Errasy’s Birth Story

Earlier this year, I went through some tough times raising my 2 year-old toddler who was in the terrible twos phase. It was a real struggle to face his tantrums almost every single day and night when anything I did couldn’t settle his cry. Once he got disappointed just for a tiny thing, his tantrums would last up to more than an hour with non-stop crying and screaming. Can you imagine?

I was so stressed and felt like giving up. One night I isolated myself away and decided to blog about him and his current temperament so I poured all my unhappy feelings in a note book for me to type later. Today is his birthday. I flipped the notes that I wrote months ago and somehow, it curved a smile on my face. The tough motherhood phase has passed; my baby is now a happy boy! At least most of the time, not like before Alhamdulillah. So I cancelled my intention to write all the things in my notes because today is his 3rd birthday, I wanna reminisce the sweet memories of me giving birth to him.

Errasy was born through a planned C-section. I was all awake during the operation waiting for my baby to be pulled out from my tummy. It was a different experience, scary because when I delivered my first born, I was unconscious. This time, I savoured every moment in the operation theatre (OT) in my nervousness.

The atmosphere in the OT was quite relaxed even though everyone was moving around, here and there. I think I heard music being played if I was not mistaken but that was not my focus. During the operation, these people were having conversations with each other like there’s nothing going on in the room when actually, they were cutting my tummy layer by layer okay. In my mind thinking, maybe this c-sect operation is just like cutting onions to them especially for non-emergency case like this. Haha, my God! What a creepy thinking while on the surgery table.

Now comes the most thrilling part to me. When the ‘cutting’ process was completed, they informed me that in a little while they will pull my baby out. My heart was pounding fast, excited and nervous at the same time. When they took a peek at the baby who was still positioned in my tummy, the doctor’s assistant instantly said to me – “Emmm…..the baby is just like you.” She said it in a very casual way making me feel so curious. What did she mean? What did the ‘like-you’ like? I wanted to ask but I felt so weird to be talking when I knew my tummy was wide open and bloody so I kept it to myself, wondering in silence.

In less than a minute, Errasy was safely born and immediately shown to me. Such a beautiful moment and again the assistant said to me – “See…he is so fair! Justttt like you!” Awww….. Was that what she meant earlier? I was soooo over the moon the second I heard that. Having to see my baby fresh from the oven was already wonderful, the remark from her beautifies the moment even more I was so speechless!

Errasy was then taken by the nurses and the operation continued but I couldn’t stop smiling in bliss. It was one beautiful moment throughout the delivery process that will forever stay in my memory. The words “the baby is just like you, he is so fair just like you” stuck in my mind repeatedly whenever I throwback my second maternity journey and even every time when I look at my baby who now has turned 3 years old, today.

errasy newborn

Excuse this vain mommy people! Haha… the same comment if uttered at any other time wouldn’t make me feel flattered like this. It’s just because it happened at that very time, it created an unforgettable mommy-moment to me and I gotta record it in words, mind me. Hehe.. And I believe every mother also has her own exclusive cloud nine moment when giving birth to each child, right! *Care to explain. Ahaks*

My second baby, my second pregnancy. His coming was a surprise, I didn’t expect that I’d get pregnant again when my first born was only 10 months old. Such an unexpected gift, enlivens our lives with his funny characters I called him an entertainer in this family.

ayadean

Dear Errasy Eddean,

Happy 3rd Birthday my baby! May you grow healthy, wealthy, wise and lucky. Be a good boy now and rise as a good man in the future. Thank you for bringing so much happiness to us, we’re so blessed to have you as that cutie little brother. Stay close and clingy to Mom as you always do, I may seem annoyed with your childishness but please know that, deep inside my heart I’m loving every bit of it!

Mom loves you so much, Ayash Ayadean.. Always, and forever. Happy Birthday. 

Till the next post,
SALZY

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Toastmasters : Ice Breaker Speech

This is a continuation post from the previous one. Feel free to read it first – Finding the Old Me

1st speech1

First and foremost, let me make an important disclaimer here. In the speech Finding the Old Me, I actually added a spoon of seasonings to enhance the flavor finely. Haha! Actually, the part that I said I spoke in front of many people – no, I did not speak in front of many people back then. The part that I loved to volunteer in class – no, I never volunteered in class. Hahaha…I exaggerated! Yes I was active with clubs and societies but I was just a regular committee and I just led small teams once or twice. And yes I enjoyed class presentations and yes my work life was right as described. My point was actually to distinguish these two positions so I exaggerated the U part a bit. Just a bit, mind me! Haha okay done with my confessions. Let’s move on to a more constructive discussion.

