Compact travel post coming up but first…

I have been thinking a lot lately. A lot more for the past few days actually.

As we all know, inflation is now impacting us globally. Companies are still laying off people and there is very little that we can actually do about it.

Recently, the company I am with announced another round of release for their higher positioned people. Some VPs and directors are being let go in the next two people.

I am not going to lie that I immediately felt sick when I got the announcement from the CEO about this exercise. The company practices transparency, which I am grateful for. I immediately reached out to my manager to know if I should be worried.

Thankfully, our team is only impacted minimally, only because we have been doing all we can to improve the process within our department. We are in the best place now, one that we can never imagine us being in.

This only tells me one thing. I have to start actively looking for some side gigs so that I have something on the side for me to rely on.

I will just have to decide on how I can do that, and what I can do.

I have done, for friends:

– Proof reading : did a 400 pages one in 2013. That was a blast.

– I can start writing e-books (I know I know… like what the hell right but hey, that’s an idea.)

– I can be a VA (Virtual assistant) part time taking care of certain things for individuals or small <10 people companies.

Oh well… If any of you reading here have any above gigs to offer, I am your woman!

Of life, gratitude and everything else in between

Every time I had a meal, regardless of whether it is good or bad, I will always be thankful for it. Every time I lie down in my bed at night, under the AC that provides the suitable ambient temperature for sleep, I am thankful.

Just a few years ago, life was pretty different for me. For one, I was single, not ever would I even have ‘thunked’ of getting married. I was living in a 800 sqft dwelling in Puchong, driving a 10 year old wira, underpaid and even though I was slightly skinnier, I was not even sure if I am truly happy. I was thinking if I am ever going to have enough money to retire and to even admit myself to a senior home.

Also, I lost friends I guess, whatever number of friends I had, and that hurt my ability to find friends, have friends and be friends.

I am not saying that I have everything figured out, far from it. But just now when I was talking to a colleague on slack about an oversized drink that I ordered from William’s corner in PJ, I was thinking, just how things are so different from how they were 5-6 years ago.

Of course, fucking covid caused the world to go to hell in 2020. But… other than that, things have come a long way for me.

Would I even think of living the life that I am living now back then? NO.

We, have just been so blessed with having a job during the pandemic, although it was a struggle for me, personally. But, I found the one thing that I actually love doing.

The travels that we did and the people that we met along the way that we are now friends with. And the fact that I now have another person (my husband, obv…) to annoy other than any quadrupeds I have.

That’s just so much. So much love and gratitude, and luck.

So, if anyone is the me few years back… believe me:

  1. That sad feels when you lose friends is temporary, human beings are resilient, and people walk away sometimes, to make room for someone to step in.
  2. Roll with it, whatever life throws at you, roll with it. But make sure you place your markers for you to depend on if you had to roll back.
  3. Always help people when you can. Feed the strays, buy from the ‘*makcik kerepek’ in front of random banks. You don’t know what they are going through, and that extra buck helps.
  4. Stay away from bad thoughts. I don’t mean just negative ones… I mean BAD thoughts. Those are no good for you.
  5. Always be grateful for what you have. ALWAYS.

Alright, now, let’s figure out what I want to do for the next few years, eh? And oh… should I buy this…

Or this:

Both are on the same-ish price range.

Thoughts appreciated.

And oh, I will post a really compact post about my travels later.

Note:

‘* Makcik Kerepek : old ladies selling snacks in front of banks is a thing in Malaysia.

The thing about what we do for fun

So it has been over two weeks now that I have not been updating anything on this blog. The goal is to have at least 1 post in a week and if I am traveling, I aim to do a daily update so that I don’t miss out any details.

I guess I am making excuses when it comes to this, because I have not been doing any traveling since we came back from Penang.

So since our return, life has pretty much returned to a normal routine. I would be sending husband to the office sometimes, have my coffee, work at my desk, oggling data and sometimes, cooking.

We have also started to eat a lot cleaner and to plan our meals better. We only go for carbs once a day and try to have less in our other meals.

Less sugary treats as well which is a breeze for me, but not so for husband. I do, however, find it challenging to stop snacking.

I mean, who doesn’t love snacking?

