Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pictures of Raya 2014

First batch to arrive from Shamseila,
Fredrick Gan, Hanafi & Emilia's kids.
Despite being away from home during both Raya aka eid celebrations this year, we still managed to cultivate the spirit here in Sydney.

1. Kad Raya Campaign - Reviving a dying practice
When we were children, it was common practice to send raya greetings to friends and family with a kad raya. This practice is slowly dying with the progress of technology. We have resorted to sending greetings via text messages, whatsapp, Facebook and sometimes electronic cards. Upon realising we would not be back for Raya this yearI started a Kad Raya campaign and encouraged my friends to send me kad raya via snail mail. 

I am pleased to say that my friends did not disappoint and the cards started arriving two weeks before Raya day. I looked forward to each day, wondering how many cards would arrive in the mail. The post lady who delivers to our building must have been surprised at the sudden surge of snail mail as it is normally bills that end up in our mailbox. Hahaha.

Second batch from Prem, Hilda, Roselynda and Adznul.

Third batch all the way from Netherlands - Zarinah.

Fourth batch from Firdaus (Tos), Wita, Debbie & The Steiners and Angie.

Fifth batch contains my first ever surat raya from Sukesh and family in NZ.
Sixth batch was a card from Fairuz and a postcard from Shana.

Seventh batch were from Noreen and Nurul.
Eigth and final batch from Paul Gan (2 cards) and Shima.
Not only the kad raya(s) were coming, we also received pleasant surprises in the form of instant food packets. Yay! Raya fare without having to sweat it out.

First to arrive from Nurul. Teh Tarik in the house!! 
Followed by ketupat palas and lemang from PERTH! Thanks Azlin & Luke!
Raya food galore continues after raya due to miscommunication. Thanks KA!
2. Raya Eve - Planting for the future
While families at home were slogging to prepare traditional food normally eaten on Raya day, Mr H and I spent our raya eve planting trees for the future. 

Out of focus pic of us with one of the many shrubs we planted.
Hope green gloves will help them survive as my fingers are not exactly green.
With others who choose to participate in this tree planting campaign.

3. Raya Day
It was a quite and lazy morning, total opposite from the hustle and bustle of home. In fact, Mr H was even scheduled in to replace his colleague at work for a few hours. Nevertheless, we made the best of this day - morning prayers followed by breakfast at Ikea :p. Later on that night, we had a Raya pot luck gathering with another couple who celebrates along with their friends.
Raya prayers held in a sports hall since the association's existing mosque could not cater to the big numbers that turned up.
A non-typical raya breakfast for us from Ikea.

Nasi impit & beef rendang for lunch.

4. Not exactly a short Raya
Raya celebrations at home would carry on for the next 30 days. In Sydney, it is just a one day affair. However I was quite pleased to stretch celebrations here for longer than a day by

  • cooking raya fare several times more over the next few weeks (since I could not buy the ingredients in small amounts. Might as well utilise them instead of throwing away)
  • attend Australian Malaysian Singaporean Association's Raya/Merdeka celebrations
  • gathered the girls for another round of Raya/Merdeka pot luck dinner.

Still eating raya food on Day 5
AMSA's Raya & Merdeka celebrations

5. Aidil Adha aka Raya Haji
Raya Haji is a thanksgiving celebration and is celebrated on a smaller* scale compared to Aidil Fitri (unless you are from Kelantan or Terengganu). We still did not let the day go unnoticed and had a fusion raya lunch to mark this celebration.

Fusion Raya Lunch: Lemang, kuah kacang & roast chicken.
*smaller as in it is not common to send out greeting cards or go shopping for new clothes etc.

Looking back at these pictures, I would say we did quite well for ourselves. Despite missing the familiarity of our yearly celebrations, I will always have fond memories of my different Raya 2014.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Goals & KPIs: Mid-Year Review

The year seems to be passing by pretty quickly. Let's see how I have been keeping up with my goals.

Goal #1: Read the Quran daily (or almost daily and "khatam" at least once)

Truthfully, I have not started this yet. After several attempts to purchase one here (silly me for not bringing a copy over), I resorted to asking my mom/brother to send a copy over. Although I know copies are available online, I do like reading the hardcopy - even for normal books. More on this later.

First review: Moving at a snail's pace. I will need to derive a new strategy to ensure that I will not lose interest in this goal.

Mid-year review: A lot of progress since the last. I am currently at Chapter 21 (Surah Al-Anbiya) out of 114. 

Goal #2: Sew clothes (e.g. blouse)

Before arriving in Sydney, I successfully completed a blouse in 13 hours. Since this goal was achieved very early in the year (my empress cut turned peplum blouse was completed on 28/1/2014), I decided to expand this goal further. I am now working on a scrub cap (the kind you see on Grey's Anatomy & Scrubs) and hopefully a baju kurung Kedah.

First review: Scrub is still in progress and the baju kurung Kedah pattern is unopened. However I have sewn 5 (yes five) pairs of pants and have at least nine projects lined up.

Mid-year review: I still have 9 projects to go, well maybe 8 since I converted one pants to a sarong as the need for a sarong was there compared to the pants. Now that spring is here, perhaps I would do more sewing again.

Goal #3: Be comfortable in the kitchen

Initially, I was going to name this goal "Learn how to cook decent meals" when I realized I can cook especially when I have recipes at hand to follow. Whether it tastes nice or not, that's a different story altogether :p 

I am just not COMFORTABLE in the kitchen. After 2 weeks of constant cooking, I can say I am more comfortable in the kitchen and I can further improve on this. I am just not sure how I will measure this goal. Any suggestions?

