Catching up on the last 6 months

So I never got around to writing Part 2 of my tips on planning a budget-friendly wedding..

Nor did I blog about my wedding itself..

Nor did I share here that I’ve resigned from a job I held for the past 3 years..

Nor did I update about leaving Malaysia for London, where I currently live..

So, YEAP, lots to catch up on since I last blogged 6 months ago! I know most of my readers know what I’m up to anyway because of my dayre or snapchat, which I regrettably have been slacking on too haha, but my blog is special so I’ll document it here anyway.

So four key updates on the last 6 months:

1. After months of agonizing and planning and running around like headless chickens, we finally got married!

It was difficult because we were trying to do so much with such a small budget, but I’d like to think that we successfully pulled it off! Because we’re an interracial couple, we had a few considerations that we had to bear in mind. In the end, we had a small ROM, a week of Indian traditional ceremonies, a Chinese Tea Ceremony, and a big Indian wedding!

Our ROM was at Thean Hou temple and it was a really quick 10-minute ceremony! Super efficient, we were done by 11am lol

My biggest worry was my white dress, as the dress that I wanted to wear in the beginning didn’t look that great on me. This one is from Doublewoot, and was originally too long for me (which made me look stumpy) so I got it altered at this home tailor called Jess Tailoring (can find on FB) and she did an AMAZING job! I love it so much <3 the dress + alteration came up to be around RM150 so it’s pretty good.

My ROM look :)

We had a Nelengu ceremony during the week as well, to cleanse both of us before the big day. It was so much fun because the whole family came together to prepare the day for us which made us feel super special!

If we were to follow the actual tradition, we weren’t supposed to see each other at all till the wedding. But since I can’t do the Nelengu with my family (who wouldn’t know what to do), we did ours together. All cleansed now!

And then I got my henna done, which took 3 hours :O

This is my amazing bridesmaids who came to my house to prepare the doorgifts for the wedding <3 <3 <3

Doorgifts done! It’s packets of coffee and milk candies, cos it’s a #kopisusuwedding

#kopisusu which means coffee and milk, because we’re known as the kopisusu couple! (Brown and white lol)

Also our initials, K + S #meanttobe

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Then, we had our Chinese tea ceremony where we played the usual hengdai games and all. Giving angpows out for the first time! #likeaboss

 

 

Some pics from the tea ceremony, which went really well without glitches! All thanks to my family and bridesmaids, I didn’t have to do much hehe. Makeup was done by my cousin who did a fantastic job <3

 

And yes, Shanshan came over for the whole week to help out too! She’s finally gracing my blog again hahaha

 

 

FINALLY, my wedding day! This was my saree for the day. Indian brides typically change their sarees midway through the ceremony to signify being married, so I got two blouses instead of buying two different sarees (too expensive).

 

My makeup was done by Kokilah Reddy, who did an absolutely amazing job. Plus, we had a huge drama in the morning too cos the tapestry guys (who were supposed to bring tables and chairs covers) thought my wedding was at night wtf. So I was panicking like mad in the morning and my MUA tried to calm me down.

 

 

So while I was panicking in the room, I found out that my wedding GUESTS all came together to help out with the tying of chair ribbons and table covers. This really brought tears in my eyes, knowing that not only did nobody complain, but everyone was genuinely happy to play a part. Relatives and friends in sarees, cheongsams and baju kurungs alike joined hands in making our wedding happen. Sigh, it was truly beautiful.

 

 

Anyway, fast-forward, we got blessed by both sides of our families..

 

 

Exchanged our garlands..

 

 

Walked around the fire 7 times..

 

 

And was finally married! By now we’re finally legally married and married according to both Chinese and Indian Gods. Phew, so much effort to tie the knot haha.

 

 

We had our Indian wedding in a huge Chinese temple too, which definitely increases the muhibbah factor lol

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With my bridesmaids and some groomsmen <3

Anyway I just realized that I’m supposed to talk about my last 6 months and so far I’m only still at point 1 HAHAHA man it’s gonna be a long night.

Ok fast forward!

2. I made a lifechanging decision to apply for a scholarship to do my Masters

So, sometime last year, both Karthik and I were feeling a little dissatisfied with where we were with our careers and wanted a challenge. We both thought it’d be good to pursue our masters together so started applying for scholarships together. After months and months of refining applications, waiting, interviewing, and more waiting, I found out that I got both the Chevening and Commonwealth scholarships to study in the UK!

I ended up choosing the Chevening over the Commonwealth scholarship, but check it out, I’m the only woman who got it! Mount Holyoke, this is for you :)

By then, Karthik already withdrew his application because he just got an offer to join a very prestigious company which he couldn’t turn down.

We had a long talk about this, and decided that I’d go for it since it’s an incredible opportunity, one that I couldn’t possibly turn down. He felt that it wouldn’t be fair that I stay back because he was going to pursue his dreams, even though I’d have to leave TWO MONTHS after our wedding.

