May 27, 2018

We're Slowly Getting there

They say that a relationship is a journey; and like any journey, no matter how well it is planned, there will be some kinks or hurdles along the way. It is how we deal/handle those kinks that will decide whether the journey continues or ends.

So, a little more than two months in and we're slowly progressing in our journey together. We talk every day; we meet every week; and time just seems to be passing.

Yes, yes...the relationship is still very new and as cliche as it sounds, we seem to be clicking, connecting...on every level. We're at a point where we are jinx-ing (that's when we say/think of the same thing at the same time) each other on almost every other sentence. Just the other day he said that very soon, we will just have to look at each other and we'll know what the other is thinking.

Of course, we're still in the "honeymoon" period and the 'high' will probably soon dim. But as time passes, there is also this sense of calm which comforts me; encourages me; makes me smile; and most importantly, I am positive and happy!

We don't meet daily, though I know it is something that he would very much like. Nevertheless, he is accepting and understanding. My heart still skips; and the excitement grows whenever our date days approach. And when we do meet, the time spent is more fulfilling and appreciated.

He has been very vocal and open about his feelings for me; while I am the total opposite. Surprisingly (and this is according to him), my actions speaks louder than my words. So I must be doing something right. :-)

Very recently, I had a short moment of anxiety where I questioned myself on whether I was giving enough; was I reciprocating what was given fully and wholeheartedly? I wasn't doubting my feelings for him; but rather, doubting the depth of it. If anything, I just want him to feel as happy and loved as I feel. I am secure and confident in what I want so I knew that this was not going to affect anything. But I felt that it needed to be addressed. Of course, it didn't help that I was also PMS-ing. So I was probably on an emo-coaster. (Poor him will probably have to deal with this occasionally).

The moment didn't last very long; for I talked to him about it (I'm so lucky that he is open and understanding and a good listener). He reassured me, I reassured him and we are fine. If possible, I think my heart is fuller than before. And with him being away for nearly 3 weeks, I think the missing him part was rearing its head.

We have yet to reach the 3-month period; and yet, I feel that we have moved past a small kink. Maybe our emotions are growing onto another level. I don't know.

What I do know is that, things have changed for the better. And to me, this is a sign that we're moving in the right direction.

So to US...let's continue moving ahead!! Looking forward to more positive changes and growth.

<3 nbsp="" p="">

March 12, 2018

10 March 2018. 9:44pm

So it finally happened after a long time, and people are saying "Finally!".

Someone has caught my heart. Like a movie, we met on the night before my cousin's wedding last July. He was my cousin's classmate. He was eating when I first arrived at the hotel; and amidst the introductions, I had inadvertently misheard his name. So for a couple of hours that night, I called him Kenny. We did not talk much that night; but rather just mingled around as the night was dominated by cousins instead of friends. On the wedding day itself, we just about managed to take a couple of pictures and exchange phone numbers (now thinking back, I wonder if he purposely asked for my phone number with the pretense of asking me to send him our picture...hmmm).

A couple of days after the wedding, he texted asking for the picture; and so began what I thought was a new friendship. Alas, one month in and "Kenny" went MIA! I put his "disappearance" down to him being not interested.

I did not really think much about him over the next couple of months, and even thought of deleting his number. And yet somehow, I never did.

Come Christmas, I sent greetings to all my Christian friends, including "Kenny" (though he was not exactly a friend). Lo and behold, THAT was the start or rather continuance of the friendship. Earlier when we first started texting, he asked if it would be ok for him to text and chat. This time, he asked outright if we could have coffee/drinks some time. I said sure. And then I panicked.

To be honest, I was not instantly attracted to him. When we first met, he had long hair, and he was *ahem* short (he is actually my height but I just have this thing about guys having to be taller than me...so...).

As we continued chatting over text, we finally agreed on a day and time for our "coffee" which turned out to be dinner. The days leading up to the dinner had me worrying and panicking. I wondered if I had made the right decision; and all the what-ifs started hanging around in my head. Up to that Friday afternoon, my stomach was still in knots. To say I was nervous that night would be an understatement. I just hoped that the nervousness could not be seen. We spent nearly 5 hours together, and while I can't say that the nerves went away, I did slowly begin to relax.

