The Journal (Part Six)

There’s no end to this, no?

Madrid – Granada

This was my first experience being at a place hotter than my own country. It was an unbelievable tortured feeling being under the sun at 48 º C. The worst I had back in hometown was 40 º C.

We went to see an exhibition of art. The theme was Don Quixote.

I think we went here as a group along with some Turks and French students.

The Sephardic Museum/synagogue in Toledo and a ticket to enter Queen Sofia’s Center of Art

Toledo is a marvelous city. The Jews here are very proud of their heritage and it’s always nice to learn about other people’s culture. They have an interesting circumcision chair. You ought to check it.

Entry ticket to Alhambra

We were allowed about half an hour to remain in the main plaza. There was a long line of tourists during summer. We did not finish exploring the huge place because one of my friend suffered severe pain in the stomach. Water is most important or you might get sunstroke especially in mid summer.

There you have it. The trip.

P.S: I got a big Europe map and it’s always nice to stare at it longingly.

O.K that’s quite a clear cue to do something!

The Journal (Part Five)

I did not take pictures because I was reluctant to be called a tourist. I preferred the term ‘traveler’.

In Prague, when they were using Czech Crowns. 1 Euro = 15 Kc

I was fortunate to be able to use the old money because it was beautiful. It seemed like antique minted ornaments, better than Euro coins. I find them lacking in intrinsic values.

A receipt from a shop in German soil. I bought a litre of strawberry milk and a cheese sandwich. Best cheese I ever tasted.

It was those journeys when you felt so alone and weak. You wondered why did you do this to yourself. The bus stopped and everyone was scattered around in the toilet, smoking or buying something at the nearest shop.

You don’t understand a single damned thing. You have many miles to cover and you don’t want to end up hijacking the bus to a pit stop. You stared at the refrigerator and the sandwich section if there was anything that made sense.

Milk should be fine. And cheese. Both are plausible.

You rehearsed the awkward conversation at the counter while queuing, maybe the cashier is friendly if you asked if this sandwich is stacked with hidden bacon.

Then the radio was on and the song went on.

I knew the words! It was the same song I learned in my Spanish Culture Class. Suddenly I was not alone. I had company. Though it lasted less than 5 minutes I was singing with the radio at full volume.

I was never alone.

London – Brussels

As a country that was colonized by the British Empire, I kind of guard this awe for the British. They managed to come so far and accomplishing so many things from the start of the Industrial Revolution, the age of Romance literature such as Shakespeare, Dickens, etc. I admired the history and there are so much to learn about England.

But I did not like London.

It felt like it has been re-colonized by the Commonwealth countries’ citizen and the majority of East of Europe. I hardly find any gentle British, maybe they are somewhere far away, enjoying the sun.

Apparently sun was a big deal in Europe and tanning was overdone in summer.

In these moments that I came to realize that I grew up in paradise.

The Sagrada Familia

I have to admit that the monument exceeds my expectation but the fee was too high considering you’re entering to see some 400 year ruins.

I wonder when they would finish everything.

Paris Metro Ticket

I prefer Madrid Metro because it was more spacious, cleaner and everything was clear. Paris Metro was just the opposite.

Nerva Hotel, Rome

I was passing a small road near the Colosseum and an old man waved. He forced me to stay at the hotel. This was the first time that it happened to me. The price went from 150 Euros to just 50 Euros. He even made my breakfast and dinner. He’s about my grandfather’s age. I felt guilty just by saying no. I have the nicest time over here (he made the meanest Tiramisu) In return he just wanted to have a chat about the world. Apparently he missed traveling.

Don’t we all?

Apartment rent in Prague

Yes, I did rent an apartment because it was crazy cheap!

Receipt from a restaurant

Breakfast before following the lines of tourists. You cannot get lost.

[to be continued]

The Journal (Part Four)

Along with my other souvenirs

I found out that you can book a hostel in advance so I did just that. The operator was a guy from an ex-Soviet managed country (his accent was obvious but I did not ask exactly from where) and he was really friendly. He taught me how to use the English currency.

My hostel was in South Kensington.

Prague – Frankfurt

I had the best time in Prague. Though the tourism industry served as major economic revenue and is very commercialized, I think traveling in Czech Republic is fairly easy, safe and enriching at the same time. I particularly loved the statues placed strategically on the way to the National Museum.

They have the best selection of yogurts! It’s like I was in yogurt library.

