All In A Natshell

Hello all.

I feel like I’ve not been using my camera enough – and when I don’t use it enough, it almost means less material for blogging and ever lesser photo memories. I used to have logs of every month of the places I go to, but this year everything is just in my phone – and I don’t even take photos of any special occasions anymore. Let’s just try to put everything in a nutshell of what’s been missing from the blog.

 1) Made a trip to Indonesia for cousin’s engagement

Cousin Keith got engaged and because Christabelle (future cousin sis-in-law) is from Indonesia, they did a ceremony there just for her Indonesian relatives, friends and family. It really is quite interesting to see how different cultures can be. This was an engagement but if you actually look at the scale of the ceremony – it may just be way huger than any normal wedding dinner usually held in KL.

The couple will have to stand on stage throughout the whole dinner to shake hands of ALL attendees (it was about 2000 that night) to welcome them during the beginning of the ceremony. Not only that, just when we thought they were done with the welcoming greetings – it was time for some to leave, so the same crowd had to go up stage to say goodbye again. That’s about 4000 pairs of hands to shake! Extremely shocking for me.

Can’t wait for the official ceremony come June! Extremely happy for the couple :)

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Apart from the ceremony, we took the chance to travel around Jogjakarta abit. Visited Bodobudur and also some interesting volcanic sites (Gunung Merapi).  The journey riding into the site was quite adventurous. We had to be put into trucks and ride was extremely bumpy. They gave us helmets – I thought it was just in case we fell off the car but I then realised that the helmet came to good use even during the ride itself.  My head kept crashing against the sides of the vehicle. Without the helmet I think my head would have been busted pfft. All six of us had to be squeezed into a four-seater. Quite uncomfortable because if we weren’t positioned carefully we would definitely have been bounced off the jeep. Uncomfortable but extremely exciting though – there were slopes even steeper than roller coasters – almost a 90 degree way down so there were very rough bumps. Loved it!

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2) I went to Vietnam

This was back in February. It’s important for me to make it a point to go somewhere new at least every alternate year. I have a few places in my head that I wanna go – but I’m just mentally tied to the grounds of KL. It was a replacement for my Bangkok trip that I had planned long way before it should have happened. Supposed to meet up with my Beijing girls but everything didn’t work out because of the riots so I got my tickets replaced with Vietnam. I’ve always wanted to see Vietnam – we chose Ho Chi Minh over Hanoi because online reviews pretty much steered towards the former. I didn’t like it. It was nice  and I appreciated it – but it is definitely not one of my favorite places. Reason being its too much of any ordinary city, albeit still being a little backwards. I like to see more of culture in a foreign place and Ho Chi Minh couldn’t give me that.

We decided to leave the city and travel a little further away from it after Day 2 (it was a four-day freestyle trip). I would have chosen to find ways to get to places with local buses but I guess we didn’t have too much time for real exploration. Easy way out was just to get the hotel to book a seat for us in a tour group and we had the bus come pick us up early in the morning. That was dreadful. I personally don’t like tours. I think they don’t show us enough of the place, and it gets boring. I tend to doze off very easily in cars/buses too so when they tell me stories that I really want to hear, I still can’t help but find myself falling asleep in the midst of a 3 hours car ride to somewhere outskirt. I’m not gonna lie, these stories are boring – but I always try to make it a point to listen to as much as I can. It really helps boost your traveling experience if you understand the place you’re about to visit more.

Back to Vietnam, one of the more interesting experiences was in Cu Chi Tunnels when I got into one of the camouflaged entrances of them tunnels that were made for the small sized Vietnamese soldiers to travel underground. That, and also soldiered on knees for about 100 metres underground with three other big sized tourist. It was horrible, and I sweat buckets – but totally worth it! We were told that we could get out after every 10 metres underground if we didn’t feel well, but there were only about 4 challengers and the guide was just charging ahead. By the time we arrived at the third checkpoint, we asked if that route was the way out – guide didn’t understand us and continued going up ahead. As I don’t usually exercise much it was quite horrible – imagine doing repetitive squats plus crawl in a claustrophobic dimly lit area. I spotted ladders that led to somewhere but because I was the last one in line I didn’t want to be left behind. In my head it was just self prepping. You can do this! You can do this! And I did it! Eating by the roadside in short stools was also very fun. It was difficult trying to order, but we managed to pull through. I also loved the coffee that we found in a roadside shop right opposite our hotel. If coffee tasted like that, I wouldn’t mind having it everyday. Maybe I like cheap coffee – or maybe the Vietnamese just really knows how to work their caffeine.

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2) I attended my first “rave” 

This was a new experience. I’ve always heard about rave parties, seen partying photos on Facebook, but have never been to one. Usually it’s just because of lack of interest, the music is not my kind of jam and I can’t find myself enjoying the music as much as my other friends does. I think people just have different tastes in music, and that’s okay. I’d have to admit that Future Music Festival (yes, that’s my first) WAS indeed quite happening. Everyone who attended was hip, young, ready-to-party, and definitely super excited to be there. Two days to the event (we all know what happened to the third) – I tried walking into the dance area where everyone was just immersed in Amin Van Buuren’s session. That was quite uhm, overwhelming I must say. Probably it takes some getting used to, but the crowd and hype frankly didn’t make me too comfortable. I tried experiencing it for about 10 minutes by looking for some friends I could trust – and off I went. Back to work, which was alot more comfortable and exciting for me – frankly. Yes, the sole reason I was there was because I was at work. Nice experience – just don’t know if I’ll be back.

