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Merry Christmas!

Christmas has always been my favourite time of the year. Although I don’t celebrate it religiously, I just like the cheer and excitement that comes with the season – the beautiful Christmas decorations, the splendid feasts and festive dishes, the gifts and the gatherings.

The pandemic has certainly put a damper on things, as many people are unable to celebrate the holiday season with their loved ones due to safety/health concerns, work, or travel restrictions. I had been looking forward to my first proper Christmas with N, but since he’s still stuck in the Philippines, we have no choice but to be patient and hope things get better soon. The important thing is that we’re both healthy and safe.

While I wasn’t able to celebrate Christmas with the husband, I still got a bit of low-key celebrating in with a couple of friends. So here’s what I’ve been up to!

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I met up with some ex-colleagues for Christmas brunch, and bought them some pampering items from The Body Shop as gifts.

My office used to have a tradition where we’d all go for a Christmas dinner – usually a buffet at a hotel – where we’d eat and exchange gifts. It’s true what they say about not knowing what you’ve got till it’s gone – I never realised how much I’ve come to enjoy them. It feels a little weird that the company started off with 11 people this year… and now I’m left all by my lonesome. 😦

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More gifts, but for a different group of friends.
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Also took the chance to grab some pampering masks: ChrisZen was having a sale – only RM1 per mask!
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Also, finally managed to clear out the office a couple of days before Christmas. My ex-colleague was supposed to help before he left, but he dropped the ball so I was left to do all of it alone lol.

The main problem was the boxes of electronics and files I had to ship to our main office in Singapore. There were two huge Apple monitors, and I couldn’t find boxes that were big enough to fit them (lesson learned: NEVER throw away your original box). Custom-made boxes are expensive, and it would take time to make them to the required specifications.

In the end, my ex-designer was a lifesaver – she came to the office with two of her friends who do prop-making on the side. They basically cut and put together smaller boxes to make a big one so that the monitors would fit. They also helped to dismantle the wooden cupboard and shelves we had in the office, so I didn’t need to get a lorry service to cart them away. Thanks guys!

I still had to throw a lot of stuff away; 10 boxes of keychains, luggage tags, old magazines, cardboard boxes and stuff. I’m not young anymore so it was torture lugging all the stuff to the big dumpster outside the mall, four floors below. A good workout but my back was killing me for days after lol.

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Rewarded myself for all that hard work @KFry, 1Utama
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Met up with a high school friend, G, who’s back from Ipoh for the holidays. She has three adorable cats. They’re triplets, so they have the same orange and white pattern.

Cats are like people and have unique personalities: which is the case with these three. The oldest, Big Bean, is friendly, playful and affectionate; she loves pets and rubbing on your legs. The middle child, Zhong Fen (Mandarin for ‘centre parting’ – because she has a pattern in the middle of her forehead) is quiet, haughty and antisocial: she shot me a distrustful look when I put out my hand for her to sniff, then promptly turned around and showed me her butt. She also dislikes being manhandled, and protested loudly when my friend’s son tried to hug her.

The youngest, Small Bean, is calm and cool, and likes to observe. The first thing she did after being let out from her cage was jump on top of the fridge, so that she’d have a good view of the surroundings.

I think G’s doing an excellent job with her cats, despite being a first-time owner. They’re all fat, fluffy and clean.

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Zhong Fen
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“Gib pets”: Big Bean
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Christmas Day was spent playing with my DIY candle kit, which I ordered from Lazada. Now, I’m not very good with arts and crafts (or anything that requires working with my hands lol). But the process was actually fairly simple, and I’m happy with the result. Will detail this in a separate post! 🙂

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And finally, I met up with another friend, H, for lunch. It was good to catch up and walk around the mall. Felt almost normal again. The mall was surprisingly empty (we went to Sunway Velocity) – a far cry from how Pavilion KL was over the weekend. The crowd there was crazy. I think people aren’t even worrying about the pandemic anymore. You can’t blame the government when they announce 2,000+ cases if you’re not even practicing social distancing.

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H said: “You’ll probably laugh when you unwrap my present”. Sure enough, I did. It was just really funny that she gift wrapped the Super Rings But it was this simple gift and gesture that, to use the old-fashioned idiom, warmed the cockles of my heart.

So that was my Christmas! I initially wanted to bring a little festive cheer to the house by suggesting we get each other gifts, but was promptly shot down by the Moo. Not giving up though… there’s always next year.

How did you celebrate Christmas? 🙂

Yohoho!

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I Did A Vlog! New Haircut For The New Year, CNY Deco and Makeup Haul

A new thing for 2020? We’ll see how long it lasts.

sabotaging self before it even begins; gotta stop doing this to myself lmao

 

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You Can’t Spend the New Year…

….with an empty wallet.

Or so the cleaning lady told me.

“New Year should have lots of money; a full purse!” she quipped in Mandarin while wiping one of our tables this morning. “That means that you’ll be blessed with good fortune for the rest of the year.” 

I raised an eyebrow. And looked at the sad state of my wallet.

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It tore after a couple of months because cheapo.  Costs less than RM30. 

Maybe that’s why I’ve never been rich for the past 25 years lol.

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Since it’s the new year, it’s high time to get a brand spanking new wallet! Bought a mustard yellow one (don’t judge) from F.Timber for just RM44.90. If you’re looking to buy wallets and bags, IOI City Mall in Putrajaya is a good place to go. Lots of shops on the Ground floor selling good quality and affordable ones. 🙂

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And then splurged on dessert, because what the heck, right?

