Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Inner Peace from Whatsapp :-P

Last Sunday, I let Uwais played Youtube on my mobile while he was waiting for me to finish some tasks at my office. He's to accompany me to my cousin's wedding later that afternoon. Within half an hour later, he'd manage to 'jammed' my mobile. The thing about my Sony Experia, once it's jammed, I can't even do anything on it, it just hang! I can't even  'force- shut' it by expelling the battery out of it, because like the Iphone, one simply can't do that. So what I usually do is just wait until the battery exhausted itself and the phone died out. Charge it back again and I have my phone back.

My Sony, compared to when I was using Samsung branded mobiles rarely goes 'commando' on me. But of course with a Samsung you simply peel off the back of it and take out the battery, problem solved! Anyway, my Sony took beautiful pic, like the one below and I love it, and after almost a year, I kinda get the hang of not using a Samsung, unlike the rest of my family members whose attached to the brand. 

The view out of my office three-paneled window.
Subhanallah beautiful isn't it?
I will really all of miss this some day
I noticed that my Sony will always go berserk when there's just too many things on its data. My Sony is capable of holding up to 16GB data on its internal storage alone. Lately, especially after our Australian Adventure, notification keeps popping up requesting me to transfer some of the data out of its internal storage. I got almost 5k pictures as part of the data, more if not for some transfer exercises I did before we left for Australia. I also got various apps that are taking up so much space. So I decided to delete a couple of them too, including Whatsapp. haha crazy me, who'd uninstall Whatsapp right? Well, I did! I thought it'd be temporary until I cleared half of the data of the internal storage.

But the thing is, after a couple of days, I find myself liking the 'quietness' of not having to check your Whatsapp from time to time. As Sifoo from Kungfu Panda would say - I found inner peace! ;-) Actually, I have had some issues with Whatsapp for awhile now. Let me list them down:

Time Stamps

I hate the fact that it has "Time stamps" of when you were last seen alive, ... alright! I meant online :-P. In this 'online people-connecting' era, people expect you to answer them there and then when they text you, and with the 'Time Stamps' you can no longer excused yourself. Gone are the days when you can actually receive messages, ponder upon them, think about it on your own free time before you answer them. Whatsapp tracked your online 'whereabouts', they tell people you're there, and you'll be receiving messages (and expected to be answering since you're ONLINE). But why are you not replying??!! Well, maybe I don't want to - how's that? But of course, you're 'not allowed' to do that, because you're there - ONLINE! There's no other status choices, for example, offline or away. Only ONLINE or the last time you were seen online!

Automatic add of contacts including in groups

If someone in your contacts are using Whatsapp too, it automatically connects the two numbers. You have no choice. There's no suggestion, or option to connect. You'll simply get connected anyway. You lost your freedom of choosing who you wants to be in contact with. This also goes with group chats. I have a couple of groups in my Whatsapp. Don't get me wrong, I like the idea that Whatsapp could connects these people with me. But I'd prefer to be asked first before I am added into the group. Some would consider this a small matter, but wait till you get to my next point.

No way to log off or leave a group discreetly

Adding to the annoyance of point 1 and point 2, there's no way for you to switch off the application, unless you shut off the phone. How else then, can they be able to publicize when you were last seen online? So basically, Whatsapp is 'hauting' you hahaha. 

And when it comes to group chat, there's no way for you to leave the chat room discreetly via logging off for example. Your only other choice is to leave the group, and oh my, my! when you do choose that option, Whatsapp tells every members of the group - "Fadzlina has left the group". And the 'whispers' that followed that 'leaving' notification is rather upsetting for the rest of the group members. That notification somehow felt like someone has turned their backs from the group. They'll keep asking - why? why? Did they say or do something wrong?

