2014: The most exciting year yet!

2014 is going to be a really exciting year for Faz and I!

Apart from forging closer knit relationships with each other and our families, we’re going to be planning for our first home, which is the next big project for us. We’re expecting to receive our keys somewhere in Q3 2014, but whether we’ll get them earlier is really anyone’s guess.

I know I should have already moved on to “house” mode, but I’m still stuck in “wedding” mode. I feel like I need to be done with all wedding-related matters like publishing all wedding- and honeymoon-related entries and getting our wedding photos printed before I can open a new chapter, y’know what I mean?

Some of the other things I’m looking forward to in 2014:

  • Whipping myself (and Faz) back into good shape! The rate at which we’ve ballooned these two months post-wedding is ALARMING, and it’s got to STOP. Time to participate in some races!
  • Spending our first Ramadhan and Eid as husband and wife.
  • A wedding in the family.
  • Parenting classes. I’ve no desire for kids at the moment, but I think we should be prepared for when it happens. And besides, it’ll give us something interesting to do instead of our usual movie and dinner dates.
  • Travelling. I don’t know how much travelling we can do with the house coming along but I’m hoping for at least ONE destination — not too much to ask, is it?
  • I really let myself loose these two months, but it’s now time to save like there’s no tomorrow.
  • Starting a daily gratitude blog to record the things I feel happy or grateful for as they come so that I can look back in life and remember only the good things. Case in point: I can only remember two things in 2013 — our wedding and the stress of wedding planning.
  • Work on my spirituality.

May this year be even better than the last for you, me and everybody! <3


Go big or go bust.

I’m almost at my wit’s end here. 

A while ago, Farhana from Kahwin Khronicles posted that my wedding venue, the Grassroots Club, will be undergoing renovations this year. I had zero knowledge of this and was shocked to learn of it. I quickly called our Grassroots Club liaison and he assured me that the renovation of the function rooms that we booked will be completed by mid August, and if for any reason the completion is delayed, they will move us to their multi-purpose hall, which by then would have turned into a ballroom.

I hated the uncertainty. I hated the fact that we wouldn’t know how our venue was going to look like. Renovating the place doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to like it better. Who knows what colours or patterns they’re going to choose?

And then to make things worse than they already were, yesterday I received a call from Nurin (a friend of mine who had booked the same exact venue) followed by Faz, telling me that they had been dropped THE bomb. The function rooms will not be available for rent anymore because they are going to lease it to some tenant, and that they would have to reallocate us to the multi-purpose hall, which will NOT be renovated into a ballroom till next year!

I just flipped. There are bloody reasons why I chose their function rooms over the MPH in the first place, and now you’re giving me the very place I didn’t want!

I can accept the clause in the terms of agreement that states that they reserve the right to reallocate us in the event that our venue becomes unavailable for whatever reason.

But what I cannot accept is: WHY COULDN’T THEY HAVE INFORMED US EARLIER?!

I had to find out from someone else! According to Farhana, they had started to turn down bookings late last year. Why couldn’t they have informed us about the possibility of renovations then? We could have the option to look for another venue if we wanted! We’re only five months away, and for Nurin, only four — where the F can we find other venues at such short notice?

@#%*!?&%^ man, seriously.

I am dead set on not having my wedding at their unrenovated MPH. I don’t settle, so if we don’t find another venue that we like in the next few weeks, Faz and I have decided to downsize our wedding. We will just nikah, throw a simple lunch or dinner for 400 immediately after, either at the mosque or at home, and be done with the whole thing in 4 hours max.

No sanding, no elaborate decor, no multiple outfits, no photobooth, no kompang. I can’t deny it’ll suck a little because I’ve invested so much time researching, getting ideas, acquiring quotations and writing on this blog, only to have them turn to dust. But we’ll be off to Sri Lanka for our honeymoon after that, and have loads of unspent moolah in our banks. Sounds way better than having to settle, if you ask me.

So my dear BTBs, keep your eyes peeled on this space because I might be selling away some of the packages that I’ve signed up for at a discount!


December Mantra

With Christmas sales all around, it’s hard not get all frenzied. I’m a lot better than I used to be, but occasionally I’m still a hazard to myself when I’m on my own.

So this is a lil’ mantra I’ve been chanting to myself:

Keep calm and save your bonus

This year, Alhamdullilah, both Faz and I benefited from the pay review for public healthcare professionals, intended to make the industry — that’s catering to the demands of an ageing population — more attractive. This couldn’t have come at a better time, when we’re saving for marriage!


Wanderlust.

Instead of wedding prep, all I ever seem to want to do these days is…..GOOGLE HONEYMOON DESTINATIONS!

One place that has always, always cropped up in honeymoon talk ever since I can remember is….Turkey. My friends aren’t surprised I picked Turkey. Apparently Turkey “is sooo you“, they say. I’m interested to know how they came to that conclusion, though. Do I have Turkey, like, written all over my face?