And gym, so far, husband has gone two times and me, once. BUT, I have however started working out at home whenever I have the time (I mean like wtf right… why did I sign up for gym in the first place) – But hear me out…

I signed up for gym mainly because it gives me a reason to ‘work out’… ‘work out’ (Cue finger bracket sign). I am not the best at motivating myself. But I have been trying to just have more movement daily.

I have also make time for editing the many photos that I have taken during my Penang trip. I have a bad habit of keeping these photos in my camera’s SD card and never actually editing them.

So call this trying to be better at my hobbies effort.

I enjoy street photography. I love to place people and things in a better light. I feel like I am giving them the kind of picture they deserve to be placed in.

We got some good shots during the trip.

Stray cat with heterochromia. Beautiful cat.. Have to remind myself that I have 5 cats at home.

Another trip coming…

I am a day away from my next trip to Miri and then Bario and honestly, I can’t wait for it to happen.

And yes, I will blog about the trip here.

Other things that happened.. I got myself a nintendo switch and I have been pretty much going back into the habit of journaling.

I am grateful that I am able to do all this at this point of my life. And to do this, with husband by my side too.

Do we have room for pasta? – Penang Day 3

This is a belated blog post on our 3rd day in Penang.

We really wanted to get some street photography in as the light was shit two days ago. And so that’s exactly what we did.

Today is our final day before leaving tomorrow.

I am not a morning person. My ideal and kind of early time to wake up on would be at 8 am. Any earlier is a miracle with me. But, It has been known to happen.

Why did we decide on waking up that early? Street photography.

Below, was the first shot I got with my Samsung S22. We have seen this auntie along this street on her tricycle everyday. Our car has not moved since the day we arrived here.

We walked through the winding Penang streets again. It has always been something that we rather enjoy, the colonial township was beautiful in the morning light. And we got some serious pretty light that morning.

We stopped by a small shop in front of the old Penang market for breakfast, well, I had breakfast, husband has a very ‘temperamental’ stomach, so eating at a place with no clean toilet is a no-no.

I had my dose of nasi lemak this week at that shop. No pictures because, I forgot to take one. It costs me RM 5 for two drinks and a plate of rice. Again, you don’t get that kind of price anywhere in KL or PJ.

On our way back , we decided to stop by Mugshot cafe on Lebuh Chulia. This cafe has the best full bodied iced americano / long black I have ever tasted. Husband had a nutella bagel and chamomile tea.

We walked back to rest before taking a drive later.

Spending :

Breakfast, Nasi lemak biasa and 2 Teh O peng: RM 5

Coffee, bagel and tea: RM 40

At 11 ish, we set out to pick a friend up near… Glugor, (I think, I don’t know, outside of Georgetown.)

Husband said we are heading to mainland to a place that’s gone viral on Tiktok, Kampung Agong.

On Tiktok, I don’t know whether I should keep on being resistant to it, or just jump on the wagon for the cat content. But I know that I always forget to sign up because.. well… maybe some day.

If you go to the website, this is what you can see:

What it actually is, was a big instagram circus. It’s comparable to those many over commercialised tourist spots that you get in some parts of Bali and even at Kundasang, where cheesy little structures are placed in strategic spots for people to take insta-worthy pictures on.

And also, I felt so ‘melayu’ in this place. Husband said quietly to Saby, our friend: “so many melayu.” Which was aptly replied to by her with: “But.. you are one.”

You see, we….. prefer places that are not as Melayu, and this place was not that kind of place.

We were in Penang during school holidays, so the place was full with screaming kids and parents (Yes, some of them were… screaming.)

I have to hit the can when we arrived (small bladder, too much liquid.) And these signs were entertaining nevertheless:

Husband, me and Saby, after the swing accident, and also after realising that we never had pictures taken together despite going out for so many times.

Oh, swing accident. This was really, like how husband implied: Murphy’s law in the making. Below is a screenshot from the video (I was supposed to shoot one of my husband on the swing.) at the exact moment when the rope snapped.

Spending:

Tickets (Yes… you need tickets.): RM 10/person = RM 30.

We wanted to go somewhere for coffee, or just snacks. We decided to try a cafe, Emily Darling, in Georgetown. So… I have never had a bad latte, so bad that I just didn’t want to drink it, latte… before.

