This journey is incredibly humbling for me.

From being wounded and not knowing which way is up and wondering whether or not i could be ALIVE or not and at the same time, finding new MEANING in my new life in this FOREIGN place.....It's been an AMAZING journey

I am a daughter, sister, dog-owner and friend.

Currently, i am learning to train my mind and body. I want to hold my body, challenge my physical ability to a level i could never imagine.

I definitely have learn to stop letting these people who do so little for me in my life but control so much of my mind, feeling and emotions.

Learning to let them go from my life is definitely one of the best achievement i ever done to myself.

Goodbye my friends.... Hope when we meet again, we are once strangers again.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy Birthday, my friend.

"Take what you need, take what you can, and forgive the rest."

For my whole life, although i am close with my mom, dad and bro, but i am more attach to friends. According to my psychologist, she said it must due to the childhood trauma i experienced when i was young, when i was looking up to my elder sister, elder cousin brother and elder cousin sister but i was outcast from their clique due to different religion faith. Therefore, i wandered away and looked for friends as my support rather than family members. And somehow some of the friends that i am close with are much older than i am. 

Little did i know, i was resilient. I survived this difficult stage, turned a bit rebellious and different from them and lived on my own. Thus i thought i turned quite well. Independent, capable and happy-go lucky. Little did i know that there is this 'little one' in me that i buried long long long time ago, is scare, fragile and insecure. And for all my life, i a never aware of this 'little one' inside me. 

But for one thing i know, i have this friend, that has been with me since high school through college and work till my depression. 

Who knows this newly transferred girl back when i was form four, will be the same girl that walks through thick and thin with me in my adulthood. 

Thanks to her, i believe there is friendship that can lasts forever. 

Thanks to her i survive my adolescent well and fulfilling. 

Thanks to her, i also learn to shift our friendship to a new perspective after my depression. 

Somehow after depression hits me, i am no longer the same girl i was. I learnt to discover the 'little one' in me and become more reserve. I left home to a foreign place. I left the familiar place, familiar faces and familiar feeling to a complete different foreign place. In fact, i communicate lesser with many people in my life, but communicate more with myself and little one. 

Somehow i feel the need to take this step, staying away from everybody that i am familiar with and discovering the new self in me. But at the same time, i found it hard to move on for months even till now. I thought about my old friendships with a great sense of loss, i spent a lot of time googling about friendship and talking to my psychologist about it. I could not just forget about all we shared for the decades before, could i? My mind and hear was clouded with anxiety in me because my mind tells me to move on but my heart tells me i cannot just leave everything behind. 

There are many friends i left behind during my one year of self-escape that i feel confident that i can return to them when i come back. I believe these people are or will waiting for me. But somehow, for this particular friend, i feel like i will be losing her forever because i take the step for leaving everything behind including her and our friendship and that makes me feel uncomfortable. 

I waited it out for awhile. "Maybe it's just me," i thought. I needed to try harder, call more often, and be more available.

But i cannot do anything now because i am tired to feel the obligation to hold on to this friendship. I am tired to be the one who constantly make sure this friendship runs. I am tired to be the one who initiate all the conversations and activities for gathering. I am tired to feel that as though i am the only one who want to keep this friendship. Another reason i feel insecure for this friendship is the depth of friendship between us. Practically, we survived college, break-ups, family problems and happiness together. Our bond was unbreakable. And i also believe she is feeling the same as i do about our friendship now. And she is probably feeling insecure about it and feels as though our friendship is about to break anytime. But the person i know in her, she believes the lesser she does, the harm will be lesser too. Little she did not know, the lesser she does, the further apart we will be.

Today is her birthday.

If by chance she reads this message. I hope she reads this note i left for her.

' Dear friend,

For some reason, i never believe in best friend, but somehow after this incident and experience the degree of losing a friend, somehow i realize i do have a best friend in you.

I am sorry i left you behind even though i always know you need someone with you even though you never talk about it or act about it.

I am sorry to stop initiating all the connecting or communicating jobs as i always does.

I am sorry i never reply your whatsapp or email ASAP as i always do.

I know you also does the best as how you feel to make sure our friendship keeps going on. Somehow i think i am being greedy and expect more than just few words in the messages or i do not want to be the one that initiate the conversation.

I hope both of us can bring our friendship to a new perspective. Let's take what each of us can offer and forgive the rest. Let's give each other what we can.  And keep our memories close to each other. 

Happy Birthday to you, my friend. 

Thanks for being there. And thank you if you are still waiting. 

