Saturday, December 27, 2014

100 Days of Happiness - Day 21 to 30

30 days has passed. How times fly. I've been counting my last working day in IJM. Yesterday, Monday, the 22nd is the last day I was in WCE Kota Kemuning project office. I sighed with relieves a few times. From the day I throw in my letter until the day I stepped out from the office, I feel so good about leaving. It felt like the burden of wanting to stay has been lifted from my heart after months of miserable wait. I'm sorry if I sounded like it was that bad to stay but I really can't wait to start a new life in new year, 2015. Back to the topic that I've been writing at, my day 21 started with having a day out with my daughter having coffee at Starbucks. I chose JCo green tea ice blended which came with a cup, suited my 100 days of happiness project that state "enjoy a cup of happiness". Coffee lover would not deny that a cup of daily coffee indeed brought so much joy to their daily life. Both of us did enjoy our time together that day.

Day 21 - JCo Cappuccino Avocado for me & Starbucks Tiramisu Chocolate Chip for her

The next day, we went to collect the gifts from IJM Land for a successful handing over and taking over of the vacant unit in Altitude 236 from their sales office in Bukit Mandarina Enclave. I was with my daughter and my husband in 2011 viewing the show unit that both of them successfully booked on my behalf as I was in Maharashtra State at that time. The condominium was intended to be a place for her to start a nursery of her own. After 3 years, she obtained her Diploma in Early Child Education but she had a second thought about about her future. In the end, the condominium is up for rental. I really don't mind that so long there's tenant to share at least half of the monthly installment.

Day 22 - Holding onto Bukit Mandarina Yellow Orchid, a gift from taking over a key

Syahirah started to work in Uniqlo The Mines on 1st December 2014. She needed a new comfortable shoes for her sales job. Hubby, Syahirah and myself spent an evening out in a shopping mall looking for a right shoes for her. Thereafter, we stopped at GNC Health Store to buy a Fish Oil supplement as stocks. In the end we bought so many bottles for the 3 of us. Day 23 is about getting really serious about supplement to ensure a healthy lifestyle.

Day 23 - consultation from GNC's expert

December is the month to get the Altitude ready to rent out. The agent has brought a potential tenant who is looking for immediate occupancy. Though they finally decided to get a smaller and higher unit, we get the condo furnished as soon as we can. Day 24, we spent an evening out, shopping for lightings and fans. It was a successful event as we bought sufficient lights to be fixed at the unit except for the balcony and breakfast counter. Surprisingly that Nasrul decided to tag along. After everything was done, all of us had a nice dinner outside.

Day 23 of happiness: spending quality time in Cima Lighting shop with love 1 admiring colours of star lights 

My 25 day of happiness was when I had to visit for the third time, my future working place in Damansara Utama. I was there twice before somewhere in August for the 1st and 2nd interview and was there again to meet the team that I might be assigned for. I pray that the job shift will come to an ease as I mostly probably will be working with my former team when I was in Smart Tunnel. Having to hear that probability had made my day extremely happy. Allah has definitely laid a better path for me as it was my hope way back when I left MMC to join back the best working team that I ever work with during those 10 years in MMC.

Day 25 of happiness: a direction to where my future would be. Turning left, ahead of the road, the building proudly standing, amin ya rab alamin

As 22nd December was coming nearer, I prepared for the handing notes quite early and tidy up my place for the new person to take over. I snapped a photo of the E32 WCE alignment that I printed 2 years back on the wall. It has a sweet memory though. In the last 2 years I was having a blast in life finding the most beautiful friendship with 7 girlfriends who became specially attached to me beside my other best friend, Ane. We became very fond with each other to the extent that we formed a group whatsapp, the 8 of us, named "Shopaholics". I would not trade our friendship for anything else in this world. This morning, we received another news that brought so much happiness to us, Ila has given birth to a baby girl. 2.5 months after Nurul given birth to a baby boy. Soon, it will be Shakira.

