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My 2018 Bullet Journal Setup


Hey folks! For this week’s video, I’ll be sharing with you guys what I have set up for my 2018 bullet journal.

If you don’t know what a bullet journal is, the creator has a great video about it:

To put it simply, it’s a planner, diary, sketchbook all in one! At least for the artsy people, it can be a sketchbook too. For me, I use it mainly to organize my work and plan for the future. It’s like a planner, but with more versatility. I started this system near the end of 2016, and have been on it on and off throughout the whole of 2017. I’m back on it for good as I’ve left my full-time job and will need a system to organize my never-ending list of projects ideas. Ha!

This year, I just want to keep things task and goal-oriented. I find that having too many trackers and lists just ended up becoming wasted pages. So for my main set up this year, one of the most important spreads for me is my list of goals and reminders.

If you haven’t watched my 2018 goals video, check it out here:

The whole of last year wasn’t that great for me. I felt like I was constantly trying to make other people happy but not myself. I didn’t even do anything that I listed out in my “goals dump” (I mean, what even is that?). I didn’t grow as much. I didn’t do anything that I was passionate about, and I certainly did not have fun. My time was mostly consumed by work and every chance I get to do things outside of work (ie passion projects, going on holidays etc) I was guilt-tripped into thinking that I was doing things that weren’t meaningful.

Many of things on my goals list sound like they are super average and basically just things that normal people do every day. They’re not for me. I haven’t watched a movie or a TV series in a while. I have not seen my friends in a long time. I skipped church a lot more than ever because of work. So I’ve decided to make this year, my year.

I want to lose weight. Through my meals, simple home workouts, and a healthy mindset.

I want to be able to see my friends and family more. Over good food and great conversations.

I want to inspire people. Doing things that are out of the ordinary through means of continuous learning and experimenting. Things that I have thought about for months and years.

I also want to reach my financial goals. Achieve financial freedom and being able to focus my energy on homeschooling and child developments.

Those are my dreams. And I’m laying the groundwork in 2018.

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Classic Tiny House Speed Build | The Sims 4


Hey hey hey! Surprise non-Wednesday post!

Recently my friends and I got the “Get Together” expansion pack as it was on discount on Origin. And oh. my. GEES!! They have so many pretty build and buy items, I’m obsessed! I’ve wanted a new pack for a while because I wasn’t really a fan of “Get To Work” and “Dine Out” stuffs, or maybe I was just bored with them after a while hahaha. Anyways I am sharing my account with 3 other working friends so we could all afford the packs without blowing our wallets.

Anyways, here is my video! Lemme know what you guys think!

My Weakness: I can’t do meal plans


It’s hard! Too much work. The food I make doesn’t taste very good. Ugh!

But you know what, I’m saving money and I have to stick to it. I have to learn how to do this if I want to have a little bit more to save every month and not see the fresh produce that I buy go bad. It’s not the most convenient thing to do but if I have to do it to be able to spend less on things that I can have with a cheaper price tag, so be it. I have to be disciplined and stick. to. it!!

So I did. At least for last week, I planned my meals and stuck to most of it. Did I mention it was hard?

But you know what, I learned some hard truths, both good and bad. Mostly, I learned a lot about myself than I ever did ever since I started adulting. Yes, there is a time in my life when I was an adult but never really got serious in adulting, so here’s one hard truth – I was HORRIBLE at saving!!

I remember at one point in my life when my tithes reached RM1000++. You know what that means? I had earned RM10k and I didn’t even realize it!! Boy, do I feel so terrible right now. I had opportunities to save more money and I did. not. save. much. If not any. Well, the best time to turn things around is NOW.

