My Valentine’s Day

I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. There is this assumption that if you are a couple, or in a relationship that you would automatically be happy on Valentine’s Day. Or at the very least, that you would appreciate a day dedicated to lovers.

Honestly though, I can’t think of a worst holiday – intended to put pressure on couples already in a relationship, a day making singles feel worse than ever. I suppose there is only one type of couple who would enjoy Valentine’s Day, the same kind of couple who would enjoy endless attention on their wedding day, the sort that invite the press and the Tattler to cover the minute details and attention that they put into their wedding: ‘Oh, see those roses over there? Yes, I had it brought in from Cameron Highlands. They were picked at the peak of their blossom as the sun began to emerge over the horizon. Oh, but why talk about the roses when you can talk about my shoes? See these? These were designed by Dato’ Jimmy Choo. Yes, I know he had retired, I forced him out of his retirement for my wedding. I’m that important.”

I met up with my friend, N yesterday for Valentine’s Day. And I brought my husband along – I don’t want him to feel left out on such a special day. We were going on a date, N and I. We were going to eat burgers and then we were going to watch a romantic movie starring Bruce Willis. With lots of guns and bombs.

We were late to meeting her as it was particularly crowded at Midvalley yesterday. We had to maneuver around a number of couples, diligently holding hands because that is what is expected of them for the day, a number holding lifeless bouquets of roses and all of them, looking more bewildered and stressed out rather than genuinely in love. I suppose it’s difficult feeling like the feeling when you have to battle a swarm of forlorn couples, figuring out what to do. One couple began to quarrel almost immediately after the man gave his woman a bouquet of flowers. There was a long queue outside TGIF, couples holding hands waiting for their turn to eat at at the restaurant. I wonder how many of these couples will head home tonight, or to a hotel and make love, even though they don’t want to but because they are expected to.

I told N this and she had a good laugh. N said that we were cynics. I don’t know what gave her that idea.

My distaste for Valentine’s Day began early – it began in Malaysia where the government school I attended, a rather conservative secondary school I might add, sold roses to young lustful boys by enterprising students who would then distribute the flowers to their high school crushes during class. They made a grand show out of it even, coming into a class with armfuls of roses and announcing the name aloud: “Farah!” “Yee Ling!” and the girls would get up, and saunter as gracefully as a fourteen year old could to the front of the class to receive their roses like it’s the bloody Oscars or something.

And then for the rest of us, the not-so-popular and the not-so-pretty, we squirm in our hard seats, hearts pounding fast as we give a quick prayer to God: ‘Dear God, please, please, please let me have someone send me a flower. I know I’m technically not supposed to pray for someone to send me a flower because it might lead me to think about lustful thoughts and to lustful situations that I’m not supposed to be in, but please, please, please God, I’m not so sure if I can handle the humiliation of not getting any roses when two-thirds of the class have received flowers.’

I think the trauma of Valentine’s Day in High School is enough to put anyone off Valentine’s Day for life.

I have to be honest though. When I finally did meet that special someone, I wanted to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I really did. I wanted to see what’s all the fuss that Hollywood was talking about. But my special someone happened to be Eizwan. Eizwan is the best man for me, who else would patiently help me roll out sheets and sheets of pasta when I went through ‘I-want-to-make-my-own-pasta’ phase or watch a crappy Korean drama without judging me. You can’t have everything though, because Eizwan is not particularly romantic. I mean he has ideas on romance, just sometimes, he falters on execution.

Like the year when I hinted I want a Valentine’s Day celebration. It coincided with a busy period for him – but he tried. Apparently, he had this grand ideas of creating a paper tree made of hearts, with each heart containing a poem on how much he loved me. On Valentine’s Day, I was waiting for roses, or a nice night out but nothing happened. Every restaurant was booked and the ones that were not, were places like TGIF where you pay a whopping RM 90 per person for a set that you would usually pay RM 30 for on any other weekday.

And of course, nothing says romance more than celebrating Valentine’s Day in a restaurant where they make you stand on a chair as the waiters sing and stomp their feet for your birthday.

