Saturday, September 26, 2009

Dropping By Sekinchan

This year, I spent the Hari Raya holiday in Malaysia. I spent two days in my boyfriend's place and had another 2D1N trip (21-22 September) visiting Sekinchan in Selangor with three other new friends.

Water drop by YK.

Sekinchan is one of the major rice producing areas in Malaysia and located about 2 hours from Kuala Lumpur. It is a place with a complete green horizon. Simply amazing! As far as your eyes could see, you can only see endless beautiful green paddy fields. I never knew that plain green paddy field can be a super nice spot to take pictures! In Indonesia, we have so much of these but just never crossed my mind to stop by and use paddy field background to take photos!

Oh and by the way, we had a chance to taste the infamous Bakuteh in Klang on our way to Sekinchan! Hmmm.... Yummy, too bad I didn't take any photos of them.

So what's in Sekinchan?

Paddy field. Lots of them.

Paddy field galore.

Fun photo shoot sessions in Sekinchan.

 Me - Squatting on the paddy field on Tuesday morning. 
Thanks to me, we missed the sunrise!


Me - Rushing to go back to the 'real' ground after seeing countless moving insects from the wet ground! 
Yuck yuck yuck... (10,000 times!!)

Seafood. A place with cheap loads of mouth-watering seafood cooked in Chinese-Style. The only thing you have to bear is the longer-than-usual cooking time. Roughly it took about 1 to 1.5 hours for the restaurant to prepare the dish. But, it was worth it! We ate like hungry bears. No pain no gain!

Quiet Village. A nice place to stay away from city life and chill!

Beautiful spot for couple photo shoot too!

Muaks. Ha-ha.

Thanks for arranging the trip, Baby!

I See Flower

Yay! After all the waiting for months, finally two days I ago I spotted a flower on the tip of my baby tomato plants.




But, hey, Plant, do you think later on you'd be able to hold your own little baby tomato as well as stand firm and tall since now you always "faint" every time the wind blows on you?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Wrong Diagnosis

For one week I have been constantly feeling light headed and dizzy few times a day. Often feeling sleepy, neck pain and weak. All the while I thought my low blood pressure, which runs in my family, has come attacked me after so long as normal Panadol or ibuprofen couldn't help overcoming my headache.

I did my research about hypo-tension in the internet and seemed that I fit all the symptoms listed below here. Hence, I've been literally swallowing medicine for low blood pressure for days until the last pill for yesterday. I made a pledge (in my heart) that I have to start doing exercise very soon to make better blood circulation to the brain. In fact, I purposely bought a whole bunch of red spinach and ate the whole thing alone for lunch yesterday.

The signs and symptoms of hypo-tension may happen within a few seconds or minutes of standing up after you've been sitting or lying down. You may feel that you are going to faint or you may actually faint. Signs and symptoms include:
* Dizziness or feeling light headed
* Blurry vision
* Confusion
* Weakness
* Nausea

This morning, I decided to see my regular doctor in front of my block. After I complained to him about my headache, he told me there are 3 types of headache and asked me which one of these that I am experiencing now. Dizzy, feeling floating and about to faint or nausea? I told him it's the light headed feeling that I couldn't bear mostly. He checked my blood pressure. He said slightly lower, normal but otherwise good.

I was like "What?" Then what is it? I thought I could just take more low blood pressure pills supply from him to survive my headache for the next few days.

"Usually light headed feeling is a symptom of stress." "Stress? Really? That bad?" "Are you stressed? You looked troubled. Are you thinking about work? Really that stressful" "Mm I have things on my mind" "Do you sleep enough?" "I think I do." Then I realized, if I think again, I did sleep not so late at night but woke up few times in one night. My body has been tired and wanting to sleep but my mind was constantly working and thinking of annoying things.

Then he prescribed me with Vitamin B, antibiotics for my dreadful sudden acne attacks, pills for dizziness and vomiting and paracetamol. Looked so much to take but apparently the last two prescriptions are to be taken if necessary.


"So what is it that troubling you? Work? Relationship? Family" "Haha.. Maybe" "Don't think so much. I give you one day MC today. Call your office and tell that you are not coming today. Take a rest and don't go to work today." "I don't need one. I don't feel dizzy now" "Just go home and sleep. Don't think so much" "Haha.. I wish I could." "Pray more" "Haha.. Thank you. Bye, Doc!"

S$45 medication bill for stress. Not much but it's just so unnecessary. This was my second medication bills for this month only. Being not healthy sucks! Costs you unnecessary budget to spend.

How can we stop thinking so much and just relax? Being healthy inside is just really state of mind yet so hard to accomplished.

