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!

A day in the life of Cikgu Suet

Hello I have a few minutes today since my lessons tomorrow are all planned, so thought I’d write a little here!

Before I continue, I just want to apologize for the lack of updates, and even if I do update it’s all about teaching. It’s just that: 1. teaching consumes my entire life now and 2. it doesn’t seem too appropriate for a teacher to be posting too many camwhore pictures etc (plus, surprise surprise I’m not that vain anymore!). So…sorry that I’m no longer the same silly and stupid sweatlee.com 🙁

Anyway, I have a few pictures that I took over the weeks so I’m going to write about a day in my life as a teacher!

I wake up in the morning around 6.30 am and get ready for school (like a student hahah).

When I get to school (which is only a 2-minute walk away), I pack the materials for my classes immediately. My schedule is really packed everyday, I usually have back-to-back classes and if I’m lucky, 40 mins-1 hour between classes to photostat materials etc.

This is one of my form 1 classes! I’m actually not allowed to post pictures of my students since they’re under 18 (it’s apparently a law in Malaysia) so here’s one of their backs haha. I’m pretty sad that I can’t post their pictures because I’m planning to write some of their stories here with pictures for effect but guess I’ll blur their faces or something..

I hate making them copy questions from board cause it’s a waste of class time and I think it’s a lot more efficient if I could give them photocopied questions to answer. BUT we have to pay to photocopy and I’ve already spent more than RM100 so far for my 6 classes so.. 🙁 Now I get why teachers make us copy the questions.

Actually, now that I’m a teacher, I totally get why teachers teach the way they do in Malaysia.

You have NO idea the stuff that we have to do. More than 50% of our time has to be devoted to a lot of other unnecessary administrative work and it’s so tiring to maintain our energy in all our classes. Sometimes I just want to be a teacher who asks students to copy notes and sits while they copy cause I have no energy at all! Thank god so far I’ve managed to remain super active but can you imagine how it’s like for a teacher who has been teaching for years? I don’t blame them for being worn out.

In the picture above, the seating arrangement is a little weird because I got so fed up of the kids complaining that they can’t see the board (it’s true, the board is terrible) so I dragged their tables to the front. The front kids were actually like 15cm from the board. Now they can’t complain anymore!

Ok continue. So I teach till around 2.40 pm and will finally get to sit. Sometimes I’ll eat my bun for breakfast/lunch but if I didn’t buy any then I’ll have to wait a little longer.

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, there’ll be cocurriculum so we’ll have to stay in school till 4.30-5pm.

This was taken during our Merentas Desa activity last week. ALL the kids have to run 8km for that two days. I felt so bad for them cause they were already so tired from school and some of them didn’t even have time for lunch yet!

But it IS nice to run around the paddy fields 🙂

I’d choose to run here over congested city roads anytime!

After running, they had to sit under the BLAZING HOT SUN to listen to some speech. Super kesian!!! I sat with them to know how it feels and seriously it was not fun at all. I think teachers should sit under the sun with the kids to know how they actually feel everytime during assembly.

This was taken yesterday during the house practice. We have a very nice big field 🙂

Anyway! Around 5pm, I’ll go back to the staff room to pack my things. By then, I’d have been wayyy too tired for anything else and just want to shower and nap.

Then I would punch out and collect my mail. Got a postcard from Melissa! I have no idea which Melissa this is. Melissa Kong is that you???

I feel so loved!

When I get back home around 5.30ish, I’ll shower right away and die for a while on my bed. Lunch is out of the question, I just need some sleep.

Then I’ll wake up and cook dinner! We don’t have a fridge (cause we’re poor teachers) so I’ll eat whatever we have in the kitchen. Here’s an awesome meal of rice with omelet. Looks simple but it’s really good ok!

Sometimes I’m too tired to cook so I’ll eat outside. There’s a chinese restaurant, a mamak and a tom yam shop nearby.

Then I get back and mark my papers/homework and plan lessons for the next day. Planning takes a huge amount of time and if I don’t plan my lessons ahead, my classes will definitely not go well.

I go to bed around 12.30am every night because I cannot function without at least 6 hours of sleep!

On weekends, I’ll key in students’ homework marks etc in the tracker. We have to track each and every student’s progress, which is very hard if you have around 150 students :S I basically don’t have weekends at all..

That’s basically my life for the past one month that I’ve been a teacher!

Oh I also took plenty of photos last week cause for CNY, my dad and sister came back home! This is the first time in many years that we’re all together so it’s a momentous occassion!

Waiting for my sister and mother to finish their makeup at the photo studio. We were there to take our family photo! Can you see my brother and Peter (sis’ bf) sleeping at the back wtf

Yay family photo! Bad quality cause I sneakily took this picture from the computer.

I love my siblings! <3

Went back to Teluk Intan for Chinese New Year!!!!!!! So happy to be back and so happy to be getting my first angpau in 5 years!

Pete and my grandma downing shots together hahahhaa. My grandma is super hardcore ok!

With my cousin

Ok now I want to show you a picture, but you must promise to still love me after this.

Promise?

Promise??

Promise??????

So because we were so bored while visiting relatives (somemore some of them got no cookies in their houses how can!!!!), we had a “See who’s the ugliest competition”

Guess who won?

Me! wtf

Sigh such striking beauty

Chapped lips, big teeth, what more can you possibly want in a girl?

