April 27, 2014

It's Great to Be a Nerd

It's awesome to be a nerd. I don't know what the world's gonna be like by the time you understand this. I don't know what it's gonna mean to be a nerd when you're a young woman. For me, when I was growing up, being a nerd meant that I liked things that were a little weird, that took a lot of effort to appreciate and understand. It meant that I loved science, playing board games, reading books and really understanding what went on in the world instead of just riding the planet through space.

When I was little, people really teased me about that and made me feel like there's something wrong with me for loving those things. Now that I'm an adult, I'm a professional nerd, and the world has changed. I think we've realized that being a nerd isn't about what you love but about how you love.

So there's gonna be a thing in your life that you love. I don't know what it's gonna be. It might be sports or science or reading or telling stories. It doesn't matter what it is. The way you love that thing and how you find other people who love it the way you do is what makes being a nerd awesome. Some of us love Harry Potter, while others love Star Trek. But we all love those things so much that we travel far to be around people who love the things that we love the way that we love them. That's why being a nerd awesome.

Don't let anyone tell you that the thing that you love is a thing that you can't love. Don't let anyone ever tell you, "You can't love that. That's for boys." I want you to be honest, honorable and kind. I want you to work hard because everything worth doing is hard. I want you to be awesome, and I'll do my very best to leave you a planet that you can still live on. Have a great life.

- Wil Wheaton

Source: Reader's Digest (April 2014 issue)

April 21, 2014

I Value Class

I've been thinking about class; class in the sense of courtesy, virtue. Class as a noun, a quality to be possessed. Class is what I treasure most in a person. I don't necessarily mean "class" in some sort of elite sense, either. This isn't to say that I value manners and etiquette and sophistication above all. What I mean to say is that I value decency. Graciousness. Grace.

I value the sorts of people who are kind when no one's watching, who are honest about their own faults, who speak up for themselves when it's appropriate while maintaining respect for the person they're speaking to. I value people who are loyal and true, who selflessly build up other's successes and then easily, humbly, accept praise in return. People who are compassionate and considerate, people who remember to call on birthdays and random days, too, just because you're on their mind.

I value people with genuine civility, the ones who help the old lady at the grocery store and strike up a conversation with the cashier. The ones who see people as people. Who befriend their neighbor, their postman, their plumber, their best friend's sister's boyfriend's aunt. I value people who appreciate handwritten letters and phone calls, people who realize that some occasions call for something more than a text, something more than an email. Who send a song or a book or a cut-out article to somebody they care about because they just know that they'll appreciate it. I value people who can admit their mistakes and learn from them. People with the heart to forgive, with the guts to hold on, with the empathy to understand another person, or the willingness, even, to try.

Like I said: I value class. And I'm not perfect. No, far from it. I'm not always the person I wanna be; a person with tact and dignity and class. Sometimes I fail. But I can try, I can do my best. And I can hold the world to a higher standard, because I do think we have it in us. Don't you?

April 20, 2014

LAMAN: Back in Time

LAMAN is Malaysia's number one garden and landscape magazine. It's inspiring. As someone who resides in a garden made by my parents, I'm truly in love with this magazine as I could find all information about the world of plants and landscape in it. This magazine inspires us to create our dream garden. It's packed with dazzling images, informative tips and design ideas that are practical as well as beautiful. The recommendation of optional accessories and garden furniture by LAMAN magazine promises our gardens to be transformed into something more beautiful and exquisite. I'm glad to have this magazine because it contains everything I ever wanted to know about the world of garden art.

The March/April 2014 issue (49th edition) of LAMAN fascinates me with many great topics. The topic entitled "Gaya Hias: Kembalikan Nostalgia Itu" on page 20 is one of my favorites. It shows the idea of using antique things as decoration to create vintage style garden. It's about repurposing, upcycling and reusing old items. A vintage garden is the opposite of the modern way of living with consumption and throwing away used stuff. It's about preserving the old and beautiful and also a way of creating another way of life. It's just so wonderful to see how those antique and vintage pieces are preserved to continue the memories of days gone by in so many creative and wonderful ways. 

