Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Day 31 - Stars, a random message and a comforting Snowflake

I had to leave work at lunchtime to come home as I wasn't feeling well - sore throat, runny and congested nose, fever, headache - it seems like last week's crazies have finally caught up with me.

While there's nothing to smile about being sick, a few things did manage to put a smile on my face today:

  1. When I got home in the afternoon, the stars were shining. For years Snowflake loved to climb up and down my curtains, she was always hanging on with her claws and it annoyed the hell outta me.  Luckily she's stopped this habit, but what's left behind is a clusters of stars that come to life during the day. So what started as Snowflake being downright annoying turned out to be something wonderful. Sometimes we get so caught up with being angry or upset that we miss out on all the beauty right in front of us.
  2. Stars in my curtain

  3. I've been missing my family and friends back in Penang, so when I received a SMS from Leon saying "My doctor always listens to hearts and he heard yours say come back to Malaysia", I had to laugh.

  4. While I was in bed resting up, Snowflake decided to join me. She can be incredibly sweet at times, and while she won't fetch me some water or food, she helps me feel a little less sick in her own way.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Day 30 - Good coffee, snow and jaw-dropped Snowflake

3 things (I've noticed that it always seems to be 3... Good things come in threes? Three is a magic number?):

  1. I think as a Melburnian, we're spoilt for choice when it comes to coffee. Most places here make decent coffee, and it's easy to take that for granted. I had been away for 10 days.. in other words, I had gone without a coffee from my usual weekday morning haunt Plantation for 10 days. I don't know how I survived.
  2. Plantation Coffee
    On the way there I giddily anticipated my first soy latte in many days. I could almost taste the creamy, nutty flavours dancing on my tongue. I was so excited it was almost tragic. And as I took my first sip, it felt like I was being enveloped in a big, warm, comforting, bear hug. I love you soy latte.

  3. Snowflake peed on the bean bag yesterday. Grrr! I think being on her own for 10 days drove her a (wee) bit insane. Whilst removing the filling to get the bean bag cover and lining washed (and spilling beans all over the place in the process), I thought it'd be fun to pretend it was snowing.
    Snow Weeee
    Turns out it was plenty of fun!

  4. Every time Snowflake gets a whiff of her own pee, her jaw drops open almost like she's in shock, and she stays that way for a while. It's hilarious - cracks me up every time! Rawr

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Day 29 - Being back in Melbourne

I'm smiling as I'm typing up today's post from my room in Melbourne.

Wait, let me clarify - I'm smiling because I actually managed to get back to Melbourne as planned, despite all the hoo-haa this morning. 

In super-short summary:
  • I hadn't realised that my Resident Return Visa had expired while I was in Penang - eeps!
  • The airline wouldn't allow me to board without a valid visa.
  • With 10 minutes to go before take off from Penang -> KL, Canberra provided clearance and granted my entry. They provided an authorisation code to overwrite the system, allowing me to enter without a valid visa.
  • I rushed to board my flight.
  • Upon reaching KL, while trying to check in for my KL -> Melbourne flight, the system refused to accept the authorisation code Canberra provided.
  • Apparently the code was only valid to be used within 5 minutes. OMG. You cannot be serious.
  • The airlines had to seek for a new authorisation code from Canberra.
  • We waited, and waited, and waited.
  • 1 hour and 10 minutes later, still not a peep from Canberra. OMG. 
  • Then finally, after the airlines called Canberra directly, a new code was issued. Yippee! 
  • With 15 minutes to go before take off, I rushed again to board my flight. The gate was a fair distance away, in a different terminal.
  • I heard an airline officer chanting "run faster run faster" as I sprinted towards the gate.
  • And when I finally boarded (I wasn't the last passenger though....) the plane, sank in my seat huffing and puffing as I tried to catch my breath, I realised I had a smile on my face.

