2022 and All of its Peaks & Valleys
First things first. Happy New Year lovelies! May 2023 bring the best and nothing less to all of you!
In with the new, out with the old, New Year New you; were some of my Instagram captions over the years. so cliché - I know. Lol. I was looking back at all my old posts and boy it is so hard not to cringe! Gosh talk about being lame! I was literally LOL-ing while reading some of my posts. Trust me I wanted to unsee the whole thing. Haha Having said that, part of me is glad that my younger self wrote all this because it is a good reminder to see how far I have come and grown as a person.
I am not big on new year resolutions per se but I do like the sense of newness that comes with the new year. As the year comes to a close, I can't help but reflect on the past year.
The year was filled with so many happy memories that I thought I'd pen down some of it by month so that in a few years from now, when I look back at these fond memories, I'll be able to say "damn I am so glad I did that "
It is going to be a long post so get comfy, grab a cuppa and dive right in.
Scroll below for a not so little snippet of each month.
We celebrated the New Year Turkmen style in 2022 as we were based in Turkmenistan then. It was a very special way to start the year as we got the chance to see how the locals celebrate the new year. On the eve of new year, families prepare an elaborate feast in welcome of the new year. At the stroke of midnight ,families come together and toast to the new year with a shot of vodka or a glass of champagne. We managed to visit two of our friends homes this year and the festive vibe was just something else. The elaborate feast signifies abundance which sets the tone for the year. We spent the entire day with our dearest friend, Elina and her loving family. We were there around noon and only left at ten pm -that's how much food her mom prepared. Lol we were sorted for the whole year.
Another #Funfact - Ashgabat holds the Guinness World Record for the highest density of marble clad buildings.
After a whole year in the desert, we finally made a trip to the capital, Ashgabat, which is approximately a 8 hours drive away from where we were based. Ashgabat is one of the most beautiful cities that I have ever visited. Extravagant, over the top marble clad buildings are at every nook. Some of the important ministerial buildings resemble their function i.e. the building of the dental ministry is shaped like a tooth while the building of the education ministry takes after the shape of a book. cool huh? We spent 5 days in the capital and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We also watched one of the best circus of our lives there. I shared a little about this here.
While we were in Ashgabat, we were invited to have lunch with the diplomatic officers of Malaysia in Turkmenistan. I cannot explain our joy of meeting fellow Malaysians after so long. It is funny how two simple words - "apa khabar" which translates to how are you? can make you feel right at home. We exchanged stories and experiences surrounding life, work, food and travel. Rest assured the words "boleh lah" "mamak", "nasi lemak" and "ais kacang" were uttered more than once. Honestly meeting a fellow countrymen abroad is just a great feeling. Malaysia is and always will be home!
I woke up one morning with a sudden urge to color my hair red. I honestly don' t know what triggered this desire. I decided to give in to my impulse and boy do I regret it! Moral of the story - BLEACHING YOUR HAIR IS NEVER GOOD! PERIOD! Trust me on this guys, just don't do it! It is not worth it. For me at least! I learnt it the hard way! #importantlifelesson.
The beginning of February was bittersweet as our time in Turkmenistan came to an end and we had to bid adieu to our friends. We had several farewell parties leading up to our departure.
#Funfact - The hats or "telpeks" worn by my dad and brother is part of the traditional clothing of the Turkmens. These shaggy headgears are made of sheep leather and it is worn as a symbol of masculinity and pride.
We surprised our families in Malaysia by just randomly showing up in front of our houses. They had no idea that we were coming back. They were gobsmacked to say the least. We were reunited after so long and it felt damn good to be home.
We made it home in time for my sister in law's graduation! So glad to be part of her big day. Spent quality time with the in laws.
Flew to Miri to celebrate Tevan's 32nd birthday. My aunt and uncle were so kind to host us. We had the best time with them and made so many special memories. Lots of waterfall hunting involved. Lol. The photo above shows that both dads are ready to chase some waterfalls.
Had a covid scare. Thankfully it was a false alarm.
