i've been sticking my head into everything else other than the blogsphere these past weeks and had to remind myself to blog here today. nothing much has been happening and i've been at a loss for words lately too.
a few weeks ago i was starting to really miss home food. well actually anything other than turkish to be more specific. we've been here 9 months now and the first 6 months with in laws was nothing but turkish which was sometimes hard despite turkish food being fabulous. only because i really crave variety when it comes to food. i like having turkish one day, thai the next, chinese the day after, a good pasta after that. unfortunately for me there isn't much variety here and when there is it's often overpriced and not the real deal. things are ofcourse a little better now that we're in our own place and have the flexibility to cook whatever comes to mind .. if you can find the ingredients that is which is a totally different story.
i moaned about this to my cousin and she had packed and mailed a whole box of foodstuff which took forever to arrive because it was held in customs! i received it a week or two ago and boy was i delighted. she had packed me a box full of spices and just all the things that reminded me of home. malaysian food is comprised of three main different cuisines: malay, chinese and indian with one cuisine influencing the other. so it's not surprising at all to find in my precious little package several different types of indian curry powder, garam masala spice mix, noodles, chinese emperor's chicken seasoning mix, madras papadums, spices for malay soup and a malay barbeque mix to name a few. the kitchen smelled so good and i was instantly reminded of my grandma and her cooking for the whole family. it was nice to have familiar scents around for a change!
i wanted to include an old picture of grandma's purple and yellow orchids from her orchid garden right here but my typepad doesn't seem to be functioning properly. perhaps you can close your eyes and imagine them instead :)
today was one of those ordinary days that started out okay and ended up being fantastic. we woke up fresh and early to a day of all gray skies. i was happy i was getting some work done then when i looked outside, that grayness had slowly cleared into this strange bold streaked sky, a thick band of beautiful clear blue on top and another band of that stubborn heavy gray on the bottom. i've never seen anything like it. i was so tempted to take a picture but stopped and thought, haven't i taken enough pictures of the sky already? and wasn't my one word for 2008 be focus? and didn't i really need to focus on what i was doing ie. work? so i passed that temptation by then soon forgot about time. it was close to noon before i looked up and out of the window again to see that the sun was shining, the gray was gone and it was just beautiful outside.
so beautiful that my senses went haywire and all i really wanted to do that very moment was grab my coat, jump on a ferry and sail to the european shore. it was so beautiful that i convinced myself that tomorrow may not be so , that i could always focus on work later and that for now i just wanted to *focus* on this good day. so off i went :) i can already see how this one word i chose for the year will be quite a challenge for me :P
ferry rides here are one of my favorite things. what makes them so special for me are the seagulls. love ferry rides. love seagulls. put the two of them together and they just make my day. and there were so many today! it's normal for folks here to feed these birds from the partially open deck and as usual someone must have started doing that because as i sat inside waiting for the ferry to leave the port and looking out the window, the gulls were everywhere and circling around trying to swoop for a piece of bread. it was awesome to watch. the other thing i love is that these gulls will keep you company on your journey across the water by following or trailing behind the boat. love it when that happens. i also thought of my dad and that if he was there with me he would so enjoy seeing this. he always was a bit of a bird lover and it would have been nice to enjoy that moment with him.
when i do go across to the european side, alot of the time it's to the same area. i've gone this way so many times but today when i climbed up the steps from the underpass leading up to Yeni Camii (New Mosque), the architecture of the building just left me breathless. it seemed so big, so bold and so quietly magnificent. i took a moment to stand there, to admire and to wonder what it must have been like hundreds of years ago before continuing on.
when i got home today i was excited to find my very first snail mail for the year waiting in the mail box. it was a christmas card from a dear girlfriend and inside the envelope was this magnetized button with a heartwarming picture of the two of us taken on one of my trips back to hong kong. we've known each other since we were 6 in primary two. i remember she was the girl who had the lovliest waist long hair that was always in the prettiest braid and we used to share cheezels with one another during recess :) there's nothing like good old friends and eventhough we don't chat or email often, whenever i go back we never fail to pick up comfortably from where we left off. so that magnet is now on my fridge along with the card and i'm so happy it's there. it puts a smile on my face everytime i see it and it's lovely to be reminded of old friends, good friends and that i'm not that far away or as alone as i at times feel i am.