That dinner was the start of something that turned special. We started chatting every night, and one dinner soon turned into meeting up almost every weekend. The daily texts continued and soon, I began to have mushy feelings. I didn't really trust myself and the "feelings", and also, I wasn't sure if I was correctly reading the signals that I was getting from him. I had misinterpreted those kinds of feelings before, and I didn't want a repeat.

But alas, before I could continue analyzing the signals, "Kenny" told me that he was crazy about me. I was shocked; simply because it was so fast. At that point, I still wasn't crazy about him, but he was certainly growing on me. I told him this, and he was totally understanding about it, telling me that I had time; and that he would wait. He was and is always open about his feelings and his past. And so, I did not have to wonder. If I wanted to know something, I could simply ask, knowing that he will tell me because he had given me that permission. Plus, he is my cousin's close friend, if anything; I could always ask her, and he doesn't have a problem with that.

We shared many personal stories with each other; my concerns, fears, his history, heartbreak. He was not only understanding, but also very reassuring.

Soon, I met two of his closest friends, whom I must say are really nice people. I'm glad that he has them in his life; people with whom he can just be himself with, no worries, no pretenses. The four of us had dinner once; and last Saturday, we met the wife again for breakfast. I'm happy and very glad to say that we got along well.

And so...after spending more than 12 hours together on Saturday, "Kenny" asked if I would get into a relationship with him. We were driving down Batu Ferringhi and he nervously asked this while at a traffic light. I was quiet for a while, just taking in all the emotions that were coursing through me, while trying to normalise my racing heart. I then took his hand in mine, and said yes/ok (I actually can't remember what I said but it was in the affirmative). That was at 9:44pm on 10 March 2018.

So there you go everyone. I'm officially in a relationship, which means many people's prayers have been answered! Lol! And when people find out, the reaction is "Finally!".

"Kenny's" a romantic, so romantic to the point that I have told him on numerous occasions that he is making me a diabetic! But...that is him and that is part of how he caught my heart. He has, at numerous times, made my heart skip, not one but a couple of heart beats. I'm not romantic per se; I can't do the special dinner, surprise gift thing. So I guess we're balanced. Ying and Yang as he says. We're on the same wavelength on almost everything that our thoughts are so in sync it is kind of creepy! We haven't started finishing each other's sentences yet, but I think it's only a matter of time before that happens.

Introducing him as my boyfriend for the first time yesterday was awkward. There is that hesitant, shy feeling which makes me want to just run and hide. But I better get used to it. Our journey has just begun and I'm excited, nervous, content...and HAPPY!

-----

"Kenny's" real name by the way is Benedict Justin. And he has the cutest dimples! *grin*

December 31, 2017

2017: Year of Change?


And once again, as the days of 2017 near the end, my yearly reflective mood descends upon me. And as always, I try to remember the highlights of the past 12 months, be it happy or sad.

There have been years when my end of the year entries have been done by month (which would mean that the year was a productive one and I could remember everything); and then there were years when I hardly wrote anything.

This year...I'm not really sure what to make of this year. I did new things; I finally traveled after a long time; I (think) I made new friends; I joined a 7km fun run and completed it...

------

So the "did new things" part had much to do with clothing. Yes, after my Cheongsam wearing stint for CNY and wearing a saree again for two weddings, for my birthday this year, I shut out all doubts and wore a bikini! And posed shamelessly! *cringe* To anyone else, it is no big deal; but for someone who is very self-conscious about her body, wearing a bikini, posing and and then posting the pictures online for all to see....it is a big deal indeed! I am not sure if I will ever wear the bikini again though, because I am not sure if I can pull it off another time; and, for all I know, lady luck was probably shining on me that weekend, thus the nice pictures.

Bikini in June, and a month later, I was in a real dress (I say real because apparently a Cheongsam is not counted). I was the maid-of-honour at my cousin's wedding, so there I was, in a red dress, walking down the aisle (I wonder if that would be my one and only time walking down the aisle?). On top of that, I was also made up by a professional make-up artist! I am not sure if I liked the amount of make up on my face though.

As mentioned in one of my previous entries, September saw the Shunmugam Sisters travel again after a long time. Vietnam was kind to us and got us yearning for more travels.

September also saw me becoming closer to a group of colleagues; although I am still not sure if some of us have crossed the bridge from colleague to friend. Mixed signals perhaps? Or misread signals? I suppose time will tell, but then again it might not. I don't know. I think I'll just let it be.

