wedding kraken x ninja groom: a photo story (part 3 of 3)

woo, so here we are, at part 3 on NG’s reception. this is a continuation from part 1 on the nikah and part 2 on the sanding.

all photos by Fadly Salleh from An Analog Affair. 

Saturday, 9 May 2015 (cont’d)

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let’s start with some yummy details. for those of you who gila-kan typewriters for wedding decor, you may look for Kassim Baba Weddings to fulfill your desire.

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his gorgeous pelamin

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Choo Choo Churros. sadly we didn’t get to visit their stall, though they served for us a special plate. NG says one of his regrets is not taking time to soak in the atmosphere of his reception, and not checking out the buffet line. i regret it too. 

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ah but here’s a nice pic of the ambience. super love the pastel drapes and liiights. kinda reminds me of this earlier photo i posted. Read More

wedding kraken x ninja groom: a photo story (part 2 of 3)

hello! bringing to you part 2 on the sanding; a continuation from part 1 on the nikah.

all photos by Fadly Salleh from An Analog Affair.

Saturday, 9 May 2015 (cont’d)

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we start off this “chapter” with a nice photo of NG’s bunga manggar bearers. his mum made them, similar to what she made for NG’s sister. very nice right! 

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meanwhile, i got changed in a classroom which we rented in addition to the MPH. we later turned it into a surau for guests. love love the thick beading on the songket. even if i managed to tailor my own songkets (i didn’t – you can read the story here) i wouldn’t have the budget to afford beading! Read More

wedding kraken x ninja groom: a photo story (part 1 of 3)

ahhhh laptop time!!! i used to sit in front of my laptop a lot, just surfing the net and wasting time away. then earlier this year my laptop’s wireless card died. a few months later i got married, which meant that there are even more competing uses for my time. so it’s been a while since i get to sit here and update my blog proper.

i’ve been meaning to share some wedding pics, but i thought i would get my priorities right. i made sure to reply my photographer on the proposed coffee table album layout before choosing which pics get to make it here… so here goes!

all photographs by Fadly Salleh from An Analog Affair.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

we start off with a shot my Ikea Kallax shelf and wedding shoes that I got off Carousell. on it are my two bouquets: left by nora zee and right is the DIY peony bouquet that my neighbour did.

around 4 plus that morning, a bridesmaid messaged the group to say that she was sick. i remember lying awake on my bed, sighing to myself. and then another whammy: another bridesmaid said that she worked late the night before and didn’t think she could reach my place by 7+ am, as earlier planned. “i will reach ur place at 9am tmr” “is it possible for you to aim for 8.30am instead? think it’ll be safer…” (me being a bridezilla)

i don’t remember exactly what i prayed for that morning. could have been for everything to go smoothly, or for strength to take everything in my stride, or both.

luckily for me, that was the only scare that day. sick bridesmaid managed to turn up, too 🙂 alhamdulillah for friends who overcome difficulties for you.

my mak andam arrived at 7+, and we got started on my make up. oh yeah before that i was quickly stuffing my face with breakfast so that i wouldn’t starve to death that morning. the make up process was faster than expected, and i really didn’t enjoy the part where she had to draw underneath my eyelids. ow! Read More

actual wedding programme (one day, separate receptions)

before I trash the docs in my wedding file (and make way for materials on reno!!) I thought I might as well share my admin prog.

I previously blogged about my admin programme and also the family meeting closer to date to discuss the programme. in the weeks leading up to the wedding, I think this admin prog was one of the most painful tasks, thanks to the disagreements I had here and there with ninja groom and mama kraken etc.

ok so here are some of the more interesting insights I had from my wedding admin programme:

1. squeezing a quick meal after nikah and before reception was a good move …

… which I can’t believe NG disagreed with during the planning stage. what! why! well anyway, ours was a 11.00am nikah, with my reception entrance at 2.00pm. so if we didn’t grab a quick bite then, I would have starved until 3.00pm or so.

for this post-nikah meal, I decided that we would eat at the common tables so that the cutlery on the meja pengantin wouldn’t be disturbed. assigned my bridesmaids to help scoop food for NG and me, non-hadang style. they did an overly fantastic job sampai kita tak sempat habis.

