the emotional process of room cleaning

it turns out that I’m inefficient in de-cluttering my room to make space for a new roomie and start a new phase in life. you see, I have this ambitious plan to get rid of ALL the furniture in my bedroom except for the built-in wardrobe. these include my bed frame and mattress, my study desk, computer chair, two bookshelves, and a TV console. it might sound like a short list, but actually the study desk and two bookshelves contain soooo many things accumulated over the years which makes it a massive exercise to slowly go through drawer by drawer, shelf by shelf, cabinet by cabinet.

what happens is that at first attempt of going through a compartment, I identify maybe 30-40% of things to throw. then it takes another round before I relent on throwing more things. I sort my trash into two bags. personal things go into the rubbish chute, which I trust nobody ever bothers to sift through. functional but nonetheless unwanted items go into a bag that I throw at my void deck: a little treat for the scavengers in my neighbourhood. who knows, maybe someday I’ll recognise my belongings in a Sungei Rd stall…

it also turns out that cleaning the room is an emotional process. I uncovered old journals and forgotten letters — how apt was it that I spent NYE reading an old note I wrote in late Dec 2008, summarising the highlights of that year and spelling out my bright hopes for 2009? I also came across ninja groom’s one year anniversary letter, also filled with hope and optimism for the happy years ahead. I cried and felt broken thinking about how blissfully ignorant and optimistic we were when we were younger, and how things turned out to be anything but —

when we were in our early twenties, we felt invincible.

I ended up throwing away my travel journals and organisers, except for 2010’s where I had asked my exchange housemates to write messages before we all returned home. I surprised even myself… who would have thought that I, the sentimental hoarder, could do so? but I figured that as we grow older and unlock more life achievements, all the trivial details don’t really matter. in all the years that I’ve kept them journals, I’ve rarely (never?) decided to spend an afternoon reading back the pages to turn back time. anything that was memorable would already have been internalised by then. it’s the lessons and feelings from each memory that we keep in our hearts, not the rest of the noise.

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for each old letter that I chucked into the For Rubbish Chute plastic bag, I said out loud my best wishes for the sender. things may not have worked out for me and them, but it worked out in the end.

*

and then there’s all the small trinkets I bought when I was younger, thinking I would use them someday. sometimes I was right, but it’s those times that I was wrong that really stand out like a sore thumb, as if to prove my foolishness. it was a painful reminder to myself to be more purposeful with my money, and to be selective and intentional with the things I buy. and to avoid gifts where possible, cos gawd… haha.

and photos… of the good, the bad, the ugly. places, faces, and phases. we’re talking about old school 4R, some even 3R, with the date stamped in orange at bottom right. supersampler, fisheye, and good old classic 35mm. I miss my smooth complexion. if you happen to be reading this, please come back to me.

I’m done with the most personal belongings in my room. now I’m left to comb through my items for the second third fourth time; but this time more ruthlessly. I also need to re-organise my built in wardrobe to make space for man clothes (not mine). the walls need to be repainted. I want a new carpet. I need to think about replacement furniture — perhaps a shorter book shelf? If there’s money left in my room makeover budget at the end — which I doubt — I hope to get a chandelier to replace the frosted glass ceiling lamp my dad chose for me years ago. it has drawings of lions snoozing away, except you know, I was 18 when he bought it.

so let’s end this entry with a fun question. do you still keep anything from your exes?

ROMM interview + KL trip

yesss, I mean, alhamdulilah we settled our ROMM interview earlier on Tuesday. I was going to take leave anyway so I could enjoy a longer break from work this New Year week, and my dad agreed to take afternoon leave too so that we could get the interview out of the way.

the night before our interview, ninja groom asked me a question that left me a little stumped: he asked if my mama kraken was coming. I was like, ah? it didn’t cross my mind to bring her along haha. to me this ROMM interview is just an admin/statutory process so no need ah. choosing and booking our kadi was way bigger a milestone for me.

in the end, my kpo 7 year old niece came along though.

