Wow. Can’t believe it’s that time of the year again (already!), where we bid adieu to a year of toil, turmoil, and triumphs. I guess it’s true what they say about time going by faster the older you get, lol. 2022 has been an action packed one, to say the least.
So, in the long standing tradition of this blog since 2015, I present to you another “Year in Pictures” post. Enjoy!
The year started on a high note.
The Hubs finally arrived in Malaysia in December 2021 after two years of separation due to the pandemic; and I also started a new job. Things were looking up; like I was finally getting my life on track after the shitstorm that was 2020 and 2021 lol.
The month felt somewhat like a ‘honeymoon’ period for both my relationship and career, as I helped the Hubs settled in, and started learning the ropes about writing in a completely different field from my former media background. At the same time, I wanted the Hubs to enjoy himself after being cooped up in his house for so long, so we went on a fair bit of sightseeing. (Pictured above is our visit to Ilham Gallery (which I have yet to blog about lol). Also eating. Lots and lots of it.
Chinese New Year in February was a subdued celebration, as many of my relatives could not make it back to Ipoh, where my parents are from. We visited my aunties a week earlier than the actual date, as we didn’t want to get caught in six-hour traffic. It’s actually a pretty sad thing, as when my grandparents were around, it used to feel so festive. Now all my cousins have their own lives and are scattered across the globe, so we rarely get to gather.
February was also when we managed to get the Hub’s first long term social visit pass, which was valid for six months. It was a lot of running back and forth to the various government departments, but we pulled it off. It was a load of our shoulders, and felt like a step in the right direction of finally having him settle down here.
On a positive note, I was ecstatic that Jollibee finally opened here in West Malaysia! If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know I absolutely ADORE Jollibee, and it’s the first thing I make a beeline for whenever I visit Manila. Now I can get it whenever I want! (Pictured above) A very happy Eris with my order of Jollibee.
After two years of managing to dodge it, my entire family succumbed to COVID, which sucked both physically (I had the whole suite – flu, fever, cough, sore throat, lethargy, muscle aches) as well as financially / logistically (we couldn’t go anywhere for two weeks, and had to rely on Grab to get meals, which racked up a hefty bill). While I’m glad we did not suffer worse symptoms, it was still a sucky experience.
Workwise, my work ‘honeymoon’ period was also over, and I was thrown into the deep end of things that I was still very unfamiliar with. While there was guidance (and I wouldn’t say I did too bad, all things considered), it was still very challenging, and continues to be at the time of this writing.
Bouncing back in April, the Hubs and I continued our travels – mostly on day trips to local spots, as well as to the city. Partly it was to make up for lost time, as we never really got to experience that lovey-dovey phase after our wedding. But it was also because I wanted to take his mind off things, as he was finding it difficult to adjust to Malaysia.
Mostly, it was the waiting that I think felt unbearable for him: male foreign spouses that apply for the Long Term Social Visit Pass in Malaysia get six months for the first time, where they aren’t allowed to work. He was fully reliant on me financially during this time, and not having anything to do must have been excruciating. We had a lot of fights, some of which were ugly.
(Left) Visiting Bukit Malawati to see silver-leaf monkeys; (right) playing with kitties at a cat cafe.
May was another busy month filled with travels – I think we went on a trip almost every weekend: to Genting, Pulau Ketam, Tanjung Sepat, Putrajaya. Went to a Star Wars day and watched Fusion Wayang Kulit as well. By this time, pandemic numbers were tapering off, things were starting to pick up again and there was much more freedom of movement – so we made the most out of it.
Work was still challenging, and I had to find ways to take my mind off things – so I bought a DIY kit to make terrazo concrete coasters. It turned out awesome! I’ve actually given out some to colleagues.
July was probably my lowest, no thanks to a very annoying condition called dyshidrosis. It started since I got my vaccine last year (I believe it’s because my body’s immune system went into overdrive), and got progressively worse over the latter half of 2021 and into 2022.