Brussels – Prague

I quite liked Brussels. Amazing florescent green color after rain. Unfortunately a lot of places/shops were closed on Sunday. I received a proposal here, while emailing everybody that I was still alive. I shooed him away.

Barcelona – Paris

I did study French for 4 years but I did not use it in Paris. I have been speaking Spanish for 3 months without listening to other alien tongues. I even sucked at English.

The Eiffel Tower was like a dream standing in awe. Cloud Nine was the place to be. This monument was the place I dreamed about when I was younger and being there served as the best memory in 2005. I stopped at Bir Hakim and walked towards it for about a mile while skipping ‘bonjour‘ to every one. Every stinkin’ Parisian must thought that I was drunk.

Hostel in Rome

I loved Rome. If you like comparing Paris and Rome, you might say both have different intricate mazes of mystery charmed into their very existence. Romance was in the air. But Rome kicked Paris in the @ss in food section. They have the best,simplest, freshest, most exquisite food. And the men, they just melt into your arms (or vice versa.)

Frankfurt – Milan – Rome

It was 14 hours in one sitting. I had a numb backside for about 10 minutes and did not care the public’s opinion about self-butt-massaging.

The Italians are busybody, sociable and very graphic people. They sang, laughed at the jokes of the driver and placed a bet upon my nationality without my consent.

No one won by the way. The nearest they could get was Filipino.

[to be continued]

The Journal (Part Three)

So I documented my journey. Big deal.

Cercanías – RENFE

The red ticket is one of the 2 tickets I had to buy every morning. To get to the university, I had to take 2 different trains. First, the Metro then the Cercanías – RENFE . Metro is faster, more efficient (waiting about 2-3 minutes during peak hour) but Cercanías – RENFE offers double-decked train, with free papers. Also it reaches the outskirts of the city.

Spanish Notes

I had 2 Spanish teachers. Chema was our grammar teacher. He covered my whole Spanish knowledge that was worth 2 semester of Spanish basic syllabus in one day. I felt stupid most of the time. While Ana Isabel was our conversation teacher, I have never experienced such fear in talking.

Granada Bus Trip

The second city we visited during the second week. The first week we went to Bilbao. Amazing wind, chill and food. I loved the Euskera signs.

Granada was charming and we were told that the region (Andalusia) are known to host most beautiful people in Spain due to the charming location of being so near to the African continent. They did not lie.

KLM Royal Dutch

I have faith in KLM. Nothing else.

The address written by hand from an ex-housemate.

An Italian lady stayed with me for several weeks. She seemed to love Spanish more than her native tongue.

Electricity bill – paid

The owner is a woman called Carmen. It was quite obvious she was not a local but came from some country in South America (I never did ask where) She was friendly like most of her compatriots but it was all for the business sake, nothing more.

The Eurolines’ Deal

This might be the stupidest thing I have done. I got quite a list to choose. I was supposed to go somewhere else, to visit a friend in Girona but I accidentally bought a Europass for 15 days.

It was legendary!


I have to admit that Barcelona is not the place for me. We sort of took a different vibe. I was stressed the whole time. The place recalls danger, unsympathetic people and ugly graffiti.

Barcelona Metro Lines

Very soon you will figure out that the Catalans are a bunch of proud nationalist. I did not like the train station and decided to spend the shortest time possible. My only objective was seeing the Basilica de Sagrada Familia (The Church of the Holy Family) as I have been quite a fan for Gaudi.


That’s right. One of the oldest ports. Magnificent wind. Mesmerizing colors. I thought I have seen a pretty beach in glossy photos with fancy filters but Marseilles surpassed it all. Also, I realized that I can’t speak any word of English here.

Metro – Rome ticket

Faded ink. But the ticket is valid for 75 minutes. I have no idea why. Probably the Romans are are wee bit naughty and bought 30 tickets in one go to save a months’ time of queuing up? OK it’s just a dumb theory.

Coupon to redeem in Barcelona

I lost my money to the gypsies in Rome. On the way home, some really nice girls chatted me up while stranded at the bus station. One of them was pregnant and going to meet the father (of the baby) to announce the good news. Another one is a girlfriend of a famous player in Real Betis. The beautiful pregnant lady gave me this.

While passing a kiosk in Frankfurt

One of my least favourite place – Frankfurt. It doesn’t have the aura that I required. It was busy, busy, busy. The people spoke too loud (I learned later that most German speaks loudly), they seemed not to be aware that rules are made to be broken and no smile, just cold, efficient service.