But this cafe managed to have one that was undrinkable. I didn’t order any pastries, but the pastries seemed to be fine, exceptional actually.

Rating:

Drink: 1/10

Food: Pastries: 7/10; Food (Avocado and egg croissant sandwich: 3/10 (The croissant was the save, but as a dish.. noooo)

Ambience : Goth romance inspired look, with confusing parrots.

Overall: JUST TAPAU THE PASTRIES.

You know it’s bad when I didn’t even take pictures lol.

Spending:

RM 70

We sent Saby back home and we were introduced to her mother and the cats. LOVE the cats, made us miss our furballs at home.

Our friend who catsits did tell us however that one of the cats peed on the table. And Kutty, I am talking to you!

We drove back to the hotel, and decided for a short break at The Gala House Cafe for some ice cream. The ice cream was the BOMB!!! Will find out more to buy some here in KL.

On Wednesday’s, a pop up pasta+tacos kitchen, Pablo’s was open for business. We managed to ask them some questions on their operations hours and also if they are non-pork. They are open from Wednesdays (closed Monday – Tuesday) until their stuff was sold.

Also: They are pork-free.

Spending: RM 17.80 for two cups of ice cream (Mint Chocolate).

We rested and took care of work for a while until about 7.30 pm. It’s now time for Nasi Kandar! All these while, we have always been going to Nasi Kandar Beratur, but this time, we want to try Nasi Kandar Line Clear just about 5 minutes walk from our hotel. Now the reason why we did not try this one, was because it’s kind of… commercialised? It has a few branches open, and they did try to open in KL, although I think it was then closed, correct me if I am wrong. But, we decided to go to the original location, in Penang road, snuggled between shophouses and a mosque.

We didn’t take pictures, but it was better than Beratur. I mean, in the end it IS only mixed curry rice (This is a very unpopular opinion.) but somehow the curry, and that sirap ais I had, was so nice. Not sure if it was because I was hungry as I didn’t eat anything for lunch.

Spending: Less than RM 50 for two. I took fried chicken and husband took daging masak hitam.

We walked by Pablo’s and asked to look at the menu.

We saw tacos and pasta that we’d like to try, and I asked:

“Do we have room for pasta?”

Unfortunately (Or… fortunately.. I am confused.) the one that we want to try has sold out.

Some other time, guys.

So we didn’t manage to take a breather and check out the hotel’s courtyard, which we did when we went back. The front area was well lit, and was pretty. So husband told me to go and sit on an overturned pot.

This picture only made me want to stop eating.. but I know I cannot do that. 😐

Oh and we found a stray oyen and decided to feed her. Look at the orange ball of cat!

Overall, this day was nice and easy, we had fun, and a slight bitterness over the terrible latte, but that’s all the reason why we travel, to take in the good and the bad.

Our step count: 11,090.

Old young people, young old people – Penang Day 2

Day 2 of Penang.

We woke up slightly late at 8 am and decided to swing by Gala House to have coffee for me, and husband, his roasted almond milk.

Usually I don’t actually like almond milk because of the weird after taste, but man, this one is amazing. It is so amazing, that my husband bought 3 one litre bottles of it.

Spending:

1 almond milk chilled iced latte and 1 roasted almond milk : RM 19

3 bottles of one litre almond milk : RM 35×3 (Do the math lah)

You can buy their other products at http://www.wonderpenguin.com.my/

You can try this at Muntri Street, Penang.

For Breakfast, we had Hutton Street egg toast.

We used to go to the one at Transfer road, but found that the quality of the food there had gone down. The last time they opened extra seatings at a rather dirty place, and I lost my appetite. Besides, they made their toast with 4 whole eggs. I mean… to hike their price up, they just assumed that an average Malaysian would be ok with 4 eggs.

Hutton road’s was better, longer queue, but I’d rather not face the garbage that we had to eat right by the last time at Transfer road.

Spending: RM 25-ish for two, mainly because husband took another dish of roti canai telur goyang.

Buttery toast with two eggs, and kaya toasts, plus teh O ais.
Roti canai telur goyang

We walked back after breakfast for me to take care of work.

