Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Pondering The Year That Was 2013

It's that time of the year again, where I reflect, review and ponder the events and milestones of the past year. 2013 has been a year of ups and downs for me. There were so many moments where I wish I could have hit the pause button, to just take some time and bask in the moment. Sadly, time and tide wait for no man, so here we are again.

In 2013 I:

1. Ushered in the new year in Bangkok with the family

We joined Tweety's friends for the NYE celebration at the hotel next to Platinum Mall. I remember being extremely thankful that we weren't down below in the streets, coz the streets were crazy jam packed! Instead, we had a prime spot for viewing the fireworks, without having to jostle with everyone else. The fireworks were so close, it felt like showers of light were raining down upon us. It was a wonderful feeling!

2. Celebrated Tweety's 32nd birthday

This birthday celebration was organized by Dobby. It was a memorable night for me because I witnessed firsthand how Yu May shot down drunk guys by just repeating the words: "It's okay." Hands down, the funniest conversation I've ever heard and an extremely good tactic to make annoyingly persistent people go away.

3. Attended sister's sister-in-law/brother-in-law's sister's wedding

Whichever way one puts it, it was a lovely, lavish wedding, in which I sat next to a nice aunty, who insisted I write her my email so she could pass it to a friend's son who was living in Brisbane. Because I seemed like a "nice girl". Thank you, Aunty. Gotta love how aunties always think living in the same city away from home means people should automatically get to know one another.

4. Raved at SHM's last world tour

Crowd control was super bad and the weather was terrible coz it drizzled throughout the night, but nothing could stop us from enjoying SHM!

5. Scored free tickets to both nights of We Love Asia

Yolanda Be Cool played an awesome set! I remember feeling slightly surprised, since the only song I knew of theirs at the time was We No Speak Americano.

DJ Antoine's Welcome to St. Tropez was stuck in all our heads for the whole week after that! It's such a meaningless and silly song, but heck, the beat is catchy!!

Day 2 of We Love Asia included Red Foo of LMFAO and Steve Aoki!

Also, it was the first time raving with the primary school bunch. Little did I know, I would go on to see Siok at almost every other event after that! :)

6. Stood front row for the first time during Taio Cruz's performance

I don't think I've ever actually stood in the front ever before during a concert/rave. So that was the first time! Usually I can't be bothered to squeeze my way to the front, but somehow Gill and KX weaved through the crowd and suddenly, we found ourselves right in front. It could also be due to the fact there weren't that many people at the event. I was also pleasantly surprised to discover that I actually knew quite a few Taio Cruz songs - thanks to the radio, so I could bop along. I'm not a big fan of his, but I guess his songs are quite catchy.

7. Visited the Sepang F1 tracks for the first time

And stood right in the middle of the track, complete with all the skid marks! Whoo! I used to be an F1 fan when I was younger, so it was exciting for me.

8. Lunched at Sage for the first time

I've always heard a lot of good things about Sage, but never got the chance to try it out til that day. I must say the food is really awesome and their lunch set is much more value for money, compared to their dinner menu. Would definitely go back again!

9. Had a girly sleepover at Vicky's house

It was a fun night of catching up, midnight swims, tequila shots, super duper awesome trifle and yummy brekkie scambled eggs. Vicky's house is like a little resort right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city. It felt like we were on holiday!

10. Received a Fujifilm Instax as an early graduation present

I have since made full use of the Instax and have preserved lots of wonderful memories using it.

11. Did our yearly mahjong session with the girls during CNY

This year was extra special because Ann, Mel and Kit Mun all came back from overseas for CNY. It was lovely seeing them, catching up and doing our siu lai lai activities - mahjong and gin rummy! Now that we're all working and living in different places, it's so hard to all be in the same place at once. I was very grateful we could be reunited, just like the old times, and have fun together. Never appreciated all these moments enough when we were younger and could see each other every day!

12. Celebrated Valentine's Day with the girls

We celebrated Valentine's Day with a sleepover! Again, extremely grateful that those who were attached made time for girly time, instead of spending it with their respective boyfriends. Nowadays, everyone is so time poor and busy, it's rare that we can spend time together especially on occasions such as Valentine's Day. Love these girls longggg time! <3 p="">

13. Had a late-night after-dinner CNY visitation from these guys

I had to miss out on our high school CNY visitation/reunion coz I had committed to other plans on that day, but these lovely people decided to come visit me anyway so that I wouldn't miss out on the fun! I think this is the first time my friends have come so super late to visit me during CNY. But it was fun catching up with everyone before I had to fly back to Aussie.

14. Received food in the mail

Nat and Allen sent us these famous pineapple tarts all the way from Taiwan! This is the first time I've received food via mail. 