I knew much earlier that I wouldn’t be the kind to be at the ROMM doorstep at 8.30am sharp. I’m not that much of a morning person, I guess.

the plan was to reach ROMM at 2pm ish but we ended up reaching at 2.50pm, hee! to prepare myself, I read ex-BTB posts so I would know what to do and expect. based on dellaire’s advice to go straight to the counter instead of ticketing machine, I rushed into the office the moment the glass doors parted. I was like doing an emergency scan – TICKETING MACHINE! NO! COUNTER! YES TO THE COUNTER! – and rushed (actually it’s a few short steps away only la hahah) there. but all that for naught. the counter lady was attending to another man so I still had to wait and there was no other Muslim couple who arrived same time as us, so really, I was only competing with my inner kraken at most. tetiaow.

there were two couples ahead of us but alhamdulilah, our timing was swee cos the first couple was already at the interview room stage and the second couple was already at the data verification stage. anyway not much comments on the entire process, it’s everything as others have described it to be. the kadi who interviewed us was Uztaz Karim Ahmad, a kind and gentle man.

i found the process not scary at all. We Nak Kahwin was totally right in saying the queue number bell in the waiting was really loud and startling though! haha.

later ninja groom and I teased my niece by telling her that the counter lady had asked us who the little girl was and what happened to her (missing) front teeth. lol.

after we were done with the interviews, we took a quick pic at the two hearts, with halal distance no less. in front of daddykins and my 7 year old niece mah! must reflect well you know :p

two bits of info which I think might be useful to note:

1. a $100 fee is payable to the kadi on the actual day, for his transport and services.

2. changes to the booking details can be made at $15 per transaction, and can be made online up to two weeks before your wedding date. any changes later than that (e.g. witnesses cannot attend due to unforeseen circumstances) have to be made manually i.e. we gotta go down to ROMM again.

actually no 1 contradicts a bit with our friend’s account of how he had to help fetch the kadi for his brother’s or was it his cousin’s nikah. so all along ninja groom and I have had the impression that there should be a designated driver to help fetch our kadi from his prior appointment. I double checked with the counter lady who said no need, the kadi will make his own way, that is what the $100 is for. so we were like ooh, okay!

we were in and out of ROMM within half an hour. wasted our carpark coupon only cos we had put for 1h!

quick update on KL trip – vendeur festival

ok jump topic sikit.

remember how I vowed about staying away from fuzana mokhtaza’s IG? well I totally lied because I checked it again (and again) and found out that she was participating in the vendeur festival at the KL matrade (our singapore expo, senang kata) over the 27-28 Dec weekend.

I was planning to go anyway, after seeing that TudungPeople and ShawlbyVSnow were also participating. cuma sayang that this year CalaQisya wasn’t there. if my memory serves me right, they had participated in last year’s festival which was held at a different location. there was a massive human jam, and the CQ owners were bingit/worried about safety, so they decided to sit out of this year’s. a waste, because this year’s looked like it was better organised! they had 3 halls, with the typical booth frames that we see at expos. the crowd size was not too big, too.

so anyway, FM posted that some of her RTW engagement/bridal pieces would be on sale! me being gatal, wanted to check it out to see if I still stood some chance lah.

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@fuzanamokhtaza: We’re pleased to announce that we will bring out our #FuzanaMokhtazaBridal collection at Vendeur Festival 3.0 this 27 & 28th December 2014! **Limited pieces available (suitable for engagement, aqad nikah & wedding reception) with a very good discounts! 

I went on Sunday (ie second day), and unfortch only 2-3 pieces were left. nothing that caught my fancy. plus one of them was going for RM1,500 so I was like *gulp* there were also Hari Raya-ish outfits for sale. there was a gorgeous turquoise songket, like really really gorgeous, buuuut so sad that it wasn’t my size!

it felt like I went crazy shopping but actually my haul was ok ok aje lah. among the things I bought was a jubah with the embellished sleeves — which is all the rage among Malaysian blog shops these days — and also another jubah with a heavily sequinned panel. would have bought more dresses but I tried to hold myself back and ask if I could reaaally see myself wear these pieces. a change from my usual careless beli, beli, beli aje shopping style.

funny thing was that my mum told me to better buy lots of nice clothes because “once you dah kahwin, you pergi kerja kena ada seri sikit” and how “bila you dah bersuami, you kena tunggu untuk dia sebelum you boleh jalan2 gi KL”. I was like oof, reality. technically ninja groom doesn’t work office hours because he’s a financial planner so his schedule is more flexible, but ok lah can’t say. if business is flourishing then his weekends and public holidays could be busier too. insyaAllah.