We ended up in KFC that night.

I was getting very agitated and upset, like if you love me, why don’t you do something for me? Finally, I confronted him about it and Eizwan broke into cold sweat and said, ‘I did! I tried! See, I wanted to make these paper hearts but I discovered, I’m not very good at arts and craft and every heart I made was ruined, so I bought more paper and I’m trying to cut them at traffic lights.’ He showed me the half-cut cards at the back of his car, together with sticky tape and scissors and the instructions he printed off the net on how to make them as proof that he tried.

The ever reasonable girlfriend, I burst into tears and refused to speak to him.

Clearly, it worked out okay, or we wouldn’t be here today, but we never bothered to celebrate Valentine’s Day since. After getting that moment of madness out of me, I’m done with Valentine’s Day.

I had been done with Valentine’s Day for years since. Last year Eizwan got me a small teddy bear for Valentine’s Day and I looked at him and asked ‘What is it for?’ and then he sulked because I had forgotten Valentine’s Day.

As we had our burgers, I thought about the couples who had made so much effort for this evening, walking around Midvalley aimlessly, hoping to find a restaurant that could fit them in. When they do actually find one, they would be seated a little closely to another couple, as restaurants try to pack in as many lovebirds on their biggest money making evening of the year. And then, said couple would inevitably overhear conversations about love from the couples surrounding them and feel pressured to outdo the couple next to them, to proclaim that, no, they love their partners more.

And suddenly I felt this burst of euphoria and superiority. I am superior, I wanted to shout aloud. I am superior over all of you. I have not been conned by this madness, I have not been conned by this capitalist holiday of making you spend and celebrate love even when you don’t want to. I am not a sheep! I am free to make my own choice, to celebrate love when I want to celebrate.

Of course, that feeling of superiority ended when I watched ‘A Good Day to Die Hard.’ In what is possibly the most cynical attempt at milking the Die Hard series, I felt like a real sheep herded into the movie theatre by a Hollywood producer shepherd. As it turns out, my date with John McClane turned out to be a real dud.

How did you celebrate your Valentine’s Day?

Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013!

Eizwan tells me that I have a poor habit of looking back to yesterday and then moaning about how much I have not done for the year. Or I could look back at the past years and only focus on the bad and the terrible and not see the good stuff I had done.

2012 as some of you may or may not know – had been a very difficult year for me. Mostly emotionally it was very poor and a chunk of the gains I had made in 2011 – like weight loss, my health – I had let it slide. I spent a lot of 2012 with introspection, not necessarily the best kind. More like ‘Woe is me’ of Shakespearean proportion and I have spent more time obsessing on past sins than Lady Macbeth ever had.

Thankfully, I am not like Lady Macbeth. I have yet to convince Eizwan to murder his boss.

So, a retrospective look at 2012 – here we come.

The Good Tea Company

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Stacking up our tea

2012 was the year The Good Tea Company really took off. I had been toying and being rather coy about the idea of starting a business but 2012 was the year I really took the plunge.

You can say that starting a business is nerve-wrecking. But that would be an understatement. I think the accurate analogy would be akin to throwing yourself off a cliff without having a parachute on. And hoping that maybe you could build yourself a parachute as you plunge down at the 32 feet per second x per second.

But it has taken off. I have a product with a gorgeous design (designed by my brother) and a small but hopefully growing following. Sometimes when you run a business, you think you’re crazy. Like would anyone taste this tea and think ‘Cor, that’s the best tea I ever had!’ or would they think ‘They headed all the way to India to buy meh tea?’.

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One of our successful tea hampers that we sold at The Curve for Eid

The doubt is giving way to confidence that The Good Tea Company has brought in some of the best teas in the world. Yes, I’d go that far. I love the teas I bought, I can make a tea lover out of a non-tea lover and on a lousy day, nothing makes me feel better than a hot mug of Afternoon Tea. I think about it so fondly as though it is my own child. And our teas have a great following amongst my small but growing customer base with some customers obsessing over teas that I never thought you could obsess about.

