Saturday, December 22, 2018

One Half x Ilaika Select Store @ Taman Paramount, Petaling Jaya

















Finally, about time I'd written about this favourite coffee place of mine.

Hmm, started visiting this place late last year, and before that, this place has been around for a while but I never got around to visiting it. But from one visit, I fell in love with this place and with subsequent visits, I got addicted to this cozy space in Taman Paramount, PJ. It's actually located beside Awesome Canteen and same row as the famous duck rice in Taman Paramount.

One Half started from a pop up store at BRATs, and they closed down after awhile. Subsequently opening two other stores, Random Food Store, beside Village Park Nasi Lemak in Uptown, and then this co-shared outlet with Ilaika Select Store, which sells locally curated items like dried flowers, cute plants, ceramic homeware, scented candles, leather card holders etc etc.

Didn't manage to take a picture of the bar area, but yeah, One Half is pretty much at the back of the shop, where there is ample natural lighting during the day. They have coffee, tea, kombucha, self made wine, orange juice, self made banana loaf, self made sourdough, tartines, sandwiches and a variety of cakes. 

They do have the usual selection of milk coffee and black coffee. And also filter coffee, which I have never tried before in the past. For filter coffee, or your black coffee, you get to select the type of beans they are serving for the day, and somehow, there is really a difference where different coffee beans have different taste notes, as a result of the type of beans, all the way up to how the coffee is roasted. I don't really know how to explain it here, but do ask the friendly baristas if you are somehow interested in finding out what is the difference, haha.

Personally prefer visiting the Taman Paramount outlet because it has individual tables and a hipster ambience where it's a good place for people watching ie. checking out other people that dress up. But if you do visit the outlet in Uptown it is somehow a different concept where it serves hot food and the table is somehow a shared table where it encourages you to connect with other people.

So far I have been loving the long black (all time favourite order), cold brew coffee where they add a dehydrated grapefruit/lemon slice to it, cold brew tonic (cold brew + tonic water), black tonic (black coffee + tonic water), coffee lemonade (coffee + lemonade), sourdough (with brown sugar, with marmite), and the mushroom tartine.

As for milk coffee, at first, didn't fancy the latte at all because I find it too milky. Highlighted it to the barista and she recommended me to try flat white instead which is more balanced and that's my current favourite order for now.

If you don't know what to drink, just ask the barista for recommendations and they would be glad to help you make the right order, and they're usually up for a friendly conversation as well.

This place has minimal tables, so on certain days, it can get pretty crowded, but there are both indoor and outdoor seats. The indoor seats can get quite cold sometimes but the outdoor seating area are always full of smokers and can get pretty warm on a sunny day.

Besides that, I'd say this place isn't really suitable to work as the chairs aren't that comfortable for sitting long hours, and there are minimal plug points. It is more of a place to catch up with your friends, or where you want to have some quiet time alone.

Anyways. hope to be able to convince you to visit this cute place with good coffee (and hopefully not break your bank account).

Signing off for now.

One Half x Ilaika Select Store
 Address:
17, Jalan 20/13, Taman Paramount, 
46300, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. 

Opening Hours:
Monday to Sunday
8am to 10.30pm

Facebook:

Instagram:

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Hanoi Part 1


The view from my final trip to Hanoi!

A lot of you have asked for recommendations on where to go, and I'm tired of being a repetitive Google Hanoi / Google Vietnam, hence this post. Well, if you are wondering on how localized can I get, I'm not really localized localized.

1) What Sim Card should I get and where should I get the Sim Card?

Honestly speaking, when I was there in Hanoi, I was there for work and expenses were claimable, hence we just picked one of the booths selling tourist sim cards at the airport, at 250,000 VND (RM45), you can get about 10GB worth of data. There are different packages, depending on how long is your stay and what you require the sim card for. eg. data only or data and calls.

It's more convenient to get a sim card at the airport so you can order Grab to your hotel!

However, as all these sim cards are not sold by the official telco and it is at the airport, you are most probably purchasing the sim card at marked up prices.

So far I have tried both Viettel and Vinaphone, Vinaphone somehow has more stable connectivity to data, the only con is we have trouble connecting to VPN.

