Thursday, October 31, 2013

Embracing Change.

I don’t want to do this. Any of this.

But I have to see it as an opportunity. To better my self. To be a better person. Isn’t that what we all should strive for? I know I tell myself that over and over.

I need to believe it. I need to do this. It is one of many ways I can learn things that I don’t know, things I’m not comfortable with (which is a lot), things that challenge me.

I have a habit that I am trying so hard to delete my whole entire life. When something new happens or comes my way, my instant reaction would be to reject it. I recoil in horror in doing new and unfamiliar things. I shudder at the thought of having to react immediately to a situation. I panic. I wish to just remain, complacent, contented in my own little comfort zone. Inside me, there is turmoil in my emotions just trying to deny and push away changes. Big and small.

Changes that I should welcome as challenges and opportunities to move forward in life.

Fear maybe. Lack of self confidence. Always had that problem, never found out a way to overcome it completely. I just force myself to face things most of the time and comfort myself in the thought that it will pass in time. To the point that I convince myself the many many ways of which the change is bad for me. I come up with so many excuses and reasons to just simply not go ahead. My whole body and mind just goes into this reverse overdrive and try to distract my self as much as possible rather than face it and get it over with.

But I need to try kan? At least try. And I should give it my best, my all. Because that is what great people do. And I want to be great. Don’t I?

Aaargh. I want to be that person who welcomes challenges with a can do attitude. I want to naturally be able to view challenges as opportunities and make the best of situations. I want to embrace change and improve. I want to unleash my utmost potential.

I do not want to be that person who lived to regret their past choices. Choices of not doing something and thinking I would have been great at it had I tried. I don’t want to have that lingering thought of what I could’ve done, what I could have been.

I’m going to become a mother soon. An idea that freaked me out at one point. But I’m 6 months in and I have never felt greater, happier, powerful, beautiful. And now I’m using my baby as an excuse. Or am I?

New things are happening, change is imminent. At work and outside. I am given bigger responsibilities that are outside of my normal work scope which just involves teaching classes. I am full on rejecting these ‘changes’ at work and outside with the excuse of “I just want to be a mother”. I want to stay home and take care of my family. I’m too tired. This is too much extra unnecessary stress. Family is priority. I’m happy the way things are.

On one hand I want to live a full life embracing extraordinary experiences. Constantly learning and improving. But this requires facing new challenges and trying new things which most are scary and making difficult choices I don’t think I can or want to.

On the other, I am happy the way things are now. I’m comfortable. I’m not unnecessarily stressed and life is easy. I just want to take things easy, one slow step at a time. Enjoying the process, the journey.

Time is moving Irina. And you are not the only one.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

My lil' ace, my lil' fighter.

To the baby in my belly :D

You probably know by now that your Daddy is the 'talker' in the family. As always, he has more things to talk about with you and he writes more about you too. That's your Dad, I love him for that, he is very expressive with his love and both you and I are so lucky to have him.

You have started moving lately. Well actually, I have only started feeling your moves. Getting stronger and more frequent. Mommy feels like a washing machine sometimes when you swirl around inside me. And I know when you are sleeping or resting but you would respond to Daddy's voice when he rubs my belly at night and talks to you.

I say that you are my lil' ace, my lil' fighter because it was a challenge to conceive you. We waited 4 years before that fateful day that I took that home pregnancy test (the how many hundredth one I took) and it finally showed 2 lines. Your Dad, well, he is the happiest one of all of course, he wanted you more than anything else in the world and though I know it hurts him so much not knowing when you will arrive or even if you would ever come into our lives, he held on steadfastly, patiently, never once giving up hope or faith that one day, we would be blessed with a child of our own.

On that day in June 2013, I took the test in the bathroom. My menses are so irregular so there aren't really any signs to tell me if I'm pregnant or not. I just occasionally buy a lot of the tests when I go to pharmacies and I take them sometimes without telling your Dad. I don't want to tell him of the negative results. But that day, when 2 lines appeared instead of one, I was jumping up and down, my heart was thumping, how do I tell him this? OMG OMG OMG OMG....YAYY!!!

I put the test on the dresser and hid behind my room's door, hoping he would find it once he gets out from his toilet. I saw through the little crack, he passed by and didn't notice it. Then he started looking for me, I was getting a bit hot and impatient, so I revealed myself from behind the door and told him to look on the dresser.

