Saturday, October 14, 2017

Life Update!

I have so many half-done posts and I'm not exactly proud of it. I had the intention of continuing my Japan trip posts but when it comes to writing and expressing things, you need the mood to actually do it. I used to write when I'm sad (I have a private journal) just because it made me feel so much better but there was always a need for all those times that I had to write.

So today, I'm writing because I feel empty? 

I'm three weeks into my final year (OMG I know, it feels as if I got into uni just yesterday) and I'm so busy that I've never really had time for myself lately. Unfortunate but it's time to get serious. Throughout my 2 years here, I've always been a borderline first but because of what I went through emotionally last semester (I feel), my overall grades (along with my ability to socialize) dropped so I'm motivated to do really well this year. 

What have I been up to this academic year?


Work


I am an enterprise intern at USE! It's so exciting especially because I'm getting paid to do something I enjoy. I'm currently working on my own enterprise project which will be on providing a platform for students to get into entrepreneurship. When I came up with it, my intention was to allow students to generate income from their hobby. I plan to organize a series of engagements to get people to explore how they can make money from their talents. It's very new so I can't clearly see when it's going to launch but I do hope that it'd benefit everyone.

Studies

I also have a final year project that I'm working on. To briefly summarise it, I have to define 'dexterity demand' and then from that, design a puzzle that requires high dexterity demand based on my definition. For all of you who doesn't know what dexterity is, it's difficult to really define it as everyone would define it differently but it is basically a skill that involves voluntary movements to carry out tasks. It seems very simple but after talking to Anna (a PhD student that's helping me out), I've realised that you could go so much deeper into defining it. I've been really excited about this project especially after talking to Jen (my supervisor) and Anna so I hope that throughout this 'journey', this project wouldn't turn into a burden.

Since I'm doing my masters now (it technically is), I've realised how a lot of my modules are based on researches. Therefore, I would have to read a lot. Can't be slacking off anymore because it's no longer about the text books and it's no longer about calculating what the force is and things like that. It makes me nervous but at the same time, I've had really interesting lecturers teaching my modules especially for Building Physics. I can do a 9AM no problem for his class.

Life


A lot of things happened during my summer break and I feel really sad that I'm not living with my family and that my best friends aren't a drive away anymore. But since I got back, my homies here have been nothing but supportive (and very realistic). And my sister is only a few hours away (she goes to Oxford Brookes) so that's really exciting. After two years of not doing anything for my birthday, I finally did this year! My sister and I went to London (bless her for taking some time out) and I honestly really appreciated it. We walked around to museums and galleries. Also had cake and went shopping. When we had to leave, I felt really sad but of course I didn't show it. I'm not attached to her or anything but I now wish that she goes here or somewhere closer instead (even though I initially told her not to).


My circle of friends has extremely shrunk but I do feel closer to the ones that have been with me for the past few years especially after all the arguments and banter that we've had. I haven't been involved with any society activities because I really want to concentrate on me this year but it has been a bit difficult not socialising. Also, isn't it amazing how last year, Amir and I directed SKY but this year, Hannah and Zafran are leading it. I'm extremely excited for them and I know that they can do better than what we did last year but as a previous director, I still have my worries. I keep some thoughts to myself but some, I don't. Up until now, they don't really need my help but Zafran is starting to feel what I felt last year and I believe he's going to learn a lot from it.

On a different note, I go to the gym now! OMG I know, me and the gym sounds a bit off but FOR GRADUATION! I did some yoga fusion the other day, got me in pain for three days. Felt like I just came back from snowboarding but I look forward for the next session (or at least I try to tell myself).

And I think this is worth mentioning, my skin has gotten so much better and I'm not even using that many products. Also, I've been a big massive believer of Korean skincare but I'm currently using a Japanese cleanser, toner, sunscreen and moisturiser with Bio-oil. My bb cream is however, Korean so it's still there somewhere. But I am so glad to have found those products. So much love and appreciation for them. Hoping to blog about them but knowing me, I probably won't.

I think this treated a bit of the emptiness I feel but I hope to figure out how to actually get rid of it, properly.  

Friday, August 25, 2017

Japan: Osaka I



Going back to Malaysia was a choice I made based on the reason that the whole family was planning on a trip abroad and I did not want to miss something that big because of my own selfish reasons (of wanting to experience the summer in the UK). But I also didn't want to go back just because of one week. So I decided to extend a week of the trip to nearly a month to really experience the country. Since I went to Slovenia, I had realised how much I enjoy trips that aren't overfilled with activities and places to go. From then on, my trips to Poland, Paris and now, Japan are exactly like that.  

