Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Winter Break

It has been a while since I had so much fun! It started last weekend when Pittsburgh suddenly turned white. Even though it was cold, Rassyid and I found an excuse to go out (which is to buy plants for our home). We thought that was to be our only outing, until I received a text from our seniors, inviting us sliding in the snow. It was honestly fun sliding at night, when there was no other person in the park except for us.

The next day was our "Ladies' Night", which I accidentally ruined. Six of us went out to watch the ballet, Nutcracker. The ballet was nice and all, both colorful and beautiful. But when we were deciding where to go for dinner, I called my husband, who was watching American football for the first time. Since he hadn't had dinner yet, I invited him to have dinner with us, and that's how it changed to another "Malaysian Night" with the rest.

And then on Wednesday Diana arrived in Pittsburgh! Rassyid and I went to the Greyhound station after subuh and thankfully, Diana was getting out of the bus when we arrived. Took her home, and brought her to Market District, since she never went to a pasar in the US since her arrival :p Then I checked my Facebook page just to find out that ASILAH will arrive that same night! So around 10 we went to the station again, this time for Asilah, Aina, and her sis, Kak Aimi. Since it was already late, we were only able to serve them Maggi :(

On Thursday we took them too Monroeville Mall as Aina wanted to shop before New York. I think Rassyid was most shocked when he saw Aina going into a store and grabbed everything she like. I was glad though that they enjoyed themselves. It was sad that the store had to close early for Christmas Eve and we did not even reach the other wing of the mall!

On Friday it was raining. We can't do much anyway since it was Christmas, so I took them to Pitt, our school. Unfortunate for us, school was closed (obviously). But somehow, one of the Cathedral's door was unlocked! At least they were able to get an 'inside look' of the most famous building of Pitt.

On the three's last day, I took them to see The Nutcracker - again! I've watched it but Rassyid hasn't, so I thought why not take all of them. It was a nice show anyway, so I didn't mind paying the discounted student price. Then we went to Mt Washington, the second most beautiful view in the States. It was night, so we can't point many of the buildings; nonetheless the view was beautiful. And finally, Aina's favorite part - shopping! On the way back we stopped at Burlington, and again, Aina went crazy over the cheap stuff. A few hours later, Rassyid and I were on the bus again towards 11th st to bid farewell to Asilah, Aina and Kak Aimi.

But no worries, Diana is still with us! We already have plans for New Year's Eve, and today I cooked Nasi Lemak again, specially for her. Hopefully she'll not feel too bored in Pittsburgh!


Monday, December 21, 2009

*dancing in the skies*






p/s: And that's, ladies and gentlemen, why I don't go out before finals (except for NY and Thanksgiving). NERD!

p/p/s: And remember people, it's 93+ over here. To those who think this system is easy, try reading more than 30 pages PER subject PER day, multiply that with FOUR classes that meet twice a week, and you'll get the magic number. Not counting papers and the usual quizzes, of course.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Guess Who

I love this part from the movie Guess Who, and just wanna share with y'all :)

Percy : If you're going to marry one of these women, sometimes it's gonna hurt like hell, and all you can do is admit that you're wrong and know that she's always right.

Simon : She's right?

Percy : That's right.

Simon : Always.

Percy : Right.

Simon : Right.

Percy : That's right.

Simon : What about all the talk about my dignity?.

Percy : Do you love her? Do you want her? Then she's always right.




Okay, this blog now feels like a food blog, sorry 'bout it. :p

But to those who doubt my cooking abilities -- in your face!


Saturday, December 5, 2009


It snowed in the city of Pittsburgh! These pictures were taken in the morning. I know it's not so clear, but it was the best that we could do in the bright light. Oh wells, just wanna update my mum who's been asking, "Dah snow belum?" By the way, after we saw the snow, the first thing Rassyid said was: "CHRISTMAS!" My hubby's so cute.

Just want to include a picture of my sayang. We're teaching her solat.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Come all!

Okay people! 363 S Negley Ave is officially open (well, not until we're done with finals)! We finally had the opportunity to pimp up our apartment (borrowing Elly's term). Now everyone is invited to come to Pittsburgh, especially during the winter break since we're not going anywhere. Yay!

She misses Malaysia... :p


Lucky me

I am so proud of my husband. I am so happy to have him as my partner. He is the man I have been waiting for, because he has the same vision as me. We both believe that in a home, in a family, there should be equality, just as how I wrote in the post on the day we got married. There is equality in the sense that I'm not the only one doing the cooking and cleaning, and he's not the only one who has to assemble our new furniture. There is no such thing as a 'female job' and a 'man's work'.

