Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Kepulanganku dari Malaysia

Aku baru balik dari KL, memang satu minggu lebih yang penuh dengan aktiviti ilmiah! Tepu otak! Harapnya masih bagus untuk diestrak keluar untuk di jadikan action plan hehehe.

2 hari sebelum berangkat pulang, badan tiba-tiba jadi lemah, terus demam panas yang dah lama tak kena. Badan mengigil kesejukan, tapi temperature tinggi.. sampai sakit telinga. Masa balik naik flight dengan Mishel pun, still naik temperature. Hmm.. adakah ini rezeki untuk menghapuskan dosa-dosa kecil? :)

Setibanya di Qatar, petang itu, aku gagahkan diri untuk sama-sama berlari.. tetapi kerana Maqeel yang agak cranky, aku tidak dapat meneruskan larian dengan jarak yang betul. Sekadar berlari disekitar dia, yang sedang syok bermain di tempat senaman.

Pagi tadi pula, aku cuba untuk ke ofis, bekerja dari jam 7 sampai 12, akhirnya aku mengalah juga, setelah di yakinkan beberapa kali oleh sahabatku di ofis, agar aku pulang berehat. Ya, sebenarnya demamku masih belom kebah. Batuk dan selsema pula takyah cakaplah, memang mengganggu!

Jadi mungkin aku akan ambil cuti rehat sampai hujung minggu, kalau masih tak rasa demam kebah. Hmm.. rasa bersalah untuk ponteng kerja lagi, tetapi, apakan daya, inilah lumrah kehidupan.

Doakan kesihatanku kembali! :)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

South Korea break

Hanasayor.. sayoran.

Korea was a great break, although we have 3plus days, it is enough to make us feel like coming back but during much nicer weather... say autumn? We can't survive the winter there! It was horribly freezing and we can only manage to walk not more than 30 minutes outdoor before feeling numb on our toes.. gosh.. i do not know how i survived living my life throughout winter in London last time! Some more going out wearing sock on top of a pair of crocs! haha.. ancient history.. i miss that day  though :)

We took AirAsia X to fly off to South Korea, upgraded ourselve to Premium using the Option Town offer, only paid like RM100++ for the upgrade, which is sooo worthy of the 6 hours journey with the super comfy fully reclined seat (more like a single bed to me). And yeah.. the steward/ess are much nicer to you too. So, that's how it feels traveling on Business class huh? Bilelah nak dapat rase tu..

2nd day, we felt like a bit adventurous, checking in to Korean traditional home stay, which by expectation is some nice home owner that will serve you breakfast and make your bed for the night in a spacious yet traditional woody room. AND how wrong was I. The room is not only small, literally fits 2 people lying on the floor flat with some room to stretch and to make it worst, the bulky traditional furniture take up most of the space.AND the worst is finding that the floor heater is not really circuling the air, so in order to feel warm, one have to lay flat on the floor. Gosh.. memang saje desing untuk org masuk tido terus ni!! Mengecewakan! :(

Here's our souvenirs to kill 2 minutes of your precious time.. hopefully you enjoy it, (kutuk dalam diam je la k..hiks)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Summary of our summer break in Malaysia

Holiday has never been enough, especially if you are spending it in your own home country. Being expats for nearly 8 years, we have always treasured our moment when we are back, squeezing as many things-to-do and things-we-wanna-do all in the little time that we have. It is tiring, yet satisfying! Even the kids love it.

Our summer break this time starts few days before Eid Al-Fitr. Breaks for Eid are always big in Malaysia. The norm for Muslim is to celebrate Eid for a day or two, but we'd do it for the full month! And of course, the best is the first few days, where everybody is usually available for family gathering.

Myself and hubby is quite lucky that our families lived nearby, so most of us are there to celebrate together. Everybody are looking lovely in their new 'baju raya' we call it which means new clothes/garments for Eid. And the tradition is to shake hands asking for forgiveness from each other, then giving away 'duit raya' to children which means money slipped in colorful envelope. After some photos we'll then dine together to enjoy the traditional food such as lemang, ketupat, rendang and lodeh.

