Grad ? *gasp

So yesterday, your girl finally graduated with honours in Accounting and Finance. Yes, graduated although I’m still having a hard time digesting the fact that I’ve completed my tertiary education. When I got my result, the initial reaction was just a mere ‘oh yay’ and I felt mostly relief. I wasn’t really excited about the graduation ceremony because I was already back home and the lazy side of me was being lazy about going back for graduation. But I am so so happy that I decided to attend the ceremony because it was such a beautiful moment. I get to see students like me graduating and being celebrated by their loved ones, the atmosphere at university was really amazing and cheerful it gave me instant dose of happiness. I went for my graduation, took my certificate and when I went back to the accommodation only I had time to see my certificate. Okay, no kidding but when I saw my cert I teared a bit. It’s overwhelming but a mixed feelings of every other emotions. I know I’m not describing it well but I want to pour this thought although I am super sleepy and having difficulties to form the right sentences.

3 years in the UK, a single piece of paper but it is a paper that means so much to me. I almost cried thinking the fact that I got through it all despite having part time jobs and voluntary positions during the term. All those nights, those sleepless nights where I couldn’t even afford to sleep because the moment I lie on the bed I start to worry if I’ve studied enough and end up waking up again to study until morning. Every day was a constant mix of worry and pushing myself to study as much as I can because I can’t afford to waste time (that typical last minute revision). The past 3 years was amazing but I was handling a lot more during my final year. I enjoy working so I gave the internship scheme a shot, preparing my interview the night before with few hours of sleep. Learned a lot through my voluntary positions which is always exciting and challenging. I was also travelling a lot during my final year and in between prepared for work interviews.

I have to admit that some days I don’t take good care of myself. Some days I hole up in the room, do my thing and just shut myself from the world. And then there were days that my body just decided to stop functioning on its own because its reached the maximum stress level. Final year was so meaningful because I went through it alone for the first time in my 3 years of degree. I had friends obviously but I was focusing more on myself this year. I realised that self growth is personal and we can’t really drag people with us if we want to grow. So much of the experiences I went through this year taught me about maturity, emotions and most importantly responsibilities. I realised that loving someone doesn’t mean you have to be with them all the time. You gotta let your partner grow at their own pace too. And that nobody is perfect. A good laugh on rainy days are always the best medicine to cure heartache. Apples are the food to go when you’re sick. Black coffee will give you the strength to stay awake and focus. If you’re stressed, take some time off and do what you like. No way you’ll be productive if you sit in your room for days without seeing the sunlight. Exercising helps with the stress, a lot. Surround yourself with people that constantly challenge themselves. You’ll automatically be motivated to explore your own potentials. Eat your instant noodles with veggies and protein (so you can tell yourself that it’s not exactly unhealthy). This one is important – you don’t need to have many friends and be likeable by everyone. You just need a few that truly understand and matters to you. It’s always easier to be nice to people. Take random videos of moments spent with friends and family, they will be precious to you. Explore the world ! Can’t stress that enough. Always find excuse to learn new things and listen to others before forming your own opinions.

Then there is this one lesson – never ever look down on yourself. It’s fine to be in doubt but don’t sell yourself short. You are a precious human being, well loved by God and every day is a new day for you to improve yourself. Never let people make you feel small and weak to the point that it destroys yourself.

Final year was one important year to me. It taught me so much, made me understand a lot and realise the greatness of His power. It taught me to be consistent in my efforts and to always pray that my efforts will be rewarded. It was a year, but so much more than just another year.

That’s what that single certificate mean to me. I have no idea what lies ahead but I am thankful and blessed with all the years that was given to me and the lessons learned while I was abroad.

If this don’t make sense I’m sorry because this is me typing while I’m half asleep. I just wanted to type down this feelings so that I’ll never forget what graduation did to my emotions. And here’s to a new phase in life, meeting new inspiring people and bringing change to the world every day.

the hospital and I

Cancer ; a word that carries heavy meaning to it and also a word I’m so familiar with. I’m deviating from my usual environmental post to talk about my experience related to cancer. It started when I was twelve, right after mum decided to stop work and be a full time housewife. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t me who was diagnosed with cancer but my grandfather. He was the first that I know of to be diagnosed with cancer and it was colon cancer. The treatment came soon after he was being diagnosed. I was already a regular visitor of SJMC (a hospital) since I was young, again not because I was sick but I was often given the duty to accompany others for their medical checkups.

