I won't deny that since I got pregnant, I've been feeling a bit 'weak'. I mean, I'm used to feeling strong and energized. I did half-marathons, I ran 10km so many times I lost count, I can walk the whole day while travelling, I'm physically fit (or I used to). Now I can't even slow-walk 2km without feeling pain in my pubic bones, my back and feet.
The truth is, all throughout my pregnancy I was either in pain, uncomfortable, or exhausted. The first trimester was awful internally and mentally, the second trimester was a bit mild (registering myself to the final months), and the third trimester was everything physical (there's pain everywhere, all over my body, every day).
I'm not sure why people don't share much about this awful part of not feeling like yourself for almost a year (considering several month of early breast-feeding phase might feel the same way as well). People talk about how when the baby comes, you'll forget all the pain. But I think it is important to share with people about this phase as well because the experience is different for each pregnancy and it is okay to feel weak or to ask for help.
My mom mentioned about how when she was pregnant, she was still very active (compared to me) and she didn't whined as much. So I didn't really share much about what I feel with her because every time I said something about the pain, or how I can't sleep, or how tired I was, she brushed it off. I don't think my siblings understand this as well :F So the only person I'm sharing with about this phase is Af (and thank God he pampered me with attention and love and care throughout this uncomfortable phase). Yes, I whined because I am human and I'm not used to feeling pain and weakness every single day.
So why I share this ?
I want to say that it is okay to feel weak.
It is okay to ask for help.
It is okay to sit when people offer you to sit.
It is okay to say you need to get back home if you are tired.
It is okay to want to rest.
This is a really weird phase where for some people, they will feel a lot of pain, uncomfortableness, exhaustion, weakness, and ultimately not feeling like yourself. You don't have to feel sorry for yourself or try to explain to others every single time.
Just do what feels right to you and give yourself a break.
Here are some of my experiences during my pregnancy phase - whether you'll be needing more clothes or not, it is entirely up to you and your body. As for me, I stayed at home most of the time and not so fancy with my clothing styles, so I don't need that many. I wore the same thing repeatedly all the time :D
By the third month of my pregnancy, I can't no longer wear my jeans (so I stopped wearing them). By the 5th month of my pregnancy, I can't wear most of my loose shirts - so I washed, folded and kept them in my cloth packs (because I know I might not be wearing it for another 6 months). So there is no surviving without having to buy new clothes - even how hard you try, your body will change during this new phase. I hate having to buy new clothes, especially after I've done so many cloth-filtering and donated most of my old clothes throughout the year since I got married. But I had to adapt with my new body.
Roughly by the end of my 2nd trimester, I think I gained almost 5kg. Still skinny on some parts, but gaining weights on important parts that play roles in pregnancy : middle area.
About clothes :
1. Maternity friendly shirts : I don't think I bought any maternity shirt, but I bought several loose shirts on Lazada/Shopee tho. Previously, my clothes were mostly loose with linen-like-thin fabrics so I got to use most of them half of the pregnancy phase. Eventually I slowly stopped wearing some of my favorite shirts because my tummy got bigger.
I bought 3 cotton t-shirts in different colours (they are big loose style, non-iron, and airy material + cheap) and another 1 loose red casual shirt for more formal event (if needed). Keep repeating the same clothes over and over again when we go out. Even still using them during my 8 month of pregnancy.
It is advisable to buy something that you would wear even when you are no longer in a pregnancy phase so you wouldn't be wasting fabric & money.
And I can imagine wearing this with slim jeans after the pregnancy, so, this works.
2. The maternity pants : Most of the time, my favorite pants so far is the Uniqlo drape jogger pants (black) that I bought long ago. I think I've been wearing it in my first and whole second trimester because it is loose and comfortable. It is not even a maternity pants - just a normal casual pants :
But eventually I had to buy maternity pants with stretch rubber on the abdomen area because why la everything become so uncomfortable during pregnancy phase :F The cons about wearing a maternity pants is when you are having rashes around the abdomen area due to the stretches, it will become uncomfortable and itchy :(
3. The maternity undergarments : I wore the same set of my normal panties throughout first and 2nd trimester, did bought some for the third trimester but not wearing them as much. I guess all my old panties works just fine. Whether I didn't gain that much on those area, or they are now super stretchy and huge by the end of the pregnancy. Bra is a different story, you need new bras or at least a bra extension clasp (definitely - by the 2nd trimester). Earliest investment. Goodbye flat-chest, hello adulthood.
