Saturday, February 27, 2010

10 days past 21

Yesterday was interesting. Tiring, sure.

Woke up early, didn't sleep in the afternoon - imagine that and you'll have a pretty clear picture of what's going on in my head.

Had to wake up early to catch those peeps in Nilai. Yup, they've been having a lot of activities since I've been gone :( Oh wells, what a girl to do? Gotta enjoy my own time here, I guess :) Even though it's...weird, me missing all the BBQs, weddings, and vacations to Bagan Lalang, can't stop no one. So anyway, woke up at 6, caught Kak Yong on her BB, continued on the big screen, and stayed till 8.30am, Pitt time, to go to school.

The snow was crazy. Period. Hoping for school to close, but not every little girl's dream come true, does it?

Went for last minute shopping at the Giant, and went back to find a sweet surprise in our mail.

As mentioned, did not have time to rest, had to do what a hostess should do - especially one who is hosting a 'makan-makan' for the first time as a wife. By 3, arms up, feet in the kitchen, cooking - for the first time - nasi tomato (or shall I call it a mere attempt?). Not bad I got to say :D Of course had plenty of splendid assistance from beautiful husband of mine :) Everything did come out as planned, just had to wait for comments from the guests!

Good food, good movies, and amazing company. So what if I didn't sleep for a day? ;)


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Just a me-booster

Behavior: Napping Can Prime the Brain for Learning 

Published: February 22, 2010

It turns out that toddlers are not the only ones who do better after an afternoon nap. New research has found that young adults who slept for 90 minutes after lunch raised their learning power, their memory apparently primed to absorb new facts.

Other studies have indicated that sleep helps consolidate memories after cramming, but the new study suggests that sleep can actually restore the ability to learn.

The findings, which have not yet been published, were presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Diego.

“You need to sleep before learning, to prepare your brain, like a dry sponge, to absorb new information,” said the lead investigator, Matthew P. Walker, an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley.

The study recruited 39 healthy young adults and divided them into two groups. All 39 were asked to learn 100 names and faces at noon, and then to learn a different set of names and faces at 6 p.m. But 20 of the volunteers who slept for 90 minutes between the two learning sessions improved their scores by 10 percent on average after sleeping; the scores of those who didn’t nap actually dropped by 10 percent.


p/s:  Well, well... ;)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Another Again

Happy Birthday to me!

For my annual birthday post, I decided to write on something that had molded me for the past 21 years to be as I am: family.

Yes, family. Weird isn’t it that I always think of my family when I’m away from them. But then, when you think about it, I do have my own family with me. I now have three families! One in Nilai, one in Kluang, and one in Pittsburgh. Maybe Rassyid and I have been treating Lailee way too much like a daughter than we’re supposed to; but then again, who will love her as much as we do if not us?

Today we took Lailee to the vet. Last Thursday she had a seizure. Yup, a seizure. It was scary. We were in the living room – all three of us – me watching a movie, Rassyid was online, and Lailee was sleeping next to him. Suddenly she rose, walked a few steps, and fell on her side. At first I didn’t make much of it because she is gedik and likes to fall on her back to get her belly rubbed. But this time, her hind left leg twisted in a way you don’t wish for other cats to experience. I wanted to help her up but she seemed paralyzed and unable to pull herself. She succeeded in walking a few steps towards us but then dropped again, and this time her whole body contracted. I could not explain what it felt like to feel helpless as I watched my ‘child’ in pain.

And then I understood, that’s what parents feel every second of every day for as long as they live. Worry, helplessness, knowing that not everything is under their control. They try (the same way Rassyid and I did in bringing Lailee to see the vet) but then, there’s nothing more they can do except praying for the best.

I’m not perfect. I was certainly not the best daughter to my parents. I know there were moments that I wish I could erase from memory, but can’t. I'm definitely no 'trouble-free' daughter. But I’m here because of them, and no one can make me think so differently. I don’t think I screamed to be let go before, but I definitely prayed to be understood more. My parents are just that – human parents. They made mistakes too. But I’m a firm believer that without mistakes, there won’t be change, and without change, everyone’s a slave to circumstances – and that’s not a pretty place to be in.

People say I’m lucky. Lucky that my parents are willing to give up so much, to do so much, for me. One thing they don’t know is, I’m not a fan of luck. We make our own ‘luck’. When they say I’m lucky that my parents understood my situation to get married, they don’t know the fight I had to put up. The fight WE – my family and I – had to put. But we did it. So on my 21st birthday, I’m done wishing for myself. Now, I want pray for others. Others that are not as ‘lucky’ as me.

I may be 21, and I may be married. But before I was a wife, remember, I was a daughter.


February 16, 2010 - Pittsburgh, USA

Who says I’m older now?
Voting has simply been allowed
Hope to make a change somehow
Who says I'm older now?

Who says growing old is uncool?
What’s so cool about preschool?
Oops, not trying to be rude
Time is a cruel whirlpool.

Who says 21 holds the key?
Probably the key to less acne
Let’s not be too cocky
We still need our family.

Who says I don’t have friends?
I may be home most weekends
Because friends are not just trends
Truly they are godsends.

Who says I’m moving too fast?
It’s my life so don’t trespass
Honestly life’s been a blast
Who says I’m way too fast?

Who says money is life or death?
Perhaps they've never experienced
The real meaning of a single breath
Who says money is life or death?

Who says we should take our time?
Must we wait for the divine
Before we decide to make that climb
Who says we'll have the time?

Who says I can’t get high?
Definitely not by standing by
Join in, life’s not dry
Who says I can’t get high?

