Thursday, February 18, 2016

Of dream wedding and bridesmaid dress.

Remember when I said I didn't have many girlfriends, so bridesmaids were out of question when we got married 3 years ago? Well, that was then. Now pretty much all my Whatsapp chats are girls. Girls power to the max!

And I still remember this conversation I had with Adam last year - we thought we should hold a reception after his graduation, combining the celebration of our marriage and his success (I married a doctor, whoop!) - something like a majlis kesyukuran. That got to me quite a bit, so I was kinda geared up for it for a while. Finally, a wedding of our own!

The idea of holding a reception got so serious that I even started looking for venues in KL. Most of them have to be booked months in advance, and since we couldn't commit to anything, we thought we'd just have it by the pool at his place in Bandar Tun Hussein Onn. They have a nice wooden gazebo there, complete with facilities like toilets and a small extra room that we could use as prayer room. It's going to be a cozy little space, with white paper lanterns hanging and fresh stalks of flowers on the tables, and there'll be a small jar of wishes on each table where guests could write their wishes on a little card for us.

I had it all pictured nicely in my mind.

And guess what, I might have also thought of having bridesmaids. Yes, Bella, and her bridesmaids. I mean, hey presto, who has girlfriends now?

And pretty bridesmaid dress? Yes please.

Since I had a pretty specific idea in my mind of how the day was going to be, the bridesmaid dress had to be on point as they set the tone and ambience of the whole thing. I was thinking of something pastel-y, like this.

This somehow reminds me of a Greek princess - with flowy capes and all. 

Then I thought, maybe I could try something different at that time. After all who took 3 years to do a reception, righttt? Taking bridesmaids to a whole new level with these instead.

The one on the left is just too mysterious I can only imagine a bunch of pretty girls (my girls!) in them walking around feeling just as mysterious. Haha. And let's be honest, the one on the right is probably more for me than anything else. After all it's monochrome, that itself spells, me. Uhh, guilty.

If I'm truuuly honest...
I'd loooove something like this for my wedding.

I mean, sure, it's see-through and all, but we'll work something out, right? 

Sigh. A girl can only dream.

All these and more bridesmaid dress designs to dream of! (trust me, I have a hard time deciding if I should get one of these dresses for myself, bridesmaid or not.)

Sure enough, it's 2016 now and we've missed the deadline. But having it a year later (2016, bring it on!) will only mean that there'll be more wedding fund since Adam has been working reeaaally hard as a young handsome doctor here in Leicester. And by then, he can also say he married a doctor,  now how's that for a change? Haaaaahh.

Meanwhile let me drool over these pretty dresses some more.

Written in collaboration with Zalora. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Cohabiting: Frozen lauk.

I know I'm not the most housewife-material of all, despite my goal to become one. Well, not really to become a housewife housewife, rather, to be a stay-at-home-mom with a steady income. Now how complicated is that? So much for a medical degree. 

But anyway, allow me to become a little domesticated this time.

Not sure if I've said it before, but I've been on placement in Burton for the last 6 weeks, coming back to Leicester only during the weekends. And as you can guess, I think I have completely spoilt Adam in a sense that he won't cook for himself when I'm not around. He'll opt for the take-outs and delivery instead.  And sometimes nasi with telur goreng semata.

Sedih saya mendengarnya. Tummy department doesn't sound like it's doing too well.

That's when I decided to come up with a plan - frozen meals. God bless whoever invented freezer meals. It's well known among the Westeners as their food aren't so much like ours, which have to nasi and lauk. And rasanya orang Melayu kalau masak memang terbaik, macam nak bersilat kat dapur pun ada. Living in the UK where bahan masakan Melayu can be limited, frozen lauk solves half of the problem. I'm still desperate for daun kesum to make asam pedas, though!

So last Thursday we went to Tesco for chickens, a whole lot of chicken.

This, whole lot of chicken. All 24 pieces of them, (yes I counted).

And another whole lot of bawang

Plus about half a kg of beef. The beef isn't part of the frozen meal plan, but because someone posted something about 'daging jeruk' on Facebook the other day, I thought I just had to.

It was literally this. Slices of meat layered with lime/lemon and salt prepped overnight in the fridge, and shallow fried in oil, onion and chilli the next day. I tell you, this totally feeds the kampung girl in me.

And now, skipping to random parts of the cooking process. Since I'm good at cooking and not cooking-while-snapping-momentous-pictures, you'll see only the beginning of it, as halfway through I realised that my ayam kicap was nearly burnt, and the curry paste was making a mess all around, so grabbing a DSLR was the last thing on my mind.

I decided to make 3 dishes - ayam kicap, ayam masak lemak and kari ayam. I wanted to do tomyam too, but decided against it as there's not enough pots and pans, and the freezer wouldn't take it as well.

Half-frying the chicken for ayam kicap.

Slices of meat for paprik daging - this was for actual dinner, not quite for freezing.

Adding onions before I left them a little too long and realising that it's slightly burnt.

