You guys will not believe how many drafts I have for this blog at the moment. I know it seems like I have forgotten everything but no. I stumbled upon a few difficulties and I don't know how to bounce back from it and continue writing my Chapter 21 series. I just need to settle a lot of things that's going on at the moment and I will refine and publish those drafts. I am quite demotivated because the memories are not that fresh and my feelings and thoughts might not be as raw as my previous posts. I also have trouble putting it into words and into this blog. So it sometimes needs me to be in the right mood for it. Another problem I might encounter is when I am in the mood, I might choose to write my book instead of my blog. So that would delay the whole blog post publishing as well.


Plus, Chapter 21 has not ended yet. I have so many more to say about my journey into being 21 and I am still experiencing it, writing my own path and what not. It is on going. With that, I might be publishing things out of order though the archive would still be in order depending on when it happened and when I started writing them. So ya da ya da ya da. I don't know why I am explaining this to you. Maybe I am so frustrated seeing all these drafts and this long hiatus is KILLING me.


I don't know, I am sure I will get all of this arranged. It's so hard to maintain and commit to something, isn't it?

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Chapter 21 : Closer to Heaven



The only architect I have ever admired is Allah and this has never changed. Even at times where I felt impressed by the concept of understanding nature to build incredible buildings like Gaudi or the concept that revolves around physics and trigonometry in basics of architecture, none of it is possible because His Wisdom comes first. Nothing compares to His creation and what He allowed to happen and these are among of the few the reasons I will always prefer nature. I thought I would never get the chance to see that part of Spain because the hype of all attractions are always in the city. But I got to go hiking in Sierra Navacerrada and visited Cuenca and I was beyond happy during these two trips.

When I got to know about a hike Aluni was organizing to Sierra Navacerrada in the middle of November, I got all excited. I didn't care how much I had to pay and to know it was free was a bonus! I told everyone I knew at that time about the hike and invited them to come along because good things are meant to be shared. When the day came, I met really nice people and this was how I made my first Slovakian and Estonian friend. It was very easy to bond on this trip considering everyone speaks English and we had nothing else to do during the 50 minutes journey from Madrid and during the hike. Being talkative as I am, of course I was not going to let the time pass with silence. Plus, time seems to move faster when we have conversations.

Even before the hike, I was already one happy kid. The moment we arrived, I looked around and everything looked so beautiful and different, because I am only used to trees that grow in rain-forests. Pine trees and pine cones falling everywhere was just something I have always seen in the movies and in pictures. Not to mention the cool and fresh mountain breeze that accompanied us during the whole hike just made the whole experience better. Let me just remind you it is autumn too. So yes, it was cold. I have always known I have very high resistance towards coldness but I didn't expect it to be very high. I was still sweating at one point. I pulled out my jacket later than everyone else and it was only because everyone was already wearing theirs and I figured it was the smart thing to do so that I wouldn't have to stop in the middle when I actually got cold.


Before the hike

When we were almost at the top, Erika and I took a detour because it looked safe and we wanted good pictures. If anyone knows me, you know that doesn't sound like me at all. I am the type that always follow the path that was given and never thought of doing something like that. I think I have this fear of getting lost, forgotten or left out, I am not sure. Heck, I was never far from my mom whenever we go shopping until I was like... 15. But Erika's attitude towards the whole thing made me realize how it is harmless to go somewhere else sometimes and not be afraid because you always know your way back. And it was the best decision we made because the view was spectacular, I was stunned.

Just a glimpse of the beautiful view

We continued hiking and the view on top was just so breathtaking. We also had lunch there (we packed of course) and Erika said that every time she hike, she would drink a beer on top and she did brought one. She also brought raw green bell pepper and that was the first time I ever ate them like that. Surprisingly it was good. Maybe she had fresh ones and the fact that we were so high up and it was cold was also the factor, I don't know. I still cant believe I ate raw bell peppers.

We made it to the top

Though I can tolerate coldness, I can't say the same for my fingers. They get numb so quick! I basically had to eat with my gloves on and I couldn't take pictures so well. Martin (the guy from Estonia) helped me took pictures because he did not have gloves on. Erika jokingly said "It's because he is Estonian" which for some reason I find so funny because she kept saying it. We were also lucky because two wild horses came when we were there! I love horses! I went crazy I almost forgot what to do with my food. I use to be in the equestrian for a little while so I know how to interact with horses and hug them and everything but I am not use to wild horses. I don't know how they would behave if I try anything so I just pat them and avoided their hind, which is something anyone knows how to do.

Hungry wild horses

On our way back, everyone slept. Given that we have been walking more than 5 hours, it was very called for. But it was definitely worth it. I heard that it is snowing right now, I really feel like going there again!

My visit to Cuenca was actually a last minute decision after Shams invited me along. I did not plan on going because I wanted to really safe money for my Europe trip (big hint on future blog posts). Since Shams wanted to go and Nicole said she will be going too, I figured why not. But now I thank God so much that I said yes in the end because Cuenca is now my new favourite city in Spain! This is where history and nature meets, creating an ambiance that gives you this brief moment of travelling back in time. Built on hills, there were many buildings that appeared hanging off the cliff. Even merely walking in the hilly streets made me smile and bewildered. Nooks and crannies of Cuenca has its story which made me appreciate the beauty of it even more.

Cuenca

The fact that art was also very highly appreciated here made the town even more precious. I can imagine how someone would develop their romantic and creative side here. This quiet, easy going little town overlooks the beauty of nature at its best. The whole serendipity and freshness of the highland wind leaves you breathless. 1000m above the sea level, it looks like the clouds are just above you. All these reasons make you just sit there, close your eyes and smile - you are definitely closer to heaven now.

Where I forgot about my sins and didn't mind if I didn't see tomorrow

Before we went to Cuenca, we stopped at the Enchanted City which is a park with oddly shaped stones (more like boulders). The bus had to climb up the mountain to get us there and the view from the bus was beyond amazing. The fact that it is autumn and the different coloured trees graced the mountains and valleys left me speechless and emotional. When we got there, the bohemian side of me just exploded. Everything, everywhere looked like how I imagined a perfect photo shoot would be. I am crazy about getting good pictures but I am also the kind of person that would like to enjoy beauty without the distraction of my phone. Since we only had an hour or so there, I was torn but I think I managed to make the most out of it. Remind me to come here again for a real photo shoot with my whole bohemian get up though.

I hate how pictures don't give natural beauty justice

I was beyond overjoyed on this trip. Even Nicole noticed this. She said I wasn't like this in Seville and you know I liked Seville. How was I not. I got to see up close the magnificent work of my Creator and my favourite Architect. Nature is always only there to compliment the beauty of man-made creations. But His creations can stand alone and it already looks perfect.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Chapter 21 : Hoping for A Beautiful Closure



No.

It's not all fun.

Because running away is never the solution.

As much as I hate seeing the time ticks down to my inevitable day of departure from Madrid back to Malaysia, I am also glad to see the time moves forward to open up new days and more adventures for me here. Right now I am in a room which was once so foreign to me but now feels like home, all wrapped up under a blanket and a comforter, something I have never done before until I experience for myself what they meant by 'winter'. Long nights means more hours of being lonely on my cold bed. The impulse of going out at night is always extinguished by unfamiliarity and lack of companionship. The bubbly personality is starting to shy down after so many attempts of grabbing attention and fail. Even though physically it looks like I am giving up, virtually I am still trying through apps, hoping someone would come along and make my final days here exciting.