If you are patient enough and you're really tight on a budget, I would recommend that you use airport wifi and take a Grab to Vinaphone Hoan Kiem, which is located in the city centre, and get a tourist sim card here.

If during your stay in Hanoi, you have ran out of data, you could easily purchase top up for your cards at telco shops all around the city.

2) What mode of transport do you take from one place to another?

As we are constantly travelling in a group of 4 people or more (plus our transport expenses are claimable), we take Grab all around Hanoi because its cheaper, reliable and it is safe! Most of the
time, travelling in the city centre only costs 25,000 VND (RM4-5) which is really cheap.

I have read about many horror stories online on fake cabs which may mark up the price by a lot, hence, we chose to take Grab instead. If possible, select the Grab 4 cho option (GrabCar 4 person) as the default setting is Grab 4 cho/GrabTaxi. We have had a bad experience when a GrabTaxi came to pick us up and still demanded us to pay up to him based on the meter fare.

If you have luggage, it is recommended that you order a 7-seater as usually the car for a 4-seater are usually smaller cars like the Kia Morning and not the usual sedan in Malaysia.

Also, be sure to confirm the car plate and cross check with the driver before you get on your Grab! This is very very important.

During one of our trips, my female colleague and I were travelling together. We ordered a Grab with the number plate bearing XYZ 123 (example) and its a Toyota Fortuner (Brown). When we are waiting for our Grab to arrive, another Fortuner with a different car plate arrives and tells us that 'his friend told him to pick us up'. I was really confused but I insisted not to get on the Grab. Moments later, our actual Grab bearing the car plate XYZ 123 arrives to pick us up.

Anyway, would totally recommend you to walk in the city center from one place to another for some exercise!

3) Where should I stay in Hanoi?

Depending on your budget and whether you want to stay in/out of the city, Hanoi is really filled with lots and lots of hotels. Be sure to read the reviews on Agoda/Booking.com beforehand, but for hotels, would totally recommend Sunway Hotel (free laundry service, gym, lounge, sauna) and The Lapis Hotel (pool, gym, jacuzzi, sauna, nice room). Or if you are travelling with a bunch of friends, I recommend checking out airbnbs within the area.

4) What is there to do in Hanoi? How long should my trip to Hanoi be?

Honestly speaking, there is nothing much to do in Hanoi, unless you take a day trip to places outside of Hanoi, even if you were taking the day trip, I would recommend 4-5 days in Hanoi. Probably 1-2 days is enough to cover Hanoi, and the others shall be spent outside Hanoi.

Places of interest in Hanoi would include:

Ho Chi Minh Masoleum



I think this place opens and closes really early, like it closes at 11am or something, but you still can view the masoleum from the outside. We have never been inside, but basically it showcases Ho Chi Minh's remains here. An interesting fact to note is that his remains gets sent to Russia annually to be maintained and further preserved. Security here is pretty tight because Ho Chi Minh was their well respected leader.

Ta Hien Street


Ta Hien Street, also known as Beer Street, where you can get really cheap beer (RM2/bottle) and their locally brewed beer here! Haven't tried their locally brewed beer, but this is the area where its more happening at night where you can grab drinks with your friends here.

Train Street





Catch a Grab to 224, Le Duan, many sites online say that the train passes by at 3pm, hence we were there around 2.30pm. Would recommend you to arrive to this place at 3pm, and around 3.30pm, the train will pass by.

You are probably here to just catch the adrenaline of the train passing by right in front of your face at full speed, it's nothing special really. You could probably experience the same thing in Malaysia at your nearest KTM station.

St. Joseph's Cathedral





This cathedral is located in the Old Quarters area where a lot of old buildings have been there since the French colonial era, hence this church. During the day, you can visit the inside the church for free, and at night, occasionally, there are schoolkids singing carols and hymns outside the church.

Hoan Kiem Lake



This lake is the most touristy lake of Hanoi, but it's probably the place where locals hang out too! Would recommend you to visit this place during weekends where the whole lake surroundings are closed to traffic and it becomes a pedestrian street and you can see the action in full swing, locals selling cotton candy, locals bringing their kids to walk around the lake, locals dancing to k-pop on the streets, locals playing their version of batu seremban, jenga, jian zi, skipping rope on the streets. At night, be serenaded by the local live singers by the lake.

