Breezing through life and loving every moment…

Singapore Nov 2010: Family, Together…Priceless Indeed !

I should have written about this a month ago, but there was just too much to do between work and home that left me very little extra time after all the necessities were out of the way. But better late than never, they say! Hubby had to go to Singapore for a week late last month for some work-related training and I have been mentally and physically preparing myself to be home alone with Maddy for the whole 6 days that he was going to be away.

Then one day, two weeks prior to his trip, my brother made a random comment on how I should tag along and go stay with him (my brother and his family lives in Singapore) since Mum and Dad would be there too. What a brilliant idea! But alas I thought, I had just returned to work after 4 months of working from home and felt that it was not right for me to take a vacation so soon. Besides, air tickets from here to Singapore purchased two weeks before a trip was going to cost us lots of money.

Then I was at work and talking to my colleagues and supervisor about how nice it would be if indeed I could tag along and spend time with my whole family. Everyone was going to be there…Mummy, Dad, my brother, sis-in-law, niece and hubby, Maddy and myself. It would be one of those rare times when our family would be together. And my colleagues and surpervisor just said matter-of-factly – “Just Go”.

And the rest was history. No more what-ifs, no more wondering about late flight bookings etc. I spent the next 3-4 days rushing off to have my and Maddy’s international passports made (mine expired and I did not bother getting Maddy one since we didn’t plan for any international trips), bought our flight tickets at a ridiculous price and packed our little bags for the much anticipated trip! I was so excited at the thought of spending a whole week with my family! Hubby was so excited to have us with him there! Maddy was…well….I doubt she knew what was going on.

So off to Singapore we went. I spent almost a whole week bunking at my brother’s little apartment. The lack of extra rooms for Maddy and myself was not an issue…baby and me slept on the living room floor on my niece’s play mattress and we were just fine! I was so proud of my little girl at how easy she adapted to a new place. My parents were thrilled to have their two grandkids together under one roof. We went for breakfast every morning at the coffee shop nearby, then my dad would bring Maddy grocery shopping and stroll along the vegetable sellers and feel smug when strangers commented how adorable Maddy was (*smug*). Maddy made my mum so happy with her squeals and generous smiles and my heart felt as though it would burst from the sheer joy of it all! I cannot put it into words, but it was one of the most memorable trips ever. How silly of me to have hesitated initially about going. I would pay twice the ticket price to have that whole week again!

I spent almost all my time there at home and the remaining one and half days with Hubby cruising the streets of Orchard Road admiring the Christmas lights and indulged in some light shopping. Travelling with Maddy was indeed easy, there wasn’t much to pack as she was still nursing and would eat anything we put on a spoon. Shopping was also a breeze – most of the time she was in her Snuggbaby carrier – admiring her surroundings or snoozing. Oh she was (and still is) such a good baby!!! And I was impressed at the superb nursing/baby rooms available at most malls.

It was sad when the week ended and we had to return home. But I would definitely do it again – specially now that Air Asia will resume its MYY-SIN flights from January next year. Whoopee!

To my buddies in Singapore reading this, I apologize for not calling you up. I selfishly wanted to spend every single minute I had there with my family. Next time, yea? And Zaireen, I have your number from Angel and we must do ayam penyet date next time I am over there, okay?

P/S: I will put up some photos later. 😀

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Sydney: A Beautiful Wedding, Glorious Food & Beachside dream houses

On this day a week before, I was having the most heavenly cannoli – light crispy shell and a delicate chocolate filling. Sigh… no more here. But before I write more about that, here’s a recap of our trip to Sydney last week.

After a restless 7 hours and 25 minute flight from KL, we finally landed at Sydney’s International Airport at about 9am Sydney time. I was suffering from somesort of a muscle ache on my right thigh, a peely and itchy chin from the dry cabin air and a grumbling stomach. Breakfast on the plane was a measly portion of yogurt (couldn’t take that because yogurt makes me puke) and a cold chocolate muffin (not interested). What happened to the days of nasi lemak on MAS flights???

Anyway, we had to wait for almost an hour for our luggage (I don’t know what happened…airport screwed up sending MH123 elsewhere) and then another hour or so in the customs queue. We were standing there for so long that the sniffer dogs probably got bored sniffing our bags for the goodness-knows-how-many time. At long last, we finally got out to the arrival hall close to 11am into the welcoming arms of my extended family members! It was so good to see them again. But I was STILL cranky, achy and hungry. So to cut the story short, we got home, hi hi hug hug and off to lunch we went. I had my Vietnamese pho fix No. 1 that day for lunch.

Weather during our trip started off pleasant enough, but it was cold, wet and windy during cousin May’s wedding. But Aunty’s constant prayers were answered as the weather held throughout the ceremony and only started to pour like literally 2 seconds after May and Steve were announced as Husband and Wife and walked back down the aisle. Of course, the rest of us were scampering off after them with raindrops on our heads. It was a small, intimate but beautiful wedding -held at a little function bungalow with the ceremony out in the garden. Lunch and dancing was in a beautifully decorated room, with absolutely good food.

