In between long periods of anxious, impatient waits and sometimes unbearable ennui, I have mastered ways to calm my listless mind.

It’s really simple, really…Brew a cuppa tea, stare out the window & have your notebook ready!

I do this a lot, but I feel Sundays are always the best time. Some people give thanks on Sunday – although we really should be giving thanks every day, if we’re giving any at all. But I like to call this my musings. Just a little corner for my mind to run free with gratitude for the week that just passed and gearing up for the week ahead.

I hope you will enjoy this little snippets of my week that I am grateful for.


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double rainbow

I’m sure a number of you caught this on Monday, but how lucky was I? I was just minding my own tired business when I suddenly looked out the windows and gave the loudest gasp anyone can give in this quiet, peaceful flat, flung the French doors open to the balcony and ran out there admiring the beauty (and my luck). I also forgot that it was cold, good thing I had my cardigan on. I probably took in the best view until I realised I didn’t want to miss a shot and my phone wasn’t with me. I managed this shot, just right before the fog breezed in and went right folks, nothing to see here, back to your homes everyone”. I must’ve stood there for a while, just feeling ever so lucky to have caught sight of my second double rainbow. Also, it was the BIGGEST rainbow I have ever seen in my life. It was magical. And then I caught another double rainbow just yesterday! How amazing!

 

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celebrating C.’s birthday…in person!

I am very, very happy that I finally have the chance to shower C. with lots of birthday love in person! Technically, this is my first time celebrating his birthday lol. We had a nice home-cooked meal (he was kindly subjected to my cooking & new recipes attempts) & an array of unique cakes for him to pick from – but of course he went for his classic carrot cake. It was also nice that he got home from work early, he actually surprised me by coming home earlier than I thought (I wasn’t ready!!!). But I supposed the best bits was almost successfully throwing him a small surprise birthday dinner with a handful of his closest friends over the weekend. I say almost because he said he had some sort of suspicion but then brushed it off, until we got to his favourite restaurant (Honest Burgers) and the lady who welcomed us in betrayed me. She cheerily announced that everyone was here and waiting. The dramatic face-palming happened in my head as C. chuckled and went “Hah, your cover got blown.” Massive eye-rolling right there. He still somewhat got pleasantly surprised at the company, so I guess that’s a success still, right?!

 

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curling up in bed with a book & a cuppa

That sigh of contentment as you sink into bed, wrap yourself up in the duvet, and sip some hot tea. And then proceed to escape in your book of choice. Heaven.

I was going to wrap it up, but I had a thought…and this might be a little bit odd but can we please take a minute to be thankful for:

the dishwasher

I know, I know. Y’all probably think I’m strange, but honestly! Back home in Kuala Lumpur (and Singapore), no one I know has a dishwasher. It was always hard work of washing the dishes by hand. You may think it’s menial but imagine the skills you require to get rid of burnt crusts at the bottom of pans etc. When C. found out I’ve been living with a dishwasher (when I was studying here) & used it as a drying rack for my pots and pans, he might have bowled over in laughter or in pain, or both. Then he started introducing the wonders of a dishwasher and ever since then, I’ve never been able to imagine how I can ever live my life now without a dishwasher.

I had a rather grey week this last week and I am just glad there were things that made me happy.

I hope everyone had a fabulous Sunday and is well-rested for the week ahead!

Toodles. ♥

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City of stars, are you shining just for me? 

 

I watched La La Land recently; the boyfriend was very keen since he heard raving reviews about it.

*May include spoilers, should you proceed to read.

A love story, of fragmented dreams. It’s about what it takes to make dreams come true. It’s about how much you want something, and how much you are willing to lose to gain that one thing that you have always wanted. It’s about how your dreams can change – or rather, how you alter your dreams to your situation thinking it is what you want, when in fact, you know it is probably not. Fragmented dreams.

It was a film like no other – it’s not quite Mamma Mia, but here we also established that Ryan Gosling’s singing voice is very strange. In most musical-like films, everything tends to be perfect: the singing, the plot, the choreography. Usually a lot of singing. But in La La Land, there is some singing, some random dancing, & a lot of instrumentals which I did enjoy. I’d recommend y’all to watch it.

