Musings, Travel

A Prelude

It’s less than 30 days till I embark on the craziest adventure I’ve ever taken. I’m nervous, excited and feeling pretty overwhelmed as of now. So many things to do but there’s nothing I can do now.

People ask me why I decided to do this trip alone. I often ask myself the same question as well. Every time I make a decision, I make sure my intentions are clear so that I don’t do it for the wrong reasons.

I’ve been told not to run away – never take travel as a means of running away from the life you have back home. Never take it as a way for you to escape the problems you’re facing. To travel is to learn, and dive into a world unknown.

I have plenty of reasons to escape this place I call home, but I shall not discredit my intentions for travel. I genuinely want to see the world, on my own. I really want to experience the Moroccan souqs and see The Alhambra. I want to taste the Parisian air and take a jump shot next to the Eiffel Tower. I want to touch and feel the remnants of the Berlin Wall. I don’t have a bigger reason for wanting to do all these, all I know is that I really want to do them.

I’ve learnt many things about myself since I graduated one and a half years ago. The three years in university flew by too quickly, I couldn’t sit down and breathe. I went right into my first job a month after I graduated. I was too eager to start earning my own income. I was too quick to decide on what’s best for me. I just wanted to move on to the next stage of my life.

Why, you may ask, was I adamant on moving to the next stage of my life? I really can’t give an answer either.

I’ve since learnt to relax and accept whatever that comes my way. I know that upon my return from this trip, I will be a different person. Inshallah, I will be a better person – as a Muslim, a daughter, a sister and a photographer.

As much as I will return home broke, jobless and pieces of my heart being left in all the places I will be heading to, I trust God that He has other plans for me. I trust that I do not need what I don’t have now, and what I have is all I need.

I can’t promise a proper travelogue. I’m such an introvert that I really filter what I choose to share with the world. (Yes, believe me, I AM an introvert.) but of course, I will guarantee you there will be photos!

PS: Although a 85mm f/s 1.8 would be nice.

PPS: Okay fine. I don’t need that now.

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Faith, Musings

Color Run, Planning for Europe and Life

It’s been an emotional Syawal for me last week, but then again, since when hasn’t it been emotional, right? Now that I started a semi full-time job and earning my own income, family and friends, as usual, as me what’s next.

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We both have an obsession for unicorns.

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Supposed What-Are-You-Looking-At look

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At the start line

I never had a proper answer for them. My answer depends on who is asking the question, or whoever is interested to listen. It gets awkward when relatives who are of the same age as I am tell me they are engaged, or planning their wedding when here I am running marathons, running around like a maniac and making travel plans alone.

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I can never take a proper photo.

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Artifact #1: Crazy tudong girl attempts to dance through the powders (my point exactly about my priorities in life)


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Lalalala

As I enter my mid-twenties (oh gosh how weird does that sound!!), I can’t help but reflect on what’s in store for me in the future. I’ve been reading many articles online about how people in their twenties aren’t exactly sure of what they’d like to do for a living and other quarter-life crisis articles. I’m not even 24 but I feel so much pressure to do well in whatever I do!

 

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And the aftermath

Truth is, I don’t even feel pressurized by my family. Be it my extended family or my siblings, we each know we have to create our own paths to success. However, the fact that I did study in a local tertiary institution and having many friends graduating with better results has made me so hard on myself. I set high expectations so that I won’t ever be called mediocre. And this flaw of mine has bitten myself in the butt more often than not.

My plans for a delayed solo graduation trip is set in stone. Tickets bought. No turning back. I need to get my s*** together.

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Faith, Love, Musings, Travel

Blessed

It’s halfway through Ramadhan and I haven’t had a chance to write anything here. I’ve been rather busy with work, managing the house and other external commitments. It’s my first Ramadhan as a working adult, but I’m thankful for everything that has been bestowed upon me.

Ramadhan started with me finding out a friend of mine began fasting. And I think our friendship is slowly turning into a beautiful relationship. I’m pretty thankful for that.

