Friday, December 28, 2012

2012: Upon reflection

"Time is tricky. You have whole months, even years, when nothing changes a speck, when you don’t go anywhere or do anything or think one new thought. And then you can get hit with a day, or an hour, or a half a second when so much happens it’s almost like you got born all over again into some brand-new person you for damn sure never expected to meet."
E.R. Frank, Life Is Funny

This year is probably one of those years where so much has happened and changed that it really feels like I've become someone else entirely. So much has changed, yet many things still remain the same. 
Anyway, it's that time of the year again where I go through my folder of captured moments, and recap the year that was 2012. Here goes nothing. 
In 2012, I:

1. Watched Mary Poppins the musical on New Year's Day

It was a pretty awesome musical that had me singing Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious all the way out of the theater. Well, I was always a huge Mary Poppins fan.

2. Paraglided

I remember Minny skived off work for this, driving us down to the Sunshine Coast. We had to wait a couple of hours and drove to three destinations for the wind to pick up and be strong enough to carry us, but it was well worth the wait. The view was breathtaking, and it was as close to flying as I could ever imagine. And well, running off a cliff is always an exhilarating experience. Other than the crazy 360 degree turns that the paragliding instructor made me do, which made me really dizzy and slightly sick at the end, I would gladly do it again.

3. Attended a food tasting for my sister's wedding

Yummy food that made all of us so full it was hard to sit down afterwards. Nevertheless, it was good we had the food tasting since we didn't really have much time to eat during the wedding.

4. Officially gained a brother-in-law

My sister held a little wedding registration ceremony at 21, BSC. 

5. Partied with the primary school bunch @ Vertigo

And got to see a lot of their mabuk faces that night. I think KY and WY weren't in the picture because they felt sick and threw up.

6. Took a trip back to Kuantan to celebrate Grandma's 80th birthday

I haven't been back to Kuantan in ages and it was nice to see everyone and do a little catching up with my cousins, who've all grown so big now! Made me feel so old.

7. Visited some fish farm and punctured a tyre in the middle of nowhere

On the way to Kuantan, we took a little detour to visit this fish farm. It was an interesting and educational experience I suppose, even though I was practically melting under the heat. After we left the fish farm, my sister punctured our tyre by driving into a pothole that was covered with water. It was raining, we were in the middle of nowhere amongst some kampung road and the insurance company wasn't bring very helpful. Luckily, the owner of the fish farm heard about our predicament and came to give us a hand.

8. Randomly visited the Tian Hou Gong temple at night

We spontaneously dropped by the Tian Hou Gong temple at night en route back from Kuantan. Believe it or not, I've never been there at night, even though I've studied next to the temple for 5 years. And it was only my second visit there. In any case, it was well worth the visit as the temple was really pretty at night with all the lanterns lit up. There was also an Indian wedding going on that night.

9. Stayed up 2 nights in a row to finish up my mom's 60th birthday present

If anyone ever decides to randomly do a 50+ page scrapbook for their mother's 60th birthday present, I'd advise you not to start two days before the important day. It was a grueling and draining process, even though I had enlisted the help of my sister. We managed to finish it in the end and my mom was pleased as punch when she saw it. I guess, seeing her happy face made the sleepless nights worthwhile.

10. Celebrated my mom's 60th birthday

Concrete reminder of how my mom is getting older (though everyone thinks she doesn't look a day past 50) and that I should treat her better and spend more time with her. I wish she could be around forever.

11. Started my masters program

Caught up with old group mates, collaborated with new group mates, found friends for life in newer group mates. It was a tumultuous year of group projects, some good, some bad and some average. I guess, I've learnt to deal with people more than ever and that my leadership skills have been somewhat sharpened. Unfortunately, my patience in dealing with idiots has also diminished significantly. Ah well, part and parcel of life in university I suppose.

12. Took a trip to Melbourne and was introduced to Rekorderlig

If I had to name a Drink of the Year for 2012, it'd definitely be Rekorderlig. I was introduced to this heavenly drink by Victoria in Melbourne, during one of those nights where we wanted to pre-drink before we went out. Got hooked on the yummy cider, introduced it to my sister and it's been our favourite drink ever since! I wish they sold it here in Malaysia!

