Category Archives: food

My Muak Lek Miracle getaway food trip

Last week was ultimately one of the worst weeks I’ve had.

And when I say that, I mean Monday through Friday.

It was so horrible (I was constantlyconstantlyconstantly interrupted while working) that I actually blew off at one of my colleagues.

I don’t usually do that. But the fact that I did meant that I was really, really at the edge of my seat. Thank God for Gmail chats, I was able to lepas geram (express my anger) at some of my close friends.

Although I was able to express my frustrations, I was really having a hard time being calm. I was a fireball wrap in anger.

I knew I needed to get out.

On Thursday 5:20 pm, I decided I needed a break from the campus. Being away, even though it is just mere minutes, would give me a peace of mind. Besides, I was hungry and I wanted to eat something else besides my Maggi Mee curry noodles (which is awesome by the way. But you can get sick of it if you eat it 5 days straight. Just saying!)

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…I also finished the chocolates Rae gave me from South Africa. (They were sinfully delicious!)

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It was already 5:30 pm and I was still in the office. I thought of calling the van, but decided it was silly to call the van because I was just going to Muak Lek, not to Saraburi or Bangkok. You know, I’m just going to rush home, quickly change, and walk really fast to the van station. If I was meant to go to Muak Lek, the van will be there.

It takes 5 minutes to go home. Another, say 3 minutes to change. Then another 10 minutes to the van station. In between, I had to cash out and was stopped by a colleague for a chat (was getting impatient at this time. Oh boy, I was really worked up!).

By the time I got to the van, it was 5:50 pm. PERFECT! But what greeted me was this:

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An empty parking lot! I was so disappointed! 😦 I actually felt sad when I saw that there were no vans.

Sighing heavily, I walked slowly towards the cafeteria. I thought maybe I could ice-cream since I saw students coming out from the cafeteria and they were eating cones. Ah I’m in luck, because that means the ice-creams just came and that means there’s still the cones…

What’s that?

There was a noise. Like a vehicle coming up behind me. So I turned. And I saw:

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YOU’VE GOTTA BE KIDDING ME!

I was really taken by surprised! All is not lost for there is a van for me to go down to Muak Lek! WHOA I CALL THAT A MIRACLE.

If you saw me that particular moment, you would have thought what the heck am I smiling silliness. But yes, I was instantly a bit happier when I saw the van. Thank you God!

When I got to Muak Lek, I headed towards Texas, also known as the Food Court.

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With the whole miracle that happened mere minutes before, I decided that I was going to enjoy my Muak Lek excursion to the fullest. So instead of having my usual friend chicken rice at the Muslim shop,

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I had

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homemade soya milk with char kuay

and

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kua kgai ke tiau (I call it ‘Penanglike char kuay teow’). This dish had that nolstagia wok burnt-smell, and that made me reminisce on Malaysian food. Happy thoughts came flooding in as I enjoy eating slowly (rare characteristic of Deanna).

It was my breakaway at Muak Lek and I was going to enjoy this ‘freedom’ to the fullest.

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After my satisfied dinner at the food court, I shopped a little bit at Lotus Express, then head back to the university with a motorbike taxi.

(I would have insert a picture of me riding on a motorbike taxi. Unfortunately, he went very, very fast and I didn’t want the driver to think I was crazy, trying to take a picture of us on the bike while he goes on full speed)

I think this must’ve been my 3rd time to go to Muak Lek using public transportation in the past 2 weeks. Sure, I spend more on transportation and maybe I should’ve ask one of my friends to send me. But honestly speaking, I do enjoy this personal Muak Lek getaways – it’s quite liberating. I really hate to impose on people. By using this mode of transportation where I take the public van to Muak Lek and motorbike taxi back to campus, I am:
1. Not bothering anyone to menyusahkan diri / trouble themselves
2. Have personal, quality time (WITH FOOD that *I* want to eat!) 🙂

I’m definitely feeling better now. 🙂

I know I haven’t been blogging lately – there are a lot of things I’m working on and I’m just exhausted in the end. But I have been reading your blogs, and enjoy seeing the pictures of recipes, awesome craft works you’re working on, and etc. 🙂

To end this entry, I shall leave you with food pictures (what else! HEHE):

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cereal with milk, topped it off with CHOCOLATE RICE HAHAHAHA. (Onya gave me a packet of chocolate rice, and behind the packet, it says that you can mix it with cereal too! Of course I had to try it) 🙂

and my all-time favorite,

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Secret Recipe’s Beef Lasagna and Carrot Pumpkin Soup. LOVE.

