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.

Lit teacher 

I went to teach refugee kids last week Saturday, and it was such a life changing experience. I went in there, with no teaching experience other than memories of teaching my cousins and friends during Alevels. Thanks to Hari, who nudged me with a “go on – teach” and nothing much else – I did. I stood up infront of all 9 kids with a marker in my trembling hands and introduced myself after they all stood up to greet us “Good Morning Teacher”. 

They all just stared at me after that. Each beady eyes, blinked right at me after every few seconds. Waiting for a direction, waiting for a command. I realised being a teacher requires a lot of thinking at the top of your toes moment. I stood there with Khadijah (we were in it together), began with a long “Sooooo……. we’re studying English today”. Slight lift in tone stretching the end syllable, questioning my own command. One of the students gave us the book they use, and we flipped by a random page and thought okay this seems simple let’s start with this. That was my teaching plan. #litteacher. Get it ??? Lit – literature but lit??? I bet they would’ve laughed.. 

After skipping pages and teaching 3 chapters of English and fractions for maths, the kids kept asking if they’ll see me next week. I WAS SO TOUCHED. They wanted to see me again. Or maybe the just wanted to know what week to skip.. Nonetheless, it was so satisfying when they said “I got it.” Especially when they started with arched eyebrows, scratching their head with their pencil. I tried to apply as much psychology as I could – Vygotsky’s Scalfolding methods. Methods of teaching ADHD kids (even though they weren’t, it’s just to keep their focus on me) and operant conditioning (Skinner). 

I’ve always found it selfish to not share your knowledge. It was an honor to be able to teach these children, and share the slight percentage of knowledge that I have. Generally, I’m a blabber mouth, to the point that if I learnt something new I would tell the first person I see after that and pass on the knowledge. Not necessarily teaching, but I always have this need to tell – OTHER PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THIS TOO! Kinda feeling. Trust me, after 33 months of my blabber to Amirul, he can graduate with a Psychology Degree too once I’m done. 

These children’s age varies from 12 to 14 years old, mostly from Myanmar. And they’re learning primary 3 up to primary 6 work. It’s upsetting, they have so much potential just not equal opportunity as others. Everyone deserves the right to education. Being brought up in a family where education plays a huge role – (my dad working for the higher education sector in the government). My dad has always taught me the importance of knowledge. It’s the only thing you have that no one else can take away from you. And for others to not have the same opportunity to acquire knowledge as I have ? Makes me grateful for my upbringing and the opportunities I’ve been handed on a silver platter. These kids, they pay RM 20 ringgit per month, for this education and which frankly should be free. Education should be free and to all. But for this foundation called Blue Skies, to gather volunteers every Saturday – our efforts are just a stepping stone.

 My dad has been working for decades in the higher education, and day by day I hear and see people complain about the Malaysian Education System – the local universities standards not being of quality. The lack in facilities, and complaints about lecturers being boring. The main aim of the government is to provide opportunities for all the children in Malaysia to be able to attend higher education. Education for all, no matter the social status, and opportunity. Everything else is secondary.

Let’s leave with a note my dad once advised my brother when he first got Mi’qael – the most important thing you have to provide for your children, is their education. It’s an investment for their future. Start up the bank account, the moment the child is born and you won’t regret it. 

Q & A #1

I have a friend, Alia Soraya, an aspiring living the dream fashion journalists who would pop up out of nowhere in the group chat and bombard us with random questions. I thought, I would publish this one. Make it a Q & A series, interesting no ?

