Sunday, December 27, 2009

The wanderer wonders

Another lazy, uneventful afternoon on a weekend in my humble HDB abode after a few days of ‘debauchery’ back in KL. My version of debauchery, albeit mild, involves partaking a lot of Japanese food, baking in the glow of LED tv on hot afternoons, lounging around with my massive secret stash of pillows and going on mini-shopping spree whenever, wherever I fancy it to be.

The best thing about Christmas is always going home. This year, Christmas heralds an entirely new beginning for me as I joined the Malaysian Chinese diaspora and wandered out of my comfort zone. Of course I didn’t wander very far (5 hours by bus, 45 mins by flight) but it’s interesting living in another urban condition and then come home to familiar grounds, only to find that KL has changed.

This time round, I went to a Japanese restaurant in Desa Sri Hartamas area and enjoyed some of the best sushi rolls I’ve tasted. Both the unagi rolls and Berjaya rolls were wonderful, yummylicious goodies. I tried the salmon steak lunch set, which is slightly oily (I’m very picky when it comes to unhealthy elements) but my friends had the sashimi and sushi sets, which were quite nice as well.

After a leisurely lunch at Aoyama @ Hartamas (as described above), we stopped by the awesome Cats Whiskers for my contribution to the Malaysian economy. Put a bit of restraint on myself as I shopped in Sunway Pyramid and 1utama the day before (I love mall-hopping, window-shopping and people-watching).
Thereafter, I proceed to visit another mall...Tropicana City Mall as some people mentioned that this new place is quite empty, with good bargains. I was surprised to find people thronging the mall on Boxing Day and good quality Christmas gifts on sale. Now I know where to find presents next year if I am around that area. Not bad at all.

After the fun of Christmas, today I find it tough going back to my HDB habitat. Years of living in a terrace house in crowded Wangsa Maju, driving a car wherever I want and eating street-food (probably strengthened my gut in the process) has taught me a different set of urban survival skills.
Over here, I have to learn how to depend on public transportation and how to enjoy sanitized hawkers' fare, amidst a lot of other skills.When I arrived on this island, realized that while getting taxi is easy, lugging my worldly possessions around on my two feet is not-so-easy. I guess banishing the ghosts of homesickness involve a lot of courage, plenty of networking power and running! Yeah, time to go run outside!!!

P.S: Praying for a peaceful, blessed New Year filled with goodness, love and excitement as we welcome the second decade of the 3rd millenium in 1 week's time.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Once in a blue moon...

Today I got home early. By early, I mean I actually saw some sunlight on the way home. I'm no longer a 'vampiric creature' living in the shadows of the hospital!! Hehehe...It's been 1 month since I've started here, but I felt a sense of belonging like nowhere else. The welcome that I felt has not worn out, nor my initial enthusiasm diminished. In fact, I felt quite motivated after a prayer session with a sister from Trinity last night. The spiritual climate here is so warm and encouraging; so much so that I'm motivated again : maybe it's time to get involved in some ministry soon? Now that's a happy thought!

I was reminded that I could do all things through Him who strengthened me, and that I could shine brightly for Christ in my workplace and personal life. Of course, there are difficult decisions that I will have to make along the way, but as long as I make my choices out of love and in the Holy Spirit, I know that God is with me and approves of what I am doing.

Anyhow, I had a moderately busy call (which reminded me of Ipoh Hospital) and I was very surprised at myself : I was drop-dead tired after 36hours in the hospital and that's unusual. In retrospect, I guess I haven't had a busy call for the past 2 months and I lost the usual 'call stamina'. Gone were the days when I could actually stay up until midnite after a night of oncall. I fell asleep in the bus and crawled onto my bed the moment I reached home. It really reminded me of my first call in HKL and Ipoh, respectively...but then again, I usually go home bone-tired after my calls in KL and Ipoh so it felt quite deja-vu..