After a lot of thinking and consulting a few close mentors…

3. I resigned from my job and the organization I’ve been with for the last 5 years..

As you guys know, Teach For Malaysia has been my identity for as long as I can remember. I’ve been hugely committed to the cause, and joining TFM and having the opportunity to teach for 2 years have been the highlights of my life. I made many good friends, met my husband, found my passion and discovered my life’s work.

So it was indeed incredibly difficult to say goodbye, but I knew this goodbye is needed so that I’d grow to be a better person for TFM. Macam breaking up hahaha

I still have a very good relationship with people in the organization and would love to go back one day so it’s definitely not the end :)

My farewell card with everyone in the office attempting a “suet li selfie”, from the CEO to our mak cik cleaner LOLOL I have the best colleagues!

4. I’m now pursuing my Masters in Comparative Education in London

My school for the next one year

AND my home for the next one year :)

Soooo yeah, I think it’s pretty up to date now! I’ve been here for a month+ now and am still getting used to being a student again. I’ve been out of school for a bit so it’s not easy getting the hang of it yet, with allll the readings I have to do etc. Everyone here is also really young, I feel incredibly old to be 28 and married to be honest!

Long distance marriage is of course really tough too, but technology makes things a lot better. We talk everyday and try to catch up as much as we can, but I can’t wait till he comes visit in December :D

I’m also working 2 jobs here, which makes it better as I’m always busy doing something, plus I get additional $$$ to spend too since London is SO EXPENSIVE.

I update my dayre weekly (really don’t have the discipline to update everyday haha) so check it out if you’d like to follow me there!

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It’s been a crazy 6 months indeed as so much has happened, with 3 major life transitions too in such a short period of time. I’ve been incredibly blessed to have such strong support systems around me, and even more grateful to receive this opportunity from Chevening to study for free in the UK. In fact, the application deadline is soon (8 Nov), so do apply too and you never know what may happen!

I’ll try to blog more about my journey here in London, but don’t take my word for it :P

Until then, thanks for reading!

Planning a wedding (on a budget) Part 1

So it’s about 2 months to our wedding and I thought it’d be good to follow-up on my last pretty frazzled post! You guys who’ve been reading my blog for years probably know me well enough to guess what kind of person I am. If anything, I’ve always defined myself as someone really kiamsiap/stingy/frugal/thrifty – you name it. I think I’m a lot better now as I grow older as my spending power has increased, but money is still something I’m very careful with because.. well it’s just who I am.

So put that trait together with having to plan a wedding, and you can imagine just how difficult it is!

But I think in the last 4 months, I’ve gotten the hang of it and have progressed quite a bit in the planning in a thankfully as pain-free as possible way. I’ve documented a fair bit in my dayre but I still like keeping a footprint in my blog so I’ll write a post here on how I’ve been planning my wedding on a budget!

I know this may not be the most popular post as we’ve grown quite accustomed to elegant, classy, expensive and lavish-looking weddings, all thanks to social media and societal expectations, but if more people can be proud of sensible and more down-to-earth weddings, then perhaps we won’t be in this quandary in the first place.

Anyway, I got comments from a troll recently (gasp! first hater in years! almost forgot how that feels..) on how cheap I am, but I guess what better way to prove him/her wrong by being as proud of it as I can! Hohoho

Troll comments, which admittedly are quite funny:

Anyway, so here goes.

1. You have to just accept the fact that you’ll never get the exact perfect wedding you’ve always wanted/may want

I’m not even the kind of girl who has dreamt of my wedding day since I was a little girl and I didn’t even have any expectations of what I wanted, or so I thought…

When I started researching on weddings, it’s hard to not expect anything when you’re constantly surrounded by all these pretty images on instagram and Pinterest on other people’s weddings and then you start forming these images of what you want in your head too. Nice cosy intimate but elegant dinner by the beach/in the garden with close friends, heartwarming speeches, cute little door gifts and TONS of flowers, long flowy princess-looking dress and perfect hair and makeup, crazily adorned tables with a million candles and dainty-looking trinkets..

Sigh, who doesn’t want this?>

But of course, then the families come in and start talking about how it should be and before you know it, it’s just this MASSIVE thing that you have to do. Doesn’t help that we’re from different cultural backgrounds too so we have to do two kinds of ceremonies (Chinese and Indian) AND neither of them fit into what I wanted (Western)!

So after months of researching and compromising, we’ve decided to combine everything into ONE wedding. Yeap, just the ceremony followed by a luncheon, the end. It was quite hard for me to agree with it as I really wanted the intimate dinner, but the cost was just too much + we can’t do away with the cultural ceremonies so..*shrugs

 

2. Lots of compromise

Now that you know you can’t have THE perfect wedding, it still costs a lot to plan A wedding. There are so many items to consider and it gets a bit too overwhelming, which I find really unnecessary but necessary at the same time? As in, you need the photographers and you need a dress no matter what, but why oh why do they cost so much??

So in the end, you either just have to compromise on not getting the best, or be willing to put in the time and effort to search like crazy for a good deal. And you have to know what you’re willing to spend on and just try not to fuss over the rest.

