October 30, 2010

A New Ride

I got my driver's license the day I turned 19. That was about 6 years ago yesterday. OK. That's a lie. Add another 7 years to that. What? You're confused? Oh well. Never mind. Age is just a number and I hate numbers and this post isn't going to be about numbers.

So anyway. Back to the story. On the day I earned my driver's license, everything just fell into place. I passed the theoretical test, I nailed the slopes test and I excelled in the parking test. Everything was a breeze except for the road test. What happened? Well, the car stalled twice during the test cos I was sloppy with the clutch and the accelerator. But because it was my birthday, I got really lucky and was given this super nice tester. He said "Jangan panic Alice...Palan palan". And surprise surprise, my final score for the road test was 19/20! Even with mati enjin :) 

Although I had a license, I was not allowed to drive cos my dad said I wasn't ready. It was only safe for me to drive on kampung roads. Period. That was so frustrating. Three years later, I graduated and was posted to a suburban school in Papar. My dad realized that I couldn't possibly walk from KK to Papar so he bought me a pre-loved Suzuki Jeep. It was ancient alright but I so adored it, simply because it was mine. All mine.

After two months, the Suzuki broke down. The journey from KK to Papar was too much for the old engine so my dad had no choice but to sell the car. I was a bit annoyed when he did cos I was back to being chauffered-driven to school. Suddenly I was 12 again.

Shortly after this bleak period, my dad bought me a more reliable car. It was a metallic-blue, Proton Saga sedan. I was extremely ecstatic when I got it cos it was way newer than the Suzuki and much easier to drive. The Proton served me well for a few years but after sometime, it started giving me heaps of problems. I'd like to tell you the problems I had with it, but I can't come up with the right term. The only thing I could remember is the timing belt. So anyway, I sold the car and moved on.
My next car was an Atos - small and economical. This Atos was special because a month after I had it, the registration number 2650 came out in the lottery - first prize! We bought two tickets, so that was equivalent to RM5000. A sweet win, wouldn't you say? Anyway,  a month after winning the 4D, llittle Alden was born. The date? 26 May 2006 (26/5). His weight? 2.65 kg. Big coincidence eh? I thought it was cool.

In September 2008, I had to sell the Atos cos I was leaving for NZ. It wasn't easy getting rid of it but I managed to sort it out just in the nick of time. When we got to Christchurch, we bought this red Toyota Camry station wagon for $1800.00. That's right. A thousand eight hundred ONLY.

This car has been problem-free since the day we bought it but it does have a couple of minus points. It doesn't have an air-conditioner, it's absorbers are all worn out and something in the engine needs to be fixed. 

You know where this is going right? Yep. That's right. We sold the car. 

And then we went car hunting. There were so many nice, cheap ones in the market and  we went to more than 10 car dealers along Moorhouse Avenue itself.

BMW anyone?

 I like this one but it's a two-seater

 Nissan Maxima 2004 - $8000 plus only

 If I were single, I would have bought this - $5990 only!

 and this one's $6990!

 A classic - The Jaguar is only $6999

It was hard choosing one that you really like cos there were so many to choose from. But in the end, I finally decided on something more practical for the family and one that is affordable.

I chose this. Another Camry but a newer one.

And that's my biggest birthday present ever :)

Yes, I'm in denial

 Happy Weekend everyone :)

October 27, 2010

Let the Blogging Begin

I am back in Christchurch and back to blogging. After a long absence it feels a bit awkward to start writing again. I think this is one of the hardest things for bloggers to do – writing that first draft that announces their return. I thought about this long and hard and I've decided  to pick up where I left off. 

Let's start with what I did in KK.

In the first week, I attended a Wild Wild West-themed party organised by my colleagues at work. I brought hubby along cos I figured he too needed a break. So we left the kids at home and went to the party all happy and excited, giggling like two teenagers who just got out of detention. The expression "I'm FREE! I'm FREE!" was written all over our faces.

That's me and Delia

Hubby having his moment

A week after that, my futsal friends organised a homecoming dinner at Krishna's. It was another great night of dining and chatting.