I have decided to make this video a week in advance (than I had originally planned) while I still had some extra ingredients leftover, like cheese, butter, cooking oil, and dishwashing liquid. Yes, dishwashing liquid. You can’t really do much if you have none of those to do your dishes, you know. Sure enough, this week’s groceries was an extra RM60. But that extra RM60 meant being able to stretch cheese and butter for an additional week, and oil and dishwashing liquid a lot longer, hopefully about a month or so, so I didn’t mind. Oh yeah, I also bought a bag of kibble for my cat.

Anyways.

Last week I managed to spend only about RM105. I say that because I realized much later that the cashier had missed scanning a few items. I pre-calculated that I was going to spend about RM125. So I had a pretty bad feeling about my math (I mean, it’s not great but I made sure even the taxes are calculated in so it shouldn’t be THAT bad). When I checked the receipt, she had missed out about 3-5 things. So I guess I was lucky in that sense.

I won’t be so lucky next time, I know.

So anyway, here are some of my ideas when I was planning my meals. I didn’t really stick to it but I made sure I cooked every day. Hard truth number two – not the best idea to go about this. I should have prepared more on my day off like pre-cut the veggies and group them in the same container for meals that have those ingredients. That could have saved me a tonne of time.

  1. Breakfast cups, 2 for each day
  2. Lettuce wraps (turned into chilli lime chicken salad because wraps was too much work to do at work)
  3. Tuna salad
  4. Veggie curry
  5. Chicken and broccoli stir-fry
  6. Stuffed chicken (instead, just plain ol roasted chicken with sauteed veggies)
  7. Eggplant Rollatini (didn’t happen. made some quiche-inspired thing, see below)

Chili lime chicken "salad" (I'm just lazy to mix)

A post shared by Melinya Sarah 🇲🇾 (@melinya) on

Hard truth number 3 – when listing out the grocery list, I realized I didn’t have to get as many items as I thought I needed. Well, thank God because my fridge is too small and now I don’t have to worry so much about the temperature in my fridge increasing. For example, I find myself needing only 1 cucumber as opposed buying to 2-3 like I used to. I used to always get at least 2 pieces (for lack of better word) of every kind of veggies that I was buying, and then I never really want to eat them. By getting only what I really need, I had no choice but to cook and eat it.

Hard truth number 4 – Eggs have easily become my quickest source of protein. Also cheaper. So in times of dire need (of more cash for other things), my knowledge of many different ways to cook and style an egg will increase. Maybe instead of Meatless Monday, it will become meatless week instead. Because sustaining a week with chicken can be a little too expensive. Had the cashier not missed some items, my grocery bill would’ve been a little too high for my monthly expenses. So, get cracking! (get it?)

Hard truth number 5 – seasoning is important. When trying to cooking 2 meals every day, it’s always easy to miss out on making sure my food taste good. Especially on the last day when I didn’t have time to make eggplant rollatini. I had all the ingredients but not enough cook time because I had to be at work pretty early that day so I just chop, cut, and dump everything in my glass containers, make an egg mixture that had no seasoning, pour it over the layers of veggies that also didn’t have any seasoning, then baked it. It was so horrifyingly bland that I almost felt nauseous trying to finish the second container. It was not yummy and satisfying.

Hard truth number 6 – portion-control is important. Ever since on the keto diet, I still have a hard time trying to get used to smaller portions because I still miss rice, noodles, and pasta a lot. The way to go about this is to eat more to replace the missing carbs. I mean, fat is more expensive so I’m still doing my best to keep up with my diet. But other than that, the smallest portion of food this week was my roasted chicken and sauteed veggies. Boy, was I hungry again 2 hours later.

Roasted chicken with stir fry carrots, zucchini and bell pepper

A post shared by Melinya Sarah 🇲🇾 (@melinya) on

Hard truth number 7 – stop snacking so much. 2 palms full is enough for the rest of the day. I have to continue reminding myself this otherwise I’m going to depend on it and have my insulin levels spike up unnecessarily.

So I made a little video documenting my eventful time in the kitchen for the last one week. While I had fun learning and coming up with new recipes, I’m just glad that I am able to feed myself and not fall into the temptations of conveniences. That said, I will get better at meal planning and hopefully, the next post about meal planning will be much better.