SPEECH WRITING

Ice Breaker speech is very basic. It’s talking about yourself so in terms of the contents, you don’t have to climb the Google mountain. The difference is how it’s being delivered. Through my observation in the meetings :

  • They talk about their lives based on chronology –  from the time they’re born to the present, highlighting significant facts along the way.
  • They pick only two or three things about them and they elaborate further.
  • They tell a story about an incident or an experience they went through and what they learned that made them who they are today.

I was interested with the second one and I also wanted to tell a story. And so that’s how it turned out.

PREPARATION & PRACTICE

I practiced a lot! Within two weeks prior to that, I acted in front of the mirror every single day. At first, I wrote my text and memorized it line by line but I found it so hard to flow. I sought advice from my hubby and a friend who are very associated with this speaking thingy and they told me not to memorize everything but just remember the points and structure and keep on practicing. I did just that! Thank guys.

TIPS & IDEAS

Okay these are random tips and ideas I scooped out from here and there that might be useful for you :

  1. Volunteer to speak during Table Topic sessions prior to the day as a practice to overcome your stage fright.
  2. Have a mutual interaction. Throw a question and self-answer. That would spare a pause for you to hold a moment.
  3. You may want to use the projector. Display interesting pictures of yourself and share the story behind them (e.g : pictures of you travelling to other countries)
  4. Describe yourself based on astrology, chinese zodiac or favourite colors.
  5. Tell the meaning of your name and elaborate the elements that make you you.
  6. Begin or end your speech with a quote.
  7. Conclude yourself in 3 words.
  8. Don’t forget to relate your stories with the audience. Offer something for them to take home.

EVALUATION

I was evaluated by the Mr. President himself. One good point I want to remember is that he said I began my speech with a big smile. Some people forgot to smile when in nervous state. So yes, smile! And these are some rooms of improvement for me to note :

  1. “Too much hand gestures.”
    This is the most obvious. That’s my habit anyway but during the speech, I even overdid it. Gotta watch these hands next time. The evaluator said, every gesture should be purposeful.
  2. “Too static.”
    I did not move.  I purposely did not move. When practicing, I tried to casually move a step or two but the risk is that I would get distracted and go blank at all. No way! So I glued my feet on the ground. Will practice on this later.
  3. “Less pauses.”
    Those who knew me in-person surely know that I naturally speak like a train. So this is what happened live. Actually I controlled this in my practice. I timed myself and every time it was all reaching 6 minutes. But on real play, my time recorded was only 5 minutes 17 seconds. I was speeding obviously. He reminded us to use the power of pauses for the audience to absorb what we say. Okay!

EXPERIENCE & FEELINGS

All in all, well done, self! I’m so glad I did it anyways. For once I broke through my fear, my self-doubt and timidity with this challenge and what I can say is, knowing my level and competency, I’m pretty satisfied with my first performance. Thank God, Allah eased my say. I’d less fumbles and most importantly I didn’t forget my script because I didn’t bring any notes with me. Because this is the first one, this is the best so far. Hahaha. Now, I’m on to the next. Bring it on!!

Till the next post,
SALZY

Toastmasters : Finding the Old Me

Hello everyone. On 29th of August 2017, I’ve done my first Project Speech at the Toastmasters. Here I’m presenting the text of my speech for anyone’s reference on Ice-Breaker topic and also for my own keepsake. After reading this, you’re welcome to continue reading my next post as I talked about my experience, tips learnt and some ideas for Toastmasters newbies to kick-off your shot. Click here.

Thank you Toastmasters of the Day and Good Afternoon everyone.
My Name is Saleha, and this is my first speech. It’s on ice-breaker, so I’m gonna tell you a little bit about myself.

First, let’s have a flashback to a time when I was in university, 10 years ago.
When I was a student, I was a really active student. I joined clubs and societies, I involved in events and programmes.
And these activities required me to speak in front of many people, give speeches and lead a team.

