July 25, 2010

Yipee Dee Doo Dah!

Hello people! Hello Internet! This will probably be my last post for July. I have been very quiet the past few days because....

1. Yoda gave me some insane last minute homework to do and I almost went cuckoo trying to complete them.

2. Hubby's laptop got infected with a nasty virus called Malware. Don't know what that means but it has totally screwed up the entire system. That's the reason why blogging activities had to be put to a minimum. I will read all of your awesome blogs the moment I get home okay? You know who you are! *wink*

I am here in my office, doing some last minute printing. In less than 15 hours, I will be flying to Melbourne and then to KL and then five days later to KK!!!

The bags are packed and we're bringing



three pieces of luggage...

Alden is super excited too :)

We're set to go! I can't wait to get home and see my family and friends. I have missed them sooo much. And the FOOD! OH! I can't wait to eat burung puyu at Krishna's and have Ah Tong's fish head mi-hun sup at Beverly as well as the chicken rice at Lido and the Tom Yam at Wan Wan and oh! my grandma's jaruk bambangan and ikan masin! And durians! Let's not forget the durians. Here durians cost $40 each. 

Macam keluar dari jail kan?

What else am I excited about? Well, apart from shopping, I am also super-thrilled to catch up with old colleagues at work. It's going to be so much fun!

And since I'm a blogger now, I think it would be awesome if I could meet other fellow bloggers in KK. Manatau terjumpa di kadai kupi kan? Hehehe...Hope to see you around!

15 hours to go..The next time I blog, I will be in Kota Kinabalu!!! Until then, toodles!

July 19, 2010

Weekend On Ice

I know I've been complaining a lot about the weather and on more than one occasion, I even said I hate winter. That's not entirely true. There is one thing I love about the season, and that is the snow. Last July, when my family came to visit, they had a lot of fun taking pictures of frozen lakes, walking on icy tracks and making snow man. I missed all that cos I was stuck at home, in confinement.

This year, I have made it a point to go see the snow and after weeks of dilly dallying, I finally got to do it yesterday. We initially wanted to go to Mount Cook but figured it'd be too long a journey so we headed to Lake Coleridge instead. 

We started our journey in the late morning, at around 11.00 a.m. It wasn't far from Christchurch so  we weren't worried about the journey at all. When we realised that we had left the map at home, both of us decided to move on without it. "Dear, mau balik pi ambi map?" Hubby asked. I answered "Mmm, nda paya la...Kita adventurous la sikit". Since it was my third trip to the lake and hubby's fourth, I didn't think we'd lose our way.

We headed out of Christchurch through Yaldhurst and after a few minutes of driving we got to the West Coast Road. Hubby said all we needed to do was follow the road signs going to Darfield. So off we went. After about 25 minutes or so, we got to a signposted corner that said Hororata. Hubby thought the name sounded familiar and his gut feeling told him it was the right way. Unfortunately, I had to confuse his sense of directions by saying "Itu pi Mount Cook tu". Hearing this, hubby decided to move on and not take the route.

We drove through the Canterbury Plains, passing the small townships of Darfield and Spingfield. We didn't realise it at that time, but we were actually heading towards Arthur's Pass via Porters Pass. As we got further, the scenery changed and the road became more windy. This didn't bother us cos we got to see the impressive view of the mountains ahead.
On the way to Porters Pass
From Springfield, I noticed that the road began to climb steadily and then narrowly up to Porters Pass. When we got to the top, I could see a magnificent view of the Southern Alps; they were all covered in snow. To our delight, there was a beautiful park just after the steep climb. It was the Korowai–Torlesse Tussockland Park, which covers around 21,000 hectares of high country. We got to roadside and found a nice little spot to park the car. This gave us the chance to do a little bit of sightseeing while the kids were still asleep. The moment I got out, I immediately felt like I was in winter wonderland! Snow dominated the entire place and seeing this, I went a little crazy. I began touching the snow every chance I got and forced hubby to take my photos in various poses. There were also wild birds at the park and they all seemed quite friendly. After  having fun in the snow and  taking heaps of pics, we got back to the car and said goodbye to snowy Tussockland.


