Memory.. Little threads that hold life's patches of meaning together. ~ Mark Twain

Saturday, March 31, 2007

1 Month Down

March is coming to an end. We've had daylight savings last Sunday, which means we are now 6 hours behind Malaysia.

1 and a half more months to go. *Gah!*

Saturday, March 24, 2007


The other team is already on their way back to Malaysia now. They left Utrecht early this morning and my teammates and I were so kind to send them off to their cab.

I am so darn envious of them now. I wish I am the one going home instead.

Now I feel even more homesick.... *sobs*

Friday, March 23, 2007

Up To The Dom Tower We Go!

The Green colleagues have organized yet another afternoon outing for us today. This time, they brought us to visit the Dom Tower.

Dom Tower
The journey up the Dom Tower

In #1, the Dom Tower was part of the Cathedral Church. They built the tower (112 metres high) and the right side of the church first. They lacked funding to build the center part, hence the plain look of that part when compared to the tower and the church. If I'm not mistaken, a storm brewed and torn the foundations of the center part of the old cathedral which leaves the tower and the church separated until today.

#2 was sort of the beginning of the spiraled-stairs climbing after we got fascinated with the gigantic carillon bells in #3. As we climbed up the stairs, they got steeper and smaller. Colleagues and I just kept panting after every step, and kept asking if we are there yet at the next stop.

#4 was at the 2nd highest peak. It was so awfully windy up there that I just stuck myself to one side of the wall, fearing that I would be blown off the tower and die a painful death. Hehe.. By then, I was already contemplating whether I should continue the climb up to the peak between the walls in #5. A colleague insisted that since we were already up there, we might as well complete it. So we braved ourselves up the even steeper steps in #6.

After climbing more than 400 steps from the ground, we finally reached the peak in #7! I tell you, it was so bloody chilling and windy there that I could hardly move. Thank goodness for the netting that keeps us safe. Hehe.. But of course, since I was already up there, I thought why not take a bird's eye view of the city.

Bird's Eye View of Utrecht
Utrecht, taken in between the nettings

Walking down wasn't as tiring as walking up, but it was indeed very dizzy going down the spiral stairs. By the time I reached the ground, my legs were already wuzzy. My colleague was so afraid that I would faint there. *lol*

Then we proceeded to Bison Bowling for a few rounds of bowling and then had barbeque dinner there, all paid for again by Green company. Had fun today but I am so not gonna walk up the Dom Tower ever again. Once is already enough for me. Even walking up the steps in Batu Caves was not that tiring!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Learning Dutch

The project that my team is involved in, relating to architecture, construction and engineering; is all in Dutch. The colleagues are trying very hard to translate every single thing into English for us which I believe is not so easy for them to do in very few days. Even the guy who is supervising us admitted that he is not used to conversing in English for so long.

We are also having a hard time trying to understand the whole project by bombarding our supervisor with lots of questions on why this, what does that mean, how it works and where can we find certain parts. I think one fine day, he will be soooooooo annoyed that he will make us go back to Malaysia on the next available flight. Tee hee hee.. Worse of all, since the whole thing is in Dutch, we'll have to make full use of this Van-Dale dictionary software that translates Dutch to English and vice versa.

Maybe by the end of this 2 months, I'll be able to read a little bit of Dutch, but not good enough to speak a full sentence. Hehe..

Monday, March 19, 2007

Working Day Trip To Arnhem

On the first day of our work in the second company (I'll call it the Green company while our main company will be the Red company, they're the colours of the companies' respective logos), we were told that we would be going to Arnhem for the entire afternoon! How cool is that?!

We got free visits to the Openluchtmuseum (which I think it means 'open-aired museum'). We visited the Collections museum. It's a museum where a small number of collectors display their collections. It's really fascinating, coz there's one collector who collects all sorts of shopping lists. There's one person who has tattoos all over his body. There's one who collects all the Jesus-related figures and crosses. There's one who collects all orange stuffs of Holland. There's one (this is weird) who collects vomitting bags from airlines. And this one I really like, this person collected sooooooooo many piggy banks!

Arnhem Openluchtmuseum
Avid collectors' collections

Then we walked around the farm, where we saw many windmills and farm animals.

Arnhem Farm Animals
Spring is here!

