Friday, August 31, 2012

Day 6: Staying In

Our initial plan was to go to Oxford Street, London early in the morning. Unfortunately my friend is feeling under the weather. Sorry dear for passing you the bad bugs.. We decided to stay indoor today to let her recuperate. Lagi pun I also need to catch up on my reading, kan datang sini nak study!

Last night we invited the Malay boy over for dinner after his night duty was over. He recommended us to go to Cordoba, Espaniol instead. Seemed like a good idea since my friend is not all hyped up about Paris. We would love to see all the Islamic architectures and different culture. The downside is flight airfares will be a bit more expensive and expenses are estimated around RM1500. I'm apprehensive about how to go about in the city. Car rental mahal, not sure about buses or trains and wishing that every top attractions are within walking distance. We are two manjalitis ladies and not used to backpacking :p

Has anyone here ever visited Cordoba? Do you have any recommendation on places to visit, transportation around the city etc. Your comments are most welcome.

Day 5: Rain Rain Please Go Away

This morning we chanced upon a young Malaysian guy doctor, who recently posted here for housemanship about a month ago. He was really ecstatic when he stumbled upon another fellow country girls. I was inside the admin office at that time. He saw my friend talking to the housekeeper in front of the hostel building. Looking at the face and the way she wore the hijab, he shouted across the street at my friend " Malaysian ke?". My friend was confused as she thought this mamak guy is a British Pakistani/Indian and replied " Ha'ah, kenapa?".

This chap came over and appeared really excited to see us! He is also happened to be Alya's junior kat MRSM, what a small world kan. Hailed from Manchester with many orang sebangsa, he kinda missed speaking in Malay :) We chatted quite a bit, took down his number and planned to meet later for a drink. 

Lepas tu, we went to the Occupational Health office for Mantoux reading. The induration was 9mm, as expected, as I already received BCG immunization before. The CXR report was still pending though. We lepak2 at the local library while waiting for Alya's appointment as hers was scheduled 2 hours later than mine.

I enjoyed a cuppa at the lounge area of the library .
Lepas gian :p

The small Americano = 1.25 pounds
We headed over to High Street just to check out the whole stretch of shops before we visit Oxford street tomorrow. At the end of High Street is the sea but we couldn't go near as it started to drizzle.

Nampak makin 'expand' since Raya.
Trying to shed off few kilos but the weather here is not helping at all.
Selalu rasa lapar :(
FYI, M&S and Clarks here in UK are WAY cheaper than back home, almost RM150 difference even on non sale items. Ishh, tensionnya! Alya's sister just bought a blouse for RM269 and the exact same top costs RM120 here. Sheeesh -____- 

Finally saw the sea
We decided to call it a day. We were famished and eager to go back to cook. It was raining quite heavily, temperature was around 14 degrees and the cold wind sent chill down our spine. Even the orang putehs were clad in wind breakers and jackets. I almost got frostbites; unfortunately my fingers and body masih jakun dengan wheather kat sini. 

Dropped by Sainsbury's to shop for groceries.
The cart contained fruits mainly nectarines, grapes and apples as well as vegetables.
Easily paid 22 pounds here (RM100++). Aiyyo (scratch head).

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Day 4: Rindu mereka :(

Day 4: The hostel

Salam and good morning everyone..

 I am currently residing at Southend Accomodation for the price of 15 pounds per day. In total I have to pay 541 pounds for 35 days. Kali lima and that summed up to RM2700.. gasp! Maheyynyaa, I know!

My friend said macam budak Uni.. hehe

It is actually a 6 rooms apartment, 2 rooms are occupied by others who also work at the hospital and another 2 are vacant. Initially I felt that the room is rather small. I was claustrophobic for a minute but after a while I find that it's just nice for a person. Bukan nak melompat berlari bagai kan :p

The room is equipped with a single bed, wardrobe and a desk. Kettle, towel, mug, internet connection (just have to bring LAN) and an alarm clock are also provided. Apa yang penting is that the room has its own attached bathroom, yayy. 

There is also a shared kitchen which is better equipped than my very own back home. Ada washing machine and dryer, fridge and microwave, tempat masak etc. Iron pun ada kat bilik TV and housekeeping once a week. So for the price I pay, I am happy and satisfied with the facilities provided.

