Monday, 30 May 2011

birthday in sandland…

it was my birthday yesterday. come to think of it, it was my first birthday away from my homeland.

well, i would say that's about the only thing special about the day... my first birthday in dubai. other than that, it's just like my other non-working saturdays here. no parties, no celebrations... just lotsa wishes on facebook, a few sms, and 2 of my colleagues dropped by for some chit-chat. oh, and a video made by my niece, showing my parents, all my cousins and nieces singing a birthday song for me, which made me go slightly teary. heck, they're throwing me a birthday party without me! :D

anyway, i spent the whole of my birthday walking about like an old grandmother. that's because i went for my horse riding lesson the previous night, and i fell from the trotting horse! TWICE!!! :(

it was my 5th lesson, so i'm not in the beginner's group anymore. my group trots at a faster pace and we learn some other "more advanced" stuff like going into the jump position,  whipping the horse with a stick to make it go faster etc.

anyway, there were only me and another girl that day, and i was in the 2nd position. my horse, a brown stallion named sebastian, kept wanting to overtake the horse in front, even though i tried hard to rein him in. some horses are quite temperamental, and MUST be in front at all times, like the horse the other girl was on that day, named shorab (the horse, not the girl). that was why i have to keep sebastian behind at all times. but when turning at the corner, shorab was so slow. apa lar, wanna be in front, but
trotted so slowly! so sebastian was trying to overtake him and the coach was shouting at me to pull him in to stay behind. i kept pulling him to the left (we were going clockwise and were making a right turn when sebastian tried to cut shorab from the inside). i pulled and pulled, but he just refused to fall in line! then i lost my balance (coz i was standing and sitting
the whole time) and fell berdebuk (malay: with a thud) to my left onto the sand! hurt like hell, i tell you!

but i got up, told the coach that i'm ok and got onto sebastian again. things went well for some time, coz i learnt to keep my distance from shorab. but again, when we were making a turn (we were going in anti-clockwise this time), shorab was too slow. sebastian caught up and tried his antics again. again, the coach shouted at me to pull him to the right to stay behind. sebastian already had half his body alongside shorab, and when i pulled him in, he did try to get in line. but when we were right behind shorab, because we were too close, shorab gave sebastian a kick with his hind legs! so sebastian gave a jolt and i lost my balance again! this time, i fell to my right... HARD!

so now my bruises are well-balanced on both sides of my waist, just above my hips. my left side felt like a normal bruise, albeit a blardy painful one, but my right side felt as if i’ve twisted my waist or something. now i’m just spraying it with a sports salonpas spray, which helps some, but i’m gonna go to the staff clinic tomorrow to get the doctor’s letter to go for an x-ray. hopefully nothing’s broken!

so anyway, that’s how my birthday went… quite a memorable one, dun ‘cha think? :P

Friday, 27 May 2011

review: xiang piao piao instant milk tea

recently, i saw this instant milk tea in one of the chinese groceries store here, which sweet sheila claimed is “bubble tea” according to the chinese words. and being a bubble tea lover, i just had to try it!

P1080625instant  bubble milk tea?

P1080629the contents: a pack of milk tea in powder form, a container of jelly-like thingy that tasted like nata de coco, and a plastic straw…

P1080631 after pouring in the milk tea powder, pour in the nata de coco and stir in hot water…

P1080632 poke in the plastic straw and ta-da! ready to drink!

verdict: the milk tea taste is kinda funny, not like bubble tea at all! it’s not even nice for a regular milk tea. and nata de coco as a substitute for “pearls” in bubble tea? i dun think so…

am i going to buy this again? not a chance!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

of sleep, butterflies and love...

what do these 3 things have in common? and no, this is not my version of "eat, pray, love".

at the beginning of this week, i was sleeping happily when i suddenly woke up. yes, SUDDENLY. at 3.30am in the morning. it's very sudden because i just opened my eyes wide. one minute i'm sleeping peacefully and the next i'm wide awake. i let out a groan when i saw that it's only 3.30am and i'm feeling so fresh and alert, even though i went to sleep only at 12.30am. damn, not again!

i tried to close my eyes and go back to sleep. i tried to empty my mind, to relax, to psych myself into sleepiness. but none of it worked. coz at the back of my mind, i'm stressed out from not being able to sleep. it's like while i'm trying to be all zen and calm about it, my brain is screaming in panic in the background, "I NEED TO GET BACK TO SLEEP, DAMMIT!"

