Blog Updates and 7 Links of Love

This week I have been a little busy transforming the look of the blog a bit, and even designed a new header pic using PicMonkey – it’s my first time using the software, so be nice 😉 Anyways, I changed up the previous mint green sandpaper background to a textured brick wall because I like the rustic-ness of it and wanted a cleaner, more elegant look.

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How do you like the new look? Yay or nay?

I didn’t participate in the The Daily Post‘s Blogging University, but I read and followed some of the tips which are pretty useful. So I added in a Best of Mod with Love page, a collection of posts I’d like to share with you, including posts on my battle with acne, dealing with losing a parent and an interview with a muslim astronaut. There is now a page for my participation in challenges from TDP at “DP Challenges“. My travel journeys are in “Travelogue” and my categories are now called “Journeys”, which is in synonym to my blog tagline. I also added in my published articles in Malay but these pages are in dire need of more articles and/or content that I thought twice before sharing it haha.

Okay that’s it for the blog updates. Feel free to navigate through the layout and let me know what you think 🙂

Blog things aside, I came across some really good posts and links this week so I thought of sharing it here with you:

1. When People Have More Faith in You than Yourself by Rima Hassan: A great confidence booster which I so can relate well to; I love how photographer Rima Hassan shares some bits and pieces from her own doubts on her amazing photography skills.

2. 10 Things I BET You Did Not Know About ISLAM by Noor Mastura: A really awesome article on the stereotypes of Islam (and Muslims); I love the writer’s boldness and her simplicity in explaning what might be complex and hard to understand.

3. Finding out there is actually a job position as a “Jelly Bean Scientist” at the Jelly Bean Candy Company

4. Designer Oh Joy’s post on how her childhood ambitions took a different turn… something I can also relate to: When I Grow Up by Oh Joy! (I simply admire this inspiring lady and have been following her bright and colorful amazing design blog for years now).

5. I loveeee Olaf from Disney’s FROZEN and I was planning to make one and found this: Make Your Own Olaf | Disney’s FROZEN by Jonie

6. Nadzirah makes me really inspired to write and blog in Malay: Kepompong Yang Berlubang. Love her post. Let’s see if I am up for that in this blog 🙂

7. Last but not least, sharing on 2 of my home girls who recently launched their own design businesses: Milk and Tamar by Izsra Yasin, home decor specialising in Islamic sayings – Quranic verses, zikrs and du’as – in pastel hues,

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and Paper Vanilla by Adilah Anuar, handmade paper deco for elegant events specialising in paper quilling – Paper Vanilla was also responsible for my beautiful wedding guestbook.

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Do check out their pages, super proud of them for their mad talents and designing skills! And of course, their courage to start a business and run it well to the best of their capabilities, InsyaAllah.

I shall end off this post with a quote by Ustazah Halimah Alaydrus, one of my favourite female teachers, speaker, author of all time.

share{There are no mistakes in the decision that God makes, but our disabilities to see the wisdom behind it.} ~ Ustazah Halimah Alaydrus

Jumu’ah Mubarakah and Have a blessed Friday y’all! 😀

To the Mothers in My Life

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My mother in pink, while my mother-in-law in green during my wedding day.

It’s never too late to dedicate a post for the mothers in my life.

To my mother, thanks for loving me unconditionally and raising me with so much love, strength and determination. Your perseverance, adventurous nature and love of knowledge inspires me every time. I love you.

To my mother-in-law, thanks for accepting me unconditionally and raising a son who is the best husband I can ever ask for. Your sweet and gentle nature, tough yet soft-heartedness of being a mother of 4 boys amazes me. I love you.

Another mother that played an important role in my life was my grandmother. She took care of my siblings and me while my parents worked, making sure we were always well fed physically and spiritually. She taught us how to recite the Quran from an early age and her cooking always makes me crave for more. I love you.

Alhamdulillah for my mothers, and all our mothers, and grandmothers, and perhaps possibly even aunts who were involved in mothering us in the process of growing up.