4. Comfortable house wear : I bought 2 men's singlet at a second-hand shop in Raub, as huge as what Af would probably wear because they are comfy, loose and huge (like a skirt). You have no problem with the abdomen area and you know this is just a phase, why not buy something used to be more eco-friendly? It only costed RM 4 for each singlet and I wore it everyday. Sometimes I even wear Af's shirt around the house because they are big, and they smell like him ♥️
5. Raya wear : I decided to not buy any Raya clothes this time. I wanted to wear something that I would like to wear that felt like me. Plain, clean, natural colour. Normally, we don't have the freedom to choose our own Raya clothes because we had to wear the same thing - or almost the same thing. But this time, I told them that I'll be wearing something that I already picked months back (and due to the pregnancy, my clothes choice is quite limited so I want the freedom to choose).
So I chose to wear a long linen top in lightest green and wear it with the dark green skirt that I sew back in the sewing class. For the first time in my life, I get to wear something that felt like me during Raya :D
I felt like myself, I look exactly like how I wanted to be seen - plain and natural :
A post shared by azreenchan (@azreenchan) on Jun 4, 2019 at 8:23pm PDT
Thoughts on Pregnancy Pillow -
I would love the idea of having the pregnancy pillow (the G/U-shaped one) but reluctant to buy it due to the ugly design and knowing that this phase will only last for only 9 months (or even less). I hate the idea of keeping such an ugly thing on my bed afterwards - even how comfy it might look.
My solution, I have a lot of square-shaped thin zabuton (Japanese sitting cushion) that my mom made for me. I slept on my left side most of the time, so one cushion below my abdomen on the left, one cushion behind me (on my right), and a bolster for me to hug. Sometimes I even put another zabuton beneath my legs to make my legs higher (during the night-cramp phase). The perks of having a lot of zabuton in my house :p
Note : This is an on-going post throughout 9 months
In December last year I mentioned about the 4th goal in 2018 that I failed to achieve, that is having our own child/getting pregnant. It was the first public statement (online) that I wrote to mention about the situation i.e. we were married for 3.5 years and I've never been pregnant, not even once. We've tried.
For the past 3 years, I've been hoping, praying, trying, meditating, exercising, not exercising, eating clean, not eating clean, running, stop running, and quitting my permanent job. I've never really told anyone, but one of the reason why I actually quitted, was to try to be in a stress-free environment so I could prepare my body and soul for the pregnancy. But it never happened.
I've been in small patches of darkness, thinking and blaming myself. Why can't I get pregnant ? :F It was depressing to even think about how many times did I secretly buy the UPT stick to check whether I was pregnant or not every time my period was late (I have irregular menses).
I've always talked about considering adoption. I don't really mind if we are not related by blood, children are children as they are.
But I've finally accepted this. I told myself that it is okay. I stopped tracking, I stopped punishing myself, I stopped planning for the unforeseen future. I finally shared with you guys about the struggle. It was the first step, acceptance.
We were odd 1 in every 8 couples.
Just several days after I finally wrote something about my situation in this blog, we finally got the great news. At that time I just got a back-injury from yoga and the longest bloatedness in my life so I had to rest for the whole week. I felt bad, my body felt weird. I didn't get my period for over 2 months but I didn't feel like there was anything wrong. Af insisted on checking whether I was pregnant or not. So we just bought a pregnancy test stick.
That night, I just took it out from the box and peed on the UPT stick. I know that it is advisable to use in it in the morning (the-first-pee-of-the-day), that was the excuse I used to Af so he wouldn't nag me on it that night. I didn't expect anything, at all. I just wanted to be over with it.
But the 2 lines slowly appeared, I had a 5 seconds blank. I even considered whether I should wake Af up and then I did. I asked him to buy another UPT stick at 7/11 and I got tested again that night. Still positive.
I found out when I was 7 weeks pregnant.
The first trimester :
3 - 4 weeks : I was in Turkey. I had the light spotting that I was mistaken as period.
5 weeks : I got back from Turkey, went to Penang for a workshop and meeting, explored Penang on foot. A lot of walking, exhaustion more than usual, but I didn't noticed everything else. I was so used to walking - thought I was just extra tired because of the travels.
6 - 7 weeks : I mentioned about the 'telur pindang' incident in my previous post. I guess that was my first real craving :F I was bloated for almost 2 weeks. I felt bad because it was uncomfortable and it aches everywhere around my abdomen. I rested a lot. I nap during the afternoon - one thing I didn't do for most of my adult life. Af nagged me to get tested, this is the week we found out about the pregnancy.