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3) I did a cover of one of my favorite songs from 2013

Now here’s my jam! I love, love, love  Say Something by Christine Aguiliera and A Great Big World. I first heard it when a friend posted Kina Grannis’ cover of it on Facebook. Absolute love – and some lyrics that felt like home. Amidst a couple of conversations online, the project just took flight and my partner in crime was Skyward. It actually became alot more serious than I thought it would have been – initially just thought we would cover it through a simple home recording. Anyhow I loved the outcome – so much effort has been put in this especially from the boys who made this with Xiang from InYourFace Production. Absolutely love it when I do music. It’s not something I’m extremely good at, but as to how those who love music would feel, it really just puts you in this rainbow zone. It doesn’t even matter if you have to take 30 takes of the same verse – it’s making music, and the kind that you like. That’s gold. Check the final outcome here.

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4) I took a ride in a hot air balloon

It was a clear no. “I don’t really want a ride. You guys can take it” But at the end, there were no takers. Passes were allocated only to sponsors and they weren’t even for sale. I thought about it on the very last day, and knew that there was no other way I was going to pay for a ride on a hot air balloon anywhere else. So up, up, and away I went. There were some really bad reviews from my other frolleagues from the days before so frankly I was extremely skeptical about the ride. Apparently landing was extremely rough, their basket tilt over, shoes were wet and muddy, weather was not too positive. So many reasons to NOT get on the balloon. Bottom line, I thought of it was a long fetch thing – gave myself to fate, and did. And by blessing our landing was extremely smooth, no shoes were wet, we glided over the calm lake in the early hours of daylight, and the pilot was extremely hospitable – making sure that everything’s okay. It did get pretty hot up there everytime the pilot flared. My crown felt like it was on fire, but definitely bearable. So lesson of the day – hot air balloons can be really an enjoyable ride!

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5) Did some team building karaoke

My team works closely with another media agency – we’re almost like family. One may not function without the other. In order to just farm some family love, we decided to call one of the nights out and just go crash the karaoke. Oh boy, did almost everyone go bonkers. As usual we had the loco mic hoggers, some self proclaimed Alicia Keys, and others who just observed the ones gone crazy in a quiet corner. These people are like memory banks. If I was ever drunk and did something crazy, I’d make sure to keep this Party Observer in a bag and never let him/her out. The problem was, I was always Party Observer. Every time after a party, I feel like a bear a responsibility to tell everyone what they did the night before. And I know that’s not exactly always pleasant to hear. Good thing nothing turned too ugly for team building karaoke! Everyone left happy, safe and sound.

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6) Went to my first bazaar in many years

This is nothing special – but definitely worth mentioning because I did it Jing who I haven’t caught up with for months! Reminded of years back when I was still active in Nuffnang events with Vivien and Ginny. Bazaars can get quite fun sometimes – especially when there’s food. Headed to Bazaar 365 to give Careen, who was there for her own shop ChiqFliq, a surprise visit!

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After that we headed to look for the Core boys –  to which all left, so Ming Han had an obligatory duty to bring two lonely girls for some entertainment (and we chose dinner). He brought us to my first experience at a diner, Johnny Rockets! It really was first of its kind for me – my first diner experience was somewhere in Penang but that wasn’t even anywhere close cut to this. Every 20 minutes they had a special performance where waiters would be dancing to some upbeat songs (like Gangnam Style?). It was kind of fun. Distracting for meals, or when you’re having quality conversation over your meal – but fun. Food and smoothie was yummy too – would definitely go back! It turned Ming Han into a little fairy on an excited unicorn – so go figure the power of Johnny Rockets!

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7) Celebrated a few birthdays

Sam has always been the type of friend who I almost never see in a year but each time we meet it’s almost like we never went different ways. She works away from the city so when we heard that she was going to do a little birthday gathering with her friends and family, I was a little stoked to just meet everybod. It was really nice seeing her family and her again. As usual she was busy running around sitting with different guests of the night – but was still great to see you.

We will go a long way. Super proud of your latest life journey :)

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On another separate event, it was also Mingalinga’s birthday so we all decided to head on over to Burger Lab for some meat love. It was HALF a surprise, because he kind of knew what was going to happen – but just didn’t know how or who was going to come and make things happen. Some short of 20 people came together that night. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been to any birthday parties. I feel like with age, some people are just too lazy to organize any for themselves, and we all really just need a good quiet day to ourselves on our birthdays.

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Ren was a sweetheart because he hosted the whole gathering on the restaurant :(

The best part was we all could make special special requests for burgers on the menu. Some got a double or a triple of the usual serving – that was a feast. One thing about Burger Lab is that it doesn’t leave me hungry for more. It’s extremely filling and taste is just way too wholesome for you feel like you’re missing out on anything. It got better than the last time I got there. Definitely worth its hoo-haa.

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8) Kpopstar 3 & Superman Is Back

Everyone’s been asking me what (Korean content) I have been watching lately. I have been watching two variety shows that shows on Sundays every week – and its quite painful to wait for new episodes to be uploaded online. Kpopstar is an annual singing competition I follow every year (for three years now) and standards of the contestants are just super top notch this year. I love watching the show for the constructive criticism – I feel like I’m learning just by watching the judges speak.

Another one would be Superman Is Back.

It shows the life of four celebrity dads taking care of their kids while their wives spend 48 hours away from home. Absolutely adore it to death because the kids are so cute, and it’s always heart-warming to watch how these dad’s communicate with their kids. You can also clearly see them learning something new about parenting in every new episode. It’s a common sight to see mom with young kids – but definitely something refreshing to see dads struggling and accomodating to them.

 

G.M Diet

Hello all for who’s still around.

I’m just going to skip through the times I have not been updating because its not been much of a roller coaster anyway. Sometimes I just phase out and feel like if I don’t have anything worthful to say, there’s no reason to come back to WordPress. I came back today because the my colleagues and I have all unanimously greed to do this cleansing diet called the G.M diet the last week.

By the Friday before Diet week we had everybody in the office in. All female and male.