Xiao xiao (^o^)'

Friday, December 12, 2014

Nepal Medical Mission 2014 Day 1 Part 2 - Take a leap and the net will appear

31 October 2014, Tribhuvan Airport, Kathmandu 

None of us know this place well as we know our home. None of us know the monks that fetched and helped us with the luggages. Some of us know that we are here to do good deeds. But some of us doubt what we can contribute to this place. How many hearts can we touch by just be here for 10 days? How many things can we contribute from us? Will we make a difference in this people life? But somehow all of us know we just need to take a leap and we believe the net will appear. Maybe this 10 days we will create miracle in ourselves instead of other people. 

The wonder of Himalaya
The pilot announced that we will touch down soon but before that, we shall enjoy the view of the Himalayas which was just on my right. Although I did not get the window seat, but the gentleman next to me kindly opened the window shield and allowed this over-enthusiastic lady to take another awkward picture of the Himalayas. 

We arrived Kathmandu safely and we got the first taste of Nepalese welcome gesture. Waiting line for visa payment and then another waiting line for visa processing and another waiting line for security check. 

There are too many people come to Nepal to see the wonders of Himalaya

After we are done with the visa application, we followed the crowd and walked to our baggages collection area. The area is small and there were many baggages and boxes lie around the conveyor belt with no owner claims. And several local people approached us to offer to help to send the luggages out of the airport at minimal fee. 

Once we are done with the luggages and everyone gathered outside the airport. Some team members feels the need to reconnect with the world, immediately they bought local SIM cards. While some of us were waiting for our transport, awkwardly we introduced ourselves to each other, finally the ice is breaking slowly. One monk came and approached us and asked are we Sister Kathy's friends, we said yes. There is a huge van parked right next to us. Some of us thought we will go into the van, actually, we are not. 

Helpful monks that help us to carry heavy luggages.

While all of our luggages squeeze into this van, all of us will squeeze into this school bus. 

The yellow school bus that brings many memories of our childhoods.
Each of us has a taste of reviving old memories in the school bus and at the same time, we have our first taste on Kathmandu's driver skills in Kathmandu traffic. Once we hit the road, immediately I know the quality of your or motorcycle or car honk is a must to check when you buy a new car in Kathmandu. Practically, everybody is honking each other, whether to greet, to warn or to scold. The journey is accompanied with orchestra of honks along the way, while we 'wow' with how close these cars, buses, lorries and motorcycles ride closely with each other. We practically can greet 'Tashi delek'  and even shake hands with our neighbors at the traffic light stop. Along the way, the group starts to warm up with each other. Brother Bryan and brother James start making jokes about them still going school at this age because they keep flunking in the exam. 
Susan D is definitely a magnet. She can grasps people heart and attention with just simple gestures. Amazing...
We arrive in Kopan Monastery. We are amazed with the scenery, the architecture of the temples, the freshness of cold crispy air and the warmth welcome by the monks who at the same time helped us with our heavy  luggages again. We gathered with our roommates in our room. Out of nowhere four of us brought out the food supplies we brought for the trip. All of us are amazed with the amount of food we thought we need during this trip. I not sure whether we are underestimating or overestimating our tummy capability. Is also amazing to know that 12 hours ago, we were strangers from different backgrounds and different continents, that meet together for the same cause, can create common understandings with each other at this point. 

Once we settle with our rooms and luggages, we tour around the temples. The amazing stupas architecture and view from Kopan Monastery because it situated on the hill, really give me a sense of serenity and calm. 

Dinner time is early. And is the time to have the first taste of Kopan Monastery's food. I read a lot about it and now the curiosity is lurking in. 

Picture courtesy of Roddy Teoh - our Dinner of the first day - Vegetables soup with Nepalese bread and salads. 
Once we done with dinner and cleaning up ourselves. Finally we met up with everybody, have our ice breaking session, have our roles explained in this mission and also what we will expect throughout this mission. 

I cannot believe I am bashed up for tonight. Thanks to the flight, traveling, time difference from Saudi Arabia to Malaysia and now to Nepal.

But I am grateful because we arrived safely, meeting the monks, stay in this beautiful monastery and also able to create a wonderful memories with this people in this mission. 

And now I called it a night for my first leg of my trip

Friday, December 5, 2014

Nepal Medical Mission 2014 Day 1 part 1 - Awkward yet comfortable

31 October 2014, KLIA
    Day 1, 9.30am

Have you ever feel like you are a stranger in a circle of people that you never know yet they seemed so familiar to you?

But for some reason, you are feeling comfortable with them at the same time. 

