Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My Rest Day

all this while, i was puzzled by my constant fatigue spells. i wondered if it was because of my weight, as the body fat analysis machine i stepped on last year recorded my biological age as 59 (that was before i started losing weight). but then it can't be, since i've been going to the gym religiously. one should feel healthy and energised, right?

my friend Iris commented that i looked fresh when i met her last week. that made me happy.

but i still feel tired, and sometimes in the morning, after an 8 hour sleep, i still feel like i can do with some more snooze time.

yesterday i had a meeting. and i had to present a financial report. those who know me well know that numbers and i don't go along. i'm a language and literature expert, not a mathematician. and so i was struggling to finish the report when i felt the vein in my temple swell and throb (aka as migraine). went to school with the pain still throbbing. presented the report, which paled in comparison to the other treasurer's report (which is much much detailed, and presented in 3 different ways, along with receipt numbers to prove). mine looked rudimentary. but never mind, she's a math teacher.

the lesson went well until my last class, with 3 jokers there to irritate me with their lack of interest in studies (and they're half literate) and the fact that i had to shout on top of my lungs since the little kids (the form 1 students) at the next block were cheering their friends who were playing sepak takraw like mad . with all the ruckus, i couldn't cope, especially since i was trying to explain to the class a chapter in The Phantom of the Opera.

at the end of school day, i told my colleague Dayang i wanted to unwind. but i was too tired to go to KLCC for some shopping therapy. slept early, and hoped that i'd be fresh the next day.


i was dead tired. woke up for subuh prayer, had breakfast, and by 9am i felt sleepy again. that meant i was tired. to make it worse, i felt the temple throbbing again, and this time the migraine spread to my left side of the head. i ignored the pain and got ready to go to the gym. by the time i got in the car, i was undecided whether to go to the gym and later to work or to take an MC. i was already at the LRT station when i asked myself

"Can i jog on the treadmill in this condition?"

Honestly, no.

"Can i teach in this condition?"
i don't like to teach when i don't feel well. the students can feel it.

and so, i went to the clinic. my blood pressure reading was good. okay, that's a big relief, since i've been watching my diet and going to the gym. but the big question was, why do i have this constant fatigue? so i asked the doctor. his answer? mental tiredness. that, and also the stress of living in KL.

so today i spent the entire day resting and not going anywhere, not even to MaxValu. i feel refreshed now, and at least i know that it's because of stress i feel this way.

makes me think of my hometown - the sea air, the fresh fish, and no traffic congestion. if only, if only.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Meeting with Friends

today when i visited my close friend Dr As i asked her if there's something wrong with me, and if i have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. she said no. thank god for that. and i asked her again, "then why do i feel this way? is there something wrong with me?"

well, what is wrong with me? the normal answer would be i've been rushing everywhere from breakfast to preparing to go to the gym AND to school, then off i go to the gym, working out a sweat or two (i never seem to sweat like those mat sallehs...or this one lady who obviously looks like she's spent her entire life in the gym) on the treadmill or the elliptical trainer then the weight training...then head off to the locker room and take a quick shower, then walking quickly, take the LRT and then drive to school. and that doesn't include screaming at the disobedient boys who think that learning is a bore. but anyway, after some quiet days at home, i had to make a visit to the MOE in putrajaya yesterday to hand deliver some documents to an officer. i went with my friend mozie, because i knew if i went alone, i'd be screaming or i'd be driving slow and people would honk at me because of my T reg. no. and also, i didn't want to get lost in parcel E.

the morning started when i had to go to school to show my head of panel the books that i've chosen for my students for the Reading Programme. then i went to pick Mozie at her house, and then we're off to putrajaya. it seems that now there's "park and ride" where people can park at a spacious parking lot (situated in front of SAS) and then take a bus ride to their destinations in putrajaya. we arrived at Parcel E alright, only to discover that we had to walk a long way to reach Blok E12. and it was noon. mozie was already texting our tesl friends working in putrajaya. when we reached the block, i called the officer to inform her that we've arrived. try and guess her answer:

"cikgu, saya kat E2"


and so, looking like people lost in the desert, we made our way, and once we're in the building we loved the air cond so much. after the meeting, we took the bus back to the parking lot, and drove to Alamanda, since mozie said she had never gone there before. yes we had lunch and met up with Daliey (who looks the same), and after she'd gone back to the office, we met Elly (who also looks the same, slim as ever), who was having lunch with her son. after chit chatting for awhile, we made a move because i didn't want to be caught in the jam at MRR2.

that night i had tuition class with the boys until nearly 11pm. i was sleepy, they were sleepy. but i was disappointed with them so i gave them a long lecture.

and this morning i woke up with a migraine.


so i was late going to the gym. i was dead tired after the workout, but i promised to meet As, and so i kept my promise. i didn't talk much and wasn't my usual chirpy self, and she knew why. that's when i started asking her about the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

"you do not have the syndrome, nora"

then she launched into a medical talk. okay. she said it's normal to be this tired, and related to me the hadiths she read regarding the wives of the Prophet who were given specific house chores to do, instead of one person doing everything all at once like what we modern women are doing now.

i feel so relieved with her answer. and so i was lying on the carpet there, unceremoniously, and we talked and talked until she got up to knead the doughnut dough in front of me (since she said i was too tired to get up) and asked me for tips and pointers on how to knead the dough properly. the doughnuts turned out perfect!

after tea, i returned home. yes, i'm tired.

on sunday i'll be meeting my former MA coursemates elison and iris and it'll be fun catching up with people who've been with me when i went through blood, sweat and tears to finish the course (because they also went through hell to finish it).

and only then i'll begin the school week. screaming again...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Past Revisited

"it's too painful"

those were the last words my ex bf said to me when we parted a decade ago. i had asked him if we could remain friends.

i was jolted by a familiar name this morning while reading the comments posted on my friend's status update in FB.

i haven't really thought of him these past few years. he's like a distant memory, like he's from my past life.

and it is such a small world when i found out his family members are connected to some of the people who are linked to me.

i found his sister's FB. i shouldn't have peeked, it's like opening Pandora's box. i was searching for his face, even though i know i shouldn't have. but i did. he's not changed at all. except that he has children, although i don't know which ones are his.

i'm not going to say that the children could have been mine, because truthfully, we can't live together as husband and wife. back then, i was naive, ignorant, and stupid but now i'm wiser and i can fight my own battles.

i don't know if i still love him. but then, it doesn't matter. he's right though, it's too painful to remain friends.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Preparation for the Greatest Spiritual Journey

i think among the greatest moments in my life was when i chose to leave my jahiliyyah days and returned to the right path. it's not easy, since temptations are always around. but Allah gave me his blessings and guided me. before, i felt soiled, unclean and not worthy. but after the realisation, i felt blessed, and loved. and at peace.

the first spiritual journey i made revealed to me the wonders of Masjidil Haram and Baitullah. upon entering the Holy City, i wept when i recited the talbiyyah, because i was humbled by it. if there is one thing that can make me weep any time of the day, that is the talbiyyah. i'm so moved by it. the Kaabah was magnificent, and it was kind of surreal when i looked at it for the first time. i was there, finally!! to be able to do tawaf there on the white marble floor, circling the kaabah, and to pray in the greatest mosque in the world - it's an honour. and it was there that i experienced 2 miracles, of which i'm not going to mention here.

now, i miss the peace. because i'm struggling!

in preparation for another journey, i find that learning the most basic knowledge helps. but knowledge alone doesn't help. it has to come with khusyu' in prayers, which i'm still struggling at, sad to say. backsliding is so easy. it's not easy to be good. it's even easier to disobey, like a rebellious teenager. but then, for how long are we going to act like teens?

today i attended the first session of the course, and when the presenter recited the talbiyyah i wept again. i think the next time i backslide, i will remember the talbiyyah and my true objective.

Labaik allahhummala bayk

"here i am, O Allah, here i am!"