Some of us were looking to shed a few pounds, but some just wanted to give our body a little cleanse. We work in a mall so we consume so much unhealthy food (especially given its convenience) during lunch break. A packet of Mcdonalds fries is also just a few steps away so we thought it was time. The 7-day G.M diet promises about 2-5kg in a week. Nobody in the office is fat, but it was worth giving it a go since everyone was in. This means no distractions and nobody gets to tempt each other in the middle of snack time. I also got my mom to join me on it so it was easier buying groceries.

Here is how it all went down.

 

Day 1 

This was an all fruits day.

We read that melons were highly recommended as opposed to the other fruits so I got a huge one to share with my mom. Today I had half of a watermelon (a quarter for breakfast and the other for dinner), 2 red apples and an orange. It sounds like its really little, and it was! Thankfully we had to drink 10 glasses worth of water and that helped fill my stomach alot. I went to the toilet once in every hour during office hour and thought it was horrible! Pee was already translucent by the fourth trip. The whole team was frankly quite cranky and Alexa was just unconsciously yapping about everything in the world from the cubicle. A group of woman without their carbs are not rainbows and daisies.

I also forgot to say that the guys in the office gave up even before lunch because they were very accustomed to breakfast (We usually have subway or Mcdonald breakfast sets). I also don’t usually weigh myself so I forgot to do any kind of starting weigh to measure the effects of the diet. Although I was usually hungry, I got sick of the texture and taste of fruits that I didn’t even want to eat anything apart from the above.

 

Day 2 

This was an all vegetable day, but you could have one potato for breakfast with a “pat” of butter.

The thing great about this program is that they don’t usually limit the amount of consumption. You are free to eat as much as you want – but it has to be just that. I loved Day 2 as I couldn’t bear putting another piece of apple in my mouth anymore. For breakfast and lunch, I had three mini steamed potatoes to replace one big one, loads of salad and some brocolli boiled in some salt. It shouldn’t be salty, but just enough to give it taste. In the middle of office hours I started to feel hungry so I went down to the supermarket to get packets of ready made salad. I coudn’t use the dressing provided so I squeezed some lemon juice into the packet. I went through two brief hours just by munching each piece down. I personally love lemon so it was a great snack for me. I still had to go to the washroom really often, and I think all the walking and getting helped me get some exercice done.

Dinner was yummy too. Mom prepared a great amount of spinach boiled with little anchovies for taste. I cheated a little and drank the soup – but only a few spoons. It didn’t have sugar or anything to bring the mechanics of the diet so I thought it was okay. I think it’s important to feel mentally content about your meal to during any kind of diet. Don’t make your body feel deprived of food.

I got really full but the thing about vegetable day is that I get hungry really quickly too. I tucked myself in bed at about 10PM and the next day was already here. Day 2 was an important day to pull through. Mid office hours Alexa was already jumping in her seat as her cravings barged in. At one point she stood up and offered to surrender from the horrendous plan. She wanted some good bowl of noodles. Everyone stared at her, full of temptations but nobody spoke up. It was a mental war. Mei Fenn looked like she was about to raise her hand before I decided to just let it sink to everyone that we are actually near the half of the diet!

Thanks to their short span of attention – we fought through Day 2!

 

Day 3

Today we can eat anything that’s a fruit or type of vegetable (just no bananas). Unlimited consumption. Lovely!

My diet for today was very similiar to day 2 – but I packed two extra sets of cherry tomatoes to satisfy my snacking habits. I also finally weighed myself on Day 3 and realised I have lost about 1.5kg from my original weigh. My hip fats didn’t sneakily peek out from my side like they usually do. I read that we were supposed to lose cravings somewhere today but I had an unusual craving for taste. I wanted to have something sweet. I also wanted cheese on Day 3. Just anything with some form of taste.

credit : livingprepared

The guys who gave up were munching on snacks that we have all set aside during mid day and it was quite tough disciplining myself. We were also sharing progress amongst ourselves and everyone who weighed also lost from 1 to 1.5kg. For some reason I made less trips to the ladies today.

It was a fairly easy day to go through.

 

Day 4

Today was strictly only milk and bananas. We could apparently have 8 bananas today!

There was a problem. I can’t drink milk as I was lactose intolerant and although I loved bananas I knew milk and bananas were a potion for an upset stomach for my body. My mom and I have the same problem so we got ourselves a packet of chocolate milk powder (meant for bone growth LOL!) and had it for breakfast along with one huge banana. I had a meeting until noon so when I went back to the office it was almost lunch time. After I managed to get back to my cubicle, colleagues were sharing information and apparently we were supposed to eat only 4 big bananas or 8 small ones. We frantically went through all the sites to make sure cause we all bought 8 big bananas.

I was already hungry again by 3PM so I had another banana. We couldn’t find a definite answer as there were several sites that said different things. That was two bananas down. Rachel brought me some unsweetened soymilk she got a a morning market so that helped fill my stomach too. However, my stomach couldn’t hold in any longer and I had to find access to the ladies. Any kind milk makes this little one upset.

By dinner I still had two more bananas left (and four more than I thought I wasn’t supposed to eat so I gave that to my brother) so I gobbled the two up and was done for the day. Also had another round of chocolate milk. I think chocolate milks aren’t allowed but it was my only option. I think the way this diet work is by science and not by calories so i thought it was okay.

There’s a site online that explains the mechanics and why and how the G.M diet works so maybe you guys could check on that.

I was already 3kgs down by today, but couldn’t see any difference visually.

Day 5

This has got to be one of the best days of the week. 10oz of beef today and along with 6 tomatoes! We also have to drink loads more water than 10 glasses today to wash away the acids.

For breakfast I had two packets of cherry tomatoes, and just looking forward for lunch time. The office was delighted.  We made a booking at a nearby steakhouse and rushed towards it when it was lunch. Most of us had a 6oz serving of beef steak so that we could leave 4oz for dinner.  There was some vegetables on the sides so that was great too.

