A mother’s last responsibility and her lifelong dream

It’s never easy to talk about this but my mother makes me face reality every single day anyway. There is no way for me to escape reality because she is always there to remind me. I don’t mind it all that much when it’s true. Most of the time, she’s got a point and her points are always sharp.

Let’s face it. Everyone who knows me knows that I am the only daughter of the family. I am also the youngest child. What do you think the parents’ last responsibility towards a daughter would be? It shouldn’t be that hard to guess, should it? Of course it would be to see that their daughter is happily married to a good man. The ceremony and the reception (or just the kenduri) is also the responsibility of the parents. Why do you think their names are listed as the host and hostess in the invitation card? Sheesh.

Now. My mother has a dream. A lifelong dream of seeing a properly planned wedding of her daughter. This, she told me ever since I was young – ever since I had no intention of marrying anyone (obviously before my fiance found the key to my heart, lol). She is the type of person who likes to plan early. She likes to plan meticulously, as do I. We aren’t perfectionists. We just like to see everything go as smoothly as it can. That’s not a bad trait, right?

She did not get to plan my brothers’ weddings, nope. That was not her responsibility, obviously (duh!). She planned the majlis bertandang or majlis sambut menantu or simply the groom’s reception, which by our norm here (at that time) is normal if it’s just held in a simpler manner. Just a doa selamat would suffice. Well, that was over five years ago, though. I suppose things have changed.

Back to the topic at hand. SO, my mom has a lifelong dream of seeing my wedding reception held at our house, obviously with her daughter and her son-in-law all dolled up beautifully, with pretty deco around us and good food that cost no greater than what we can afford. My parents remind me all the time that the reception is THEIR responsibility, so it will be THEIR money. What I can do is help out as much as I can and provide monetary support only when it’s appropriate. It sounds weird but that’s my parents for you. When it’s their job, it’s their job. I offer my help all the time, of course, because I like to plan too. Buying new furnitures, house improvements, you name it. Sometimes, they approve. Sometimes, they say “don’t, we’ll do that later. Keep your money”. Most of the time, they tell me:

Just let us carry out our last responsibility in peace.

It makes me smile a bitter smile all the time. Always. It makes me happy. It makes me sad. It’s a reminder that we’re all getting older. It’s a reminder that I am no longer a child. At the same time, it’s also a reminder that they acknowledge me as a full-fledge adult now. I thank her for that.

Dear Allah, please bless my parents with health, longevity and happiness. They’ve brought me up as a responsible human being who can now contribute to society. They built comfortable home for their children to grow up in. They provided me with all the necessities I need while growing up and more. Please let my mother carry out her last responsibility and realise her lifelong dream in peace too.

Amin ya rabbal alamin.

Everyone’s mother is different but I would like to believe that every mother loves her children. Every mother is willing to make sacrifices for her children without asking the children to make sacrifices for them first. My mother, I believe, is also like that and I hope I can become like that too one day if I’m blessed with children.

This Eid al-Adha, I also think of my parents’ sacrifices among all others. Happy Eid al-Adha everyone. May Allah’s blessings be with us always 🙂

p.s/ I’ve stopped counting my tears because with every count, my heart aches.

A Race for Time Management and Financial Planning

Aunt’s House @ Bachok. Sending off my cousin to UiTM Chendering.

Good time management and financial planning is essential for when you have big events coming up in your life. You can’t do with just one because financial planning alone is not enough and vice versa. When you plan your money, you plan your time as well. It’s almost the same as making investments with banks. You choose a certain period of time, you keep your money there and reap the benefits.

People who have never been to Kelantan may say all the bad things they’ve heard about this state – dirty, poor, etc etc but there has been much development around since the past few years. I could barely recognise my own place anymore after spending much time someplace else. New highways, new flyovers, new buildings, new towns, high-rise condos, shopping malls and many others keep sprouting one after another that the GPS data needs to be updated all the time.

This state is chock full of people. During school holidays, traffic defeats those of big cities. Driving from Federal Highway into Bangsar after office hours is more bearable than driving into Pasir Mas from my house on a normal weekday during school holidays. This is why it is very important to plan things ahead of time. If you’re slow, you lose out on so many good deals.