13. Partied with the primary school bunch in Melbourne

Finally managed to meet up with them in Melbourne (somehow we couldn't coordinate our schedules the past 2 times I visited Melbourne) and partied. I remember feeling so happy because it felt just like being home again. Melbourne this year was really all about food and partying. I really enjoyed myself and had a lot of trouble coming down from the holiday high.

14. Partied in the Gold Coast for the first time

We were supposed to go parasailing, but the rainy weather made sure our plans wouldn't come into fruition. I've never seen the Gold Coast so wet, where it rained from dawn til dusk! But we had a fun night partying away and looking at the trashy Jersey Shore-esque crowd on the GC.

15. Met up with Nicole for the first time in 3 years!

We're only 45 minutes away from each other but somehow we could never coordinate our schedules to meet up. Finally made it happen and she even gave me and my friends staff discount for all the Cotton On shopping we did. Thanks Nicole! :)

16. Attended a NKOTBSB concert

Relived the 90s with Minny and sang my heart out to all the old school BSB songs. And suffered for it later when I had to stay up the whole night to finish an assignment. Good times.

17. Parasailed in the Gold Coast

It took us three trips before we could finally parasail due to the horrible weather. Third time's the charm I guess, since on our third try we finally got perfect weather! We also scored a free stay at the Hilton, GC (thanks to Minny!), and watched an awesome play entitled - Boy, Girl, Wall (the whole play is enacted by only one amazing actor.) It was a super relaxing and fun trip where we fully utilized the Hilton's sauna and jacuzzi. 

18. Visited an oxygen bar on the Gold Coast

I remember I was still slightly sick at the time, recovering from a nasty flu that attacked me during the most inopportune period - exam time. Sister insisted I should go for this oxygen bar thingy, where you inhale almost pure oxygen, which can apparently heals lots of ailments and is good for health. Decided to give it a try. Can't say I felt instantly healed, but at least it unblocked my nose. Caused slight panic with this picture because some of my friends thought I was in a hospital. It was sweet how everyone's "Are you okay" messages poured in.

19. Visited the Cheong Fatt Sze mansion in Penang

Finally visited this iconic Blue Mansion in Penang. Come to think of it, I've been to this place three times this year. The first, to scout out the location for my sister's wedding shoot. The second, for the actual photo shoot. And the third, for a guided tour of the place. It's a gorgeous mansion, and worth going just to see the olden architecture and awesome blue walls.

20. Had high tea at the E&O hotel in Penang

Hands down, one of the best high teas I've ever had! Although that may be because we had to stare at the food for an hour before we could eat it (to wait for my sis and Dobby to finish up their wedding shoot, which required the food as props). Nevertheless, it's highly recommended as a place to have nice afternoon tea and yummy scones in Penang.

21. Held the largest balloons I've ever seen in my life

Also prepared for my sister's wedding shoot, these three gigantic balloons attracted a lot of attention when we were at this beach in Batu Ferringhi. While they turned out splendidly in pictures, we had a really hard time figuring out how to transport them back after the shoot. We tried to save the balloons so we could reuse them, but deflating them without damaging them proved to be too hard a task and we gave up. In the end, we gave one away and stuffed the remaining two in our car. And because I had to sit in the backseat, my face was practically plastered to the window in order to accommodate the balloons. Well, that was a memorable drive back from Batu Ferringhi. The next day, we gave both the balloons away to a family that was outside our hotel. They seemed quite disbelieving that we were giving away these ginormous balloons for free but took it in the end and made their kids' day. Well, at least the balloons made some kids happy.

22. Attented Ea's niece's birthday party in Janda Baik

It was a super fun road trip to Janda Baik, as we helped out with Ea's niece's birthday party preparations - blowing balloons, cutting out name tags and paper decorations. In general, just soaking up the happy and fun atmosphere of a child's birthday party kept us in good spirits. We had good food prepared by Ea's family, applied happy clappy smiley fake tattoos, decorated cupcakes and won a battle against the angry and aggressive geese in Ea's garden using umbrellas. 