Our trip was of a week in Osaka, a week in Kyoto and a week in Tokyo. I'm two weeks into this trip and in all honesty, I enjoyed Kyoto so much more than Osaka just because I've discovered that I'm not into that city life. I'll share what I liked and disliked about Osaka then I'll get on with the itinerary and how much my brother and I spent. 

Osaka, was basically, just that. The city, a lot of lights, a lot of shopping places and a lot of people. It was unfortunate that the temperature was and is currently extremely high as it made it a bit difficult to appreciate walking around. We were always searching for shade and praying that the sun would be covered up by the clouds. The only time I managed to enjoy myself was when we went out at night - mainly because the sun wasn't up. 

We stayed at the same Airbnb throughout the week and I was deeply disappointed by the flat we got. It was on the fourth floor, there wasn't any washing machine though it was said to have one and it was incredibly tiny. But I lived. However, I didn't really find it that bad until we went to Kyoto. 

Every day, we would leave the house around 10-12 or later thanks to my brother who seems to enjoy sleeping and would only wake up when I wake him up. Having a week in Osaka didn't seem too long at first but towards the end, I guess we started getting bored of the place. There wasn't much to visit and I don't think I'd like to go back to Osaka unless on a business trip. 

What I've realised about Japan is that everything seems to be very expensive. Initially, we thought that as long as we don't eat out, we'd be fine but every visit to market would cost around 1500 yen (RM60 | £11) and that's just buying the basics such as bread and drinks (non-alcoholic!) for two people that would last a day or two. 

This seems to all be very negative but I do appreciate some of my time in Osaka. The lights at night are amazing! It's also pretty close to Nara which was more of the countryside but very pretty! Plus, we ventured out a bit to the outer part of the city and it was nice seeing less of the hustle and bustle. Everything was also a walk away from where we stayed so overall, it was a nice city experience. 


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

SKY 2017 I

That's everyone pointing at the 'SKY', by the way. 
I won't lie, I regret not blogging about SKY continuously whilst my team and I were working on it. It makes reflecting on myself and my team harder as there's nothing that I can look back to. 

When I took up SKY, I told Syafiq all this BS on how I'm going to do this and that, not even convinced that I was going to actually do it. But I worked on it nonetheless. The first thing I did was I recruited the foundation of my team. People I knew who wanted to work with SKY. At this part, I asked around who wanted to be part of it. 

It was difficult finding people. I dismissed the ones who said they wanted to think about it. I dismissed the ones who were deciding between two flagship events. I dismissed the ones who I thought I couldn't get along with. I dismissed the ones who wanted more than what they were offered. Don't get me wrong, I didn't do it because I wanted to. I did it because I had to. It may not be the right way, but I was, back then, weak as a person and I needed people who believed in me and my visions. I needed people who would make mistakes with me but still stick by my side. I needed people who would help me decide and support my decisions. I needed people who are patient enough to get back on track with me when we get lost. I'll be honest, we had our disagreements but throughout SKY, these people did exactly just that.

When we started our SKY 2017 proposal, we went through so many difficulties. From losing our vision, to not understanding what was the point of SKY. SKY is currently a baby compared to SMSA's other flagship events. It may seem easy because we can basically take it into any direction we'd like to but at the same time, it was difficult because we had to dig in to the objectives of why SKY was initiated and make sure that we followed it. 

This stage was one of the most difficult parts of SKY and it went on for ages! We changed so many things. We had to take a step back and look at it from a different perspective so many times. I was frustrated. We talked to people, we discussed, we decided, we then took a step back and realised that it wasn't it. So many times. The proposal was changed up until the last month before the event date.  

But did anyone from my executive team run off? Nope. They all stayed. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Poland


The wait was worth it.

Due to the fact that I have yet to get a first class, I decided to reflect on myself and figure out a way to attain it. Because of that, I knew it would be best to only go on holiday after my finals unlike what I did in my second year. Which was good because the weather was great after finals. My results have yet to come out and if I still am unable to get a first, then I'll go on holiday this upcoming Christmas break as being at home for a whole month studying was pure torture.


I wanted to go snowboarding. 