Summer 2009 in pictures

1. My first Milo Dinosaur, served at D’Chillz. Made by Alden. Not bad.
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2. Kids being miniature soldiers.
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3. Stopped by Phanit’s house in Australian Village after dinner at Station. Daron, you would’ve been so proud of your student! He practices, you know…”
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4. Vanilla & lime with butterscotch topping at D’Chillz. I claim only Aaron and Sandy can do it right.
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5. Dozens of monks trickling in on Wat Po compound. Mimi and I was giggling when we saw some of them had tattoos at their backs.
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6. Trust the Thais to come up something innovative (and low-budget) like this recyclable Windex sprayer using Pepsi and Lipton Ice tea bottles.
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7. Saturday nights at Dr Pak Lee’s, playing Wii. This guy can ski like nobody’s business okay! LOL
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8. One of the six cats of the Lee’s…CUTE KAN. This is my first time of my seven years here to even be near one!
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9. Farewell potluck for Bob at the Lampadans.
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10. Bob and friends before he left for good.
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11. Had awesome green noodles with Ivonne, Onya, Teds, Jun and Fian.
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12. …wouldn’t be complete without the most awesome Thai chai yen on earth (though it’s diluted, by the time this picture was taken)
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13. Simple activity during Ivonne’s farewell dinner. Wrote messages of encouragement to Ivonne, read it to her, and make it into a star! (though most of the time, we forgot to read and we concentrated on making the papers into stars…haha)
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14. Ivonne sorting out two of her huge bags to fit 46 kgs, the max. luggage requirement of KLM.
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Promotion by Secret Recipe Thailand

For those who are residing in Bangkok,

Secret Recipe’s having a promotion! Between 11 am – 3 pm, you’ll be treated with special lunch prices for the meals below:

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Secret Recipe Thailand

1. Chicken pie (ori/spicy)
2. Spaghetti chicken
3. Phad thai
4. Chicken kebab
5. Grilled black pepper chicken
6. Oriental grilled chicken
7. Fish & chips
8. Lasagne

All set menu are served with Pepsi/7-up refill.

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Secret Recipe Thailand

Just to illustrate you the price difference, if I’m not mistaken, SR’s lasagne normally costs 129 baht.

If I get to go to SR, I would go for beef lasagne (recommended!) or fish & chips (because I like fish), and end with a nice slice of SR cake…yum-meh!

So for the Bangkok residents, if you choose to dine at SR, kindly (and silently) dedicate one piece of cake from the display view to me – thank you in advance! 🙂

Relatives in for a fun-filled experience in Muak Lek and Bangkok

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Like my Super Mario Bros shirt? Me too! Only 80 Baht (70 baht per piece for wholesale) at the ground floor of Platinum Fashion Mall.

So last weekend, Jessen told me that his relatives were flying in from Sabah to stay with him a little more than a week in Bangkok. His relatives, whom I never met before, are my relatives too. With last-minute planning, the relatives came up and spent a short weekend at Muak Lek.

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After church, all five of us walked to the cafeteria for lunch. Little did we know, my aunt’s ex colleagues; Cikgu Golden and Cikgu Faridah just stepped out of the cafeteria and was about to leave until they saw us. The long-lost colleagues were excited to see each other after 12 years!

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The reunion was sweet! Aunty almost missed her lunch because they were catching up about each other.

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Cikgu G, Mimi, Misha and me.

After cafeteria, we walked around campus and took pictures. On our way to the dorms, Aunty wished to see one Sabahan student. His name is Dinny.

And yup, we get to meet him.