In class, whenever the lecturer said; “Anyone wants to volunteer?”
I would go… “Me!” I loved to volunteer in class!

And I loved doing presentations! You know in every subject we have assignments and we have to present our assignments? That was the time I looked forward to in every semester!
Well, not saying that I was so goood. But it’s just something that I enjoyed doing.

So… that’s a little bit about myself when I was in U. But that’s an old story. 10 years ago.

Later, after I graduated, I worked. I worked in a position that was….not presentation-oriented.
I didn’t have to speak in front of many people, I didn’t even involve in open communication.
Most of the time, I worked with the computer. And it was really busy it was all about work, work, work.
I didn’t have time to really join events or be a committee in programmes or be active.

So you can see the difference about myself and my life – when I was studying and working.
And I can say that, in about 8 years of my working life, I never really did a proper presentation.

Except one day. That was… in BP already. There was a group of Graduate Trainees, you know..some of you are GTs here.
So this group of GTs, they made rounds from department to department and they were coming to my department.
So my boss asked me to prepare a presentation for them regarding our job scope.
Just to give them a little exposure about our roles, what we do for the company and all.

So I was like… “Okay, no problem, I can do this.”

Buttt….on the day when I was about to present… I tell you, I was so nervous! So scared I was shaking so bad!
It was only 5 minutes simple presentation but my voice was like cracking all the way I couldn’t speak properly!
I tell you… It was a really, really baddd presentation!

So after the meeting I was like… what happened to me?? Why did I present like that?
I was thinking…these people are GTs. They’re juniors. I am senior. And I was just talking about my daily job so what’s the big deal??
It’s something that I know of, of course I’m good at it so why was I so nervous?? What’s so scary about that??

I felt so embarrassed with myself. I felt so embarrased with my own self!
Because, that was the time I realized that I have change… a lot…
From someone who was confident, well-verse. Now I become very timid and… not convincing at all.

So I thought…. I gotta do something! I gotta change myself I can’t stay this way. I wanna improve myself. I wanna find my old self!

But I was thinking… What do I do? What do I do to improve myself?

And suddenly one day, I met Alex (the TM President) at the Career Fair event that day and he explained to me about Toastmasters.
He explained to me on how it works and what it’s all about.
And I was like… oh, this is good. This is what I was searching for! This is the place I can improve my skills. This is the place… I can find the old me! Right….

So… this is why I’m here today. Speaking, in front of you, for the first time.
Taking the challenge, and making a pledge that I will improve myself.

This is my new beginning. Do you think I can do thisss? *Smile wait for the “YES” =D*

A little bit before I end my speech.

In life, always we hear people say that we have to move forward, move forward, never look back.
But to me, at some points of time, we really do have to take a break, pause for a moment.
Look back, and reassess ourselves. And see, how much different have we been?

Better? Or worse?
If better then good.
If there’s any quality in ourselves that we cherished, that is good… Keep it. Never lose it.

But happened to be, because time passed by and life changed from one phase to another. And we also changed.
We’ve become a different person. Someone we’re not proud of. Not like before.

So what do we do?
We do something, to gain ourselves back!

That’s all for today. Thank you very much everyone. Back to you Toastmasters of the Day.

Till the next post,
SALZY

Caesarean is a Gift

I feel called to write about this. Caesarean, a way to deliver a baby that’s usually a second option, the least preferred, the most avoided. Always, caesarean is perceived as an unlucky event for mothers not getting to birth the normal way. Always, we hear in our community, delivering normal is a rizq, a blessing for the mother so when another gives birth caesarean-ly, it’s really common for her to say or people say to her, “It’s okay, no rizq (chance) to give normal birth this time.” Or, we’re “thankful that it was all safe ‘even though’ it was through operation.” Always the case, right? I was also accustomed to that up to a point somehow I don’t feel right saying it that way.

Caesarean mothers, can we stop saying it that way anymore? Saying no rizq or even though… is like focusing on the things we don’t get and marking our labor journey as less fortunate than it should be. When actually, after being told that the operation was successful and our baby has been safely delivered, isn’t it a huge blessing from God? Of course. So when we’re feeling unsettled about not giving normal birth or they (the doctors) shouldn’t rush to decide to cut us open or they should’ve waited a bit longer so the baby might be out vaginally; isn’t it like we overlooked the actual rizq that God has given us which – the chance to go through caesarean process?