The rest of the week in Sydney was spent wandering around the city and Sydney’s coastal suburbs. And of course, eat, eat and eat. The one thing I missed about Sydney is the food. Yes, food. Hubby and I stayed with one of my cousins who lives with her hubby in an Italian suburb. Needless to say, most of the shops sell Italian groceries, Italian magazines and of course, Italian food! We went back to the same restaurant twice because Hubby was hooked on the pizza. I was hooked on the pasta. Once I forgot that I should not take dairy on an empty stomach and had pizza and pasta for lunch (after a very light breakfast). Right on cue, it all ended up in the sink. But oh well, it was good while I was eating it 😀

Sydney is definitely a pretty city with breathtaking coastal suburbs that will make you wish you had a few million Aussie dollars to spare to buy a house overlooking the Pacific ocean. People are generally nice (except my cousin’s Italian neighbours who just wouldn’t smile at us no matter how many times we bump into them outside … what the….) and need I say more about food? We had dim sum, Vietnamese (fix No. 2 was a day after the wedding), seafood, Italian, Spanish and Chinese. I came back a kilo heavier (which is my weight gain achievement for pregnancy week 16).

We surely missed everyone there and hopefully to return for another short holiday with a little tot in tow in the near future 🙂

Some people are lucky enough to get a view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Some people are lucky enough to get a view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

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Bronte Beach - Wouldn't you want to wake up to this view every day?

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Private beach, anyone?

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Harry's meat pies @ Woolloomoolloo - supposedly a must-have when in Sydney, with mashed potatoes and peas on top. Sorry, too busy eating, forgot the pic

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Back Safe and Sound

We survived our first plane ride since May this year. Needless to say, I was a tad nervous and not to mention quite uncomfortable all the way to Sydney. But being back where I used to be and being with the rest of the extended family soon banished all traces of fatigue (mostly) and we were eating our way through Sydney in no time!

We literally just got back, so am still a little exhausted. But to sum it all for now, it was a wonderful trip, beautiful wedding and glorious weather! More later….


Our Spiritual Office

Apparently our KL location office was haunted. ‘Was’ because the site manager invited a ‘bomoh’ (malay medium) to exorcised the so-called spirits away. According to Packcik Bomoh, they (a man and a woman) are now wandering the streets of Jalan Tun Razak. O-kay… so, nervousness aside, I hardly think throwing people (sort-of) out of their place of shelter (sort-of) onto the streets is a good deed. For the office workers (live human ones) maybe, but for the spirits? What happens to them now? Gosh… ‘they’ must not be very pleased at all!

I do believe that with faith in God, we will be protected. But still, thinking of how we eventually need to return to that office makes my skin crawl.  Eeeeeee….

Anyway, the site manager sent us an email today. Told us perhaps we should order this online….yea……hmm…..funny.

Ghost buster tool. Image taken from I kid you not, they sell this on Amazon!

Ghost buster tool. Image taken from I kid you not, they sell this on Amazon!

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On the Road

We started the road trip on a wonderful morning, bright sunshine, blue skies… but then it started to get real hot and no fun anymore after that 😦 I drove the first part of the journey up till Sipitang – a small seaside town in Sabah, and hubby took over from there. It was 2pm. I started driving at 7am. Overall it was an enjoyable road trip; passing the little towns, driving along the Crocker range, ferry trips across rivers and oh, not forgetting the hour we got lost at Lamunin in Brunei. Well, we decided to take the road less travelled… and I suppose it is less travelled for a good reason. We ended up driving in circles for a while. Oh well, at least we got some view of the Bruneian countryside… not much of it anyway. Very thankful indeed we had a safe and enjoyable journey. Kota Kinabalu was scorching hot and we spent most of the two days there eating, window shopping and watching movies. And I also caught up with an old college friend there, who was visiting KK for the first time with her husband. Here are some pictures, not many but we snapped some for the heck of it.

Yay! We have reached Limbang! Out of Brunei, into Sarawak again.
Limbang old airport – air strip actually. This is the old airport ‘building’

Old Limbang air strip…just alongside the trunk road

Ferry service across the river after Limbang. RM8 per vehicle for a 15-seconds ride I think… I gotta buy me some shares in this company. It is making a lot of money
What?? RM8 and we have to fight for life jackets?

Optional : if you drive REALLY fast your car might be able to fly across this river

Hmm at least they didn’t increase the price for the past 5 years…

Suspension bridge across Sungai Lawas. What a pretty river

Immigration checkpoint at Lawas/Brunei border. A shoplot…
Pretty green scenary along the road

Tune Hotel 1Borneo Kota Kinabalu – “pay only what you need” bed, aircon and room only. Ok at least the sheets, water and toilet paper were free

What? We have to pay for the bedside bulbs too??

Much awaited seafood dinner in KK. This is Luyang Seafood recommended by a friend’s father. Our fish, prawns, seafood noodles, vegetables and drinks for two came up to RM59
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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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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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Back Home!

I spoke too soon in the last entry. Now, as I lie in bed typing this, I AM feeling tired. I have spent almost the whole of today travelling back from KL. Even though it is just a 2 hours and 15 minutes’ flight from KL to Miri, my trip started at 11.30am today to KL Sentral, then 28 minutes to KLIA, after which I spent some time waiting for my flight at 2pm. Then, it got delayed to 2.40pm, I was in the air for 90 minutes to Kuching, in transit for 40 minutes, delayed again and finally landed in Miri at 5.40pm. Disembarking, walking out the gate, taxi ride home blah blah blah…. finally closed the door at home behind me at 6.35pm !! And that, in Miri was almost dark.

I cannot believe I have been doing this almost weekly for 5 years…

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Travels in Europe

I am reading this book again because it made me laugh out loud when I read it 2 years ago. It might even help me with the current planning of our Europe trip next year.

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Hmm the more I read about my options on the web, the farther I am getting away from Paris. Do I REEEEALLYY have to see the Louvre ?