So. How about it, readers? Willing to give it a shot? Head on over to The Good Tea Company or you could always drop me a line at adlina[AT]georgia-gw.com.

Unfortunately, you can no longer message me on FB because

I’ve switched off Facebook.

Sometimes, you have to know what is debilitating and soul destroying. Facebook was doing that to me – each time I checked it, I felt lower and lower despite knowing full well that people go on Facebook to show off. No one actually goes on Facebook to say the full truth i.e. ‘I’m showing off pictures of my wonderful children because I need to make myself feel better because really, they are brats that I feel like throttling and killing and my loving husband is actually a douche who only comes home around midnight. And I think he might have a mistress.’

I used to feel like I am raining on people’s parade by doubting their happiness. Perhaps they truly feel the need to share their happiness with their friends. Perhaps they really are genuinely happy and successful as they fly first class to London to party it up with the Rolling Stones.

Either way, it was eating me alive, going on Facebook was like putting a microscope on my own flaws. Look at me, rotting at my home, not flying First Class (heck, not even flying Air Asia last year) and not shopping in Paris. What am I doing wrong?

And therefore, it was time to get off. I’ve killed off Instagram even though I adored their filters (although, I stopped like it as much after College Humor made their Instagram parody. It made me feel utterly common) and deactivated it for a while. I might go back online when my sister heads to Australia for her PhD and since she practically lives on FB.

A New Home

Speaking of rotting in our home, I was not kidding. Eizwan and I currently live in a rental, in our bid to be as independent as possible from our parents. But it’s an old house and bits and bobs of the house has been falling apart. When I mean falling apart, I mean, plug points melting to a pile of plastic goo, ceiling almost collapsing from water log and our current favourite, a toilet that keeps backing up because the plumbing possibly dates back to the Roman era.

When our landlady sweetly asked to increase our rent, I threw a massive temper tantrum for a week and made the decision on behalf of the family to buy a new house since rental and mortgage were nearly on par to each other. It took a while for Eizwan to get on board and when he finally did – we hunted for a home. We signed November last year and we are on our way to a house ownership!

The keys should be handed over in end Jan and Eizwan and I, and our three cats (because this is the year we added a new kitty to our brood!) will be moving to our first owned home.

The Third Cat

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Marty is on the right, Nadal is on the left. Marty is the cutie pie that loves to irritate all the cats in the house.

This little kitty adopted us, not the other way round. A small manky kitten made her way into our backyard and despite shooing it away countless of times, she kept coming back.

I’m a firm believer that you don’t adopt cats – cats adopt you. It was a difficult transition at first, our cat Marie is a real gangster and showed her true mafia colours on the kitten. It’s been more than 8 months now and we are one big happy family.

Our cats are Nadal, Marie (short for Maria Sharapova) and Marty (short for Martina Hinggis) No points for guessing who they’re named after.

Adlina the Hippy/Masterchef

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Spicy Miso Ramen – during my ramen craving times.

My sister frequently accuses me of when I like something, I never go ‘Hey, I gotta take my friends and family here to try out this cake! It’s so good.’ It’s always, ‘Wow, this cake is amazing. I gotta MAKE this!’ She said, if I could, I would probably make my own shoes and handbags if I like a design.

2012 was the year of experimentation food wise. I have cooked so many cuisines the past year, experimented on some of the most difficult cooking stuff and done some Mad Kitchen Experiments. Roasted sambal anyone? I’m sorry I can’t share the recipe yet – the sambal I made was so potent, I nearly killed Eizwan. There are some recipes that have become staples in both my home and my mother’s household – the Dry Chicken Curry and Mapo Tofu being our favourite.

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Peanut butter brownies – I have killed some friends with these brownies. It’s okay – they died from happiness.

Unfortunately, I had never bothered to document my successes that I frequently sit down and wonder – what on earth did I make that day? So the aim this year is to document everything down so that I no longer have to figure out, what on earth did I make that time. I am hoping to build an epic kitchen so I have a place to do all my Mad Kitchen Experiments as safely as possible.

