May 30, 2009

Dear 16-Year Old Tine

20090530 Poppies at Tessalar

If I were to meet you face to face, I'd see a fresh-faced young girl, in her blue pinafore, bad hair, braces in her teeth, and a wide and engaging smile. I'd see someone happy, eager and ready to face whatever the world has to offer (world being Form 4).

I'd see me.

At sixteen, you weren't sure what the year would bring you. You've read enough teenage love stories to know about what it's like for a girl when she turns sweet sixteen, but you didn't have that feeling. You didn't have boyfriends or go to parties. You just lived the way you did.

At sixteen, you experienced, for the first time, what failing in your studies was like. Three times, in fact, in getting an F in Physics and Chemistry. These were never your strong points to begin with, but oddly enough, you ended up being an engineer. That's irony for you.

At sixteen, you became best of friends with two girls who ended up being your bridesmaids at your wedding. It was wonderful, by the way, the wedding. You married someone you met in the UK, whom you never thought would end up spending the rest of your life with. And he loves you dearly. Well, not 16-year old you, obviously. And you're still keeping in touch with the girls, who have both grown up to be fine ladies.

At sixteen, you hadn't a care in the world, and why would you? It was simply those carefree days in which you grew up with books and telephones, not computers and mobile phones. And you lived it well without those.

At sixteen, you were painfully shy around boys. Till now, I cannot tell you why it was so that you couldn't speak to boys without getting red and tongue-tied then. Not to worry though, as you grow older, you'll find that many of your close friends will be boys.

At sixteen, you hardly went out. You had (still have, by the way) overprotective parents who would not allow you to parties and overnight stays with friends. They would call you every 15 minutes past 10.30pm if you weren't back home by then. And all these happened when you didn't even have a mobile phone (they'd call your friends). You were embarrassed, humiliated and angry at them for the restrictions. You rebelled every chance you could by sneaking away to places they wouldn't allow you to. It would only be much later in life that you finally understood why they did what they did.

You have changed, you know. Not immensely, but enough for you to recognise that change if you were to meet your 29-year old self today. For someone who barely understood sarcasm, you're now cynical. Not to the point where you're incredibly jaded to the world, but enough to know that life is not a bed of roses. Believe it or not, it is a good change.

I'm not going to tell you what life for you is going to be after sixteen. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and for that, everything you are about to experience will make you the person you are today. It's not going to be an easy road to travel on, but walk it you must.

A few hints of what life will be for you as you enter your twenties: you'll fall in love at a tender age. You'll live in the UK for a few years, and those will be some of the best years of your life. You'll make some very bad decisions in your twenties; those bad decisions and consequences will be etched in your memory as long as you live. You'll finally understand how painful it can be when your heart breaks. You'll also realise that during that time, your family is the rock in which you will cling to, for they love you with all their hearts no matter what. You'll find happiness once more, and know what it means to really love.

Don't be too hasty to grow up. Enjoy those years of school, where you'd have nothing to worry about except getting good grades and sailing through SPM. You'll have plenty of time to experience what life overseas would be like. What the working world like like. What falling in love is like. What intense heartbreak is like. What life really is like.

Have fun. Laugh, cry, study hard and build friendships. There's plenty of time to conquer the world later.

~29 Year Old Tine~
30 May 2009

May 29, 2009

The Weekend Beckons

The weekend approaches. I've got nothing planned. The idea of chilling out with a book sounds just about the ticket. Tim's on call tomorrow, so I'll be on my own. I've thought of heading to the city, but the thought of cramming in a train full of people, especially during the swine flu season, freaked me out a little.

Speaking of which, Victoria now has 98 confirmed cases at the time of writing, whereas the rest of the states are not that badly affected. It's scary, is what it is. When I first heard on the news to stock up on food and necessities, I went out and bought quite a bit of canned food and loo paper. Oh yeah, the latter is a necessity. Imagine stuck in a loo without loo paper. Gulp.


What's up for the weekend with you?

May 28, 2009

016 No More

Dad emailed me yesterday, and told me that my Malaysian mobile phone number has finally bitten the dust. I've been maintaining that number ever since I came to Australia with Dad's help in sending RM2 to my phone every 3 months just to keep the number activated. I completely forgot about it when I left Malaysia after Chinese New Year this year, thus forgetting to remind him to send that RM2 to the phone. Calls of plea to DiGi did not help. Apparently, when it's dead, it's dead.