2. what happens right after nikah

NG and I united on our pelamin and did the salam, sarung cincin etc, while the guests ate as the lunch buffet opened for business. we had a small stream of close friends and relatives taking photos with us. and then we got bored because nobody was coming up to the pelamin. so we thought now would be a good time to go down. right? wrong! cos lepas orang dah makan baru dorang sibuk nak amik gambar. haha. we obliged a little before heading off to eat.

so yeah you may want to bear this in mind. either wait it out patiently on the pelamin till nikah guests have eaten and are ready to congratulate super newly married you, or you eat while they eat and resume photo taking when they’re ready. if that’s not too messy.

3. bridesmaids — an integral part of the admin programme

I believe a typical BTB thought process on bridesmaids goes like this:

just started wedding planning – “I don’t think I need bridesmaids. I don’t want to trouble or bore my friends.”

halfway mark of wedding planning – “eh cantik lah this photo of bridesmaids in matching clothes and the bride. I also want.”

days leading to the wedding – “yay I’m so glad I have bridesmaids to help me do the things I don’t want to do”

day of wedding – *batman voice* WHERE IS SHE?! I need her to do this NOW.

ha ha. but of course after the wedding, it’s all “thank you, sayaaaaang korang.”

I tried to give my bridesmaids meaningful things to do because if anyone has been an idle bridesmaid, you may have found it boring and not a good use of your time. I believe that close friends love to know that they can contribute to our wedding, love to help, and love to be needed by us.

in my mind, my bridesmaids’ duties eventually worked out nicely and equally. some helped with pre-event conceptualising e.g. photobooth, kickstarting the birth of my hashtag, helping me choose baju. the two that weren’t as involved in preps due to work/travel, spent a weekend rehearsing a special performance for me. and the one who couldn’t be too active on that day because she has a baby to look after, was the one who gave me emotional support in the weeks leading to my wedding. being the only married bridesmaid, I could talk to her about wedding prep woes and anxieties on being a wife. alhamdulillah for everything falling into place. trust Allah swt :’)

apart from assigning tasks here and there to them, I also requested them to help me layan guests who are our mutual friends. by layan, I mean to chat with and catch up with them, and invite them to eat more more more. (my bridesmaids come from different circles, with some overlaps) I thought this was clever (sorry, masuk bakul angkat sendiri, I know) cos it was win-win. my bridesmaids get to sit and talk to friends as an “official duty” without having to feel bad that they’re not “helping” or “looking busy”, and my guests get to feel warmly received (I hope!). cos the ironic thing about Malay weddings is that it’s more of a place for you to catch up with mutual friends than with the couple themselves! hence I sent my bridesmaids to catch up on my behalf. anyway I think this worked too well cos when it was time to leave for my outdoor shoot, I couldn’t find them. lol. semua bersepah.

4. the devil is in the details

unless it’s super close to the wedding, say less than 50 days, one might easily dismiss a detailed programme as the works of the bridezilla. and then you try to visualise your programme. and you realise that all the bridezilla details are in fact, necessary. haha.

some details to look into: who’s gonna get into whose car? (you don’t want an orang kuat to feel forgotten or left behind) who’s going to hold on to your NRIC and marriage prep course certs before the nikah? who will jaga your duit hantaran and dulang items after? who will hold on to your house keys for you? who will liaise with the groomsmen on the groom’s arrival? do you want your DJ to page for relatives for photo taking? do your parents want to take photos with you after your sanding? (mine didn’t, ok… said they would be too busy greeting guests at peak hour to run up and take photo with us) will your groom fetch you to go to his reception? (unfortunately this also cannot be assumed… kwang kwang kwang)

on with the programme

ok lah, that was a lot to download right? so here’s my one day, separate receptions programme for reference. the order of the smaller items got mixed up a little (much to my annoyance) and we had to play by ear for photo taking and lunch, but the programme largely stayed the same. no regrets!

the underlined timings reflect the agreed timings. NG had his own bujang programme (probably involved a DOTA game or two in the morning, ok kidding) so we made sure to at least have these key timings synced.

for my admin programme, I created a table in MS Word with 4 columns: time, programme, action by, remarks/advance preps. this is the non-admin versh, which should be enough to give a rough idea 🙂

07.00am – call time for mak andam at bride’s house

09.00am – breakfast served at venue
09.15am – bride leaves home for venue
09.30am – majlis khatam quran

10.30am – end of majlis khatam quran
10.40am – agreed time for bride’s and groom’s delegations to meet

11.00am – akad nikah, sarung cincin etc, photos with bride’s and groom’s parents, photos with bride’s and groom’s nuclear families, photos with guests, bride and groom to grab quick meal with bridesmaids at common tables

12.00pm – RECEPTION OFFICIALLY STARTS
12.30pm – bride and groom leave for outfit change. bride to change at venue’s changing room, groom to change at his house.

