Rendah Hati

Dear all,

Are you well?

These past weeks have been so rewarding and productive for me, I can’t thank Buddha enough.

So one of the most valuable lessons I have learned during this trip – “Rendah Hati”, which in English means “Humble”. Simple word, is it not? Yet we take it so much for granted. I certainly do, but not today, not any more.

Here’s my story:

It was our second day in Indonesia. I was still feeling tired, a bit jet lag and very very excited to be in the Paradise. Then I thought I had my day almost ruined when my nenek (grandma) approached me saying: “want to accompany me to uncle Yosef and aunt Leni’s house?”

I cringed.

Here’s some insight, before we move on to the next part of the story – my nenek has some lovely neighbours, those whom we have known for years and years. Uncle Sef and aunt Leni are a few of them. However, their daughter and I had some big differences back in the days. Let’s just say we weren’t each other’s favourite person in the world. That is, just until recently.

But how could I say “no” to my nenek? I never could, never can and never will. To her, my answer will always be “yes” even if she asks me for the moon, stars or universe. So, I naturally said yes to her request. I took almost 2 hours to get ready, in hope that she would change her mind and forget about the visit altogether. Well, she did not, she patiently waited for me to get ready and there we went, on our way to visit my swore nemesis.

I thought to myself “maybe it’s time to put it behind us? I mean what was the true reason for our mutual dislike? I bet neither she nor I can even remember it. But if she gives me the face, I will give her the face too!” – I was fighting between what I knew was right and what my pride thought it was right.

We arrived, uncle and auntie always so polite and genuine, greeted and welcomed us into their home. Deep down I was hoping she was not at home. Deep down I was tired of holding that grudge against her so if we couldn’t make peace with each other, at least it would be a good idea to just stay away from each other.

“I’m in the enemy territory. Watch out for any attacks!” – I thought to myself, because that’s how I felt, in a true battlefield.

She came out and unlike the previous times when we had our usual (unpleasant) encounters, she was…nice. Of course, me being me, I automatically thought “be aware, that’s one of her tricks, she might attack sooner or later”. So I was nice too and greeted her with a hug.

When we hugged, I felt that her hug was sincere and mine was not. How could it be? It’s her, the girl who was mean to me, correct? “Oh she’s good, she can act well”. Turns out she wasn’t acting at all!

We talked and socialise between us five. Between all smiles, all of them were real but mine. I was trying to read her all the time and I saw no fake or dishonest smile and words coming from her. On the contrary, the fake smile and fake “nice” words, came from me and me only. I didn’t want to be nice to her, I thought she didn’t deserve it.

So as we were left on our own, I “confronted” her – “I thought you hated me. I’m not buying it, it’s okay if you don’t like me, I’m fine with it, I don’t even care”. Don’t I sound like a spoiled teenage brat just there? I’m 24, mind you and that’s how I acted just a few days back.

She said – “No, I actually like you, honestly I do! I never saw anything wrong with you, apart from that you’re good and I am too! And I couldn’t have that back in the days so I decided to have you and see you as a competitor”. These were more or less her words. Turns out she had lost her grandmother just last year and found comfort with my grandmother and oh how one can learn so much with that lady! You’d be surprised.

I realised the feeling was mutual. I just wanted everything she had, and I wished she wasn’t as good as she in fact was. Then I grew up and didn’t care any more but decided I should carry on not liking her, without any apparent reason because it then became a (bad) habit.

“Well I was rude to you now. Why are you being so nice? Did you hit your head or something?” – I had to say that because unfortunately I still couldn’t trust the genuine goodness in her.

Thankfully, she was sharp in her answer so that made me believe in her, because I know her well enough now and saw there was still that personality of hers in her – “Well that is your problem, not mine! It’s you who has to work on that because I can only work on myself. Just because you’re rude to me doesn’t mean I have to be rude back. The way I act reflects on me just like the way you choose to act only reflects on you”.

How would I know the biggest lesson learned so far would come from my former nemesis? That’s the power of Tao.

I don’t think I have ever patch things up with an “enemy” before. I simply choose to forget about their existence. I have had may lessons on being humble and humility while growing up and I still think I’m a good person. But I was practising my “good” in a very incorrect and selfish way and the lessons were learnt in the wrong way, I used to choose how, where and with whom I’d be humble with. I thought I had the right to pick who deserved it and who didn’t. Oh I was so wrong! You can’t “choose” how/where/when/with whom you’re humble, you can only “be” humble.