15. Tried Passion Pop

Ashley always raves about Passion Pop and I finally got to try it this year! I have to say it's super easy to drink coz it's sweet and it's quite cheap too! 

16. Had an all girls' night out with the workmates

We randomly decided to go out after work and had lotsa fun together hopping from one place to another.

17. Went to the Alma Park Zoo

Manda and I went to Alma Park Zoo coz we were doing a project on the Australia Zoo and had to check out the competition. In short, Alma Park is definitely not as good as Australia Zoo. The enclosures are smaller, there are less animals and I actually left feeling quite sorry for the animals coz they didn't seem very happy. Also, I got about 20 mosquito bites on this trip and it itched for dayssss after that. Worse still, the bites left marks all over my skin. I was horrified and very worried that they would be there permanently. Thankfully, after diligently applying all sorts of gels and creams for mosquito bites and a copious amount of Bio Oil, the marks have faded away. Phew!

18. Had dim sum at 12am

Odin randomly suggested going for dim sum one night. I remember I just came back from work at 11pm, and we all went to Big Gun for dim sum at 12am. It was super yummy and very satisfying though!

19. Went to the Greek Food Festival for the first time

It was basically Greek food galore - Manda and I gorged ourselves on grilled octopus, honey puffs, haloumi cheese and souvlaki! Oh-so-yummy!!

20. Got addicited to froyo in Aussie

Minny and I were so addicted to Noggi, it was not funny! I mean the froyo craze started a couple of years ago in Malaysia with places like Tutti Frutti and Moo Cow springing up, but I was never crazy for it. I mean, I'd have it if other people wanted to have it but I never craved for it. Until Noggi. I don't think I've ever had a bad froyo flavour in Noggi, plus I love how it's a fixed price for 3 toppings. Sigh, oh how I miss Noggi.  

21. Met up with Jolene who came to Brissie for a visit

We haven't seen each other since high school, but managed to meet up when I saw that she was in Brissie!

22. Recorded our last voiceover in uni

It's funny how Manda and I never recorded half as much voiceovers in our Mass Comm program, but recorded so much more during our Masters in marketing. We produced lots of great videos, got some good scores and learnt so much! I'm grateful that we had the opportunity to do these assignments together, Manda!

23. Went to Sea World again

Utilized our annual pass to the max and visited Sea World again. Climbed up this jungle gym/hanging rope thing and felt like little kiddies again. I'm amazed we fit through all the little holes and managed to crawl through the tunnels. :D

24. Went for Ballet Revolucion and had my favourite milkshake after

Ballet Revolucion was all kinds of amazing! So glad that I could catch it. I'm going to miss watching ballet in Aussie. :( And this is the cookieshake that I was addicted to, which I am positive contributed to my weight gain, from San Churros. When will they open a San Churros in Malaysia, so I can revel in the awesomeness of this cookieshake againnnnnnn?


Graduated from my Masters of Marketing program. The whole family came over to Brissie for my graduation, which I was super grateful for. Wouldn't have been able to graduate this smoothly without them. I am also extremely grateful for the opportunity to be able to study masters. I really do feel like I've gained a lot from the experience and grown in terms of my leadership skills, independence and critical thinking. I've also gained lots of awesome friends and broadened my networks. To anybody who's wondering if they should do their masters, I say - DO IT.

26. Said goodbye to lots of amazing friends

This is something I truly struggled with this year - saying goodbye to wonderful, supportive and fun friends that I have met in Australia. Of course, we'll always be friends and nothing can change that, but it's hard when we don't know when we'll ever be able to see each other again. On the bright side, I now have friends all over the world! :)

Missing everyone!!

27. Visited New Zealand

That's me popping out of one of the houses in The Shire. It was a dream come true to be able to visit Hobbiton. Another dream and country ticked off the bucket list! 

However, it was also the first time I was truly scared for my sister's health. My family has always been very healthy so we've never really had health scares. But in New Zealand, my sister got really sick - so sick that she constantly shivered, had terrible migraines, fever, and couldn't get out of bed. On our last night, the pain was so bad she started crying and couldn't get any rest at all. We decided to send her to the nearest clinic, only to find that the information the hotel's front desk had given us was inaccurate and that the clinic was closed. So we wanted to send her to the hospital, but was advised against it by our taxi driver as he said it would be crazily expensive because we weren't New Zealand residents. Instead, he took us to another clinic in a suburb 15 minutes away. But when we got there, the clinic told us to go to the hospital down the road because my sister was an Australian PR and treatment would be free. So off we went again to the hospital. We waited for 2 hours at the A&E before a doctor could attend to my sister. Even then, the doctor could not determine what was wrong with her and just gave her some paracetamol and some pain killers. At that point, I seriously wanted to strangle somebody. If I wanted paracetamol and ponstan, I wouldn't have gone through all that trouble to try and get my sister to a hospital in the middle of the night!!! Jeez. 