Cuma fridge besar 2 pintu kat sini penuh sangat. Ada 2 orang je lagi yang tinggal kat apartment ni tapi MasyaAllah, fridge stocked untuk 3 bulan okay! Takde space untuk kitorang store barang2. Kena selit2 je : (Mode BM takut ada orang sini terbaca. That's why kitorang tak boleh nak beli banyak2, takde space. Takpelah, we'll just have to make do with whatever we have at the moment.

I don't have any plans today. We were too exhausted yesterday after almost 7 hours of walking. Did I tell you that I slept from 8pm and again skipped dinner. I woke up at 4am with a growling tummy and ate the precooked fried rice at 5am! I'm planning to catch up with a bit of reading today and nak jog to Sainsbury's supermarket nearby later in the afternoon. 

Opps, did I tell you that the peaches here taste heavenly especially the flat ones. Subhanallah. I shall pack few to bring home if it is still in season.

Okay, see you later. Have a nice day ahead.

Day 3: Just tired..

Today has been another tiring day. We had an appointment for occupational health assessment at 10.30am. By 9am we have left the building and made our way to the Thamesegate House where the health office is. We reached the place early and decided to drop by the public library which is located nearby.

I love the place and I can see that reading is part of their culture particularly amongst the elder ones. I can see old atuk and neneks walking with canes or even mobilizing using the motorised wheelchair coming in and out of the library with bags filled with books. Me and Alya had a discussion on our strategy to study in preparation for the exam in Feb 2013. I felt choked as there are so many things to cover with so little time. May Allah give us strength and perseverance, Ameen. 

At the library
We then headed to the health office 10 minutes before the appointment time. I've got called in first, the nurse was a very nice lady, injected PPD for Mantoux test since we are from country with TB endemics and took my blood for Measles and Rubella screening. We had to perform a chest x-ray at Southend Hospital but on our way there, we decided to stop by a park to enjoy the cool sunny weather whilst having our packed lunch.  

The whether was on our side today. See, I only donned on a layer of top.

Love the bushy flowery park.

We left the hospital by 2pm. Alya had a migraine while my feet were aching. All we wanted to do was to go back to the hostel and lie down. This time around, equipped with a GPS, we tried on a different (hopefully shorter) route back to Balmoral Road. We got lost along the way, made a wrong turn and by that time, both of us were stressed up and grumpy. Alhamdulillah we found our way back. We decided to do some grocery shopping beforehand as I don't think we will ever get out again today.

We bought another 4 packets of rice, fruits, chicken and few herbs and spices from a Pakistani and an Iraqi shop at London Road, very near to our place of stay. We wanted a tiny packet of salt but they only had a big bottle of it. The Iraqi lady generously gave us her own half used salt and we thanked her for that. May Allah bless her and her family for being so kind. 

Experimenting a new route and passed by these area.
Southend is an old town and these houses are still with chimneys.
I am sure you need a lot of $$ for renovation and restoration.
By the time I reached the hostel to Skype, it was already 11pm in Malaysia and my husband and daughter were already asleep :( I'm really exhausted, have not get over of my common cold and aching for a feet reflexology.

Gosh, I miss home terribly...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Day 3: Makan mis-adventure

I would say that since we ever got here, our eating schedule has been erratic. Breakfast normally consist of sandwiches, no lunch, by 4pm our tummy started to growl and hunger pang set it after a long walk. The food here I would say is reasonably priced but to the fact that everything has to be multiplied by 5, we became cheapskate. 

McDonald's meal roughly priced at 4 pounds while fish and chips costs almost 6 pounds. 2 days ago we had large half priced pizza as lunch cum dinner for 3.5 pounds bought at Ali Baba Turkish shop. I can foresee that we will frequent this joint regularly. Yesterday we ate burgers at a Pakistani shop (I forgot the name) for lunch. So for 2 nights in a row, we only had fruits for dinner. The reason being is that by 8pm, I would still felt jet lagged and would already took my 40 winks.

This morning, Alya knocked on my door and told me that she was really hungry. I brought along a small rice cooker from home, cooked basmati rice, alya opened up a can of sardines and made scrambled egg. For a short while, it felt like home. I guess being Malaysian, anywhere you go, somehow or rather, only rice gives your enough satiety, don't you think so?

We are writing down our menu to plan on our grocery shopping this week. We can't afford to eat outside everyday, better save money for travelling and shopping :p The menu includes fried rice, seafood / chicken tahri, ayam masak halia / kicap and telur dadar. We are not equipped with adequate cooking utensils like chopping knife and board and had to make do with cutting on a tray using butter knife.. so sad..