Day 26 of happiness: The expressway alignment, E32 shall forever stick to memory lane as my "8 shopaholics group" exist due to the project

I'm going to miss my present colleagues in Kota Kemuning office too. They are the one who went out on regular lunch date with me. There are few, Saari, Amin, Maria, EQ and Zaima (who unfortunately left a month earlier). My last week in Kota Kemuning was to revisit all those restaurant we went thus far. Monday was a heavy lunch at Hatini Restaurant in Section 10, Shah Alam, Tuesday at another Kelantanese Restaurant, Moksu, Wednesday, we were having Thai Food, a Farewell lunch was held in Mohd Chan a Chinese Muslim Restaurant and Friday, three of us, ladies again having lunch again in Hatinie Restaurant.

Day 27 of happiness: suffice to have this Magnum Gold ice cream made with Belgian Chocolate after lunch that conclude a happy shiny day

It was a public holiday when I met Kenny to finalize the kitchen cabinet design and contract for the condominium. Kenny is a specialist interior design, mainly in built-in cabinets. I have not met him since a long time when the construction business was safely taken over by hubby. Kenny has aged as I aged. He has white hair all over him as is mine. The only different is, he could not see mine as I wore head scarf.  We met in Altitude and finalized everything on the same day. As I'm blogging this entry, Kenny's worker is fixing a kitchen cabinet in the condominium. For the record, writing in the condo having a peaceful time at the balcony facing the KL city view and water feature sounds gives lot of inspiration. You guys would have a chance to see what I was talking about once the condo has been furnished the way I wanted them to be once it is 100% ready.

Day 28 of happiness: an efficient public holiday, settling issues at Putrajaya and now finalising small contract at good bargain with old fren, Kenny

Thursday, 18th December 2014 was my farewell lunch with my colleagues. I chose a Muslim Chinese Restaurant, Mohd Chan to celebrate those few last days. 

Day 30 of happiness was having able to capture below moments between hubby and Tottie. Tottie, the cat is really devoted to my husband. He would be following hubby at all hours starting in the morning when I open the door for morning prayer. After his meal, he will wait next to hubby to finish his prayer and would not move an inch until hubby took him out for a nap at the car porch. Similarly in the afternoon when hubby came back from work. These 2 are inseparable.

Day 30 of happiness: to have this kind of love, loyalty & affection between man and animal, father and son is indeed priceless

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Throwback - My life as an expat

I'm doing spring cleaning in the office when I discovered what I wrote on 2nd June 2012 when I was still working as an expatriate in India. It was a diary of what I did the whole day on Saturday, 2nd Jun 2012 in Delhi before taking a flight back to Vijayawada via Hyderabad. I did some macro photography that day using a new lense that I bought in KL. 

I was up at 6.15am by the noisy traffic which can be easily heard loud from my room on the 3rd floor of the company Safdarjung guest house. I stayed lazy in bed till around 6.45am, tossing to the left and right enjoying a time, doing nothing. I deserved to have a lazy morning in bed after a whole day stress at works, meeting with Minister, RT&H and NHAI, a day before. It was quite a challenging task to deliver what their expectation and the given target dateline. However, before I went to be last night, I concluded that the meeting was good though there's a lot of loopholes and opportunities being open up or may be interpreted by both parties.

Life is not rigid, anyway. It has its own flaws, therefore nothing to be worried so much about. I had decided last night with my thought before my eyes slowly closed for a deep sleep that “I deserve a good Saturday’s off”! After 2 solid hours in bed in toying around with TV channel and Internet, I forced myself for shower as time has approaching 9.30am. At 10.00am, Arun asked whether I want my late breakfast, a dossai with chutney. I nodded my answer with huge smile on my face. Black coffee or white? asked Arun further. A dossai and white coffee please, was my affirmation. Anyway, the breakfast that was prepared by Arun was really good. I miss his cooking after sometime.

Ram, who was assigned the full day to drive me around, drove me to Saket Mall. I went straight to get a ticket at PVR Cinema, Select City Mall for a 13.20 hour show, Snow White & The Hunt’s Man. Twice I asked the ticket boy to confirm the ticket price on INR350 (RM20) is a ticket for 1 person, not two. Yes maam! Double than KL for a seat that you can comfortably slide nicely? Better worth it!