i was tossing and turning for more than an hour. and then at about 5.00am, i decided, "ok fine, i'm NOT gonna try sleeping anymore!" so i got up, turned on the lights and even went to brush my teeth. then i went to sit in front of my laptop to check my e-mails, browse through fb, just surfing the web for a bit. then i decided that since i have so much time still before i need to take my shower and catch the bus to work, i might as well do some chanting. i was quite happy that i have so much time and was counting the number of boxes i can colour in in my daimoku chart.

but i only managed to chant for 15 minutes before my eye lids started drooping. argh, 15 min is not even enough to fill in one box in the daimoku chart! to continue chanting or go back to sleep? in the end, i decided that chanting while groggy with sleep is no use at all, and also i needed the sleep to be alert at work. so at 5.30am, i went back to sleep for another 2 hours before my "official" alarm woke me up.

you may ask, "what has this got to do with butterflies and love??" well, nothing. just that this whole experience brought to mind that saying about love being like butterflies. the more you try to catch it, the more it'll elude you. but if you stay quietly, it'll come to you unexpectedly.

Friday, 20 May 2011

eating gold in sandland!

i dare say the only fruits grown locally here is the kurma, or dates in english. but we can find all sorts of fruits in the supermarket, even durians! coz they’re all imported. that’s why they cost a bomb.

i was at the minimart last week for some fruits. normally i’ll buy some chinese nectarine or plum, which costs something like dhs12 (rm10) for 4 pieces. that’s rm2.5 per piece! blardy expensive, i know. but i reckon, since i don’t have to pay for my meals most days, it’s ok to spend a bit more on something that i like. and it’s fruits, so it’s good for my health too, right? that’s part of healthy living and also treating myself better.

anyway, since the shops here don’t get their fresh produce everyday, they tend to just display whatever they have until new shipments arrive. even when the fruits are all dried and shriveled up. or worse, rotten with fungus! that was what happened to the batch of plums they had when i went that day. then i saw some persimmons. and i love persimmons! but they’re selling for dhs25.90/kg. blardy expensive. but since there’re no other interesting fruits to buy (they have lots of different apples and oranges, but i dun like those), i chose 4 persimmons anyway, which came up to a total of dhs19 (rm15.83). and i used to buy them at rm5 for 1 longgok (malay: basket) from the pasar malam back home! i kept reminding myself that it’s all part of taking good care of myself and healthy living… hehe…


luckily they’re fresh, sweet and without pits. and i took a very long time savouring my expensive as gold persimmons, taking one small bite at a time!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

sweet potato dessert…

this is something i cooked last weekend. saw some sweet potatoes at carrefour last week, which made me crave for some fan shu tong-sui (cantonese: sweet potato dessert). so i bought a smallish sized one and a small ginger, determined that i’m gonna have some that very weekend! 

P1080756 doesn’t look very appetizing, eh?

but then when i was skinning the sweet potatoes, i discovered that the flesh is white in colour! eh?! i thought it’s supposed to be reddish-orangey in colour? i panicked for a bit, but then they still smelt like sweet potatoes. so what the heck, i still threw them all into my rice cooker, together with some sliced ginger.

while it was cooking, i chatted with my parents in our weekly skype sessions. so i mentioned to my mom about the white fleshed sweet potatoes. she said that there are a lot of types of sweet potatoes. white, orangey, purple etc. but most people would use the orangey one for dessert, coz they’re sweeter. *phew* so i’m still on the right track, even though it won’t be so sweet.

verdict: tasted like the regular fan shu tong-sui, but not very sweet. and it’s rather too spicy, coz i sliced up the whole ginger to be cooked together with the sweet potatoes. still, it’s sedap (malay: delicious)! :P

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

more tom yum cooking…

cooked this some time ago, but just didn’t post it up. i think it was one week after my fried tom yum… actually, i was just gonna cook some instant indomee when an idea struck me. why not i use the tom yum paste like i would the instant noodles condiments? so i experimented…

first, i threw in the mihun, frozen prawns and button mushrooms (i was out of kangkung) into a pot of water and brought it to boil. then i scooped out 2 spoons of tom yum paste onto a plate and after draining the boiling water, poured all the ingredients onto the plate and stirred.

