Wednesday, 31 December 2014

From 2014 to 2015


 
It’s New Year’s Eve and here I am, sitting in a huge beautiful apartment that’s practically empty.  The only people here seem to be my grandma, the lovely nanny/maid, a workaholic uncle, and me.  The aunties have all gone shopping, the uncles are here and there, and the kids are all continuously riding down the waterslide, not getting bored as I did about an hour ago.  There’s not a single person my age in sight.  At midnight we’ll probably be sleeping, or eating, because that’s what this side of the family does.  It won’t be spectacular, but it will be pleasant, not that it matters what I’m doing at exactly midnight. 

What matters is that 2014 is ending, and I haven’t bothered to do any reflecting yet, which I reckon I should. 

Thinking back to myself last new year’s eve, I was in Melbourne watching the fireworks.  My interest in summer dresses had just peaked, bringing me to what I’m wearing now, which is one of my favourite dresses so far.  Looking back, I was so much shyer, so much less sure of myself.  I guess I’m still not completely sure of myself, but now I’m a year closer. 



2014 has been a big year for me.  Every year is when you’re growing up.  I’ve changed so rapidly and so much.  I’ve been focusing more on my individual worth.  In all the previous years I’ve always gone with the tide, worried so much about what people thought of me.  I wanted so much to belong, but I never realised that belonging wasn’t the same as changing.  I obviously still want to belong, and I still worry what people think of me, but at least I’m now aware of that.


The M last year who would act like a complete retard around people she didn’t know, she can now act like a decent human being.

The M last year who thought other people would say it anyway so why should she bother, now she tries to say it before they do. 

The M last year who never ever confided in people, now she lets her emotions show.  Now she complains or says things whether they’ll find it weird or not.  Okay, that was a bit of a lie.  I still hold back sometimes, but I’m working on it.


2014 was a year of changing and constant friendships, it was the year I started thinking more deeply about people and happiness in general, and the year I started writing.  My diary has been going on for a while, but this year I realised I don’t have to write every day.  I can write whenever I feel like it.  This blog came into existence in August, and I’m really enjoying writing on here, so hopefully this will be the first of many New Year’s posts.



Not forgetting that as well as an ending, the New Year signifies a beginning, I’ve decided to make some New Year’s resolutions.  I’ve never made them before, so I guess I’m starting now.  I feel as if they’ll work, that if I put some goals into words before the year starts, I’ll feel obliged to follow through for once.

So here goes…



1. Eat healthier and exercise more


I know. This one’s really cliché.  But it is a very important one, especially since I’m in Malaysia and feeling out of place amongst the small people, and sick from all the unhealthy food.  So here’s how it’s going to work.  For food, I’ll be eating three meals a day, more veggies, no unhealthy snacks aside from maybe something generic every few days, and I’ll drink loads of water, and only water.  In terms of exercise, I’ll do one form of exercise and 100 staggered sit ups a day.



2. Procrastinate less

It’s the reason my room’s messy, my chores are never done and my instruments are left unpractised.  Too many hours have been wasted on my phone or on this laptop, and in the New Year this has to stop.  Sure, my grades are still fine, but I’ve really been cutting my study time thin.  Basically, when I set a time to do something, I have to do it.  No excuses.



3. Talk to people no matter what.  Stop feeling judged

There have been too many situations where I’ve sat alone and not bothered to talk to the people around me.  I know I’ve become more socially confident, but I’m still getting there and it’s an important skill to learn.  So that’s what I’m going to do.  I’m going to join the conversation and say hi as much as I can.  Honestly, they won’t judge you, and if they are, they were judging you anyway.  That’s how people make new friends, right?  So I must’ve been pretty confident at one stage, and who doesn’t want more friends?



4. Try to be more me and less fake.  Unless being fake is me?

Sorry.  That’s a bit of a confusing resolution.  Basically I should speak my actual opinion or truth more, and stop laughing when I don’t get what they said.  Although, what if suiting my reaction to what other people want is me?  Well, I certainly hope that’s not me so I should change myself then.  Anybody has the power to make themselves who they wanna be.  Does that make any sense?


5. Shut my mouth and stop being stupid

I know I’ve been talking about how much more open I need to be, but I really do need to stop saying stupid things at school, or going out of control with my family.  If I know what I say is going to lead to a disagreement with a friend, or could possibly hurt them, I really shouldn’t say it.  If my mum is being super irritating or wrong, I should just shut my mouth and agree with what she says.  It would make life so much easier for everyone.


