Monday, July 20, 2009

A Good Weekend

I spent my Friday evening, Saturday afternoon and evening setting up an IKEA wardrobe with a friend, for my apartment.

My current apartment is really nice but it lacks storage space. In a way I have a lot more stuff than my landlord who used to live there. I cook a lot more and I own way more clothing :) So I managed to convince my landlord to let me switch the wardrobe with a nice, new, space-efficient IKEA one. I gotta say, I love it. The challenge with setting up a new wardrobe is to remove the old one (which we did on Thursday night, leaving all the clothing on the carpet and on the 2nd it was quite a "sight"), as well as filling up the new one.

I spent my whole Sunday filling it up and sorting out what clothing I wanted to keep, and which ones go to charity. I have a lot of old stuff like jeans from my university days (that is a tad too loose and worn out), shirts from my teenage days, etc. I am really setting my mind to getting rid of all that this time. Previously I got rid of some but kept the rest for sentimental reasons. I am a sentimental pack rat :( This time, I am making sure I get rid of those pieces.

I am 3/4 done. There is 1/4 of clothing left on the floor/couch. The good news is I can now see the carpet so it is not that bad.

The other project I was going to do (which is 1/2 way done now) is to use one half of the old wardrobe and install it at the entrance of the apartment. So I can hang coats and put my winter boots (knee high fluffy Timberlands) in them. I want to clean up the small store room I have near the entrance so that it is a bit neater. The wardrobe has been set up, but the doors/shelves have to be put in. I'll try to do that by the end of this week.

I also bought a shelf made out of wire baskets stacked up for the bathroom. The current bathroom shelf is just beyond help and I have to get rid of it. The difficult part about switching out furniture is finding a way to throw the old one out. Most probably I will have to rent a car and get my friend to drive it, and then throw out the old furniture at this collection post they have, out of the city (about 30 minutes drive).

Phew, I so don't have "furniture" on my mind anymore :) I don't think I am going to change anything in the next 2-3 years...this attempt was enough of a challenge.

Monday, July 13, 2009

It Took 7 Months...

I'm starting to look a tad better in the mirror. I guess the 7 months of slogging it out in the gym is starting to help. I didn't think it would take 7 months of gym workouts to get there...I was hoping in 3 months I would be happier with my appearance.

The thing about living in Norway is that Norwegian women are gorgeous. They are very long-limbed and most of them are very sporty so they look very nice. Not many of them look like me - belly, lovehandles, etc ;) So I set out on this journey - to start toning up - when I was really depressed over work-related stuff early this year. I guess I am almost halfway there...maybe in another 7 months I will stop subconsciously buying clothing that hides my belly.

So how was your weekend? On Saturday I hung out with my friend from Romania, I*. Took her to get her hair restyled. See I* is in an acidic relationship. Her boyfriend has ruined her self esteem. I think she once was this really confident, happy person...some days I get a glimpse of the real her. Other days she is so sad, and has almost no self-esteem - at all. The girl wears Extra Small clothing, but tells me she is fat. It seems her boyfriend calls her a whale...but she's tiny! She barely eats anything but junkfood. Strangely, I watched her wolf down pasta on Saturday, simple pasta (though the chef was Italian) with tomato and basil sauce. She said her boyfriend doesn't eat pasta, so she doesn't cook it, but she likes pasta. It's scary how picking the wrong guy can lead to a person losing so much of their individuality.

It's her birthday next week but her boyfriend doesn't want to take her anywhere. I offered to take her to a movie and dinner with wine as she loves wine. She said "But you don't drink..." and I said "We'll get you wine, and we'll get me coffee." That seemed to make her happy. Her boyfriend does not let her shop, or do anything to make herself feel better. He's against her dying her hair (she has some grey strands) so she won't do it. He doesn't like the colour black so she won't wear anything black. He doesn't like her to buy shoes or bags so she doesn't buy shoes or bags. She sneaks around and shops, asking sales assistants to cover the price tag of clothing she has purchased. Imagine that! It's so weird. If I give her cheesecake, she gives it all to him saying "He likes cheesecake." I thought it was always she who liked cheesecake, because she used to say "We like cheesecake". Looks like he = we, and there is no "I" in her vocabulary anymore. He won't eat out because he believes food made outside of their home is "dirty". He won't watch movies in the cinema. He doesn't like to hang out with her friends (not that I want to meet him, I might end up hurting him).

