Sunday, May 29, 2016

Another suitcase in another hall?

Its a rainy Sunday afternoon here in Brussels.

I am sitting in my living room here, with 4 open suitcases in the hallway, and trying to sort out my clothes and come to some order to how I organise my wardrobe. With the frequent travelling, I have now resorted to shifting from one suitcase to another, and then some more of my clothes are still hanging out to dry on the clothes dryer. You may ask - why so many suitcases? well, I have been commuting almost on a weekly basis between London and Brussels. While I am trying to keep my stuff to the minimum in my London flat, still there are many `extra' sets of materials which I have no use of here in Brussels, and of which I am slowly bringing over to adorn my almost empty London flat. These go along of those placemats, throw for the sofa, etc. I just don't see the point of why I should spend my funds in getting another new set in London, when it is just a temporary accommodation for those days when I am there. It helps to declutter around my Brussels apartment as well, so why not?

Second suitcase is a larger case, which carried my belongings for my last trip to Malaysia and China. Going on a longer trip usually requires more items to be carried, and a larger case also allows more shopping to be done and carried back. I do find that of late, I am buying less and less stuff from Asia to carry back, guess I am now much more settled in here, and basically either learnt to live without some stuff, or already acquired the knowledge of where to find those items (particularly food items) if so needed.

Third + fourth suitcases are more of the "changing of the season", and of which the in-between-season/sizes/I-can't-decide-if-I-still-want-them clothes. I just stuffed them all into these suitcases, and hopefully one day soon, I would know what I am to do with them. periodically, as of now, I am trying to see what are some of the clothes which i could perhaps give away.

In conclusion, I definitely have too many clothes and too many shoes. Travelling all the time is a way of life for me now and that is certainly adding to all this massive clutter. I really wished for those good old days when I am more `grounded", and my life is not shifting from one place to another. I guess basically I am a pretty homely person, and would be happy to just be in my cosy little apartment, with a good company or two.... someday soon, I hope to have my own little cottage in the countryside and a place called home, and no more travelling !

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Epilogue to "A Night when there was almost no tomorrow"

(earlier unpublished post, just dug out from the draft archives)

A friend of mine has reminded me that I never went on to close off the earlier blog entry regarding my anaphylactic shock (I.e. Severe allergic reaction in lay man's language) and it was left hanging. So I will attempt to do that now.

To continue from where I left off, after spending 2 days and 2 nights in the ICU , I was removed to a normal patients ward. At that time the seriousness of my attack had passed, and after 2 days of being hooked up to the machines, pumped with steroids to bring down the inflammation, plugged in to a breathing tube supplying me with oxygen and a saline drip, I was happily wheeled down to a sunny room, but still attached to the oxygen and drip.

It was also at this point in time when it was discovered that I had unfortunately developed a bad bed sore, and the wound was seriously infected due to my lying down on the bed all the time in the ICU. this was, of course, treated over the next few days. I have never had a wound that i can't see or touch (since it was in my lower back), but which hurts a lot.

Interestingly as well, my kidneys decided not to work at this time, or in my doctor's words "your kidneys have forgotten their function". This was worrying as during the anaphylactic shock, the internal organs were impacted and some of these were just invisible but only when there are symptoms, then only we will know. As mentioned before, this is not surprising since the airways were shutting down, the heart was beating at an accelerated pace that a cardiac arrest was a certain risk, so other reactions from other organs were to be expected. Fortunately, after 3 days or so, my kidneys regained its `memory' and went back into normal function, which was a great relief!

After I was discharged from the hospital a week later, I wasn't allowed to go back to work for another 2 weeks or so. Mainly as my immune system has been severely affected, the doctors were worried that I might be too vulnerable to be mixing back with people and will have a high risk of exposure to infections, hence i had to be kept in isolation, and homebound. I also had to be very very careful with my food intake, particularly as I was deemed as already sensitised to the allergens which brought on this infection. I became a temporary vegetarian for those weeks then, since I was too afraid to be eating the `normal' food, in case of any cross contamination, or any hidden ingredients which may contained any of those seafood elements which I am allergic to.

