Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Moment

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakaatuh,

I touched down at Qatar HIA at ~4.45 am. Next flight boarding at 6.05 am. There's still time for quick Suboh and a tea break, but first things first, I need to locate where is the next gate, quick check on the information board, gate B1. Quickly made my way to gate B. The musolla and toilet is located very close to the gate.

Having had completed my solat, I was contemplating where should I head on for tea break. No PAUL like cafe in HIA, so to the lounge it is. After a cup of tea and some pastries it was already 5 mins to 6 am. Gathered my things, made my way to the gate, but made a temporary stop at WH Smith. Picked up 4 books, about to fall into the marketing trick of buy 3 free 1 when the better sense in me says I can get the whole lot cheaper via MPH online, or bookexcess. Hehe. Put it back on the shelves, and this time I really head on to the gate. No more distraction.

Queued behind few locals and after the airport crew scanned my boarding pass, I stepped into the waiting area. I was looking for a non crowded place and all of the sudden there he was. He walked towards me, greeted me, we both said hello and he escorted me to where he is seated. We both knew that we would be on the same flight, and I guess he was looking forward to meet me. The feeling is mutual. He began talking about his trip, and he sounds really excited about it. He did mentioned that he can imagine living in KL.. aaww...So sweet!

The other passenger started boarding the flight and we were the only 2 left. He's on business class and I was on economy. We didn't see each other throughout the whole flight. The moment the flight touched down Lagos, I did what I always did, I rushed to the immigration counter. Got inline at the immigration counter and managed to fill up the form while at it. I could no longer see him. Being seated in 2A, I think he was probably the first one to board off the plane.

I was a bit nervous at the immigration counter because on the way out of Nigeria, they made a living hell out of me, picking on the tiny little details on my passport and make a mountains of issues about it. So when the immigration officer handed over my passport and green card, it was such a relief. Made my way to the conveyor belt, the bags has started to come. I spotted him on the other side of the belt. He already has a trolley with him and offered for us to share. His bag came out way earlier than mine. I was already getting really nervous, for fear that my bag is somehow stuck in Doha. He waited anyway. It took quite a while. Alhamdulillah I managed to get both of my bags and we both went through the customs check together. As usual the customs officer were on fishing trip. He did most of the talking, I just stand by his side, giving the impression that we are together and he made it clear to the custom that we ARE together. (Makin caiyaq dah waktu ni..hehehe). We were let go without much fuss and later while waiting for the bus to pick us up, he did mentioned he did intended to give the impression that we are a couple, maybe to speed things up. Whatever his reason is, I still could not stop smiling :)

We boarded the bus, he fills up the form for me and told the driver where we were heading. I got off at the local airport, heading back to PHC with 3.15 pm flight, while he will still be in Lagos for few days due to his project workshop. I will only see him later this week, maybe at a farewell party if he decided to go.

It might not be anything, but these small moments with him that I will treasure. I know very little chance that whatever we have between us is going anywhere, so please let me enjoy this. A brief moment in my life that I don't think I will ever get to experience again. It felt so good to be taken care of. Be it just pushing the trolley with my bag on, talking to the customs officer, and filling up my name in the bus sheet. Having being independent and all alone all this while, I really appreciate those little gesture, maybe small to other people but pretty huge deal for me, because all of that done by him.

I know what we have is special, I visited Norway and he visited Malaysia while we both know each other. Kalau orang tak tau status, memang dah jadi scandal dah.. hehe. No scandal, just a brief exciting episode in my otherwise ordinary life, and I'm thankful for it.

This year's KPI of having a photo with him has not materialize yet. (Ohh.. yearly KPI ek? hehe). As I am counting down the days left in this country, I am also dreading the day I will say farewell to him. As special as our relationship may seem, I don't put high hope for us to keep in touch after we both returned back to Malaysia and Norway respectively upon finishing this assignment. He's just not that kind to keep in touch. He said that himself, so its OK, whatever we have for the past 3 years is fine with me. Its enough.

Until next time.. wassalam..

Monday, January 30, 2017

Mak dan 5705

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh..

So many things happening in the world today, particularly last weekend, Trumps executive order to ban Muslim from entering USA has caused massive chaos in their airports and mixed reaction from all over the world. Everybody seems to be talking about it, regardless whether they are impacted directly or not. So need I say more? I don't see the need to do so.

Lets talk about something closer to me, in fact, someone really close to me.


Mak has never had the privilege to learn how to drive. She's been either on the public transport or relied on arwah ayah to move around. She knew how to ride a motorcycle when she was young, but she didn't really use it that much since.

