May 5, 2012

Bittersweet

Leaving Christchurch brings with it a mixture of emotions – from happiness to relief to a bittersweet sense of loss. For all of the experiences I've gained and people I’ve met; going home seems like a difficult task. The saddest part is leaving the wonderful friends I’ve made through the years. 

Feeling a bit miserable right now but I guess this is only a phase.

I end this short entry with a nice song called Love, Love Love. The band is called Avalanche City.

May 3, 2012

I'm still here

I've been very quiet over the last few weeks. It's mostly been because I've been trying to finish my thesis while packing and coordinating my move to Malaysia. It 's hard to believe my time here is up. After three and a half years in Christchurch, I'm finally moving back to KK!! Between the move, thesis-writing and the chaos at home, I haven't had any time for blogging or bloghopping. Believe me, I've been meaning to read the updates in my reading folder but circumstances just don't permit it.

For this post, let me just tell you what I've been up to the past few weeks, okay?

Packing
As I've said earlier, we're moving home very very soon. We’ve been packing like mad over the past few weeks and cleaning the house for our landlord’s final inspection. Inspection day was Sunday and boy, was I relieved when we finally handed over the house keys to Mr. Butcher.




To me, there's nothing fun about packing. The whole process was so stressful, I almost had a meltdown. I felt like crap packing tons of stuff because my ribcage was sore the whole time (will tell you more about this). Second, we had way too many things to get rid of. Deciding what to ship home, donate and sell was physically and mentally draining. I didn’t think we own so many things, but when we started packing, I realised just how much junk we've accumulated over years. Third, when I'm busy packing, I become very moody and I look frumpy. I go into a don’t-come-and-see me mode which is really ugly.
 
But that's all over now and I am so relieved to have the packing behind me!


Trading

Apart from packing, I was also busy selling all our stuff on Trade Me. Trade Me is something like Mudah.com. I find it exciting selling stuff online especially when the bid exceeds my reserve price. These are some of the things I've sold on Trade Me.










I sold these and tons of other stuff like my shoes, handbags, bean bags, TV Cabinet, dining table, trampoline, toaster, rice cooker, printer, vacuum cleaner, broom, laundry basket, study desk, wall clock, and matress. Semua licin!


A Tragic Fall

This event is related to the ribcage pain I mentioned earlier.

Have I told you that I am a total klutz? If I haven’t, well, it’s time I come clean. I have this habit of falling down and hurting myself on a regular basis. Hubby and my sister are constantly surprised that I can fall down while doing something so simple like walking. I think it’s in my DNA.

Last year my great fall happened at the college cafe. Remember this post? I lost my footing while walking into the cafĂ© and landed flat on my butt. Humiliating, yes.  

An incident at the uni 2 weeks ago beats last year’s hands down. On a fine Wednesday morning, while I was working at the office, I got a text message from a guy who saw my Car-For-Sale ad. Overwhelmed by excitement, I got totally disoriented. All I knew was I needed to get home ASAP. So I quickly got out of the office and sprinted toward my car. Instead of walking over this chain barrier thingy in front of the parking lot, I jumped over it. BIG mistake. Instead of jumping successfully, I ended up getting my right foot caught in the chains. 

**GEDEBAB**

I fell down hard flat on the ground. Face Down.

The worst thing was a few people and a nenek who was brisk-walking witnessed the entire scene. So there I was lying down on the pavement, with the sun on my face and this elderly woman beside me. I cursed myself for attempting the impossible jump. The nenek said "You had a fright but you’ll be okay”. I thanked her and slowly limped my way to the car. End  of story.

The moral of the story? If you're a klutz, avoid crossing/ jumping/ walking over barriers of any sort.

The barriers


Selling my Camry


Another big decision I made last month was to sell  my car. I bought it in 2010 with the intention of shipping it to KK. I was keen on doing that because according to Kastam di Raja Malaysia (KDRM), overseas students  who intend to import cars to the country get student AP. Plus, a majority of my seniors have imported their cars without much hassle. This means the cars arrived promptly and the payable tax was reasonable. For instance, my colleague JD, who went back to Malaysia last year was charged RM18K in tax for his 2001 Honda Stream. Reasonable, don't you think?

So. What made me change my mind? Well, when I asked for a quotation from KDRM in Port Klang, I was told that I needed to pay about RM31K for my Camry. Fine. I then called KDRM in Kota Kinabalu to ascertain the figure. Guess what? The KK custom official had a different quotation. It was RM62K! DOUBLE the amount given by Port Klang custom. Crazy right? Shouldn't the formula for import tax be standard across the country? To make the story short, I decided to sell my baby and avoid paying a fortune in tax. I was sore about it but didn't have a choice.

So there you have it. My excuses for not being able to blog. I have a few more days to spend in Christchurch and I'm starting to feel a bit emotional about leaving. I guess that's the reason why I'm writing this entry - to remind myself what life is like right now.

May 1, 2012

A long overdue post: The Rugby Date

* Drafted many weeks ago

My first date with rugby last Saturday was awesome. Although initially I felt a bit out of place, it was actually pretty entertaining once I started understanding the rules of the game. Near the end, I was definitely into it. Thanks to the thousands of Cantabrians who made it to the game, the whole atmosphere was electric. They all wore the Crusaders jersey, with Crusaders flags in their hands -hubby included. And as expected, the Crusaders was victorious, thrashing the Cheetahs with a 24-21 win.


