Breezing through life and loving every moment…

Road Trip: Two Days to go…

The past few weeks had been good. Work was good, I had a couple of good things done and the holiday week of Gawai is coming up very soon! Gawai is the harvest festival, celebrated in Sarawak in early June every year. It really is a huge thing here, much like how Hari Raya or Chinese New Year is celebrated in West Malaysia. But over here, cities just shut down for about a week and a half and everything just goes quiet. Similarly, our office will be closed for a week, it is a compulsory holiday. Much better than Hari Raya or CNY huh… 😛

I am already feeling festive! And gearing up for our road trip. We will start early on Thursday morning and planning to get to Kota Kinabalu by late afternoon; while planning to stop by lunch in Lawas by noon or so. The total driving time is anticipated to be six to seven hours or so, with multiple stops along the way for immigration and customs check. Why multiple?

Because the journey goes like this:

Miri (Sarawak) —> Kuala Belait and Tutong (Brunei)
Tutong (Brunei) —> Kuala Lurah (Brunei) —> Limbang (Sarawak)
Limbang (Sarawak) —> Temburong (Brunei)
Temburong (Brunei) —> Trusan (Sarawak)
Trusan (Sarawak) to Lawas (Sarawak) to Merapok (Sarawak) —> Sidumin (Sabah)

Click on the above map for a clearer picture of our route.

Every crossing from Sarawak (Msia) into Brunei and back into Sarawak and then to Sabah will require a stamping on the passport. So yup… no worries about not having enough rest stops. From Sidumin, it will be all the way through Sabah passing a few more small towns like Beufort and Sipitang. One of my favorite part of the journey is the route by the Crocker mountain range, where we drive by the endless green mountains until we reach Kota Kinabalu, sitting beneath the watchful peaks of Mount Kinabalu.

One more working day to go tomorrow… then we’re ON THE ROAD! La la la!

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Paris or Prague ?….

Neither. Hubby’s training is now postponed to June (he will be leaving in 3 weeks) and in the end we decided to just cancel the whole trip. No particular reason. We both got caught up with work and various other things that it turned out better to just stay at home and enjoy each other’s company instead. In all honesty, I was more excited about having him at home in February till June rather than me being alone that month (I was still emotionally recovering from the miscarriage and Grandma’s passing then).

From that, I realized that what matters most is being together. Whether it is in Paris, Prague or just Miri. 🙂

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The Little Things

I came across these few short clips on the importance of family while watching a movie in Singapore and thought that this is well worth sharing…it made me cry in the cinema.


Traditional Massage Part II

Actually that massage I got last Saturday was absolutely great! I slept like a log all through the night and could hardly get myself out of bed the next morning.
For baby-making? Forget that… I want to get that massage again to make me sleep LIKE A BABY!!!

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I Don’t Care Anymore

Wow! I don’t care anymore that I got my period last month. And I am back to my slacker self that I don’t even remember the actual date of my last period and cycle days. Cool.

And I am oh-so-very excited about our upcoming road trip !!!!!!!!

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Charting my Basal Body Temperature

I am starting to chart my BBT; partly to perhaps keep it as a reference in the event I might need it to help conception, but mostly I am curious about how I tick biologically.
So armed with a digital thermometer and my alarm clock set at 6am every day, I have been charting it for the past 5 days. So far it kind of looks a bit….. crazy. Hmmm…..

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Remembering Grandma and Our Heritage

During a recent trip to Singapore to visit my brother and sis in law over the Wesak long weekend, my brother passed a collection of DVDs to me of a series called The Little Nyonya. He said that I have to watch it, it will make me realize what I am and what I should be.
It is a local production by Mediacorp TV Singapore on the story of a Peranakan family. Since it is almost unheard of for my brother to actually sit through 34 episodes of chinese drama, I was curious to find out why.

The amount of research on the Baba and Nyonya culture that went into the making of the series was truly remarkable. After sitting through the first episode of the series, I could understand why my brother insisted I watch this. It reminded him so much of our upbringing at home, of our maternal Peranakan side. The daily lives depicted in the series were so real, so familiar. I could not help but feel a slight tightening of the chest, trying to stop the sudden onslaught of emotion.
My brother said, we take who we are so much for granted. We do not realize all the painstaking years Ah Mah and Mom spent trying to bring us up as good Peranakan children. Now, one might wonder, how does that differ from our peers?

