Events, Flashbacks, Jibber Jabber, Numbers

September Sum Up

More than three weeks ago, I stopped blogging regularly because I needed to prioritize and place my attention elsewhere. Taking a break does not mean stopping completely! So, here is my September summary:

  • 7th: Bought broodjes and cycled to the Gavers with D to have a picnic lunch while enjoying the nature. Went to container park, library, and did grocery in the afternoon. Have barbecue for dinner.
  • 8th: Finally used up the rest of the moss remover on the terrace. The rinsed out container may go into the PMD bag for recycling.
  • 9th: D’s new computer arrived!
  • 10th: Went to Colruyt to stock up the pantry.
  • 11th: Cycled to Hoeve De Kerpel to have a beer. 20km baby! Oh by the way, Bijenhof cafΓ© had stopped since 30 September 2019.
  • 12th: Open Monumentendag. Met a woman at one of the monuments we visited. She told us interesting stories of her years growing up in the house. I love stories like that.
  • 13th: D’s first day of attending a one year programming course.
  • 14th: Walked to the baker for bread, and then did some promo purchases at Delhaize. The bag of grocery ended up to be rather heavy!
  • 15th: Tidying up and reorganizing the refrigerator and freezer.
  • 16th: Renewed my library membership on Malaysia Day. Because I did not show my ‘ancient’ library card, the process took longer than I expected and was a bit chaotic.
  • 17th: To the library again, this time with D, to get our Covid safe bracelets. After dinner, we used these to attend Prebraderie at the city park.
  • 18th & 19th: Stadsfeest Harelbeke. Music, people, drinking, eating, and late night cycling!
  • 20th: Finished the silicone touch ups in the living room.
  • 21th: Made grape juice.
  • 22nd: Baker and Delhaize walk. Made grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch using grated cheese for the first time.
  • 23rd: Cleaned windows. About time! πŸ˜›
  • 24th: Pay Malaysian and Belgian bills.
  • 25th & 26th: Easy going ‘no events’ weekend. I am having sneezing fits. Uh-oh, Covid?!
  • 27th: Made yet another batch of grape juice. Someone besides me needs to be drinking these…
  • 28th: To the baker and Delhaize. Bought leeks because they were on promotion. Said to a woman whom I walked pass on my way home, “Ook voor de prei?“, and dangled my grocery bag in front. πŸ™‚
  • 29th: Sister’s birthday. Sent her a photo of my vase of wind-blown sunflowers and today’s cat trivia. Harvested a cucumber from the vegetable patch and pickled it. Repaired and spray painted a flower pot. Moved a few potted plants indoors.
  • 30th: The last day of September. Did some home projects of dusting off the shelf tops and filling up hairline cracks. Harvested two of my six pears!

Cheers to productive days, memorable events, and exciting changes.

Flashbacks, Malaysia, Numbers

Nineteen & Thirty

I left my home town, Lahad Datu, when I was nineteen years old to pursue higher education. It was not a pleasant experience but it was necessary.

After returning from the United States and spending half a decade living and working back in Lahad Datu, I took leave again at age thirty. My second departure was less painful. And at the back of my mind, I was aware that I might never return ‘home’ to stay.

Flashbacks, Jibber Jabber, Simplify

Adjusted Habits

Last year’s lockdowns have driven me to adjust my habits. I have significantly reduced my consumption of food and goods alike. I cannot eat much at one sitting any more. That probably explains the fact that I did not gain any corona kilos in the past year and a half.

Spending less and needing less is a sort of freedom of the mind, body and from societal pressures. I personally find it a luxury.

Flashbacks, Travels

Flashback Journeys

Now that D and I are fully vaccinated, we may travel to all the EU countries with our EU Digital COVID Certificates. Though I am grateful for this option, I am rather wary and dare not stick my head out of the bunker too soon. It is after all the early days of recovery, and the damn Delta variant is busy making its rounds.

Since the first lockdown, I have been utilizing my memory to relive past travels in my mind. And having been alive for half a century and have lived on three different continents, I am definitely not short of the ingredients to conjure up some lovely memories of past travels. I call these flashback journeys. πŸ˜›

Nevertheless, I do want to travel like it is pre-Covid. Wishful thinking maybe, but one may always dream…

Belgium, Flashbacks, Malaysia


The south east part of Belgium had endured some serious floods in the past days. So serious that it had cost more than 30 lives and enormous material damages.

Yesterday, it rained heavily again and parked cars were flunked around like rubber duckies in a bathtub.

Having lived in a tropical country, I am very aware of the danger and damage floods can cause. I feel sorry for these people who are at their wits’ end. Experience tells me that the floods are just the beginning of their troubles. When water roars through places that it is not suppose to be, it brings along many issues.