8 weeks : I officially got tested at Klinik Kesihatan (KK) and opened my first pink book of pregnancy. The whole process took 4 hours. First scan, the doctor can't confirm on the exact weeks, so she asked me to come again for 2nd scan in 2 weeks. I finally believed that I was pregnant when I saw the tiny little thing during the scan. We managed to keep it as a secret from the family for 3 long days.
9 weeks : Comic Fiesta and children workshop week. I was still exhausted, hungry, nauseated, and bloated almost all day everyday. My body felt different and it was by-far the longest ill I've ever felt. I rather stay at home and I can't work. I woke up at night to pee. I need to eat every 2 hours, or I'll get too hungry to function. After I eat, I'll get bloated and uncomfortable. I was already showing a little - not sure by the constant bloatedness, or the pregnancy itself.
10 weeks : 2nd scan checkup at KK and specialist checkup at the Serdang Hospital. Weeks confirmed, I was 11 weeks pregnant and will due in the end of July 2019. There was a worrying look during my scan - a possible fibroid, so I was sent to a specialist to confirm about it. The specialist said she can't see anything worth worrying, so I don't have to worry about anything. If there is even a fibroid, she can't do anything about it at this point - just a 2nd checkup in 2 months time to see if there's anything worth to worry about :F The symptoms slowly subside, sometimes I felt okay, sometimes I felt bad. But most of the time, really bad.
11 weeks : The week I turned 32.I woke up at 4 am in the morning once because I was too hungry. I slept in early that night when the hunger kicked in, and ignored it. But turned out I can't no longer ignore it when I was awake by the hunger itself =.= This pregnancy phase is the weirdest phase ever. I started buying new pant and bras to cope with the sudden body changes, no longer flat on board guys :F
12 weeks : January checkup at KK. I realized that I lost some of the weight that I've been gaining - maybe due to the minimal eating (even though it was constant - I started eating in very small potion because I get bloated almost every single time after I eat). Not only that, the nurse checked my iron level and said that it was quite low and I had to eat new supplement to make more blood :F This pills make me nauseous more than ever, I had to eat it before sleep and I hate it very much T^T
13 weeks : I already slowly reaching the 2nd trimester and most of the awful symptoms like super exhaustion, daily afternoon nap, nauseous throughout the day - slowly subside. I feel like myself, I started working again, sitting in front of my laptop and beginning to make new projects on my desk was the most fulfilling activity. I've missed it.
The second trimester : 14 weeks : Officially on the 2nd trimester week. We went to another free trip, this time a free room at Rosa Hotel in Malacca - a lovely boutique hotel. We walked at Mahkota Parade for several hours the next day and although everyone was still energized, I had to rest earlier than normal. I even suggested the early lunch due to my hunger. It was still weird (to be the one that asked to eat first and go home early).
15 weeks : Finally called Hospital Putrajaya to make an appointment with Dr Hamidah for my delivery in July. I planned to take the Full-Paying Patient (FPP) program at Hospital Putrajaya. It is a program where we can choose to pay for a 1st class service with a choice of specialist in hand. My first appointment will be in May.
16 weeks : CNY week. Longest holiday - since Saturday until the next Wednesday. Most of the companies are on holiday, so all my projects are currently on pause as well. We went to PD for another free trip. I also passed some of my shirts and past working attire to my little sister, I only kept the ones that are still wearable, free-sized blouses. By this time, I only have 6 clothes + 2 comfy pants left. I stopped wearing my jeans weeks ago and finally kept only 1 jeans + 2 fav t-shirts for "someday". Saying goodbye to lean figure for now.
17 weeks : Monthly checkup at KK, everything went normal back again. My blood level increased, I gained some weight, and I heard the baby's heartbeat for the first time. The nurse changed my supplement from Zincofer to Obimin. I also felt something for the first time, like finger flicks once or twice at a time. The nurse confirm that it is what called as 'quickening'.
18 weeks : I had to make an appointment for a glucose test. I brought a book, tissue and water bottle. Took my number, waited for my turn, the nurse took my blood, I had to drink the watery sugar, and stayed at the clinic for 2 hours, reading. After 2 hours, I waited for my number to be called again and the nurse took my blood again. That's it. The result will be shared later. My stomach felt tight most of the time - like I ate just a little too much (all the time). Wondering how my stretch mark will look like soon, I will wear it like a badge of survival honour. Every night I will wait for the baby to give me those precious tiny kicks. Af still haven't experienced it yet, every time I put his hand on my abdomen, he didn't feel anything.