Actually in truth that's not the case. Some discussion interest you, some don't. You'd rather not know nor participate at all in discussion that doesn't interest you. But Whatsapp doesn't give you that choice, the choice to be excused, remember you're always ONLINE. For individual contact, you may block them, but not so for groups. Imagine the 'uproar' if blocking for groups are allowed - "Fadzlina has blocked the group" hahaha... So basically you have very limited choices. You will still be receiving notification from your group chats even if you have no interest in the matter being discussed. Hence, even if you don't want to discuss them, you'll still be in the know. I find that very annoying. Many times some of the info shared sidetracked me - simply said became a cause for me to procrastinate haha... But on a serious note, it gets rather upsetting when at times what's being shared or discussed have not been properly corroborated. Anyway, on most Androids, to avoid the 'scandals' of leaving a group, the most you can do is silenced the group notifications. I did use that for a couple of groups, a couple of times. But despite being silenced/muted - Whatsapp would still show you the notification icons, in other words you'd still be notified. Kinda defeat the purpose, don't you think?  

So should I go back on Whatsapp then? As I said earlier, I kinda found 'inner peace'. Let see how long I want it to last. Probably forever? Let's see :-P

Friday, October 25, 2013

That's a wrap: Our Melbourne Chapter

It's a holiday 5 years in the making, made off my savings from the last 10 years. We almost didn't make it to the graduation ceremony which was the initial reason for the holiday because Aliyah was unwell the night before the ceremony. By early morning on the day itself she was still feverish. The night before that, I told myself, 'truthfully, even if I were to miss tomorrow's function, I was grateful I made the trip because despite the crazy Melbourne weather, we had a wonderful time!'. But we eventually pulled through, and we made it! Alhamdulillah :-)

The plan to come for the graduation was only discussed fairly very recent. I bought the flight tickets some time last August after we've finally made the decision to attend the ceremony. The timing was also right, everyone, including the children was having a short break for Eiduladha, so that means we won't be missing too many classes. 

I had initially wanted to make itinerary for the whole trip as I used to do when the children were younger. But I realised as of recent, a strict itinerary will only cause everyone added stress, especially myself - so I decided against making one. I wanted to make it as satisfying for everyone and least stressful as possible. So I made no itinerary and go with the flow of everyone, time, and in case of Melbourne, that includes the weather too. I did try to pre-plan several things, like accommodation, but nothing really sticks until a week or two before we departed. In fact, it turns out that in several occasion Allah has other plans for us.

All in all, we actually took a total of 1.2K photos in the span of 1 week. 'Commemorating' the whole week - what we called our "Australian Adventure" :-) in writing plus attaching photos would take forever. Plus I wouldn't want to bore myself reading it either haha...Let's agree that it was an eventful week and we managed to do what we basically wanted to do to wrap up our Melbourne chapter for one last time. We know that it would be some time before we can can come back to Melbourne again as a family. We had lived there for almost 4 years, and despite all the problems and challenges we faced while living there, Melbourne will remained a chapter in our lives that will continue to live on in our memories and we wanted to end it all in the most happiest tone. 

So here goes, our graduation vacation, in summary (albeit a pretty long one hehe), spent in the span of a full whole week and more, Melbourne style.

Friday, the 11th of October:

We took a morning flight via KLIA. And guess what? My supervisor, Simon was on it too. He'd just finished presenting a paper at UPM, 2 days before. Sesungguhnya mmg kami ada 'jodoh' hehe...We had a chat mid flight, and promised to meet sometime next week before the graduation ceremony.

Hmmm...which cartoon shall I watch? :-P
Upon arrival, my dearest confidante in Melbourne, Kak Basrah Arbi was waiting for us. I got to know her in the final leg of my PhD venture. All my family members have never met her before. It's fairly very difficult to describe Kak Abi and her style. She's the 'meriah' one, is all I can manage haha... But my children find her funny, and my husband finds her 'interesting' in her own way. Kak Abi is amongst some of my close friends that all 3 of my children can remember by name :-P

She then drove us to her home in Tarneit, for we were to spend the next 3 nights at her place. It was a rather chilly night for Spring. After chatting, catching up on stuff, unpacking and what not, we finally collapsed pass midnight Melbourne time.