And this lesson I was only able to learn it with her. This young woman, whom I’m not ashamed to say I look up to now, taught me a valuable lesson and made an effort with me. She didn’t have to, I didn’t deserve it. But she still did and that makes me feel special because it shows that even the arrogant, selfish, judgemental me is worth of a friendship with her.

Nenek1The beautiful view of nenek’s rice fields in Singaraja, North of Bali.

“Happiness will follow…”

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Artist of the day: Mike Deere

Dear all,

Here’s something a friend of mine shared with me yesterday.

I literately spent a good 25 minutes admiring each photo of this explorer/photographer, named Mike Deere on his project Sense of Place; and a good hour and something minutes on his entire blog.

Very few photographers manage to capture the simplicity of places and/or things and turn ‘em into something big. Mr Deere here shows exactly that – his photos are humble, artistic and has an unique touch to them!

Places like these although hidden and unusual may be overlooked (or avoided!) and at times even taken for granted. I’d even say that these are the places I would only imagined as being created by the Hollywood film studios. You know, those sort of places you can find in action/horror/sci-fi movies you watch on the screen because they are simply unreal! Moreover, these places in their own greatness reminds us again of how “small” we become when facing them.

Hard to put them in words and you must be thinking and quite right, that I’m struggling to express myself here. Oh well, I guess this is not really important as what matters is how we each feel when seeing these photos!

So herewith some taster of what he does and does very well. If these photos can too mesmerize you, then I can say that I’ve already won the day!

 DerelictionMore from source here

AdventurersMore from source here

Sense of Place3
More from source here

Doesn’t it just lure you to find and be in these places? For being so secluded, almost so out of reach? It certainly has this effect on me. :)

“Happiness will follow…”

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Back to the routine

Dear all,

How was your Easter break? Hope it was great!

Mine was fabulosa! Simply because I got to spend it at my home sweet home, in Portugal. :)

So I flew back home for a week for a well deserved break with my dear ones. Cannot believe how time flies over there, especially spending every single day out and about, it felt like I wasn’t gone for long…

But as they say “good things must come to an end” so has my short break. Meh! But oh how I enjoyed it!

Most of my spending money has gone to food. Portuguese food is another level of delicious! Especially on festive seasons such as Christmas or Easter. Due to religious beliefs as being a very Catholic country, Portuguese families go through what we call the Quaresma em Jejum (40 days of Lent Period) when it lasts for the whole 40 days commencing on Wednesday Ash Day and ending on Easter day when Christians remember the death of Jesus Christ.

I’m not going into much details so I’m just going to highlight the basics. During this time, food consumption is reduced to smaller portions or even having their meals cut to once a day (usually for the evening meal) in order to repent and focus on praying and meditating Jesus’ last journey in the desert where he went through the Devil’s temptation up until his death.

There’s a tendency to avoid the consumption of meat and vegetables on Portuguese tables which is considered to be a luxurious treat. Instead, only fish, bread and water are allowed during the Lent period. Reason being that this is the period when Christians live in a more humble lifestyle, in penitence of one’s own faults and sins.

At our home, it is more simple and not as hard since my mum is a strict vegetarian anyway and she often frowns upon seeing either meat or fish in her fridge. We then stick to our vegetarian regime and only I and the auntie and uncle who are staying at ours would eat fish, but only once a day. I (sort of) started my own Lent regime in the UK (with many failed days of eating more than I should) and then carried on when I arrived in Portugal on Good Friday, only that that time I followed my mum’s regime instead.

As the Lent period finished on Easter Day, you can just imagine what I ate from then on… I dived in all the goodies I could find.

I know, I know, I am now paying for my own greed by being extra careful with what I eat now and going 4 x a week to the gym. Everything was so worthwhile though that I am actually still feeling mellow for being back to the UK.

Lisboa

Sintra

Every time I go to Portugal, I feel like I’m a different person – I’m more relaxed, easy going and errrm slow? Let me explain – life here in the UK it’s a bit rushed, well maybe except for the weekends. But even now, I feel like I always have things to do during weekends. Not in Portugal, where I take my own time to get to places, do my things. Maybe it’s a Portuguese thing?

I feel as if there’s a whole different aura surrounding me, the environment is definitely different from what I am used to here in UK. Even the people, the way they lead their lives, it’s very laid back.