Heading straight to Zara boutique, my sanity told me not to waste more money that I might regret later. Thus, determine to get only 2 blouse (maybe 3), 1 pant and 1 shoe. Do I need any more shoes? Do I really want a new shoes after I bought 4 pairs in Karachi? Hmm.. not really. With sad realization, decided to spent some time alone reassessing how many pieces I should take from Zara after finish a must stop pit “fabindia”.

Here I am again in fabindia boutique that I fall deeply in love since my first visit to India in 2009. How I wish, there’s an outlet in Malaysia as not able to come here, touching the soft & elegant fabrics will saddened me most. It will be huge loss if I were not able to visit and shopping in this outlet. I end up with 3 shawls and a cotton caftan while witnessing an annoyed scene of a mother and daughter (Indian), both conversing only in English so loud, especially the daughter who ordered her mother around. In the end, she only spent INR6,430 for all the scene that she caused. I had nauseate feeling when she asked the cashier twice, "are you sure there's no discounts given when I bought more than 3 pieces? Its INR6,300 right? She must be new here. There’s never a sale in fabindia!!!

Stepping outside fabindia, my thoughts goes straight to a yummy raw sashimi at Ai Restaurant seated on the next mall, MGM. Crossing a small passage at St. Oliver’s boutique, I was disappointed to see that the whole area being sealed for a renovation of a new store. There’s no more Ai’ Restaurant there. Feeling frustrated, I saw a Chinese cuisine restaurant on the same floor. Maybe I should settle for Chinese soup noodle. Time was approaching 12.20 noon but the manager allows me to sit inside though business only started at 12.30 noon. While waiting, I took out my Nikon and the new macro lense, "Nikkor" taking a few shots of a nice cutlery and purple ambiance of the restaurant. It was tomyum soup and special shanghai rice and noodle combination that I chose for lunch. The food was pretty okay.

My lunch finished right before the movie started. With good movie, good food, good shopping, my Saturday was finally concluded as a good day out alone in Delhi city.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

100 Days of Happiness - Day 11 to 20

This is the 2nd part of 100 Days of Happiness project. You may read the 1st part in here, Day 1 to 10. On 14th November 2014, I chose Kayla and the climbing plant that hubby was planting behind our RC Wall Bungalow as my object. She (Kayla) refused to get out from her hiding spot whenever she got a chance to get out from the house. My day 11 of happiness are all about her and how I pictured in my head those green climbing plant that will someday growth well covering about 5ft height of 114ft length the RC wall of our bungalow plot in Bandar Sg Long. The Justine Timeberlake quote that came with the photo was "the best part about being alone is that you really don't have to answer to anybody. You do what you want", hence, hide yourself away sometimes as having a deeper conversation with yourself is the best way to sense happiness while on hideouts".

Day 12 of happiness: "nothing else to add, if you are this wise, my son, your mother would be more than happy to share your wisdom #Repost from @muhammadnaimm with @repostapp---"As the ocean is never full of water, so is the heart never full of love". On 17th November, my second son, Naim has shared the above quote on his Instagram account. I wish to record that Naim has started earning some pocket money from his part time modelling. This boy uses his charm and his determination for body builder to become a businessman cum famous model 1 day as what he set his dream for. Seeing him becoming independence and wise brought so much joy to this proud mother.

Day 13 of happiness: creating green corner with glass & water plant for the consol table not to be lonely. Our Indonesian office cleaner was very kind to me. 1 day, she brought me 2 beautiful used vase that was thrown away by her another client. I was overly excited and was thinking to create a decor plant on the consol table that I brought back from Karachi. On 18th November, what I imagined whole day at the office came in reality. The 2 vase sits beautifully with the rest that I can grab from my store that evening. It brought so much joy and happiness to have a green corner at our dining area. In addition, it later becoming Kayla's and Tottie's favorite spot.