Happy Mothers’ Day.

Kiwimoon: Final Days in Queenstown (Day 6-7)

3rd March 2014, Monday

We checked-out of Wanaka hotel at 10 am and made our way to Queenstown by car which was 117 km away from Wanaka. Along the way we stopped by Cromwell originally in search of some coffee, but all were lost when we stumbled into a playground. A very old skool one nonetheless! You can rarely find playgrounds like this in Singapore nowadays (especially the tunnel and metal see-saw). Lucky thing I married a fellow young at heart guy haha so off we scurried to the slides, swings and flying foxes…

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And this is why you should marry the right person… Lol

Less than 2 hours later, we reached the familiar town where we spent our first 3 days. Since we had some time before checking-in, we decided to drop by Queenstown Gardens.

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Queenstown Gardens is similar to Singapore Botanic Gardens except that it’s more spacious, surrounded by mountains and lakes. And ducks can be found roaming around happily.

Compared to our first accommodation which was an 8-10 minutes drive from the town, this time our shelter for the last night was in central Queenstown.

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We checked-in to Reavers Lodge, which was situated uphill near the Ben Lomond Mountain. As a result of this, we were greeted with spectacular views and gushes of cold air when we arrived. The only downside was the very steep slope right in front of the lodge which we had to navigate to get to the reception area. If you don’t have a car, you save the scary driving but you do have to walk a lot and use up a lot of your energy walking uphill.

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The awesome thing about our accommodation in Reavers Lodge was getting the loft-style apartment! I love loft-style apartments so it was such a nice surprise to get this room for our final stay. The room was equipped with more than enough cutleries and utensils, a decent shower, a spacious “living room” space, a telly, a sofa, chairs and small table, a queen-sized bed and the basic kettle and microwave (which we did not use though) amenities.

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The only downside was that while our room in Shotover Lodge was on the ground floor, this time our room was on the 3rd floor – the highest – and there were no lifts either so we had to lug our luggage climbing atop 3 storeys. Oh well tit for tat, you win some you lose some. Either ways it’s good for us Alhamdulillah.

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In the evening we went out for our final dinner at Turkish Kebabs and then to get some souvenirs for our families and friends. It was raining that night, and it felt like even Queenstown was sad that we were leaving. 😥 At dinner we reflected on the past seven days and what a great trip it has been. We also laughed at ourselves for making some foolish traveling mistakes during the whole trip. We talked about the future and the kind of marriage we want to have, a beautiful one like Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings be upon him) and Khadijah 🙂 It may seem like a really huge goal but we can dream and work on it right? InsyaAllah…

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NZ is full of sheep and this translates in the souvenir shops.

We managed to get a couple of stuff for our people back home. Especially New Zealand specialties such as manuka honey, body products from local brand Wild Fern, sheep stuff toy and pillows (requested by some!), “I love NZ” t-shirts and key chains. Unfortunately, there weren’t many Lord of The Rings products (only t-shirts) which a couple of my family members had requested. Perhaps next time if we go to Hobbiton in North Island 😉

4th March, Tuesday

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Queenstown at slightly after dawn.

And so the day has come for us to depart from beautiful New Zealand. While we felt a little gloomy that morning, we also felt so thankful to God for allowing us to explore another of His lands and giving us the opportunity to experience a part of New Zealand with our sights, sounds and senses. Alhamdulillah, we also felt grateful that God guided and protected us throughout the entire trip for He is Al-Muhaimin, The Protector. As we had a morning flight from Queenstown Airport, we checked-out of Reavers Lodge by 7.30 am in time to return our rental car and make it for our flight to Melbourne at 9.40 am.

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Gloomy morning drive to the airport. Soon after, the sun started to rise and we managed to catch snippets of it.

We arrived in Melbourne Airport at 11.05 am and “parked” ourselves at cozy Hudsons Coffee while looking at the gorgeous blue skies. We had a 7-hour transit in Melbourne Airport before departing back to Singapore so we had plenty of time to do our own thing, including performing our final prayers as musafir (traveler). Come 7.00 pm, we boarded our plane ride for the trip… back to home sweet home Singapore, arriving at almost midnight SG time.