So what is there to look forward to in 2013?

The Good Tea Company

I am extremely passionate about this company. I want it to grow, and I want Malaysians to have access to great teas. One of my fondest memories that I cherish is sneaking off from class to have dessert and tea with my best friend in uni. That’s how I feel about tea – you can have it on your own, as you sit down to write but it’s better when you have a good friend and a good dessert in front of you and have long conversations with a good friend.

A bad cup of tea is just that, a bad cup of tea. But a good cup of tea makes you smile, makes you feel warm inside. I want everyone to have a chance to have a great cup of tea to accompany them as they build up friendship and love.

Writing

If you noticed, 2012 was a dismal failure when it came to writing. I wrote a few business plans, completed one short story but struggled to do anything else. I see myself first and foremost as a writer, despite having my own tea company.

This year, I want to complete a novel and then to try and get it published. I’ve said this before, year on year and had failed to keep up my promise. But I got my tea company up and running right? So, even if it means a lack of a social life this year, limiting it only to the Garoupas and close friends – so be it. It’s time to let my writing take priority.

Adlina the Hippy

I let myself down in 2012. I let my health slide and I stopped taking care of myself. I pined so much for something I could not have that I stopped looking at the now, looking at what I could do today. Perhaps, I am not meant for what I was pining for and perhaps, I will get that chance in the future. My mother reminded me that perhaps God intends me to have a differing role than everyone else and that it isn’t a bad thing.

This year, I am going to put me first. I am putting my emotional and physical well-being as priority. It’s true what they say – you can’t take care of others when you’re not taking care of yourself. I want to focus on my ambitions and my dreams and I want to have a more holistic view of my life.

And since I’m a hippy, I’ve started this year by tossing out all my face care products out and doing my face using only natural products. No, we’re not talking about natural face care products. We’re talking putting the contents of the fridge on my face. Yeah, I never do things the easy way.

2013 is going to be a great year. I can just feel it.

Believing in Magic

A few days ago, the Banker asked the members of the Garoupas (our group name as christened by my father, long story) if we would pay tribute to the world’s biggest superstar (1 billion fans and counting) Shah Rukh Khan in what happened to be the wonderful Yash Chopra’s swan song – Jab Tak Hai Jaan.

Unsurprisingly, despite the Garoupas fantastic ability to stomach terrible movies (we watched one that got only a 4% rating on Rotten Tomatoes – in my defense, I was overruled and I had used my veto too frequently) this was somewhat a controversial decision. The Gomen Servant said no, very politely. It was just not her cup of tea.

The Gomen Servant is always too polite. When she says it was not her cup of tea, what she actually means that she would rather have her nails pulled off one by one with a pair of tweezers.

Considering that I am the only member of the Garoupas with the best taste in movies (disclaimer: self-proclaimed, no member of the Garoupas were actually consulted) due to my so-called artistic and writerly capabilities – one would expect that I would find Bollywood movies ridiculous and tedious.

Of course, if you’ve been reading this blog and know how much I bang on about India, you would have said, ‘Nonsense! This Adlina you’re talking about, whose one of her many lifelong dreams include having a small role in a Bollywood movie!’

For reals, I’d be happy being an extra, standing in the lift with a Bollywood star, pulling out all my acting stops to seem as aloof and disinterested in this lift. I am not just an extra, I am an actor, and I am on this lift. I have a destination and a purpose, and my purpose, as an actor on this lift, is to go down the lift and exit through the lobby.

It’s tough being an actor. All this method acting.

But as I sat down and watched the opening sequence of the movie which involves a very handsome Shah Rukh Khan disarming a bomb sans any protection – a very, very awful thought crossed my mind. The thought was, ‘This is ridiculous. Is the whole movie going to be like this?’

I noticed that the past year has made me somewhat cynical. If anything, that little skip in my step when I walk has disappeared and very little gives me joy these days. I’m bored easily in movies and very rarely moved when people share life stories.

