When The Snow Falls…

The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions—the little soon-forgotten charities of a kiss, a smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment in the disguise of a playful raillery, and the countless other infinitesimal of pleasurable thought and genial feeling.

~Samuel Taylor Coleridge~

“Only miss the sun when it starts to snow…”

That maybe true for those who lives in a country where snow falls every year without fail. For us in Dunedin, where snow falls only once a year – if it does fall – this is the most awaited phenomena.


When the snow falls, people would go gaga over it. Even if the snow does not settle, that doesn’t stop the excitement.

People get excited over snow for various reasons. Me?

Personally, I feel that snow gives me a warm and peaceful feeling. Seeing everything covered in white, it feels like seeing something so innocent. So pure..


Dunedin 2008 – First snow experience



Dunedin 2009



Dunedin 2011



Dunedin 2013



Dunedin 2014

Having Friends vs A Loner

It is always good to know, if only in passing, charming human beings. It refreshes one like flowers and woods and clear brooks.
~George Eliot~

Do you see yourself as…
…someone who has low self-esteem when you are with other people?
…someone who does not know how to socialize?
…someone who defines fun as being alone?

…someone who cannot live by oneself?
…someone who feels lost when there are no people around?

Which one are you?


I have heaps of friends. I’m surrounded by so many great people but most of the time, I’m all by myself. Not that I’m hard to get along with. Nor an anti-social person. But somehow I preferred to be alone.

A loner but with friends. Hmm… that doesn’t make much sense, right?

I like to watch anime. I like to read manga/novel. I like to play guitar and compose songs. I like to write stories. Not to mention that I’m hooked with my laptop most of the time. I guess all these hobbies of mine lead to my preferred lifestyle.

For the past 3 years, I have lived in  a studio/room type accommodation. The first two years were not really much a different. I hung out everyday at my other friends’ flat for 2 years. Most of the time. Through them, I got to know things that were happening with the Malaysian community. I was always in the loop.

Last year, I did crash at my Iranian friend’s flat for 3 months. Almost every night we talked about our daily lives. It was really a good experience to be able to share what you went through with someone you trusted. We were both poor PhD students at that time. We understood how hard doing a PhD is, or not having enough money meant. I guess that was why we could get along together well.

This feeling – the joy of being with friends – made me thinking that I took things for granted before. Though I hung out at my friends a lot, I did not actually join their activities. I just wanted to be surrounded by people without being involved too much. I just wanted to have people around me but at the same time I did not want to let go of my laptop.

Those great people have now all graduated. So I’m back to staying by myself in an all-female boarding house. As much as I enjoy my private life, sometimes I do miss being surrounded by friends. Being able to share my experience or to talk about random stuff or to let go of my anger.

When I had my first actual hang out this year with friends, though only for a short while, that was really the happiest time for me!

Surviving in Foreign Land

As one goes through life, one learns that if you don’t paddle your own canoe, you don’t move.
~Katherine Hepburn~

Getting a job is not easy. Landing your dream job is even harder. This is the reality in my home country.

Is it easier to get a job in oversea then?


If you have the requirements that the potential employer are looking for – the so-called experience – getting a job might not be too much a problem.

But if you relying only on:

  • international visa because you are a student, or
  • graduate status because you just finished studying, or
  • don’t speak the language well because your mother tongue is in different language,

without any experience, then be prepared to be rejected millions of times.

Been there, done that.

So how do I survive without any funding?

By working on several part time jobs. By living as modestly as I could. And by being grateful that I’m still able to live in this beautiful country 😀

To survive, one needs to put aside one’s ego.

Being a demonstrator is still within the academic line, which can be added to my CV.

But my two other part-time jobs have nothing to do with computer science. One was a data entry clerk (although the job description said ‘SMS Tester’, what I did most of the time was entering data into the system :P). Another one is a cleaning job, which I’m still working once a week.

At this moment, I’m a bit lucky because I have a fixed-term contract job as a Software Engineer at a multinational company – for two months.

But after my term ends, I will have to start again. Doing job hunting. Working part-time.

When that time comes, if I still could not land a permanent job, it will determine how far am I willing to go.

Will I continue working part-time, living a hard life and keep applying for jobs until I succeeded, or will I give up on my dream living in New Zealand and move back to my home country?

Hmm, only time will tell.

Great Pyramid of Giza – The Royal Tombs

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
~Marcel Proust~


Sometimes known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops. The pyramid was what brought me to Egypt in the first place.

One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Great Pyramid of Giza is truly mesmerizing. Surrounded by deserts, the scenery is unique.

The entrance fee is not that expensive and if you are traveling as a student, with your student card on you, you’ll get a discounted price.


What amazed me the most is the structure of the pyramids. Build as the tombs for the royals (the Pharaoh), the bricks that made up these pyramids were insanely huge!

How did the ancient people, with the so-called sophisticated technology not yet developed, be able to carry and stack these cubes on top of each other? It is really a mystery to me.

I was told that the bricks were brought all the way from Aswan, which is at the southern part of Egypt. Roughly takes about 11 hours if you are traveling by train, and 17 hours by car. Just imagined these huge bricks being transported along the Nile River. Impressive much?

The pyramids are not just to be seen from the outside. You can climb up these big bricks. If you pay a little bit more, you can go inside it to see the tombs, or what used to be tombs.

I was on a budget trip, so I did not pay to enter the big pyramids. However, there are a few smaller ones where you can enter for free. These belonged to Pharaoh’s wives.

Double-standard? Oh well, that was how the women were treated back in the ancient world.


The Sphinx, which takes the form of a mythical creature with a lion’s body and a human head, is another attraction that should not be missed.

Though The Sphinx and The Great Pyramids seem close to each other, these two attractions are not within a walking distance.

Since I was following a tour (there were only four of us: me, my friend Yi Tian, Lan, who also joined the trip and Sam, our tour leader), getting to the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx was not much a problem.

Furthermore, our driver was a student from the renown Al-Azhar University, who can speak Arabic fluently. One thing that you need to be cautious of when visiting Egypt – if you don’t speak Arabic, you’ll be the best candidate to be ripped off by them!

And not just that, they will try their best to trick you into buying stuff. Yi Tian and I, upon entering the entrance, were separated from the rest of the group. We were approached by an Arab, who took our tickets and tried to lure us somewhere. Luckily our tour leader saw us and we managed to get away from that guy.

Children were also sneaky. One boy followed Yi Tian around and forced her to buy postcards. When she refused, he got really angry. But who could blame them? With the situation in Egypt at that time, where people lived in poverty, they had no choice but to resort to this kind of life.


Anyway, don’t let this small thing bother you. Visiting the Great Pyramids is well worth it!