Otherwise, care to join me laughing at my own downfalls. See you next post!

I’m Doing A New Video Series!


All right guys, it’s time for me to properly grow up. Meal planning, grocery budgeting, bill filing… Sounds dreadful, isn’t it??? But it’s something that most of us have to deal with once we’ve reached a certain age. It’s even a bigger responsibility when you live on your own like I do. So, what’s so special about this video series?

Well. My monthly salary right now is RM2,200. Living in Kuala Lumpur is expensive. The ketogenic diet is expensive. Having homeowner fees are giving me a headache… What better way to deal with all of this than to make videos about them?! Ha.

Last year was a huge grown-up sesh for me. I learned that it is still possible to save money even with a salary of RM1725 after tax. Sure, that’s when I’m not investing into clothing and tools for work every other month, but when I’m forcing myself to spend only on necessities like food and petrol, I was able to put aside RM350 every month without fail.

That’s RM100 for any emergencies and the services for my car, RM250 for an untouchable account.

Pretty neat right?

So I thought, it wouldn’t be harder with a little bit of increment with my current full-time job. I say a little bit because there is a fair bit of payment on one particular category that I will talk about in the next video. Ha, shameless plug – stay tuned for that one!

Anyways, this is just a little intro blog post. There will be a video coming soon on what I have spent in January and my budgeting plans for February. Until then, check out my Instagram this week where I am posting about my lunch/dinner meals for 6 days this week. It’s a little behind the scene on what I meal plan.

Chili lime chicken "salad" (I'm just lazy to mix)

A post shared by Melinya Sarah 🇲🇾 (@melinya) on

Follow me on Instagram @melinya.

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018!


cheesy. it’s bound to happen.

Hey guys! Happy New Year!

I know, it’s been a crazy long time since I blogged. Don’t worry, I’m alive and ready. to. kick. IT!! Whatever that is haha.

How was your 2017? Good? Achieved anything? Did you meet your resolutions? Excited for the new year?? Don’t need to ask me. I haven’t blogged in a year. That speaks volume. Personally, I feel like I haven’t achieved anything in all of last year, but I do have two notable mentions.

  1. I adopted a cat. Me, someone who never grew up in a pet-centric household now has a cat.
  2. I was the Patch Master for 2017’s Good Vibes Festival. First time as a Patch Master with no prior experience, first time working at a festival.

Too cute to be angry at her lah. #nemo

A post shared by melinya sarah derich (@melinya) on

 

I recently quit my job as well, one that I’ve been at since August of 2016. Longest I’ve been with standing at almost 1 year and 5 months, but I find that it carries the same pattern as my last two full-time jobs. No proper chance for growth, same old routine. If you fancy getting full-time salary it might appeal to you. But unfortunately, I consider myself a creative person. I need a creative output (shout out to my last post!), a place for me to express my ideas, and also a bit more time and energy outside of work for me to actually do those things. So, I left.

I made a video earlier today where I talked about the top 10 things I learned in 2017. Most of them run quite deep, but they are also reminders from years back, simply resurfacing in 2017. Somehow, I manage to get myself involved with the same kind of people again. Can’t blame me, they all appear to be nice, understanding people at first,… Until you get to know them. Ah.

Well, the bright side here is that I made a video about it, alongside my 2018 goals. You can check it out here:

More videos to come! Definitely more blog posts too. This website is still under maintenance, but it’s the closest thing I can get it to look like the way I want it!

Keep an eye on updates – follow me on various social media platforms to ensure that you will never miss a post!

Creative Outputs and Where to Find Them


/not turning back on the title!

We’ve all been there. Writer’s block and all their relatives. And yet, we always forget that creativity can’t be forced. It has to come through inspirations or some form of motivation. Creativity also comes when you seek it, not when you’re waiting for it. Like it or not, creativity is an effort, not a gift. You may be gifted with talents, but unless you put your time into crafting your work, you’re not gonna go far with what you already have. It’s basically like investing.