I was worried I was not going to enjoy the movie anymore. You can’t just watch Bollywood as-is, with Western realist eyes. You gotta suspend every damn belief you have, including physics, if physics can even be considered a belief. And then you will be rewarded with something. That something was magic. That magic is a lot like falling in love, like seeing the world in a new light where everything was brand new and exciting again.

The movie crawled on (I’m being unfair, it being a Yash Chopra movie was very well-paced) for ten minutes and I was starting to wonder, where is that magic that made me fall in love with India, with life in the first place? Or have I fallen out of love with magic – that reality has made me a bitter woman, who only finds joy in replacing empty but tasty calories from white flour to wholewheat and only picking cream crackers with high fibre at the grocery store?

Yum. Tastes like cardboard.

And then, suddenly, Katrina Kaif ran to a church, dressed in a beautiful lehenga, her luscious locks cascading down her back as snow fell and I suddenly had this ridiculous, big grin on my face. It was the most ridiculous scene possible – an impossibly beautiful Indian woman, in a lehenga in gorgeous snowy London running towards a Gothic Church.

I get why people love stories, or fall in love with a fictional character. Reality, to be honest, can be quite a disappointment. It can be mundane and the problem is, well, as hard as you may try – the only way you can really escape the bills and taxes and responsibility (aside from playing dead and assuming a new identity – well, there’s not escape there, either. You probably still have to pay bills with your new identity) is escape to fairytales, to fantastic stories of heroes and villains.

I hate people who say things like stories and fairytales are just nonsense that it is better if we get ‘reality’. To paraphrase my English teacher, Mrs. Bach, stories are the truth. It is far more ‘real’ than any of the ‘facts’ presented to us.  As far as I’m concerned, every fairytale, every drama out there – there is an element of truth that we can learn from, be enriched and be inspired by. I personally believe that the inspiration for stories come from reality – and that if magic can exist in a story, it can exist in the real world.

I don’t want to keep banging on about the hard year I had, but it is always there, hanging over like a dark cloud. Sometimes it threatens to rain and sometimes it does pour. Sometimes I tend to forget that this dark cloud will lift, and imagine that the world will always be, a little bit darker than I what I had hoped to be. And then I watch something ridiculous like Katrina Kaif running to the church, and my heart swells. If the magic exists in the movies, it exists in real life.

Just gotta find it.

P/S: In case you’re wondering if the movie is worth watching, the answer is YES! It’s a fun Yash Chopra movie, a little disjointed towards the end, unfortunately and nowhere as tight as my favourite Yash Chopra movie, Rab Ne Bana De Jodi. It has action, it has romance and it has SRK. Need I say more?

An Exercise in Awesome

I ain’t gonna lie. It has been one hell of a year. In not sucha good way. I’m not going to say, ‘Good God, I am glad that this year is gonna be over! Bring on 2013!’ because you know, I don’t really want to jinx it. You know, because I don’t really want 2013 to go, ‘Well, if you thought 2012 was bad! Let’s see how I can make the next year much, much more hellish.’

It is not to say, I am a superstitious person. Well, no. I am paranoid. I tend to think of the worst case scenario possible. Hell, the tagline to my first ever blog was, ‘Let me tell you the worst case scenario possible.’

I’d like to think that I have changed from that 19 year old who started up that blog when she was a wee teenager all the way in the UK, writing up a blog so that her parents would know that she was alive and that she was well. Ish. But sometimes, old habits die hard and I still revert into thinking about the worst case scenario possible. Like if I’m asleep and a giant robot invasion comes around outside (unlike what is popular right now in popular culture – I don’t care much for zombie apocalypses, those are illogical. Robot wars however…) – what can I do? How do I hide from robots coming to kill us, should it happen?

There is a problem with imagining the worst case scenario possible. It’s a bit like sleeping in bed and then hearing a noise downstairs. As you go through the worst case scenario possible, you start wondering, was it a cat? Did the robot apocalypse start? Or is it an angry spirit that has decided to swing an axe at you if you go downstairs to check?