23. Saw the Jabbawockeez live at Jupiter's Casino

It was an entertaining show, save for the slightly drunk/boisterous crowd that night. Nevertheless, that's another dream of mine ticked off the bucket list.

24. Attended my sister's wedding

Flew back home again after the second week semester started to attend my sister's wedding. All in all, it went off pretty smoothly. I was really busy running around throughout the whole day and my only regret was that I didn't really get to eat all the awesome food! I was quite okay throughout the whole thing but the waterworks really started when my sister gave her thank you speech at the dinner (after a surprisingly touching speech by Dobby already, mind you). Luckily I was seated with my back facing the crowd, so 500 people wouldn't have to see me cry. 

25. Watched Annie the musical

26. Met a bunch of awesome people and had a BBQ at my place for the first time

Advertising Management and Production brought us all together and we rather spontaneously decided to have a BBQ after that, which kinda cemented our friendship. I remember we had a really hard time trying to clean up the BBQ pit, and was very touched everyone tried so hard to help me with it. This was also the night Manda and I introduced everyone to Heart Attack and Ring of Fire, and we had lotsa laughs playing those games.

27. Took a trip to Noosa, picked strawberries and played Beer Pong

Our roadtrip to Noosa was filled with lots of unnecessary drama in the beginning, but it all worked out in the end. Tried playing ping pong with saucer plates after everyone was tipsy and broke one in the end. Not our best idea ever.

28. Visited one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen

The scenery at Noosa was incredible. We found this little beach that was practically deserted, and spent some time enjoying the waves and taking  pictures.The water had gorgeous gradients of blue and green, and it was a lovely sunny day.

29. Partied with the work mates

30. Had proper fresh seafood on the Gold Coast

I've always heard about Australia having awesome seafood and how fresh it is, but never really found a place which could attest to that claim. Glad to say I've finally found a place that isn't atrociously expensive and has good and fresh seafood. We were sorta celebrating Allen's birthday, so we gorged ourselves on salmon sashimi, that humongous crab claw in the picture and oysters. This was also the day Allen spent 15 minutes at the roulette tables and then won $200, which he then used to treat us to dinner.

31. Surprised Allen with a cake on his 25th birthday

Odin and Nat had to drop us at Cybercity and then drive all the way back to Nat's house for the cake in order for the surprise to be successful, but it all worked out in the end.

32. Had Oppa Gangnam Style fever

I guess no one can escape the power of Psy and his catchy song. This song was so popular,we bopped our heads when it came on the radio, danced to it at clubs (not like we could help it since the DJs spun this song every hour), made parodies of it, and created a whole new version of it (Allen's Oppa Vietnam Style). Years from now, we'll probably look back and think why the hell were we ever into this song?! But hey, it was fun while it lasted.

33. Cycled for the first time in more than 10 years

I never properly learned how to ride a bike. When I was much younger, I had a really bad bike accident, where I banged up my knee pretty badly (I still have the scars to prove it). I didn't ride a bike for a really long time til I was 9 or 10 and sorta taught myself how to ride one in an afternoon. I could never really turn corners properly though, so I decided to go see if I could really ride one. Turns out I still can though I'm a bit wobbly. I guess what they say about not being able to forget how to ride a bicycle is true.

34. Stayed in uni for almost 24 hours

I think I've spent more time in uni this semester than my 3 and half years of uni life combined! This was really the first time where I've camped at uni throughout the night, getting momentarily kicked out my the cleaners so they could vacuum the place, watching the first light of dawn filter in through the library windows. We had so many lunches and dinners at uni that we got sick of uni food really quickly and had a couple of these tapao-ed dinners from Jackpot and Nandos. At least I always had company whenever I had to camp in uni. For that, I am extremely grateful.