For at least two months now, things have been quiet, work wise. My precious Macbook pro was away for longer than I remember because other things demanded more of my time and money that I would like. I’ve been happy, then unhappy, then happy again, and then finally, feeling lost. I started questioning everything around me like I usually would when I have all the free time in the world to sit down and think – what if. What if this, what if that. Nothing really comes out of them, but the questions were my muse. And then my phone became my occasional “solution”.

Until one day when I came into work. It just dawned on me – I’m creatively deprived and I’m unhappy. I need to do something. I want to do something.

It’s hard to explain the feeling when my work rarely demands creative (read: not innovative) outputs. I don’t freelance anymore and I’m a part of a somewhat rigid work system. My priorities have changed and I have to make an almost 180-degree shift in mindset for my job. But, I only felt the pang after things have quiet down for a long time and I cannot revert to The Sims 4, random music recordings or writing, and even making some random video that most likely will never end up anywhere on the world-wide web. Anything that I would’ve done to express myself creatively.

Not that I’m complaining, though. I love where I am in life so far, I just feel like I’m not much of myself lately and I don’t feel particularly ecstatic about it.

So here’s what I’ve started doing:

  1. Talk to some friends about it. Especially when they’re in the same line of work. Maybe, they share the same feeling. Talking things out tend to take half the load off your mind for a while, and then from here, you could either choose to continue with your life or set out a goal to meet.
  2. I didn’t really set any goals, but then I said yes to a project and surrounded myself with a different group of creative people, partially unrelated to what I do every day at work. Okay lah, 90% unrelated. But hey, it was what I used to do when I freelance, so why not. I got out of my routine and I actually enjoyed myself a lot. It was fun! Set out to do something that is out of your normal routine, even if you can’t think of a goal to achieve. Just do what is typically different from what you normally do.
  3. Looking for inspirations. Find out about what’s really up with me with Mr. Google. I haven’t really found anything yet, I just want to take a break from work and do something else first. That’s all I know now. Main thing is, you understand what is going on with yourself/life.

So today, for example, was the most mind-stimulating day for me. I haven’t felt like it in a while. Ideas after ideas just came to me, almost taking me away from reality in the midst of conversations among my friends. I was jotting away when more ideas stemmed from inspirations all around me. It was great. It felt great. All it take was for me to get out of my normal routine, the people I see almost every day, and being a part of a project that isn’t part of my job scope. I was even excited to fork out my savings to pay for my MBP’s graphics card when I was completely against this idea months ago! I was just on fire to get something done!!

Don’t believe me? Check out my new online personality name – mxll. I swapped the e for x. You still pronounce it “Mell”. And I am feeling content. I finally feel satisfied with my online personality name. If I’m going back to writing songs, this is what I’m gonna use from now on. I’m gonna be working on it as a brand, and I will carry it everywhere I go online. “news and shoes by mxll”. YAS.

There is a list of things that I’m going to do, or at least want to do before things get busy after Chinese New Year. I realized that a lot of things are just within reach the moment I stopped being a couch potato contemplating life. I’m a doer, but with seasons. Complications. But. I just wish I had taken my time more seriously when things were extremely quiet before I got my full-time job. I could’ve done a lot of things but I spent it all on sleeping, watching useless YouTube videos, and God knows what else. I can never get it back, and it sucks because I’m turning 24 soon and I don’t feel like I’ve done enough for myself.

But I don’t have time to regret. The project isn’t over yet and I’m getting my laptop back soon. Time to get to work!!