The activities will continue as such for the whole day, going from houses to houses of family and friends. It is not just the food that we are after, but it's to continue and strengthen our siratulrahim (bonding). So for a month, we've been enjoying this 'datang beraya' (visiting) to so many places whilst taking some holiday breaks.
We have been up and down the peninsula, from Semenyih to Seremban, Kajang, Tampin and then to Cameron Highlands for 'Raya' gathering. Cameron Highlands is slightly higher thus chiller than other parts of Malaysia. Being there with my siblings and their family giving me back my childhood memories. Everyone enjoyed their time there. At night, we even lighten up the place with some fire crackers and 'bunga api'. In Cameron you can experience some strawberries plucking and having a cool break in tea plantation area, at least slightly away from the hot Khatulistiwa.

We've also been to Kedah for a friend's wedding. The special thing about this friend of my husband's is, he was best man for 13th friends before finally tying the knot himself.
After few days, we continue with some more of 'raya' activities and went for day-trip to Singapore, visiting the Merlion and Singapore Flyers. We then travel back to Johor Bahru for a night over. The next day, we spent the whole day in Legoland and overnight at its super fun hotel. The kids especially were thrill. It was our second trip to Legoland Malaysia, it was never dissapointing. Maybe I'll write up a special review for it next time, pray for my 'rajiness' k haha.

Packed with activities, we even flown to east coast of Malaysia and spent 4 days and 3 nights in Kuching, mainly for marathon run that I have shared in my previous post. 
There's an end to every story, and I am truly sad to part with my home country again. I can't believe our 6 weeks or so holiday is finally over. It was not enough.. never will. But hey, we have to go back to reality. :(

Till we meet again Malaysia.. lots of love from afar.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Kuching Marathon Aku datang!