Anyways, plan for today:
1) Occupational health appointment at 10.30am
2) Grocery shopping at a halal butcher down London Road

Today's packed lunch

Day 2: On walking..

The weather is just nice here, suffice with 2 layers of clothes (my thin blouse and a cardigan to top it off) to overcome the chill temperature. I would say that it is slightly colder than Cameron Highland, cloudy most of the time with occasional light drizzle as it is entering autumn. 

We have been doing of lot of brisk walking since we reached Southend. It is a small town and everything is within walking distance. Not to say that it is near coz our walk to the occupational health office took us almost 30 minutes and from there to the hospital another 45 minutes. 

Just out of the hostel
Subsequently, we travelled again down the Victoria avenue to pay Victoria Shopping Centre and High Street a visit.  The mall is rather small, unlike those in KL (i.e KLCC/midvalley) but I don't mind that. I love strolling down the street though. They do have several big name retailers and department stores like Dorothy Perkins, H&M, Peacock and Topshop/Topman to name a few. To make matter worse, every outlet was on sale! 

London road, empty street as today is a public holiday
I did buy a pair of DP jeans which is RM30 cheaper than Malaysia. Need those as I have lose several kilos and desperately need a smaller size. I also purchased a green blouse from Peacock for 5 pounds only (actual price was 18 pounds). Only 2 days here, this place has already cause a dent to my pocket. I am being cautious and planning to go to London later and find out what Bicester Village has to offer.

Finally, we stride back to the hostel which takes roughly 15-20 minutes. In total, we have walked more than 5 hours, exceeding 5000 steps. Thank God that Alya is also a walker! It was tiring but I guess we managed it all on foot because of the whether. No sweat, no oily face.. haha..

I think we still have to consider taking the shuttle bus in case it rains heavily. I have yet to figure out this transportation system, will probably do that tomorrow..

Discovered blacberries just in front of the hospital building
Jakun betul 

Jalan2 and saw this on the way back..
Manequin buat aksi sukan which was not captured in this photo
Maybe sempena Olympic kot

Okay peeps, I'm returning to my books. Tata..

Day 1: Landed

Assalamualaikum wbt..

I am now blogging live from United Kingdom. 

My first day here was terrible!! First and foremost, it was a dreaded 13 hours flight with poor in-flight entertainment facility and impolite cabin crews. Luckily my medical discussion with Alya for almost 3 hours terasa perjalanan lagi cepat. Soon after we landed at London Heathrow Airport, I quickly purchased an international sim card via a vending machine. It turned out to be so difficult to use. I was only able to make phone calls after repeatedly reading the manual and to date, I still haven't figure out how to send text messages! I wish I can ditch this one and just buy another simpler O2 sim card but I had to remind myself again and again that I have already paid 30 pounds (RM150) for it!

I had to totter around with 6 kg of stuffs in my backpack and another 20kg in my luggage, changing 2 underground tubes and another train to Southend.  It was not a good experience at all as there was no elevator or escalator for us to move around the stations! We practically have to help each other, mula2 both of us carry her luggage up and then it was my turn. Let me tell you that it was more than 5 flights of staircase that we had to ascend!! One helpful chap did assist us and that's about it. We almost sprained our back!

Rain greeted us on our first day on the Queen's land. It was cold, the sky was grey and gloomy. We reached Southend at round 10pm, that is around 4am Malaysia time. That means, we have travelled for almost 18 hours! 

Alhamdulillah, I am thankful that we have each other. I don't think we have made this far it if we were on our own, seriously! We almost drop down and cry, partly because we were homesick and missed our love ones a lot, secondly we were unwell and down with flu and thirdly, we were just darn tired. Nak menimba ilmu ni kira berjihad juga kan. I guess nothing comes easy bila nak berjihad..

Waiting for C2C train to SE. Apparently we waited at the wrong terminal.
OMG, there were lost of mishaps but luckily we hop on the right train after all..
See all the heavy luggages!
That's why you can visualize my grim look all plastered on my face!

Alya, trying to figure out her HTC phone.
We were so exhausted..
Anyways, sampai2 kat Southend, at 10pm, it already appeared like a dead town. All shops are closed except for bars! There was no taxi around the train station and again, we walked aimlessly down the road, with the hope to find a cab. Luckily, we encountered 2 very nice young brits who contacted a taxi driver. Alhamdulillah, in 5 minutes, the taxi who is an Iranian brought us to the Hospital switchboard to collect our key before we headed to Balmoral Road where our hostel is.

