Hello 2019!

Hi everyone, and welcome to a new year.

Feels like time has just wooshed by but when looking back, a lot of things has happened in 2018, both good and bad. Nevertheless I’m very grateful for all the experience and beautiful memories that I’ve encountered and am looking forward to stepping up into my life.

I don’t really belive in new year’s resolution, but for this year I want to try to take care of myself better and focus on what makes me happy and everything else will fall in place.

New year, new journey. I hope that you come and experience it together again with me ūüôā


Letting go

It’s been a while since I’ve written a new post. Yikes! My apologies for that, but on the other hand, if you’re on Instagram, I’ve been posting¬†stories when I can. You know, instant gratification and all that ūüėõ

But I’ll try to update more, and now that the weather here in Rome is getting wonky, it’s a good opportunity for me to start hitting the laptop. There are so many things that I’d love to update you guys with.

As you know, I was in Singapore during the summer and reconnecting with my friends and family.¬†Each time that I’m there, it never seems like enough but I’m grateful¬†for the amazing experience that I had.

One of the places that I went to was to my old secondary school. It was by coincidence as I saw a facebook post saying that there was a brunch event there, so I took the opportunity and went back to Bukit View Secondary Рwhere I spent my formative years.

Walking through the campus, a lot of things has changed and the building¬†didn’t looked exactly as it was before, I don’t recognize 99% of the staff there, and even the uniform has changed to a light brown compared to my white and grey.

Nevertheless, as I passed through the various rooms, there were a number of memories that flashed through my mind – pretending the sewing machines was a pedal to a car during Home Economics, trying to get anything better than a ‘C’ during Arts classes, the restroom where there used to be so many toilet paper stuck on the ceiling for some reason … I had so many happy memories here.

Which was was it was shocking to learn that a former classmate passed away not long ago. I was even thinking of him while I passed by my old classroom. His name was Safras Khan. We weren’t close but he was a memorable character – he was opinionated and confident of himself and he’d walk around with a swagger. For some reason,¬†he¬†liked to play November Rain on the PA system every chance he gets,¬†and he’d always be roaming around school with his best friend, Sufian. They were like Ying and Yang. Safras was the gregarious one, while Sufian was quiet.

When I found out that he died from a heart attack, I was surprised because we are all relatively still young. It didn’t feel as if it was that long ago since we were all in school, you know, I still have some memories that are quite vivid, including that 15 year old bespectacled boy with gelled hair.

But I think that at length, the older we get, the more we have to anticipate this happening (Especially since my aunt passed away) and it puts things in a lot of perspective that we have to let go of a lot of things. Which in turn, more and more has changed how I view upon things.

Relationships for the most part. Be it with friends, or be it with family,¬†let’s just enjoy our time with the people that we love. And even if there are people who we dislike being with, just be civil anyway, without being over the top. It’s not like you’re married to them.

There was a time when I got offended at how there were people who didn’t include me in things like dinners and conversations … I still don’t like cliques, but¬†things like that¬†happen. I just have to remember to be kind as everyone makes mistakes, myself included.


Hi everyone!

It’s been a while since I’ve done an update post so here’s one. We’re¬†almost close to June,¬†which means that in about a week’s time, public schools will be closed in Italy and I’ll be freer for some mischief ūüėÄ

Unfortunately temperatures has been quite high these days, and the Roman sun is really harsh and brutal on the skin that I have to moisturise every few hours just to relieve that horrible itchy feeling.

rinaz.net Toons

Sometimes it feels like I’m in an Outer Limits series – remember the one where a young student¬†listens to a tape and eventually gets skin deformities.