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Aunty’s dad, who is the Goshen pioneer, opened a new village called Bambangan (a rural area near Goshen). Dinny comes from Bambangan AND he is the FIRST person from Bambangan to attend college. So meeting him for my aunt is quite a MC pilgrimage – to check how he is doing, etc. It was nice to hear Dusun conversation – although I don’t understand it, there’s something endearing about that language.

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We were at the dorms compound for a while. So we just chilled, watching students in bikes passed by.

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Me and my third cousins. Paused. *laughs. If you are laughing, I bet we’re laughing about the same ‘thing’. Hahahahahaha. 🙂

We were supposed to leave for Bangkok that night. But seeing that my aunt and cousins were enjoying the MC atmosphere, we decided to only go down to Bangkok the next day. When the Lampadans found out that we were staying another night, they immediately organized a breakfast potluck the next morning. 🙂

But for Saturday night, I had my relatives over for dinner.

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I cooked mixed vegetables (broccoli, baby corn, carrots) with chicken teriyaki and fish toufu, stir-fried salmon balls, chicken dimsum, vege fish ball and chicken nori seaweed, and Oriental Kitchen’s dry noodles (yummy!) as well as brown rice. I was quite nervous, actually (never had an aunty/uncle to eat at my place). But I think, it turned out alright. Should’ve cooked more noodles, haiyah. Do you agree that when you have rice and noodles, people tend to go more for the noodles than rice? I would too, hehe.

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Later that night, my aunt and Mimi went to bed early. Whereas Jessen, me and Misha head to D’Chillz for some sundaes.

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I’m not really a sweet tooth – but I don’t know why the sudden ‘obsession’.

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By the way, if you ever have a chance to go to D’Chillz, try their Vanilla & Lime sundae with Butterscotch toppings. OH MY, so gooooooooooood!

The next morning, at 8:30 am, we head over to the Lampadans for our breakfast. For those who have been at the Lampadans’ residence, you know the ambiance – familiar laughter, delicious food, the lahs, bahs and kans – a remedy for the homesick.

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The ladies.

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The gents.

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The kids.

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A group photo for remembrance.

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Noon came and we boarded on the famous Chang van. Two hours later, I brought my aunt and cousins straight to Chatuchak market – we wasted no time!

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Chatuchak has loads of things to offer. I’m pretty sure I want to return to this place again – but only if I have leisure time and energy to spare. 🙂

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One of the stalls we stopped by that sold Thai silk.

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I’m not really good at bargaining – but luckily, the muse of negotiator decided to be at my side and I was able to help my aunt to get a good deal (well, we think it’s a good deal lah!). Mimi proved that she has the guts and the skills to tackle some deals (at such a young age!). Misha were indulging everything that she was seeing – and wished she could purchased them all. I’m glad I brought them there (despite the little drizzle that happened in the evening), because Chatuchak market is indeed a place that you should go as a tourist, hahaha. 🙂 After Chatuchak, we went to MBK, and then later straight home.

That’s just Day 1!

The next entry will be about our sightseeing on Day 2 – the Grand Palace and Wat Pho.

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Stay tuned!

PS- Photos are courtesy of my cousins. 🙂

Big Apple (Bapple) Donuts & Coffee available in Siam Discovery Center, Bangkok

A familiar and rich aroma tickled my olfactory senses as I approached the 4th floor of Siam Discovery Center from the escalator. Wait a minute, the smell…it’s familiar. Not only it smells nice…it smells home. Wait a minute, could it be…

And it was.

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The Big Apple Donuts & Coffee. My eyes grew bigger at this point. The happy discovery felt the same when Tesco Lotus express opened at Muak Lek –  only that Big Apple rocks 10x more!

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My love affair with The Big Apple donuts, or Bapple called locally here (no no, it’s not a rip-off –  the name Bapple is used on the international platform) began last year in December in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. In a particular new mall called Citymall, my sister and I happened to pass by the Big Apple Donuts & Coffee place. My sis insisted I check out the hype place (I mean, really who could compete with Dunkin Donuts!).