On weekend nights, would totally recommend you to check out the night markets and the numerous souvenir shops where you can get your trending rattan bags and bargain for more reasonable prices!

Other than that, there are other attractions like the Temple of Literature, Dong Xuan Market or the prison, which we did not check out.

Bay Mau Lake



This is another huge lake, but its more of a lake where it's not touristy at all. This is a lake where the locals come to jog or just hang out at the local amusement park. I came here to jog on a weekend (walked 2km from my hotel, and 2km back) and ran 6km around the lake. A total of 10km on a weekend afternoon, not too bad. You could catch the sunset here as well and enjoy the evening breeze with a beer, iced tea or a coconut in hand with the many stalls available at the lakeside.

5) Where to go outside Hanoi then?

Would recommend you to travel on a motor bike yourself, with the help of Google Maps or Waze if you are feeling adventurous enough, or if not, then book a tour. You can easily book a day-tour at the numerous travel agencies at the Old Quarter area. Be sure to haggle for cheaper prices as they know you are a tourist.

For more information on where to go outside of Hanoi, and what to eat in Hanoi, be sure to wait till my next post!


Friday, August 3, 2018


*sweeps off dust as usual*

Just felt like stopping by here as it feels like the write place to spill everything that is on my mind.

Can't believe its almost August 2018!

So much have changed since I last written here.

My favourite coffee place is no longer Three Little Birds or RINSE.

I got myself a car in January 2018 after months of contemplating to get one or not, was a little too early in getting a car. Should have only done so after the election where I could have saved RM7 to 8k but oh well! Bought myself a Honda City without even test driving it wtf. Previously was driving the Jazz and I didn't want to get a newer version of the same car.

Mom and Dad sold the old car and they took back the proceeds of the car. I paid for the down payment of my very own car, and am paying for the instalments myself, hence, I'm very overprotective about my car.

The function that I was most excited about my car has to be the bluetooth radio function so I can FINALLY play my own songs in my car! My friends laughed real hard at me when I told them that this was what I was most looking forward to for my new car. But yeap, haven't listened to the radio ever since getting my car.

Apart from that, been travelling back and forth from Malaysia and Vietnam for an overseas engagement. I'm here in the financial hub of Vietnam, Hanoi. But pretty much explored most corners of Hanoi already. Or checked off all the obligatory touristy things to do, been to the church area, Halong Bay, travelled to Nin Binh and took the two hour boat tour, walked around Hoan Kiem Lake. Had more than enough Pizza 4P, countless bowls of pho and bun cha, probably exceeded the quota for the year already. There is literally nothing much to do in Hanoi, no malls like our regular neighbourhood One Utama and nothing much to eat, not much thirdwave coffee places to visit, nothing that feels like home. Been surviving on packet Milo that Jasmine kindly brought over for me, as well as our nation's trusty Mamee cup noodles.

I've been living like a broke person without savings for a few months while waiting for my claims to be reimbursed, because we have to pay for our hotel first (for a period of two weeks stay each month).

Being a consultant is not as great as it seems, can't believe I'm saying this but can't actually wait to be going back to being an auditor.

Speaking of that, I've been working in my current company for 3.5 years already. How time flies, from A1 days till now. Lately haven't been as passionate as before about my job. Been contemplating and wondering whether it is time for the next step, but what next? I'm not so sure about that.

Been having a lot of these sorts of conversations with people around me. Like how at this age, career progression is not the main priority, more of also, spending time on things you want to improve on, want to try doing, spending time with people that matters and taking care of your own well being.

When I was in Vietnam for work one or two months ago, I had a scare. One night, I was watching Jared and Marianne's cancer reveal, and telling my friend, "Oh how life is so unpredictable, they may not have kids at all in their life."

The next morning, I woke up with a text from my sister, saying my Dad was on the bathroom floor, feeling giddy, vomiting (usually a sign of a stroke or when a heart attack is about to happen), and saying that he cannot even stand up to walk anymore wtf. And she was casually telling me that she was making lemon water for him. I was like, "CALL A DAMN AMBULANCE. This doesn't sound right at all!"