Our body was so unaccustomed to heavy food like that. We had a slightly difficult time moving around and many of them in the office lasted till way past dinner before they could eat anything else. I was also not hungry by dinner time but mom already had about 3-4oz of marinated beef fried with garlic and some oyster sauce prepared. I finished 2 more big tomatoes and that was it.

Dinner was amazing.

Day 6

For some reason after the beef from Day 5, we ALL lost cravings for any kind of carbs. Cheese, burgers, whatever. We still know we love it, but there wasn’t a gravity that pulled us towards it anymore. Today was beef and vegetable day of unlimited amounts for us to eat our hearts away.

Frankly, by Day 6 our stomachs have significantly grown smaller from early week. I just had very little vegetables for lunch (I slept through breakfast) which I think was the spinach and then it was time for dinner. There was alot of sauce all over my beef this time as compared to the one on Day 5 so I just pushed it all aside just to not mess up the “particles”in my body. Maybe its in my head – but better to not sauce anything if possible. There was corn and coleslaw being served so I had all of that – along with some mash potatoes. Definitely not listed in the plan but was too tempted so I had a few stabs of it.

I gained about 0.5 from my previous record, so this means by today I lost 2.5kgs – but its fine. I wasn’t in this for weigh loss anyway :)

I thought it was healther to have some solid food so the body adapts to your eating patterns the following week. Colleagues were all already steady and everyone was doing well.

Day 7

Today was brown rice and vegetables only.

I had loads of brocolli and cauliflower with a bowl of brown rice for lunch. It was enough to last me till early dinner, where I break fast and almost had anything that was on the table. There was a lamb rib, mashed potatoes, grilled naan which I had many bites of. But my main dish of the meal was still a chicken grilled salad (yes I ate the chicken too). We just couldn’t wait to end the plan and I have to say I was heavily influenced by my mom as she was already buying glazed doughnuts just 12 hours away from the finish line!

But all in all, we still stuck to the plan pretty much. It was 96% followed by and results were as they promised. In totality I lost 2.5kg during the whole program and my other colleages also lost at least 1.5. Skin was alot more radiant mainly because of the water input and I felt like my appetite had shrunk ALOT compared to before we started it. I usually order large sets in restaurants and still fill hungry an hour later. Yesterday I ordered a small portion of chicken teriyaki rice and instantly recognising it as too small for me. I was already mapping the places I’d go after that to fill myself up but little did I know I was arleady stuffed by 60% into the bowl of rice.

2014 : Realisations Are Never Too Late

Happy Chinese New Year to anyone who gives this site a visit.

Hope everybody’s January has been great so far. Mine has been quite filled back-to-back with a couple of different things, primarily things from work. I came across an article that said “It Is not Your Job That You Really Love” a few days back, and that’s the thing about headlines. Good ones really make you want to read it, and in my case this was a really good one. But I didn’t want to click on it, because I thought this deserved my own unbiased opinion. Do I love my job?

If I replaced my workplace with different people, would I still love doing what I do?

Then I realised that for me, the term job doesn’t really translate to the process, duties and KPIs. My job is really my experience at work. My  job is created and designed the way it is now by my colleagues, their behaviour, their attitude. It is because of teamwork that makes my job different. That’s why I can’t just take them out of the equation and ask myself if I’d love my job anyhow? It’s not so simple, because they ARE what makes my job.

I asked them at work if they had Monday blues, and it came to my surprise that none of them did. They found it hard to wake up, but that happens every day. Some people struggle to leave work to weekdays, but I “bring work home” because I realise we all LOVE talking about our growth, our chances and possibilities as a team. The team chat room is almost never silent for more than 24 hours, and I think that’s what makes me feel so pumped up about work every week. It is a family. They are people I want to see and talk to.

Earning a living is essential, especially with my determinations. However I always try to keep it in my head that it is not what should drive me. I want to earn experiences, and not just a living. I want to live days, not survive days. Money is important, but there is no need to be rich. Hence that’s why I find myself working without realising that pay day is pay day, and when pay day comes – it just seems like a bonus for me. It’s like a pat on my back, saying “Hey, thanks for the past month. Here’s a token”. I don’t know about anyone else, but that works for me. That being said, I’m not saying anybody should devalue their own worth when they get a job. You should know what you’re worth, but don’t live with it stuck in your head.

Recently I’ve also learnt that making a few initiatives can change the way your life dynamics turn out. More like I have realised how I have to make change, and not wait for change. 2014 is all about making changes because I don’t want to be who I was 2 years ago. Its true, I only have so many days to play with to do things apart from work. But what if I choose to sacrifice some things, to do some other things that I find makes me happy? Talking to a friend lately who has left a 9-5 job to do the little things here and there that he love has made me wonder, if I would ever find that courage or faith to do. I guess my first step to keeping a balance for that is by initiating here and there so that I remember to keep time for myself. My own growth, my own happiness.

 

For the past years, I’ve always taken a step back when it comes to pursuing leisure and topics of interest. I don’t know what happened along the way, but I never did anything to find out what I really liked. I like art, but everything around me seemed so rigid and tight that it seemed like my interests were too niche to pursue. Meeting and getting to know a a group of precious people the past year that I have recently learned to really appreciate has opened doors of a different world for me.  I’ve always been myself, but it never felt better to meet people who you felt had a connection with you. With no disregards to everyone else I’ve met before that, I just felt like God has sent a troop of new friends out of nowhere to just knock this in my head. It was so easy to be my whole self, to embrace my interests. I think back and I thought it was kind of ridiculous how I just ended up like that. Friends that were met with no initial introduction from any mutual friends, but we slowly realise how small the world is. Everything just zips up to a big bag of contentment and happiness.

If I didn’t make choices I made, I wouldn’t have been blessed with the opportunities. It is because I said yes to the many times I would have said no to, that I’ve met the new friends I’ve met so far. So I guess it’s lesson learnt : Don’t be afraid to say yes and open doors, but remember to stay true to your own values and principles while doing it. 

