#Shiplife Series: Training on the Ship.

It’s been 12 days since I’ve left Malaysia to join the ship. Time has passed so quickly that I was just living in the moment, one day at a time and everything seemed so vivid yet so blurry that I’m beginning to question the reality of things, haha. I guess that’s how I will sum up shiplife at the moment. You live in the reality and your reality is your life onboard the ship. Everything else outside is somewhat irrelevant.

The company has been really lovely to us and took care of our needs pretty well. We had a pickup from the hotel in Honolulu to the ship and there were people at the immigration point waiting for us to bring us to the ship. We got to the crew office and the managers from our department took us to our rooms and once  everyone arrived we were handed over to our trainer.

It was a complete  whirlwind from that point onwards – getting our uniforms,  going for training, getting lost around the ship, getting our crew IDs, flu shots…it was really nice of the company to  organize the training for us, especially those who are new to ships. We learnt our emergency signals, what to do during a fire or when we feel sick as well as stuff about the company. We also made plenty of friends and it was really nice to find people you have things in common with. Kinda sad that we’re all transhipped to different ships now, some of them are still together but well,  not me.

I’ve read some horror stories about the food in the crew mess and let me tell you, the food in my ship was amazing, at least to my  standards. I often have to fuss about what to eat and this is a nice change from having to settle my own meals  to being fed with yummy, proper food. I’m trying to take less portions as I am in danger of getting fatter and fatter.

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One of the meals I had in the staff mess.

The ship that I was in is relatively small and could hold about 2600 passengers. It wasn’t super hard to navigate once you know your way.

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The Wardroom or officer’s bar. Apparently staff are able to come here as well. I never went, only during our training.

 

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Some of the activities planned for the officer’s bar.There’s also a calendar of activities for the crew  recreation room which I didn’t take a photo of.
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Casual top which I probably will not be wearing in future as my role requires formal wear on a daily basis.

I’ll be going on my new ship tomorrow and I’m pretty nervous about it. What if I get a horrible cabin mate? What if everyone’s nasty? Well no point worrying plus the itinerary is going to be awesome. I’ll be doing Caribbean for 2 weeks and will be sailing off to the Baltics from April onwards! Perhaps I should focus on that thought…

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.

 

 

#Shiplife Series – Prologue

This is it. The big one. I’m just bursting trying to hold the news in and it won’t be known to everyone, well for at least a few  weeks. I’m pretty sure the people I know don’t read my blog, especially when I’m not sharing the link on social media.

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, I mentioned that I was getting a certificate of good conduct from the Malaysian government and that I will be sharing the purpose of why I was getting it for in the near future when everything is confirmed.

Well, guess what? I’m heading to the seas y’all!

I have just gotten the certificate of good conduct and my U.S. visa approved! Yet to schedule an appointment for my medical checkup but will do it soon! Hopefully all goes well and there is nothing wrong with my health, else I wouldn’t be able to head to the ships.

I’m trying not to get too overexcited simply because I haven’t had 100% confirmation but things are looking pretty good so far to me (with the visa application being the most challenging, I think). Fingers crossed, I shall be able to share better news in a week or two. Til then, happy December!

Anxiety…or being cautious?

I don’t know if it is just me or everyone in general but I tend to get little thoughts in my head whenever I am doing something. It doesn’t happen all the time but there are certain actions that seem to trigger alarm bells in my mind.

 

When I’m driving, my mind goes:

“Wow, that’s a pretty sharp turn there”.

“You should really slow down.”

“One day you’re gonna get hit by a car”.

 

When I’m going down the stairs:

“What happens if you slip and took a tumble?”

 

When I eat too much:

“You’re gonna get diabetes. And high blood pressure. Maybe cancer.”

 

When I get to the station a little later than usual:

“Some dodgy looking guy is definitely standing there waiting to get you.”

 

Coming out from the toilet at home:

“One day you’re going to open the door and see a zombie coming up the stairs” (over-imagination much?)

 

So I don’t know, I guess it’s pretty normal to have these thoughts right?

 

Living a Solo Life – Being Sick

I had this conversation with a friend earlier over lunch.

I told her, “I’m actually at a pretty happy place right now.” I enjoy my freedom. I enjoy the peace. I am pretty happy with the solitude.

It’s quite nice being independent and single, living in the city. Being able to eat whatever and whenever I want. Having no curfew, no expectations on what time to call home.

Went home and took a nap, woke up at 7-ish in the evening and felt a nagging pull on my lower abdomen. The twinge is almost too familiar. It’s gas, wind, flatulence and I’ve had too much of it, as usual. Probably due to bad nutrition, I’ve had a pretty rumbly stomach for the past week now.

The instant I felt the cramping pain I recalled how bad the full fledged attack was on me. I was in my teens and had to call my dad on my cell from the next room to come get me up from the bed because I was too much in pain. The thought of that happening to me here got my heart pounding. One because I am all by myself. Two because I know that nobody really cares enough to come over. Three because I’m really bad at depending on someone. It’s either the upbringing or the pride but I don’t like to trouble anyone if I can help it. Which is why I’ll probably be found as a dried up corpse by the time someone gets to me.