I'm writing this as an appreciation towards my husband. He not only knows how to differentiate a vacuum cleaner and a mop, but he also knows how to use them - without complaints! And I know of guys who never even touch a vacuum cleaner. Some parents are so...'protective'? I don't know. But some feel like cleaning is the job of the daughter and their boys can sit do nothing (even if their daughters have things to do too). But my husband, he understands we are both students and thus, we should both do our chores equally. It is because of him that I promise to myself when I have my own boys and girls, I'm going to teach ALL of them to use a vacuum cleaner and the right way to put a screw in.

My husband is amazing because when I'm in 'my mood', he does not wait around but instead goes to the kitchen and cooks something for me. And no, it's not fried chicken with omelet, but tom yam, kuey teow, and once, nasi biryani. Tell me where can I find a guy like that nowadays? When he sees the laundry basket full, he goes to the toilet and washed 'em all. He does not have the mentality of that being my job and what being his job. Of course some would say that that's supposed to be the way since both of us are students, but come on, what about when both are working? Isn't the situation similar? Both have outside responsibilities so why is there still this mindset that man does this and woman does that? When I have my own kids, they're going to learn responsibility is equally distributed.

I am a lucky girl. I am such a lucky wife. Do I love this guy or what.


Saturday, November 28, 2009


Alright! Second one! In contrast to the first trip, this one is planned way in advance. The initial plan was to visit Uncle Robert in DC for Thanksgiving. And then I told Zaim about it. And he wanted to spend time in DC too. Then he wanted to go shopping for Black Friday TOO. Alas, we decided to do both, which, is sad for me for Rassyid and I would love to spend more time in DC. So on Tuesday, we took the bus from Pittsburgh at 2 am. We arrived around 8.40 am. Diana called, saying she had arrived earlier than scheduled (we should have arrived first!) So the three of us met and walked from the Greyhound station to Union Station. There we met Uncle Robert who took us to America, the restaurant. He gave us a tour of the place before it opens. Then the tour 'moved' to the McDonald's in the station where we had breakfast. Found out that the rest will arrive late so the three of us went on a DC tour on our own.

We walked to the Smithsonian museum. First we went to the natural museum, then the Smithsonian Institution and then the American History museum. I wanted to go to the Holocaust museum but we did not have enough time for that so we just walked back to the station. Lils called to say they were running late too. After all of us were there, we went to have lunch at America. Uncle Robert was so nice. We had a lovely lunch with a lovelier desert!

Then it was time for Jiamin to give us a free tour of DC. We took the metro from the Union to GWU. Jiamin showed us around her campus and it was really cool that GWU is in walking distance to the White House, World Bank, and IMF. It's especially cool that Jiamin's doing PS too. From there we put our stuff at her place and walked to the White House, Washington Monument, and Lincoln Memorial. It was night (reminded me of our night walk through NYC) so the pictures were not so good but oh wells, it was the bonding time that matters - gossip! And soon we were all tired.

At first we wanted to have dinner somewhere near GWU but the place was closed so we took the metro again to MALAYSIA KOPITIAM, where Aunty Sally works. My lord the food was so nice! I only had roti canai but man, it is always nice to have Malaysian food when you're abroad, more so with nice company! When the restaurant closed, we separated as Rassyid, Diana, and I went over to Uncle Robert's place and the rest heading either to Jiamin's dorm or a hotel.

There, after taking a bath, Rassyid and I chatted with Uncle Robert, Aunty Sally, and Andrew. It was close to 1 am that we slept in Adeline's room with Diana. It was so good to sleep after sleeping in a bus and touring DC nonstop. The next morning we woke up to the smell of laksa! How much better can this get, eh? We ate and soon enough Diana came down and then Zahid called to say he's at the metro station. Uncle Robert went to pick him up and all of us had (original, Malaysian, spicy!) laksa, and rendang and rice... Oh, the point is that we were so full and happy!