it's amazing what a good day does to your mood and your perspective on things. i've been putting off touching up my hair color for days now and didn't care if my roots and grays were obvious, but this evening i went to it just like that and got it done without any loathing or complaining! to top everything off, when i made after dinner coffee for dh and i, the coffee machine, which many times work somewhat loudly and has refused to froth to spite us i sometimes think, frothed *quietly* and *perfectly well* with small, tight, smooth bubbles and i was so delighted.
i love a day like this when i am in awe and inspired by everything i see and whilst i can't cartwheel, it definitely felt as if my heart was doing them today . these days come by once in a while and i love it when they do especially when they catch you by surprise and make ordinary days seem much more special. so now i'm willing more good days like these and may your idea of a wonderful day fly your way too :)
Mom forwarded this inspiring email to me today and I wanted to share it even if you may have read it already.. more of a good thing is definitely good :) a beautiful speech and I savoured reading every word.
This was a speech made by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Anna Quindlen at the graduation ceremony of an American university where she was awarded an Honorary PhD.
"I'm a novelist. My work is human nature. Real life is all I know. Don't ever confuse the two, your life and your work. You will walk out of here this afternoon with only one thing that no one else has. There will be hundreds of people out there with your same degree: there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on a bus, or in a car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank accounts but also your soul.
People don't talk about the soul very much anymore. It's so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But a resume is cold comfort on a winter's night, or when you're sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you've received your test results and they're not so good. Here is my resume: I am a good mother to three children. I have tried never to let my work stand in the way of being a good parent. I no longer consider myself the centre of the universe. I show up. I listen. I try to laugh. I am a good friend to my husband. I have tried to make marriage vows mean what they say. I am a good friend to my friends and they to me. Without them, there would be nothing to say to you today, because I would be a cardboard cut out. But I call them on the phone, and I meet them for lunch. I would be rotten, at best mediocre at my job if those other things were not true.
You cannot be really first rate at your work if your work is all you are. So here's what I wanted to tell you today: Get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger pay cheque, the larger house. Do you think you'd care so very much about those things if you blew an aneurysm one afternoon, or found a lump in your breast?
Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze at the seaside, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over the water, or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a sweet with her thumb and first finger.
Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work. Pick up the phone. Send an email. Write a letter. Get a life in which you are generous. And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted. Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around. Take money you would have spent on beer and give it to charity. Work in a soup kitchen. Be a big brother or sister. All of you want to do well. But if you do not do good too, then doing well will never be enough.
It is so easy to waste our lives, our days, our hours, and our minutes. It is so easy to take for granted the color of our kids' eyes, the way the melody in a symphony rises and falls and disappears and rises again. It is so easy to exist instead of to live.
I learned to live many years ago. I learned to love the journey, not the destination. I learned that it is not a dress rehearsal, and that today is the only guarantee you get. I learned to look at all the good in the world and try to give some of it back because I believed in it, completely andutterly. And I tried to do that, in part, by telling others what I had learned.
By telling them this: Consider the lilies of the field. Look at the fuzz on a baby's ear. Read in the back yard with the sun on your face. Learn to be happy. And think of life as a terminal illness, because if you do, you will live it with joy and passion as it ought to be lived".
These photos are a few of my very favourite taken in Stockholm with mom last summer. I hope you like them. xoxo.
have been so caught up lately so i'm playing catch up for december views... a picture for every day i've missed till now! turkish breakfast photos taken at radika cafe and firework pics from the end of summer..
shots from the evening our niece and nephew came over. our one year old nephew thinks he's old enough for the playstation whilst our niece couldn't wait to cut the cake or play her own game on the laptop.