2nd sister immediately bought a plane ticket to be on the next plane home from Singapore.

But I was here, three hours away. And I just arrived in Hanoi like a day or two ago. If I got on the plane home, what happens after that? Do I have to come back to Hanoi? So I waited, for the ambulance to come and get Dad and to see how the situation was like.

It was not like I don't care. I was just far away and feeling so helpless about it. I broke down in my room, but still had to get dressed and ready for work. And waited for either mom or sister to update me again on Dad's condition. She sent me pictures of Dad on the stretcher, Dad being carried on the stretcher and it just.... Broke my heart to see Dad like that.

In the ER, Dad was still puking his guts out. They ran a test to see whether are there any signs of a heart attack happening and did a CT scan, but it was both clear. But they had to admit him because they didn't know what was happening to him. That day, I couldn't work, I was running on auto pilot. At night, I was talking to my sister, how worrying this is. What if Dad didn't make it? What if Dad was really really sick? How would life go on? I couldn't sleep that very night. I tried video calling Dad on that night itself, but he was already asleep, but the image of him on a hospital bed and on drips made me very very upset.

The next day, they ran an MRI scan on him and thank god it was the all clear. Had to wait half a day for the results, but I did manage to video call Dad on the 2nd or 3rd day and the first thing he says is, "Oh, I going to mati liao."

How do I not get freaked out?

In the end, the diagnosis is vertigo. Dad still takes medication up till this very day because it takes awhile to heal.

It was then I realized, my parents are not young anymore. It is time to take care of their health and spend more time with them.

Lately been in a phase too, think I've mentioned before that I have been spending more time with people who share the same values as I do. But lately, been feeling as if I'm obligated to spend time with someone else, I just don't have time for myself. I just want to stay home and do nothing. Especially after travelling for two weeks, only having 1 full weekend to myself in KL. It's emotionally and physically tiring to be honest. I just want to not show up but also don't want to be disregarded as being anti-social or not putting in any effort. (maybe because I really am not putting in any effort)

I just really miss being in one place and being able to live in my routine of waking up, going to work and feeling passionate about my job, going to the gym after work, having dinner after work, and the cycle repeats.

I'm telling myself to be patient and hang in there for another month or so till this project ends so I can finally be in one place again, and finally take a much needed break after working for 8 months straight.

And hit the reset button and go back to being an auditor, being able to do things my way and actually feeling valued about my job.

Oh, I haven't told you about my new favourite coffee places yet.

The first, is this coffee place, where I have been visiting over a year or so. He started as a booth in Publika, selling black or white coffee, for RM5, and it just so happened that my uncle happened to be selling things in the same bazaar and they became friends. Mom was the one who told me about this coffee place, and every time I dropped by at Publika, I was sure to drop by at this coffee booth. Soon after, got to know that he expanded to his booth to a few booths, but I still frequented the one at Publika alot. I loved that the coffee comes with motivational quotes on the cup, but I guess he soon got too busy to write any more quotes on the cup. At one point, he moved outside of Publika, because the BIG management wasn't happy on how the regulars frequented his RM5 coffee booth, even BIG's staff itself. They soon after lowered their staff price to RM5.

Sometime this year, this guy expanded to become a shop. And he still maintained his coffee at RM5 and is a person who is very particular about the quality of his coffee.

That time, my company had this entrepreneur award, and I genuinely think that this guy, is a truely inspiring entrepreneur who was so passionate about his ideas and never gave up, so I nominated him.

Dropped him an email, and he replied that he was busy with the store. Soon after, I guess he kind of forgotten about it, at least I did........ Until one day, he posted an image thanking this person who nominated him for the entrepreneur award, and I got in touch with him.

Although he didn't submit his entry for the entrepreneur award, I managed to let him know how I was interested in making coffee one day, and he even gave me a free t-shirt! He even gave me a few recommendations of places to go in Hanoi. Haha, anyway, if you guys wanna get RM5 coffee when you are around at Publika, with a quick snack of healthy salads or cute small bakes, check out Room 203 Coffee in Publika!