Kak Abi's children's fav - Hantu Kak Limah :-P

Saturday, the 12th of October:

The next morning, it was the cold early morning weather that's withholding us back from rising up as early as usual. Kak Abi was worried we were jet-lagged  I rarely have jet-lag travelling away from home, only after I reached home haha... So she decided to bring us to the Laverton Market.

Here birdie2 :-P
Simba :-)
The ferrets ;-)
We left Aliyah and Uwais at home with Kak Abi's older children for they were busy being 'entertained' and entertaining some of the many pets that Kak Abi raised in her home. It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect Spring weather. Excellent for strolling down the open market. It somewhat reminded us of the market in Coburg and the Sunday market at Latrobe University.

Criminals at large :-P haha..
All the colours - will be missed...
Later that evening, we were invited to a BBQ at one of Kak Abi's close friends' home near her place, Brother Walid, a Lebanese Australian. Some of the traditional dishes concocted by his wife, Sam, was to die for. Sedap giler! Who would've known we'd get to experience an Aussie BBQ, Lebanese style this one last time we're in Melbourne. Alhamdulillah. 

While waiting for the BBQ being set up


BBQ time

Post BBQ...duh...
After the BBQ we went to rent a car for Kak Abi had planned that we joined them to Ballarat Wildlife Park the next day. The weather forecast for Ballarat the next day was not really promising. But Kak abi is never the person that accepts weather forecast. Well, we just decided to go with the flow. One never knows, all is in Allah's hand, Melbourne or not.

Sunday, the 13th of October:

We left for Ballarat around 9am the next morning. In fact it was drizzling all the way to Ballarat but it soon cleared once we arrived there. We got to cover some grounds before it drizzled again on and off. 

But we still managed to wait for some of the animals demonstration at the park before we head home later that evening in gloomy weather. I got to touch a snake, koala, and wombat for the first time haha... mcm jakun :-P

Geli! haha

I actually got to pat that python, not too bad hehe..

I remembered she said this wombat weighs 35 kg.

And alas one boy who's afraid of Kangaroos ;-)

Monday, the 14th of October:

The next day, suddenly Kak Abi was suggesting we dropped by DFO (the infamous Melbourne's Direct Factory Outlet) so we could also 'introduce' the shopping centre to one her friend's, Kak Wati's guest.

So off we went to DFO, all packed, since we were also about to check in into a hotel near Victoria Market in the city. We spent some time there, bought a couple of things, saw a couple of ex-students of La Trobe, who's also graduating, but none of them graduating on the same day as myself.
Lunch with some rolls, coffee and icecream at DFO
Later, Kak Abi dropped us off the Essendon Train Station and off we went to Melbourne Central. Walked a few blocks to Therry Street to check in. The hotel was just less than 200 meters away from Victoria Market. Actually staying nearby the market was a good idea. I'd probably do that again in the future. Halal food restaurants is nearby, ALDI my favourite food store is just within a walking distance, not to mention having the luxury of exploring the market on your own sweet time :-) It was an excellent choice!

That night, we had dinner at Blok M. Our first time too. And we had 'buntut bakar'. The children had a good laugh hearing the name of the menu. It was good, actually. Saw someone I knew, but he was so busy 'entertaining', so malas nak tegur ;-)

Bontot terbakar - said my children hahaha

Tuesday, the 15th of October:

Tuesday was supposed to be Eid day. But I guess the weather was catching up with us all, Luqman was feeling feverish. So we had to get him some paracetamol and waited awhile before he cools back down. So there goes celebrating Eid in a foreign land huhu..

By 11 am, he was feeling better, so off we went to Victoria Market to do some shopping. We had our Eid lunch at Gozleme, a Turkish cafe in the market. The gozleme were excellent. Aliyah kept asking for them even after we left Melbourne.