I knew there were 3 things I’d spend more on:

1. Food

2. Photography

3. Make up

And we spent the most time and effort on these, and were lucky to have found vendors that charge quite reasonable prices for all of them.

Next came the hardest thing I had to compromise on: decorations.

So so pretty, but also so so expensive

I think this is probably the bane of all weddings. They cost SO MUCH and it’s very hard for us girls to not care about it cos..well PRETTY THINGS!

But the prices just don’t make sense and no matter how hard I looked (trust me, I received quotations from at least 30 vendors!), they’re all averaging at RM8-10,000 (for decorating the entire hall as we’re not doing it in a hotel/restaurant). We just couldn’t possibly imagine spending that much on something that is so…temporal and impermanent.

Working in a non-profit, we know how much that means to the people we serve and it can probably feed 3-5 families for months.

Anyway, long story short, we found a much cheaper vendor and had to compromise a little on the quality (using fake flowers, minimizing the decor and forgoing things like photobooth, pretty table set ups etc).

The dress is also one of those potentially expensive things, so I finally settled with a mid-priced saree (RM500) and a nice bridesmaid dress for my “white dress” during the tea ceremony (RM180), instead of renting (~RM800) or buying (~RM2000).

 

3. Negotiate your way out of things

I know negotiating may not be the most comfortable experience, but if it involves money you don’t have/can’t afford/can’t imagine wasting, then you gotta do it. We first had to negotiate quite a bit with our parents to reach a middle ground with what they want for our wedding to be, and what is practical for us. That means cutting down the guest list, not doing everything like giving dowries etc)

Then there was also negotiating with the vendors to decrease the budget. For eg, the makeup artist was going to charge me RM1,600 but I cut out the two saree changes and two sets of accessories so we brought down the price to RM800. The photographers and videographers were RM3,500 and RM4,000 respectively in the beginning but we reduced the hours and other offerings like albums etc and brought it down to RM4,700 for both (~RM3,000 saved!).

 

4. DIY/get help where ever you can

I’m not a huge fan of DIY-ing stuff cos it takes a lot of effort and energy (especially for things like decorations) and I don’t want to impose on our friends/family for help but there are really some items that you can totally do yourself.

We’re DIY-ing our invitation cards (thanks to help from a reader, Dayna, who does beautiful calligraphy and is incredible nice and patient) and our door gifts (with help from my best friend, Esther).


RM0.37 each card, as opposed to the usual RM2-3/card that shops charge. But will be a pain tying them up lol

Oh! We also cut out the redundant pre-wedding shoot and just got our friends to take our pictures for us during our holiday in Bali (destination pre-wedding woot! lol).


Pretty good innit? Thanks to the talented Ida!


Connie took this beautiful one at the beach :)

They’re definitely not like the usual pre-wedding shoots with beautiful white dresses and great lighting, but hey it’s free! We also took a few with self-timer which turned out quite ugly hahaha but we had a lot of fun trying it out :D

Anywayyyy, I think that’s all I have for now, and I’ll write another one after the wedding to see if there’s anything else (and hopefully everything goes well so I can share more tips after) and I’ll share with you guys some of the vendors and their prices k! I did a lot of online research looking for them and really wished there were more reviews so I’ll do my part to add to that collective knowledge management.

Until then, hope it’s been helpful and if you’re on this journey as well, good luck and let’s rejoice in the fact that we’re all embarking on an exciting life journey together and the wedding is but a small part of it all!

p.s: disclaimer: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to spend more on your wedding, if you want to and can afford to! I love attending nice weddings and secretly feeling the real flowers and admiring the beauty of it all, but I’m writing this for people who can’t and don’t want to spend too much on their wedding but feel like they have to.

The ridiculousness of planning a wedding

Hi all, today I’m going to talk about the ridiculousness of wedding planning (yes, call me Capt Obvious haha. I can’t possibly be talking about how to bake a cake with a suggestive title like that).

It’s 1 am and I should be sound asleep or at least be in bed playing Plants vs Zombies as per my usual nightly routine, but I’ve been on my laptop since god knows when doing research upon research on makeup artists, photographers and wedding venues.

So, when 2016 came around 3 weeks ago (which I never got to wish everyone! So belated Happy New Year all!), instead of writing a reflective post on how 2015 has been for me, I was busy panicking about my wedding. You see, we haven’t done much the last 8 months since we got engaged because well..planning a wedding can’t be that hard right…..

I mean, you’re essentially just planning for a weekend only, why need a whole year to do it? I saw the checklist, we made an excel etc, but we just never got why the rush and stress. I also never got how people had to take loan, or blew more than RM100k for their wedding. Man….now I know why.

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So I started with doing plenty of googling, Pinterest-pinning, Facebook-stalking all all that modern planning jazz. Ok, doesn’t look that hard. All I need to do is find a random place, decorate it with flowers, get ready, done!

