Sunday, 2 September 2012

A Year

It has been 365 days since I broke up... Yesterday would have been a year but with the leap year, today is 365 days.

A year and a day ago, I was upset on my bathroom floor whilst talking to him on the phone. And, the bathroom was really the only place my flatmates couldn't hear me upset. I knew then that it sucked but I knew things could only get better.

It has gotten better and I feel I have also come a distance.

I have moved across the pond; I did not expect that.

I have bought and rode my bicycle on ROADS after not really riding bikes since I was in primary school.

I have bought a car on the 4th of August and I'm making use of my driving skills after having passed my first driver's test in Asia when I was 16 and again, in the UK when I was 25. And, I do like driving

I have gone blueberry picking, sunflower sighting, waterfalling, beer brewing hopping, lying in the grass under the sun, going out, making friends and so on......

Wow, so it has been 365 days since I broke up. And, I didn't get here alone. Thank you all. x

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Happiness Vs Sadness In A Day

I am sitting here in my landlady's dining room and it smells like durian. I like the smell of durian but this smell is probably what durian smells like to white people; annoyingly smelling. Yes, it smells like durian with a hint of annoyance. I haven't seen any durian in Vermont but I did see a skunk on the way home tonight...

I was cycling on the pedestrian pathway (eekk!) just round the corner from home. I was pretty happy to be close to home as it was already dark and I didn't think I'd make it at first. So, I paddled happy happy until I saw this animal super scurry past onto the main road and it lift its tail. I recognized it as Pepe Le Pew and I breaked, paddled quicker but tried not to be too quick in case I startled it further and it sprayed me!! I hear its spray makes people blind. Smell, fine, I can live with and probably I'd be conveniently unpopular at work.. but blind, NO! I was screaming whilst cycling. That's probably quite a sight for Vermonters (me, not the skunk) but good thing it was dark.

So, I didn't get sprayed. Why does it smell? Cos, the dog got sprayed. Silly thing. It was probably the same skunk I saw that sprayed the dog. And, so, he stinks... But not only did I get to see a skunk for the first time in my life, I get to smell it without being sprayed!

And, before I got home, I got lost.. in the darkness of Vermontian country. I was trying to get to a BBQ party but got lost. I did eventually find my way out of sheer determination with a sense of independence which was probably born out of stupidity. I was probably like a 10 minute cycle to my destination but when I decided to turn around because 1) I was already five hours late (read: work, bus, no car) and; 2) I skidded and fell off my bike. The latter made me realize that the last stretch was the most dangerous cos I literally could not see and the gravel gave no grip to my bike's tyres. The last thing I wanted was to like on a pitch black dirt road with long bone fractures and to be run over by a car T_T It would be such a tragic way to die although I'd have gotten to enjoy the stars and fireflies before dying that theoretical death...

So, yes. I did see stars again and I still love it. I still want to lie in a field in the middle of the night (much preferable with friends in the picture). And, I saw fireflies lighting up here and there too! They were kinda blue-ish like the colour of bluetooth but a little less intense. Wow, who would have thought. Fireflies in Vermont! Even in Malaysia they say the fireflies are less common now.. I so wouldn't be surprised if there were anymore fireflies. I have been telling my landlady how amazing it is that there are so many bugs here and she remains unimpressed with all the bugs.. I guess one learns to appreciate only when things are gone? You get the drift.

I saw a skunk and fireflies today! Plus stars. What a day.

Of course, I did feel a little scared, sad.. I dun actually know what I felt being in the dark. I thought I was probably more scared of bumping into some American psycho who'd kidnap me and kill me in the fields and nobody would know. I thought I was probably more scared of that than seeing some crazy reptile coming out from the grass. I mean, I freaked when I saw the skunk but I also was so impressed and was laughing and happy. I can't imagine myself laughing if I met an American psycho. And, of course I wish I bought a lamp for my bicycle...

Riding in the dark and failing to get to my destination wasn't the first transportation issue of the day. Earlier in the morning, I rode my bike to catch the shuttle. My heart dropped when the stop looked kinda deserted indicating that the shuttle probably wasn't running. I called switchboard and they were like, "Yes! There is no shuttle on the weekend". I was like OMG LATE 4 WORK! I asked for a cab company but the lady was so nice and said she will put me in touch with someone to gimme a ride. In London, the operator would have been like, "Serves u right" except maybe for the male operator who'd call me by my name as soon as he heard my voice! I got the work bang on schedule but seriously, my heart was like crying.

Transport made me cry x2 today.

Fireflies and skunk with a bonus of stars made me happy today!

Work was a different matter althogether so let's discount that.