Deepavali this year was the second family reunion. 16 out of 20 cousins from dad's side returned to Penang, and finally, after a long time, Deepavali felt like how it was during my childhood. Although the majority of us are adults, when we are together, the kid in us comes out. For the first time ever, we cousins had our own gathering away from the adults. And man...it was fun. It should be a start of a yearly "tradition" of cousins gathering.

I nearly killed myself while preparing for a 7km run. Ok that is an exaggeration, but after years of wanting to join these kind of runs/walks, I finally signed up for a Christmas Eve Fun Run. I actually thought it was a walk, but my dear sister then clarified and told me that it was actually a RUN (dumb blond mistake!). And when I found out it was a run, I started to worry. I do not have the best of stamina, and neither do I exercise; so to run 7km non-stop would be asking for trouble. One week before the run, I started "training" and 3 days in, I overexerted myself. Thankfully, I recovered in time and completed the run in less than an hour! Yes, I was determined to finish the run and get the medal!

And then it was Christmas. Mum decided not to go to KL this year, so Christmas morning was spent opening presents, and then we had our yearly Christmas lunch. Ahh...the beauty of being in a mixed race family, being able to celebrate and come together for two religious festivals.

Of course, having attended 3 weddings this year, I had my fair share of "when is it your turn" questions. You'd think that after awhile, despite getting the same answer year in and year out, people would get tired of asking the same question. Apparently NOT! I've got to keep up with these people and come up with new answers. Any suggestions? These people think that getting a boyfriend is so easy. *rolls eyes* Of course they argue that I am choosy bla bla bla....yeah right!

The one struggle that I faced this year was about finances. Yes, to those who know me, they know what a scrooge I am (and I have written about this so many times!). At the beginning of the year, I told myself that I would change my spending habits. Which I did. The struggle? Seeing my bank balance grow not as much as I would have liked it to. But hey, I still managed to save without actually depriving myself of doing the things I wanted to. Lesson Learned: Do what I want while I still can.

And so...the year ends once again. But somehow, unlike previous years where I have felt nostalgic or even melancholy, this year, there is a certain sense of anticipation (or is it excitement?) that I am feeling.

While I have made "grand plans" for next year (I refuse to call them resolutions), this feeling of anticipation seems to be coming from somewhere unknown. Maybe it is just God's way of telling me that good things are in store for me. After all, it is all in His Hands no? (Suddenly I am reminded of this entry: http://shaks-soliano.blogspot.my/2014/12/believe.html). 

My motto for next year: Keep an Open Mind and Heart!

Deo Volente (God Willing)
There is no truth superior to Me. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread - B:7

Happy New Year Everyone! 


December 9, 2017

Of Walls Breaking and Barriers Falling Down


A few people have told me that I have "walls" around me. These invisible barriers that surround me, making me seem aloof, unapproachable, distant. When I was first told this, I was surprised. I mean, really? I begin to wonder if this was the reason I had so few friends; or that guys rarely approached me. I wondered about how these walls or barriers came to exist. Was it a result of my upbringing? Or did I develop this as I grew up, not realising that it became part of my personality?

I had always thought I was quiet; an introvert. Hence my handful of friends, my reluctance to constantly hang out...in fact, even my family has said that I'm the quiet type, a homebody.

But...1.5 years into my new job, and suddenly, I'm being told that I was never the quiet type. That I was only quiet in novel situations or around strangers. People who have known me for years now tell me that they never saw me as an introvert; quiet yes but introvert, no. In fact, I have apparently changed to being more open now; that my personality have changed and that I am now "coming out of my shell."

This comes as a surprise, a pleasant surprise; but a surprise nonetheless. In fact, to be honest, I too feel that I have changed. I guess taking the step to move on to something new (and better) must have worked its magic. While it was a really difficult decision to make and to also leave the comfort that I had, the new step proved to be much more rewarding.

I am happier. I laugh more. I have new friends (yes friends, not just colleagues. Old colleagues are now friends too). I am trying new things. I am moving forward.

The fear that I had when I decided to make the change was rational. But I guess, if I did not take that step, I would never have known the person that I could be.