Anyway, *abrupt* we went to Singapore after that!

Yays!

Walked until I wanted to die.

By the way, I lost some weight recently. Conclusion: be a teacher if you wanna lose weight! I’ve been trying to lose weight for an eternity but never did so I’m quite happy! But I’ve also been sick and have not been eating well, plus teachers have to move a lot.

Ok the end have to sleep now. I just want to take this opportunity to congratulate myself for successfully finishing my first month of school T________T *tears of joy

Things are definitely getting more difficult now. Kids are misbehaving more often now that they’re used to me, and my energy level has been quite low but everyday I see something that inspires me to be a better teacher.

Rakis, an orang asli kid from my most challenging class, came to me today and said “Cikgu, saya faham SEMUAAAA yang cikgu ajar dalam kelas!!!” (teacher, I understood everything you taught in class!) with a huge grin. He was so proud of himself for being able to answer the questions, and looking at his proud smile made me cry a little inside.

This small boy has failed all his subjects before this and has probably not understood much in class before. He cannot read and write, and yet he is so hardworking in my class. All the kids around him are so disruptive, but he has always paid full attention to me when I teach. I’m just so inspired by him.

When I was exiting the class, I saw him walk to another boy and said “Amirul, cikgu ajar senang nak faham kan? Saya faham SEMUAAAA hari ini!” (Amirul, it’s easy to understand what teacher taught right? I understood everythinggg!) with his huge cheeky grin.

I just wanted to hug him there and then and tell him I will do everything I can to make sure he will succeed. Rakis, you don’t know this, but you inspire me in so many ways to not give up and to be a better teacher.

p.s: very impressed with myself for writing this super long post hahah

Kem SKORlah!

Looking at my schedule for the next few months and years, looks like I’ll only have time to blog once a week now. But! Today’s post is realllllly exciting (for me at least) because it’s a summary of my extremely exciting and challenging week!

This is from last week:

Me with Jacintha and Oga. We were waiting to take pictures with Deborah Henry who was there with Joyce Tagal, Edmund Bon and Zain HD for a session on inspiring youth leaders, but everyone was trying to take pictures with her so we gave up and just took one of ourselves hahah.

This was on Sheau Wen’s birthday! Muzzie was singing Happy Birthday to her, it was so sweet!

I love everyone who’s here with me, all 49 other Fellows and 10+ staff members. We’re like one HUGE happy family and are always there for each other!

A session with Brett, the founder of Teach First UK! He flew in from London just to see us!

Jasmine, Victoria, Connie, Priscilla and Nina!

The day before the D Day, everyone was busy working on our posters for our classes!

Worked the entire day but it was so fun cause we could hear everyone going “eh pass me scissors!” “who got silver marker pen??” “wahhh your poster so nice!” and the team spirit was just so strong!

Karthik and I with our posters. The one he’s holding is of our motto in class “I want, I can and I will!” (we get them to say this quite often and believe it or not but they’ve actually begun to internalize it!) and our BIG goal for the class after 4 weeks: 30% increase in achievement! I’ll explain the fire poster later.

Golden tickets for students who participate in class! They got so excited when they saw us giving this out and participation rate increased dramatically, and this was even before they knew what these were for!! Hahahha

The tickets are for a raffle at the end of the week 🙂

The amazing training team is beyond amazing. On Monday, our first day of school, they stuck quotes on our doors.

They also gave us free hugs and made a huge banner that said “GOOD LUCK transformational teachers!” and when we came back they held up one that said “Welcome Back, Teachers!”

On Tuesday, they gave us chocolates with more inspirational quotes. On Wednesday, we got individualized cards that say “Happy Wednesday! You’re halfway through your first week!”, on Thursday, more encouraging notes on doors and on Friday, a huge cheer for all of us.

I don’t think any of us would have made it through our first week without their support and love!

We have 6 vans that bring us to our two respective schools every morning and our journey to the schools takes 45 minutes each way.

We usually start the journey at 7am, teach till 12pm, get back and rest, continue training till 7pm and work on our lesson plans till 1 am. Repeat everyday. I’m exhausted!!!!

Before the kids got in!

Our amazing kids!!!!! We had a really fun ice-breaking game where they had to pass an orange around under 30 seconds. They were all sitting really far away at first and they had to figure out how to make the goal.

They got to 20 seconds, and we made it even shorter, and shorter.

To only 2 seconds!

We didn’t even tell them anything but they figured that they have to get closer…and closer..and finally put only their fingers together to “pass” the orange to everyone! We used this activity to show them that the goal may look ambitious but it’s definitely do-able with teamwork! (didn’t tell them that it also means there are shortcuts in life :P)

Our first day was quite bad because we had to give them their diagnostics to see their current level. They’re at about 10% for Math and 40% for English – failing both of them! They are failing Math primarily because they cannot understand the questions that are in English. The effects of PPMSI on real kids in somewhat more suburban-rural schools, which is about 70% of the schools in Malaysia!!

Lotsa work to do for us then!

This poster is part of our Classroom Management Plan. If a student misbehaves (talk when teacher is talking, not listen to instructions, defiant etc), we put them in the yellow part and give them a verbal warning. If they get to the orange part, they have to meet with us and if they get to the red part, we will call their parents.