But then I started realizing that the options are limitless! Do we wanna do it in a restaurant (chinese? western?), a hotel, a hall, a bungalow, a cafe…?? Do we want a rustic wedding, a traditional one, a quirky one, a romantic one..?? How many ceremonies/events do we want to have? What kind of decor? What color? What kind of dress? Who to invite?

AND IT JUST GOES ON.

AND ON.

AND ON.

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There are so many insane things going on at the same time, and so many different opinions! I’m sure you married ones can attest to this stress, and you unmarried ones are wishing that it’ll never come down to this for you.

Worst of all? We are two SUPER thrifty people. You guys know how stingy I can be..I never buy anything more than RM50 and if I have to, I take a long time deciding and it drives me crazy. Karthik on the other hand, is just a minimalist. He doesn’t spend if he doesn’t have to. And in his opinion, this whole shebang is unnecessary.

We had an honest conversation about how much we are willing to throw in for our wedding. We reluctantly came up with RM20,000 total, cash we’re willing to part for this wedding.

HAHAHA it was impossible to plan with that amount. Plus, we have to do the Chinese ceremony, the Indian ceremony and we’d like to have a dinner too.  3 events for 20k. We can’t hire a wedding planner with that budget, neither can we afford ANYTHING. Plus, we don’t want our parents to pay for anything if possible, since this is our day after all (well, not all of it is..actually almost 80% of it isn’t lol)

I started emailing for quotations and when the rates came back, my heart sank.

Venues cost RM150-200 at least per person, my budget is RM100 including alcohol.

Makeup artists cost RM1000+. My budget is RM500.

Dresses cost RM1500-2000. My budget is RM500. Plus I have to get a saree too whoopdeedoo.

Photography…oh gosh, photography costs RM3000 PER session. I have 3 sessions (granted, I don’t need them all to be photographed..) and my budget is RM3000 for all 3. Including videography if possible.

Man how naive we were. Cherry on the cake? The Indian makeup artists are all booked already. I thought I could get them so I could do makeup, hair and saree draping altogether, but they’re all booked!!! One of them even told me that I should’ve booked a year in advance.

How..is…that..possible.

Why does this cost RM1500?? I mean it’s absolutely stunning and I’d love to look like that on my wedding day, but..RM1500? Some of my students’ parents earn half that amount a month to feed 5 in the family!

Since when did weddings become so expensive? Most importantly, how do people afford this?

The vendors I’ve asked are probably not the most expensive in the market, so how much can it actually go up to?

This is unfathomable insanity. And what’s even worst is obviously there’s a part of me that’s just desperately hoping that I can have a fairytale wedding too. One that people would go “wow this wedding is the best I’ve been to ever!”. One that would get my heart racing everytime I think about it, years down the road. One that we would show videos and pictures to our kids and grandkids and they’d hold their breath, marvelled at such beauty and showcase of love.

But who am I kidding?

My wedding is one of many my friends would attend this year.

Our memory of our marriage will not be based on the wedding, but on the love and life we’ve built together.

Our kids and grandkids would probably skim through the pictures halfheartedly, distracted by fancier gadgets and cooler stories.

I just need to tell myself to let go and let live a little. Yes, it’s once in a lifetime, but so are many things like my first step and my first period. I didn’t have pictorial proof of either but they did happen and were both equally as momentous in my memory.

So I guess here starts my #budgetwedding planning! I’ll document it as much as possible so I can hold myself accountable to this post and this possibly shortlived realization on a late somber night.

I’m getting married!

So I have no idea if anyone is even reading my blog anymore given the lack of activity in the past…6 months hahaha gosh I’m a horrible blogger. I’ve been meaning to blog about this proper on my blog but you know how it is…life just catches up with you. Also I Dayre quite a bit (it’s like blogging, but on mobile. Check out the app and follow me!).

Like the title suggests, yes I’m getting married! It doesn’t feel so shocking or jaw-dropping to me now that it’s been FIVE months since I got engaged haha. But I still want to post it here since my proper blog here works better as a journal than dayre, and I just want to make sure most of my important life moments are recorded in this platform that means so much to me.

I won’t be writing a detailed post of how everything went down, which you can read about it here: https://dayre.me/sweatlee/vhSydBOHpU. A LOT of things happened prior, during and after the proposal so do read it if you’d like some drama in your life hahah

Oh! You can also read the proposal story from HIS point of view too: Part 1, Part 2 - Quite nice and refreshing to read this from the guy’s POV cos it’s usually the girl who tells the story! But now I know how much work actually went into making the proposal a successful one :D

So yeap, I’m now someone’s fiance (and have been for the last 5 months). It still feels a little strange at times cos I still feel like I’m so young, but in actual fact I’m in my late twenties now! It’s been more than a decade since I started blogging, and it’s quite weird to see how much of my life has been documented in here. All my ups and downs, all my joy and sadness, all my love stories with myself, others, with education, all of ME.

