Birmingham in May

Before May, I hardly had any weekends off.

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That was because the cafe was understaffed. But in May my manager started to hire more staff to replace me and another outgoing co-worker, that we each had lesser working hours. My manager then allowed me to have two consecutive weekends off so I would not moan over my working hours.

On the first weekend we went to Birmingham and stayed with Alex’s friend, Eunice. She shared a house with two Malay girls and a Chinese. It felt awkward when I had to converse in Malay. I had to pause often, even in simple conversations. And so I realised that it had been a very long time since I spoken Malay.

I remember when I received a letter from the Malaysian embassy in Belgium in response to visa queries. I contemplated if I should reply, because if I did, it would have to be in Malay. So, there goes all my Malay lessons back to the teachers.
DSC_0455Eunice me Alex

Back to our trip in Birmingham. We reached there super early before the shops opened. We had an unhealthy English breakfast (ham, fried eggs, sausages, bacons, hash browns, mushroom – all the fried stuff) in a pub while waiting for Eunice. During the trip, we hung out mostly at the shops rather than spending more time visiting any touristy places. That was how our habit of dropping by a shopping area every time we travel started.
DSC_0398biggest English breakfast . most Malaysian lunch

DSCF1555Birmingham shopping centre

DSCF1655nostalgic art gallery cafe

DSCF1576outstanding Birmingham Selfridges Building

At night, we walked along the hip and happening quarter of Bridley Place Canals and Broad Street. The night scene was not much different compared to Kuala Lumpur, where everyone dressed up glamorously and headed out for a night of fun. The more posh bars and clubs required a dress code, so we had some drinks in a more casual bar.

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It was only a two-day trip, but it was enough to get a quick picture of life in Birmingham city.


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K Krispy Kreme – I personally think it was too sweet….

Home alone

Tonight I am staying home alone for the second time since Alex and I have been together. He is now on his 5-hour journey to Glasgow to look for our next semester accommodation. I had to stay for work and also because the tickets were very expensive! The first time I had to be alone without him was in last September, when he travelled around the UK with his family. But, I had my cousins visiting then.

Anyway, I just came back from the pub having a quick dinner with Yeliz. We had not been working closing shift together for a while, so we wanted to spend more time together before I leave. (And also because Alex isn’t here to cook.)

So, there goes my first night spent without Alex. The house is now so quiet without Alex’s nagging and silly laughter. But, there is also no one to cook and tidy the house, and comfort me…

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It was our one year dating anniversary yesterday. Alex wrote this in his blog

Special Day
June 20, 2009 by molz
Today is a special day. A year ago something special was given into my care. Fragile and helpless as a silkworm or its cocoon, strong and precious as the silk fibers that it produces. Its many intricate layers require careful handling.

I was a temperamental person and subject to volatile moods. I was impatient, had a short fuse and always waiting for the slightest reason to trigger it. Yet when that object came into my care I had to change all that lest the object was irreparably damaged. I had to learn patience, tolerance, understanding and to control my temper. I had to learn to proceed with sense and caution, reason and rationale. I had to learn to give and not to take. Along the way it became my motivation and inspiration, and my source of happiness. It was the biggest responsibility I have ever held. One I have no qualms about holding, one I am honored to hold.

I hope I can continue to hold

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the responsibility for a long time.


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A bit of Belfast city centre

After visiting Oslo, our travels continues – Belfast in April, this time with Alex’s sister.

It was a short Easter weekend holiday. Our time was rather limited, so we joined the hop-on-hop-off city tour for getting in the a bit of every attractions  before we returned to what we were interested in, by foot or by bus, as our tour tickets were valid for 24hours.

Throughout the trip I felt like I was in Glasgow. Both cities are similar in many ways, from their roles in the industrial revolution, their shipbuilding heritage, and architecture of the city. In fact – the main points of interest: city hall, public square, university and botanic garden, are strikingly similar to Glasgow.

The Titanic was built in Belfast, once widely-believed as “unsinkable”. And every time the Titanic was mentioned, by tour guides or information boards – a disclaimer followed: that the sinking had nothing to do with their design, engineering or construction skill.