We continued our journey to Lake Coleridge, driving happily on the windy road. After an hour or so, I got a little bit worried cos most of the landscapes I saw seemed alien to me. I didn't remember passing through Porter River Bridge or seeing Porter Heights Skifield in our previous trips. So I told hubby about this and asked him whether he remembered those landmarks. He said "Ini la jalan dia tu, mana  ada lagi". That wasn't comforting at all but I figured he was probably right. Soon after that, we approached Castle Hill. The place is easily recognisable by the huge rock formation on the hillside. It  looked  a lot like Stone Henge to me and it definitely had a wow effect on me. If we weren't too occupied on finding the lake, we would have stopped by and taken a few photos. Too bad.  

Castle Hill
Fast forward 90 minutes.

We were still on the road and Lake Coleridge was nowhere in sight. I told hubby we were LOST and begged him to ask for directions. He smiled and said "Tadi dear bilang mau adventure kan" He wasn't worried at all and I was already imagining the worst. We drove for another mile or so before approaching a bridge with the signpost Waimakariri something. Seeing the length of the bridge, I panicked. It was as though we were crossing over to the other side of the world and I feared that the moment we crossed the bridge, we would be eternally lost. I asked hubby whether he remembered seeing the bridge last time and he said YES. I asked him again "Ada ka kamu limpas ni bridge dulu masa sama mummy?" He said "Ada ba!" Then I said "Kalau ada, napa kita nda sampai-sampai ni????"
At the end of the bridge, we got to a huge camping ground where we saw  two 4WDs.  Hubby decided to end my agony by asking for directions. Finally! After five minutes, he got back to the car, smiled at me and said "Sala suda la dear. Ini jalan  pi West Coast".  Oh Crap! We had to do a major U-turn, get back to Porters Pass and cross over Lake Lyndon via Lyndon road to get to Lake Coleridge. I know what my sister is thinking right now "Tu la kamu nda bawa map".

I'll skip the U-turn details okay?

On the way to Porters Pass, we came across a partly frozen lake called Lake Pearson. We stopped by for a little picnic cos all of us were hungry. It was freezing cold and windy but the view was nice.

Picnic site

Rice, fried eggs and fried dace for lunch
After the late lunch, we continued our journey to Lake Coleridge. The short cut via Lyndon Road was closed, due to heavy snow so we had to take the long way via Hororata. That's right. The route that we passed by earlier in the journey.

Fast forward 60 km ah...

We finally made it! Yay! It was already 3.30 p.m. by the time we got there but that was okay. We came across this spot and this time I came prepared.  As you can see, the fences are heavily adorned with used undergarments. I don't know who started the wacky tradition but I think it's cool. I took out my used bra and panties and began tying them on the barb wire fence. Hubby pun ikut ikut and tied his blue underwear next to mine. Hehehe.

After putting our marks on the fences, we continued our journey to the great lake. Another 10 minutes  on  graveled road brought us there. The lake was just as beautiful as I remembered it from my previous trip but at this time of the year, the water's frozen. Hubby and Alden threw stones onto the frozen surface and they all bounced and skidded across the lake. Alden enjoyed this a lot and did it over and over again. I found it awesome too especially when hubby threw a huge rock and the ice still won't break. That was really fun.

Alden and Dada
Makan ice

Me having a bite :)

Alden in awe

A heart-shaped piece of ice
We only spent half an hour at the lake but it was worth the journey. On the way home, hubby and I talked about our little trip, the accidental detour and the fun we had in the snow. In the end both us realised that we got exactly what we bargained for; a little bit of adventure! If we hadn't gotten lost, we wouldn't have passed Springfield,  Tousseland Park, Castle Hill, Lake Pearson, Broken River, Cave Stream, Cragieburn Forest Park and Bealey Spur. I guess being lost wasn't so bad after all. 

