letting go

As I had to move my things from one country to another, I took the opportunity to pare down. I realised that I had so many clothes, most of them I did not wear often or that they were quite old. I ended up donating about 2 boxes full of clothes.

It was quite easy letting go of them because I knew what I actually needed. I had to do this at some point anyway and so I had prepared my mind to let go. I did it in stages so that it wasn’t overwhelming, and to avoid my relenting to the thought “I think I will wear this some day” knowing well enough that some day may not come.

The most annoying things were the little things like stationeries and other miscellaneous objects. Because I actually had to properly clean up my room, I had to go through every single thing, not only asking whether I would still need it but also thinking about how I should dispose of it. Do I recycle this laminated paper? How about that lanyard? Would a friend want this thing?

I managed to give some stationery to my friends and recycle the unwanted ones. But for some, I had no choice but to dump them in the general waste bin. I felt kind of bad but it just had to be done. The guilt was somewhat good because now all I think of is to pare down some more and then if I do require something, I would think twice before buying it.

I know people would say that this is such a hassle. Well, they are right. It is a hassle that we have somewhat created. We produce all those things and we consume them greedily and then we throw them away irresponsibly. Some would say the world is going to die anyway so why bother? Well, it’s just that I care about my living space and the legacy I would potentially leave behind for the future generation. I want the beauty of Earth to be preserved — is that so bad?

The way to stop this cycle of excessive production and consumption is to break the cycle. And that’s what I am trying to do.

In total, I managed to fit in my “essentials” into two boxes that were shipped, and the rest were fit into one big luggage, one small luggage and a backpack. What I didn’t expect was to part from my books that I had packed in my small luggage.

So long story short, Emirates has implemented strict rules allowing only a total of 7kg of cabin bags (including handbags) and 30kg of check-in bags. I had gone on Emirates before and usually they would not weigh the cabin bags. So I thought I could get away with my books being in my small luggage. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately for health and safety reasons, my cabin bags were weighed and found to be overweight.

I had no choice but to get rid of most of my books and some more clothes. Most of the books were new, as in I did not get the chance to read them, like Sapiens and Go Set A Watchman. I also had to let go the newly released On The Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher, but thankfully I’ve read that. A random man took all my “extra stuff”, which I am grateful for because at least I know someone would read/donate those books on my behalf. The ones that I absolutely could not give away were The Malay Archipelago by Alfred Wallace, Deliciously Ella recipe book, Bea Johnson’s Zero Waste Home, and a gardening book.

Deciding what to let go at the airport was so stressful. I did shed a few tears but then I quickly rationalise that I could buy those books again someday. This experience has certainly helped me understand the true value of things and also quench the urge to buy more books when I still have not read the ones already bought.

I have been home two weeks, and due to the changes in my lifestyle, I could feel the difference in so many ways. There is clutter to be dealt with and habits to be changed. But most importantly, I have people to meet, memories to be made and an income to gain. I know that if I can organise my living space, I could be more efficient with my time and therefore be more productive overall. That’s what living a meaningful life is all about.

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Video

The Sights of St Andrews

 

I finally got around to edit the family holiday videos. Moving back to Malaysia disrupted my flow and so I kind of gave myself a two-week break :p Thank goodness now I am back on a roll. Still so much to do but so little time but at least I am doing things again.

St Andrews was just beautiful, as it is right by the coast. The drive towards the small town was so scenic with green pastures and sheep. It’s totally my kind of vibe. I liked how the majority of the land is still preserved from extensive development. I don’t see it as boring, but some might, considering their upbringing between skyscrapers.

I’d highly recommend a road trip through Scotland if ever you get a chance. I hope to visit more places in Scotland in the future, especially the northern parts.

Chocolate Cake [VEGAN]

ingredients:

the cake

  1. 2 cups all purpose flour
  2. 2/cups cocoa powder
  3. 2 tsp baking powder
  4. 1 tsp baking soda
  5. 2 cups soy milk
  6. 226 g margarine
  7. 1 cup brown sugar
  8. 2/cup castor sugar
  9. 1 tbsp vanilla extract

 

the frosting

  1. ½ cups icing sugar
  2. 1 cup cocoa powder
  3. 250 g margarine
  4. ½ cup soy milk

 

(tsp = teaspoon; tbsp = tablespoon)

 

method:

the cake

Mix 1 – 4 in a bowl. These are the dry ingredients.

Using a cake mixer, mix 6 – 9 until smooth. Then, add the dry ingredients alternately with the soy milk into the cake mixer, ie dry, soy, mix… dry, soy, mix… etc. Tip: make sure you start with the dry and end with the dry 🙂

Mix until smooth.

