Saturday, January 23, 2016

reaching out

Home sweet home. I can hear the sound of water trickling down our garden fountain from my room. Tobby being her spoilt-self, lazing on my calves. She wanted to show that she should be prioritised over my laptop. Not gonna give her the satisfaction tonight. Nobody entering my room at this hour, asking me to take my meds. No intravenous drip attached to me. I can walk without dragging a bag of normal saline. So good to be out of the hospital and enjoy relaxing before falling asleep in a few minutes time, instead of forcing myself to do so because there's nothing better to do while I was admitted.

 (Standing from left to right: PPK Ain, DSA Sikin, DSA Liza, and DSA Feza; sitting from left to right: Driver Fahmi, me, and JP Mala)

So presenting, us, staff of Klinik Pergigian Linggi. See, when I first joined the clinic, I thought I'd be doomed for eternity. Water leaking from its roof. Termite-infested wooden windows. Unmotivated staff. Unrepaired instruments. Dark and scary looking place. We did not liaise well with our medical counterpart.

"Where shall I start?", I asked myself. "This place feels so down". I am not that kind of person who complains and do nothing about my problems or things I am not happy about. When there's an issue, I tackle it. Head-on. Well of course, at times it'd require a degree of diplomacy. When my two new assistants arrived, I felt like I wasn't the only one trying to change this place around, positive reinforcements would be needed from time to time to continuously motivate them. One by one, new staff joined us. Finally, we revamped the whole place and I gladly call it my second home. Patients began to return for more treatments - from basic to more complicated and more conservative ones. It takes a lot of effort, but I guess I am getting my well-deserved job satisfaction. And I guess, I am now married to my job. At times, my colleagues in gov sector would ask me, "Why would you go extra miles despite being paid inequivalent to your workload and effort?". My answer would be simply - compassion and integrity.

(clockwise from left most: Me, Leen, Najwa's husband, Najwa, Aisyah, Ain, and Murni)

Alright, let's put work-related stuff aside. Last week, the youngest member of aras 4 blok C2 Kolej Matrikulasi Negeri Sembilan got married! Dr Najwa or Busu, as we all affectionately address her. It was a mini reunion for us. All of us reminisced our good old time during college. Those random Maggi and tuna parties. The rare and intimate unity among us floormates. Wherever I go - be it workplace or for studies; I make it a point to create a good and warm environment. I believe that good communication is crucial for everyone to feel welcomed, regardless how tough it is for that to be achieved in the first place. And I'm glad that our former penolong ketua aras, Ain, shared the same thought. Semoga Busu dan suami dikurniakan kebahagiaan serta kejayaan dunia dan akhirat bersama.

Then there's the impromptu dinner at Alexis, Gardens, with Murni. We tried their famous pavlova - it was so good, Murni insisted on having a slice all to herself if ever we dine there again. I had quiche lorraine while Murni had pepperoni pizza. I guess their savory menu was just so-so taste-wise, but they certainly serve superb desserts. Would definitely return for a second round!

Along with Hanif, I had my Sunday brunch at Zawara Coffee. Neat place. Hipster-looking, certainly. I had a slice of dark Belgian chocolate cake. It was uhhhh-mayyyy-zing (except for the fact that they served it with strawberry - which isn't my cuppa tea since I hate sour food - just my weird self). Enjoyed a cup of cappuccino there. Was so-so. I particularly loved their concept, except for the abundant usage of disposable materials. I feel guilty everytime I am handed a plastic bag, what more seeing these stuff in the place of washable cutlery and plates. We're already producing so much waste these days, anyway. Would return for a second round for this one too.

Hey, my former colleague during undergrad years came to KL! That's Helmy. Dr Helmy. Still single and available - as long as you can stand him karaoke-ing almost 24/7! Haha! Still the same old reserved lad who stutters. We missed our partner-in-crime, Kak Bella, though, because only with her presence could we sing Beribu Sesalan by Tiga Suara.

