Tag Archives: australia

Cairns – Day 1

Monday, 27 November 2017

4 am – Waking up at this hour on holiday = death.

5:15 am – Uber to Sydney Airport.

7:25 am – My brother and I had one backpack each. This is worth mentioning because I usually “pack the whole house”. It felt so good to travel light!

Thank God our flight was ON TIME! I was prepared for a possible delay. Our plane took off at about 7:50 am.

2 hours and 45 mins later…

9:45 am – Arrived at Cairns Airport. Just FYI: Queensland is one hour behind Sydney. So, we “gained one hour” (YAY!). Our shuttle bus (free service) to our accommodation was already waiting for us at the pick up area.

10 ish am – We stayed at Caravella Backpackers (The Esplanade) which was at the esplanade (obviously). There’s another branch (Caravella Central Backpackers) right smack in the city where all the shops are. In terms of which one is better, you decide:

The Esplanade – Opposite the sea, park and play area, peaceful and quiet, 15 – 20 min walk to main shopping/food area.

City Centre – Near shops and food, not as quiet and peaceful, nearer to the reef fleet terminal (meeting point for most tours).

Thank God our room was ready when we got there. We settled down and asked Mr Google/Instagram for the best place to have FOOD!

11:30 am – We made our way to Caffiend for brunch.

It was about 20 – 25 mins walk from our accommodation.

Eggs, salmon, beetroot and avocado on toast.Breakfast burger with bacon and egg.

This was our first proper meal of the day (since 4am).

                                                                         We were FAMISHED.

Of course, there was COFFEE! To be honest, coffee from Caffiend was not great. Way too acidic for me.

We spent the entire day walking around the city centre. Safe to say we covered EVERY corner!

The town is everything you can expect from a typical tourist area with loads of coffee shops, factory outlets, Aussie brand stores, souvenir shops etc.

4 ish pm – After all that walking, we were hungry before dinner time. We were deciding what to eat when we stumbled upon this local pizza place. The smell was incredible and they were offering special deals! #winning

15 dollars for this fresh family-size handmade pizza loaded with toppings! So worth it!

Pizza with a view.

5 ish pm – Went back to the room for a short rest.

6:30 pm – Played around in the park. We squeezed in a super short workout (mostly play)! We then walked along the Esplanade all the way to the reef fleet terminal. We had to go there the next day for our tour so we decided to check it out to avoid getting lost. It was a lot cooler at night with the breeze (35 degrees during the day).

Took a dip at the The Esplanade pool.

Had gelato at Devine gelato. The shop was not as fancy as the other gelato places but we decided to trust the ratings (4.7/5). It definitely did not disappoint! We found out that the place was run by a family and they make fresh gelato every day! So, never judge a book by its cover (HAAAA!).

The rum and raisin was SO GOOD!

Picked up some snacks at Woolies before heading back to our room. We were super tired and slept before 11pm.

Stay tuned for Day 2 – The Great Barrier Reef Tour!

*Accommodation was booked via booking.com

*All tours were booked via lastminute.com.au

These websites made it easy with loads of deals, free cancellations and no commitment or upfront payment required. This is NOT an ad or sponsored post. Just my honest opinion after going through MANY different websites.

MAYHEM – First few weeks in Sydney!

Exactly how I would describe my first few weeks back in Sydney.Processed with VSCO with f2 preset


Week 1 & 2

I arrived on Sunday morning (29th January) after travelling through the night for 8 hours. Safe to say that I did not get much shut-eye. My aunt came to pick me up from the airport and we were off to an extended family CNY lunch.

Rushed back to my aunt’s place to repack my bag to move to my friend’s place (Ming). THANK GOD she was staying just 10 minutes away from my 1st placement site. That takes away the transport-planning stress.

God’s timing is PERFECT! They just got the place a week before I arrived. I moved in BEFORE she did. I guess I “warmed” up her room for her.

IMG_1427So GRATEFUL to have this gem in my life. 🙂 Always looking out for me and worrying about me not having a BED/TABLE/CHAIR etc. I thank God for YOU! I would have been homeless and lost for the first 2 weeks in Sydney! Thanks for your awesome room! LOVE YOU!