Day 14 of happiness: have anyone ever told you about silver lining in every clouds? I spotted 1 yesterday. Let's not let loose of any hopes during a rainy day, okay. I was not feeling well on 19th November due to extra ordinary flow of my monthly menstrual, so, I was on a sick leave on 20th. Later in the afternoon, I accompanied my daughter to look for job in "The Mines Shopping Mall". It was a bless day as the next day, she got to be interviewed and was informed that she got the job. Her good news was 1 of the promised silver lining as promised by Allah. I wish that I could share and tells everyone to keep the same faith and beliefs in their heart. Allah will never test a person if without a sweet rewards and perfectly knew whether we can take the burden or otherwise, hence, keep praying for yourself and for everyone else in this world to feel their happiness in their heart though in rainy days. Rest assured, after the rain, the silver lining will come to say hi to your face.

Day 15 of happiness: meet my beautiful friend, Jasmine who possess a heart of gold. That thank you kiss was for her being a wonderful friend, for listening to each other, for all the laughter & all those sweetest stories that we shared etc. Thank you for giving me so much happiness. Jasmine and I becoming good friends shortly after I was reporting back to IJM HQ in December 2012. There are many things that we like about each other, number 1, we never failed to compliment (SINCERELY without any hidden agenda) each other whenever we dress well. There's a lot of jokes between us. We shared tears too. BUT, we did not gossip about others, our friendship is about the 2 of us. Yesterday, 12th November 2014, Kim and her took me for my farewell lunch. We had a great 1.5 hours reminiscing things about our selves, and by the time we said good bye, we promised to meet again for a second lunch at the same place someday.

Day 16 of happiness: midnight "teh tarik" with family becoming a happy routine on weekend. Aliff Bistro seated not far from our house, open their business 24 hours a day. The foods and the ambiance are good. Surprising that we are not the only family there who like to spent time together at late hours. As Malaysia is a multi races country, there are plentiful of other Malay, Chinese and Indian family joining the crowds at at late hours. The scenario made me so proud of being Malaysian. How time flies and how people has change with times. Those days, we, a parent was worried sick when our boys "lepaking"at Mamak's stall till morning. Now, we know that they are simply enjoying their life here, not doing any negative things. 

Day 17 of happiness: reminiscing a meaningful gift from 2 dearest friends, Ainnie and Maznah. Though we have separated but our best memories stays forever . 3 of us, Ainnie, beloved Maznah who passed away 10 months ago, and I are exchanging many gifts between us during our togetherness. The yaasin booklet was distributed during Tahlil event held in Ainni's residence in Karachi way back in 2008 whilst the prayer mat been using my Maznah in her Karachi house. I took it back with me on their last day in Karachi, when I happened to be there. 6 years has gone by but this 2 gifts remain in my bedroom as their friendship sealed in my heart.   

Day 18 of happiness: Receiving a set of key accomplished 1 out of many goals/dreams in life. Nevertheless, must take note to work even harder for "after life" as once there it is for eternity, no return tickets. It was a joyful day when I got to see this set of keys to the condominium that I invested in 2011. The handing over keys to the purchasers took place after settlement of all outstanding amounts owing to the developer, IJM Land. Taking over those keys means additional burden to my bank account, but what life without those stressful commitment. Most important, live the day and just be happy. Things will take care by themselves, Amin.  

Day 19 of happiness: My shoes & my tottie are my happiness. don't know about others, but whenever I do not have so much money to spent I would be craving for things that I do not actually need. Shoes is one of them though I would want to buy branded handbags every month if I could afford. The day that the crave and the craze seeping though my mind, I took out 1/10 of my shoes collection that was inside the shoe cabinet placed next to Tottie and snapped below photo (who did not move even an inch through the whole process because of his laziness). I smiled with satisfaction when those evil thoughts slowly disappeared. It's proven that I can be happy with what I have though I would not be able to waste my money on more shoes at the shopping mall.  