Before destiny decides for me, I mold my own and start planning and making plans with people I already know. A possible hang out, a conversation, a short trip. Anything to fill in this unexplained emptiness. Most times I find joy in strolling on a familiar but missed streets with a lump in my throat while basking in the view I know will give me saudade when I am stress under the warmth of Malaysian weather. Did I say joy? The lump in my throat couldn't be easily described by one simple emotion. It is definitely a stir of so many that even I can't name... any of them. My attempt of recording what I witness with my phone for future me is definitely a fail. Trying to capture them in my mind hoping the memory won't fail me.

On the side note, money in my bank account is decreasing every single day and I am getting more and more creative creating delicious dishes out of limited ingredients and I am not complaining at all. Truth is I am trying to get through November as calmly as I can because I am looking forward to a hopefully beautiful and adventurous December. Reality might be catching up but I need to convince myself that I'll cross the bridge when I get there. I have booked so many trips to quench my wanderlust and I am getting excited to see what else Europe has in store for me. I have fallen for Spain as it is and I don't know if my heart will be able to contain the surrealism I will be experiencing. I am hoping to close 2016 with a smile and start 2017 with nothing but positive energy. Plus, this is the first time I get to really see the hype of Christmas building up as the day gets closer. Decorations, music and even the weather are contributing to the kind of Christmas I was fed by my telly since forever. With that being said...

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Chapter 21 : Chasing The Sun!



The north hemisphere is going through autumn at the moment. While many countries north Spain are freezing, Madrid is starting to get cold especially in the morning and at night. The sun grace us with its warmth in the afternoon but you can't really feel its heat. It's just enough to shake away the chills the autumn wind brings. Many start wearing coats now and I follow suit. I even put gloves on in the morning but I take them and my coat off in the afternoon because it's just the right kind of coldness! So this is the perfect time to run away and head south where it is a little bit warmer. I booked two weekend trips with BeMadrid, both about 3 weeks apart, to cities in Andalusia.

End of October, I went to Seville not knowing much to expect when I booked the trip. A few days before the day, my supervisor was telling me that Seville is very beautiful and some places were sets in films and TV shows (Star Wars and The Game of Thrones). By the time I was in the bus, I was already excited. This is my first time going alone without a friend but I know that I was going to make friends on the bus and the whole time during the trip so it was not a big deal. I met many people from the States and central America. My roommate was from North Carolina and she came alone too. I swear to god, there are so many independent young ladies on this trip I have never felt more empowered. Guys that go on these trip are never alone. They are either with their girlfriends or their friends. I mean it's not a big deal but it kind of give me a different perspective to my expectation the next time I am going anywhere around here. I know I will end up showing my sisters a good time because a chance that a guy would choose to hang out with me is very very slim considering the circumstances.

Plaza de España, Seville

I had a good time during that two day trip considering that I get to talk to most people. I tagged along when they hang out at the bar and just talk and get to know each other. Where we come from, how our country is like, how our life is like back home and our dreams and goals for the future. I am a very talkative person and I love conversations. I would listen to whatever it is that you have to tell me, I will not go silent on you. But to have other people just opening up like that as well, it gets the conversation going and I didn't think I wanted to stop! I don't know if it was the alcohol that made most of them loosen up a bit or I just have not met this many people who can hold up great  conversations at one time like this. And everyone likes being liked. So to have people that give this vibe that they enjoy your company, it just makes you happy. Plus Seville is by far my favorite city in Spain.

People keep asking me if I was going to Granada and Cordoba. So you can just imagine my anticipation for the trip on November. On this trip, an Indonesian lady reached out to me before we met because she was relieved to know there was another Muslim. We were roommates and basically we spent a lot of time together. It's always refreshing to hang out with someone from a different age group. She was almost my mom's age but she was definitely young at heart... just like my mom. So it was nothing weird or awkward for me. I also met someone from Dominican Republic and it was kind of amusing because she has this personality like the fun Latina you always see in movies by the way she talks and make jokes. Sure, stereotypes are unfair but they all have to come from somewhere!

View of Alhambra from the city

Granada was amazing, full of history and culture. Of course I visited the famous Alhambra but I was so disappointed that we had so limited time there with no guide. So I learned nothing out of the visit. But I have learned before that when you go somewhere with these agencies, you only get either one; you learn something or you get a lot of good pictures. You rarely get both. So, even though I didn't get what I wanted out of my visit to Alhambra, at least I got amazing pictures. However, the guided tour that we got around the new and old city of Granada was very very informative. The tour guide was also very passionate about the city so he did not hesitate to tell and show us what he knows. I love seeing people that are able to retell history as if it was a story they have seen before their own eyes. People always relate history to being boring but these kind of people prove that to be wrong.

The night in Granada was very very different for me. On this trip, most of them are native Spanish speakers and even if they are not, they still can carry a full conversation in Spanish. When I tagged along that night, I didn't understand half of what was going on and having a conversation was hard! But it was definitely exciting because this is why I came to Spain for. The language. And I did learn a lot though I was confused most times. This was also a reason why I did not really feel attached with any of them because I didn't get to know most of them very well due to the language barrier but hey, you win some you lose some. At least this experience was very new and not many can say they have been in my situation!

Teteria in Granada

I have to admit I didn't know anything about Malaga so everything I learnt there was an 'ohhh' moment for me. Being a city in the south, near the Alboran Sea, of course it had many history from how people settled there for its resources to all the empires that conquered it in the past. I didn't do much in Malaga other than taking pictures and go for the guided tour. I wanted us to go to Cordoba sooner because I wanted to see a lot of places in Cordoba and I knew it would be raining. But I did try to go to all the nearby tourist attraction for pictures.

Teatro Romano and Alcazaba in Malaga has their own stories

I was physically ready to run everywhere and see everything in Cordoba but the rain was really slowing me down. And no, 3 hours is not enough to do everything. At least I did enter the most important place I needed to see, the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba. The fact that it was a mosque before it became a cathedral did not upset me as many Muslims claim to feel. I would have felt worse if it was torn down. At least this way, some of the aesthetic elements of the original mosque was kept and we are able to see that and admire the architecture. What I felt was mostly embarrassment of how lightly most Muslims take Islam (including me) and that was why the kingdom fall in the first place. That was how we got weak. Islam is complete and cherry picking it is just making holes in something that is already a whole. This was definitely more of a moment of realization for me.

The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba

There is this part of me that want to book a train to go to Cordoba one more time and see the rest of the city but I have to consider a lot of things because there are many more other places I have not seen. Plus I got to fulfill my best friend's wish as her birthday gift, took a picture with her name at a beautiful view in Cordoba. That's when I realize how much I miss her and how I wish I was with her on this trip instead. So I think my time here is done.

The Roman Bridge of Cordoba

This trip taught me two things. First of all, as much as it is fun to go and meet new people every time I go on these trips, I still want to be with familiar faces most times because some amazing things are best shared with people you care deeply about. And secondly, as much as I LOVE the cold, I do miss the sun because the second we got to Madrid again, I needed to remind myself there's no escaping this weather and it is just going to get colder too, until I get back to Malaysia though I will start complaining on how hot it will be.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Chapter 21 : Who You Gonna Call?