P1080711 ta-dah! instant stirred tom yum mihun! and don’t taste so bad too! :)

then one week later, since i still had so much tom yum paste left, i decided to cook some tom yum mihun soup. so i went to buy some frozen okra (i love frozen stuff! can use a little at a time and freeze the rest), canned bamboo shoots (used up all my button mushrooms) and some kangkung. oh yeah, i found some galangal too. actually i’d wanted to buy some lemongrass and lime, but totally forgot about it. and i was lazy to walk to the minimart again, so my dish would just have to do without lemongrass and lime juice.

P1080722 overcrowded bowl of tom yum mihun sup! :P

taste-wise, it’s missing something. must be the lemongrass and lime juice! must remember these 2 essential ingredients the next time. but otherwise, it’s quite ok for a first attempt :)

Saturday, 14 May 2011

gave najib a kick in the stomach! ;D

was supposed to post this yesterday, but blogger was down… and when they’re up again (sort of), i discovered some of the comments have been removed! the blogger team had better restore it fast!!


went for my 3rd equestrian lesson today, and was very tickled when i discovered the name of the horse i was riding is najib! a very lazy horse too! and najib the horse must be thinking he’s gotten a crazy rider today, coz i kept chuckling to myself whenever i say, “yalla, najib!” (arabic: let’s go/faster, najib!).

my 2nd lesson was on a small brown mare named barbie. barbie is pretty temperamental, so i was holding onto the saddle a lot of the time.

P1080721 barbie the temperamental mare…

but najib, he’s just plain lazy. he’ll always just bob his head up and down, imitating the trotting motion, when his legs were just walking. no matter how much i kick his belly with my heels (not really hard lar), he just won’t go any faster. it’s only when the handlers yell out to him that he’ll do a real trot. anyway, he’s quite a small horse (i notice that they like to assign small horses to me. should i be happy? :P) and is all white in colour, unlike oliver who has black freckle-like spots all over his body.

anyway, i’m getting pretty good at standing and sitting while trotting, if i may say so. my balance is improving, so much so that i don’t have to concentrate so much on holding on for dear life, but be more conscious of and improve on my sitting posture, my hand position, the way i hold the rein, the position of my feet in the stirrups etc. sometimes i can even let my mind drift to what i’m gonna write about najib here! :D

oh yes, i bought my riding helmet today! v(^_^)v

P1080784 excuse the dark eye rings… promise to get more sleep this weekend!

previously i was using the riding school’s helmet, which is free only for the first lesson. after that, we’ll need to pay a rental of 5 dhs (rm4.15) each time. well, the rental is not the reason i decided to get my own helmet. it’s for hygiene purposes. coz we sweat a lot when riding, these helmets tend to really stink big time! no only that, sometimes the inside will still be wet with someone else’s sweat!! super the geli (malay: icky)! so seeing that i still have 8 more lessons to go, i decided 250 dhs (rm208) is worth the price to pay for hygiene. i love the feel of it on my head. it’s lightweight and fits snugly. maybe next time i can use it as a motorbike helmet! :P

P1080720 here’s a picture i took of myself during my 2nd lesson. see how bad the condition of the rented helmet is? the yellow foam is coming out already!

lastly, here’s a video i took while i was waiting for my class to start. this is a more advanced class, but they’re just starting their warm-up, so this is how a trot looks like. i just wanna show everyone what i meant by standing and sitting.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

on bended knees...

like i've mentioned before, i've not been sleeping well lately... other than stress from work, i've also been doing a lot of thinking. well, some of the thinking are not deliberate. sometimes one just can't control the thoughts that come into our minds.

i've been starting to question myself, if this is the kind of job i want to be doing for the rest of my life. and i know the answer to that: NO, this is not what i want! ok, so what if in a few years' time, i'm being promoted to director of my division? then what? if i continue on, the next step would be director of the department. so what? i don't even wanna be in this division anymore. and being a division director would just be the same as what i'm doing now, just on a different level. and i definitely don't wish to be a director of the department!

so what am i doing here? i know this is not the kind of job i'm happy doing. i'm not talking about the company or the bosses (which is another story altogether). i'm talking about the very nature of the job. it's just not ME! i feel as if i'm trap in a job that is not who i am. as if i'm lying to the whole world that i'm the perfect person for this job, that this is what i'm passionate about, when deep inside, i dread every moment of it. ok, not every moment lar. that's a bit dramatic but u get what i'm trying to say, right?

