I am not quite there yet

Every time I go on Facebook, I find around 50% of my friends’ posts are about their babies/kids and/or husbands/wives, and a lot of these coming from my own generation. I can barely relate to most of this now. I’m not quite there yet. There is no boyfriend or husband-to-be, and no babies-in-the-making for the next few. I am honestly enjoying my awesome single life, and a family life is very far from my mind right now.

Am I out of place? I do hope not. I know of a lot of other friends still in the same stage as I, but possibly we’re just being out-posted by those with lovely babies and hubbies/wives. What interesting things can single, child-less people like me contribute to the social media circle? Perhaps a narrative of travels and adventures, but I don’t think its manageable to do that every day. Maybe I can post about food, movies, books, yoga, an what-nots. But for some reason, I know it will all be trumped by the cuteness of all those babies and sweetness of all those lovely partners.

It’s all good. It’s lovely to see all those, and I’m not complaining. I don’t feel envy, I just feel different. I’m still far from being in a similar situation, and I really don’t know how it feels to be starting one’s own family. I still feel so normal and comfortable with who I am and what I have right now, and yet I seem to be approaching and going after very different things compared to most people from my own generation. I hope I don’t seem weird or immature. But this is my reality, and my reality is different. I’ll live with what I have.

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Why are you still single?

At 28, and much more often than before, almost everyone is wondering why am I still single (and uncommitted). It’s a very interesting question, because there really is no particular answer. It’s like asking about the meaning of life, or searching for one’s purpose. Interesting to think up possible answers too, and the following may be the usual retort:

  1. I just haven’t found him yet…
  2. I’m focusing on my career first…
  3. The last one was too horrible…
  4. I really don’t see the point of being in a relationship…
  5. I’m non-committal…
  6. I haven’t found anyone who fits my standards…
  7. I’m still waiting for that “spark”…
  8. The one’s I like are as nimble and adventurous as me, and it’s so hard to catch them still…
  9. I don’t think I’ll still be able to find one in this country…
  10. It’s none of your business…

Which one do you think is the best answer?

To say the least, I actually would rather not think about it. I don’t want to look at being single as a problem to be solved. I don’t want to spend even the tiniest effort worrying about it. It’s my current state, and as far as I am concerned, it does not limit me from doing or achieving anything. So, why bother? It will come when it should, if it should. If it doesn’t, then there is always another way of living one’s life. 🙂

The KL Adventure – Part 2

(a continuation of the last post)

Pavilion MallAfter the tour, I asked to be dropped off at Bukit Bintang. I had late lunch of Asam Laksa at Old Town, and then went for a walk around. As I was resisting all and every urge to go shopping (and my credit card was completely cooperating because it wasn’t working in Malaysia), I decided to leave the Bukit Bintang area and proceed to Central Market.

Kuala LumpurUhm, but then again, Central Market is also a shopping place, but at least it wasn’t a mall. Still resisting the difficult urge to shop, I just bought a few items for my folks back home, and just a single item, a batik sarong, for myself. After Central Market, I walked to the Chinatown nearby. I was thinking of buying a few more items in Chinatown, but nothing got my fancy. Yehey wallet, you’re saved again.

Jalan Petaling

Tired from the tour, the looooooong stair climb at Batu Caves, and all the walk, I headed back to the hotel to rest a while and freshen up. After resting enough, I set off again, but not too far from the hotel. I went walking around the area of the hotel, around Jalan Raja Laut.

LomiThat evening, I decided to have some authentic local food. I saw a number of side-street restaurants just outside the hotel, so I walked to one and ordered myself a bowl of Lohmi. Oh yes, it’s so similar with the Lomi I know from back home, but I had to try. Also, I got Lime juice with salted plum for my drink, which actually tastes like calamansi juice with kiamoy in it. It was strange but yummy. 🙂

It was good to have had dinner very near the hotel, because after that I headed back and just rested the entire evening.

Woke up on the last day of my KL trip feeling refreshed, although my legs were still a bit painful from the day before. I remembered that it was a Sunday (actually, my parents reminded me the night before), so I went online to find a Catholic Church nearby and attend mass. I showered and dressed up, had breakfast at the hotel, and then took a taxi to the church nearby. After the mass, I went back to the hotel and finished packing, and then checked out. I brought all my stuff with me to KLCC.

Suria KLCCI met up again with Daniel at KLCC. He works at Petrosains, together with Nensi and Melissa, and all of them I met during the ASPAC conference. Daniel and Nensi took me around Petrosains.