When I saw the menu, I was stunned. These are donuts?!

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Source: Click here

My impression elevated when I saw their range of donuts displayed on their transparent glass case.

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Source: Click here

I still remembered that first day – I immediately purchased a package of 6 donuts. And savored every bite, every novelty flavor and combination. And until I left for Bangkok, I bought another two packages of donuts in two different times. Seriously, eating Big Apple’s donuts gave me a whole new experience to…eating donuts. The attractive and creative appearance, the tantalizing flavors and the fact my family enjoys it too affirmed my space for these donuts.

Seeing Big Apple at Siam DC reminds me of my brother playing his PSP while eating a Chocoholic. Or my mom eating a Duren Duren (durian-flavored donut! YES hahaha) while heading out for choir practice on Friday night. Or me and my Mango Tango (I love this flavor!).

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Source: http://www.bigappledonuts.com (check out their interactive menu!)

Simply said, I’m glad Big Apple’s available in Bangkok. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Directions

To get to Bapple’s, go to the 4th floor of Siam Discovery.

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Locate Food For Fun food court (near Shabushi and Sukishi). Bapple’s right next to the food court.

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First experience dining at Muak Lek’s Gold Plus restaurant

You thought being in a small town for 7 years, you have experienced almost everything local.

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Like visiting the Italian restaurant/cafe Primo Posto Del Khao Yai 20 minutes away from campus.

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Or discovering the most awesome Thai cha yen EVER and green vege noodles with Thai prick pau sauce about 10 minutes away from campus.

But nope.

I have not experienced everything local, and you know what, that’s alright. In fact, it’s Awesome! Because having opportunities for new adventures/new things to explore keep my life colorful and fresh! 🙂

So yesterday evening, Julie brought me to GOLD PLUS restaurant, an endearing lovely place located outside of the highway.

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(yeah, I took this picture before going home hehe)

If you have been in Thailand long enough, you’d realize that a nice Thai restaurant usually have a nature-themed atmosphere going on. And GOLD PLUS is one of them.

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The entrance of the restaurant.

After they took down our orders, we decided to explore the place a little bit. They have a wooden stairway leading to a higher level with more tables and chairs, and another higher level where there is a private room for exclusive groups (though I find it a little dusty). Also, there’s a balcony so you could sort of see a bigger picture of the place.

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Here’s the view from the balcony. Nice ya?

Say hi to Julie! 🙂

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So that was the restaurant…and how about the food?

Whoaahh I like, I like!

We ordered four dishes, and I’ll introduce them as we go along.

Below: Hong Kong chinese noodles, and the Green Apple salad.

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The chinese noodles were lovely! Definitely had the taste of how a Chinese dish should be 🙂 And as for the Apple salad, I was actually a little surprised. I had a picture in mind, and when it came, it looked like a som-tum inspired salad.

And you know what – not only the appearance, but even the taste is som-tum inspired! I know it sounds weird but the Thai fusion combination worked! I enjoyed savoring this dish =) =) =)

The 3rd dish we had was Miso soup. The warm liquid with a touch of seaweed and toufu settled just right, especially when the weather rained a little bit and was quite windy later at night.

But I got to draw your attention at our 4th dish – the Fettuccine with…THAI GREEN CURRY.

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This (another) Thai fusion dish may sound weird, may look weird…but I tell you.

It taste sooooooo delicious! You know how you have spaghetti with basil leaves? I say this is 10x BETTER. The curry has a bit of creamish texture, which I really like and thus, gels well with the pasta. Credits to Julie for recommending this dish. I never look at Fettucine and Thai green curry the same way again.

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Price wise was good too. Our meal cost almost 500 baht. For the ambiance and the food, I’d say it’s worth it. 🙂

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A cute napkin holder. Thai people are so creative!

It was a great experience to dine at GOLD PLUS. I’d definitely come back here again! Now, I just need to learn how to ride a bike…

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The landmark from the highway that you need to spot to enter GOLD PLUS. If you’re on the highway, just stay on the left and you should spot the landmark in minutes.

