Sunday, March 30, 2014

Goals and Daydreams

Last night, I set myself the goal to reach 1000 words in my literature review. And I achieved it.

But there's just one thing. I did not reach those 1000 words in one night. It was a goal I had achieved over the course of a week, where I would be reading tonnes of literature and type a little each day.

The maximum word count for this literature review is 3000 words and I had told my supervisor I would hand in my first draft by the middle of this week.

And here's something else. I have set myself the goal of achieving 1000 words tonight, reaching approximately 2000 words. I was supposed to be finished with this thing last Friday according to the schedule I made myself. But my lab training took quite a bit out of me: both strength, concentration and motivation-wise.

I am already day-dreaming about the end of year break. I'm thinking of writing a story and putting it online. Not sure if anyone will read it though hahah. But yeah. I'm thinking of making a whole new blog just publishing maybe a daily post on this story. So I don't want to reveal too much about this story.. except that it's made me daydream A LOT when I should really be doing my assignment.

I'm just thinking of heaps of plots I could put into this. I think this story would sort of take the format of a soapie or something. Completely a guilty pleasure story that will most likely not have a message or any lesson you can take away from. But I promise to make it funny!

Well. This story thing is a LONG way away. DEFINITELY after Honours insha Allah.. which would be the end of November. Ya Allah! So far away T_T

Insha Allah I can get through this literature review and get a high mark for this. Really can't afford to slack off in Honours.



Saturday, March 29, 2014

And how does that make you feel?


Just finished my 3rd week of Honours and already I am overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I have to do. I really am trying not to stress but can I just say that looming deadlines are approaching ever so faster and I feel like crying because it feels like one of those nightmares where you're being chased and trying to run away but you're just not moving.

Unfortunately, I cannot escape this nightmare of a reality by simply waking up. This is the REAL WORLD. I have no choice but to tackle it all head on.

By the way, GAMSAT was last Saturday. I don't want to say too much about how it went right now but I am just praying that I do get the mark I need to get into my desired medical school insha Allah! 

Back to the Honours topic..

In one of the Honours workshops I attended, the presenter told us to write about how we feel at the moment. It seems I am not the writing by hand type anymore. My handwriting has become atrocious! But I am a fast typer ;) So I thought I would use the excuse of writing about my feelings to update my blog!

Maybe I can even talk a bit about my project and my thoughts on it. I don't think I'll be able to disclose any data on my actual project as it's confidential and all.. but hopefully I'll be able to perhaps skim the surface on it?

Okay, so for this post, I'm going to introduce my Honours project.

My project centers around the disease called leukaemia. Leukaemia, as some of you might know, is basically a cancer of the blood. More specifically, I am looking at acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). Although more adults have ALL, it is in fact the most common paediatric cancer and although the cure rate against this disease is reaching 90%, there are still some patients that are unresponsive to the treatment. A class of drugs used in the treatment is called glucocorticoids. Glucocorticoids are a type of steroidal hormone produced by your adrenal glands and their physiological functions are many. One of their roles in our body's management of cancer is the induction of apoptosis (cell death). It is this apoptosis that is important to suppress the growth of the cancer. It is heavily recorded in the literature about patients having resistance to the glucocorticoids themselves and I am going to study the mechanisms behind this resistance. 

So there you have it. I hope I didn't overwhelm you with how overwhelmed I am. 

But until my next post, be prepared for more posts about my Honours project woes and angsts. Hahahah. 


Saturday, March 8, 2014

I Should Stop


I feel like I do that often. Just look at the header of my blog, "a place where I rant".
This might sound sexist, but is it just me or do women complain a lot? I think it's just me. Most of the girls I talk to usually don't have anything to say except "complain complain complain blah blah blah".

Me? I usually bottle it all up. And use my blog as a medium to complain! Woohoo.
To be honest,  I don't think it's right of me to forcefully impose my emotions onto people if they don't want to.

But you, dear reader, read my posts and I assume you chose to read my whinging? hahah.

It will be a sad day when the world will run out of things to say and just fill their conversations with complaints about the world, their mum, dad, everything around them and these constructive conversations will turn into trashy gossip and a lot of backbiting. Astaghfirullah. May Allah SWT protect us!