19 weeks : 2nd checkup with the referral specialist at Serdang Hospital regarding my 'possible' fibroid. It was one of the worst waiting session ever, more than 3 hours just to take a number and pay for a fees before meeting up with the specialist. We finally met a doctor and she did a scan. This was the first time Af meeting the baby on screen. The baby is much bigger than I last seen 2 months back. It was such an exciting moment. Another good news, she can't see any fibroid or anything worth worrying. The baby is healthy ♥️
20 weeks : I started having back pain - almost daily. I can't no longer work for hours, I need rest at least every 1 hour. Sleeping is no longer comfortable, there's actually no suitable position for pregnant people to sleep, sleep to the right or sleep to the left - and both aren't comfortable. I wake up to leg cramps in the middle of the night every day. But the baby is active, I can feel the baby moving and kicking all day and it ease my mind. We met my best friend Tasya and her new baby Zara (3 weeks old), such a precious little angel - happy for having to share the same year of pregnancy and new life phase together.
21 weeks : We make an appointment for a detailed scan at a local clinic near our area. The detailed scan costed RM 198 and we took around 1 hour to finish the session. All in all, the sonogrammer can't find any abnormalities, all looked fine - Alhamdulillah. The baby was very active during the session. By the end of the session, the sonogrammer told us the good news; we are having a baby girl ♥️Just as I predicted long ago.
22 weeks : I started buying my first baby clothes ! :D There was a family party to celebrate my grandma's birthday that weekend and almost everyone was there, I finally told my dad's family about my pregnancy - and I was already obviously showing so everyone noticed it right-away.
23 weeks : I could not longer wear my usual pants and clothes. Most of my clothes are already washed, folded and kept in one bag because it might take another half a year before I start wearing my old clothes back. I had to buy several comfy loose shirts, pregnancy pants and underwear. I bought everything on Lazada and Shopee because they are much cheaper and easier to find (without having to go out). I felt active kicks and movements every single day, at least around every 5-6 hours : early in the morning, in the afternoon, evening and at night. I already familiarized her time-table :D
24 weeks : I still splurge on fruits, I think I spent around RM 30 - RM 50 a week for fruits. As snacks, smoothies, add in yogurts, or eat just like that because I am still constantly hungry. Other than local pasar malam, I buy my fruit stocks at MBGonline or Happy Fresh app. I ate a LOT. This week was also Af's 32nd birthday !
25 weeks : Monthly checkup at the KK. Everything was fine, I listened to the baby's heart beat again, did normal checkup and scheduled for next big appointment reaching the my third trimester soon.
26 weeks : I started having little bumps and rashes around my tummy, I think my body is stretching and it is beginning to become extra itchy (especially during this hot season). I think I even take shower up to 3-4 times a day. My legs and feet are also aching, especially when I wake up early in the morning. Eating habit is still over-whelming, I am still hungry every 2 hours. The kicking changes this week, from tiny kicks, they turned into something more subtle but a repetition of someone exploring your body from the inside.
27 weeks : The final week of the second trimester ! ♥️ I'll start counting her movement daily soon :D
The third trimester :
28 weeks : I started counting her daily movement and need to record it in my pregnancy log book. This week I've started having new daily symptoms where my feet aches, my thigh, my pubic bones, my soles all sore especially when I wake up in the morning or from a long sitting.
And so I started to make it a habit to have a short walk everyday (but just started this week :p not throughout the whole pregnancy)
We finally shared the news on social media :D
ESKAPI Ep. 19 - YouTube
29 weeks : I have 2 appointments : 1. The now twice-weekly at Klinik Kesihatan. During the KK appointment, I had to do the normal blood and urine test, 2nd glucose test (because I was in borderline gestational diabetes - yikes !), got tetanus shot, meet-up with the doctor for my 3rd trimester scan, check the baby's heartbeat and position, and topup my Obimin stock. Note : Every single thing I've done at KK at this point has been free of charge. That means all the monthly checkups, scans, supplements, tests, shots are all FREE. You just had to bear the waiting (usually around 4 hours).
2. Another appointment was first meet-up with my doctor that will deliver my baby at Hospital Putrajaya (InsyaAllah). I booked for Dr. Hamidah and I actually came on the wrong date :F My appointment was on the 10th but I came on the 11th - on Saturday where she already had a list of patients she needs to meet (had to squeeze me in). When we first came, we had to register as FPPatient (fill in a form) and make a payment of RM 235 (including registration, consultation and scan). Then I had to take a number at the gynaecologist counter and did a urine test. Then the waiting began - in between that a nurse called my name and asked about why I missed the day before :F Anyway, meeting the doctor was quick (maybe around 10 minutes), updated her on my case, did a scan to check on the baby and set for the next appointment. That's it - it took around almost 3 hours.