TURKEY

I’m not quite sure why I’m drawn to Turkey myself. I haven’t had much opportunity to travel growing up, but when I do get a chance hopefully in the near future, visiting modern cities isn’t exactly on top of my list.

I guess I’m drawn to places that offer a different cultural experience and an escape from urban life.

A honeymoon on some remote island would no doubt be an escape but I doubt I’d enjoy it that much. With me not being able to swim and all, I’d be doing next to nothing on an island honeymoon. (Note to self: Learn to swim, fool!)

A place like Turkey has so much to offer in terms of its people, culture, arts, history, scenic natural landscapes, and food — no problems finding halal food here, which is great!

I’m really looking forward to reveling in the beautiful ancient architecture, staying in a cave hotel, hot air ballooning over the gorgeous landscape of Cappadocia, dipping in the travertine pools in Pamukkale, and ending it with a stay at one of the beaches on the Aegean Coast — Antalya, Marmaris, Oludeniz, Calis, Bodrum….I can’t decide which!

The landscape of Istanbul.
Source: gribbly on Flickr

I can almost see us haggling for souvenirs here at the Grand Bazaar! I shall observe my mother more closely during her durian-bargaining — she always gets her way!
Source: Alaskan Dude on Flickr

Castle Cave Room at Museum Hotel Cappadocia with a view of hot air balloons flying over Cappadocia!
Source: Museum Hotel Cappadocia

Another gorgeous room at Utopia Cave Hotel, Urgup.
Source: Utopia Cave Hotel

A sight to behold — hot air balloons floating over Cappadocia.
Source: To Uncertainty And Beyond on Flickr

A contrast of pristine white of the travertine pools against the hills of Pamukkale.
Source: BennBeck on Flickr

Just might pick Oludeniz over the other beaches because of this breathtaking paraglider’s view of the beach set against the Babadag mountains!
Source: stevec77 on Flickr

But there is a dilemma.

I haven’t done the full research yet but judging from the currency conversion and hotel rates, I’m thinking it may be out of our comfort zone to go for a Turkey honeymoon immediately after the wedding. We would’ve spent a fair bit for the wedding, and we think it would be more sensible to replenish our reserves a bit more first.

Another justification for putting Turkey on hold is the weather! It’ll start to get cold in October, and winter lasts right up till April. Just so you know, I can barely survive air-conditioning. A good time to go weather-wise would be sometime from May to September, which also means it’s the high season — hotel rates will be at their highest. You can’t have it all I suppose, but if you were to spend on anything, might as well make it worthwhile.

We could actually wait till May to go, but by the wedding we’ve anticipated that we’ll be itching for a getaway so bad that we’re thinking to go for a short one somewhere nearer to home and less expensive. Friends tell me I should just put the money in the Turkey fund. But…but…I haven’t gone on a holiday for yonks to save up for marriage, leh! The boyfriend on the other hand, has managed to visit China and Cambodia during this time. How unfair! Fortunately for him they were both family trips, so I couldn’t retort…

Anyway after a very intense examination of Southeast Asia on my globe, we decided that Sri Lanka would be an interesting place to go.

At first we weren’t really sure about putting Turkey on hold, but Faz already had to choose his 2013 leave slots the other day so we had to make a decision fast. In the end, we decided that we should take a week’s leave before the wedding to tie up any loose knots — which we expect to be many — as well as a week after the wedding, for our honeymoon. This pretty much cemented the fact that Turkey had to wait because there was absolutely no way we could be done with Turkey in just one week (his leave slots are in blocks of one, or two weeks max).

SRI LANKA

Also known as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean”. To me, Sri Lanka seems a little off the beaten track because I rarely hear of people honeymooning there. Obviously there are people who do, but I don’t personally know anyone who has, and this makes it even more mysterious.

After reading up about Sri Lanka, I really do think it’s one of the gems in Southeast Asia. There are so many things to be done in one place! You get all these scenic, historical landscapes, and all these awesome activities like taking a train ride through the lush valleys, tea-picking in Nuwara Eliya, going on a jeep safari in one of Sri Lanka’s many national parks, and visiting a turtle hatchery and releasing baby turtles into the sea, among many other exhilarating experiences.

The Sri Lankan railway offers some of the most scenic routes in the world.
Source: Garret M. Clarke Photography on Flickr

A magnificent view of the Nuwara Eliya hill country, famous for its tea plantations.
Source: the very honest man on Flickr

Tea pickers going about their job, picking the finest tea leaves. Staying atop the Ceylon Tea Trails, I imagine, would be one of the highlights of the trip!
Source: hceebee on Flickr

A chance to get upclose with wildlife at Sri Lanka’s many national parks.
Source: bpreece on Flickr

Again, hoping we can end the trip with at least two nights of beach retreat, before finally heading home to start a new beginning as husband and wife.
Source: Aditya Resort Hotel

There is some concern about weather during this period though because it’s the monsoon season. I gather from research the monsoon season doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to rain torrentially for days. It’s much like Singapore’s monsoon season, where it could be raining just a couple of hours a day, or maybe even no rain at all on some days. But we’re willing to take our chances.