Sitting at one corner, I see how each of them greeted each other. Some of them greeted each other politely as though they never meet. For some, they greeted each other like two best friends never meet each other for very very long time. And for some, they greeted each other as though they know each other for very long time but actually in reality, they have never meet before. I guess this is what we called same brain wave of craziness. And a small group of them already gather with each other as though they found a common topic, language or even gesture within each other.

And then, came this lady who greeted everybody with smiles, the same lady that gathered and connected us via whatsapp for months. We are indeed familiar with each other's whatsapping skills, however this is the first time, we see each other face to face. At least, for me it was the first time, but for some they may have met each other due to previous gathering prior the trip. I wonder how things will turn if all the team members describe themselves in whatsapp before the meeting. I shall describe myself as 'sleepy-looking lady with overpacked luggage and backpack, and half-asleep on the table.'

Prior to this gathering, there were a lot of paper works and arrangements going on, in term of finding sponsors, donations, networking, legal paperworks, accommodation arrangements, logistics arrangements and etc....... I am not the organizer, but I indeed understand how the lengthy behind-the-scene process prior to this meeting. 

Many questions pop up in my mind.

 'Did I under pack or over pack my luggages?'

 'Will I be able to get along with these people?'

'What can I do there?'

'What if I got Acute Mountain Sickness and needs emergency medical evacuation' 

'What happen if my helicopter crashes?'

Well, after all the awkward greeting session and mind-glob bing self- destruction thoughts for me, we took an awkward group photo too with our Jalur Gemilang. 

Picture courtesy of our yoga laughter therapist, Ms Susan Dustin - The 'must' pre mission picture with Sister Kathy
Well, that's not end, we had another meet-and-greet in the departure lounge with other group members who transited from all over places. That meet-up was even extravagance and noisier than the first. 

It was indeed an awkward yet comfortable meet-and-greet session for me. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Depression: Lesson or blessing?

"Some people pass through our lives in a shorter time frame than we had hoped to teach us things they never could have taught if they stayed"

View from Tabur Hike
It took me a year before i could open a hidden file that i virtually put in in hidden mode in my computer because the stuffs in the file give me flashbacks of a wonderful friendship that i thought is going to last forever in my life. Today i overcame my fear. I told myself is time to see whether the wound still hurt or not. Sad to say, the wound still feel pain. Although it no longer feels like a burning pain like fresh cut wound as before, but it is still painful.

Open this hidden file reminds me of a scene in Nurse Jackie when Jackie discovered her daughter, Grace is suffering from depression.

Grace : “It’s like I’m on the edge of having ten ideas all at once, only maybe, I don’t have to have them. Like I could say “freeze” and walk right up to them and see if I want to let them in or not. I don’t think they’re ever going to go away, but if I don’t want to think them, I don’t have to.”

Jackie: “No you don’t.”

Grace: “My heart is moving a little slower. I can’t tell. But it’s OK, it’s just for now.”

I took my time to rearrange the photos. It took me so long to figure out what to do with it. I clicked on the right click and attempted to move it to trash several times. My heart and brain are having tug-of-war now. 

The common sense brain said 'The photos are useless now. They no longer serve any purpose in your life anymore, So there is no point to use up the space in your computer now'. 

But the heart said 'Xiao Xiao, you are a human with heart. How could you cut off everything by just deleting the pictures. The pictures may vanished from your computer forever, but can it remove from your heart forever?'

I am calmer now.

When i looked back now, i feel the foolishness in me. I feel the silliness in me and i feel the stupidity in me. For some reasons, i am a late-boomer. For some people, they experience friendship breakup in primary and secondary schools. For me, i experience when i am adult and at the same time, when i felt into the depression. I thought these friends who knows the real me, will be there when i am down, will tolerate with my nonsense excuses, or will be waiting for me to snap out of it patiently. But, not only i receive their concern, care and love as i hoped to, i received penalty for being depressed, i received out-cast treatment as though i am psychotic patient that will harm people, i received hateful remarks.

But for some reasons, i decided to leave and come to foreign land. Surprisingly, the circle of friends here are superb. I learnt to be friends with other people again. I learnt to accept friendship. I learnt to trust people again. I learnt to make joke and laugh again. Although they do not know what i am going through, but i know these girls will accept what i was and what i am because i know for one thing, i am not the only one who leave home country because of running away from things, incidents and people that make them no longer can stay in their own home countries anymore.

Now that i am more mature than one year ago, i learnt lessons and blessing from the friends who i thought that will be my friends forever during my depression period.

Lesson Number One
Some people are not meant to stay in my life because they can only teach me to be stronger than before when they leave me in the depressed state.