Anyway, my sister finally saw a COMPETENT doctor back in Brisbane, and it turns out that she had a viral infection that caused a nerve inflammation. Unfortunately, because it's viral, there isn't any medication to treat the root of the problem, so we had to wait for it go away on its own. While she was recovering, I contracted a nasty flu - complete with cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose and I lost my voice for a whole week. When Travis came to stay, he joked that our apartment was an infirmary.  -_-

28. Rode a horse

Another dream of mine crossed off the bucket list! Rode a horse for the first time in my life!! I've sat on horses where someone leads the horse when I was younger, but this is the first time I've ridden a horse all by myself. It was an amazing experience. We rode for slightly more than an hour complete with breath taking New Zealand scenery.

29. Visited a glow worm cave

I've always wanted to visit a glow worm cave and finally managed to in New Zealand. The experience did not disappoint, and I was really glad that we were able to do it. Looking at thousands and thousands of little glow worms in the cave was a magnificent sight to behold.

30. Had a fun time at the Ekka

It was a fun day of looking/petting farm animals, eating yummy food and trying our hand at carnival games.

31. Celebrated our last day on student visas

We marked this momentous occasion by having lunch and free dessert in Sunnybank. I really melancholy that day, as I knew that things would never quite be the same again.

32. Ran my first 5km marathon

I'm not really a runner - I like dancing more than running, as stated above. ;) But running in a marathon is one of the things on my bucket list. So when I heard about the Puma Glow In The Dark run, I thought it'd be a fun first marathon run, since we could stop and rest (dance?) at the four DJ booths along the way. Also, this run wasn't about how fast you could finish it (so it'd be less embarrassing for me, hahaha), it was more about having fun instead - which was what I wanted. In any case, for people that did not train for this, we completed the 5km in 40 minutes, which I was quite proud of, considering the fact that I don't usually run/have not run long distance since high school. Whooooooo!!

33. Watched Grease the musical

Adored the movie, loved the musical. Had tons of fun singing along to all the happy, clappy songs from the movie. 

34. Cooked a live crab 

The first time ever I've killed a live crab, cooked it and ate it. The crab was so big, I couldn't fit the whole thing inside my biggest pot! We had to cook half of it at a time. T.T We tried to pour hot water on the other half that wasn't inside the pot so that it would cook faster and wouldn't suffer a slow death. We also kept apologizing to the poor crab. I'm so sorry crab. If it's any consolation, you were delicious! It was also the first time I've had chilli crab in months, so it was extra delicious.

In fact, 2013 was the year I cooked the most. I tried out lots of new recipes and cooked lots of food. I'm quite proud of myself actually! :P

Part of my Hainanese chicken rice.

Prosciutto pizza before and after it went into the oven.

Pork chops and salad! 

ABC soup

Fried rice made with leftovers.

Lamb chops.

Tapas - figs stuffed with blue cheese, asparagus and strawberry salad, cranberry and pumpkin relish.

Spanish vegetable tortilla.

Kimchi jjigae

35. Visited the Rocklea markets for the first time

I've never visited the Rocklea markets in my 3 and a half years of studying in Brissie til this year! I regret it now, coz there's so much good food there and cheap fruits/vegetables! I remember we visited the markets on election day - the day Tony Abott got voted in. -_-

36. Visited Lone Pine and cuddled a koala

Finally visited the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and cuddled a koala again! Wish I could be a koala and sleep most of my days away... yet still be cute and cuddly. 

37. Witnessed the Riverfire fireworks up close in South Bank

The past two Riverfires were spent on Mount Cootha and at the Regatta. This is the first time I've seen the Riverfire in South Bank. I've gotta admit, there's nothing quite like witnessing all the fireworks simultaneously go off for 20 minutes up close. It was spectacular sight and I am so glad I braved the crowds for this.

38. Whale watched, saw the Russian Ballet on the Gold Coast and woke up to this picturesque sight

Whale watching has always been something I've wanted to do. The whales were really magnificent, and we saw a mommy and baby whale flip their tails together, which was super adorable. However, both Minny and I got seasick towards the end of the trip and puked, in spite of wearing motion sickness bands. I nearly puked right off the boat coz when I went to the counter to ask for a puke bag, the old uncle looked at blankly and said: "What bag?" after I croaked for a bag. I couldn't say another word at the time, for fear of projectile vomiting. Luckily he got the message in time and handed me one. Crisis averted!