With my grandfather’s treatment, I visited the hospital more and more, sometimes on a daily basis. I remembered how my weekdays schedule were; Mondays and Thursdays I have tuition for two hours after school and at night I would drop by the hospital if grandfather was admitted. On days that he goes for treatment, mum would pick me up and we go straight to the hospital to wait for him until he finished his chemotherapy treatment. Grandfather was in stage 3 at that time, so he went for chemotherapy. I would spend hours sitting, talking to my mum or read a book while waiting for him. I often have my lunch in the hospital cafeteria too and I personally prefer the cafeteria in the old wing. The cancer department was in the new wing so I’d usually cross a bridge to the old wing for my lunch. They usually sell cakes and corn in cup too which was my favorite purchase before we leave for the day. Once grandfather is done with his treatment we would send him back for the day. On days that he was admitted to the hospital, I usually visit him in the afternoon and another time at night. It was more or less an on and off routine until I was fifteen. During those years, I cared for my grandmother too which I still do but she doesn’t visit the hospital as often now.

From those years of visiting the hospital, I learnt how to maneuver a wheelchair (which isn’t easy actually), how to help shift a person from the car to the wheelchair and spent hours waiting in the hospital looking at other patients while my own visits the doctor. I learnt how to care for a person who is bedridden and that when everything else fails to taste nice, cold jelly is your answer to get them to eat. I learnt how to read the charts and pick up doctors’ phrases because at that age understanding scientific words wasn’t really easy. But above everything, I learnt that caring for a sick person requires tolerance and patience. I used to be scared and so emotional seeing people get sick, worried that they will leave me one day. But I came to realize that a patient battling their own fight needed emotional support more than myself who is healthy. So I taught myself to be strong for them. And that every laughter meant so much to them because it makes a patient forget temporarily the suffering they have to go through. A sick person can be very difficult at times, most of the time you can’t really explain or understand why they act in a certain manner but know that it’s probably because they are struggling with their own battles too. And cancer was one tough battle. I remembered how my grandfather’s eyes would twinkle when I listen to his stories about his past or that I told him something about my day. He automatically smiles when I arrived at the hospital and always talks about his grandchildren to the doctors, even the nurses sometimes.

After grandfather passed away, I had few other family members that were diagnosed with cancer. My other grandfather, my relatives and now my dad. And every single time, it breaks my heart to know that this disease doesn’t have a cure yet. And every year, I would always somehow end up visiting SJMC, if not because of cancer it would be because of other sickness. It felt normal going to the hospital, like I’m going to a shopping mall. But getting news when someone is sick, especially the people I love always gets to me no matter how much I’ve dealt with. I got the news when I was in the UK, during Spring term. I was studying with my friend at our usual spot and I had a feeling to call my mum. When she told me the news, I tried so hard not to cry because I wanted to be strong for them. But I ended up crying without caring that there were people around me. But I’m better prepared now. Because I’ve learnt to understand their feelings before putting mine, I try to fulfill their demands as it would make them happy and put them at ease. I never had a youthful childhood where I get to go out when I like, spend hours with friends, go camping and hike up a mountain to watch the sunrise. Instead I mostly stayed at home and was taught (although I was reluctant) how to handle household chores. Not surprisingly, every time when there’s something big like when someone is sick or I’m having a major exams that’s the time when we would not have a maid too. So I had to learn how to clean the house, do the dishes, wash the clothes etc etc. Since I’m the only girl in the family, my mum always told me that if anything I had to takeover managing the family so I was practically drilled since young. I used to get so sad and rebellious about the fact that other friends could happily go camping and do things while I had to stay home and learn all these things.

