Sunday, July 20, 2014

MyPhd Journey: The first step

Assalammualaikum wbt..

So my leave application system at work talks to me. So does. Pssstt you there, it said, you have 4 days earned leave. Use me woman. And I said, Oh pleaseee, I ain't going no where. I have earned and successfully kept 4 days as opposed to my famous negative leave + unpaid leave days. Ah good times, good times. 

Clearly shows I've yet to take a break in the past 1 month. 'Must you go on a holiday every month?' It's really unheard of someone said... Unheard of? 
Okay to put it gently-my batteries need some serious recharging once every month. I'm motivationally drained (got such a word?) coz I seriously don't get any sitting and staring at my lappy from 9.00 am - 7.00 pm everyday. It's damaging my brain cells or what's left of it. I wake up tired and I go home tired. On some days I have a back ache. On the other days I feel like jumping off from the Penthouse floor, just to see if I secretly have wings that will set off like Dumbo so I can fly off somewhere. Grrr.. I know it nonsense.Just venting.

 Well, anyway, some of you may know or may not know about my recent decision to continue my study. Yes, I finally made up my mind to go for a Doctoral Degree. I've been delaying my decision for almost 4 years! My first attempt of pursuing my doctorate 4 years ago was not successful I can say. But I don't regret it because I was 1 month expecting at that time. I was too sick that I really can't concentrate on my study. I don't even make it to my defend proposal session. So I quit. The only matters to me at that time were focusing on my pregnancy, marriage and career. My career begin to stabilized when I was promoted to a higher level position in my organization in 2012. We recently bought a house and our daughter is now turning three years old. I knew that commitments towards my family which includes my parents have been the influencing factors for me to consider to pursue my advance degree. There are so many things juggles in my brain on the day I submitted my research proposal to the University- how will be my home life, will my leisure time be affected by the financial challenges, time & energy required to focus on my study and the list goes on..

Yes, I have considered everything from A to Z, I've talked to my husband and both of my parents about this matter. Ultimately, deep inside my heart, I knew why did I decided to pursue my study to a higher level when at this age I have almost everything I wanted- family, kid, career, savings, house, etc..

And my answer to this question is simpler than I thought. I wanted to know more, I wanted to figure out things- and for that reason, research is about the best fit possible. I was also curious to explore my own boundaries and abilities and to get off the beaten path and "work my way through the woods".

I know some people may not considered this decision as seriously as mine. But, I'm a married woman, a mother and I have built my own career for the good SIX years. And now I'm changing my normal path by quitting my job, become a full time student and leaving far from my husband & daughter. I've been through this existential crisis myself, time when I question everything and feel lost..and this was the time when my husband told me: You are where you are for a reason! You are given an opportunity. Benefit from it!

So let's be grateful for this, for this life changing opportunity!

Bismillahirrahman nirrahimm..this is my first step of my PhD Journey:
So I'm gonna use my annual leave balance for the registration day and the remaining balance for our Medan holiday in September :) Gonna start my so called 'full time study' pretty soon after the holiday baby!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The time that I locked my toddler in the car

Assalamualaikum wbt..

Oh yes.. this is a major Mommy Fail moment..get ready for it.


That's the sound the door made as it closed and locked Aulia' in the car, standing at the car back seat after my husband carried her in and accidentally closed all the doors. Our car key was on the front seat. 

It's also the sound of my heart dropping through my legs and out my toes and although this happened yesterday, I am still a little shaky. I can't believe I am sharing it here. I am embarrassed and ashamed and still feel the worst kind of awful that I let it happen at all. I was the one who holding the car key and what on earth I was thinking by putting the car key on the front seat??! And we were only an hour away to break fast.

We were in the KFC parking lot and things were going well- I even remembered our list to buy for Iftar! And, like always, we put on the things we bought at the car back seat and carry Aulia' inside before we get in and start the engine. But while I do that I put the car key and purse down and have a habit of making sure all the back doors and boot are closed just before I get in the front seat.

I immediately knew what had happened and tried the handle. Locked! OMG I was panic.

I turned and tapped frantically on the back window. "Aulia' get Ibu the car key. Baby please!!" I beg, and about to cry. 

I stood by her door, praying for my child safety. Aulia' was standing there at the back seat without knowing what had happened. We called her name many times and ask her to get the car key. She stepped to the front seat and get the key. All she need is to press the alarm. But it didn't happen. We tried to show her how to press the alarm but she just stood there watching us tapping the window calling her name.

I was sick with regret and shame and tried to keep myself together. How could I let this happen?

I called my dad while my husband went looking for a locksmith or anyone who can help us unlock the door.