And now you’re going to see me become someone’s wife! And soon…someone’s mother! and soon…ok not so soon, someone’s grandmother! HAHA

But ok let’s rewind a little from the grandmother part. Now it’s the joyful challenge of wedding-planning T___T

Which to be honest, hasn’t progressed very far at all *weak laugh

It’s honestly such a PAIN! I mean, I do want to enjoy it as much as we can together, but it’s been quite stressful. If you google wedding planning, you’ll find crazy amount of resources and it gets overwhelming. Doesn’t help that Pinterest has soooo many beautiful pictures and you have this unrealistic expectation of what your wedding could look like.

And then..you talk to your parents..and things just start getting downhill from there.

As you can probably tell from the above picture, we’re both of different races, which makes the intercultural bit a nightmare! Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s beautiful and kinda nice and we’ll have very cute babies (hopefully lolololol). But let me give you an example why it’s a nightmare. My mom picked a few dates for us after consulting with a chinese fortune teller, and then now his mom will go consult with an indian fortune teller too to get a suitable date according to the indian calendar!

Which is why we STILL have not chosen a date yet hahahha..ha…ha *sad laugh

And this is just the date ok. Don’t get me started on the kinds of CEREMONIES we need to do, and what I need to WEAR and who we need to INVITE. *tears hair out

Anyway, I guess it is quite exciting lah. We’ve started planning slowly on our Excel sheet labeled “THE WEDDING”, have looked at a few venues, and I even have my own secret board on Pinterest! Heh

ISN’T THIS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BRIDE YOU’VE EVER SEEN?? I’m so happy I get to wear saree cos I love how it covers unflattering parts and still look so elegant and demure. Plus, the makeup and jewelry are beautiful <3

So…that’s all I have on my secret Pinterest Board HAHA. I’m the laziest and most unenthusiastic bride in the world. It’s funny because I think I’ve thought of how my wedding would be like before, but when it’s finally time to get married I just couldn’t be bothered. So much unnecessary work and effort and money!! for what? Ok I guess for the most important day in your life. No big deal wtf

I think I need a wedding planner, but I’m also determined to plan this wedding under very very low budget. Say, RM20,000 max? Is that even possible? I’ve asked around and the average price for weddings these days is anything from RM40,000-200,000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111 *FAINTS

Ok to redeem myself, I’m not that lazy la, I have been doing a bit of research. On some nights when I have trouble sleeping, I’d google for wedding venues and read reviews from people who’ve gotten married. Actually, you know what, I should totally blog about it cos it’s actually quite difficult to find a lot of blogs documenting their wedding-planning journey!

I need to find a way to hold myself accountable though cos what might happen is you’ll read my next blog post 6 months later and I’m already married wtf hahaha #lazybrideislazy

Q: How was life in college like?

So I’ve been a slacker lately. In my defense, my work got a little intense so everytime I find time on weekends, I kinda want to just do nothing. Which is exactly what it sounds like – I’d just sprawl myself comfortably on the sofa and read nonsense, or stare into space. Kinda regret it now cos I feel like I’m just wasting my time away! At least if I had spared 1 hour to blog, the post would be at least more immortalized then me wasting time reading stuff on elitedaily.

Anyway, thank you Tina for suggesting this topic. I was thinking quite hard on what to blog about, and since I talk about my daily life on my dayre, I don’t feel like repeating them again here. So the question was: Could you tell us how life was like in college?

To my older readers, you probably would know quite a bit since I blogged quite religiously throughout my 4 years in college. But I thought it’d be quite interesting for me to reflect on this question now, almost 4 years after I’ve graduated.

In a nutshell, college was a bittersweet time for me. I’m a little conflicted about my experience actually cos I know I was quite miserable at times, but in retrospect, I did have a great time as well. I think my blog portrayed more of the happy side of things, so I’m going to share more about what it was actually like.

1. I had a hard time fitting in

I had gone to a public school in Malaysia all my life, and in addition to that, I only learnt to speak English when I moved to KL when I was 11. So although I was fairly confident with my written English, I only got to know the extent of how horrible my spoken English was in my first year. On top of everything, I had such a hard time articulating my thoughts, what more have opinions on things. (Opinions? What’s that??)

I remember my first ever class and we were asked to read a few books beforehand. In class, suddenly everyone was talking about what they felt about the readings. I was going to say how much I liked the book, but then I realized everyone had such deep things to say! They were so critical and analytical, and I could hardly keep up. I spent the rest of the semester barely saying anything. Even when I did speak, I was so self-conscious of my accent and how I was pronouncing things wrong, that I could hardly form proper sentences in my head.

That was just in class, I had an even harder time trying to fit in socially. Thank god I knew Audrey and I was close to her and Angie in my first year, so I didn’t feel that bad.

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Sorry Aud, I messed up your eye makeup, now you look like a raccoon hahaha

But imagine this, I was incredibly social in Malaysia and I never had to be alone. It was in college that I spent so much time on my own (which probably aided in my self-development thankfully) and had to be very self-reliant.