I ought to give Frankfurt another go next time.

I was probably wrong the first time. I have been to Barcelona 4 times and I did not change my mind.

[to be continued]

Sit and Eat

It was about 11 o’  clock and I was starving.

It was a brilliant summer day. The sky is clear. Not a cloud on sight. All the city dwellers brought out their tiny pre-packed food for picnic and most of them are on their bicycle with their pretty sunglasses. I was surrounded by skyscrapers of all heights and widths and colors. I looked and and stared at the top.

Maybe they got a pool up there.

They rang the bells and shouted.

‘Who’s the idiot blocking the bicycle lane?’

It was me.

I just arrived in a new city and felt out of place. I understand I am obviously a fish out of water since the start of this trip and I don’t hope to fit in in any way possible but this city has an uneasy vibe about it.

Something not quite right, I couldn’t put a finger on it.

I was uneasy. The city before this was amazing. I don’t think I could ever forget the first sight I saw upon waking up in the bus. I know that I would fall in love with that place and I did.

But this new city is different. It was too modern, too civilized, too clean that it bothers me. There is nothing amusing on the street. The people avoided my gaze and looked straight. They don’t smile. They even shouted when I asked for directions. The buildings are are symmetrical and perfect which looked hideous to me.

I don’t think this is a good sign. I should leave and pick a new city. Next city should be old and shabby and romantic.

But first I got to eat. I didn’t dare asking for another direction. I didn’t understand the language so I figured I should just go with whatever my heart tells me.

Then as if the wind read my mind, she brought me the most amazing smell.

It was something boiling with saffron, paprika, pepper, cinnamon, cumin, coriander and maybe a bit of turmeric. It smelled sweet, rambunctious with flavor and fit for a queen. The monster inside my stomach was begging for mercy and I gave in.

It was a Moroccan restaurant.

They have a display counter outside of the restaurant, recently filled. Ceramic pots full of colorful gravies of beautiful garnish, smell and creamy sauce stood there waving their aromatic swirly hot fumes in front of me. I feel the monster exploding and I just had to get in and said something useful in order to eat my lunch.

It’s about lunchtime anyway.

I was the first one there. The restaurant was empty.

I suppose Moroccan speaks Arabic, I mean a sort of Arabic language. It’s not the standard Arabic but a different dialect. This is not my strongest point. But they were colonized by the French so I was hoping that I could provide something worth recognizing.

What was ‘chicken’ again in French?

Darn! Something that starts with P. Come on!

There was a big Moroccan man at the counter. Busy scooping the flavored rice and garnishing it with chopped cilantro and stopped dead when he saw me approaching.

He smiled.

First smile for today.

Then the conversation begins.

I can’t catch the first 2 minutes. It was German. I asked if he spoke Spanish. He bargained that he could do French. O.K. Romance Language. Should be o.k.

I pointed to the ceramic pots and asked him what is this and what is that. There were about 10 pots filled to the brim. He said oh, this one is chicken with dates and spices (to confirm that I understand he tried the usual chicken sound), this one is mutton with tomatoes and dried raisins, lamb with dried apricots, etc.

‘Which one do you want? You want rice or bread with this?’

‘Rice. I want this one and that one’


He scooped about 4 big scoops of rice.

‘No! No! That’s too much. I can’t finish that.’

‘But this is nothing! You have to eat some more.’

And he proceeded to put 4 huge meatballs with the size of a ping-pong ball and again I protested.

‘No! Every customer must eat 4 meatballs. O.K? It’s my shop and I give you four. Got it?’


It’s quite useless to argue with an Arab man, really.

While we were arguing there passed a man complete with 3-piece suit, shining shoes and perfect hair. He seemed like a businessman. He looked at us quarreling about everything up front, hesitated and finally got in.

We exchanged smiles.

Second smile.

He hesitated and asked about everything in the pots. It seemed like his first time trying Moroccan dish. He took his plate filled with rice and cubes of meat and sat down in front of me.

I was eating using my right hand and he promptly used his too.

I think he thought that I was Moroccan and copied me.

Anyway I got a German to eat using his hands so I think that’s a huge accomplishment for the day.

I didn’t expect a conversation from the guy but I didn’t have to wait long.

‘I have been passing the same road, the same restaurant for 5 years. I never had the guts to come in. I would rather walk another 30 minutes to another German Deli.’

‘Why today’s different?’

‘I saw you.’