After taking a few pictures, we had to say goodbye to everyone and Uncle Robert took us to the Dulles Air and Space Museum. Diana was happy because that's where Night at the Museum was shot; Zahid was happy because he once wanted to be a pilot; and I am happy because that's where Sam found the Decepticon Jetfire in Transformers 2 (Rassyid's just happy to be with me :p)! We walked around the museum for almost 2 and a half hour. We also went on a simulator but it was not that fun. Next, Uncle Robert took us to the Asian market where Diana was the happiest one to get her Old Town coffee and biscuits. After that off we went to the Iwo Jima memorial. But on the way, Uncle Robert took a wrong turn and because of that, we passed the Pentagon! So cool. At the memorial we took quick snaps and then we had to send Diana to her bus stop. Later Uncle Robert took us to the Greyhound station where we finally said goodbye :(

Our bus left exactly at 5.30 pm and headed to NYC. Both Diana and the rest of us were supposed to arrive at 10pm but she arrived earlier - again. So, Zahid, Rassyid, and I, ran 8 streets down towards 34th street where our bus to Woodbury was already waiting. We called Jiamin, Zaim, and Lils, and we boarded the bus.

We arrived at Woodbury around 12 am. Yes, a.m. people, and after another full day of DC tour. We split up and shop shop shop! I thought it would take only, like, 3 hours for me to shop (so that I can spend the rest of the nigh sleeping), but who knows there were so many stores to check out! Not only that, the lines were so long and the queues at the cashier were just as long! At the end, Rassyid and I finished our shopping at around 5.15 am. Yes, a.m. All of us took the bus back to NYC and arrived around 6.40 am.

Because of the cold weather, we bid farewell there on the streets of NYC and Rassyid and I went to the Greyhound station to exchange our ticket to the earliest time available. Thus exactly at 8.30 am we left for Pittsburgh. But because the bus went through so many transits, it took us TWELVE hours to reach Pittsburgh. I swear, I'm not taking anymore buses in the USA. By the time I turn 21 next year, it's just going to be cars for me, all the way to San Francisco. But the good side is that we got to walk around Philadelphia for 30 minutes. It was sufficient enough to buy stuff at the Hard Rock Cafe there.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Long Weekend, no recitation.

Had an interesting weekend. But not in the mood of writing. So gonna put pictures instead. Starting with Friday evening when we went to watch Light/The Holocaust & Humanity Project, a ballet.

First we went for dinner at the Original Oyster House, supposedly the most famous restaurant in Pittsburgh for a hundred years. Big fish sandwiches though.

Those pictures were taken after the ballet. The theater is called the Byham Theater.

Me and my Transformers, of course.

Some background of a parking lot and UPMC at the back.

Waiting for the bus.

Forced to get online.

Waiting for bus to go to the Asian market.

"Ella, ella, eh, eh."

And...my first attempt at nasi lemak. Will improvise, soon, definitely :)


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hillman Library

I'm at the library. Waiting for Rassyid. Reading a book on ethnicity in Malaysia. Yes, it took me to be miles away from home to be excited on Malaysia. (Tak sangka ada banyak buku on Malaysia here.) On another note, I need to do a paper for my PoliSci class on a constitution, any constitution. So, of course my easiest choice is my home country.

As I was reading, thoughts kept on crashing with each other in my head. On the constitution. On Islam. On NEP. On Chinese-Malay relationship. All sorts of things. I wish for a better Malaysia, but I know not in this generation. I'm not some kind of crazy 'new Malay' that wants equality all of a sudden. Some may say I'm lucky; I don't understand them. Why don't the try to understand me? No, I am not a NEW Malay. I am Malay, full stop. I know and I understand their need for a policy to help Malays. Read again. I know their need. There is no such thing as a universal desire. But of course in order to run a country you need to have some sort 'generalization' of the people or you won't get anything done. Fine.

What really drove me to write a blog entry right now, a few minutes before my PoliSci class, is a chapter in the book on Pork. Yup, pork. And I agree. I agree that pork is a defining topic on the story of ethnicity in Malaysia. Pork is an interesting story. Pork is GREAT. Yes, I know some 'conservative' Malays (note, not Muslims) do not like me using the two words in a sentence. But did I say anything on the consumption of it in that three-word sentence? We know Chinese eat pork. So? (Suddenly I remember Wenli's song with satay babi in it. Embarrassingly, I didn't know there existed such a satay. How ignorant. But then, I don't don't like her. I love her. She's my friend. She's a Chinese. She loves pork, we all know that. So?) Food brings us together, food tore us apart? Why? Just as I've said to friends here, I don't care if you katok. As long as you don't bother me eating halal food, I won't bother you. I'm not an Islamic scholar. I'm just a person trying to live, trying to survive.