IMG_4594Also, Woolies was right next to us (THANK GOD!). I went to grab food to survive the week. Came back, made some food, set aside my clothes for the next day and it was time for bed. I WAS COMPLETELY SMASHED by the end of the day.

FullSizeRenderWoke up extra early the next day to test the transport system (CANNOT BE LATE ON THE FIRST DAY!). It was all good, taking only 10 mins by bus.

First week of placement went really well! Everyone is SO NICE. I have 3 very lovely supervisors. Very excited for the upcoming weeks!IMG_4669The Nutrition and Dietetics department sure knows how to throw a party!


 

It was a lot for me to swallow in just one week. Leaving home on the first day of Chinese new year + Packing and moving + New suburb + New place + First day of placement + Getting used to regular working hours + Stress from placement + Transport system + Exploring my surroundings + Shopping and cooking + Cleaning + Working out… and just trying to get back to a normal routine and life. I am a person that lives on a routine. I like to have it all in my head (at least). It has been a challenging week of just trying to adjust to what I have.

At the same time, I was frantically looking for a place to stay! I spent HOURS and 3 out of 6 precious Gbs of data that I had just looking/msg-ing/email-ing practically every place I could find.

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Hannah Banana! <3 Much needed catch up sesh! Again, so thankful to have her in my life. We spent the day walking, shopping, eating and pouring our hearts out! Just what we needed. 🙂

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetRunning the stress away!


Background story:

I have 5 placement sites this semester. They are all over the place. To me, TIME is very precious. I’d rather move 5 times than to spend my days in the bus/train travelling for a total of 3 hours. And so, the house hunt quest continues!


FINALLY, at the end of week 1, I found a new temporary home for placement sites 1 and 2. There’s a twist to the story. Minutes after we had settled and arranged everything, the landlord had to cut my stay short by 2 weeks (due to something he claimed was a “long story”). I was at the mall and tears literally rolled down my face. I was just TOO STRESSED OUT! GAH!

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetMoved out of Ming’s place after 2 weeks and into my new home for the next 4 weeks!

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetAs of today, I still have no idea where I’m staying for those 2 weeks. That’s a worry for another day. HAAAAA! Currently living out of my suitcase.

Snapshots of my life:

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetTake time out for yourself, clear your mind, focus, pray and just CHILL. #doyou

IMG_5776This is dinner… most of the time. Along with some veges, meat and fruit.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetCheers to 1 dollar pineapples!

IMG_5510And 2.50 mangoes! SUMMER FRUITS! YUMMMMM!

IMG_4601Lunch.

IMG_5795OD-ed on sushi rolls. I’ve been having this every single day! SO GOOD!

IMG_5540Conducted a small group education session for the Drug and Alcohol group on FIBRE AND HEALTHY POO!

IMG_5515Got them to make all the different types of poo from play dough! SO FUN!

IMG_5541They were very cooperative when it came to making the poo and the reading of food labels. Phew!

IMG_5666Our nutrition booth for Australia’s Healthy Weight Week! It was such a good time getting ppl to play the “guess how many tsp of sugar is in this drink” game, filling out quizzes and giving simple education on healthy eating and exercise! #wellbeing #healthylife #lifestyle


3 weeks down! I cannot THANK GOD enough for seeing me through this time. Indeed, I am NOTHING without Him. Feeling very blessed and realized how much I have taken “convenience” for granted. Just grateful to live another day!

Everyone goes through tough times. Social media can be deceiving. Ppl seem to think I have it easy but you don’t know what goes on BTS.

The next time you face a tough period, don’t ask God “WHY ME”, instead ask “Show me YOUR will and YOUR power”.

 

Side note: I’ve been in the gastro/oncology wards and it has made me realize that HEALTH is WEALTH. Appreciate what you have and the body that you are living in. CHEERS!

#RAW: Injury

Hello everyone!

It has been 3 weeks (or more) since my last update. I have been bogged down with uni work and basically “living life” here in Sydney (and loving every bit of it!). I will share some nutrition/health/fitness stuff soon ( YES, I WILL!)! But for today, I am here to pen down my emotions.


