English: There, here and over there. Basically, in a sense, to mean restless. A collection of thoughts, musings and ramblings...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My wandering spirit

I miss exploring. During my days off and with nothing to do, I like to wander off onto some unfamiliar territories just out of curiosity. I used to do it all the time, especially when I was in Australia. And if there is something I haven't tried / experienced, I would do it. Err... maybe not bungee jumping though ;p

In Labuan, I used to spend every weekend driving on all the different routes around the island. My good old friend and former colleague, Peny, used to be amazed that someone who hasn't been on the island all her life would know the different roads. Ahh well, nothing much else to do in Labuan ;) and there's no way of really getting lost on an island. My favourite drive route would be to pass by the Japanese Peace park through to Pancur Hitam, then further to Batu Manikar. Always some good opportunities for some nice makan-makan too ;) At the Japanese Peace Park there would be some nice satay + barbecued chicken wings, at Batu Manikar - some really really good ABC. Yum! :p Haha! Now that reminds me of how every weekend we used to spend time on looking for good places to eat. And try new ones if we haven't. The best nasi lemak, best satay, best chicken wings, best chicken rice, best tomyam, best chicken chop.... we knew where to get them :) (and gosh, I am getting hungry from the memories. Haha!)

Ahh ok, back to talking about my wandering spirit. What I liked best about being in Australia was the endless possibilities of exploring. You don't have to go out of state to find interesting places to visit. I love the little suburbs, any little town, doesn't matter. They always have something interesting. I just really enjoy coming to a new place, breathe in the atmosphere and think about how life would be there. When I visit a place, it is more like I would like the blend in with the locals.

While I was staying in Queensland, Australia, I lived in Robertson, which is just down the hill from the campus. Some mornings I don't bother taking the bus up the hill and instead just take a nice uphill walk up, passing by the childcare centre, gym and residences. Funny thing, on the bus is where I met lots of people come to think of it. Just thinking about it makes me miss uni life. Sometimes I ask myself if I love Australia because it is what it is, or is it because it is the place that I felt the safest in years and most at home? Free to be me.

Anyway, I used to spend almost every weekend on different bus routes just to see where it would take me. The public transportation there is so convenient and accessible, which makes it a joy to use. What I would usually do is take out the bus schedule (or look it up on the internet), look at it and go 'hmmmm... never been there, it sounds interesting!' and then plan on how I would go there and then just go. I enjoyed going for job interviews (had quite a few) because a lot of them would take me to places I have never been before. Some afternoons I would take long strolls around the neighbourhood and surrounding areas. When I started hanging out with a lot of other foreign students (especially from Germany), they were as crazy about exploring as I was, which made it fun. We rented cars to go travelling, camping and other outdoorsy stuff. The best was the 10 day trip from Darwin to Alice Springs to Adelaide. That was when the travelling and exploring bug hit me really hard then.

The opportunity to mix with people and go travelling was the best part of my whole student experience. I went sea-kayaking, tried surfboarding, handfed dolphins, camped out in the wild, driven in the middle of the desert, had some crazy student parties, learnt to scuba dive, explored many places..... at first there was some culture shock, but in the end it was some of the best times of my life. Maybe that is what makes me miss Australia so much. While being in Malaysia, there are still travelling opportunities (visiting some tourist attractions, small towns, or flying to other cities such as Kuching, Penang, Miri, Ipoh), it is not quite the same. Well, I do my best. There are still places left to explore in Sabah, for example, Pulau Tiga, Selingan island, Layang-Layang island, Maliau Basin, the Sabah Tea gardens and so on. Oooh... that reminds me! I want to go on the Death March trail one day and learn about some Sabahan history.

I would give so much for the opportunity to travel more. Doesn't have to be out of the country, but if it is possible, that is pretty much awesome. My former company gave me the opportunity to visit Vietnam and Singapore, which was great. And since that I know lots of people abroad, especially in Europe, it gives me reason to visit them :) Locally, I have visited Mabul / Sipadan all by myself for a dive trip. The great thing about travelling by oneself is the people you meet along the way. I had plans to go to Maliau Basin early this year, but it didn't happen :(

The thing is, I actually don't mind being a solo traveler, which I have done in the past (to Germany and Denmark). But I guess it would be really nice to have a travelling buddy to share experiences with :)

Countries I have visited thus far:-
1. Australia - have visited almost all states except Tasmania
2. New Zealand - Been to most of the South Island. Would like to return for a more in-depth visit. A bit difficult with the parents.
3. Vietnam - been to Hanoi and Halong Bay
4. Singapore
5. Thailand - a long long time ago when I was 15. Went to Bangkok and Pattaya
6. Brunei - visited in 2008 with my sister and kids
7. Denmark - Aarhus and Sonderborg in 2007
8. Germany - Hamburg and Stuttgart in 2007
9. London, Birmingham, Scotland, Paris, Amsterdam - all when I was 5 and can't remember much of, so should I put it on this list??