Somewhere above, they will shower you with rainbows and light :)

Hello everyone!

First of all, Happy New Year!

How come wishes all come in capital letters for each word?

Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Happy Birthday.

Kind of funny huh?

Anyway yes, wishing everyone a great year ahead (as always) and I hope we all stand up and take the initiatives to do great new things this year. Last year for me was a little step outside my door. I took chances to do things that I wanted to do. In other words, I grabbed chances when they came by. Before, even if something that I really liked and wanted to do came by, it’ll be really easy for me to reject the offer and say “Maybe next time”. But growing up, I realized next time’s doesn’t always pop by.

2013 was a year where I think I actually did change a little. My perceptions are a little different now, but principles and values still hold dear. The best thing about this year was getting myself a job – something that I have always been wanting to do since high school. I knew I couldn’t rush the process – so I jumped into engaging myself into part time jobs, ad hoc projects, internships and such. These chances didn’t reward much in terms of money, but I think it was the only, or rather, the best way to feel what it really is like to be in different shoes. I would have to say these little short term experiences with different organisations did help me alot in approaching people in my current job.

In 2013, I took chances that I thought came to my interest and thanks to that I managed to do many things. I have to admit that I was still sitting around waiting for chances to come to me, and thankfully they did. But in 2014, I hope I can be a little more adventurous and initiative in engaging in things that I wanna try.

One of the examples would have to be teaching. I’ve always dreamt of teaching in a kindergarten school, helping children learn their first words. It gives me some kind of satisfaction to be able to provide that experience to them. I wanted to try taking up a part time job in a kindergarten next to my apartment, but that never happened because I had doubts. Doubts about myself, and if I could really take the responsibilty to care after little children. My mom once told me she still finds it mind boggling how girls usually always have this little fantasy about being a kindergarten teacher. Is it really a girls thing?

I don’t know.

But since I am way past the chance to explore teaching as a part-timer, I took the chance to execute this little dream through another tunnel. By teaching Korean. I shared my first video the last post, and today my second video’s up. And when people text me to tell me how they have learnt, there’s just this great feeling in me. A sense of achievement. It really doesn’t matter if its just 10 people (It’d be a lie if I said I didn’t care if anyone’s watching at all), as long as someone REALLY is learning.

That the thing that I’m looking for.

Here’s my second lesson of the project, and first video of the year.

Korean Lessons By Nat

Hello everyone!

One day I just woke up and suddenly got inspired to do online lessons for Basic Korean. It just happened to be one of the things that I think I’ve always wanted to do but never got around doing. I guess Korean would be the best thing I could fall back on if nobody wants to ever hire me for a job in future.

I’ve never thought of having a physical class cause that takes so much time and most of the time when I practice a certain habitual cycle I tend to find it more of an obligation than something that I enjoy. So I turned to Youtube to share this knowledge that I think a number of people may like to have.

Response so far has been great for me. For me it really isn’t about making my lessons viral (and I think nobody should ever share knowledge with that mindset) but really about providing quality lessons that can help people around me! So far after half a day I’m seeing views near to 300 and I’m frankly overwhelmed!

The idea of having thought almost 300 people three new words in a day makes me feel extremely fulfilled and happy. Hopefully the current viewers will continue taking my 5 minute lessons weekly and somehow be able to speak basic Korean very soon :)

Taking A Step Back To The Future

double 100 things I wish I had known before traveling

I saw this, and found myself in the dashboard admin that I’ve been meaning to abandon deep within.

Writing brings me back and forth.

It’s something I enjoy doing – but never found the best place to polish and make my words shine. I read articles and get my thoughts swayed by how beautifully articulated these sentences are. Who’s the writer? What’s her story?

Knowledge or experience. If you only could choose one to become your lifetime asset, what would it ultimately be?

The meaning of travelling has changed and evolved in many ways for me. Conversations I’ve heard about travelling being a dream never felt as close to my heart as it has lately become. Travelling comes in many stages.

My favorite is Stage 2.

When I’m in Stage Two, I become an evolved person. I am lifted off responsibilities to walk back to, I am on my own. Then sometimes in the midst of a noisy crowd, my thoughts trail back to miles away where my real home is. I have to appreciate this. I am here, with a group of amazing people whose youth and laughter will not be engraved in my heart for ever – even if I begged.

At Stage Two, I don’t own the luxury to be uncomfortable and choose. It’s then that I take a step further, out of my comfort zone. My heels right at the tip of the cliff, but every time I feel like I’m about to fall – I realise I can go a little further. At Stage 2, I get to see faces of people whom I usually wouldn’t have time (that I would deem deserving) to observe and analyse. Here, there would be instances where the face and expression of a wailing toddler appear so fragile. Why is he crying? At Stage Two, I can communicate with what’s in my head along with what’s keeping it alive.

My least favorite? Stage 2.

Leaving a place that you have learnt to call a second or third home is many times more tough that going away from your roots for a long time. Packing your bags away from a place you know you’ll never come back again and call home weakens muscles. The path to that plane makes the tick tocks in my watch sound more distinct. All those things that the cabbie is saying? All I hear is goodbye. 45 minutes worth of goodbye. That’s a lifetime worth of farewell that nobody should deserve.

Slowly I’ve come to realise that no matter how grateful I am each time I set foot on a plane, it was never enough – and may ever be.

In my head, I am a writer. I’m a writer who would be flown in and out of countries that I would never have dreamt of being at. I am a 23 year old traveller who would spend her days in vintage themed cafes writing away about my life that I would then describe after my past 5 years. I would also spend nights exploring the calm alleys of Hollywood movies alone secretly expecting to bump into someone I’ve known but least expect to see. However, the vision in my head feels like its just a reel that keeps rolling endlessly to encourage the fast paced lifestyle that I seem to be living in reality.