Being in a new city means new everything. New routines, new discovery, new culture, new timing. All these will shape a new kind of normal which at a point becomes just normal. I adjusted well the first few weeks but since I don't go to classes and the people in my lab are older, I wasn't making friends. Trust me, if you know me, you know it is not because I don't want to. I just couldn't. And by the third week, I was so desperate. I was downloading apps after apps to try make friends near me and Facebook had been helpful too, keeps suggesting me apps to try. And that was exactly how I met my first friend in Madrid.

I was looking for something to do with other people my age. I accidentally downloaded an app from one of the exchange student community here, BeMadrid. That's how I discovered there were free walking tours. When I went there, a girl from the app noticed me and came up to me. We started talking and we went on the tour together. And the next day, Shams and I went to Toledo together. Toledo is an old city near Madrid (a day trip is sufficient) with beautiful views and historical buildings that marked how harmonious Christians, Jews and Muslims use to live together. I am not a history buff but I love stories.

The cathedral in Toledo

Since then, we started planning tonnes of trips or even just a simple weekend together. Each time I see a trip coming up soon, we'd discuss if we'd like to go. Our first long distance trip was with Smart Insiders to Barcelona and Zaragoza on the weekends. And this was how Shams made friends with Josie. They say three is a crowd but I have always been in groups of three so I am used to it. And three is also a perfect number to start doing batshit crazy stuff. We will always remember Barcelona. Well, yes, it is pretty, iconic, historic and all but that's not why.

The Sangrada Familia designed by the famous architect, Gaudi

I have to admit I wish I had more time in Barcelona because there are some things I wanted to do and see but wasn't able to. It just means I'll be here again in the future so I don't mind. Zaragoza was more like a day trip to us. It is in our way from Barcelona to Madrid and we spent half a day there. Plus it was the Pillar Festival during that time so there were many tourists around. I really like the Aljaferia and spent quite some time in there listening to the history behind that castle.

Overlooking the Cathedral-Basilica of Our Lady Pillar, Zaragoza

By the end of that weekend, I now have friends to keep me company every other weekends or anytime anyone is free. We went to Segovia together, once. It was the first time we tried the fast train and our first time seeing the city without a tour guide. It was kind of cool that we get to do our own thing and just winging it.

The Aqueduct is more impressive in person than in this picture, for real

Coming from different countries, different ages and different backgrounds, I definitely learned a lot. One most important lesson for me was definitely tolerance. Being different is great but tolerance keeps things in check and balance. I love having people of the same mind as me, I admit that. But people of different mindsets open you up to different perspectives and different kinds of normal. You empathize better too and you learn when to say something and when to keep quite. Most importantly, you don't judge because you understand. It is always a safe space with these two and it takes two (or in this case, three) to tango. I have to be what I want this friendship to be too. One thing I appreciate is that there is so much respect and opening up in this friendship, I feel blessed. It convince me that yes, I do have to change the way I interact sometimes because I admit I can be distant at one point of a friendship either due to lack of trust or just being busy, but I also can't blame myself all the time when I am not comfortable being friends with someone. It might be that I don't feel safe in the first place. But I can't change other people to suit my need. I only have control of how I feel and deal with things and it is good enough that I realize all these now.

So here is to us. From that crazy night in Barcelona, our first teatro, our sleepovers, our high-class cooking, rides and roller coasters to perhaps future adventures in different countries (because how else are we going to meet again?). I am so glad we met!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Chapter 21 : From Madrid With Love

Photo cred to Nurul Atifah

"How's Madrid?"
"How's Madrid treating you?"
"What do you think of Madrid?"
"Do you like Madrid?"

Each time I get these questions, I'd smile. Being me, you know I have a lot to say but of course I only answer as short as possible. I know people are only asking if it is a thumbs up or thumbs down, making light conversation and acknowledging that I am going through a different experience. I appreciate that. But now it is time to really answer these questions.

Madrid is so beautiful, that's the first thing I have to say. The buildings and architectures, filled with hints of arts and beautiful carvings. With more than 100 fountains and so many monuments as a remembrance of historical figures or events, walking around Madrid means taking a lot of pictures! So yeah, that's why I so am active on Instagram now. And yes, walking around is totally normal in Madrid. It is not even awkward to do it here because this city is totally pedestrian friendly! You won't feel inferior by the big cars because the the side walk is there and if you want to cross, there's zebra crossing EVERYWHERE! And the cars will stop for you if there is no traffic light there. PEDESTRIANS ARE PRIORITY! The public transportation is also very efficient, be it the bus or the Metro (that's what we call the subway train). Trust me, it will only take you a day to understand how the Metro works and with the help of Google Maps, it is very easy to find your way around, with the Metro or the bus. Right now, one of the Metro line is under construction. But guess what, they provided free buses to cover for this line! How convenient! Speaking of convenience, I love it how all the public places have the disabled people thought of. There are ramps everywhere, every bus stop has braille and there are places for wheel-chairs in public transports. I, myself, get to see how these people use these facilities at least once every week. I don't know, I find it amazing because all these while I can only imagine how they try adapt to the society but now I can see it for myself. And man, I do think there are still many that can be done for them to help reduce the inequality they experience.

The nights in Madrid are pretty safe, I can say. There’s many police working at night and get this, you can’t drink on the streets. So don’t worry about stumbling upon drunken people because I haven’t. Plus the night life starts at 2am or so and even though I like being out late, I am pretty sure I am home by 2am. That’s way too late. Some things starts at night like... ice-skating or language exchanges. People socialize a lot here and I like that. What's not to like about meeting new people right? Exchanging stories and enjoying company are definitely what I need since I am here all alone.

The people here are very warm and welcoming. At least the ones I have met. They greet you randomly and it is not weird at all here, they like to help strangers especially like myself even with very little similar language competency. And when they help, they REALLY help like… I-will-stand-with-you-for-5-minutes-so-you’d-understand kind of help. But gosh, they do not like to ask for help. Once I saw a feeble lady coming in the Metro and people stand up to let her sit and she was all “No no no por favor!” but in the end, she still took the sit. I tried helping a lady with her bag once because we were going down the stairs and she had a handful of them. She smiled and said it was fine and maybe she was being safe with her things but still, if they can do things by themselves, they don’t want to burden you. Kind of reminds me of me. I always have problems asking for help though I like to help people. But I learn to ask here because I always do not know things. Everything is new. It is starting to grow on me and I am getting more comfortable asking for help, maybe because everyone shows positive reaction to my request. Never once was I turned down. I hope I can keep this up in Malaysia. I am always stressed out because I do not know how to ask for help and it is kind of pathetic. But do understand that this is what I generally see and experience, it does not mean everyone is like that. There was this one time when I was mocked when I was speaking to my friend in English by some random couple and that one time I saw a boy jumped the turnstile in the Metro.

Speaking of breaking the rules, following the rules are cool here. It seems so easy to manage a country where many people actually have a 1st class mind. Trust me, not everyone does. You can still see people litter, ignoring the red light or not cleaning after their own dog poop. But a bunch of them do and that make things wayyyyy easier already. Compared to if it is the other way around, well, Malaysians know that so well already. They always… always let people out from the Metro or lifts first before letting people in. 10am means 10am so that’s not a surprise because we have always known that we don’t respect time as much as some people. If the light is red and you can’t see any cars but you still want to wait, you don’t have to be worried of looking dumb standing at the side of the road waiting because many people wait too. A lot of people smoke here but they know when and where to do it. The no smoking sign is not a ‘suggestion’ to them. Oh and just for your information, the cigarettes here smells different too. In Malaysia, I will always feel suffocated when people smoke. Many of my friends know this. Here, I do not have that problem, how weird. Probably there’s something different in the cigarettes.