The Race Against Time: Since Kelantanese return to their hometown during long holidays, tourists need to book accommodations way ahead of time if they plan to visit the state for shopping at Rantau Panjang, Wakaf Che Yeh or even Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah. If you’re coming here for big events such as weddings, you will have to book at least one month before your projected day of arrival. I am currently facing this problem of finding accommodation for visiting relatives. We made a big mistake of not forming a solid plan until a little over two weeks before the date of the event. I called at least 10 guest houses and got the same response over and over: “Fully booked from 28 May to 8 June, sorry.” I drove along the Salor-KB highway into Jalan Pintu Geng until Wakaf Che Yeh to look for decent accommodation open for booking. Tune Hotel next to KB Mall is nice, but the rooms are very small :/ In the end, I chose a fairly new inn around Wakaf Che Yeh. The rooms and beds were okay when I looked, so yeah. Before booking, I asked two nearby inns and found them to be fully booked as well. See how busy this state is?

If you’re planning to get married or engaged in this state, you also have to be VERY quick with your bookings. Bridal boutiques and bakeries are fully booked everywhere. For weddings, it is essential to book AT LEAST FOUR MONTHS BEFORE the big day. Note the ‘at least’ in capital letters. If you try to make bookings around 3 to 2 months before your chosen date, the shop owner would give you a look that says ‘are you kidding?’ -_-”

Finance is the Key: It is most crucial to plan your money. The price of everything seems to move with time. Well, same rules as the peak and off seasons for accommodation apply. Financial planning for the big day must involve two parties. It’s a two-way communication. One way communication just doesn’t work no matter what people say. At my age, I have to draft a solid money and spending chart every month to determine how much I could save and how much I must spend to survive the month (pay bills, car instalment, credit card debt repayment, essentials…). This year and next year will be different, I hope. After confirmation, I’d be around RM430 richer than this year. I just have to make sure my confirmation goes smoothly 😀

Saving money towards a certain goal is recommended, right? Same goes to saving for the big day. I don’t know about other people but I’m the type who don’t want to trouble my future husband much. I won’t force my spouse to give me an additional RM1,000 just because we’re married and just because he must give me money for maintenance (nafkah). I won’t be an unemployed housewife, so I could at least help out where necessary. I believe that finance is not the sole responsibility of only the husband – the understanding wife must also play a part ^_^

If there are people who claim that I am too young to tie the knot at this age, I want them to ask themselves; “How old were your parents when they had their first child?” This whole process used to be so simple. I have no idea who came around and made things complicated in our current society :/

Until later. Lots of work to finish still.

An Elevation of Viewpoints; A Day for Teachers

May 16, 2011. I celebrated my first ever Teacher’s Day as a real teacher today. It was a very colourful day, filled with laughter and games and well, food (not that I care about food). I spent the day going around taking photos of pretty much everything to commemorate my first celebration (as well as to fill my virtually empty folio with something more colourful although nobody needs to know how empty it actually is -_-), changing into a pair of slacks and t-shirt just before the morning session was taken over by mini-games. Sukaneka, of course. Timeless classics such as the musical chair and taking turns to fill bottles with water were present. Teachers who took part were very enthusiastic. I had fun watching them giggle and fight for the chairs until the very last.

It felt different. Celebrating Teacher’s Day as a teacher, that is. The celebration was completely organised by students – hall decorations, gifts, programmes… I can’t remember if I was ever that efficient when I was their age. From the moment I got off my car, the air of celebration was already set up, injected with elements of fun from colourful decorations here and there. I wonder how I felt when I was a student.

Today, I celebrated Teacher’s Day from an elevated viewpoint. When I was a student, I was very excited to give presents to all of my subject teachers. I wanted them to feel happy and appreciated. Now that I’m teaching, I found myself struggling to find words to say to students who came to tell me “Teacher, I’m sorry I don’t have money to give you anything. Can I give you something next week?” It was very touching. I realised that as a teacher, I don’t expect my students to give me anything. I’m very touched when a few students who come from very low financial backgrounds wrapped freshly picked flowers from home and bars of soaps to give as presents.