Even until today, I don’t go out as and when I like. I usually plan a week ahead my outing schedule so that it doesn’t clash with anyone and that someone would be at home to handle things if I’m out. But now that I’m older, I could not complain. In fact, I felt bad for all the time that I was away while they’re struggling fighting their battles here. It’s the reason why I’m home now instead of enjoying my last few months of degree in the UK. With mum breaking her ankle and dad going through treatment, I cannot let them do everything themselves anymore. And even then, they were sorry that I had to come back although clearly I didn’t mind one bit. Balancing my own life while managing the house isn’t easy to be honest. I had to make sacrifices and because I’m needed at home most of the time, that means less time to catch up with friends or go for outing.

But at this age, I realized that some people are worth sacrificing for. I also realized that it won’t always be the same. I can’t be fifteen all the time and my family are not getting younger by the day. I wanted to share this because I know sometimes families can be difficult. We don’t always understand the people we love but that doesn’t mean that we should neglect them when it gets tough. Sometimes also we are not allowed certain things although we see no fault in it, but give them the benefit of the doubt and try taking their advice into consideration before you make a decision. The people who love you and care for you, love them back even when there are days they are harsh to you. They don’t always mean it. Sometimes, they have a lot on their mind too. Forgiveness is something you have to learn to give as much as you can so that you don’t end up bitter and full of hatred. And patience is something you must try to give because the people who love you, they were patient when you threw tantrums, when you were sobbing and going through your own pain. Most importantly, don’t ever take things for granted. Your priorities, make sure they’re worth it. You can’t buy time with a person. You also can’t solve everything. Which is why, even when you give your best, don’t forget to leave the rest that is beyond your control to The Almighty. He knows how to heal and only He can make miracles. Pray for your loved ones, pray that they are protected and always cared for and if it’s time that they leave, pray that they leave in peace and that they’ll be in a better place. Cherish your moments and treasure them because you never know when it will be taken away from you.

sustainable clothes; time to convert

Sustainable clothing – I am almost 99.9% sure that most of you have heard of these words before. The trend have been on the rise over the last few years especially when more iconic people are taking part in this trend. But what is sustainable clothing all about? There are some people out there that owns environmental-friendly clothing because it’s the in thing, because famous people do it etc etc and while it’s good they’re supporting these initiatives it’s also important to understand the whole concept behind owning and maintaining a sustainable wardrobe.

First, let’s talk about the difference between normal clothing and the eco-friendly clothing line. Eco clothing are made of natural fabric that are non toxic and less polluting in their production, use and disposal. It’s not just about how the clothes are made but also the way the materials of the clothes are processed. For example, as we all know cotton is a primary material in clothing production. To create an environmental-friendly clothing, organic cotton – where synthetic pesticides, genetically modified seeds and man-made fertilizers are not used in the production, replace the standard ones making it more sustainable and ‘greener’ in the production of the clothing. These agricultural practices are healthier than production of conventional cotton which contributes to all kinds of pollution, especially water and land. When talking about eco-friendly clothing, it can also mean the use of recycled fabric and other waste. For example, the world has found a way to create textile using leftover hulls from soybean production. It’s not only helping to reduce waste but it is also biodegradable.

The objective of sustainable clothing is not limited to the production of the clothes, but it involves other factors as well such as ensuring that the materials used for clothing production is organic and ‘green’, does not involve exploitative labor practices and the materials adhere ‘green’ farming method.

Now that we’ve covered the concept of sustainable clothing, the next step is to understand the other objective of this concept. The idea in creating sustainable clothing is primarily to reduce pollution and waste generated from clothing production. The one important factor to sustainability is our wardrobe lifestyle. It’s not really helpful if you buy sustainable clothing but then keep on throwing them away in the bin after wearing it a few times. We want to reduce waste and that’s just as important as wearing sustainable clothes. So, here’s some tips that you can practice for your wardrobe lifestyle (I’m sure nobody expects you to have a wardrobe malfunction either!).

Say the magic word over and over again until it sticks to your heart and brains:

“Reduce, Reuse and Recycle”

I know it’s not easy, especially when the new Summer collection is too gorgeous you can’t resist or you have a theme dinner and you need to buy something new for the theme. But then, there’s always a way around it and these 3 magic words will help you save the environment and not have a wardrobe malfunction, a win win situation!