1.00pm – start of Hello Forever photobooth
1.50pm – bride to be seated at dais

2.00pm – agreed time for groom’s delegation to meet. hadang, silat performance by bridesmaids.
2.30pm – start of pelamin photo taking with guests

03.00pm – cut cake + makan + go photobooth
03.30pm – resume pelamin photo taking

04.00pm – bride’s thank you speech. bride and groom to salam-salam guests. end of photo booth.
04.30pm – bride and groom leave for short photo taking session around venue.

05.00pm – RECEPTION OFFICIALLY ENDS
05.30pm – start of tear down
06.20pm – those involved in bride’s delegation to groom’s reception to go to bride’s house to wash up

intermission
04.45pm – bride and groom to head back to respective homes. bride to eat, remove make up, shower, pray.

05.25pm – start of make up round 2

groom’s reception
07.30pm – agreed time for groom and wedding car to arrive at bride’s carpark. bride’s delegation to gather at void deck. to meet again at *landmark near groom’s reception*
07.45pm – bride and groom march in with bride’s delegation

10.00pm – end of groom’s reception

my photobooth contest

from pretty early in the wedding planning process, i wanted to build a body of crazy funky images of guests from my photobooth, kinda like the ones below from Image is Found (US-based) — you can view more of their Crazybooth photos here.

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(photo source: Image is Found)

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(photo source: Image is Found)

what i love about the Crazybooth spirit is that they don’t rely on moustache props or speech bubbles to make the photos funny. their funny personalities shine so bright!

to encourage my guests to take such crazy and creative photos, i decided to hold a contest..! in the months leading up to the wedding, i discussed with my bridesmaids on how to design the contest. we asked questions like how would we collect entries? what are the categories? how would i follow up with the prizes, especially if the winners are not my friends but my parents’?

so we came up with a workflow involving voluntary participation (as opposed to us scanning all the images and picking out the winner), use of hardcopy (not via Instagram or hashtagging) and asking for contact numbers for easy follow up. i also asked for their help to firstly think of how we gonna do the photo wall (ended up using 3M hooks, twine, and small pegs) and secondly to help me keep the entries so they don’t get lost during the mad pack up.

photobooth workflow

i was so semangat that i even created a workflow k! inspired by the official workflow documents my team has hahah. 

contest publicity + Facebook event page

then i designed a contest poster which i printed on an A3 foam board (cost me $25 seh but okay lah, i wanted it to be sturdy and look pro) and also uploaded the soft copy onto Facebook. i mentioned in an earlier post about creating a Facebook event for my reception. the main reason why I did so was to have a platform to announce the results and let people view the entries.

since the event page was up, i also took the opportunity to publicise my hashtag and give directions to the CC (cos Tampines runs a potentially confusing Townlink system for its feeder buses, which not all estates have)

From Tampines Bus Interchange
– Take bus 293 (WEST Loop; green colour) and alight at block 819 which is also opposite St Hilda’s Primary School. If you accidentally take the other colour, you could remain on the bus for a tour of Tampines, I guess. However if your bus has a red “T” sign, you’ll be asked to alight when it returns to the interchange. Therefore, best to double check you’re in the right queue – don’t anyhow run for the 293 bus hor.
– Easy way to remember: you’re headed to Tampines WEST CC so take the WEST loop (not East loop) k!

what I posted on the event page. i was sooo worried about guests getting lost seh.

shortlisted entries

the theme of my photobooth is “PARTY…!” there were 3 categories: kids, couple or pair, and group. the prizes offered were $50, $80 and $100 vouchers respectively. i initially wanted to offer a little more but decided that i was too ambitious. i had planned to redeem the vouchers using my credit card points so i didn’t have to use cash. however, rezeki pengantin agaknya, it so happened that my insurance policies gave me $300 CapitaMall vouchers so that helped a lot alhamdulillah! my financial planner (ahem, also my husband) didn’t tell me about the vouchers when i signed up for the policies, because he wanted to surprise me (and his other clients lah).

i’m going to share some of the shortlisted entries, followed by my After Action Review (AAR). for both the categories below, we shortlisted the top 4 for easier decision making and also uploading :p 

