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.

everywhere & all over.

Spring break has finally started, although it’s not exactly a holiday season for me – how can you relax when you have 7 papers to think about & interviews to prepare for?

Putting that aside, I would definitely appreciate some rest after a hectic term. Everything has been all over the place and I didn’t even have time for myself. Since my finals is coming soon, I’m thankful that I’ve completed all my other responsibilities and can now focus fully on my exams. I’m done with my internship (yay!) and there’s only small bits of work for other roles. This will definitely give me more time to focus on exams. Thank god too that I won’t be travelling for long because to be honest I wouldn’t know what to feel if I did.

Apart from university life which gives me 100 kinds of stress but also motivation, I think my emotions have been a mess recently. I know I sound like a spoilt child wanting to be home but I do have my reasons. Part of me understood the importance of me staying put and not adding to the burden, but another part of me wishes that I could be home when times aren’t the best. I mean how do you even be happy when the people you love are fighting battles? But I guess, being here on my own is a battle in a way because showing strength and giving the support while making it feel that it’ll all be alright requires a lot too especially when you’re alone here. If it were for me, I would drop everything and leave. But I know they wouldn’t want that so I keep telling myself ‘you gotta be strong for the people you love, Nad’ even if that means choosing their choice over your reasons.

And of course emotionally it gets messy sometimes for me. I think too much about everything, about how things have changed for me and how several occassions in my life that truly changed me in a way that I didn’t really like. I wish it didn’t affect me in a way that it did, but it did and I’m working on it. I keep surpressing my feelings because I feel that it doesn’t make any difference somehow. And when it gets too tough to bear, I sleep it off hoping it’ll go away. It’s not exactly a plus point that I find it difficult to cry even when I’m overwhelmed with feelings, but in order to cope I keep asking god to give me the strength, to be my anchor.

But there are times I find the people I love to talk about things or to just listen to what they are up to. In a way it helps me to find the strength I needed, even if temporary. I think things happened in life got me thinking twice about trusting and find comfort in other’s protection. I tend to just drown in my own worries and although its a lonely, lonely feeling I just don’t know how to bring myself to take the next step. So in the end, I only find temporary comfort in those I truly love as friends, not expecting them to even hear me out or understand but just to share some good laughs because it makes my heart smile a little that way.

I think in this life, we never know what’s going to happen. The people who love you, appreciate them and take good care of them. Make time for those who are important to you, give chances because you never know if they’ll leave before they had the chance to tell you what they wanted to. I know we all have been through some difficult situation in life, but give as much love as possible to others. We all have our own battles to fight, the least we could do it to make it bearable for each other.

And like a strong person we all are, never give up in believing because all the things that happened in life has its own reason for happening.

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.

beautiful women.

I had this thought the other day about how does one person define beauty in women, and then I wondered what is it that comes to their mind first thing when people ask about beauty. Do they look at appearance or other criteria first?

If people say appearance is the first thing they look to determine a person’s beauty, I would be slightly disappointed but also not surprised. We live in a world that encourage objectification of women and am comfortable being paraded around. However, we should realize there is a fine line between making women feel sexy and objectifying them for your personal benefit. There have been numerous campaign to put a stop in viewing women as an object, but rather to appreciate them as they are.

Beauty to me is subjective but is also so much more than just the appearance. Throughout my 23 years of living, I’ve seen many beautiful women and even men and I found a similarity in what I would say beautiful. To me, a beautiful person is somebody who spread positive vibes in their daily life. I am often charmed with those people who have so much warmth, so much laughter and always have something nice to say to others. Somehow they shine brighter than others and to me, that is so beautiful. I like seeing a person so passionate in doing what they love and work hard to achieve their goals. The heart and mind is a reflection of beauty, in my opinion and while appearance do reflect beauty to a certain extent, I feel that it is the heart and mind that truly shows what beauty mean.

I would define beautiful as someone strong enough to be able to stand on their own and be independent, someone who have been through a lot and yet choose to never let it affect their happiness, someone who is not scared to fight for what they believe in and protect those who can’t do it themselves. Beautiful is those women (and also men) out there who live to empower and lift others up not because it benefits them in any way, but simply because they can and they wish well for others. Beauty does not come in one size and it definitely is not measured based on appearance only. I cannot stress enough that women are not object to please others. Women are more than that and they should be appreciated for all the beautiful values they have in them.

So, to all my amazing women out there. Here’s a little note for you.

We seek beauty in the clothes we wear, the colors we put on our face and the painful heels but know that even if you are plain like a white canvas, you are undoubtedly beautiful because your heart is as pure as snow and your mind, it’s powerful enough to move mountains. And that my ladies, is the beauty that you hold in you. 

Reasons why we do it.

When I was younger, I often wondered why people would put in so much effort in volunteering. I mean, I’m obviously not a little devil that goes around not helping people, all arrogant and superior about being charitable I just wonder what motivates others to go all the way and extend not just a hand but probably their whole body, time and energy to help others. And I think, somehow after some personal volunteering experiences I have an answer that probably did not cross only my mind, but some of you out there too.

We do it because we are able to. It makes you feel good that you are doing something meaningful with what you have. Then, along the way you become passionate about it because a ball of positivity in your daily life will gradually accumulate to be a big bundle of sunshine. We volunteer because we have the power to change not only our lives, but also to make an impact in others. As we grow older, we tend to have a better grasp of our live and we know we are in control of what we do, what we believe in and what we choose to change. That is why, the news we read that were just news to us when we were younger, becomes something important as we grow older. Because we see how we can change what we don’t like or agree. And trust me, volunteering teaches you a lot without even you realizing it.

As a volunteer, you learn to be aware and attentive to your surrounding. You learn that in life, some people are born with privileges and some less so. The environment, on the other hand seems fine but is probably crumbling way faster than it used to. You learn to be attentive when talking to people, to be more sensitive about their situation because not everyone had rainbows while growing up. You cry because somewhere out there, there are people who sleeps in fear wondering if they’ll wake up to see the sun tomorrow. You used to think that animals feel nothing but now you see that animals need a proper home just like us and we are stealing it from them. As volunteers, you open your eyes to see beyond the noise. You learn why things are not the way it is  and the challenges some people face to put it out there on what is right and what is wrong. And I think there are many events that will really touch your heart, change the way you see the world and just makes you fall in love a bit more in helping others. So you become passionate about it. You love the fact that the little things you do impact others and in a way it impacts yourself too.

It’s one of the reasons why I joined all the things I’ve been involved. The curiosity about tigers lead me to watching how they were hunted, hurt in their own home because lack of protection. Once you’ve seen it how can you go back and think that it’s okay ? Because clearly it is not. So you start seeing what is it you can do to help and even if the progress is slow, you know that it’ll get there one day and that you should fight for what you believe in, your principals and how you envision the world to be.

Making that step to change is your choice. It isn’t a choice that requires courage to enter a job interview, but it does need motivation and perseverance. Know that your efforts are never in vain and that your little efforts will always, always impact on something. Be passionate about helping others , do something meaningful and explore the world in a different perspective. You never know what you will discover while you’re on your volunteering journey.

Here’s a current volunteer programme I’m involved in, The Kalsom Movement; a student led charity organization on eliminating education inequality and empowering children in Malaysia through education which I would like to share with the whole WORLD . Know that no matter where you are, what you do, you can make a difference. You can change a child’s future through education and only you can decide if you want to impact a life or not.

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