Took our sweet ride for a spin. Went on a road trip to Penang. Explored Penang by foot, ate a lot of delicious street food, had one too many drinks by the beach. Enjoyed our stay at E & O. Hung out with our best friend who happened to live in Penang at that time. Made some new friends. We also managed to squeeze in some quality time with our relatives in Penang. It was such a wholesome trip. I might share our itinerary in Penang in another post because it is easily one of my favorite holiday spots.
Celebrated my mom's birthday. Took her out for a nice brunch and dinner. Being able celebrate her on her special day in person is such a privilege.
Visited my ex colleagues turned bffs and even went back to my old office. Left everyone post it notes! I truly miss working with these guys! They are a wonderful lot!
Met up with a good friend - finally gave her the birthday present that I got her like a year ago. Covid really did a number on all of us.
We adopted a fur baby and named him Teddy cause he has a face that makes you wanna go aww *insert heart-eyes emoji* Click here for some doggy love!
Thanks to Covid, we finally managed to complete renovations on our new home. We celebrated this important milestone with an intimate dinner with our family.
Went on a holiday to Pangkor Island with our favourite Indurens. We stayed at Utan Teluk Nipah which houses a number of cozy chalets on a hilltop enveloped by a lush forest . The place has gorgeous panoramic views of the island. Everything closes before ten pm so please have your dinner early! We decided to have some pre dinner drinks and wasted a lot of time looking for a bar. We finally settled for a place called Captain 11. It was bleh but it was our best bet so we stayed on. We left the place around 9 pm and to our horror none of the restaurants were open. This place is a ghost town past 9 pm. So we headed to the only establishment that was open, 7/11 and grabbed a few hot cups, snacks and drinks to tide us over until breakfast. We spent the rest of the evening relishing in the simple joys - chatting, laughing and snacking.
We attended the very first ancestral prayers organised by my dad at our ancestral temple in Macang Bubok, Kedah. It was the perfect opportunity to catch up with my relatives.
Attended my cousin's housewarming event! As per the Hindu tradition, a cow and calf is made to enter the new home first (as seen in the video above) as it brings positivity, prosperity and good energy.
I discovered that I was allergic to synthetic wool carpets.
Hosted our friend from Turkey, Showed him around Kuala Lumpur and rediscovered the city ourselves. I had no idea that Petaling street has changed so much since my college days. Yes my college is located in Petaling Street or Merchant's Lane as I prefer to call it #dontjudge
The entire place had a good facelift and it looks super trendy with hip cafes lining both sides of the street. It is hard to say that this trendy instagramable haven was once a brothel.
What ever happened to ATC "Starbucks" - a small coffee shop located at the back alley way which sells the best roti bakar and kopi peng kaw. A favourite among students and budget friendly too.
Celebrated my dad's birthday.
We found out that Tevan's next project was based in Jordan so Tevan left to Amman first to get a start on things. Back to the LDR life.
Helped my parents redecorate our home as it was a little dated. It all started with me wanting to paint my room and it snowballed very quickly from there. Before we knew it, we were picking out new curtains, changing switches, reupholstering the sofa and getting new furniture. I am truly grateful that I was able to do this with my parents. We spent a lot of time bonding and making up for lost time. Oh what special time it was!
I turned 32. Celebrated it with my parents and in laws.
Did more furniture shopping.
I always wanted to start yoga but never got to it because I am naturally a very self conscious person and I care too much about making a fool of myself. I figured that it was time to step out of my comfort zone. I am being dramatic here - So I threw caution in the wind an enrolled in a class. I am glad that I opted for the uncomfortable decision as it is one of the best decisions that I have ever made. I would not have discovered my passion for yoga otherwise.
The icing on the cake is to have my mom and her best friend join me. I miss our post yoga breakfast hunts! Such good times!
Celebrated my grandma's 81st birthday with my family
Spent a lot of quality time with my little cousin and aunt from Miri. They were here for a month so we spent a lot of time catching up and exploring new places to eat. I am grateful for our time together as I do not get to see them as much as I'd like.
I tried to catch up with my old friends Adele and Rema as much as our schedule would permit us. Our most used words during such rendezvous may just easily be " who are we to judge" #iykyk these girls are a riot! Lol.