"Apa ni?" he looked so puzzled holding the test.
"Look at it," I said.
"I don't get it, what does it mean?" his face was so funny.
"It means I'm pregnant," cooly and calmly.
"Huh?" eyes open wide.

Then it came, swept through like a tidal wave, tears streamed down his face, then my face, tears everywhere. Alhamdulillah. After the initial euphoria toned down a bit, he held my face with the most beautiful ernest eyes, look through me and said, "We're going to have a baby, Sayang."

What came after that was a series of events that I chronicled in an earlier post. At one point I was told that I wasn't even pregnant, I had a threatened miscarriage, I thought I lost you. It wasn't until a series of intrusive tests that I finally got to hear your heartbeat and knew that you were going to be okay. You are a fighter my dear baby.

The early part of my pregnancy was quite okay, just a little discomfort here and there, mostly from itching like crazy and being bloated and tired and sleepy. Oh and hungry like a horse, you sure got hungry really fast and I had to eat like NOW NOW NOW or I'll start to regurgitate. But everything was fine and it went well, I hardly had any morning sickness, cravings. Your Dad did though. He kinda took away the symptoms from me. The second trimester was excellently smooth, I felt so happy, so pretty, so relaxed, like nothing could bother me. Except a few leg cramps every other night and having my body covered in acne, I feel like a million bucks.

We have your Dad to thank for that, he made me really comfortable and at ease all the time. He cooked, cleaned, shop, drove... basically everything he could so that you and I would grow fat and lazy, kidding, I meant happy. To the point that he would bulk up and get really angry at anyone who made me upset. He put in so much effort, I feel so bad because I could see he was tired and sleepy too driving the distance to and from work. He took us shopping when Mommy needed bigger underwear even though he dislikes going out and being around other people. He would rather stay home and watch tv or be in his studio or just lepak with us on the sofa watching Running Man or anime.

Daddy always imagined you would be a girl. And somehow, my fictional stories of the house by the sea always had a girl with me. We would be happy either way of course, we just wanted you to be healthy and happy. But finding out that you are a girl has brought to life a lot of our imaginary stories of you. Your Dad wants to build robots with you. Mommy wants to dress you up and Daddy can't wait to make you wear costumes against your will, haha. We want to go on trips with you, play with you, not let you grow up so fast so we could squish you, you little person you.

But Mommy also knows that bringing you into this world, it is a fight of life and death. Mommy and Daddy both know that this world you are coming into is very dangerous and hostile. How are we going to let you got to a nursery? How are we going to let you go to school? How are we ever going to let you go out at all?? We have our concerns, we have our worries of oh soooo many things.

But all we can do is what we have always done. We have faith in The Creator, The Protector, The Almighty God. In Him do we put our hearts, our souls, our trust, our unconditional love. To His Will, do we submit and surrender. And as you are a the biggest gift and blessing we ever had, we are beyond grateful, and both Mommy and Daddy will try our best to help you be a good person with a good heart and strong faith. We will try to keep you happy and healthy and provide you with the best that we can give. My only prayer is that you will be protected and guided to be the best that you can be.

It is another 4 months before you would come into our lives. I am enjoying every minute of you being inside my tummy. Grow well my lil' ace, our little treasure.

Friday, September 13, 2013

How we try to live and still have fun in the new economy.

Since the oil price hike, it has more than pinched our household. We travel an amount of 70km to and from work everyday. We are saving for the coming of our baby early next year, so we had to make adjustments. Since we can't reduce our fuel consumption, the only other area that we spend most on is food. I think, most importantly is changing our mindset, that we can still live and be happy with so much less stuff that money buys.

1. We eat/tapaw our breakfast from home so we don't need to have b'fast at the office.

2. During lunch we do not order drinks. The cafeteria is kind enough to provide free plain drinking water.

3. We eat simple home cooked dinners at home as much as possible. And if possible, we reduce the portion to 1 instead of 2. 

4. Try not to give in to our eating whims n cravings. This is the hardest part. We's loves our sweets, we's gots to haves ems.

5. We don't go out and eat out unless we really really really have to. And even if we eat out, we try to use coupons or discount vouchers. (We would like to see our friends n family still, please come to our house instead n let us cook.)

6. We buy absolute necessities and choose the bargain/ cheaper versions of cleaning products, toiletries. I also wash my hair less, used to be everyday, and shorter hair helps. And we also repeat clothes at least twice before washing, unless it stinks too bad.