Curry and chilli paste, a whole lot of curry paste. Lesson learnt, use less next time.

Tumis kari.

At some point my stove looked like this. My heart bloomed with pride.

And in the end the kitchen was a complete mess. 
In my ideal world, Adam would come home to wash them (I cook, he cleans), but my ideal world also consists of a perfectly clean kitchen after a successful freezer meals prep. And it helps that we have an open plan kitchen, which means the living room and kitchen continues in one open space. It would be impossible to sit and watch TV with this view on the background, nope.

The end product. The OCD in me bursts into joy!

Each container holds 2 pieces of chicken, enough for 2 meals at a time. The two containers on the right keep cili kering yang dah ditumis untuk masak lauk 'merah', like paprik and anything sambal. I know it would be more space-savvy if I use the ziplock bag, as they can be compressed, and they don't get freezer-burnt for a long time. But I'm not very keen on the idea of having to transfer them into another bowl for serving, and we're not keeping these dishes for a very long time anyway. I foresee these would be gone in a week or two - which means 2 weeks of no bersilat kat dapur, haha.

Wife job, done. And now back to the duty role of a student, phew.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Yang baru kahwin tiga tahun setengah.

Baru baru ni bersembang dengan kawan di Malaysia, nak kahwin akhir tahun ini katanya. Alhamdulillah, suka saya mendengar, maklumlah sudah banyak cabaran yang dia hadapi, baik dalam kehidupan mahupun kisah hati (isu mahu berkahwin). Sempat juga dia minta tips berkahwin memandangkan usia rumahtangga kami sudah lebih tiga tahun.

Kami (saya dan Adam) berkahwin pada usia yang sangat muda - 22 tahun. Masa tu isu kahwin awal masih belum dibincangkan, malahan tidak wujud pun cerita kahwin dalam kalangan kami. Kawan-kawan kolej semua tidak menjangkakan bahawa kami akan nikah begitu awal. Jujurnya kami juga tidak ada perancangan awal langsung, cuma ye lah, Allah sebaik-baik perancang. Masa tu saya tak ada instagram, facebook pun boring2 saja. Dan disebabkan hashtag tilljannah, relationship goals dan yang sebagainya masih belum wujud, kami tak ada expectation tentang majlis perkahwinan kami. Marilah ambil yang wajib iaitu nikah semata. Wang hantaran, dulang ada berapa memang langsung takterfikir. Bridesmaids apatah lagi, lagipun masa tu saya bukannya ramai kawan perempuan pun, haha.

Kami decide untuk bernikah pun hanyalah bermula sebulan sebelum. To be more exact, selepas result peperiksaan semester 2 saya dikeluarkan. Masa tu kami dua-dua macam, "yes, it's a sign, boleh kahwin dah." Haha, yakin sungguh. Jujurnya tak sempat nak risau pun baju warna apa, orang ramai nak cakap apa, betul ke kami memang nak kahwin ni, saya ni takreti masak langsung dah tu nanti nak makan apa, memang tak sempat. Semuanya berlaku sangat pantas. Keluarga Adam datang ke Sarawak (masa tu parents saya tinggal di Sarawak, walaupun kami ada rumah di Kuala Lumpur), dan seterusnya kami uruskan hal-hal perkahwinan sendiri.

Masih ingat lagi kami ke Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman mencari baju kahwin. Prinsipnya cuma satu, anything that fits me will do. Sebab saya agak kecil, nak cari saiz memang susah, nak nak baju siap. Makanya bila kami jumpa kebaya warna cream tu, terus kami decide, we'll get married in cream. Dan kemudian cari baju melayu Adam.

Kamilah yang kehulu kehilir mencari imam di Masjid Taman Melati, minta tarikh yang sesuai memandangkan kami akan bernikah di masjid, bulan puasa pula tu! Tarikh yang ada hanyalah dalam bulan puasa sebab abang saya akan bertunang lepas raya, dan lebih kurang seminggu lepas raya kami kena balik dah. Tak sempat tunggu lepas raya pun. Ye, kahwin bulan puasa memang buat ramai orang angkat kening, tapi imam masjid tu relax je cakap, Islam tak pernah larang kahwin dalam bulan puasa, cuma kena kuat iman lah, haha! Lawak pun ada, memandangkan kami sangat muda, masih belajar, tiba-tiba nak kahwin. Bajet guna duit sendiri pula tu, yakin sangat! Adam je lah guna duit sendiri, saya masih menumpang kasih ayah ummi :D

Alhamdulillah, semua selesai. Rasanya bajet keseluruhan tak sampai 3k untuk nikah dan sedikit makan-makan buka puasa di masjid. Sebenarnya dalam bajet tu cincin kahwin saja agak mahal lah, lepas tu saya hilangkan di Iceland pula, adoi. Tapi Alhamdulillah, kami bahagia. Tenang. Walaupun sampai sekarang kami selalu terfikir, perlu ke buat reception sebab dah 3 tahun lebih kahwin. Mungkin patut buat aqiqah je nanti, hehe.