  1. Before purchasing your clothes, always think of at least 5 different ways you can style it. This is so that you can easily match it with other clothes and have a new look for it.
  2. Don’t buy too many clothes with the same/similar design. For example, if the trend now is off-shoulder tops, you don’t need to change your whole tops to off-shoulder ones. Maybe one or two is good enough or even better, DIY your current top to an off-shoulder!
  3. Ask yourself if you’re going to wear it before you buy because sometimes it may look good on the models, but it might not be your style. This way, you’ll not only reduce consumption but you get to save some money.
  4. Secondhand clothing! I’m not sure if you’re the kind that wears secondhand clothes but trust me they’re not bad at all. You might need to do some searching but hey, at least it’s a bargain. This is especially useful if you’re planning to wear the clothes only once or twice.
  5. Take good care of your clothes. Why? This is so, when you’re bored or want to have a change of style you can easily recycle it and give away the clothes. There are two ways to this, either donate it to a charity or you can sell it.
  6. Or you can learn to DIY and be a self-claimed fashion designer for yourself. That way you can have a change of wardrobe without hurting your bank account too much.
  7. Quality over quantity – it may be a bit pricey, but a good quality clothes can last you a long time. And don’t get me wrong, quality does not equal to expensive. There are good quality clothes out there that are just as affordable, maybe even cheaper. So do your research before purchasing.

These tips apply to all kinds of clothing consumption. I know the tricky bit when you are trying to convert your wardrobe to a sustainable one is definitely the price. My first time checking out a sustainable clothing company, I had a hard time processing the price of a T-shirt. I was planning to change my wardrobe but when I saw the price, I immediately closed the website. The price is no joke especially for a student like me. But that doesn’t mean you can’t change to ‘green’ clothing. It might take a while and you probably won’t be able to convert your whole wardrobe, but slowly you can build your sustainable wardrobe. It doesn’t just mean that you have to own ‘green’ clothes, it also mean that you practice those 3 magic words up there. So, don’t let the price stop you from creating your own sustainable wardrobe. Owning sustainable clothing is just one part of it, you can also help reduce consumption through recycling and reusing your clothes.

As a consumer, you have the power to demand for better practices in the fashion industry. If we support more and more sustainable clothing company, this will help them stabilize in the industry. High demand will shift other fashion companies direction and before you know it, more and more companies will practice the same concept. That’s what we want to achieve- a change in lifestyle that starts with our wardrobe. While we’re constantly battling between price value and ethics, there must also be a long term outlook in the industry. We might generate short term profits but in the long run, when resources are heavily polluted it will be too late to do damage control and the industry will spend more money trying to sustain the environment. There must be a balance between the short and long term outlook.

Now, time to change my wardrobe! It’s Earth Day today and I hope while many of you are celebrating the efforts and achievements we had so far in fighting climate change, we must also realize that the battle is not yet done. We are a long way to go from achieving sustainable lifestyle and this only means that we have to work even harder in creating awareness, making people realize that the environment is just as important as the economy or politics of a country. It’s probably even more important because environment is not a country thing, its a global thing.

the big decision

I was thinking about my first sentence for this post and the cliche ‘dear diary. .’ came up. I used to do that when I was younger though. The last week of December, every year without fail I would go to a bookstore and get a new diary. Every year too without fail I always manage to leave the diary hanging halfway through the year. I think I was sixteen when I realized the diary thing is not for me and I prefer blogging anyway so I switched permanently to blogging. I’ve had a few blogs from my school days which was mostly teenager stuff that I’m embarrassed to talk about because I mean at thirteen what kind of blogs would you expect ? I know it’s definitely not about the politics at that time or even about climate change in Malaysia. Tumblr was better, pictures and all which is bearable. I hardly use Tumblr nowadays but it’s still alive. Anyway, although I would love to, I shall resist the urge to start this post with ‘ dear diary . . ‘ because it’ll just be a post full of emotions and sappy things instead.