 

2. I had to work so much harder to prove myself

Following from point 1, I had to be a lot more hardworking in college. All through out my life prior to that, I was a straight As student. It wasn’t easy, but it was nothing compared to college. Because I wasn’t participating much in class discussions, I had to work ten times harder in my other assignments. I had to start writing papers way before the deadline to make sure I get an A and I had to see my professors one-on-one just so they know I care about the class. All this resulted in my good grades in college, but at the expense of my social life.

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nth night at the library, writing papers after papers

I was also always working different part-time jobs just so I have enough money to go out with friends/save up to come back home in summers. Cleaning dishes, running after balls during sport games, clearing trash, cleaning floors etc. For some reason I was always doing blue-collar jobs wtf

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 Just keep washing..just keep washing

 

3. I went through bouts of depression

Of course this is something I never talked about with anyone or on my blog, but it was so long ago and since I’m already talking about college so might as well.

It was hard when Audrey and Angie graduated after my first year, and I realized then that shit, I hadn’t actually made a lot of friends besides them. Shanshan, my only other good friend, had to take the semester off cos she had a benign tumor and had to go through surgery and recovery.

I spent a lot of my time alone that year, seeking solace in my computer cos that was the only form of social life I had. I blogged a lot, talked online to my friends back home, watched tons of korean drama while eating lunch AND dinner alone wtf. I really saw my blog as my main refuge and source of joy cos that was where I had acceptance and recognition. Haha writing it out now made it sound so pathetic, but I guess there’s nothing to be ashamed of cos it got me through tough times.

But thankfully, I got over it a little bit and did make a few more good friends after that. Shanshan was also around in my senior year, along with Giang and Lali so I had a really good senior year!

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Shanshan, the most beautiful person I know inside and outside

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Giang, who taught me self-independence and reliance

Photo on 2010-09-16 at 21.35 #3
Lali, who constantly challenged me on who I want to be and can be. I owe a lot of my self-realization to her.

 

4. I learned the most valuable lesson in life

Don’t get me wrong, despite a lot of the setbacks in college, I never regretted going to Mt Holyoke. It was there that I learned the most important lesson in my life: that the pursuit of knowledge is life-long.

Coming from a very rigid education system, I never saw learning for the sake of learning before. It was always for a certain reason; learn to get As, to do well in exams, to get a good jobs, always in that order. It was in college that I was challenged in the way I thought and perceived the world around me. My professors and college mates inspired me tremendously to constantly outperform what I thought I could achieve, and ultimately showed me the beauty of constantly learning about the different things in life.

In fact, in one of my FAV professors’ (Jim Hartley) parting speech to us, he said:

“Look at the person on your left, and the person on your right. In a hundred years, they will both be dead. (dramatic pause) We spend our lives worrying about things that are in the present, things that are transitory and are insignificant in the greater scheme of things.
From henceforth, spend your life thinking about things that are eternal, not temporary. Spend your life thinking about things that will matter 100 years from today, things that mattered 100 years ago and will continue to be important.

Your education has not ended, in fact it starts right after your graduation. Think about the everlasting effect of your existence, read the great books, read because it matters. Your education starts when you start learning about stuff because it matters, and the only questions that should matter are why are you here? what’s the purpose of your life?”

These powerful words got me back to Malaysia, got me into Teach For Malaysia and got me to where I am today, 4 years later. As I continue on my perpetual soul-searching journey, I’m glad I’m always reminded of all the great things I’ve learned in college.

I wouldn’t have been half the person I am today if it wasn’t for Mt Holyoke and TFM.

So…I guess all in all, college was an interesting point in my life. I became a completely different person after that, in both good and and not so good ways.

I became a lot more “intellectual” for lack of a better word, and started having more opinions about everything around me. I started developing my own stances on things, and thought a lot more about the meaning of my existence and the legacy I want to leave behind. Things that I’ve never been pushed to think about before.

But I also became a lot more reserved and less idealistic, took off my rose-tinted glasses and became more pragmatic. Maybe it’s about growing up too, but my moments alone pushed me to be more melancholic and solemn as well.

So yeah, sorry for the long answer to a simple question, but there you go! 

At the dentist

I was sitting on the uncomfortably hard dentist chair, staring deep into the soul of the bright white light above me. It has been a while since I was last in this exact position, staring at the depths of the almost exact white light.

You know, I hate going to the dentist with a passion. I hate everything to do with it. My stomach churns when I smell the sterility of the tools and equipment. I feel a lump in my throat when I see the dentists motioning for me to sit on that horrid hard dentist chair. The only warmth from this place are those little crinkles in the corners of the dentists’s eyes as they presumably smile at me, voice muffled by the mask they’re wearing.

Everytime as they probe and dig deep into my mouth and as I stare hard at the white light, my thoughts always wander to this exact slice of memory from my childhood.

My earliest memory of going to the dentist is when I was 6 or 7. I was clutching tightly to my grandpa’s shirt from behind as we rode his old motorcycle to the dentist in town. I lived with my grandparents in a small town called Teluk Intan when I was young, and most of my childhood memory of travelling to places revolves around this rugged bike and clutching to someone’s shirt from behind.