(I just realised that the younger sister is Kirsten Dunst)

In any case, we’ve now reached Ramadan, the fasting month. I guess it’s starting to get easier now¬†compared to some years back. Although waking up at 3 am and then¬†abstaining from any consumption of food and water till about 8.35 pm is still challenging nevertheless.

rinaz.net sunrise

As I don’t want to overly exert myself, last Thursday was my last day of cross training. And can you believe it? It has been 8¬†months that I’ve been training.¬†At the end of every session I feel half dead,¬†but amazingly I do enjoy them and it’s nice to have such a friendly group of mates.

rinaz.net Iron Dragon

While I don’t see any noticeable weight coming off, there are some things that I am able to do now that I wasn’t able to do 8 months ago – most noticeably, I can now jump up to the bar and kip myself up a little bit. I still can’t do a full pull up, but it’s a start.

rinaz.net Iron Dragon

Now that Ramadan is here, it’s best for me to stop because I guzzle a lot of water when I exercise. As much as I’d like to continue, I’d risk dehydration. But it’s a shame¬†though, to have 8 months of work to probably be gone in a month.


(Yeah, you wish Marina!)

I haven’t been running much since doing the marathon. Nevertheless, I’m considering to participate in a running event when I’m in Singapore.

Have you heard of the¬†Durian run? You run with a whole durian and at the end of the race you get to eat that AND drink a whole coconut. It sounds amusing to me but of course, one has to be careful as this fruit is thorny. But while I’m interested, I’m not in Singapore at that date unfortunately.

rinaz.net Toon

In any case, there are quite a number of activities that I’m looking forward to¬†¬†– ¬†like seeing the Yayoi Kusama’s display¬†at the art museum, and then going to an Ingress anomaly in Malaysia with my brother. Reconnecting with friends and family. So that’ll be fun. If there are anyone who wants to go with me, just let me know ūüôā

And of course eat all the food in Singapore! I’ll warrant you that I’m going to fill my luggage with all the packed food I can fit in!

Pagare alla Romana

In Rome, there is this term called “Pagare alla Romana” or to pay the Roman style which basically¬†to split the bill equally especially when eating out in a group. It makes it easier and faster to calculate.

I’m not a big fan of it though,¬†because there are some things which I don’t consume which costs more, and many a times I’d think to myself, “Why should I pay for your beer¬†which costs 5 euro, when I’m just having water which costs 2?”

Which probably sounds a little bit selfish, considering that when we go out with friends, we’re there to enjoy each other’s company and we shouldn’t¬†be too calculative, right? But then again, it just doesn’t seem justified¬†if one has to do it multiple times.

Are children overprotected nowadays?

Whenever I go for my aqua-gym sessions, the pool is always shared with other adult swimmers and children occupying the other lanes.

Each¬†time that we’re done, there will always be a crowd at the showers – mostly with mothers, easily distinguished by the bright blue plastic shoe covers, fussing over their daughters – like putting shampoo for¬†them, insisting on lathering them up with soap. It’s not like the girls are not able to do it themselves. They look¬†autonomous at about 8 – 10 years old.

I observed the scenario. It wasn’t something new. But¬†something clicked in my head. I’ve been going to this pool for several years now but I’ve never really given much thought on¬†how overprotected¬†many children are.

Another example is how school children, under the age of 12 are not allowed to go home without the accompaniment of a trusted adult.

I understand the motive, but growing up in Singapore, for me,this was something that took a while for me to get used to, because most of us have been taught to be independent as soon as possible.

One may say that the 80s was a very different time from the present. And that the level of crime was lower in the old days.

Nevertheless, it’s common even now to see a regular South East Asian kid, of the same age as the girls from the pool, being able to take the bus by herself, being able go to school by herself and even go to swimming classes by herself if she wanted to.

Just an observation. I’m sure it’s just a matter of cultural differences.


Dolce far niente

Oh gosh. Where does the time go? It’s crazy how the day just pass by so quickly – I wake up, do stuff and the day is over?!

I’ve blogged about this before about ten years ago, but it’s still an amazement to me. I remember when I was a kid and had about an hour to play before dinner and that hour to me, felt like an entire afternoon. Gosh, how and when did it change to how we are now?

Perhaps it is because our perception of time changes as we grow older, in the sense that we have more tasks to achieve and when we are not able to do them all, time seems to go fast. But I also think that especially with the distractions of technology, time is stolen away bit by bit.

Perhaps we should just slow down and live in the moment, no matter how boring the present may be. I’d like to¬†try for my senses be more present and be self aware of what’s around me – like admiring¬†at the jackets the people who pass me by are wearing or smelling the coffee aroma as I pass by a bar.

