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

Snap a Picture & Talk about It

JemyAira

Happened to be, it’s TV. So what’s up with TV I am going to talk about? I guess let me reveal to you about my behaviour when watching TV. Just so you know when it comes to watching drama on TV, I’m a very expressive person. If the story is funny, I’d laugh my lungs out. If it’s a tearjerker, I’d cry a river that will flow into oceans. Romantic scenes like above, blinking heart eyes. Suspense, I’d panic like I’m the one to be killed or being chased. I would go OMGGGG, Noooo, Dammit!!, Huwarrrr to the highest pitch so whoever watching with me around would surely get annoyed with this temperament but what can I say? When I start gluing my butts in front of the TV for a movie or drama, I naturally dive into the characters and my name instantly changes to the hero’s or heroin’s name. If you’re too like me, know that you actually can be an actress. Hidden talent! Ahaks

Being expressive when watching is fun, and healthy if I could add. At least for ourselves, not for the annoyed buddies they might go depressed after that haha. Being expressive itself is important in our daily lives because our heart (I mean the heart-shaped hearts) is a storage of limited space. Just like the real heart that takes in blood through the veins and pumps it out to the lungs and other body parts; the blood doesn’t, and in fact cannot, stay there forever or else – I don’t wanna mention scary things.

Same goes to the feelings and emotions that we collected from our days, remember that our heart is just a stopover especially for the negative feelings. It is hurtful to let it stay for long so what do we do? Express it out! Talk to a good-listener friend, write a journal, cry alone or most effectively, cry to God. Don’t ignore the feelings with the thought that it will later fade or be forgotten just like that. Yes, time heals and this is too what I always tell myself when dealing with problems but at the same time, do something in a way that can entertain your heart a little. For example, watch TV emotionally! Haha, does it help? If not, find a better option.

Okay, this means I am done with the task “Snap a Picture & Talk about It”. This is an activity from the book I just finished reading – The Tao of Writing. This book gives me an understanding of writing based the Tao Te Ching – a Chinese philosophy. It’s really basic yet significant, to get anyone who found it hard to write, don’t know what to write about or been losing words; to simply get started. Many suggestions listed but when the eyes met this one I was like, okay easy I can do it now. Grabbed my phone, turned on the camera and saw the TV through the lens. Snapped it up and began writing. I’m done!

tao writing.jpg

Till the next post,
SALZY

Congratulations, Lia

17.7.17 – A beautiful date to remark a beautiful memory. Today was my best friend’s big day! After almost 4 years struggling to achieve her dream to receive that doctorate in Accounting discipline, she finally made it last year and today was the official graduation. It was held thousand miles away in UK but we, the friends, in Malaysia did not miss to witness the ceremony broadcasted live through the web. Like wow, technology! With the very clear video plus a 360 virtual reality live stream show, we really could feel the heat in the University of Manchester’s hall. Hehe really, the music sound was ding ding ding making me feel extra nervous that I would miss the moment. But with the friends on What’s app group together updating each other to get ready, it turned into an excitement. This friend’s graduation is a shared happiness, and a shared success too! Hence, we also own partial of that Doctor of Philosophy, yeah? Hehehe.

CONVO1

Congratulations my dear!! You did it!! I’m sooo proud of you. A PhD completion in less than four years? It’s a big wow. This journey wasn’t easy, you nailed it. Come what may, you got it. You deserved to be happy, you deserved to be proud of yourself. Well done, doc!

Last year I went to UK to visit her when she was still there in her final year. I flew alone and it was my first time travelling out of the country. From just a normal text conversation, suddenly she came out with an idea to drag me to her place like it’s just next door. This is how it started. I went to Genting Highlands with my little family and it was night time. It was soooo cold I couldn’t stand that 17 degree temperature outdoor. In my mind was – this is only Genting, not UK! UK is definitely colder but I wasn’t sure how low. So back home, I texted Lia and asked her what’s the normal temperature there in Manchester she’s living. She said “7 – 8 degree at the moment, why?” I was like whattt?? That’s damn cold how do you breatheee?! She replied “Why, are you coming??” I laughed and told her about Genting and so.