Bake in the oven at 170 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes or until a stick or knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Let it cool before adding the frosting.

 

the frosting

Mix 1 & 2 in a bowl.

Using a cake mixer, mix the margarine until it’s fluffy. 

Add the 1 & 2 mixture intermittently into the cake mixer on low power. 

Then, add the soy milk bit by bit. Watch over this step; make sure it does not become too runny.

 

Note: My friend and I made this as two layers. So add the frosting on top of the bottom layer before putting the top layer on top of the bottom layer. Then, frost the top layer. Top that with whatever you want. Put the cake in the fridge to set for at least 15 mins.

 

IMG_1809

 

This is not the healthiest of foods, obviously, as it contains lots of sugar. But hey, life needs to be enjoyed and at least it’s cruelty-free 🙂

This is, I think, the first proper, not cincai vegan cake I’ve helped bake. The previous vegan cake I did with my friends was not as fancy as this either. (I will put up a recipe for that as well — as soon as I find the picture hehe). 

The verdict? It’s SO DELICIOUS! A bit too sweet due to the icing sugar, so next time I’d probably reduce the amount. But the cake itself is great. My mum said it tasted just like typical chocolate cake, and Kak Tri who doesn’t usually like cakes and sweets said that she liked it and could actually swallow it!  =D

I will definitely experiment with more vegan desserts. This is so exciting!

A massive thank you to Nani who taught me the tips and tricks of baking. I’m quite a newbie while she’s been baking practically her whole life. This is mostly thanks to her. I only played the part of encouraging a vegan option for her cakes :p

You can check out her cake business here.

I hope this works for you too if you want to try. Good luck and enjoy! 

listening to words

Have you ever wondered what people are listening to when you see them with earphones plugged into their ears? Pop music? Punk-rock? Classical? If you ever do see me walking by with a pair, which is quite rare, you can safely assume that I would be listening to someone talking.

It started with The Minimalists podcast. Thankfully, it is free. So I subscribed and every new episode would appear on the Podcasts app on my iPhone. How convenient. Then, I found the podcast Let’s Know Things. I seem to be listening to heavier and heavier stuff, kind of like a pop music lover converting to black metal.

Currently, I am listening to something different. Not a podcast, but a book. Yes, I am listening to a book. It is not uncommon, at least not in the Western part of the world. But it is new for me. I signed up for the Audible 30-day trial just so that I can listen to this newly released book, The Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhiani.

Why don’t I just buy the physical copy of the book? Well, a couple of reasons: I am at a transition state, as I am moving from one place to another and so I do not want to add more things into my travel bags, and why should I spend money for it when I can have it in some shape or form for free? I might get the physical copy some time in the future if I have further need for it, but at this moment, the audiobook will do just fine.

I would absolutely encourage people to subscribe to podcasts or buy audiobooks. It is I think a good way to ‘read’ books if you are the kind of person who does not quite enjoy the act of reading per se. You can listen on the go, in the the car or while doing your ‘business’ in the loo.

If you can afford to subscribe to a set of TV programmes or Netflix, then I’m sure you can allocate your budget for audiobooks. It’s a matter of choice and what you want to feed your mind with. I, for one, do not subscribe to or watch either of those, so once I have some form of budget, I would buy more audiobooks… and physical books, too!

O B S E S S E D

When I am obsessed

I dive deep for days

I go on the same website

Search for new ones

Satisfying my curiosity

 my desire

but knowing I cannot have it in my hands.

 

When I am obsessed

I hold on to the thought for days

It follows me to bed

And even in my dreams

Wishing it was here

 with me

but knowing I cannot grasp it in my hands.

 

When I am obsessed

I would think of ways

To get it from my head

To the palm of my hands

I may not have it today

 or tomorrow

but I know that one day it will be in my hands.


1st august 2016


I wrote this literally 10 minutes ago after days of being obsessed about typewriters. I used the search engine extensively to learn more about them, browsed the prices on sale, and found that there is such a thing as typewriter poets. Those poets write poems on the spot and give them to people passing by on a busy street. This particular group of people has a name: Typewriter Rodeo. 

Naturally, I got inspired. And because I have this urge to share a bit about my actions when I am obsessed with something, I just typed the above poem within minutes. I did so because it’s the quickest way to let it out, and I know better than to keep it in. My first real obsession was classics and period dramas when I was 15 and I did not really share that with others. That was 7 years ago and I still love them but the obsession period could have dissipated more quickly if I had actually expressed it more freely.

So I hope that I can come to terms with not acquiring a typewriter (at least not in the near future) much more quickly than I had to with not acquiring a corset, a crinoline, a hat and an elegant Victorian dress.


(picture from eumycota.blogspot.com)