Friday, 25 February 2011

Feels So Weird

When I started the 2-week course, I can't wait for it to end. Now that the day is finally here, I actually... miss it. I miss the chatter with all those nice people with different accents (can't get enough of the French and Irish)

I want to go to Ireland. The countryside. But time is so limited, maybe it's not meant to be. At least for now.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Something Stoopid

I think... well, I'm sure as confirmed by a friend and my parents... that I may have said something stupid in the interview. I don't even want to repeat it here. I said a lot of clever things but they only showed the first question where I said that. I'm still working on it, my bluntness. You'd think that lying or covering up is easier because the truth is tricky but it's tiring. All those details you have to remember in your head because they're made-up. Why can't we just say what's real without being embarassed or getting into trouble? The thing is, if you had a bad mother and someone outside the family asked you how you were doing, you wouldn't say "Oh well, not really good mainly because I have a terrible mother".

Before, I would dwell on my mistake for a looooong time but I won't now because I'm a new person. I won't be harsh on myself or anyone else for that matter. It feels good to vent but then I'm just going to move forward. Life is too short to worry about things that you can't change. I guess as long as your intention remains good, things cannot be that bad. 

Sunday, 20 February 2011

The Glass is Half Full

I'm so tired but good tired. I've been out from 8am until 8pm everyday last week and the same ordeal  is expected for next week. I remember seeing some old people in Budapest at 5 in the morning going to work even though they looked like they should be resting at home enjoying the sunrise in their backyard so it's pretty childish for me to whine.

I feel really good lately. I sleep for eight hours everyday and six on weekends. I have green tea to perk me up whenever I feel sluggish and it works all the time. I've set my goal to write and finish a book within a year. I have a number of potential business ideas that I'm hoping to work on afterwards. And I know how to navigate myself better now, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I feel enlightened. I used to have so many excuses before. I am my own worst enemy and I would criticize myself too harsly at times but I think we all do that and it's just unhealthy. We think we're doing ourselves a favour by comparing the choices we make with those of others when what we're really doing is imposing limits on ourselves.

Oh, I was interviewed by a French TV yesterday during a field trip. It was in French and I started in French but when they started to ask really open-ended questions, I just had to switch to English. I had to refrain myself from laughing because I was always mixing both languages and I couldn't focus on giving appropriate, honest answers. They always came out generic. There goes my travel host dream job, hahah!

Monday's on its way. I can be grumpy or I can mentally prepare myself to make it a good start for the week. Either way, tomorrow still comes.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Back in France...

...for the third time and I still love it here. The people and their little quirks never fail to amuse me in a good way. We've been walking a lot, something that we're now used to. Did I tell you we covered the whole London in two days on foot? And Paris the same way in three? I guess the weather helps. I can't imagine walking in Kuala Lumpur even for 30 minutes! We've also been eating a massive quantity of desserts so walking is the least we could do. My program starts on Monday and I've just realised how packed the schedule is so my planned trip to see a good friend and her cute baby (Algerian + Slovenian = GORGEOUS!) might be postponed until we come back for my thesis defence in August, sigh. We also plan to meet up with some old friends who were really kind to us during our previous stays so I'm hoping the program turns out to be more fun and flexible than expected. I'm staying positive. Things are not always black and white...

They can be full of colours...

And super yummy too!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Last Post

I mean last post in Budapest, don't fret! The time has finally come. We'll be staying in Nice, France from the day after tomorrow until end of the month before moving to Kokkedal, Denmark until end of August.  Both places are 5 mins away from the beach so that would be fun. Then Malaysia home sweet home! Well, we have to return to Nice for my thesis defence and I heard that the graduation this year will be held in Newcastle, UK. Thinking of seeing the intriguing stone monument in Stonehenge and hiking in the Lake District before going back to Malaysia... and Africa again if money permits (oh whyyyyy is the flight really pricey????). All in all, we should be home by mid Sept (seven months to go!). It will be a little quiet until then with no long vacation but there is only one more place we want to go while we're up North in Scandinavia so hopefully that will materialise. Who knows when we'll be back again once we set foot in Malaysia after two years being away.

Until next post from Mediterranean, time for the dreaded part of any move - packing and unpacking (and of course saying goodbye as well but that goes without saying).