Later in the evening, the colleagues brought us to the city centre where we feasted on Japanese buffet. Yum yum! But I had to refrain from eating prawns, crabsticks, chicken and so many more.. *sulk*

Chinese-Japanese buffet in Arnhem
All-expenses paid buffet

After the whole trip, they fetched us back. So nice of them, ah!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Hello From Utrecht

Here we are, finally in Utrecht - the second part of our journey in The Netherlands. This second company is very generous, they paid for the cab to transport us and our luggages from Delft to Utrecht, provided us 'strippenkarts' enough to last throughout our stay, accomodating my teammates and I in a lovely, cozy house whereas the other team are staying in a 4-star hotel in the city centre itself. Best of all, we still get our daily meal allowance from our main company. Muahahhaa...

The house is situated at one end of Utrecht. We will need to take a bus down to the city centre, i.e. Utrecht Centraal Station and then switch to another bus that will take us to Papendorp which is on the other end of the city, more like by the highway. Considering that I'd be staying with my guy teammates, I had the privilege of taking the master bedroom (muahaha!) - with a huge bed, tv and a mega huge wardrobe. The only slack thing is that they don't have an attached bathroom. Darn!

The House in Utrecht
This is where we'll be staying for the next 2 months

Nice, eh? Well, we'll just need to worry about the heating coz it's darn cold in here. I'm gonna sleep in this weekend since I'm still sick and all. So, see ya!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Last Night in Delft

It's our last night in Delft. Tomorrow morning, we will move to Utrecht, to where our second (more like, an aquired) company is located in.

Before I took an early exit coz I wasn't feeling so well, we were invited to watch a 10-minute video that was compiled by the training team, recordings of our activities during the first week. They also projected our faces one by one for introduction of the new colleagues which I must say, was pretty embarassing. We're the first batch of trainees that had the training in Delft, so that video was the first of everything. But overall, it was funny and fun. Hehe.. After 2 weeks of getting to know the rest of the training colleagues from all around the world, I know that I will miss them a lot. I will miss the fun activities like preparing dinner in a restaurant, fine dining with the CEO and not forgetting, learning to draft beer during the bar party. I truly enjoyed the moments. What's more, I got to hang out with the colleagues of various positions for example, I can tell people that I prepared sushi with one of the Deputy Directors (he looks a bit like Vin Diesel, actually. Hehe!).

It was a great experience. Also, it's an experience I'll never forget - contracting chicken pox in Delft! No matter how much I'd tell everyone that it's awfully bad timing to get it while here, I'd have to be thankful that I don't have so much of problems like everyone else in Malaysia. It's the fact that it's very cooling here so I don't feel heaty. One of my colleagues told me that if you 'kena' wind before the blisters appear, you won't get so much of them, which was kind of true as I don't get much on the face and on the hands. I'm also thankful that Dutch food is very healthy (bread, ham, salad, cheese and all) so there's no problem of me having to avoid food with dark sauce, fried and oily stuffs. I'd just have to refrain from eating chicken and junk food, i.e. Doritos!

As we move to another journey tomorrow, I hope that it will be yet another experience and even more so, I can't wait to be home.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Picturesque Delft

I really, really want the whole chicken pox thing to go away now. The itch is making me crazy. I feel so ill and to make things worse, I look so ugly. Well... Not that I'm darn pretty in the first place.

I'm actually free to roam around despite having chicken pox coz apparently, all the Dutch people have either had it when they were young or they have gotten the vaccination jab. But still.. When you don't feel like yourself, you would not want to go out and face the world. :(

But anyway, while walking back to the hotel after today's training, a colleague helped me snap a picture of the lake and the surroundings during sunset.

Delft During Sunset
The colours of the sunset in Delft

It's sooo beautiful and serene that I would understand if people choose Delft to migrate to, well that is if they don't mind living in a quiet and small city. But then again, won't that be a lovely place to retire? Hehe..

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Dutch Pox

[updated on 19th March 2007]

It all started on Monday with a tiny pimple on the back of my waist. On Tuesday morning, it looked like a blister which I so happily "popped" it. Later in the afternoon, I felt another pimple somewhere near to the first one. In the evening, I had more pimples on the body. What was happening to me??

I frantically asked my colleagues and they suspected that it could be chicken pox. My mind went crazy after that. "WHAT?? Chicken pox?!!! Here??!! Now???!!!". I never had chicken pox, and when I do have it, it has to be now when I'm so far away from my husband and family??!!

By this morning, it was indeed chicken pox and my colleagues told me that I would have already gotten it more than a week ago before they started popping out. So I thought that I could have contracted the virus while at any of the airports while travelling to Holland. Only later did I find out that one of my Dutch colleagues' son was recently recovering from chicken pox and I could have gotten it from him (well, theoretically, my colleague could have hugged his son and the virus stuck onto his clothes or something).