I really didn't expect anything out of the nomination. Like I did not expect that I will get a reaction like that.

 Another place I have been going to a lot is One Half x ilaika. I first fell in love with the hipster style of this shop, but my friend got me to try the long black here where you can actually choose what type of beans and taste of long black you want, and I was hooked!

Haven't personally tried the brew by the owner yet, Keith Koay, who represented Malaysia in the World Barista Championship, but am already very very impressed by his cafe.

A few weekends ago, I went to One Utama to watch the Malaysia Open Barista Championship. At that time, watching the barista championship was really eye opening. It's not only about making a good cup of coffee, it's also about educating your customers about the coffee you are serving.

On that day itself, Keith Koay spoke to the crowd about his experience at the WBC, and how he and Joey Mah had this vision of improving the coffee culture in Malaysia, so that one day, the coffee culture here will be something like Melbourne's coffee culture. He said that preparing the WBC took months and months of hard work, tasting coffee and enduring gastric pains, sometimes till the extent of sleepless nights. And he didn't do it alone. He had always been, along the way, preparing for the competition with his team. Hearing him speak really really inspired me, and I came home and watched his performance at the WBC and was very very impressed!



Also love it that this cafe also sells a lot of artsy stuff - MUJI inspired clothes, things made out of leather, pottery, and candles, all by local designers.

I'm still very noob about coffee, and do hope to learn more about it some day, who knows, one day you see me working as a barista.

Apart from the above, have nothing else which is worth highlighting for now, maybe another time I'll write about our trip to Gua Tempurung, but yeah, let's hope my next post will not be in a few months/next year. Hoping to keep the habit of writing more often here.

Struggling with adulting, but I guess I'mma keep y'all updated on my progress every now and then.

xx

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Transition

I normally write here when I have a lot on my mind and feel like spilling my thoughts on a physical keyboard.

I don't really write or post on how my day is nowadays because, well I simply just don't have the time, or I have just lost my mojo to write here.

Looking back, I have lost my mojo on a lot of things, not just writing here. Probably because I'm focused on more important things nowadays. As time passes by, priorities change.

There are alot of things that I don't do as often anymore, cafe hopping, dressing up, putting on make up.

Can't really catch up with the cafe hopping scene because there are just too many cafes these days, and not all are good. Also I've written about how disappointed I was with the photos on Instagram and how it's really like in real life. Half an hour for a nice photo and cold coffee? No thanks. Hehe in fact I've been making coffee using a Bialetti Moka pot gifted by Beanie every now and then, it's super good! Anyways, I'm a creature of habit, I always return to the same place for coffee, my favourite is RINSE's houjicha latte, and Three Little Birds at Desa Park.

Dressing up, well, I still try to do so once in a while, but I guess I don't buy clothes as often as before anymore, prefer to go for quality clothing rather than buying clothes you can wear for a few times nowadays. And I have been buying more clothes that are suitable for work. And my work wear is pretty much repetitive, despite my colleagues keep saying I have soooooo many clothes, it's untrue wtf.

I don't really put on make up nowadays because well, I prefer sleeping longer in bed over waking up earlier for work to put make up. Also, everyday after work, I'm rushing to the gym for classes! And I'm forever late (There was this one day I met my gym instructor at the registration counter at the gym and he went like, "YOU ARE SO LATE!") so there is no time to waste for make up removal wtf. So yep, I don't even really put on make up unless during weekends or unless there is an important event at work where I'll be meeting alot of people wtf. But........ I just bought more make up hehehehe that I have been lusting over for awhile. Made use of the Black Friday sale and got myself UD's Naked Heat palette and the eye primer.

I'm struggling to get back to my eating clean routine again, pretty much been nothing but a potato. Eating whatever I want. It is so hard to cut down on good food wtf. But I can vouch that I have been drinking way lesser than before this. Been cutting down on drinks because I feel damn tired the day after drinks and well...... I've been doing way too many stupid things after drinks.