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It’s been an amazing trip and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner to explore New Zealand with. Thank You Allah, for letting us start off our marriage beautifully at a beautiful country, with an equally beautiful person whom you have presented to be my companion in this life and InsyaAllah in Paradise. Alhamdulillah. Thank You Allah for your protection, guidance, infinite mercy and supreme love. If He wills, we will definitely come back to New Zealand again InsyaAllah. 🙂

Previous on Kiwimoon: Wonderful Wanaka (Day 5-6)

Next on Kiwimoon: Food and Solat – For the Muslim Traveller (Final entry for Kiwimoon series)

Sisterly Fitness Camp by Muslimah-in-mind

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Alhamdulillah so last Wednesday-Thursday on Labour Day holiday I attended the Sisterly Fitness Camp (SFC) held at Al-Khair Mosque. It’s been a long time since I attended any camps at all so when my Saff sisters asked me along, I thought okay let’s do this together. Furthermore the word fitness caught my eye – the thing about exercising is, I need buddies! Who’s with me? Hehe. 😀

The all-women 2D1N camp started off with a complimentary health check, followed by a wellness talk by Dr Rauzanah Affandi, a medical doctor who has worked at SGH and KKH previously, a qiyamullail (night prayer), and then a 4.4 km outdoor trail from Masjid Al-Khair to Choa Chu Kang Park the following day. The message of the camp was not just about being fit but about comprehensive wellness and being healthy as a whole, be it taking care of your diet, mental and physical health, as well as intellectual and spiritual wellbeing.

Extracted from the Muslimah-in-mind website, the aims of the camp;

“Islam takes a holistic approach to health.  Just as religious life is inseparable from secular life, physical, emotional and spiritual health cannot be separated; they are three parts that make a completely healthy person.

A true believer recognises the wonder of the human body and is grateful to the Creator.  This gratitude is shown in the care and attention given to maintaining optimum health.  Islam’s holistic approach to health covers all aspects of the mind, body and soul.  A truly health conscious person blends diet, nutrition and exercise with the remembrance of God and an intention to fulfil all their religious obligations.

Prophet Muhammad s.a.w said, 
A strong believer is better than a weak believer.”  

He was talking in terms of faith and character, but also indicating that physical strength (optimum health and fitness) were desirable, and that God has given us ways and means to attain such strength. Islam’s holistic approach to life and thus health offers us the ability to remain strong and healthy.

Thus, the Sisterly Fitness Camp (SFC) aims to instill a love for keeping fit, with suggestions on how to sustain a healthy and fit lifestyle suitable for the Muslimah.”

Health Talk: Total Wellness for the Muslimah ~ Intellectual Wellness

Dr Rauzanah started off the talk by showing us a video entitled “Make Health Last. What will the last 10 years of your life look like?” by The Heart and Stroke Foundation. Not to start off with a grim topic she says, but she wanted us to open our eyes to the realities of our current health statuses as the video highlighted that the average Canadian will spend their last ten years in sickness instead of being healthy. Dr Rauzanah also mentioned that in her daily work at hospitals, she is seeing more and younger patients with major illnesses and this is a worrying concern. I must admit that seeing that video made me think of how my golden age will be like, and silently made a goal to start living life healthier by eating the right foods more and inculcating more exercise in my daily life. Afterall, you reap what you sow and you are what you eat, and your stomach is where most diseases start to develop.

Among the things she highlighted were the different components of wellness that a Muslimah generally has in her life. Three aspects she covered were intellectual wellness, spiritual wellness and physical wellness. These different aspects of wellness are vital as part of our lives as Muslimahs busy with the many commitments that we have, be it work, marriage, children and community just to name a few. She also brought up the 3333 diet, which goes by the ideal intake of food to consist of 3 parts vegetables, 3 parts fruit, 3 parts protein, 3 parts grain and carbohydrates – divided into 3 meals per day. How do you measure the right proportion? By using the size of your fist as a guide. In addition, she also emphasized on the importance of getting enough sleep daily.