Our Eid Lunch :-)
Cute Cafe :-)
Licin ;-)

After lunch, we were off to the Melbourne Museum via tram for Uwais had always wanted to see the 'dinosaurs' again. It was a cool breezy day and we walked through the beautiful Carlton Garden to reach the museum. There was a couple of additional sections in the museum, and I find the "Forgotten Children" displays very upsetting but yet an interesting discovery of some part of the Australian history.

Owh the look on his face made my day :-)

The Forgotten Australian exhibition... 

The Carlton Garden

We head back to the hotel later, had dinner at the food court in Melbourne Central, and dropped by ALDI to buy some tidbits. Ahhh ALDI is great for that!

The Little Library @ Melbourne Central

Wednesday, the 16th October:

Earlier in the morning, I let them all continue their sleep, for they were tired having spent a whole day walking all over the city. I slipped into ALDI, and bought almost a few hundred ringgit worth of chocolates huhu...some were orders from friends and family of course. But mostly it was ours hehe.. 

My Fav Store :-)
By today, we were supposed to check out of the hotel, in order to check in another hotel on other side of the city, near the Yarra Promenade sponsored by my ever so generous Kak Abi :-D. It was exactly by the Yarra river. We packed up everything and head out to lunch first, for check-in time at the next hotel was 2 pm. We thought of having some Malaysian food, so we walked all the way to Norsiah's Kitchen.

We passed by the Bath House almost every day during our stay

On the way we had a peep inside the Melbourne City Bath House, for we always passed outside in trams, but never had we been inside. It was a beautifully refurbished indoor swimming pool actually. 

How it looks inside :-)
After lunch, we walked back to the city through Lygon St, had some ice cream at Ill Dolce and stopped by the exquisite State Library. The rest of my family had never really seen the 'real' inside of the library aside from the lobby. We spent some time admiring the library before packing up some food from Melbourne Central. 

The La Trobe Reading Room
The Cowen's Gallery in the Library
@ Experimedia in the State Library

Aliyah's cat while @ Experimedia
We walked back to the hotel while the wind picked up speed, terasa nak terbang! We picked up our bags (more like shoving the hotel trolley down the aisle hehe), waited for a taxi and off we were for the next check in. By then, I had already made appointment to meet Simon and Kak Sham, my dearest friend in Latrobe University had invited us to dinner the next day.

The kids tgh rasmikan katil hehe...

Later that night we brought the kids to watch the fireballs show along the promenade. Tunggu for 15 minutes, show only for 5 minutes haha... great night view of Melbourne anyway :-)


Thursday, the 17th October:

Before we head to La Trobe University, we brought the children for a swim at the hotel's indoor swimming pool. It was a wet, cold, and windy day. Everyone would prefer to stay indoor by the pool instead. So we took our time, since the appointment to meet Simon was around 4.30 pm.

By 2 pm we walked to Flinders St Train Station, took the train to Reservoir, then took a shorter bus trip to the uni. On the way, we stopped by Aliyah's former school, Kingsbury Primary School. She was shy initially, but her ex-teacher Miss Pieprzyck was still at the school making her feel very welcomed. There's only some of her old friends left, many have either left the school to go to their home country like her or moved to another school. But she had enjoy the experience anyway. At least now she can moved on, knowing that some things do change and she can't continue holding on to the past.  

@ Kingsbury Primary School

Walking back from school to uni ...
School ends by 3.30 pm, so we had to leave anyway, and walked back all the way to uni. We had late lunch at Curry Spice cafe near the Agora. Because we were about to have dinner at Kak Sham's later, and the weather was terrible, we sent off Aliyah and Uwais to go home with Kak Sham first. I meet up Simon and later saw an old friend Shimah, whose ceremony was earlier that evening. Then off we were to Kak Sham's for dinner by train, before being picked up by Abg Din, Kak Sham's hubby at the train station. It was a cold night, 10 degrees in the middle of Spring! Nevertheless, we had an excellent dinner courtesy of a wonderful Chef, Abg Din. We couldn't stay long for my session tomorrow was early in the morning. We head back to the hotel via train all the way to Flinders. It was cold and wet, and Aliyah was starting to feel unwell.