‘I don’t know but today is the day I decided that should just come in and I am not disappointed. The food is amazing.’

‘If I hadn’t come here then you will never enter this shop?’

‘Never ever.’

‘That’s a pity.’

‘You don’t understand. When you are stuck in a routine, everything was automatic and you don’t realize it. You have this hesitation when you want to do a little change. When I saw you, I was jealous.’


‘Because you don’t care if you were alone in a foreign country or in a foreign shop. You just do what you want to do. I admire that.’

We were laughing and chatting and more people came in. More smiles. Three, four, five, six, seven and counting until I lost count.

What nice thing in life to sit and eat.

Night at the Airport

This is not my first time traveling alone. I have been doing this for so long that I sometimes forget to get company. Of course you don’t get the pleasure to share the beauty of the rising sun at the peak of Himalayas with anyone but at least you don’t feel like killing anyone when they forgot to bring your passport or ticket or allergic to the food you’re dying to try or just not into History when you’re in Greece.

This is not my first time sleeping at the airport. I have spent nights at Barcelona, Heathrow, Frankfurt, Madrid, Brussels, Prague, KLIA and several other airports that I conveniently forgot their exotic names. The first night was so cold it chilled me to the bone. It was in Barcelona. I slept beside a stranger who strangely was kind enough to be close to me (not in a pervert kind of way) because there were several other passengers who were trying to make a scene.

That was the first time I feel safe in the hands of a complete stranger. I didn’t even know his name. The only thing I needed was the comfort of his head touching mine. He even make sure my purse was in proper place before he took off.

May God bless his way. I hope someone else would take better care of him and keep him safe from harm.

Somebody somewhere do care 🙂

This is not the first time sit awake in the middle of the night in a foreign random place and scribbling what I feel. I feel calmer when I am within the multitude, anonymous and drowning in the buzzing riots. I feel free and alive. It’s nice to know that you’re not the only one at the same place, breathing and with a destination somewhere in some other part of the globe.

When I look around I can see people walking, talking, eating, sleeping, reading, listening to their iPads or iPhones or watching some sort of movie or chatting online or updating their Facebook status.

Killing time is not so fun alone at the airport. A company would be nice.

But you never knew this kind of people nowadays. They might be runaway prisoners or political refugees or just a bad, bad person.


Avoid their gazes, pretend you don’t care, ignore. Do everything that make them invisible or at least a part of the wall. Your safety is more important than helping a potentially bad person at the airport. Someone else can help them. For God’s sake there are hundreds of airport staffs that can provide better information that you do.

Seriously? This is not why I travel.

I travel to meet new people, listen to new stories, see new faces, sing a new song. I don’t travel because I had to but because I want to. If everyone travels and fears only bad things to happen to them then there is no fun in walking to uncharted path of your own territory. Better stay at home and be boring, right? No need to spend so much on being one.

So sit down and look me in the eyes. I always keep a smile, just in case I forgot to be charming (believe me I could be the most charming lady you ever met) and let’s kill time together. After all, we got all night.

I really don’t care what bad things you did during your past or how many authorities you are running from. I believe that you are a good, kind person and deserves good things in life.

Do you like movies? Me too! In fact I just watch that sort of movie with my best friend.

We could move from one topic to another. You can skip my questions if you don’t like them but I will answer your questions, being a proper gentleman I am hoping to receive a proper, civilized questions.

And tomorrow when my flight calls me this conversation will cease to live and you will forget the little white lies you told me.

You think you did a good job and what stupid girl I am to believe in such nonsense from a stranger that I will never meet again.

It’s just words and if that makes you happy then I am glad to listen to it.

But it’s just a night at an airport. Not much of an entertainment there.

Good story though, about your mother and the gardener 🙂 Beats Desperate Housewives.

The Lullaby

She knew she doesn’t sing very well. She’s not even good with babies. She heard that you have to sing to babies to make them sleep or calm. As for now, he doesn’t scream yet, which is a miracle. Babies consider her bad omen so they will give alarms to other babies in the same surrounding.

They cry as if their lives depend on it.

So why in the world would she volunteer babysitting a baby boy barely 3 months in this freezing place? Has she lost her mind?

Indeed she has.

She bought a one way ticket from Madrid straight to Edinburgh. Ryanair was being nice to many travel junkies that summer. 28 Euros is not a bad price. The fact is that her friend was worried sick. She doesn’t trust a girl backpacking alone in the month of Ramadhan so she made her come this way. She insist buying the ticket with her credit card. Her husband doesn’t mind the friend staying. At least they have some company. Not many people would stumble upon Newcastle just by coincidence, that happens to know them and speak their language.

