Saturday, 28 January 2012

Upon my return from Shanghai, I've actually spent a lot of time catching up on sleep and other things that I've missed when I was there, like international news sites (not that they don't work, they just load uber slowly in China).

This Chinese New Year, was then spent either sleeping, or feasting on food. Other times was spent watching old episodes of my favourite TV shows (thanks, FBI) or reading magazines.

 So as you can see, I've been living a very luxurious life. Add me stuffing as much food as I can to take on the freezing cold weather in Shanghai, and suddenly it makes sense when I'm told that I've gained weight (a quick check on the weighing scale confirms this). Now while any other time I would be overjoyed by this news, now it seems I'm not so thrilled because:

1) I would rather the weight be seen on somewhere other than my face (which apparently is rounder now), like my arms, torso or legs.

2) It's a sign that my metabolism (could be) slowing, which means: I'm getting older

3) I hate getting old

But enough about saddening tales of growing old.

This Chinese New Year was a slightly different one from normal. Because. I. DROVE! Not all the way back to my parents' hometowns, but I did drive half of the time, and while I was there I drove quite a bit too. What I take from it: Rural places with two lanes, two-directions roads aren't that easy to navigate. I prefer wide three lanes one direction places. How intimidating it must have been for new drivers.

It's also the first time where I advocated coming home early. Normally, I enjoy staying at my mum's hometown for a longer time, because there would be books to read (as I only had about 15 minutes to pack I neglected the remember to bring books this time, a first for me!), food to eat (surprisingly, so many restaurants in Kedah / Penang were closed!), and extended family members to talk to (who had to work this time). So there really wasn't much to do, other than reading magazines as slow as possible, spending as much time as I can on 9gag, sleeping for as long as I can that wouldn't interrupt my night time sleep, AND sleeping as early as possible.

Now, I am back home, watching Astro, surfing the Net, and watching DVDs! Much better than slacking at home (okay I know there's not much of a difference between the two), which is why I'll end this entry here.

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Monday, 23 January 2012
Bidding 2011 Farewell

Okay, while it may be a little late for a post looking back on 2011, I assure you I wrote this on New Year's Eve! Except that I didn't have access to Blogger in Shanghai.

So here goes:

2011 has been a really good year. But then again, any other year would be a good year when compared to 2010. I think when compared to last year, I learned less about myself, but more about other different things. I stretched my limits in different areas, so in that sense, I did learn a lot about myself too. The difference, of course, is that I had a lot more fun. 

Huge Apple store in Shanghai

I’ve always maintained that good company is all that matters. You can be in the most desolate and depressing location on Earth, but still have a good time if you’re with people you enjoy being with. I think that’s what happened this year in Melbourne- I had more people around me whom I was comfortable with, compared with the opposite the previous year. So yes, while Melbourne itself is definitely more to my liking than Adelaide, the people I met made the big difference. I’ve no doubt that I wouldn’t have had such a good time had I not been with these people.

And there were several highlights of the year that I think I should mention here.

   The home

I’m the type of person who needs to return to a nice and comfortable home, where I can rest, relax, and recharge. And this year, I definitely had that. Lived with a friend instead of an unknown, which is always great, and suddenly living independently had become a lot more fun.

 The room in 2011

2    The work

Uni this year had kinda taken a back seat since I found other activities to keep myself occupied with. But to my surprise, that did not mean a big drop in my academic performance; I still performed well, which is a really satisfying feeling when you think about it (which I somehow don’t since results ain’t everything). Instead, I found a student organisation in which to develop myself in (which I don’t think I’ve mentioned in here before, so here goes).

      The life abroad

After being in Shanghai, I definitely see now that life in Melbourne, and Australia in general, suits me a lot- I don’t go too well with a very fact-paced life, and I don’t go well with a very slow-paced one either. And I definitely identify with the Australian culture more than the Chinese one, even though the latter is where my own culture originally came from (or maybe it’s because I’m a traitor to my own people, depending on how you see it, but I’ve to say I do not think the Chinese are my ‘people'.

Being in China has made me appreciate Australia and Malaysia a lot more. But since this is about my life abroad, I’ll just talk about Australia. I enjoy the Western lifestyle. I enjoy the culture, to a certain degree, although I do know that I will never be a fully integrated into it.

4    The travel

 This year has been great for me in terms of travel. I started the year by going for a Easter holiday which I thoroughly enjoyed, being able to see the different sides of Australia, and I loved the natural part of it.

Then, I also managed to see a little of the Great Ocean Road, which is everything I thought it would be. I’m definitely looking forward to visiting it again, hopefully in autumn or spring next time, when it’s not too cold or hot, and I can sit in an open-top car and enjoy the wind blowing and the sunshine.

I’ve also been to several other locations outside of urban Melbourne, which was just fantastic.

And the last trip of the year for me- Shanghai! While I was kept busy with work during the weekdays, I did thoroughly enjoy the days when I could go out exploring- I felt like a tourist, and it felt like I was already travelling on my own on my round-the-world trip that I’ve always dreamt of.

 Freezing in a Buddhist temple in Shanghai

Thoughts on 2012

I’ve rather mixed feelings about 2012, mainly because I’ll be stepping into unfamiliar territory once again, and also because many things are quite uncertain at this point. I don’t know if my job search in Australia will turn out to be successful, I don’t know if I want to continue with studying, and most of all, I don’t know what the future holds.

And perhaps it also has something to do with me graduating. I dread becoming an adult. I dread having to grow up and make my own decisions, even though it can be fun at times.

If I had to make an aspiration or resolution for 2012, it would be that I would continue with my self-development. I’ve been through some pretty quick growth, and I’m hoping that it will continue in the direction I want.

But above all, I hope that 2012 will be a fun year. I’m hoping that I will be able to keep the relationships I have now. I’m hoping that my friends and family will be in good health. And of course, I hope that I will have lots of good memories to cherish in the future.

So there you go. My thoughts on 2011. Have a great new year, and all the best for 2012!

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