6. Redecorate the bedroom

At the moment my room is the same as it was two years ago, maybe with more drawings on the wall, which look kinda tacky up there anyway.  My room needs some serious redecorating.  I’m thinking of creating a new display on top of my shelves, taking down the drawings and putting Polaroids up with my pineapple pegs and string instead, and putting up some lantern lights.  I know.  That sounds really tumblr.



7. Keep writing

The blog needs to last the year for a start.  I don’t want to give up on this, so I guess I’ll have to keep working to make it consistent.  I should also keep writing in my diary, no matter how dorky what I write sounds.  It’s therapeutic.  I also want to write a real story, because I want some of those fantasies in my head to come to life.  Does that sound creepy?



8. Practice musical instruments more

Starting with when I get back to Grandma’s, I will practice the piano.  And in Australia, I’ll practice the trombone.  I’ve really neglected my instruments this year, and if I want to improve I need to put the work in.



9. Set a good sleeping routine

Sleep late and struggle through the next day.  That’s been my routine this year, and it needs to change.  I know this might sound worse, but my goal is to wake up even earlier.  I figure that I’ll have more time to do things in the morning, and it’ll wake me up a bit for the day.  I figure that if I wake early, I’ll end up sleeping earlier too.  Obviously I won’t be starting during my holiday, but this will be effective from a week before school starts.



10. Be more organised and independent

I used to be the most organised person in the world, with everything neatly arranged and my time management carefully set out.  This year that’s all gone down the drain, so I’m aiming to become that organised person again.  My dad’s also always teasing me about being unable to fend for myself in public, which I think is untrue, but I would like to become more confident with being alone and getting rides for myself, even if I have to take the public bus alone.



And I guess my mantra for 2015 would be to care less, because over this last year I’ve realised that the less you care, the happier you are.  Stop caring what people think of you and you’ll be unafraid to talk to anyone.  Stop caring how your life is compared to other peoples’ and you’ll be happy with your own.  Stop caring and you’ll be content.  I don’t know if you agree, but maybe it would be something to think about in the year to come.


Have a happy new year!!

Love,
M

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

These Books Have it All

It's amazing what book vouchers and cheap books can do.  Being overseas, I've been forced to only read books bought, not borrowed, and it's done quite a bit to my book selection.  There's no second-rate books or books that bore me to death.  No.  Since I've been here I've read three books in a row that seem to have the whole package.  They've all got mystery, new societies or universes, a forbidden romance, deception, ethics and very very good concepts.

 The first of the three is a book called The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski.

The protagonist is a girl named Kestral, a Valorian, daughter of the powerful wealthy general who took over the Herran land.  Despite her father wishing for her to be a soldier, she's not a natural fighter and would much rather turn to music.  She is, however, very deceptive, able to win any game, able to strategize perfect plans.

One day she goes into the markets and finds herself bidding for a Herran slave, and winning.  And just so you know, he's the love interest.  But he's not quite who he says he is.  He's pretty deceptive too.

It's a story set in a world of court policies and military plans.  It's a story of power.





The second book I read is called The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

One small town survived the war.  In it were two sides.  One wanted a monarchy, with presidency passed down the bloodline.  They wanted to live life for the good of the group, with arranged marriages and women producing children for the good of the population.  The other wanted a democracy, with the rights of each individual in mind. The monarchy side won.  And from that year onwards, the daughters of the losing side were forced to marry the sons of the winning side, a sign of peace.

Ivy is being forced to marry the son of the president, Bishop.  All her life her sister and her have been home-schooled by their father, turned against the system of their current society.  All her life Ivy has felt second best to her sister.  And for two years she's been dreading and preparing for this moment.  Her mission is to kill Bishop.

But maybe things aren't as they seem.  Either he's a really good actor or Bishop's not as bad as she thought he'd be.  Maybe her father isn't completely right.  And maybe the president isn't completely bad.  Maybe there is no wrong or right.  But then, what's right?

This one's a story of ethics and morals.  What's the right thing to do?


The third book I read is called A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray.

Marguerite's the daughter of two fantastic physicians.  All her life she's lived amongst science, taught that anything's possible.  She's had her sister and the extra family of all the grad students coming in and out.  Most importantly and recently are Paul and Theo.  Paul is large, a little awkward, and kinda quiet.  He's brilliant though, and he's the one Marguerite likes.  Then there's Theo, who's arrogant and flirty.  He's smart, but not quite as brilliant as Paul.

Marguerite's parents have just made a breakthrough.  They've created a device that can jump between dimensions (but all the stuff explained about that is too complicated to tell you here).  But before they're even able to test it out, Marguerite's dad is murdered and the prototype is stolen, the murderer and thief being Paul.

