Time to grow up 

Yknow how you never truly feel your age, until you’re 45 with a heart condition and you have to stop yourself from ordering McDonalds? Okay it’s not a common thing to think about. But when I was preparing for my UK exchange, I felt my age bar rising. 

It goes DING

21 ! 

21 ! 

21 ! 

21 ! 

21 ! 
Going to the bank by myself, having to explain what I need while they stared at me like I made no sense. Collecting all my documents – crying at the photocopy machine because no one was there to help me and I didn’t know what I was doing thinking if I mess up my visa it’s all my fault. 
GROW
I had to look for accommodations with the only advice from my parents were to stay within the budget. I would constantly have to google map the potential accommodations distance to the campus and nearest bus stop and even grocery store. I had to communicate with the landlord and the agency myself, and sign the contract – signing my name. MY OWN NAME. Not my parents nor any other guardian. 

GROW THE FUCK UP ALINA.  
I guess, it could be an Asian thing. Like when we watch TV shows about the western culture, kids move out at 16. Some start a family by then. It’s nothing new. By 21 they should be working earning their own money, living in a bachelor pad with their friends. However, in the Asian community – we’ve been fed with a silver spoon all our lives. Having our parents do everything for us. Maybe I can’t speak for everyone (I’m sure everyone grows at their own pace). My sister went to the UK when she was 19, all alone. Here I am about to fly with both my parents. Hey, I am the baby of the family ok. Don’t judge. 
It was really different compared to the time I registered for UNMC. My parents didn’t register me, but Amirul did. He helped me move in, he registered for me and also got my student card for me (all I did was smile for the picture). This time round, Amirul would be registering for himself at UEL and I’d be registering myself for UoN 2 hours apart by train. 
Time to rely on yourself Alina. You’re turning 21 – STFU and grow up. 

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Summer 2k17

I’ve always waited for inspiration to kick in before I start writing. BUT BLANK. My mind has been blank. Thus, no update since the last post in April. IT’S JUNE ALINA. But I’ve been meaning to write about my few final days before the summer holidays. So here is the post, that will commemorate my Summer 2k17

 

To start off, it’s difficult being friends with international students. Once it’s summer, they’re all gone. Each and everyone boarding on a different plane going back to places they each call home. Be it Singapore, Brunei, Sri Lanka, Dubai or even Jordan. Spread across the world, all we had was our shared final night in Nottingham. It was my final night at the place where I spent the first few weeks crying and struggling to find comfort in a home away from home, only to find myself surprisingly… dreading to leave.

 

It’s surprising what a foreign place can turn into when you put the right people in it. A room is only a room, but with the right people it’s a home. I discovered my love for my first year of degree reaching it’s peak during the final weeks of exams season. This is where we bond most I guess, while everyone face their own struggles. We tend to depend on each other more for emotional support. The Core Crew (lame I know), but we literally spent everyday with each other – breakfast, lunch, dinner. With piles of books, and empty packets of snacks on the table. Sharing movies in-between revision breaks with 12am quizzes, and 2am naps. Stress was instantaneously paired with laughter.

 

 

Other than my friends, I did fall in love with the place too. I found comfort in Nasi Kukus in front of Tesco, RM4 uber rides to McDonalds, RK Fatima Roti Telur for 3pm breakfast and all-day fluffy Pancakes at Breakfast Club. Although, I hated how far away UNMC was from the city, and I’m sure I’ve mentioned this numerous of times previously. But being in the middle of nowhere do have its perks. One major one as the visible starry sky. The stars that would accompany me during my pitch black walk back to my room from the Core, made me want to study longer into the night. Because the later the night, the darker the sky – hence, more stars. It would scatter all around, and sometimes cluster at one side. At the UNMC bridge, I would stand there for hours feeling so small comparing myself to the universe.

 

 

 

On my last night in UNMC, we did exactly that. But rather than standing on the bridge, we sat at the rooftop. Lied on the metallic roof, with the sounds of sniffling mice and stepping into the unseen puddles on the floor. We stayed there for the whole night. Only left to eat right before dawn. We lied flat on the roof, and tilted our head up to look above and noticed how infinite the universe is – realising the sphere shape of the world. Contemplating the existence of other creatures of God and how lonely it would be if we were the only living thing in the entire universe. Whenever, a bird would fly across we would be startled and, if we were quiet enough we could hear every plane that flew above us.

