2013 in Pictures

Come 2014, I will have blogged for six years now. I remember how cringeworthy my angsty posts were as a teen, and how my writing and process of documenting my daily adventures have changed over the years. I’ve grown a lot, experienced many things, and blogging helps me remind myself of things I would have otherwise forgotten.

Many of the events here have  slipped my memory if not for the pictures and entries I have kept in my computer and blog. Looking back over 2013, I realised that I’m very much blessed. I have good friends, my job brings me great experiences, but most of all, I have important people to share them with me. So kudos to all those who have made 2013 a blast for me. A Big Thank You! 🙂

Note: It wasn’t easy picking out a couple of photos to include in this YearEnder. Heh. You try sorting out through thousands of photos.

JANUARY 

January was a difficult transition. I had just graduated from student life, after eighteen years of education, to join the ranks of the working world. Having just returned from an awesome experience in the UK (I will always, always love that place!), I sort of spiraled into a melancholic mood of reminiscing my life in Europe and missing college. Between that and looking for jobs, 2013 seemed to start off on a stressful footing. To make it worse, Stickam, an online chatting site where

I have been going on for two years and made awesome friends, was shutting down. It was a blow to all of us Stickammers, because we were a very tight knit community and have been in touch for years.

Then there was the fact that my (ex) boyfriend of five years, CK, decided to call it quits. We had been drifting apart ever since I left for the UK, and when I came back it just wasn’t the same. We realised that we’ve grown up and parted ways in terms of goals and wants in life, and we couldn’t reconcile that. It was a mutual break up, but many of our friends, especially those who had known us since high school, were pretty gossipy about it. I admit that it stung a little (I mean.. he WAS still with me for FIVE years) but I got over it eventually.

The plus side this month was that all that gym since October 2012 (I consistently went everyday since I had nothing to do at home, being unemployed) paid off and I lost 7kgs. My complexion also cleared up after going to the dermatologist, so I was feeling pretty good about my appearance.

FEBRUARY 

I landed myself a job as a copywriter at a local campus magazine that also ran events. The work environment didn’t suit me, as it required insanely long hours (much like an advertising agency), the people didn’t click with me, and I was really unhappy. For one, I went to work at 6am everyday (to beat the traffic), but my senior wouldn’t give me any work until 5pm, so I was just bumming around trying to look like I was doing work.. try pretending to look busy, it’s more difficult than actually doing work lol. I remember being so happy to see the sun during lunch time, because I was in the office before dawn and only left after midnight. After a month I called it quits.

During Chinese New Year, I have to go back to Ipoh, my parent’s hometown. This year, we did something more adventurous instead of the usual drive down the highway, and took the trunk roads instead. Visited the Teluk Intan clocktower, our very own Malaysian Leaning tower.

My brother and I also went caving for the first time at Gua Tempurung over the holidays. It was the most exciting and exhilirating experience I’ve had, as we were required to crawl in dark spaces with no lights, and swim nearly neck high in underground water. It didn’t help that I have an overactive imagination, so I kept thinking of The Descent movie when I was inside. I also lost my torchlight in there, what a klutz. The four hour caving was a very humbling experience. I came out with a new appreciation for life. It might sound silly but I felt like my life as a human was fleeting compared to the limestone hills, which are almost as old as time.

It’s probably the high one gets when you do something for the first time. Like skydiving. Or travelling to faraway places on your own.

Chinese New Year also means reunion dinners. This was the first time we spent it without my grandpa, who sadly passed away last year.

Visiting the Wat Siribunya along Tambun Road,which houses the Phra Phrom – the four-faced Buddha and a Thai deity.

My dad used to live here til he was 18, together with the rest of my dad’s family. Being poor, my grandma’s relative donated them a piece of land in the grounds, and my grandpa built a wooden shack there out of scratch – sharing the compound with a Siamese family and an Indian family. Those were hard times – they didn’t have modern amenities like plumbing and electric. Imagine having to take a shit in a bucket and if the guy didn’t come to collect, you’d see worms and stuff in the waste whenever you take a dump.