Now, my favorite topic: special rights to the Malays. Yeah, I've heard it all. "Malays need it to get equal!" "Malays were denied privileges by the British!" But all I hear is, "Malays are weak." There's this thing we learn in class call the 'Trust Fund States'. Basically, it is a country where there's so much oil that the leaders are not hold accountable to the people since they don't need the people to do anything for them! You know which country I'm particularly talking about, let's not be too direct here. These countries have everything. Wealth. With that, they don't need to do as much, compete as hard, or be as wise. But as I've said, I don't want to generalize. I've seen some of those people trying to make it work here at Pitt. But that's just the ones here. Now take this idea, and put it in Malaysia. Once you have the back of the state (not government, as it is a weak institution), you just won't try. If you get 6As for SPM, so what? There's this thing called Matrix where like, what, 90% are your 'kind'. Then from there, where? University of course. How you gonna pay? Look at skin color, government, etc. Now, what about those with lighter skin color? They got 7As and all they can afford is a private college. And you want to brag? Please. I know I'm here under a scholarship, never let it slip my mind once. But I think I got it fairly. Not saying there are people who don't, I'm not here to judge. But I was in the list. I know even without some special privilege, I could still get it. I know some would say that's a premature judgment on my side. Luck plays a part. I don't call it luck; I call it God. Point is, there are many ways to survive, if you feel you need to. That's why they call it survival of the fittest. Now think. Those who are not 'fit enough' are given an advantage over those who are. They call if fair. I say it's weakening the country. I'm not saying we should let the rest rot off. I just want Malays to think why is it that Chinese could still survive after all? Because when they need it most, they have guilds and associations. Malays? Kaki dengki. Plus, it's proven throughout history that when citizens are not happy, they revolt. When they revolt, the country does not work. Thus?

Blast me all you want but remember, the country's not yours. Neither is it mine. I'm not calling for a drastic change. I've even give up my hope of being a politician, much less to be the first female Malaysian Prime Minister. I'm not interested. Politics is dirty. Why bother if I'm the only one?