When do I get to believe the work I do is important to me?


i mean, i still don’t know.

after my last post, i lost track of time and just rolled with it. time, i mean. i was doing okay for a while, learning to bend my ego and accept things as they are, unless i need to speak up. speak up, that’s another thing i’ve learned too. starting a new job tends to intimidate me because many times i feel like speaking my mind up and…i just couldn’t. but i slowly learn how to. more importantly, when. there are many times i filter myself, out of fear, but in hopes that it does me good than harm.

filter. the word people use these days not as its original definition. and it’s something that i have been slowly doing since middle of this year. i’m sharing lesser and lesser each day about my life and my thoughts on social media. i left twitter in august, uninstalled facebook on my phone, and very occasionally on instagram for the pictures that i really, really want to share. i am taking a step back from everything to find back what drives me to wake up every day and do what i love. because i really don’t know.

i mean, if you want to talk about goals and everything, i will be very honest – to travel the world and raise a family. so what’s stopping me?

doubts.

questions.

the people around me.

sure, it’s easy to do the “ignore what they say and just do you” thing but the thing is, i haven’t decided what i believe to be the most important work in the world…..yet. i mean the things that i do now to meet my goals. travelling the world is cliché, i know, and raising a family doesn’t sound much like a goal but hey, these are what i really want to do in the future. everything else will be just hobby. i’m not depressed or short-sighted or anything, i just focus more on the now than i do on the future. what i decide now is basically what my future is going to look like.

so, what do i really want to do now? honestly – be a freelancer again – and that is only because i don’t have time to creatively express myself or even time to rest. not to be a negative nancy or anything but if you asked me 3 years ago what do i want to do every day my answer would have been work, because i saw myself as a workaholic even when i was a student. but work became an endless routine that didn’t really have a destination for me to go to so that slowly died and replaced with, you guessed it, laziness. i feel lost. i don’t want to waste my life away but this is honestly how i feel  – lost.

i have said the word honest like 4 times now.

i am doing what i can to improve in all areas at work; in administrations, leadership, and planning. i got myself started with a bullet journal system to organize my work, i learn to communicate better, and i am slowly taking up more responsibilities as a challenge as every day i am learning about my limits and then i push. this results in me becoming slightly less emotional in my decision-making and more….i guess you can say mature. meh

meh is how i feel. in true malaysian accent – doing all this for what? 

i don’t hate what i do. i actually love coming to work and i guess i’m saying all this is because i don’t know if what i’m doing now is for me or for my future. “me” and “my future” can be one and the same, but in this case, i’m talking more of “now” vs “my future”. like gah. i’m lost. i’m questioning everything. i can feel it in my bones that i am changing but i don’t know if it’s for better or for worse. i still feel like i’m going in circles even though some people would kill (lol pls don’t) to have a stable-income job like i have now over anything that they may want more than anything out there. i don’t even know what i truly want.

i’m not competitive in my work field and so that makes it seem like i’m uninterested.

this past week i got little sparks of inspirations and so i played a bit of music. that felt nice. 

so i guess my next step from here on is to convince myself that, if i want to be able to provide for my family one day, one of the ways to do it is to improve myself, earn XP points, and level up. questions will eventually lead to answers so there is no harm in trying out a few options before discovering the best way to overcome my problems. or so i tell myself. and maybe THEN i get to tell myself “hey, you’re finally able to call this your most important work in the world!” otherwise, along the way, i do hope to find where is it i want to go or what i want to do for the rest of my life. right now, it just feels like it’s the beginning of everything.

goals and passion


it’s like i don’t even know anymore.

this is an extended version of what i wanted to write in my bullet journal, but seeing as i intend to go deeper into this, pointers do only half the job. this is my (first) journal entry on the feelings and self-doubts that i have been having since working full-time and slowly leaving my freelancer life.