There are several suggested repurposed vintage items featured on the pages such as a bird in a cage, water in clay crock with a laddle made of coconut shell, old rubber machine, old trolley, stone mortar, millstone, old bicycle, old wheel, rattan coop, bell, carved wood, rattan fish trap, damaged fan, etc. Some people might see these things as rusty junks, but for some others who love vintage, these items are treasures. Gardening with antiques can add a lot of whimsy to any garden or even a front porch area.

My parents also love to use some old stuff for things they weren't really meant to be used for. So I show the pages to my mother, then she immediately gets the idea to make a vintage style in our garden. There's no ending to what can be used in a vintage garden. If one starts to look at things with new eyes, almost anything can be used. An aquarium can be transformed into a display item for example, like some small flower plants or cactus. We have some old trolleys, bicycles, shelves, tables, etc..I'm sure we can use them too and get a total different appearance. Everything can be of use, the only thing that can restrict your creativity is your imagination limits. :)

Thanks to LAMAN magazine for being such an inspiration.

April 15, 2014


If I said things were going just peachy at the moment I think you could probably sense the fact that isn't true. Things are tough. Yes, I have a job I'm beyond thankful to have (even as a temp). Yes, I have family and friends that love me. Yes, I have a place to rest my head at night. I'm thankful.

But when your heart's broken and your mind's racing with anxieties, it's hard to take a minute to enjoy much of anything.

I think exhausting is too simple a word. 

My dream cracks.

I'm devastated. 

April 11, 2014

Inner Compass

I'm terrible at making decisions. The problem is that I see both sides. Of everything. Always. And this isn't even an exaggeration, either. It's true, I'm inevitably torn. So when big decisions roll around, the kind that can change my life course, alter my destiny, and quite possibly reshape life as I know it? Well, anxiety doesn't even cover it. I find myself making list, panicked and flustered as I weigh the pros and cons. 
"But what if... And then I could... How about I... But, but, but..."
..on and on, for as long as my mind can stand it, until I finally throw up my hands and say "okay, enough."

And when I reach that enough place, the breaking point where I decide that my sanity's seriously at stake, I realize that I simply have to choose. To choose based on my gut, on my heart, on that tiny little voice that finds the strength to whisper only when all hope feels lost. And then, after choosing, comes the really difficult part, the aftermath, the quiet hours when the weight of a decision can sink in.

That challenging aftermath is ongoing. It involves re-choosing day after day and accepting the fact that either way, no matter which path you'd picked, you'd have been forced to look back and wonder regardless. If you'd settled on A, you would have wondered about B. If you'd opted for B, you would suddenly remember A's appeal. Such is life. Such is choosing. And yet, how wonderful it is and how lucky we must feel for having a choice in the first place.

April 9, 2014

Don't Wait 3 Days to Text First

I've stopped being sorry for all my soft. I won't apologize because I miss you, or because I said it, or because I text you first, or again. I think everyone spends too much time trying to close themselves off. I don't want to be cool or indifferent, I want to be honest. If I love you at 5 a.m, I'd damn well rather that you know I felt it. If I love you 2 hours later, I'll tell you then too. Listen, I won't wait double the time it takes for you to text me back because I don't want to. I don't care enough to be patient with you. I'm happy, you made me feel that way, don't you want to know? So that's how it's going to be. I'm going to leave myself open. And I'm going to wake you up before the crack of dawn to tell you that I'm joyful, no pretending, not from me, not ever. Would you like some coffee?
- Azra, T., Don't Wait 3 Days to Text First

April 7, 2014

When Life Gives you Bitter Melon

If I were to write the nasty food column, bitter melon or bitter gourd would be at the top of my list of underappreciated vegetables. True to its name, the squash is unabashedly bitter, with an acerbic taste that leaves your tongue and the roof of your mouth dry. I couldn't understand people who love it, especially those who eat it raw. My mom loves to serve it as kerabu but I still don't like it because it gives me stomach acid.