I used to feel bad when I couldn’t give nice gifts to my teachers. Now that I’m teaching, I don’t want them to feel like I did back then. Students feel pride when teachers accept their offerings, so I told the ‘grieving’ children who didn’t bring any gift to not feel sad. I told them to give me the best present they could give me, but one that they cannot buy with money -a good grade. Nothing makes me happier than hearing my students speak in a complete sentence. At least ONE complete sentence. The sense of accomplishment is way different from receiving gifts.

To my students, thank you for all the colourful gifts. I appreciate each and every one of them. There is no need for you to feel ashamed or down because for me, a gift is a gift even if you give me a box of white chalks or a single pencil. It’s the thought that counts. Teacher’s Day is a day for teachers, so make your teachers happy by coming to school and wishing them a Happy Teacher’s Day with a bright, sincere smile on your face =)

Until next year.

Sorting Memories & Walking on a puff of air

I thought the most flattering thing a girl could ever receive from a guy on his confession is a bouquet of red roses. Apparently, I was wrong. Being presented with a ring that carries so many of a person’s hope and feelings defeats all other thoughts I may have had. Maybe I was dumbstrucked by the words he said, or maybe it was the ring, which strangely fits my ring finger so well. I’m not so conceited as to think that maybe, this is fate that was waiting to happen, but I was hit by pleasant warm feelings that made me all calm, warm and fuzzy.

If you ask me where, when and how it started, I won’t be able to tell you because I myself don’t even know. I was pretty convinced that it wasn’t me he liked, considering his adamant repetition of “I don’t want a teacher” and the sudden “It definitely wouldn’t be me” when I joked with my friends about something like “Lol, who the heck is the poor husband who marries me XD”. What was I supposed to think when someone tells me something like that? I guess you can say that that was the first time I sort of thought that he thought I like him, and that he was giving reminders to me so I don’t continue liking him. Surely you wouldn’t be so serious telling other people the criteria of the partner you want in life, especially when the criteria goes against the other people, unless you want them to get away from you… right?

Or so I thought. So in an attempt to make him feel at ease with me, I summoned the picture of someone I used to have feelings for and used the feelings I once had for him to pretend I was still hung up on him. I felt bad for using people, but hey, I was trying to preserve a friendship here! If he thinks I like someone else, surely he won’t think I, um, like him…right?

Again, so I thought.

Now let’s fast forward a little bit. He started talking to me more. He started spending more time with me , and for some unknown reasons, I couldn’t find it in me to turn him down when he asks me out for dinner etc, even if he was asking me in his roundabout ways most of the time (until I had to ask him ‘Do you want me to accompany you?’. Seriously!). At this point, people who know me well started giving me hints, pointers and whatever else you’d call a wild rumour. Catcalls? That’s the least of my worry then. Of course I didn’t believe them. In my mind, he was still so adamant about wanting nothing to do with someone like me, so there’s no way he was spending time with me because he liked me more than just a friend.

Not much happened after that. So many beating around the bushes and so many hints that I regarded purely as false hints. A couple of days after the exam, we had dinner where he asked me to watch a movie with him at the cinema. I said yes because somehow, spending time with him has become something like a habit. We started YMing. For once, my YM behaved pretty nicely, so we ended up chatting for a whole night. In the middle of our conversation, he suddenly went into contemplative mode where he started a string of conversation I couldn’t understand (until much later). I know I’m slow when it concerns my own self, but I never thought I was that slow. I was so frustrated that I couldn’t understand what he was trying to tell me, so I cried. I always cry when my emotion is on the extremes – too frustrated, too angry, too sad… It’s just something I think I got from my Mom =)

I stared into the mirror for quite a while before I went to bed, thoughts swirling in my head. And then I thought about one person I thought I still have one-sided feelings for up until a certain point in time. Actually, I don’t quite feel anything for him anymore as I’ve learnt to let go over the years. I know I’ve stopped thinking about that person a couple of years back. I also know that at one point in time, I was mildly interested in him (him as in him, not that person) but I didn’t put much thought into it. That was foundation years, maybe? I couldn’t remember.

It took me a while to realise that I may possibly have stronger feelings for him after all, and that scared me into tears.

Moving on. The movie outing was nice but confusing as hell. I don’t know if he was simply teasing me, or if he’s trying to give more direct hints. Direct hints or not, I was not convinced. Time to pry a bit more? Yes, of course! I don’t really like prying, but my heart was at stake. If he really does feel something for me, maybe then I’d admit that I do feel something for him too. I’m too used to burying my feelings deep inside me, so I didn’t know how deep my feelings for him run. Even at that point in time, it’s probably deeper than I thought if he was affecting me so much in so many ways. Not amusing, okay? Hmph.