Tadabbur and Tahajjud ~ Spiritual Wellness

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After the talk, we prayed Isyak in congregation led by Ustazah Rusydah. Then, we were divided into groups of 12 persons each (there were 4 groups in total) and after a short ta’aruf (getting to know each other), we read several paragraphs of 3 different surahs together. They were surah An-An’am; verses 161-165, An-Nahl; verses 65-72 and Al-Furqan; verses 63-77. This was then followed by a light supper, and lights out by 11.30 pm as we were to wake up by 4.30 am for our tahajjud session together.

The tahajjud prayer is a voluntary night prayer that you can do after Isyak until before Subuh, and you can do it individually or in congregation. To me, both ways have different impact on yourself and both ways are good. When you do your night prayers alone, your time with God is truly a personal and intimate one, whereas when you do it in jemaah, you feel a sense of togetherness as a community that is striving to become better Muslims as a group effort. And that is truly a beautiful feeling MaashaAllah.

The tahajjud prayer was led by Ustazah Hafizah, followed by witr prayer led by Ustazah Azhani. And then Ustazah Mariyam led a munajat session (an intimate prayer) afterwards. After our qiyam ended, we got ready for Subuh, praying with the mosque as a jemaah. By 6.30 am, we gathered in our groups again and had a light breakfast as well as reflections on the verses we recited the night before. My group did a reflection on surah Al-Furqan verses 63-77, which were about the qualities and characteristics of being gracious servants of God, and MaashaAllah I learned a lot from the sharings and reflections from the sisters. If I had recited and tadabbur (reflections) on my own, I would never have obtained the many different additional insights that I got. This is the power of sharings and doing things together, Alhamdulillah.

Exciting Outdoor Trail ~ Physical Wellness

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Then we gathered outside of the mosque for a warm-up before our walk, which was led by Habibah Najihahbi who is also our resident national sprinter. At 7.30 am, we started off our walk. It was a cloudy day, with the sun peeking out every now and then. We made our way in groups and enjoyed the morning air. It was a relaxing leisurely walk with great company of like-minded sisters MaashaAllah. Along the way, the sight of tables set-up with 100 plus and water replenishments made me feel wondrous! Halfway through the walk, it started to drizzle and then it slowly started to get heavier. But instead of stopping, we just took our ponchos and marched on. Rain is after all a blessing from Allah s.w.t. and what better way to beat the morning blues than working our bodies out. No prizes for guessing what I would have done if I was at home, in that cooling weather in the pouring rain…

Alhamdulillah, the rain slowly subsided towards the end of our walk and we managed to reach Choa Chu Kang Park in slightly less than 2 hours. We received a goodie bag at the entrance of the hut we gathered in where we had a short reflection on the walk and the whole camp. For my group, we reflected that because we walked together and were talking and bonding during the walk, we were able to have fun and managed to finish before the stipulated time. We also reflected that when you do things collectively, such as your ibadah, workout, trying to eat healthy together, InsyaAllah the results will be a different impact than if you were to do it alone. Afterall, God did not create us alone in this world. He created so many of us, each with different personalities, capabilities and temperaments so we can collaborate beautifully and create amazing things together SubhanAllah.

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All smiles through the rain!

Alhamdulillah it was a wonderful experience and I thank the organisers for their time and energy in planning and preparing for the SFC. May Allah bless your efforts, InsyaAllah. I also love that the camp consisted of Muslimahs of all ages. Looking forward to more fit and fab activities with the sisters InsyaAllah! 🙂

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The whole group of sisters who attended the camp 🙂

For more details on Muslimah-in-Mind, head on to their website at: www.muslimahinmind.org

Look Up – Live Life the Real Way

This video is a reminder for me to get off the screen(s) when I spend too much time on screen with my smartphones, computer… and truly be present in the moment, without thinking of blogging or instagramming them.