Couple/Pair

Group

can you guess the winners? it’s the second and fourth shots respectively 🙂 I announced the results over the weekend and will be giving out the vouchers soon hee.

afterthoughts on my photobooth + the contest

ok lah, the photos were not as crazy as Crazybooth’s BUT i can see and appreciate the effort. generally my guests used the props heavily, though maybe this happens for all Hello Forever booths cos they sure have some funky selections! 

on the whole, we didn’t receive too many entries (i sorta expected more?) although on the bright side, i suppose this made judging easier. i also felt like my entire photobooth was under-used 😦 when i was on the pelamin, i noticed that the photobooth queue was non-existent so that made me feel a bit sad. especially since Hello Forever ain’t cheap…

i think one reason is cos the photobooth was in the back corner of the hall. when we drew out the floor plan, i thought it would be prominent enough but somehow with all the tables in the MPH, the photobooth ended up being slightly obscure. mama kraken was saying yesterday that on hindsight we should have placed the booth outside the MPH. haiz. i also got the DJ’s help to publicise the contest and encourage guests to take photos, but i think his messages got lost. partly cos he mostly spoke Malay (we had a quite a bit of non-Malay guests too) and maybe cos the mic/audio system wasn’t fantastic.

another reason could be that my kecoh aunts and uncles were hard at work helping to manage our berkats and helping guests find seats. i was counting on them to spam my photobooth too cos i thought they might like taking photos together + getting instant (high quality!) print outs but i guess they didn’t have the time/chance/mood. ahhh so sayang.

recently i wondered to myself if i should have skipped the photobooth and gotten videography instead. i had budget for only either, and at that time i was very excited to get Hello Forever on board. i also thought about how i hate watching myself on video. like hate, hate. but even after knowing the outcome of my photobooth … i guess i’m too much of a photography-loving person to have gone with videography.

are photobooths losing favour among guests? hmmm, maybe. i think you might give better satisfaction with Choo Choo Churros hahaha. since churros are the rage now. and CCC is so sedap compared to some other churro brands.

I guess I should take comfort in the fact that I gave my photobooth and the contest my best shot (no pun intended!). hopefully those who did use it had a good time and liked the print outs. no regrets, just learning points.

alsooo, here’s wishing everyone a blessed Ramadhan ahead. may we gain His pleasure and blessings through our ibadah. assalamualaikum 🙂 

highlights from my last week as a single

here are some highlights from the week leading up to my wedding…

last day of work (before going on leave)

on the morning of my last day of work (Tue), my colleagues sabo-ed me to wear a crown and a hot pink ‘Bachelorette’ sash around the office! so wear them i did. i just minimised my toilet trips and thankfully did not bump into any senior management that day hahah.

then in the afternoon, they surprised me with cake! with my name piped on it (awww)! and also a bouquet of flowers! they also got my favourite sparkling juice lulz. we had a nice time eating the delicious cake and chatting in my director’s office. but apart from the celebrations, the last few days of work were also crazy trying to handover properly and tying up loose ends. so dreading going back to work now 😦

outfit fitting

quick back story: my friend offered to lend me her body shaper. i was very happy about saving $100-$150 from buying my own.

back to the highlights. after my last day of work, ninja groom fetched me and we went off to our bridal studio for our outfit fitting. yes, we had to break our hard work of going on pantang for the 3 weeks before that. it was weird sitting in the car with him … ahh kinda miss that feeling now that i’m typing out this entry lulz. mentel! (NG is asleep on the couch beside me as i secretly type this on his laptop)

anyway, my songket and nikah outfits fitted me fine. Cik A, the tailor, only had to make minor adjustments to make the outfits fall better on me. but i ran into problems with the evening dress. when i tried to put it on, i couldn’t get it past my hips..! panic seh. Cik A came to my rescue and realised there were small sewings which she had made for the previous bride who wore it. after unpicking them, i could wriggle myself into the dress, but it still felt a little too tight and uncomfy to be in, especially in sitting position.