Anyway...

Understand this. I am in an environment that is wayyyy out of my comfort zone. I look different (Madrid is kind of diverse but there are still many Caucasians), I dress differently from others (yes, because I wear the hijab), I have to dress differently from before (because of the weather), I speak differently (either I am speaking Malay, English or 'butchered' Spanish, I don't speak like everyone else), I eat differently (looking for halal food is like a mission sometimes), everyone is someone new (even though my housemates are from my faculty, we only recently know each other so yeah, I am here without anyone basically), I need to learn how to do everything (even simple tasks like how to use the bus), the culture is different, the rules are different... I am pretty sure you got the idea by now. So I am like a child that doesn't know much and I have to be prepared for I will make mistakes, I have to be told what to do, I have to be curious. Truth is, isn't that what we are suppose to do, suppose to be? Constantly learning. We are always too busy being that person that knows things, we forgot how to be stupid for once and being stupid is not necessarily bad. Positivity is the only way to turn things back around. I know I say this a lot but man, I feel it everyday here,

So yeah, I like Madrid. In fact, I am starting to get a little scared because I have slowly fall for this new life I have here. Probably because I get to do one thing that I thought I never could.

Start over.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Chapter 21 : My Life Begins Now



Everything packed? Check. Passport? Check. Am I nervous? Very anxious, but that is how I always feel before travelling alone be it by bus or by plane so, that's not new. Everything is set but one thing is not. My realization. I still feel like this is just another goodbye, another trip, another flight or is that how I am suppose to feel? I keep looking at my dad as if I have something to ask but, I don't know what is the right thing to say. What do I want to know? Am I second guessing? Definitely not, this is what I want. I have had "Madrid - September 2016" written on my desktop for half a year now, way before I got the offer. Maybe the fact that I will be thousands of miles away from the place I am familiar with just has not sink in yet. Maybe that's it.

While waiting for my flight, I virtually bid goodbye to everyone (Facebook of course) and everyone wished me well and told me to have fun. I had mixed feelings because I was scared if things were not as how I hoped or if bad things happen and I don't know how to get help or I get demotivated and everything would be a waste. How can I think of 'fun' when all these are playing in my head? Was I excited? Yes but excitement and anxiety easily blend into a weird rush that demanded to be suppressed so I think of something else. I focus on the now. I made mental comments to things that happen around me and which made me more aware. I realize now that that's what I should do to help with my anxiety problem. I should cross bridges when I get to them, not think about them on the way.

My flight from Kuala Lumpur to Madrid took a detour to Pudong Airport in Shanghai, China. Since the flight to Shanghai only took 5 hours and apparently Shanghai is in the same time zone as Malaysia, it didn't felt much different. When I was queuing up at the transit gate, I am so happy to look around and see people of many colours, origins and destinations. It made me feel like this world is border less but just for a moment because it turns out that I was queuing up for the immigration check. After going through security for my hand-carry, I just hang around the boarding gate. I did get access to the airport wifi but man how Malaysian Airport has better wifi. I could only whatsapp my friends and family (thank god) and nothing else. No Facebook, no Twitter, no Google, nothing. I was lucky the wait was not that long (an hour or two after the security check) but I did have any books and magazines with me to keep myself busy.

The next 12 hours felt nonchalant. However upon arriving in Spain, that's when it hit me. Hey, your life here begins now. Whatever you did, whoever you were did not matter. And whatever I do or whoever I be in Madrid will determine how wonderful this semester will be. I took my bags from the conveyor belt and went for the exit. I saw a man holding up my name and a few others and with a confident smile, I introduced myself.

I am ready.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Chapter 21 : Prologue



Why do people start writing a story or a book? Some do it because they want to express themselves, putting their fantasies or tragedies into words. Perhaps even righting a wrong from the past. Some are inspired by actual events or after a careful observation of the world and they want to share that with everyone who wants to hear. Others do it as a favourite past time. No matter for what reason, all stories start with one thing,

An idea.

So what's my idea that lead me to this? Not only that I have a typical title for my story, which is... as many put it.. so basic, but also wasting a lot of time writing and gaining nothing from it because I am too lazy to understand how AdSense work. Before I can start, maybe we should back up a bit to... well, me.

I have been walking with hanged head and slumped shoulders around campus and I don't think people notice. To be honest I find it hard to feel content last semester. I will either be on cloud nine or in the dumps. Rarely in between. This is not the first time I feel like this though, I have been here before, it's just that it got worse. Have you ever feel that you are pathetic if you admit that you need people in your life? As if you can't stand the thought of being lonely. No, not alone, but lonely. That's kind of how I felt. The fact that the pillars of my strength are so far away from me and I have no one near I can emotionally attach to kind of make me feel lonely and everything just goes bad from there. I felt trapped in a place I don't want to be in most times and it triggered my need to quit and escape. Honestly, I do not know if this is young and reckless me speaking or is it the tired me, but I know how I feel.

I try to think of the times I am most happy. Of course that would be around my best friends, best buds and my family. But other than that, I feel free and content when I am trying to know myself more and discover new things. In other words, I just want to be free to be me. I remembered how it felt in Surabaya, how I adore meeting new people and new environment just means adventure. And guess what? That's what I am going to do.

21 and in spirits of looking for myself, I think it is time for me to start doing what I love and I am going to tell the world about it. I am going to write this story. My story. And the best thing about this story? There is no arranged plot. For once in my life, I have no plan on what is going to happen. It might be a sad story or a happy one. It may be posts of regrets or of a wonderful journey. Both you and I will have to know as time goes by.

But I know one thing is for sure at this moment: we're off to Spain! 🇪🇸

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Why Learn Language and How?



If you are reading this, it can only mean 3 things, a) you want to learn a language and you want to know how, b) you are learning a language and you want to know how you can improve or c) you're a friend of mine and you found this link in my social medias. Either way, you come to the right place! Well, I don't mean that in a way that make me sound like a language expert (because I am so sooo not) but at least I have experience in the said department and I want to share that with you! But if you came for neither of those reasons, well, let me tell you why you should read till the end and start picking up a new language!

Having an additional skill is always fun if not useful. Not only you can try to impress people with them (wink wink) but it also gives you something to do in your free time. If you are the kind of person who likes to interact with people, that additional skill might as well be learning a new language. You'll find yourself having friends from places you'd never thought of and learn new exciting cultures and behaviors. If you are not the type to go around meeting new people, I still recommend you to take up a new language because there are many many artistic materials out there that are created in other languages. Movies, songs, poems and the list goes on. You might be able to enjoy the beauty of it if you understand the language it was created in.

Another reason why I recommend you to do this is because it does something to your brain too. Good things. First of all, our brain networks will become better integrated, which means they'll become more flexible and it helps in faster and more efficient learning. Next, our brains' density in grey matter may increase and the white matter tissue also tends to strengthen. These grey matter are important for muscle control, memory formation, emotions, decision making and sensory perception while the white matter helps connect the grey matter regions together. Since I am not an expert on brains, I am not going to tell you what that means exactly. But one thing is for sure, learning a new language is like an exercise but for the brain.