So here I am, relaxing at home and ended up blogging about medical issues and pharmaceuticals. After seeing the doctor, I did my research on headache + stress + vitamin B and found these:


Tension Headache, often called as stress headache, is a common type of headache for adults. It is more common to women than men. It usually begin gradually and often occur in the middle of the day.

Symptoms:
In mild to moderate tension headaches, there is a constant, band-like pain or pressure that lasts from 30 minutes to all day. Tension headaches tend to be moderate or mild and are rarely severe.
  • Headache upon awakening (Yes)
  • General muscle aches (Yes)
  • Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep (So yes)
  • Chronic fatigue (Yes)
  • Irritability (Maybe)
  • Disturbed concentration (Yes)
  • Mild sensitivity to light or noise (Recently yes)
  • Occasional dizziness (So yes)
The symptoms between hypo-tension and stress-headache are so similar. Worst thing is, I am confirmed to be stressed-out and can't really figure out what really caused my stress! Help!

Anyway, further research on why Vitamin B helps. Doc gave me pills of Vitamin B Forte (B1, B6 and B12).


According to Wikipedia, Vitamin B plays important role in cell metabolism.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) - Deficiency may lead to disease of the nervous system include weight loss, emotional disturbances, weakness and pain in the limbs and edema.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) - Deficiency may lead to anemia, depression, dermatitis, hypertension, water retention and elevated homo-cysteine. I don't know what this one means.

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) - Deficiency results in macrocytic anemia, memory loss and other cognitive deficits.

Terrible, isn't it? I thought Vitamin B is never so key to your body compared to Vitamin A, C or D. But deficiency of this very vitamin can cause you all of the above sickness and most of all, it may easily lead you to stress.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Girl Talk Over Coffee and Toasts

You'd never run out of stories and topics when you are catching up with old friend. That's what I always feel when I meet up with old pals. Even though we hardly meet each other face to face nor online, but once we meet up, it's just so easy to catch up. Words just flowing.


This evening, I finally had a chance to meet Miyuki, an old friend from Surabaya whom I met in Singapore more than 2 years ago. I lived with her and her sister, Megumi, first time I set foot in Singapore and completely knew nothing about this country. They offered me free accommodation for a couple of months during my struggling time in Singapore back in 2007. Fresh graduate looking for a job in a foreign land. No work pass. Limited cash. Backed up with bravery. Plenty of courage and hope. Ample of desperation. Lots of prayers. Heavily relied on fate. Both Yuki and Megumi somehow acted as my mental cheerleaders then.

Anyway, since I moved out from her house, we seldom meet up. Her sister has moved back to Surabaya for good. I think I can count with fingers in one hand for our meetings in the past two years although we live only two MRT stops away. Magic isn't it? As I always said, proximity doesn't guarantee your ability in nurturing good relationships with friends, especially in a busy city-country like Singapore. We developed our own new groups of friends. Different working agenda. Different hang out places. Different hobbies and free-time activities.

Anyway, suddenly this evening I buzzed her on MSN as I was experiencing massive boredom stoning at home on Sunday. Chit chatted over MSN for a bit then we found a very interesting topic to catch up face to face so we decided to find a place to talk and drink coffee. Ya Kun Kaya Toast, Toa Payoh Hub. 6 pm. A one or two hours planned meeting became a more than 3 hours long talk. Work, LDR, dating foreigners, family, future plan, men, wedding, everything was discussed.

Amazingly, we suddenly got a lot of things in common, mostly about what we feel about guys we are seeing and mostly how lonely sometimes it is to live in Singapore. A lot of good friends have gone back to Indonesia for good. Some pursue other things overseas and somehow just don't want live in Singapore anymore. Friends just come and go when you live alone in foreign countries. When you got no plan on weekends, you are just forced to stay at home or wandering around the malls, windows shopping or catching movies. Boring life? Tell me about it!

I thought I was alone in that state, luckily I am not.

Time to dig out old pals who are still hanging on in Singapore then!

Birthday Dinner at Spruce

More birthday celebration from my dear friend HS.


Last night, the birthday surprise from HS were a movie treat, Coco before Chanel at Lido, followed by fancy dinner at Spruce which is located around Tanglin area, Orchard. We made the reservation at 7 but only managed to show up at 8 plus. The restaurant has a very nice ambiance and apparently quite famous for their sweet delicacies. From the menu book, they say they have special partnership with Cameron Highland in Malaysia to supply the fresh raw ingredients to their kitchen to maintain the quality. Good stuff, huh! But, you really need a car to get the restaurant.

Here's what we had at Spruce last night:

Drinks - Fresh Lemonade with Mint (super sour!)





