Giant's Causeway for the second time (Adam's fifth), what's not to love?
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Monday, December 15, 2014
So one chapter of my winter holiday, has finally come to an end.
Three weeks with my parents around Europe have been incredibly full of lessons.
But if there are two things that I really learnt from this trip, they would be of patience and responsibilities.
One of my struggles in life is to be patient when it concerns time and people. And just because I am pretty quick and sharp, I tend to lose my patience with slow-moving things. I get restless. There was a time during a road trip around Ireland when my dad asked, "Since when you've become short-tempered?". I am not. I never was. But that question really got me. I know I am not the most patient person on Earth, but am I really that short-tempered? My dad can be the randomest people you'll ever meet - and he can be either incredibly fascinating or annoyingly frustrating. And when my mind decides it's the latter, I snap. Often rather too quickly.
Followed by guilt. Sebab rasa bersalah bila annoyed dengan orang. (This is towards people in general, I do have low treshold with people - not proud of it!!). Kadang kadang bila Ayah/Ummi tanya soalan banyak kali, I'd quickly remind myself, I was once the annoying kid who asked annoying things too frequently. Among my siblings, I am the most 'menjawab'. Bila cakap sepatah, ada je yang nak jawab. So when my parents tanya benda sama a few times, I'd keep telling myself, they were patient with me once, how can I not be patient to them? I am here today because of them. I have my values today because of them.
And my mom said, "Remember that we're getting older, not younger."
Macam mana konon nak berbakti kat dorang kalau time travel ni pun dah kurang sabar?
Selama ni hidup single, husband jauh, family lagi jauh, so hari hari fikir pasal diri sendiri je. Dinner makan apa, exam nak study apa, train balik placement pukul berapa.
And masa ni jugak lah I feel like I was being tested on my responsibilities. I have my parents to be with, my placement in Boston that demanded a good three-hour travelling, my husband who's having his finals that I wish I could be there for, my end of block exam to study for, and finally, my own self, my own sanity to take care of. Belum masuk tanggungjawab kat Allah lagi. Panggg.
And because I so often put people I love way before myself, I tend to overlook the second last bit - my own sanity. The last bit kita cakap lain kali.
So I broke down every now and them. I cried to myself every now and then. I cried out of frustration as I feel inadequate over things. As a wife. As a daughter. As a student. As a human being. As a slave to God.
Tanggungjawab is a big word. Tanggungjawab terhadap emosi dan perasaan is even bigger. If you're anything like me - care too much, feel too deep, overthink everything, you'd probably understand. Emotion is hard work. And to be responsible over my own emotions, is even harder.
Tanggungjawab. Terhadap diri sendiri. How can I take care of people when I can't even look after myself?
Nak type ni pun tengah emosi. Baru lepas hantar Ayah and Ummi kat boarding gate balik Malaysia, waiting for my own flight balik Dublin. Emosi, tahu?
I had very little responsibilities all these while, ni baru nak test sikit dah gelabah.
Dah tu cane nak jadi mak? Tsk tsk.
Sebenarnya best je cuti ni, emosi je lebih. Bella kot. Lain kali lah cerita gembira sikit. Harap harapnya. Meanwhile lemme balik and pull myself together first.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Saturday, November 8, 2014
About some forever ago, (chill Bella it's only been a month pfft), I went to London with Afiqah on a day trip. East Midlands Train was running a promo, less than £15 for a return train to London - can't say no to that, can I? It was a random decision made by the two of us on Twitter. Afiqah tweeted about the deal, I asked if she wanted to go on a trip, and boom, we were both set and ready to go. After all there's only two of us bebimbos left in this cold English land since Edy is yet to return for her PhD.
Main purpose of the trip?
1. Eggs Royale
Arrived nearly at 9am, we set on foot to Dean Street Townhouse near Covent Garden after some googling effort of the best place to have Eggs Benedict/Royale in London.
Meet Afiqah. A PhD student doing Engineering in Sheffield. Highly independent, despite being the only girl the the family. Love love loooveeeee travelling - been to USA and Indonesia on a shoe string - alone. I repeat, a-l-o-n-e. In other words, a solo backpacker. Seen most of Europe. Setting herself to go to Iran this winter. MAJOR RESPECT I CANNOT. If you want to do something new, go on a adventure, learn to be brave, this is the man. Or lady, whatever. She's truly something.
Meet Bella. A Medical student doing Medicine (haha) in Leicester. Highly independent when her husband isn't around, albeit a cry baby. Cries every now and then about littlest thing, such as the weather being too cold or the grocery bags being too heavy. Been wanting to go on a solo trip, but the furthest she went alone was Scotland after her father said no to her going to USA on her own. Itu pun gelabah nak balik rumah sebab nak Facetime. In constant search for cheap flight tickets to Belfast, kesian. And contemplating every now and then if she should start making babies.
NO I CANNOT HAHAHAHAH.