I learnt from shariah class that if you have a complaint, complain to Allah SWT. There is NOTHING wrong with that. In fact it is good, because you are turning to Him and asking Him for His help. If you have a wish deep down in your heart, open it to Allah SWT and insha Allah, He will answer it :)

He said, "I only complain of my suffering and my grief to Allah , and I know from Allah that which you do not know.

Surat Yūsuf (Joseph) [12:86] 

سورة يوسف

What I miss the Most about Indonesia

As most of you might know, I was born in Australia.
But my parents are from Indonesia.

Okay, I think that's about as much Japanese I can type lol. After all, this is a post about Indonesia right?!

Maybe I should practise some of my Indonesian as well? Okay, from this post onwards, I will try! I should really stop embarrassing myself whenever I go back to my mother country. My Indonesian just won't come out! My embarrassment will definitely not be one of the things I miss about being there.

Tapi, saya cinta Indonesia~
I love Indonesia!

Waktu saya di Indonesia, saya pergi ke banyak tempat-tempat yang paling indah.
When I was in Indonesia, I went to many beautiful places.

Saya pergi ke taman kupu-kupu di Makassar dan juga lihat air terjun. Tempat itu bikin saya rasa segar karena cuaca di Indonesia selalu panas dan saya tidak bisa tahan panas. Saya jadi keringatan!
I went to a butterfly park in Makassar and also saw a waterfall (see pic below). That place made me feel fresh as Indonesia is always hot and I can't tolerate the heat very well. I sweat really easily!

And there you have it. Some English, Indonesian and Japanese. I guess I cringe a bit more when I'm typing in Indonesian than when in Japanese because with Indonesian, I KNOW I sound weird. But with Japanese, I don't know whether or not I'm writing it right so I have more of a "whatever" attitude.

Ahhh.. I really love languages. I hope to travel the world one day and no doubt, languages will get you to places most tourists can't get to. By the way, Insha Allah I might be going to Umrah at the end of next year. And hopefully to Dubai as well. So I gotta brush up on my Arabic! I wish my university offered an Arabic language course. :(

So.. on to that actual list eh?

1. The green that was everywhere. The green forests.

I love this picture. So much. 2hours drive from our hotel to see this tiny waterfall..
I was expecting to see a waterfall as large as the ones I've seen in the pictures of Niagra Falls. But this is okay too. I've never seen this much water rushing down before. SubhanAllah!
Waterfall - Makassar

Just a house here in the forest - Makassar
Forest Trek in Makassar leading to caves

2. Giant bodies of water everywhere!

One of the things Australia and Indonesia have in common is that they're islands. Water pratically surrounds us. And I love swimming! But I dislike getting wet though. Being a hijaabi, it's a big hassle when you're trying to remove layers and layers of wet clothes.

By giant bodies of water, I don't mean floods. I visited Jakarta during it's monsoon season and towards the last few days of our trips, it was raining non-stop. And we left just in time before the Jakarta city was flooded some 2 or 3 days later. Alhamdulillah!

Makassar has one of the bluest waters I have ever seen. It was such a clean city! In contrast to Jakarta and Pontianak lol.
Makassar Waters

Bangunan di atas air - Makassar
LOL. Didn't know what else to call it.
Casually sipping some a coconut while overlooking the waters in Singkawang, Pontianak
If green tea is the flavour of the Japanese, then coconut is most definitely the flavour of Indonesia. It probably isn't but I was crazy about coconuts when in Indo! It's cool.. and refreshing! Tastes a little weird the first time, but it is strangely addictive. It must be the Indonesian in me.

Sailing down a canal in Puncak

As I am going through my holiday pictures, I've realised that I don't have that many pictures. So much for being a blogger eh?

3. Cats everywhere!

I love cats! And dare I say this, but I think I'm a bit of a cat whisperer. Every time I meow at a cat, they stare at me and run away. It's as if they're confused about how a human can speak their language!
Yep. Definitely why they run off.

I saw so many cats. Meow meow mew!
Try and understand what I just said there hah!