Day 20 of happiness: This man who only sang 1 song for his girl "everything I do I do it for you" complete me, my true happiness though there's a moment of despair. Let's hold on to love. My husband is not my first love, but we have been married for almost 24 years. During my early blogging, it took me many months to post the entry, "how much can you love a man?". Recently, a thunderstorm hit my head of how lucky I am to him as he is to me that we hold strongly to our marriage despite of having so many tests during that 24 years. He is the one (likewise) after going through so much rainy and sunny days. Love will concur all. He is my happiness.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

PJ International Fair 2014

Event date: 21st till 22nd June 2014

IJM headquarters in Jalan Yong Shook Lin is located adjacent to Petaling Jaya City Council, MBPJ a short form of the local authority in Malay language. Petaling Jaya falls within a Selangor State administration municipality. Politically, Selangor is under the opposition ruling, but has successfully show a great growth and steady development over the years.

Use to be a vehicle's lane
During my 2 years working in the headquarters, these are the place where I hang out with office colleagues. We had lunch and tea break during our working day as there are many good restaurants in the vicinity, to name a few, "Karak Restaurant" is 1 of my favorite. We had no issue to carry on our banking business and or pay utilities bill as all the banks and post office had their branch offices in the area. Apart from that, the panel clinic under IJM's are also nearby.

Promoting Malaysia
Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya or Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), a local authority which administrates Petaling Jaya City and adjoining areas are responsible for public health and sanitation, waste removal and management, town planning, environmental protection and building control, social and economic development and general maintenance functions of urban infrastructure. Apart from having their main headquarters at Jalan Yong Shook Lin, there’s another headquarters at MBPJ Civic Centre at New Town, Section 52 which I’ve not been. There’s many activities and/or city beautification undertake by MBPJ including PJ International, 3 days on 21st till 23rd June 2014, 2 months before my mobilisation to the project office in Shah Alam. For the record, this is a delayed post as priorities were given to the long outstanding entries of my travelogue.

I'm leaving the company soon, so down the memory lane, I feel that I should share some of the things that are meaningful to me including the place where I spent most of my times with my office colleagues. MBPJ had done a good job, deserve a loud applaud for their effort to promote PJ as a tourist destination, locally and abroad. Recently they implemented a new road system that are confusing in the beginning but I hope it will for the benefit of all. We need to change our attitude to be cooperative as human, by nature are lacking patience and perseverance. 

2 photos below were my favourite. I was crossing the road to the office after I have paid my take away breakfast from a Malay stall that rented a small corner in a Chinese restaurant when I saw the flags of Malaysian states and countries from all over the world hanging onto a walkway to MBPJ office. It was an awesome views.

The banner below shows a beautiful culture of Sarawak state which everyone should visit. Trust me, you would be enjoying list of attractions in Sarawak state, i.e. Mulu Caves, Bako National Park to catch a photo with the famous Raffesia flowers, Kuching Cat museum in Kuching city, Niah National Park, Rejang river etc etc. 

Only Indian movies are on show - rare sight in Malaysia these day

Last look of IJM headquarters that has been here since the last 30 years. I am entering the last month of my service after handing over a resignation letter on 4th October 2014. 7 and a half years in their group brought so much achievement and good memories to me personally. When I woke-up this morning, I thanked Allah for giving me so much happiness throughout the years including a test that has brought so much stress but sweet ending at last. Leaving IJM was one of them, the fate that was written in my book of life. 

To my friends from Pakistan and India, do include Petaling Jaya city as a place to visit in your itinerary.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Train Rides (2nd leg) - The Accomodation

Anne has been put in-charge to arrange our accommodation. She registered herself in "" and were assisted well by the website thus far. It started with our 1st leg of train travel. i.e. earthbound to Thailand. The hotel that she chose and our ratings are as follows:-

Istanbul, Yazar Hotel

We stayed in Yazar Hotel for 4 days and 3 nights. What we like most about the place is that the staff are all very helpful especially the reception lady who assisted us throughout our stay. Her name is Hilal Durak and she speak fluent English. She helped us getting a ticket for Sufi whirling dervishes at Hodjapasha Dance Theater as well as for our cruising Marmara Sea on our last day. Four of us were put in the same room with 2 single beds and 1 twin bed. We paid a good price @ at only Euro297, with breakfast and free wifi.

