Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Happy with My Achievement

going to the gym for the first month is easy for some people. they're too excited with the prospect of losing weight and feeling good. but most of the time the excitement and enthusiasm wanes after that.

i try to be a regular gym goer because i still have a long way to achieve my goal. and so it's a pleasant surprise when a staff commented that i'm so "rajin" to regularly workout at the gym. and what is nicer is when your effort pays off. 

it is hard when you think that you need to do cardio for at least 40 minutes then do probably 20-30 minutes of strength training. i thought that jogging on the treadmill will get easier after some time, but it doesn't, since i've to constantly challenge myself and not to lull my body into plateau. that means i'll be out of breath after 10 minutes of jogging, feeling as if i can just drop on the spot. that's the feeling. and, yesterday when i stopped my mp3 player, i was shocked to hear my heavy breathing. but in a way, it's good because you know you're pushing yourself and that means the body fat is burnt.

the abs exercise, though still present a challenge to me, isn't as hard as it used to be, since i know from the wall mirror that my form is correct. that means i don't look like a klutz hehehe. when it comes to strength training i know which weight to use, and how much my body can take it. 

although i'm happy there is still a thing that is bothering me, which is fatigue! i can't run away from that unfortunately.

p.s. lost another 1.5kg in the span of a week

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Best of Times while Travelling

last night i was watching a show on Discovery Travel &Living. it was anthony bourdain's list of memorable dishes all around the world, and i thought i wanted to do the same here, but this is a list of my favourite moments at favourite places while travelling, in no particular order.

1. The visit to Victoria Market, Melbourne
what i love about this market is they sell a lot of stuff here. there are pastry shops, shops selling pastas, sausages, sweets, nuts and the wet market that sells fresh produce. i love the smell of peaches and fresh basil. i think i must have visited the market every day for the 5-day stay there. i fell in love with the almond croissant, or croissant with custard cream.

2. The Visit to Camden Market, London

Camden market is a market to go to if you want to buy souvenirs and curios. i had crepes and the most wonderful orange juice here (for one pound sterling). actually, the taste of the orange juice stood out from the rest of the sensations when i was at the market.

3. Praying at Masjidil Haram

this is a dream of every Muslim, to be able to perform umrah and haj, and to be able to devote oneself solely for Allah in the holiest of place on earth. it was a surreal experience, especially when i saw the Kaabah. i felt at peace here especially during jamaah prayers when the imam's voice reverberate throughout the mosque. unfortunately though, cameras aren't allowed inside the grounds, but i managed to find a picture online.this was where impure thoughts are given swift retribution (i experienced that myself) and miracles also happened (i also experienced this on 2 occasions). Allahu akbar!

4. Praying at Masjid Nabawi (The Prophet's Mosque)

The guards here are very strict! as usual, cameras aren't allowed inside the mosques (or risk being turned away from the mosque). i love the place because this is where the Prophet is buried, and next to his tomb is Raudhah, the Eden on Earth.this was where i prayed so that my umrah would be done smoothly without any obstacles.

5. The visit to Chateau de Versailles

ever since my sister showed me the pictures of the chateau during her European tour, i had this dream that if i ever reached paris, i'd visit the chateau. and i did! it didn't matter that my tour guide was a lovely young French girl who spoke heavily French accented English and that it took all my concentration to understand her - to be in the palace of King Louis XIV was enough! i love the Hall of Mirrors, which
was what the Sun King wanted - to inspire awe.

6. The Visit to Stonehenge,Salisbury

I must say that when Astro introduced the Discovery Travel & Living channel, i was and still am addicted to it. and it's because of this channel i was introduced to many wonderful and historical sites, such as this world wide famous megaliths. when we were nearing the place, i gave a cry, as i couldn't believe that i was actually there. of course, we couldn't get near the rocks, but it was amazing how those ancient people could bring the blue stones from 200 miles away. and how on earth did they erect those megaliths without modern cranes and stuff?