I'll end with an insightful IDK what: If one wants it to rain, wash one's car. It is the mother of all Rain Dances.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Fourth of July

My first 4th of July in the United States! I am making a lot of firsts here. Like first time to a drive-in theater. First time seeing a chipmunk, it lives underneath our proch! First time hiking this Saturday. First time seeing a Mustand in real life. First time seeing certain flora and fauna I have only seen in movies and cartoons. First time riding a bike on the road. First!!!!!!!

So, here are some pictures from what I did for the 4th of July celebrations.

In Vermont, they celebrate beginning on the night of the 3rd with a 30 minute firework show at the Burlington waterfront. The party kinds starts at 6pm with food stalls and mobile shops around. The crowd slowly builds. We picked a spot away from the main action; North Beach. There were lots of people in North Beach and it was good cos we didn't have to crane our necks or get the build-up of smoke blown towards us after 30 minuts of works.

Multiple works in one big one :-)
Romantic but no one to hold hands and snuggle with. Well, more space for me on the sand blanket!! Lol.
So, the next day, there was a parade at the neighbouring 'village'. I was gonna ride my bike, JC there but the landlandy caught me and said she'd go with me. It was a good thing because it was further than I thought and Williston is bigger than I thought! I would have never found the parade in time. We arrived just as it begun at 10am!

The Front Line
This was followed by the Williston Town Band and they played the national anthem under the American flag and everyone stood silent. My landlady says she usually puts her right hand over her heart; she's so sweet and funny.
Marines! :-)

This was probably the funniest 'club' but yes, Vermonters do love their lawn chairs which they laze on in the evenings after dinner.
Probably my most favourite float. Jazzercise (sp?) group. The dancers were all girls and they were super fit and co-ordinated but the guy behind the truck video-recording them was so funny. He totally maintained this 'Like A Boss' stance all the time!!
Pauquette Full of Poises were giving out free plants! I got one for my landlady.

 The parade lasted about 1.5 hours and we walked back to my landlady's relative's house and enjoyed a session of Wiffle Ball. It is like baseball I guess but the bat is made of plastic and the ball is hollow and also made of plastic. They tried to teach me to bat and my hit rate was between 0 and 25%. Lol.

After that, it was a long afternoon nap before I rode JC for 1.5-2 hours :-)
I love JC
And I went to a BBQ party later that night after a drive in a crazy Vermont summer storm. The landlady's son called to warn me about it; they're such a nice family! We went a bit late and I needed a ride. It was OK but I really hope I can get a car soon.

Then the day ended. I hadn't quite got what I wanted until this morning in my inbox... And me was happy, I guess.

Monday, 2 July 2012

A List of Ramblings

I have been meaning to post posts. Lots of posts. Some post - ok only one - have written in my Blogger app but never posted. Laziness, forgetfulness, busy-ness, distractibility and so on has prevented me from posting. I always feel like there's something better to do! But I do wanna post and because I have left it so long... I'll just make a list of things that occurred last week........

But it's hard to make a list of mundane yet important things. Like how to obtain a social security number the right way. Or just obtaining a social security number. Like how everything important requires me to have a social security number. Like how I need a dental appointment. Like how to get registered with a family physician to look after me the next time I get septic from a urinary tract infection. Like how to cash a cheque even without having a bank account.

Ah yes, I bet you wanted to know the thing about the cheque. Americans get paid every two weeks to keep the motivation up. So, I got paid by a cheque. Firstly, I didn't think I would have gotten paid. Secondly, I didn't know you could cash a cheque without a bank account until I randomly rambled about it and friends told me I could sign it away to someone I trusted to cash it for me. Wow. Talk about being held at gun point to sign away a cheque.. or check as the Americans call it. Of course I wasn't held at gun point, though. However, I think having a check in my possession isn't a great idea at all...

Fine, I will use some brain power to conjure up a fairly interesting list:

1) On Monday, I bought a bicycle! A Jamis Citizen in lovely blue. Accompanied by my friends CV and PS.

I love my JC!

1) On Thursday, I made fish curry for the family I live with. The sambal egg killed me and I think they all (yeah, they all) didn't dare touch it. The fish curry was super watery and after troubleshooting with CV, we figured it was the 5 large tomatoes I put in that was culprit. Plus Madras curry powder isn't a good idea.

2) On Thursday, my first baseball game and watched ZP play the last 30 minutes lol.