Three weeks after the conversation, I touched down UK and breathed in the coolness myself. That’s how simple a partner in crime worked the impossibility. It was spontaneous but timely, the day I arrived was the day Lia had the green light to submit her final thesis. So the very first place she brought me to visit, out of many interesting places in Manchester, was the printing shop! Haha.

UoM  MBS

I’m glad I was part of the journey, the very least one. The highlights of today’s occasion in some way flew my mind way back in our college time when we were students, pursuing our first degree. Those years we talked a lot about the future, our goals and dreams, like an open book. Our plans and preferences differed, making it fun listening to each other. Lia had always wanted to continue studies to the highest level, PhD. Who would’ve ever thought, after 10 years, the ordinary talk finally took its turn into real play. All praise be to Allah who listened and willed the plans as she wished for.

 

Convo2

Being the witness from day one she voiced out the wish, I felt touched because I know the ride wasn’t easy, it’s flawed and bumpy. Not everything worked out the way we wanted it to be as we hoped everything would be smooth but Allah shaped it with a mix of sweet and sour of life. After all the sweats and tears, He finally handed the final result wrapped in the most beautiful package of persistence and determination. At this point, we couldn’t be any happier and more grateful. Indeed, Allah is the best of planners.

Today was one of those days that I sat with my chin cupped reminiscing the good old days. We’re blessed.

Till the next post,
SALZY

Bad Feelings Habit

Currently reading – The Bounce Back Book by Karen Salmansohn. Bought early this year and target finished date; end of this year. Really?? A year taken to finish a single book? Yes! Hehe. This is how I read ‘tips books’, or quote books. Books which contents are formatted in points form, have only brief explanation and they’re not linking to each other. You may read them not in sequence and mostly they have many pictures or graphics.

The Bounce Back Book

Quote books, for instance they have 50 quotes collection and I time-frame it for 6 months. I will allocate reading only 2 quotes per week, it can be in sequence by page or just randomly. Why? So that I can allocate my time for other books at the same time; books of total wordings that require continuous reading from cover to cover or else, you would get lost of the plot. Also, by reading and pausing, you allow some time for thinking and applying what’s advised before moving on to the next one.

What a lengthy intro you must be quizzical what does this have to do with bad feelings habit, right?? Haha, sorry. Back to the book, The Bounce Back – presents 75 tips to regain your footing after a life setback. Haven’t finished but really would love to share this one advice that really hits. At least to me, and I think it’s not something specific for traumatic situations but also vital for everyday life.

It tells that Bad Feelings Habit is learned habitual responses towards situations that have been triggered in the past. Example, you came from a broken family, you watched those bitter arguments of your parents and how it ended up – these were the ‘past’. Now that you’re married and currently facing a rocky situation with your husband. Your condition itself is stressful but what added salt into the wound is; your family history. Your present is re-triggering the feelings from your past due to similar situations. It’s like you’ve ‘learned’ the feelings so you tend to react the same way. It is actually a habit! When in fact, you should separate out any feelings from the past and don’t let them get in the way of dealing with your present emotional trauma.

So heavy talking about this. Let’s take a simpler example, my own one during my son’s potty-training mission. When he began to understand the ‘nature’s call’, he would come to me and tell “Mom, I wanna pee” – most of the time, when I wasn’t free. I was cooking, I was eating or even when my favourite drama was on important scenes! Always, always I’d feel disturbed and respond to him drearily like, “ahh…why now?”, “like, again??”, “oh please, Dhany” – so bad right? Haha. Well of course I still attended to his request, it’s a must! We went to the loo together with my mouth babbling this and that.

Until I realized this is not healthy! My son was progressing for another milestone and Mom was being so discouraging? What a bad habit. This is what the book called the ‘Bad Feelings Habit’ that brings about negative reactions from me to my son. Poor boy.