My husband was there quickly and came with a Chinese foreman- she was inside about 30 minutes total (30 minutes of calling Aulia' name, begging her to unlock the door, finding tools to break the handle, tried to open the front boot and detached the battery but failed, bought an ice-cream just to persuade my little baby to press the green button). Only God know how I felt at that time. 

When the door was successfully unlocked, her face was flushed and her head was quite sweaty, but my baby didn't even cried at once. I did. I hug her tightly like never before.

 I still am replaying it through my head and can't figure out why it made me feel like all the blood had been drained from my body. I am so thankful that everything is OK and to some I am probably freaking out way too much. I could have broken a window if I needed to, I could have gotten to her sooner by damaging the car but it was still traumatic. My husband wouldn't let me do it.

I felt like a bad parent, to tell you the truth.

I felt like I would be setting myself up for judgment by whoever finds out about this. 

You who read my words every day know how much I love my child. I'm careful and cautious and loving and aware. But these things still could happen no matter how much you love them. Accidents happen. Close calls happen.

I felt judged while I stood there next to my car, helpless, waiting for the door to be unlock. I just did what I could do, I did my best for that moment, even though I was in my worst. I keep praying, praying and continue praying.

Dear heart, beat normal again soon, please?
These photos was taken the night after the tragedy. We are so thankful that we made through the scary moment in our life. Now, we took this as a learning experiences and remember what can happen in a blink of an eye. 

Dear Aulia', ibu felt so sorry for what had happened yesterday. I was watching you sleep that night, and prayed that it would last. I watched you speak a while ago and hope that you'd go on. Your spirit seemed so strong and prayed my tears would dry. As I was watching you today, I realized that I can't wait to tell you how much I appreciate and love you in every way. May Allah protect you my child.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

if you're happy & you know it..

then just SING IT!!

that's what Aulia' does when she gets really excited. and apparently playing with my deodorant the other day and decided to use it as a microphone was really exciting. lol

Friday, July 4, 2014

Nasi Tumpang Recipe

Assalamulaikum wbt..

I hope it is not too late to wish all my readers a Happy Ramadhan!

It's been a while since I last cooked so it's taking a while to get comfortable back in the kitchen coz it does scare me a lil and quite honestly it's as good as starting all over again! 

I made scramble eggs a few days ago for breakfast and I'm more than thrilled it turned out well, lol so for now my mom is still the main chef here. But today, as of the day 6 of Ramadhan, my mom and I decided to cook a Kelatanese cuisine which is 'Nasi Tumpang' for Iftar. Nasi Tumpang is a Kelantanese secret recipe beautifully prepared layer by layer of pressed rice cakes and wrapped into a banana leaf shaped cone.  The cost for ingredients cost a little less I believe and served 4 1/2 of us (Husband, mom, my lil sister, myself and Aulia') so huge thumbs up for cost saving factor while putting out a yummy easy to make dinner for on the table without buying at the Bazaar. 

What you'll need:

3 pots of rice
4 pots water
Banana leaf
Meat floss (Serunding)- which I bought from Bangi Getaway
Shrimp Curry
-600g prawns
-2 medium onions
-4 medium tomatoes
-4 cloves
-2 tbsp ginger & garlic paste
-1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
--1 tbsp red chilli powder
-Cooking oil


Banana Cones
 Prepare about 7 to 8 banana leaf cones. 
Cut them into six-inch squares, roll each into a cone, and fasten at the seam with a bamboo skewer.

Soft Rice
Boil the rice to 'overcooked'. Make sure it became a lil bit soft so that you can compressed it easily inside the banana leaf cone. 

Shrimp Curry
 1) Wash all the shrimps. You do not need to remove the shell, just cut the head. 
2)  Peel and finely dice 2 onions, then 4 tomatoes.
3) Start frying. Put a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add 3 tablespoon of cooking oil. Fry for about 30 seconds, stirring continually.
4) Now add 2 tablespoon of ginger and garlic paste. Stir well for a couple of minutes.
5) Add the spices : 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon of red chilli powder. Fry for 5 minutes over a low heat, stirring frequently.
6) Add a cup of water and keep stirring until the water is absorbed. Turn the heat down, put the lid on, and leave to simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the oil separates from the dish and rises to the top.
7) Turn the heat back up to high and add the prawns to the pan. Then stir in 2 generous pinches of salt.
8) Add approximately 200 ml of warm water to the pan. Stir. Then put the lid on and bring the heat down. Leave for about 10 minutes or until the prawns are cooked. Check occasionally. The prawns are done when they turn pink and opaque. When they are ready, turn the heat off.

Nasi Tumpang:
So now that all your main ingredients are ready, we can start filling the banana leaf cone with the soft rice, meat floss and shrimp.

Each layers are stacked tightly and eventually the gravy from the shrimp curry will flow through the banana cones while the rice kernels still firm and stayed in shaped. 

 I'm so gonna try this again peeps!
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