 

 

 
However, it was Aimin’s Penis shaped constellation, Izran’s philosophy class and Mali’s laughter echoing across the night – that made it an incomparable night. The comfortable silence, of nothing but our heavy breathing accompanied with Coldplay’s music. I also finally found the sole purpose of it, it’s to be played for moments like this. To feel nostalgic for something that hasn’t passed yet, but we know will. We were harmonising to Yellow, and whispered all together “I want something just like this.”   And in that moment, while we stared into “forever” and celebrated each shooting star we didn’t miss – I felt both immortal and mortal all at once.

Weddings weddings weddings. 

The day where lucky ones reunite with their soulmates yada.. Yada..  Also,  the time guests are struggling with blisters, tight dresses, and sweaty pits.

In Malaysian tradition, we have many steps to the Malaysian wedding. Merisik – Tunang – Nikah – Reception. I went for Intan’s brother’s (Rafique) Nikah at Masjid Wilayah. Which is now my favourite mosque btw. Passed by it so many times during my college days but never actually entered, and when I did I WAS BLOWN AWAY BY THE BEAUTY.

I was told to come in the colour grey to match in Intan’s family. And I only had 1 grey Baju kurung / kebaya thing I made when I was 16! I was suprise I still fit it, but proud Hahahhaha Ofcourse. Who wouldn’t be proud right???

The nikah went on smoothly and Kiki, Mimi and Chubby were all making themselves useful as dulang boys. It was cute. I am top 3 in Intan’s most important friends 💁🏽 (Kiki, Mimi, and I)

THE RECEPTION

Knowing Intan will only be here for the week, busy with wedding preparation. We (Alia and I) volunteered to help out at the wedding! #teamgroom. Duties included making playlist, distributing door gift, fixing the guest list and seating arrangements. All that jazz. Alia and I just had the best laughs ever, way too used to working with each other. Our friendship grew deeper last night. We even wore red .. Not planned.

Once all the boys came, it was like a mini reunion for Sri Utama kids. These boys never fail to make me laugh, they’re the sweetest ever. Also , Mimi and Kiki… HAHAHAHA they didn’t go Sri Utama but it was as if we knew them forever.



(Mimi said “do a model pose”, here’s what I came up with)

MY COUSIN’S WEDDING

Went on to the next morning (today), I JUST DIED. Was so exhausted from Intan’s event , I couldn’t even wake up for the nikah in the morning 😦 But I made it early to the reception. It’s always nice to see Aqmar, cuz DUH best friends since 0 years old. Even my mate from secondary came – turns out he’s the roommate of my cousin’s boyfriend in college. What a small world huh?




NO MORE WEDDINGS IN LINE TILL NEXT YEAR. THANK GOD. ❤️

Melaka Road Trippin’

ROAD TRIPPP!!

Amirul and I have been talking about going on a road trip for ages. But never had the reason to, or even the time. But when my mom suggested on bringing Ninnah to Melaka, she said “Why don’t you go with Amirul ?”  Morning at 10 am Amirul came by to pick us up. He met my mom and got the whole talk on, road safety and all that jazz. Which we both just nodded our heads to. Which then lead to “BYEEEE!” *rushes out the door*

First stop was breakfast! Amirul can’t function without breakfast, he needs his early morning meal. While I believe in the my first meal of the day is always breakfast whatever the time. He bought himself a plate of nasi goreng while, I had some roti bakar. Ninnah just drank teh tarik. I was pretty worried on how them two would get along, but Amirul just knows how to talk to anyone… So it wasn’t hard to leave them two alone. The car ride was just sharing music playlists – constant “Have you heard of this???” I just sat there and listened to them ramble on about Drake, Watsky, and PARTYNEXTDOOR. I barely listen to music, other than the classics, radio and wtv Amirul puts on in the car. Ninnah slept most of the trip, while Amirul and I navigated our way.