They would start fasting the next day so it is with utmost importance that she arrives that day. 2 hours from Madrid and the wife instructed her clearly that she should take the train. She’ll be waiting at the second last stop to fetch her back home. That would be the perfect meeting since the last time they met was 5 years ago at the wedding.

The friend’s flight was a pleasant journey. She spoke her last Spanish words and felt bad leaving her favourite book store without finishing her last book. She arrived late due to fog and the backpack burst open at the train station.

Sigh. Good timing.

Never mind. All I have to do is move forward. She’s waiting for me.

Many people were nice to her. Obviously a foreigner in trouble. Awfully lost. Horrid bag. Poor girl. She welcomed kindness, especially from good looking men with red hair and green eyes. Irish men are a delight to listen to, whatever that is they’re rambling about.

Half an hour and she arrived at the promised venue. They hugged and the friend brought her to the family residence.

It reminds her of Harry Potter’s Uncle Vernon’s place. Cute.

The bundle of joy was in the father’s arms wriggling in excitement seeing the mother.

So this is him?

Yes. Isn’t he just wonderful?

[Pause] Uh-uh.

Would you like to hold him?

Me? But he seems so tiny. I might break something.

Shut up [smile] He likes beautiful girls [smirk]

Haha. You got me to hold him. Good one.

He fits perfectly in her arms. His tiny hands were 2 balls of fists running through her hairs and grabbed the strands loose. My gosh, this boy is strong! I might go bald in a week!

There you go. I lost enough hair for the day.

The mother gladly accept the priceless treasure back. The father is busy and focused on the video game aiming for the highest score. The mother feed the baby. The ladies exchanged pleasantries, stories, and this went on for a month non-stop even while watching t.v, cooking and washing dishes. The husband marvels at this lengthy conversation.

Won’t you ladies just stop for a moment?

Shut up! We’re on good topics.

And what is that?


They have been there for a while now. The mother does her research in the evening and the father works in the morning. The baby stays at home playing alone. When the father arrives late, the mother has to wait up and the same thing happens to the mother.

She can’t just pretend that she doesn’t care. She lives in the same house.

Can I babysit him?

The mother was surprised. She doesn’t say anything at first but later said yes. She said she never meant to treat her like a nanny.

Practice makes perfect, she replied. I don’t have to worry about the basics when it’s my turn to have a baby.

So she’s up in the morning and first thing was kissing him, giggling along with him, hugging him, talking to him and before sleeping, singing to him. To her big surprise, he kinda liked it. He gurgled, spit, screamed a bit, vomited, laughed out loud and pull her hair some more but this time he was nicer. It was just a tug, not his first time full throttle force to dismiss hair from the skullcap.

Not to mention that she did it all in Spanish and all the lullabies are in French.

The mother was anxious. What happens if the friend return back home and the baby refused to sleep if he doesn’t listen to that particular song? She can’t remember much French anymore though that’s the reason she met the friend the first time – both studied French in high school.

Sing the usual Malay song, she said.

I don’t know any Malay lullabies nor English. I knew the ones we sang in Mademoiselle‘s class. Simply unforgettable.

The mother just hoped for the best. If hell breaks loose, she’ll download some French lullaby songs.

Just like she predicted. After a month, the baby refused her hugs and kisses, was down with fever and unable to sleep as the friend returned home.

For a week she played and replayed the same song until her heart mastered French lullabies in attempt to make him hers again.

Of course, he would always be hers.

Bon nuit mon petit!

Weather Affair

I like the sun. I like it enough not to complain and not owning an umbrella even though it rains. It wasn’t always like that. I stayed 4 weeks in England and realized that I’m done complaining about the scorching heat in Malaysia. Truly we Malaysians are blessed with the most beautiful weather on the planet.

My first 2 weeks in Madrid was spent wondering why did my nose bleed so much – it was because of the low humidity. You can wash your linen and hung it in closed quarters and it will dry out perfectly. You don’t even smell even if you don’t bathe for a week. Your perfume would last till evening and lingers till the next morning if you skip your evening splash. You won’t have pimples because suddenly your skin will have this matte finish and your hair looks fabulous (apparently there are more dandruff in humid places). You will drink a lot of water but not having to go to the toilet, be it 6 liters. You won’t sweat either so not washing clothes is not a big problem.

