Saturday, January 30, 2010

Langkawi Island

The trip to Cameron Highlands was actually last weekend.. this week I took two days off my annual leave but manage to get 6 days off work, how? Well I took Wednesday and Thursday off, Friday is a public holiday (in lieu of Thaipusm on Saturday), Saturday and Sunday is an official weekend, and Monday is a public holiday (Federal Territory day).So what did we do? We went to Langkawi Island, and then stop by Penang to catch up with the in-laws.

The plan to go to Langkawi started off two weekends ago when I realised that the dinnerware set that we got for our wedding is non-microwavable (due to the gold rim decorations). During lunch on the regular week day, I went to KLCC and looked at Corelle dinnerware at Parkson and Isetan and found out that the standard price for a 16 piece set is RM699. After taking to my cousin who went to Langkawi last x-mas, she told me that the price in the duty-free island is almost 50% off. So I was convinced that going to Langkawi is economically feasible, to add to it all, my birthday was just around the corner, so the trip was furthermore justified.

So Norman and I discussed and since this was a last minute trip, we decided to drive to Kuala Kedah jetty, take a ferry and stay in Langkawi Island for two nights. We decided to stay at Bayview Hotel because it was he closest one to the jetty and right next to the shopping district.Naufal and Norman on the ferry. Notice that Naufal is carrying a first aid kit that he stores all his car toys.

The Executive Suite that we stayed in.. the offpeak weekday rate is only RM45 more than the Deluxe room.. but on the weekend the rate is almost double...
The connecting door from the bedroom to the living room..

In addition to this we also get to use the Executive Lounge where the hotel provides high tea everyday and also free internet. Everything in the minibar is also free.

Anyway, we spend the first day in Langkawi surveying the price of Corelle dinnerware and matching Corningware set. I wanted to buy Kobe design, but it was not available anywhere in he island.So instead we bought European herbs... this 20-piece set was selling at RM368 (KL 16-piece set is selling at RM699).

The 2nd day, which also happens to be my birthday, we started off the day with a trip to see the Eagle.It was a beautiful day for a holiday...Then we went to Makam Mahsuri... There's also a mini bird zoo at Makam Mahsuri with peacocks, eagles and many more. Later we went to visit Beras Terbakar and to Pantai Chenang.

Because Naufal loves fish, we decided to go to the Underwater World. Naufal is making friends with his peers..
So many types of fishes on display..There's also birds, turtles, sea-lions and penguins.. to name a few...

Afterwards we went back to the hotel for tea and snacks. Later Naufal and Norman went for a swim at the hotel's swimming pool. Naufal took an evening nap, and soon we were out again to go shopping for my Corelle and Corningware.
There was so many other things that I felt like buying but I was consciously worried about how we are going to carry it all back. Anyhow, no visit to Langkawi is complete without buying chocolates, so we squeezed in afew bags of chocolate before leaving the jetty.. Norman had to carry all 4 boxes of goods and our bags out of the ferry while I was carrying Naufal.
It was great to be away from the office and go on a holiday on your birthday. I will definitely visit Langkawi again soon (to buy more dish sets like Pyrex bowls and gamat oils).. perhaps next time we could plan a trip with Norman's parents and siblings, so that we could carry more things out of the island.. haha

Once we arrived back in Kuala Kedah, we drove to Penang to enjoy the weekend with our dearest in-laws :)

The Trip To Cameron Highlands

After weeks after weeks (or shall I say months after months) of getting the house ready and preparing for our historical move, it was relaxing to be away from the city scene and go to the quiet hill side. So I am more than grateful for this trip to Cameron Highland.

Like many things in life, this is my FIRST visit there. People have commented on how sometimes it can be very cold, but for this particular visit, the weather was disappointingly not cold. The mornings are misty, but it was still a shorts and t-shirt weather. It was only mildly cold...

So anyway, my parents and my youngest sister went on Friday, but due to work demands, Norman, myself, Naufal and my other sister Nora left on Saturday morning. We drove for a few hours and then exited the highway at Simpang Pulai. As we started the climb up, the fuel indicator started to blink and at first we thought that it would be a quick drive to the highlands like Genting, so we decided to brave it out. But after 15 minutes we realised that it was just trees and the winding road and so I decided to call my mum to ask if she knew when we could next see a petrol station. She told me that there would be almost 2 hours drive to reach the top and no mini town with petrol station in between. The fuel indicator kept blinking and we are confident that we would be stranded in the jungle should we decide to continue with the inevitable. So we made a turn and drove down the hill with the air conditioner turned off and with a conscious mind only to stop on the brake and not the accelerator.