I, myself, am not a native English speaker at first. I grew up speaking Malay but I was lucky enough to be highly exposed with English. Not only do we learn English at school, all my books, my TV shows are in English and guess what, my mom is an English teacher. So basically, after 20 years, I am bilingual now. I think in Malay, I think in English, I can switch whenever! Well... most times. There are times when one language decide to take over my brain and gag the other one at the corner of the room but that's a whole other story. Now that I realize I am not learning anything new, I decided to take up Spanish. Si, puedo hablar español (Yes, I can speak Spanish). Kind of. And my only regret is to why didn't I take it up sooner like... when I was 17? I could have been awesome at it by now. However, in this almost 4 months journey of trying to master Spanish, I learned a lot on how to properly learn a language.

So how do you start? Well, here is how I did it. (Note that all these tips are for verbal languages. Sign languages are languages too, I know. I use to learn sign language for a few months (I believe it was not more than 6 months) before I forgot everything. So as you can see, I failed terribly trying to learn sign language so you don't want advice from someone who failed doing something. If I find a way to learn ASL again and actually succeed, I will make a whole new blog post for that.)

1. Have a notebook
You start here. Keep a notebook that is just the right size to write words and sentences. I suggest an A5 spiral bound notebook but it is really up to you. If you open my book from the front, you can see that I write new words that I learn. I have 2 pages for different categories starting with frequently used words followed by verbs then nouns or adjectives also by categories (time, food, feelings, clothes etc). Yes, only 2 pages for each category because you can always do a part 2 on a new page. If you open my book from the back, you will see I have sentences and frequently used phrases in there. Divide your pages in half so it will look cleaner and it will be easier for you to read and look for the words. I suggest you put the words/sentences on the left and the translation on the right. Except if you are learning languages that read from right to left like Arabic. Then, you should do it the other way.

2. Download phone apps
We are constantly on that smart phone of ours so why not make the most out of it? Download the "most famous and talked about app at the moment" for new language learning users. DuoLingo. This app is not only free, it also creates a fun environment in learning new languages. It keeps track of your progress (you'd know if you are 5% fluent in Spanish), show you when you have to refresh certain words (because let's face it, we always forget what we have learned before when we learn something new) and constantly remind you to practice (the notification might get annoying but DuoLingo is only trying to help). The layout and the graphics of this app are also very clean so it is very soothing to the eyes and user friendly. In my opinion, this app is a good way to increase your vocabulary.


Another good application that I use is Memrise. However, I don't prefer this because I do not like the layout that much. It is a good app if you want to make sure you remember everything you learn and you want it to be planted in your memory. It has exercises that always repeat the words you have learned and translation exercises against time. Another reason why I recommend it is because it will start with common use words and phrases first compared to DuoLingo that will start with everyday things. However, Memrise has some features that will require you to pay. A cheap skate like me will skip the exercises that requires payment, of course. This app is also a good way to increase your vocabulary.

3. Visit websites
If you are in front of the computer, visit Language Zen. This website provides lessons that also start with commonly use words and phrases. You will be leveling up as you learn and translate sentences. If you know the words they are introducing, you do not have to go through the exercises made for that word. You can skip to new words that you haven't heard of or not familiar with. Besides learning vocabulary, these lessons are also a good platform to get some grammar knowledge because they even have articles that explains the rules. Language Zen also has a "Learn From Music" feature. In this feature, each song that they list will have a bar that will show how many percent of the lyrics that you actually know from your lessons. You can listen to the song and start learning the phrases starting with the ones that you should have known from your lessons. Language Zen also keep track of your strongest words, weakest words and accuracy in your translation. You will require to have a weekly goal and the website will keep track of that too. I actually highly recommend Language Zen. They even have Premium version (requires payment of course) that will give you unlimited learning. But the free version is not bad too.

You can also go to Google and just type "learn [insert language here]" to look for websites with articles and lessons on the language you want. However, these websites are usually a little dry because they use the read and learn approach but I still think it is worth mentioning. What other way to learn if not from reading? Which brings us to...

4. Borrow/Buy books
There are many books that is customized for beginners. I bought a "Spanish Lesson" box which included 2 books and and 4 CDs to help with my pronunciation. This is an addition to all those websites and apps you are using or as an alternative if you don't want or can't use technology to learn. Other than that, you can also start looking for kids books. Yes, those with pictures and pretty drawings. They use very simple sentences and since our language ability is the same as a little child at the moment, it is best that we read materials that suits our abilities.

5. Videos, movies and songs
So you are not the "book" kind? Big deal. There are other ways! You can watch movies in the language that you know with a subtitle of the language you are learning or the other way round. You can try looking for subtitles online for that movie you are about to watch on your laptop. You can also look for videos on YouTube that provides language lessons or children shows in the language you are learning. Yes, once again I am suggesting you to use materials for kids. Since I am learning Spanish, I watch Mundo Pocoyo. It really helps but it does get kind of boring sometimes. You can start checking out nursery rhymes too. My first Spanish nursery rhyme was "Arroz Con Leche" just because I know what the title meant at that time. Haha! If you get bored of humming to those kid songs, look for songs you know which was also sang in the other language. Many international artists do that for their songs that are very popular. For example, Beyoncé did "Irremplazable" for "Irreplaceable" and Selena did "Dices" for "Who Says". Usually it's not a direct translation so do find the direct meaning for the songs in the other language to learn more. Start paying attention to international artists that speaks your language of choice as their first language and look more into their work. I had always like Enrique Iglasias so I just had to look for his other songs and I hit the jackpot. He has so many good Spanish songs! Pay attention to the lyrics. These methods will help improve your pronunciation and mental translation (I call it mental translation, I don't know what it is really called when you translate things in your head).

6. Practice!
Final step! It's time for you to start putting all those lessons to use. Look for a friend (or many friends) to practice with. Looking for a friend online can be difficult, believe me I was there but I highly suggest Coeffee.com. There, you will have a profile where they will ask for your native language and learning language. If you feel it is hard to find a friend on that website, here's how. You will see who are online in the "Language Exchange" page. You can use the filter to look for people. I suggest you use the filter to look for native speakers of the language you are learning who wants to learn your native language. This way, both of you will gain something out of the conversations and it helps when there are some things you do not know how to say in the language you are learning. You can just use your native language to keep the conversation going. If your friend use words you do not understand, you don't have to go to Google and ask the meaning. You can just right-click the word and the meaning will appear. It is that simple!

Oh, there's one thing left to do. MAKE MISTAKES. Don't be afraid to just talk to people and be wrong. Be bold and make those mistakes You learn through them because mistakes go away but what you gain through those mistakes stays forever.

So now that I have shared my methods of language learning, I hope you would give it a try. Never say there's nothing to do because this world is a very big and wonderful place for us to continue discovering. So why not have fun and give it a go. Good luck!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Zootopia

This is way way overdue but I want to put a light back into my blog so... let's start!



Zootopia! I went watching this movie without watching the trailer before hand. My roommate invited me to the movies (even though we just went to the cinema the day before haha!) and I always say yes to some time out of the campus. I did not have any expectation for this movie. After all, it is Disney, always an enjoyable enough watch, if not amazing. But... I did not expect to absolutely love love love this movie! Nowadays, when anyone say the word Zootopia, my head would turn to the direction of that word faster than you can say Judy Hopps! My eyes would lit up, my hands would start doing this little clap and I would probably shriek a little accompanied with the phrase "öh my god" some how. Also, I said yes to another invitation to watch this movie (yes, my second time... at the movies... my money... yup).

