Blessed…

…is the word that keeps coming to my mind for the past few months. Well for the past year really. People say that we attract the things we feel (you know, Law of Attraction & The Secret and all that stuff) and I truly believe it to be a real fact. I’m an optimist most of the time and by staying that way, the Universe has somehow given me back the same positive energy I’ve given to it. There are some days when I feel like shit but by constantly reminding myself of all the good things that has happened – I manage to pull myself through the bad moments and focus on creating happy ones. It does take some practice and some sheer willpower when you first start but it’s pretty automatic once you set your mind to it.

So, back to feeling this way. I guess I never really practiced it until one major moment in my life. Well, nothing super major but it was enough to impact the way I think. I have just returned from working in Singapore and was looking for a job back home. I’ve tried  applying to the hotels in my hometown but none were able to match the salary I was asking for and I didn’t really have anything else I want to do in Penang (the bulk of the workforce lies in manufacturing, banking and hospitality). What I did then was to also apply for jobs in the city and lo and behold, I managed to get myself a job with one prestigious beauty brand – I was completely over the moon when I received the call!

Since then, there has been many instances when I feel completely lucky and blessed – especially when I received news that I have been accepted to work on the cruise ship. It wasn’t a lifelong dream plus there really aren’t many seafarers in Malaysia but I’ve always wanted to travel the world and trying to apply for it is already hard enough. It’s really a lucky moment for me if I say so myself.

Fast track few months later, I was traveling to places I’ve never thought I’ll ever see. It might feel like nothing for some but for me coming from a little country on the Equator this felt like a once in a lifetime thing. The best thing is, there were so many once in the lifetime moments that I kept thinking to myself, “I’m so blessed”. So blessed to be here, so blessed to be able to experience this, so blessed to be alive.

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My first time in the Caribbean and off the ship in Regal, beautiful Montego Bay, Jamaica.

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I only had one chance to visit Cozumel, Mexico as it was the last cruise before the crossing but having Mexican food by the sea was an incredible experience. 

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Sailing on a catamaran and drinking rum punch at St. Thomas after we snorkeled with sea turtles. First time trying rum punch, first time on a catamaran, first time snorkeling! Sadly, St. Thomas was hit by Hurricane Irma recently…

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We had around 10 days of dry dock in Hamburg, which is also another city I love. So many things going on here and it was a blessing to have so much time to explore the city!

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Also seen snow for the first time in Sweden! I was ecstatic!

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Like,  look at me! Haha!

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And who can forget beautiful St. Petersburg, Russia? This church is my favorite part of  the city, by the way.

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Plus I also tried this very pretty and yummy breakfast at Grand Hotel Stockholm –  paid a pretty hefty price but well, moments matter.

Another 3 more weeks to go towards my next adventure! I know some of you are curious to know where I’m going next so I’m going to talk about it in my next entry. ‘Til then, safe travels!

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#Shiplife Series: What to Bring on your Contract on-board a Cruise Ship

This was indeed the biggest question I had before embarking on my  first contract. Like how do I pack 6 months of my life into two luggages? Why only two? Well that is the number of bags allowed and covered by the company, any more and you probably will have to bear the additional charges, let alone be cursed by your roommate, haha.

So my main concern at that time was how big of a luggage should I be bringing? In the end I decided to bring two medium sized luggage, around 28″ each. It was sufficient but clearly I wasn’t bringing enough space for souvenirs and stuff. I would suggest bringing a large sized one (36″) and a medium one. I know, I’ve read tons of articles advising crew members to pack light but seriously, bring them bags. The smaller bag can always go into the larger one once you’ve unpacked and voila, you don’t take up as much space as you think. There’s also space underneath the bunk bed to store your luggage if you need to.

Once you’ve got your luggage figured out, these are the essentials (in my humble opinion) to survive your contract on-board. I wouldn’t ask you to bring your important documents like passport, medical cert etc. like come on, that’s general knowledge – don’t ever forget though!

  1. Obviously some clothing. Pack according to the itinerary you’re heading to. If you’re mostly doing hot summer ports of call, bring a light jacket and a sweater just in case the weather changes. Temperature on  the ship tends to get a little cold too with the A/C so it’s nice to have something warm and snuggly. Pack some casual wear for days out in port and maybe 1 or 2 pieces of dressier items for nights out (overnights maybe?) or the crew bar. Or even special occasions, you know how that happens. A note of caution though, don’t pack too much! I figured that I was pretty genius and packed everything and in the end I went shopping and bought more. So yeah. Don’t forget other pieces of clothing like your PJs, swimsuit (for the sea or maybe the crew pool / jacuzzi?), gym clothes, lots of underwear and maybe some shirts for your uniform (it depends if it is provided by your company or if you are required to get your own).