It was so bad that my hands were literally splitting open, with deep cuts on my fingers and palms accompanied by fluid-filled blisters. Doctors couldn’t do shit other than prescribe me with topical steroids, and it was driving me nuts because I couldn’t touch anything without feeling intense pain (washing my hands was an absolute nightmare), and I barely got enough sleep too due to the itch keeping me awake.
Not all was gloom and doom in July, however. We were finally able to apply for a one-year LTSVP for the Hubs – and what’s more, he managed to secure a job at the same time. I was happy for him (and a bit surprised as well), as it is notoriously difficult for spouses of certain nationalities to look for professional jobs in Malaysia, seeing as how companies would usually prioritise locals who can speak our languages.
So a great stroke of luck + good interview skills (we practiced mock interviews at home – so I guess it worked!)
Mostly I was happy because he would be earning his own money, and not feel like a burden (I told him many times I did not mind paying for stuff – but men will be men with their traditional ways of thinking).
We knew we wouldn’t have as much time to travel around once he started work, so we made the most of the beginning of August to experience a couple of events and visit new places. (Above) Putrajaya’s “Secret Garden”, which has really pretty lights at night; attending the Nihon Matsuri in Bukit Jalil.
After the longest time, rode public transport again, to test out the route the Hubs would be taking to work. I was impressed with the MRT, as it was my first time on it.
Birthday month! Had a few simple celebrations with the family and a few close friends (mostly involving food).
I wasn’t able to enjoy this month to the fullest, as I was dealing with a particularly difficult situation at work, and there was little support/alternative other than just to suck it up. The situation is currently still ongoing, but I think I’ll just have to put my foot down if the pattern spills over to next year.
(Above) Birthday meal at Bali Cafe
A plus side in September is that my dyshidrosis finally subsided, after I decided to take antihistamines (on my own volition, since the doctors were of zero help). It relieved the itch, and I guess in turn helped the skin to heal and stop the cycle of itch-scratch-pain-infection, which my steroid creams were unable to control.
I can’t even begin to describe how much of a relief it was not to dread going to the shower everyday, or face the prospect of another sleepless night – after over a year of battling the condition. It hasn’t gone away fully – I still get flares now and then – but thankfully, they’re minor.
October oscillated between being extremely stressed with work, and finding relief from that stress by distracting myself with as many trips and activities as possible. I would tear my hair out on weekdays, sometimes working late into the night in order to make the deadlines, and then drag the Hubs to some event or other over the weekends, so I wouldn’t have to think about the mountain of work waiting for me on Monday.
It was a high octane, almost manic way of coping – which I mostly sustained until December lol. I’ve only just had a couple of days to rest now as I write this post – but if it continues, I’m sure I’ll crash and burn, something I don’t want to happen.
(Above) Some of the places/events we went to: KL Vintage Market; Kota Raya; KLOE Market, Visual Arts Gallery
November was absolute sht in terms of work. I was drowning under the workload, felt dispirited overall, and was burning out.
The only highlight of the month was N and I having our anniversary celebration at Double Tree by Hilton in KL. It was my first staycation in two years! The hotel was extremely accommodating with our request to ‘have something special’ prepared in the room. We had a bit of a laugh with the balloons, because instead of Happy Anniversary, they had Happy Birthday in place. But it was still a great show of hospitality and warmth from the hotel, and I’ll definitely be staying with them again in the future.
We’ve reached the final month! Squeezed in a few trips, one to Port Dickson (above), which I haven’t visited in ages. Still faced challenges at work, but I think I adopted a more ‘F it’ attitude, clearly demarcating when work would be work and not letting my fear of failure and inability to deliver to certain standards dictate how I would feel.
This has also been a month where cash is just flowing out like water, as I attended two weddings. There’s also just holiday season spending in general. For Christmas, the Hubs and I decided to make some Filipino spaghetti and lumpia, seeing as this is (officially) his first Christmas away from home.
And that’s a wrap for 2022! Another eventful year, filled with high highs and low lows, but all in all, not a bad one. There is much to be thankful for, but also plenty of room for improvement.
Here’s to better things in the next one.
Happy New Year!