Sunday, 6 February 2011


I finally have the time to write about Istanbul. Not that I've been busy with any mission to save the world (protests seem contagious in Africa) but I spent the whole day yesterday writing and submitting three articles on different topics. I'm taking some online journalism classes that I'm not sure where that would lead me because I'm not looking to join the circle but I just find it interesting and I love the writing part. We all know that looking back on our lives, we'll regret the things we didn't do more than the ones we did.

Back to Istanbul. It was probably one of the few smooth trips that we had. The flights were prompt and the public transports were easy to navigate. The only flaw was getting roommates from hell. Well, Korea actually. I think that was their first time backpacking because how else can you explain people speaking loudly and going in and out at 3am in a hostel room? Lack of common sense would be my second guess. One time they didn't even flush the toilet, eeeewwww. Did they honestly think their waste would magically vanish in the morning??? But even that could not spoil our time in Istanbul. It was even our little paradise with the abundance of adorable cats and finger licking halal food.

The Muslims there practise things a bit differently compared to what we know of. I won't elaborate because religion is a delicate line (which I'll stay away until my online journalism classes educate me on how to write about sensitive issues, heh!). It was however, a very fascinating observation in addition to the majestic mosques and wonderful people. We took a boat from the Europe side of Istanbul to the Asia part and a Turkish middle-aged man started talking to us. We hit it off right away, talking about our countries and families. At the end of the 30 minutes trip, he gave us his name card just in case we got into any sort of trouble in the city.

On another occassion, hubs and I were walking down a busy road when we were approached by a plump Turkish young man looking so gloomy that we had to stop. He asked us to visit his carpet and kilim store. You don't have to be a seasoned traveller to know at once that the man was going to trap us into buying something so we said no. We kept giving excuses such as we were students and we did not bring any money while he insisted that he just wanted us to visit to bring him luck. I don't know how we couldn't resist his invitation like we did with so many other street sellers in the city. Perhaps it was his sad eyes, or maybe God decided to open our hearts at that moment. So we followed him to his store where he introduced us to his father, an old but jubilant old man. Tucked away in a quiet street, they have not had a customer in three months. We started to regret our decision to come in when they happily served us homemade apple tea and talked about their collections that they bought from their fellow poor villagers. They inquired about us once in a while but we logically assumed that it was just a trick to make a connection in a hope that we would eventually purchase something but we politely went with it. Then they noticed that I was interested in one of the handwoven kilim bags. When they asked me if I liked it, I wasn't sure what to say as I naturally thought that by saying yes, they would make me buy it. I said yes anyway. The next thing that came out of the father’s mouth was not something we were prepared for, “Well then that is my gift to you”. Surprised, we promptly handed them the money but they refused and the father even gave us a big bear hug when he saw our distressed faces, “You are like my children so think of me as your father. Any trouble in Istanbul, you can come here. This is your home too. Keep your money, the bag is my gift to you. Just bring me a gift from Malaysia when you come back”. I had tears in my eyes the moment he hugged me and said those words. So if you happen to go to Istanbul, perhaps you can visit them.

Turker Ayaz
Binbirdirek Mah.
Boyaci Ahmet Sk.
No: 20/A Cemberlitas
Istanbul, Turkey

I wrote about the people because you can easily read about the history and main attractions on the world wide web but not the real gem of the country.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

In the Middle of the Night

Sleep. I should go back to bed instead of watching the rerun of Tom & Jerry. I woke up two hours ago and started writing about the father and son we met in Istanbul. Yes, we made a few friends there. I think the city is in my top three.

Tumblr. So I've got a Twitter and I'm not a celebrity. I use it mainly when I'm bored or when I'm stalking people. It has words limit and I'm not exactly good with limits. I opened a Tumblr account a few days ago and maybe it's the novelty but I like it a lot. It feels more proper than Twitter but lighter than Blogspot. By having all these channels on the tip of my fingers, I feel complete. 

Milk. I asked for warm milk before my first nap and the man just put the carton on the gas heater. Creative but that's cheating! Now he's fast asleep next to me. He looks so quiet and distant. It's times like these that I start to imagine losing him and realise that I can't.

Istanbul. I will write about it later. When I'm a little more awake.