The next day, we went out with Hanin, watching the same movie. More hints and teasings. From ‘our house in the future’ to Love Letter to heart-shaped onigiris, right until before we went back. I was waiting for a time where he won’t suspect a question from me, so I asked him midway as we were walking to the taxi stand. I hate to recall our brief conversation because I totally interpreted what he said as something along the lines of ‘I’m actually just using you in order to rediscover my feelings‘. That was my interpretation. The hurt intensified. I was ready for a firm ‘No, I don’t feel anything for you’ or ‘No, I was just playing with you’ or ‘No, I don’t like you.’

I never cried so hard out of frustration and possibly anger in a long time. I cried so very hard for most part of the night until I fell asleep.  The last time I did something similar was probably in 2007 because of some issues… heh, not worth remembering. I was holding on to his phone and HDD at that time. Just one look and I got frustrated all over again. Heck, I even saw him in anything red and black, like my own Nintendo DS – and I got frustrated all over again and again and again. When I woke up in the middle of the night to find a few lines left by him on my IM, I let my fingers smash the keyboard keys. I let him know how hurt I was, and I gave him an ultimatum. That wasn’t very nice of me, but I was tired. So very tired of feeling weighted down by the unknowns. In my own twisted way, I want to hurt him as much as he hurt me, or at least just let him feel the hurt I felt. I don’t care anymore. If he doesn’t tell me soon, if he continues to be so indifferent in his roundabout ways, if he asks me to forget about everything that transpired for the past few days, I’m not sure I could talk to him like I always did.

I was edgy the next day. I went into the lecture hall without looking up. I simply grabbed an empty seat and sat down. Hanin actually texted me to tell me that he was pestering her about wanting to talk to me. I actually smiled then. At least he still wanted to talk to me. I was actually scared that he’s just going to be the average guy who’d shrug everything off at his convenience. I’m not used to staying angry at someone for long, but this time, I’m not going to give in. I tell myself that I’m not at fault this time, so I’d wait for him to apologise. I thought I was going to have to wait for a few days.

Scratch a few days. Our conversation happened not a couple of hours after Mdm. Ooi’s lengthy speech about the INTEL course. It was a somewhat solemn conversation. I didn’t let him go the roundabout this time. What I wanted at that moment was blatant honesty – honesty that drips from his heart.

And honesty was what I got. I was expecting an apology when he gave me the three words a girl always wishes for deep down, even more so when those words were accompanied by a ring. I was so touched that again, tears came to my eyes. I didn’t realise I was such a crybaby. Did I wait for this? Did I wish for this to happen? Not really, as I was expecting an apology and a ‘let’s just be friends like always’ sort of speech. Was I happy? Yes, I was, and I am. He was shaking, and that just moved me to another extent.

How cute. And touching.

I was happy. So, so happy.

I accepted the ring. I accepted his feelings. I accepted his heart as I open my heart for him and him alone. I’ve never opened my heart to anyone else, even when they insisted that they really do like me. It felt as though a heavy burden had just be lifted off of my shoulders. And then I realised that all of this time, maybe, maybe I do feel for him longer than I thought.

How come I never realised he was the one I was waiting for in my life?

Somehow in the end, I’m just a girl who is always fearful of so many untold possibilities. Sometimes when I look at him, I think about how long he’s going to feel this way for me. I think about the possibility of him getting bored of me after a while, or of him realising that he’s chosen the wrong person after all. After all, I’m not that much of an interesting person to hang out with, I’m quite possessive, I get jealous quite easily (though I don’t show it), I’m not pretty, and the list goes on and on and on….

But well…

Dear Zaki,

When you’re in doubt, come back to this lengthy entry I wrote for you. Come back and read every word because I meant every word with all my heart. When you think I’m being annoying, come back to this entry and consider it my apology for being such a girly girl at times. When you think I’m being pushy and you can’t stand it, come back to this entry and see that I am just a scared person who might be thinking about you more than you’re thinking about me.