At one point the fuel metre  was blinking E and we missed our exit!!! Can you imagine how stressed we were? Missing our exit, on a highway, no near u-turns, no clue where the petrol station was. I was literally holding my breath as we did a massive u-turn, and Ninnah just continued sleeping peacefully Zzzz. The moment we reached the petrol station, I was so relieved. And Ninnah woke up, ” ohh nothing’s up, go back to sleep…”

We reached our first destination in Melaka – Freeport A’famosa outlet! Ninnah wanted to do some shopping, and Amirul has never been. I went in with no intention of spending  any money. But came out with that Orange Nike bag… I need to rethink my life decisions. That purchase left me in a financial crisis. BUT I NEEDED THE SHOES, AND I WANTED ONE FOR SO LONG. Anyways, Ninnah left with some cutesy accessories and staples from Cotton On, and Amirul left with me in his arms crying about being broke. Lucky guy.

Then, we headed on to Jonker Street. The main attraction of Melaka, no? Well at night, but I had a curfew.. so Jonker during the daytime it is ! There were cute small shops with little knickknacks and also, shops with Gap Year Bottoms as Ninnah calls em. Because everyone comes back from a Gap Year with these shorts, and its the Thailand elephant shorts. She bought a few of those. Amirul just followed us into every shop, while he walks his Pokemon eggs and catches all these Pokemons at Jonker. Also took cute pictures with some of the buildings. All that historic stuff..


We also ate at a cute ass cafe at Jonker. Delicious food btw, also reasonable price. The whole interior was so coooooooool. It had the eccentric original (I assume) structure of the building. It had a whole wall decorated  with old chipped plates and at the staircase, they had small vintage sewing machine. Haihh I love cafe interiors like this. Reminded me a bit like Merchant’s Lane Cafe decor.

Ninnah also wanted to go to the beach, because Malaysia = beaches. PEOPLE ASSUME. But all the nice beaches are so far away from KL, so I brought her to Klebang… Lol. It was so dead because it rained. Amirul literally drove slowly by the beach and said “this is it…”. It was grey, and gloomy. It was basically like 8 AM London, beach form. Optimistic Ninnah wanted to wait for the rain to stop, but it never did. Upside to that, I caught myself a Seel !!! ITS SO CUTE.

After all that, we headed home before Amirul got too tired. He slept at 3am the night before.. so yeah. I didn’t want to take the wheel, if I took the wheel we wouldn’t reach home till the next day (that’s just how slow I drive). He’s the sweetest for driving us. It only took us 1hr and a half to get back, wasn’t much of a road trip.  But definitely a start for more adventures! ❤

 

Putrajaya

(Continue – exploring Malaysia)

My dad always suggest me to bring my friends to Putrajaya for sight seeing because of the mosques there. There are 2 main ones – Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque (Iron Mosque) and the Putra Mosque. Also, Putrajaya is just a whole different side of Malaysia that Ninnah has to see. It’s so organised and the buildings there are amazing.

Mimi followed us as well, because he had nothing else to do with his day. My dad decided to pick him up while we were running errands near his place. I called to wake him up at 1, and then we were already on the way to his house waiting in front. He was cursing at me on the phone saying “I ONLY HAVE 10 MINUTES WTF ALINA”. Only a few minutes of waiting he ran over to the car with his jubah and we were all just laughing.  All of us were Wearing jubah, Ninnah, Mimi and I.


There’s some sort of calmness that being in a mosque provides. The presence of God was felt as we stepped foot in the mosque. The walls and ceiling uniquely designed with intricate details. I even matched with them, pink on pink. Even the right shade of pink. I am jealous of those who gets to pray here daily.

At the Iron Mosque, there were the names of Allah carved at the sides of the walls of the entrance. I was in awe. Everything was designed so flawlessly. Also, I thought having a mosque made out of iron would be hot and humid.. yknow science or wtv. BUT ACTUALLY, they designed the mosque in such a way that wind comes in and all that jazz. My dad told me… long lecture but that was the gist of it.