Go out into the real world, and leave distractions behind. Stop watching this video, and live life the real way.

Having fun with the Liebster Award

Thank you Naomi from Eclecticfemale’s Blog for nominating me for the Liebster Award. Please take the time to check out her awesome blog, I love the font and style of her blog including her fashion illustrations – very cool I must say. As I have promised, here it is! 🙂

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The Liebster award is aimed at bringing the blogging community together.  It is awarded to blogs that have supported new and aspiring bloggers with the hopes of gaining further insights into the blogging community.

Now to the juicy part so basically along with the award comes a set of guidelines in accordance with the award which are as follows:

  • Post the award on your blog 
  • Thank the blogger who presented the award to you and link back to their blog
  • Share eleven things about yourself
  • Answer the eleven questions given to you by the person that nominated you
  • Choose eleven more people, and ask them eleven questions.

So first things first, here are eleven things about myself:

  1. I am the eldest of three children.
  2. I used to study Accounting and Finance in polytechnic.
  3. But no, I am not an accountant. In college, I decided to switch to Business Management.
  4. I never excelled in Maths and Science, but I’ve always admired people who work in the Life Sciences sector.
  5. I used to want to be a fashion designer.
  6. I would love to have a job that I enjoy and is fulfilling.
  7. I would love to perform my Hajj, the final pillar of Islam, with my husband one day.
  8. I am both a tea and coffee drinker, depending on my mood and events for the day.
  9. I first met my husband when I was 19. He was 20.
  10. My husband plays the guitar and piano really well. I love that about him. ❤
  11. God and Islam is very important to me.

Finito! And now the eleven questions from Naomi.

1. Why did you start blogging?

I first started blogging when I was 19. I have always kept a journal since forever so blogging came naturally. I used Blogspot then, but stopped blogging there after a few years. I only started blogging at Mod with Love last year, when I was having some down time in my work then. Blogging reminded me how much I used to loved to write.

2. What motivates you?

God, and trying to be a good Muslim the best that I can.

3. What is your biggest pet-peeve?

People who snoop while I’m using my smartphone in the train. And dirty dishes in the sink.

4. What type of music do you listen to?

Both English and Malay songs ranging from pop to ballads to indie to country. Sometimes a dose of k-pop (Korean songs) as well.

5. Who would you most like to be stuck in an Lift (elevator) with?

Khadijah binte Khuwailid, Prophet Muhammad’s first wife. She was the mother of Islam and an amazing businesswoman. I would love to hug and chat with her.

6. If you could be any age for a week, what age would that be?

Sometimes I’d like to be 20 again, back in polytechnic where the days were carefree…

7. What is your dream job?

Hmm honestly I don’t have any right now, but it would definitely have something to do with mentoring and creativity, 2 things I love (how do you combine those two together?!).

8. What is one guilty pleasure you enjoy too much to give up?

Fried chicken wings. Breaded, honeyed, you name it… (mouth salivating just thinking of it…)

9. If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?

My first name is “Siti” which loosely means “Miss” in Arabic. Some girls start with “Nur” which means “Light” so if I had to change my first name I’d go with “Nur”.

10. What is your favourite food?

Rendang (and most Malay foods) and pizza.

11. Where do you see yourself in five years time?

This is a tough one. Possibly an entrepreneur with a successful home-business. Perhaps with a kid or two.

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Here are my nominations for the Liebster Award.

Ade Rahmawati, Tree Rabold, Shahira, Ida Ayu Indah, Svenja, Adelina, Linda, Lala Rukh, Rashmi, Sarah

My eleven questions are:

  1. What do you love most about blogging?
  2. Why did you start blogging?
  3. What is your favourite colour and why?
  4. Where is one place you would love to travel to?
  5. What is your favourite book?
  6. What is your dream job?
  7. Name three most important things or people in your life.
  8. Where do you see yourself in five years time?
  9. What is your favourite movie?
  10. What type of music do you listen to?
  11. Why is writing important to you?