Drivesunset

While being there, I enjoy my “loner time” too - time when I just stop to take everything in and just appreciate being home. Now, whenever I go back I definitely don’t take it for granted! I would spare a few hours when I’d go off on my own with the car and just relax by the beach or places where I grew up in, just reminiscing everything.

Another new thing I got to try was to add different fruits to my morning smoothies. Though I’m not a big fan of any tropical fruits, my mum managed to convince me to add papaya onto my smoothie. It didn’t taste bad but unfortunately I won’t be able to do it as often here in the UK as we seldom have fresh and organic papaya or many other tropical fruits in our supermarkets. Could try in our local markets though, fingers crossed I’ll be able to find something.

As many are aware, avocados are not my favourite fruit either however I’m aware of its nutritional content so I’ve made it as my must have ingredient in my smoothie. Thankfully, we have an avocado tree along with orange and lemon trees in our backyard. This enables me to save some extra money on buying fruits.

Since young, I’ve always loved climbing trees and still do! Modesty aside, I am very good at it. Hihi! So, every morning I’d climb the tree and pick an avocado and an orange for my smoothie. Not that it even needs climbing as it’s not very high anyway, but just for the sake of the old times, I’d do it! ;) In terms of taste, I found a significant difference between the taste of the avocado from the supermarket (where I usually buy here) and freshly picked from the tree.

They definitely taste much better than the ones bought in the supermarkets and you can tell they are naturally produced as well. Our oranges are smaller and more sour than the ones found in the supermarkets where we can often find them bigger, bright in orange colour and very sweet. Might be due to not being completely ripe yet but mum says that tree of ours does not produce sweet oranges anyway. Nonetheless, they are still natural! ;)

Abacate

I then just add other fruits/veggies bought by my mum such as mango, apple, papaya spinach and cucumber.

After that I always spent the day out and about. Whether locally, by the beach or meeting and catching up with friends or just exploring the beautiful Lisbon city and Sintra. I’ve been a few nights out as well in Bairro Alto, Lisbon, a very popular place to go out at night and Marina de Cascais, popular among  the people who live across the coastal line.

I also made sure I had a bit of time to go shopping too, of course! :) Clothes in Portugal are cheaper than in UK so I bought myself some jeans, shorts, dresses and sandals.

On my last day, I spent it between Carcavelos (my hometown) and Lisbon with friends as mum was busy with her own things. At night my friends and I went to Chiado for an evening meal and then to Terreiro do Paço to watch an amazing 3D video mapping show.

My friends, family and auntie and uncle from Melbourne, Australia (they have come to Portugal for personal business and holiday and are staying at ours) have contributed for this holiday to be memorable, as always. And for that, I feel blessed and grateful every single day! ^.^

Now that I am back, I’m still finding it a challenge to force my body to get back to the routine. But little by little, I’m sure my body will get used to it again. Good thing is that I am now reunited with my four-paw bff Lance. How I missed him! And apparently he was struggling not having me around, bless…

My house mate has said that he would spend hours in my room waiting for my return. It really broke my heart when I heard this. But I promised him I will spend more time with him during these next few days.

Lancelot

That’s it from me today. Have a lovely rest of the week!

“Happiness will follow…”

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Officially “facebookless”

Dear all,

Such a beautiful day today, isn’t it? Sun shining days always put me in a good mood, even when I come across with many not so happy people. But then, I just take a deep breath and think “I’m not the problem, they are” and I go back smiling. :)

Here’s some positive intro for you guys! Now moving on to the subject today – Facebook.

Funny how my relationship with this social website works: it’s more of a complicated love-hate relationship. I love to hate Facebook at the same time that I hate to love it too!

I am not going to lie, Facebook is somewhat a life-saver for many, me included. As much as I adore Skype and WhatsApp, sometimes you just want to have a place where you can read friends and family’s lives, see what they are up to, how they are doing, etc. Seems like it gets harder by day for friends and family to update you with the happenings in their life either via Skype or WhatsApp. Easy would be for them to just post statuses or photographs for their friends and family to see what they are up to.

And I totally agree – it is convenient in many levels! However, not everything in and with Facebook it’s a bed of roses and there’s one thing, one major thing that worries me the most when using Facebook – my privacy.