So when ayah fall sick and many of us lived far from home, we urged mak to take up driving lesson and get a license. Mak was reluctant at first, she was not confident that she can do it. She initially went for few lesson but the instructor was really strict, kinda scared mak a bit. I guess its the age. Mak is one steadfast lady, that worked odd jobs, braved the storm of living in the big city, sacrificing hours making kuih and nasi lemak to feed us. She normally doesn't give up easily, but when it comes to driving she was happy to be in her comfort zone.

And then ayah got really sick, up to a point ayah could no longer drive. So happened adik is still at home since she has decided to take some time off before pursuing her degree. We trusted adik to send mak for driving classes, study for the test etc. Mak finally took the driving test and she passed!

However, we plan, but Allah SWT plans as well. Just after mak passed the driving license, ayah passed away. Few days later mak went over to JPJ to get her license. She told the counter staffs, 'Makcik ambik lesen sebab nak bawak pakcik pi hospital, tapi ajal pakcik dah sampai..tak dan.'

Well, all is not lost we say, because mak used to rely on ayah to travel around, and now she has a valid driving license, and has built some confidence to drive around, it gives her more freedom to move. She can visit Lang anytime she wants should there be any emergency.

Therefore we decide to buy mak a new car. She passed the test using an auto car, but we only have manual car in the house. The colour was of her choice. I purposely asked for the similar plate no :)

And mak already had the test drive all the way to Baling to my cousin's house! What you don't see in the picture is the jam packed passangers, my sisters and nieces and nephew. Excited semua!
Till next time. I've yet to test drive the new car..hehe

Wassalam..

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

MoM

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh....

Alhamdulillah, I've completed my 3 years here comes 1st Jan. I am now in my final year. Many things have changed over the past 3 years and the latest is now I have a new boss. He's a local guy, while WK has been tasked to another work that was vacated by someone that has retired.

So this new boss is not somebody new. He's a local Nigerian. When I came in, he was posted to Brunei, but his career as expat ended short, as Nigeria desperately needs him to come back due to some re-organization. He came back and worked in Projects and now with the new development, he's been constituted back to our team, as Process Safety Manager.

Physically he's not here yet, but slowly he's taking over from WK. WK now is back in Malaysia for CNY, hence he leads the first department meeting last Monday. One of the first thing that he asked me to do was to take the minutes. My knee jerk reaction is, you think I'm a trainee? A bit crossed that I'm being asked to do 'balachi' work. Well I still am, they asked me to do 'clerical' work such as weekly highlights, for example. And FYI we have a trainee in this department. How come I have to do this?

I took it as insult, initially, but within hours I managed to look past the task. I am the kind of person that loose focus immediately. I have short term attention span and I forget things, but if I really paid attention, things got embedded in my mind, it will be quite hard to erase it.

So this task actually will keep me focused. As mundane as it may seem, this is my chance to be updated. I do noticed work that comes in straight away goes to my colleague. The locals like to deal with the locals and I would be in the dark had I not been snooping around. Fell discriminated? I definitely am.

So yes, ambik la MoM kami ni pun, if thats what it takes for me to be in the game. One more year. With the MASIP gang slowly moving away, only Anton and myself left in the camp. The new people that came in are mostly from UK (British, Scottish...) No new Dutch people as well. It has became a more English environment. I have nothing against them, but definitely losing the Asian touch. So yes, I'm looking forward to go back to Malaysia end of this year. I'm actually looking forward to get out of here, but Malaysia said no, you cannot apply anywhere else, you have to come back! I am still hoping for miracles as I still want to see more of this world. Hehehe.. selfish sangat kan..

Ok, till next time. Now counting days to my next trip back home, in about 16 days.

Wassalam...

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

FIFA The Best 2016

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh...

I can't remember when was the last time I posted anything about football. Must be aeons years ago..haha.

Tonight was the first ever FIFA The Best Award for all best achievements in football for 2016. I was not sure why the Ballon d'Or was announced earlier and not together but hey its OK, that just means that Cristiano won 2 awards for 2016..:)

What I think of other winners?

The Best FIFA Men's Coach Award - Claudio Ranieri

Hebat pakcik ni..even Zidane pun kalah, but his magic that brings Leicester City on top of EPL last year was superb, and lawak jugak bila dia berucap, boleh tahan pakcik ni. All the other candidates are my favourite as well, so anybody wins, I'm happy and besides Zidane has a long way to go, he'll make it there someday.

The Best FIFA Fan Award - Borrusia Dortmund and Liverpool

This was another category that I don't mind if any of the nominees won, all of them are deserving and it does warms my heart to see the playback. Football fans around the world has had fair share of shenanigans but more often than not fans cheers for a game and celebrates even if the opponent scores if the goal is a good one. Unlike NBA, where the game atmosphere is so negatives, from the commentator to the fans, morally degrading for the visiting team, tak ada semangat kesukanan langsung. They mocked and boo-ed the opponent each and every opportunity they can. I adore supportive fans, I admire the spirit, but I strongly condemned mental bullying in that sense. Football on the other hand, has isolated cases like this, but always you'll see fans enjoy the game together. That's the beauty of it.