Passion Fruit Juice

Appetizer - Sweet Onions with Crepe and Truffle

Pasta - Orecchiette with Shrimps and Zucchini

Main Course - Rotisserie Chicken with Basil and Cheese

Dessert - Red Date Pudding with Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream (Superb!)

Once again, I'd like to express my greatest gratitude for HS for the fabulous birthday dinner and movie treat! Sorry for choosing the wrong menu, girl! I should have let you to choose them all. You know better than me, as always!
 
I had this problem in blindly choosing the food last night simply because I didn't really understand what were written in the menu book. That's the problem when you are not really an avid food explorer. You become simply clueless reading some 'beautiful' Italian or French names of the food in the menu books in some restaurants. From last night dining experience, I learned (from Wikipedia) about new types of pasta and grilled meat served to our table:
 
1.Orecchiette is a type of pasta whose shape resembles a small ear.

Uncooked Orecchiette.

2. Rotisserie is  a style of roasting when the meat is skewered on a spit. Until last night, I thought Rotisserie was a type of bread. Turned out it was just a roasting style for the chicken as I didn't find any bread accompanying the dish last night.

  Rotisserie Chickens.

3. Zucchini is a small of summer squash with similar shape like cucumber. All along I thought Zucchini would look like an Asparagus or something. Now you know I should hang out around the Veggie area in the supermarket and read more labels there. Plus, we actually need to crush Zucchini and mix it with the pasta sauce to produce the green pasta dish, instead of slicing and serving it separately with the pasta.



 
Zucchini.

You don't try, you don't see, you don't google, you don't know!

*Some photos are randomly taken from the internet source.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Countries with Most Beautiful People

Interesting article on MSN posted yesterday.


List of countries with best-looking locals: 

1. Australia - the home of many handsome men and women
2. India - famous with the bright-eyed children to the intense stares of the elderly
3. Argentina - alluring due to the people's talents in seductive tango, among other alluring things
4. Brazil - an ethnically diverse nation that values all skin colors
5. Ukraine -  famous of its beautiful individuality
6. Somalia - the home of people with bright smiles and striking features
7. Japan -  famous with you know what! Some of them are just deadly cute.
8. Iceland -  famous with the healthy appearance of the locals, thanks to its healing geothermal sites...?
9. Thailand - famous with the locals' respects to elderly, hospitality and generosity
10. Spain - the home of the handsome conquistadors and gorgeous women i.e. Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz
11. Venezuela - big draws for their gorgeous locals plus they've won most of combined Miss Universe and Miss World titles
12. Sweden - Scandinavians are thought to be especially good looking, especially those of Sweden

Beautiful face is one thing here, but showcasing smiling faces makes a big different thing on the judgment indeed. What an additional attraction that worth traveling to see.

So smile more and show some kindness, that's how you win people's hearts!

船到桥头自然直

When my boyfriend visited me last month, we decided to take some stroll in IKEA. At that point, an array of shopping malls along Orchard Road were already too boring to me and especially to him.  Hence, we chose to visit IKEA instead. It took us about one hour to get to IKEA Queenstown from Bishan as I was in great doubt on how to reach IKEA Tampines, the biggest IKEA outlet in Singapore. Not to mention that I took him to a more complicated route, somehow I made our journey was longer than normal, I think. We went to pay a visit to Serangoon first to show him where I lived before before heading to Alexandra Road by bus.


Finished circling IKEA outlets and checking almost all the displays there, we decided to grab some Swedish lunch in IKEA. I've been so eager to try their infamous Swedish meatballs. But Goodness! The restaurant was super packed. No place to sit. We walked around the restaurant twice and seemed like no one was about to leave their seats there.

I told him if he'd better queue for the food first as the queue is long while I'd try to "chope" a table for both of us, a uniquely Singapore's culture where you put a tissue, umbrella, name card or whatever you have on hand to reserve a table during packed eating time. Many foreigners in Singapore do not like to practice this and just find this a bit weird (including me, once upon a time) .


After I told my boyfriend about this 'choping' idea, he suddenly asked me, "Do you know about this Chinese saying, 船到桥头自然直 (Chuan dao qiao tou zhi ran zhi)?" "Huh? No. Meaning what?" "It literally means when a boat reaches the jetty, it will somehow find a space and naturally place itself straight there. Meaning, some things in life will fall into place on its own. Some things will eventually find their ways to work out. So, don't bother. Let's queue the food now. We find the seat later." "OK..."

There you go, he was right. After so long being influenced by this 'choping' tradition and been religiously practicing it in almost every hawker center I go, I was worried that if we didn't chope a table first before we get the food, we'd have to stand up for so long while holding the food tray before we get seated. Turned out, after we finally got the food, we walked around a bit and somehow found an empty seat and another person was about to leave her table too. There you go! 船到桥头自然直!