No one got to the yellow part even, our kids were extremely well behaved! Which I really think is because of our other Classroom Management Plan:

We fully exercise our Classroom Policies: be courageous, be respectful and to have teamwork. We constantly explain this in great detail and point a lot of our objectives and activities back to this and it works!

But this is the one that worked the best! It’s a Happy-o-Meter, and when the whole class behaves really well and are really participative, we move the thermometer up one scale. When it gets to 10, we give them a reward! This week’s reward is a 2-minute dance party (which we just did today!!!) and next week’s is Game Party!

This week went so well. It was rough at first because they weren’t used to all this, but once they got invested in the classroom culture, everything went so smoothly! From 0% participation rate, they now fight to answer questions. We just had a dance party today and it was awesomeeee! They were so shy and didn’t know what to do at first when we blasted the music, but after teaching them the lightbulb and pet the dog dance wtf, everyone had so much fun! They all went back with a hugeeee smile 😀

Oh, we also have individual behavior log for every student, and they have to get us to rate their behavior and performance at the end of the day. It works like a charm because it shows that we have our eyes on every single one of them! We always forget to rate them but they will constantly remind us at the end of the day.

I love my kids, they’re so awesome *tear

I wanted to give them a sense of ownership of their class, so I asked them to name themselves. The Justin Bieber fan club in my class came up with “Never Say Never”, which I thought would be apt for our motto hahaha. But the rest of the class decided on Intelligent Geniuses! I greet them every morning with “Hello my intelligent geniuses!” and “Bye, have a nice day today geniuses!”

The view outside the school, beautiful!

Some of the kids in our school. Here, they were singing happy birthday to one of the Teach For Malaysia staff.

This is me, dead. from lesson plan preparation. It takes about 4-5 hours to plan and get the materials ready for each lesson T___T

Proud of our hardwork!

I have more pictures and stuff to talk and show you guys but I’m so tired! I just made a huge Shout Out Board in our class and the responses were crazy! I tell them to leave us notes and write anything they want on the board, and we’ve gotten so many “I love today’s class!” and “I want to learn more!”. I also got a “Tak suka duduk belakang la cikgu” hahaha. We change their seat arrangement everyday to get them used to working with different people everyday.

It was also through this board that I found out that one of my kids was having a very bad day, and we talked about it over lunch. It’s quite a depressing topic and very personal, so I won’t talk about it.

That’s all for now, will try to update more soon! I have so many stories to tell! In fact, I have one story for every single kid in my class because they’re all so unique and interesting. Actually lemme tell one story!

There’s this one kid who’s probably the 2nd weakest in the class. On the first day, he didn’t want to participate much and was very quiet. He didn’t come the next day but he came day after that and saw the change in the classroom. Other kids were already ahead in terms of points (we give kids points for participating) and I guess he wanted to be part of it too.

We also set up a one-on-one session with him to keep him updated about the previous lessons that he missed, and since then his change in behavior was so dramatic. He became a superstar in our class. Still shy and still weak in both English and Math, but he participated regularly and became extremely invested in wanting to learn more. I’m so proud of him *tear

There’s this other boy who is clearly the naughtiest kid in class. He has this very cheeky grin and would make jokes in class. We knew we had to get on this kid’s good side because he was clearly the “leader” here. I think the sweetest words I’ve heard from him was “teacher, I will see you tomorrow!” in perfect English. It means he’s coming the next day and it means I did something right today!

He comes 1 hour early to class everyday and would sit with me to go through our previous lessons. He also likes to make sure I don’t forget my bag.

Ok, for real, that’s all for now!

Institute Day 9

Sorry for the lack of updates! I’m so tired right now I feel like vomiting T_____T We’ve been incredibly busy the past week and this is the only time I have to blog. I’m sacrificing my 1-hr break to blog instead of taking a nap, true commitment *proud

So! First of, I’m obviously alive. Ha ha ha *laughs at own lame joke.

Secondly, we’ve been here for our training for two weeks now, and we’ll be going to school next week!!!!! Super super duper nervous about this because we’ll be teaching real kids now. Teach For Malaysia’s training is composed of both theoretical and practical parts of teaching, and they organized a holiday camp for a few hundred high-need kids so we could try out our crazy creative ideas on them! (but raise their academic achievement too of course, we have pretty ambitious goals)

Week 2, feels like Month 2.

Photobooth time with Kugahn and Kok Hin!

See how many crazy fellows you can fit in one picture! and spot all ze eyebags T___T

my eyebags are so bad they should be illegal hahaha

Team Pioneer- always coming in first!

This is the “how am I doing today?” board in our room. We change the colors of the paper according to our moods so they know how we feel that day.

Filling in the 6 main strategies for highly effective teachers! We follow the Teaching As Leadership model – which is an amazing framework that employs characteristics of a transformational leader into being a teacher.

How a typical session looks like

Dzam with Shannon and Giles who’re our trainers from teach for america and teach first UK. We have 6 phenomenal trainers from both TFA and TF who will be spending the whole two months with us here at Genting!

They are people who have gone through the same program in their home countries and know how it’s like working with a high-need community. Interesting how you can draw parallels between a few so seemingly different countries and learn how to adopt best practices into a more localized context.

I think our trainers are what maketh our training. I expected the training to be amazing, but everything keeps blowing my mind away again and again. They are extremely interesting and engaging, and most importantly very invested and motivated, exactly how we want to be as teachers later. I feel sooo blessed that we got to work with such great people!