Yes, giving birth by caesarean is a rizq. It is a chance for us to experience being cut open to welcome our baby to the world. It is such a wonderful and miraculous process happening on our body while we’re lying safe and sound. In a matter of an hour, the world is shined with the arrival of our baby, our tummy is closed back and we’re forever marked with a golden scar of love. Of course after that we have to endure the post-op pain and restrictions but to me, either it’s SVD (Spontaneous Vaginal Delivery) or Caesarean, each has its own fair share of ease and pain. So when we’re chosen to undergo this process, this is our precious journey and we should be grateful that it happened the way it happened. And for that, rather than saying “It’s okay, no rizq for me to give normal birth”, I think we should be saying; “Thank God, this is a rizq for me to experience caesarean process. Allah has blessed me with the chance to give birth through caesarean. Caesarean is a gift.” Can feel the difference?

Am I trying to say that Caesarean birth is more special than another? No. SVD is definitely wonderful and miraculous. It’s a blessing, it’s a precious journey and it’s also a gift, absolutely. Know that I’m not differentiating these two. I’m differentiating the way we look at things. This is just my opinion and this is what I’ve been holding to myself since a while after the post c-sect of my first born. If you can see, the difference of saying “It’s okay” and “Thank God” is the reflection of acceptance and gratitude; redha and syukur. Acceptance is good, but gratitude is another level to please Allah The Almighty for what He has planned for us. Indeed that how our labor journey took place was all already in His plans, right? Doesn’t He know best?

When I chose to be grateful on top of accepting this, my mind was brought to recall more and more blessings related to the birth of my babies. First was the blessing of getting married, and then getting pregnant, having smooth pregnancies and finally, the arrival of the new bundles of joy that I got to see, kiss and hold. There certainly were ups and downs but still this entire journey is too beautiful to be scratched by the little frustration for having been operated. We mustn’t want to scratch our precious gift, right? And there, a little change in our utterance makes a whole lot of difference.

Till the next post,
SALZY

A Ride Full of Messages

grab

Since a year ago I guess I can say I am a regular customer of the increasingly popular public transport – GrabCar, or UBER sometimes. Not a routine but quite frequently I’d rather ‘grab’ than drive just because I’m lazy. Do you usually chat with the driver? I usually only take short trips around 10 to 15 minutes to arrive so normally it doesn’t really spare time to chat. Being in cars without having to concentrate on the road is the time we should steal to do our little things or just – scroll the phone, right? But today’s experience was completely different.

Today I took the longest trip in my record – a 50-minute ride involving highways so I had set to read a book all the way to kill the time. But then, after 10 minutes of muteness I felt really awkward because it was so quiet, the radio was low volume and the driver seemed bored. It’s still a long way to arrival so I thought let’s say a word just to break the silence if it’s cold, I can continue with my reading. Little did I know, from just a typical question “Hey do you do UBER as well or just totally Grab?” it turned into a conversation about life!

It went on and on to talking about doing it full or part-time, to his current other job, to his job prior to this, to why he’s doing this. This guy was really a talking personality he talked talked talked so openly. Haha. But of course because I also kept asking from one question to another just to relate anyway. He told about a major accident he involved years ago and that now he’s wearing an artificial backbone! It was so incredible that he broke his spine and not paralysed? MashaAllah.

After the accident, a series of drama happened in his life from having to quit from a governmental job, on how unfair the employer treated his situation, the tough recovery process, the devastation of not able to do his favourite thing before – cycling, he was an active cyclist by the way. After he somewhat recovered and found himself jobless, he went to Perth, Australia to find luck. With his brother and cousin, first they got cheated of 15 thousand dollars, which was another drama, but still managed to get there. The trials of getting a job there was another hardship so his brother and cousin couldn’t survive, because they have families, so they went home leaving him alone. It was really a rough journey he even told that sometimes he cried in shower. Erp, my God. An astonishment not because of the crying-in-shower thing but for telling a stranger so!

He managed to secure a job, and worked and lived a life for I’m not sure how long but earlier this year he returned to Malaysia to urgently settle his insurance case pertaining to the accident. It involved lawyers to fight for his rights but in the end, for what he’s gone through since then it only compensated an undeserved amount of money for him. How awful.