So I was clutching to his shirt, and I could hear my grandma yelling from the house as we rode down the tarred road. “Remember to not let her come back until the teeth are removed!” she’d yelled in Hokkien, loud and fierce. I was terrified of my grandma; we all were. She was the iron matron of the household. She was strong, big and abusive. She held the order that was much needed in a household of 5 young children.

I remember one time when I was 8, I had fallen down in school and my right knee was scraped quite badly. I wrapped it with tissue and hid it for days from my grandma, for I knew she would punish me if she’d known that I wasn’t careful. My wound ended up terribly infected and is now a permanent 50-cents-sized scar on my knee.

If you thought the Tiger Mom was bad, you clearly have not met my grandma. She would cane us if we got anything less than 90% in school. She threw me out of the house once and I had to sleep in the darkness of the porch cos I was quarreling with my sister. My sister had it worse though, she was thrown into the dark alleyway behind the house instead. That was probably how she’d developed her fear for rats and roaches. We were no older than 5 or 6 at this point.

So I was at the back of the bike, choking back tears for I knew if my grandma had given such clear instructions, there was no way in hell that I could have escaped this. I contemplated jumping down from the bike and running into the abyss of the palm oil plantation, but I was scared of snakes and I was too much of a coward to make that jump. I would’ve survived though, since I was quite a chubby kid and my fats would’ve been quite a good buffer.

The remaining ride to town was painful and I felt that awful knot in my stomach tightening with each second. At the traffic light, I nudged my grandpa and told him I needed to poop. He either didn’t hear me or had chosen to ignore me as he stared ahead, waiting for the light to turn green.

The butterflies in my stomach intensified as the big black and white sign of the clinic appeared in the horizon. I remember vividly how the interior of the clinic was lined with wooden linings on the walls, a typical decor in old 80s and 90s clinics in small towns. I would come to really hate this sight for the next 3 times I visited this clinic again.

We sat on the wooden bench in silence, my hands clasped nervously together. My grandpa’s face remained stoic as I tried pleading one last time right outside the dentist’s door as the nurse called me in. My grandpa is a man of few words and is often quite a grump, so I knew this would go nowhere.

That same bright light, that same uncomfortable chair. Blinking back tears, I stared deep into the light’s soul as the dentist extracted 3 teeth. I could feel the blood oozing out before he jammed cotton pads wrapped with gauze in my mouth.

My grandpa patted my head when I came out and offered a slight smile, a rare gesture from a man that emotionless. The ride back home was a complete contrast to the one barely an hour prior. I didn’t have to poop anymore and the knots in my stomach were gone, replaced with an overwhelming sense of pride for having gone through the worst ordeal of my 7 years of life. As the wind grazed my face and hair, I smiled and winced at the pain and smiled some more.

My grandma was very nice to me for days after that. She would cook porridge for me and diligently added Marmite into it for taste. She allowed me to stay 30 mins past bedtime so I could watch the TVB drama with her while my siblings and cousins had to go to bed. I remember thinking to myself, wow this is what being a grownup feels like.

This particular memory came back to me as I sat staring at the white light last week. This time, however, this memory was laced with bitterness and sadness. I’d received a picture from my mom last month of my grandparents. My grandad had to amputate both his legs last year and my grandma had to take care of him since. That big, strong person I’d once feared had disappeared completely, replaced with a sullen, pale -looking stranger with sunken cheeks, much skinnier and much older. Age is catching up with both of them, and I felt that griping pain in my chest when I thought of that man who’d patted my head, and that woman who’d fed me Marmite porridge.

20 years later, I’m still on that damned dentist chair, still fighting back tears but for a different reason now. I guess some things don’t change… and some things do.

A brand new start

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!!

A couple of days before 2014 ended, we moved into our new home! Well it’s not exactly ours since we’re just renting, but it’s still extremely exciting for us as we embark on this new journey to be adults.

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It’s a pretty small place, just enough for the two of us, but we wanted somewhere where we’d feel comfortable and want to go home to. This place is pretty far from the city but has great facilities! Shops are really close by, we feel safe and just love everything to do with this place. Plus, it’s brand new so we don’t need to do tons of cleaning.

One huge sofa, one table, a bed, kitchen cabinet and a few shelves, and this place is all furnished!

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It has a gym too..which I’ve yet to use. I really need to cancel my gym membership now.. :(

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Time to build our bookshelf..

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Tada, and I did this almost single-handedly too! Super pleased with it cos it’s only RM59 from Ikea :D :D #elcheapoisback

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The wardrobe was quite difficult to transport in a Myvi and took two days to assemble, but also very very happy with it cos it’s only RM299. It’s almost impossible to find a 3 door wardrobe for this price anywhere!

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On NYE, we had our first group of visitors over to celebrate New Year! Thank you for coming all the way here despite the traffic Jammie, Kelvs and Hawa <3

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Before the clock struck 12.