2. Toiletries! The mother of all necessities. I packed like, full sized bottles of the things I like to use and I was glad I did. If you’re not fussy, you can always buy some at the crew shop (shampoo, body gel, lotion etc.) but I like to use the things I like so I brought shampoo, shower gel, cleanser, moisturizer, etc literally everything to the ship. In the end I still needed to get myself tons of Nivea lotion though as my skin was cracking due to the dry weather. But yes, if you really love your products bring them if you think you’re not able to get them wherever you’re at. I had fun trying on some new stuff I found at the ports too so guess what, harharhar.

Bring your makeup! I ran out of foundation/BB cream, eyeliner and eyebrow pencil soon enough but as I wasn’t too picky with what I use I went and got some new stuff from the local drugstore. You get my gist. What I really regretted and what went through my mind throughout my contract was how I should have packed a luggage full of my go-to sanitary napkins. Just imagine having to be at sea, away from home and finding the hard truth that nope, not all sanitary napkins are the same. Just to divert a little, the ones in Europe are sort of thin – I don’t know.  What I know was that I could hear myself wishing that I brought 6 months’ worth of my favorite brand with me – screw luggage space, pads are important.

3. Medication. This is super important if you’re the type to fall sick easily but even if you’re not, be prepared! I know I get very painful menstrual cramps every month and depend on this one holy grail Panadol Actifast to feel better so I bought like maybe, 60 pills with me? (Don’t worry, I DID NOT FINISHED ALL OF THEM!) But yes, these are Godsend when you don’t feel good so please, don’t take this lightly. Bring any possible medication that you might need and if they’re over the counter types, it should be no problem but if they’re prescription drugs, do remember to inform the medical once you get on-board. Should there be any random drug search and if you so unfortunately was one of the people selected, the declaration will save your ass. Like really, I’m not joking. Anyway! I also brought with me a very typical Asian aunty remedy for bad days – MEDICATED OIL! I love, love, love the smell and the heat does help with little discomforts. Apparently my roomie also loves it and she’s Mexican, go figure.

4. Technology. This might not apply to everyone but in this time, everyone needs some  kind of tech to survive right? Maybe? I’ll admit, I was too ambitious and brought everything with me to the ship. Really. I took with me my laptop, cell phone, action cam, mirrorless cam, Kindle, HDD drive and various accessories (chargers, tripod and all that shit.) So. If you spend most of your time with gadgets, be it for work or maybe you just don’t like humans –  go for it. As for me, I love my tech. I wanted to  take photos and make  videos and blog and watch movies blablabla…it didn’t happen. What I really wanted to say is, bring whatever you need. I thought I needed my laptop. Wrong. Imagine paying for 660MB at $40 – you’ll be trying to save as much data as possible. I thought I would bring my laptop out during port days. Wrong again. There’s just too much to see and do and lugging a laptop around isn’t really convenient tbh. Most of the time I only used my phone for catching up and updating stuff on Facebook and Instagram. Photos too, which eliminated the need for the action cam and the mirrorless camera. Damn. As for movies, my company did really well on this and we constantly have new movies to watch on the TV so there you go. I only used my laptop for a record of two times during my first contract – I don’t think I will be bring it with me this time.

The kind of tech I would bring? My cell phone. Adapters. Especially when the ship has EU & US plug points but no 3 pin Asian ones. A hairdryer, power bank, electric jug kettle. Imagine wanting to eat noodles and you have no hot water. Or coffee. I would highly recommend a kettle if you can. My roomie also spoiled me for life as she brought along a handheld garment steamer (there’s always the iron in the laundry room though), hair curler & straightener, also a gel manicure set. Whatever rocks your boat but I’m a changed woman.

5. Little things from home. The stuff that matters of course. I know a fellow colleague who packed an entire luggage full of his favorite snacks. Bring your favorite type of coffee. Photos and trinkets. It may seem troublesome (that’s what I thought initially) but these little things do keep you grounded and sane. I placed pictures of my family and friends on the wall next to my bed so that I can be reminded of them.