Since I am no movie expert, of course I am not going to talk about how good the plot was or the graphics or whatever. What is important to me in a movie, especially that primarily targets children, is the values and message it tries to spread. Honestly, that's the main reason I was enticed (and yes, the cute characters are a bonus)! I probably look like this the whole time I was watching!


So here is my list of "Things I Learnt From Zootopia"

1. Dream big and follow them
If you are not scared of your dreams, it means you are not dreaming big enough. When we were younger, we are convinced that there's all these possibilities in front of us, that we can be anything and achieve everything we put our mind to. As life happen, we shy away from that idea and now everything seems impossible! To see a character that is so determine and passionate with gleams of hope in her eyes remind us that we can still have that naive thinking that we once had, and that it is only impossible until we give it a try.

2. People will always doubt you, until you prove them wrong
You'll get beaten down and discourage when you try to do something big. When that happens, there's nothing you can do if you are weak enough to let them get to you. Pure determination is the only thing that will help you get through. At the end of the day, it is your life and only you have the power over it. Words are nothing, they will go away.

3. Hard work gets you where you need to go
Determination doesn't only give you the strength to continue but also give you that push you need to make sure you achieve what you have always wanted. There is no other way to be successful other than hard work. That's how we come over any blunder, no matter how big or small because one thing we are sure of is that nothing comes easy.

4. Respecting diversity
Looking at Zootopia, it is very unique how the city tries it best to respect all differences in needs and sizes of the mammals.There's little rodent town like part of the city for little mice to live and shop, the smoothie bar didn't forget to include a convenient way to serve the tall giraffes, there's multiple sizes of cars and houses. This had me excited because I believe that we always forgot minorities in designing anything nowadays. Left-handed, disabled, children. Products that are meant to be used by everyone or meant for the public are suppose to consider all of their users as much as possible to avoid anyone feeling left out by the social norms over things they do not have control of.

5. Racism
Stereotypes are inevitable but we never want to admit that. Well, not publicly at least. In Zootopia, I love how they handle stereotypes. They either embrace it or prove them wrong. Sure there were many stigmatization going around in the movie, especially of the predators. At one point, that stigmatization actually hurt the social balance, and that's exactly what we should learn from this movie. Some stereotypes or racist thoughts doesn't actually hurt anyone and you can look pass them. In some cases, they are even the reasons why individuals of different races connect. If you ask me, not all racial comments are meant to be taken to the core as hurtful. Nowadays, we consider everything as racial slurs without understanding context or intent. Worse, we like to fight fire with fire instead of having a civilized conversation. However, like anything else, there's always a boundary. We are gifted with a mind that can think of the cause and effects of our actions. Hence, that's how decide on what to say or not to say where and when. Which brings us to...

6. Things you say can have more effect than you meant them to
Before we say anything, especially in front of a large crowd or in an intense moment, always think before saying things we might regret. This is because some people might take your word for it or it may trigger something that was not suppose to be exposed such as violence, phobias or racism. Thank to the Internet, anything said now is very very accessible and you do not know who might be reading. Putting your thought out there has their consequences and always weigh that before you do. Me included.

7. Love and friendship
Biggest lesson from this movie! Well... to me at least, it's the reason why I fell in love with Zootopia. I know, many would think racism is the main message but hear me out. Love is key. Because of much love to Zootopia, Judy Hopps is good at her job and do the best she can to bring Zootopia back at peace. Love and respect is how we look past any stigmatization to live in harmony. And love is the reason people trust and come back to each other. One new thing that I learn from this movie is that love between two people can mean a lot of things and sometimes (even if it is hard for us to admit them) it will reside to very deep and intense friendship and it is okay. Many assume that Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde are more than friends but I refuse to believe that because I have felt such friendship before, but I was scared to label it as 'love'. Seeing Judy admit that she loves Nick make me realize that we have been so scared of that word sometimes when truth is, it may just surprise us how easy it should be.

I would love to see this movie from different views so do share if you have any thoughts. I just want to continue fan-girling. Haha!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

My Own "Green Eyes"?



"Your subconscious is vibrant green! Color psychology tells us that you subconsciously most relate to those vibrant greens, and we don't blame you. Like green, you're full of life and love. You love the outdoors, you're a natural optimist, full of wanderlust. On a deeper level, however, you have a profound need to love and be loved. There's nothing more painful for you than feeling excluded. You're the best kind of best kind of friend or lover anyone could ask for, and you really do deserve nothing but the absolute best. You're sensitive, without being overly emotional, and you're loving, without being overly dramatic. You're truly a breath of fresh, GREEN air!"

I am not sure what to make of this result from a recent Internet quiz I took. It claims to be able to know which color my subconscious mind is more drawn to and make a sense of what kind of person I am. Perhaps if it wasn't so accurate, I would just look pass it and move on. At least, that's how I think I am...

I have been walking with hanged head and slumped shoulders around campus and I don't think people notice. To be honest I find it hard to feel content last semester. I will either be on cloud nine or in the dumps. Rarely in between. This is not the first time I feel like this though, I have been here before, it's just that it got worse. About same time last year, I managed to pick myself up and told myself I would start fresh and do good at school. Turns out it was quite the opposite. I don't think I want to waste a paragraph on what happened but I'd rather discuss n why they happened and the aftermath of my catastrophic year.

Have you ever feel that you are pathetic if you admit that you need people in your life? As if you can't stand the thought of being lonely. No, not alone, but lonely. That's kind of how I feel. The fact that the pillars of my strength are so far away from me and I have no one near I can emotionally attach to kind of make me feel lonely and everything just goes bad from there. I felt trapped in a place I don't want to be in most times and it triggered my need to quit and escape. Honestly, I do not know if this is young and reckless me speaking or is it the tired me, but I know how I feel.

So now I am back at home and once again everything is rainbows and butterflies! I don't want to go back to school, actually. Not like this. I wanted a semester or two off but I don't think my parents, my scholarship and my faculty would approve though I could if I wanted to. It's not that I do not want to study, GOSH NO! I love knowledge as much as the next guy but the environment is just so suffocating for me. It is impossible to start fresh and trying to make things better takes time.

But I know what I need; curación. And I am about to get some time to.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Be Bravely Sincere With Yourself 30 Days Challenge : Day 14


What would you tell 
the one who got away 
if you met them today?


A notification with his name always makes her freak out and stunt for a few second but today, their path crossed. She couldn't help her astonished face when she saw him, couldn't believe that they ran into each other after what felt like ages. They parted on texts and they tried reconcile on social medias. They never did get the chance to really feel what confrontation is like. She didn't know how she should act so, screw pretending. Her subconscious mind knew what she felt and that's how she will act. "HI! HOW ARE YOU?!" she beamed with a high pitch, all excited. She probably has played this scene a few times in her head but nothing matters now. Anxious, she waited for his respond... like she always does when she thought she said something clever on his status. On plain eyes, his respond seemed immediate but to her... honestly she can feel her heart throbbing in her throat. She thought she is used to this by now.

She miss him so much. All these time, on their attempts of pretending online, she couldn't help thinking of how he would pull his face when he disapprove of something, or when he wants to get a point across. How he would laugh, smile or sneer. His jokes, oh he finds him funny and she has always wanted someone that can make her laugh. She likes a lot of things about him and she miss talking to him. Those many many hours of texting back and forth when they should be sleeping. He has always been a good listener. He kept her from bouncing off the wall and she needed that. She has always liked him but...