I look forward to reading your responses so please comment on this post with a link to your own post so I can see how you answered (sorry some questions are kind of repetitive).

Alritey and with that I’m done 🙂 Kind of fun to do this one 🙂

Playing in the rain (Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring)

Playing in the rain (Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring)

In Singapore 1st May is celebrated as Labour Day and it is a public holiday. No Spring here either so here’s what I was up doing last Thursday. Attending a Sisterly Fitness Camp which started on Wednesday evening and ended with a 4.4km briskwalk from Masjid Al-Khair to Choa Chu Kang Park the following day. It rained halfway, but it didn’t stop us from the walk. We just took out our ponchos and marched on in the rain.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring

Kiwimoon: Wonderful Wanaka (Day 5-6)

1st March 2014, Saturday

Today we would be leaving Lake Tekapo to head off to Wanaka, which is 199 km away with an estimated travel time of 2 hours and 17 minutes. We checked-out by 10 am after having our home-made breakfast at the cottage, dropped by the local cafe to get our cuppa coffee and we’re off!

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To the left, to the left, to Wanaka on the left…

On the way we passed by Lindis Pass Scenic Reserve and decided to stop for a while and explore the area.

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Lindis Pass is mountain-heaven for me. So much love for these magnificent yet humble mountains.

Finally we reached Wanaka after 2 hours plus and checked-in to Wanaka Hotel, which was conveniently located at the center of town. We made some lunch and then had our much-needed rest from the drive. In the evening, we decided to take a little stroll along Lake Wanaka which was just a few minutes drive from our hotel.

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That is our white steed, as my husband likes to call it. We rented the car for our entire week in NZ and Alhamdulillah, we had a smooth ride throughout.
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Ducks swimming along Lake Wanaka minding their own business… with the spectacular mountain view as the backdrop.
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View of the other side, showing some hotels and buildings in Wanaka.

Afterwards, a visit to the supermarket to top-up our food supplies before going back to our hotel. I even managed to get an inexpensive pink and black woolen glove from here, what a great find.

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The supermarket just across the road from our hotel. Very convenient.

Made a home-made dinner and we called it a day. An exciting day awaits the next day!

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2nd March 2014, Sunday

Today was our only “full” day in Wanaka and we wanted to make it a free and easy relaxing day. One of the places we wanted to check out was Cinema Paradiso, a quaint vintage cinema that I discovered while researching in TripAdvisor. A quick check on the movie schedules and we decided to watch Disney’s Frozen, which none of us had watched before. Frozen was amazing to the point of song’s in my head amazing. Let it go… *sings*

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A cozy afternoon watching a movie at the coolest and most vintage cinema ever in Cinema Paradiso. I especially love the vintage car seat and the freshly baked cookies which you can buy during the intermission.

After a relaxing movie afternoon, it was time for some fun and action! Next we headed to Puzzling World, where illusion rooms and a 3-D maze awaits us.

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Feeling like Keanu Reeves in the Matrix, in the Tilted House. The room requires some kind of balancing as it is sloping up and down! Then we attempted the maze but after almost 2 hours trying to complete the mission… we gave up lol (we were so near yet so far). Decided to head to the puzzling shop to find some puzzling souvenirs instead before it closes in the evening.

We wanted to do some skydiving as we passed by Skydive Wanaka on the way as that would have been really thrilling. Unfortunately even though we had 3 days in Wanaka, we only had 1 full day as the other 2 days are actually half-days since we spent half of it on driving. So we decided to choose leisure over adrenaline rush – as skydiving would have taken a full day. If He wills, we will definitely spend more time in Wanaka next time and attempt some skydiving!

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I just love New Zealand.<3

Wanaka is such a relaxing place to be. So laid back and unpretentious.

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20140302_131439 Streets of Wanaka.