35.Successful organized our Hainan Chicken Rice/potluck party

I'll always remember Evan's relentless begging of Manda to cook Hainan chicken rice for him and how many times it was postponed. We finally managed to do it right after we handed in our individual assignments for Advertising Management and Production. I remember I got no sleep that night as I rushed to finish up the assignment and then spent the morning cleaning and vacuuming my place so that it'd be fit for visitors. It was smack right in the middle of assignment crazy period, so naturally my place was a mess as I didn't have time to clean up properly. This was also the night Allen performed his 你是我的花朵 dance for us and had everyone laughing so much, we were in tears. 

36. Saw my first live male stripper show

After getting no sleep again to hand in our Entrepreneurship business plan, the girls and I spontaneously decided to go out. It was the first Friday of the month and it was ladies night in most places, which meant free drinks for us. Since it was ladies night, a lot of places were also having male strippers and we stayed to watch before chilling at Kerbside.

37. Departed at 1am for a roadtip to Byron Bay

Right after exams finished, we decided to go watch the sun rise in Byron Bay. Since we didn't really want to waste money on a hotel room, we just started our journey at 1am in the morning. I remember it was a crazy day at work, where Nathan and I got slammed coz the shop was crazy busy! I got off work at 10pm, got something to eat, went home to change and was out again. Unfortunately, we didn't really get to catch the sun rise since it was a really cloudy day (it rained and hailed after that), but it was still a fun trip nevertheless. 

38. Watched Jersey Boys the musical

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons are now permanently on repeat in my iPod.

39. Visited MovieWorld

Took a train down with Manda and Bobby to visit MovieWorld! Tried out the new Green Lantern ride (three times!) and had lotsa fun being little kids again. Come to think of it, I think I've been to the Gold Coast  wayyy more times this year compared to the past two years.

40. Cheered my sister on and watched her team come second at the Salsa Solo

41. Celebrated my 22nd birthday

Had the most awesome birthday surprise planned out for me by my sis and Yu May. Those Hello Kitty macarons were so freaking cute, I nearly couldn't bear to eat them (they tasted really good though!).

42. Said goodbye to some awesome people

I wish we had more time to hang out together like this. Or I wish I had met you guys earlier. I stayed up all night doing a scrapbook for Nat, she took one look at it and started crying before she even opened it. Sigh, I'm going to miss everyone so much!

43. Roadtripped up to Genting

Took a roadtrip up to Genting with Gill, Jowee and Daryl. Stayed at Awana, which provided the highlight of our trip in the form of Karma Cafe. Also visited Ripley's Believe it Or Not for the first time. This was us trying to figure out how to open this mystery gate (Daryl was trying to Google it) before a Ripley's worker walked passed and casually unlocked it. 

44. Saw the iconic Penang graffiti

Roadtripped to Penang with the cousins. We probably haven't had a family trip with them since the time they came to visit Minny and me in Brissie 3 years ago. It was truly a food escapade, since we pretty much just ate from one shop to another.

45. Visited Kek Lok Si

Saw this ginormous Guan Yin statue at Kek Lok Si in Penang. Apparently I've been to Kek Lok Si as a child, but since I remember none of it, I'll take this as the first time I've been there.

46. Watched Beauty and the Beast the musical

This was part of our Christmas day celebrations and Minny's 30th birthday celebrations. However, it was a weird version with Gaston singing modern hits such as I'm Sexy and I Know It, Ghostbusters and Oppa Gangnam Style. I Will Go the Distance from the Hercules movie and Lady Gaga's Born This Way somehow made it into the musical too. It was really weird. Minny also treated us to an excellent Italian degustation dinner for her birthday.

47. And lastly, scored four high distinctions in my second sem of masters!

I was really surprised and happy that this happened. Just goes to show that all those sleepless nights were worth it and that good things happen when you least expect them to.

So that's it for my 2012! This post comes a bit earlier than usual as I'll be spending New Year's Eve away from KL. All in all, 2012 has been both a good and bad year. It was the year the shit really hit the fan, but it was also the year where I formed solid friendships, met great people and became more comfortable in my own skin.

Here's hoping that 2013 will be a better year. May it be more kickass and fearless!