You know how you are your worse advisor/counsellor when it comes to certain things? It is ALWAYS easier to give suggestions/advice/warnings to OTHER people, but when it comes down to giving it to yourself, you fail miserably. And this is why psychologists need to see psychologist, physios need physios and coaches need other coaches to coach them.Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

Running in Sydney has been AWESOME! The weather is great, the roads/paths are decent and it is generally safe to run anywhere (during daylight). Plus, the fact that I am in a new city, I have that URGE and NEED to explore every inch of it.

You can probably see where this is going.

I am the MASTER of doing too much too soon. I tend to get overly excited with results and how I feel to the point where I forget to give my body a break.IMG_6740

I have been logging more miles, doing more speed work, more strength training, roughing out long runs and I must say, I am at my FITTEST. I have never ran so much (at this current pace) with such ease……

Just when everything is going perfectly well……

BAMMMMMMMMMM!

Life just wants to throw a curve ball at you.

Injury strikes!Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

I have been plagued with the much dreaded plantar fasciitis. I am into my 6th week of injury. With or without running, I have NOT been pain-free since. For the first 4 weeks, I continued to run through pain (I was trying to be a SUPERHERO). But this pain has been constant and intense. I only started to cut back on the mileage and intensity in the past 2 weeks. I find it difficult to even walk properly.FullSizeRender_2

Note to self


The Cause:

I have come to the conclusion that my injury is not purely from running. It is a combination of too much too soon, footwear, tight muscles and WALKING.

Yep, WALKING. I realised that I don’t know how to walk properly. Walking is VERY technical. Don’t underestimate this simple daily activity. The effect is magnified when walking is your main form of transportation.FullSizeRenderkfjaskjfTime to pause and reflect

I lack ankle mobility. I’m a lazy walker and I tend to drag my feet (instead of lifting them off the ground).

I have never walked this much in my life. At the end of the day, I would have already walked 8-10km. My legs and feet are sore even before I begin my run!

So, the high frequency of walking coupled with the way I walk = DISASTER


Last week, I ran till I had tears streaming down my face. Sounds a bit dramatic but that was what happened. I was physically in pain and I guess the emotions from whatever that I was dealing with came along and decided to hit me in the face. I was stressed and the thing I enjoyed most (running) to help me deal with stress was causing me SO MUCH PAIN. I was just frustrated with everything.FullSizeRender

And I am CONSTANTLY reminded of the pain because it is always there. Sometimes, it just decides to inflict you with stabs/throbs of pain.


So this is where I’m at.IMG_1777

In Pain

Unmotivated

Sad

Frustrated

Stressed


I may be over-dramatising it. 😛

Don’t worry. I am OKAY! I am dealing with it, slowly. Praying, a lot of self-talk and supportive friends from here and back home have really helped! So much love.FullSizeRender_1

I feel the need to be strong and positive/happy all the time.

But not today.

How is EVERYONE ELSE?

Bye Malaysia!

I left a subtle hint on my last post at the Puma Malaysia HQ.

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It was meant to leave you with some wonder but I didn’t expect to receive a flood of messages. Thank you for your concern! I’m here to clear up and hopefully answer all of your open questions.


If you’re not into reading lengthy wordy stuff, the gist of it is: I am leaving to Australia for 2 years to pursue my Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics.


This was not a sudden decision.

If you want to know the FULL STORY, READ ON!

Some Background Info

I have always wanted to take up nutrition/sports science, or a related field of study for my undergrad. Courses in this field at private institutes were very limited in Malaysia and it was too costly to go overseas (for a basic degree). Because of this, I did Medical Bioscience. It was my gateway to a Masters in the course that I intended to pursue. Plus, I obtained a scholarship from Monash University, so staying back was the best option.

After graduating, I worked for 2 years alongside one of the best plastic surgeons in town. He was intelligent, articulate and above all, extremely passionate about his work. He combined his passion for aesthetics with his skilled hands, a mountain of knowledge and experience, and last but not least, a big heart for his patients.FullSizeRender(1)

A few people thought that I should not have wasted time and that I should have gone straight for my Masters. I had no regrets coming out to work for 3 years. In fact, I would recommend coming out to work after your undergrad before furthering your studies. Working has opened up my eyes and I have gained quite a bit of experience, experience that you can never get from textbooks.