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Story of the past

Dark, cold, and sleepy. Tututtutu...tututtutu!! Once. Twice. She can't hit snooze more than that. She want to. But she can't. Rubbed eyes. Turned left, turned right. It's still dark. But it's already time. Feet dragging body. Six am. Splash! "AARH!" She's now awake. Hot water. Drip... Drip... Why one has to bathe in the morning? It's not like one run a mile before sleeping. With that thought in mind, she wrapped herself in a thin towel and stepped out. Wishing. Can't she lay down for five more minute. No. One minute. Thirty seconds. Please. Of course she knows the answer. Took out the blue uniform, looked at it, and wished for the day she'll be able to wear anything she wants. Second wish. A slap of deodorant. Pull them on. Mirror. Immature, childish, young. Put on face powder. Hides imperfections. Not enough. Blusher. Too pink. Wiped it off. Lip-gloss. OK. Turned west. Pray. Prostate. Can she grow up any faster. Bag filled with books, blue scarf, and off. Every one's there. Mum. Dad. Brother in college. Took a seat. Mmm. Coffee. Toast. Malaysian style. Every thing's there. Ready. But oh look! Ten till seven! Dad's putting on socks! Thrust down half a bread and drained the cup. Gulp. Now. Scarf! Pull one end. Then the other. Done. Kissed mum. Hand and cheek. Bye! Socks...they're not in the drawer! Ran to the room. The one near the back of the house. Next to the kitchen. In a basket. Black socks. Black shoes. S-! The car's engine's on! Run run. Get in the car. The car. Blue car. Move. Red. Glimpses of a rising sun. Another day. Kissed dad. Take money. So simple. If only she has her own source of money. Third wish. Walked through the gate. There's her! There's him! Oh friendly faces. Wait up! Talk. What about? Nothing. Laugh. Over who? No one. Put bags. Stood. Time for prefect job. Who's in the toilet? People. Smoking? No. Moving on. Who's at the back? People. Smoking? No. Moving on. Who's coming through the fallen gate? People. Who's going out? There! Stop him! Done for the morning. Rrring! Bell. Blue uniform. She can arrive late at the assembly. Sing. Negraku. Sing. Duli yang maha mulia. Sit down. Alone? No way. Look left, look right. Babe, save a place for her! Join babe. Teacher talked. About what? Nobody cares. Why bother. Teacher's going to say the same thing tomorrow. And tomorrow. And tomorrow. The final word. Dismiss. Blue uniform. Take position. Check. Look. See. Anybody wearing colored socks? Her! Name please. Not wearing camisole? There! Name please. Long nails? Everyone. Name please. Empty. Moving on. Classroom. Take seat. At the back. The farthest away. Teacher can't see. Her talk. She laughed. Put her bag. Life begun. Tok..tok...tok. Footsteps. Everyone. Places! Assalamualaikum cikgu. Waalakumusalam. Bismillahirrahmanirrahim. Duduk. Terima kasih cikgu. Repeated. Twice? No. Three times. Look at the time. Ten minutes to 10. Need to go to recess. Hungry. Half a bread consumed. Brain needed energy. Why now? Blue uniform. Ooh.. Nobody. Empty. Nasi Lemak. Four a table. Her, her, her, and her. Hurry. The bell's gonna...and it has. Kids rushing. Big guy. Tall guy. Hurry up guys. Go to your posts. OK. Plates. Basin. Bye babes! Walk. And walk. Yo there! Anything new? No. Thought so. I'll be there, you go there. OK. Toilets. Smoke? Nuh-uh. Field. Fights? Juniors. Stop! Why? None of your business. Really? Hey, that's the friendly sis. Huh? She's cool. Nothing then. Right. Don't fight. Watch. Five till bell. Bored. Tired. Tall guy not around. Sit down. At the back. Near the surau. Bell. Waited for her babe. At the stairs leading to the canteen. Her babe's commanding everyone to clear the canteen. She needs help. Go down. Talk to them. Empty. As before. Walk. To class. Teacher on the way. Hid behind wall. D-! There, the other stairs. But that's the faculty's stair! So? Fine! Run! Near main office. Walk slowly. Smile. Up another flight. Run! Reached class. Teacher's not there yet. We are. Sigh. Looked outside. Beautiful weather. Wait a minute. Wasn't she sleepy before? Where did it go? Mystery. Sun's out. Honk! Man, if only she can drive outside. In a circle. With no point. Any car. With a license. Fourth wish. Look at the time! Five more minutes till end. Countdown. Four. Some kids were running. Three. Wasn't that the afternoon session's kids? Two. My guy's behind the door. One. First to pack bags. Zero. BYE EVERYONE! Hi. Hi. How's your day? Not bad. Got the result. And? Not an A. It's okay, there's always next time. Yeah. Wait, do you hear giggling? Turn. Her and her. They're behind them. Well. Same route. No one to blame. Okay, see you this afternoon. You too. Open the gate. Forcefully. For someone to realize she's back. Knock on the door. Shout! Yes, coming! Tired and hungry. There. The food's on the table. Ready. Put bag. Took off scarf. Get a plate. A scoop of rice. Two pieces of chicken. No, just one. Diet. Veggies? No thank you. Front. TV. Cartoon. Disney. Ha.Ha. Not so funny. Finished rice. Sleepy. Oh yeah! Have to 'replace' lost time. Change clothes? Nah. Washed face. Pray. Dear God, thank you for all you've given her. But can you give more? Fifth wish. Magnet. The pillow. Yes. Now this is heaven. Tututtutu!! WHAT?! Time already?! Four dot three zero. D-! He's gonna be here soon! Wash face wash face. Arrg! Hideous! Powder! Better. Lip-gloss. Obviously. Now where's the eyeliner...there! Time. Four dot five zero. Bag! Oh God. The phone's ringing. OUT! Hi. Hi. Slept? Uh-huh. You? Same. Walked. Below the flyover. Wait! What? There's a car there. Oh, thanks. You're welcome. Across the drain. Tuition. Up stairs. Another flight. Left. Big room. There's her, and him, and oh, that's the cute couple! I'll sit here. Okay. See you later? Uh-huh. Hi babe! Hi. Hi. Hi. Good afternoon everyone. Afternoon. Biology. Chemistry. Two hours. Six. Down the stairs. Another flight. Right. Blue car. See you guys tomorrow. Uh-huh. Moved. Across the highway. Near the big supermarket. Behind shop-houses. Close to the playground. Home.


Where did those days go? Why didn't I appreciate them more? Because I was a teenager, a child. Eager to grow up. What now? God knows :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Do as the Chinese

One day, before coming here, I accidentally stumbled upon a documentary on one of those 'learning' channels. It was about China's preparations before the world had its eye on them for the 2008 Olympics. One of the preparations is their English. Taxi drivers needed to pass English speaking exams if they wish to contribute during the summer Olympics. So did volunteers and the rest of China, for the matter. A segment of the show is about an English camp founded by a renowned lecturer in the country. I like his statement that goes something like this:

"We learn English not because we want to be subdued under them. We learn English because they are not ready to learn Mandarin...but we are!"

