Monday, December 1, 2014

The 11-day Diary

I went home for a short 11-day trip, hoping for a quick rejuvenation, recovery, and an escape. It's funny that I went to Australia in July 2013 for an escape, now I needed to head home for an escape for the year. Here the summary of the 11-day trip:

Day 1 - 21st November (Friday)
Mom greeted with a kiss on the cheek and a new car. Impatiently, I begged to drive and almost brought us to Negeri Sembilan. The guilt built up within me when I sped along the highway due to adrenaline rush for driving after 9 months, I scored a flash and possibly a MYR150 fine. Well done Wen Xin. After driving ruthlessly and aimlessly, I finally saw the twin towers and the familiar Jalan Tun Razak. Reunited with my second father, he brought me out to fulfil my Mamak cravings. The first sip of Milo was magical, I almost forgot this taste even though I just finished 1.7kg of Milo a month ago. Tandoori Chicken and Roti Canai were amazingly good. Home looked the same, messy and disorganised. My brothers still indulged in the gaming zones and my beloved grandmother became tinier somehow. I lazied for a moment, and adapted to this place I called home since 2007.

Day 2 - 22nd November (Saturday)
Chee Cheong Fun was the breakfast and the weekly Body Attack didn't follow suit due to a change of timetable. I went on the freestyle area and sweated within 5 minutes. I was not sure if I prefer the scorching hot weather in Australia or the humidly hot weather in Malaysia. Hot flow yoga tested my endurance and persistence but it felt great. A disorganised event wasted the afternoon, but it was all usual and familiar, just like old times. A trip to a transformed Cheras Leisure Mall established my status as a shoe lover. The Big Mac Index drove me to have McChicken and ain't sure why I miss the taste of McChicken. Not even the heavy rain can stop me and a bestie to catch up over Starbucks cafe, we caught up with each other lives and realised we both have had an eventful but painful year.  

Day 3 - 23rd November (Sunday)
Had three-layer tea and prawn mee in a morning cafe I visited for almost 10 years. Tidied the house and my sinus infection came back right away. Sprayed myself with perfume after a sweaty cleaning up, I headed out for lunch with my paternal relatives. It was short but necessary. As a young family member, there is a limit on what you can say and what you can know, it's probably the best to stay innocent in this matter. I became a florist and started decorating a bouquet of roses. Damn those thorns, my fingers were all scratched and poked. But the end result was pleasing. The Golden Triangle was busy and packed as usual. I wandered and found myself in the companion of two dear girlfriends. One shared an equally painful year, one shared an amazing news. The surprise for the birthday girlfriend was hilarious, it was a great gathering, ended with a cocktail and a great band.

Day 4 - 24th November (Monday)  
Just another maniac Monday, well not quite, more like a lazy Monday. Wantan Mee was my breakfast and I sink onto the couch for a lazy nap until my overseas uncle asked me for a grocery trip. I drove the old manual car to the local mall, and immediately mastered the manual driving. I was glad I got back the confidence and skill. Cheesy Wedges from KFC and Pretzel from Auntie Anne were a little treat alongside with a small portion of Chicken Rice. I went out for an errand but it was fruitless. As soon as I got back, I fell to a 3-hour nap and still feeling tired. Coming back was an escape, what is worse than feeling not belonged in either Australia or home. What is more hurtful than hearing words saying it's better not to come home, and why not be a little productive. I needed a break since July 2012, this was not it, but this will at least be a prelude. Sometimes, no harm in slacking for a day.  

