Can you believe it — here we are at the last cusp of 2014, just barely toeing the line of the complete end.
I am barely containing myself in my anticipation to just hop right across the border into a brand new year, yet at the same time am torn to linger with the all the good memories that have taken place in this one.
Alas, time and tide wait for no man and I don’t really have a say in staying or moving forward. But while I can, I always like to look back at all the fond things and draw from it the strength to go into new foray with renewed enthusiasm.
So for one last one time before we close this chapter of my 24th year of my life forever and abound on a new one, let’s take a short walk down memory lane.
And boy do we have a lot to smile about 🙂
We started off the year on a grand electrifying note, quite literally. We stumbled across an art exhibition in Publika, which for the life of me, I cannot the remember the name of now, but it was like fate had pathed our way to the show. It was a simple concept — a small mirrored room gets filled with fiber optic lights hanging from the ceiling but the message it sent left me all kinds of empowered to start the new year. Light is everywhere we looked so long as we cared to search for it and true strength glows form within ourselves — like the fibre optic lights that lit up the longer we held it in our hands.
In January was also Thaipusam and for the first time in all my 5-going-on-6 years of living in Selangor, the Ninja and I made our way to Batu Caves to witness the festival upclose. We got squashed by the crowd which we grossly underestimated and we almost got sunstroke from the heat that day, but we also got a lot of beautiful photos of the thousands of devotees climbing up the ancient hill into the temple in the cave to pay their respects and offerings. Certainly an eye-opening experience.
The highlight of February is without a doubt Chinese New Year and this year’s was certainly something else. It was my first time celebrating it as a working adult and as such had such limited time back home in Penang. I truly learned the essence of time and how much just being with family means to me. I totally regret taking my weeks- if not months-long breaks back then for granted now. If I could, I would go back and make the most our of every minute I have in my most favourite island in the world!
February also spells Valentine’s and this year, the Ninja and I took a short weekend getaway to Cherating in Pahang. We rented a small chalet hut that fitted just the two of us, ate the freshest seafood, flew kites by beaches with powdery white sand, drunk mojitos and apple ciders well into the night, explored mangrove swamps on a little motorboat and simply revelled in being alone, just the two of us. True, any day spent with the Ninja is equally special nonetheless but being able to subtract the distractions of work, the city and other daily stresses made it all the more magical.
In March, we decided to learn how to cook hahaha. We were given this amazing cookbook of fast, easy but unfailingly delicious Eurasian recipes (the Ninja’s favourite!) by his Godma and set out to make everything on the menu. True to its claims, it is easy to understand and grasp that even the most inexperienced novice can put on an apron, yet yields delicious dishes that have never disappointed. Thus started our beautiful journey of eating home more, beneficial to us for more reasons than just saving money hehehe.
March also marks the start of the Holi celebration for the Hindus, and while it might be a little while away before I get to go and photograph for myself the real deal in India, we got a small-scale taste of it right here in KL. The Shree Lakshmi Narayan Temple near Jalan Ipoh holds one every year and I was so incredibly glad I got to be part of this year’s. It was an amazing, beautiful experience to see people from all walks of life come together and just have fun and dance the afternoon away, just as the festival was started out to accomplish. Under all the blue, pink, yellow and purple, it didn’t matter what colour we were — what mattered was simply that we were all Malaysians.
In April, I fell in love many times over. We went to the pet fiesta at Setia City Mall and I got to hug so many different breeds of puppies, it completely solidified my love for man’s best friend. But I still hold true to my belief of adopting and not buying when the time is right for us to get a dog. Adopt a pet and help save a life. Shelter dogs can be equally, if not more, loving than any pedigree breed.
In April was also when we took the most epic adventure of our lives. We hiked the tallest mountain in all of Malaysia, the 5th tallest in all of South East Asia — the majestic Mount Kinabalu! It was all sorts of trying. We cried, we laughed, we suffered, we nearly lost our minds doing it. But at the end of it all, the rewards were so sweet, we don’t regret doing it one bit. We learned a lot about ourselves and each other on the trip and came back changed. If you haven’t done it, do it. I swear, the feeling when you make it the top and back is priceless. We took on a mountain, yo. Everything else in life is nothing we can’t handle after this.