* To give you an idea of how far we went, here's a map of Arthur's Pass and Lake Coleridge. We almost reached Arthur's Pass National Park.


July 15, 2010

Non Compliance - Part 2

As promised, here's a recollection of what happened this morning.

At 8.55 a.m. I went to see Mr. M who is in-charge of Class X. I was told that he had explained to the students about my work and that they were okay with it. This was important as I needed their full cooperation in class.

We got to the classroom at exactly 9.00 a.m. and I could see that all seven students were already waiting for us. They were all female and in my biased opinion, they were much much  older than me. I'm not being vain here. I could tell they were older cos most of them wore a distinct kind of attire that shouts AUNTY.

After the five-minute scan, I started the session by telling them a little bit about my research and what I needed them to do. I assured them that the tasks they were doing had not effect on their grades and that  their identity would be anonymous. To end my little speech, I thanked them for their participation and gave them my brightest smile ever. Sadly, none of them returned the gesture. But that was fine. I couldn't let it bother me.

The first task involved a questionnaire survey. I distributed the paper and told them to take their sweet time. When they got the handouts, they started flipping the pages and examined each section thoroughly. When they realised that there were over 60 questions involved, things started to get a  little bit ugly. Five of them started making faces and the other two began exchanging paragraphs and paragraphs of dissatisfaction in Chinese. I understand Chinese, but I couldn't really grasp what the two were talking about. From their body language however, I could tell that they were not happy with the task.  Since none of them had the guts to tell me how they felt, I refused to acknowledge their hesitance and pretended everything was cool.

After a minute or so, they decided to get on with the task and started concentrating on the questions. Phew! I let out a silent sigh of relief. Thirty minutes later, they were done. I collected the papers and secured them in my bag. Now, it was time for Task 2. Essay Writing. I took out the handouts and laid them on the table. As I was about to distribute the papers, the students started looking at each other. Confused. I ignored the negative response and proceeded with the distribution. Once everyone had gotten the paper, I explained the task briefly and told them to start. This time, they rebelled. From this point onwards, I shall refer to them as Aunty 1 -  7 okay?

Aunty 1 looked at the handout with disdain and gave me a stare which echoed "Are you kidding me?"

Aunty 2 took the paper and shoved it in her file, as if telling me she'd do it in 2012 if or when she feels like it.

Aunty 3 took out her note book and purposely laid it on the questionnaire. There was a loud thud! She looked at me stonily with her arms defensively folded across her chest, like cari gaduh kind of expression.

Aunty 4 and 5 (the two who spoke in Chinese earlier) started doing what they do best: exchanging paragraphs and paragraphs of complaints in Chinese.

Aunty 6 was the one and only student who wasn't rude to me. She was too worried about not being able to write the essay and she even requested a copy of the questionnaire so she could learn something.

This is the best.
Aunty 7 raised her hand and told be blatantly "I don't want to write." Wow kan? You've got to admire her candidness.

While digesting all this, part of me wanted to shout "Why can't you just do it? JUST DO IT!!!!" and then there was also that fragile part of me that wanted to run in a corner and cry my heart out. I did neither.

I asked them "Is there a problem?" They just sat there, talking with each other in Chinese. They were  obviously giving me the cold shoulder. One of them said something about not liking the topic and another one said wo pu yau se (I don't want to write) to her friends. 

I decided to try a different approach. I tried explaining to the students the reasons behind the writing activity and  how it would affect the study as a whole. I explained everything in detail to make them feel more involved in the study. When I was done, I expected them to soften a little. But NO. These aunties were not only rude, they were heartless too. They just sat there looking unconvinced and uninterested, as if they  were watching paint dry you know. Some of them shook their heads. That was the final blow.