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There’s a couple more I would like to talk about but I’ll save it for another day. Til then, safe travels! 🚢

#Shiplife Series: Applying for a Cruise Ship Job – Part Two

Hey lovelies!

10 more days to go til  #Shiplife! I’m super psyched yet super stressed out with all the packing I have to do! Haven’t done much but everything has to go! Plus I’ll  be working during the weekends to provide a handover to the girl that will be replacing my role. Sooo tired but sooo much to do and so many people to meet before I leave!

I’ll be having a farewell dinner with my colleagues later in the evening, followed by dinner & drinks with my uni mates on Saturday night. Plus another few dinners with friends on Sunday & Tuesday! Ending it all with a bang with our annual dinner on the 23rd – as well as my last working day!

So here’s the second part of my cruise job application experience!

 

I’m  feeling a little bit delirious thanks to the lack of sleep,  still plenty  to do and loads to buy. Cheerio & I’ll update again soon!

Challenging the Asian Life Formula

“Is that like your dream job?” my inquisitive co-worker asked.

“Well, it’s not really a dream job”.

My dream job consists of me having no job yet the ability to spin money out of pure Malaysian humidity which will make me very rich indeed.

Many have questioned my sudden decision. Most who probably feel I’m having “delusions of grandeur”. Who knows, maybe I am. Some people, probably out of  sheer politeness or maybe  just out of plain shock said nothing. Some people asked too much. Some people were feeding me lines I don’t want to hear. Yep, the rules to the Asian Life Formula.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the guide to living a somewhat “successful”  Asian life, there are a few stages to which you go through in life.

First, you study hard. And make sure you get into University because that’s what most people do.

Then you get a “good” job once you graduate. I thought I knew what a good job was. I believe good in that context meant something stable and most likely in an office setting. I guess the worse  you could do is not have a job rather than have a bad job, haha.

You then get a spouse, get married, buy property (doesn’t really matter if you can afford them or not or whether it makes sense, property is stability!). After that, have kids and slog away raising them and paying your mountain of debt. Your kids will grow up and hopefully be decent people  of society.

Don’t get me wrong and don’t start flying into a rage.

I know some people who did well and are happy with their lives. It’s really nice to come home to a cosy house  and family and go to work knowing everything is going well. But this isn’t me.

“I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, I want it more than I can tell”. I quote Belle from Beauty and the Beast, lol. Darn those Disney movies. And the Little Mermaid? “When’s it my turn? Wouldn’t I love? Love to explore the shore up above?” Again I digress.

I had my fair share of the whole Asian formula thing. I went to school, didn’t study much but hey I did get pretty decent grades. I went to university. Had boyfriends. Worked with some amazing companies.

“Still no boyfriend?”

“Still not married?”

“People your age should focus on a stable career.”

“Are your parents okay with this?”

You know, I might really wake up one day and regret everything I said today. I might even laugh at myself for being so stupid. Like har har, should have just stayed with that job and all this shit wouldn’t have happened , har har.

But I want to be foolish.

I want to go all out and be out there, instead of wishing I have done it. I couldn’t give two toots to the kind of life that wants me to settle – married with 10 babies and all.

Most likely I wouldn’t end up rich, famous or driving a BMW. But I’m cool with that.

 

 

Thoughts on being single

Are we all afraid to be alone?

Lately there has been many friends on Facebook who have gotten married, which I am happy for. It is definitely not an easy journey, from finding someone you like to be with 24/7 and deciding to accept them for who they are. The lifelong commitment stuff. Right now my body and mind seems to shudder at the very thought of marriage. I’ve been through a number of boyfriends and maybe it’s just me but forever just seems a little too long.

“You don’t know love”, they might say. “You just haven’t found the right person”, others might add. Both might be true but I’ll just say that I’m pretty much happy where I am right now. Single, alone and…free.

There have also been friends who have fallen out of relationships. Friends breaking up with their partners. Married couples getting divorced. This scares me as well. The fragility of a relationship and how thin the line that separates being together and being not, is.

I just really want to make a point that if you’re in a loving relationship, great. If you’re not, it’s not the end world either. Don’t worry about not being able to find someone, you will. There is just no expiration date to meeting people and falling in love so why get so worked up about being alone when you have so much you can do? Read the books you always wanted. Watch all the movies you want. Start on the hobbies you’ve always said you wish you tried.

There is really no harm in being alone. Instead of constantly looking for someone to love you, go love yourself first. Enjoy your moments of solitude. Live. Don’t just exist.