If a bunch of Americans and British would put so much effort day in day out to make sure we succeed and make sure our kids achieve, I don’t see why we as Malaysians can’t do the same.

Silly picture to lighten the mood. We’re definitely getting more and more tensed as the day progresses.

We’ve been spending the last few days working on our first ever lesson plan, and it just takes so much effort and time. It’s unlike what I thought most teachers have to do and the amount of work expected to be put into each lesson is crazy. I officially spent about 6 hours planning my first 45-minute lesson.

Taking a quick power nap before we work into the night.

The thing about working with all these super high-achieving people is the fact that everyone is such a perfectionist! We push ourselves so hard and are quite harsh on ourselves, and I’m afraid we might burn out even before we start our actual school year next year.

Like I said, things are getting very tensed these days. We’ve met many people – people who are our biggest stakeholders, the ministry, the education minister, the principals and teachers, our corporate partners, the media – and everyone seems to be expecting so much that we’re all so afraid of failure.

Despite all that fear however, I think it’s what really drives us forward too. We expect the best from ourselves and our kids, and it’s not about having high absurd expectations but having really big goals that I know I can achieve. The training’s been extremely fun though, and I love working with like-minded people with similar values and passion 😀

Anyway too much work tonight so will update more next time! Tell me what you guys want me to talk about, or if you don’t even wanna hear about my training/work at all wtf.

1 day to Institute

Happy picture because this is a happy post!

Happy post because I’m finally leaving tomorrow for Institute (Teach For Malaysia’s training for two months) (back story: I’ll be joining Teach For Malaysia’s first cohort and will be teaching in a rural government school in Negeri Sembilan next year for 2 years)

I’ve been talking and waiting for this day for FIVE months since my graduation, so it feels quite surreal that it’s finally becoming a reality! I just finished packing and it was the hardest packing session I’ve ever done because I cannot bring ANYTHING in my wardrobe T___T

We’re only allowed to wear baju kurung during the formal sessions (7am-9pm everyday), and only trackpants and big t-shirts outside those times. So……yeah…..bye bye pretty dresses, scanty shorts and nice tops for the next 2 months and 2 years. (This is probably my biggest sacrifice :P)

Trackpants from high school days. For some reason, they’re a lot longer and bigger than I’d remembered them to be, I think I’ve shrunk in height. Honey, I shrunk my legs!

Bye bye, my entire wardrobe. Awesome maxi dress from Vanity Dreams.

Cute stationery, moleskin, Murakami, kindle, Teaching As Leadership textbook – I’m all set and ready for Institute!

This was taken on the way to my future school last week. Very picturesque 2.5 hour ride but I got too carsick to fully appreciate the view. There’s no highway to Simpang Durian, and the entire ride there was through extremely winding roads that have no street lamps. I don’t foresee myself coming back for the next 2 years, bye bye civilization!

Other random pictures from my phone:

Very happy day cause I got Murakami’s latest book! I’ve read all his other books so I was pretty determined to get this one as soon as it came out too. Could have gotten it on my kindle, but I’m a true fan *teary eyes from overwhelming loyalty

Before my haircut a few days ago. I was so tempted to get a super short haircut again, but I’ve waited almost two years for my hair to grow from my previous short boycut so I chickened out 🙁

This is all extensions by the way, my hair is not that long

Real hair length

This was taken a while ago while I was still volunteering at the refugee school. I was on a very competitive batu seremban competition with a bunch of 11 year olds. Lost terribly to all of them. The champion of batu seremban in that class was this small Myanmarese boy who was super good!

They were all damn cute, when I was on the verge of losing, everyone kept trying to encourage me. “Teacher, don’t throw so high! Teacher, you can do it!” and when I managed to complete one round, everyone clapped enthusiastically and gave me a “I know you can do it” look T_______T

I love kids so much T____T

We conducted an experiment in class the other day on density columns!

Sorry suddenly jump to a picture of food wtf. This is the making of maggi goreng with luncheon meat

Tastes really good but not as good as mamak standard yet. Need to spend more time standing next to the mamak guy while he cooks so I can steal his skillz

The day I got a pimple so big I almost got swallowed whole by it. Pimple doesn’t look malicious here, but it was so evil that I could hear it plotting for my demise. Popped it THREE times and it finally died a slow painful death. Took 2 weeks to recover. Moral of the story: drink more water

When Angie was here last week! Crashed someone’s birthday party at Kampachi *awkward smile

That’s all, I don’t know when I’ll get to blog again. Do follow my Twitter for more regular updates, especially if you want to know how the training goes and know more about my teacher life!

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Xplay’s next party is here again! The last parties at KK and Sepang were a blast, so this time Xplay is throwing another big party for Kuching folks at Paragon Club on the 19th of November! The best part of this event is definitely DJ Malika, a super hot DJ from Russia AND my favorite DJs at Zouk, Twilight Actiongirls!

Xplay parties are always free, so get your free passes here! : http://on.fb.me/XPLAY11

As with the previous Xplay parties, all you have to do is follow the Xpax (http://facebook.com/xpaxfb) and U.O.X. (http://facebook.com/uoxfb) Facebook pages for more information on how to register and get your FREE passes! Have fun ya’ll, while I go on a no-partying-sabbatical for the next few years 😀

The weekend I almost died from taking too many pictures

Guess who was down in KL last weekend!