DSC 0451 600x398 100 things I wish I had known before traveling

Travelling will always be travelling. It has depth, friendship, sights, thoughts, insights, knowledge…..and probably everything in the dictionary that I will have to learn through travelling.

I can never look at travelling the same way again.

Photo Credits : Thought Catalog

It’s November again!

Hello!

It’s not that I’ve been lazy but there haven’t been anything to talk about lately. Work has been great – I like what I do!

The most exciting thing that has happened lately was Grandma’s birthday :)

Unlike other Gram birthdays, this time we didn’t decide on any themes. We did decide to all come in blazer’s, making the theme the Queen and her Bodyguards but it was only decided a few hours before the dinner. So it turned out to be a failed plan :( We had loads of karaoke though. Went to this particular restaurant because they had in-room karaoke (staple for family dinners, apart from alcohol) but while we were just getting started and heated up, they switched off all displays at 11PM sharp! We were so angry. I was in the middle of singing my Jay Chou number!

Am also working on something interesting lately. I have been wanting to pick up guitar since a few years back. It jabs me a little everytime I see people sing along to the guitar. It’s been about two weeks since I first laid my hands on one. I was thinking of buying one but there were also hesitations since I didn’t know if I really wanted to do it. Thankfully, Ka Yi offered to lend me her classical guitar that was sitting in her room for months. So I did – and  I’m glad she did. Now I know I really will get one, but only after I get used to it. So far I’m just in the midst of mastering the basic chords to play.

The first time I held it the guitar was pretty much out of tune and I had ZERO idea of how a guitar works so I spent an hour trying to figure out how to tune a guitar. Now it’s just an easy job, I wonder why I took so long to do it! I love tuning the guitar – makes me feel happy to see everything be in tune and to see the Tuner’s needle in the middle of the meter (that signifies its spot-on in tune!). If anybody needs any help tuning a guitar (fat chance) you can now consult me!

Here’s my first ever song! I dragged it so much cause I just couldn’t switch in between chords!

Besides the guitar, I’m also in the middle of a pending music project! It’s very exciting for me because its something I’ve always wanted to do but never got the time or determination to sit down and make. This time by God means I was given the chance so I hope everything goes well. Everybody around me knows how much of a big fan of this genre, so this really is HUGE for me. As much as I am jumping to get it done, I’m also worried if it’ll come out the way I want it to. Fingers crossed!

I’ve also been spending alot of time on this game called Everybody! Play. Everybody needs to play it with me. My id is @thenatstory. Or maybe it was @nataliechai.  Or maybe you can’t play with me. But be my friend on KakaoTalk and we can challenge each other teehee. I lack competitors now to boost my points pfft. I also need more people sending me sunlights!

 

That’s pretty much what has been happening lately!

Catch up soon :)

Universal Studio, Singapore

Following the Legoland trip, we headed to Singapore in the bus the next day to the Universal Studios at Singapore. I’ve been waiting to get there since I first heard about it, so I was really excited! We only had about 6 hours or so in the park, and I was so afraid that we’d not be able to make it. We usually have to wait really long for rides at the theme park so I calculated that we’d only be able to get on about 5 rides in total, lunch hour included! 

Before we start, here’s the dinner on the night of Legoland that sent us to bed like sleeping pigs. It was this alley in Johor that had loads of seafood restaurants, probably a tourist spot. The company had an agent to take care of our meals so it was all ready when we arrived.

Then it was already the next day! After breakfast, we were given two tickets. One was the entrance ticket, and the other was a food voucher worth $10. Jocelyn and I were so worried because I was the only one who had Singaporean currency (but extremely minimal). What if we wanted to get stuff? What if we wanted to eat more than $10 worth of food? Things must be extremely expensive in there. Well it’s not like we can pull out anyway, and even if we had to skip lunch from being too Singaporean dollar broke – we must earn the tickets worth by conquering all the rides!

I wanted to take a photo with the globe at the entrance but everybody who just arrived was also standing infront of it. I thought I could do it later when we finish so I didn’t. We walked in and I was already jumping inside. Betty Boop and Marilyn Monroe was already posing for photos infront of stores. There were Broadway singers on stage with a minimal amount of audience. One of them looked incredible like Cory Monteith I just had to pause and stare at him and imagine I was witnessing the awesomeness of the late Cory. They sung so well – I would’ve sat there the whole time but I had no time to spare!

The first ride we came across was the Transformers ride. It said 45 minutes but when we walked in there was only a short line to the door so there was no way it’d take so long. In no time we were already right infront of the door up the staircase and the queue was only beginning to build up beneath us by then. THAT, will take 45 minutes – I thought.

I was wrong.

The door that we were standing infront of wasn’t where the ride was. It was only the beginning of the endless number of rooms that we had to walk through and queue before we got on the ride. I had no idea what the ride was going to be. Initially it looked like it was a 4D motion show with possible water and heat effects. It should be. There wasn’t any screaming or whatsoever even from the final waiting room of the ride.

One of the displays in one of the hundreds of waiting room.

Room after room there were displays for us to look at from the movie. Each time we think it MUST be the end, we get led into another room with a massive queue upfront.  This one one of another of the displays. I think it’s the tail to one of the characters.

Finally we arrived at the ride! I still didn’t know what the ride was going to be. A roller coaster? I’ve never been on a 4D show in a moving transport before so I thought it was definitely not going to be it. But we were given 3D glasses beforehand to wear in the ride so I was just playing guessing games with myself. This is a blurry photo because it clearly said no photos but I sneaked one.