Δ i am scared.
Δ i am not good enough.
Δ i have no passion.
Δ i have no goal.

why do i feel and think this way?

ego.

to think that ego would make you feel and think otherwise…

the thing is, i don’t know when have i ever invited ego into my life. growing up, i had low confidence and near zero self-esteem, especially in schools. i don’t know when i have started thinking that i know it all. and yet at the same time, i constantly battle with “i’m not good enough”. because i know i have not reached a certain level of skill sets or standards that i tell myself all the time that i’m not good enough, and frankly, having written typing this down, i realize now that instead of praying over my mountain, i only ever speak about it. sometimes even brushing it aside temporarily.

my mountain is being lazy. no real efforts in learning and improving myself. that is what my ego is fed on. my view frame is small and near sighted. no further than trying to get through the day while completing only my task. what is my job scope? what are things that i need to do today? here? at this moment? can i go home and sleep now?

sigh.

my past freelance work comprises of 2 categories – touch ‘n go & big project(s). the touch-and-go ones are the most frequent ones, where the job scope is the same most of the time, and it’s usually a one-man job. the bigger projects need more time and extensive job scopes because they’re not always sound engineering. so what’s my problem here?

well, i say that i always dream of working with a team and not working by myself, but how far do i mean by that? like, why is it so easy for me to juggle between PR work, and then self-appointing myself as a production manager while running Front of House when I recognize the needs…. and yet, i fail to apply the same intensity when it comes to work lately, especially this morning. i seem to forget that we’re all on this same ship. we either sink or we work together, covering each other. although i had no intention of doing it, but i seem to deliberately let my teammates save me while i deliberately force myself to swim when i know i can’t.

so what’s my excuse here? i can think of a million reasons why the set up took us really long but that would take me right back to my ego.

so, here is what i can do;
→ i can annoy the shit out of everybody and start asking questions in areas that need my help.
→ i can slowly learn how to adjust my view frame and accept everything as my responsibility.
→ seriously put my phone away and stop having my brain from getting “bored” aka lazy.

aaaand i’ve only covered 1 point out of 4 thus far.

i never really had an real goal, and by that, i mean at least one that i’ve managed to keep up with. i know goals can change over time due to various circumstances and change of interests, but now, i feel like i have no passion to begin with, thus no solid plans for the future. at least, in terms of my career anyway. like, why am i here? what am i really good at that i can contribute to my team, my company?

this is where i sleep on my issues.

so, i’m scared. scared that i’ll still be doing this even when i’m married and planning to start a family with a salary that is less than ideal for more than one person. i need to first find out the root of my problems before it grows into a tree. being lazy is definitely it for now. i need to put on my A game and hustle through. it’s not enough to just say it.

sigh.

×i’m too sleepy to continue×

What I aim to achieve in 2016


More weekend getaways, please.

2015 has been a year of keeping myself grounded. When I launched News and Shoes Productions I wasn’t sure the kind of brand I was going to offer. I know the kind of services that I wanted to do, but I need a lot more work on branding. Even my business card is very generic. I have no logo because I haven’t quite figured out what News and Shoes really is. But rest assured, one thing stands, I’d still want to create a platform for freelancers when I can.

Now before we go into what 2016 will be like for me, I’d like to go over my 2015 goals that I never achieved. Because frankly, I abandoned most of them after Singapore. Nothing else mattered!!

  1. to quit my current job.
  2. to grow back my long hair.
  3. to read at least 15 books.
  4. to travel to at least 1 neighbouring country.
  5. (at least) 1 photography gig.
  6. (at least) 1 music video gig.
  7. new fashion style. (ahahahahaha who am i even kidding)
  8. to blog a minimum of once a week!!!
  9. to complete 15 free online courses!
  10. to release my compilation of originals! oh my :3
  11. to be a part of 1 album production.
  12. to write 15 short stories!
  13. to publish at least 5 newspaper articles, / contribute a section in the opinions column.
  14. to release video letters every month.
  15. to write 1 song every month! pressureeeeee!

Everything else can just suck it because Singapore is everything.