My travel plans for December is almost concrete. I just need to wait for a few more kaching to be in before I purchase my flight out. I’m rather nervous because I will be traveling alone for pretty much three quarters of my journey. I need my travel game face on when I’m out there alone and make new friends easily. Hopefully, since I’ll be traveling for about 23 days this time round, I’ll make an extra effort to blog and upload photos on the go. My heart aches every time I have to go through the photos after I’ve completed my trip.

Till then, Ramadhan Kareem!

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Love, Musings, School Life

University of Life

Two days ago, on the second day of Ramadhan, I officially graduated from the National University of Singapore. My commencement ceremony is the day I’ve been waiting for since a year ago, because being horrible in Science forced me to take a module during the summer vacation last year, hence not allowing me to celebrate my graduation with my fellow class of 2012. The perks of waiting an entire year for my graduation is that I get to commence with my best friends, Hannah and Izzati.

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With my no 1 fan, Sorfina!

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Family photo!

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I did not force my brother to carry me. Really.

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My sister, my role model 🙂

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Best friends I could ever ask for!

This past year has been trying for me. I struggled with my new job, often argued with myself when it comes to planning for the future, and made and lost some friends along the way. Nevertheless, I strived on and began loving the job I’ve been blessed with, learning new things as I go along, and accepted reality when things didn’t go my way. Verily, Allah is the best of planners.

Inshallah, may the coming years as I enter the university of life be beneficial not just for me, but also for those around me.

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Adventure, Musings, Travel

Kinabalu – Konquered!

Last week, I managed to escape the hustle and bustle of the city to head to Sabah, Malaysia, for a quick five day adventure trip. I never did get a chance to experience hardcore adventure when I was younger, although I was in the canoeing team. This trip was eventful for me, because not only did I go with five other people whom I didn’t even know, I successfully climbed Mount Kinabalu! Well, until 3550m that is. I decided to climb Kinabalu for real about a year ago, when I found my freedom once more. I was no longer obliged to make decisions by consulting another half. I could do what I wanted. Then again, I was never the kind who asked for permission, even my mum. Heh. One thing a broken heart taught me was that you need money to fix it. Loads of it. (Okay I kid. No actually I’m quite serious.) There were so many things I wanted to do while studying in college, but I knew where I came from. I know the kind of person I am. Most importantly, I know the kind of socio-economic background I came from. I could not afford such a lifestyle while studying. So when I got my first job, I knew climbing Kinabalu would be one of the first few things I’d like to achieve. (Yes, climbing a mountain is more important than getting a driver’s license.) I spent a bomb on this trip, but I consider them investments. I bought myself a fleece jacket, a outer windbreaker, hiking shoes and a bladder. I borrowed the walking stick from a friend’s friend and everything else was pretty much stolen  borrowed. I still had my silat pants from Ledang and since it’s super comfortable I don’t see a need for me to get a new pair for the climb. I still need to get myself a Gregory 60L backpack though. (hint hint December trip!)

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So naive. I didn’t know what to expect of the climb!

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Haidar, Shireen and I before we entered Timpohon Gate.

We began the hike on a positive note, but eventually Haidar and I got left behind by the others. I don’t think we were slow… the rest were just too fast hehe. Kinabalu has the same terrain through out the hike – steps, stairs and more steps and stairs. It wasn’t as fun as Ledang, where you need to literally climb a wall of earth, or slide down a muddy path. Kinabalu was challenging because you need a high endurance level and resilience. Doing the same thing for six hours straight can get frustrating. Climbing up steps which seemed never ending was a test to my perseverance – and how strong my quads are.

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Stairway to heaven, anyone?

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Somewhere in the middle of the climb I got bored so I camwhored.

Haidar and I got our guide, Johnny, to carry our bags. Johnny apparently has gone up and down the mountain 300 times in six years! My jaw dropped when we found out. He was very helpful and considerate. He kept reminding me not to push myself too hard, “Masing-masing ada kemampuan sendiri! Pelan-pelan aja..” (Everyone has their own capabilities – take your time!) I did a lot of thinking while climbing up the mountain. Most of the times, I was thinking of how stupid I was back then. Other times, I told myself to let go and move forward. I guess I haven’t really moved on, although I claim and think to have done so. I keep telling myself and my girlfriends that I need to start dating again but I guess the time just isn’t quite right. There’s many other things I discovered about myself too, but I’ll fill you in when the time is right.