I think that statement is a very powerful one. English may be the universal language today but it is not the only language. Yes, to have English at both the tips of your fingers and tongues is important. But don't ever think that we have to put all the blame on ourselves and none on them as if they are that superior. The fact that most English-as-a-second-language speakers master more than two languages is a feat that we can be proud of.

Arrogant it may sound, but it is up to the person. If a person feels that native English speakers are the best in everything...then that is his wish. For me, I would ask the question "Why is it then that Asians still score much better in science and mathematics?" True, that when you're in their country you do as they do. But to feel inferior is wrong, if not plain ridiculous. You can survive here. Can they survive where you come from?


Friday, October 16, 2009


Last Monday we went to see Fareed Zakaria (CNN host and Newsweek editor) gave a talk at the Carnegie Music Hall. It was on the "solution" to the Middle East problem. The organizer was the Pittsburgh Middle East Institute. I didn't even know it exist. Anyway, we went because Fareed Zakaria is the writer to one of our textbooks, "The Future of Freedom." I like his ideas in the book, that's why I'm interested to hear him speak. We got the tickets for free as Pitt students. There were many delegates from Middle Eastern countries such as Oman and Egypt. Fareed Zakaria is a naturalized US citizen. He grew up in India. I don't know why but all through the one hour talk all I can think about is the fact that he's Indian. I know it is so unacademic. Oh wells. On another note, we had to watch "Gandhi", a movie, for our Politics class. So yeah.

When I first arrived here I have to admit I was intimidated the first few minutes I eavesdropped on a bunch of girls talking. Their accent is so different from what I was used to back home. We always think of those with accents are Australians, British, and Irish. Certainly not Americans. Plus I'm used to one before - Sofiya. But I didn't realize I'm going to be surrounded by Pia multiply by...I don't know, millions!

I wanted to fit in so much the first weeks here. I guess like Zaim, I envy those who could master the American accent in a few months. I started to wonder if I can too. Not to mention our savior the first few days, Aishah, also has a beautiful accent. I want to have it desperately!

But I don't know why, especially after my trip back from NYC, I realized that the American accent is not the only accent. While walking up to Times Square I heard the English language spoken in countless accents especially Indian and Arabic. And they sounded marvelous. I mean, they sounded exotic therefore kind of cool. It was then that I decided that I'm keeping my Malaysian English accent. What I should strive for is to speak grammatically perfect English :)

I also remember Shakira, the "Whenever, Wherever" singer, once said in an interview that she too at first tried to get rid of her Colombian accent for an American one. But then she decided that she wanted to be kind of an 'ambassador' to the United States thus be proud of her accent. And people like it. People find her exotic.

I have no idea what these Americans think of this Asian - Malaysian - with her different accent. But like Shakira, I'm proud of it. I'm proud of being Malaysian. I don't want to change the way I sound for nothing :)


Monday, October 12, 2009


Note: I forgot to mention that this trip was a VERY last minute thing. We had our Fall break but weren't sure of what to do during the 3 day weekend. On Thursday, in class, we just decided let's go meet Zaim. That night I called Zaim and made plans and Friday we went. In the car Diana called and decided to join us. It was really last minute.

Alright. Last Friday we rented a car for our first trip in the US of A. In typical Syaza style, I will recall as much as I can of what happened. First of all I won’t describe the mess we were in to get the car but just that it was hard.

At first we wanted to leave Lailee (our black cat) at home. But when we got back from class on Friday, she was waiting at the door, as usual, being all manja, as usual. We didn’t have the heart to leave her for two nights alone. So we quickly find a shop to buy a carrier for her and before you know it, she’s on her way to Jersey too :D

We left at 4 and arrived at 11 PM. See, it was my first time ever driving in the United States. What more I have to keep on reminding myself “Stay right!” So I drove around the speed limit allowable on the highway. But, every time I looked at the GPS our arrival time increases and increases. So I decided if the Americans can go way over the limit, I can afford a mile or two above the speed limit. And so we arrived a few minutes earlier. It was a SEVEN hour journey…well you could have guessed that already. So my point is, ibu, papa, I can drive to Terengganu dah tau! :p

When we arrived at Zaim’s house, one of his seniors had went home already :( There were a few left and we were introduced to Aishah, Hanis, Mida, Atilia, Taufik, Zahid, and Najmi. They were nice especially so after we brought Lailee into the house. Zaim cooked Nasi Ayam for us and it was good, seriously. I never knew Zaim had talent in cooking. We were full and went to bed.