Sometimes it’s nice to just breathe and do nothing.

My life is boring

My life is boring.

Each morning I wake up at about 6 am and I check the phone. Eventually I find the strength to get up to do my morning routine. It’ll be especially hard if I did gym the day before.

rinaz.net Vegan Diet

I unwillingly do a bit of housework. If it’s a Monday or a Wednesday or Friday, I’d normally go for a nice walk, playing pokemon go or Ingress along the way,¬†to the market to get some fresh produce. By the time I reach home, it’ll be time for lunch and I’d usually make something simple with the ingredients that I just bought.

rinaz.net Vegan Diet

After lunch, I’d get ready with my teaching materials and then I’m off to teach English.

And then I reach home, and have a cup of tea. If it’s Tuesday and Thursday, I get ready for exercise¬†and would get home exhausted. Cart will usually prepare dinner. The other days I’d lounge around¬†before deciding what to cook. Finally Cart and I would watch something on Netflix. I’d always fall asleep on the sofa as soon at it turns 11 pm.

rinaz.net Using Chromecast with Netflix

Rinse and repeat for Mondays till Fridays.

(Weekends are the days where I completely slack around apart from my aqua-gym session and making my cartoon strip)

Yes my life is boring. But it’s okay. While sometimes I wonder if this is as good as it gets, I’m sure that there are greats things to come in time.

5 things I stopped buying

The thing about living in a country with different seasons means that there are things that I store away for months till I need to use them. Sometimes I forget that I have them in the first place till I rummage through the closet.

Today, I was¬†trying to find my bottle of WD40 (which has mysteriously disappeared) in the hopes to fix my car’s fuel¬†tank which sometimes won’t release the key. And then I saw my heels that I haven’t worn out at all.

rinaz.net Mana Designs Italian black pumps heels

They are gorgeous, and I love them. But they are just not practical for walking around and I don’t last more than 15 minutes in them. (As a sidenote, I was watching this youtube video about this French lady who spent a day in her stilettos)

Personally I wouldn’t get these high heels¬†for myself, but Cart¬†got these for me as a gift and kept telling me that it’s useful to have when we go out for functions. But I really don’t see the day when we’d need to attend a fancy event. Oh well.

Looking through the amount of things that I already have though, got me thinking that I shouldn’t get more of them because I¬†should use the things that I already have, at least once in a year.

So here are a 5 things¬†at the top of my head that I’ve stopped buying (at least for 2017) ¬†:

1. Magazines


I loved magazines Р thumbing through the colourful pages, and looking at the stylish clothes. There was a time I thought that I could try to learn how to make my own clothes, using some sewing magazines. I stopped because cloth is ridiculously expensive here (20 euro per metre? Yikes!) As much as I like my magazines, they keep piling up and takes up so much space under the coffee table. And now, they are just collecting dust. I might just give them away in the future.

2. Sanitary Pads

I haven’t used a disposable sanitary pad since last September, now that I’ve been using my menstrual and reusable pads. I love them.

rinaz.net Things I stopped buying

I’ve been interested in using a menstrual cup for the longest time – so many women has been extolling the virtues, like how it’s better for the environment, how its saves you money …¬†¬†but I haven’t had the courage to use one.

Now that I’ve used one, it’s not such a big deal. It can be a bit daunting to use for the first time, and a lot has never talked about cup “slaps”. But it will get better the more you practise and¬†because I don’t flow much, I can leave it in for 12 hours and I don’t even feel a thing (not like tampons)

And when my flow gets lighter, I just use my cute reusable pads. I love them so much! If menstrual cups are too scary for you, I highly recommend these as they are so easy to care for. Once you’re done, rinse them, and then just pop them in the washing machine.

I still have some boxes of disposable pads … I don’t know what to do with them. People are going to be grossed out if I gave them away I think (even if they are not used)

3. Bags

I find a lot of bags in my closet. How on earth did that happen? There are so many – ¬†Fancy tiny ones,¬†sling bags, backpacks, some from freebie packs, some were gifts … I don’t even consider myself a bag person. But I won’t be getting myself¬†new ones and figure out what to do with the ones that I currently have.