Then there was my meeting with Chegu Carol and her hubby. But I've blogged about this already.

The following weeks were then filled with data collection work, family time, weekend trips, data analysis,  paper work and a bit of shopping here and there. When I was doing my research, most of my time was spent with Octavia, one of my closest buddies at work. Oct is also a wonderful shopping companion cos she's literally a Becky Bloomwood. One in denial of course.   

Aside from work, I also spent some quality time with the kids and hubby. We went to Kundasang one weekend and spent the night there. I don't know whether it's just me, but I feel that Kundasang has gotten so much warmer now. In the past, day time was always cool and breezy but now you can feel the burning heat  even in the early morning. Another effect of climate change I guess.

In mid September, I attended a wedding dinner with my sister. I didn't even know the bride (Christine) but I tagged along cos I wanted to dress up and get out of the house.

A day after that, I attended a mini bloggers-gathering held at Sailor's Cafe. I met Annieming, The Wandering Sumandak, Shiela, the Jade sisters, Chegu, Mimi and her lovely sister. One of the things I was looking forward to was hearing their voices and seeing who they were. It's interesting  cos I think every blogger has his/ her own virtual blogging voice and it's always fun to predict or imagine how they really sound like in real life.

Lady bloggers

Towards the end of September, my data collection work was almost complete. I started spending less time at work and more time at home with the kids. My dad got tired of babysitting cos the duos were driving him nuts - throwing stuff into the toilet bowl, fighting with each other, playing with soap, eating peanut butter straight from the jar, shouting at the top of their lungs and being mischievous. It was chaotic.

On October 2, disaster struck. I woke up one morning to see this in the mirror.

The condition is called subconjunctival hemorrhage. It occurs when a tiny blood vessel breaks just underneath the clear surface of your eye (conjunctiva). You can read all about it here. It didn't hurt at all but it scared a lot of people - my dad included. I don't blame him. I looked like one of those bad vampires in Eclipse you know. Anyway, if you do get this, DO NOT PANIC and don't ever go to the P Polycinic in Dongongon cos an idiot who calls himself a doctor will tell you that it takes 2 - 3 months to heal. That's not all. He will also scare you to death by telling you the stain could be permanent and that some people never get rid of it. Like forever and ever. I had a major breakdown when I heard this and went home crying.

I later found out from my sister that the idiot was wrong. She googled "blood in the eye" and discovered these facts: 1.The condition is very common, 2. It takes about 14 days to heal and 3. It is completely harmless. Phew! I could breathe again. I should never have trusted the so-called doctor! If you see him, avoid him at all cost. He's on duty every Sunday afternoon, is plump, nerdy and is about 5' 7". I hope that helps. Going back to the eye. Well, knowing that it wasn't permanent cheered me up but it didn't change the fact that I looked like Jane from the Volturi. Having a vampire-ish eye caused a lot of inconveniences and social discomfort. People stared at me like I was Shrek and my colleagues kept asking me "Kenapa mata kau???!!!!!" with disgust etched all over their faces. Even Alden said I looked scary. But anyway, life went on and I soon got used to my red eye.

After completing my research work, I felt good about myself and decided to have a weekend getaway with my family. My parents weren't that thrilled but the kids absolutely enjoyed themselves.

In the same week, I had a girls' night out with Oct and Chegu. I still had the red eye then but I  managed to survive without lenses/ glasses. Was it a torture having to squint my eyes 90% of the time? You bet. Was it worth the effort? Yes.

Photos courtesy of Chegu Carol

On October 15, I organised a dinner gathering for my friends at the Sailor's. I didn't expect they would turn it into an advance birthday bash for me instead. It was a big surprise and I really appreciate the lovely gesture.

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On October 16, a day before I flew back to Christchurch, I attended Judy's wedding reception. It was a lovely wedding but I didn't get to take a photo with the bride. Too bad.

with my lovely sister Lois
The bride and groom

Debs, me, Alva, hubby, my brother and little Mita - photos courtesy of Caroline Lee :)

I left KK on October 17. It was sad leaving my family and friends but I kept telling myself "One more year to go and then it's home sweet home".

And that wraps up my post-holiday post.