39. Bid adieu to my life in Brisbane

So after 3 and a half years, I finally said goodbye to my life in Australia. I was extremely sad at even the thought of leaving. And when the day came for me to leave, I really tried to be strong and hold it together, but completely lost it at the immigration after I said goodbye to my sister. I teared up so badly, I couldn't even talk when the immigration officer asked if I was okay. I think he was a bit shocked too. As I was lining up to board the plane, I could see my sister on the other side of the glass in the airport - it felt like one of those dramatic movies where people kept waving bye to each other and trying not to cry. Lol.

Until today, there's so many things I miss about life in Australia. The culture, the lifestyle, the freedom, the convenience, the people, the friends, the food. I really left pieces of my heart there, pieces I don't think will ever be completely glued back, no matter how much time has passed.

40. Moved back to KL

Officially moved back to KL and rediscovered how I much I love this city, even with its many flaws. Though I miss Australia, I guess there is nothing quite like home. The creature comforts of home helped make the transition easier - rolling around in my big bed, having space at home, enjoying mummy's home cooked food (no need to worry about what's for dinner!). The shopping is KL is of course much better, and there's so much more variety in terms of food!

41. Raved with Avicii

This was quite a last minute plan and marked the first time I drove to Sepang! I had fun but thought that Avicii's set was so-so. I think I might have enjoyed Bassjackers more, which was disappointing since I thought Avicii would be better. I think it might be due to the fact that Avicii did not engage with the crowd at all - he basically didn't say anything. Also, his set would go from super upbeat songs to more mellow ones, then back to upbeat ones again, robbing us of the climax/build up. Ah well!

42. Went for an interview on my birthday and officially joined the rat race

After the interview, went for a free Aquaria trip in KLCC with the mother. My first time at Aquaria!

43. Celebrated my 23rd birthday

Went for birthday high tea at The Majestic hotel on the weekend before my birthday. Had Hokkaido Ichiban on my actual birthday.

44. Accidentally ruined my own birthday surprise

Their surprise would have worked perfectly, if I had not gone to the bathroom or if they had not stopped to take selfies. Lol. Gillian should win a best actress award for managing to pull off everything so smoothly (before I ruined the surprise. -_- ) Nevertheless, I was still super touched and very very grateful. This was also the day where I played badminton for the first time in 4 years and the day we broke a bench with our collective weight! Super unforgettable, and I foresee us telling the bench story til we're old and gray. 

Also had a coincidental rainbow-themed 23rd birthday! Pretty please let me find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow after this! :)

45. Partied at Heineken Thirst

Managed to get cheap tickets in the end, so I went for it. No regrets.

46. Had Christmas Eve dinner cooked by the cousins

I think this is the first time I've tried their cooking, though I go to their house every CNY to eat my aunt's homecooked food. Well, it was a good team effort indeed! After this 11 course dinner, I was so stuffed, it was hard to breathe.

47. Scored a free night's stay at The Majestic

The hotel has been refurbished beautifully! Would have loved to stay longer and enjoy all the facilities (the pool!!), but alas, all good things must come to an end.

48. Helped plan and execute an early birthday surprise for Tweety that nearly got ruined

Sister nearly destroyed her own birthday surprise coz she's a bit of a control freak. By the time she arrived for the surprise, she was in such a bad mood, I was really afraid she might not enjoy it. Luckily, she really was surprised and liked what we did for her. She'd better like it, or I'd have been scolded by her for nothing. *shakes fist*

49. Spent NYE in Penang

Took a 3 days 2 nights trip to Penang with the family. It was a wonderful combination of street food, yummy cafes (Miam Miam, China House), heritage buildings (Suffolk House, Peranakan Mansion) and street graffiti. Had a lovely time!

Aaaaaaaand lastly,

50. Ate Australian native animals

Yes, I realize the order of this photo is not correct, but I forgot to include it earlier and well, it's nicer to end the post on an even number. :) So, Manda and I went to this restaurant that specializes in Aboriginal food in West End and tried: 1. Possum 2. Smoked crocodile 3. Kangaroo fillet 4. Emu

Honestly, they were all quite tasty. Another item completed from the bucket list!

I realized that 2013 has been quite an eventful year for me. I had a lot of fun, matured and grew up, learned things about myself that I never knew about, did a number of tasks that I never thought I would/could do, learned to be more independent and also, really grasped the idea that things happen for a reason. I may not see the value in it at the time, but it all makes sense in hindsight. 

All in all, I am grateful for the year 2013. I hope that 2014 will be even better! Here's to being more fearless, crossing more items of the bucket list, joy, laughter, love, working smart and taking risks. Bring it on!!