 PUSKAS Award - Mohd Faiz Subri
Need I say more? I've been ecstatic since I saw his nomination in top 10 and has been campaigning in FB and IG for people to vote him, and it was well paid off :) Tahniah Faiz!

Till next post. Wassalam!

Friday, December 23, 2016

How my wedding would be...

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh..

Shaz's wedding was a grand one. Despite her claim of not enough budget and all, the celebration went on for 3 days 3 nights on her side (causing us to be mostly sleep deprived..hehe) and later continued for a reception in SG. I enjoyed most part of KL side, and had I had the chance to attend the SG side, I think I would enjoy it as well. 

However..... that's not how I want my wedding would be. We girls have our dream wedding even though we do not have the other party to play the groom part yet :P. My idea of my wedding has evolved along the years, along with my perception of what's good for me, and I guess pretty much influenced by what Islam wants a wedding to be. So here goes:

My wedding would be in a masjid, it can be either Masjid Wilayah or Masjid Besi Putrajaya. Both Muslim and non-Muslim guests will be invited to the masjid. The guests will have to reach the masjid before maghrib. We (pengantin included ok) would join the congregation for Maghrib prayers, after that, we will have the akad nikah ceremony. That ~1 hour window between Maghrib and Isyak should be ample enough for the event. The non muslim guests would be seated outside with a video live feed of the nikah (if there is any opposition to non Muslim entering the prayer hall). If they are no protest, all guests are welcomed to witness the nikah in the prayer hall. After the nikah, by that time it would be Isyak, all guests, my future husband and myself will also be in the congregation. After solat baru la upacara batal air sembahyang, sarung cincin bagai. That should not take more than 15 minutes. 

I would be ready with wudhuk and had make up done before maghrib. No need for elaborate make up, I just need to be in purity state until we finish Isyak. Should not be that hard insyaAllah. And oh.. I would like to hold 3 stalks of gerber daisy (pink or red colour preffered) as my bouquet. Simple, light but makes a bold statement. Wedding gown..hhmmm...a white abaya, detailing not sure yet, will probably let the expert designer decide. The groom will be fully clad in white satin baju melayu, even if he is not melayu, he's marrying one, so he has to wear it :) hehe.. Sampin songket warna-warni like sampin Sarawak or sampin Indonesia, I can't remember which part, but I love that sampin.  

After which, then we will all adjourn to small reception at the masjid. Masjid Besi Putrajaya is perfect for this setting! During the reception, both my husband and I will then mingle around and say hi to the guests. And that's it. Potentially, I don't expect to get more than 100-150 guests. If more people are willing to attend the masjid wedding, then alhamdulillah, all the better.  

This is not my original idea. This comes from Baba Ali, one of the founder for the muslim marriage site, Half Our Deen. 

Now if we expect to entertain more guests, then maybe we can consider a reception on the following day, noontime. No bersanding whatsoever. Just a small reception, takde berarak bagai. Hantaran will be exchanged during the nikah. Pelamin pun tak payah, but if anybody (makcik2 la normally) insist, then maybe we can have that for photography session, definitely no bersanding. The thing with reception nowadays is, there are so many 'other' elements that comes with it, there's photobooth, music playing, speeches, etc. And its quite hard to control the flow, but we will see how. 

So, that's it for now on how I dream my wedding would be. Am pretty sure if the thoughts keeps coming, more details will be added in..haha. 

Till next time, wassalam. :)


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Pergi Tak Kembali

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh..

My last post talks about my then emotional state of being. I did went for my Nordic adventure. Had loads of fun, but before that had some series of unfortunate events or bad luck (as KBB put it). First it was my worry that something were to happened at home while I'm on holiday, and then there was this incident in the work place that caused me to be hospitalized for 4 days!

I fall on my back on the last day of a site visit to a terminal. Quite fair bit of fiasco, to the point that MEDEVAC were to be activated. I told my travel mates, they assured me that they will help me with my luggage, and it's not like we were in Amazing Race or something :). I was working from home until the day I traveled.

And my series of unfortunate event did not stops there, the day I was supposed to travel, Nov 23rd, Lufthansa's pilot decided to launch a strike. So I had a choice of waiting for a later flight, or change to another flight. Without much thought I booked Turkish Airline ticket direct to Copenhagen to meet up with the rest. The original plan to transit in London went bust because of it. There goes my another pair of cheap Clarks! hehe..If I were to wait for the later Luthansa flight, the whole itinerary will have to be changed as well, so no can do.