Later on for lunch, we went out again at about 11 ish. We were thinking of going to museums but then found out that they are mostly closed? So we took a detour and just walked around, in the heat, looking for lunch. Both of us were still full from breakfast, so we wanted something light.

We went into a boutique store along Lovelane and found the perfect dress in 5point4north for a shoot we have in the evening. It was linen, with blue and pink flowers, very flowy. So we decided on the investment.

Needed a respite from the heat, so we went into a Starbucks near the Penang court building. Yes… husband’s drink was the purple one, and mine the black coffee. And why do servers always assume that my drink would be the colourful one?

Spending:

Dress: RM 169

Starbucks : RM 35

One of the temples, we just know this one from the many pigeons hanging around in the courtyard.
Tale of two drinks
Old Malay on one of the street signs, where we use hyphens whenever, wherever.

We had minor existential thoughts walking under the sweltering Penang heat at 1 ish pm. Husband lost his bearings on where we were going and for that one time, my sense of direction was strangely heightened. So we walked to a place that we hoped to have cold drinks, Hanakoya. It is a new cafe that’s open quite recently, and it looked inviting.

The ambience, was… super calming to the point of sleep inducing.

Ordered a cool fizzy orange drink made with apparently ‘wild honey’, and husband ordered the Belgian iced dark chocolate.

Husband’s had a whiff of durians, we figured they store the garnish or the glasses together with their durian cheese cake. Both of us DO NOT LIKE DURIANS. The drink itself was mediocre.

My fizzy orange drink reminds me of the orange McFizz that you can buy at half the price I paid for the one I bought in the cafe. It’s literally sprite+OJ.

Also ordered a dessert dish of waffles with ice cream or what they called ‘wafuru’.

I mean…. at the end of it all, I am more satisfied with A&W’s waffles.

Overall rating:

Ambience: 6/10

Service: 3/10, slow when all we ordered was a plate of waffles. I don’t appreciate slow, beautiful food.

Drink : 4/10 for the orange McFizz with flowers, 3/10 for the Belgian chocolate

Food : 4/10 only for the chocolate ice cream, but overall, 2/10

Spending:

RM 80+ for that whole mediocre monstrosity.

Belgian dark chocolate, with a whiff of durian.
Orange McFizz with ‘wild honey’
The wafuru

We went back and I catch up on some work, before we decided to dip into the pool.

We had a friend, June who came over for a photo shoot at our place, so after a fast session, we decided to go for dinner. June recommended Holy Guacamole on Lovelane for Mexican. I ordered enchiladas and my husband some quesadillas.

These were monstrous. but, it was delicious even though we could not finish them.

I mean… check the servings:

Nachos

We talked about mostly how living in Penang is like compared to KL, and work.

Being that we are libtards, it is pretty easy for people to be comfortable with us. Also, husband is extremely friendly, so it is impossible for anyone to be awkward.

Our very young friend said that she is an old soul. We said we are just old but we’d like to think that we are at least in our 30s. 🙂

Spending: RM 170

For nightcap, we went to Blue Mansion (Cheong Fatt Tze) on Leith Road. We LOVE this place and have been a repeating customer for a couple of times. We were not able to stay here this time because it was fully booked.

So, we went to the bar, which is probably the next best thing lah.

This was a perfect close to the day.

Spending: RM 122

Today was a mix of everything.

And we did clock 14129 steps for this day. So, it’s all good.

Penang 2022: day 1

Today is the day we would be making that 3+ hour drive to Penang.

The last time we were in Penang was in 2021. We went for a friend’s wedding, two weeks after our other Penang trip.

After that, we decided that, okay, maybe we should place a hiatus on Penang, then.

5 months later, here we are again. It was a spontaneous planning really. A friend told us she wanted to go back to Penang for a while to visit her parents and so, husband hopped on the wagon and said, HEY, why don’t we go as well and you can ride with us.

(PS: the friend had to bail because she was not feeling that well yesterday but will take the train later.)

But we have done the reservations so off we go.

At the start of the day, when we were just about to drive off, our cat, Peha decided to run out from the house and got into the neighbour’s porch area. Later we found out that the neighbour was also in Penang.

