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2020 – The Year That Was

30 Dec

Well, another year has come and gone, almost. With another day left for 2022, it’s time to reflect on the year that was.

I have seen on the web that touted 2022 as ‘2020 Too’ and not 2022. Get it? A repeat of the year that upended everything. To a certain extent, it was true. But I think the good things that happened far outweighed the unpleasant, at least for me.

The highlight of the year for us was M2’s graduation, and we had the opportunity to travel to Dublin, Ireland, to attend the Commencement Ceremony. During that time, travelers no longer needed to be quarantined upon arrival, so that was good. It added extra days to our plans, and we added London to the itinerary to stretch the holiday.

The downside of such a long holiday was the weather! It was cold to the core, and at times, the numbness from being in the cold made the experience unpleasant. But we took it in stride, and it was indeed a wonderful time.

2022 was somewhat of a year of new beginnings for us. Regrettably, we gave up our office space and officially worked from home. However, it was a good decision and a blessing in disguise. We no longer have to stress over traveling to/from home/office and have more time and flexibility. And as far as work is concerned, well, there have been ups and downs, but we prevailed. Let’s hope the new year will be better.

2022 was also a year of medical concerns. With Covid cases on the uptrend, people I know were positive at an alarming rate. It was only a matter of time before I contracted it. True enough, I tested positive in June and had the most miserable week of my life battling it. I was in no mood to share my episode then and, as time passed, forgot about my ordeal. However, in the aftermath, I notice I frequently experience brain fog and memory loss! Yikes. And I lost distance when golfing. Double yikes!

Sometimes I say it was the booster jab that compromised my health. But then again, I should say the booster jab saved me from complications or worst. So I should be thankful in this sense. My golfing distance has since returned, but my brain fog is still there. Perhaps this is purely due to age instead? I have to monitor further on this.

The year also saw a decline in my miniature crafting. Weirdly, I have so much time, yet no time at all. We played golf often and ate out more, yet no progress for my miniatures. DIY project #25 has stopped for the longest time! Maybe 2023 will see a revival of my interest? We will find out.

So what do I envision for the new year? Well, nothing too extreme, better health would be good, after all, I am a year older. In short, let there be peace, harmony, and good health. Here’s wishing all my readers a very Happy New Year!

A Very Blessed Christmas

26 Dec

This year Christmas is a complete occasion for the family, particularly for us, with M2 having graduated and back from Ireland for good. It was a boisterous get-together, and everyone contributed a dish for our annual Family Christmas Eve dinner.

The cheese platters were so good!

And for a change, everyone participated in after-dinner games. There were non-stop screams of laughter at the performances of each individual during the games. It was wholesome fun and so much love.

I feel very blessed that this Christmas is more meaningful than ever. I hope this festive occasion is just as memorable for everyone. Here’s wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and cheers for the New Year!

Extended Holiday

28 Nov

It seems like the holiday is never-ending! It has been extended with a public holiday today. Unexpected but anticipated (because of the General Election results) and appreciated nonetheless.

From Ku De Ta to local delights, we tried everything!
The must-eat dish when in Bali

Bali was fun, and I was doing things, not up my alley, which was nice for a change. I got to know my high school friends better, and we did things together.

Throughout the week, we indulged, ate, drank, laughed, shopped, swam, and luxuriated in our private apartment and villa (we stayed at two different places) together. We also pampered ourselves with not one but two three-and-a-half-hour and four-hour spa sessions.

Our private villa

There was no golf, no playing tourist but merely enjoying the presence of each other and having a good bonding time to catch up. I am thankful that, at this age, I still have such friends. It was as if we were never part despite all these years.

After this trip, we understood each other better, with our friendship forged to a deeper degree. I look forward to the next trip with this bunch of besties.

Last local delight before we left
Goodbye Bali!

A Break Again

21 Nov

Sometimes when we return from a hectic vacation, we need to go off on another one to recover from the trip. And I did just that!

We reached home almost midnight after touching down in KLIA. The eight-hour layover in Doha was too long. And when we got home, everyone was so tired. But I wasn’t jet lagged, or I couldn’t feel it, even though I did not sleep much for the last 20 hours of traveling.

