tell me that it's so nice how close I am to mine, especially considering how many of us there is. Some people even think we're siblings because we're so close. It's usually comments like these that make me realise that this is more than just a norm.

I've learnt that not everyone has a good relationship with their (extended) families, not everyone gets love and support from their families, and not everyone looks forward to family gatherings. So if you do, let's not take it for granted.

We were all dealt with different sets of cards in life. We are tested in different ways, and we are also blessed in different ways.

As humans, we tend to focus more on the negatives and overlook the positives, so let's try to shift the focus for a change.

One of the golden cards in my deck is my family... What's yours?

Friday, 17 June 2016

Mindless doodles

I can't sleep. It's past 3am and I know I should go to bed if I want to overcome this jetlag – I'm back in KL! –, but an idea popped into my head just now and I got so restless that I just refused to sleep. I needed to write it down somewhere, but unfortunately I'd left all of my nice notebooks in London! Drat. (That's one thing about me: I love love love myself a nice notebook but I always feel too 'sayang' to use it. So I end up just keeping it in a drawer until I find a worthy use for it; and by now I have a small collection of cute notebooks.)

So anyway, I feel like this idea deserves a very pretty, well-bound notebook. I thought I'd kept at least one nice notebook tucked away somewhere in the study room or my bedroom, but non. Shamefully. I really hope this idea will stay put in my mind until I find a proper notebook for it, because an A4 paper just will not do.

But I'm writing this post because my search just now was not a complete failure. During my rather ill-timed quest following an inconveniently-timed epiphany (sahur is less than 2 hours from now and I have a long journey back to my kampung in the morning), I came across my very old notebooks that I had during high school. They were all full of notes for exams, or numbered lists of my thoughts, but most of the pages contained doodles.

My friends and I used to love doodling sooo much back then. I could doodle at any time about anything. Some were snippets of conversations, some were song lyrics, some were famous quotes, and some were just random words that popped into my head. I didn't really care what it was, I just had to write. I always had a pen in my hand in school; sometimes I sit through a class just doodling what the teacher is saying.

It's interesting to read the scribbles again and be taken back to my school days. I even found some conversations that I had with my friends on paper, about basic and stupid things. Such carefree times! Just thought maybe it'd be nice to share some of my doodles here on the blog:

I hope I won't regret putting these up! Hahaha just keep in mind that whatever you see are very mindless thoughts of some 16-year-old girls and they would most probably seem very out-of-context!

I also found some heartfelt entries here and there, which made me realise how much I loved writing. I guess I was pretty good at it, too. I was easily very honest about my feelings, and reading those entries makes me feel like I was much braver back then. I wrote what I wanted to; my entries conveyed what I'd felt at the time.

I used to blog a lot more too, but I don't know, somewhere along the way something made me feel like I was being too transparent; like I was showing people how vulnerable I was. So I stopped writing for a while and deleted my blog and became more cautious about what I reveal, especially when it comes to my feelings. I think I've become quite... emotionally constipated nowadays. Hahaha.

I also find it harder to pen down my thoughts properly now which explains the lack of blogposts! (Not that anyone cares...) I swear I have so many incomplete posts which have been left hanging. Let's hope my 2009 writing mojo comes back to me soon!

Anyway, take care guys and I hope it's not too late to wish you a Ramadhan kareem xx

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Never say never

Orang kata, "never say never". Why? Because you might end up (voluntarily) stepping into the very hole that you swore you'll never fall into.

Take me, for instance. For the longest time, I vowed that I would never ever delve into this one thing that I have recently signed up for...... and that 'thing', ladies and gentlemen, is the Korean world of entertainment.

One thing to note here is that I have managed to evade this blackhole (as Nadia calls it) for many many years. Sometime back in high school, my cousin was completely hooked to everything Korean – music, dramas, food, you name it. Come to think of it, I don't even know what got her started! It was really weird, she started eating vegetables because of the Korean world. She would even battle for the remote control so that she could watch the news on the Korean channel on Astro. She watched Korean news guys!!! Gila. Berita Malaysia tak pernah pulak tengok. Hahaha ntah pape. But aside from watching Korean news in the living room, as far as I knew, she did everything else by herself. Cried over dramas alone, fangirled over singers/actors alone. She once went to a K-Pop concert alone. Pure dedication right there. But for some reason, I wasn't at all curious about it. I just knew that I had a psychotic cousin and that was that.

Then there were my classmates. Oh gosh. In Secondary 5, I was in an all-girls class. I have no idea who started it, but at one point, almost all of the girls were passing around a DVD of Boys Over Flowers. They took turns watching it and would talk about it in class every single day. I swear I felt like I was unwillingly stuck in a K-drama society! The only name I knew was Gu Jun Pyo. Taaak habis-habis. But even then, I never got in on the hype. I was quite proud of myself actually hahaha.

I don't remember anyone else in my life who was Korean-crazy but after school, I was pretty much rimas with all of it. It might have been the hype on Twitter or something that made me just so annoyed with all things Korean. I decided that I don't want to watch or listen to anything Korean. I know it sounds arrogant, but I felt like it was all too... in-my-face. I hated it.

Then I entered college. It was my first boarding experience, so I was really nervous about getting roommates (aka chaletmates in KY terms). I remember on my first day, when I was setting up my room, I said to my parents: "I really hope none of my chaletmates are K-pop fans!"

