Saturday, February 28, 2009

strongest man in my life

For the past couple of weeks back home, all i've been hearing on the radio when they announce events was "Catch the strongest men and women in the world as they pit against each other in the upcoming Langkawi Ironman 2009!" And though that sounded pretty corny, and slightly off-tangent (because it's the fittest not the strongest)...i was actually pretty darn proud that I knew people who were taking part in that race.

And especially so since my own brother was there. I was initally a little sad that I couldn't go and watch him compete and complete this impossible task. But thanks to I was able to track his progress and i must say it is pretty thrilling going in and checking back every 30 minutes to see how much he has completed.

And if i was so anxious about the race just by watching some numbers come on the screen everytime it refreshes, i cannot imagine the intensity in Langkawi.

This is he.

Strongest man in my life right now.

Toughest, leanest, most dedicated athlete I know.

Completing the Ironman Langkawi 2009 in a gruelling 11 hours 15 minutes, a time far better than he had targeted.

My brother the Ironman.

Congrats kor!

wow...i can tumpang glamour man. =)

Karen in Auckland 2.0

Forgive me if this post turns out slightly dull and melancholic because I don't think I myself have quite fathomed the fact that I am back in Auckland and my 3 month summer had just whizzed past me faster than I could say FUN.

So I am back here. I took the MAS direct flight because my mom worries I might once again get stuck in some foreign airport and she wouldn't be able to rescue me. I guess i shouldn't complain since it is helluva lot shorter - only 10 hours compared to 13 hours on Thai Air. MAS food was kinda lousy though, but then again it could be because I was terribly homesick at that moment that my appetite was probably at its lowest.

I reached Auckland yesterday 12:55 Auckland time. Weather was gloomy and wet, which was exactly what greeted me last July. Auckland must really love me...

I am now staying with Aunty Jane and family. They've been absolutely lovely to me, really makes leaving home a whole lot better. Was supposed to be looking for another place to stay, found one pretty neat place, but Aunty Jane's offer to let me stay here longer term kinda sits at that corner of my mind screaming "You're free from cooking!". I don't know. As much as I'd love the warmth and company of another Chinese family, I really thought I should toughen up and get out there. Be independent. Stay with people of different cultures. Tolerate. Learn to adapt. Survive. All that jazz. But that bratty pampered princess side of me seems to be winning that mind battle. Sigh.

Owell, on a brighter note, i went running! And it was pretty bad. But at least I've got my engines fired up a bit. SHould be able to keep it up once the wet weather subsides.

Alrightey then. I'm happy. Pretty thrilled to go back to uni. No seriously. I am, honest. =)

Till next time.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

time to go

After 91 days (could've been 94, no thanks to Bangkok) of convenient 24 hour mamaks, cheap delicious hawker food, daily yumcha sessions with friends, good ol' mega sales, high (wrongly) pitched karaoke songs, mummy home cooked dinners, rough and tumble with the brothers, long chats with daddy, and heaps of cuddles and pecks from the is finally trime to go.

It was a great summer of 08/09, one that would make leaving tomorrow night really really hard to bear. But that being said, I thoroughly enjoyed myself this summer. I did things I had planned to do, and things that I didn't expect to do. Met up with almost everyone I wanted to meet up with. It's a pretty nice feeling you get from these little reunions. And that is the one consolation I derive from studying abroad that keeps me motivated - the sweetest taste of a reunion.

I am a little edgy, a tad nervous, slightly excited, almost thrilled, but tremendously heavy-hearted. Tell me it's normal...=)

Owell, here's a snippet of a the things I've been drowning myself in...

See you guys in Auckland! =)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bukit Tabur (Klang Gates)

So I've heard of this pretty cool hill just outside of KL city, of which the impression I got was that 'twas a generally easy climb with very seasoned tracks and a great view to boot. It was as close as you can get to a free mountain climbing experience, I guess.

Yesterday morning, Dennis, Jason, Steven, Melody and myself went to affirm that. We were supposed to get an early head start but we were being extremely Malaysian so we only started at about 8 am. I had done some reading up on this climb beforehand and from what I gathered I definitely wasn't prepared for what lay ahead of us. Seriously.

Some people said it was dangerous, but as always, I took comments like these with a pinch of salt because I always think it can't be that tough if so many people frequent the hill every day. Well, I stand corrected. There are 2 sides to Bukit Tabur, the east and the west. Right now, it escapes my memory whether we climbed the east or west side, but if you were looking at the dam, we climbed the right hand side of it. Not by choice. By coincidence. We didn't know there was another side till we were halfway up.
still standing.