So there I go happy-happy joy-joy in Scandi. I will save the travelog later. Our last destination was Stockholm. I have to leave early to make it to Shaz's wedding. I was supposed to meet with my parents at the wedding and head home direct to NG after that wedding. Before I touched down KL, mak informed me ayah is already on wheelchair, definitely could not make it to the wedding. Without further ado, I've tried to delay my return flight back to Nigeria, but all Emirates flights seems to be fully booked on the tentative fly back dates. I've tried both ticketing offices, Stockholm, and Dubai and by the time I touched down KL, I knew for sure that I will not be able to change my flight ticket back to Nigeria.

That very day I touched down, I bought a one way Air France ticket, end destination Port Harcourt. No point for me to return to Lagos and waste another day there. Booked MAS return ticket to AOR and I attended Shaz's wedding with the peace of mind that I am travelling back to SP on Monday, the day after the reception.

I flew back with 1.30 PM flight to AOR, adik fetch me and rather than heading straight to the hospital (ayah was admitted on Friday night, mak spare me the news, as I was busy with Shaz's wedding), I went back to take a bath and quick nap as I was having massive headache from few days lack of sleep. The plan is to go to the hospital at 6PM.

Around 5.50 PM, another sister texted the news, ayah no longer there. He has peacefully passed away. Innalillahi wa inna ilahi rojiun.. This was on the 12th Dec 2016, Monday. We head straight to the hospital, and when we got there, ayah's remains was still in the ward, yet to be transferred to the mortuary. I stayed with mak, clearing all the hospital documentations etc and was with mak in van jenazah heading back home. Some people may beat themselves up for not being able to see their parents before they finally departed, but for me, I will not do that. Terkilan maybe, but I am even more thankful that I was there back in SP when all these happened. Imagine if I were in Nigeria, or on a cruise somewhere, how much help can I render to the family. I am really thankful of Allah's planning, the timing especially. Syukur sangat-sangat, dah besar rahmat I was there to help mak uruskan mana yang patut, and not be scrambling for flight tickets and what not.

Meanwhile my neighbours quickly helped to set the house ready for us. By the time we got back, all has been prepared for us. Jenazah was laid to rest the following day around 12 PM. The whole process were smooth alhamdulillah. My sister witnessed the ghusl at the masjid, and she mentioned that the kariah took time to properly complete it, they were not rushing, which is good for the jenazah I guess. Should be handled with care. So there it is, ayah has left us, went to see his Creator. Until a few days after his demise, there a few people came over to the house to look for Pak Long Usop, as he was fondly known off by the kampung folks. Some of them did not get the news, and ayah is the kind of person that can talk to anybody he met at coffee shop. Ayah's phone was not working and even if it was, these people are the random people that he met all around. You know how kampung folks are, some has mobile, some doesn't. But I guess by now, most of ayah's acquaintances already knew about his passing.



Till next time, wassalam...

Friday, November 11, 2016

How is my heart today?

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh..

Read this article today.

Its a beautiful piece of writing, and it surprises me to know that the writer is a 'he'. Rarely do I get touched by a man's writing. There are certain nuance that I always associated with male writers, people like Khaled Hosseini wrote beautiful and touching pieces but not quite like this. Maybe because what was written is personal to the writer, it has a little bit more soul into it. Ok, enough about the writer, back to the question.

How is my heart today?

Better. At least better than the last few days. It was pretty emotional throughout the week. Hormones raging if you knew what I mean. I still feel anxious. Ayah is not well and has been in hospital for at least 2 weeks. He's getting better but with his condition there is no way he can fully recover. At one point it was almost a life and death situation. While I rushed back in Sept because of this, my sisters asked me to stay put for now. Not to rush into things but I'm ready to go home anytime.

I'm not sad because ayah fell sick, we've seen it coming, and if its his time to go, we are all ready for it. Maybe its for the better. But I don't quite understand why I am feeling more melancholic these few days.

I'm due to set for another adventure on 23rd, of to the Nordic region, and followed by a short trip back home for Shaz wedding. With whats happening back home, I've started to second guess my plan. If I go and 'enjoy' my trip, what if something happen back home? But I've made all the arrangements, paid what needs to be paid, I'm all set. Its not so much about the money, but more of the opportunity to go and see things.

Voiced out my dilemma to KBB, the feedback that I get comes in a form of questions, what if ayah's condition continues for months and months to come? Would I stop doing things that I want to do just because I am so called on standby? Basically do I want to put my life on hold? Its a heavy question. But it did crossed my mind even before I was asked. Life has to go on. My life has to go on.

For now, I have to play by ear. We'll see what will happen. Ayah's condition can go from OK to worse overnight. Anywhere I will be, it will be equally challenging to organize a trip back home, that was KBB's argument. And I have to admit, that is the case.

So we'll see. Till next time.
Beds of roses outside NASA Centre in Houston. January 2016. 

Wassalam.