20 minutes later we arrived at the petrol station, we celebrated by turning on the air conditioner as we sigh wih relief :) Once we had out pit stop and filled up, we continued with the trip.

Finally we arrived at the Equatorial Hotel, and it was just in time for lunch (a late 2pm lunch, but lunch nonetheless).. we were definitely hungry but greatly satisfied that we have arrived..
Norman playing fussball with Nora and Naufal..

After lunch we decided to take an evening stroll and start sight seeing in Cameron Highlands.
Aisyah with the beautiful blooming flowers. There are so many roses everywhere, and I thought of bringing them home with me. But who am I kidding, the roses will not bloom in the typical SG weather...
There was a Saturday night market in Brinchang, so we bought flowers, cactus, and vegetables and STRAWBERRIES!! Strawberry tea, strawberry jams, dried strawberries and fresh strawberries :)
The next day, we went to the tea plantation, bought more vegetable and fruits from the Rose valley and made a stop at Cactus World.

There are so many beautiful cactus plants, of many sizes and colors..
Norman just fell in love with them..At the tea plantation, Cameron Valley.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Adjusting to family life.

Since moving out of my parents house, it has been quite a little struggle trying to adjust living without the luxury of my parents and siblings. For the past few years, life has been so easy. There’s hardly any rush getting to work cause our son is looked after by his grandparents, and we can get back from work whenever we want. Dinner is instantly ready, and whenever it is my turn to clean up (or do the cooking on rare occasions), there’s always someone who can temporarily babysit Naufal :)

When my parents went away for 44 days for their holy pilgrimage, we had to start sending Naufal to the playschool. This meant waking up an extra 30 minutes earlier to pack Naufal’s bag, leaving the house an extra 15 minutes earlier to send him there. And then coming back from work, we had to leave the office at exactly 5pm, in order to pick him up before 6 so that we will not have to pay late penalty which will be imposed at $6/per 30 minits. Then either my sister of I will start cooking dinner (that is if we didn’t eat out) and then taking turns again to clean the kitchen.

Now we’ve moved one more step closer to being completely independent. Yes, we have officially moved in to Subang Galaxy. That is since the Majlis Bacaan Yassin and doa selamat on 17 January 2010, in conjunction with Naufal’s 29th month birthday (separate entry with pictures will be posted later). We attempted to live independently last week, but we ended up spending 2 out of 5 nights sleeping over at Kelana Jaya cause we were too tired to go back home (and truthfully still too comfortable with the easy life). Honest be told, we still had dinner over there everyday before coming home. This week we plan to change.

One things for sure, in order for me to get the official 8 hours of work and leave at 5pm, I will need to leave the house at 7am (the latest). And in order for that to happen (without me sacrificing my sleep), I will need to get Naufal’s school bag and my daily attire ready and ironed at least the night before. Coming back from work I will have to be disciplined enough to fetch Naufal at his kindergarden (yes, he has upgraded from his playschool to join the 3+ kindergarden), and go straight home to Subang Galaxy. Then start cooking while watching over Naufal and his daddy. As cooking is still not in my expertise, I hope Naufal and his daddy will not be too fussy to taste my experimental recipes.. haha

This week will be an easy start as we will only be at work for 2 days before spending the rest of the week in Langkawi (to celebrate my birthday) and Penang for the weekend (to visit the in-laws).

Friday, January 22, 2010

Going to Cameron Highlands

Will be going to Cameron Highlands tomorrow :)
Everyone is in shock when I told them that I have NEVER set foot in Cameron Highlands.. It's like living in Leeds but never going to Yorkshire Dales, or living in Minneapolis and never setting foot in Mall of America or living in London but never visit the Eiffel Tower!! (you get the idea).. it's only a few hours drive and yet I have never made an effort to go there, simply because I know that I can always go there whenever I feel like it..

So this weekend, since my parents and sistas have planned to go there, I decided to tag along and bring the whole clan with me (Norman and Naufal that is).. can't wait to breathe the cool air, I'm really missing the cold Minnesotan winters (though I can guarantee that Cameron Highlands is nothing in comparison to the freezing cold northern American winter).

Monday, January 18, 2010

Moving in to SG (Part 3)

After such a busy weekend, I am more than grateful for a MOVING DAY leave. So I decided to take Monday off to continue unpacking.