The ride turned out SUPER amazing. We were recruits on a mission to fight the other robots. Visuals were super real, as we were transported from scene to scene in the vehicle. I had no expectations of the ride but I was genuinely surprised at how real everything really felt. I even dodged a hit at one time because the robot “got too close” for my comfort. But I couldn’t refrain from seeing how this amazing ride worked so I took my eyes off the front a little bit and managed to look around. I am suspecting that our ride’s transported into a room of three subsections that the ride can rotate in three’s. So imagine the ride to be a triangular rotation but visuals are so real that you don’t even realise you’re juts rotating from room to room.

Ah! Definitely the best ride of the visit – I must ride on this again!

Came out and met Bumble Bee. We wanted a photo with him too but the queue was just too long. We had to save it for other rides. This was the fastest way!

This was another queue for the Jurassic Park wet ride.  I asked for one of the people in queue for a photo and I guess they take photos at the count of “1″.

We could buy ponchos for $3 in the middle of the queue, if u didn’t want to get wet. Because they warn rides that we may not only be wet, but SOAKED! Jo and I again didn’t want to spend money on this so we decided that if we get really wet we should air ourselves dry on one of the rides.

The entire ride was really scary mainly because we didn’t know where would the really wet area be. I kept my head on the lookout for the course up ahead. I was ready to get wet, but I wasn’t ready to be soaked. We all sit in 360 with about 8 other people and I was in the middle, so I guess I wouldn’t be that soaked as compared to the rest.

And we slide down the final slope. And it was a huge slop of splash.

But we weren’t wet. This other guy was dripping water of his T-shirt.

I guess you could say we had a pretty safe dinosaur mission there.

While looking for other rides we met Jack Sparrow – who was very willing to take a photo with us.

Jocelyn sending off her million dollar fake smile for the camera person.

“I really don’t want to take photos of myself. With myself”

So we shall take photos together.

Or maybe her of me. I don’t mind.

We then came across the Shrek castle, where we spot Gingerbread Man from far away. This was probably the first time in two days she asked for a photo with one of her favorite characters. Gingerbread man, you steal hearts.

“Shall I take this home?”

No she didn’t. You’ll see why.

At this time we were about to move into our new office in KL so we were looking for things to decorate our desks with. Jocelyn had an empty mini white board that could use some magnets so we stood infront of this pretty long. We ended up walking away and not coming back. You’ll see why.

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Finally met the legendary Puss in Boots. One thing I realised about the supervisors of these characters were that they are all pretty angsty about little children or even adults like us wanting to take photos with the character. It’s a theme park, and even if the situation didn’t allow – it wouldn’t hurt to just say that pictures are not allowed at the moment in a nice tone. Supervisors were almost literally shooing people away. Mascots were nice and flexible enough to attend to a few along the way and satisfy hearts.

What if my dream idol was the Puss in Boots but I just got shooed away by some random man looking after my idol. I’ll then grow up to not be able to have met my idol ever again! That will make me a very sad child.

“No more photos, young lady!”

He was actually really just posing for me. How sweet!

This is one of the slow Madagascar rides that take you in a tunnel of Madagascar displays. Pretty cool if you ask me.

We were actually waiting to rush out to catch one of the shows that were listed in the directory. I thought it was going to be one of those sit-down shows where we get entertained for about 30 minutes or so with audience interaction. Turned out to be a dance performance. We stopped by for a while and decided to look for other rides.

Shrek and Princess Fiona were in the middle of a date, probably also hurrying to catch the show at WaterWorld! Jocelyn caught it once in the States but she insisted that we had to catch it again cause she loved it THAT much!

The show had audience section seats. There was the SOAK zone, WET zone and the Dry Zone. Hopefully I got the names right. So the performers (who are essentially part of the play) came out before the show started to interact with the audience for a bit and the Soak zone was already drenched before the show started!

The zones are really no joke! I was kind of soaked on one side despite being in the Wet/Splash zone. It was a really fun show to watch – I’d recommend that everybody come catch this if they ever get to the Universal Studios!

Finally stopped for Churros! I absolutely love theme park Churros and I have almost confirmed that only theme parks can give me the kind of churros I like. The churros here at USS was not as good as I wanted it to be, but closest to what I have been craving for for the past 5 years ever since I feel in love with them in the theme park in Seoul!

Shreaking thristy?

When we were done taking photos everywhere, we decided to catch one last show. I think this was called the Special Effects show where they show you how a set is made up for different situations, weather and all. It was a really great sight! I seriously felt like the typhoon outside the windows (plainly visuals) were real and a monsoon was happening right before my eyes. Photos are horrible but the more reason for you guys to go check it out yourselves.

What Steven Spieldsberg work with!

Before we finally left USS, Jo had to walk back into the Sesame Street store to get her Cookie Monster pillow that she had laid eyes on. She had Gingerbread Man in her head, until Cookie Monster called out for her ownership. She never turned back. Here’s a photo of her and her happy with her blue monster.

This was Hollywood.

Where we met Charlie Chaplin.

After we toured the whole place there was about 30 minutes left so we quickly ran over the globe (that still had an endless queue of people surrounding it) for the mandatory photos when you’re in  USS.

Here’s 5/6 of us in the team/company!

Just 3 months here in the company but it was still a pleasant and comfortable trip to be at with this group of new people in another chapter of my life. Grateful for this chance to be able to visit the Universal Studies alot sooner than I had planned to! Now the real war comes in very soon!

Till then!

A Day at Legoland

Hello everyone!

I recently got back from a company trip to Legoland in Johor Bahru (a city in Malaysia) and Universal Studios in Singapore. Expenses were almost entirely sponsored by the company, so I came back as a really happy 23 year old. I’ve been meaning to step into Universal Studios since forever – but entrance fees was incredibly high for my comfort. I was thinking of finally going there with my family by next year, but since I was granted to opportunity – I guess I could go twice! I love theme parks, so I’m definitely not complaining.