My favorite Chinese tourist in her super China pose! Angela was in Singapore last weekend and Audrey and I were supposed to head down to see her, but to save more money, she came up to see us instead <3

Angela is Audrey’s soulmate from college, and someone I’ve grown to really love after spending one year in college with her. Angie, Aud and I all went to the same college although I’m 3 years younger than them (doesn’t look like it, I look like I’m the oldest wtf)

We had ramen at this SUPER awesome place in Fahrenheit. Quite expensive though, RM25-ish per bowl.

A very adorable picture of Tim and Aud!

Poor Tim, had to entertain 3 girls in our bimbo talks about hair, makeup and boyfriend problems. He looked like he enjoyed it though wtf. Angie and I stayed over at Tim’s place so we had somewhat a sleepover and talked a lot about our love lives and he listened very attentively and even gave pretty good input wtf.

We spent the ENTIRE night taking pictures. I wish I was kidding when I said the entire night T____T

It was a Saturday night, we all complained that we were too sleepy and tired so we went back at 10.30pm. Upon reaching home, we suddenly regained tremendous amount of energy and proceeded to camwhore for the next 3 hours while Tim cursed away playing his Starcraft.

A million pictures under the cut. Warning: super narcissistic and vain pictures so I’m a bit shy of them wtf

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Flutters of the heart

Happy things that have been making my very depressing week slightly better:

Having the time to read and just focusing solely on how the plot in the book thickens

Being alone in a very public area with lots of loud chatter – and to not only not mind but actually enjoy the solitude

Girly afternoon tea with my best friend who convinced me to screw my diet and just enjoy the taste of good red velvet cupcakes and macaroons while it lasts

Trying to inject colors to an otherwise dull lesson plan

How did you use to remember the colors of the rainbow? Mine was Michael Jackson Killed His Brother In USA hahaha poor MJ.

Well behaved kids who actually pay attention to everything I say

Making an otherwise boring topic like the convection of heat really fun. This is a mini homemade tornado!

Those pictures were taken with my Ipod touch and edited with Instagram, the rest of the pictures were taken with my camera.

Happy dainty earrings

Creative tag lines by an organization I’m extremely proud to be a part of

Today, we visited a school in Batang Kali for a half-day meet and greet session with 150 students and their parents. All 8 of us future teachers were quite nervous since it’s our first proper school visit where we actually have to interact with our students in full blown Malay since they almost don’t understand English at all.

This school is chosen for Teach For Malaysia fellows to be placed at for 4 weeks during our training, so we had to convince them kids that it’s REALLY fun and they should attend the “summer camp” even though it’s during their year-end holiday. I think we did a great job, cause they were all super enthusiastic at the end of the day! We also had to convince the parents, which wasn’t too hard since all we had to say was it’s FREE and they were sold.

We ran a one-hour long activity filled with games and basically drilling to them that learning can be fun and why education is important, and at the end of the day I was completely drained! Not only did I have to speak out really loud to get their attention (using my teacher voice, NOT to be confused with screaming like a lunatic), I’d also underestimated how absolutely tiring it is to speak in Malay. No idea how will I be able to have the energy to teach for one whole day if I already feel like dying after one hour T__T

But it was all completely worth it cos we were able to get the kids to be excited about school! They were probably just excited to see such young enthusiastic people as their teachers, so I hope they don’t hate us too much when we begin to make them work harder than they’ve ever worked before.

You know what, I think I’m going to really enjoy my next two years 🙂 I foresee lots of “WHY THE HELL AM I DOING THIS TO MYSELF???!” but I just have to tell myself that it’ll all be worth it. And it will be.

Kuching, I’m in love

I’m finally going to blog about my Kuching trip a few weeks ago! These are only 1/3 of the pictures I took though. I’ve also been waiting to blog after Ramadhan cos 90% of my pictures are of food wtf

Anyway I really really enjoyed Kuching. Not as much as I loved Sabah, but a very close contender. The more I go to Borneo, the more I feel like I belong there more than in KL. I always feel like if any place is the true epitome of what I imagine Malaysia is all about, it’ll be East Malaysia. The perfect harmony between very different kinds of people, the breathtaking sights, the serenity with a slight but good blend of chaos, and the hunger for food and nature.

I was expecting lots of REAL cats, but I only saw one small kitteh the entire time I was there. All the other cats I saw were either statues or souvenirs -__-

The first thing I did when I was there was get my hands on some Kolo Mee. How can I not!!! I need to eat THE real kolo mee which I’ve been dreaming of ever since I planned to go Kuching! Will post pictures of food at the end of the post cause there are so many that I need to focus on them properly, also need to build up momentum for the climax!

The waterfront, which is one of my favorite places there. I really hope the river of life in KL will end up becoming like this cos it’s so beautiful! I heard it used to be quite dangerous here though, since the river separates the kampung from the city, and apparently people used to come over to rob tourists all the time..

The spectacular DUN building on the other side of the river, which probably costs more than it should and is placed ironically next to the atap houses of the kampung

If you do go to Kuching, make sure you take the sunset cruise down the river! It’s about RM19 for an hour and is super worth it. The sunset here wasn’t amazing for the first few days but we were lucky to catch the cruise at a good time to see this breathtaking view. The hour-long ride was also a great time to unwind since it’s so calming to hear nothing but the sound of the boat wading through the water and to feel the light breeze of the Borneo wind. That’s if a crocodile doesn’t try to jump on your boat and eat you up.