May is the birthday month of my favourite person in the whole wide world. The Ninja turned 24 and to celebrate the occasion, I surprised him with a buffet lunch at the KL Tower Rotating Restaurant so we could eat while the best view of the KL skyline spun around us, followed by a visit to the aquarium downstairs. The two juxtapositions of dining so high up in the sky and then spending time with underwater sea creatures is symbolic of our love that extends as high up into the sky yet can tread the deepest waters of the ocean — geddit, geddit? Hahahaha no, it was quite by coincidence and it was the Ninja himself who pointed it out.
I was also given the chance to go to Hong Kong in May on an all-expenses paid media trip — something I never thought would happen to me, not within 6 months at my job! All I had to do was enjoy myself (and interview a few people but that’s nothing compared to all the other luxuries I got to enjoy) and explore the city. I was so fortunate to be sent on the trip with some of the sweetest girls from other magazines who have now become friends. I will never forget the sights, sound, taste, feel, and noise of that bustling first-world city. I said I didn’t like it very much there in my blogpost but looking back now, I wouldn’t mind a return visit, but only if I get to do it with the Ninja.
PS: Yes, that’s the world-famous Bank of China Tower behind us!
In June, after being out of the game for more than half a year, the running crew made me go for the Melaka River International Marathon so I don’t completely forget I’m a runner hahaha. I can always count on these guys to bring me back down to Earth. Thus began our longest roadtrip ever, potholed with as many challenges, roadbumps and dead ends along the way. Arriving in Melaka to learn our rooms had been given away was only the start of it! We almost turned around to go home without running the race but things smoothed out for us in the end and we all went home happy. It was a good weekend of great friends, amazing food and good ol’ marathon-running.
June also saw the first ever outdoor cinema ever to take place in KL – Starlight Cinema! It was an experience unlike any other, watching movies on the grass in the great outdoors under a starry night sky. Food trucks also lined up along the field so we could easily get snacks and a drink or two to accompany our movie-going experience. Man, I do wish they’d make a comeback next year because I would totally go for it again.
Le Meridien Hotel KL invited us for an e-clair making session in July to learn how their new e-clairs are made. We got a hands-on in-kitchen experience where we got to knead, roll, bake, fill and glaze our own e-clairs. After that, we sat down to a nice afternoon tea with Harney & Sons tea. Trust Le Meridien to always serve us with top notch service and innovative experiences!
This beautiful 7th month was also the first time I got to meet Rudy! This is a big deal because he is meeting his girlfriend’s best friend (ie, me *ahem) which means I could have totally made him or break him wahahahaha. Yuh Ting and he came up from Singapore to stay with us for a few days and we packed as much as we could in the short time. We did everything from fine dining to scoffing down KFC, just lazing at home to climbing up Batu Caves again, and basically trying to cover as much grounds as we could. Rudy didn’t have anything to worry about though — both the Ninja and I think he’s the sweetest guy around with perfect manners and the most attentive nature, and we couldn’t have found a better man for Yuh Ting even if we tried.
My beautiful birthday month is upon us! Hahahaha. It was a great month with lots of love, blessings, reasons for laughter and all the joy in the world indeed. It started off with a grand party thanks to The Perfect Gang. I had a nice birthday warm-up do at its Wicked Wednesday bash at Casbah, Mandarin Oriental. For the occasion, they sponsored me champagne and so much cocktails, I definitely didn’t go home sober that night. Big shout-out goes to my main man Dante for hooking me up on my special day!
My main course was the epic Phuket trip I made with my Walruses hehehe. Yes, we call ourselves Walruses because we’re fat, lazy and would love nothing more than just to lie around all day in the sun and sleep our lives away. Sun, sand and sea helped me turn 24 in the most unforgettable manner, with my girls being the cherry on top of my vacation sundae. We snorkelled, we canoed, we ate so much tom yam and pad thai, I can’t even. We even got Li Ying drunk, so major score! Hahaha. Can’t wait for our next trip together!