The experience was even made more awesome because of good company 🙂

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Julie, I will miss you! Am so glad you came to MC. I’m sure we will cross path in the future =)

Part III: A humbling experience in Sabah

I can feel memories are slowly slipping off…so I better finish blogging about my East Malaysia trip before I forget!

At the beginning of the trip, we started with Sarawak. In the beginning, we had some rough spots – and it all started with our ‘resort’.

But superman Randy and superwoman Clare saved us and brought us to Kuching for a breath of air. We toured Kuching, ate some awesome Kuching food and return to Ayer Manis with a calmer heart.

Then we traveled on a 12-hour bus ride to Miri. Due to miscommunication, we found out that we only had 1 performance instead of 2. That was a blessing in disguise because the night off gave us a chance to catch up on our sleep, rest, practice, and reorganize. We also had a chance to see a little bit of Miri. Although our accommodation was simple, we felt very much home. We were taken care so well that by the time it was time to start our program, we were energized and rejuvenated to sing! That was our best performance so far.

And now here comes the second half of the trip: SABAH aka my home state Woohoo! 🙂

But before I start with Sabah, I must not forget to tell you what happened in Miri airport (to be more precise, in the plane we were boarding).

I entered the plane, only to find Ivonne frantically running past me with a worried look.

Ivonne couldn’t find her wallet in her backpack. She checked and rechecked and still, no sign of wallet. So she ran outside the plane and into the Departure hall to check whether her wallet was at the seats that we sat earlier on. Nada.

At this point of time, I was dead worried too. How am I going to deal with this? What steps do I, the trip coordinator, take? Do I need to bring Ivonne to see a police officer? Do we report the missing wallet? But the main question that bothered me was,

Are we going to leave Miri without Ivonne’s wallet?

Even I took Ivonne’s bag and checked it several times. None. Jun said something, but I didn’t really hear him (I was too busy concentrating on locating a blue long and thick wallet).

Ivonne came back, shook her head, return to her seat and sobbed. A sort-of airport police attendant came not long after her and politely asked her questions. He was quite nice, actually…very attentive. He took down details and I gave him my phone number, my house phone number and even my mom’s number. He assured Ivonne that they will try and locate her wallet and will call me if they found her wallet.

The police attendant left. We were all trying to comfort Ivonne. Jun, who has been trying to say something (but none of us were listening) managed to capture Ivonne’s attention. He asked her to check her small handbag that she’s been carrying all along.

It was a real small Thai handbag and her wallet was thick. Ivonne didn’t look convinced but figured she might as well tried.

She looked into her bag, digged in a little, and paused. Then she looked up with an ARGH expression and later faced us.

“DON’T SAY ANYTHING”

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Yup, Ivonne found her wallet! Everyone felt so happy and relieved! 🙂 Only Ivonne knows how she really felt after she discovered her wallet =).

Back to the trip, we’ve been a team of eight. In Sabah, we had another team member who joined us and I’m glad to say that it was Julie!

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I cannot tell you how fiercely HAPPY I was when Julie joined us. As soon as she arrived, I was already on a storyteller-roll, telling her what happened on Day 1 up to then. Julie has been on similar trips before, so she knew how the experience would be like. It was good to have someone who understood the struggles we’ve been through and the awesome blessings we’ve received. Having someone who has participated in this kind of trips AND who is also a reealllly good friend of mine was a true blue blessing!

Look at the picture above again. I really adore that picture because it encapsulated the fun that I had with Julie – we were cracking up jokes and laughing at almost every opportunity. On a personal note, Julie’s presence brightened me up. Ju, I’m really glad you came along! 🙂

Okay, back to the trip!

In Sabah, we traveled from so long, so far. After we touched down KK, we stopped by my house for a good 40 minutes. After that, it was a 6-hour journey to SANDAKAN. I’ve never been to Sandakan in the 25 years of my life, so I was excited to go to a new place…in my own home state! 🙂

For lunch, we stopped by at some Chinese restaurant. The group, not done with the 3-layer-tea, ordered for it. Unfortunately, Teh C Special was not available, so they had to deal with plain ol’ Teh C.