1620520_10153006265161388_8679834674850829399_n*Come to think of it: If I had gone sooner, I would not have had 2 wonderful years of running in Malaysia. No PNRC, no races, no running friends, no Marathon, no Half Marathons……* It all worked out for the best!*

Working also gave me some time to “grow up”, decide where to go (to pursue my Masters) and what to do (my future). I kept my options opened. My parents encouraged me to apply for Ivy League schools in the USA. And that was what I did.

After doing some (extensive) research, I narrowed it down to Columbia University.

They offered exactly what I wanted – Masters in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. The next step was to apply. As it is an Ivy League school, the application process was tedious, not to mention costly.

 If you are wondering, the term “Ivy League” is a group of eight Universities in the US including Harvard, Priceton, Yale, Penn, Dartmouth, Cornell, Columbia and Brown, with a reputation of high scholastic achievements and social prestige.

 


The Hiccups along the WayIMG_8093

 

The application process to Columbia University:

– Sit for the MCAT test (Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Mathematics). I took 2 months (self-study) to prepare for the exams. I had to make sure I passed with flying colours because retaking would have incurred unnecessary cost!

Cost: 500USD

-Write countless essays

Cost: Blood, sweat and tears

-Get 5 recommendation letters

Cost: My face grew a few inches thicker as I was always pestering mentors/lecturers for the letters! It took 2 months to compile everything.

-Send in my resume

Cost: My time

-Show proof of voluntary work

Cost: Not much

-Convert my Australian degree scores to the American equivalent

Cost: 160USD

-Mail/virtually send documents over to Columbia University

Cost: RM 300++

-Application fee: 85USD


 

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The whole process took ONE year from the time I started the application (May 2014) to the time I finally received the offer letter in April 2015.

I would have gone in September 2014 but there was a delay in my MCAT scores.

I would have gone in January 2015 but they did not receive the necessary documents in time and rolled my application to September 2015.

I would have gone in September 2015 but there was a prerequisite that I needed to fulfil.

Prerequisite: Human Nutrition at Monash University Malaysia

Cost: RM 5125++

Deposit to Columbia University to accept my offer

Cost: 200USD

Deposit for accommodation

Cost: 150USDFullSizeRender(2)

With the exchange rate at 4.4 ish now, YOU DO THE MATH!

And I have yet to set ONE foot into Columbia University.


A Blessing in Disguise

As you can see, it was a very draggy process (and it is STILL on-going!).

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I nearly gave up. Who wouldn’t?!

There were SO many road blocks along the way. It was almost as if God had closed that door. But I know that God has mapped out an ultimate plan for me. Everything was part of His master plan, including the road blocks.IMG_1647

When I started to apply for Columbia University, the exchange rate was still sitting at 3.0. By the time I received the offer letter and was scheduled to leave by Sept 2015, the exchange rate had climbed to 4.3.

Indeed, it was a blessing in disguise.

If I had gone, I probably would have to come back! I received a partial scholarship from Columbia, but even then, it was not enough!

You can Google the cost of study there. Try not to fall off your chair. 😉


Plan B

Australia was Plan B. It was a rather rash decision because I had less than a month to prepare all my documents to start an application.

The application process was a lot less tiresome compared to Columbia. It was smooth, too smooth.

I am still holding on to my place at Columbia University.

Cost: Another 200USD

If I somehow manage to secure a scholarship, I’d be off to the USA! But for now, Australia it is.FullSizeRender_1(1)

Although I have spent so much time, effort and money (where do you think all my prize money went?! 😉 ), I thank God for the many roadblocks along the way. It could have been a lot worse!


To New Adventures!

I am leaving Malaysia with a heavy heart. I will miss my family, my friends, church friends, my room, my dog, my kakak to clean up after me (HAHA!), home cooked food, the Tom, Dick and Harry runners, the Puma Night Running Club, Tsquare, my clients…… I will also miss all the fun activities and races here.

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Life is like running a marathon. Bitter sweet. Learn to enjoy the journey, even when the going gets tough!

But at the same time, I am supercalifragilisticexpialidocious excited about what is ahead!

I don’t know what is coming, but I am ready to take on new experiences and challenges.

I’ll still be here, virtually. 😉

Cheers!

*I’ve discontinued my Puma contract.

I am open to new sponsors, anyone? HAHA! #shameless*