So I decided to change – I set in my mind that every time my son calls to accompany him, I would immediately say “Ok, take off your pants and let’s go to the toilet” – before I could think of any annoyance or disturbance at the moment that could affect my feelings negatively, it moves me to put whatever chores on hold and do what Moms gotta do. Just by practicing a single statement, things changed emotionally better to me.

That’s how I can relate when I read the topic. Not similar but something that we repetitively feel which actually can be changed. I think I have a lot more bad feelings habits I need to analyse in myself. Those situations that we perceived as an “allergy” to us and let it take control of our emotions. Those people that we thought bring us that negative vibes when it actually comes from within. Let’s get rid this “roller coaster of feelings” as the author says.

I like this book. It dug out all kinds of creative ways to overcome your adversity and put them in simple straightforward bounce-back assignments. The pages are also fancy and instantly lifting up your mood the moment you flip it through. Will continue reading till the end.

Till the next post,
SALZY

Winning & Losing

“Playing sports prepares you for life.” The quote that I came across only in my 30’s just to spank me that I’ve never really played sports so I am never prepared for life! “There’s a discipline, there’s a force to it. It created certain habits that I still follow today. I had to go to practice. I had to run suicides. I’m not going to let myself get tired. When you challenge your mind and body like that, it tends to bring out the warrior.” – Common @ Rashid. Well, kudos to those who have been living life sporty! I guess I’m too late already so let’s just survive.

We ended our April with hubby’s racing competition. The whole weekend was spent at the Sepang circuit cheering for Ayah. The kids had fun running here and there while I almost fainted chasing them. Well it’s still fun, babysitting in a different environment. Haha. The race was fine on the first day but contrary on day 2. My husband crashed and did not finish the game, injured a bit.

We went home and chit-chat about the race – our usual postmortem where Hubby recalled his performance and mistakes he made. To me, getting involved in rough games like this is just troubling yourself. That’s why I don’t play sports, let alone competitions. Or even examinations by choice. You gotta deal with the stress prior to the match or test, and afterwards, if you lost or failed it, you’re down to frustration! And shame some more.. Losing is embarrassing, no? It’s like having a big “L” stuck on your forehead anywhere you go. This is not my thing.

Anyways, that’s just my say. Conversely to my Hubby, he has an opposite idea of what competition is all about. Firstly he said, racing is his passion. He loves Motorsports so much he could just enjoy himself by going for a ride hitting cool corners or joining open track days if he really wants to whip on the circuit. But, entering competition is another thing.  If I said dealing with the pressure is all the fuss, that’s what he wants – the pressure that he can’t gain from any fun rides. Only in competitions, he learns to deal with the pressure and the way he copes with it determines his performance. If it’s not a competition, he could hit his target time and apply all the skills he’s learned but in real game? It’s not that easy. The challenge that it’s not only about winning over others but actually more to building strength in yourself to defeat the pressure in YOU. Yea.. I did see him isolating himself minutes before the race began. The do-not-disturb moment, the pressure-coping moment.

But then, what about losing? Yeah you learnt something but isn’t it frustrating going home empty handed after all the effort and investment? “The point is to Never Give Up.” His all-time motto that he always pronounced in arabic – “La’ Tai-asu”. Winning or losing; it’s not the end of everything. Winning is good, but you also can’t be on the cloud nine for too long or it will just build up ego in you that ‘I’m the champ, I’m the best’. Losing? Grasp these words – “I never lose, either I win or I learn”. There’s always next time to do better and try harder. The way he deals with it is always by reminding himself that this is a give and take with Allah. Getting the chance to join the race with sponsorship is already a blessing, not getting a place and collided some more is just something he got to tolerate and redha. I guess, it’s a balanced mindset to be moderate in both situations, for both results. After all, things weren’t worse and there’s another coming game he’s looking forward to!

This conversation changed my all-my-life perspectives on competitions and sports – just another view to agree with the quote above. So, any contest I can join to challenge myself now? Hahaha… Better not! I still need time to process this new thought because I’m a bit old already. No, not too late but please expect slow progress. Haha.