  1. What’s your philosophy in life?
    You are not truly living unless you’ve changed other lives.
  2. What was the best phase in your life?
    My gap year phase. The search for  myself phase. 2016- the whole year was a phase. Discovering my style, my individuality, my self confidence, my skills, myself. 
  3. What was the worst phase in your life?
    The cringe worthy year of 2011. When I was 15? Thinking I’m an adult when I truly was not. Obviously. Wearing clothes that didn’t fit me, trying to conform to a group that I myself didn’t understand. The year I was running away from who I truly was. 
  4. Is what you’re doing now what you always wanted to do growing up?
    Getting a tertiary degree was never a question, having education be the most important aspect of life was what I was taught. But at this age, 21 this year.. my younger self would’ve expected something far greater than just studying. Like Justin Bieber was famous at what .. 16? Malala won a nobel prize at 17? What have I achieved? I just wanted something greater to do.. well I saw myself doing something much greater than this.
  5. What makes you feel accomplished?
    The feeling of not knowing the time and realising it’s time to go home to head to bed after a long tiring day.
  6. Would you ever take back someone who cheated?
    No
  7. When do you think a person is ready for marriage?
    Once they’ve truly fallen in love with themselves and is willing to share that love with someone else. 
  8. Who is that one person you can talk to about just anything?
    Amirul
  9. Do you judge a book by its cover?
    Yeap, literally – I like minimal book covers if not artistic ones. Or old looking ones. People – I start judging once they start talking. It’s like judging the blurb.
  10. Are you confrontational?
    I’m confrontational if i believe that’s the best way to handle the situation.
  11. Do you believe in second chances?
    Hopeless romantic in me – yes. Realist in me – no
  12. What did your past relationship teach you?
    Don’t be blind. You’re worth much more than that. He ain’t all that.
  13. What do you think about when you’re by yourself?
    Why am I alive… why is my soul put into this body… why this body… why can’t I stop eating

The month of January

In 2017, I begin my year prepping for my Semester exams. Great start huh? Sitting around, writing notes, talking to myself trying to understand everything while biting my pen. I’ve spent 90% of the time spent with Aimin and Nate. 2 lost souls that have made my time in Notts the best of days. It’s amazing how we got real close, real quick. In the span of A WEEK !!! Group chat named Little ho ho ho.


They’re the life of me in Notts. Waking up at 3pm, and meeting up for breakfast, studying psychology – discussing on how to change courses when we hit a bump in Cognitive that’s impossible to understand. We just instantly click. Lying in Nate’s room, sleeping on the inflatable bed while terribly singing songs while Nate plays the guitar. Drinking tea at midnight. They make me excited to go there which is the feeling I’ve craved for.


Being in Uni is hard. Half of my things are at home, the other half in my dorm room. Closet split in half, the other things.. well, I buy two of everything just to make life easier. I’ve felt half hearted, not completely feeling at home wherever I am. The moment I get comfortable at home, I have to go back to uni. The struggle is more emotional than physical really. But yeah, I’ve found things to be excited for both at home and at uni.

What else happened in Jan..
Debbie left 😦 She went back to Aussieland. I might not see her till next year?? (Remember its 2017 now) She’s not coming back for next christmas or mid year. So that’s gonna be hard. It’s hard having your best friends living in another country, so far away from you. It was so nice having her here, someone I have to talk to about anything. Not having to fill them up about the past to explain the present things, or not having the need to explain who I am as a person for them to understand. That was Debbie. Known me from 2011? But with internet what is distance right? I still have Mimi though, so it’s good. He’s not going anywhere.



But Mimi, started uni. Even though his uni is close by to mine, we only meet up on weekends. So far, we’ve met up every weekend catching up with stories and life update. We’re really close, it’s kinda funny. Mind you, I met this boy at tuition (after school classes). We had no mutual friends, not in the same school, nothing. Would just meet after school at night, for classes that lasts 1-2 hours. Yet, he’s the closest thing I have other than Amirul right now. Coming over at night, catching up with not only me but my family. So comfortable, lying on the floor talking about his crush of the week finishing up the ribena at home. Not knowing when to leave, until it’s just the two of us outside while he smokes and I listen.

I guess all this reminiscing is just my lesson of the month, the importance of friendship, great friendships to be exact. The friends you would live in an empty room with. The ones who would make the best out of nothing, but just of each other. How important it is to have friends to make an empty space a home just by filling it up with laughter. I’m thankful for these friends of mine.

#firstlessonof2017

If 2016 was a movie 


(The quote I’m living my 2017 by)

This is probably the time for me to reminisce memories made during 2016, and make new years goal for 2017 right?

IF 2016 WAS A MOVIE…
It’ll flash to the moment where..

  1. I finished A Levels and got my results
  2. Got Accepted into amazing uni’s but rejected (this should be the downfall/big mistake part of the movie -self conflict)

MONTAGE – Gap Year Activity

  1. Going to Australia alone
  2. Working at CLEO
  3. Lying in bed watching nothing but Sex and The City for MONTHS AND MONTHS routing and crying over Carrie and Big’s love
  4. Using my allowance for nothing else but eat good food and shopping.
  5. Revamping my style/closet
  6. Redecorated my room – painted/bought new furnitures
  7. Brought Ninnah around Malaysia
  8. Started on the 70s Show, New Girl, Elementary, This is Us, Empire.