I used to feel that I was treated unfairly at home. Why? Because as a child, I was not allowed this, and that. Especially Ah Mah, she would knock my head and tell me;

I must not walk with giant steps
I must not stamp my feet – we lived in a wooden house; when I am walking upstairs I must not make a single sound with my feet

I must not speak too loud
I must never yell
I must never be rude, always be polite and always address the elders correctly – Ee Por, Ah Kor, Ah Chim…. I truly did not understand what all the difference were
I must not ever sit with my legs apart, up on the chair nor crossed my legs on the floor. I must always sit with both legs to one side
I must close doors and not make a single sound. Slamming the door (either by purpose or by accident) will earn me a painful ‘cubit’ (painful pinch)
I must not hit the wok or any pots/pans with a spoon or any utensil and make a loud clanking noise. It is not ladylike
I must not chew with my mouth opened nor speak with food in my mouth

I must not ever talk back to my elders nor ever raise my voice to them. My parents are considered always right no matter what happens

So I went to school and I saw how other children could run and play and scream their hearts out. Mom and Ah Mah would tell me, it was not lady-like. The good girl in me then would not retaliate or disagree. But the rebel in me looked at things differently and I favored my brother’s toys and playing with his friends instead. That was the only way I could ‘do things the way I like’.

At last, we grew up, Ah Mah and Mom , did not need to constantly nag at us no more. All the years of rules stuck in my head. It now aggravates me when a door is slammed, or someone chews noisily or I hear a utensil being hit loudly against the wok to remove food that is stuck to its surface. It absolutely isn’t acceptable at all when someone noisily moves things around in the kitchen – plates, containers…..
My brother, on the other hand, is probably the most loving of all sons. I am so proud of how he would, without further thought, rush to the family’s aid in all situations. Like myself, he is also extremely close to our parents and Ah Mah.
I truly am enjoying watching the Nyonya series. It brings back so many memories, good and bad. It makes me feel a tad guilty for all the good Nyonya recipes that mom had taught me, but I rarely replicate. Sitting next to Hubby watching the show, and him seeing my culture for what it truly is for the first time (he’s not Peranakan), I realize just how much I take it for granted.

Well, I think I am going to try my best, again, to be the good Nyonya daughter and grand-daughter that mom and Ah Mah had wanted me to be.

Our family home in Alor Setar, where we grew up
Ceramic water container with dragon motifs; little treasures from our ancestors
Ah Mah and one of our Kor Por
Ah Mah, in her fine Nyonya kebaya and sarung. It was the only
outfit she wore daily from as long as I could remember. While the designs were simpler and more plain while at home, she wore exquisite embroidered kebayas when on outings, complete with hair in a perfect chignon and pins.

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Road Trip!

Hubby and I decided to relive our days of road tripping to Kota Kinabalu from Miri this coming Gawai. We’ll have a week off from work then, before Hubby flies off for a 5-week course in the Netherlands (boo-hoo!!).

In about 2 weeks, we will be off, this time in a more comfortable ride. The previous two trips we drove my humble little mini car Kelisa. This time, we can take the Vios instead. Yay yay! I am brimming with excitement of what to pack, where to stop and all the quiant towns we will be passing by. It is going to be great… packed meals in the car, the ice box stocked with drinks and stopping by unknown little food shops. Brilliant ! I cannot wait!

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Traditional Massage

A friend of mine here had repeatedly suggested that I try a traditional massage to help with my chances of conceiving. This is a massage of the abdomen to re-align the womb, in case of it being tilted as a result of heavy work, past injuries etc. I kid you not, there is such a thing as a tilted womb. This is when the uterus is tilted to the back or towards the belly.

So this makcik (malay aunty) started off with a massage of my head, face etc… all the way down to my toes. When she said ‘urut seluruh badan’ (whole body massage) she really meant that word by word. Even my neck, boobs and butt were in the list. Apparently she said for first timers, good to do the whole body to ‘buang angin’ (get rid of wind).

She massaged the abdomen by going in circles and then pushing inwards as if centering the womb. It did not hurt or anything but she took quite a while.

After an hour, I was done and covered in coconut oil. Hubby picked me up, we went for dinner and I am not to shower for the next 2 hours. Which is why I am here now.

Hmm an additional thing though, when she was massaging my boobs, she told me there’s a small lump. I have had a history of lumps, but got it checked out and confirmed to be just breast tissue. But I am still going in to my doctor for a scan next Monday because it did hurt a slight bit when makcik applied some pressure on it. I pray that it isn’t anything serious.

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Living in Heat

Contrary to what the title of this post suggests, the situation I am currently in is far from desirable….

The Miri heat wave and haze is back after 2 or more years in hibernation. Oh gosh.. earlier at the beginning of the year, it was the never-ending downpour. And now, the days are so so hot while the nights are stuffy and extremely hazy. One can actually sit and watch smoke swirl underneath the glare of the street lamps!!

I suppose this is what we have to endure living in a place with ample land all around. In normal times, it will be lush green. On the other hand, times like this – a simple flick of a burning cigaratte butt will set a whole area going up in flames. Sigh…when will the next rainy season come….

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