You can also get a sampan to cross the river for 40 cents, which we did a few times just for the joy of being on the sampan. I have decided that if I do move to Kuching and if I was rich, I’d buy a sampan and row up and down the river all day long *writes it on my Bucket List

Right across the river, there’s a kilang kek lapis that’s called….kilang kek lapis I think hahaha. Bought a few loaves here and loved them!

If you want to know which camera I used to take these pictures.. (an excuse. just so i can post camwhore pictures without looking like i’m posting them without a purpose wtf)

It’s an old Canon G10. There’s the G12 now which is super duper awesome cos it has the rotating screen which you can use to take a million pictures of yourself!!!! *hyperventilates

Carpenter Street, which is right behind Main Bazaar (across the waterfront). Right near this arch, there’s this awesome place that serves amazing pork satay!

I met up with Melissa and Daphne, who were extremely kind to bring me around for the entire day! We were at Bing Coffee, which is a very nice new-age coffee place from Kuching 🙂 Bing, come to KL please, I’ve been looking for a nice hangout cafe here that’s not Starbucks or Coffee Bean but has better coffee than Oldtown. We need our own Malaysian breed of chill out coffee places, and more brownie points for you if you have board games and old mystery novels!

Tiramisu drink from Bing! Which is nice but a little too sweet for me

We went to Damai beach and stayed there for a night just to get away from the city. The beach is nice, but a little too deserted for our liking. We were supposed to stay at Damai Puri for two nights, which was scarily quiet and eerie, so we checked out the next day 🙁 There were only like two other groups besides us, and there was absolutely nothing to do or eat.

It’s good that the Cultural Village is really close by the hotel, so we spent the next morning there!

This is uhh..rumah melanau *smart ass captain obvious

This is in Rumah Bajau I think. I saw the fire burning (fire burning fire burning on the dancefloor #lame) and asked the woman there what they’re cooking since theres nothing on top of the fire. She pointed to the top of the house, and said in a hush hush voice “see those skulls? we need to keep the fire to chase the evil spirits away from them”

Then I looked up and saw 3 skulls looking grimly at me.

!!!!!!!!

*pees in pants

We went for the cultural show next and this bottomless dude asked me up on stage to demonstrate the use of the blowpipe  -___- I was umm..a very good blower.

looking very pleased with self haha

Random: I’ve decided that I like this minimalist makeup the most. Just eyeliner on top and mascara 😀 I’m a grown woman now!

OKAY

TIME TO POST FOOD PICTURES!!!!

Are you excited?? Cause I am! These are the best Kuching food I’ve eaten, food that my kind guides brought me to eat, and food that I’ve found after tons of research. Most of them are also non-halal, sorry!

People in Kuching LOVE their food, that’s all they ever talk about and the pride is a little overwhelming at first. Whenever I tell Kuchingites I’m going to Kuching, they’d be all “you HAVE to eat this from this place, make sure you try this from that place, oh also this this that this YUMS”. My expectations of the food obviously were raised way beyond the bar, and I got very disappointed at first because I mean…I’ve found similar, if not better food in West Malaysia anyway.

But! Thank god I had amazing friends to bring me around and I found better food after that 🙂 Otherwise I’d always moan about being deceived by Kuchingites for years to come. Thanks for bringing me around Eve, Kenny, Melissa and Daphne!

1. Kolo Mee

This is the first bowl of Kolo Mee I had and also the best. Kenny brought me to this place called KY Cafe at Sekama. If you’re staying near the city center, you can’t walk here so get a cab or something!

I had kolo mee at ten different places after that but this is definitely still the best. There are a few places at Jalan Pandungan that are okay too, but just not as good.

This is the other famous one at the Carpenter Street and Bishop Gate junction, it’s at a restaurant called Min Joo or something. Apparently it’s supposed to take up to an hour for them to serve you, but I was lucky cause I went around 2+pm and it was fairly empty. I was also alone, so maybe the uncle took pity of me and served me in ten minutes 😀

2. Sarawak Laksa

Forgot to take picture, but surprisingly this is not one of my favorite dishes although it was undeniably pretty awesome. The best one I had was at Madam Tang’s (Carpenter street). The one at Chong Choon Cafe (Abell Road, have to go before 11am) which Kenny raves about is pretty good but the former is better for me, albeit more expensive.

3. Gong Pia

I love this the most, it’s a snack from Sibu which is basically just toasted sesame bun with marinated meat inside but it tastes soooo heavenly! Definitely a comfort food. This can be found at the Song Kheng Hai food court (stall no. 7 i think, at the back one) located behind Pandungan Road. It’s somewhere behind Bing Coffee.

I ate wayyy too much of this but I couldn’t stop myself T__T Now I can’t get them anywhere at all 🙁

4. Tomato Mee

This is really awesome as well. Basically it’s fried mee drenched in tomato sauce but why is it so goddamn good?!??! The best one was at Song Kheng Hai as well, it’s three stalls away from the Gong Pia stall.