The next day around 9, we left the house (I left the girls’ house) towards Connecticut. The initial plan was to go to Yale first, then the Raya event but being me, I took a wrong junction into Bronx, and ended up arriving late in Connecticut so we decided on Yale later. The Raya event was…a sad thing for us, to say the least. We know no one there. The ‘VIP’ (JJ) was late. We were hungry. So. We left even before JJ got the chance to sit down. The best part: DIANA! Man I really miss seeing these Intians… After eating at the back room, we left for Yale. The interesting thing while at Yale is that when Zaim was taking picture of the dorm by putting his camera through the gate, a couple came up and swipe their student ID and actually ALLOWED us to go inside! It was wrong, of course, but they did, so we did! After Yale, NEW YORK, NEW YORK!

We arrived at Central Park around 6…I think. It was already dark and we were on the wrong side of the park where ‘live’ was on the other side. So we just took a few dark snapshots and moved on to Times Square. Yeah, we decided to walk because I was lazy to find another parking spot. While walking we took pictures of the horses, taxis, and New York at night :) Times Square was just as how all of us imagined. Exactly like the many times we’ve seen it on TV. The thing that caught my attention was the SEA of people. THAT was interesting, with backgrounds of flashing neon billboards. After Times Square we decided to walk along the famous 5th Avenue. We went back to the car and I drove us all to Grand Central Station. We had our dinner there and took more pictures.

The next day we were supposed to go out early to catch the ferry to Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty. But me being me…dahla minyak habis, I was still not used to the GPS commands. And once we arrived at the pier, the line was so long that we decided not to go since Diana had to catch her bus at 12.30 and we, Rassyid and I, need to get back to Pittsburgh. So more picture taking there. Lucky for us, we spotted Wall Street and walked our way there. Around 11.15 we’ve done enough picture taking so on the way to Diana’s bus station location, we passed the Empire State Building where Zaim wanted to go to so much. Oh, and we passed Ground Zero too. We said bye to Diana and took the highway back to Jersey to get that noisy black cat. Zaim took us to a Turkey restaurant for lunch. Oh boy, do I miss a halal cheeseburger! Around 2 we started to head back to Pittsburgh. We arrived at 8 (notice the one hour less than the way to Jersey :p) and went for dinner. Around 9 we were back home and I’ve been editing pictures and uploading and blogging and is seriously tired. Guess I need to go to sleep now. I’m not Diana :)


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Black Dots

White, as a bride's dress on
Her special day. White as the cloth
Keeping the dead bride
Warm in her grave; Color, the color of
Love is like a bird singing on the windowsill.
Singing only songs of bright
Sunshine. Successfully,
None as definable as a night
With only the Crescent Moon
Half smiling, half smirking. Playing
Along with lovers dancing,
At times reciting, mostly trusting,
In the park on a bench and
On the beach covered with ashes
Dust; Journey uncountable not
The distance but certainly of
Pure importance. Hope is the color
Of white in a milk.
In a milk.
In a.
To the newborn and the once born
For strength.
White. Is. Strength.


Monday, September 28, 2009

G20 Summit Simulation

Alright this may seem like a 'shocker' to some Intians but Rassyid and I participated in a G20 Simulation today. It's not that we have anything against KLIMUN...well, actually I have one thing against it. That it was held during the holidays. Yup, I'm that kind of person. Holiday means holiday. Period. So anyway, this simulation is a very simplified version. Plus, the G20 itself is made up of 19 countries + the EU, and each country sends in 2 delegates (in this simulation) so there were not many people. It kind of put more pressure on each delegate to speak up.

We represented Turkey. At first we chose Saudi Arabia but supposedly there were already delegates assigned for the country. But then today, delegates for Saudi did not show up. And so did delegates for the United States. What an irony.

And I made a new friend there. Her name is Sarah. She's from Saudi.



Saturday, September 26, 2009


Yesterday was a scary day for me, certainly. A new experience, perhaps, but scary, nonetheless.