Did I tell you that more than half of people that I encounter in London were bukan orang puteh? Majority were Indians/Pakistani/Bangladeshi and few Asians. Southend is a bit different. Banyak locals than non local though. Terasa macam kat Malaysia pun ada as ramai penduduk from Indonesia, Myanmar etc kan? So in a way, Malaysia and UK are quite similar :)

It is already day 2 in UK and I'm jet lagged, still -___-  It is 1am in Malaysia and 5pm in UK. My daughter and my husband are surely fast asleep. I miss them terribly and just chatted with my loved ones few hours ago. I virtually kissed my daughter on her cheek sans her wonderful smell :( I am grateful to whoever that created Skype though.

 I'm yawning as I type. I miss Malaysia but I would rather be here than to be oncall :)

Cheers mate! Till we meet again. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Separation anxiety..

I'll be leaving to UK in 10 hours. I'm supposed to hit the sack early but here I am, still wide awake. I'm definitely suffering from separation anxiety. My heart races and my hands are numb. I have tears in my eyes just thinking about tomorrow.

 Gonna leave these beloved people behind for 5 weeks!
Sob.. sob..

Brief updates..

Dear abandoned blog, sorry for the long hiatus. These days my life revolves ONLY around family, work, preparation for exam and my mission in losing weight. I don't think I have any spare time for blogging, movies or novels. Owwh, how I miss my coffee break @ Starbucks. I'll otherwise left with guilt should I ever indulge in the aforementioned activities.

Alhamdulillah, my one and only child, Hana Khadeeja Ahmad has recently turned 2! Yes, I know, how time flies. This not so little girl surprises me more often than not, with her excellent vocabulary and clear pronunciation. I would say her language milestone surpasses my expectation. 

With her favourite cousin, Abang Umar
She loves eskim, that's why I got her ice cream cake for her birthday..
At 18 months, she could form 4 words phrases. She could picked up small little words that sometimes just put me at awe as how her mini brain works. She can count one to ten (Hana's version: one, two, thee, pour....) , sing A to Z, Happy Birthday and Twinkle Little Star. She follows when I recite Al-Fatihah or perform my prayers and she loves listening and singing to nasyid. Yang cute tu, she'll tell me, "Mama, pacang (nasyid) kuat cikit piss (please)". Haha.. I guess everyone's anak will look cute in their mommy's eyes kan..

Hana is able to jump and run. Nak cepat, she starts to climb staircase one foot at a time recently sampai tersadung kaki resulting in a small abrasion on the chin. Hana, cukupla mama dia je yang ada Harry Potter scar! Hehe..

She can show more than 10 body parts including kepala, hair, eyes, forehead, eyebrow, nose, ears, cheek, chin, mouth, teeth, neck, toes, fingers, kaki, tangan, perut and belly button.. phewh! She scribbles all over the place (including on the wallpaper at the dining hall.. erkk!!), copies straight line and imperfect circle. Hehe..Sorry, my comments on her developmental milestone is from the eye of a paediatric doctor :p

MasyaAllah.. the part that I cannot tahan most is her tantrums which occurred on daily basis now. Seriously, her temper outburst really put my patience to test. Mengamuk2 hentak2 kaki lah, scream her lungs out, scratch my face if I say no, gets frustrated easily etc.. I guess people say Terrible Two for a reason rite? My hope is that she'll get over this period of acting Diva soon.

My only worry is her weight. I'll get referral from Klinik Kesihatan for children with poor weight gain and here I am, a paediatric doctor and I don't know how to get my own daughter to eat properly. She only take plain rice, no protein such as chicken or fish as she'll spurt it out. She loves pasta but gets bored of it easily. I blamed it on her lack of  variety of food when she was an infant. Hana suffers multiple food allergy that limits her taste buds causing her to be choosy and picky now. Otherwise, she is a healthy and active toddler. That keeps my worry and anxiety at bay except for my mom who keeps reminding me to give her ubat cacing and multivitamins!

Sadly, I'll be leaving behind this cute face for 5 weeks. I've never left this girl more that 4 days, itu pun pegi course kat Penang je and I was totally homesick. Ini pulak I'll be staying in UK from 25th August to 30th Sept!!! I'm sure her hair grows longer (pray to god that Papa will not trim it short!). I just hope that by the time I comeback that she'll remember that I'm still and always be her mother!

Love you always Nana Dida (Hana Khadeeja)..