(I’m not even going to open my closet to take a picture of my bags)

4. Jewellery

As much as I love bling, funnily enough, I don’t think to wear them when I go out. They can be quite cumbersome and get in the way when I’m on my scooter or when I need to wear gloves. I’ve since given away many of my costume jewelries¬†I had and I’m sticking to my gold ones.

rinaz.net Things I stopped buying

The irony is that I don’t see many (if any) Italian women use gold jewellery. I wonder why.

5. Makeup

rinaz.net Kiko Velvet Mat Lipstick 612

I like makeup, and how it can make me look a more polished version of me. Now that I’m on a plant based¬†diet, I’ve been searching for vegan cosmetics – so far I’ve found a brand that I’ve been lemming for.

But for the moment, I haven’t even made a dent in the cosmetics that I currently have. These days I normally go makeup free, and use them¬†only on special days like wedding anniversaries and birthdays. So it doesn’t make sense for me to get new ones.

There goes my chance of being a beauty blogger ūüėõ

One thing that should, but I didn’t put on the list is clothes. I have a lot of them, which means that I shouldn’t get more of them but there are certain types¬†that get worn out faster than others like my exercise clothes. So I’ll try to limit myself, perhaps a maximum of 12 pieces for this year?

And yes, that includes thrift shops too.

Goodbye 2016!

Hi everyone!

2016 is almost to its close. Goodness, where does the time pass by? It feels that it wasn’t too long ago when we unpacked our luggage from our trip back from Singapore back in January.

So for the last post of this year, I thought that I’d¬†write my reflections about the year and the things that I’m grateful for.

2016 has been quite an adventure and new experiences for me. Cart and I have been travelling more, and even though the trips has been short, it has opened my eyes to the magnificence and beauty of the different places in the world.

It’s like the game Diablo where¬†the more you walk around, the more you reveal your map and for me, it was something like that. I loved seeing the colourful carnival in Viareggio. Walking around the parks in Vienna was breathtaking. Padova was charmed me with her¬†vibrance and Cologne made me so happy because there were so many friendly faces.

It’s also incredible the opportunities that I’ve been given – like leading a team during an anomaly, participating in my first Obstacle challenge, even helping out with a Television Programme. Yeah, I probably am going to sound like a broken record because I mention these so often, but I’m still very thankful.

And I guess that with the more things that you see and experience in the world, it inadvertently makes you grow.

For me, I’ve noticed a change in myself in the sense that I feel that now I’m much calmer compared to before. Things which used to bother me, doesn’t faze me anymore. It’ll just take too much of my precious energy and in the end, leaves me burnt. Nah, there are other things better to¬†focus on.

Maybe that’s what happens as one grows older, I suppose.

What’s in store for me¬†in 2017?

Nothing much. Apart from visiting my family during the Summer, there hasn’t been any plans to travel as of yet.

I’ve never been one who makes resolutions but for now, I want to continue with my vegan diet, continue doing Cross Fit (and maybe join a spartan race if it’s not too expensive) and try to keep blogging of course. For the moment, I’m trying to get in the momentum of posting 3 times a week – Cartoon Mondays, Vlog Wednesdays and Random Fridays.

I also want to do merchandising with my cartoons, of course. I keep saying that I’ll start but I need someone to kick me in the butt give me motivation.¬†I keep procrastinating. Why? -_-

My worst fear has come true

November is here already. Just 9 more weekends and then we’ll be saying hello to 2017. My goodness. Time really flows by quickly.

Loads of memorable things has happened so far since the start of the year. For 2016, I wanted to be stronger so for a start, I’ve embarked on a plant based diet, and have taken up crossfit (I’m still not sure if I like it or not)

I’d like to get my cartoons to a higher level. I’m still clueless at how merchandising works, but so far, friends seem genuinely excited at the small little knickknacks that¬†I’ve done. That gives me the motivation to continue and do more.