Since then, I have become very careful on what I consume, and will always indicate during order taking that I am allergic to seafood, and that the restaurant be careful on their food preparation, plus to confirm if the food i am ordering is considered a `safe' option.

Life is fragile, but I am really thankful that I have escaped death's door and lived to tell the tale. Life is meant to be lived - what happened next had been a whirlwind - which was the opportunity to relocate to Europe, and heralded a whole new adventure altogether, of which is still ongoing as we speak.

Friday, August 8, 2014

We may never know whats round the corner

(this blog entry was on 19th July, right after the crash of MH17, but have not published it then)

It is with great shock and sadness to learn about the tragic events of MH17.

It is also particularly surreal, as this is usually the flight that I would normally take, when I am going home to Malaysia. In fact, my parents took the exact flight 1 month ago, after their trip to Europe to visit me.

Life is certainly very uncertain. You can buy the best insurance policy that is available, ensure you check every single detail of your journey, properly look left and right before crossing the road, and yet, sometimes, life can deal a fatal twist, and suddenly a stray bullet appearing from nowhere guns you down.

I have always appreciate the fact that life is simply too precious and fragile to allow it to just pass like that. I will cherish those around me, but unfortunately this is not always a sentiment of those around me.

You may ask me if I know anyone personally on board the fated aircraft. Honestly, I don’t think I do, although I probably can only confirm once I see the passenger manifesto. However, no matter of whether I do or not, the fact remains that this event has deeply touched the core of my being. I feel so saddened, and so disturbed. Being a patriotic Malaysian, I feel the pain of my fellow Malaysians that once again we have a mishap with our national carrier. I know we are the butt of jokes of many all over the whole, over the disappearance of MH370, and how it was not properly media handled. However, I do not think anyone in Malaysia should be blamed for this tragic event, as everything was according to plan, everything was in compliance, there was nothing fishy or dodgy at all, and yet, MH17 was shot down from the sky, poof, just like that. I can only say that MH17 was very unfortunate and happened to be at the wrong place, at the wrong time.

My heartfelt condolences go out to all the grieving families, relatives and friends of passengers of the fated airplane. I pray that courage, strength and fortitude for them in this hour of duress. For the rest of the Malaysians, let’s unite in this time of national grief and not be bickering over the political squabbles or racial tension. For the rest of the world, support and patience are really what you can provide in this difficult times, and be sensitive to the needs of the grieving families, and not make this as a cause of a joke. Losing a loved one is of unimaginable pain, but to lose someone so tragically, is beyond unimagible.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A sprint back into the past few months

So what did happen in the months that I didn’t come around to blog about?
I will now attempt to take a sprint flashback to record the key highlights of my first year, hence will start from the 5th month onwards till my anniversary. At least that would encapsulate all the things that I want to be reminded of, later on this life.

5th Month (July’13)
• Had my first birthday in Belgium – received a nice bunch of flowers from a colleague (and boss, few months later)
• Over here, you are expected to buy a cake and bring to office for all during your birthday, for people to celebrate with you. This is the total opposite – as back home, you are feted like a Princess, and you don’t have to pay anything at all during your golden day
• The frenzy of summer’s sales! There are only 2 sales period/months in Belgium, and people here really take advantage of that, and keep their money till then!
• Went to Antwerp with friends on first of many `shopping’/`girls only’ outings
• My first taste of Summer aperos ! – which is basically : do nothing but gather after work to have a drink and enjoy the sun

6th Month (Aug’13)
• had my first taste of the European summer holidays in the office – nearly everyone is gone! Office is always half empty. Our Italian office officially close down for 1 month. How’s that for Asia?
• Booked my last minute holiday too – to Montpellier for a weeklong French study cum holiday. People thought I was crazy to be studying during summer….
• Montpellier – stayed with a host family for an immersion experience. Verdict : I think I am too old for this kind of stuff…plus my French at that time was very atrociously limited, and they don’t speak any other language at all except French…so…. It gets rather challenging sometimes. While it was a memorable experience, I would definitely not do it again. Next time I’d just book a hotel. 
• Intensive French class in Montpellier – helped to kick start my study of the difficult language called French again.