I wasn't going to force them to write if they didn't want to so I told them to return all the handouts. I gathered  my stuff and prepared to leave. I wanted to walk away calmly, without saying a word, but I couldn't control the word vomit that was coming out of my mouth.
"You know, before agreeing to participate in this study, you should really think hard before you say yes. You said yes  to your tutor and that means you were willing to commit. I am here because he told me you all said YES. You have wasted my time!"

I guess that wasn't exactly how I said it but it's somewhere along those lines. I can't remember word by word cos the stuff just came out spontaneously.

The whole incident wasn't really that bad but I hated the feeling it evoked. I was left feeling frustrated, angry and defeated. The last time I was challenged like that was when Mark refused to lompat katak and that wasn't even half as bad as this one. But like Yoda said, we have to be prepared for the unexpected because we have no control over our subjects. He's right. That's what I've learnt today.
It's time to switch to Plan B cos I am through with students from College X.

Non Compliance - Part 1

Mr W finally sent me an email confirming the time and place for my data collection work. That was Tuesday. I was thrilled when I got the news cos I had wanted to work with those students so badly. The time given was Thursday, between 9.00 to 11.00 and the target participants were seven advanced-level students who taught IELTS in their home country. 

Now before I get into that, let me tell you about my experience of dealing with non-compliance and defiance in the classroom. This may sound off-topic but I need to give you some background information on this issue so you could understand the crap I had to go through this morning.

Several years ago, I taught English in a suburban secondary school in Papar. My students were 13 year-old kiddos who had just graduated from Primary School. Despite being in Form One, most of them still behaved like 6 year-olds. The boys especially. Anyway, one fateful day, while I was teaching in class, one student decided to cause trouble by displaying some unacceptable classroom behaviour. I have forgotten what he did but it totally disrupted the lesson and started a commotion in class. The boy's name was Mark. As a form of punishment, I told him to stand up. To my surprise, Mark refused to stand up. He just sat there, acting cool as if I didn't exist. When this happened, the rest of the class went really silent and turned their attention towards me. I could feel my face turning hot as I saw red. Bright RED.

Challenged and angry, I ordered Mark to get out of the classroom and go to the basketball court. Since I wasn't one of those scary teachers who bring a cane everywhere, Mark didn't think I was serious. He wouldn't budge and just sat there looking smug. That did it! I went to his table, looked at him in the eye and shouted the words at the top of my lungs: OUT, RIGHT NOW! That took a lot of energy from me but I managed to get him out. I know what you're thinking. I should have kept my cool, but I was 22 -  young and inexperienced.  

So. Mark got to the basketball court and stood there. The smug expression was still plastered on his face. To my students' delight, I brought them all out to watch the show: The English teacher vs. Mark. I told Mark what he did was unacceptable and that all he needed to do was say sorry. Mark kept quiet. Three minutes passed by and still no apology. Fine. He left me no choice. My dignity as a teacher was at stake so I had to do something. To punish him, I asked him to do the leap frog action by squatting down on all fours and jump around the basketball court. "Lompat katak 5 pusingan! Sekarang!" I spoke in Malay, stressing the word sekarang. Mark started to squat down but that was as far as he went. It was obvious that he wouldn't degrade himself in front of his peers. The whole class looked at me with the expression: What now?

I didn't want to shout like a teacher gone psycho so I left the kids in search of Cikgu Edward. He's the Discipline teacher and the most fearful person in school. I told Edward what happened and requested for his assistance. He was more than willing to help. When Edward got to the basketball court, the look on Mark's face was priceless. Edward roared "Lompat katak sekarang juga! Ikut arahan Cikgu Alice!!" and Mark went leaping like a frog in a race. After 3 rounds, tears started spilling down his cheeks and I began to feel sorry for him. I told him  to stop and got the other kids to get back to their classroom. By now, Mark was sobbing uncontrollably. What followed next was a tearful apology from Mark and me giving him a stern warning to not repeat the same offence. That was the first time I had to deal with a defiant student in class.