ZP batting for the team

After the game, the smooth the sand.. So smooth
3) On Friday, helped my landlady with home improvements in the basement and I now have a plastic wardrobe in my room and my room is much better but still work in progress. I need to say that it is funny how all my colleagues are living in nice apartments by themselves or with their partners and seriously embracing the move away from student and communal living... When I graduated, communal/student living continued amongst a lot of us. I still am doing communal living although a little less communal as it is only with one family. In some ways, I feel like I am living the dream of being an au pair or being part of a cultural exchange program which I totally missed out on cos I never knew it existed! Opportunities present themselves in strange was. I think this requires a full post on: my room; communal living; and my American family.

2) On Saturday, I cycled my new shiny blue bicycle all the way from home to town. It takes 45 minutes by bus plus 15 minutes of tapping me feet at the bus stop. Google maps says riding a bicycle should take 45 minutes. Considering it was scorching hot and I wasn't entirely sure where I was going and frightful of the cars travelling at 45mph (I remained mostly on the pedestrian walkway), I give myself an awkward and painful pat smack in the middle of my back. Well done self, well done even if I say so myself.

3) On Saturday, I still love my bicycle but it was a hassle when it didn't fit my friend's cars. Vermont is super bicycle friendly though. They supply bike lockers for 25 cents for a whole day.. maybe several days cos they are so laid back. Now people don't seem to get the concept of a bike locker when I tell them because they say something about chains to me and I go, "No, no, it is actually a locker like a super big case you enclose your bike in"

4) On Saturday, I helped my friend set up her table and bed and we did it without men. I am not a feminist but I am a believer of, 'If you want something done, do it yourself'.

5) On Saturday, we visited a local microbrewery and well, 25mls of local beer is good enough to cause me to be tipsy

Magic Hat Microbrewery
Free tour and free beer tasting of four samples after
6) On Saturday, we visited another friend's house and it was set within a lot of greenery it reminded me of chalets. Blue wooden and modern chalets.

7) On Sunday, I made amends for all my mistakes.

8) On Sunday, we went to Plattsburgh, NY via ferry and across Lake Champlain to go to Target and I spent a bomb on 24 double rolls of toilet roll, litres of detergent, shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen lotion and you get it.. household items which I hope but I know will not last me four years. I am paralyzed with fear if I run out of toilet roll. What would I wipe my bum with??? Oh the thought fills me with dread. I also did buy Jalapenos Cheetos and Golden Oreos on a lighter note.

Getting off the ferry onto Plattsburgh. NY
It was an immediate change. More cars and shops in New York  with less trees, no wildflowers, insects and animals..
I love Vermont!
Target. I have always read about Target especially on fashion blogs about the clothes at Target. I thought Target was a fashion store but no, they sell EVERYTHING.
9) On Sunday, we celebrated ZP's belated birthday and I met family friends and other family members and was my usual awkward self around all these nice people.

10) Today, I cycled to the dentist who spent 2 minutes with me so he could refer me on to the oral surgery to drain my mucocele. And because I haven't scaled in 2 years, I needed to be scheduled back for two appointments..... I'm pretty sure eight years ago when I hadn't seen a dentist for almost never I only spent 1-2 hrs with my super hot fittie dentist.

11) On my way home, I saw a house-cum-yarn-shop and bought a roll of yarn to crochet me a nice blankie to go with my new bed sheets. Yes, I forgot to mention my bed sheets that came last week! *squeals*

I liked the colour of the yarn when I saw it but I'm not so sure if I like that effect on my blanket.. And I was forced to by a metal crochet hook in a tacky bright colour although the blue is similar to that of my bicycle, JC so maybe that's ok.
85% wool and 15% mohair in preparation for winter
I love my pillow cases and duvet cover which came at a discount from Macy's but still pricey.. Since I fell in love with them, I couldn't let go.
The same couldn't be said for the red bed sheet and red pillow cases. It is 100% polyesther and comes with a tacky sheen to it. Worse, it is thin. And I feel like a prostitute just owning it.
I bought a new blue cotton mix polyesther sheet from Target on Sunday so I feel decent again.
My room is still work-in-progress and well, will never be design savvy  because I am essentially practising semi-student living.
But my bed is my kingdom and sanctuary. It will look nice! Will hopefully buy some decorative pilllows too.

And this is what happens when one tries to condense and fit too many things into one post. Argh! And, well, I have been using facebook more often to post stuff..

Wednesday, 27 June 2012


Of my ex and I.
And I guess it was easier than other relationships because it was clear what cannot be.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

First Day of Residency

Today was the first day of residency which begins with four days of orientation before actual clinical duties start. (Un)fortunately for me, I am awaiting a license to practice and so will only start in four to five weeks time i.e. I am off-cycle. Either that, or I cut back my vacation time completely this year or over the next four years. If I could survive surgery without vacation, I'd do it. My second choice would be going off cycle.