And then you just stay in bed, refusing to move – until the damned spirit comes up to your room to kill you in your bed. See? Teaches you for just staying in bed, awaiting your death. Should have been a little bit more pro-active, prepping salt rounds.

Pardon, I have been catching up on Supernatural.

Sometimes I wonder if my exercise in worst case scenarios is just an excuse to indulge in dramatics. There is much wailing, waxing lyrical and ‘Why me?’s abound. Or I have a belief, that if I go through with imagining the worst case scenario possible, if it does happen – it won’t hurt so much.

Usually, the worst case scenario does not happen, and things do tend to work out for the better.

But in 2012, I am suddenly confronted with the terrible truth, that my exercise in worst case scenario might just happen. And is currently happening.

My blog is not the place for me to explain what happened but let’s just say, it has been an incredibly difficult and emotional year as a result. Most people tend to say, ‘I understand,’ when I explain what happen and you know what? No, you don’t understand at all how it feels, the raw pain, the disappointment and the wishful thinking I go through. What I can’t stand most is that sometimes, people in trying to be sympathetic, have this smugness, a kind of ‘Thank God, it didn’t happen to me’ look in their eyes.

The past year, I have been indulging in myself in that sense. Moping. Feeling sorry for myself. Wishful thinking. Hoping. And then, about a month ago, it suddenly hit me that I no longer want to do that – moping, wishing and hoping. This thing was taking over my life, it was taking up every waking hour of my life. And just like the robot scenario, I was paralyzed at home, hoping that something different would come out of it, that somehow a deus ex machina will come in and shake things up and that things will be different.

But this is not a badly written episode of Doctor Who. There is no a sonic screwdriver to solve my problems, I cannot hope that a mad man in a blue box will whisk me away, nor wish for Steven Moffat to write in a happy ending to this particular arc in my life (come to think about it, I would rather not have Steven Moffat write my life story anyway – it’d be convoluted, mildly sexist and somehow, wholly unsatisfying) .

Whatever it is, to use a well-used internet cliche, I decided I no longer want to be sad. I am going to be awesome.

Wise words.

2nd Anniversary: The Death of a Little Cooker

On June 4th 2012, Eizwan and I have been officially married for two years. Which is, if you know me, very odd that I did not take time to write a long and slightly nauseatingly love letter to my husband. It is not, as some of you may think, that my obsession for *insert handsome actor’s name* that had made me forget that I was married (it doesn’t take a handsome actor really, I still stare blankly at the bank clerk when they address me as Puan Adlina. Like, who on earth is this Mrs Adlina? She has my name too!). Nor is it the case that I had been lulled into complacency. Second year married? Wahey, onto the next twenty with no trouble at all!

What I really wanted to do this year, was find an angle that truly reflected how I feel. It would be much easier to write about how much more I love Eizwan this year than I did last and I’m sure I’ll love him more the next (yawn) but I did not feel like it reflected the grittiness and the reality of marriage. Not to say marriage is gritty or anything. I’m no princess but I’m certainly not a cowboy.

I finally figured it out. It is this:

Yes, it is a picture of a multicooker in the dark. That is my kitchen cupboard of doom, or more accurately, table of doom. This is where I store my cooking stuff that I don’t use very often and since I tend to collect random weird cooking equipment, I have a ton. At the back there is an ice-cream maker that is as old as I am. We’ve only used it once and nearly gotten frostbite from it. We have not used it since as it would be too embarrassing to end up in the ER in a Malaysian hospital explaining how we ended up with frostbite from a nearly 30 year old ice-cream machine.

This rather manky multi-cooker is our Kenwood multi-cooker that we received as a wedding present. When Eizwan and I moved into our present home, we did not have a gas cooker. Heck, we did not have anything at the time, and we had our meals in the living room on a cardboard box covered with a tablecloth as a makeshift table.

As newlyweds, everything was very, very confusing. Our current house is a little odd. It’s an old house, nearly 40 years old and with its age comes legacy and old-fashioned practices that I don’t believe in. One of them being, cooking outside in what Malaysians call the ‘wet kitchen’.