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Past 5 in the evening, we reached our destination – Sandakan church.

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We had only little time to get ready (had to wait for the pastor for a long while because he had the key and he wasn’t there). But we managed to be on time and we performed.

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Over here, I had to speak Malay too (nobody was there to translate for me). Uhm, no my Malay wasn’t polish yet…although certain phrases like “Lagu seterusnya bertajuk…” (the next song is entitled…) were slowly coming back.

This was the church also where I introduced myself as Pegawai Komunikasi (in direct translation, it means ‘Communications officer’). If you speak Malay, you would laugh at the Malay title BECAUSE ‘Pegawai’
connotates I’m sort of a government officer…like a police officer.

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Moving on!

The next morning, Julie and I woke up early and had a morning excursion with one mission – to go downtown and find a kedai kopi (restaurant) to bring the group for breakfast.

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After a wrong turn (saw a roundabout, a highway and more trees) and a 911 call to our friend from the area, we took a right instead from the church, and about 15 minutes later, we were sort-of in town. We saw a Chinese restaurant, took a right in, pass a couple of restaurants, and finally stopped at this Malay restaurant.

The menu looked promising,

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and another factor why we decided to bring the group here was because of the AVOCADO SHAKE.

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So we went back, gathered the group, and came back to this restaurant.

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Oh man look at the kuay teow basah above. Just look at the egg gravy. This is Rae’s (it’s supposed to be a vegetarian dish).

And look at mine:

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Haiyah, it was so dissappointing! For a kuay teow basah dish, what’s really important is the kuah/gravy itself. There should be egg straining in the gravy (similar like the previous dish). So I REALLY did not enjoy my noodles. Not only was the gravy all dead wrong, it was quite bland. Eurghh, so dissappointing! *Don’t worry Adventist friends, I took out the prawns.

Anyway after food, we went back to the church, packed our stuff to our van, and travelled to our next destination – ULU DUSUN.

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Ulu Dusun is one of the top memorable places we’ve had in our trip.

Way before the trip started, we knew there were places where we would literally sleep on the floor. Ulu Dusun was one of those places and the group was prepared to use the sleeping bags that was solicited by a kind friend earlier in the trip. However a call in the morning by the district pastor completely surprised me:

“…we have changed your place of stay. Instead of the church, we are putting you in a resort nearby…”

What?

Frankly speaking, I was a tad doubtful. Resort? The last thing I wanted to do was raise the expectations of my members, and later be dissappointed by it (and thus, more complaints about what IS a resort, etc). Julie knew, so both of us kept quiet during our journey to Ulu Dusun.

And when we arrived at JS Riadah Resort, the group was completely taken surprised.

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It was an actual resort. Sure, not like the kind with a swimming pool, but it has comfortable rooms with private bathrooms is air-conditioned. And a TV. And a restaurant conveniently located right outside of our rooms. It was more than perfect!

I found out later from Julie that the church sponsored our stay at the resort. I went, What? A similar experience we had in our marketing trip was in 2007 when someone mysteriously sponsored our classy guestrooms at the Union in Singapore.

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Again, I was completely humbled by human generosity again. The church is apparently very excited about us coming and they wanted us to be comfortable. Wow. Julie and I said our thanks to the pastor and told the rest about what just happened. They were also humbled too.

With great hospitality we’ve received, we were more than ready to visit the church whom have reached out to us even before seeing us.

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See how overexcited I am? 🙂 If you look at the pictures from the previous blog entries, you can actually trace a progression of my facial expression. The trip was definitely getting better, less stress :).

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There were also church members who traveled about 50 kms to hear us sing. Unfortunately, they came late, only to arrived at our second last song.

When we knew about this, I immediately rounded up the members, and we sung them an acapella upbeat number in the potluck hall.

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They were delighted! To see their reactions – we probably wouldn’t mind continuing singing. This was also the church who prepared two big combined tables, JUST FOR US. We were completely blown away!

Ulu Dusun not only redeemed the title ‘resort’ – they were living testaments on human generosity. Bless their hearts.