After watching the live game for the first time, I have come to these conclusions:

1. Dan Carter is incredibly HOT.




2. A rugby field is smaller than a soccer field. Duh.

3. Rugby does not appeal to everybody. My last point here may seem vague so let me elaborate. I think like tuhau, beer and foot massage, Rugby is an acquired taste. Some will love it but some will never like it. Yes, it's an awesome game that displays men's raw masculinity but the attraction ends there. It's exciting watching muscular men fight over a ball, but I'm not interested to learn more. You may beg to differ of course :)


These are some photos from the game. There aren't  many but they should give you a good glimpse into what I experienced.

Latecomers



The players warming up

Full stadium

A girl holding a sign that said "Kiss me Dan!"



Over-excited


 "I can't wait to get home"

March 24, 2012

Rugby tonight!

Guess what? I am going to my first super rugby game tonight!!! No, it's not All Blacks but some of the players also play for the All Blacks. Do I know how the game works? Nope. Does it matter? NOPE! Hehehe.  I really don't know what to expect but I reckon it's going to be loud and electric! 

So what team am I rooting for? Team Canterbury of course! Go go go Crusaders!! Destroy the Cheetahs! I know I'm a bit over the top with this whole-rugby thingy but after weeks of thesis-induced hypertension, some excitement is what I need.

By the way, tonight's game is highly anticipated not only because it's the first game of the season but it's also the first one being played in Christchurch after the big quake. The turnout is going to be massive 'cos the tickets are all sold out. I'll try taking some photos at the game to give you an idea of how it looks like okay? For now, let me just leave you with this awesome clip of the ABs performing the Haka. This war dance is one of the things I love most when it comes to watching a NZ rugby game. Don't you just love it?


March 20, 2012

Story of a wimpy kid

I think the biggest challenge for a thesis writer is to focus consistently on her writing no matter what happens around her. This is something I have yet to master. Like yesterday morning for example, I had this crazy urge to shut my colleague's mouth with a mop simply 'cos he was chatting with another colleague. I got so distracted by their conversation, I couldn't focus on anything else.

Before I go on, let me spill the 411 about this guy. Let's call him L. L is new in his PhD journey and is currently in the process of writing his proposal. Last month, he went through a hard time deciding what topic to do as he was torn between his own choice and the one recommended by his supervisor. The problem was, he couldn't say NO to his supervisor. Since I was the only one around, he came to me to spill his guts out.

After 2 weeks of counselling, I turned into a wreck myself. The more L talked, the less focused I became and the more frustrated I felt with myself. In an attempt to end his and my misery, I decided  to be blunt. I told him "If you don't think you can handle this topic now, what makes you think you can handle it in the next 3 years? This isn't a short-term commitment." I told him that and a few other things along those lines. The advice was given in response to his many complaints: I have no background in X, I've never done a qualititative study, this topic is too difficult, bla bla bla bla bla. When I was done talking, he nodded and said "yeah, you're right". I was relieved. No more counselling session! Yay!

The next morning, he came to the office, looking all chirpy and bubbly. He said "Hey Alice, I've  told J what I want to do and she seems okay with it!" Good on him, I thought.

A few days later, I attended a friend's barbecue party where I met L's supervisor. When she saw me, she marched slowly toward me, patted my shoulder and started this conversation:

J: So I heard that you have led one of our PhD students astray.

As you might have guessed, I went all PUCAT. 

Me: No I didn't.

J: Well, a few days ago, L came to tell me that he didn't want to change his topic. When I asked him why, he said you told him not to.

Me: Me?? He said that??

J: He specifically said "Alice told me to choose a topic that I'm interested in".

Sot kan si L? I began to feel hot in the face 'cos our conversation got some of my colleagues' attention.

Me: It's not like that. He came to me for advise. I never told him to do anything. I mean, I was just trying to help...

J: That's not what L said (she smiled). He said "ALICE told me to choose my own topic".

Me: NO NO NO. I said "If you don't think you can handle this topic now, what makes you think you can handle it in the next three years?". That's all.

I was about to string another paragraph of explanation but J didn't let me finish.

J: Oh well, don't worry about it (still smiling). I think you're right...and I told L "Alice is right. You should follow your heart".

She said a few other things to make light of the situation but I never recovered from my shock. I was so pissed at L. I mean, taken out of context, it sounded as if I was a nosy-parker, meddling into his business. Why didn't he just tell her the truth?! Babun!

As I lay in bed that night, I imagined myself confronting him in the office. I wanted to tell him how unprofessional he had been and how serious the matter was. But that wasn't enough. I was so angry, I wanted to take him by the neck and choke-slam  him like Kane in WWE. You know what WWE is right? Okay. Just picture Kane vs. Mr Bean. Begitula my imagination.

The next morning, I went to the office, ready for action.  I waited and waited at my desk but he never showed up. Not the next day or the day after. In fact, he went MIA for one whole week. When he did show up, which was eons later, I have lost all the Kane-rage in me. I was like "Ahhh...Biarlah dia. Bikin kesian juga muka dia ni." 

So. That brings us to yesterday morning and the part where I wanted to shut him up with a mop. When I heard him talking to another colleague (loudly), asking for advice on proposal guidelines, I suddenly felt sick inside. There he goes again, playing that clueless-guy-in-distress act. He's confused because the topic is too difficult, bla bla bla. He's not sure how long the lit review should be, bla bla bla. He has so much to read bla bla bla. He's lost, bla bla bla. When I heard my new colleague comforting and guiding him like a good therapist, I was so tempted to say: He is TROUBLE! I almost spewed some word vomit but the voice in my head told me to shut up.

She's right.

I have bigger things to worry about: thesis, kids, wrinkles, eye bags, house chores, chipped nails, how to ship my stuff to KK etc etc. In the end, I decided to keep quiet, put on my imaginary ear muffs and ignore the wimp for the rest of the day. Let him be. If he continues misquoting people, sooner or later someone will give him the choke-slam he so deserves.