Back to our hotel for dinner, and packing up for the next day as we would be leaving Wanaka late morning (already!?). We would be going back to Queenstown for souvenir shopping and to catch our return flight the day after next. Stay tuned for our last series of adventure in Kiwimoon! 🙂

Previous on Kiwimoon: Starry, Starry Lake Tekapo (Day 4)

Next on Kiwimoon: Final Days in Queenstown (Day 6-7)

Confessions of a shortie and why I hated netball

So here’s the thing. I’m five foot tall and I have been petite all my life. In other words, I’m short and small-sized – “fun sized” as I like to call it.

My mum and dad are of similar height with each other – medium Asian height, if there’s a term for this – although my dad’s side of the family leans on the shorter side while my mother’s side consists of taller counterparts. No prizes for guessing whose genes I followed. Luckily for me, this has never been an issue in my family. I grew up a happy childhood filled with happy memories children are supposed to have. In primary school, from primary 1 all the way to primary 6, I was always the shortest in my class (I should get an award for this). My 8 – year old self never had any problems with this though, primary school me was always a happy cute bunny where ever I go.

It was only in primary 6, when I was 11 years old that I started to understand the reality of being short and fun-sized. We had an inter-class tournament and my teacher would ask for volunteers to form a netball team among the girls. The best team for every class competes with the other teams. Now the good thing about being small is being lightweight thus possessing the ability to be more agile than others. Which made me generally like physical ed. classes and all sorts of sports as I can run and get away from people pretty fast. So happy cute bunny me put my name in without thinking twice (possibly forgetting the very simple fact that netball players require a certain height to qualify).

And apparently, I was told to be “too short for netball”.

Ouch.

I did the most logically emotional thing every 11-year old does after being told she was too short for netball (okay, maybe just me). Proceed to the nearest washroom and cry my eyes off. And of course, striked off netball from my list of favourite sports. I remember comparing myself to other classmates and wishing to be taller and then asking God to please add some tall genes to my petite being when I grow up. I remember that incident as my first memory of being “rejected” and the first time I expected myself to fit into the “normal-sized people” quorum.

Fast forward to now – some things don’t change. I’m still as cute as a bunny (please don’t puke yet, lol) staying petite as an adult. As a self-proclaimed shortie, there are some things I encounter. Shopping – long skirts and pants always require some altering. You’re always mistaken as a student if you dress casually and have no make-up on. People always call you “cute” which sometimes can be pretty annoying. Sometimes you want to wear black formal looking flats when you have an important work event to attend but you can’t because other people are always towering over you.

But what’s changed is that I don’t expect to fit in into any “normal-sized people” sizes anymore (what’s that anyway?). When I think of that memory, I feel a little silly and now I can laugh at my petite self in all good manners. Obviously netball is not the only sport in town but to my primary school self, it was one of the few sports I knew.

In polytechnic, I discovered my agility to serve me well in another sport which I have come to love – rock climbing. There are some moments in your life where you just know when something is for you. The first time I climbed a rock wall, I knew. That I was meant to be a rock climber. Okay okay dramatic aha-moment announcement aside, here’s why I love climbing rock walls. Because I was lightweight, I was able to carry myself up along the wall easily. Because of my agility, I was able to manoeuver the wall tiles from the bottom to the top with ease. Sure, if you’re a tall rock climber you may reach certain tiles easily when you’re on the wall, but I could always compensate that by being flexible enough to step up a couple of tiles without much difficulty. Rock climbing allowed me to see and use my strengths to my advantage, as well as trained my mind and body to work around my weaknesses.

The point of this story is that I eventually worked around my weaknesses and focused on my strengths. I learned how to sew, so I can alter clothes easily. I learned to dress up well, so I can look more presentable. I learned to accept myself and my flaws – and found myself easily accepting of other people along the way. I learned to love myself and be grateful for all my blessings. Most importantly, I learned that it’s okay to have expectations on something or someone or yourself for that matter but there’s something that goes hand in hand with your expectations –  when an expectation doesn’t meet your standard, expect yourself to let it go.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Great Expectations