We also bought both baby stroller and baby car seat this week ! (Presents from her grandma - but we did the choosing and buying).
-- Latest :
30 weeks : I got a call from KK, to inform me that I have gestational diabetes and I had to come in for a blood monitoring that night, and twice the next day to proceed with the next step (to see how serious it is and whether I'll be needing a reference with a specialist at Hospital Serdang) T^T It was a shocking news to me, considering I've been one of the most food-conscious person in the family i.e I haven't drink soft drinks for years, I hardly eat junk foods, my rice intake has always been limited. But usually gestational diabetes caused by hormonal imbalance (that, I can't deny - I've been suspecting it throughout the years). Note : Will be updating again soon ! ♥️
I've been splurging on healthy fruits and snacks since early this year - due to my constant hunger, probably *boredom* of staying alone most of the time at home and being extra health conscious. I don't eat-out as much as I used to (due to being at home at least 6 days a week), I make home-made foods and I'm having fun experimenting.
Things I learned :
I eat fruits with yogurts for snack and smoothies for breakfast - almost every single day. So I mix and match a lot.
I slowly changed from flavored yogurt to natural and sugarless yogurt (which I hated months ago). It takes time, and a LOT of fruits to wash the yogurt's natural taste.
I learned that local banana is tastier and sweeter but don't last as long as imported bananas.
I learned that if you received several boxes of strawberry (especially if someone that just came back from Cameron Highlands) - keep the strawberries in the icebox/freezer right away, just keep some of them down to eat as snack or with yogurt, or they will rot in 3-5 days.
Berries are weird - you don't have to eat them fresh, smoothies always work with berries.
Oat, granola and seeds are a nice addition into your yogurt - they give a bunch of mixed taste and crunchiness.
No longer buying Boost - because it is much cheaper to make one at home and it tastes the same depending on which fruits you have at home. You can make 3-4 juices/smoothies for 2 people and for several days with the same amount you spend at Boost.
Local/tropical fruits are always the best, sweeter and juicier: Over-riped guava, jambu air, mangoes, rambutan, jackfruit, watermelon, dragonfruit, mata kucing, papaya, mangosteen etc - but they are not so smoothies/yogurt friendly. You can always eat them as snack tho.
Here are some ideas to help you start eat healthy :
Early morning smoothies consists of :
Morning breakfast / Tea-time snack consists of :
Natural / greek yogurt
Fruits of the day on top (apple/watermelon/kiwi/berries/grapes)
Night snack (usually around 10pm) :
Easy to eat fruit of the day (apple/watermelon/mango/guava/dragonfruit/jambu air)
To Buy :
Local fruits are much cheaper, need to go to weekly pasar malam, they are usually great for daily snacks (to be enjoyed just like that) but not so suitable for smoothies or to be eaten with yogurt, they also stay fresh for 3-5 days so you can't buy a lot at a time. The trick is to buy the seasonal fruits during the season - not after or before the season.
Imported fruits are usually more expensive, you can get it anytime at the supermarket, fresh for longer time and you can also put them up in the freezer for smoothies.
I buy both - local fruits every week, imported fruits probably every 3-4 weeks. I think at this point, I spend around RM 50 per week for fruits.
Apps/websites I tried to buy fruits or healthy snacks or fruits :
1. From Amazin'Graze : I really love their Hazelnut Blackforest Granola that you can put on top of your yogurt or overnight oat. The granola tasted like chocolate so it balances out the fruit taste in my yogurt, and there's no refined sugar in it. I first bought it in JayaOne last Feb and enjoyed it so I bought 2 packets online with Super Seed Butter (my first try) this month during the promo season. During my first order I received free stuff and shipping.
The Super Seed Butter consists of sunflower seeds, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds, with no palm oil, no salt and no refined sugar. Af needs less unhealthy fats to lower down his blood pressure and cholesterol level, and I need to control my sugar intake. Although it is much expensive than my favorite peanut butter and jam, I think I need to start putting on extra thought on what I'm really eating every day - so why not. The verdict : it tasted decent with bread, not as I imagined combined seeds would taste like, a bit less sugary and less oily. I might try their other nut butter options in the future.
2. The Frozen Mixed Berries that I ordered from HappyFresh (Aeon Equine) : These frozen berries are very nice for our morning smoothies but not so nice for yogurt/overnight oat - the taste is just different. They are frozen fruits, more brittle and not that fresh anymore - so I just add them up in our morning banana smoothies.