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The entry on Ulu Dusun is incomplete without mentioning the awesomelicious MEE GORENG MAMAK. Oh it was SO GOOD! If you ever go to JS Riadah, do me a favor and try Mee Goreng Mamak. It’s seriously so delicious!

Our next stop was Telupid. It was raining this time, so by the time we got out of the van to get into our place, it was muddy and wet. Some of them were tired and managed to catch some eye rest.

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The place where we stayed to the church where we were performing was about 15 minutes. We got there on time and began the program. The audience absolutely loved Dalam Yesus, a Malay song. Imagine when I said:

“…so we’ve sung a Malay song, a Thai song, English songs…what do you think is the next language we are going to sing in?”
“Dusun!”
“Dusun? Okay we try ah.”

They were very excited and sang Mulong Pia along with us. If you want to grab the locals’ attention, I completely recommend finding and learning a song in their language! It was absolutely a joy to sing in my supposedly-mother tongue and seeing the smiles on congregation’s face. 🙂

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This was also the church where Julie and I slept on the floor. Luckily we had a mat and sleeping bags to sleep on!

Something exciting also happened that night. It was Matthew’s birthday on Saturday, so we tried to stay up until midnight to give him a birthday shower – literally. But we were getting sleepy so we decided to make it an hour earlier. Jun managed to get Matthew to be outside of the house to see the “Milky Way” (we can’t believe he actually fall for it!), while the rest of us were already set with our mineral water bottles and talcum powder (that’s me, that’s me!). The second he stood out, he was showered and Ivonne chased Matthew on the compound with her water bottle. Hahahaha it was a funny sight! We tried our best to control our laughter and noise movements (the pastor’s house was right next to us!) – we even sung Happy Birthday at the level of a whisper. Here’s a picture to commemorate the event:

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The next morning, we traveled another 2 hours to Ranau. On our way to Ranau, we were blessed to see this beautiful view:

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Hello, Mount Kinabalu!

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At Ranau, we had to make readjustments to our program on the spot. Unlike our previous experience in Sarawak, this time we were more prepared. And I was less frantic compared the first time we were presented with sudden last-minute changes.

I found out later after the trip that it is actually expected to be suddenly given the ‘opportunity’ to give a sermon, a talk, a this and a that. It’s NORMAL. Even though this is not my first trip, I did not remember this norm AT ALL. Perhaps maybe before I was just a participant (not the organizer) and we have faculty with us, so perhaps THEY took care of the sermon, etc. Anyway, I’ve learn BIG from this – whenever you visit a church, it is normal and expected that you are prepared to give a talk. So the best way is to prepare BEFOREHAND…a sermonette, a devotion, etc.

A good lesson to indeed.

After Ranau, we continued another 2 hours journey, which is our last destination – Tamparuli!

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While waiting for pastor for a ride to another guestroom.

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Tamparuli is the district where Sabah Mission is located and where Sabah Adventist Secondary School (SASS), one of our two Adventist schools, is situated. This is also Julie, Daron, and Lorena’s school. Aww. 🙂

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This is the Pioneer Memorial Church, the church where we performed.

After potluck, with the help of Julie and Nathan (and joined by my family and Lorena), we brought the whole group to Secret Recipe, Warisan Square in KK. My sister helped to reserved the second floor for the whole group (plis ok plis!). It was Matthew’s birthday, so we wanted to make it extra special. It was so special that he didn’t know a birthday cake has already been prepared with his name on it.

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Deanna’s favorite chocolate mud cake from Secret Recipe.

Another surprise was that my name and Julie’s were also written on the cake (we’re April babies!) too. Awww. 🙂 It’s nice to be surprised once in a while (I still prefer being the organizer behind the scene…hihihih).

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At that point, I was truly enjoying myself in the trip. I had good company and I had a great experience. What more could a girl ask for? 🙂

Thankfully, I was able to go home that night and spend a few hours with my family. We had an early flight the next morning, so before entering the departure hall, we managed to take a group photo.

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This entry has over 30 photos! So I’m writing my overall reflection the next blog entry.