7.Try to live without things or less of them. Like for us, we have no astro or wifi at home, we just watch movies/ series/ anime we got from our students who download them. Almost all of our furniture are hand me downs from our families. Be creative in ways to enjoy company, like for this year, for my birthday, we celebrated at home with candles on ice cream and chocolate roll cake and special kind treatments like a massage or hair wash by my beloved.

8. Live with whatever we have, do with it whatever we can. Both of us do not have credit cards. Our debts are the car and house loan. Yes, sometimes, we do wish for things like toys and shoes. But we basically have to be stern and disciplined and make that choice that; I don't need it, I can live without it.

9. Give to others as much as you can. I don't know how to explain but it really does help yourself too, when you are generous to others, be it family, friends or strangers.

But I think most of all, what I am most grateful for is, during these hard times, when tensions and conflicts may lead to stress in marriage, we always remember that there are others in worse situations, AND in any situation, we help each other out as much, understand the situation, love and support, communicate everything, try to make things easy for each other. Have faith in the rezeki from God Most Gracious, Most Merciful. I am blessed with a big treasure which is the love, affection and attention of my partner Izham Aris. That, money can't buy.

Praying for all of us who are going through financial struggles, big and small, stay strong, have faith. We can get through this. 

What are your solutions/tips in facing this economy? Please share.

Monday, September 09, 2013

My Dream Life.

Sometimes, when the world gets too overwhelming, I wander into my imaginary worlds.

The stories are almost the same. Happy, self indulgent stories with me doing things that I love, in a beautiful breathtaking place, dressed in a killer dress and heels. The only thing that is weird is that in those imaginary fantasies, I happen to be a tall, slim, brunette caucasian or pan asian.

There’s this quote on my desktop picture, it goes something like “Never give up on how you imagine your life could be like.”

I imagine a life by the sea in a white coloured house. Where I work from home and take care of my family of 4, my husband and my 3 kids. I imagine a life free from financial difficulties where I earn my income doing the things that I love. We live comfortably and our family and friends frequently gather at our house.

My husband and I both are making a living doing things that started out as passionate hobbies which later on became a successful business. We enjoy staying home, cooking, walking on the beach, dancing under the moonlight, sudden surprise trips, talking till the morning and spending time with our children.

Our children have varying interests but are all pretty happy independent kids, who know they can come to us for anything. They sometimes join us in the studio and workshop to help out or to work on their own personal projects. We have frequent family trips and vacations. Because we believe in rich life experiences that’ll make us better people.

Family and lifelong friends come over for a great time of food, conversation and company.

And at all times, we are humble, grateful, blessed. Continuously improving ourselves and having undying, unwavering faith. In God, in each other and in ourselves.

Basically, that is it. My ultimate dream life. A happy family. A beautiful home. A job that I love. Well traveled and enriching life experiences. A blessed life, here and the hereafter.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Celebrate Life.

Last Friday, we grieved over the sudden death of a student. At that moment and the passing days, we looked at upon our own mortal life and reminded to be better people as well as not taking our own life for granted.

Today, my wife and I went for a follow up pregnancy the doctor scanned our little moved. It's little arms move side by side as if it was waving and moving it's little mouth...maybe it was telling us, that everything will be okay...both of us looked at our child with renewed faith in Allah the Al-Mighty, as well as bringing back as much happiness to us...

Today...we celebrate life.

-Izham Aris

*Thank you my darling husband.

Nadia Zahari (1988-2013).

16 August 2013

So fleeting life is. Just yesterday, she ran to hug me, all smiles and touching my belly, so excited for the new life inside me. "Saya nak kawin!", she said, speaking of a future life. Always smiling, witty and exciting, my dear beloved student, Nadia Zahari who always had this infectious spark in her, has returned to Rahmatullah today. Talented and creative, spirited in her cause, the sad news of her passing broke my heart. For all that you have done and been, I pray you are happy, meeting HIM, so early. Al-Fatihah. May your soul be blessed and placed among the Mu'mins. Condolences to her family. 
*will miss you dearly*

She was exceptional. I am happy for her, she met her Creator in a state where not a single person has anything bad to say about her. So many prayers being prayed, kind words being said. I am scared for me, for us, all of us. Her passing, so sudden, jolts me to the core. What about me? What about us? When I leave this world, in what state would I be in? Where do I stand in the eyes of God?