First buy from HappyFresh, ordered early in the morning and arrived at 11am on the same morning. The strawberry that I ordered were sold out, so the buyer asked whether I would want a change in different strawberry (a bit more expensive) - I said yes and apparently it was then credited in my account after the purchase was made (I thought there was no extra charge because he didn't mentioned it) :
3. From MBGonline : The blueberries that I ordered were sold out while they were processing, so I got free upgrade to a pack of seedless grapes - I think they played the right card here because I like their services since then. You can also wait for seasonal/promo items here, because sometimes they are much cheaper than the ones in the supermarket.
4. From SignatureMarket : Most of the seeds and nuts that I bought since last year were from Signature Market. Seeds are mostly cheap, nuts are crazy expensive. I usually need 3 things : chia seeds, sunflower seeds and flaxseed. You can sprinkle chia seeds/sunflower seeds on almost anything : smoothies, yogurt, overnight oat. As for flaxseed, you need to grind it - so I usually only add it up in my smoothies or juice. Nuts and dried fruits are luxury items bought every 6 months.
How long will this fruit-craze phase stay ?
I'm not so sure - I've always think about fruits as luxury foods because they are expensive. But this year I'm giving my body what it wants :F
Did my skin cleared up ?
I'm in a hormonal phase - so I can't be sure. The small acnes on my face come and go, my skin is still oily like a teenager. But, the small bumps and rashes on my arms are gone (like chicken skin, but less).
I don't know whether this past 6 months changes anything in my body, roughly I still feel the same even though my diet changed a lot. But I think I'm staying in this course as long as we can ♥️I didn't even drink coffees or tea - no daily/weekly caffeine anymore.
Lately we've been having free fancy 4☆+ hotel room offers - and I accepted all offers and went for the mini escapism even for just 1-night because I was not going to waste such a delightful expensive rooms that I'll probably not going to splurge on anytime soon :
All of the hotels are far above my budget when we go for our mini trips (RM 300+ per night) - because we usually splurge on other stuffs than accommodation. Plus, all of these trips happened in less than 2 months time (and for free) :p
We went to Avani during Christmas, we got the 2-bedroom villa on water and spent 2 days with my dad, his wife, my siblings and Tokmak. The villa was spacious, there were 2 big rooms, a working room, a big living hall and verandah facing the sea.
We also got free Christmas dinner buffet paid for that night - I've never went to any buffets fancier that this. The foods were more than enough, the dessert section was colourful and huge, there were people singing Christmas carols from table to table, people were having fun and enjoying the presentation on the stage. Very fancy :F
My dad rented movie of the night during their stay (they stayed for 3 days) and so we watched 'Crazy Rich Asian' together that night.
The villa, christmas dinner and breakfast buffet costed around RM 1.5k+, and it was all paid for !
We can get a short trip to Bali for that price :F
Just around a month later, my dad asked us to join them again for free trip that my aunty can't go to and she passed the room to my dad. A fully paid room at Rosa Malacca, a really nice boutique hotel that I already put on my wish list in Agoda some time ago. It would be a waste of a chance if I refused to go without any solid reason. So we all said yes.
Our siblings and even Af shared one room together. So we paid for an extra bed for Af and combined the 2 super single beds for us four. Imagine having 5 adults in one room, the snore competition was real that night :F I woke up super early and can't sleep afterwards.
Here are some pictures I took around the hotel :
A few weeks later, my mom asked us to join her at Avillion Port Dickson when my uncle's family from Pekan came for a short stay during CNY holiday. I had to say yes - because again, I was free :F So we got a room at Avillion, another fancy hotel on water. My older sister also applied for a holiday so she was there with me as well. We stayed in a room with 2 single beds (for my aunt and mom) and a sleeping nook (for Aja and me).
We tried the hotel before around 1.5 years ago if I'm not mistaken - when I got a chance to get a fully paid room just for Af and me :F Rezeki jangan ditolak. I remember that they have an awesome breakfast buffet that we tried during our previous stay (but this time we didn't).
We also found spa & sauna section, private beaches (of left & right side of the hotel), fully functioning gym, public pool & adult's pool, and mini animal park when we had a short walk exploring the place in the next morning.
That night we went for a big dinner at a seafood restaurant not far from our hotel at :
Af came in the next day to pick me up and we went on our own mini escapism in Port Dickson and Bagan Lalang afterwards.
Maybe because I'm the kind of person who don't really splurge on expensive things so I never found any reasons to go to these places on whim. But these short trips have been eye-opening and somewhat interesting (to see how people actually spend their money on) - but not really relaxing (because it was too short).