5. Belacan Mee

This doesn’t look amazing but it’s quite unique. Soft noodles with belacan sauce and sotong, yums! Found this at Song Kheng Hai as well, can’t remember which stall but since I ate the Gong Pia so often, I’m now BFFs with the cute gong pia guy and he recommended this stall and the tomato mee stall to me. Can go ask him wtf

When you’re at this foodcourt, don’t forget to get this great refreshing drink! It’s sugar cane + coconut, an ingenious mix that drink stalls in KL should adopt. From stall 1.

6. Midin

Midin is my favorite vegetable dish in Kuching! It’s a locally grown type of fern that tastes great with belacan. This is the cold midin salad from Bla Bla Bla, also quite good. Bla Bla Bla is a pretty expensive restaurant but has amazing food with HUGE servings, do give it a try!

7. Kueh Chap

This is something I actually didn’t like but was highly recommended. It’s soup with noodles and pork intestines (which I don’t eat, maybe that’s why). It’s ok lah, prefer bak kut teh 😛

8. Sio Bee

Ok sorry but totally not a fan of this. It’s like meatball/siu mai and can be found at open air market.

Dessert time!

9. White Lady

Absolutely in love with this!! Also probably the reason why I didn’t lose weight despite walking 4-5 km a day wtf

Basically it’s just a mixture of fruits, ice and evaporated milk with a slice of lemon but it’s realllllllly good. Found the best one at open air market.

10.Matterhorn

Probably the weirdest dessert name ever. It’s like ice kacang, but without kacang, syrup, evaporated milk and red bean…. Actually I guess it’s nothing like ice kacang at all except that it also has ice hahahahha I’m so dumb.

It’s a sour dessert, has fruits, cendol, ice, pandan and lemon. Very refreshing and probably not very fattening 😀

Got this from Hui Sing foodcourt, but don’t ask me how to get there. Not walking distance from city center.

11. Umm..cakes?

Got this triple layer chocolate cake from the shop next to Bing at Pandungan, can’t remember the name..Tom’s or something? Anyway it’s pretty orgasmic and quite light, definitely try it!

Strawberry cheese and masam manis kek lapis from that kilang kek lapis across the river. I loved both flavors but couldn’t finish them at all, so don’t buy too much of them!

Actually I think that’s all! It’s a pretty comprehensive list if I must say so myself *pats self

I also went to the Orang Utan rehabilitation center (MUST GO!!!!) and Bako National Park for some more outdoorsy fun but I didn’t get to go to the caves 🙁 My next trip to Sabah and Sarawak will definitely include Mount Kinabalu and the Mulu caves.

I thought to myself that once I finish Teach For Malaysia and if I do want to continue teaching, I will definitely choose to teach in East Malaysia. There’s just this very peculiar charm and something very unique about this place that’s so appealing to me but I don’t really know how to describe it! It seems so different from the rest of Malaysia, but is also essentially very Malaysian.

On that note, Selamat Hari Raya and Happy Merdeka everyone! I’m truly glad to be home for this Merdeka, and hopefully for many more Merdekas to come 🙂

England part two

Just got back from a great trip to Kuching yesterday! Everytime I tell people I was going to Kuching for a week, they’d go “one week?? what’s there to do there!”. There’s SO MUCH to do in Kuching! First of all, there’s the food, food, food, food, and food. It took me about 5 days before I started finding the real gems (thanks to my local guides!). There’s the forests and mountains and beaches and seas and rivers and wildlife and just SO MUCH to do! I didn’t even get to spend time in the caves, so I’ll definitely be back in Sarawak again 😀

I know I promised a funny post, but I really can’t think of anything funny to talk about T___T I think I just have to succumb to my fate and accept the reality that I no longer have a sense of humor.

*tries hard to think of one last parting funny sentence
Umm, yo mama so fat that..umm..she, umm.
*fails

Oh wait, I know! I AM FAT AND STUPID! Hahaha when all else fails, self-deprecating humor always works. And remember, as long as there’s one person who laughs at your jokes and even if that one person is you yourself, it means you’re funny. Wise words by Suet Li Liew.

Anyway, I have tons of pictures!!!! Super excited to post them first so the next post can be all about Kuching 😀

Continuation from my UK post:

Pubs are a big thing in England and we ate at a pub almost every night when we were there. Why? Cause they are the cheapest (Under 6 pounds) Here, you can see the usual clientele at a pub – angry and grumpy bald white men wtf

Ah slutty British girls going pub-crawling at 5 pm, what’s there not to love about this place?

Went to the countryside! Isn’t this beautiful?? Reminds me of Lijiang in China and Kundasang in Sabah, both my favorite places in the world.

Cows grazing under the great blue sky. Koki, my japanese friend from Hong Kong, once told me this story that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. Out of the blue, he excitedly told me that if you put your hand into a cow’s mouth, it’ll chew at it and you’ll feel super good WTF. He said you won’t feel the cow’s teeth and you’ll feel this soft melty sensation all over and it feels orgasmic. I couldn’t help laughing the entire time cause it sounds damn stupid, and he was telling me this while putting on this super syok expression on his face  -___-

But in all seriousness, after he told me that, it’s been my lifelong dream to put my hand into a cow’s mouth. I almost did it in Lijiang but I was so worried that the cow will actually gnaw my hand off!!! Doesn’t help that Koki was right there giving me his super syok face that is both tempting and cunning at the same time. What if he was lying to me! Pretend to encourage me but actually want to laugh when I get bitten. Cannot trust Japanese men wtf

HAHAHA I FOUND A PICTURE OF KOKI WITH THAT STUPID FACE!!!