RESOLUTION

  1. Went into University of Nottingham
  2. Moved out of home
  3. DIE trying to figure out how to cope with uni
  4. DIE trying to figure out how to live alone
  5. Plagiarism phobia

*Zooms out video of Amirul making me laugh in the car with loud music and wind in my hair* 

END 2016 MOVIE 


BEGIN 2017. 

2017 goals ? Nothing. I’m not setting any new year’s resolution this year. I did fulfill last year’s new year resolution though. I did give more last year and was definitely more generous – i think I’ll keep it as an everyday thing now. Not just for 2016. 

Bid farewell to 2016.


 

 

 

 

20 lessons before 20

I never actually feel my age. Like you don’t wake up on your birthday and feel 20? Right? Unless some of you do.. (tell me how 20 feels). So I spend my time reflecting on what I learnt during my 19th year of living.

Here’s my list of 20 things I learnt before I turned 20
1. Trust your gut. For some reason it’s always right.

2. Do what makes you happy – spoil yourself. 

3. Learn to appreciate people, even with saying thank you, or giving back. Make sure people around you are appreciated.

4. Home is home. Home may change, home may even be a person. It’s even possible that you have more than one home.

5. Don’t be kedekut with knowledge. The more you give the more you get.

6. Love the way you love. Just because you love in a different way than someone else is loving, don’t think the way you’re loving is wrong.

7. Follow every cute animal accounts for an everyday cheer up- @tobypuff my favourite right now.

8. MAKAN ON TIME IF NOT GASTRIC ALINA.

9. Be confident. Being shy doesn’t get you anywhere.

10. When you look good, you’ll feel good.

11. Your age does not define you. You define your age. Just because I’m 20 y/o doesn’t mean I have to act like a 20 y/o.

12. I actually like living alone. Living at my own pace. Not having to cater to anyone else other than myself.

13. LAUGH. Laugh at everything. If someone spilled water on you, laugh. If you’ve embarrassed yourself, laugh.

14. If you’re having a bad week, it’s okay to take a day off. There should be something such as an emotional day off.

15. Always always be grateful. Life could be worse

16. Dont care about what people think of you, as long as you are proud of who you are. Sod what other people think of you.

17. Have a “go to” outfit to always wear when you’re blocked on what to wear.

18. Make others happy. With a joke, with a kind gesture – just spread happiness and good vibes man.

19. Take your time. University – life , isn’t a race. Everyone should do things at their own pace. No need to compare your timeline with others.

20. Shit, I am old

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How my cat died. 

“Life’s a hint” I once told Amirul. It’s like a really good literature book, yknow. There’s just tiny hints scattered between the pages, we as the reader know but for some reason the characters would always be caught off guard when it happens. Which is rather odd. This is the story on how my first pet died. How life hinted me, I saw the hints but was still caught off guard.

Last week I saw a tweet of a conversation:

“How is it like having a cat?”

“It’s great. But if your cat dies, and you don’t cry .. you’re amazing.”
I saw the tweet, and it made me think – that one day my cats are going to die. They are apart of the life cycle at the end of the day. But how would I react? How would I be ? I even tweeted about it.


That was obviously hint one from the mighty writer of life above.

Then, I found myself to talk about my cats a lot this week. I told Mali about all three of my cats as if they were my children #catlady. I told her about Baby (the first), Jack (the dumb one), and Ed (the funny fat one). I told their stories and their traits. But I kept going back to Baby, and telling Mali how she’s the bitchiest cat but she’s my mom’s favourite. It was always a joke of whether my mom loved me more or baby more. How her meow was really soft, like it’s a proper meow. I told Mali about the time we first got her, and how she was so tiny that she ran into one of the steps of my house. How baby would bite if you stop patting her. I usually would talk about Jack or Ed more, because they’re younger and the memories would be fresher. I even made a joke to my friends that if any of my cats die, I need an emotional leave as if a family member died. That should’ve been hint number 2.