So there he was. Starting over in Malaysia with this GrabCar service almost full-time and also another job. With GrabCar was another challenge as well but I’d rather not continue here or it’s gonna be a novel, haha.

The ride was one of a kind. It left me reflective with a deep thought that how life can be so tragic for some people. Everyone in this world is tested, we all are. But for certain people we somehow would say they’re the chosen ones. Some tests happened once and they changed the person’s life completely after that. But some tests happened in a way to generate problems after problems like a never-ending story. Either way, that’s what life is! This life is a test for the believers and from time to time it will be difficult. And for as long as we live we in fact don’t know when actually the turning point of our life is. We could think we have been tested enough and that made us stronger but do we actually know Allah’s plans on us? Who might not know for one day people will look at us and say we’re ‘the chosen ones’? Honestly it’s scary to think of.

It was coincidence that we, husband and I, came across this ayah just two mornings ago so when I had this conversation in Grab, it instantly reminded me to what we just tadabbur. Allah mentioned in ayah 214 of Surah Al-Baqarah; “Or do ye think that ye shall enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those of faith who were with him cried: “When (will come) the help of Allah?” Yes! Verily, the Help of Allah is near!” – Telling us how difficult the trials of the believers (may Allah bless them) were for Allah to let them into paradise so what about us? Wanting such an easy life with a trial or two, getting over and expecting paradise? Shame now. We actually just forgot what we were here for.

2,214

To the driver, I may be just another passenger that came in and out of his car like the others. But to me, the ride was full of messages that still left me thinking about life.

Till the next post,
SALZY

A Dream Job You’re Wishing For

BP

I received this letter last week unexpectedly, just because I forgot my anniversary with the company that I stepped in 5 years ago. 5 years! A complete set of fingers to tell me that I’ve been here for such a significant duration. 5 years of undeniable blessings I can say. Having a job, a solid source of income is really something we can’t take for granted of that we should be thankful every day, not only on paydays okay. In total, I’ve been working for 8 years since I graduated and this is the second company I work for. 8 years and 2 companies – pretty loyal, no? Hehe, or maybe just unaggressive in finding opportunities.

I began my career journey in 2009 and what I can say is it was not a good start. The first company I worked for taught me the harsh truth of working life. Unreasonably heavy work load, bad boss, stupid system and sickening people surrounding me every day. It was so stressful and in fact the most stressful period of my life making me traumatic if I throwback the moments. Driving to work felt like handling a cable car – so heavy and the weather was always gloomy all the way to the workplace. In those 3 years, I lost appetite badly and turned from an originally thin girl to almost anorexic. That’s how ugly a bad job could make of me and that’s a true story.

Of course there were still good things I should be thankful for – the knowledge, the experience and there were still nice people I could talk to – and yes I did, thanked God for every little thing I gained from the company. And thank God I have my mom, she was there listening to my whine every time I came home crying. That was all my motivation when dealing with the depression with the hope that things would change for me even though I thought it was impossible. It was my first job and that concluded an impression that working life was never a good thing. I wanted to go back to my wonderful and happening university life but that was just impossible. And it was also impossible for me to not work because I am an adult already, so adults work, adults must work, we have bills and loans now, a pile! So all I thought was, then on and for as long as I’m w.o.r.k.i.n.g, my life is miserable. Nuff said.

But who actually said so? It was just a blind assumption of a hopeless young girl who just began to ‘live’. Who just hasn’t realized and truly believed the power of the Lord who can do miracles. After three years trapped in such a destructive environment, I married my husband and moved to KL. A few months of job hunting, I finally secured a position in here where in the beginning I brought with me the assumptions from my previous work life to the new one, just to be ready to face the “norms”. Amazingly as the days went by, my guesses got all wrong. This place is bliss! The people, the environment, the culture and the boss are all so nice I never thought they existed. Things totally changed as different as night and day. I turned to a positive person, happier and fatter! Haha.. that was due to another reason as well –  being married, exactly.

Alhamdulillah I’m happy here. At the moment, I’m surrounded by the people whom I can call friends, not just colleagues. Work-life balance is something really necessary for employees and this company has it ready. Flexi work arrangement and tolerant superiors who understand our commitments at home, not just all work. Some days are bad days and some people are unpleasant which can’t be avoided anywhere but I choose to focus on the good. This place is my comfort zone.