The past months we visited¬†Vienna which was absolutely gorgeous in the Spring. Then Padova, where I participated in my first Obstacle Challenge. And then Cologne, where I wished I could spend more time in. I think the pi√®ce de r√©sistance was when we visited the Carnival in Viareggio with a Singaporean TV Crew. The episode was out last night, so¬†you can imagine how excited my family was, watching it. I thought I couldn’t watch since it was aired in Singapore, but am pleasantly surprised to find that I could watch it online.

And yet 2016 contains one of the most painful memory for me too. My aunt passed away two weeks ago. I still remember the moment clearly. It was Friday morning and I had just woken up and checked my messages. My mom wrote, “Mak Oteh is gone” and I stared¬†at the message. Stunned and then felt a deep, hollow pain and bellowed out. I couldn’t stop crying.

It was a pain that I’ve never felt before.

Growing up, our families¬†lived close to each other. So I’d be dropped at¬†her house while my parents went to work or when I was done with primary school.¬†I still remember¬†her mashing up¬†chillies using her Batu Giling¬†at the old-old house at Taman Jurong. This was the time when the houses were 5 stories high, if I’m not wrong.¬†I don’t remember it having elevators.

And then my aunts and my grandfather moved closer to our old house, sharing the same block. I remember her giving me snacks of soda biscuits eaten with canned tuna flavoured with chopped onions and green chilli. I remember us sitting on the floor, watching Cinderella or American Werewolf in London or Indonesian horror movies which freaked me out.

Then when we had to move again because our blocks were to be demolished, about 15 years ago to where my parents are currently staying and Mak Oteh chose to live in the same block together.

As I started to go to tertiary education and then started to work, I didn’t manage to spend as much time with her. Nevertheless our families try to do a lot of reunions together. Not one Hari Raya would we miss going to each other’s house and I’d eat her delicious food. I’d always look forward to eating her Mee Hoon Goreng Putih.

And I remember us spending vacations together. The time when we got stranded and our extended family had to stay in a really seedy hotel. And then the time when we stayed in little huts somewhere near Terengganu where we caught sea snails and then she managed to de-shell them and then turn them into a nice sambal. Or the time when we went to Kuala Lumpur together and woke up to the sound of chickens.

I still remember.

Mak Oteh was a good person. She has this way of making people around her¬†feel special and while she can be naggy, she always had a kind word for me and advice. I feel loved when I’m with her and I feel like she’s my other mom, since we spent so much time together.

While she didn’t like to exercise, she was a hard worker and would do something¬†with commitment. Which is why I felt such honour when she volunteered to cook for our wedding. It’s not at all an easy thing or glamorous thing to do to feed over thousands of guests.

I remember her saying in her relaxed, bright voice that she’ll come running to Rome as soon as she finds out that I’m pregnant…

The last time that I saw her was in January while we were in Singapore. She was visibly¬†thinner compared to the regular Mak Oteh. I should have seen it coming when my brother was recounting about the time when she went to the hospital. I brought it up to her, and she was as chatty as usual, just not as energetic as before. Never did I imagine that it’ll be last time that I see her.

I should have known…

You know how people say that they feel their heart breaking? It was overwhelming the sadness and for the whole day I just couldn’t stop crying. Completely devastated. The thought of her gone. Not being able to see her anymore, talking to her, hugging her, getting a whiff of the make-up that she likes to put on.

One of my worst fear has come true. And living so far away, gives me no sense of closure.

I just don’t understand. It’s not fair. She’s not old. She should live at least 20 years more. Why?

Thoughts ran in my mind and I didn’t feel like blogging, I didn’t feel like going anywhere or meeting anyone or do anything. Just looking at our photos together¬†was painful.¬†It took a week for me to stop crying.

And yet, I don’t know how I’ll react the next time I come and visit Singapore. I just can’t imagine not being able to¬†go to her house – with her rows of potted plants and not see her¬†or hear her voice as your reach the gate.¬†

I’m still in pain.

I wish that somehow we had a way to back ourselves up and connect our consciousness together. That way, we could visit our loved ones at any time without this distance between us.