The feeling is way too terrible when you cannot fit in your old clothes anymore, especially your old pants! Or when your tummy is sticking out when you wear a body con dress. And well I've been gaining some weight lately, it tells on the weighing scale. Though I've been telling myself it's muscle mass I guess I gotta get real and do more cardio and strength training because the other day I tried doing old blogilates videos (pilates using basic body weight) and I couldn't anymore. Gotta stop solely relying on body combat. But I love combat! I love the steps, I love how motivating and positive the instructor is, and I love how every single one of us in the class loves the class. I've been in combat class for a year and in this year itself I've been seeing the same people in combat class but I never mastered the courage to talk to anyone of them. *Shy*

Over the years, priorities change.

From the past till now, I've always been a family oriented person. Or I have always been brought up to be one. Like I finally understood why mom has been so hard on me in the past. It was for my own good. And when all else fails, there is no one left to back you up except your family, they will never leave you alone despite how fucked up of a situation you have put yourself into.

Each and everyday I hear more scary stories about my friends losing their family. It scares me alot that one day it may occur to me. And my parents aren't very young anymore. Dad's hair is getting grey.

I've been trying to spend more time with them lately. On weekends. Or maybe just going home early after work to eat dinner with them. And I have been sharing a lot with them about my life and the lives of people around me. My next thing I want to do is bring both my parents on a holiday, and hopefully they won't drive me crazy during that holiday. Because old people like to do different things as compared to us youngsters.

Work is well, work. Everyone else is leaving or has left to the neighbouring country with 3 times the currency. I on the other hand, kinda accepted the fact I am staying. I made plans on getting a new phone and a new car, will talk about more of this later, but yep, it's too late to go to the neighbouring country now when it's almost peak and I need to start over again, plus forgoing my bonus. I have said this time and time again, but in my working life in my current company so far, I've been lucky to meet people who are so willing to guide, and give me room to learn and improve myself, and another plus point is having colleagues that I can click and hang out with and keep me going wtf. If I were to move to the neighbouring country next year, it wouldn't be so beneficial for me as well...... So I guess I'm staying for a while now........... But well I don't really know, who knows, in my next post I might just tell you all about my move to another country....

Heh, I am really lucky to be working in such a good environment, though sometimes work can drive me nuts. Well, I've been always taught to look at the objective of doing things, and well I could always approach people around me if there was something I did not understand about. And so far, I've been learning new things and understanding what I've been doing. Though on some days, it can get real tough and challenging. After overcoming the challenge and looking back at it, it's like hey I did it! It was not as bad after all! What sort of challenge, juggling multiple jobs at a time, having way too many things due on the same day which results in me having to stay back late to complete everything. It's not so easy to 'just pass to someone else to do lah' because hey, there is something called being responsible and not everyone knows what is going on, or receive comments like 'quit your job lah'. There is nothing wrong with my job.

Heh, I'm quite glad that I have relatable friends to complain to regarding my job because they understand my pain. It's hard to complain to someone who works outside of this line, because here, we pick up things fast and we have to lead a team, within at least two years of experience. Meanwhile, other people who are outside this line is like, well, most likely bitching about their bosses and how they are being monitored. And when I tell them, maybe your boss is trying to make you see things in a different perspective, or "Have you ever asked why he is making you do that?" Then people get triggered LOLOL. Oops.

That explains why when others ask me how is work nowadays, I don't even bother explaining anymore.

Recently though, have been looking at the new iPhone and cars not because I want a new phone or car for the sake of wanting one, but I actually need one. My phone is dying and its pathetic 16GB storage space is annoying the shit out of me with the constant "out of memory" pop up message. And the car, well, anyone of my friends/colleagues who I picked up says the same shit about how worrying it is to drive a car like mine which acts as if it is going to breakdown any time and anywhere.

I didn't know the car was such a time consuming and expensive toy until my friend recently got a car. He was like telling me how he did so much research online, how he picked the right salesman up till how did he go apply for his car loan.

I have been isolating myself a lot lately. Well, in the sense that I don't share a lot about myself anymore, I'm cautious about who I go out with or share things with, and I don't really bother to make conversation with new people any more. So much that sometimes I just feel that I just can't communicate with anyone else any more, I don't know how. This scares me.

Why have I built this wall? I've been through too much.