The thing is, cooking outside…that ain’t my thang. Mosquitoes are predisposed to liking me and where I live, outside means your dinner is fair game to all the stray cats outside. I lose to my kitties all the time so why should I battle cats that are far more worldly-wise than my own?

And so I refused to cook outside.

This was apparently a rather controversial declaration. As newlyweds, it sprung a thousand advices and helpful suggestions from everyone on how we should manage our kitchen. And people get offended when you refuse to take their advice, taking it as a personal affront.

Deluged with advice and suggestions, we opted to just stick with the multicooker as a temporary measure until we could find a more workable solution.

The thing about life is that you don’t actually ever get a break with anything even if you were newlyweds trying to set up a new home. It was more of a get on with it. So our temporary measure became more of a permanent fixture. Eizwan got a new job which requires long hours of commuting whilst I threw myself wholeheartedly into writing and entrepreneurship. Other things took priority like getting a dining table so that you can stop eating off the floor – that sort of thing.

Without realizing it, the Kenwood became our lifesaver. I cooked everything, and I mean everything with it. There’s no excuse if you don’t have a kitchen – you can cook with a multicooker. I’ve thrown dinner parties, made stock, cooked soups and pasta, fried chicken. Everything you can think off, I had done it in the Kenwood.

The poor Kenwood was subjected to immense abuse over the past two years. We’ve dropped it twice, severely dented it and had to knock it to get it to fit back in the cooker. I’ve left it on for ages as I made stew, and then put it on high heat in an attempt to do a deep fry (doesn’t do it very well). Cooking started to take forever as the heavy use begins taking its toll on the little cooker. Nearly a year and a half later, the cooker was starting to show its age: it took much longer to heat up, the pan heated up unevenly and it did not stay as long as it should. We decided to look for a more permanent solution that suited us. This time round, we wizened up as a married couple – we didn’t bother to ask anyone for their opinion. See there? Important lesson there kiddies, only you know what’s best for yourself. The less input you get, the less controversial it becomes.

A week before our wedding anniversary, we finally invested in a gas cooker, one that we could use inside just fine. Of course, my first reaction was like, good Lord, how on earth did I manage for the past two years? Cooking with the gas cooker is just amazeballs! It’s so much faster, the heat is more even and I can finish dinner in 10 minutes on some days.

Eizwan felt a little sad that we had to retire the Kenwood after its long service to us. He felt like we were betraying the cooker. But we thought it’s best to just leave the cooker to do simple boiling instead as opposed to ‘betraying’ it by retiring it completely now that we have gotten a new toy in the house.

But on the day after we got our gas cooker, when we switched on our multicooker to boil our potatoes, it would not switch on.

Eizwan was devastated. He felt that the poor Kenwood must have died, feeling abandoned after we got our cooker.

But…I have a different theory when it comes to this multi-cooker. In my mind, the end of the multi-cooker so closely to our wedding anniversary seems…kinda special. It was as though the little cooker had worked so hard to take care of us, to provide for us that as soon that it knew that we were okay, it was okay to go.

Last year, I waxed lyrical and thanked Eizwan for being my best friend and thanked him for being there for me, for making our marriage work. When the little cooker died, there were a few things I learnt that was fitting for our anniversary.

This little cooker, in a romantic sense, in its humble glory was there for us. It helped us prepare food, our meals that we shared together. It wasn’t perfect but it was a means for me to cook a meal for both me and Eizwan. It went beyond just means. Sure it was slow, and the heat was never high enough but I learnt to be more creative when it comes to cooking, I dare say I am a better chef as a result of that little cooker. As cumbersome as cooking with a multicooker might be, it was an indispensible part of our kitchen and since the two of us spend long hours in the kitchen cooking together (either unintentionally or intentionally), in a way in brought the two of us together.

Sometimes I can easily get caught up with life, and I spend a lot of time hoping for better things. A better car, a better rented property or heck, a house to call my own that I fail to see that what I have now, what I have around me is supporting the two of us the best they way they can. While it may be tempting to congratulate only ourselves for another year of marriage, I should not forget that we got this far because so many people have supported us (granted, Eizwan and I did play a major role, this is our marriage after all).