And before you even go there, no the big decision is not about getting married. It’s about graduation, or more like what I’ll be doing after graduation. I used to have this dream that I’ll take a year off after graduation and travel the world, maybe spend a month in Africa or in the Amazon jungle living as a part of the red indians tribe before I start my career. Wildlife is my thing you see, so any day any time I’d rather be surrounded by it but reality says the jungle I’m supposed to be at is the concrete jungle. So, no I won’t be taking a year off travelling from one national park to another. I’ll reserve that for another phase of my life. The past few weeks was juggling between assignments and job interviews. Did you catch that ? I’ve been to an actual job interview! Please take a moment to process this because even I’m still having a hard time believing it. Here I thought I could still pass as a school kid, but no reality had to hit me in the face about being old. Putting that aside, going to all these job interviews and having to make decisions about where to work, what to do and all made me realize that a job is more than just a job. I’m not sure if that make sense but I used to have this image that I’ll be working and it’s all good but I haven’t actually imagine working in which industry, what company, specializing in what field and so on. At first it was really overwhelming, you have to consider so many things including the pay, the opportunities, the potential growth, location etc etc. But then, I realized after considering a few of them I saw a pattern to my decision. I still did consider all the factors above but there was one thing that had the final say in all my choices and that was a question I asked myself for each job offer which is ‘ what is my motivation if I accept this job’. I turned down jobs that will potentially give me wider opportunities to explore because I couldn’t find my motivation to pursue that path and it surprises me to know that I’m okay with letting it go. You see, I’m the kind of a person that likes to take up opportunities and if I think I can do it, I would even if it’s just for self-satisfaction. So if you give me two choices, to work in a stressful environment that allows you to sleep only 4 hours a day or a nine to five casual working hours, I could totally do both working lifestyle. But this time, I choose to follow what I really want to do, not because society do it this way so I’m going to take the exact same path. And that’s absolutely fine , trust me.

Do something that you want to and find a job that keeps you motivated to wake up every morning and go to the office instead of finding excuses to have a day off. If you don’t have answers yet, explore all you like. Intern in as many companies, do different jobs and find your true place. Get yourself a job that will make you feel energetic even if you’re still working when everyone’s left the office for the day. Do something you’re passionate about and until you find the right job, don’t settle for anything less. Never compare yourself to others because everyone is different. As humans, our motivations are different so how can we compare our decisions. This is a path you will be taking alone and only you can answer the questions.

It took me a while to make my choice to be honest. I was weighing between going for a job that gives assurance in career growth or being part of something that I’m in love with. But in the end, I know I will definitely need the motivation for me to still be enthusiastic about being at work when I’m 12 months down the road. In a way, I’m also making sure that I will be that efficient worker who is productive and always contributing rather than a passive worker who won’t initiate anything beyond what is supposed to be done. I’ll be spending five days with the job anyway, might as well do something I enjoy.

My mum used to tell me know yourself before you look at others. We can all run but that doesn’t mean all of us can keep up at the same pace, some go faster and some a bit slower but eventually we all will get to where we want to be. Some climb the corporate ladder, some settle knowing that they could go further but choose not to because of other priorities. So if you’re making a big decision today why not look back at what is it that drives you forward ? Who knows that will help you answer some of your questions 🙂

On a side note, finals are so close I feel like crawling under my duvet and just hibernate until it’s time to go back home. I’ll be home after my finals which is something I’m looking forward to. Home feels like the only place I want to be right now. I’m definitely counting my days and marking my calendar because I can’t wait to see my family again and listen to their jokes over dinner, or laugh over something so silly it doesn’t even make sense but I usually laugh because they’re precious like that.

Oh and yes, I’ll update about my Spring break in the next post and share some photos I took. I’ll also do another post about my dilemma in changing my wardrobe to a sustainable one so look out for that one if you’re into sustainable lifestyle!

p/s: Hope you had a good spring break so far 🙂 The flowers are blooming even more now in the UK its so pretty everywhere I go.