I was like an Energizer bunny, unpacking and clearing stuff away. But on Saturday, I flew off again with my girlfriends to Bali for a break to recuperate from the UK/Ireland trip.

Although Saturday was a big day for Malaysia, being Election Day, I did my part and then left. So this break is a break from writing and sharing and will return to routine after a week.

Traveling Again, Part 3

30 Aug

I have always flown into Singapore via Changi Airport. However, for this trip, I flew in via Seletar Airport. And what a pleasant surprise it was! There was no crowd, no queue, and no delays at all.

I chose to fly from Subang Airport instead of KLIA as it’s more convenient. Subang and Seletar airports are smaller compared to the two main big airports. And Changi is world renowned as a destination by itself. But being smaller, certain perks are missing, like buying duty-free things. Oh well, this is not critical.

The trip ended too soon, and the weather was not kind during our return flight. As the plane descended, we experienced turbulence going through the clouds. It has been quite a while since I flew, so the nauseous feeling was just ugh.

Leaving Seletar Airport

Thankfully, the journey was not too long, and we arrived safely. Rain greeted us, and traffic built up on the way home. Not the best welcome home situation, but it’s nice to be home after an enjoyable getaway.

Arriving at Subang Airport

Traveling Again, Part 2

29 Aug

The trip to Singapore has been a good one catching up with friends and family. We had simple and sumptuous meals and memorable gatherings.

We tried Peruvian food

The four of us enjoyed delivered food and homemade cocktails in the comforts of our condo, chatting and laughing away. Precious is such of our friendship since seven years old.

Delicious gin collection

There was hardly any time for shopping, but we didn’t mind. And although it rained daily, it did not bother us. Luckily I brought my umbrella, which came in handy when we went to Orchard Road in search of some local food.

We had fishballs and mee pok and dessert.

Time has gone by too soon. We depart for home late afternoon today. I’m so glad we made the trip for friendship.

Traveling Again

26 Aug

It is exciting that I am traveling again by air! The last time I flew was in October 2019, going to Langkawi with all my high school girlfriends to celebrate our friendship. Three years have passed since that memorable trip. And as we all know, the pandemic struck in early 2020, and the whole world went into lockdown, my country included.

There were a lot of travel restrictions of varying degrees since then to manage the pandemic, and flying was the furthest thing from my mind. There was no need to fly anywhere, especially for the last two years. Also, it was a hassle with strict SOPs in place. But as the world is moving towards relaxing the travel restrictions, people are traveling again.

Two of my high school girlfriends and I spontaneously decided to go to Singapore for a short four-day getaway. We thought it would be great to catch up with friends and family whom we have not seen for so long due to the circumstances.

Besides visiting people, we will take this opportunity to enjoy the local food and play tourist in the city-island-nation. Exciting as it may be, we will be extra cautious for the four days in Singapore to avoid any unnecessary Covid-related situations. We fly off an hour past noon today! Whee.

What a Haul!

15 Aug

We did not play golf over the weekend; instead, we went fishing! The last time we did this was probably almost three decades years ago. Gosh, it has been a long time.

The idea to go fishing came about when the family got together over dinner and talked about doing outdoor activities. And since fishing is an activity M1 and my niece never did, why not let them try? A check off the bucket list for them.

The drive took forever. “Are we there yet?” I asked. Hahaha. It was a catch and release fishing pond near the airport, KLIA. The operator guaranteed five strikes per rod for the hour or your money back! Wow, how good is that?

The catch and release fishing pond

So my sibling, niece, and the three of us spent the late Sunday afternoon fishing. And we had such an exuberating time!

Getting ready for some action

Within minutes, strike one occurred, followed by another, and another! We had two rods, and the girls were delightfully having a blast. We adults could not resist the adrenaline rush and joined in the fun in the end. Why not? The day’s fishing haul made the activity look so easy and appealing.

Look at their impressive haul!

I must say my fishing record was never impressive. My biggest catch was a grass carp which was nothing of these massive-sized groupers in comparison.

Our haul and the inside of a grouper’s mouth!