And my younger USM brother - Ziyad, from Sabah, is about to tie the knot this year! Ahhhh, it felt like it was just yesterday that we were jamming and roaming around aimlessly in my old Kelisa along with Cep and Acap. Semoga segala urusan dipermudahkan...

Alrighty, I really need to sleep because I need to go to KL tomorrow for MERCY Malaysia-related stuff. Goodnight, people.

Friday, January 8, 2016

of pain and joy

Not an ideal way of starting my 2016 eh? Well, not really. I had gotten rid of a problem I had been having for quite some time. Got initially admitted into Mawar Medical Center (Umi insisted this particular hospital since my aunt is a matron here) for a surgical procedure, during which I found out the third and fourth drugs I am allergic to - Dormicum and pethidine. Woke up next morning, blood pressure and heart rate crashing, face and neck all swollen, plus my body retained 2kg of additional fluid, I looked like I transplanted a puffer fish onto my face; and also my urination was almost nil, but I am in good hands. So yeah, I am currently entering my third day here. Praying so hard to get discharged in 6 hours time - wink, wink, Dr Ranjit, pretty please? Thanks to a good friend who cooked me my favourite soup. And thanks to you, pretty ladies and boys, who paid me a visit. You guys brightened up my somber days here.

 This time, my entry would be written in retrograde manner chronologically.

Group photo: (from left to right: Leen, me, Anith, Kishie, Mel, and Arif)

As I had promised myself to always keep in touch with my friends, however busy life gets, it was a mini reunion with my Subang clique at Souka Bakery, SS15 Subang Jaya, apart from showing my support for May, who opened a booth at a mini bazaar there. 

As usual, being a sweet-toothed person, I pampered myself with a slice of mixed-berry pavlova there. It was HUMONGOUS, I swear! You may use Leen's hand as a comparison. Its cream and strawberry extract was a tad too sweet for my liking as I believe that the sweetness of its meringue should've been balanced by a rather creamy and much less sweet cream. Their coffees were alright. They serve good pastas though. It's not everyday in Malaysia that you get pastas cooked al dente but you're gonna get just that here. I particularly loved its warm and quiet ambience (pretty sure we made it noise, my apologies, but I hadn't seen these girls for 3 months!). Makes a good hangout spot or for you to bring along your date for lunch maybe. My overall verdict? 3.8/5. Might return.

Right before that. I headed to a spa where I am a regular client and had facial treatment done. To my surprise, my favourite beautician had returned! She's Mrs Irin. Appropriately friendly and gentle. Like I said previously, the old me didn't care shit about myself, my appearance, and whatnot, but this is me telling myself, "You had went through a lot. Time for me-time. Go selfish".

And then there's the Malacca trip! Spent most of our time on the road because of traffic congestion. MAJOR TRAFFIC CONGESTION. Stopped at the famous Klebang Coconut Shake and just look at the line! And also attended an important event.

After so many positive reviews written by my friends regarding La Bodega, Leen and I decided to try it out. Ordered myself spinach and ricotta stuffed ravioli in creamy pesto sauce while Leen had seafood frutti di mare. Well here's one thing that I think all good restaurants should have - a chef who can cook their seafood justly. It is a crime to double murder seafood by overcooking it. So yeah, apparently that was the issue with Leen's pasta. Still, my food was fine apart from its pasta component being slightly overcooked, their presentation was good enough and they make good and flavourful sauces! And waiters and waitresses there were very attentive and friendly. 5 star for service and ambience. Verdict? 4.0/5. Would return.

Next week, there'll be a BBQ session for my staff at my house. Life feels good... even if this entry is written in a ward, at a hospital. Hey, no pain no gain. And happiness doesn't exist without sadness. That's the only way you can really appreciate all ups and downs life has to offer you. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy every moment.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

being and having a friend in need. hello 2016

Beef Burger & Chocolate Strawberry Pavlova with Leen @ Delicious 

I love Saturday mornings. This morning feels a little bit more chilly than usual, perhaps because I am not really doing well health-wise. Musim demam, orang kata.