The hotel seated at the most strategic location, where Istanbul Old city is within walking distance. If you are strong and not being pampered with so much luxury back home, you can merely walk to Sultanahmet Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, Islamic Art Museum and Grand Bazaar. The nearest in our opinion is New mosque (Yeni cami) & Spice Bazaar. In addition, city metro lines are just around the corner. I would recommend this hotel to everyone due to it's location, good breakfast and facilities offered at this rather a new hotel existed in Istanbul town.   

Checked your booking carefully when you reached Ibis Hotel as we did not include breakfast in our booking and encountered slight embarrassment due to that. If you walk fast, you may reach the main train station, Gara de Nord in just 3 minutes. We took slightly longer with our luggage added with uncomfortable stares by the drug addicts and the homeless people. Apart from that, we do enjoyed our short stay in this hotel.

We paid only Euro78 for 2 rooms with twin bed, which come with free wifi. We cooked rice, using a mini rice cooker that Anne brought and made coffee for our breakfast and dinner. The front desk staff has assisted to get us a nice cab with a good driver, who speak sufficient English that ensure our safety during a short visit in Bucharest.

Budapest K9 Residence

When in Budapest, Anne has booked for 2 rooms apartment at only Euro60 and we rated this place as 1 of the best considering it's rate and location. The apartment came with small kitchen and dining area. Not only that, it gives free wifi too. The reception staffs are friendly who gave assistance to book a cab to the train station on our departure. We enjoyed cooking our own food as the kitchen came with a cooker gas, sets of utensils and cutlers suffice for us making a delicious soup and having a hot noodle in a big bowl. There's a groceries shop adjacent to the hotel which open 24 hours a day. You will have no worries to get cooking ingredients from there.

The hotel is located only 2 stations away from Keleti Railway Station (on red line metro) and accessible anywhere to the city. We bought Metro daily passes as soon as we arrived but getting around the city is most easy as the hotel is at strategic location. Important to note that it is so near to Vaci Utca, Budapest shopping street that you can merely walk for early or late shopping, like we did.

This boutique hotel is quite charming but we got cramped into a room with 1 twin bed and 1 single bed. The room is charged at Euro105 with free wifi without breakfast. It is the most expensive hotel that we picked up. But the hotel decorations are extremely beautiful. They offered a great hospitality, even offering a place for prayer and arrange a taxi that takes us safely to catch the next train in time. Another good thing to say about the family run hotelier is, it seated just at the back of row of shopping street. There's Muslim food outlet that help us with our dinner on the night we arrived.

Salzburg, Star Inn Hotel

We were surprised to find a modern hotel in an old city of Salzburg with professional staffs. We booked 2 rooms for Euro198 but we were happy as it gave us comforts. By the time we reached Salzburg, we were a little bit exhausted and good bedding was all we need to have. We had our own breakfast prepared in the room and treated our self to a nice lunch at Taj Mahal restaurant, an Indian food. It has free wifi and clean bathroom.

Munich, Hotel Deutsches Theater

Though seated at the most strategic location for a traveler like we are, we did not really enjoyed our stay considering the building looks rather old. Everything are clean, neat and tidy but it a bit small and cramp to our liking. The other room is much better than ours. We paid only Euro118 for 2 rooms without breakfast but they have provided a free wifi facility.

I must say, I personally likes the apartment hotel that we stayed for 4 days and 3 nights located in 42, Avenue de Paris, Vincennes. I think I must have like it a lot as I volunteered to cook when we were here. Coming home everyday, exhausted from daily visit, I shall willingly stop at the nearby groceries shop to prepare for our daily meals. We paid Euro546 for 2 bedroom apartment suited for us 4. The apartment comes with fully equipped kitchen, free wifi and accessible metro lines. You may read what I write about it in the first entry in Paris, Itinerary and tips.

Last not not least, I hope you guys may benefit from what I'm sharing in this entry. You may click at the hotels website that I have link for your easy reference.