Sigh...

She smiled and she asked casual questions. She laughed and she didn't even have to try, the conversation kept on going. Everything seemed easy. In the end they had to part. After the goodbye, she was overwhelmed. Every breath felt heavy. She took her phone out of her pocket, tapped on the blue bird and started typing...

"I always try when I never had to. I guess it's time to stop"


#BeBravelySincereWithYourself

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Be Bravely Sincere With Yourself 30 Days Challenge : Day 8



What would you tell 
the people 
who hurt you most?

Imaginary Meeting

We have never met since we parted
A big part of me is relieved
But I would be lying if I say I don't want to meet you for the last time
I want you to look at me with eyes filled with guilt
I want you to know what you did to me
How much pain you have inflicted
How much you have changed me
How low my self-worth was
How long it took me to bounce back
I want you to see the cracks even after all the patching I have done
And know that those are your fingerprints on me

I want to shove it to you
Things that you have probably known
Things that will hurt you if they ever reach your ears
Things that will feed your anxiety and crush your confidence
Things that will be your lullaby while you wallow of self-pity

Truth is I no longer feel hurt when I think about you
I feel anger
I blame every single failure on you
Because before you, I don't know how to fail
And now the only thing I do is fail
You introduced me to a world I don't want to know exist
And now I am living in it

Sure, maybe I haven't been able to own up to my mistakes yet
Perhaps one day I will
And when that day comes, I'll remove the shackles I put on your existence in my life
And who knows, if we accidentally cross-path
I can smile and continue walking

#BeBravelySincereWithYourself

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Be Bravely Sincere With Yourself 30 Days Challenge : Day 7



Detached

I am a very put together kind of girl
I have been making good decisions all my life and rewarded handsomely for it too
People look up to me
Expect greatly from me
Every pat on the back feels like a reminder of how tall I need to stand
That I should fully utilize all these support
They feel like a push to get me going 
Elevating me to a higher place
Because when I am given everything I need to fly
There is no other place I can go but up

So fully determined, reliable and confident
I admit that the journey is a long one
I cannot see the finish line but I know it's there
And every new people I meet have that same look on their face
Trust and adoration
I easily make friends with people and I am always happy

What happened?
Darn it how do I tell a tale that I myself was drunk when I heard it
Yes, heard
Not experienced
Because the only way that I would have made those kinds on decisions was if I was out of my body
Along with all rationality that could have saved this mind and this body from steering into destruction 
she never knew would ever exist in her path
The kind of destruction she only heard of but have never seen
The kind that she thought was just told to spice up a story 
that would have a happy ending at the end of it eventually
But she doesn't think this one will have one.

She really miss I.

#BeBravelySincereWithYourself

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Be Bravely Sincere With Yourself 30 Days Challenge : Day 5



Dear love,

    Truth is I never want to admit that I love you. Maybe because you are a guy and having me loving you will give an utterly wrong impression. If I admit that I love you, I am afraid you will push me away because the only thing we can be is friends. It is impossible for us to be anything more than that. It's madness to be anything more than that. But that's just it. I love you and I am not asking us to be more than friends. How we define our relationship has nothing to do with how I feel about you. And how I feel about you has nothing to do with how you feel about me. So why am I not allowed to express how I feel with the fear of it effecting things that are not suppose to be related?

Am I scaring you now?

How did I know I love you? See, I only want to be happy and genuine, that's all I want for me. When I know you, I was nothing but being myself after so long of pretending and holding back. You didn't seem to mind being close to me and accepted me un-judging-ly. Anxiety ran away from me, depression couldn't find me and I felt free. I feel free when I am with you. I can say anything, do anything and you will never respond in a way that makes me feel... wrong. Because I have always been wrong, a lot of things I did was not right with anyone else but they are fine with you. I am at complete ease.
You come from a very different walk of life from mine but we meet at an intersection and the fact that you were different is keeping me close. I want to know everything about you and I love everything that I do know about you. Maybe I love different. Maybe I am bored and done with what I have been seeing and you are introducing me to a whole new view. It's like you are giving me a glimpse of what the world has in store for me and I loved it. You gave me a new reason to keep going when I needed that more than ever.
When we met, I know that our paths are perpendicular to each other. That that would be the first and the last time we meet and that fact made me cry when we parted. I have never cried during a goodbye, that was my first time. Now we are almost 10 000 miles away and I don't want my path to be a straight line anymore. I want to defy the distance between us so that I can get one more day of being carefree, one more day of adventure and one more day of your company, your stories and your laughter. If I can't create this little heaven on Earth, I do hope to meet you again in Heaven.

    I never get to write these on those postcards I sent. True, 'not enough space' is a good excuse. But maybe I am just not ready for your respond. Yes you have never make me feel bad before but letting you in to my deepest emotion will make me vulnerable to your reply. Let this just be... this. Because I am grateful with this. And thank you for introducing me to a kind of love I have never expected to know.


Love, Me


#BeBravelySincereWithYourself

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Be Bravely Sincere With Yourself 30 Days Challenge : Day 4


First Love?

What is love?
Is it when you caught a glance from a boy you never thought much about
And you feel flattered that he would give you the time of day?
For once someone noticed you and it made you smile
You didn't make a big deal out of it but you caught yourself looking at the mention of his name
You always talk tough to boys but when he started talking to you
you became soft
Luring him into falling for you if he hadn't already

What is love?
Is it when he first made a move by hinting that he wanted to get close to you
And you let him?
From all the seats available, he chose to sit near you
When you needed to go somewhere, he would accompany you
Next thing you know, he had a nickname for you
and he changed your name in his address book
And all these was just elevating you higher

What is love?
Is it when you share everything together?
Your time, stories, pain and joy
You started to learn about each other more and more
And you learned to accept the most broken piece you have ever known
Because now you treat that piece as your own
You learn to look for the best in him
And you thought you were strong enough to be lean on
It didn't feel like me and you anymore
It felt like... us

What is love?
Is it when it is expected that you always text each other to a point that
his silence drove you crazy?
Especially during those times he made you so angry
Pushed you to that boundary between secure and insecure
And every time you fought and made up
It chipped you off bit by bit
Like a wave that hits a big rock every single day
Just to leave it deformed, looking like something it was not before

What is love?
Is it when you would do anything to make him happy
Even when it makes you feel bad?
You silenced your conscience and you stopped rationalizing with yourself
And sinning didn't seem like a bad thing anymore
You loved each other passionately and it felt like nobody could tear you apart
Somehow you are convinced that if he was happy
You'd be happy too

What is love?
Is it when you choose not to give up on something you know does not work anymore?
Each time you took a break from each other, it killed you
Every night, your pillow was drenched by your tears
And you came running back to him
In hopes that things would be different now
But you lost yourself
And even if you didn't want to admit it, you lost him too

Truth is I don't know what love is
Not back then, not even now
But every time anyone remind me of my first
Reminded me how it felt
Any words that had been said
If any of my wound re-open
Or if I feel as simple as vulnerable again
I run away

#BeBravelySincereWithYourself

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Be Bravely Sincere With Yourself 30 Days Challenge : Day 2



Self-Doubt

Am I difficult to be with?
Why is it that I can't seem to get along with many people?
Why don't people favor me?
Am I not an easy person to talk to?
Will anyone ever find me interesting?
Does anybody even want me to be there?
Or am I just another person they need to consider?
Am I burdening anyone?
Does anybody even want to be friends with me?