Most of you out there would have bitter gourd in your hate list. I was one among you until my aunt came the other day bringing fried bitter gourd. I didn't know it was bitter gourd at the first place, it looked like tempura or something but I didn't care enough to ask because it smelled so nice. So I ate it joyfully, it was crispy, savory..just the way I liked it. Then they told me it's actually bitter gourd. And I was like, OMG how can bitter gourd taste so good?? It's not bitter at all! I was so shocked with that new discovery that I had a feeling that my entire life has been a lie. Lol. Too much. :p 

So I asked for the recipe and tried to make it on my own. So this is how to turn hate into love:

Bitter gourd
Kentucky flour
Black pepper
White pepper

1. Slice the bitter gourd, remove the seeds and cottony part. Wash the slices and keep them aside.
2. Put minced garlic, peppers and salt into the whisked egg.
3. Toss in slices of bitter gourd into the egg mixture and mix them well.
4. Evacuate the slices from the egg mixture and dip them into Kentucky flour, make sure they're fully coated, then immediately fry in the hot oil. Deep fry until they're golden brown.

It might still taste bitter a little bit, but better then it was. At least it's edible.
Well, it's a whole new definition to the saying "when life gives you lemon..."
Except when life gives you bitter gourd, make them not bitter. Lol.

April 6, 2014

On Broken Hearts

I find few things quite so nice as a person with a broken heart. Don't get me wrong. It sounds strange, I know. But when someone's brokenhearted, they're laid open, at their most raw, their most vulnerable. Walls crumble, having no reason to protect what's already been shattered, and the person's real essence rises to the surface.

I, too, have been brokenhearted. And, well, truth is, I sometimes miss who I was then. No, I don't miss the desperation. I don't miss being the girl who moved through days as a shell of a person, a shadow of her former self. I don't miss the dull ache, the feeling of walking in a haze, the sensation of being in pieces, in fragile, sharp-edged pieces I didn't recognize.

What I miss is the fearlessness that emerged from the ruins. That feeling of having nothing, nothing at all, to lose. When your heart's broken, you find and embrace an intimacy with yourself, a closeness to your own spirit, a kind self-love that you can later forget to nourish. And in those most gut-wrenching hours of my own heartache, I remember turning inward, and to music, and to literature, toward any place where I knew I'd feel understood. Where I could find, if not the answers, then at least the most important and most compelling questions.

Now, though, on the other side of this, with a heart restored and reshaped and rediscovered, I'm struck by my own desire to revisit that girl. To remember how she felt and uncover once again what seemed so true and tender about her in those broken moments. And also, to let her know that the pieces will eventually come together quite brilliantly. That she has nothing to worry about.

مآ أجمّل أنْ تصمتْ
فيْ ؤجهْ منْ ينتظرْ منِك الخِصَام 

وما أجمل أنْ تضحك
فيْ وجهْ منْ يُنتظرْ منك البكـاءْ

How beautiful it is to stay silent
When someone expects you to be enraged from them.
And how beautiful it is to laugh
When someone thinks you are going to shed tears.

April 5, 2014

Nightly Rants

A Year 5 student came to me today, asking, "will you still teach us math next week?" I said no, that my job's done and their regular teacher's coming back. Then he looked down, took my hand and placed it on his forehead. He said, "thanks for being our teacher, I'm sorry for my mistakes, please pray for me so I can succeed in study" something like that. Then it hit me like a hammer. I said what I supposed to say, but the words can't seem get out straight because I was chocked up. It's overwhelming. I mean, you know, I was just an untrained substitute teacher and I didn't expect this kind gesture even from at least one student. 
Anyway, as far as I know, he's the quietest boy in class, never joined Q&A session, never asked me anything about math, but it's okay because he always did well. Such a good, good boy. When I was his age I never went in person to see teachers saying thanks or sorry. Just sneaking into teachers' room to place simple cards on my favorite teachers' desk a day before Teacher's Day.

Why am I not teaching them anymore next week, you ask? Well, my contract with the school has ended. I might come back substituting another absent teacher who teach different subject, or I might not. I don't know.. It's just, I've received a new offer in writing for a magazine (the perks of being a freelance writer: you'll get many offers ^^) so I guess I want to focus on this. I'm not gonna blow it away like I did to Zalora (big regret!). Apart from that, taking master's program seems tempting. You see, when you can't find a fix job, go to college again. Oh all of a sudden I want to do so many things as if I had all the time in the world. So what, go for it, you may say. Hmm..easy said than done. I can't multitask, and when I do, it'd be catastrophic.  

Please, dear loves, whoever you are, wish me luck..


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