Twenty two and a half

If you ask me ten years ago how I see myself at the age of twenty three, I wouldn’t know what to say. . Or maybe I would say something like ‘on my way becoming a doctor’ since that was my dream when I was younger; taking care of children and elderly. I definitely did not see myself at the age of twenty three still at 153cm, not much difference from when I was in high school. I kid you not, I used to be one of the tallest kids in primary school but sadly those prime moments only lasted for a few years. Twenty three; one moment it feels just like a number but when you think again, oh man that’s how old you are. That’s two decades breathing in this world and soon before you even realize it, you’ll hit your third decade. I want to say that I still feel young but when I look around, I honestly feel old already. But it also means that the past twenty years or so have given me so much learning experience and the chance to grow. From a young ignorant girl who only knows how to have fun and study when necessary, I learned to be attentive of my surrounding. I learned to put myself in other people’s situation before judging them and respect that everyone is different and am entitled to their own opinion. I learned the hard way that when you love, you cannot expect the other person to love as much as you do because not everyone, even the important ones put you first before themselves. I still find it difficult to understand the reasons to this but I also know that as you grow older, the society has a certain expectation of you that you have to deliver. But that doesn’t mean you have to follow society’s expectation. Being different is not always a bad thing, as long as you know what you’re doing.

At the age of twenty three, I must say that despite not achieving as much as other human beings I am thankful that I’ve been given so much opportunities to develop myself and achieve my personal goals. I am thankful to be raised by a family that understands individuality rather than shaping me to their idealistic expectations. One thing about my family is that we are our own person and we are all different yet we  understand each other so well. Which brings me to my personal motivations at this age and what drives me to constantly challenge myself with something bigger.

When you’re younger, some of the things you do is because you just have to but now that you’re older, you find meaning in everything that you do. And that’s why it’s important to find the meaning in whatever you do because that will be your motivation to strive even when there’s a million challenges ahead of you. It can be as simple as survival, the will to continue living in this world or as complex as doing it for million other reasons. As for me, I believe in the greater good. I believe that my faith taught me to always have good values in whatever I do be it about my personal goals, my reasons, or even the way I treat the world. My motivation is the people I love and value; those who have left, still with me or even for the people that will be in my future. Here’s a funny thought I had when I was younger – the reason why I am so afraid of eating pills or putting anything in my body that goes through my bloodstream is because one day it will be this same body that carries children (ha laugh all you want but I am a girl and obviously I want kids, lots of them in fact) so I tend to always worry if it has any effect to my body that will affect my pregnancy one day. Of course if it’s meant to be then its fine but I didn’t want to bring a life to this world knowing that I could have done better so that they see the world in a perfect condition. Apart from that wild creative imagination I have, my motivations are the principals I hold dear. As you grow older you learn to have principals that you follow and this all comes down to how your upbringing is. I am motivated to stand by my principals that I have learned all my life and hopefully continue to do so in the future.

Now that I’m twenty three, I learn that some things we have to let go even if it hurts so bad to allow better things to come by our way. I learn that we cannot judge a person so easily but rather understand their story first before forming any perception. I know now that barriers are there to help us grow as a person, not to demotivate us and break our spirit. It’s meant to make us stronger. I also learn that no matter how much or how long you love a person, if they want to leave, you have to let them go because there’s no point holding dearly onto somebody that wishes to leave. I learn to forgive because forgiveness means freedom and you’ll never be free of your demons unless you forgive the people around you, yourself and also constantly seek forgiveness from the Almighty.

Now if you ask me how I’d imagine my life at the age of thirty, I wouldn’t even know anymore what to say. All these years taught me to not have any expectations anymore of the things we cannot control and let God guide us accordingly instead. But one thing I know is that, in whatever we do or anything that we have to face in this world, always remember our reasons and motivations.

Ask yourself what are your reasons to wake up every morning and do the things that you do. The answer is
somewhere in your heart and you know it. You just forget all about it sometimes.

stress, no?