An island of cats - on an island off the coast of Makassar

I actually found A LOT of cats at my aunt's house! Her nephew is actually a cat breeder. So he breeds those expensive cats. They're all pedigreed and such. And expensive!
Fluffy Persian Cat!

Kitten at my uncle's house - Pontianak
(She looks like my uncle - LOL)

4. Food!! But most importantly, it was all HALAL.
I regret not eating more in Indonesia. The food was delicious but the heat really decreased my appetite. And mostly because I was stressed lol. I was just worrying about all the stuff that would be going on when I'd have to get back to Australia that I almost didn't enjoy my holiday!
But I still took SOME pictures.. not many though.

One of things I noticed when I went to Indonesia is how much it's changed. There are now new malls, and there has definitely been an increase in the amount of Japanese and Korean restaurants! The last time I went to Indonesia, which was around 5 years ago, I have NEVER seen these restaurants before. But I definitely appreciate Indonesia importing these Japanese and Korean restaurants.
It is so difficult to find that type of food here in Australia that is HALAL. So I got to eat as much as I could!

I would usually eat these fried bananas with cheese on top as a snack.
Fried Bananas with Cheese

Hot Pot - Singkawang

At Makassar, we ate at one of the best seafood restaurants ever! The atmosphere was really good! The lighting was good and the food was delicious. And I was also mistaken for a Malaysian there. LOL, I was wearing baju kurung so it was no wonder ahahah.
I believe the restaurant was called RM Bahari. And apparently, the Indonesian president SBY also ate at that restaurant. You can see a picture of him at the restaurant hanging on the wall.


I would seriously give RM Bahari 6MMMMmmms! out of 5 MMMMmmms!
The fish was fresh and I kept coming in for seconds and thirds! Now THAT's a good sign! Although I was starving that day so maybe that's why my appetite was so large? And it was also raining that day too...

At the Chocolate Museum - Makassar
 It's not every day that you get to eat this hot pot! Especially in Australia where it isn't halal in restaurants. To my surprise, it didn't really meet my expectations. I was expecting flavours from Japan.. lol. Maybe because I ate this the night after I arrived from Japan and had high standards. ROFL. I forgot the name of this restaurant.. but it was a restaurant in the Grand Indonesia Mall.

But OMG. I just LOVED what I had for dessert! Now THIS definitely reminded me of Japan. I think it was Green tea shaved ice. LOVED ITTT! I didn't have any of this when I was in Japan so you can imagine my delight when I dug into this!

The one dish that is high on my favourite Indonesian foods is: Sate Padang. My FAVOURITE.
And my favourite Indonesian drink? Teh Botol!!
So yummy.. omg I am remembering the taste of it all on my tongue. It makes me cry because now I want some so bad TT_TT

We stayed at Hotel Santika for new years. I forgot which hotel santika it was, but it was the one that was across that water park, and attached to the mall. I think it was Hotel Santika BSD?

Well, I really LOVED that hotel. It was fun to get away for new years and muck around. It was joined to this mall called Teras Kota and I had never felt so free in Jakarta till then. It's so convenient just going downstairs from your hotel room and then being in an entertainment district!

We had Korean BBQ there too! I thought we'd be cooking the meat ourselves like they did in those Korean dramas, but it was actually the dude that came in with his trolley and cooked next to our table. Nawww :(
But it was still tasty! I've never had a Korean BBQ before. And now I have! ^_^

At Teras Kota, there was also a stall that sold crepes! They had nothing on the Harajuku crepes, cos my standards for Japanese food are so high since I've been to Japan and all... (LOL jokes jokes). They were still good though!

Also at Teras Kota, I had an iced green tea shake? I think the name of that store was "The Coffee Bean". So good...

Hotel Santika BSD also had a new years party which guests of the hotel were invited to attend! We even won a ticket that would let us stay at Hotel Santika Lombok for a night! Unfortunately, it was going to expire this year, so we gave the ticket to my cousin's wife.
It was such an awkward moment when I went up to get the hotel ticket and the male host extended his hand to congratulate me. Of course I just pressed my palms together in front of me, in the usual Indonesian manner of greeting. Dude, I thought since Indonesia was a majority Muslim country they would know these Islamic customs?
Well, I'm not going to delve into the state of Islam in Indonesia in this post.. so, moving onwards!