But seriously, I haven’t been spending the time to be creative this past year. I just allowed myself to work and work and work and when I don’t work, I rest up so I could be mentally and physically ready for the next job. It’s a cycle. There’s no value in a lot of the things that I did. No complaints, though, I lost some relationship and gained few new ones. So far the new ones mattered more than the ones I lost, and I am perfectly okay with that.

One of the things that I learned this year was to trust my heart more. Trust in my intolerance, trust my frustration, trust anything that my heart deems red alert. Because as soon as those things are gone from my life, I literally feel liberated. Sure, they seem like an opportunity for me to grow in patience and to adapt, but when being put down and unjustly criticized becomes a routine or habit from someone, enough is enough. Indeed, your life is a lot better when you learn to filter the things thrown at you.

ALL RIGHT. Putting the negative things aside, 2015 has been an amazing year! One of my fondest memory is singing at my friend, Audrey’s wedding last September. I was singing to Us The Duo’s No Matter Where You Are aka their wedding vows.  Audrey’s reaction was priceless!! ❤ I also drove all the way to Ipoh for a day trip work! Mom came along to go with me and help driving back a little at night. My first road trip!! And of course, the first time I travelled out of Malaysia, I got to visit/work in Singapore. You guys, Singapore is glorious. Such a beautiful country built for their people. You don’t necessarily feel like you’re in a different country because it’s like Malaysia but better. Ha. If it weren’t for our currency and if I were to actually live and work there, man, I could do so much better with my savings. Like, really. ❤

And now, for 2016, my goals are going to revolve around me and my “freedom”. Mostly, since I’ll be living on my own, I now have the liberty to do what I’ve always wanted to do – renovating the apartment. I won’t be going as far renovating, but I dream to do 10 things first, in no particular order:

  1. Replace the wooden floor in all the bedrooms.
  2. Maximizing storage spaces in the kitchen but getting maybe 2 Ikea shelves and incorporating tips I found online that works best for me.
  3. Convert half the living room into half my workstation until I’ve decided to get a TV.
  4. Get rid of all the wooden wardrobes in every room. Currently thinking of replacing them with Ikea’s RM60 rack and stand and a couple of baskets.
  5. Set up dining area with a wooden bench for the wall side, and 3 stools on the other side.
  6. Information center in the kitchen – tips, recipe etc
  7. Set up a tea/bar area. This is a fun idea!!
  8. Create a mudroom area. With whiteboard, calendar, shoe storage, a bench, notice board etc
  9. Build wall shelves for decoration – photos, candles etc
  10. Mini studio corner in my bedroom.

As far as work concern, the beginning of the year with nothing planned is always a scary time. When you’re a freelancer, you rely (most of the time) on your work performance and networking, hoping that others will call you to come work for them, for lack of better words. But there’s one thing that 2015 has taught me is that, as long as it is work, I’m willing to give it a try. Because of that, I’ve become what I have called myself to be – Jack of all trades, Master of none. I’m expanding my area of ability towards theater and artist managing. I’ve just recently learned that in theater there is no such thing as production manager, as the role is the same with the stage manager. Huh. Explains why I got the funny looks when I suggested the musical theater that I was working on required a stage manager. Mah bad. But hey, you learn as you go, right?

Anyways, here’s to fruitful 2016. Happy New Year, guys! x

The Big Move


Guess who will be living on her own next year?

My dad used to joke (or so I’d like to think that he’s joking but he probably never did lel) whenever I bring up the idea of moving out. He would tell each one of his children, especially the “rebellious” one *cough me cough*, that none of us would move out of his household, even when we’re all in our 30s, unless we’re married. Now, you gotta understand my dad – he’s the most loving person I know, and that is the only reason why he’d want us to stick around for as long as we can. And I really appreciate him for that. I grew from wanting to leave as soon as I turned 18 to wanting to be an adult that he could trust, an ally. And I especially love family trips because it means we get to spend time together, something that I haven’t been able to do since my schedule wouldn’t allow me so. But now, in two weeks’ time, they’d be moving back to Kuching.