Within the allotted time, the five of us caught 17 groupers! And we had several that escaped because we did not reel in fast enough. It could have been more, but 17 bites were more than what we anticipated.

The unexpected adventure turned out to be an exhilarating experience for everyone. The day was cloudy, the place was peaceful, and everyone had a very satisfying but tiring workout fighting the catch. Will we do it again? We may, but with the other young adults in the family who have not had this checked off their bucket list.

Golf Getaway, Part 2

18 Jul

It’s a mixed-feeling golf trip. Sometimes one can’t have it all.

Although it was nice to play at outstation clubs for a change, waking up early for the trip was not. We had to wake up at 4.30 am and then did a Covid test before leaving the house. The test was to assure everyone was safe to travel together on a bus.

The bus departed at 6.00 am, and the journey was pleasant enough without any traffic woes along the highway, and we arrived in good time. After a simple lunch at the clubhouse, we teed off for a round of social golf among ourselves at Penang Golf Club.

The course is very undulating, and buggies were allowed on the fairway, which was nice. How did I fair for this first game? It’s an unfamiliar course, and there were mistakes or mis-hits here and there. And for this trip, I opted to use my Scotty Cameron putter. Alas, putting was my biggest bane again. Sigh.

Penang Golf Club

After the game, the bus left for the hotel. Soon after checking in, we met with hubby’s sister (and husband) for dinner. It’s nice to catch up with family again after two and a half years of lockdown and not see each other. There was a lot to talk about over a delicious dinner.

Not local Penang food but Dallas BBQ duck!

They brought us to see another side of Penang. Typically, we would be around the town center or Tanjung Bungah area. But as we were in Bukit Jambul, we saw a different side of the island. All too soon, it was time to say goodbye. We parted ways, and sleep beckons after such a long and tiring day. We depart for Ipoh for the Interclub match the next day.

SPICE Arena Penang
View from our hotel room

Competitive Golf Again

14 Jun

Over the last two years, with the Covid-19 pandemic ravaging and upending the world, it was not just traveling and routines that got disrupted – sports and golf tournaments everywhere were canceled too.

At the onset, golf was not allowed in my country when the pandemic broke out. But soon, certain outdoor activities were permitted, and golf was on the list. Our golf club had to comply with the strict SOPs outlined by the government for golf.

On top of social distancing, players were not allowed to share the golf buggy. It was a single-player, single-buggy situation. And gatherings for meals before or after games were not permitted at the club, what more holding tournaments which draw a crowd, breaking social distancing rules. All these experiences and situations are now distant memories.

Finally, after a two-year hiatus of none competitive golf, golf tournaments are allowed again. And my golf club’s Annual Golf Championship resumed. Starting over the weekend for three categories – super senior, ladies, and juniors, it will continue for the next two weekends for the seniors and men categories. The thrill of high-level competition again!

I played over the weekend for my category over two days. What a battle it was. The adrenalin and pressure of playing high-level competition are totally unlike social golf. Every shot and mistake counts for your confidence and stress to do well. So how did I fare?

It will always be a what-if, could-have, and should-have situation.

Day One: what if I didn’t put the ball into the water on the approach shot on the first hole? What if I didn’t three-putt throughout the game for seven holes?

Day Two: how could I have dunked two balls into the water and returned with an incredulous ten for the Par 4, Hole 16? And I shouldn’t have four-putted on the relatively easy Hole 15, Par 3. But then, to begin with, I shouldn’t have teed into the water! The list could go on.

Disasters were aplenty, but there were some feel-good moments too. In the end, the bad moments far outweighed the good ones. All these are part and parcel of competitive golf. A little Lady Luck would have been better, and some calm nerves during the two days would have been helpful. Oh well.

I’m not complaining about the outcome of my participation this year; I merely need to build my mental strength to approach competitive golf better. And I need to trust my clubs and their distances more. Being unsure creates doubts, and this leads to disasters.

After all the golfing drama, the after-game camaraderie, drinks, laughter, and friendship with the other lady golfers mattered more than my performance at the Annual Championship. The occasion is now a cherished memory that was fun and challenging, and I certainly look forward to participating again next year.