So in fear of having to crawl down approximately 20 steps and driving myself to the hospital, I quickly opened my box of medicine, all taken from my past visits to the doctors. Some of the labels read Pain, Stomach Pain, Gas, Nausea etc. No idea which is for this kind of pain so I Googled the names of the medicine (what will we ever do without Google) and swallowed a pill. Literally.

I feel better now after burping out gas (and farting some) so let’s just pray it goes away soon and I’ll have no trouble giving myself a full body stretch before bed, lol.

Do I still love my life? Yes.

Do I still enjoy solitude? Yes.

Do I want to be alone? Maybe, with someone I can depend on who is within a 3km radius that I can call for help.

 

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.

Waiting & Wanting

For those of you who follow me on social media (Instagram: reenkhaw), you might have heard that I was in the process of getting my letter of good conduct from the consular. Just checked the status today and it’s ready for collection! How eerily efficient is that? So yes, one document down.

I haven’t shared it publicly the reason why I needed it for because I didn’t want to count my chickens before they are hatched if you know what I mean. I’ve told my family and close friends about it which like 90% reacted in surprised horror.

The current pending issue I need to complete is to get my U.S. visa and medical done. I’ve paid for the visa earlier today and to my utmost terror the next available interview appointment slot is on 29 November 2016.

Another full month of waiting.

God & Religion

Do you believe in God?

I have a pretty laid-back opinion when it comes to religion. People often ask what religion I belong to and at most times, I’ll say that I pray to what my parents pray to.
Of which is the truth.
My parents are Taoist-Buddhist and sometimes offer prayers to the Hindu Gods as well. Growing up, religion for me is a “to-do” because the adults asked us to. As I grow older and especially after moving away from home, religion doesn’t seem to matter to me as long as I always do good.

I wouldn’t say that I don’t believe in God, I do. There is definitely a higher power bigger than all of us and at times I find myself believing the phrase, “The rest is up to God.” Well God could also mean the Universe and the energies that come with it but yeah, you get the idea.

So yes, I do believe in God but I don’t believe in certain ideologies of religion. Right now I always mark the Buddhist column when it comes to filling forms – out of convenience’s sake. Should I start marking some other boxes now?

28

So I just celebrated my 28th birthday.

I’ve lived for 28 years.

But what is living actually? What kind of life?

My family isn’t rich and I was brought up in typical Malaysian fashion, education first and other things second. I studied in a mainstream school and later on went to private university, mainly because my grades weren’t “good enough” for the public tertiary system. I can say for sure that when I was growing up, I wasn’t a very driven individual. I have no goals and no dreams of becoming someone. Nothing inspires me and at most, I was a “kinda” person. Most of the time, I got pretty okay grades because fortunately enough, I am pretty smart (or so I think). I sailed through my whole schooling life pretty much that way. I started taking school a little more seriously in Form 6. I started being really into school when I entered uni.

I think that being in a working class family, my parents’ didn’t have time or energy to focus on our education and inspire us to dream big. My siblings and I were more or less raised by our grandmothers and left to our own devices after school. So that could be a reason for my disinterest and lack of drive.

It just sort of feels weird to me right now that at that point of time, the future never really seem to bother me. I did remember that I wanted to enroll in Limkokwing University (prestigious design uni in Malaysia) when I finished my Form 5 but my mum said “No money, just go to Form 6”. I didn’t even try to find out what other options I have.

So all that aside, I wanted to study in the city. I did receive some protests from family but a real big part of me really wanted to go out and “see the world”. You know, the whole grow up thing and you’ll never get a chance to do it once you don’t do it sort of idea. My dad supported me financially while I took an education loan from the government and finished my degree. Fast forward to now, I’ve been bouncing back and forth getting job experiences and pretty much liking what I do.

Now is that living?

I’ve done the typical Asian “life path” plan thingie. Study, graduate from university, get a good job. Next in line would be to get into a relationship, buy a house and get married. I wouldn’t be able to afford a house in my current situation. “But you can always find someone and share the house between the two of you”. I’ve been in a few relationships and let’s just say, I’m pretty contented with being single right now. Relationships seem to get more complicated as you grow and at times, being without one means having less drama to deal with. I’ll just have a glass of wine and go to sleep with my “imaginary boyfriend” pillow, haha. So nope. Not sure if parents will be disappointed but I think they understand.

Living – in my context is living your life in the path of your goals and dreams. You may not have achieved your dreams but you are driving yourself towards it. We can all have numerous dreams and waking up everyday knowing you are doing something to make it happen is living.

I have dreams now, plenty in fact.  I want to travel to places. Try different food. See different views and faces. Move out of the country. Spend more time with family. Have a house with a garden. See the northern lights. Eat crabs in Alaska. Dabble in new hobbies. Learn diving. Learn new languages. So many things that many people have done but so many have not.

I want to live.