When I first heard that we were going to Legoland before heading further down to Universal Studios (on a separate day of course), I frankly wasn’t very much interested. I’ve heard pretty bad reviews about it by peers (too hot, too expensive, too empty etc) so I wasn’t looking forward to it. Since it was all planned, I just followed with extremely low expectations of the place. I spent so much time in the souvenir shop that was located right at the entrance simply because I didn’t expect there to be too many things to look at anyway.

I was pretty much wrong.

Everything at Legoland had so much detail put into making each display. I wasn’t expecting a Malaysian based theme park to actually be so pretty. I personally grew up with Lego, and we all know how much effort it takes to really work up some masterpiece with those tiny little bricks. They had so many kinds of displays, and some had sound effects that sounded so real it kind of felt like it gave the Lego display a hint of life.

I was personally at awe being there. Frankly, the rides were a little unfit for adults to be on as they’re more designed for child-thrill. Alot of the rides including roller coasters were just okay, and didn’t exactly pursue the screaming factor when they built it. However, I could clearly see that the waterpark is cooking up amidst all the done work so I hope that would bring in more crowd for them. They definitely deserve more visitors for its work done.

I shared rooms with Jocelyn. We’re both dead logs when it comes to sleep. Even before we knew about the trip we already discussed about how both of us should NEVER get a room together because we’ll never wake up (alarms, fire alarms, shoutings etc). So finally when we both had to be in a room, we gave a key to Alexa to safe guard so she can come in and pour water on our faces if we really don’t wake up on time.  Good news is, we did! But we still had to eat our breakfast in vacuum mode.

Received our admission tickets right after breakfast before boarding the bus. I frankly don’t know how much it costs per entrance.

Waiting for our bus. Jocelyn and I were put in Bus 3 and it was always the last to come. So others always get 10-15 minute extra to get around the destination areas! Boo.

Considering that Legoland was also in Johor, where we stayed, the drive there was pretty long. I think Jocelyn and I (who I now self appoint as Royalties of Sleep) pretty much dozed off the whole travelling period which took up probably 30-45 minutes. Post breakfast sleep is sometimes very much irresistable.

We also brought Tube along, the KakaoTalk doll. He lost his mind even before entering and got some kids to illegally get him in. Good thing it was so convenient for Jo to bring him around because there was a hole in between his arms, she just tied him up on the sides of her bag. Stay there, naughty Tube!

He was very hungry.

Some of them Lego characters in the souvenir shop. All the vibrant colours hurts my eye abit writing this post.

Mini figure keychains on sale. They were a little pricey, but I guess as Lego’s, it is pretty much what many would call the ‘standard price’. There were loads of characters such as the Harry Potter, Ninja Turtles, Superman, The Hulk, Dark Vader etc. Warning : You might get a little cock eyed.

Say hello to Jocelyn! She doesn’t like taking photos but because I don’t like my photos to just be of sceneries all the time, she was my only victim! Smile, Jocelyn, smile! This chef talks too – I think he was saying something about bread pfft.

Tube getting a little rest with the snoring old man. He really snored. Please look at all the amazing details! I love this place.

We don’t trust Tube’s driving skills – but okay.

Here’s the beginning of our super exciting rides.

Jocelyn and I just stared at each other romantically during the ride.

I kid.

We also went on this ride that goes 360 sideways. There are button stations for the onlookers to press on that triggers a canon waterbomb from underneath the water to get the riders wet. We got on the ride waiting to get wet but I found myself almost pleading onlookers to press on the buttons.

But there was nobody. Meh.

Tube is a little naughty sometimes. He gets confused who his real friends are.

Said hello to one of the characters at the entrance of one of the rides. This was one of the better rides for adults, but I still saw 10-year old kids happily riding it with no fear pfft.

Well, Tube was a little scared.

Overlook of the entrance of The Dragon coaster ride.

Since Tube got a little shaky in his legs, we said he could sit down and read a fairytale. He fell asleep in two seconds, even before the second page.

I loved the interior design of The Dragon. I took this photo from the side after getting down. The introduction part of the ride reminded me of the E.T ride I took in Disneyland. Everything was so beautifully decorated. I really like effort and details and I give them 11 thumbs of for that (?)

We both then took a rest just a little before call time. Got one of the people there to take a photo but only this one came out clear! /facepalm

“Me wants drink too”

Sometimes Tube likes to role play too. We just choose to walk away.

Jo and I noticed this super chill ride while being on one of the roller coasters (Yes, WHILE riding the roller coaster pfft) so we decided that we HAD to get on this super cool horse.

Only to be rejected at the entrance. Only for kids. Hmph.

Okay, so we started doing adult stuff like sightseeing all around the world at Legoland.

We went to China

We found out Tube was a huge fan of Mao, he insisted a photo with him.

They made this rooftop section on top of the Suria KLCC mockup. I pressed on this button and each instrument popped up one by one  playing music! Very cool.

 

 

 

 

We met Lego, who has super skinny legs.

Someone recognised Tube halfway, so I had to tell them which angle was best to film and interview him from.

Halfway, Jocelyn couldn’t take it so she took over the camera.

We were running out of time  because it was only then we realised there were a few more areas we haven’t walked around yet but it was almost call time. Ran into a cop, dammit.

Bad time to run out of petrol.

Halfway getting to the leftover areas, we (seriously) bumped into Legoman earlier and for some reason it was running at thunder speed towards us! I was seriously so shocked I ran away screaming and then I ended up here pfft. He then went missing. Mysteries of Legoland, please don’t scare your visitors like that.

Jocelyn chillin with some firemen.

We had to get pass the security check at one point and got held back because they found some weird boxers in one of our luggages.

TUBE was also identified as a chicken. He’s a duck!

Met this guy with the super cool vest so I asked for a photo!


We were supposed to get back on the bus by 6, but we were already running late so we quicky had someone to randomly take a jump shot expecting it to fail real bad. But we got this!

Success!

And that was the end of Legoland 2013!