15 August 2014.. Me, my husband, 3 kiddos and their nanny together with Tok Mi, Tok Di and cousin Arif flewn to Kuching via AirAsia. Our short trip there mainly for the Kuching Marathon on 17th of Aug, which happen to be my husband's birthday. 
When we first arrived in KLIA2, our expectation from all the negative comments received from friends went up once we entered departure area. Nothing fit their comments. Everything is new, clean and excellent. There are walkalator too. In overall, we love it. The flight took off and arrived safely on time despite a slight bad weather that the captain professionally managed to re-route and avoid.
Once we came out from the immigration, we went straight to get car rent. Driving was no problem at all. We checked into Hilton, and lucky enough being given the waterfront view.  
We then went to collect our marathon pack in Plaza Merdeka, where we ate our dinner. The price of foods were slightly expensive in compare to Peninsular. 
The kids are all exausted and already asleep. So we (my husband and I) left them with the nanny and go for a walk near waterfront. Amazingly Hilton hotel is strategically located.. everything is very near and within walking distance. Our first destination is to cross the Santubong river to check out the other side's food court. We took the 1 ringgit boat and crossed it within less than 5 minutes. At 9 pm, the crowds seems plenty. We just browse around to seek for special and interesting food to try. Frustrated with the food court, we head back to Waterfront, as we have past by people who are enjoying set of crispy banana fritters cheese being served by one of the stall there.
We too decided to try the banana set. And the looks and smell are as delicious as the taste! We called Tok Di and co to join us, and within minutes they arrived. We even ordered sate set.. Which cleverly came with green lemang and few pieces of breads. The sate even taste better than in Semenanjung! There's no burn on the beef at all, and it is very soft. So like you've guess it, we ordered our second set. Full tummy and happy, we head back to our hotel to rest.
Kuching special sate
Next morning, we head to Kuching Cultural Village. The entry ticket for adult is RM60 and kids is RM30. But you can get a cheaper bargain if you took van transportation along with the ticket. You can ask the hotel you're staying with.
There are cultural performance twice daily at 1130 and 4pm. The performance is worth your time, funny.. And entertaining. It also plays like a short course history lesson, where they introduced all different races of Sarawak in musical. After we've done with the performance, it's time to walk around the village. Oh yes, I almost forgot.. When entered, you'll be given individual passport that you can stamp from one long houses to another. In each longhouse, you got to learn more of each culture from the place they live, clothes and activities. 
An interesting bridge to try
We ended our tour with lunch at the restaurant. I for once braving myself to try the local dish. The lunch set consist of Umai, Assam ikan, Manok Pasoy, pumpkins and rice folded in banana leaf. Honestly I can stomach Manok & pumpkin dish and not the other two. Not my kind of taste I guess. 
Rent out costume for Rm10.
At night, we went to try seafood dish in Top Spot food court. The place is crowded, but there are plenty of tables around. The services is fast and the taste is delicious. When it comes to the price, I was shock that off all our order consist of big prawn, squid, kerapu, crabs, veges, rice for 9, It didn't even reach RM200! Maybe becoz I was used to Qatar's price, which are all super expensive. Hehehe. Overall, we are all very satisfied with Top Spot. A must-go place to dine! We head back for an early rest, as the next day we'll join the marathon as scheduled to start from as early as 3am for full marathon. My hubby took half marathon which starts at 5am. I just signed up for 10km which starts at 6am. Overall, we love the event, race starts on time, water station every few kilometres and the route took us through friendly neighbourhood. Many makcik2 came out from their house and stand by the road cheering all the runners sportingly. And whilst running through the transition from dark to light.. we were welcomed by rooster's loud and proud calling. It is simply amazing. 
As expected, I did my worst this time. With no training for almost 2 months (I blame Hari Raya the most), my body was not ready. I couldn't go as steady as I could before, but thanks to coQhealth Shaklee, I could still finish the race, it could have been worst! I told myself, this is like training.. Walk run all i can, until I reached the finish line.
There were 6 of us from Qatar who came to Kuching just for this event. All of us are actually together in this small group of Malay runners in Qatar that we called PelariStyloYo. The founder and captain, Syafie Ahmad did his 7th Full Marathon there in Kuching. I am nowhere half of his achievement. Everyone was happy and satisfied to run our first Malaysian run together, even it is during holiday season, where everyone is still in the mood for ketupat and rendang, with none or minimum training. At least we've done it and not backing out :). 
Qatar PSY: Running Kuching Marathon 2014
After breakfast, my family and I heads to some adventure.. Seeking to watch Orang Utan. But unfortunately, we arrived during the break hours. And the note also said it is not recommended to see during this fruit season. So we opt for second best - Jong's Crocodile farm & Zoo. It was amazingly big, with lots an lots of crocs! I think it is actually a much better activities than looking for the Orang Utan to be honest. What make Jong's Crocodile and Zoo farm special are the way they landscaped the area, you will pass by some big lakes, then going through jungle using hanging bridge made out-of wood whilst the crocs waiting patiently right underneath. Just imagine when the bridge breaks! :D
After our accidental-yet-amazing tour around the place we head back to Kuching for lunch. Restaurant Nusajaya is simply the best in town! Had nasik goreng ayam masak merah and I literary licked the plate! heh..
That night, was my husband's 33rd birthday. I have planned to make a simple surprise celebration for him with whoever available in Kuching, and of course, the running buddies are all there to celebrate. Our plan worked out perfectly, with Mr Ai, looking touched and slightly red hehehe. After the small celebration at our hotel room, we head to cross the Santubong River (i:e Waterfront) to chill at Barok Cafe, which is a cool surrounding to be at. The slight raining adds to the amazing atmosphere.  
The next day, its time to head back, making one final stop at the Kek Lapis factory then we go straight to airport. Flewn safely with Airasia with thousands of happy memories. 
Kuching.. will we come back? 
Yes of course!

-Yeen -

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Semi Marathon de Paris 2014

My super special birthday this year. Not only I received blessing to enjoy myself with my friends in Paris, but I got to buy just the thing I once thought impossible.. still thought that I was dreaming.
Anyway, let's not keep you bore with my yada yada.. and go straight to my story of the above mentioned right?

As told by moi in my other blog; Enjoy!

We were all excited to join Paris Half Marathon which coincidently fell on my birthday. We've registered several months before, wayyy before our first half marathon in Chiang Mai. Determine to make a trip of the year.. with 7 of us, running towards the finish line together (in spirit at least). But like wise man says, we can only plan, but HE is the one who'll decide in the end. No matter how hard or consistent we've trained, no matter how firmed our booking is, at the end of the day.. only 2 of us made it to Paris HM. Hence the title.