Day 5 - 25th November (Tuesday)
Woke up naturally in the morning, followed by a duty to sweep the floor, and a normal breakfast flagged off the day. The journey to my ex-university was not smooth sailing, but I proved that my sense of direction and familiarity of Klang Valley road were still strong. That detour, dealt with the annoyed traffic, really made me wonder if I could ever stand staying in Kuala Lumpur, but I was not left with choice, to be honest. I met up with my beloved friend, some acquaintances and some awkward known faces. A short lunch catchup was surprisingly lovely, followed by a great meetup with an ANU alumni whom we shared our love for Canberra, then a real catchup time with my beloved friend over the newly-opened Starbucks. Back then I was a student in HELP, I don't think I could afford a cup of Starbucks. But the scene in the cafe was different, students were gathering with chats and notes, young couple were snuggling whereas me and my friend were exchanging our stories. I bid my friend farewell, and hopped on the bus. I forgot that much arm strength was needed to survive the 15-minute ride along Lorong Maarof. The 20-minute train ride reminded me of how tiring it was last time to head home after class. The stop at Masjid Jamek was nostalgic, seeing both of my workplaces of 8.5 months. It wasn't productive at home but at least there was some thinking done on work.

Day 6 - 26th November (Wednesday)
Woke up 5 minutes again before the alarm rings, rescheduled a lunch appointment and I ended up lazying around before heading the haircut appointment. Heard about the buzz about Johnny Rockets, hence I went to try on this American burger franchise for its well-known milkshake as well. It wasn't up to expectation but the much-awaited dance performance. It was short, sweet and definitely an enhancement to the diner's experience. The haircut appointment was delayed but that meant shopping first. It wasn't fruitless but it definitely wasn't fruitful. It had been 1.5 years since I last cut my hair. The last trip was too hectic that I could not find time to see my hairstylist. For 5 years, she was the only person whom I allowed to touch my hair. Well, only she can handle my badly-treated hair and uncontrollable curls. A 15-minute shampooing, head massage and hair-washing were great. The hairstylist proceeded with her magic, she promised a 2-inches trim. I left the saloon with a straightened hair and a lighter head. For these 6 days, I realised food takeaway wasted an awful amount of plastics, but sadly that is Malaysian culture. I continued wasting more bags by getting Yong Tau Fu and Nyonya Kuih. I felt like a hypocrite calling myself environmentalist but ending the day feeling satisfied with my tummy.

Day 7 - 27th November (Thursday)
I was wide awake at 3am, the sinus infection had my nose went watery. After a few turns, I went out to work on an assignment given by a friend. It took me 2.5 hours but for some reason, it didn't feel as if 2.5 hours had passed. I continued to sleep and the next thing I heard was the beeping of my alarm. I woke up reluctantly and had a sinful breakfast consisting of Donuts. I put on a little black dress for a catchup day with an old friend after running an errand. The errand was of a small matter but stressful. I blamed myself for being disorganised and inefficient, and that costed time, people's time and an additional unnecessary MYR8. Jalan Tun Razak was packed with cars as usual, I made my way to meet an old friend and we had a great time catching up. He had achieved so much in his life, even if we are of the same age, I felt as if I am far behind him. We don't catch up much during the year other than an annual catch up but the friendship we had is sincere, simple and honest. I walked him to his office under the scorching weather and headed to a brief shopping. Home for less than 2 hours and off I went to Pavilion for another brief shopping until meeting up with the girlfriends. I have always heard about the buzz about Publika but have never been there until today. It was posh and fancy but not very special. Two rounds of eating and a lovely catch up with my girls, oh how much we have grown since secondary school.

Day 8 - 28th November (Friday)
These days, I had been waking up before my alarm rings. Dim Sum greeted me good morning, followed by a dentist appointment at noon. A scaling session left my gum and mouth covered with blood and a possibility  of a gum surgery in the future. I have always been terrified of seeing the dentist since young. The experience of removing the wisdom tooth was horrifying. I remembered shutting my eyes tightly with tears coming out from the edge of the eyes. My hands were held tightly together while I shut my eyes and tasted the blood. When it was over, I stained my teeth with Char Kuay Teow. Proceeded to Pavilion (again) for real shopping this time. It was fruitless for the first 3 hours, until we went to the last store. The Black Friday hit Malaysia as well with the store having crazy discounts. I don't think I have ever shopped this much in my life, but each piece is well worth the price and I have gotten everything I need for Canberra. Headed straight back for steamboat, what a great day of food and shopping, I am a happy child.