Events, Flashbacks

Garage Sales

Today, our neighbourhood is having our first ever garage sales. Because D and I do not have much to sell, we have asked his mother if she is interested. Currently, our side-walk is filled with the stuff from D’s sister and her family.

My first ever garage sales experience was in 1994. How fun it was visiting neighbourhoods which were having their annual spring cleaning garage sales, going through the mountain of stuff, and chatting to people who were just as interested in us international students as we were over them. Back in those days, almost every Asian you meet in Kalamazoo have something to do with the university. πŸ™‚

In our first outing, my cousin bought a $50 television which we could hardly fit into the car. I do think that the joy and laughter we derived from that old thing made up for the monetary cost and transportation.

Belgium, Flashbacks, Numbers, Travels

At 31…

It was the year 2002.

The year started with my second semester in college, working towards a diploma in graphics design. I was staying with my cousin Eileen in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

My school days were spent learning new skills, making friends and exploring my creativity. Graphics design turned out to be something I was rather good at. At the college art show in November, I won several prizes including The Best of Show with one of my illustration pieces. πŸ™‚

In the summer, I crossed the Atlantic for the first time to visit D in Belgium. My first European trip, and it was wonderful! Later, D and I travelled to San Francisco to visit my sister and get to experience the city together.

The year 2002 was filled with happy school days, new long term friends, and memorable travels.

Two days ago, a 31-year old cyclo-cross cyclist lose her fight to aggressive brain tumour. Rest in peace, Jolien.

Belgium, Events, Flashbacks, Jibber Jabber

Burgers & Beers

D, his mother and I went to a nocturnal shopping event at a garden centre yesterday evening. The parking was packed. There was a line going in. And a line coming back out.

At the check out counter, the cashier gave us coupons for a burger and beer each. As we sat there enjoying our free burgers and beers, and listening to live accordion music, we realised that it was more than a year ago that we attended such an activity. My record shows that our last normal activity was the lunch we three had at the hospital cafeteria on the 10th of March, 2020! Talk about pre-corona era…

Nonetheless, I do believe that we have adjusted our lives effectively to the crisis all this time. Shortly after the first lockdown, D and I have enjoyed drinks, amongst other people, at the Lokaal. We have also participated in simple careful activities with the neighbours last summer. Despite the restrictions and health measures imposed upon us in the past year and a half, D and I did adapt and still get to do our usual activities in reduced mode. We carried on with grocery shopping and errand runs as normal as possible. We even enjoyed the occasional city trips and train rides. Most importantly, we have survived this without getting sick. Amen to that. πŸ™‚

Flashbacks, Health

Over Medicated

When I was a child, I suffered from fevers, skin rashes, hives, colds, sunburns, nose bleeds and so on and so forth. Nothing really serious, but it did not stop my parents from making me take all sorts of medication and supplements. Back then, I just thought it was the normal thing to do. But if memory serves me correctly, I do not recall any of my siblings having the same childhood ailments.

I think I might have just solved a personal health mystery…

Since last Friday, I stopped taking my nightly allergy pill. Reason being that it will be rainy and grass pollen will be in low concentration during the weekend. But instead of feeling great, the days that followed had been hellish for me. I was having sneezing fits (even during sleep!), non-stop runny nose, occasional coughing, and feeling drowsy like I was still on medication. This morning, I woke up sneezing and expect to suffer the whole day, like I did the passed six days. Thankfully, the runny nose and abrupt sneezing just stopped happening after lunch.

I was having allergy reactions when there were nothing to react to! It was a sign of dependency on the antihistamine that I was ingesting. It took my body almost a week to remove this ‘attachment’ to the allergy pills.

Good grief, my entire life, I have been getting sicker from ingesting chemicals which were supposed to make me feel better?!

Flashbacks, Malaysia

Annie & Siti

When I entered primary one at a local Chinese medium school in the mid-late 1970s, I only know how to speak in Cantonese and Indonesian Malay, which I have learned from my parents’ housekeeper. Because I cannot communicate with my Mandarin and Hakka speaking Chinese classmates, I gravitated and hung out with two Malay girls named Annie and Siti. If I still remember this correctly, they told me that they are sisters (not twins) born in the same year.

After a few months, as my local languages improved and my network of school friends expanded, the time I spent with Annie and Siti became shorter and shorter. My last memory of them was their surprised expressions when they found out that I have a Christian name. And that was in primary five when we were all registered to take our national examinations.

I have no contact nor any news regarding Annie and Siti after primary school. I should ask around. Some of my other primary school classmates might know. I am never known for making up imaginary friends, please let Annie and Siti be real people…