Have you ever go through this period of time where you have deadlines every other week and in between all sorts of work come to you and you’re just like okay, I’m going to take it one at a time and you got it all under control until the last hurdle suddenly your body can’t take it so decides to fail on you? That’s me, right now. I think the stress due to workload is piling up and I can’t get it out of my chest it’s taking a toll on my health instead. I really wish I could cry easily because then, some of the stress would be relieved and I can let it go. I guess times like this makes me feel really really terrible knowing that I don’t have that anchor allowing me to fall back when I need to but I keep telling myself, He put you in a situation that will make you stronger and because He knows you can, so trust yourself girl. I had a talk with mum during the day about the things I’ve been working on because she asked why I’ve been quiet and it made me think about how my mum managed to do it all for us. This post is not really about International Women’s Day but while we’re talking about my mum, I do want to put it out there that women are beyond incredible. They have so much strength in them and it amaze me every single time how a woman can be a mother, a daughter, owns a job and be the glue to the family at the same time being a wife. Anyway, I wanted to talk about my mum because I miss her and being stress, all I can think of is how she managed hers.

Mum have always been there for me for as long as I can remember. I have to say that I am thankful our path crossed and she is the first woman I met in my life. She was so driven and motivated in achieving her dreams, I have always looked up to her. I remember those days when I was younger, she would wake up super early maybe at 4 30 or 5 in the morning, bathe, pray and straight away went down to make breakfast and prep for our lunch. I mean, really?! We had maid just so you now, and yet she prepares lunch for us. She made sure that we had food to eat and it’s not just one or two dishes but several because my eldest brother and I are slightly picky when it comes to food while the second love variation of food and doesn’t like repetitive menu (gosh, such demanding kids). Then after dad leaves for work, she would rush to get ready for work too. I remember sitting on the bed accompanying her and watching her pick clothes, apply makeup and send her off when I got no school. During my holidays, because I get so bored staying at home she always bring me to the office and show me what she’s doing. Mum generally have always talked about intelligent stuff since I was young, sometimes I don’t understand but she’s patient in explaining things. After work, despite a long day she would come back and straight away cook dinner for us. Because she needs to rush for Maghrib prayers, mum would go on full speed and the kitchen would be like on fire. Even until today, I still can’t really figure out how she managed to cook so many dishes less than an hour. Oh and yes, it is intense moment in the kitchen. If mum asked for green plate, it has to be a specific plate she wants. We had troubles getting the maid to coordinate with her style because mum is so precise in everything she does. But mum, she constantly motivated and disciplined me when I was young.  She sent me to tuition when I was in standard 4 not because of anything, but she just wants me to do something instead of staying home. Ever since then, I’m always going on tuition although half the time I’m just there to play with friends.

As I grow older, mum was always involved in my life. She knew when I had boyfriends (although I didn’t want her to know, she found out anyway), understood my reason of skipping schools and always, always listen to my side of argument when we have differences. Trust me, I was a difficult child. I was restricted to so many things, maybe when I was younger I often feel like it’s unfair but now, I’m grateful to be discipline, to have my own principals and to learn to stick by it. I remembered that I was not allowed any outings, until I was form 5 i think? My first movie was The Bug’s Life with family and after that I’ve never been to the cinema until Bolt (the dog movie) came out which I watched it with my mum. I’ve never been on camps or even stay overnight somewhere else or even go on overnight trips. Because I’m the only girl, my dad sheltered me from so many things. He wanted to take care of me and I understand now why. Back then, not really so mum was the one who always balance things up, explaining to me why and listen to my views on all these unfairness. She was stern in her words, but also understanding. She makes me see the reason behind each argument instead of just telling me no. Not only she had to deal with me, but she had my brothers to deal with as well and all of us are close to her. We all had different sets of problems too. Mum manage the family, and although my dad played an important role too I think mum was the bridge between our dad and us. Because dad was more of an order person, I used to get defensive when he restrict me from some things. That’s when mum comes in. And of course now when I could see things clearly, I love my dad just as much. Oh and when I was younger, I used to cry a lot but mum always said you know what, if something so small like this and you’re already defeated, what makes you think you can survive the bigger world. She taught me to be stronger, to deal with difficult attitudes rather than whine about it. She made me think of a solution instead of complaining and asking for things to go my way. Even until today, mum would always challenge my thoughts. If I say I want to do something, she would be like are you sure, have you thought about this, that and covered from all aspects? what about the consequences, how are you going to convince your dad and so on. She taught me how to be thorough in deciding and to always think from different angle because in life, it’s not just about you. She taught me how to be more understanding, to see the reason why certain people behave certain ways instead of just judge them and say that they are inconsiderate. Mum, to me have always been amazing.