I am no celebrity or nothing of that sort, far from that, whenever possible I like to lead my life away from the curious eyes of my neighbours, so to speak. So, privacy it’s a big deal for me! And I must admit, I am guilty to still keep those curious and not much of true and caring friends in my Facebook friends list. Not because I want to have a good number of friends on my Facebook, oh no. Only because whether I like it (them) or not, I still have to keep ‘em as my acquaintances, for many different reasons. (Look what society has done to us? All of us have been confined to keeping up with the appearances…)

And it would just make my life a lot more awkward when running into them and having to be confronted with the fact that I don’t have them on Facebook. It happened to me a couple of times and it was indeed awkward, that type of let-me-dig-a-hole-so-I-can-bury-my-head awkward. I mean, what would your response be for that? It’s not like they’ve done anything that can be considered wrong against me. They simply are nosy about my life and minding it as if what’s their own business. Like I gave them the right to have an opinion about my life and I forgot about it. And of course, making it as a conversation topic with their “neighbours” and so forth. What’s the name again? Gossip? I think so. This doesn’t make them bad people, just makes me want to avoid them… forever!

So, let’s name this whole situation a bureaucracy (overcomplicating it) for now.

You can argue that I could avoid that if I simply don’t post things on Facebook. And I agree,  this would be an option however I still want to update and share the happy moments with my (true) friends and family too! Just like they do with me on Facebook! I mean that’s what Facebook it’s all about, right? I enjoy posting random things, photographs of me and friends partying it up, without being labelled a wild child by some people and this whole thing getting to my mother’s ears (oh yeah I used to hide a few posts from my mother too!).

You could also say that I shouldn’t mind about what other people think or say about me. I don’t really, what bothers me is what I have to deal with after it has been put out there. Let me explain it better – I have many “friends” who are my mother’s friends’ children. We kind of shared a bit of common growing up environment for a while, hence having to be friends with them on Facebook.

They see something, they mention it to their friends whom I also sort of know and to their parents. I see the parents when I’m out with my mum, I greet them and they make me a topic conversation there, on the spot! Something like “Oh my daughter has mentioned that she’s seen you with a handsome guy not long ago” when all the daughter did was to see a photo of me with a male friend all aquafresh smiles on Facebook. But you know, people twist their words and who tells a tale, always adds a tail. So of course, my mum not knowing about this, and mind you she’s very Asian, once I get home she starts questioning me like a true CSI detective.

If you have an Asian mother, you would know that no matter what you say, even if it’s truer than the truth, she still won’t believe you. She will always find it more credible what that friend said and this might be due to the fact that I have limited her access to some of my posts on Facebook.. And yes, it then becomes a hassle for me. Therefore, privacy on Facebook is everything!

Especially now that she feels like she needs to be more involved in my life (more like my love life) and she feels like I am keeping her in the dark about and I quote “the most important aspects in your life, like love”. I do that, yes because my mother is Asian, she goes with the tick box system. And I am not like that at all!

Coming back to the subject, I always had to worry about my Facebook privacy settings. To the point that whenever Facebook goes through its usual changing phases, I always make sure I read the policy and updates to see if anything changed regarding to its privacy.

Last makeover it had? Well, that was a joke! Yeah it completely messed the system up! I don’t know what happened there but I was completely fine with the previous Facebook and quite frankly I saw no major changes on it now compared to the previous version. Only that it has placed some features in the other side of the screen. Oh yeah and completely messed all my privacy settings up!

I don’t know about you guys, but I was not able to select the audience for my individual posts any more, which I have been doing so far, given my situation at that time of being obliged to keep those curious people on my Facebook. Again, the whole thing where I decided to name it as bureaucracy.

And trust me, I spent a lot of time putting my privacy settings right and it just goes back to showing it to everyone! How messed up is that??

So I went That’s it! with Facebook and just deactivated my account. It’s easier right? I now can respond back saying “Oh I deleted my Facebook” to those curious eyes. The only but, of course is that it won’t be as easy to share moments with friends and family as it was before. Or even communicate with few friends since not all use Skype or WhatsApp.

I’m sure I’ll come back to it though, because as much as I hate it, I also love it so once they sort the mess up and put the privacy settings back on again, then I’ll re activate it again.

That’s it from me today!

“Happiness will follow…”

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Happy Birthday Sarofski!!!!

Happy birthday to one of my oldest friends Sara R B!!! <|:) Not because she’s old but because we’ve been friends for years! haha

Unfortunately, I’m not able to celebrate with her today however we have plans for a late celebration in two weeks, taking over the Cascais night scene in style!

sara2

 

From my end, I’ll be celebrating her birthday by enjoying Boyce Avenue’s concert tonight. ;)

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