Pesan saya pada kawan yang ingin berkahwin tu, pertama sekali betulkan niat. Wait sebenarnya pertama-tama sekali ialah restu mak ayah - ini sangat penting! Kalau mak ayah tak bagi kahwin lagi maka hold dulu, pujuk lagi dan lagi, bentangkan hujah lagi dan lagi. Terutamanya kalau nak kahwin muda. Saya kurang bersetuju kalau berkeras mahu kahwin awal tapi restu ibu bapa ke laut. Sebab keberkatan itu datang dari redha mak ayah. Alhamdulillah parents kami one of a kind, even Ayah bila first time bagitau nak kahwin tu, reaksi dia "Awak dah bagitau MARA ke belum? MARA cakap apa?". Tak sentimental langsung -_-" Anyway point dia, mak ayah datang dulu. Tau.

Seterusnya ialah, niat. Well niat dan restu mak ayah ni sebenarnya seiring sejalan. Betulkan niat. Tanya diri betul2, kenapa nak kahwin. Takperlu pun niat terang2 nak kahwin sebab ini itu nawaitu segala. Cukup apa yang kita rasa jauh di dasar hati. Benda ni memang ada, percayalah. Jenguk dalam hati, tanya betul2 diri sendiri, kenapa. Dulu sebelum berkahwin saya takpernah terfikir tentang niat. Yang saya tahu cuma nak kahwin dengan Adam, haha. Tapi bila saya tengok buku nota kelas2 agama, atau refleksi diri yang saya scribble, banyak yang saya tulis tentang betapa hubungan kami (couple) ini salah. It doesn't feel right anymore. Saya bangun solat malam minta doa berguni2, tapi secara dasarnya saya dalam hubungan yang haram. Sudah lah kami dua2 di overseas, walaupun tinggal berjauhan, masih tetap berhubung. Jadi bila saya reflect balik kenapa saya sangat mahu berkahwin masa tu, ialah kerana saya mahu redha Allah. Saya mahukan ketenangan berdoa pada-Nya tanpa rasa bersalah menanggung beban hati mencintai lelaki yang bukan muhrim ini (ha, gittew). Ummi saya juga pernah berpesan, jangan niat nak kahwin sebab nak elak maksiat, sebab akhirnya itu sajalah yang akan dapat - elak maksiat. Kahwin bukan sekadar untuk elak maksiat, kahwin ni untuk selamanya inshaAllah, maka betulkan niat, apa yang kita nak untuk selamanya. Deep sikit.

Yang ketiga saya pesan, ingatkan diri tentang kebergantungan sebenar kita pada siapa. Saya pernah jumpa seseorang yang memang mahu kahwin kerana merasakan hidupnya tak gembira, tak cukup katanya. Berkali-kali saya pesan, jangan niat mahu kahwin untuk bahagiakan diri semata, nak-nak di awal perkahwinan. You don't get married to feel complete, you get married to complete each other. Ini juga silap saya dulu. Mula2 saya takfaham kenapa Adam macam ini macam itu, kenapa susah sangat dia nak faham apa yang saya mahukan. Saya demand macam2, ye lah, semua mahukan the perfect husband/wife kan. Apa yang saya tak sedar ialah, he is just as flawed as I am. Kebergantungan saya pada Adam sangat tinggi, expectation menggunung, sampai lah saya sedar, kebergantungan mutlak itu sesungguhnya hanya pada Allah. Ini sangat betul terutamanya kerana kami tinggal berjauhan di Belfast dan Leicester, (bayangkan Langkawi dan Kuala Lumpur), jumpa pun hanyalah sebulan sekali lebih, dalam setahun mungkin kira-kira 15 kali berjumpa, itu pun dalam 4 hari setiap kali datang melawat masing2. Kebanyakan masa saya memang bersendirian, independent, jadi kalau saya bergantung pada Adam untuk bahagia/gembira, dalam setahun tu hanya 15 kali lah saya bahagia, tak gitu? 3 tahun long-distance. Masa tu lah saya belajar bahawa kebahagiaan mutlak hanya pada Allah. Ketenangan hati hanya pada Allah. 

Being married makes me realise two main things,

1. You are in-charge of your own happiness. Should you decide to put it solely on your spouse, once your spouse makes a mistake, there goes your happiness. Should you decide to put it in The Almighty, then inshaAllah your happiness will always be yours, so long you're in the remembrance of Allah.

2. Nothing beats parents' love. Take my word -  nothing, no one. Their love is unconditional. Doesn't mean your spouse's love is inadequate or insufficient, it's just a different kind of love. It was only after I got married that I truly understand my dad's words, "We love you not the same way others do". Nanges.

ootd baju kahwin Jalan TAR, recycle untuk raya 2 tahun kemudian

03.02.2016 - Yang baru kahwin 3 tahun setengah,