*plot twist*

Yes, you read that correctly. Exactly two weeks from today, on the 23rd of December, my family (and I) will be flying down to Kuching. We won’t be moving in right away as we’ll be spending Christmas at the longhouse with grandma and cousins and aunties and uncles. And then we’d be spending some of our days at a hotel, compliments from my dad’s company. Only then we’d be moving in.

My dad got his transfer of letter a few months ago. He was due to move in October, exactly 7 years after moving to KL from Bintulu. I remember the day my dad got his transfer letter to KL; I had mixed emotions about it. Partly sad because my dad would have to fly first while the rest of us had to stay back until I was done with PMR. I remember the day the truck came to get our stuff. I remember two guys. I remember after they were done, they asked my mom if they could take a shower at the guest bathroom at the back. I remember the amount of sadness floating in the air upon take off, leaving behind all the familiarities. I remember my mom crying because one of her “anak angkat” sent her countless amount of crying emojies.

I remember my dad picking us up, booked a van for the six of us and all of our stuffs. I remember my mom telling us not to look so sakai, in awe of the skyscrapers in the heart of KL. I remember the nervous face the four of us had when we were in the van, on the way to our hotel. I remember the our little room, with only 2 queen beds to fit the 6 of us plus our boxes and luggages. I remember my dad took us to KLCC. The 14th of November was the day we moved into our first home in Taman Mayang Jaya. It was a single-storey house with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. We slept on the floor in the living room, with only our clothes as our blankets, “mattresses” and “pillows” for almost 3 weeks. I remember cooking on our little portable stove, with enough gas to last us maybe two weeks to feed 6 mouths. I remember the night our stuff finally arrived, and a different night when our cars arrived. We stayed only for a year because the owner wanted to sell off the house.

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the book shelf which served as a partition between the tv area and the family computer area as well as a gallery in our first home.

We moved into a double-storey house in SS4 and stayed for 2 years. We’ve found a little apartment we’ve called our home for the past 4 years now back in the same neighbourhood. Soon, it will feel empty and quiet. When I call out mama, no one will answer back. I won’t be able to tease my little sister any more on the silliest things. I won’t laugh at funny pictures with my second brother, and I certainly won’t be able to work with my ever-countable partner-in-crime first brother. No more politics and Christianity talks with my dad. Well, this could only mean that I’ll have a lot to catch up on whenever I’m back in Kuching, or every time they come to visit me here in KL.

Now, as my family is busy packing things and I’m counting down to the days when everything would finally feel real in my hands, I’m counting my blessing. I’m grateful that I’ve grown up so much the last 7 years. My perspectives and my way of living changed tremendously. I’m still a little but stubborn, but this time I’m not afraid to make mistakes. I learn to trust my gut even more, and I’m opened to all sorts of ideas. I’m not as easily angered as I used to or would break down emotionally when things get tough, but I still have a lot more to go with patience. I’ve definitely gained a lot of weight lol but I’ve never been happier, especially when I’ve always struggle with the way I look growing up. I also have learned how to filter the negative things people say to and about me. To me, this is something only the big(ger) city can do.

So my only wishes to my family once they settled in their new/old life back in Kuching is to not be contained back in a box. Always be opened to changes, new possibilities, exciting opportunities. Never ever settle for comfort. I find that “the box” is something that took me awhile to get out of since living in KL/PJ. Things won’t always go my way, and it won’t be the end of the world when it does. I learned (and still is learning) to grow out of my comfort, experience new foods, adventures and even culture. Sarawak is home, and thus automatically make you succumb to comfort. And I hope especially my growing siblings that they’d be opened to new ideas. When there is a will, there is a way.

Here’s to a new life – one that I am happy to call aunty life – paying household bills, collecting recipes, browsing on household appliances, and doing chores. Here’s to hoping that I will finally have better discipline to complete my goals. lol

x