We managed to catch her, but maan… that girl is work.

We stopped at the local Starbucks for a quick breakfast, and some last minute pharmacy dash of drugstore makeup and sunscreen and hit the road.

By the way, we forgot that it is school holidays as well. The highway was busy, we had slow traffic in three different occasions and a spilt 100 plus and 3+ hours later, we arrived in Georgetown.

Spending:

RM 57 (Breakfast together with some on the road snacks from the coffee chain)

RM 89 (drugstore makeup + SPF 50++ sunscreen

RM 12 (fruits and drinks from a highway R&R

We checked into one of the heritage hotels in town called Muntri Grove. We took care of our luggages and then set out to find lunch. WE WERE STARVING.

The mini seating area which I loved!
Our lunch of Mee goreng mamak ayam. This was so flavourful. Found out that they had Shawarma, so took a mental note of returning later.

And then we decided to go for a walk. Walking in Georgetown had always been wonderful. We enjoyed the quaint colonial shophouses. We also decided to stop for a coffee + desserts on our way back.

Dilapidated, but… pretty?
Dense lemon and sour cream cake and honey cream cheese walnut croissant. Cake was dense, and the croissant can be better.
Will go back for this iced Americano!
Grafitti

Stopped at a little art+accessories shop in Lovelane and bought myself 3 pairs of earrings.

We walked back to the hotel after the walk to relax and for me to catch up on some work (even though it is a bank holiday here in Malaysia) while waiting for 7 pm.

Spending:

RM 27 – lunch for two

RM 35 – desserts and coffee

RM 84 – pretty things for my earlobe

We then set out again to have dinner. Strangely, I felt that carrying a bag at that hour was quite, conspicuous, so I decided on just carrying my ID card and a RM 100 note in my pocket, plus my celllphone. My husband had an EDC flashlight.

We found out that the area was quite well lit though.

Again, we went walking, right until Church Street in Penang and walked back to Lebuh Chulia. It was a really nice walk at night. And we clocked in 10K steps already by then.

Lovelane

We wanted something light for dinner, and decided against Nasi kandar for tonight. We circled back to the shop we went to earlier and decided for the shawarma.

Okay, not so positive experience with this one. The mutton tasted off, and it was more of a Roti John vibe than a shawarma to be honest.

We found out that they have a nasi kenduri there though and a plate with one piece of protein of your choice and some veg only costs RM9. (Believe me, you can’t get that kind of price in KL). So… MAYBE we will come back here.

We stopped by a convenience store on the way back, and we found Elon Musk’s alter ego. Haha.

Spending:

Dinner : RM 26

Minimart: RM 20

And we clocked in 11,101 steps.

Giving this blog a purpose

I am back.

2 posts in a row.. I know right?

But I decided that if I am to achieve this goal I have set for myself and my husband, might as well put it down somewhere so that I can see the progress and also to set the momentum.

Today was a super lazy day. Yesterday, I went to sleep before my husband. We were out before that and we got tired from just getting stuck in traffic. It was a stupid jam.

So anyway, today I got up at three different times, first being at 7 am and then I got up for real by 9 am. I made the bed, did my daily ablutions and then went straight to preparing breakfast (Or was that brunch).

To start off our diet, I cooked sausages, two each, air fried some broccolis and made scrambled eggs. Unfortunately, I was a little bit overzealous when I salted the veg so, it came out a bit more salty than I’d like.

Spending: RM 0

We didn’t do any exercise though as it was sunday but we managed to take care of what we eat. I didn’t snack on stuff.

Well, except for a dark chocolate kitkats. (what…I needed a break).

For lunch, We decided for subways. My husband loves that. I don’t understand why.. but he does.

Spending: RM 37

We pretty much spent the day playing video and mobile games + some netflix and HBOs.

I re-watch Constantine. I mean….why not.

I cooked chinese style chicken soup later for dinner. Husband picked some ulam raja from the garden and we ate it with white rice. Small servings for each.

Spending: RM 0

The soup was pepper based, but I went hyper with the pepper and it gave this heat on our lips that is almost wasabi-like, effect wise. Well… Now I know better. But it was still delicious, just that, It is no longer a comfort food, but rather something that you can drink to clear out your sinuses if you have any.