Are people judging how I look?
Am I not attractive enough?
Am I ugly?
Am I fat?
Are they talking about how I am trying too hard?
Am I trying to hard though?

Am I annoying?
Am I too rough?
Do I talk too much?
Are my laughs to loud?
Are my words hurting anyone?
Is my language too foul?
Are my stories boring?
Are they forced to listen to me?
Why can't I say the same thing and they would laugh too?
Did I say it wrong?
Or is it because she is saying it, it is right?

Am I different?
Was I not brought up right?
Is being different a bad thing?
Am I doing something wrong?

Are people talking about me?
Are the questioning my choices?
Do they think I am a snob?
Do they think I hate them?
Do they think I am talking about them behind their back?
Are they suggesting that I am not dependable?
Are my opinions bad?
Do they think I am pretentious and fake?

Do you know how I know if I am with the right company?
When I don't have to ask any of these questions when we are spending time together
The problem is, it is so rare that I don't
So... is there something wrong with me?

#BeBravelySincereWithYourself

**********

This is my favourite from artparasites.com.
Disclaimer: This is not mine.


I WISH IT DIDN’T HURT TO BE THIS KIND OF WOMAN

I wish it didn’t hurt
to be this kind of woman.
A woman with no home,
no job,
no man.
A woman who loves to love
but never needs.
A woman armed with only a backpack
and her intuition.
A woman whose freedom rests completely
on her courage
to wake up every morning
and live each moment
authentically,
unapologetically,
bravely.
I wish I could say how blissful this always is,
how mostly it doesn’t hurt,
but I spend some days wondering,
Who will want this kind of woman?
What will a man do with her?
Who will wash his clothes?
Make his dinner?
Have his babies?
There are plenty of women in this world
willing to submit,
settle,
satisfy,
commit.
So sometimes it hurts.
Mostly in the places where the roots are supposed to grow.
Roots that should dig
deep into the ground,
burrowing into a land,
a family,
a man.
Where do the roots go without the soil?
Without a home?
Instead,
my roots have turned into thick,
beautiful,
green and flowering vines
that dangle in the air like a golden chandelier.
But do not be fooled.
They are like magnets.
Searching for anyone,
anyplace,
to cling to
to wrap themselves around.
I once spent an entire summer day on my knees
breaking and uprooting a garden bed infested with vines.
Sweet potato and papaya tree plants surrounded by the hungry weeds.
As I cut my hands
pulling, breaking, and struggling,
I thought,
They will come back.
They always do.

Written by Saskia Layden

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Woman, Women, We Mend

Sigh, is this too late for a Woman's Day post? Hope so not. Nothing is too late.


Does my opinions matter when I talk about woman and girls? Because... I'm a woman and... not that my opinions don't matter... (well, sometimes they don't, do they, because I am a woman. *eye roll*) but because I am a woman and I might be bias, won't I? I don't wish you to read this with a gender role so deeply carved in your soul but read this with a different eye. A fresh one.

See, I am amazed and awed by women. My mother for instance, she is amazing! Took care of me, the family, the house and has a job at the same time. Though there are times when being a woman are the reasons behind her weakness, her over reaction, her emotional instability, sometimes even poor judgement but hey, aren't we all entitled to mistakes. And it is not a 'woman thing'. It's a human one, just different reasons. And most times, it is because she is a woman, she does incredible things that nobody understands to how she is able to. People don't call them 'a mother instinct' or 'a woman's sense' for no reason. My mother is the greatest and I bet you can say the same for your mothers.

And then... well I would probably have to talk about some other great woman that I adore like Hedy Lamarr (she. is. so. effing. awesome) by now but I don't think you can relate to it as much as I could given that we have different opinions and come from different backgrounds. So, just look around you and think of a girl or woman you know that you are close to, that you somehow adore. It could be because of how she looks, how she presents herself, how on point her make up is or how effortless she looks without trying. It can also be the way she talks to you, to elderly, in front of a crowd or in public. Or maybe it is because of her abilities to do something you can or cannot do as good or even better than you. Anything at all. And if you can see the good in one person, trust me when I say that everyone deserves to be seen that way. You may not know why those other girls deserves your respect but she does. She deserves everything that she was, is and will be.

So now if by this point you have understood what I meant, I am calling out to all woman. You might not hear this everyday or maybe you heard them but you have never believed that they meant it but girl, you are beautiful. Never ever scope it down to looks because lets be honest, nobody thinks they are pretty enough and even if they do, there must be something they do not like about themselves so why would you want to worry about your flaws and gawked at what others have that you don't? Especially physical beauty. Yes, it is a part of us but not everything about us woman. Focus on how much you have, anything and everything you can do and be proud of that. And when another girl walks by and she has what you don't, make her feel appreciated with compliments because you know how tired it is to be proud of something that nobody sees worthy. At least today you have something else to be proud of, the fact that you make another person feel worthy again. And you do too.

True sexism is still everywhere and I am shocked by every unfortunate encounters but at least when we see ourselves as worthy and shake off all the insecurities, we can be whatever we want and maybe one day they will shut up and just stop because we are stronger than what we let ourselves be now.


I end this with a poem I found on YouTube. I like to watch poetry slams and always feel emotional to performances that has great message or if I can relate to them. I am sharing this one because... well, I don't know, there might be some reasons I got drawn to it but it is unexplainable. Well, technically I can explain it but I don't think I would do this poem justice. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.




The Type by Sarah Kay


If you grow up the type of women men want to look at
You can let them look at you
Do not mistake eyes for hands
Or windows
Or mirrors
Let them see what a woman looks like
They may have not ever seen one before

If you grow up the type of women men want to touch
You can let them touch you
Sometimes it is not you they are reaching for
Sometimes it is a bottle,
A door
A sandwich
A Pulitzer
Another woman
But their hands found you first
Do not mistake yourself a guardian
Or a muse
Or a promise
Or a victim
Or a snack
You are a woman
Skin and bones
Veins and nerves
Hairs and sweat
You are not made of metaphors
Not apologies
Not excuses

If you grow up the type of women men want to hold
You can let them hold you
All day, they practice keeping their bodies up right
Even after all these evolving, it still feels unnatural
Still strains the muscles
Holds firm the arms and spine
Only some man will want to learn what it feels like to curl themselves into a question mark around you
Admit they do not have the answers they thought they would by now
Some man who want to hold you like the answer
You are not the answer
You are not the problem
You are not the poem
Or the punchline
Or the riddle
Or the joke

Women if you grow up the type men want to love
You can let them love you
Being loved is not the same thing as loving
When you fall in love
It is discovering the ocean after years of puddle jumping
It is realizing that you have hands
It is reaching for the tight rope when the crowds have all gone home

Do not spend time wondering if you are the type of women man will hurt
If he leaves you with a car-alarmed heart
You may learn to sing along
It is hard to stop loving the ocean 
Even after it has left you gasping, salty
So forgive yourself for the decisions you have made
The ones you still call mistakes
When you tuck them in at night
And know this
Know you are the type of woman who is searching for a place to call yours
Let the statues crumble
You have always been the place
You are a woman  who can build it yourself
You were born to build