The last time I came to Madame Waffle, I tried their basic green tea waffle. This time around, I had the amped-up, customised version: three toppings – sliced bananas, oreos and toasted marshmallows + a scoop of vanilla ice-cream (Rm18). The ice-cream scoop was huge; creamy and not too sweet. Banana slices weren’t fresh, but I liked the chewy marshmallow bits. Waffle had that slightly bitter aftertaste from the green tea flavour, but it balanced out the sweetness well.

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Current read: Inferno – Dan Brown.

Happy New Year! 🙂

You Got My Ears Itching

You know a song is indie when you can’t even find it’s lyrics on the net.
I’m back to writing after a long hiatus. Things have been so full of shit recently, I don’t even know where to begin. But it’s okay. I’m picking up the pieces.
It’s the Lunar New Year again. A new year means a new beginning. Unlike most people, I don’t like going back for the holidays. Each year, the town seems a little deader. Streets are emptier. There’s none of the hype you see on TV : no firecrackers at every street corner, no lion dances, no screaming children. Old folks linger at coffee shops, staring morosely out at passing cars that pass them by like glimpses of dreams. This is Ipoh, once a gem in it’s heyday. Now it’s just another forgotten memory, slowly but surely fading away.
I dread going back every year. Reaching home on New Year’s eve, greeted by the sight of a house full of old people, can be a little depressing. When you’re young and full of life, death seems so far away. But to the old and weary, death is just a knock away. Grandpa’s 85: he’s senile, and he wets his bed. Watching him spoon mouthfuls of food with a shaky hand, watching Grandma totter around on her cane to go the bathroom, makes you wonder why we were created this way. Why does the body have to degenerate before we die? Why not just drop dead when you reach a certain age? That way you’d do everything you wanted to do before your body leaves the world.
You’re born, you live, you get old, you die. Life is a cycle.I believe in respecting old people because one day I too, will grow old.
Which is why the actions of some of my relatives really pissed me off to no end. During reunion and the customary ‘lou sang‘ to symbolize prosperity and advancement, my grandparents were jeered at for wanting to partake. “Let the younger ones do it, you people don’t have anything to advance anymore, anyway,” was what one of my aunts said. Seeing my grandma put down her chopsticks in disappointment, even if I wasn’t her granddaughter, would have stirred pity in any stranger with a heart. Imagine bringing up a daughter for so many years, only to be repaid with spite and annoyance. A few of us younger kids felt uneasy and we said it was okay for the old folks to join, it was just a symbolic thing anyway. If I’m gonna do well in life it’s coz I work hard for it, not coz of some ritual. But said aunt insisted that the old folks were not to take part.
Life’s a cycle, aunt. Do not forget. One day you’ll be old and you’ll be the one shoved aside, being left behind, being thought of as a nuisance like how you think of your own parents. And nobody will be there for you if you continue in this frame of mind. Nobody’s gonna be young forever.
Another thing about new year’s…
New Year’s to me is like putting yourself up on a petri dish, to be scrutinized in microscopic proportions under the looking glass, subject to disapproving comparisons to better first cousins, second cousins, and relatives to the fourth degree.
“So and so is doing so well as an accountant overseas now.. earns (insert 5 number figure in foreign currency here) each month, lives in this big-ass apartment with 2 dogs and an even richer boyfriend… “
“So and so is taking her bar exams now, going to join a prestigious law firm soon I guess…”
“Oh, so what do you do Ris? You work for a magazine?” (raises eyebrow) “What do you do there?Write? Ah, uhm, that’s good.”
“Writers don’t earn much, do they?”
“Must be tough.”
“Can you afford the loan for a Myvi with your salary?”
Make no mistake, I don’t feel inadequate. I knew when I took this path that it was never gonna be easy. In an Asian society, or any other society for that matter, writers (unless you’re award winning, a best seller or filthy effin rich) are never looked highly up to. We’re not lawyers, we’re not doctors, we’re not businessmen. People think of writers as dreamy people, lost in their own world, lost in the words they love so much. We earn MYR 2 for every page of material written. Yes, being a writer won’t earn you big bucks, a bungalow, or that brand new Porsche.
Unless maybe if you write about emo vampires that sparkle in the daylight?
 
But I write because I love words. The first thing I grabbed in my chubby little baby hands was a pen. I might not be the best writer out there, but I love what I do. And I’m happy, even if it means I forgo what modern society calls luxury and comfort. I don’t need a 10K mattress, I just need 2 or 3 comforters and a pillow to keep warm all night.
 
Why do we feel a need to compare ourselves with others? Only the insecure do that. Being an academically inclined person in high school, I was always living to the beat of other people’s expectations. Straight As for Mom, straight As for dad. After graduating, I was to take an accountancy/law course of some sort. That was one of the times we had a big fight. I’ve always listened to what my parents wanted because (I’m Asian) respecting elders is something that has been drilled into me from a young age. But this was just one thing I couldn’t compromise. I didn’t want to hate them for the rest of my life for making me take something I would be miserable doing in future. Even today, mum still thinks I made the wrong choice. “You have brains, it’s a waste you took this course.” When even your own parents have this ‘writer’s are shyt’ kinda mentality, it’s hard to feel encouragement. It feels like the whole world is against you, like they’re waiting for you to screw up even more royally than just the ‘bad’ choice you make, so that they can thumb their noses in your face and say I told you so. But here’s the thing: if you’re talented and you work hard for what you want, I believe that you can be great at what you do no matter what you studied in school. School’s a playground, the real world is ruthless. Studies are nothing when they throw you out to be eaten by wolves.
One day I just woke up and decided IDGAF anymore. Being the best to someone else was always so tiring. All my life I’ve been trying to be someone to somebody else.
I want to be myself, for once.