Ada lauk perut di situ huhu...

Crossing the Sandridge Bridge from Flinders back to our hotel.

Friday, the 18th of October:

We woke up early, got everyone ready to go to LTU. Aliyah had been sick the whole night. She took some paracetamol in the morning, and slept all the way to uni, the 45 minutes trip, in her brother's stroller, in the train and the bus. We arrived safely by 9 am.

Sian dia :-(

Up and until I was queuing for my robe, it didn't really feel like I am attending my graduation ceremony. I don't think there were many people attending their post-graduate 
graduation ceremony riding (to get there) in public transports. So I am extremely proud to be one of them :-) Not many people can boast attending their graduation by train or bus. I actually did both haha... I had almost wanted to parade in my robe afterwards in the bus, if not for Simon ridiculing me hehe...

Actually, it's not until that morning, that I decided to just buy the robe. After one whole week, we were actually very tired, having walked all over Melbourne, and I know that, there's no way I can get everyone in a decent family photo. What more with Aliyah being unwell. So I thought I might as well got it. I can later shoved everyone to a studio back home, including my parents to have a proper family photo :-).

In the Union Hall - with Dr Jane, Dr Christian, and Dr Neyzang :-)

So off I went to attend the ceremony. I saw my old colleague in the faculty, Neyzang from Bhutan who's also graduating with me. The whole ceremony took approximately an hour and 15 minutes. Simple, short speeches, no rehearsals for the graduants, everything was impromptu, but very well managed by the ceremony's staff. But then again, there were less than 100 graduants altogether, so in a way, it was easier to manage. 

With Simon :-)
Kak Sham with Simon
During refreshment after the session, I met Simon again and then later Kak Sham, before we parted ways. We then decided to check out Barnes Way, our uni home of 4 years for one last time before we head back to the city. Then we took a bus to the city. Walked through Federation Square, before we crossed over to Flinders St Station, had some Lord of the Fries (also for the first time hehehe), and walked back to the hotel.

Barnes Way 
The ramp to our ex-unit :-)

@ Fed Square

Lord of the Flies :-)
In the evening, I head out to Melbourne Central to have dinner with my good friend Najbah and we both went back to the hotel, to wait for Kak Abi and Abg Zul who's coming over to bring over some of the stuff we left with her earlier in the week. We all chat for awhile, and only after they left we start packing for tomorrow's flight. We finished by 2 am, phewww...

One last meet before we head home :-) 
Saturday, 19th of October:

We cleared up everything by 10 am, check out by 11 am and we were off to the airport by 12 noon to catch our 3 pm flight.

So that basically wrap up the Melbourne Chapter of our lives. Alhamdulillah. Alhamdulillah. Life must goes on. Actually, it has. So would I want to repeat them, my life there? Probably not. I'd prefer to extend them. Would I want to be in Melbourne forever had I had the chance? Most probably not. Even if I had the offer of a lifetime? Well, probably yes, but I don't think I want it to be forever. 

I don't know why, but while I was in Melbourne, I always longed for home. I rarely feel the same about Melbourne while I was in Malaysia. I missed some aspects of my life while I was there, but no, I rarely longed to be forever in Melbourne. Perhaps my soul is somewhat grounded here, in Malaysia. This is where I belong, despite all of its idiosyncrasies. Plus I love to eat out, and I wanted to have food that 'rhyme' with Malaysian weather. Pisang goreng on a wet, drenching day, cendol on a hot and humid day, and of course, Melbourne's weather can drive you loco and increase those wrinkles on your face sooner rather than later :-P But most importantly, I think I've been made to learn what I was meant to learn while I was there, through my PhD journey - humility and more humility. Thank you to all that have helped me learn that along the way. May Allah blessed you, In Sha Allah.