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Johnny! The bestest guide anyone could ask for!

Of course, my ego wouldn’t let me give up or go terribly slow. I was determined to reach base camp at 4pm, so we could eat to our heart’s content. And we did! We eventually reached at 4.05pm, after a seven hour hike. Slowly but surely, as how my friend Hannah would say!

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Look at my tired face.

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I thought I was almost in heaven.

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The view from our cabin, Pendant Hut. It’s newer than Laban Rata Hut.

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Happy goober when we reached base camp!

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That’s Haidar, my adventure/marathon/fitness junkie buddy

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Beautiful eh?

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The mountain peak!

We had a scrumptious dinner buffet once we reached Laban Rata. Ate to our hearts’ content, cleaned ourselves up and finally got the rest we needed. I was asleep by 6pm, considering that we needed to start the summit climb at 2.30am in the morning. I was up early, though, at 12.30am. I got hungry (oh what’s new) and it got too cold, so I walked around the hut quietly, trying to keep myself warm and realised they prepared breakfast! It was just toast, eggs and jam, but being 3000m above the ground, that was heaven.

The summit climb was even more difficult than I thought, and the weather wasn’t too nice for us. Winds were so strong I almost got swept away (it’s a big deal for me to be swept away by the wind, okay). There was a slight drizzle as well, so it was very slippery. The terrain up to the summit is steps as well, but way steeper and more difficult than the one before the base camp. Haidar started feeling sick and I didn’t want to leave her, so we both turned back at 3550m. Did I regret it? Nah. The mountain will always be there for me to climb again. Haidar’s already planning to climb at year end!

So when we got back to the hut, we rested, sleep and ate even more before we prepared ourselves for the hike down the mountain. I ate breakfast 3 times that day. I was angry at myself for eating so much but I forgot about the amount of calories I was burning while hiking up. I figured I needed the same amount of energy going down as well. The hike down was easier, but DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) was kicking in so my calves and quads were a little bit sore. Okay I kid, they were VERY sore.

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Attempting a fierce face.

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Haidar decided to be a ninja.

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The newlyweds, Faidzil and Shireen!

We reached our hotel back in Kota Kinabalu at around 6pm, after which we showered and got dressed for dinner. We were famished (oh what’s new)! Had a great dinner of seafood at the nearby seafood place. Basically we chose our ingredients and just tell them how to cook it. No menue at all. I totally forgot to take photos of the food we ate!

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Another certificate to my collection!

The next day, Haidar was really unwell so she didn’t go for the white water rafting. The five of us headed for Padas River Adventure. The commute there was far more interesting that the rafting itself, because I felt that the rapids weren’t so powerful that day. Aaaand we had to share our boat with three other tourists who weren’t exactly up for an adventure. (They didn’t paddle at all I tell you. Noisy but ughh so frustrating!)

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Some of the scenery while on the way to Padas.

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Look how old school the train is!

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Oh you know, camwhoring by the country side..

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WE SAT ON TOP OF THE FREAKING TRAIN!

I’ll let the picture do the talking from here. I looked terrified not because of the rapids, but because my friends had a habit of either hiding behind me when a wave came upon us, or they fell on top of me. I’m a human shield!

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Epic face!

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In my defense, we were about to capsize!

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Okay enough unglam shots of me.

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And our friendship has gone to a whole new level because we bathed in the open together!

I seriously never had so much fun on a holiday before. I only met these guys on the day of our trip, and looking at how we’ve bonded as a team, it’s amazing. Hopefully I can go on more adventurous trips with these guys because I know for a fact my girlfriends won’t be as crazy as I am. hehe

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Films, Love, Musings

Review: The Great Gastby

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I’m sure everyone is raving about the latest summer blockbuster – The Great Gatsby. Truth be told, I never intended to watch this movie until a friend of mine tweeted that it’s worth crying for. I love movies that make me cry. They make me feel human. Yes, I’m not shy of wearing my heart on my sleeve.