After going around Petrosains, Daniel took me to a food place nearby, to be able to try a few more Malaysian food. This time we had Indian-Malaysian food, consisting of biryani rice, curry, deep-fried bitter gourd, and some fried maggi. I really fell in love with that deep-fried bitter gourd, because I have never eaten amplaya that good. He also got teh tarik for my drink, and corrected me and explained that teh tarik is really taken hot, not cold (because I thought I have tried cold teh tarik somewhere in Sg or Manila maybe?).

After lunch, we had a walk around KLCC and KLCC park. There are wonderful views of the Petronas Towers from the park.

KLCC park

With time almost running out, we went back inside Suria KLCC and sat down for some coolers – ais campur and kedondong juice. Yumyum! Melissa came and caught up with us. It was wonderful to see Melissa even just for a short while.

Kedondong juice

After the snack, it was time for me to leave for the airport already. I bid goodbye to my friends at Petrosains, took a taxi to the Sentral Station, and took the train-shuttle connection back to LCCT airport.

Such a short trip, only a little bit over two days, but I had so many new experiences, new places visited, and new food savored. Everyone was telling me that a weekend is not enough to experience all that KL has to offer. I answer them simply, this won’t be my last visit to the city. Now that I have a taste or a teaser of it, I can plan my future trips better.

Many thanks to Daniel for helping me plan my trip and my destinations during this short trip, and also for the warm welcome and the wonderful food! Much appreciated. I’ll be at your service when you decide to visit Manila next time. It was also great to see Nensi and Melissa, and I’m hoping I’ll get to see them both again and maybe longer the next time I visit KL. 🙂

And because I couldn’t fit all the nice photos in the post, you can just check them out in my Picasa album.

The KL Adventure – Part 1

Perhaps it just happened that I’ve wanted to go on a personal adventure for the longest time; or maybe because I have new found friends (NFFs) in that city; or perhaps because I keep on seeing a lot of things about that place on cable TV. Whatever the real reason was, I booked my flights and my hotel, and though I hesitated and had thoughts of postponing the trip, I did push through. I’m so glad I did.

I arrived in Kuala Lumpur on the evening of August 24. It was my first time there, and I was alone, but eager and ready to start my adventure. I was really aiming for a budget trip, to spend the least I could but still be comfortable and safe enough.

Kuala lumpur LCCT Airport

Instead of taking the taxi from the (LCCT) airport to my hotel, which would have costed between RM80-90, I took the shuttle-train connection from LCCT to KL Sentral Station, and took a short taxi trip from the Sentral Station to the Hotel. I spent less than RM30.

I stayed at Citrus Hotel. It wasn’t in Bukit Bintang or around KLCC, but right within the city and not too far away. It was a 15min taxi ride from most locations around the city. Around the city, I did travel mostly via taxis, since I am not too familiar to feel safe taking the regular public transport yet.

First agenda for that trip fell on the evening of my arrival. I met up with my Malaysian friend Daniel at the Pavilion Mall along Bukit Bintang. He gave me a really nice welcome dinner, and immediately introduced me to Malaysian food. I particularly remember the beef rendang and the satay… and he did teach me how satay was traditionally eaten.

Early morning the next day, I was awoken by the ringing of my hotel phone. Ah, yeah, I was expecting some people. My friends Arnold and Wenna, who were based in Singapore, were also in town and they just arrived then in KL. Another old friend, Esti, was apparently based in Malaysia, and was also with them when they came to meet up with me. We had a quick breakfast buffet together, the four of us, before I had to fly off to my arranged tour for the day.

National Mosque

I pre-arranged a tour with the hotel, and this particular one had a number of key destinations around the city, as well as a visit to the Batu Caves, around 30 minutes from the city. First destination was the National Mosque (Masjid Negara), for which I needed to put on a cape and a head scarf before I can enter the mosque.

The next destination was the Kuala Lumpur City Gallery and the Merdeka Square. It was a good overview of the history and culture of Malaysia and the city of Kuala Lumpur. Also, it was a week before the National Day of Malaysia, and there were practices and preparations happening in the Merdeka Square, an important landmark and center of national activities.

Next was Istana Negara, or the palace of the Agong (or the incumbent national King) of Malaysia. Malaysia as a country has a number of Kings or Sultans, each of which reigns over specific areas or states in Malaysia. One of these sultans is assigned as the Agong, whereas this role is rotated around the different sultans. Unfortunately, the public is not allowed inside the Istana Negara, so we just took pictures outside.

The next is the most significant destination of my journey, in terms of mass, time, as well as energy and effort spent. We went to the Batu Caves. The Batu caves are a series of Hindu temples built into and around large limestone cliffs and caves. At the entrance is the 42.7 m high golden statue of Lord Muruga. There are 272 steps from the ground to the main temple, and yes, I did climb the entire thing. Inside of the cave was a wonderful mix of natural limestone formations from the 100m high cave, as well as the cultural and religious structures and images of hindu gods inside.