Belfast is also known for the infamous Troubles, which caused much suffering during decades of disruption, conflict and destruction and only concluded recently. Transformation and renewal via expansion and regeneration has changed the city a lot.

However, I still prefer the coast of Antrim, which we visited the day before.

  

DSCF9027House of Parliament

DSCF9220 Belfast Mural Tour area

DSCF9233DSCF9247Queen’s University of Belfast

DSC_0066The Alex who didn’t know how to behave

DSC_0042Poser me at Belfast Botanic Garden

DSC_0527Victoria Square . Crown Liquor Saloon . A small pub at the corner

How does it feel like to be in humid weather?

It feels really nice when the sun is out, here in UK.

I went to Kew Royal Botanic Gardens with my friends last month. And it was really humid in one of the greenhouses. It reminded me of the weather in Malaysia, and I started to think if I can stand the hot weather when I am back later. I have already been moaning a lot when it was rather hot during our Paris trip.

Anyhow, after a week of gloomy and wet weather, the sun is out again this

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weekend.

DSCF1330 alex standing next to the banana tree..DSCF1346DSCF1455DSCF1347DSCF1513DSC_0371DSC_0184

It’s Acrophobia

When I was young, adults told me that I shouldn’t tickle a baby’s feet, so to prevent the fear of crossing bridges when they grow up. Therefore, I didn’t dare to do that to my younger sisters when they were babies.

But sometimes I wondered if someone tickled my feet when I was a baby.

I have a vague memory about a ride on a Ferris wheel with my mum when I was really young. I cried all the way as the gondola slowly made its journey up, and only felt relief when the gondola returned towards the safety of the ground. Unfortunately the relief didn’t last when someone told me that was only half the ride. I was too young to remember what happened next…

Last month, my friends and I visited the Kew Botanic Gardens. Though I was afraid of heights I still wanted to walk on the treetop walkway. I started to panic when I reached the top, and there was no turning back. I held Alex’s arm tightly all the way and was really paranoid when he had to let go my hand to take photos. Even scarier, the walkway is made from perforated metal, and vibrated when walked upon. Up among the treetops the wind was strong and the bridge swayed constantly.

DSCF1448Treetop walkway, Kew Royal Botanic Garden
 DSCF1450It’s a plane!

Too many photos, too little time

In the past few days, I spent most of my free time selecting photos to be uploaded in Facebook. It started with the trip to British Museum, followed by the Kew Gardens, then Birmingham, then Bath and Bristol.

I just started with the photos taken in Lille and Paris. I like to keep them in sequence.

DSCF3822 copyThe grand foyer of Opera Garnier

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Galleries Lafayette

p.s. Paris trip wasn’t complete without the ‘’blink blink’’ grand interior.. In fact, Paris was actually too big for us to see all in that few days.

My girl friends

I went shopping in Watford yesterday, with my manager, who is French and a Turkish colleague. It was really nice to have a girls day out. I wish I could have more chances to hang out with them, but it’s really irritating that I have to leave just when I am starting to get closer with the girls.

In the past two years, I have hardly stayed in a place for more than 6 months. This is the place where I stayed the longest, for almost 9 months.
When I first reached Scotland, one of my house mate was an Irish-Indian girl. The rest were Chinese and couldn’t speak English fluently, and I couldn’t speak proper Mandarin. Hence I became rather close with the Irish-Indian girl. However, I had to leave for Belgium after 4 and a half months.

It was easier to make friends in Belgium because the other classmates in the exchange program were also new to the country. So, we always hung out together. My two closest friends were 2 girls from Spain and Poland respectively. Shortly after, the course ended, and we all went our own ways.

And now, after working in the cafe for more than half a year, I’m about to leave again. This time I’m moving back to Glasgow, though I will go back to Malaysia for a short holiday first. Occasionally, me and my current colleagues will have a drink at the pub after work, but this was the first time that three of us had the time to go shopping together.

I still keep in touch with a few friends (thanks to Facebook) and hopefully will see each other in the near future. At the same time, I hope that the friendships between me and my old girlfriends from Malaysia, both in KL & Glasgow, will remain as close as ever…..

DSCF4160p.s. I bought a few bangles, a pair of flat and a pair of earrings that matches the details on the flats… ;D