And here's the food we ate at the New Year's party. The food was average I guess.. but I ate roast beef! What is it with my meat cravings? I was craving a juicy Aussie steak and Alhamdulillah they served Western food at that party.
By the way, it wasn't a dancing type of party. It was more.. a dinner party LOL. Food was good. I give it 3MMMmmms out of 5MMMmmms!

5. The low currency karena aku pelit
One of the best things about holidaying in a developing country is that you can buy things there that would usually cost a fortune in Australia, especially Sydney! Sydney's in the top 10 in the world for most expensive cities..
In Indonesia, I got a full body massage and scrub (green-tea flavoured! LOL what?), cheap hotel tickets, cheap everything. Even bought myself an Arsenal jersey. Whether or not the jersey is authentic or not.. err I don't really mind.

6. I guess I could go on and on.. but I really should sign off now. Indonesia is a beautiful place! Indonesia adalah negara yang sangat indah dan saya menyarankan anda libur di sana.

I still have much exploring to do. I feel like I hardly know Indonesia, despite being there a couple of times. One of the most important things I believe I should preserve is my heritage. Knowing who you are, and where you come from is one of the most important things you will take with you in life.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

And So.. Summer came to an end

 I have uni tomorrow.. meaning I may not have time for life. But I want things to be different starting from now. I have always been doing one thing at a time, when I could be doing so much more. I procrastinate a lot. I want to change all that.

I want a balance in life. It's time I seize control. Carpe diem baby!

This year may be one of the most hectic in my life. But I feel it is the year I will change for the better. Insha Allah I will be taking up other things. I have decided to go to shari'ah classes again and learn some fiqh. Fiqh is 'Islamic Jurisprudence' for those of you who are wondering :)
I've also set my mind to take up taekwondo again. But at the university. It's been around 8 years since I have last donned a taekwondo uniform and did some proper training in a group. I've quit the gym, but I do not want to quit exercise.

However, the taekwondo training times at uni are pretty inconvenient. They're from 7-9pm and I live like an 1-1.5hrs away.. hmmm. Still trying to work it out. But I will worry about that once I finish my GAMSAT exam Insha Allah, when I will have more free time.

And to reflect on the summer of 2013-14? It has been one of the most eventful and most exciting. I resurrected my blog, travelled to the northern hemisphere for the first time (the furthest I've ever been from home), visited family in Indonesia, ran a marathon, and found my goals.

I have learnt so much this summer. I will not forget all the experiences. I will collect them and treasure them in my heart. I am coming out of this summer refreshed and recharged!

I am determined. More than ever. To reach my goals. Insha Allah! Amiin!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Green Tea Ice Cream

I am having Green Tea ice cream withdrawals it's not even funny. My blog's green theme is driving me insane. There is such a shortage of green tea flavoured anything here in Australia!

Such a contrast to Japan right? In Japan, you couldn't pass a restaurant or food shop that DID NOT sell Green Tea flavoured dango, ice cream... even kit kat!

I will forever miss Japan's green tea craze.

To get such delicacies, one must travel to the edge of the world! Lol literally!
Nahhh in Australia, you would most likely find it in an Asian grocery, or in a Chinatown. I don't know if Sydney has a Japantown..

Green Tea Ice Cream - Bought in front of the Kinkakuji trail exit

I ate so much green tea stuff in Japan, I may have a whole album of it. Hmmm do I?

I just checked the pics I took in Japan.. I'm not the type to take pictures of my food before eating it. As you can see from my ice cream above, I was in the middle of eating it before remembering to take a photo! It's SO YUMMY!

I definitely recommend that ice cream snack bar in front of Kinkakuji!

Usually in Japan, they offer green tea ice cream combined with vanilla option.

But me.. im like "NU-UH! I have plenty of vanilla ice cream at home! Im going to make the most of my tourist experience and have stuff I can't have back home. In it's completion!"

So here's a bunch of pics. Most of the green tea stuff I found was in Kyoto.