But people suddenly dropped and died.

It’s called hyperthermia or heat stroke and it happens quite often. In summer most part of Spain they will have trouble with distribution of clean water and many didn’t put much concern in drinking a lot of water. You didn’t notice your body is dehydrated because you don’t sweat much (even if you run) and the sun didn’t scorch, it just beamed like a nice little friendly microwave roasting you until you dry.

Of course I am thankful, though I have to reapply my sunscreen once every 3-4 hours, take a bath 2-3 times a day, shampoo and condition hair every 2 days, pimples every now and then, air my clothes, the lot. At least I don’t drop dead because it’s too hot.

I think this is typical Mediterranean weather. It gets better to the north, towards the south of France.

As I move towards to the north of France, the weather gets gloomy (for me), even in summer. The temperature starts from 9 degrees in the morning. It rains almost all the time with about 5-10 minutes intervals of tiny spots of sunlight. England was nothing I expected. I read a lot of English writers and deducted that it rains a lot, windy and wearing boots and windbreaker are good measure of protection but I was totally not prepared of the frequency of the rain and the iciness of the wind (now I understand why Rooney has pink cheeks) and I had to wear 4 layers of outfits just to go out. Thermal camisole and stockings are the greatest inventions. Umbrella doesn’t function very well here especially up north towards Scotland.

There wasn’t much wind in Czech Republic or Belgium. It rained but never with a deafening thunderstorm. Nothing could compare to Malaysian rain. It pours like a bursting dam in half an hour while a Belgium rain tickles down the sky in polite drops from morning until evening. When it rains in Spain (in summer, once, for about less than 4 minutes in 3 months) everyone was on the street celebrating it. It was a big deal apparently. I was looking through my window thinking about going out to join in the fun and suddenly it was over.

Darn! This is not rain! I’ve seen toilet flushing longer than this. Urgh! Even I can’t understand why I was so mad at the unpredictable rain.

I remember as I wait for the underground train the little misses and madame bring out their little fans and complained loudly of the heatwave. It was 27 degrees while the temperature on the streets was 24-25 degrees. Me being a person who lives in a 33-39 degrees climate feels that this is a blessing. I have no reason to say anything bad. So when the weather conversation started I would highlight that there are places worse than this place, the reason why it got hotter and unbearable is mostly the fault of the human himself. Sooner or later it will come down to this eventually.

The cold countries would get warmer (which is good for them and their agriculture development) and the warm countries would get hotter which would not make a good news. You would spend more money on energy to cool the environment and there is no other remedy. More pollution, more disease, more stress, etc. But life goes on no matter what.

So what’s left for us to do?

I’d say let’s buy a really good sunscreen and bask in the sun while it shines.

I recommend Coppertone.

My Big Fat Secret Plan (MBFSP)

I have a BFSP for myself.

Many people already knew about this, I did not keep it as a secret entirely. Most friends and colleagues already knew about this.

O.K. My family doesn’t.

I want to go back to Europe. Not just going back, I want to stay there and never coming back here. In fact I don’t mind being Irish by doing so.

No, I am not very patriotic. Thank you for asking.

It’s not that I don’t love this country I have adopted for the past 28 years. I love the weather, the food, the people, etc but I have a very strong reason to leave it behind and never coming back.

No, it’s not a man that made me go.

It’s my ambition.

I tried twice. The first try was incredible so I decided to go back after 3 grueling years working my ass off. It was not as easy as winning a scholarship like the first time. I worked everyday to get a sufficient level of Spanish in order to get a job that pays me like I had been smuggling marijuana out of the Golden Triangle.

I worked morning shifts, afternoon shifts and night shifts, even on public holidays.

The second attempt failed.

Europe was at the threshold of the biggest crisis (la puta crisis!) and Spain just got it bad. People had been laid off their job. It still happens until today. 20.8% of the country is unemployed. Many are thinking of migration. In 2008, I had two job offers but it would not pay much and I was easily replaced unless I use my vagina as a security, as implied by the manager/supervisor/client/security tester.

I don’t think I could do that.

Why would a person like me want to go and live somewhere else so faraway where I would have no friend, no money, no family. Nothing.

The explanation is simple, because it makes me happy.

I am happiest while traveling, learning a new language and being in Europe. I am not happy here because I think my tongue is loosening its grip with the languages that I had put in so much effort in holding on.