First review: I can already cook 3 dishes with consistent results. Motivated by this, I requested Mama for more recipes (all of it my favourite and is not replicated in Malaysian restaurants in Malaysia or Sydney). 

I am also toying the idea of cooking some Raya fare since we would be celebrating Raya in Sydney. Perhaps that could be a goal measurement.

Mid-year review: I would say consider this ACCOMPLISHED.

Goal #4: Sort & Print my wedding pictures

Hahaha.. it's been nearly a year since I got married and my pictures are still not sorted nor printed. I am not referring to the wedding highlights - those were ready 6 months after the wedding. I am referring to the other pictures that would generate more interest among the relatives & family members - the ones where they appear in it (nope, they are not interested in the storybook version).

I am just too lazy to go through the 3000+ pictures (with digital, everyone's trigger happy these days).

First review: Have not lifted a finger for this goal. There's just no motivation to get this goal going at all. Hahaha

Mid-year review: No progress at all but with my brother's recent wedding, I do have some motivation to get this going. Now if only I could stop distracting myself each time I set my mind to work on this.

Goal #5: Sort, Print & Arrange pictures from my Scandinavian trip (include write up)

This trip took place way before the wedding. In fact it probably led to the wedding as they say, absense makes the heart grow fonder.. heh heh. This goal is much easier to achieve as opposed to Goal #4 as I would be happy reliving the memories of the trip (not that I am not happy to relive the wedding moments, just that no one is trigger happy here).

First review: Same update as Goal #4. Nothing done here :p

Mid-year review: Same as before.

Goal #6: Maintain a blog

m-e-o-w has been around for many years. It started off with Multiply and now it's on blogspot.
A few years back, m-e-o-w went into hibernation. With many changes and firsts taking place in 2014, now is the best time for m-e-o-w to wake up and get going again.

The target is to have a minimum of 12 entries. I seem to be on track to achieving this goal. Today's entry is already the third one. Yay!

Update 28/3/2014: I have since re-branded my blog to Lyn, Life Explorer and will focus more on life's (experiences, observations and self-realisations).

First review: The only goal I have exceed above expectations. To date, I have published 21 entries and 2 more pending (this one and also another one currently in draft).

Mid-year review: ACHIEVED.

Goal #7: Health & Fitness
They take their sports seriously here and why not? The weather here is good (too cold for me) and their facilities are excellent. I am lucky too as I reside within the vicinity of University of Sydney. Their sports program (open to local residents) are impressive too.

Taking advantage of this, I have decided to:
  1. run a total of 100km in 3 months
    First review: This is at 11% and it is a goal I will not achieve. Target date is 5 June which is just a couple of weeks away. If you count walking tho, I would have probably achieved this target. I do not track my walks tho.

    Mid-year review: Now that spring is here, it's time to work on this goal.
  2. learn how to swim the butterfly stroke
    First review: I CAN swim the butterfly. Yay! Am I good at it? Not at all. hahaha. On a separate note, I am now into my 2nd term of swimming lessons. Here they focus more on improving my freestyle strokes which is good too as I am most comfortable with the breaststroke.

    Mid-year review: One term short of a full year of swimming lessons and you can see the difference. My strokes are much better and my fitness have increased tremendously. I am getting faster tho (not as fast as the pros but fastest in my lifetime). Recently enrolled for my final term of swimming.
  3. sign up for gym membership and attend the group fitness sessions or swimming at least 3 times a week.
    First review: I am on track with this goal - 3 times a week of BodyBalance, weekly swimming lessons and at least once a week of Aqua sessions followed by a swimming session.

    I also signed up at Hard Candy Fitness (no contract). Am going to end it after the first month though. There is just too many challenges and that is even before I arrive at the gym.

    Mid-year review: This goal is on track.
Goal #8: The learning never stops
I also discovered that University of Sydney offer short courses that are open to residents too. The courses offered are interesting enough and this could be a sneak peak to another new category of knowledge.

First review: I have attended several short courses offered by University of Sydney. Most recently a financial planning course. This was a good introduction to the Australian tax system too (that relates to helping you create your wealth). Previous courses attended were Creative Travel Writing & a 6 week Indoor Wall Climbing course.

In order to expand my arts and crafts side, I recently did a 3 hour course on knitting. I am happy to say I can successfully cast on, knit stitch, purl stitch, rib stitch and stocking stitch. Cannot really cast off but will refer to youtube when the time comes.

Mid-year review: No new courses over winter.

Goal #9: Less thinking, more action
This is a new goal. I realised I spend a lot of time thinking and rethinking to the point most things do not get executed. Hence this goal is meant for me to proceed with the next phase of the plan after the thinking/planning is done.

I already have one achievement in this area - a Tupperware party. Haha. You might be wondering "Huh? Hosting a Tupperware party is an achievement?" Well let's just say I spent two months toying with the idea to host one as I was concerned of the outcome. Long story short, I organised one in 5 days and it went well. Even if it did not go well (well is subjective here), at least I tried.

Mid-year review: On-going.

*NEW* Goal #10: Seven Bridges Walk 2014 & Raise $500 for Cancer Council NSW

My biggest and challenging one off goal for this year. I have committed myself to walk a total of 27km to raise cancer awareness and raise funds for Cancer Counsil NSW on 26 October 2014. 

Please help me make a difference and support me support this cause by making a donation as well. Click here https://sevenbridgeswalk2014.everydayhero.com/au/razlin to contribute.

To date I have raised $441 and short of $51 to reach my fundraising target. Exceeding my target would be awesome too! So let's contribute!

Goals #11 & #12: To be defined

First review: Still not defined.
Second review: Still not defined.

Not a bad half year to date huh? Now to nail the other half.