2016 is here. 2015 taught me a lot. For a 27 turning 28 lady, my life is pretty filled with dramas. Depression at the age of 15 marked the beginning of my rebellious-than-ever days. I did experience abuse, but I guess I asked for it. Pierced my lower lip on my own, without any anaesthetics. I began to have anger management... and other issues as well, to the point of Umi telling me, "I just don't know what to do with you. You are so tempered mental. Let's see a psychiatrist, Ira". At that time, there's an unhealthy stigma pertaining to seeing a psychiatrist. I neither agreed to seeing one nor did I address my problems.

At the age of 16, I gave up studying. I went to school just because everyone else did. And my SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) was in the drain. I was embarrassed of my SPM result so much that I didn't dare to declare it publicly as I entered matriculation college because everyone else had a string of As in their hands. And I was just... a 2A student. Still, how my father trained me, whenever you feel so stuck, sit down, breathe in deeply, and think. Think. Think. InshaaAllah there'll be a solution if you really open your eyes and seek for one.

"I am as worthy as everyone else here, I can do as good as they do, perhaps better, if I really try", I said to myself. Of course this requires putting down my ego and I was in a way an egomaniac. When everyone else gave up on me, there was this very Biology lecturer, Puan Sudani, who said, "Zahirah, you might be talkative, but you have a very curious mind. And this kind of mind will bring you so much further if you really try to develop it. Here, I have a very good international book by Solomon. Let's have a look at it together". To know that someone really believes in me, that changed almost everything. And I pushed and pushed myself so hard, all my textbooks were filled with my jottings, explaining things I didn't comprehend even if it's just a single word. "Know your limits, just try one step at a time", I remember her telling me. So I swallowed the fact that my attention span would only last a maximum of 2 hours daily and I fully utilised that couple of hours, opening 3-4 textbooks at once to help me maximally comprehend a few pages, all distractions pushed aside. And I finished my second semester with 4.00 pointer.

I received 2 offers. Either degree in medicine or dentistry. I always look up to my medical colleagues because I will never be willing to sacrifice so much of my time for my patients like they do, hence the reason I opted for th latter. And then came the accident caused by my former friend and my parents' reaction to the fact that the very new car they bought me was a total loss. The accident was so bad that its sports rim cracked into 3 parts Bam! Again I was down with depression. This time, for a year. Suicidal attempts. I withdrew myself from the rest of the world. I felt like looking for a cave and just stay and rot there, but there was Fiza. Never giving up on me and finally made me see a psychiatrist. "A human can only do so much. Know your limits. Acknowledge your problems is the first step and that is the hardest. The rest will be alright", my psychiatrist, Dr Zarina said to me. After six-months of taking anxiolytics and anti-depressant meds, plus a strong will to recover, I made it through, still breathing. "I am sick of losing control of myself. I am sick of not being able to charge forward. Depression, you're going DOWN!", I screamed silently. Alhamdulillah I managed to finish my undergraduate years with an A in my hands.

Then came my destructive relationship with my former fiance, but because I am not well-educated love-wise; and my failed engagement. Surprisingly, this time, depression didn't pay me a visit again. Perhaps because I told myself, "A cheater isn't sufficient to push you back into that black hole of depression. No man shall ever have that privilege of holding so much of your heart that you'll lose control of your emotions once again except your father", but it did teach me that never to push all else aside. Always keep your family and friends by your side even if it's to the point of me having a man as my husband one day.

And that brings me to Leen, my fabulous female pilot friend. A fighter who matures before her age. However deep we're in some sticky shitty problems, knowing that we have each other's backdespite revealing our most selfish and foolish thoughts to each other... that gives a huge relief. First rule between us - don't be judgmental and zero hypocrisy, please.

Hello, 2016. I feel good about you. Please reciprocate.