A few surprises:

  1. We liked how there was a smooth plot/story line amidst the dancing & singing. That is saying a lot for the boyfriend because he admits the usual cotton candy dancing in the clouds does not appeal to him. He quite enjoyed the film, so that’s the first surprise for me lol. Throughout the movie, I kept looking at him to see if he had fallen asleep/bored enough to throw his popcorn at the screen, but his attention was rapt.
  2. We thought the ending was quite clever – here’s a spoiler!- the leads did not end up together, happily ever after; but apart, happy enough with their own accomplished lives. There were a succession of flashback scenes, alternate realities to show the audience what could’ve been. And sadly, I believe they would’ve lived much happier lives, however ways their individual dreams would have turned out. I must say the “what could have been” bits got to me. Because they happen in real lives, because once too many times I have walked into the woods of what could have been, because once too many times I have been trapped in those realities. That said, I did not cry like a baby, and both the boyfriend & myself are very proud. I would also have rolled my eyes so hard if they did end up together because Hollywood.
  3. Ryan Gosling’s singing voice is really strange, have I already mentioned that? Although I am starting to get hooked into “City of Stars”, sung by Ryan Gosling & Emma Stone. It’s definitely not his voice I am listening to, there is a hopeful but melancholic pull in the tunes. I blame the minor keys. “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” is actually another neat song.

Here’s to the ones who dream
Foolish as they may seem
Here’s to the hearts that ache
Here’s to the mess we make

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More often than not, I have thought of myself as the world’s biggest fool. Chasing dreams so sublime. Making such messes of myself at this age, it was almost embarrassing.

But here, here’s to us fools who dream; because no matter how crazy they seem, they are your dreams. You shouldn’t be embarrassed, you shouldn’t be discouraged. In fact, you should be afraid.

“The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.” – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

So they say.

Trust me, I was scared plenty. All day, everyday. Freaking out in my head all the time. Thinking, what on earth are you doing with yourself, Alex? Not once did this fear cease. It scared me enough to keep me going. I would rather be scared right now, than to look back at this moment 10 years later & ask myself: “What if?” What if I had been braver? What if I had fought for my dreams/my love/my life? 

And if any chance my answers begin with, “I wished I had…”, they would then be regrets too big for me to carry.

 

So what if I am the world’s biggest fool?

Dreams do come true. And I would do it all over again.

Have you watched the film yet? What do you think about it? Let me know x.

Toodles. ♥

I welcomed 2017 with bittersweet hope, looking down the road full of uncertainties. In my last post, I spoke of never-ending brick walls in my way. I was nearly in despair, only to be reminded of the love & support I am surrounded by. It was the one bubble keeping me hopeful & pushing me on. Continuously whacking at that brick wall with my battered hammer.

And today, I am happy to announce that I have finally broken down that brick wall! Made a huge hole in it, and watched it crumble. Then proceeded to climb over it; now I’m seated on the remnants of that wall, sipping on my iced lemon tea, and staring at yet another brick wall a little further down the road. But that’s ok! Nothing can dampen the triumph I feel right now. The sense of achievement, the appreciation of just how much I have accomplished, & the cognizance of how far I have come.

The most important lesson I’ve learnt in 2016 is perseverance brings progress. One step at a time, things started to work out. There was always something in the way, rocks, boulders, rivers, you name it. All the damned time. I started wishing so hard for things to be over, for everything to come together already but all I experienced was the seconds ticking by like they always have, speed unchanged despite my fervour prayers.

I had to learn, that there is a time and place for everything. And there was. Every action, every decision, every turn led me to where I am right now. It wasn’t always easy. But I always remember believing in the magic.

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“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

 

Like how I’ve wished so hard for snow to come falling and, finally I got to see snow woo-hoo!

I honestly believed in that. It is one of those things that I keep telling myself over the years whenever I come across adversities. It is one way of letting myself discover how much I really want something. Because one can only have so many dreams, and one can only achieve all of them if they really want to. Don’t you think?

 

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

 

I promised myself I wouldn’t let the fear of failure stop me. Even if I think it almost did. My mom never lets me forget that it’s ok to try again (& again & again & again…). It’s not the end of the world.

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 “The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”

 

And that, my friends, is how perseverance brings progress. Because by the eighth time, you would’ve set fire to the rain.

I did.

After two long years of paperwork, exams, and bureaucrazy, I am finally a registered nurse in this country I now call home. It was just yesterday that I was reminded that it has been 2 years since I graduated, since I made the decision to make my dreams a reality.

I don’t think I have ever been more proud of myself.

Right. Off to tackle that brick wall down the hall. Beyond that wall lies my new phase in life & I can hardly wait to begin.

To my first success of 2017.

 

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Toodles. ♥

Christmas has come and gone, so did Boxing Day. How’s the shopping going, guys?