Grandpa worked as a lumberjack felling rubber trees in estates, while grandma kept the household and the 10 kids in check. The older kids stopped school to work and support the family: that was the way it was back then, so the younger kids had to really appreciate the sacrifice and work hard at their studies.

When dad turned 18 they had to move becoz the temple had expansion plans and they wanted to reclaim the land that the ‘squatters’ were using..so my grandpa (now a chef for an old folks home) bought a small house in Ipoh Garden, which is where my grandma and some of my aunts still stay now. Lots of interesting tales from my dad’s childhood – like how they biked to school, came back to catch fish by damming up the small stream behind the temple, helped my grandma pluck chickens and ducks, or how they used to wait up for durians to fall down from the tree.

A particularly funny incident was over the durian tree – my grandpa used to wake up super early so my dad’s family always got the choicest durian fruits that had fallen down overnight. Pissed off, the Siamese family actually jolok down all the unripe durian fruits so that nobody could get any. In retaliation, my dad and his bros would throw heavy rocks on the ground so that they made a thump sound, and would laugh hysterically wheneever their Siamese neighbours came running out to see if it was durian fruit falling. And since the Siamese family had a TV set ( a luxury back then) whenever the boys fought they would refuse to let my dad watch their TV. lololol .

MARCH

I started a new job in March at MilkADeal.com, an online selling website where my college friend Mabel also works. I have nothing to say about the place except good things. The people and the bosses are kind and friendly, and I really enjoyed my time there.

Revisited Sak Dato Temple in Broga in March. It’s a temple atop the hills bordering the edge of Selangor and the view is very pretty. I’ve only been here as a child so it was many many years since I stepped foot here.

APRIL

I was once a Hindu.

No kidding. It might seem odd as most Hindus here are Indians, but when I was younger, my family and I would attend pilgrimage and worship at the Batu Caves temple every Thaipusam. We would be the only Chinese family and people would always stare at us as we brought up our offerings of coconut, flower garlands and incense cubes on a tray up the 272 steps to the cave temple honouring Lord Murugan. They hadn’t erected that golden statue yet back then, I was like seven or eight.

The temple cave has lost none of it’s beauty. Carved figures of deities receive prayers and the sun from a giant hole in the ceiling from the limestone formations, while resident monkeys run around amidst priests in robes chanting prayers.

It was a very short stint at MilkADeal, but I had to leave because I got a better job offer and the prospects were good. I was really sorry to leave because I really enjoyed my time there and did learn some useful things.

April was also an important month because we were finally having our graduation ceremony! I don’t know why they put it so late (we finished our exams in October) but yeah, to finally dress up in those convocation robes and wear the mortar board. It had a real tone of finality to it, like I was ending a stage in life. The thing I would miss most about college is my classmates, whom I had gotten quite close to during our stint in the UK. Such good times. But it was time to move out to the working world.

MAY

Started my new job as a journalist, which I am still doing now. It’s a job that has taken me many places, seen many things and experienced things I wouldn’t have been able to in a normal desk job. There are challenges, ups and downs, but it’s all part of the work and at the end of the day, I am learning things, so that’s what’s important. Meanwhile, I was still taking vain photos of self…

I also got into a ‘relationship’ with Tom, a friend I’ve known online for two years. It was a shaky basis for a relationship, because he wasn’t sure what he wanted, but I really liked him. He was cute, funny and had my heart racing whenever I talked to him. Thinking back, it was probably just a crush, because I’m writing this in December and I’ve all but forgotten how I felt at that time. Doesn’t matter, coz it all turned out to fuck all in the end. But more on that later.

JUNE

My best friend of 10 years tied the knot. It was also my first church wedding. I was touched as I was her only ‘friend’ there and all the rest were family members. I’ve never been close to girls much, but Grace reminds me what the true meaning of ‘sisterhood’ is. I also experienced for the first time how mothers feel when daughters are married, because I”ve always been very protective of her, even in high school. Seeing her in a gown, so beautiful, made me tear up (and hey! it’s not easy to get me to tear up :P)

Visited Tanjung Sepat’s Lover’s Bridge over the weekend for some R&R. The thing is, a week later, the bridge collapsed lol. Narrow escape.