So, it has been three days since I've been in the States. It doesn't feel too surreal. It is an achievement but I don't particularly feel or see fireworks. But, I am glad and thankful to be relatively calm and relaxed despite the circumstances. There's still a mountain of paperwork to do pertaining to licensure, bank stuff, human resources, liaising with various organizations and the list is so long I keep forgetting something!

Yesterday was pretty eventful. I went round saying hello to some people I had been liasing with and got some information sorted. Initially, I had been fretting about needing to be at work at 5am! I have no car right now and I was pre-occupied in my mind about buying a bike to ride into work. I used to be able to zoom down roads and corners at super high speed on a bicycle as a kid but the magic seems to have disappeared when my childhood ended. I can ride down a straight road but when it comes to turning, OMG what a sight! Anyway, I did find a bike I think I can get along with quite well. Its a Jamis Citizen 14" frame bike that lets me plant my feet firmly on the ground to break a fall. Yes, I think it was because people started giving me 21" frame bikes that destroyed my confidence... I may get the bike this weekend. Who knows.

People have been generally really friendly, helpful and cheerful here. I bumped into a few university students who had graduated. It was nice talking to people not in healthcare.They were in engineering, film and public communications and they pointed out the $1 beer joint to me. I'm kinda skeptical about how good the beer is. In retrospect, I wished I joined them to find out but I get social anxiety. Please, it was reflex. My higher cortex now tells me I was stupid not to go. But then again, I struggled through paperwork half awake last night so maybe it was good I came home a little earlier. 

The students pointed me out to the local AT&T which now offers SIM cards. I don't think they did back in 2010 and so, that is great. for $50 I get unlimited minutes, texts and international texts (excluding Malaysia and the United Kingdom, what a great coincidence). I'm glad that's sorted.

Today was orientation and after two other orientation's previously, orientation is just orientation. However, this was a pretty well executed orientation. Stuff seriously happened on time. Nobody went over time. Nobody ran out of time. Fine details maybe but I was impressed. Also, these guys here start earlier than I'm used to. 0730 hours today and 0700 hours tomorrow. By 0900 it felt like 1200 but it wasn't 1200. I got to meet other residents and yeah, it was nice just meeting others in the same boat. 

Ok, gotta get back to Paperwork Mountain.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Why America?

For a few weeks now, I have been dropping not-so-subtle hints that I was leaving the United Kingdom. Family and friends were generally clueless and curious as I gave vague answers. The matter of fact was, I was feeling pretty uncertain. Also, nervous and I guess I preferred avoiding the subject in great detail like there was some sort of subconscious taboo.

But in the recent week, things have become clearer yet surreal too. Right now, I'm headed to the United States on a long ass flight. It is long because I didn't have time to make a Japanese transit visa which would have made the flight several hours shorter.

I suppose the next natural question that 'll succeed "where are you going?" is "why have you gone (there)?".

Wow. That is a big question. It is big because there are so many layers to it and ways to approach it. And, I guess it would depend who I am talking to as well.

Maybe I should try and tackle it now seeing that it'll probably be a question my new colleagues might pose to me. But right now, that's kinda boring to think about so let's start with what I have been thinking about.

I think, 'Why not?'. Afterall, life begins at the end of one's comfort zone. I know the ropes of working in the UK and Malaysia. America is regarded as a a challenge and I do feel challenged to discover my potential. To see another part of the world and experience it first hand. And, I think this helps me appreciate how lucky I am... And how things could be worse or better... And how I could be a happier and better person... And the list goes on.

I have also been thinking it is totally ironic I am headed to America because America was the reason that, well, changed my hopes and dreams in September 2011.

There were two people who were instrumental in encouraging me to 'break into America' as they call it. The first came first and was none other than my mentor. The second was my ex-boyfriend who was dead set on going that he got all the preliminary stuff done and I took the plunge and did it too.

I guess as the ex-boyfriend knew he would play a fair part in my decision to go to America. He knew I'd go back to Malaysia should he insist. Or even Singapore or Australia. I think he tried a lot of tactics to discourage me to follow him and it's strange how he had to come out with the truth to make me decide rather than passively follow.

My friend ES says never to follow a man. I now try to live by that rule but it is also strange how not having had lived that rule set me free.

And, maybe my ex didn't expect me to choose to go to America but I did.. backed by my mentor. Afterall, I've done the motions and why not?

I guess I could give a cliched answer as to "Why America?" but where is the challenge in that?

Why not? That's what I would like to open with. It liberated me. It'll liberate me even more if I succeed; I see so many doors unlocking. I hope it'll make me a better, happier and more open-minded individual who will contribute to society. I'm up for a challenge. So, why not?