Still in the state of grief, here I share with all of you one of the legacy that arwah Nadia Zahari championed, her own personal project; jom solat  May we all be guided, truly in death, there is a lesson to be learnt.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

7 Syawal

Hari Raya still lingers but I’m thinking about marriage.

Most probably it had something to do with that. Among other things.

4 years ago I got married. It wasn’t a particularly romantic notion. I wasn’t crazy in love then. We didn’t exactly date sort of, we started dating after we decided we wanted to marry each other. And that was only like what, 6 months by when we were basically in the midst of preparing for a wedding and I finishing my Masters thesis (because my mom won’t let me marry otherwise). I married a good friend, a dear confidante, my colleague whom I knew barely a year before.

Why did I marry? Why did I marry him?

For many nights in the year before I got married, I was lost and sad. Alone in my rented room, some nights, when the moon was full and the moonlight bathed the room in soft soothing glow from the open window, in the middle of the night, I would cry and pray.

I would pray and cry really hard. For guidance. For strength. For God to just love me. Just love me. I was almost 28 years old, alone, jobless and I didn’t know what I did with my life and where I was going. I was hopeless and desperate. But I held on steadfastly to the one and only thing that I knew was true. La Ilaha Illallah.

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praises be to Allah, Lord of the worlds,
Most gracious, most merciful,
Owner of the day of judgment,
Only you I worship, Only from you I ask for help,
Show us the right path,
The path of those whom YOU favour,
And not of those who earn YOUR anger.

It is Al Fatihah from the Quran. I have never finished reading the Quran, I have never Khatam. I forgot most of what I was made to memorize as a child. I am not particularly religious or pious like some people I know. I miss the 5 obligatory prayers. And the times that I read the translations, sometimes I don’t understand them, sometimes I don’t care. I only knew the meaning of Al Fatiha by heart. This, I know, this I understand. I repeated them over and over and over again. Desperately clinging to every word. Help me God, please. Help. Show me the right path.

I felt so alone and all I wanted was for God to forgive me. To love me. Please don’t forsake me.

 In time, in HIS time, I made new friends, discovered new experiences, I got a job as a lecturer at a university. Teaching made me forget my sadness but loneliness still hovers over me. I had a friend, who sat beside me at the office, his name -Izham. We became fast friends and enjoy talking about, everything. We were just really good friends. At which point did we start becoming more than just friends I wasn’t really sure. And I think we never stopped being friends. We just decided to get married. Because we both wanted to be married. Each other was a choice that came afterwards, somewhat logically?

Why did I want to be married?
At that time I think it was companionship. Just someone to share this life journey with. Although I remind myself over and over, in the end we are all alone anyway. Subconsciously maybe, my independent self longed to be taken care of. But I remember thinking I wanted to be somebody’s MOST favourite, MOST special person. I wanted to mean something to somebody. I wanted to mean a lot to somebody. I wanted to be somebody to somebody. I wanted to be number one on somebody’s list. I wanted to matter.

Marriage to me personally, was a journey to be a better person. It is a process that makes you go through all sorts of trials and tribulations that when you succeed in struggling past it, you are better than before. Improved in many aspects. It is meant to be a challenge, yes. Constant challenge, constant battle. And getting to know yourself more, discovering your humanness in relation to others as well as your own self, brings you that much closer to your Creator.

It is like deconstructing yourself, and fixing flaws through many mistakes, understanding your own design so that you can be better and in the process, learn much about The Designer Himself.

Why Izham?
That, I believe as a Muslim has been pre-ordained by God. As is life and death. We have our wishlist, our ideal partner, yes we can hope and pray. But in the end, Allah knows best and it is our free will that makes it or break it. We are just asked to do our best but most importantly have utter undying faith in HIM, no matter how and what happens. Because, there is no other God than Allah and He is Most Gracious Most Merciful than the human mind can ever fathom, imagine or understand.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Is all I ever wish for

Take me somewhere beautiful.

Somewhere meaningful.

Where I can see the sunset

And the rise of the moon.

Where I can smell trees and breathe them in.

Where I can hear water and feel their depths within.

I’m sick of concrete.

Of people.

My heart my soul

Yearning for the Signs

Of greatness and of splendour

Of the one true King.