There is a Czech idiom that says, when you acquire a new language, you are actually acquiring a new soul.

This doesn’t mean a few words or phrases in the targeted foreign language like ‘good morning’, ‘good evening’ or ‘go fuck your mother!’, it’s total immersion, full contact and splendidly drown yourself in the essence of the language.

You realized that you found your Soulmate.

New souls are not dimes a dozen, and Soulmate is priceless.

Furthermore I don’t have any responsible yet. I don’t have a house, pet nor a husband. Mother has 5 other children that would look after her (I am being quite practical. She can live with me in Marseilles if she wants) and I’m sure she would not mind her eldest unmarried daughter is somewhere faraway. Far from the clutch of the society that considers it’s sinful being single and having outrageous fun ogling single men’s bottom.

Its the only place where I am what I am and being accepted as a person that I want to be.

It sounded very superficial, as if I like to run naked in the street or a flamboyant lesbian.

Though I am thinking of maybe doing it.

I am bothered that I cannot grow and nurture my full potential when there are too many limits. I can adapt with the clothes. I can wear polite clothes, but I can’t adapt to limiting paradigms. That you can’t speak good English when you are a Malay (you are not Malay definitely since you speak Spanish, I knew it!), That the best thing in the World is everything subsidized by the government, that money can buy everything, that you have to be married at certain age and treat your husband like the Emperor of Rome, that you can’t get what you want, that women has to succumb to husband (what, you mean I can’t be on top?) that dreams are meant for children, that this is everything life can offer, that traveling is best with husband and family, that the World is a sad, cruel place and you won’t survive alone without any help.

That you are wrong when you don’t think like us, dress like us, eat like us, live your life like us.

I don’t think this is freedom. Freedom is living the life you want. Be it good or bad, you are responsible for everything you choose.

When you don’t have freedom, you don’t have anything.

As for now, I have nothing.


I have a lot of weakness and I admit most of it are stupid.

To give you an example, I have a weakness for men wearing baby blue shirt. They looked innocent and dangerously sexy. I would soon realize this during the next day given the same man in another shirt, with different color.  Some times I would not even recognize them. Well enough said that he would not impress me like the day before. I don’t know why this happens to me.

I didn’t realize this until someone asked me “what color of shirt is he wearing?” when I told her that I am in love with this or that person.

Baby blue.

“That figures!”

Am I that superficial?

How in the world a man would look ridiculously hot in a baby blue shirt and lose it in a different shirt? I cannot explain this mystery.

Another one is that I would grin like a stupid girl when I heard a French making an effort in English.

Ze argh so kiut!

I might marry one just for fun.

I cannot stand babies with curly hair. I think they are the most wonderful ones, no offense to others but they look like an angel. I’d squeeze one on an escalator if the mother is not looking. I’d pull their little button noses and tickle their feet.

Oh, they are so adorable!

If they have dimples, I’d wish I have a bag big enough to smuggle them home. I’ll fold them twice if I have to!

But my biggest, most dangerous weakness that I even consider saying this at an interview is the most superficial.

I go weak in the knees with Italians.

I was in Rome alone, which is a sin for the Romans. No lady should be alone in Rome, they said. One would approach then the other until one declares that he owns this one. They would start with compliments that would make any lady blush then make their way closer and closer.

And then they would make a bold suggestion.

Let’s go to the park, you know, the one in front of The Colosseum. I’ll take your pictures. I’ll carry your bag. I’ll bring your books. I’ll carry you, if you can’t walk an inch more.

Then they will add, maybe a park with less tourists, less people.

And suddenly you’re alone with him.

He would fiddle and make small talks. He would even sing for you in public, any famous love songs that you might knew. He would smile like a little boy smitten and cannot take his eyes off of you. He would even offer to give you a foot massage when you complained that you hurt your ankle.

He’s really good.

He’d chose a big pomegranate tree, sit on the waist-length fence and wait until you’re too close to even bother.

And then he would kiss you like he never kissed before. He would not ask for any permission nor any question. If you like it, you can carry on, if you don’t, you can slap him and walk away.

If you can walk away, please tell me the secret because I can’t.

And then you’ll tell him that no, it’s not supposed to be this way, then the worse part would be the begging.

I hate it because you will hate yourself by saying no and spend the next six years wondering what would happen if only you stayed in Rome.

So if the next time I meet an Italian wearing a baby blue shirt, I might need a slap on the face immediately.

I need to wake up.