Through out the movie, I had questions that needed answering, but I silenced them out and sat till the end. This is one of the lucky movies I’ve watched before reading the book. I really want to read the book now that I’m done reading Dan Brown’s Inferno – of which I will discuss on another day.

As much as I would love to do a detailed analysis of the film just as how I wrote my Son of Babylon paper two years back, I don’t think it’ll be wise to do so now. I hate giving out spoilers so I shall give it a bit more time.

On a serious note, I think Gatsby is my new ideal man (minus his shenanigans). Move over Darcy!

 

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Musings

Hani and Me

I’m the sort of friend who doesn’t need to meet up constantly. I’m happy with living my life on my own and then meeting up to catch up and have long meaningful conversations with. Hani and I share this special friendship where we text occasionally, meet up about twice a year, but when we meet we never stop talking. I can’t believe it’s been 6 years since we became friends! And we were never classmates!

Just sharing some photos of our catch up session last Saturday!

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Always smiley Hani.

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Hani’s outfit of the day!

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My outfit of the day hehe

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Food, Musings

Review: Cafe Rouge

 

There used to be this French cafe in Haji Lane called Le Parisien Bistro. Then it disappeared. I realised they relocated to Bussorah Street. And then yesterday it was Cafe Rouge in place of the Bistro opposite Kampung Glam Cafe. Where Le Parisien Bistro went, I have no idea.

But anyways, Hani and I decided to eat at Cafe Rouge since Koh Nong Kham was closed because the cooks went back to Krabi for a holiday. No cooks means kitchen closed. SO CAFE ROUGE (I keep digressing), is a small alfresco restaurant by the road, pretty tablecloths (they were just picnic tablecloths but they look to cute) and two servers. I didn’t manage to talk to the owners or the manager because it was pretty busy for a small cafe, and with just two servers, they needed to make sure food was served.

We both ordered the set lunch since we were famished. $15.90 for a lemon soda, salad, onion soup, grilled steak with potatoes and a dessert of creme brulee – a very good deal to me.

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A mix salad with feta cheese. The dressing was nice but the portion was way too small. I love my greens, dammit!

 

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French Onion Soup. Not my favorite part of the meal.

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Grilled Sirloin Steak with Potato Gratin. Loved the sauce, although the meat was too fatty and it was a bit thin. But hey, $15.90 for all of these?

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My favorite part of any meal – dessert. The creme brulee was simply orgasmic.

I would recommend coming here if you’re looking for a really good deal. For a halal restaurant, the place serves good food, is family friendly, and the toilet is super clean AND it has a bidet.

Cafe Rouge
Address: 20 Baghdad St, 199659
Phone:6291 1107

 

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A Date Series, Films, Love, Musings

A Date with Patrick J. Adams

I don’t post much here but if you are a friend on Facebook, or following me on Twitter, you would probably know I’m a huge Suits fan. New York, law, witty jokes, dashing actors and actresses, and particularly my kind of lead actor – what there not to love?

Yesterday, I got invited to a private party at the Royal Room Pan Pacific for a chance get up close and (umm, too) personal with Patrick J. Adams, aka Mike Ross. He’s exactly my type of guy – tall, skinny, sharp features and awkward. Yes, awkward. I love awkward guys. Heh.

Enjoy the pictures! Just don’t kill me yet.

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First red carpet event for me! Haha of course I’m just a fan girl hogging the red carpet. Not in a position to be there without a free pass lol.

ImageLook at how gorgeous Patrick J Adams is!

ImageStill melting…

ImageAs much as I want Patrick to myself, I must admit Troian and Patrick look really good together.

ImageShe was wearing heels but I bet we’re the same height.

ImageHEHEHEHEHEHHE look at my gushing face!

ImageAsked them to smile for the camera and they gave me this! Hehe

And so with that, my birthday wish came true. Also, I’m thinking that if teaching doesn’t work out, I wouldn’t mind doing Public Relations. So many new friends made yesterday!

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