It was funnily enough that each one of us suddenly caught with some obstacles. Started with H, she got pregnant (not that it could have slowed her.. she ran her first HM in Dubai while being pregnant too). But due to doctor's advise.. it is better not to join any race.. jogging on its own is ok, but not a race, as she might have push herself too hard, plus she is in her 5th months of pregnancy (I know right? WHAT?! 5months and not showing at all? :)

Then it's L's turn.. she just started working at a new company. In her interview, she already mentioned her plan for HM Paris and her boss is ok. But nearing the time, her boss did not fulfilled her promise. She didn't provide her full support and back L's plan to go on with her planned holiday when COO rejected her leave request . So she had to cancel and withdraw from our trip. :(

Then,  more and more of us faced obstacles. I was hesitated too. I do not have anyone looking after my kids from 5th to 7th. My new housemaid are schedule to arrive on the 2nd.. and I do not know her capabilities. Will she be good with kids? But since my husband insist that I continue with my plan, I carried on.. And so the drama begins.. few weeks to the actual travel date, more and more drama arised.
One with housemaid issue, one with a sick mother-in-law, one with a sick father, all had to withdrawn from the plan, although all paid for the registration. And the last was A, 1 day before the race, she just can't get into any flight.. all flight were fully loaded. So that's that.

Off the 4 of us go:- yeah.. luckily there's 2 more friends still joining for the trip but not for HM; 2 with a pure shopping mission and 2 with half-hearted HM mission AND a little bit of shopping mission (yes, it did started small- honest to God! :D). We took Pegasus airline, it was dead cheap when we booked it, QR1400 to-fro with a day stop over in Istanbul on the returning route. The flight was smooth, just a small delay due to some 'technical' problem - whatever it was. Our 3 hours transit in Istanbul was fun, even it was just around the airport. Few hours later, we arrived Paris- Orly airport. Took a brilliant pre-booked shuttle to pick us up and drove straight to our hotel in de Porte de Vincennes. Click here for the shuttle website. 

First stop after check in: Race Bib pickup! And there goes our touristy story. Been here, done that.. yada yada.. now let's go straight to the race shall we?

2nd of March 2014,  waking up a year older. I was not that excited to run. Maybe because half of me, still can't adapt the fact that I'm now running on my own without my husband-my mentor, my motivator AND most of my running buddies - which are my reason to stay strong. I was a bit scared, but not as scared as I was when I did my first HM. This time, my mindset is already thinking - do not push your limit.. run as you please as long as you finished. I know.. not the kind of motivation that one should share in the story of running. But to tell you the truth, I could not feel the same eagerness that I had when I did my first HM anymore. Maybe it was Paris - too beautiful and so much to do that we somehow 'unintentionally' diverted our intention. yes.. we were lack of discipline indeed.

We did however enjoy the ambience. It surely was different. It started as early from our journey from our hotel- waiting for our lift down, few of other runners are also there- ready to run. From top, they completely looked normal in their winter jacket, but when we look down, only we realised- they are in the same mission - in their running shoes. All the way to metro station, we'll find more and more runners. Our trip via metro was a bit of a challenge too, we didn't get to ride it until the 4th train came by. All others were packed with runners. It was awesome. Me and N felt so tiny compare to all mat and minah saleh's runners.

Our journey to the start point was challenging enough- it almost felt like my Hajj experience, with thousand of people pushing their way on the opposite. Due to some miss-communication when dropping our bag, me and N got separated. I felt lost. Darn it.. Calling/ Whatssaping didn't help- all line were too busy. After 15 minutes, I decided to wait for N in our curfew area- Alhamdulillah, I saw her. The joy, was like a kid who got lost and found by the parents! We briefly hugged. It was an emotional moment, we needed each other at the start point. At least with each other, we'll forget all those obstacles and could enjoy our little run.

10 am..but... we were kept waiting.. and waiting. and exactly 1 hour after the supposedly start time of the race, we, the idiots who were honest enough to chose our target time to be more than 2hour were being 'released'. Yes, we were divided into 4 categories: Smart, dumb, dumber and dumbest. We were obviously the dumbest. (Lesson learnt: NEVER EVER take the last categories, lie and just take the fastest target time, you'll know why if you keep reading my story).