Of course these are just plans, subject to budget (god, don’t you just hate that word?), time, and so on.

So there. Now that I’ve let off some steam, I hope I can finally function normally and resume wedding prep!


My Eid Twenty-Twelve

Eid Mubarak!

Hope everyone’s been having a ball of a time. I, on the other hand, have seen better days. I developed a throbbing headache a day before Eid, and it went on for a couple of days! I suspect I may have taken the spring-cleaning a bit too far. I took a week’s leave from work the last week of Ramadhan to help prepare the house for Eid. I didn’t think it would actually take a whole week, but it did.

My parents are such hoarders! The amount of stuff they’ve amassed over the last 28 years is just….unbelievable. It’s a challenge to convince them to throw stuff away. Sure, these things cost them money but if they’re just sitting there and eating into living space, then I think it’s just better to pass them on, seriously.

But it’s a lesson learnt. When Faz and I get our own place, I’ll make it a point to buy only the things we need. And if I want to buy something new, something old has to go. It’s the only way I can think of to prevent stuff from accumulating.

On the topic of Eid, I really enjoy looking at my Facebook timeline during this period. I love how colourful it is! It’s endearing to see people making an effort to dress up in Malay garb (polka dots seem to be in trend this year) and unite with family and friends over good food.

I must be under some sort of spell because for the first time in my life, I did not buy a single piece of clothing or accessory for Eid this year. Hell, I didn’t even set foot in Geylang to get the customary dengdeng and Ramly burger! Instead of buying our raya goodies like we always do, I also convinced my mom that we could bake them. Seriously, this is a breakthrough for me because I’ve never been thrifty type. Boyfriend, if you’re reading this, you should be proud because this illustrates my level of commitment! My hope is that one day I’ll finally be able to fully internalise thrifty living, making it a principle of life. Very tough to do, though.

What I’m NOT proud of is….that Project Wedding Body has taken a backseat! Instead of taking advantage of Ramadhan to lose weight, I took the bloody backseat. I’m very, very, VERY disappointed in myself. It’s such a waste because I was doing so well before. I’m back at square one now, having to work hard to build up my stamina — again. Especially after all the sugary stuff I’ve been eating. PFFT.

To make things worse, I totally forgot that the 10km Safra Bay Run that I had signed up for is on 9 September! That’s in two bloody weeks. And the 6km Yellow Ribbon Prison Run is just the week after. I thought I had a couple more months to go! I’m so dead.

Looks like I’ll have to redeem myself during the Great Eastern Women’s 10k in November. NO EXCUSES.


R is for Reluctance

So June is less than a month away now. If you recall, one of my 2012 resolutions was to book most of the important vendors by June.

That’s going really well. -.-

To date we’ve secured the venue, photographer and videographer. We’ll talk about our choices later on a sidenote, but yes, ONLY these three! I am beginning to panic a little.

After self-disecting my very muddled brain, I now know the true reason why I’ve been putting off making appointments with vendors.

Apart from general indecisiveness (which bridal company to choose, how many outfits I want tailored, etc), I found out that I am actually RELUCTANT to splurge on a half-day affair.

Right now, I would say I’m about 60% reluctant. The remaining 40% is basically me being a brat stamping my feet, going “NAK JUGAK!!”.

Heck, who am I kidding. Ok, it’s the other way round.

Still, 40% reluctance is a stronghold. It’s almost half! Every time I think of how the money can go towards supplementing our plans for our house (I’ve grand plans for this too, much to the boyfriend’s trepidation), the percentage goes up. And then when I think of wedding celebrations — the many people I treasure around me sharing our joy, pretty dresses, how smashing everything in its entirety will look in photos — well, it goes down again. It’s very volatile.

I have a feeling we’ll end up at the “NAK JUGAK” end of the spectrum — simply because my heart wants it. We’re trying to cut down on costs, but it’s really hard because we’ve already cut out the frivolous things and cutting any further would mean a compromise on quality (plus there are a few aspects of the wedding that I just can’t persuade my heart to let go). The reality of it is that I think I would be more upset if we didn’t go ahead with these things than if we chose to scrimp on it. Furthermore, money can be replenished but you only get married once. And I mean, it’s not like we’ll be spending an unreasonable amount to begin with…

/sends doe-eyed looks the boyfriend’s way

Gah, a rather pointless post, I know.