Finally met up with Tom during his transit flight back from HK to UK. He stopped by in KL and we went for a short ‘date’ at the airport. That wasn’t really enough time to get to know anyone really well, but he said he would come visit in August.

Snapshots of KL. Half a year had passed by in the blink of an eye.

Attended Floria Putrajaya, a magical looking float parade at the Putrajaya Lake that is held annually along with their flower exhibitions. It’s dreamy looking at the lights at night.

JULY 

A lot of firsts this month. Had an urge to go visit the Pink Mosque in Putrajaya. This was my first time entering a mosque, and I had to cover myself up with a robe to be respectful to the place of worship. The architecture of the place was spectacular.

Visited an Orang Asli settlement for the first time for work. I was writing about a volunteer group called Epic Homes, who go into the deep jungles and settlements to build new houses for the aboriginal peoples in Malaysia. I think it’s a very noble cause. This was also the first time I drove two hours into the deeper interior area on my own. I talked to some of the villagers, and were humbled by how they lived their lives and are content with so little. I watched the little children run around barefoot, yet so easy with their smiles to strangers. The visit really touched my heart on how lucky I was to have basic amenities, schooling, everything city folk tend to take for granted.

The view here along the Titiwangsa mountain range is amazing. Imagine waking up to the sun blushing behind the mountains every morning, swaddled in mists along the deep blue tips of the forests. White clouds floated overhead, as if heaven and earth were merged together.

Revisited Genting after nearly 10 years of not setting foot in the place. The theme park was in a sad state and would be closed for renovation, just the month after I visited. It was nostalgic, because I used to come here as a child and it was the hottest theme park in the country, being up in the mountains and all. Altho the rides were shit once you’ve tasted European theme park rides, but there was still a lot of sentimental value. And it’s always nice to get away to the cooling mountainside.

Not the first time I’ve been in casinos (I visited a few in Macau, their legal age for entry is 18), but the first I’ve been in Genting’s casino. It was smoky and full of older people gambling their (lives?) away? at least that was how I saw it. I would never enjoy gambling, imo. I don’t see the point of wasting hard earned money to fulfil hopes that will probably never come true. It was interesting to see how some old people in wheelchairs still had the strength to plop chips on the table.

Visiting Chin Swee Temple, a temple amidst the clouds. The view was breathtaking, as it sits on the mountainside just overlooking the green valley below. With the blue sky above, the red colour of the buildings and the green below, it’s easy to believe one is at a Chinese Heavenly scene, just as depicted in old scriptures.

Attended a full scale 5km procession for Guan Goong (Lord of Justice) deity, a prominent deity in Chinese culture. I really liked the assignment as it depicted in full the rich diversity of Malaysian Chinese culture and heritage. There were lion dances, and devotees holding giant jossticks as they walked around the neighbourhood and blessed the area. Devotees carried little shrines, while people in trances pierced themselves and performed holy dances as if they were not in pain. I saw for the first time how entranced people whipped themselves up in a frenzy, or ran around as if spirits possessed them. The procession was noisy with the sound of drums and gongs, prayers and chants, and the smell of burning incense.

AUGUST

Work in August continued to keep me busy. I splurged on my first pricey bag.

Remember I said Tom wanted to visit me in August? He kept his word. Took a week off to bring him sightseeing around KL. It was still very shaky, we had fights the week he was here, and in the end I felt like he only wanted something from me. He was immature, selfish and not at all boyfriend material. I found him okay as a friend, but not as a boyfriend. Yeah, guy was an asshole. We broke up in September lol.

I did feel a little heartbreak because I had trusted him with my feelings, but I got over it.

View from KL tower.

You know, it might seem like I get over things easily.. but it’s just because I push them deeper inside and throw away the key so I wouldn’t have to remember painful feelings. So if you asked me now if I liked him, yes, I did. But that doesn’t matter, because we aren’t together now. Does that make sense? (getting late.. I’m rambling..)