It’s okay if you don’t think about me so often. It’s okay if you don’t spend time with me so often. It’s okay if you don’t want to walk with me or stay next to me so often. It’s okay if you think I probably am not the one you imagine spending the rest of your life with. As long as your feelings for me are sincere, you’ll make me very happy, and I’ll try to make you happy too. I can’t promise much, but I can at least promise that I will try my hardest to not break your heart; so please try not to break mine. Please, please, please try. Maybe we’ll argue here and there, now and then, but that’s parts and parcel of life. As long as you stay loyal to me, I promise that my eyes won’t ever divert to another. We’ve both been through so much in this life. We’ve both been through (what you call) emotional blockades of sorts. We’ve both been heartbroken and used before. We both have deep scars that run deeper than anyone thinks.

I may not know what love really means, but I don’t mind learning the meanings with you.

Pinky promise?

Sealed with a flying kiss,

W. I. Adlina ~2010~
Written originally on May 12. Final revision written on June 8.
Approximately 2050 words.

A Crack in the Wood & A Splash in the Sand

A couple of weeks ago, I submitted my last assignment. Just a few days ago, I sat for my final exam. The next semester? It’s all practicum. I’ll be going to SMK Seri Saujana (info, anyone?) with Hanin and Mira, but this post isn’t about practicum. Not yet. It’s not that I’m not ready to go into school for actual teaching. I’ll be lying if I say I’m not scared, because I am, but I’m not ready to let go just yet.

I may be quick to have a change of heart at certain things, but to let go of the last five years is something very hard. I know I’d still see my best buddies until the end of this semester and during practicum. Next year is still over 6 months away but I’m already thinking about separation. I know I’m not close to every one of my coursemates, but I acknowledge and applaud them for their unique personality that makes them… well, them. You can describe someone without mentions of names and we’d probably right away know whom you’re talking about. If I can sum up my coursemates in one word, I only know of one:

A W E S O M E

I probably won’t ever come across similar lot of people anymore – people with talents ranging from sewing to drawing to singing to playing multiple musical instruments to sports et cetera et cetera. It makes me a bit sad. When I return to my hometown, it’s probably going to be even harder to find people like them. Don’t try to correct me. I know this by experience. Even if you think your lot is 100 times more awesome, I can’t verify that since I don’t know them (duh!). Will there still be someone who’d listen to me when I speak or joke?

When I was in secondary school, I remember my teacher saying something like “The friends you make during the last 5-6 years of your life as students are likely to be the ones who’d stay in touch with you throughout your whole life our of pure friendship. They’re likely to be the ones you’d remember the most anyway, so cherish them always.” I seriously hope this is true.

Mira, Hanin, Khairiyyah, Nisrin, Hijrah, Lucille, Zu Lee, Rozi, Dyau, Fifi (I’m stuck calling you that, LOL, sorry!), Zaki, Fayadh, Atie and the name goes on. You guys know which ones of you lot changed bits and pieces of my previously monotonous life. You made me smile, smile, smile, laugh, cry, laugh, smile, cry, smile, and you let me feel all sorts of feelings and emotions – so much that sometimes I’m scared of how dependent I’ve become on my friends. Thank you for being my friends. Thank you for even listening to whatever I’ve crapped about.

I’ve been through changes, like the once smooth surface of wood now lavished with cracks here and there that let sunshine, wind and even rain through. Some parts, though, remain the same, but not so – just like a splash of water to the sand. Splashes after splashes, changes in texture are bound to happen, but they probably would not be so noticable, unlike those obvious cracks in the wood. Some changes made me happy, some not so. I want to leave IPBA so much because sometimes, it feels like I’m living in a military camp where some of the higher ups bark rudely and bitchy-ly most of the times. At the same time, I don’t want to leave my friends and the happy time we had.

And now I also have wonderful juniors as apartment mates and young friends, and special mention to Shap for being my cute and not so naive (anymore because there’s Mira and me , LOL) roommate. Our time of knowing each other is short, but at least I want you people to know how happy you made me feel when you acknowledged my existence.

I’m being emotional. Maybe it’s the time (4.18am). Maybe it’s just me.

And now I’ve lost the stream of words I was supposed to write down. Maybe I’ll continue later.

Ciao.

p.s/ Credit to Zaki for the photo.