...... The moment I said that, one of my chaletmates walked out of her room with a huge grin on her face and a giant poster of a K-pop band (Big Bang? 2PM? Lord knows) in her hands. Hahahaha. And that was how I met Shaza, the most hardcore fan that I have ever personally known – she lived and breathed Korean, it was crazy! It was everything I could not comprehend. The whole time I lived with her, I thought, how on earth could someone be super dedicated to the Korean world?! She knew all the songs and I still remember how she would laugh like a pontianak whenever she watches Running Man and scare the heck out of the rest of us. One of my greatest achievements so far was getting Shaza to start watching How I Met Your Mother. Hahaha I'm telling you, it seriously toned down her obsession to a much safer level. Even so, living with a K-pop maniac for 2 years never piqued my curiosity.

Fast forward to the present year. So a few months back, Rahimah slept over and she wanted to watch the latest episode of Running Man (which was another thing that I really could not understand, because people kept laughing at things that I didn't find funny). I was curious about why people loved the show so much so I sat down with her and asked her to explain it to me. Then I slowly started to get it. I slowly managed to remember the names of the members, and then distinguish their faces, and then match the names to the right faces. Then I got to know each of their characters. Then I was hooked because of how much it made me laugh. Then suddenly.... it was all I wanted to watch. The horror.

It always starts with Running Man, doesn't it? Aiya.

So here I am now, somewhat able to remember Korean names and Korean faces, having crushes on some Korean celebrities. Also have some favourite Korean words already. Also starting to be acquainted with the wonders of Korean skincare. Also kind of thinking about planning a visit to Seoul to get a lifetime supply of their skincare products. Also have watched my first ever Korean drama (!!!).

*kibar bendera putih*

I have finally succumbed. My 17-year-old self would be ashamed. #noragrets

Kan orang dah kata, never say never.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Tears in the kitchen

Today as I was peeling anchovies while preparing to cook for dinner, suddenly something my uncle said a few years ago popped into my head. "Hati-hati okay makan nasi goreng? Ada tulang ikan bilis sikit dalam tu. Nenek dah tua, dia tak buang tulang betul-betul. Sorry eh?"

And just like that, I was sat at the dining table with a sudden ache in my heart, tears in my eyes, and anchovies in my hands. It's funny, how something so simple and small can conjure up a memory of what had seemed like an insignificant moment on an ordinary day.

It wasn't the first time this happened. There'd been a few times when I'd be cooking and suddenly be reminded of my late grandmother, and I'd miss her so much. Like, it would actually physically hurt. One time, the memory of her came so suddenly that it caught me off guard and I burst into tears as I was adding salt into the pot. (Don't worry, the lauk didn't turn out extra masin and my tears didn't end up in the food either.)

The kitchen just generally reminds me of her, and I don't mean it as an insult in any way. My late grandmother was an amazing cook. I know this for a fact, not only because I'm her granddaughter and I'm super biased, but also because she used to be a cook in a palace back in the days.

When it comes to cooking, she was in a league of her own. My mum told me once that Nenek could just look at the steam rising up from a pot and instantly tell if the lauk had enough salt. I've been trying to work out the science behind this by observing steam (and looking like an idiot while at it), but I still can't see the difference. I mean, steam is steam. What exactly do I look for?

My Nenek was that good, guys. God knows how many other tricks she had up her sleeve. She got mad skillz in the kitchen. That's right, skillz with a 'z'. Cucunya?

... Takpa la, takyah cerita. Tak tahu apa jadi.

I used to be so nervous at the thought of cooking for my grandmother. Just the mere thought of it was nerve-wracking enough, so I couldn't ever imagine having her actually taste the food that I cook. Now, she never will.

I know that my heart has space for a lot of things and a lot of people. But I feel like tonight, my heart only has room for her, and it's missing her terribly. If only she knew.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Hidung sumbat

Hi guys, I hope everyone's been great and well, wherever you are.

The weather in England has been really weird lately (actually, come to think of it, when is it ever not weird). It was getting quite warm at one point, warm enough to make me think that spring's finally here, and suddenly the weather decided to take a turn and it got really cold again. And not just cold, really windy too! I'm already so tired of cold wind blowing in my face. Even more tired of not being able to walk in a straight line. I'm late for class as it is! Can the wind please stop blowing me sideways!!! Or backwards!!!

I've been living in London for 3 years now and the fickleness of the weather here is still too much for me sometimes. The weather's been so bad lately, and I've got a fever to top it all off. Generally, it's not very easy for me to fall sick. Alhamdulillah it's been like that since I was much younger; even when everyone around me was getting sick, I would always be the last one standing. Earlier last week, Najwa got a fever and she was bedridden for a few days. About two days later I was coughing and my throat was starting to get sore. I thought it'd go away the day after, as it usually does, but things only went downhill afterwards.

We were both bedridden over the weekend, poppin' pills like M&M's and wearing Kool Aid on our foreheads, which, btw, does not help you look cool at all. I hadn't been that sick and weak in sooo long so it was quite a shock to the system. I was a complete vegetable! My fever was ridiculously high, I was coughing myself awake in the nights, and I was sneezing so much my nose was gonna tercampak somewhere.

Alhamdulillah both Najwa and I are feeling much better now though, we're both walking about again (around the apartment). But we're both still coughing like mad, and my nose is completely blocked. It's a weird kind of blocked right now 'cause I can breathe through my nose perfectly but I can't taste my food at all. I haven't been able to taste my food for about 4 days now. I made Maggi the other day and I couldn't even smell the curry goodness! Criiieeeessss.

This is probably a good time as any to eat as many vegetables as I don't like, since I can't taste it anyway. But then..... why eat vegetables when you're already one, right. #distortedthinking

I really just can't wait for warmer weather!!! The winter sun's been great whenever it does show up, but let's face it, it gives out very little warmth!

Anyway, take care everyone. Stay safe, warm, healthy, and hydrated xxx