What makes me feel happy and contented nowadays, if you really want to know, is a good workout at the gym, or just spending alone time drinking a cup of coffee at my favourite cafe, getting adequate sleep, spending time with a good bunch of friends and conversations about what we are doing with our lives these days.

Heh, gotta run, toodles!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Musings


Hello, I figured out writing would make me feel at ease again. I've been meaning to write but I just couldn't sit myself down and go on typing for hours like how I would usually do in the past anymore.

I've been on a long break for about two months from my job. I honestly cannot remember how to work anymore.

What have I been doing in the past two months? I have been travelling a lot. I went to Sydney, Bangkok, Singapore and Indonesia. Each travel tells its own tale but then again I couldn't be bothered to write it down as detailed as possible.

Other than that I have just been lazing at home, working out at the gym at any particular slot I want to, watching alot of random weird shit on the internet (Asian Boss channel - particularly the videos on the North Korean defectors), catching up on movies (Crazy Stupid Love, The Martian), reading up on books (The Martian, Crazy Rich Asian series, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck), catching up with my friends, downloading new music, laying on the couch taking naps whenever I want with Kopi (my pet dog) and just wandering around aimlessly in the mall.

Can't remember when I last had the luxury to just do the above as and when I like. It just felt good to do me, the stuff I wanted to do, as freely and as long as I like to do.

As I grow older (really hate to admit this), I realized the more I wanted to know myself better, challenge myself, improve myself. Nowadays, it is always the off days where I sit down and reflect on what I have achieved so far, and what I wanted to do next, or what could I improve.

On busy working days, time flies so fast, wake up, rush to work, eat lunch, work, get off work, head to the gym, dinner, shower, sleep, repeat. Sounds mundane, that routine life. But I pretty much got used to it. It doesn't mean that I'm doing the same thing everyday. At work, I'm doing new things which I didn't do in the past. At the gym, I get better at each class, maybe lift a little heavier, learn a new machine, or punch and kick better during combat class.

There are a lot of things I would probably have to improve - in the aspect of managing my money probably. Been spending way too much then I should during these holidays. Or in terms of eating cleaner, been indulging in way too many holiday beers and good food.

Financial planning is something everyone has been talking about but really getting down to doing it, how many of us have really done it? I've talked about it in m previous post but I myself have not gotten anything done about it yet. It took an unfortunate event of a relative passing away to realize that insurance is important. He did not buy insurance for himself and he left behind 5 kids. Some people would like to think that buying insurance is a taboo. Or like me, most people would think insurance is another way for someone else to try and make your money. Kind of get it why those insurance ads say stuff like "protect your loved ones" now.

I recently went to Flores, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia with the recommendation of a few other colleagues in my department. To be honest I had a really low expectation on this trip because I've been told it's a backpacking trip, having to sleep on a boat (was so scared of getting sea sick, I did get sea sick but only on the last night of the stay), having to sleep at not so clean places and only being able to bathe once a day. But you could say, I was pleasantly surprised! The boat was much much cleaner than every other boat I've sat in my entire life. Was also surrounded by nature most of the time and most importantly the place was not commercialised yet.

From this trip I've seen happiness in the eyes of people who live in the village, and it is so simple to be happy for them. What about us city kids? Why were we always hungry for more to be happy? Or why are we always trying so hard to be happy? Or chasing material things to be happy?

When happiness can just be as simple as flashing a genuine smile to someone else. Or being carefree kids who had nothing in the world to do but run up and down hills and play soccer with my friends.

We can make happiness as simple too. It's all in the matter of perspective.

Think I wrote this on my Instagram before. But take work for instance. You tell the whole world you have the meanest boss in the world. Your job sucks. But have you tried the hardest on your end? Or did you try to see it in your bosses' shoes on what he's trying to let you learn or realize?

It's all up to you on the way you see things. You can change the mean boss perception and take on a challenge of understanding the way your boss works and what he is trying to make you learn or see. Or perhaps, voicing up to him and have a polite discussion that you don't agree on certain things or what you don't understand about certain things. You will be surprised at the response and you will be taken so much more seriously by your boss after that.

Ok gotta snooze. Will edit this post later on when I'm back and continue my grandma story.

Goodnight.