It is times like this that I wished I had an anchor. Well, I do have back home but they don’t really keep up with what I do here because they trust me to hold my own grounds and be independent.But when I’m forced to face this kind of stress I can’t deal with, I always remind myself the hardships my mum had to go through even when she was pregnant with me and how she survived every single day of it. I tell myself, if she could do it I could too. If she could hold her grounds despite everything else being shaky, I could handle my own problems. I hope one day, I would be just as strong as her. Mum is definitely a lioness.

stranger.

So last weekend I finally watched my first ever Malaysian Night in Cardiff (just the first half though) and I must say it is good to see students so committed to their passion and just unite for this event. I came to Cardiff to see my best friend back in college since it’s my final year here and I really wanted to visit her there. Planned it all out since Autumn term not knowing that I would have to skip a workshop on Friday and have a test the day after I’m back home . . . cries internally. But putting that aside, the weekend trip was amazing, met so many friends and although I was busy I tried my best to catch up with them. I remembered going back after event around 2 30 in the morning and wanted to have pillow talk with Mira, but I was too sleepy I eventually said ridiculous stuff that did not make any sense at all. She gave up on me telling me to sleep in the end . Besides seeing friends I did meet a lot of new people, listened to interesting talks and opinions on the current issues in Malaysia. It was a much needed time away from Colchester to keep me motivated about the things I’m doing.

But what really struck me is the people around me and myself. Someone said to me before that I’m such a happy person. Which I guess to me wasn’t really a bad thing. I think sometimes I laugh too much, even at the silliest things. Some view me as someone who is still very childish and well, I know I can be one when I want to but that’s not all there is to me. I smile because it’s likely the only feeling I’m comfortable to share with others. I laugh it off instead of elaborating any comments because to me, why should I? I keep telling myself that people don’t need to know my problems because everyone has things to deal with and me adding to it won’t bring any good. It feels strange when people talk about things that remind you of your scars, but because you know they don’t know so you just brush it off. It isn’t others fault though, I feel that everyone have a wall they build around their heart. We make a stranger out of ourselves, not sure if that make sense to you but it does to me. I wish I could somehow talk about it, but I don’t think I can bring myself to trust another person easily anymore. Picked up all the broken pieces myself the last time I trusted a person, I don’t think I’m able to even bring myself to think of the possibility of going through it again. I read a book about war in this bookstore I came across recently and although I didn’t buy the book, there was a phrase that caught my eyes. In my pain, I find laughter and in my sufferings, I learn to be gentle with souls around me. It made me realize that we are all somehow facing our own battles, but we don’t show it to the world because we create a barrier with the outside world. That doesn’t make it any easier to face all our problems so as a stranger, the best thing you can do is to give those who cross your path a smile and hopefully some good laughs.

And the thing with trust which I hope you people out there understand that yes we make mistakes and that is absolutely fine. But it’s crucial to realize that you actually made a mistake because we never know how it affect others. That’s the problem with feelings. They don’t provide any absolute answers and the risks you take, you can’t calculate them neither can you predict the future. The least you could do when you make a mistake and break the trust is to apologize and not make it worst. Think about the people around you instead putting yourself first all the time.

I really hope , one day I’ll find a reason good enough to bring myself to love again even with all the risk.

Anyway, things happen for a reason and I’m sure it was ripped away from me mercilessly for a good reason.

On a side note, the test today was . . . okay ? It wasn’t easy but it was bearable. I tried so hard not to sleep while doing the paper but my eyes keep closing I almost scribbled gibberish stuff instead of writing my answer. Oh wells, what’s new about me. Clumsy and sleepy is my middle name. I think the only other feeling I share with people is me being serious when I’m sleepy (which is almost all the time).Thank god mum named me as the light that shines because if not, I wouldn’t even have all the light and laughter to laugh at my pathetic clumsy life.