And that climb was a tough one. Though I have a few mountains conquered under my belt, I am no where near a veteran when it came to mountain climbing. So when I say that it was quite a challenge for anyone between absolute first timers to people like me (climbed a few mountains, does minimal rock climbing and adventure racing).
It was indeed a pretty dangerous climb, and it requires one to be very careful and cautious especially when on the rocky slopes. You'll definitely have yo dirty your hands, bum, knees if you want to climb safely.
But the view was quite a sight. Who knew that this gorgeous lake existed just right outside the hustle bustle of our KL city? And that, to me was the beauty of that climb. Stumbling upon something I never knew could be found in my city till yesterday. What more, it was absolutely free. And I can revisit it any time because it's so near! =)

I had a great time. Got a bit dehydrated because I didn't bring enough water. But absolutely loved it! =)

Friday, February 20, 2009

(Almost) free dinner for Valentine's

*edit* This is my 1000th post! =)

Now i bet some of you are wondering what hopelessly-romantic moi was up to with my hopefully-romantic-of-a-boyfriend on Valentine's? Ok, if you aren't, humour me. =)

We went trekking! yes yes, we went to Pisang Falls which is located off Karak Highway. I have been there before with Ati, Dektos and Ronald a while ago. Seeing that it was rather easy to trek in, and how the last time we went, there weren't many people there, I figured it would be the perfect romantic getaway ala Survivor! And Dennis suggested that we should make each other lunch! It'll be a surprise!

And though he warned me that it wasn't a competition, I kinda got a little carried away, and wanted to outdo impress him. Lunch didn't really turn out the way we planned, but all in all, it was a pretty perfect Valentine's Day. Sitting in freezing fresh stream water just hanging out with him just overwrote every thing that didn't go right that morning. yes, even the fact that the once quiet Pisang Falls that was etched in my head had people going in and out like a public bus stop was no biggie.

Totally forgot to snap photos, so this should do. =) We closed the night with dinner at Bella Italia in SS12...

V-Day didn't end there for us though. Because the following day, we were asked to go to Sunway Pyramid! See, D and I took part in this Valentine's Day contest where we had our hands printed on a wall there, next to a message we carefully constructed. Mind you, we walked around Pyramid for no less than 30 minutes, trying to come up with witty one liners, cheesy statements, or anything that would turn heads, grab attention and melt hearts. So it was quite thrilling when we were the top 20 finalists. Even more so when we turned out to be top 3!
Click for larger image. Ours is the postcard looking one. The one right beneath us won first place

First place was a pair of diamond rings, which quite honestly wouldn't be of any use to me if we did win it. I'd probably start worrying because then i'd be tempted to marry the boy! haha! Ok, i think my parents are starting to worry now. =) So, no, we got 2nd place and didn't win those duamond rings. Dennis thinks it is because we kept saying we didn't want diamond rings. So, as sore loser as this may sound, we were actually eyeing 2nd place because 2nd place was a free dinner for two at Itallianies! Which we got=)

Read more here...

Tonight, for our Thursday do, we went there for dinner. It was actually a RM100 voucher. Dinner wasn't absolutely free. I was surprised how easily RM100 can be achieved. Tsk tsk...fine dining....owell, dinner was well earned. =) Other prizes we got were Sunway Lagoon all park tickets, make up set from Bodyshop, Clinique makeover vouchers and some Metrojaya vouchers.

So from a string of pretty sad, lonesome Valentine's in the past few years, we celebrated V-day with quite a bang this year. *happy sigh*...=)

how did my 3 months become 7 days in just a wink?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Monday, February 09, 2009

Puteri Gunung Ledang

Because my awesome boyfriend and his awesome friends are so so....awesome...I managed to watch the Puteri Gunung Ledang Musical Season III for absolutely free! i fur reeaaal?

Bimbocity aside, I was totally stoked when Dennis told me we were going to watch Puteri Gunung Ledang The Musical because i have heard since the first time it came out, that it was really good. So we went. Before it started his friends were all talking about it being in Malay and how our Malay language have rusted over the years out of school and how we can't even form a proper Malay sentence since. It was really funny because not only was the musical in Malay, it was in the olden Malay language which I probably know as much of as any Mat Salleh that went to watch that night, if not less. =)

But fear not, for the production crew have thoughtfully provided subtitles on screens at the side of the stage. Eventhough, i had to squint quite a bit because my vanity contact lenses did not come with astigmatism which, I have come to realise, is actually pretty bad. So after straining my eyes for 15 minutes or so, I gave up and just sat back, soaked in the vibrant cast and found myself actually understanding, more or less, what the whole thing was about. (note, reading the synopsis beforehand helped).

The musical really stood up to every praise and ovation it was given for the past couple of seasons. It definitely exceeded my expectations of a local production, and I am one person who does not look that lowly upon my own country, mind you.

I thought the costumes and wardrobe were all very befitting and authentic. The Puteri, Tiara Jaquelina, looked amazing despite being about 40 years of age. Every one of the cast sang beautifully especially the Bayan, Ida Mariana, who was the Puteri's caretaker. And even the half kwai loh Hang Tuah, Stephen Hughes-Rahman, had the most mesmerizing voice (and look) despite not being fluent in Malay.