Ok it’s stupider than this, but can you imagine  -____-

Sigh one day..you and me, cow..one day.

Ah so pretty! On the way to my house

My house and uh, strangers walking around

Me posing outside my house

My back garden

With my mom. Thank you thank you, my house IS quite lovely

I can sit here all day 🙂

Okay I think that’s all from my UK trip! Today I had too much time on my hands and I found some random pictures I haven’t posted before, so here they are:

Ah my beloved Shanshan and I on one of our last days together.

I miss her so much T____T Can’t believe it’s been almost three months after our graduation!

Here’s a picture to show you the wonders of makeup! My right eye was so much bigger just with eyeliner alone!

Anyway my hair is crazy long now!

Can even curl it too 😀

And to think that my hair was still boyish short less than 7 months ago.

Last picture!

I’m gonna blow this picture up, print it and put it right in front of me to remind myself that if I don’t stop eating and start exercising, then it’s a slippery slope from here on wtf.

No way I want to go back to being fat again, it was a complete zaman kegelapan dalam hidup suet li T___T *memories of friends singing “suet li suet li sangat gemuk, makan makan jadi lagi gemuk!” to the tune of mat kool mat kool kawanku song come flooding back

Alright that’s all for now! I’m going to try to sleep before 3 am so I don’t fall into that unemployed bum cycle wtf

The English land

Hello! I had a glorious ten-hour sleep so now I have so much excess energy I don’t know what to do with it! Of course, I could go exercise or something since I have gained x amount of weight since..since I was thin (3 years ago wtf), but it’s so hot outside and it’s so cold and nice in my room…I’ll start exercising tomorrow wtf

So! I figured I should just be more hardworking and start posting the pictures up! Although my mom is still nagging for me to unpack, I really feel like blogging now so let me finish this post before that fleeting feeling disappears again.

This is a picture of the entire Teach For Malaysia team! I’m going to blow this up and put it on my wall cos I miss them already (actually no, it’s just cos I look good wtf. I don’t usually look good when I smile so must cherish it!)

I have about 60+ photos of England that I want to post up so might as well do it now when my semangat is so membara-bara!

I think the thing I like best about London is every other building is just so pretty and historical looking! Just being in a place like that makes you feel quite cultured, like you’re in a place that has a lot of history although you don’t necessarily know the history behind it wtf

Tower Bridge! which is sadly always mistaken for London Bridge. London Bridge is actually just a normal looking bridge hahaha

This is Camden Market! Don’t know why it’s famous, nothing much to do there but see shops selling super gothic clothes

This is some crispy chicken thingy sold by a Malaysian guy. He knew we were Malaysians right when he saw us and started shouting to us in hokkien and malay, whoa we must be emitting powerful Malaysian aura

Don’t know why half the pictures on my camera are of food and of me eating, once a glutton always a glutton wtf

A shop selling super vintage toys!!!

I would totally wear everything in this shop! But they’re all super pricey, like 60 pounds for a top CRAZY

With my sis and her boyfriend, Peter, at a crepe stall. He looks like a thug but he cooks very well and is a gentleman 🙂

I may have left Moho, but Moho never left me wtf

Harrods! Where you can never afford anything inside, even if you sell your limbs and kidneys. and ovaries.

After three days in London, we went to Leeds where my sister lives! This is the view from her apartment, so awesome T_T

We went to Yorkshire the next day! The building at the far end is just a castle..no big deal..they have castles everywhere..

My mom and I. I’m wearing a million layers cos it’s freaking cold despite it being summer T_T

Yes, trying to be artsy wtf

Aww, English houses!

a nostalgic looking carousel

No idea what this is but just wanted to show you how grey the sky is. Peter said: 90% of tourist pictures of England turn out like this, so don’t worry it’s not just you.

I like York, it looks exactly like how I would expect an old English town north of London to look like..

with narrow alleyways

and crooked looking shophouses

and vintage sweet shops

with small doors cos people back then were a lot smaller haha

and kinky donuts wtf

we had fish and chips next by the cathedral, since you know we’re in a very English place and all so might as well go all out and eat the most English food

Had afternoon tea after at Betty’s! I love scones with clotted cream <3

While I was posing for this picture, my mom said “you better don’t smile, you look better when you don’t smile” so this is me with an angry face wtf

Younger sister was tiptoeing, she has an obsession with being taller than me in all pictures

With a macaroon. Told you my pics are all of food T_T

Okay I still have tons of pictures but I’ll post them next time! Today I’m in a very emo phase for no reason at all (is this what happens when you’re in your early 20s? You keep getting blue and keep thinking about life all the time wtf). I think I need more friends to hang out with so I won’t have time to feel this way. I think I need to party more, the last time I danced was…ok I don’t even remember T___T I think it was..6 months ago?

Maybe that’s why I’m feeling like this, I haven’t had fun in forever! All I’ve been doing is reading on my kindle and playing sudoku on my phone omg I’m such a loser. My mom told me the other day: “I think you read too much, that’s why you’re fat. Stop reading, it’s bad for you.” WTF. hahaha..ha..ha. But I guess it’s quite true, so I’m gonna go swim now. or run. or dance. or play basketball. or just cry my sorrows away wtf