The little cooker is my reminder to myself that I could not have gotten this far with Eizwan, without the support of everything and everyone around me, and that I should look around and see, that despite things looking dire sometimes, I am very truly blessed.

Happy 2nd anniversary, my dear husband, Eizwan. I love you always.

Keep Calm and Carry On

In my directing class, in a session for directing actors, I learnt something about myself. We did a mini-sketch where my character was supposed to act as though I was in love with someone but I can’t really show it. I was one of the few actors that really had trouble with grasping the role. My teacher, an actor turned film director, in one sentence summed up why exactly I was struggling. I was not someone who would show my emotions, and that despite whatever issues I was going through, I would hide it deep down inside and keep smiling. It took a few minutes of coaching before I could finally display my acting prowess which of course, wowed everyone. *ahem*

I learnt two things from the class that day. One was, that if you’re watching a show and the actors just can’t act…aside from them being incompetent at their own job, the director is doing a pretty crap job at motivating them as well.

Secondly, I did not realize how deeply I could hide how I feel, that I am a firm believer of ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’. Sharing is for pansies.

2012 has been a very deeply emotional year for me. It is not the easiest year and while it may be easy for some to spend time to write out how they feel, the underlying issues they harbour deep down inside – it isn’t for me. While this does not mean I am going to change anytime soon, spilling my emotional guts on my blog either – this is my attempt at being as honest as possible explaining my long absence on this blog.

I am trying to change this however. Whatever issues I have, should not stop me from writing. Writer’s Block may be a bitch but I have no excuse to stop writing. Hopefully you’ll be seeing me in a while.

What I do on my break

My routine in the morning goes something like this. I wake up, grump at Eizwan for having to wake up and then check my stuff online (yes, I do go online even before I have my morning coffee). I read the news, check Twitter before checking my blog.

Recently though, I have not been checking my blog though. Mostly it’s because I’m feeling so guilty that I haven’t been blogging. I try not to say “I don’t have time!” as an excuse – it’s an excuse that annoys the hell out of me when I talk to people. But unfortunately, it is true. In between trying to start a new business and writing, I barely have time to eat, much less blog.

Which is a shame, because a lot of the stuff I enjoy doing have fallen on the wayside – even my daily dose of McNulty has been reduced to seeing Dominic West in John Carter, in the rare instance that I do go out.
So, who says that working with your family can be a dead end? Either you’ve never done so or you don’t have my family.

Anyway, after a crazy intense month, my parents declared they needed a break and headed down to Johor. Which means, a break for me!
The first morning they were gone felt very strange for me. After working constantly, including weekends and nights, it felt very strange and odd to not have any work. So I kept sending my parents work emails although they were driving down. Again, if you think it’s odd to be sending your parents work emails, you don’t work for my mother. For as long as I can remember, my mother has made her children sign contracts with her. For real.

It’s only fair, you know.

But I’m on a break! I shouldn’t be on my pc working. I should do stuff that I haven’t had time to do. Like clean up the house. Or play with the cats. Except the cats did not want to play with me. Instead they took turns babysitting me, keeping a watchful eye on me. As though they’re thinking “This human isn’t used to being at home. She might hurt herself.”

I wish I could sit still and rest because God knows I need it. But instead, I started scheming on the things I can do, things I can prep so that I could make our life easier in the coming ridiculously busy months.

I opted to prep frozen food, stuff that requires me to do minimum cooking on busy workdays. And of course, if you know me – why do the simple stuff when you can do the insane!? Why I’ve already bulked purchase my vegetables, blanched then and froze the. Now I can safely ignore and still not eat my veges and not feel guilty as they wilt away in the fridge.

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And if you’re going to freeze vege, why not freeze some burger buns for a quick dinner? And why do it the easy way by buying burger buns when you can make it yourself?

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I think it’s for this reason that my family points out that when I fall ill, I tend to fall ill spectacularly.