Just this past week, I had dinner with my friends who were once my colleagues, and they told me that I have indeed changed. While I am still trying to figure out the wall/barrier thing, I guess just like how it unconsciously built itself around me, it is now tearing itself down.

Oh ya....I also have to accept that I am not as graceful or poised as I thought I was; and neither am I charming! Haha! My kind and truthful friends laughed when I asked them if I was graceful and charming. Then they proceeded to tell me that I am more like a giraffe, while my colleagues said I remind them of Jar Jar Binks!! Oh well...

It is the last month of 2017 and wow....time has indeed flown by. In about 3 weeks, a whole new chapter begins. And I wonder what new adventures are in store for me....

October 29, 2017

Sights and Sounds of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC)

So after the wedding of the year went off without a hitch and all the excitement died, it was time to look forward to THE trip.

Lots of WhatsApp messages were exchanged; Trip Advisor, Lonely Planet and countless travel sites were our encyclopedia on HCMC; lists were made and the excitement grew each day for a month and a half. 

Finally, September arrived and off we were to HCMC, amidst some fear that the rojak sauce and kaya that we packed would not survive the plane trip or customs. Lo and behold, our fears were unfounded. Not only did we sail through immigration (we did get some weird looks as my sister and I can pass as twins), the rojak sauce and kaya arrived intact with not a drop spilled. Clara picked us up from the airport and we had our first of many rides in the 'mai linh' taxi.             

First stop was lunch where we had Vietnamese Coffee and Pho! And I fell in love. I of course tried a slice of chillie and nearly lost my vocal chord. No one reminded me that Vietnamese chillies were killers! Lesson learned.

Day 1 was a relaxed day. After lunch, we went back to the apartment which has the fantastic view of the Saigon river. We got acquainted with our mini host Bianka, who took a while to warm up to us but after that we were inseparable. Dinner was at a fusion restaurant and nightcap was at a jazz bar where we watched one of Vietnam's most famous and successful saxophonist - Tran Manh Tuan perform. He had a residency in Las Vegas and is now back at HCMC.

The next day was touring day. We left District 2, and traveled all the way to District 9, where hidden in a village far from the city was one of the most beautiful and serene places in HCMC - the Ao Dai museum. The tour took about 2 hours after which we headed back to District 1 for lunch.

After lunch, Clara and our mini host headed back home while Vay and I toured most of the usual tourist spots. It was fun being in a foreign country, walking the streets with map in hand, almost getting lost....that night, we tapau-ed dinner but we had an adventure with our taxi as it broke down three times! Breaking down was no issue; the problem was that it broke down in the middle of the highway! We were convinced that someone was going to hit us. Thankfully, we arrived safely back home with lots of apologies from the driver. It was a rather early night as the next day was going to be spent like Indiana Jones.

Day 3 saw us speeding on the Saigon River in a speed boat headed towards Cu chi tunnels. There were 7 of us on the boat, one of which was an Australian guy who was born in Penang. Talk about a small world! The tunnels tour was fun! We had a good guide who was informative and funny, and I enjoyed the tour through the jungles, into the tunnels, drinking snake wine....

After the tunnels tour, we were served a scrumptious lunch. We then bade farewell to our tour buddies. Vay and I headed back to District 1 for more sightseeing and also to find the elusive Book Street that we missed the day before. This was our dream street where book shops and cafes lined the street on both sides. We even managed to buy adult colouring books at a steal! Hard Rock was just opposite the road but we didnt bother about it.

That day was also Clara's 10th Wedding Anniversary and so they took us for for dinner to celebrate that and our last night in HCMC. We were supposed to have Northern Vietnamese food but as the shop was closed, we had Korean BBQ instead, finishing off with waffles for dessert. 

The night ended with us trying to pack all the stuff we bought and not be overweight.

Our trip to HCMC was short but it was a good break. I would love to go back to HCMC especially for the food and coffee. There were some places that we did not visit but I guess that is good enough a reason to return to HCMC. Northern Vietnam is also next on the list.

Let's see where next year takes us...






July 22, 2017

Maid of Honour



It all started with a picture shared in a private WhatsApp message from my cousin. The picture said, "Side by side or miles apart, we are cousins connected at heart. Will you be my bridesmaid?" The caption asked if I would be the sole maid of honour/bridesmaid. I must say, it came as a surprise...but a very PLEASANT surprise.