Countries on my wishlist:-
1. Norway (coming soon, in January 2011)
2. Japan
3. Hong Kong
4. Indonesia
5. Philippines (maybe for JCI ASPAC 2011 in Manila?)
6. Greece (just something about it calls to me ;-))
7. Italy. I have just always wanted to visit, especially Venice and Rome
8. Chile - because I have a uni friend who lives there, and the place looks really interesting
9. New Zealand - I would like to return to see NZ from a different perspective than what I get from travelling with parents. I want to travel with younger people ;) Go explore Queenstown in more depth and see where they shot the scenes for LOTR. Explore the Maori culture.
10. Anywhere else not on my list


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2011 resolutions

2011 is almost here! At last work is slowing down enough for me to take a breather after months and months of non-stop teaching and projects. Actually, I have no idea what I am doing at work, not like there is anything to do except sit around. So why not update my blog while I can? They should give me my course structures soon so I know what I will be handling for the first semester of the year.

Last year, I didn't celebrate New Year's eve at all. Was at home, cleaning up while waiting for the clock to strike at midnight. I guess the reason was that I had just transferred to KK and basically left all my friends in Labuan. We would usually have all kinds of parties, for all occasions. So I stayed home. That was kind of pathetic, so this year I think I need to really celebrate, with someone, somewhere.... We are afterall live in this life once, so make the most of it. I am still thinking about how to make this New Year celebration a memorable one.

I have always had a thing for making plans and lists. Like I used to have a list of things to do before I am 30. Now that I am past that, what about a 40s list? :p My favourite was the 101 things to do in 100 days before my 30th birthday. That was so funny. While at times it is like I am building castles in the air, you'll be surprised at how many things on the list I have actually accomplished. Like owning a car and house, or travelling to Europe, or taking up scuba diving before I am 30. For me, it is fun knowing what I want and when I want it. But of course, if I stuck to my plan, I would have had another baby when I was 28. Unfortunately that was the castle in the air :p

As I recall at the beginning of 2010, I had set 5 goals for myself:-

1. Find meaning and purpose in my work / job
2. Find L.O.V.E.
3. Keep fit
4. Travel
5. Save money

The result? You win some, you lose some. As I look back this December in what I have achieved over the last 11 months I realised how much I have actually done and experienced. Some even exceeded all expectations and any plans I have ever made.

First of all, I was keen on finding purpose and meaning in my job. It kills me that I don't have passion in my work, so this year I have ventured into a new career path. I have decided on this after feeling completely unmotivated in my last job. I was in my comfort zone with my old company, I got along with almost everyone there, but then I started asking myself - where am I going to be in 5 years time? Is this getting me anywhere? So I decided to move out of my comfort zone and try something new. Still accounting related, but instead of doing, I am teaching instead :) Teaching is also the best way of utilising my Masters qualification. So, have I achieved meaning and purpose in my job? In some ways, yes. Eventhough at times, teaching is actually quite a stressful and time-consuming job (contrary to popular belief) I can see now the direct results of my work. Which of course, comes hand in hand with meaningfulness.

For my second new year's resolution, I guess you could say I am obsessed with love and being in love. I still believe that happiness and true love is out there for me despite having crashed and burnt by love many times. Maybe it is because I feel deprived of the things that I had dreamt of since like, forever. I see other people so happy in love and I get envious. I want a man who loves and accepts me the way I am, someone who I can count on to protect me and someone who is a great dad. In short - a REAL man. So the quest began this year after I realised that I have to stop moping over the loss of what I thought was the love of my life, and start moving on.

The thing is, I kind of prefer dating men from other places than where I am, so I tried online dating for real out of curiosity. I found a good, reputable online dating site, found 2 interesting dates - a certain PhD-holding science teacher at a posh private school; and a concert pianist turned psychology student (and my very own Love Doctor when I need advice). And recently, just when I thought I have given up on online dating, I scored another date. This time through Facebook. In addition to the online dating scene, I also had an 'almost' marriage proposal, and I also formed a deep crush on someone who is the epitome of the guy of my dreams. It has indeed been an interesting year. However, I am still inconclusive about what I really want, so no big decisions for me yet. Still exploring my options and making sure it is what I really want. I owe myself that much after the pain that I have been through in the past.