From the Batu Caves, we made our way to the Royal Selangor Pewter factory. They are the biggest manufacturer of pewter, which is an alloy made of tin, antimony, and copper. Apparently, the British were drawn to Malaysia especially because of the abundance of Tin in the natural resources of the country.

Last destination was Beryl Chocolate Store. Although I didn’t have plans of buying any, I had a taste of their special tiramisu milk chocolates, and they were superb! I ended up buying a bag of chocolates for me and the family back home.

(to be continued in the next post)

Zen

My guess is that it started with the rabbits. They evoke something so amazingly calm about them, the way they almost never make a sound, and the very gentle way they move. There is almost nothing stressful with watching a bunny go about its way, hopping around, munching on greens, cleaning themselves, or just snuggling. It’s been a month and I have been watching my rabbits every evening. They are a stress reliever, and somehow a good way to quiet the soul.

Another factor would be doing yoga regularly. I can’t say that its already a habit, but doing it once a week for one month without falter is an achievement for me already. So many reasons why I’ve decided to invest my time and effort into yoga. It does a lot of good things for me. First, it’s teaching me more discipline just to make sure I attend a session on the same day every week. Second, it’s helping me improve flexibility, balance, and core strength. Third, it is a good way to relax the mind, a way to ease internal tensions.

I’m trying to learn and get used to meditation too. I’ve been cleaning my room of clutter. I’ve been doing more quiet alone time.

Well, people who personally know me can attest to how high-strung I usually am, and I have been like that forever. A more relaxed, more zen way of living is very new to me. Not that I am completely shifting from my high-energy life to a zen life. I still love my crazy life. But finding out the quiet and relaxed state is amazing and possibly doing me a lot of good. It needed a space in my life for the longest time.

I stand alone

Devoid of any ill feelings or bitterness, after not being in a committed relationship with another person for the last four years, I have come to a very obvious but strange conclusion – I don’t need a boyfriend.

No ill feelings. No bitterness. I just had to re-iterate that, just in case you didn’t believe me the first time I said it. There was a very interesting situation yesterday that brought me this thought, although I may have been living this thought for the longest time now.

I was driving home last night from work on my usual Global City-to-Commonwealth route via C5. Traffic wasn’t bad yet when we left the office a little after 530pm. By the time I reached the flyover between Pasig and Libis, my car overheated and my engine shut off. Luckily we were already on the downhill and I was able to free-wheel to just in front of Red Ribbon. I attended to my overheated car, put water in the radiator and reserve, and all that shiz. When the engine temperature went back to normal, I pushed onwards to finish my drive home. By that time the traffic was already horrible along Libis. By the time I passed Banapple, my car was already close to overheating again, so I stopped a little bit before Contis to attend to my engine again, before it died on me again. I was able to bring the engine temperature back to normal, but I knew that my radiator was not in a good condition already. I pushed onwards to reach home in the fastest time but without overheating again. It was difficult because heavy traffic was all throughout Katipunan (as if I am still surprised by this), until just before Batasan Road. I was able to reach home with my engine still alive. Talk about stress.

Somehow that situation showed me that I can take care of my self.

I can just imagine some other girl who, in the same situation, would probably need to call her boyfriend to help her out with her broken car. Not me. I was trained by my dad how to change tires. He taught me what to do with an overheated car. He told me what to do just in case my car gets stuck in flood, or even during times that there is a great risk of flooding on the roads. I rely on my dad for advise on cars, and I call him for help in the most dire situations (e.g. stalled car in a mall parking in the pouring rain), but I do know how to find solutions on my own just in case he can’t come sooner.

Beyond car problems, I can pretty much handle my own stuff by my self. I have survived a few years in college without the need for a boyfriend. I have survived a few years working without the need for a boyfriend. I know I am able to drive myself to work and back home even when I have migraine attacks. I commute by myself when the car is not available. I have gone to the gym, gone running, gone swimming, or some other exercise without needing an exercise buddy. I don’t mind spending time alone in a coffee shop for breakfast. I can go shopping alone. I have gone to so many doctors appointments so many times and have heard so many different types of news without needing anyone to accompany me. I know that the best solution to a stressful or depressing situation is a bottle of Coke, a tall glass of iced coffee, a bag of Cheetos, or a bar of dark chocolate.

Well, I said I don’t need one, but I never said I don’t want one. I know I can pretty much take care of myself, but I also like the feeling of being taken care of like a princess. And I like taking care of other people too. But at the very least I know, I am pretty much okay even if I stand alone.