It dawned upon me on Christmas day that what I actually enjoy more than Christmas itself, were the days leading up to it. The anticipation, the excitement, the surprises. That said, I had a wonderful, quiet Christmas with the boyfriend & his family. I helped put up the Christmas tree aaaaaaannnnnnnnndddddddd I also got a bunch of Christmas presents (yayyyyyyy!) – total kid at heart here. My first proper English Christmas & the boyfriend wanted to make sure I enjoyed every single bit of this festive season. And I did, I really did. ♥

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In the short month that I was away (from the blog), there have been a couple of happenings. Things that I won’t be thoroughly detailing out. Let’s just say that as much as I can hardly wait for the new year to begin, I am wary, so so wary, of what will be in the new year. I am uncertain, and so is my future.

“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.”

I’d like to believe that. After all, tough times never last, tough people do. Right?

I ran into yet another brick wall and once again I am stumped, almost defeated & kneeled helplessly in front of said brick wall. Despaired as I was, I actually have so many things to be thankful for. I am surrounded by friends & family who love me, applauding me for my successes as of date. They held out their hands and told me it is not the end of the world. Their words of encouragement mean so much to me, what would I have done without them? I admit I was tired, it was a stupid brick wall that shouldn’t have been, but yet there was. In the darkest corner of my heart, I felt the little flame of fight went out. It was scary, I honestly felt like I was already defeated and the worst is simply yet to come.

It was then that I realised that it wasn’t the fear of failure that paralysed me, it was the fear of not being able to stand up again after the fall. That was the fear I felt in the darkest corner of my heart. It was that fear that gripped my whole heart and turned it cold. And still, I have more things to be grateful for. The fact that I am here, with people I love, still able to go on and celebrate Christmas. It really wasn’t the end of the world for me. My friends reminded me: “You have come this far, you mustn’t give up now. You are so, so close. Closer than anyone has ever been.”

And they are right. I am SO CLOSE. Closer than I can ever imagine. I am here, & I am going to complete this journey. I just got to keep trying.

One of my closest friend said to me: “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.”

I want it so bad.

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It is painful for me to share that Bobby, the family dog, had left us and went seeking for dog heaven yesterday. We are all shocked & devastated, and I worry for my parents the most. Bobby had been such a joy for them both, they are still in denial. Maybe I am, too. We still can’t accept that he’s gone. I hope my sister is okay too.

Grief. Grief has not hit me this hard in such a long while. But with grief, there is also love.

And life goes on, like it always does. Life always goes on.

May the new year bring new beginnings. One can only hope.

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Happy New Year, everyone.

 

Toodles. ♥

 

Sun sets at 4:00PM.

The temperature here is about 5°-6°C, quite a bit of rain as well (it is England, isn’t it?).

The fire is roaring by the fireplace, radiating much needed warmth & cosyness.

The dog is lounging.

I awake every morning to the boyfriend making me a cup of tea to kick-start the day.

And I am drinking a tad too much tea. Maybe not that much, just a cup every 2 hours?

Life since I arrived hasn’t entirely been idyllic. Okay maybe just a little. There’s the whole settling down, unpacking, and getting used to the ever-changing weather. And getting over jetlag. It really has been a week. 

I thought I was all ready for the cold. I mean, I was one big whiny puss back home when it came to the scorching heat. And then of course I got here and the cold hit me, and I hastily retreat into my jumpers and coats, and I proclaim that I am in dire need of wintery clothings, and the boyfriend agrees. Well, this is home now. 

Getting started with revision (what a drag how exciting!) and being fully aware of the looming exam date have possibly contributed to my excessive tea drinking to calm the nerves (& shivering muscles). Of course I am also assimilating to the English culture, been away for far too long & the danger of me forgetting my profound love for tea is evident. Especially since coffee took over quite a bit of my life.

Exploring the little town that I currently am in is quite an adventure. There is a tea shop I have yet to discover, and a bookshop that I have already raided. There is a teddy bear shop I was dragged away from, only because I would attempt to give each and every bear in that shop a home. A fancy wine & cheese place that looks oh-so-inviting each time I walk past it. The houses are lovely, and the autumn leaves even more so.

Equipped with a lovely kitchen, it is once again a joy to be back on my cookery projects. Not to mention cooking for two (or more) people now makes meals a lot easier to plan.

This cold. I can’t help but sometimes miss the breezy beach sunset days. Maybe I’ll write about Bali & Penang next to warm up the upcoming winter days.

 

Excuse me while I go get myself another cup of tea.

 

 

Toodles. ♥