7th Month (Sept’13)
• Started my lessons in CCLM for French – and my week is no longer the same. Every Tues and Thurs, from this point onwards, I spend them in class
• Saying good bye to a dear sweet friend – who left after her rotation in Belgium ended.
• Hosting my bestie from primary school, L and D, her other half!! We had a fun time going on beer tours, and checking out some of the attractions in town
• Collected my new car- yippee – a Mercedes beauty 

8th Month (Oct’13)
• Brussels marathon! Ok, so it was only 4km, but it was a fun activity to be doing. I went with a friend, and the joke of it all is that our anonymous `pacer’ is that of an old lady (who looks 80ish), and we were so slow that we were on a mission to always stay ahead of her. But sometimes when she catches up, which made we having to sprint again. Her consistency and persistence is very admirable!! Way to go girl!
• Went back home for my brother Rich’s wedding – all the galore, jazz and the descend of all relatives near and far! Had a fabulous time! Of course, waist expanding as well – who could helped it with all the good feast around.

9th Month (Nov’13)
• Rushed back in time to fly over to Florence, Italy for a conference
• Had the opportunity to experience a long long Italian dinner – and pasta is only a starters! Too much meat for my liking though, and surprisingly they don’t eat tiramisu for dessert, I wonder why ?
• Crazy month at work as we rushed to prepare a campaign
• Trying time at work as well with changes to the team, and the new boss, and pressures to conform
• Sent my car to change to winter tires – yeah, winter, I am now ready for you, bring it on!

10th Month (Dec’13)
• Things are winding down at work generally but for the campaign, it was the most critical time, hence it was not such a relaxing time for me
• People are leaving on holidays! Leaving me working alone in the office !
• Lesson learnt – next year, I want to leave early too, so I shall plan my leave early
• I was hoping for an invite to spend a white Christmas somewhere, which would be my dream, but alas, in the end, this didn’t happen. No invites came, and there was also no snow – so with disappointment, I headed home for the holidays

11th Month (Jan’13)
• Sales time again! Woohoo….
• Temperatures dipped and it was getting colder, but…there was still no snow…
• Started the year by revisiting my bucket list – I have managed to scratch off some in the last year (yeah!! Sense of accomplishment ), but there are still many more to go. Some, I am coming to realize, would probably never happen in this life, and wonder should I still keep them, or just delete? Oh well… let’s see…
• Celebrated Chinese new year on the 1st day, with sushi for lunch. Delicious! Happy to have found a sushi place in town, that serves sushis which are fresh and yet with an affordable price. Arigato gozaimasu!
• Also used the occasion to introduce friends to steamboat 

1 year anniversary (18th Feb’14)
• Again…no snow during winter? is it even possible?
• Celebrating my 1 year anniversary in Belgium – I made it!
• However it was a double whammy month – after a few weeks of uncertainty, I finally confirm that I will be moving on to another team, and also, the month ended with the heartbreak of realizing that what I thought to be, just wasn’t going to be.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Nearly 11 months have passed....

...since my last blog entry!!

Not that nothing exciting has been happening, in fact it was the contrary. However, me being me, I am always so lazy to be thinking of what to say, and write in my blog, and the ideas are quite a few. And then I will be bitten by the lazy bug again, plus be so embroiled with the rest of the activities of the week that I hardly have the chance to be sitting behind my laptop at home.

I suppose I could be more laissez-faire about all this, and just write and shoot ahead. Sometimes I believe I do think too much, cos end of the day, I think I only have at most 2 readers (and you know who you are!!). No one else really reads this blog..hahah...

I have thought about closing this blog down, but then felt that whatever entries for the past years would then be lost, and that would really be a shame. After all, all these blog entries, while not my diaries but they do chronicle how I have been living my life, snippets of it here and there. I do think I might be able to look back all these scarce entries with much joy and sweet reminiscence, when I am an old lady rocking in a chair, waiting for the sunset in an old folks home.

So, I will keep on writing/blogging as much as I can - and try to preserve these whimsicals, and whatnots of my life for the `older me' in future.