The Snack Bar at Kinkakuji
 At the kinkakuji exit, there were also stalls selling these cute boxes filled with cute Japanese snacks. And the sellers spoke okay English. They even let us eat some samples!
But I felt like a pig just eating the samples and not buying. All the Japanese people around me that were trying ended up buying. Is it impolite not to buy? I sure felt impolite ahahah.
So I coerced my sister into buying a box.
Box of Dango

Dango Sticks
Oh! And you can't forget actual Green Tea tea right? The hotel we stayed at in Kyoto gave us free green tea every day! They were such hospitable people!

Green Tea at the Village Kyoto Hotel

Munching on green tea dango while drinking some green tea in our hotel room
 Okay, so not everything Green Tea I bought was edible! I regret buying this hand cream because it's so small! There was a larger size that I wanted but I was saving my money for Tokyo afterwards. But I wonder if maikos actually use this hand cream? I bought this hand cream at a store in Gion, the 'geisha district'. Mind you, I didn't see any geishas that Wednesday night. My mum saw some in taxis though.

Green Tea Hand Cream Case

Green Tea Hand Cream - 300 Yen

 We also went to the Kyoto International Manga Museum! It was such a beautiful place and I could have been there all day just reading the manga! Sadly, we weren't allowed to take pictures inside.. but I can't stop kicking myself about not taking pictures or selfies OUTSIDE. The building was so pretty! And the courtyard had the greenest grass ever I could've eaten it.

The only pics I took at the International Manga museum was what I ate. It was really good though! It was so cold that day and I had been so tired after walking around and getting lost in Arashiyama all day just a few hours before.
Green tea + mochi cubes

the animation on the wall of the restaurant (in the background)
 On our final day in Kyoto, we went to the only halal restaurant on our Japan trip. Wow. Rose cafe was a cosy little place right around the corner from the Kyoto Masjid. I loved how we had our own little room at the back. And best of all, it was halal!
So we ate here while my dad was at Jum'ah Prayer at the Masjid. Convenient right? Unfortunately women weren't allowed in. My dad said the place was packed to capacity. (Masha Allah). After my dad finished, there was another round of Muslim men waiting outside to pray Jum'ah. Subhanallah. Whereever you go, you are bound to find Muslims.
Most of them were from Malaysia and Indonesia though.
So anyways, when we got to the restaurant, I was craving some hard core meat. The store didn't really have any traditional Japanese food. But I was okay with that. I've been eating that for the past 3-4 days. So I ate a steak burger. And of course, the green tea thing on the menu: green tea (of course) and green tea chocolate cake. I couldn't really taste the chocolate though. And the green tea was subtle. But still. YUMMM.
Green Tea Chocolate Cake
 And then it was the shinkansen to Tokyo. I bought a packet of green tea kit kats from Kyoto station. I had bought a packet in Osaka as well..  but forgot to take a pic of it. To be honest, I can't really taste the difference between the green tea kit kats I bought in Osaka and the green tea kit kats that were labelled with "Kyoto Edition" as if it were some limited "must buy" thing. But hey. Blowing money on a holiday to try new things is what you're meant to do hey?
Eating Green Tea kit kat on the Shinkansen to Tokyo
 I've had a green tea latte before. But I have NEVER had a green tea latte at STARBUCKS before. IN JAPAN. IN SHINJUKU!
There was a foreign couple sitting behind me at starbucks. One was an English man, the other.. I can't remember. Was it a Scottish or Irish woman? Anyway, they were speaking in English and were talking about learning the Japanese language. The woman was going on about how difficult reading Japanese might be because of all the kanji.
I really wanted to join in on that conversation because... after all, I did study Japanese for two semesters and could have offered my bag of 2 cents'.
Green Tea Latte - Shinjuku Starbucks
I ate a green tea ice cream cone at the Ghibli Museum as well. But forgot to take a pic.

And to end my Japan journey, what better way to end it with a green tea bang! I think the best treat was saved for last. I bought this cup of green tea ice cream + wafer + red bean glutinous rice balls. It was delicious. It makes me want to cry because I miss green tea Japan so much!

Green Tea Parfait: Green Tea Ice + Wafer + Red Bean Glutinous Rice Balls - Haneda International Airport
Taken by my Mama