My cousin was going to have her wedding ceremony in Penang having gotten registered last November, and I was to serve as the maid of honour. While I was excited at the thought of being a first time maid of honour, my plans of wearing pants for the ceremony were dashed. 

While my cousin was sweet and generous enough to NOT have any pre-wedding duties nor colour theme for me, I began to worry as my mum and sis insisted that I have to wear a dress especially since I would be walking down the aisle as well! 

A 3-day weekend was spent roaming through almost ALL the malls on Penang island, and finally, after trying on more than 10 dresses and making my mum and sis walk on almost every floor of those malls we visited, we finally found a dress that was not only REAL nice and fitted me well, it was cheap too! In fact, we had seen a similar dress in a different colour which cost RM600!! 

Anyhow, once the dress was bought, I needed new shoes. Luckily, looking for the perfect pair did not take too long. The shoes however, were more expensive than the dress! 

The wedding ceremony was on a Saturday; so the bridal party met up for the first time on a Wednesday for dinner to discuss the programme, duties etc. The couple are from the US hence the really late meet up. 

Friday saw the ladies of the bridal party going for manicures and pedicures (my first!). That night, there was a party where cousins and friends hung out. I made new friends too i.e. My cousin's former school mates. Towards the end of the party, the couple decided to practice the surprise dance that they had planned for the end of the ceremony, much to the chagrin of the best man and me! But there we were, at 2am, learning and practicing dance steps to Shrek's "I'm a Believer".

Saturday - which was THE day - turned out to be quite relaxed much to everyone's surprise. I had my first make over i.e. professionally done make up and hair, wore my first dress in God knows how many years, walked down the aisle, danced in front of a crowd (although the wrong version of the song was played)...and I even got to sit at the main table! In addition to all that, I was part of the 'yam seng' group that went on stage! 

The icing on the cake was the fact that the WHOLE family was present; and the cousins finally got to wear our customised tshirts!!

I must say, this year has been a year of many firsts and it is only the 7th month of 2017! I wonder what else is in store for me. *wink*

June 24, 2017

What's been going on....

It is almost the end of June. Tomorrow it is Raya, which means the one month fasting for 
Ramadan ends. And everyone has commented that this year, Ramadan just flew by. 

In my last entry, I mentioned that it would be one year since I started my new job; and now, 
two months have almost passed since I celebrated my one-year work anniversary. 
And I must say, things are only getting better as time passes.

I am really happy where I am now. I admit that I miss my previous job and often wonder 
where I would be if I had stayed on. But when I look forward, I know that I made the right 
decision. I can feel that I have grown. 

Also, with Facebook, I am almost always kept updated with what's happening in the activist world, so I don't feel all too bad.

Now, enough about work. What I am now excited about and looking forward to is my trip to Vietnam! YES! I finally took the dive and bought the tickets. And my trusted sister is coming along (although I am still not sure if she is going willingly or because I literally 
blackmailed/guilt her into it). Nevertheless, since I got a bonus, I decided to pay for her 
tickets. That would mean that, for both her trips this year, it was all paid for i.e. she traveled 
for FREE.

We'll be traveling in September so we still have plenty of time to plan our itinerary for when we are in Vietnam. We'll be staying with Clara so I'm sure she will be of great help.

Next to plan is the family trip during Deepavali. The initial plan was to go to Bangkok, but 
now we're thinking of going on a cruise. Hmmm....

Oh yes....my birthday was about 3 weeks ago and I wore a legitimate bikini for the first time. I must say....I was very lucky that I recovered from my terrible sickness that afflicted me just days before my birthday. Surprisingly, the pictures came out great (if I say so myself) and 
there was no hint of my being sick despite me having a cold and cough still. Uncle Toning, 
Claire, grandma and uncle Peter came once again, just like last year.

While these are all exciting things happening, I am still struggling to accept that it is ok to 
splurge once in a while. I have not been able to save the same amount of money every 
month; although I make sure I save at least a bit. So far, there's been more expenditure than savings and I am nervous to see my bank balance at the end of the year. Oh well...I guess I just have to cross that bridge when it comes.

Till then....I'm just going to be positive and enjoy every day as it comes!

We're Slowly Getting there

They say that a relationship is a journey; and like any journey, no matter how well it is planned, there will be some kinks or hurdles alon...