We waited for our bus around 8 am as usual, despite the professor’s warning that buses might not run on schedule this week. We took the risk and the bus came on time. But what, or who, didn’t came on time was our classmates for the recitation class of Islamic Civilization. I was worried that the TA might have canceled the class and we did not check our emails because there was seriously nobody, even until 9! But slowly they started to appear and around 9.15, only 8 of us came to class. The first 10 minutes were spent talking about the day before: The first day of the G20. As mentioned, I went home after class at 12 pm on Thursday. If I had stayed, they said by afternoon student protestors were filling Cathedral’s lawn and police were threatening them with “If students are caught you will automatically be expelled!” I heard stories of students throwing trash cans towards police officers. And one of my classmates was chased by the police but he told them he was just returning to his dorm. Another classmate’s neighbor was detained, and he himself was stuck in the library till almost 2 am because of the protests.

Anyway, that’s not the scary part. After class ended, we did not want to go back so we decided to go to the Wal-mart at Waterworks, which is 40 minutes away from campus by bus. The bus came almost immediately so we thought there shall not be any problem. So we went to Wal-mart, bought some stuff for our house, went for lunch, and decided to catch the next bus home since Rassyid needed to catch the Jumaat prayer. Unfortunately, after waiting for almost 40 minutes the bus did not arrive. So we thought, let’s just do some more shopping rather than waiting. Around 2 pm, we waited again at the bus stop. 2.30, 2.45, 3.00, 3.15. We started to get frustrated and decided to just get on any bus that goes somewhere that we recognize. Not long after came this bus that’s supposedly going to Strip District, which we're familiar with. After about 10 minutes on the bus, the bus driver announced he’s not going through his usual route because downtown was closed and he’ll not be able to cross the river. He said the bus that we were waiting for would most probably arrive at 6 because most buses were stuck downtown. We were confused. And scared. And just blank. We did not recognize the road. We don’t know all these streets. And we’re on the wrong side of the river. Nearing the end of his route, police cars, and some on motorcycles, SUDDENLY came and blocked the road for the Tibet protestors to go through and our bus driver, who was obviously frustrated by the whole thing too, told us we would have to get out of the bus and walk to town. I was scared shit-less (sorry). Walk? Downtown? I’ve only been there once…at night! But I just pushed through the crowd and followed the flow. Nearing the bridge, we saw that it was closed. And to make things worse, there were no cars at all, only pedestrians and those on bike. And this is the center of Pittsburgh. It was like an apocalypse had just happened. And all around there were these police officers with dogs, sniffing around as if looking for bombs and whatnots. I was seriously afraid. But we continued following the rest, and then we saw more people. It turned out they closed most of the bridges but opened a few for pedestrians only.

I guess it was kind of interesting because if not for the circumstances, I don’t think we will walk on one of Pittsburgh's many bridges any time soon. But at that time I wasn’t thinking of that. I just wanted to be safe at home. In fact, I’m hitting my head on the wall right now because of my nervousness, I did not take pictures of the beautiful scenery and the Lawrence Convention Center where 20 world leaders were just meters away from me. Rassyid took videos though. Once we crossed the bridge successfully I was happy to find us on 7th Avenue. Our bus goes through 5th, so it’s not hard to find it from there. The place was like a ghost town. Just imagine KL, with no cars, nothing, but just people waiting for something to happen. Thankfully, we saw our bus on 5th. BUT. It’s not just our bus, but also ALL the other buses, in a line. I was thinking does this mean I have to walk home?! But apparently they closed the road heading to Pitt too, so it was both a blessing and a curse – I don’t have to walk, but there’s no way around it. We asked a bus driver nearby and she said just hop on the bus and wait for instructions from the police. We find 71A, hopped on, and breathed a sigh of relief.

We arrived home around 5pm.

Wrong calculation of time. Right time to be spontaneous.


p/s: I'm seriously rethinking my stand on street protests after seeing the trouble it causes to other non-political-affiliated people. It's just not worth it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

More Pictures

If you can't read the banner it says "Independence for Tibet"

Macam Hindraf nye color kan? :p

See how many police officers are around campus. There are obviously more. With police cars, and helicopters hovering above... By the way that's me in the reflection.

Just some pictures inside the Cathedral. We have no idea what it's for. But there are American and Russian flags. That's why we need to get out of class by 12 pm.

Sorry for the low quality pictures. Of all the days that I could have leave my camera at home..

Today was an unproductive day. Pinar cancelled the quiz for Islamic Civilization. American Literary class ended early. No Politics class. They might as well cancel class for the whole day... =D