Not only that,in the middle of my call, I had a big scare regarding some administrative problem from a particular Malaysian hospital. Finally settled my problems with the admin staff (after recovering from a really worried state) after my dad's intervention and a few costly phone calls. The final word is that I'm absolutely grateful; plus ever so glad and happy that I don't have to deal with some of these government hospitals ever again!!! Phew!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Endorphin addicts unite!!

When I said I wanted to run a half-marathon by the end of 2009, I thought it was N.A.T.O. After all, I was so busy with exams, travel, new workplace, new home that I hardly have enough time for myself, what more to train for a run. I sort of gave up on that mission.

I was mistaken. Apparently, as long as the mind is ready, our human body will adapt! I think I am much too kiasu anyway!!! It didn’t take much convincing from PS and CS to get my ass off my comfort zone and therefore, I decided to run this year’s Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, last minute. It was a 21km run. I didn't train. As in 2 days before the actual run. Let’s not go into the technicalities of how I managed to run, but technically, I didn’t bandit ok? Anyway, we have to grab opportunities when they come right? It's called grabbing the bulls by the balls, uhmmm, i mean by the horns!! haha

After an inspiring worship service @ Trinity on Saturday (armed with lotsa good wishes and prayers), I fell asleep and woke up this morning feeling like a lark…erm, maybe I was a bit grumpy as it was 5am on a Sunday morning but in retrospect, it was darn worth all the effort.

Upon reaching the Esplanade area, I quickly connected with Emmy, the person who is most likely to run my pace as it was her first halfie too. The crazy runners have already started running the full marathon! We dilly-dallied and reached the starting point 10 minutes later than the gun but who cares? With the Championchip Timing System, everyone’s race is timed individually.

Also met Sher Lyn, Mr Chong (Bernard's dad) and sister, Ai-Lynn for the first time. Altogether,there are 3 of us running the 21km for the first time ever. Emmy, Johan and I. Couldn't find J at the starting point though. Nevertheless, it was nice running with the girls. I'm always in races with PS but that girl is so fast that I could never run her pace. It's nice that I have company for once!!

Initially, I kept up with Em for the first 10km. I think we were doing quite a good pace. Suddenly, my right knee hurt like crazy but I was telling myself that the pain is not there. Then I slowed down for a run-walk system while convincing myself that the pain is unreal. I can tell you that mental strength is probably more important than physical strength at that point, especially when I ‘embraced’ the pain and ran without a limp as bravely as I could. I literally ignored the pain and concentrated on the run and my ipod. Em zoomed on ahead.

By 14km and a drinking station with bananas, I caught up with Em again. The amazing banana entered my system and acted like firepower…I could actually speed up and resumed running like the first 5 km. However, EM’s calves started giving her trouble and she fell back.

Even though I was on my own from that point onwards, I know that if I passed the 15km psychological barrier, I could run all the way to the finishing point. Although my pace isn’t good, I carried on, took pictures, answered SMS and gazed at the awesome view (both human and non-human)

I was very tired and in severe pain by the 19km mark but the entire sea of runners seemed so pumped up as we approached Padang that I was hyped up enough to finish with a big smile on my face. I glanced up at the clock and was pleased with my timing. Sub-3hour! Maybe around 2hr55mins for my first 21km race? I know it’s not much as the running gang average timing is about 2hours for 21km but in my universe of crawlers and outliers, I’m just so glad that I finished despite not training.

How about the rest of the day? Remember the knee pain? Well, it haunted me with a vengeance as I limped around town. After a wonderful lunch @ Café Cartel, I slept on the MRT and almost missed my BV MRT station. Nevertheless, I reached home in one piece and vegetate upon my bed until dinnertime.

My conclusion for the day : No pain, no gain. I'm in cloud 9 bcoz of my respectable timing k? Let me live in my glorious fantasy world for awhile! Anyhow, I would probably limp like crazy at work tomorrow (it’s not my first time walking around with pain in my hospital anyway! Remember Ipoh?) but I actually preferred a 21km to a 10km run. Now, when’s my next race again?

P.S : Actual shots taken while running are still stuck in my mobile. It will take a while.