Visited Cambodia with my parents, brother and two of my closest cousins. Once again my adventurous side got the better of me. Hehe. I came up with a "brilliant" idea to travel to Siam Reap from Phnom Penh by road to take in the sights and catch a glimpse as to how the locals go about their daily life. The duration of the journey is approximately seven hours and if you are on a time crunch, I would suggest that you just fly! More about my Cambodian adventure in my next post.
Moved to Amman. The beginning of a new era if I may say so. Reunited with my husband.
Our favorite thing to do on weekends is to have breakfast in the balcony and people watch. Can't wait for spring to be able to this again.
Set up our home in Amman and adjusted to life here. Explored Amman's food scene , You can read all about it here.
Enrolled in a yoga class close to home.
Finally adopted the "you do you and I'll do me" mentality which led to the launch of the blog. So from the bottom of my heart thank you to all those of you who take the time to read my posts and leave me affirming messages. Please feel free to share my blog with others X
Celebrated five years of marriage. Where did all the time go? You can read about our love story here
Went on a many dates and tried out many cafes around Amman. The photo above of me stuffing my face accurately depicts it all. November was all about love and food.
I once read that nobody does Christmas better than London and I knew then that I had to experience it for myself. Well, after experiencing it myself, I can confirm that the person who said that was not at all exaggerating at all. Tevan and I loved every bit of it. The whole city came alive with Christmas markets at every nook with pretty lights illuminating the city. It was really all kinds of magical and I am so grateful to be able to experience this.
2022 was a year for reconnecting with families and friends. We were very lucky to be able to spend Christmas with my relatives in London this year. I can't believe that it has been a decade since we last saw each other. Whew time sure flies. It was nice to partake in their Christmas traditions. We were treated to a wonderful heartwarming meal. We left with happy tummies and even happier hearts.
Amsterdam was also top on my must visit list so we decided to spend a few days there before heading back home.
The perk of having a big family is knowing that you have family all around the world. Hehe. We managed to finally catch up with my uncle's family after god knows how long. It was like no time had passed. We reminisced about old times and caught up on each other's lives. We ate a lot of good food as my aunt is an excellent cook! We managed to see most of the things that we wanted to despite it being a really short trip.
Designer bags are my weakness. I may come across as superficial or even a capitalist to some for saying this but I am truly obsessed with bags. Gotta blame Carrie Bradshaw for this ! Anyway Tevan and I made a significant luxury purchase and I consider this our personal milestone. In some ways it is a testament to how far we have come. I intend to write a separate post about this entire experience as I would like to share it with all of you.
Just before the year came to an end we had the privilege of meeting new friends. We met a group of women from Indonesia and Philippines who have been residing in Amman for approximately 15 years. They shared many valuable insider tips about where to purchase all things Asian in Amman. It was music to my ears when they told me that there is a restaurant in Amman that serves dosa. My eyes lit up instantly and I foresee a dosa date in the near future. We left the meeting feeling so enlightened.
They also invited us to a NYE party at their place and introduced us to other people from different countries such as India and the US. We rang in the new year with new friends from different walks of life. It was an interesting start to the new year!
Family was a big part of 2022 and I cherish every single moment I spent with each of them. I made some really wonderful memories and of course there were some not so good ones . It is a conscious decision on my part to share only the good parts of my life as I would like this space to be a happy place. I do have my fair share of struggles which I choose to keep to myself. That is just how life works right - its not always unicorns and rainbows.
One important lesson that I have learnt this year is that whatever that is meant for you will reach you even if the whole world conspires against it . So don't sweat the small stuff - this advise is particularly for me because I tend to overthink things a lot and this is something I am trying to work on this year.
On the whole, 2022 was an eventful year for me and to be honest I don't know how the year snuck up on me. In a blink of an eye, we are twelve days into the New Year #hello2023. I am excited to see what this year has in store for me.
2022 you have been astounding. 2023 I hope and pray that you top that ! With that cheers to living a fuller life, loving deeper, travelling further and conquering bigger milestones!
Thank you for reading guys and double tap on the heart icon if you like what you read!
Till then, toodles!