We wanted to watch the fireworks in Desa Park but we heard the traffic there was HORRIBLE. So we went downstairs and hoped that we’d be able to see it from here instead.

True enough…

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TADA! Very lucky to get a clear view of the 8-min fireworks show!

No need to get stuck in traffic for hours, no need to wade through human traffic in an overcrowded place, no need to wait aimlessly making small talks. So happy T______T I love my new place T____T

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The next day, we chilled at home talking about everything and nothing. Suddenly spoke about a business idea and this is Kelvs, who immediately sprung into action creating a business plan and pitching it to us. Lol so that’s how we started our year.

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We watched this indie film about multiple realities called “Coherence” projected on our wall after that. Movie started out slow but ended up being a surprisingly good film!

The pic is not of Coherence, it’s the new Hindi film called PK staring Aamir Khan, which we had to stop halfway while watching cos the subtitle sucked so bad and I couldn’t understand a thing. Need to start learning Hindi so I can be a true blue Indian woman.

☑ Worn saree (multiple times)
☑ Tied own saree (with youtube’s help)
☑ Eat Indian food on a weekly basis
☑ Prayed at temples
☑ Celebrated Deepavali
☑ Watched most popular Hindi and Tamil films
☑ Can recite a few famous Rajinikanth quotes
☑ Watched a few Indian movies in theater
☐ Cooked Indian food
☐ Speak Tamil/Hindi

Close..close..

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This is from today where Karthik made freshly-brewed coffee with our new coffee machine generously sold to us at a very good price from a blogger friend (thanks Jen!), and we spent all afternoon lazing around drinking coffee and listening to songs on Spotify.

I can’t believe we’re such adults now, living on our own and all that. It sometimes still feels very strange that I’m now in my late 20s. Can you believe it?? If you’ve been reading since I started blogging, can you believe that we’re both (if you were presumably in your teens when you first started) in our late 20s??!?!?!

We’ve passed our quarter life crises, have completed our studies, have worked a few years, are at a marriageable age (HAH) and in a couple of years, will probably have kids :O :O :O I still feel so much like a kid, no idea how I can take care of more kids! (as much as I LOVE kids)

Funny how being an adult is so daunting, no matter how long I’ve been an adult.

I think the scariest part is having the freedom to decide how I want to live my life. When I was younger, it didn’t quite matter how I want to live my life, since I feel like I have tons of opportunity to change things around. Now that I’m close to being 30, every day seems so..important. It’s like if I don’t choose wisely how I spend my days now, I’ll never get those days back ever again and my life will remain unaccomplished and mediocre forever.

Ok I need to restructure my thoughts around this better before I write them out so it doesn’t sound so bleak and sad haha. Why am I always still at a soul-searching phase?? How come it doesn’t ever end!

Anywayyyyyy I’m going to start the year the healthy way by going for a swim now, hope you’ll have a great 2015 ahead!

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From the both of us :)

This year, I’m anticipating a thousand times more “So when are YOU getting married??” questions. How dreadful T__T You’ll find out when we send you a card, asking that question just makes everyone feel awkward…..
And having been to so many weddings this year, I don’t think I’ll ever be ready. There’s way too much pressure so if I ever do get married, I’ll invite 100 people at most! Oh wait I haven’t talked about my sister’s super small and intimate wedding. Maybe in the next post!

Merry Christmas!

Andddd…I’m sick this Christmas. Whoop dee doo! The good news is, I’m on leave till next year so lots of time to recuperate at home!

The not so good news is I HATE being cooped up at home. On the extroversion scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being someone who literally needs to talk in her sleep cos she can’t stand silence and needs to be around people so much it’s creepy, I’m probably like a very strong 9. I need to be surrounded by sights and sounds all the time that it’s annoying. Plus, I seriously DO talk in my sleep hahahah

So I’ve been home recovering all day yesterday and today I’m out despite still sneezing and coughing. Typing this in yet another hipster cafe cos I’m cool like that wtf. So tempted to have latte but forced to drink chamomile, which is equally as expensive T__T

Also, the exciting news is, we’re moving to a new home soon :)

p.s: FINALLY, 4 years later, I’ve finally updated my About page. You can read it here.

Ok I’m easing into this. Changed my theme (decided to go with a simple minimalist one to reflect my age and maturity ahem) and background (still looks weird with the rough transition if you scroll down, cos it’s one image) and spent the last hour playing with the favicon so now I have a ❄ next to my url! It’s a snowflake cos my name means snow in Chinese. I would choose a sweat drop but it’s ugly wtf

Alright enough work for today, time to take a break and start blogging tomorrow. I took 5 days of leave just to get rid of my 230801 accumulated leave days so now I don’t know what to do with all this free time! In fact, I was on leave today but still went to work half day cos I have sucky work-life balance hahaha. Aud said I should REALLY start blogging again (she’s said this to me everytime we met this year……) so I thought I’ll REALLY do it this time.

Merry Christmas everyone and have a great break from your daily routine! Stay tuned for more updates tomorrow :D

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