In the monastery of Sceta, Abbot Lucas gathered the brothers together for a sermon.
‘May you all be forgotten,’ he said.
‘But why?’ one of the brothers asked. ‘Does that mean that our example can never serve to help someone in need?’
‘In the days when everyone was just, no one paid any attention to people who behaved in an exemplary manner,’ replied the abbot. ‘Everyone did their best, never thinking that by behaving thus they were doing their duty by their brother. They loved their neighbour because they understood that this was part of life and they were merely obeying a law of nature. They shared their possessions in order not to accumulate more than they could carry, for journeys lasted a whole lifetime. They lived together in freedom, giving and receiving, making no demands on others and blaming no one. That is why their deeds were never spoken of and that is why they left no stories. If only we could achieve the same thing now: to make goodness such an ordinary thing that there would be no need to praise those who practise it.’
I told Af several days ago, that when I die, I want to be forgotten,
I don't need a tombstone, just put a seed on my grave so I'll be a tree
This year I went to Japan for the third (or forth?) time and I also went to Turkey for the second time.
We went to Japan again for Midsummer Design Festa, our first summer and typhoon experience. It was all about the bad weather. We had to stay indoor a lot, we didn't explored as much as we wanted, the mini hikes we did were tough, the typhoon attacks were super scary. So we were pretty much disappointed because Japan was not as friendly as we remembered.
But we made a zine out of this trip, called Summer & Typhoon, a collaboration of Af and I. The pictures he took on films and the doodle notes that I did during the trip.
This is a picture of me with the umbrella that Af broke because of the super wind.
Huge reminder : Don't go to Japan during odd season. We went there during the transition between summer and autumn, so a lot of too hot to function and random windy scary typhoon attacks. This was in August.
Things I wrote in August :
About the 8 hours bus ride from Tokyo to Osaka :
There are many ways to travel from Tokyo to Osaka, one of the most affordable one was an 8 hour bus ride. The ticket was 7,200 yen (RM 260), we booked it 5 days before the date at Shinjuku Bus Terminal with a guide from people working at the bus station.
The bus ride was super fancy, we each got dedicated private and comfortable seat, with thick blanket (it gets cold), personal space (with private curtains for each seat), can lower down the seating, and rise-up the legs section, individual USB charging deck, free unlimited WIFI and toilet (AirAsia seating is far from comfortable - the 8 hour afternoon ride in the bus was much better than the 6 hours night flight).
About mini hikes in Nara & Kyoto :
Apart from the bad weather, we had several fun times in nature, we did some mini hikes away from the hectic crowds and summer heat. I did planned to do nature walks in the forest (in Japan), but the weather was not friendly throughout the week, so we had to cancel most plans.
These mini hikes weren't planned, it was just something that happened during our trips. It was a nice surprise. The first one was when we arrived in Nara, and we already visited all the listed places, so I suggested that we visit the farthest point in the given map, that is Kasugayama Primeval Forest. We had a nice several hours walk, no one was around, just the calm forest silence and old tall trees.
The second one was in Uji, Kyoto. We hiked to the Daikichiyama observation deck. It was a fairly easy mini hike, I was trying to avoid the sun and suggested we walked towards the place. Not sure how long did we took to hike up because we stopped several times for photos. The observation deck had a nice panoramic view of the Uji City.
In nicer seasons, you can also enjoy lines of sakura (spring) and maple trees (autumn), among all other tall old trees.
In Nov, I went to Turkey, just less than 2 months after the Japan trip and without Af.
This was with a Muslim group tour along with my older sister and her friend. Although Turkey is a friendly country, I don't really feel like it is possible for me to do a backpack travelling in Turkey (and those random riots are normal there). Turkey is a huge country with a lot to offer. It even takes up to 12 hours bus ride to reach to the next cities during our trip. So although I hated the group tour experience, I enjoyed the cities we went to during this 10 days trip and it was only for RM 3,250 including flights, hotels, foods and transportation. The last time I went to Turkey in 2014, the flight ticket alone was RM 2,700 :F
I like this photo because I look tall - I am short in nature.
We went from Istanbul - Ankara - Cappadocia - Pamukkale - Kusadasi - Bursa - Istanbul, covering around 2000 km area on bus. So there was a lot of sitting for long hours in the bus. It was also the starting of winter (again, about the weather - I can't function in cold weather). Most days were below 10°C. I'm thanking God for the decision I made in buying my own winter coat (so I have at least 3 layers of thick clothes all the time).