ok, so i'm living out one of my dreams of living and working in a different country. for the exposure and experience. but in living that dream, it must be also possible to be in a job that you can actually find meaning in and are passionate about, right? i know it's possible! i just know it!!!

we've always heard of people telling us not to give up on our dreams, to hold onto our dreams and work towards it, bla bla bla... but the problem is, i don't even know what my dreams are! of course, i know what i like and don't like to do, but there's no one concrete dream that i can sum up as my dream career. i guess i'm just messed up and complicated like that :P

anyway, after a few chat sessions with Lamenting Lynette, i've sorta worked out what i want. it's the HOW that's the problem. i have this IDEA of my ultimate dream job, but what that job is, or how i'm gonna get such a job, or if this kinda job even exist... i guess i'll have to seek the answers on my bended knees. or more accurately, be more diligent in seeking the answers to my questions on bended knees.

i've been slacking. maybe all these questions that invade my mind in the middle of the night is a wake up call. well, not a wake up call literally, as i really need to sleep! but a wake up call to not forget. to always remember to go back to my prime point of faith. NMHRGK.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

see what i bought!

been craving for claypot chicken rice for the longest time now. so when i saw this at daiso today, i thought maybe i should try cooking my own. and it’s not really expensive at all, only 9 dhs (abt rm7.50).

P1080764don’t you just love the japanese design on the cover? :P


so i’m one step closer to my claypot chicken rice, with salted fish! now to search for a simple recipe that i can manage. i think the hardest ingredient to find would be salted fish. i mean, i’ve seen salted fish being sold in the minimarts here, but they’re mostly from india. not that i’m practicing racial discrimination, but i don’t think i’d wanna put something from the waters of india into my mouth…

and hope my cheap claypot would not crack when used on my electric stove!

Friday, 6 May 2011

of gardeners, bathrooms and fugitives…

i ran into the shed and saw a group of men (about 3 or 4 of them) surrounded by also 3 or 4 of my school friends. the men were the school gardeners and my friends were trying to cover these men’s faces with some plastic sheet thingy. i quickly grabbed the big can of herbicide and sprayed it onto the men. after being exposed to the herbicide, these men staggered out of the shed and into another adjoining shed that houses all the gardening tools. there, they collapsed and there were blood everywhere! my friends and i hurriedly close the door to the shed the gardeners are in and ran away, hoping that no one would this door for a very long time.

then we went in search of a bathroom, because all of us stank of herbicide. we even brought along our towels, coz we really wanted to have a bath. there were students everywhere, so we tried our best to act normal. but we were unable to find a bathroom where we could wash off the herbicide from ourselves. some of the toilets do not have bathrooms and those that have bathrooms were out of service. we were just running about the whole school for the longest time, searching high and low for a place to clean ourselves. then we finally found one with a functioning bathroom, so we quickly ran to it, at the same time trying not to give away what we have done.

after taking our bath, we decided to run away. so we left the school compound and was walking towards the road when we saw a stall by the roadside. one of my friends wanted to buy something to eat, so all of us stopped to wait for her. and while waiting, we decided to order some teh tarik. but then, a police car stopped by the stall. another friend told us to stay calm, but my heart was beating very fast. we tried to talk and joke with each other, to appear like normal school girls.

then we heard a very loud siren… that sounded very much like my alarm clock.


good grief! what a tiring dream! the only day i’m been able to have uninterrupted sleep till morning, and i have to dream of such thing. these past 2 weeks or so, i’ve been waking up at about 6am every dem working day, when my alarm is set at 7.20am! sometimes i’m able to go back to sleep but other days, i’d be tossing and turning for more than 1 hour, hoping to find that elusive thing called sleep.

haiz, such a torture. when i told sweet sheila, she immediately did a search on the internet on the meaning of dreams, and came up with a verdict: i’m too stressed out. coz according to a chinese site on dreams interpretation, when we dream of killing people, it means we’ve been very pressured.

i guess it’s quite true. i’ve been under some work pressure lately. and like my previous work-related stress, it’s been disrupting my sleep almost daily!

anyway, even after i’ve woken up, i was still slightly disturbed by what my friends (who didn’t look like any of my real life friends) and i have done. i was like in a daze over what happened, as i went about brushing my teeth and taking my bath. it felt so real and i was a little afraid of myself! *stress giler*