This post is not about ways of dealing with classroom misbehaviours or the most effective approach in minimising them. I thought about this incident because a similar thing happened to me this morning. You see, after years of teaching in the Uni, I'm so used to having students comply to my instructions and requests. From time to time, there may be grunts and sighs and hate-you faces but in the end, my students normally do what they are told. To be honest with you, I never had a lot of trouble with this. So when something like today happened, naturally, I'd feel upset. It was so unpleasant because I was suddenly reminded of my current status as a student and that I have no authority in class. 

Remember Mark? Well, during my data collection session today, I had the greatest misfortune to work with seven non-complying students who were exactly like Mark. Except, they were all teachers and they all looked older than me. What really happned? I'll tell you all about it in Part 2.

July 10, 2010

Please Don't Burst My Bubbles

I have a confession to make. I didn't mention this yesterday cos I didn't want my sister to worry. But I can't keep it any longer so I'm going to tell you what happened.

On Thursday, while I was going through our Australian Visa application on the web, I discovered that Alva's emergency travel document doesn't have a passport number. It's a valid travel document but it is not a real passport so she's not entitled for the Australian ETA. Don't ask me "Napa sekarang baru ko perasan?" cos I'm really not in the mood to defend myself. Banyak ba dlm kepala otak sia.  

After staring at the computer screen for half an hour and slapping myself silly, I decided to call the Australian Consulate General office. Someone on the other line told me that there was no way I could get Alva the Electronic Travel Authority via internet. The only way to do it was to send an application to the Australian embassy in Auckland. She told me that this process could take up to 10 working days. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-TEN! Technically, if it takes that long, we would get the visa by 24 July, which is a Saturday. That means, we'd probably get the passport on Monday the 26 - the day we fly to Melbourne. Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!

I asked the lady if she could help me speed things up a little but she responded like a robot, telling me the same thing over and over again "..it takes 10 working days bla bla bla". So I hung up. First Mr W's shit, now this? The day couldn't get any worse.  

As I thought about the catastrophic situation, I got more and more worried. Beads of cold sweat started to trickle down my forehead and I could feel my heart pounding a little bit faster. I knew what I needed to do and that was to send the application via courier that very day. There wasn't a moment to lose! But before I could get myself to do that, I needed to talk about it  first. You got to understand something. I was down and emotional and worried and....well I was totally lost okay. I was driving myself crazy thinking about the worst case scenarios - What if the documents get lost in the mail? What if they reject our application? What if we never get the visa done? What if we never get home??? We're doomed!

My first impulse was to call hubby so we could both freak out in misery. So I called and told him the bad news. When I was done, he said "Oh...Jadi macam mana la tu?".  Not worried at all. What's wrong with him? I was expecting something more dramatic cos I was going crazy kan. So I added "mesti post pi Auckland oh!! Abislah!" and  then I emphasised the 10-day processing time so he could really see the magnitude of the problem. But all hubby said was "Ya ka?..Gila juga tu?" Still not worried. GEEEEEEZ!!! How can I make him see that this is serious???  I needed someone to share my frustration. My anxiety. My misery! I NEEDED him to panic like me. But it wasn't happening at all. I got more upset after talking about it so I decided to let  him off the hook.

I wanted to call my sister but it was 6 am in KK. Too early. Mom would start panicking and that would ruin everybody's day. So I decided to suck it and just do what's sensible. I needed to send the application asap. Forget about the 10-day period. The next hour was then spent running around  making calls, printing application forms, typing a cover letter and photocopying documents. After  I got those stuff done, I had to develop Vava's passport photo and get all the documents certified at the Malaysian consulate office. Finally, at 2.00 pm I managed to send the application via courier. Phew! It was a long day for me.

That night, I thought about the visa. There must be a way  we could get out of this mess! So I came up with these back-up plans.

1. We could stay at the transit lounge (in Melbourne) and spend the night there. Technically, we are on a 16-hour transit so we could just camp at the lounge with our sleeping bags! They won't even notice we're there and we won't be breaking any immigration laws. Brilliant idea huh?