And by the way, those Swedish meatballs (something looked like the above picture) tasted superb! Slurp!!!

Shall we, then, sometimes just let the nature works? Human beings can plan just about everything but some things just happen naturally, out of our leagues and still result in the way we want it to be, don't they?

** Pictures are randomly taken from various internet source.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Monday's 25th Birthday

This is what happens when your birthday falls on Monday. Not much happening and just had to spend your special day just like any other Mondays at work. But luckily, my dear colleagues did some celebration for me in the middle of the day... and suddenly, my plain vanilla Monday's birthday didn't feel so bad at all (especially after we took some photos together).

Later in the afternoon, I called home and jokingly checked on my parents via the phone on their silence in the whole morning ("How come and why both of you (Mom and Dad) didn't send me any happy birthday SMS like you usually do?") My lucky guess would be they were way too busy taking care Baby Obama and forgot the grown-up Christine. And I think I was right. *LOL*




To Jennifer, Iris, Rejoy and Shirley DW: Million thanks for the birthday celebration, ladies!

And thank you so much too to those who flooded me their super kind birthday wishes via SMS and Facebook! You guys are just wonderful!

Anyway, more story about yesterday:

No birthday celebration after work.

No birthday dinner.

Nothing.

Went to pick up some groceries in a supermarket around the neighborhood on my way back home.

Did mountains of laundry at home.

Turned on my laptop and chilled in front of my laptop as usual.

Then, all of sudden at 20.04 while I was having my special 25th birthday hot date with my laptop, I received a 'no number' phone call. I thought my parents called me because they felt guilty with what happened in the morning. Or maybe my nosy sister called me. But turned out, I received a much better surprise.

My dear ex-housemate, Desy, called me from Surabaya just to say "Happy Birthday!!!!!" plus some catch-up chit chat of course. I was and am sooo happy.

Desy & Kur2, 16 Nov 2008, City Hall, Singapore
 
Lastly, to my dearest Desy Tako: I know there is probably only 0.01% that you'd read my blog but if you ever, ever happen to bump into this post, I'd like to thank you, thank you very much for the surprise call and  our super friendship! I was just simply elated to your voice and unique laughter again. I miss you, miss you, miss you so much, girl! Why did you have to go back to Indonesia for good so soon and leave your 'Jiejie' all alone here? *sob* *sob*

Oh, God.. Now I am 25 years old already!!
Officially fall into mid-twenties category!
Adios my early-twenties years...!!!

Green Pets After 4 months

What happened to my plants now? After 4 months, my money tree looks much bigger than first time I brought it home. In fact, I had to change the pot as the original pot couldn't hold the plant anymore.

 Money Tree - Month 5 
As for my baby tomato seeds - they just grow taller and cannot stand straight. I am not sure if this is normal for tomato plants. Their leaves always look wilted and entangled to each other even though I water them everyday and even give fertilizers. And after all these months, I still see no sign of flowers. What went wrong?


Baby Tomatoes - Month 4

Tired of feeling hopeless with my flowerless and not-so-healthy-looked baby tomatoes plant, this morning I tried to spread new flower seeds - White Spice Snowball flowers, that I bought from Marketplace Supermarket, City Hall about a month ago (S$1.50/package).


Some short explanation about this flower found at the back of the seed package:
Latin name: Lobularia maritima
Descriptions: 
Perennial herb is of 10-20 cm in height. Raceme dense white flowers have long florescence and strong fragrance. Favor to cold climate but no heat-resistance.

Hydrangea/Hortensia

After a quick google-ing, turned out this White Spice Snowball is just the type of flowers called Hydrangea/Hortensia that my Mom used to grow back home few years back. 

Hydrangea is a genus of about 70-75 species of flowering plants native to southern and eastern Asia and north and south of America. They can be deciduous or evergreen, though the widely cultivated temperate species are all deciduous. There are two flower arrangements in hydrangeas. Mop head flowers are large round flower heads resembling pom-poms or, as the name implies, the head of a mop. In contrast, lace cap flowers bear round, flat flower heads with a center core of subdued, fertile flowers surrounded by outer rings of showy, sterile flowers. In most species, the flowers are white but in some species the color can be blue, red, pink, light purple, or dark purple. (Source: Wikipedia)

 
Hortensia grown in my home in Malang (taken in 2004)

Oh no!!! Apparently I was fooled by the flower's glamorous name and too attracted to the green color/background of the flowers photo in the seed package (again) and bought no-stranger-to-me flower seeds (again). Once bitten, twice shy! Darn!