We also survived long flights. The worst one was on our way back home, we went to the airport on Sunday morning (at 10am) and finally arrived in Malaysia on Monday morning (at 10am). That is one whole day ! So around 3 hours from Istanbul to Iran, around 6 hours transit in Iran, and around 8 hours from Iran to Malaysia, missing around 5 hours in between continents.
Lesson : Don't go with a group tour again (I hated the experience) and don't leave your husband (it was tough on me - I never left his side for the past 3 years :F What is the meaning of these travel trips and escapism without my own travel partner? )
I think I spent less than RM 7k in my 2018's international trips :F
I never thought I would reach that many books in a year - the last time I read that many was probably when I was still a student. Although this year I got a lot of help from Scribd (listening to audio books while working) and rereading my all-time favorite books (it's easier to read books that you know you'll enjoy).
I can't help but to ask myself, what did I learned from consuming more than 100 books in a year? The truth is, I didn't feel like I've read that many, I think I've learned to become more aware of the things that will stay in my mind. Most of the things I read were probably books that I can't relate to, or not-so-important-in-my-life during this phase, or just things that I do not care - so I tend to forget those books. But some books stayed, some stories embedded in my mind.
Probably when I'm discussing about the hardship in life with my siblings (especially in pursuing our passion), I can mention about Bryan Cranston's life experience throughout his early career, because I read his biography. Or I can mention about the high achievers (Elon Musk / Jack Ma), those stories when most people have doubts in them but they persevered and just pushed through the pain and endless humiliation. I read Barack Obama's books (about hope) and Jane Goodall about the earth and the animals (I love), or Jon Krakauer's essays on self-exploration. A lot of biographies, essays and motivational books.
I have this library of stories in my mind with anecdotes, reminders, lessons, and personal thoughts. I'm not sure how to explain to people about the things that I've learned in bullet points. I just know that in certain phases when I need some guidance or reminder, I might probably remember these little stories from people all over the world. These books that left invisible marks in me.
A reminder that I'm not alone, I'm not worthless, even how small it might be, my stories are worth your time.
I love this yearly compilation, of my own successes and failures :o This is a reminder of what I reached every year (because I'm a Capricorn - I tend to take notes and have yearly goals :F). So when I look back, I can track back what I did in my younger years (although I said I'm no longer updating my blog - I'm still crawling back to this site everyday. Or is it because this is the landing page for my browser? Hm).
1. Read 50 books in a year goal, upgraded to 100 books (Succeeded)
I actually managed to consume 115 books this year, thanks to a lot of audio books on Scribd and rereading books that I already loved. Comparing this goal with last year, I only read 15 books - so I wanted to really pushed myself in 2018. I subscribed to Scribd for only 6 months and didn't buy that many physical books this year :D Read 'On More Books but Buying Less'.
But, I have a long lists of books I want next year.
2. Travel + Events (Succeeded)
We went to Japan for the third time, had our first event in Japan (Midsummer Design Festa), and I also went to Turkey for the second time (this time exploring way more cities than the trip in 2014).
I also joined a lot of events from May - August, and did a lot of doodle workshops throughout the year. It helped me in funding my way through all these trips and paying off my loans.
3. Work-wise, freelance life (still surviving)
I started in April 2017, and it is already more than a year and reaching 2 years in 4 months. I'm proud of this, my super goal is to reach financial independence, payoff my loans - not to be working for anyone else but me :D
At this moment, I'm having a good time hiding in my apartment.
4. Having our own child (still trying)
Yeap, we are still trying. Our forth anniversary will be in 5 months and we are still trying to have a baby - but with no luck! But we are still in honeymoon phase (which is a bliss to be in love and be loved :F ).
Maybe we will consider adoption, I don't mind this.
Random story : Yesterday I mentioned about telur pindang in our group Whatsapp, and just a few moments after, my sister already ordered those eggs and had someone send it to our apartment. Just like that. That's how serious they are taking about random food cravings that I have - even with no pregnancy in sight. Not sure whether I'm lucky to have 'very thoughtful sister + mom' or it's bad for me for giving them such hope :D
5. More shopsand more self-published books (Yess !)
I'm now sending my items to these shops, so you can find my products all over the place :
Salt x Paper, Kota Kinabalu
Stickerrific, Petaling Jaya
MyPaperProjects, Shah Alam
Ikigai Shop & Smida Paper, Georgetown
I also self-published several books & zines this year : the Wander book (Japan Travelogue), the Doodle Journal mini guide and the latest one Summer & Typhoon (mini travel zine).