And the star of the morning, Eggs Royale. This is perfection. Utter perfection. At £6.50 each, I think it's worth trying. By that I mean trying bukan makan sampai kenyang sebab mahal. Because you will end up wanting more. The hollandaise sauce was perfect, the egg was beautifully poached, the salmon was generous. Gorgeous. And the cafe interior was very posh, making it a bit awkward for both of us cause it felt like we were on a date.
2. Cronut, or crodoughnut (a hybrid between croissant and doughnut)
This was suggested by AJ back in Leicester, so went on a search for it. If you Google cronuts in London, one of the cafes selling them is Wild & Coffee. It's a cute little award-winning coffee house.
The much sought-after cronut. They only had it in red velvet flavour, but it was enough to make me want more. I didn't expect it would be that good, to be honest. But it was. It took doughnut to a whole new level. There was a bit of doughnut and a bit of croissant in every bite, not to mention the fresh cream at the centre. Verdict, try it. Especially if you have sweet tooth like me. At £3.70 each it did seem a bit pricey, but definitely worth trying.
3. Burger & Lobster
That one place in London where it's a must to post in Instagram, myself included, lol. We went to the branch on Dean Street (just opposite Dean Street Townhouse). It opens at 12pm on Saturdays and we got there at about 11.50am after getting the cronuts. And we were greeted by this.
People lining up for lunch. Looking at the crowd, I was disheartened at first, but boy we were determined. It didn't take long, and once the door opened there were plenty of seats inside. It's quite a big eatery, so if you see people lining up like this, chances are you'll probably only have to wait for a maximum of 10 minutes. Well that's the theory anyway.
Not sure which one gets my attention more, Afiqah's sharp look, or the lobster. Haha.
Senonoh mana, senonoh?
Done and dusted.
I found the place pretty cool. They only have three menus - whole lobster grilled or steamed, lobster roll, and beef burger. We went for the steamed lobster, and hands down, I was sold. There was one time I had grilled lobster in Brussels and that was nowhere near this. Afiqah, on the other hand, had a grilled lobster at Manhattan Fish Market back in KL, and she preferred that more. But still we both agreed the lobster here was amazing and it's definitely worth coming back for. The lobster came with fries and salad and a sauce of your choice. The set is priced at £20 each, but since almost all restaurants in London charge for their service, essentially it's £22.50. Speaking of, I'm so not used to service charge in the UK, and suddenly there's a whopping 12.5% service charge here in London. Makes me feel contented to be in Leicester.
4. Noodle Oodle
Afiqah wanted this one so badly so I had to play along. Haha. This is a halal Chinese restaurant near to Bayswater where Malaysian Student Department (Malaysian Hall) is, making it a famous eatery among the Malaysians in London. Their main specialty is roasted duck, as it's not easy to find halal ducks in the UK.
The dish looks like a chicken rice set as a whole. We got the £10.50 set where it came with dumplings as starter, duck and rice as main, and a choice between banana fritters or some mango delicacy as desserts. And no service charge (hooray!) making it a very very veeerry filling meal. I think we overkilled it with this one, though. You see, we walked for more than an hour from the last place (lobster) to here, and to justify that, we just had to order a set each. Big mistake there. It was too much for us. The whole thing was good, but when you have too much of something good, it becomes the other way round. This is definitely something I would have on a very hangry day (hungry and angry), not on a I-feel-like-eating-everything-in-the-world day.
Since we were already near Bayswater, we went to Malaysian Hall to pray and me, to see Kak Na, the warden. Had ginger tea and kuih seri muka at the canteen while waiting for her, which too bad I didn't take the pictures, since it's a rare occasion for me to go for kuih Melayu at the Malaysian Hall.
Met Kak Na and the whole family, and she insisted on us staying for dinner (as she always does), but we had trains to catch. By the way, another thing on Afiqah's list was Tinseltown, but we were too full for that. And everyone knows Tinseltown applies the same 'hangry' rule, they do big portions and their milkshakes are to die for, so by that time we thought it was probably a bit too much. Takde rejeki. But well, Leicester has Tinseltown so it's not a big deal! Good reason to make her come to Leicester anyway. Heh.
Later that night only we realised we didn't have any pictures together, so here goes.
Parted ways at London St Pancras where Afiqah took the train back to Sheffield while myself to Leicester. And I can proudly say I had one of the best food hunt in London on that day.
I think most of it went to how we both are so easy-minded. We didn't mind walking, which having said that, we only took the tube from Malaysian Hall to St Pancras. And it's not everyday when you have a friend who's so easy going and not fussed over small things. Like going in and out of stores along Oxford Street, skimming through sales without really buying anything. I mean, I don't have that many friends, but when I do, I really treasure them.
Having said that, we had salmon, lobster, duck, and nearly lamb in one day! Total damage including train tickets was less than £50. Worth every single pence. Ahh, of London and all the glorious food.
Meanwhile I'll just stay put in Boston, ughhh.