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just married!

hello assalamualaikum! alhamdulilah, really happy to share that our wedding went smoothly last weekend 🙂 🙂 I was really happy with the vendors I engaged — super love my mak andams (ishQ) and photographer (an analog affair), and was very happy that my decor (elly weddings) sought my feedback on fri night during the set up and worked to address the areas I wasn’t too keen on. my photobooth company (hello forever) — don’t say lah. they have one of the best pre-event customer service. on the wedding itself, I left them in the good hands of my brother and bridesmaids and sadly I couldn’t mingle with them much. 

our kadi (uztaz Ismail) put us at ease and was fast and breezy. I found out that my dad had actually wanted the kadi to represent him, but the kadi insisted for my dad to do it himself. since my kadi was 20 mins early, they took the chance to practise together. alhamdulilah, our marriage was sealed within the first lafaz … our friend even caught it on a 15s Instagram video! I was also so very impressed with my dad for his clear delivery despite the last minute preps + being on stage in front of so many people :’)

it’s taking a few days to sink in that I have a husband, to be honest. the wedding day passed by in a blur; I was just following the motions per my admin programme without it really registering that hey, I haz a husband now and that today my life has changed. at the end of the night when we dropped by ninja groom’s house, I remember thinking to myself that this isn’t NG’s house anymore, this is my in laws’ house. scary! I mean not scary scary but like… wow. we have new roles and responsibilities now.

oh yeah and NG’s reception was so gorgeous! for a groom who was all like, can we get married without a wedding, his decor was so pretty and splendid. in the months leading to the wedding, he tried to keep his concept a secret to me but I think he was also too excited and kinda revealed that he had put together a MOODBOARD with lots of PINK and WHITE. emphasis for all the parts that (pleasantly) surprised me back then hahahah. thought it was pretty brave of him to pick pink (but hey! it was LKY’s favourite colour) but yeaaah together with all the light bulbs and paper lanterns and rustic touches like typewriters and flowers in glass bottles, it was really so lovely lah. sampai my relatives asked my mum how come I didn’t pick those colours instead. thanks eh. 

ok so photos! here are some of my favourites that I stole from relatives, orang kuat and vendors. wanted to upload more but I don’t wanna kill my data plan heh. can’t wait for the official ones 🙂

us in our nikah outfits, with four out of five bridesmaids. love them all!

at the photo booth with our sanding outfit. super love my make up. ilah gave me a bronze-y look … never seen my skin and face structure look so good!

the groom’s pelamin as uploaded by his decor vendor, @kassimbabawedding. this photo don’t do justice cos it looks sweeter in the night, together with the lanterns and light bulbs and gorgeous cake table which was set up by his friends.

one of my favourite moments of the entire day: marching in together as husband and wife at NG’s reception. his guests/friends had crowded around and cheered. ’twas so nice cos can step celebrity for a second hahah.

and finally, a product of our late night outdoor shoot at the place where NG and I used to have teh tarik dates (until we went on that horrible pantang). it was not easy because everyone was so tired by then but again major love to NG’s orang kuat who really are kawan setia :’)

alhamdulilah for we are really blessed to have lovely family and friends help us for our wedding. till next update!



the temporarily difficult days (part 2 of 2)

this is a continuation to the temporarily difficult days (part 1 of 2).

arrival of bed

our queen-sized mattress and bed frame arrived separately on Fri. the night before, I asked my dad to help dismantle my old bed frame and then I slept on my old mattress on the floor. then on Fri morning, I left my old mattress outside our door and mama kraken got the town council peeps to help us move it and my bed frame downstairs.

getting the queen bed was a novel experience because I’ve had the same single bed frame since I was 7. so macam very bangga lah gitu dapat katil besar baru.

back to Fri night. my mum took out the luxe bedsheet set that she bought for me and together we fixed it onto the mattress. then, she asked me to take a photo of the bed and send it to NG. which I did, though inside my heart I was like “but huaaaat, huaaaai??” lepas tu! she made me keep the bedsheet and she lent me her king sized bedsheet to use in the meantime. chey! all that hard effort for a photo opportunity only.

the dark patch isn’t your eyes playing a trick on you, but the sealant booboo that i briefly mentioned in my post about the room makeover.

that night I slept with my tissue box on my bed… just cos I could. haha! cheap thrill. ok but anyway more on the tissue box later.

bilik pengantin

so then over the weekend, my dad helped to drill the new curtain rods onto the wall. sampai badan berpeluh semua :/ I felt really touched when I saw him so hard at work heh.