What a morning!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Day 28 - Wan tan mee, my brother's love and old friends

These few days have been insanely chaotic and packed to the brim with activities - and not in a good way. Without going into too much detail, it's been one thing after another.. I don't know what it is, but there seems to be a string of unfortunate events that the new lunar year has brought on. There's a Chinese belief that you are 'destined' to be faced with particular challenges in the new lunar year, but sometimes they appear early on in the year in a relatively minor form (eg. falling ill instead of being diagnosed with cancer) and once you overcome them, that challenge for the year will be over and done with, and you'll be fine for the rest of it. I'm hoping that's the case.

Amidst everything that's going on, I managed to find joy through a few things today:
  1. Wan tan mee (dry wonton noodles) for lunch. It's such a simple dish, but incredibly mouth-watering and delicious.
  2. Wan tan mee

  3. In the afternoon, my brother and I had a teary goodbye as he left for the airport to fly interstate. As I'm returning to Melbourne tomorrow, I won't be seeing him till the next time he visits. We're a pretty tight-knit duo, having lived together for so long and knowing that we'll be in different countries tore me. So imagine my surprise when he reappeared 2 hours after we said our farewells! He had decided to take a later flight at night to spend a bit more time with me! What a sweetie :)
  4. Bye bye :(

  5. Lik Chuen dropped by unexpectedly at midnight to see me off, and we ended up chatting for a good couple of hours while I packed. There's something undeniably beautiful and special about being able to catch up with an old friend to share laughs and stories, with never ending free flowing conversation.
As I lie beneath my star filled ceiling (I stuck them up when I was 15) on my last night in Penang tonight, I'm recollecting my week here. It's been hectic, it's been unpredictable, it's been exhausting, it's been filled with soo much food, and it's also been a lot of fun. It's been amazing to be with all of my family.

I can't help but think - it's all going to be okay.
Sleeping under the night sky

Friday, January 27, 2012

Day 27 - More food, niece's 1st birthday and Dad's ok

Today has been a really long day.

We had a smorgasbord of delicious hawker fare throughout the day, from curry noodles..
Curry noodles

.. to my favourite dish, assam laksa..

.. there was hokkien mee (Penang prawn noodles)..
Hokkien mee

.. and even some nasi lemak.
Nasi lemak

My niece celebrated her 1st birthday (based on the lunar calendar). She's grown so much - I can't believe a year's flown by already!
Birthday cake

Little angel

With the birthday bub

Later in the day, however, we got a scare when Dad had to be admitted into the hospital with a very high fever and rashes. After some tests, we were equally grateful and thankful to be told that he was okay. Phew.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Day 26 - Celebrating Australia Day in Penang

It's Australia Day today, but I spent the day doing rather un-Australian activities:
  1. I met up with my Standard 6 (ie. primary school Year 6) classmates, which turned out to be quite interesting as I haven't seen most of them since we were 12. It was funny to see and talk about how much weight all of us had put on since, and how the short boys were now a couple of heads taller than us.
  2. We had lunch at Chilis, which is pretty un-Australian.
  3. Met up with some friends for Hong Kong-style sweets at Tong Pak Fu.
  4. Caught up with some other friends at Straits Quay for frozen yoghurt at Fruuze, and an icy green tea latte at Starbucks. Also quite un-Australian. We did however discuss the merits of living in Penang vs Melbourne.
So I had to make up for all the un-Australian-ness by having 2 Crownies while wearing a VB cap and lounging in an easy chair with twin stubby holders, with a feral gum tree in the backdrop.


O hai Happy Australia Day

Happy Australia Day!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Day 25 - Awesome char koay teow, cats on a bus and explosions in the sky

3 things:

  1. Awesome char koay teow. Enough said.
  2. Char koay teow

  3. Spotted 2 cats on the side of a bus. Really random. Really cute. Made me and my brother go wtf and we laughed ourselves into hysterics.
  4. Cats on a bus

  5. Being surrounded by thousands of old school boys singing their school song was something indescribably special. The fireworks at the end of the night made me go wow.
  6. Boom

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Day 24 - Yet another face, Gaymers and comfort food

So today I spotted yet another face in a place - that's 4 days in a row, I've never been so lucky!
Happy tray

We went shopping at Cold Storage supermarket, where I was hoping to pick up some cider.. but this was all I could find. Sad face. Whilst I was disappointed in their range of cider (or lack of), the name made me giggle ('cause I'm real mature).