September was a nice slow month but one filled with equally special moments. With the Mid-Autumn Festival starting the month off, we gathered a few friends and did nothing but ate mooncake, sipped Chinese tea and played with paper lanterns just because we felt like it. We talked about everything and nothing — the best kind of conversations in my opinion — and just allowed ourselves to be children again hehehe.
I also got to go fishing!!! I’ve never fished before so it was all kinds of fun for me. What I didn’t expect at all was to actually catch something, so my entire month was made when I caught not one, not two, but THREE fish! I still remember the adrenaline of pulling the fish in, jerking the line intermittently so you don’t lose your catch and finally netting the fish out of the water. I squealed, I screamed, I made a total fool out of myself but I would do it all again. We even got to eat one of our own catch for lunch and fish never tasted any better.
I completed my 10th half marathon in October, at none other than the Standard Charted KL Marathon. I can’t believe I’ve come this far since my first 21km back in 2011. Now I have 10 halves and 2 fulls clocked by my running shoes and I can’t be any prouder. What made it sweeter was that I did it on the 11th of October, which is also the Ninja and my 5th anniversary of being together. It was the perfect gift from me to me.
That night we went for dinner to celebrate 5 whole years of tolerating one another and having not killed each other hahahaha. I kid, I kid. It’s been 5 years of love, secret jokes, blocking out the whole world on weekends and late night movies in bed with pizza on rainy nights. But more than anything, it’s been 5 years of continuous support, never-ending faith and ever growing-mutual trust and respect in each other. Good or bad, it was and always will be us against the world. I wouldn’t choose anyone else to do it all with if I could. I love you, Ninja.
A big shout out goes to my Tatler family for November! The magazine celebrated 25 years of beautiful people, posh parties, haute cuisine and all things stylish in a grand silver jubilee ball. We were running around like headless chickens the whole month leading up to that night in preparation for it but looking back on it, it was a good night. I don’t know how I could have gotten this lucky to land a job I actually truly enjoy and — dare I say it? — love, that it doesn’t at all feel like a job. Everyday, it’s a lot of fun and laughter with this bunch and the work hardly feels like work at all. This has set the benchmark for me in regards to all my future career plans — make sure to do something I love so I won’t have to work a single day in my life.
A new tradition was also born in November. Every year beginning this fateful year of 2014, I have decided that will make it a point to do a full marathon at the Penang bridge International Marathon. I completed my 2nd full marathon this year with the same race as I that which I did last year, and couldn’t be prouder. It reminded me of all the things that make running such a sentimental and bittersweet sport for me and made me love it all over again. Running transients you; it breaks you down and tears you apart so you can learn to put yourself back together faster and stronger every time so you become this perfect, whole, all around better version of the old you.
December, being the party month of the year out of the 12, started off aptly with vodka. Not just any vodka mind you, it is the special limited edition Absolut Warhol vodka done in collaboration with the high priestess of pop art, Andy Warhol. We got to be among the first few in the country to have a look at the new bottle and try our delicious new cocktails created in the name all things Warhol. It was a great night of camarederie, catching up with friends new and old and simply drinking the night away.
Closing off the year, I was so lucky to be able to catch the smash-hit West End musical, Mamma Mia! live when they came to town for a special 3-day-only staging. Tickets were sold out within days so it was a true blessing indeed that we were sent some free tickets from the production company, Yvents!, to go catch it. We got premium tickets and seats too and I enjoyed the whole show so much more than I thought I would. It certainly wrapped up an eventful year in a very nostalgic way. Now I’m on an ABBA high and feel this immense need to sing along everytime one comes on hahaha.
What a year it has been, I must say. Good things have fallen into my lap many times and I’ve had the warm halo of love shone on me on so many occasions. Yes, I will indeed be terribly sad to see 2014 go but I also know 2015 will bring even greater, bigger, better things.
Out with the old, in with the new! Can’t wat to see what the future holds 🙂
Happy new year everybody and may the new year bring only the best of love, luck and happiness to your door.