I have watched my parents for so many years...they have a very nice relationship. My Mom won't make Dad do anything he doesn't want to do, she always gives him the option to say no. Likewise, my Dad won't make Mom do anything she doesn't want to do. My Dad only wears clothing that he likes, and my Mom the same. But it doesn't stop there - my mother dyes her grey streaks, my father wears his proudly. They have a really nice relationship, having managed to retain their individuality despite being married for almost 30 years. No matter how angry my Dad gets when my Mom knocks the car (it's one of the few things he really gets annoyed about), my Mom will still tell him the truth and accept his anger. She won't lie, at all. She shops as she likes, with money that he gives her because she's a housewife. My Mom is very good at managing money though :) But my point is that she doesn't have to sneak around and buy things. She just tells the truth and it works out fine.

So coming from a background like this, you can imagine my shock at I*'s relationship. I feel so bad for her, but I don't know how to help her. I have told her many times that when I am away on vacation, or even when I am around, she can come stay with me - if she wants to clear her head or decide on the course of her future (and hopefully dump that guy!). Unfortunately you can only lead a horse to the stream, you can't make it drink the water. Hence, she has to make her decision. Till then she can always count on having a fun time when we hang out.

Saturday evening I watched a Hindi movie with my friend N*. She's a human rights lawyer who is relocating for a year to pursue other opportunities. I'm going to miss her. When you talk to N*, you will get the most practical, no-nonsense suggestions and answers. That is just how she is - black and white. She actually feels guilty for working in an air-conditioned office as she feels that's not a real job for a human rights lawyer. She wants to be in troubled countries and help fix the problems there. You can imagine my surprise when she told me she enjoyed watching Bollywood movies - especially the ones with the most singing and dancing. Hehehe, people are amusing :)

On Sunday, I went to the gym and cooked Navrattan pulao. It was very yummy. Simple vegetarian dish with some paneer, cashew nuts and raisins.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Yin and Yang

There's jealousy, envy. There's dissatisfaction, unhappiness. When I sit in that room. How do I get rid of all this negative feelings? Will it ever get better? Staring out the window, I remember those buildings I longed to live in. I remember the Ballerina biscuits. So much sweetness yet so much pain. Oh, the unfairness of it all.


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

...and then it is July.

Wow, this year is passing so fast. I really wish there was some time to stop and smell the roses. Alas, there is so much to do. Everything is moving at lightning speed. In less than 2 months, I will be starting work some place else. About a month after that, I have my vacation in Malaysia. Then its back to Norway and then its Christmas. No time to breathe :/

In three weeks, I have to replace the wardrobe in my apartment. The current one is not bad, but the shelves are falling in and the beam on which you hang stuff on - its falling out. I wandered around IKEA a few weeks ago and saw a nice one that is a bit more reinforced. Much more robust. So I figured I'll switch it out.

I would also like to have a small wardrobe at the entrance of the apartment so that I can hang all my winter coats, etc there. Those seem to take up a lot of space sometimes. Hmm, maybe later, when I can justify the expense.

Somewhere between all this I have to psych myself up for my new job and for my trip home. The trip home involves a lot of challenges, to be honest. I'm extremely sensitive, and sometimes, offhand remarks/comments can hurt me a lot. Just people nagging about when I'm going to get married (it is difficult to be a hot 25 year old expatriate, the family tradition does not let you be unmarried because people assume you must be miserable and unhappy). Someday, I would like to take all my relatives, sit them down, and explain how much fun it is to not be married. To make your own decisions, to arrange stuff in your apartment the way YOU like it. To not have to pick up the phone and report you are.

Don't get me wrong. There's nothing bad about marriage - but I haven't reached that point yet, you know? I'm really happy being on my own, having lots of friends, bumming around, traveling, reading, watching lots of movies. When I reach that point in life, then it will be different. For now, I am content. But I really hate being nagged about when I'm going to get married. It is extremely frustrating :/ though grooms can be found in the supermarket for 5 ringgit each or something :)

The other tough question is "when are you coming back for good?" I know people don't mean harm when they ask these questions, but I wish they wouldn't. The thing is, even I don't know. I don't want to live a boring life. I don't mind living far away from home. It's not that bad, at all. I have a good relationship with my family, but at the same time, I want to explore all sorts of possibilities. I love my lifestyle here in Norway. Norway is a very nice place to live in. Very peaceful and calm. I have learned the art of patience here :) ... and picked up minor coffee addiction, but that's another story! I wish people asked different types of questions, rather than questions that are uncomfortable. It gets even more awkward when they try to suggest things like "Why can't you work in Singapore?" "You should start looking for a job closer to home." ... its just weird. These types of questions make me eye the nearest exit....and airport.

Sometimes we don't pick our destiny. I never thought I'd be in Norway trudging through snow for 3 months a year. I really didn't think so. I'd like to enjoy it while I am here. I have no problems working in Singapore, in fact I applied for a job there but did not get it. Jobs don't come easy, especially niche jobs like Technical Writing. I just wish people understood...rather than ask insensitive questions. Time to psych myself up for all this :) Maybe I should get ear plugs...