7. The Visit to the Rose Garden at Hampton Court

i wanted to visit King Henry the VII's palace, but because we were there early in the morning, we could only stroll in its Rose Garden. i love roses, and i felt like a little girl lost in a candy store.wish i could bring back the rose cuttings, but of course i couldn't.
8. Seeing the Wild Red Poppies on the hills of English and French countryside.

unfortunately though, i didn't take any pics because the bus was moving. this is taken from the net. i was hoping to see daffodils, just like Wordsworth described it in his Daffodils poem, so imagine my pleasant surprise when i saw a sea of red poppies on the hills as we passed through the English and French countryside.

9. The Climb Up The Great Wall of China

this pic was taken when i was at my heaviest (sigh). my tourist guide kept asking me if i was a mongolian, and a lot of Chinese talked to me in Mandarin, which of course, i don't speak. what is amazing was that the great wall withstands the test of time and is still there even after more than a thousand years. some engineering feat, huh? 

10. Seeing La Tour Eiffel

now, who doesn't recognise this structure which is one of the most famous landmarks in the world? when i was in Paris, the Moroccan receptionist took us to this site and what took my breath away (despite the chilly air) was the fact that the lights glitter every hour. it's like there are thousands of diamonds there.

11. Shopping and eating in Bangkok

bangkok is one of the nicest places for Malaysians to shop. of course, it's a busy city just like KL, only that street food is everywhere that you wonder if it's contaminated what with all the fumes and smoke all around. what i love about bangkok is its tom yam (i tasted 3 kinds of tom yam, and thanks to Anne's friend who works in Bangkok and can speak Thai, the tom yam wasn't too sour or too spicy, to suit my sensitive stomach. i also love the paad thai and the stir-fry vegetable. i took the tuk tuk ride, and the driver was a nice man who spoke little English, so that in the end, we're like ducks and chickens talking and not really understanding each other. on the last day of my trip, i saw a row of  beautiful lotuses in front of a bank. couldn't resist a shot.

every place makes you think of the people who live there, who lived there thousands of years ago, their culture and their beliefs. it makes one understand the diversity of cultures and thoughts - and at the same time how we are similar to each other.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Letter from the Scholarship Div

in the quest of making myself happy and moving forward in my life, i had to request the Scholarship Div to check on my contract with the M.o.E status. the malay has a saying "hendak seribu daya tak nak seribu dalih" meaning "if you want something, then you make a thousand efforts, if you don't want it, you make a thousand excuses". my letter was missing somewhere in M.o.E, so i had to personally hand deliver the letter to the officer in charge. it's not easy to go to Putrajaya to do it, but i did it.

well, i received the letter from the officer yesterday. i did a rough calculation and thought that my contract ends in august, but i had a pleasant surprise when i read that the contract ends on 31st May. yay! i can decide what to do with my life after that, with full support from my family and friends. 

like what gina said last night " you've been getting a lot of good news lately". good things come to those who wait.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Letter

last tuesday started badly. i had 6 periods of classes, and that also included screaming at some of the boys. my head of panel broke to me the bad news - that we have to hold an English workshop for the good students just because, well, just because the Science Panel did it last week, and that somebody didn't want the HM to think he has slackened. how nice. somebody made an error, and somebody else has to do the dirty job.

and so i came home feeling miserable, because i had to prepare a powerpoint presentation. as usual i checked the mail. and suddenly there was a letter addressed to me, with Lembaga Tabung Haji stamp on it. i was thinking, "Oh well, may be they just wanted to inform me that i've enough money to go to Mekah"

But, it wasn't so. instead, it reads "Tawaran Menunaikan Haji Tahun 1431H/2010M (Terpilih)" (An Offer to Perform Haj in the year 1431 Hijjrah/2010 AD (Chosen)). suddenly there's a wide smile on my face. bigger than the Cheshire cat's. my neighbour was watering his plants and noticed me smiling "apa tu kak?" and i informed him. reality checked in, and suddenly, i was jumping like a school girl!!

it felt good. it really felt good. it's a surreal feeling, more than when i received my M.A cert from HR Raja Nazrin, just like the time when i saw Kaabah for the first time. only 0.01% Malaysians are chosen to perform haj every year, and now i'm one of them.