Day 9 - 29th November (Saturday)
My cravings for Tong Kee egg tarts were solved, thanks to dad. I put on the workout gear and headed for my weekend workout. The Body Attack class was jam packed, I squeezed to the corner, as opposed to my usual first row position. The instructor greeted me and I had a great workout. Malaysian Attackers were different from Australian Attackers. Malaysian Attackers were way more enthusiastic though less competitive, team-spirited though smaller space. I went to Hot Flow Yoga and left the room with backache. I finally had Pan Mee before heading to Uniqlo for a final shopping round. Drove the automatic car and there were occasions I wanted to shift the gear, at least I had driven 3 different cars in these nine days. I had a full two-hour nap and mom told me that I laughed during my night sleep yesterday. That was hilarious that I was holding my laugh during the yoga session. The much-awaited Chen family dinner was next but it was filled with minor dramas. At least the companion counted and I finally sat down and watched football matches! No offence to Singaporean friends, but the joy of beating Singapore at the AFF football match was sweet. The Chen family gathering somehow turned into issues-solving meeting while I tuned in to football and typing this.

Day 10 - 30th November (Sunday)
Sinus had me sneezing for 3 hours, non-stop. It was torturous but for the first time in so many years, my whole family stayed in the same room because I had visitors. Wide awake before 8am, I went for a craved Mamak breakfast with my dad. Thosai and Roti Telur with a hot Milo, yum. I put on my black attire and headed off to a familiar Sunday routine of volunteering. The academy looked crowded, with both people and stuff. The association had grown and unlocked so much achievements since I left in July 2013. The new ambulance, 203 3.2 was a beauty. We headed out to Putrajaya for an accident training. Stadium Bukit Jalil looked quiet and lonely from MEX highway. Putrajaya was a reminder of Canberra, and it reminded me of the weekly kayaking practices in college last time. Unexpectedly, I was given a helmet and expected to participate in the training. The equipment terms were not all well-remembered but my memory of them was vivid. We had a practice scenario and it was a pleasure seeing my fellow comrades in action. Had a mini photoshoot session and we, a group of 15, of mixed races, of committed volunteers, proceeded for our regular lunchtime session. Heart-warming as always, we warmed our stomach with Mamak food. We went back to academy and they were working on a project which looked spectacular. I stayed on for a lil bit, drenched with sweat and some rainwater. Went home for a shower and nap. Three girls generations of the Chen family went on for a dinner at Great Eastern Mall, and I went on for dessert with the best girlfriend. We talked our hearts out on relationship and life. Home by 1am for my final night sleep.

Day 11 - 1st December (Monday)
Woke up with a foul mood and accompanied my mom to morning market, followed by a Nasi Lemak breakfast. Some packing, and I had a nap at noon. Some packing, and I headed out for a last minute shopping. Some packing, and I played Mario the game I played when I was a teen. Some packing, and it was 6pm. I had Indian Rojak as my final meal and it was time for farewell. I hugged my beloved grandma and her words struck me. In my heart, I made her a promise. I went to my brothers and kissed them on the forehead. A final wave and there was I on the car on MEX highway. There were a lot of reflections and thoughts. I looked at the high-rise condominiums and asked myself if I could actually ever get used to staying back in Malaysia or liking a life in Malaysia. I thought about going back to reality in Canberra and wondered if I could recover in time for 2015. The ride was silent and I thought about my brothers, I started to get emotional but held back the tears. I thought about the crush and started to feel how stupid I was. Managed to pick myself up and told myself I will return better and stronger the next round. A promise I made to myself, my parents before we part and my grandma. Hereby concluded the 11-day trip, it was short but necessary. I guess I had made the most out of it, seeing the faces I loved, indulging the food I missed, and getting back into the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur. Thank you for those who had made my trip.


Heading back to reality after an escape,
A runaway from myriad of mistakes,
Returning only after a better remake,
Comeback with surprise and upgrade.

Wen Xin