Lesson Number Two
When one person chooses to leave my life, always believe another people will choose to come into my life, no matter how old am I.

Lesson Number Three
There are always space and room for an extra friend. And is always depend on me whether i am allowing this person to come into my life or not.

Lesson Number Four
No matter how dark the room I am in, somehow if I take one step at a time, I will find the pathway to the light of hope.

Lesson Number Five
Depression wakes me up and gives me clearer pictures on who and what I want in a person to be in my life as friend and even better, as family member.

Blessing Number One
My family will always be there for me, no matter what, no matter if I turn into monster, no matter if I leave and come back to them after some time. FAMILY WILL ALWAYS BE THERE FOR ME.

Blessing Number Two
I learnt to map my future at my present state now.

Blessing Number Three
Despite some people leaves me when i was depressed, I just need to open my eyes and see there are also other people stay by my side quietly, looking out for me.

Blessing Number Four
Along the way, I meet new people and these new people can be the girls that will stay besides me for the rest of my life.

Blessing Number Five.
I am earning more than I ever have before.

If you think you are suffering now and feel alone, and you feel is difficult to count your blessings, do not worry. You are not the only one. I would say, go with your feeling, let it go through the phases of depression on its own, you do not need to be positive and nice all the time. But always remember one thing that is DO NOT AFRAID TO TRY AND FAIL. If today you cannot smile at 1 person, is just fine. Tomorrow, you must try to smile at 1 persons again. Same goes with the blessing, if today you cannot recall any blessing or any lessons, is OK. Tomorrow you try again.  Is fine to feel the fear. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

New room, new housemate....

I am happy.....

I finally passed my council examination.

And now i just need to wait patiently for my council application and my working permit now.

And good news from me.

I moved to a place called 'HOME'.

I got a new 'friend cum family member'

And now i can hang my frying pan on the wall now.

Previously, i was staying with a Germophobia cum maniac Polish lady. I was sad and lonely. I was eating my meals in front of computer. It feel pathetic. Not only that, i am scared and afraid. I realised unconsciously i tend to avoid this crazy Polish lady. I make sure i came home early and cooked earlier before she comes back. And i tend to wash my plates and bowls in the morning because i tend to avoid her at night cause i know she is there in the kitchen and living room.

Now, God answers my prayer. I am such a blessed girl.

Currently i am sitting in the living room with my laptop on my lap and i am watching "So You Think You Can Dance".

And this evening, i FaceTime with my family. Coincidently, they were having reunion family dinner. Initial, i thought i will be having hard time with the thought of them having great time without me., but surprisingly, i am not at all. Having a good housemate is really crucial. She really makes my day. She will cook indian vegetables curry and prepare Indian dessert for me. And then i will follow her to go shopping. And for once, i feel i can be a friend to someone and someone take me as their friend after so long.

And we have a lady that will drop by my our home and join us for dinner. Is fun. It feels like family.

And one more thing, i cannot wait for my Malaysian friends to come back. I am sure they got me something from Malaysia.

My new home, new family members....

Saturday, February 1, 2014

You Went for a Coffee Chat and You Went Home....

You heard of bad news, i am faraway from home. i am not celebrating Chinese New Year with my family and friends this year. i am also not going on family trip with them this year too. However you heard it, i know you immediately felt bad, you asked how to help, what can you do for me, you will pray for me. Whatever you did, i am grateful, even you did not say anything about it. You are a blessing to me. I am grateful that the fact my presence is important to you, that is why you spend time for me, even in your prayer.

However, as the time goes, you move on with your life, i moved on with mine. Life goes back to normal. You called, you asked, you caught up with me over a cup of coffee. You did what you could have done for a friend. Once the ordeal was done, the day was done too, and you went home. Back to your life, back to your love, back to those who make your world complete.

You came to me and then you went home.

But someone like me remains the same. After the cup of coffee, i went back home. I still feel bad about myself. The couch feels warm and cozy, but the heart still feels empty. Life is not anymore the same again for me and it never will be again. Where there was once laughter during the coffee chat, now is no longer there anymore. The short coffee chat seemed so long for me. There are clothes unpack, shoes scattered around, passport lied on the bed. So much to do and so many memories left to be remembered, processed and grieved to a lost friendship.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Friendship - Really Want To Say Good Bye

"Tears are forming in my eyes as i look into the sky. Just by looking, the memories flow. A day without you is painful. The longing rises. Love is crying and being scattered in the wind. My tears, my sad memories, my love whom i miss i always draw you out from the sky, yes i live in pain like this. Again today i live in pain."
Xiao Xiao

I am already out of Facebook world for almost half a year. And to tell the truth, sometimes i missed the connection with friends using Facebook. Sometimes i just want to know what is the latest thing they are up to. Sometimes i just want to know what is their latest status. And sometimes i just want to know how they are doing. Are they fine?