I also enlisted the help of my engineer brother to help assemble my Kallax with me because I didn’t trust myself to understand the instructions lolol. it turns out that you probably do need 2 people anyway.

we also got a Taiwanese neighbour-friend to help sew the kain which my mum had bought from Arab St into curtains for the backdrop. this neighbour was off for a flight that night so she gave us same day express service! alhamdulilah. though my mum realised one of them was done wrongly and she had to unpick and resew. ow! but all settled now.

mama kraken and her two friends then transformed my room on Mon. when I got back from work and entered my room I was kinda speechless. like wahhhhhhhh. wahhhhhhhh. wahhh is this for meeeee?? they had even hung my new window curtains and put on the pengantin bedsheet set! the bedsheet was so bling and regal :’)

in mama kraken’s usual style, I had to remove the bedsheet and change back to the king sized one that night. lol. but ok, not complaining!

here’s a sneak peek:

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the temporarily difficult days (part 1 of 2)

hallluuuu. last week was personally a difficult week for me. lots of irritation, frustration, anxiety, and a bit of loneliness and sadness. so drama right? memang.

thankfully, the weekend turned things around. here’s a recap of some of the … memorable … incidents, and also some of the recent achievements/milestones.

incident 1: hair salon

the short story is that I was very, very annoyed when I turned up for my hair apmt on tue night, only to find out that the stylist was on MC … and they didn’t tell me. I left the place fuming, though I recognised at once that this was a test, albeit in the middle of already testy times.

so I made a new appointment for Sat. and was pleasantly surprised to find my hairstylist crush assigned to me. woohoo! the story is that back in 2007, I got a haircut by this particular lady at the same salon. later that year when I was in another salon in china, the stylist flicked through my hair and commented, language barrier and all, that my previous stylist was good. so I was like wau. she must have been really good for another stylist to say that! now this lady is a senior hairstylist, so I always assumed that requesting for her would entail additional charges. hence I was v happy to ‘randomly’ get her cos I thought I was getting a good deal for my money ah.

it turns out though that there are no extra charges to request for her. and that her only off day is on Tue! so even if my original apmt had worked out, I would have been assigned a different stylist and not her. ma shaa Allah. I felt so silly for being upset when the end result turned out to be even better. hehe. thank you universe for your beautiful arrangement! I’m really loving my hair *blows kisses*

also, do request for Yvonne if you happen to be at Reds @ Tampines Mall. she does a pretty mean job with her scissors 🙂

incident 2: mattress supplier

okay this incident doesn’t have such a happy ending. one afternoon I called the mattress shop to ask if I could come at 6.45pm that evening to pay my balance through credit card. the customer service rep, a young-ish girl whom I had been liaising with on delivery (a bit painful also), seemed bochap about it and said yeah yeah just come before 7.00pm.

so that day I cabut-ed from work slightly earlier and rushed down. at paya lebar MRT, I got a little lost because they closed one of the exits. so I wasted time trying to find out the alternative way to get on the other side of the road. (I ended up tapping in just to get to the correct exit … and then the escalator wasn’t working! sian.)

I was running late and panicking a little. so at 6.50pm when I was a few bus stops away, I called the shop to ask if they could wait for me cos I’m going to be there reaaal soon. no answer. called 2 more times — still no answer. when I alighted, I raaaan the 200m from the bus stop to the shop like a fool, with my big handbag and laptop bag. I had a bad feeling about it … and I was right.

the shop was closed.

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snippets of a crazy BTB from the last 1-3 weeks

welcome to inside of my head. i hope you won’t be afraid!

I.

i thought to myself, i’ve not felt happy in a while. then i paused and realised that it’s not true. and that instead of mulling, i have so many things to be grateful for, like you know, for still being alive. so i pulled out the old Yaasiin book that i discovered earlier that day while cleaning out my brother’s room, and read it after prayers. i recognised the scripture to be in handwritten calligraphy… so beautiful. the top of some of the pages had been eaten up though, after years of neglect 😦 

II.

as i descended down the common staircase, i made a hopeful prayer to bump into the bangla who cleans our block. i heard the sounds of someone emptying dustbins, so I walked over to my lift lobby to check. there he was. i handed him a rubi plastic bag, curated for someone like him. inside there was my old crumpler bag — looking worn, but no doubt still in decent and more importantly, waterproof condition — two picnic mats, a good quality but heavy poncho i bought in Bali when i was caught in the rain, and two unworn tshirts that i had gotten for free. later on in the bus, i felt stressed thinking about how dumpster-esque my brother’s room was going to look when my room makeover is complete. meh.