SEPTEMBER 

September is birthday month! And I turned 23. I felt really old and not particularly happy on my birthday, because although I had green tea cake which is my favourite, I was also contemplating what I was doing with life. I didn’t have an answer. I had a stable job, broke up with two boyfriends in the span of a year, regained all the weight I lost, and was basically not doing anything productive with my time on earth. Yeah, September was a depressing month.

I did get to try contact lenses for the first time though, coz my glasses broke. After trying… I don’t think I’ll be going for them anytime soon. Still prefer the good ol glasses.

Visited Malaysia’s very own wax museum. Tbh the exhibits are kinda lame compared to London (well duh..) but it’s a good attempt for Malaysia. We haven’t had anything like this before.

OCTOBER

After a depressing September, things started to look up again. Bestie was finally done with her confinement period, and… I was a friggin GODMOTHER. 

Baby Maximilian. Holding him in my arms for the first time, he felt so tiny, like he could break. I was awed at how this tiny little thing was made from flesh and bone, borne for nine months in pain and then brought to life in the world. As I stared into his beady eyes which looked like his mom’s, I vowed that I would be a good godmother and as always, a steadfast friend to his mother.

There’s something so powerful in being with someone through their stages in life. From a quiet girl in high school whom I barely knew, to a friend, to a best friend whom could always be relied on to tell my secrets to.. going with her through break-ups, make-ups, boyfriends, school work, family problems, right up to the day she was married, her pregnancy, her giving birth. I have never had a real sister, but this is what I imagine a sisterly bond to be.

Hipster event out, where I bumped into CK. It was nine months down the road since our breakup. We hung out like old times, talked over coffee. I’m surprised at how calm and comfortable we are with one another, even though it didn’t work out. It’s kind of like we made peace with each other, which is good. He knows me like no other guy does, and I know him like no other girl does, because we were together for so long and like I said, watching someone go through stages in life is a very powerful thing. He has come a long way in his career and friendships.

He’s a good guy, and I hope he finds someone who will be right for him. And if in future we could hangout…I guess we’re cool.

Experienced flying in a light aircraft for the first time. It really made me appreciate how my job gets me to experience cool things (well not all the time but still!) It was extremely exhilarating to be looking at the city from a bird’s eye view.

October is also important because I met someone very important to me now. I met him on a website earlier in the month and it was a whirlwind right from the start. We started talking, sharing stuff about ourselves, and I realised he was looking for what I was looking for at this stage in life – someone to come home to, to share a life with. He’s sweet, caring, funny, basically everything I was looking for in a guy.. sometimes I feel like slapping myself to see if I’m dreaming, coz he seems to have walked out of a romance novel of some kind. It’s scary how alike our thoughts are at times – it’s like he can mind read me. Most importantly, he makes me feel like I am loved, appreciated and cared for. Extra points for cuteness. I think he’s gorgeouss (though he never admits it).

NOVEMBER 

Welcomed a bundle of joy into the household. His name is Kinder and he’s a chocolate and white furry ball of cuteness. Not as quiet now that he’s considered a small ‘kid’, very naughty. But the way he looks at me when I come back from work, or how he likes to catch my hand and hold it down with his paw, is enough to make my heart melt.

Unleashed the inner book demon…

I have more purchasing power now that I’m working, and I’ve spent that on a lot of books. Space is an issue because I never have enough to put my books. Note: I don’t always have time to read them. It’s more like I want books on standby so I can read any new book whenever I want.

DECEMBER

 And in the blink of an eye, it’s the end of the year again! Helped to decorate the office with Christmas cheer.

Tried fried Mars Bars for the first time. It was sticky, gooey awesomeness.

And travelled to Singapore to visit bestie. Had a great time, because my vacations are usually with my family and I feel restricted coz they’re old fusspots and won’t let me do anything I want to. Like ride on roller coasters five times or something. Or eat a whole turkey leg by myself.

finally, Christmas Eve a few days ago with high school friends, all whom I’ve known for a decade. time, oh time why wont u wait.

That’s a wrap for 2013! Just a few more days left to the end of this year that has been full of ups and downs. Here’s to a better year ahead!

 

How was your 2013?

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Author: Luna

Bibliophile/foodie. Drop me a line at erisgoesto@gmail.com

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