For now, let’s aim the kids. This conversation also stroke me that, it’s good to encourage the kids to join competitions from the early school years and all the way growing up. Real life is full of challenges and failure is something humans cannot avoid at some points – of course, nobody wins all the time. And by being in competitions, we parents can teach them motivations to cope with the stress, deal with disappointment and manage winning excitement – so they can apply everything in their life. A way to discipline and build up confidence in them and also to know their strengths and weaknesses, interests and dislikes. Wow I speak like an expert when it’s actually not my forte. Surely when the time comes, I gotta push everything to Hubby to handle the kids, and mom too!

Till the next post,
SALZY

Disconnecting…

During my Umrah trip earlier this year, I disconnected myself from the world – pretty much, the entire time. I wanted to focus myself and my mind totally on the most precious journey of my life visiting the holy lands and performing obligations. Now that Ramadan is coming, I am thinking of doing the same too.

You know, I have this sort of serious addiction to the phone, or social medias, in particular. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, What’s App. These four icons are just enough to shove away my time without I realized it. Sometimes, or most times actually, I just wanted to check something on the phone but that something usually turns to many things. Just so many things coming my way and I just couldn’t take my eyes off of them. Though I can excuse myself that there are many beneficial things I gain from the social medias as well, I can’t deny that time has been wasted so much. Scrolling and scrolling, that is a syndrome already.

Knowing myself well, I was determined to log out from everything and uninstall the apps at all for the whole 12-day trip – except What’s App, with the restriction to only respond to family groups just for quick updates. Time was extra precious I couldn’t afford to miss a thing, just because my eyes were on the phone and stole all my focus. So we weren’t best-friend for a while and one funny thing I found out was that, all the while prior to this trip, I always complained that my phone has grown too old that the battery could only last for less than an hour! When I was in Mecca & Medina, the battery lasted up to 2-3 days before I needed to recharge it. Haha I laughed at myself, amused and shamed at the same time.

And there I had the most splendid time ever. The view, the sound, the serenity were just so indescribable. I think I blinked less than usual. Not only mesmerized by the natural surroundings, I also paid good attention to the talks by the Mutawwif every time we gathered for briefing and on the bus going for ziarah. My mom said that I was lucky to have this Ustaz conducting our Umrah because he is so good. He didn’t only lead us but also instilled the elements of soul fulfilling, which is not what she experienced with other Mutawwif in her previous Umrahs. Ustaz Bakri, may Allah bless him and his families.

Divorcing myself with the phone for some time did not harm. I don’t regret not having a single picture with the two most beautiful mosques, I captured the views in my memory. I did snap more pictures at the hotels and ziarah places. Since I came home, there’s no single day goes by without me re-imagining myself around Masjidil Haram and Nabawi. Sometimes I am at the rooftop, sometimes right in front of Multazam. And I believe I will return some day, InsyaAllah.

Well, my Umrah as a whole wasn’t perfect, there were times I got tired and so sleepy I couldn’t sit straight. When I remember those times, I wish I could repeat my Umrah and patch the flaws I made. That’s what I can hope for but better off, I should look at what I have now – which is the incoming Ramadan the holiest month of all, if Allah wills me.

I plan to disconnect myself as I did and devote myself to more ibadah and related. Its a bit longer then the umrah duration but its still no harm, self, won’t harm. With the list of things ready for me to-do during the month, I think I’ve overbooked myself. Haha.. Being ambitious as always not considering the glitches I might surely have at some points of time. But the intention is there! Hehe..And truly I wanna better myself, even if it after all will only result just an inch of betterment from my current state.

I will always keep in mind these words by Nouman Ali Khan from one of his videos I watched. He explained the Quranic concept on improving ourselves and this is how he put it.. “Allah tells us to pray, all the way to closer – and I’m using ‘all the way’ on purpose. To Allah, you’re getting closer – not the closest, not to the end. You’re making it closer to guidance is the eventual goal. And for human being dies pursuing betterment – not perfection, just betterment – they’ll have, later, a successful life.”

Closer, better. Happy fasting everyone. May, in this month, we find the new contentment of life while striving towards betterment. Disconnecting…⁠⁠⁠⁠

Till the next post,
SALZY