Of course not everything is perfect and I’m not telling those means to brag that I am the lucky one to have the best job ever. No, I’m still at a moderate level of the career ladder and in fact I am not a good employee enough so how could I boast? What I’m trying to tell is, guys, if you’re having a hard time at your work place or have been going through such a disappointing journey to find the right job I truly, truly understand the feelings, because really I’ve been there. If you could see, Allah tested me for three years to grant me with such a wonderful gift I couldn’t ask for more. If you’re tested even longer or harder, imagine what’s awaiting for you in the future! Allah’s arrangement is beautiful. When He tested me with the stressful job, I was single and had less commitment. My focus and weekends could all be spent at the office and no one got affected. Now that I have a family to look at, He gave me a work-life balance job, a company that’s so supportive towards mothers. Our stories are different but believed; the best is yet to come, right on time.

Two years back, the oil and gas industry was having downturns and that affected the company as well. As a result, it worked through a few cycles of retrenchment that impacted even some of my lunch buddies from other department. It’s so devastating to know that from a steady position you held for years, suddenly being told that you’re out of place. It somehow threatened everyone’s security and belief on the company’s stability, including mine. Things improved after that but the incident somehow serves as a constant reminder to me to rely everything on Allah because anything could happen and that a good job does not guarantee a fine end. While I’m cherishing my time here on this anniversary, I pray that if you’re seeking, soonest Allah will bestow you with the dream job you’re wishing for. Ameen.

Till the next post,
SALZY

Moving House

I never, ever thought this was gonna be one of our agendas this year. After 5 peaceful years of living in our first rental house since we got married, without any calls from the landlord, no rental fees increment, no nothing no problem; suddenly we gotta move out. One fine evening a message came in from Hubby intro-ed by; “We have a problem”. Is that how you announce a bad news? Come on Hubs, it’s not a problem. It’s a BIG problem!

2 months’ notice and that’s it. True headache. I know it’s a common thing in life, people come and go from one house to another before they finally settle down at a proper place for long term. We do look forward to it but we thought it’s gonna be an exciting well-planned experience moving to our own house, not out of the blue like this! But our future house is still way under construction and there’s no chance to extend the tenancy of this house anymore. In an instant my brain was loaded with the hassle of this moving house thingy. The house-hunting, packing unpacking, spring cleaning and whatsoever. I was in denial for a moment trying to tell myself this is not happening.

No point. “This is really happening”. And so house-hunting began. From Googling, to annoyingly driving slowly, to loading the Whatsapp with home pictures – the rooms, the toilets, everything – to viewing and declining; we finally secured an apartment in just two weeks’ time. Booking done, move-in date confirmed.

After this one issue resolved, I told my Husband : “Can you imagine? In two weeks’ time, our life will change!”. 

Hubby replied : “Mom, nothing. will. change. We’re only moving house. The new house is just 5 minutes away from here, walking distance. We’re still working at the same places, route to work no change, the kids will still be sent to the same babysitter, it’s not that they have to change school, it’s not that we gotta do new registration for them. Nothing will change.” *No sweat face*

Hahahahaha. I’ve been making a big deal out of all these!

Hey! I’m a homebody okay. My home is my life. So when my home changed, my life changed. How could you not understand that? But I didn’t even try to explain it. Slowly absorbing his points and for a second I was like, “yeah..nothing change”. Fairly agreeing and calming myself at the same time.

Truth is, I am so bothered with uncertainties. Living in comfort zone sometimes will make us forget that nothing remains forever, or for as long as we like it. This is like an alarm for us to always be thankful for the everyday thing, before anytime it can be taken off from our clutch.

Moving house like now now was never in my programme, but it’s definitely already well-planned by Allah. It looks rushed and head-aching but He made it easy for us. The new place is much better than the previous one. Nicer view and better facilities. Only that, it’s affecting our financial commitment more than the existing as we couldn’t get any better offer than what we secured 5 years ago. It’s just impossible. Believe, and hopeful this will still be within our abilities. May Allah ease.

I am foreseeing 2 years of living in this new place before moving out again as we’re so looking forward to stepping in our own house, soon. Oh, forget it. 2 years is a long way to go we don’t even know what’s gonna happen next week!

Till the next post,
SALZY