Soon Marguerite and Theo are on a quest after Paul, hopping from dimension to dimension.  But what happens when Marguerite meets a different version of Paul?  What happens when what happens is not quite what it seems?

It's just one confusing jumbled up story, containing everything, that you will greatly enjoy.


And you know what?  I could've made it four in a row if only I'd remembered to bring this book.


Oh well.  But guess what else these three books have in common?  They all have a sequel that hasn't come out yet.  Ugh.  I hate waiting for anticipated books.

  
 
Love,
M

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Singapore

It's past midnight here in Malaysia but I don't really care.  I feel like blogging, so that's what I'm doing.  Tonight I've decided to share with you my recent trip to Singapore.

It's where I've spent most of this week, from Monday to Friday, in a hotel on the busiest brightest road in Singapore with 16 other relatives.  Talk about a great Christmas.  The decorations on Orchard Road were pretty bright, and the place was so busy at times we couldn't even move.

First there was the 45 minute flight where my sister took a few pics out the window for me...



And then there's the photos from the beautiful hotel lobby.  Oh how I love hotels




And now, moving on to the actual Singapore site seeing stuff, that day half of us decided to go to Chinatown while the other half stayed back at the hotel.  My dad was having some kind of tourism obsession, although it was more like a photo obsession actually.  Honestly though, I kinda wish I'd stay back.  But Chinatown was nice too.  What I noticed the most was the theme of lanterns


 
 
And the life saving air conditioned temple
 
 
And that really yummy dessert...
 
 
 
Then, that night, I met up with the beautiful June to go shopping down Orchard Road.  It was actually pretty strange, seeing her outside Australia.  It felt as if we were in a whole other dimension, and it was a really fun one.  That night we tried on clothes we'd never wear, walked into an expensive branded shop where we must've angered or surprised the security guard very much, got lectured on Christianity by not-too-bad looking Singaporeans, and were simply two small city girls in a big city across the ocean.


 
 



 
And now moving onto day two, where we went to Little India, which I found absolutely horrible.  The weather was just so bad, going from super hot to super rainy.  My dad took his obsession to the next level, making us all walk for what seemed like forever from Bugis Street, down dangerous looking roads, to Mustafa, which wasn't even great.  Oh how I wish my cousin and I hadn't had a misunderstanding and had just gone to Universal Studios with the young ones instead.  Now that would've been fun.
 
Anyway, here's the few pictures I took around Little India...
 



And when we finally got back onto the train...
 

 

And that night, since we had so much fun and not nearly enough time late night shopping the night before, June and I did it again!  This time I had some shoe mishaps though.  We took photos with the creative Christmas decorations we wouldn't see back home, and had one very interesting glass elevator ride...
 


 
 
And finally on the next day, the family actually did something fun!  We went to Sentosa Island to ride the Luge, do some 4D activities, and look at the long serpent and the Merlion and stuff.
 
Here's a few photos from the chairlift ride up from the Luge
 
 

 
And another few from the observatory, spinning round and round at a snail's pace above Singapore
 
 

 
A sneaky little jungle pic on our way...
 
 
And here's that giant serpent, or "dragon" as my dad called it
 

 
 
Just a little mirror selfie with the fam gang ;)
 
 
And an individual tumblr shot the family still managed to weasel their way into
 
 
Oh yeah, and that creepy looking Merlion...
 
 
And that night was Christmas Eve, when the massive crowd came out and destroyed my chance of getting to Kinokuniya by 10.
 
 
Then Christmas day came, and I was with the relatives.  We took one big photo under the lobby Christmas tree before spreading in our directions.  One side met up with another side, and my internal family joined another, celebrating Christmas with distant relatives in a high class Singaporean house, with 4 floors, a lap pool and an elevator, of which I actually took no photos.
 
I ate loads and didn't exercise at all.  I have to say though, my highlight of Christmas day was going shopping.  We finally did get to Kinokuniya (a very large bookshop) and I was greatly impressed.  The YA section was literally the size of the local bookshop back home.  They had every YA book I could ever think of.  This is the YA section itself, a store of it's own...
 
 
And, later, my cousin and I did a little clothes shopping, spending the leftovers of our Singaporean money.  My favourite clothing shop, Valleygirl (named Temt in Somerset 313) gave me a nice surprise by being 50% off everything.  I dragged my mum to the shop and managed to buy myself a stack of clothing, with nothing over $10 and the majority at $5.  I must say, it was a pretty good Christmas.
 
But on Boxing Day we left, not even taking advantage of the further sales, and instead flying off to KL once again.
 
Now, I wonder if any of you have gotten far enough to be reading this sentence here.
 
Love,
M