Just a little bit of Drama

It is but a quiet beginning to 2013 for me. While my good friends have been struggling with a heavy schedule and sharing fantasies about the various colleagues, bosses and acquaintances that they would like to stab with a pencil/knife and/or set their cars on fire – I have no such fantasy. It has been a quiet January for me which altogether is not that bad.

But I live in Malaysia and despite telling myself that I do not want to keep up with the Joneses I can’t help feeling the pressure to share about how hard this January had been and I too have a number of people that I would like to stab with a pencil.

The unfortunate truth is though, the only people I would like to stab with a pencil would be the local postman – and that for throwing my books that I ordered from Book Depository into the porch. It is sacrilegious for books to treated that way – sure I get that Mr. Postman is very busy, and that God forbid that he would take the time to leave a note asking me to pick up my stuff at the local post at a more convenient time. It only makes perfect sense for him to take my precious books and throw them into the porch like it was discus practice.

Perhaps I am being unkind. Perhaps there were rabid raccoons on my porch and they were scrambling to get into the house and attack my kitties. Damn those raccoons.

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“Do you want to spend your life here? And one day, in the far-off future you’ll tell your kid, ‘Your mother once had  a dream,’ and leave it at that? Dreams aren’t made to be memories. They’re made to be achieved.”

– Anthony Kim, King of Dramas

Anyway, fantasies on attacking the postman is certainly nowhere as exciting as stabbing VIPs with pencils. To feel the need to stab a VIP suggests that there is some sort of drama with the VIP that can only be alleviated through random acts of pencil violence. My life has been so quiet that the only drama I have in my life right now is The King of Dramas, which in tumblr speak, is giving me many, many, many feels. Despite its terribly disappointing ending – it was probably one of the best and fun dramas I had seen in a long while.

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This is Anthony Kim. He is not terribly good looking. He is an all around asshole in the series. But I am in love with him. It’s okay, before you feel the need to snitch to Eizwan, he knows. He is always the first to know when I openly declare I’m in love with another man. He is usually quite supportive too.

I’m one of those people, those saps who can find certain literature, tv shows and movies can change my life. And when I think about my life – about turning points that change my life, I can pinpoint various pieces of literature and TV shows that made me who I am. A painfully awkward 13 year old feeling out of place? The X Files. Trying to figure out these strange emotions towards the opposite sex that I feel in my heart as a teenager? Pride & Prejudice with a healthy dose of Sailormoon. And of course, during my dark days in the SC – it was those lonely nights of watching the now defunct BBC Entertainment for my dose of Doctor Who.

Some people believe in omens and signs – and they look for them everywhere. For me, it comes through dramas or books or mangas. As I’ve said a million times over probably by now (or at least it feels like it), I am still recovering from 2012. I’m trying to embrace my life as it is and as it will be, not so much as I hope it would be and this drama came at the right time, like a friend assuring me I’m doing the right thing.

The series isn’t perfect. There is an incredibly disappointing ending as a result of the series’ real life battles with ratings but from episode 1 to 16 (17  and 18 is an extension demanded by the broadcasters, presumably since their follow up drama was unprepared to take up the slot), it is witty, sharp, satirical and very heart-warming. For me, it’s inspiring as we follow the footsteps of the all-around jerk Anthony Kim, the best drama producer in Korea whose fall from grace inspires him to climb back and exact revenge on everyone who had wronged him. He has one last chance of making a comeback, and he is partnered with the inexperienced but idealistic writer, Lee Go-Eun who serves (or at least, tries to anyway) as his conscience. Of course, as the series progress we watch him change to huge asshole that he is to the…not-so-big asshole that he will become.

I can relate to Anthony Kim – and hopefully not in the way I’m a major asshole. But I can relate to feeling lost and unsure in life, the desperation to find a way and find success. I like that despite the odds being stacked against him, he uses every means possible and if you watch the drama, it really is every means possible to win. Despite some of his methods, shall we say, is less than kosher – you keep rooting for him to win. What I’m trying to say, and it is a pretty sappy thing to say, is that this show is what I really need right now, I need to believe that working hard and a belief in your dreams can make you go far.

I may be presumptuous to say a particular show is going to change my life. I do know when it has a potential to do so: when I  become overly obsessed about it, when I cannot stop thinking about it. And even if this drama does not change my life, it came right around the time when I needed it most, like an unexpected friend.

The show has ended and I am not exaggerating when I say that my nights are now going to feel a bit empty. I’m going to miss the characters on the show, the camaraderie and will have to satisfy myself with just watching reruns (well, just forwarding it to my favourite bits pretty much) The obsession will die out soon as I have plenty of things to do, plenty of things to read: I do have about 5 books waiting for me, and another book on the way from the UK, ready to be thrown into my front porch. For now, I’m quite glad that I got to catch this show and very grateful for it giving me inspiration when I need it.

 

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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.

Tales of a Shopgirl

There you go. I’ve done it. I took one good look at my American High School Diploma, my International Baccalaureate Diploma (because I’m such a greedy mofo, I had to do two diplomas) and then my prized Warwick University degree and said, “F*** it all! I am going to be a shop girl.”