I ran alongside N, just so we'll motivate each other, at least for the first 3km, after which, we got separated. Sorry N! I honestly wanted to run with you until the finish line- but that darn coQ health made me go a little faster although not as fast and as determined like I was in ChiangMai. But as I admit before, my target was made lower.

But the good side of this HM, along the way from start to finish, I think not even 100 meter apart, there's always people cheering or people entertaining the runners; band, singers, you name it. They were all high spirited, and the song that they sang or the drum that they pounded were amazing. These was something new for both of us. It keeps us energized. Felt like an on-going parade.. and we were really celebrated.

5km- the first water station; I was ready to replenish myself, but what do you know? No water anymore.. demmit.  This is when the 'dumbest-group' story begins. Remember we were released 1 hour after the race started? So, this is expected. Of course there not gonna be anymore water for us losers. We were just the idiots who thought we could participate in such a big event to get some sort of accomplishment for ourselves. We were the idiots who thought 'doesn't matter how slow you go, as long as you finished' when the race organizer didn't even consider us loser, let alone our need to keep going by hydrating ourself. Yes, we were that stupid.  I saw people going through the garbage tank for water. It was sad and humiliating. Although I started to feel thirsty, I couldn't bring myself to do the same. I try my luck by asking other runners who I saw have a little spare of water, (which come to think of it, might have got their water from that pile of garbage too haha whatever). N said, she took her water from leftover bottle she found lying 'near' the garbage tank. Pitty her.

8km, the route is getting harder- it was a steep road all the way- I kept my slow-jog mode until a lady past me by walking. Demmit! I was too slow! Might as well walk.. so I did. (mistake no 2)

10km- I  thought my luck will get better- but now, same story for water. Nada. So I had to beg from other runners again. Putting aside any shame.

15km - now at least there's some energy drinks, not much.. but there was, and some oranges too. Finally some sense of decency.

19km- After the up and down route, I was no longer in the mood of constant running, yes..I walked most of my way up a hill and run the rest of the other 'flat' route. The most challenging was that last few kms .., I was de-motivated, or what us runner call it 'the wall'.. I was past by other motivated runners, one by one. I can even see a very old man in front of me- my guess he was pushing his limit- poor him. Did he got any water  along the way, I wonder? Suddenly I swear, I heard my husband's voice 'You.. sikit lagi you..' , I broke to tears. Oh my god.. it felt so real.. as if he was running besides me. It motivates me to run a little bit faster.
Not long after, I ran past the old man, and kept running to the finish line. Arrived after 2hours and 44minutes to be exact.
At least there's still people there, and there's a host with his microphone- trying to cheer all the finisher, interviewing them.  I runner who arrived shortly after me broke to tears. She must have push herself so much to be that emotional. Yes, running was emotional, when you cross that finish line, with the sought-after medal awaiting for you, you will feel all your efforts are paid off.

But I can't see any medal. No one was waiting for us with medal at the finish line.

I felt strange, where is my medal?

Maybe I have to walk to some desk to get it? So I thought, fine I'll wait for N to finish, and go and get it together. Approximately 17 minutes later, N arrived.

We walked and walked but nobody is around, we found some guys who looks 'official' and ask about our medal, but sadly he responded 'Sorry, all finished'. 'WHAT THE ??!'. That's it, the medal, which supposed to be, my 'birthday present' and the symbol of our small victory.. is no longer available. I seriously didn't get it. How can they not understand the feeling of being let down like this? I can accept if we were told upfront that the first xx runners will get medals, and none for the rest. But, how can you assume that everyone who ran this HM don't mind the medal part? We've flown thousands of kms to be here, just to be let down?. How simple and easy for them to do that and claim as one of the best event in the world. Did you purposely prepared medals lower that the numbers of confirmed registration? :( How aweful.. I felt cheated.
We left empty-handed and heart broken. We no longer have any mood for any other activities- let alone for any picture. We went straight to hotel to rest.

That concluded our Drama to Semi Marathon de Paris 2014. Not only the drama started from before the trip, but it somehow cursed us until our return. Somebody is in need of 'mandi bunga' for sure.
BIB 50502, Semi de Marathon Paris 2014.