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Baking Mode part deux: the tragedy

so this morning while i was making the bread i realised that i could only be able to eat it at 10.30am and i was already hungry! i had some bananas and decided to make banana muffins. the recipe i have calls for bran but i only have regular oats. so i happily made the muffins, and despite the fact that i don't really trust and like baking soda, i added the exact amount as stated in the recipe. it also calls for milk. and i have fresh milk in the fridge. i was even thinking of being a good neighbour and sending some muffins to my neighbours.

in no time the kitchen smelled of sweet banana. i was so hungry! i had four muffins and was quite disappointed because the baking soda taste was overpowering. well, that killed the idea of sending some to the neighbours.

only after eating did i remember that i've been suffering gastric pain these past few days because of the fresh milk. i had stopped drinking milk for almost a year now, and only re-introduced it to my diet a few days ago.

i remember thinking that i'd be lucky if i could escape the pain today.

i was wrong. the gastric pain "kicked" in at 2.30p.m (i felt like someone kicking my tummy) and though i'm not writhing in pain, it stopped all my favourite activities which include baking and my gym workout.

it reminds me of what kak sham told me weeks ago that she once laughed at our dear late mother for joint aches after eating her favourite nangka, and now we as the children who are growing older also have the same problem she once had.

a painful reminder that we are not invincible and most importantly, that we are not young anymore.

Baking Mode

there's nothing on at school this weekend and i'm so glad. i'm in a celebratory mood, and decided to do what i love, which is baking. i used to bake loaves of bread once upon a time. but because of tiredness and frequent gym trips (therefore, time constraint) before going to school, i don't bake anymore.

i'm bored of using the recipe i've been using for years, which is Amish white bread, so i decided to use Delia Smith's recipe from her book The Complete Cookery Course. this recipe uses less sugar than Amish bread recipe, and less fat too. however, the dough took a long time to rise as it was a cloudy morning. but whatever it is, nothing beats the smell of homemade bread.

Friday, March 05, 2010

the trip to singapore

my niece Gina laughed when i told her i was going to singapore. "there's nothing in singapore la mak nora". for malaysians obviously, a trip to singapore is just blase' as singapore is practically next door. as for me, i just wanted to add another immigration stamp in my passport. what made it exciting was that a few teachers and i decided to go there via Senandung Malam and we booked sleeping berths. i always feel that travelling in a train gives a more sense of adventure than the normal air travel does. the train stopped for an immigration check at Woodlands. reminds me of the time when i was on my way to Paris via the English Channel and we had to stop for an immigration check at Dover. after the check the train continued its journey until we arrived at the KTM station at Tanjong Pagar. at last! the best thing is that we're in foreign soil and were still able to talk in Bahasa and be understood. our first agenda of the day was to have breakfast at the mamak restaurant at the station. i had puri. not as good as the Jalan Ipoh puris though. after the meal and shower at the station, we decided to go to Sentosa Island. actually i'm not big on theme parks. along the way i noticed the slight differences in the singaporean scenes - the signboards are in English, and the roads are clean. and there are no lepakers. not familiar with the MRT routes, we had to ask around until we met with a Malaysian chap who's originally from Taiping! he was very helpful and obliging so we followed him to Sentosa. i pity the girlfriend though, i'm sure she was thinking he had no business assisting 6 Malaysian ladies while they're on a date! we took the MRT to Harbour Front and then took a ride to the island. it was a hot, hot day and i was thankful that i put on the sunblock. originally we wanted to go to Universal Studios but it's still not open. there's a Hershey's store though, and i was in there for awhile. we then went to Raffles Place to see the famous Singaporean landmark, the Merlion. at this point, we're practically dragging our feet, because the knapsack and the afternoon sun were taking a toll on us. anyway, i was disappointed to discover that the merlion was small. the Langkawi eagle is much much bigger than this. we then went to find Masjid Sultan at Arab Street and hoped to find some cheap halal restaurants. we were so tired that we ate at the nearest shop. after some sustenance we prayed at Masjid Sultan and earned stares from some Singaporean ladies. probably because we were tired and were lying on the carpeted floor after prayers. in the late afternoon after our energy had somewhat been recharged, we wondered in and out the souvenir shops along Arab Street. i didn't buy anything since i didn't see anything that shouted "uniquely singaporean". kak sham told me the silks were cheap there. actually the fabric prices are the same as those in Malaysia. it was maghrib, and we hurriedly went back to KTM station. had dinner and showered and finally it's back on the train. bad news - our coach was at the back and so we could literally hear the engines working underneath the floor. and throughout the night we were serenaded by loud bumping sounds. that didn't deter us from sleeping soundly because we were too tired to care.