then my friend and I had some trouble getting out of the place. i thought we could maybe take a bus to LRT (what the website said!) or hail a cab, but the info counter staff told us that it would be a far walk to the bus stop and main road. so we asked if they could help us call a cab but they said they didn’t know the taxi booking number. then I asked if they could help google for it, but they said inside the building got poor internet connection. kaoz! not very helpful yah. one girl even asked me to call a friend to help google for the taxi booking number. I was like kita takde kawan kat sini. she said ah, awak dari mana? dari singapore. ohhh dari singapore… (silence). another girl tried to help check online on her phone but gave up after she couldn’t connect. they also recommended that we use MyTeksi (their versh of GrabTaxi) but we didn’t want to spend on data plans just for this yo. finally someone suggested that we call the operator and ask to be transferred to a taxi booking line.

later on one of the guys turned out to be quite sweet though. he was having a smoke outside and jumped up when he saw us leaving to ask if we had figured it out already. he had downloaded the MyTeksi app for us but he didn’t know how to use it. neither did we. we looked up and saw a cab within the carpark and said we would try our luck there instead. lucky indeedy we were, because we totally hijacked a cab which already had two girls inside. haha!

so we saw the cab approaching and flagged it desperately. the taxi driver rolled down his window to say I dunno what – wasn’t really paying attention. immediately I blurted “bang boleh tumpang??? kita nak pergi masjid India.” he said ok and wahhh me and my friend, like lightning speed, jumped into the cab sia hahah. thankful for Malaysian culture that makes it somewhat okay to do this :p when ninja groom heard my story he was like “bagus eh korang?” eh, mesti ah, desperate bro!

so that’s the KL story lah. apart from tailoring the tanjak, I didn’t get any wedding-related stuff done. my mum had initially wanted to buy the silver/gold terima kasih kind of stickers but I wasn’t too keen. I also didn’t send any raya clothes for tailoring this time cos insyaAllah I plan to get Upik to sew one and then buy a matchy2 RTW one with ninja groom next year. next time if I’m in KL and there’s another major blogshop fest, I would love to go again because the selection was pretty good! we easily spent our whole afternoon there. but next time will have a taxi driver’s number in hand ah.

just a little bit of wedding programme drama

hello! so konon-konon I took a break from wedding planning because we met some obstacles wrt our wedding programme. thankfully all is good now. basically ninja groom’s venue and reception timing went back to the drawing board for discussion, which then caused some uncertainties. my parents and I even discussed possibly combining receptions, which is a bit of a surprise because I’ve always been in the separate receptions camp. although the final decision was to stick with separate receptions, it was a good exercise la to stay open to ideas and be prepared to take a different approach if necessary.

earlier this year when we dealt with similar uncertainties wrt our wedding date, I was super emotionally invested. so this time I was prepared to let go and try my best to be all chill about it, even though I had certain interests that I so badly wanted to protect. I began to reflect about the many things that I get to have my way and tried to tell myself that I need to learn to give in to others. maklum lah kita ni last child kan…sorry kakak-kakak, don’t rasa menyampah ok! the other lesson I learnt was to respect boundaries and not impose too much on his reception, since it’s his family’s majlis. it’s hard because as the pengantin, we have a huge stake, but really the decisions are only for us to follow and respect. for me this whole bertolak ansur and compromising is one of the hardest things about planning a wedding :/ a lot of things are subjective and often there’s no right or wrong…so boleh pening kepala!

but alhamdulilah, in the end it was decided that the timing sticks to status quo, which is good news for me. the downside is that venue will be at the void deck, whereas ninja groom had wanted to be adventurous in holding an open air/high ceiling reception at the badminton court or basketball court so that he could realise his ideal wedding decor concept.

since we were on the topic of re-planning our prog, I also got his agreement to wear something more evening-ish during his reception, instead of the songket that he initially wanted to wear, so yay 😀

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masyaAllah I thought this was so refreshing and preetz! credits to inspirasi perkahwinan

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the same magazine spread also had this. I mockingly showed this pic to ninja groom, who mockingly gave me a comeback. siapa nak teka?

for now, I wish that I had a workflow/timeline for my bridal stuff. macam tak sabar want to pick my outfits and explore the designer collections that my mak andam can bring in – assuming it’s within my budget – but I really have no idea if I’m supposed to contact them to arrange the apmt, or they will allocate me a slot, or which month I can expect for this to happen, if I’m supposed to give a heads up if I’m looking at possibly customising… help! we are almost 6 months away so time to dig up the contracts signed earlier and get things into motion..!

drafting the wedding programme

my typical kraken thought process goes like this:

“I need to accomplish X for the wedding. but it’s too early. so I will do it in a few months’ time”
“but you already thought like that for Y and Z. you are gonna be swamped in a few months’ time”
“hmmm betul jugak eh. might as well do now if I can.”

so that was how I started drafting my wedding programme lulz. it was by chance that one evening I realised I had two admin programmes for 1-day receptions on my desk. one was a close friend’s who got married in end-Aug, and the other was ninja groom’s sister’s who got married recently. so I glanced at them for some intel and then started drafting mine. heh.