Well, not quite. I’d like to think that I have, or more accurately, my family has taken on the mantel of the entrepreneur. When you read business magazines and economics textbooks – there is something undeniably romantic about being an entrepreneur. We are, as they say, the engine of growth in any developing or developed country. We are the bastions of innovation, we are drivers of growth and <<insert all other compliments business schools use to encourage people into entrepreneurship>>.

This is the sexy part about entrepreneurship. The fancy packaging done by my extremely talanted brother, the gourmet teas and rustic feel…

I am a big fan of academics. I am not one to knock off the scholar – but I do get a wee bit frustrated when the sexiness of “engines of growth” doesn’t quite tally with my experience of a very confused shop girl. Because as I realize painfully on my first day at The Good Tea Company’s stall, that my over-privileged education has not taught me how to use a cash register. Yesterday was Day 34 at The Curve and I still got it wrong. Not so sure how something that should have total RM 45 became RM 92.50 on the cash register.

It seems I can’t pretend that RM 25 somehow adds up tor RM 92.50.

And it would not be good business practice if I charged my friends who came to support me, RM 92.50. Despite the temptation to do so anyway.

Don’t get me wrong – I love what I am doing. I love the tea that we’re bringing to market, I love meeting customers and explaining to them about the teas. I am so touched when my friends and family come over to support our little endeavour. We have put in tons of effort, sweat and tears – and to see that lovely and fantastic response makes us well up. I am tearing up here. I surprise myself with a heart sometimes.

But as with all the sexy parts, people tend to censor the non-sexy bits. Like when two Hollywood actors make love on screen – they show the heaving bosoms, the breathiness and the perennial hotness that both actors have. They never, ever show the part where the man farts under the blanket and you can’t get the blanket off you as quickly as you’d like.

This book kept me company for a total of 2 days. And then unfortunately, I fell asleep each time I read it. And then I left it on the table to seem more well-read than I really am.

I’m just saying, that sometimes, on the very quiet days where I can roll on the floor from the North Entrance of the Centre Court of the Curve all the way to Ikea without knocking anything, or anyone at The Curve – that is the fart under the blanket with you being trapped under it, with nowhere to escape. You’re sitting there, eyes glazed hoping, someone, anyone would turn up or anything would happen. Like a meteor were to strike the deejay who keeps playing Siti Nurhaliza on constant repeat for 5 weeks running. She may be Malaysia’s sweetheart but she sure ain’t mine.

Also, The Curve tortured us with their “Eid Dance Extravaganza” for 5 weeks straight. The same dance, twice a day, every bloody weekend. I did however, have a soft spot for the dancer on the left. He was so painfully awkward, that it was pure pleasure watching him dance.

Doing retail work is more exhausting than I expected it to be, especially when we are usually here around 9:30am and we leave around 10:30pm. On fasting months, days seem a lot longer but days are willed by through  endless debates on what we would have for dinner. The first three weeks, we practiced bento, my mother tirelessly packing food for us as we did shift work at The Curve – the last two weeks, Sakae Sushi and Popeyes knew me by name. I leave it up to you to make up your own conclusion of what happened.

It was a lot of hard work, late nights and sometimes, a lot of tears. Entrepreneurship is not easy especially one of the most difficult requirements of opening our stall at The Curve was working on Eid day itself and the whole week after Eid. It was hard to remain cheerful working on Eid day itself – I looked at the pictures of everyone’s celebrations with unbridled jealousy. And then pettily comforted myself with the knowledge that some of you guys probably got food poisoning on Eid day itself.

Did we just hold our Eid celebrations in a mall? Oh yes, we did! Photo courtesy of zayni.

Like it’s not Eid unless someone ends up in the ER with a shot to stop the purging.

But…

It was a wealth of knowledge and experience this past 5 weeks. As a company, we had grown from a very gawky entity which can’t seem to work the cash register to something akin to confidence. We are braver, a little wiser and more mature. We’re understanding retail, we’re understanding sales and we even, have become a little bit more ambitious on where The Good Tea Company is going to go.

Like the USS Starship Enterprise, we are going to boldly go where no (tea company) has gone before.

If we’re willing to put face clamps on our face, we’re willing to go to the ends of the earth for the best tea ever.

Tomorrow, it is with bittersweet feelings that we’ll close our retail presence at The Curve as the Raya promotions end. I say this with mixed feelings as I will miss the customer interaction that I get daily but I have to say, feeling incredibly happy that I will be able to rest again! Yay for sleep. But! There is no rest for the wicked, and should you want to get some teas, feel free to bother me by texting me, calling me or emailing me or online at our website or our Facebook page.

Alternatively, you could bother these people as well.

Thank you all for your tremendous support. Thank you to everyone who came by, for making me feel that this is worth doing. That this is something very special and precious. I’ll see all of you again soon.

***

Edited: Upon posting, I noticed that there isn’t a picture of the true hero of this entire endeavour and that would be my boss i.e. our biggest investor and/or Venture Capitalist – my mum.

Here is the VC with the sister who was channeling Tutankhamen.

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.