On Friday, after work, Norman, Naufal and I went to IKEA to buy toilet accessories, curtain railings and other tid bits. We took the full tour of the store without missing an aisle as we think about what we should buy and what could be put on-hold for now. The good thing is that IKEA was opened until 11pm on Friday, Saturday and Sundays.

On Saturday we had a full day of unpacking and cleaning, and also finalizing the arrangements for our Majlis Bacaan Yaasin and Doa Selamat. It was a sudden decision to hold this event, hence the late invitation notice. We only confirmed the catering 36 hours prior to the event. Luckily we have reliable connections that could help us out. After a tiring day of mopping, vacuuming and etc, we also had to go out to send the house maps to our relatives. After dinner we went to buy groceries. Once again we were at the store while they were closing down for the day. When we arrived home, I started cooking while Naufal is asleep.

On Sunday we rearranged the furniture to make room for the guests to pray. Outside the workers started to install the grass that Norman just bought that morning. The installation of the grass was completed an hour before the first guest arrived. Inside, we were still busy unloading the boxes and cleaning. That night the ceremony started with maghrib prayers, doa, solat hajat, yaasin recitation, tahlil and isyak prayers.

Naufal in his jubah, ready for the ceremony.

Me and Naufal reciting the verses for the tahlil.
Waiting for isyak prayers.
Distributing the yaasin booklets. Reciting the doa of well wishes for the family and the security of the house.
Faizal concentrating in his prayers.
Azwin and Farzaana reciting the Yaasin.
Guests chatting.
More talks as families catches up on latest happenings.
Naufal (with Alya in the background).
Alya just woke up from her evening slumber.
My three nieces eating dinner.
Friends enjoying the nasi kerabu
Faiz on a giraffe scooter??
One of my aunts chatting away.


Welcoming my sister in-law to the house.

Our living room with the LCD TV that just arrived that afternoon.

Afterwards, we all had dinner and we took ours guests for a mini tour of the house.

Master bedroom walk-in closet

The secret door unveiled.

Our bed, still need to buy side tables.

Naufal's blue room without his bed.

The green room for guests.

Upstairs living room, still need to install the plasma TV.

Most of the things we bought have been carefully selected and purchased over the past 3 years, through mega sales, warehouse sale, home dec expos and such. I pointed out the things that are great buys from the many sales and bargainings, like our walk-in closet lighting that was bought at 75% off (from $1500++ down to $300++) and a mirror with solid wood carvings (from $1000++ to $450). People were surprised when we told them, as they would’ve been willing to pay atleast double of what we paid for them. Full credit to Norman for his super ability to bargain, bargain and bargain.

The event ended quite late , Naufal was still running around with our neighbour’s kids and we had to tear him away. Soon he was well asleep and we started to clean up. We were completely exhausted, and yet so happy as we rested our heads on our new bed in our new house on our first ever overnight stay in Subang Galaxy. We have now officially moved in!! (The housewarming party is planned sometime in Feb)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Moving to SG (part 2)

Yesterday we had the curtains installed at noon. We also decided to hire a lorry to move all the things that we could not move in a car (such as the bed that I used while working in Miri, the boxes that was shipped from there, the wardrobes that we bought, the bookshelf, mirrors, TV dining table and many2 more). We ordered a 2 tonne lorry, but luckily a 3 tonne lorry arrived to pick up our goods as they had a bigger job after ours. We filled the lorry to the max.
Everything was filling the house quickly, and it will be a big job unpacking in the next few days (or weeks or months).

The chairs were custom made to match the marble table which was being recycled from my parents house (in order to make room for a bigger table which would fit us and their grandkids).
Naufal's toys which we will unpack into his room in hope that he will start sleeping there.

After the curtains were installed, we decided to go to buy carpets. During the last HomeDec Expo I had put a deposit for Naufal's wallpaper, but we decided not to install the wallpaper anymore since we have bought lots of stickers for him. Luckily the store also sells carpets and floorings. So we bought carpets for both the upstairs and downstairs living room as we are also entitled to get an extra 30% off. We love discounts!!
Looking at the carpets and thinking whether we need to buy more now or later..
Norman cleaned the floor and started placing the carpet where it is planned to be. Pushing aside the coffee table, the floor is ready for a major slouching. All we need for the living room is our TV (will be delivered Sunday) and our BlueRay DVD player (not sure when it will be delivered).