Tuesday, December 28, 2010

On the brink of a new year!

Apologies for the thousandth time for not updating in a while. I've been so busy with Christmas shopping and generally catching up with life back home in KL for the past two and a half weeks that I've had hardly any time to catch my breath. And when I do get to sit in front of the computer, I have to do work for back in Amsterdam (the perils of being the only graphic designer in the company).

Christmas was a fun affair - we did the usual church and family thing. I spent loads on Christmas presents, and although I got less than half in return, I did enjoy shopping for the presents and just the whole fun of spending money for a purpose instead of just buying more clothes. Which I also did, of course.

I've spent way too much on clothes for myself, but I'm actually restocking for spring and summer in NL. I brought back old clothes that I want to give away and had already planned to stock my wardrobe with new things from here. But it's just that spending a whole lot of money in one day makes me feel terrible, even if it is for things that I will wear for a whole season (or two).

I'm also happy to say that my eczema is cured except for one or two patches here and there. And I no longer feel the need to scratch all night (phew!). It's been so good as well to catch up with my dogs and give them the attention they need. I missed them! They're so cute and they actually look quite tiny now that I've been living with a humongous cat for the past 5 months. It just makes them look cuter :P

I'll stop here with the updates, need to get ready to head to Dan the Drinker's place for some dinner. When Schrobbenmaster was staying with him, they used to have dinner delivered from a place called Puzzini's, which Schrobbenmaster has been missing a lot. So tonight's the night we reenact the old times.

Till next time...!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Food for thought: Foreign languages

You know, the funny thing about foreign languages is that the words don't really mean anything to you even if you know how to say it.

How easy is it to say "Je t'aime" or "Ik hou van jou" to someone you don't love? In this case, please assume that your native language is not French or Dutch. And yet it's so hard to say it in English. Again, please assume that your native language is English.

It's pretty much something I realised when I first started learning Dutch. Right now, it's become a little more imprinted in my being, so it's more meaningful, but in the beginning, whenever I stayed the night at Schrobbenmaster's parents' house, everyone would say "Welterusten!" and then go to bed. And even though I also cheerily said "Welterusten!" to everyone, it never felt right, like I was just finishing a conversation halfway and then turning my back on them.

Same thing when we used to say goodbye to each other by saying "Doei!". I was always so tempted to add a "Bye!" as well, because it didn't feel right to just yell out a meaningless word and leave.


Anyway, this is my last work day before going home for the hols. There are officially 23 minutes left!

It's gonna be a little strange, I think, to be holidaying at home. I've never stayed so long away from KL before, and I'm really curious to find out how I'll feel, roaming my old haunts. The awesome thing is that I can now have as much and whatever sushi I like without caring about the price, haha. Euro, come on!

My luggage is completely packed to the brim and I hope the stroopwafels don't break too badly or spill their crumbs all over my clothes. Also hoping that my favourite shoes won't be squashed. Thank goodness it's made of well-formed and slightly hard leather and suede, so it's a little protected that way.

The next time I write, I will be in warm and humid KL!


Friday, December 03, 2010

5 little things to be thankful for

Sometimes, little things make a big difference in our lives. There are some things here in NL that really put a smile on my face and make me thankful. Yes, indeed, we should be more thankful about things that make our lives just that bit easier.

  1. Drink cartons really ARE no-spill.
  2. Food is as fresh as morning dew.
  3. Drivers are courteous and law-abiding.
  4. Pork is easily obtainable.
  5. Moleskines and Brabantias are affordable.
It is now approaching crunch time! I have to buck up and buy all the souvenirs and gifts to bring home to KL. And it's not ideal weather for going out.

Tonight, we had dinner in a really cosy place on Hoofddorpplein in Amsterdam called Kek, which is a colloquial word for "sweet and cool". We found it through Google Maps (one more thing to be thankful for) because we had planned a dinner with one of my ex-colleagues, Danny Lim (and the guy he's staying with in Amsterdam, Joao), and because of the snow, we didn't want to drive through the centre of Amsterdam. This restaurant is only 10 minutes from our office and in a nice, quiet neighbourhood.

Danny is in Amsterdam for a few days en route to Kuala Lumpur from London, via Madrid, Munich, Budapest, Vienna and a hundred other cities up till Tehran and then the journey stops abruptly only because there are no proper rail transfers across India and Iran.

What an exciting journey!

He's doing it all by rail as well. What a wonderful way to really explore and discover yourself, with all those hours alone. I think it's just great.

Anyway, the past 2 weeks have been really full of 2 or 3-course dinners at lavish restaurants and I'm feeling like I'm gonna be heading back to KL having put on weight that I never had before. I enjoyed all these dinners, experiencing more of the Amsterdam lifestyle. Too bad that it had to be at a time when my skin is really acting up and making me very self-conscious. Thankfully most gezellig places are dim indoors, which makes it easier to hide flaws :P

So back to the point of this post, the next time you encounter something that helps make your life that little bit easier (for me it's definitely the no-spill cartons), remember to pause and smile in appreciation!