I’ve seen programmes which have got details such as who’s in charge of what task down to a T. macam on one hand (I’m gonna be super honest) I wanna judge them for being so bridezilla and control freak-y, but on the other hand, I know the devil is in the details and it’s these things that help keep a wedding run smoothly.

so while I’ve decided on the key programme items, my wedding is still a little too far for me to start nominating (read: arrowing) people for specific tasks. I hope to keep my programme flow as least manpower intensive as possible for my siblings/close friends. and ideally I can relax and truly delegate on my wedding day instead of still whispering instructions while on the dais. we shall see how this goes!

guidelines for drafting a wedding programme

if you’re like me and you think drafting a programme from scratch — while still taking reference from others — is more fun, here’s the list of guidelines I considered when drafting mine. keep in mind that insyaAllah my reception is on a Sat morning-afternoon, and ninja groom’s is on a Sat night. we’ll have 3 outfits: nikah, sanding I and sanding II. our houses and reception venues are max 10 mins away from each other. also, I currently have no plans for cake cutting.

1. start/end of reception: planning to nikah at 11am so it’s not too early for faraway relatives, with the reception ending at 6pm as requested by mama kraken. ninja groom’s reception will be from 5pm to 10pm, but we’ll appear only from 7.45pm/8.00pm onwards

2. photo taking on pelamin: allocated 2h overall for mine. I noticed that both reference programmes allocated 1.5-2h too, and that on both actual days there were no long queues for the pelamin. planning to get more mileage out of my nikah outfit so will be lingering on pelamin for an hour, instead of ciao-ing almost immediately

3. makan time: both reference programmes allocated 30 mins, so ok lor I follow. din realise it’s so short! sempat tak kalau nak makan crepes?? ok just kidding.

4. change of outfit part 1: seems like 1.5h is safe, if you can afford it. minimum seems to be 1h, but also assuming the mak andam is a seasoned pro and that the outfit doesn’t involve a complex sanggul lintang. I’d noticed that one of the brides took much longer than the other to change out.

5. saying goodbye: I feel that the earliest “polite” time for the pengantin to leave, if not rushing off to the partner’s reception, is 4.30pm. plan to bring ninja groom to salam-salam relatives before we make our way home. actually I wanted to make ninja groom a family tree to help him remember who’s who, but mama kraken was like “sudah lah, salam2 aje. it will take some time to betul2 ingat. dulu mak pun sama. semua adik beradik papa kraken mak tak kenal.” considering my dad has like 10 siblings, I can only imagine how kecoh it must have been.

the bare bones programme

11.00am – nikah
11.30am – end of nikah / start of photo taking / start of reception ie food should be ready
12.00pm – official start of reception (as indicated in invites)
12.30pm – leave to change outfits
1.50pm – kraken to be seated at dais / groom to meet pengapit and kompang boys
2.00pm – sanding ie hadang, silat, salam parents etc
2.30pm – photo taking
3.00pm – makan
3.30pm – resume photo taking
4.00pm – salam-salam / mingle-mingle
4.30pm – leave for kraken’s house

intermission
4.45pm – eat, pray, and er… mandi. insyaAllah I will get my MUA to reapply makeup from about 6pm onwards. meanwhile, it’s nap time for ninja groom. (have you guys seen pengantin lelaki-s stealing naps while their brides get ready?! I have, and I think mine will be no exception!)

meanwhile…
6.00pm – end of kraken’s reception / family to pack up and get ready for night reception (I have already started begging mama kraken to keep the logistics simple so that they can pack up fast. for example, I’m telling her not to over-order berkats because a lot of receptions tend to have leftovers. ni yang leceh nak bawa balik!)

groom’s reception
7.45pm – march in at ninja groom’s reception, together with kraken’s family and closest relatives
10.00pm – end!

next, to settle the Ys and Zs to ease any possible crunch time…