My brother however struck gold when he found Crown lager. Finally some decent Aussie beer!

Later at night, Dad cooked for us his infamous preserved salted vegetables duck soup (咸菜鸭汤). I'm hit with cravings for this dish from time to time when I'm in Melbourne, as this dish has the flavours and comfort of home written all over it.
Preserved veggies and duck soup

Monday, January 23, 2012

Day 23 - Chinese New Year, another face and Brother James Brown

Today I spotted yet another face - that's 3 days in a row!!
Little mouth

With today being the first day of Chinese New Year, we spent the day eating, and eating, and eating...
Tong sui

... taking awkward family photos...
Golden triangle

... and visiting and catching up with old friends.

My brother and I love laughing over that fact that Brother James Road and Brown Road are perpendicular to each other.
Brother James Brown

I found myself thinking I was very lucky to be able to celebrate the new year twice each year, first the new year of the Gregorian calendar, second the lunar calendar. It's been a few years since I've been back in Penang to celebrate Chinese New Year with my family, and being able to do so this year has been very special.

I hope the Year of the Dragon brings great things for everyone I love.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Day 22 - Simple village life

On the eve of Chinese New Year, we always go back to Dad's old hometown where all the relatives get together for the whole afternoon to catch up, eat, and wish each other well wishes for the new year.

On the way there, I had a faces in places spotting. That's two days in a row!
Dimply smile

It was actually quite refreshing to get away from the city and into the relaxing and peaceful surroundings at Dad's hometown. We met 4 very adorable, identical puppies...

We watched some cows walk around us, with this scary big cow below being the leader of the herd...Leader cow

Aren't cows cute! They look like they're permanently smiling!

Then we came across some poo trading. Good to know they import and export!
Poo trading

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Day 21 - A face, cheap food, Pop Pop and good security

4 things put a smile on my face today:

  1. I have this inane and erratic obsession interest in spotting faces in places... I can't believe I didn't spot this one earlier!
  2. Earghh

  3. The abundance of glorious food in Penang is just incredible... the best part is that it's sooo ridiculously cheap once you convert how much they cost in Australian ringgit from Malaysian ringgit!

  4. Like a packet of tasty, tasty fried bee hoon for RM1.20, or 40 Australian cents... Fried bee hoon

    And a bowl of scrumptious, soul-soothing hokkien mee for RM2.80, or 90 Australian cents..
    Prawn mee

    Which was also how much this plate of char koay teow cost. Mindblowing!!
    Char koay teow

  5. Pop Pop it's been a while since we've seen you! We bought some Pop Pop so that we could put a pack in our room and say "I have pop pop in the bedroom" (Note: Arrested Development reference).
  6. Pop pop

    We also spotted some curiously named "Happy Boom" explosives. Not sure why there was a Happy Boom pack with a scantily clad manga chick on the box though...
    Happy boom

  7. With motion sensors and a hyperactive dog on the roof, my brother and I agreed that we have a fail-proof, impenetrable security system going on.
  8. Dog on a roof

Friday, January 20, 2012

Day 20 - Being home

I love how Emirates has a star filled night sky. I could stare at it for hours!
Starry starry night

My first meal in Malaysia was at Old Town where I gobbled down a white coffee and toast with kaya and butter.
Old Town

Check out all that artery-clogging buttery goodness!
Kaya and butter toast

It's a great feeling to be back home in Penang, and to be surrounded by family.

Later in the afternoon, my brother and I roamed through the local supermarket, Cold Storage, where we spotted some funnies like Pirate Beer (next to an unfortunate sign)...
Arrrrr pirate beer

...and Burger King chips..?
Burger king snacks?

But the only Australian beer they stocked was Foster's...

...which left Pe Yang lost for words...

He looked fondly at the array of Australian beef but baulked at the prices...
Missing Australian beef

... while I found joy in cans of ice lemon tea. 
Ice lemon tea
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...