III.

i felt a rush of hot anger build inside me. i don’t know why exactly — probably a mix of the baju kurung debacle and the fact that i’m beginning to detest the sheer amount of things in my parents’ house. i decided to take matters into my own hands. i marched into my brother’s room, and cleared the corner where my mum wanted my bookshelf to be. then i went back into my room, dragged the bookshelf onto this old and slippery carpet, and dragged both shelf and carpet into my brother’s room. in other words, i single-handedly moved a medium-sized bookshelf from one room to the other — something i thought i might need NG’s help with. i dusted my hands in satisfaction. also, i love the now-empty corner in my room. to be able to see the wall was so calming… i had no idea what i’ve been missing out on all this while.

IV.

work ended at 3pm today. if i weren’t a bride to be on a mission, i think i would have followed my colleagues to pay the last respects to the late mr lee kuan yew at parliament house. unfortch, from this week onwards, i’ve got so many things to worry about and I have to prioritise my time. though i admit i could waste less time reading forums, FB, and IG. hehe. 

V.

“don’t control your voice. let it go,” she advised. “you jangan takut. on that day, you jangan pandang orang. you tengok bawah je,” so in the privacy of her house, i found the courage to exercise my lungs a little. i had been reunited with my previous ngaji uztazah, after some 12 years. unbeknownst to me, my mum had requested her to teach me how to read Ad-Dhuha sambil berlagu (with song). it was my first time trying to read the Quran this way and ma shaa Allah, i left her house feeling like my half-successful attempts to sing the surah and to copy her tune and lenggok had somehow healed me.

VI.

the last time i wrote a hate note, i took out my notebook, grabbed a marker, and scribbled furiously inside. a la regina george in the movie mean girls. “how dare you…” i wrote, many times over, spelling out the little incidents that had incurred my wrath. then i tore out the pages (thanks for the perforated edges, moleskine!), tore up the pages, and threw them away. the last time i wrote a hate note… was yesterday.

VII.

i woke up feeling somewhat peaceful, at ease, but also a little sad. life goes on even as i harbour resentment in my heart and make empty promises to myself e.g. “i will never ask him for help AGAIN!” i attribute the peace to the surah Yaasiin i had read last night before sleeping. ma shaa Allah. somehow He let it manifest into ketenangan in my heart overnight. back to my shallow worldly affairs, i think bitterly about how sometimes the only person who can fix you is the one who broke you in the first place. 

VIII.

i hesitated. then i heard a voice in my head repeat the line from Wear Your Sunscreen: do one thing that scares you every day. nervous, i dialed the number of the first of my five profs. first one, no answer. second one, an answer. crap! i had to say something! i think he had some trouble recalling me but anyways it turned out that he won’t be in town during my wedding. next two numbers, no answer. i was beginning to doubt myself, thinking “maybe they don’t want to hear from me.” the last number, a response so quick i took a double take. he remembered me immediately. yay! with his thick Aussie accent, he sounded really thrilled and touched. when the call was over, i breathed out loudly, feeling both nervous and relief. do one thing that scares you every day. i did it!

IX.

traffic jam. a difficult conversation. the realisation that okay, i’m going to need to be a better person, a better partner. so, what now? a tender moment. apologies. giving credit where it’s due. all is well, all is well again. alhamdulilah. the wedding goes on. (ha ha) what a preview of marriage. sometimes i can’t tell whether it’s purely bisikan Syaitan trying to sew discord between us, or just the way relationships work: two different views of the world, trying to co-exist with each other.

X.

one day i was trawling the internetz, and i came across a lady’s note about the time she quarrelled with her husband during wedding planning. she had told him that even if they’re getting divorced the day after, the wedding would go on. because “the train has already left the station” i.e. the cards sent out, the vendors booked and paid for. i love it! it embodies a crazy BTB in the final stage of planning pretty perfectly. the fights, the dramatic and unnecessary escalations to “do we still get married??”, the investments, and most of all, the need to keep up with appearances. and also the truth that it’s too late to change the major vendors. come hell or high water, i’m stuck with them, and they had better make it work… *insert horror music*

XI.

i’ve not passed you your invite, i told her. she took the envelope from me, and opened it. it wasn’t an invite — it was a custom illustration of her and her fiancé. an engagement gift, i said. but i think we both knew that more than that, it was a peace offering for the silly fight i had started some weeks back. i’m just glad things are okay again :’)