We had that with sparkling water.

I wouldn’t know how many calories all of that came up to, but it is home cooked and we saved money as we chose to stay home, which is a rarity if you know the both of us. (Or if you know my husband.)

We have a Penang trip tomorrow, which was spontaneously planned, and we are just looking forward to a nice trip. Went out to fill some petrol for the trip. The reason why we do it at night is because, well, it is always better to do the fuelling up when it is cooler. (Google that)

Spending : RM 80

Pray that we can go easy with our eating for the next 4 days.

Now I feel like having some ice cream. I know that I have a boba one in the freezer. Contemplating… I will update on this tomorrow.

That’s my blog for today. It is mundane. But I aim to have this blog updated everyday to track this goal that we have set for ourselves.

So… according to my smart watch, I clocked in a lazy 182 steps today. Woof. It is indeed a lazy day.

Consistency

Which I am not.

It’s been a long time, yes, but I am still here.

Second half of 2021 was, okay. Life went on, full or half lockdowns, we survived.

I have been journaling. And that helped me when I was feeling so uninspired some time in quarter 3. I was looking for something else on the side.

But somehow, even the journaling had been cut down to maybe 3 times in a week. I will only journal when I feel like I need to. When I have too many tabs open in my brain and need to have at least 20% of it, put down on paper.

I have also fallen into a fat abyss.

I am fat, ladies and gents, I have crossed the threshold of 72 and I am having a lot of issues getting out of it.

Getting motivation is a bitch. Everytime I felt like I should exercise, it would have already been 12 am, and when that happens, I said, fuck this.

Last month (end of month) my husband and I decided to sign up for gym. I will be 45, and he will be 50 in two years. I don’t want to be complaining about my fat and my immobility when I am at that age, even though my husband said that he is perfectly fine with how I am.

That’s when I said, well… I am not. I don’t want to have any problems when we are old. Other than aging, I don’t want a share of any other diseases.

Truthfully though, I don’t actually eat a lot and I don’t actually let desserts rule my life. It is the lack of movement that is crushing me.

I wish I have the motivation to do this like how I was 10 years ago.

Looks like, after the penang trip, this is what our plates would have to look like from then on:

Picture courtesy of https://caliberstrong.com/blog/getting-over-grilled-chicken-broccoli/

But really, we just want our jawlines and me, my collarbones back.

Wish us (LOTS) of luck.

Still Alive and Kicking

Happy 2022.

Oh yes, I am still alive, still here, still married, still grateful, and still blessed to be able to make it back here.

It seemed like this blog is fast becoming an annual thing. I realised that my last two updates were within a year of each other. So I decided to do a quick update.

A brand new project coming up soon, which will highlight my two loves : Coffee and photography.

There will still be rants here, when the occasion calls for it, but for now, let’s just say, hello again, let’s start afresh…

My name is Ayu. Happy to meet you… again.

Humility, Karma, Kindness

So, here I am again.

Yes. I am still alive and kicking.

The pandemic had been tough on everyone. And tonight, I just happened to have a thought on this.

On how lucky I am right now to not be affected by this.

We tried to be as kind to everybody and to also remind ourselves that in this kind of climate, everything can happen. I am just hoping it won’t.

Perhaps that is the reason for my anxiety.

I was just thinking of how a couple of years ago, I was not making much, I was single and I was really just trying to keep everything together. Life, debts, a fallen friendship.

Things turned around with the change of a job, perspective and also, finally deciding to settle down with my husband, whom I have known for years.

Life is just funny that way.

I can still remember those mornings getting ready for work, taking an uber / Grab car to work when my old car broke down for almost a year, sitting at the kopitiam having my half boiled eggs and toasts. Punching my attendance for the day, the work trips, the weary end of day, taking the free bus, waiting in the rain at the station to wait for the Grab fare to go down just so that I can get a cheaper rate.

Oh how things change, and thankfully for the better.

However, I have also learnt not to take things for granted. I make sure that we have savings that can tie us back, an emergency fund. I am getting myself certified, so that I can get better pay, at least for the remaining of my employability period.

I hope and pray that we can make it through this hard times and will be blessed with more opportunity in the future.