But i chose to stay out from it. Facebook is one of the world that i cannot return already. I feel all my sadness comes pouring in to my face. Knowing that they are fine while i am still tendering my broken heart makes me feel pathetic. Knowing they are doing as great as before without my presence is like adding salt to my wound. The feeling is painful and deep. Knowing that they are having fun during New Year. Knowing that my family members will be having family gathering without my presence will drag me more to depression.

There are a million reasons why a friendship may change over time. You grow older, relocate to another country for career sake, and sometimes start having your own family. Single girl like me will be like an extra in their new life. Is a fact that is normal that growing apart from old friends becomes part of our lives. I found myself feeling disconnected, and discovering that my best friends did not really know me at all. Our passions were no longer the same.

Sometimes i found myself telling myself to wait for a while. "Maybe it's just me," I thought. I tell myself maybe i need to try harder, initiate to message, whatsapp more or maybe write an lengthy email. I did. I wrote letters before i leave. I left presents for everyone of them before i leave because i knew days like this will come. My best friend, who had known me longer than anyone else, is no longer the same person i knew. We grown apart. And knowing this fact, i know my heart is aching and i can feel incredibly sad.

Is difficult for me to accept the fact that i am living my life now without the bond we had together. Sometimes at night, i woke up with anxiety, knowing myself that i need to let go this friendship but part of me refused to left go. And i cannot believe that i am letting this happen to my friendship.

One day, a friend sent me this....

And then, another friend said

"Take what you need, take what you can, and forgive the rest"

Thursday, January 23, 2014

It tastes like a cup of espresso.....

It tastes like a cup of espresso.....

The bitter sweetness and sourness that linger in your taste bud. Is exactly similar as the taste of reality in life.

It also leaves the deep, smooth aftertaste of happiness in every trouble life.

The aromatic smell that lingers in the room, reminds the presence of life even though the cup is empty, it fathoms the meaning of life even though there is nothing there.

Same cup of espresso but gives me different meanings at different stage of my life.

It tastes bitter when i am alone and sadness came rushing into me. Different flashbacks of sadness and despair add to the heaviness of broken heart.

It tastes sourish when life gives you a big blow, at the worst stage of your life. Sometimes it tastes so sour till you forgot what is sweetness anymore.

It tastes sweet when life turns milder than you expecting.

I sat on my working desk, with a cup of espresso next to me. The aroma fills my room slowly. Even though is just a cup, it reminds you the presence of it. Just like my depression, even though i am feeling so much better now, but somehow, someday and sometimes, the feeling of heaviness in your heart pops out of nowhere to remind you that life is difficult and lonely.

Friday, January 17, 2014

"WELCOME" to foreign land... IS REALLY SUCKS....

For the first time, i felt that this is the bad incident that i experienced in foreign place.

I am already got used to the black cloak and headscarf and difficulty for women to travel alone in this foreign place. There is always a need for you to find a group of friends as companion, supportive and also advisors.

But, what happened to me is really unbelievable. For the first time, i feel like i want to cry because i find it difficult to live in this foreign place.

As a foreigner that works in the foreign place, is very important for me  to speed up the process for my working permit aka iqama. However, before the process of iqama, is important for me to receive an confirmation from the Council as an acknowledgement that i am a qualified healthcare worker. Therefore, besides filling up import ants documents, we need to send our documents to the council to verify the authentication of my qualifications from my home town. Not only that, i need to take an professional exam under an independent company.

After i verified my documents with the council, i submitted all the important documents to the clerk in the office. By the way, this clerk is one sweet lady who is superbly helpful who, speeds up the process of my application.  Thank you, Ms M. After three weeks, i received good news from her that the council gave me the eligibility number to proceed with my professional exam with the independent company. Therefore, without delay, i proceed with my application via online. During the application, i chose the independent company that i want to do my exam, but one mistake i made is, i chose the MALE section.

Therefore, today when i arrived 2 hours before my exam, the company refused to let me enter the exam hall because i am a female. And thank goodness, my driver is very helpful. He asked the company employee where should i take the exam then, he said is in another building. Then i asked the employee, i am eligible to take the exam there despite my address is here. He said yes. My driver asked the direction from the employee. And the kind driver detour to send me to the female section.

However, bad news came.