Now I’m finally out of rhyme
This is the end for the meantime
Celebrating with dear husband of mine
Today I shall not whine! :D


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lailee's Fifth

Today was my baby's fifth birthday. Lailee turned 5 on February 10, 2010. It was a normal day, no school, and she snuggled up between us in the morning. She was extra manja today. In fact, she was extra extra manja since last night when she sat between both our laptops. She's a cute baby. Usually she would scream for us to wake up so that I'll fill her bowl for breakfast, but she was so sweet today, so understanding (maturity?) And then we continued our usual activities (studying) with her forever next to us. Tonight, we took out the cupcake we've been saving for her. Poor Lailee (lucky us), she's not really into anything else except for her cat food. BUT, one thing I discovered was she really loves that wheat grass I bought her. My early birthday present for her. Ironically, on her birthday, I have my own wish. I wish that I'll be able to have enough to support her journey home back to Nilai in 2012. Amen.

Of course,  I did not celebrate Lailee's birthday without acknowledging the recent passing of two of my loveliest cats, Libby and Cool. They were the only cats left that we brought from Permata to Nilai. Now all the cats that are left are the 'new cats'. They will always be missed, together with my boyfriend, Lost, who could not even make it to Nilai...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Stupid Joke

Knock knock.

Who's there?

Snow storm!

Snow storm who?

Snow storm who's giving Pitt two days of holiday!

(Lame, I know :p But who cares! I got two days off! Wee!)


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Crisis Simulation

It is that time again for me to commit myself to a boring entry :)

Last week, for our World Politics class, we had an in-class crisis simulation. It was simple; all of us had to sign on for a country and a working group. Our simulation? The six-party talks concerning North Korean nuclear program. I remember the first class of World Politics when our TA went through the syllabus and pointed out the simulation. I groaned silently. I was about to celebrate a presentation-free semester. But I surprised myself to find out that the simulation was really interesting!

Rassyid and I signed on as Russians. We figured it should not be difficult as we are quite comfortable with the knowledge we had from a Russian mini-research we did for last year’s Comparative Politics. I took on the role of aid as I thought Russia’s stand would be that of disagreeing with everything that the United States group would offer. I was wrong.

At first I was not looking forward to the simulation and I put off the research till the weekend before it. Our group had a meeting and I was shocked to find out that only three of us had really done a complete research on Russia’s position during past talks. In the end all of them agreed to use the material I found as it was the most comprehensive.

Then came the day itself. Somehow I was not nervous. I know it was a college-level simulation of a real-world problem, so I should not worry myself so much. But at the same time I was honestly excited! I wanted to put my research to good use for my country group. The first day of the simulation was difficult. Difficult in the sense that none of the country was willing to negotiate to a middle agreement. Frustrating, to say the least. The second day of the simulation went better. Everyone was willing to offer more on the table as long as we could find a solution to the North Korean crisis. And amazingly, our country, Russia, stood out. Some of us really went all out and brought a Russian flag – that was only the start of it. By the end, we were the ‘heroes’ as our head negotiator was the one who came up with most of the solutions. To me it was ironic as the same head negotiator was also the one who said, “We Russians really do nothing during these talks and just agree with whatever China offers.”

At the end of the day, I was happy with how everything went. Everything goes smoothly, and I hope my professor will realize that my name is under the Russian group ;)


Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I’m sorry, but I JUST HAVE TO RANT! It’s not that I’m ungrateful but there are, surprisingly, many consequences to this.

I know for these past few days my blog appears to vibrate too much negativity than one can handle, BUT I JUST HAVE TO RANT SOMEWHERE!!!

They didn’t email us. They didn’t notify each one of us. If ESP was part of the requirement, I was not informed of it. Do they think we have nothing better to do but to google their website and to accidentally stumble upon it (which happens to be what I did)? Or are they really too…’busy’ social-networking to realize that not ALL of us have them in our list? Or is it the weather? The work-away-from-work? The semi-vacation? WHAT EXACTLY???

We were not notified about the dateline. That’s the simple truth. We didn’t know. And shockingly, their cute little website/blog is not included in the small booklet they distributed earlier. We didn’t know. I mean, think about it. I have nothing to hide. But I didn’t know how. I didn’t want to appear informal. But I didn’t know it is actually acceptable. I asked, but I didn’t get a reply. I’m new for God’s sake. How was I supposed to know?

And the other question, what is the point of withholding? So that we’ll suffer? Not all of us have mummies and daddies that own a company back home. Not all of our parents send us away with greens alongside their prayers. Not all of us. Some of us really depend on you. And I’m not complaining, you have been generous, thank you so much. Alhamdulillah, it is sufficient to survive given how long they are supposed to last. But when come times like these, how are we suppose to pay rent? Books? Bills? Fine, starve us, but books?! (Okay, honestly, my real concern is rent since we’re supposed to have it every first week of the month or penalty will follow suit. Are we supposed to have an extra five hundred every time?)

I don’t splurge. Occasionally I do spend more than I should, yes. But what, once a month? How is this fair to people like me who try to save on every occasion that I could? When it runs out, I’m still here. I need to eat. I need a place to stay. If I, or any of my friends, were back in Malaysia, sure, a phone call and we could survive. But here? Some of my friends are already facing overdrafts!

I am aware that when people like me say things like that, they’ll lash out. “Ungrateful kids!” “Try being in our shoes and change the system if you’re so smart!” “What you know, you complain only.” I know, I know, who am I? I don’t know how the system works. Who says I can do a better job. But one thing they need to realize is, that’s why a week or two is tolerable. We didn’t complain early on, did we? We understand one hundred percent that sometimes there are things way out of our hands. There are things that nobody can do anything about, true. AND WE TOTALLY UNDERSTAND. But three weeks???

To answer my earlier question - who am I? - I’ll tell you right now. I am someone who is lucky that my parents had a couple extra buck to give me six months ago.