But what I loved most about the play was the dance choreography which really looked extremely professional. I found that the dance was flawless in every aspect. It was playful and coy, very precise, quick paced and the whole thing just amalgamated so well. I dare say this production is up there with any west end musical.

It was a great night out, that sent my mind back to the times in Puan Misliah's house, studying our Komsas book for SPM. How we memorised the seven preconditions the Puteri gave to the Sultan, how we deciphered the meaning of their actions and pretty much regurgitated word for word during the exam...=)

Friday, February 06, 2009

D time

I've been able to spend quite a lot of time with Dennis lately and it's been pure bliss. Of course, i'm guilty of neglecting my home a bit, but i promise to allocate more home and family time from now on.

So Dennis and I have been trying to think of alternative places to go to instead of the usual movies, wine and dine and other couply areas. I figured anywhere that is within driving distance, doesn't require a lot of money and is fun and refreshing would do it. So here are some of the places we visited in the past few days.

We visited the Deer Park in KL. Didn't think it still existed, did you? Well it did and it was FOC entry. It's located INSIDE Lake Gardens itself. The Deer Park that I recollect in my head was vast and the deers and mousedeers ran free. But that was over 15 years ago or so. Now the mousedeers are kept in cages and the deers are in fenced up areas. Honestly they look rather scrawney and malnourished. I brought a long baguette (though, expired) to feed the deers eventhough there was a sign outside which said no feeding of outside food and drinks. Nobody saw us anyway.

This is Bob. Dennis named it. Gender unidentified. It was the first deer to venture near to the fence, so it got food. the others joined in much later when i didn't have much food left.

Then we went to Petaling Street to have a late late lunch. After that, it rained so we ran helter skelter and found ourselves a Reggae Bar just somewhere along the street. It was, in Dennis' words, a Bob Marley shrine. Lots of reggae looking people there. And drinks were pretty cheap! Ladies get simple spirit with mixers for only RM8 nett anytime any day. Dennis' mojito only cost RM13 ++ i think. Not bad right? Quite a cool place with lots of very island looking people smoking shisha outside. =)

Two days after that, which was yesterday, we decided to visit Sepang Gold Coast. Betcha heard a lot about it, good and bad stuff, and just wondered to yourself "wah we also got Gold Coast meh?". Actually, you've probably seen the sign many times if you ever need to go to LCCT. So anyway, a friend of ours had some good things to say about this place so I figured, ok la, let's go to this inconspicuous Sepang Gold Coast.

It was a rather long drive in, but signs are plenty and i don't think you'll get lost eventhough you go through a whole lot of kampung roads and slightly dodgy areas. When we got there, we were kinda stumped by this vast area of...nothing. The information center was done up nicely. The beach was laced with flags and the water villas are still in development, but apart from that there's nothing much there. Beach also not that nice, water also like tak cukup.

But we stayed a little longer, soaked in the vast landscape of sand, ate my DIY salad (which turned out pretty good using my homemade salad dressing) and drank some beer. Then the sun began to set a little and the beach was bathed in dim yellow. It was pretty nice after that.

There was an area of the beach that was covered with crabs! Like the wholeeee area!

Turned out to be quite a nice romantic place in the end. We took some photos with the sunset and when mosquitoes started to kill the mood, we made a move. Went on to Kajang to have dinner with Mel and her friends at this clubhouse atop a hill. Was quite nice too, but didn't take photos. =)I'm trying hard not to count the days. Gonna just enjoy being around D as much as possible. =)

Sunday, February 01, 2009

omg it's February

and I've got 25 days before I bid farewell once again to good easy cheap food, people to talk to at the dining table, and xoxo's from the boyfriend. A girl's gotta give up what a girl's gotta give up to pursue her dreams...

almost 3 months and what have i done? i guess the ultimate goal was to just spend as much time as possible with friends and loved ones and that, i guess, i pretty much have achieved la. but i still feel like i'm chasing time to do stuff. but what kinda stuff? i don't even know myself. guess it's just the feeling of time running out, which kinda pressurises me to get up and go do something...just something...anything! so for these last 25 days i shall busy myself every single day. Peeps, if you're around and u still want a bit of my time BOOK ME SOON! =)

Anyway, it was a twist of fate that the day my family decides to host our annual CNY open house dinner yesterday night, I woke up with a swirling tummy, a major headache, a bitterness in my mouth and a long long day of throwing up and diarrhea. It was pretty sad. I had quite a few things planned. I wanted to cook up a couple of things but I was so sick I couldn't even stand on my feet for more than 5 minutes. I pretty much lay down the whole day in a fetal position, getting up and running to the bathroom whenever needed.

Blearrghhh...bad day. But I'm all good today. I woke up with an empty stomach growling for food, which is always a sign that I'm back to normal. =)

p/s: those darn rats scurrying about in my ceiling are annoying as hell~!