I researched and I planned but the only problem was that I had no one to go with. I reached out to the closest and fortunately, the crew wanted to go. Unfortunately, Hannah didn't and Nadhi couldn't. I braved it through and convinced myself that it was better for me to go with people that I knew than going alone. I searched up for the cheapest and booked a flight to Poland and back for 7 people (but two cancelled). 

My initial budget was £200, I ended up going over that and so did mostly everyone. I did my pre-holiday shopping and had a blast going around Decathlon (everything there is super cheap). I ended up with one full oversized backpack and a heart filled with excitement the day before the flight. 



It took one whole day to get there.

I personally didn't feel as if the trip started well. I only hoped that it would get better. I went off with Amir on the tram to Meadowhall for the coach to London whilst the rest took an Uber because some people decided that they didn't want to be on time. That was when I realised that I'd have to start pacing out my chills for this trip. The coach was full, cramped and warm but I managed. Arriving in London, we got our coach tickets to Stansted Airport and headed out to convert some £ to zł. 

I got pretty upset whilst we were getting on the coach to Stansted due to fact that someone decided to go to the loo 15 minutes before the coach was about to leave. I was annoyed. I wanted to leave the person behind, I couldn't careless about people missing the coach because I wanted to go snowboarding and I decided that I won't let anyone ruin that. Lucky for the person, he got to the coach in time. 

We flew to Krakow, Poland on Ryanair, uneventful. Except that I was screaming in excitement inside. As soon as we reached Krakow, we immediately got a train to Kraków Główny (railway station). We walked from the station to our accommodation which took us about 20 minutes. The location of the accommodation seemed a tad bit dodgy but it was a decent place once we got inside. As soon as we settled down, we headed out to town for some food. Kebab. We had dinner at around 12.30AM, played games and told horror stories until about 3AM then decided to call it a night. 

Day 1:

Transportation
Home to Meadowhall Interchange: £2.20
Meadowhall Interchange to London Victoria: £3.65 - Megabus
London Victoria to London Stansted: £7.90 (w coach card) £12 (w/o) - National Express
Flight from London Stansted to Kraków: £24.80 - RyanAir
Krakow Airport to Kraków Główny: 8 zł (abt £1.80) 

Food
Kebab wrap: 14 zł (£2.90) - Beirut Shawarma (Floriańska 51, 33-332 Kraków, Poland)

Accommodation
Backyard Apart & Rooms: 260 zł (£54) - 3 Bedroom Flat for 8 people


Around Kraków without plans.

I woke up around 8am, excited for the day to start - I was the only one excited. I showered, packed and got ready. I attempted to wake people up at 9am; it took 3 attempts. 

"Okay."
"Dah bangun dah."
"Kenapa kau rakam, kau jahat doh."

The person I didn't try to wake up, woke up instead. I made breakfast - scrambled eggs and toast. We headed out to nowhere in particular. Kraków was merely a transit stop for us so we had nothing planned just that we had to wait for a friend to come that evening before heading out to Zakopane. We walked where our legs brought us and ended up in a small cafe that served really good desserts and the loveliest hot chocolate (thick and rich). 

Wandering about got us pictures, souvenirs and banter. We headed back to the apartment to pick up our luggage and then to the bus station to get to Zakopane. I desperately searched for a sim card at the station because I could not live without the internet. Arriving in Zakopane, we went to Tesco to get food and then headed to the cabin we called home for the next few days. We had kebab (again) for dinner that we bought in Kraków and again, ended the day with games and horror stories but with itik this time. 

Day 2:

Transportation
Kraków to Zakopane: - Bus
Zakopane Bus Station to the cabin: - Taxi

Food 
Pierre Bakery (Szewska 6, 30-001 Kraków, Poland)
Beirut Shawarma (Floriańska 51, 33-332 Kraków, Poland) 

Accommodation
Domek przy Olczyskiej: 384 zł (£80) - 2 Bedroom cabin (with a living room/bedroom) for 8 people



We were 1987m above sea level.

Our initial plan was to go up to Kasprowy Wierch at 9am or earlier so that we could start snowboarding earlier. Unfortunately, someone didn't bring their boots so we had to go to town, wait for the shops to open and only then did we go up to Kasprowy Wierch. Was I happy about it? No. Seeing as I was the only one fired up by the incident, I had to keep quiet; though I did let a few hints of annoyance slip. Arriving at Kuznice, there was a very very very long queue which we were in for an hour. Was I annoyed about it? Yes. Seeing as I was the only one annoyed, I had to keep quiet. I was amazed at how much patience I had in me.