Why have I lived here for many years, and never been here ? Never prayed here ? So Ignorant of me. Why go far away to see beautiful mosques, when it’s just a highway away Alina????? People kept snapping me asking where I was – guesses include Singapore, somewhere in the Middle East, even Dubai ! But nope, just good old Malaysia. There are so many places in Malaysia I have yet to discover, but for now I would definitely recommend tourist to explore the mosques in Putrajaya.

Later that night, we planned on to go see the fireworks for merdeka. Dinner then fireworks. But plans got changed, because to find a parking in Bangsar is nearly impossible. It took us hours, and constant rounds. We ended up just hanging out at Bangsar instead once we got the parking. Ninnah was teaching Mimi all the London slang, and in exchange we taught her some Malay slangs. It was pretty funny to hear her say “Poyo ah”. Ended up being a good night anyways.

Exploring Malaysia

1. Menara Kuala Lumpur (KL Tower)

I wanted to show Ninnah the best of Malaysia. The amazing developing city, the city lights, the concrete jungle I call home. What better way than to go high up and see it all ? I saw it on Instagram – the sky deck at KL Tower. Where you get to go stand on a glass box overlooking the city, it looked crazy cool I wanted to give it a try. I bought the tickets online for a Monday entry. 


ON MONDAY, WEATHER REPORT: HAZE. The haze was mad. You literally can’t even see the Twin Towers from AKLEH. That’s how bad it was. Out of allllllll days, haze gave us a visit on Monday. Even, when we entered the guy at the till suggested us to come another day. But my ticket was only for Monday, I can’t exchange or refund. Might as well get on with it. Just make the best out of it. 

Our package had passes to the upside down house too, which was our first stop before we go up. I’ve always wanted to go to the one in Melaka, but never has the chance. When we first entered, it was so weird ???? It takes a lot of imagination to know how to pose for the pictures. Ninnah and I struggled really bad. We did manage to get some good pictures tho. After all the practice.

 

Next stop, the SKY DECK. When we first got up and went outside, we couldn’t see anything. It was just grey. I was optimistic, I kept saying “maybe at night it’ll be better. With the lights ?” I WAS TRYING. Trying to make my money’s worth. 



I was right. Look how beautiful Kuala Lumpur is, I’ve always loved the city lights. #blessed And it was amazing to see it up high. Happy Independence Day Malaysia 💖

Guess who’s back!


Ninnah Musa Morgaaaaaaaaaan. She was my best friend when I was in St Marylebone. ❤️ She’s half malaysian, half British. And she’s back for a summer holiday – after years of saying “I think I’m gonna come back. I think I’m coming back this year.”

When she told me she was coming back, I didn’t really have my hopes up. But when she said “my flight is on Monday” I SCREAMED. HAHAHAH I told my mom “ninnah’s coming back” she’s like “oh okay”. I said “on Monday” my mom’s face so surprised “REALLY?”
Yeap. Now she’s here. On the first day of meeting her, I picked her up with my mom. And I asked Alia to bring us out, to Yellow Brick Road for some pancakes! Ninnah and Alia hit it off real well. It wasn’t awkward or uncomfortable. Alia’s good with meeting people Anyways. Ninnah was googling touristy places to go and she found a temple nearby – Thean Hou Temple. When she said “can we go here? Have you ever been here ?” Both me and Alia just looked at each other, and shook our head. We’re such bad Malaysians.
Alia wazed the way to the temple. When we first saw the temple, both Alia and I went “whoaaaaaaaaaaaa!” We didn’t know such thing existed in Malaysia. It was such a beautiful temple. I felt like I was in China for a moment.


We took pictures like tourists. Rotating between each other for individual pictures and a paired picture. It was really funny, how Alia and Ninnah just automatically know their angles and their poses. I just stand infront of the camera awkwardly. I’ve never been comfortable to just pose, I always end up laughing.




So ignorant of us. -as a malaysian with all the different culture and races. We should take advantage of it and learn more about each other’s culture. We should appreciate the diversity, and how it can open up wider scope of knowledge on different cultures. Especially when the Chinese and Indians in Malaysia know so much about Malays and our culture. But it’s so ignorant of us to not know much about them. They know Haram and Halal food. Some even know our prayer times. It was such a humbling, I should definitely learn more about the other cultures. And this was definitely a start.