I would always leave my laptop on with a random Jane the Virgin episode for it not to be too quiet when I’m in my room. I don’t watch it, I would do my own thing – Clean up or organise my room. The episode that was on was the episode they were having a flashback on how Jane and Michael met. They were arguing and Jane said “Have fun with your cat!” and Michael said “My cat just died !”. For some odd reason, the words “My cat just died” would always catch my attention, and it would ring in my ears. Until now actually. That should’ve been hint number 3?


My family group chat was blowing up on Thursday. How my sister is asking my mom to bring Baby to the Vet because of her heavy breathing but no one could reach my mom. I called, non stop until she finally answered. My sister in law took a video of Baby breathing heavily but looking so weak. Her head rested on her bowl, and she had blood around her mouth area. News from the vet was that she was just having phlegm in her lungs, she was incubated. My mom made a joke saying it’s the same sickness as my nephew. Even though she didn’t go on Thursday, it stayed at the back of my mind.
Friday came. It was an amazing day. I felt good, I couldn’t imagine anything to go wrong. I was about to go home with Amirul, we drove home at night for once. There was a t-junction, and Amirul was about to turn right and then I saw a big round light. Amirul was about to go straight to the light of the motorbike  because he was looking the other way. I tapped his arm, and he was getting closer – the light didn’t move though. I screamed and only then Amirul swerved the other way. I don’t know why I didn’t see that hint, that something bad was going to happen that day.

When I got the text from my mom saying “Baby dah mati.” It was so sudden. I was in shock, in the car I just looked at amirul and said “baby died” and burst into tears. In the Friday night KL jam, I drenched Amirul’s shoulders.

My tears stopped when I came home. I saw my mom and baby, on the floor in front of the entranced. Broke down a bit but collected myself to keep Amirul comfortable. It was my mom and my sister sitting on the floor with baby at the entrance, my dad watching TV and Amirul and I eating at the kitchen island. That was the first night, where I’d eat chicken and Baby wasn’t on the table asking for some of it.


The funeral went like this, it was done in the rain. My mom dug out the hole by herself at the back. Later my sister went over and watched as she bawled in tears. Ed was at the neighbour’s roof watching over us. He just stared. For some reason he looked sad and it’s as if he questioned it. He kept meowing slowly. Then, as my sister laid Baby down wrapped with a towel. All three of us burst into tears. She was stiff, she died in the position of how she would usually sleeps, curved in ball and her hand covering her eyes. My mom pulled the soil together and buried her up – repeating “Bye kesayangan Mak” (Good bye my love). She just kept saying “Tidur dengan aman baby, tidur dengan aman” (Rest in peace). As she was covering baby, she said that she was sorry. She couldn’t stop apologising for the times she was angry at her. For being mad when she doesn’t finish her food and wanting more. She repeatedly said “Mak minta maaf mak lambat bawak ke doctor” (I’m sorry I was late on bringing you to the doctor). And when she was done, she pressed down the soil together and broke down. She repeated bye baby, bye baby, bye baby. It’s what we would say when we go out as she watches us leave. But this time, it’s the last time we would say it, and it’s Baby that’s leaving us. It drizzled over us and the rain got heavier. Ed went over to where we buried Baby, and sniffed around it. We looked at him, he knows. He came over and walked home with us.

She was my first pet, she grew up with me. We first got her when we came back from London, she made Malaysia feel like home. Only 4 weeks old, she was the baby of the house. She would come on night car rides with us, and sit on the dashboard till she out grew it. She would lick my ice cream when I wasn’t looking. Baby made me love cats when I was terrified of them. She met all my friends, from secondary (both schools), to Pre U. They know how much my family loves Baby and how she’s family.

It’s the thought of no more grey fur would be on my clothes. The thought of no more meow as I’m washing the dishes. She’ll never be on the kitchen island anymore asking for a pat. We won’t have to go to the grocery store and search for her favourite food anymore. I came down the stairs in the middle of the night, and I imagined her at the end of the steps but she wasn’t there and won’t be there anymore. She won’t be the first one to greet us anymore when we get back home, peeping through the blinds. I hope we gave her a good life, with enough love. Nearly 7 years old, you made my life a loving one.

Life is a hint. But no amount of hints would actually prepare me for Baby’s death. Bye Baby, I will always love you.