I couldn't describe how lovely going up to the peak was, I was in awe, mesmerised by the view. Never in a million years did I ever think that I would see something like that. But I'm pretty sure I have once before, when I was really young and went up to Cairngorm Mountain. It's hard to please human beings, because even with that scenery, I was still wishing that I was with my family instead - overly attached.

I thought I was over my fear of heights, but it came back. My knees shivered but I was the only one afraid; I knew I had to man up and so I did. They lead me to places that I initially did not want to go to and honestly, I was very thankful. I, however, did not follow them up to this one peak because I was scared that I might not make it back down. Because of that, they got to meet some ladies who then came down and told me that going up isn't worth it.

It was 2pm when we decided to head back down so we could actually do the things we actually went to do. Everyone was hungry so we headed to town to get some food, I had fish with couscous and beetroot. I was super amazed at how good beetroot is (I've never had the guts to try it because of the colour). We headed back to the cabin and got ready for snowboarding, I was excited and nervous.

We went to Nosal for snowboarding, wanting to try it out. We rented our kit from this one hut in front of Nosal (not at the centre). It smelled nicer and was cheaper so it worked out well. I wasted 18zł for renting an evening pass when I should've just got a per use of lift because I only went up the lift once within 2 hours. I felt demotivated, I went up the lift, couldn't use it, I fell down, had to walk up. It was a disaster. More than anything, I was just really upset with myself. I spent a fortune on lessons and I couldn't even go up a slope - and go down at that since I just had no confidence left in me. The kids knew how upset I was about it.

After the session, we headed back to the cabin. We were supposed to go out that night but after sorting out the fire place, Amir and Zafrina dropped dead almost immediately. So we decided to stay in. Instead of being boring and going to sleep, we made pasta because there's nothing better than food at 10pm. Naturally, the ones who fell asleep woke up right after we were done cooking. To be honest, all I did was boil the pasta. The others did the rest. #wifematerial. We slept pretty early wanting to leave the house at 8.30am the next morning.

Day 3:

Transportation
Town to Kuznice (Kasprowy Wierch): 30 zł - Taxi
Cable car to Kasprowy Wierch: 59zł (Student price)

Food 
Spynx

Accommodation
Domek przy Olczyskiej: 384 zł (£80) - 2 Bedroom cabin (with a living room/bedroom) for 8 people

Others
Ski rental: 25zł (1 Day)



3 hours walk.

I woke up to breakfast (by Itik), the sun and the amazing view outside. We left late, I was expecting that so I played outside with the kids that weren't late whilst waiting. We took a long taxi ride to the Tatra National Park and walked for three hours. I wanted to give up half way so many times but I had amazing support so I kept on going. We arrived at Morskie Oko with most of my layers taken off (because it got warm) to be greeted by an amazing view of a frozen lake with mountains in the background. I had cheese filled pancakes because it was lunch time and it was amaaaazing. What was more amazing was that the price wasn't hiked up even though we were in a cafe by the lake. Amir and I waited for the other kids to arrive before heading down to the lake. We played a lot, it was fun. 

Because we didn't want to go on another 3 hour adventure, we decided to take a horse sleigh down. Half way down, some of the kids had the honour of having a horse poop in front of their faces (whilst it was walking). Most memorable experience, ey. I can imagine them telling their grandkids about it - "Years back, Atok went to Poland and was on a sleigh ride. I fell asleep because I was hella tired but was woken up by the smell of horse poo. It was amazing."

We headed back on a bus (which gave me a headache) and as soon as we arrived at the cabin, we headed out for another snowboarding adventure. This time around, everyone except Zafrina and I skied. We all enjoyed our second day way more. The guy minding the lifts helped me out and taught me how to get onto the lift. Favourite guy right there. The closing time came too soon and I was really upset because I wasn't satisfied. I wanted to snowboard more. We then headed out to town to have our super late dinner and went on and on about going back if not this year, then next winter.

Day 2:

Transportation
Nosal to Morskie Oko: 120zł (Taxi)
Morskie Oko to Nosal: 10zł (Bus)
Nosal to town: 30zł (Taxi)
Horse sleigh ride: 40zł

Food 
Spynx
Restaurant by the lake

Accommodation
Domek przy Olczyskiej: 384 zł (£80) - 2 Bedroom cabin (with a living room/bedroom) for 8 people


(Finishing this off would take too much of my time, sorry.)