2.  Fly to Auckland and do some follow up with whoever is in-charge of our application.

3.  Postpone the flight. We're talking about three flights here. Christchurch - Melbourne - KL - KK.  SOB SOB SOB.

4. Smuggle Vava?

I spent 2 sleepless nights thinking about this.

And then, something unexpected happened this morning. 

Knock knock.

Who's there?

It's the courier guy!


It's the courier guy with Alva's Transit Visa!!!


I opened the small courier bag and there it was, Alva's travel document and visa. Wow! That was fast!!! Yipeee!!!!!!!!!

I thanked the courier guy, closed the door, ran to the living room and jumped around like a madwoman. Hehehe.

This means, we don't have to sleep at the transit lounge and we don't need to smuggle Vava!

I'm so happy right now! Nothing could spoil my mood, not even silly karabaus with amnesia. We are coming home and that's all that matters!

July 9, 2010

Driving on A Graveled Road

Last Tuesday when I met the manager, he told me that he'd email me a schedule for my data collection work on Wednesday. He was certain that it was going to be either Thursday or Friday and seeing how confident he was, I had my hopes up high.
As it turned out, there was no email from him on Wednesday. Not surprising at all but I was disappointed nonetheless. I didn't know what to do. Should I wait for his email or barge in his office like I did on Tuesday? It  finally dawned on me that where Mr W is concerned, getting an email could take from a day to three thousand years. So to speed things up, I decided to pop up in his office yesterday.

When he saw me he had this OMG expression that said "Oh I forgot!". It was as though he hadn't seen me for months and that it was natural for him to forget about my request. He was all apologetic and nice telling me how sorry he was for not talking to the tutors and failing to arrange a time for me to meet the students.  He simply FORGOT! Inside, I was broken to pieces but outside I was calm and aloof. I've got used to his patheticness. 

He took out a post-it note and wrote down "Must talk to Mr. M about Alice's research" in big clear fonts and then he pura pura stuck the paper on his computer. Yeah right. How old does he think I am? Twelve? It was as though he was telling me: "Look Alice. I'm writing it down here, in my MUST DO LIST. I'm going to stick it on my PC so I won't forget. SEE?"  He doesn't take me seriously at all.

If he had taken me seriously, I wouldn't be in this position right now. 

Today's a Friday and nothing's happening. No email and no news from him yet so that means everything is halted. This situation is somewhat similar to driving on a graveled kampung  road. You're  happily driving  to your grandma's house when suddenly out of nowhere a herd of karabaus  decide to do a catwalk on the road. You've got no choice but to brek mati and wait. In the process of waiting, you get to see these stupid karabaus poo on the road and before you know it, you are faced with piles and piles of dung. That's what karabaus like to do - give you shit when you least expect it. All you need to do is wait and  drive through the shitty road when they're done. 

That's what I'm doing right now. Wait for the shit to clear.

OMG! I suddenly have a revelation! Mr W is the Karabau! kannnnnnnnnnnnnnnn????????????

I guess waiting is the only option now. I'm not myself at the moment so please excuse this sulky, negative and uninspiring post. Happy Friday anyway.

July 6, 2010

Thick Face

I had a metting with the manager this morning. Hold on. That's not quite right. What I meant to say was I went to the college, peeked to see if he was in and then pop up at his door uninvited. This time, I didn't bother emailing or giving him a courtesy call cos based on the many experiences I had with his answering machine, I knew I'd never get a reply. So. This morning, I gave him a surprise visit and showed up at his office unexpectedly. I figured if I pester him long enough, he'd eventually get sick of me and give me what I want.