Can't believe I don't have that phone number anymore. I've had it for six years, and now that it's gone, I'm pretty sad about it. Sigh.

So people, if you have my Malaysian 016-xxx number, you can feel free to delete that from your address book as it's no longer valid. When I'm back in Malaysia, I'll have to get a new one.


May 27, 2009

Spam Makes Me Laugh Sometimes

I hate spam. Not the luncheon meat, mind you (now that's something else), but the junk emails I get. Thank goodness for Gmail, whom I think does the best job in filtering out spam from regular emails. Although once in a while, I do get a kick out of checking out the spam I get.

This would be what I'd call a WTF subject.

Spam clowns and cops

May 05, 2009

Lo and Behold

Yep, I finally passed my driving test.

Full Victoria Drivers License

I was a nervous wreck on test day. When I met up with my driving instructor (I used her car during the test, and she came along as well), Gayle, I had to run back home twice because I've forgotten to bring extra cash for the test, and also forgotten my passport and proof of address. By the time I got back to the car, I was already sweating, even though it was a cold and crisp day.

In retrospect, I was really glad to have Gayle with me the whole time, even though she couldn't help or talk to me during the test. Thank God for a gentle lady examiner too, who gave me very clear instructions without having to bark them out. The only critical error I made was when I completed the test and headed back to Vicroads. By then, the examiner decided to let me off the hook.

So yep, I'm now a holder of a full Victorian driver's license. No more L-lesen for me. Whee!

Now, more importantly, what car shall I get?

May 04, 2009

Linguine Bolognese

I've always loved pasta bolognese. Spaghetti bolognese was the first Italian dish I've ever eaten, thanks to mum's recommendation many, many years ago.

For years I've been cooking bolognese sauce from jars (Dolmio seemed to be quite a favourite). When I came to Australia, I decided to learn how to make the sauce from scratch once and for all. This has been tried and tested for quite some time now, and I'm glad to say that I no longer make pasta dishes from jars. The husband and I thoroughly enjoy this dish, and I hope you do too.

200g pork mince
200g beef mince
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1/2 can of button mushrooms (you can use fresh mushrooms if you like)
1 cup of beef stock (or 1 cube of beef bullion mixed in 1 cup of hot water)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp basil (or 1/2 tsp of dried basil)
1 tsp rosemary (or 1/2 tsp of dried rosemary)
1 tsp thyme (or 1/2 tsp of dried thyme)
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 bay leaf
1 cup white wine
Linguine (I used linguine just for fun; you can always stick to classic spaghetti)
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Parsley and shaved parmesan to serve

Bolognese Sauce in Pan

1. Heat oil in a large sauce pan.
2. Saute onions and garlic until soft.
3. Add beef and pork mince and brown over high heat, stirring constantly to break lumps.
4. Add diced carrot, celery and mushrooms. Stir and fry for about 5 minutes.
5. Add the can of chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, beef stock, herbs, and seasoning. Bring to boil.
6. Turn heat down to LOW and simmer for 30 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated and sauce is thick.
7. Remove bay leaf from sauce before serving.
8. Boil and drain pasta as per packet directions. Toss with a dash of olive oil and ground black pepper.
9. Pour sauce over pasta. Sprinkle with cheese.

Mixing the pork mince with the beef mince gives the sauce more flavour. Mushrooms are not part of a classic bolognese recipe, but I love them, so I just threw them in for added chunks.

I didn't add any cheese to this dish as I ran out and forgot to buy any. To be honest, I'm not too keen on having cheese on my sauce, but that's just me.

Linguine Bolognese


May 02, 2009

The Little Things In Life

That bring me joy.

Sharing a 50-cent Macca's soft serve scoop ice-cream with the hubs.
Breathing in the scent of new books at a bookstore, and old musty smells in an secondhand bookstore.
Receiving handmade gifts from family or friends. No matter how simple the gift it.
Surprises in the mail. Not red letters, mind you, but parcels from family and friends, which I weren't expecting.
Flowers from the hubs.
Freshly baked bread.
A good movie that puts a smile on my face when it's over.
A personally handwritten card or letter.
And many more.

What's yours?