My third resolution for 2010 was keeping fit. The first thing I did was to sign up at a fitness centre that was just on my route back from work. Not only was it convenient for me to come by, I actually enjoyed some of the programs, which is a great motivator for me to come week after week after week. I also found that I eat less as well now, not because I deliberately do so, but somehow I don't have the appetite that I used to have. Probably due to the busy schedules. However, I think I have to define exactly what is being fit? How fit is fit? I guess I better start thinking of a goal to achieve at so I know when I have reached it ;) All I know is, that I enjoy the compliments and positive feedbacks I have received so far!

4th resolution - travel. Not much travelling this year, with the exception of Miri and Penang, but those weren't leisure trips. However, I have a ticket to Norway next year, to join JCI Orsta-Volda (Norway) in their Troll Weekend. That will be interesting. I have been to Denmark and Germany, so it will be nice to compare countries. And have a taste of freezing temperatures, since it will be in January. Haha!

And the last resolution - save money. Not good at all. Not sure what happened ;-) I was just thinking as I was Christmas shopping today that I would love to have one of those 'Mad Money' jars as a present. Or that they have some of those here I could give away as gifts. Basically, it is a coin / money bank made with ceramic, but with no way of opening it and getting the money out without breaking it. And they have such cute designs, the ones I have seen. Anyway, it looks like I will have to ask for a fuel allowance during my work appraisal, seeing that prices of fuel has been going up and up. And I drive from Likas to Putatan and back every day, which really isn't cheap at all.

My other favourite achievements in 2010 (the ones exceeding expectations):-

1. Organised 3 trainings through JCI - the new members' orientation, 'Speak Your Mind' Speech & Debate clinic, 'Have It Your Way' motivation seminar. Plus the many other projects that I helped out with.

2. Joined 2 speech contests, emceed a couple of events, and made an impromptu speech in a crowded mall. For a person who used to be scared to death of the idea of speaking to a crowd, this is a great achievement!

3. Led a White Ribbon campaign. It wasn't the destination, but the journey that felt so good. It made me realise anything is possible if we put our hearts and souls into what we believe in. I got to know so many wonderful people through this campaign, and I would definitely do it again!

4. Obtained yet another qualification. A 2-year teaching course compacted into 2 months!

5. Wrote a number of press releases and seeing them published. So satisfying ;-P even more so when you get to be in the front page for your campaign!

6. Involvement with a number of awareness/charity causes. I like feeling like I am doing good deeds, however small, that could one day make a big impact - like removing debris from the reefs, learning about the blind and deaf, donating blood...

Whoa... ! Seems like a whole lot has been happening for 2010. So what about the coming year? Been thinking about it, and here is a list of things I would like to achieve for 2011:-

1. Getting a bikini-fit body ;) one that I am not ashamed of showing off. LOL! (hey, I can always dream, right?)

2. Having my own place to live in again. While staying at the B&B is 'economical' (or it is assumed), I just feel like I've lost my individuality. I miss having a proper kitchen, a room only for sleeping in, a proper bathroom, arggh.. everything! It is just not the same when you are put into a room in a section of a house that you have to share with everyone else. My main worry here though, is the cost of properties in KK.

3. Finding a suitable business venture. I have some ideas, but nothing is for sure just yet. If not, some way of making extra cash (and by doing something I enjoy) would be awesome!

Actually, I can't think of anything more that I want for 2011. Either it is too early in the morning for thinking, or it is because I can't really be more satisfied than I am now with what I have achieved so far. Some things just cannot be planned, they just happen when the time is right. That is just about being me. At times I plan, but lots of things happen because I have a sudden spurt of inspiration which becomes my driving force. I do have a wish that I hope to be fulfilled soon, but I am just going to keep it to myself for now.

Come to think of it, maybe we don't need resolutions, or more importantly, a specific time to start. If you are serious about wanting something, you don't need a new year to start you off. It can be symbolic, but it doesn't really matter. In any case, you either have the motivation, or you don't. And for me, it all starts NOW! ;-)


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Campaign To End Violence Against Children on FB


I don't believe in rumors. Plus, did you know that you can only create a Facebook profile if you are aged 14 and above? I know that because I helped to set up the FB profile for my daughter. I got her the account because all the kids in her class and her cousins have one. Far be it for me to be the 'uncool' mum.

Therefore, for kids to be on FB they have to lie about their age. Kids over 14 years of age are not really interested in cartoon characters anymore.

Parents, it is your duty to check your kids' FB profiles regularly. Or link it so that any new friends that your child accepts will be reflected in your email updates.

The real campaign on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Campaign-To-End-Violence-Against-Children-Childhood-Cartoon-Faces/165381953497707

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