I'm quite good at reading people's facial expression and judging from Mr. W's this morning, it wasn't good. It spelt: NO! NOT YOU AGAIN! He tried to hide this but I caught that look in his eyes. That inscrutable expression that said I wasn't welcome. And then he sneezed, a loud one at that. And I knew at that moment he's started to develop some kind of allergic reaction to something. When I sat down, he sneezed again, for the second time. There was only one explanation. It's not because of the winter bug or anything. He was allergic to me! Ahh...poor fellow. I sort of pitied him for having to put up with me for a whole semester. But being desperate, one has to be tabal muka in order to achieve one's goal. Mine was to get 15 guinea pigs for my research. By hook or by crook.

After some very good negotiations, he decided to give me one slot for my data collection session. An upper intermediate class comprising about 7-8 students. Well, I wanted 15 but beggars can't be choosers. I quickly took the offer and got out from his office before he changed his mind.

I'm starting to feel a bit more settled now but not entirely. Until I get my seven subjects, I won't be able to relax. I hope everything materialises on Friday. Fingers crossed.

July 5, 2010

Not Everything is Nice and Peachy

Don't you feel like this year's moving a little too fast? Well, I do.

Now that it is July, things are getting pretty hectic at the office. There are tons of stuff to do and half of them are beyond my control. This includes getting new students for my research and a time-slot for data collection sessions.

I thought I had everything covered 4 weeks ago but as fate would have it, some of my respondents decided to screw with me by not returning my questionnaire. They did Task A (Essays) and Task B (tests) but NOT the questionnaire. Why? Because their tutors who are such geniuses told them to do it at home. UNSUPERVISED. And you know what happens when you give students stuff to do at home without telling them it's important right? They just won't do it. There was no pressure from the tutors whatsoever so the kids just didn't bother. I can't begin to explain how shocked I was when they told me this. I just stood there like a frozen statue. 

Point is, the data's tainted and now I'm left with only 15 respondents.The fact that I've paid a second examiner to do the second marking for ALL the essays makes me feel like...I don't know...like I've been ripped off I guess. More than half of the essays are useless now cos I can't correlate the scores with non-existent questionnaire scores. This means I have to do everything all over again in exactly three weeks' time.  Three weeks before my balik kampung trip. There goes the siren of my panic button.

All this crap plus the cold shoulder treatment from the academic manager of College X made me feel so defeated. And last Saturday I went to the cathedral for my usual volunteering shift in that state: moody and volatile.

When I got there, Mr. Q was so pleased to see me cos I had invited him to Alva's birthday party  the previous week. He obviously enjoyed the treat and couldn't stop gushing about the  food at the party. He was yakking about the chicken herbal soup and the noodles and how delicious they were bla bla bla. I told him "Glad you enjoyed them" with a tone that signaled END OF CONVERSATION cos I wasn't in the mood to talk. But he just wouldn't stop you know. He went on talking about hubby's chicken nibbles and the herbal soup (again!) and the noodles. This herbal soup + noodles conversation went on for three more cycles in the period of an hour. At one point, I got so annoyed that I looked away when he was talking to me. I hated feeling so rotten in church but all I wanted to do was shut him up with a mop. He just wouldn't stop! I think he  is seriously weird. I mean, he's like 45 years old with 13 years of guiding experience, working with people etc. but he couldn't even read my facial expression.  

Lucky for me, a Singapore Airline air hostess came just in the nick of time. She wanted a tour of the cathedral so Mr. Q was more than willing to oblige, seeing how gorgeous the lady was. So off they went. After 20 minutes, he was done with the tour. I could see that he was heading back to my spot so I quickly went the opposite direction and headed to the door. I didn't think I could take another version of his chicken nibble story. I wandered outside the cathedral and saw a bunch of kids doing the Haka.

After taking a few pictures, I felt better. I still thought Mr. Q was a moron but I wasn't mad anymore. I decided to end my shift a little bit early and headed to the souvenir shop across the street. I bought a few stuff like printed towels, Kiwi soft toys and of course some cool fridge magnets. And then I got home.

This post doesn't have 'the moral of the story' or a hidden lesson etc. It doesn't even have a good closure. I  just wrote aimlessly cos I needed the therapy. :)