*Sighz* What bad timing, man. Of all places and time, it had to be here and now while I'm in Delft, and I just didn't know what to do. I'd so wish that I'm back at home so that Inspector and my parents could take good care of me. *sobs*

The trainer was kind enough to drop by at the nearest pharmacy, got me some lotion (for ages 0 - 6 years!) to soothe the itchiness and a packet of cotton to dab the lotion with, and even helped translated the instructions. Now my colleagues keep reminding me not to scratch on them; not to take any dark, oily and fried food; and to make sure I pop some Panadol whenever I feel that I'm going down with fever coz apparently if I do get fever, it will be more 'san fu'.

Chicken pox is "waterpokken" in Dutch

I so want to go home now.... I really want to be home.....

Sunday, March 11, 2007

A Day In Rotterdam

[updated on 19th March 2007]

We're off to Rotterdam today and before we got onto the train, we made a quick stop at the Kiosk. I got myself some goodies to munch on just in case if I get hungry. Hehe.. Oh by the way, a note for you to remember... If you do plan to visit Holland and want to exchange currency, please ask for notes 50 Euro and below, coz most places here do not accept any notes above that.

Centraal Station
Goodies & notes that are not accepted

It was a very chilling weather today and we had a hard time finding our directions around Rotterdam even though we had a map in our hands! Practically everything is in Dutch, so we had to ask around. Fortunately a nice, elderly couple who were on their way to their tea shop walked with us a bit while giving us the directions where we could also walk pass the World Trade Centre and the shopping area (more things for us to see, they told us). Dutch people are really friendly, I tell you.

The first place we stopped at was the Kjik-Kubus, a.k.a. the Cubic Houses. The houses were so strangely built that we wondered who in the right mind would ever want to live in such houses!

Would you want to live here?

The Cubic Houses are situated very near to the OudeHaven, which means "Old Harbour". But it was too cold so we had to practically walk away from the harbour as fast as we could. Hehe..

We had lunch, Ha Ku and I stopped by at Van Haren coz I wanted to buy a pair of boots. Costed me 19.90 Euros, but damn nice! Then we found our way towards Euromast, the KL Tower look-a-like. Went up to the Panorama platform which was of course, very cold up there. And I was too chicken-shit to go up to the peak. More like I was afraid that I would get blown off the tower and die a painful way. Hehhehee...

A day in Rotterdam

By the time we got back to Delft, it was already 10pm plus. Legs were aching and all. But it was yet another day of fun. Doubt we'll be able to do any visiting the next weekend coz it will be time for us to move to Utrecht. Oh well, back to training tomorrow!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Madurodam & Amsterdam

[updated on 19th March 2007]

We decided to spend the whole day travelling to Amsterdam by train, but making the pit stop at Madurodam where the miniatures of Holland are.

The buildings were nicely scaled to the actual sizes and every single nitty-gritty carvings on the buildings were very well done too.

The miniatures of Holland

Even the inner parts of the buildings were very detailed! The plants were real and trimmed to smaller sizes. The cable cars and vehicles were moving, and oh, the waterfall is so lovely!

More on Madurodam
So detailed, right down to the small little things!

Somehow I felt like a monster, wanting to trample around the whole place. Heheh..

Next up was to Amsterdam, where we made our first stop at the Sex Museum. Awfully disappointing coz it's all really like a museum, so don't bother going there. We then took a boat trip around the canals which was also not worth the money coz you don't really get to stop to take pictures. Some of my colleagues literally wanted to doze off during the ride. Hehe...

Since I've been to Amsterdam before back in year 2000, I decided to bring them to the Red Light District for some eye-opener, with the warning that there will be a lot of 'window shopping' but the 'models' are not very, very gorgeous. And indeed, my colleagues had their eyes wide opened! *lol* Had also warned them about the coffeeshops coz over in Holland, coffeeshops mean cafes that serve weed in all sorts of food and drinks like milkshake, cookies and 'spacecakes'. And the smell of weed is very awful! Yuck!

The city of drugs and prostitution

We had a great time though. Tomorrow, Rotterdam!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Mini Pancakes

[updated on 18th March 2007]

Yet another foodie entry. This whole week has been all about food. I think the training team just loved to fill our stomachs. Hehe.. This time, the team brought us to Taedhuys (I hope I got the spelling correct!) in the city centre, where we had mini pancakes for lunch. The pancakes were so small and fully-coated with icing sugar. But too bad, we weren't full enough. Hehhehehee....

Pancakes for Lunch
Mini pancakes overdozed in sweetness

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Exclusive French Cuisine

[updated on 18th March 2007]

The training academy arranged us yet another suprise dinner. This time, it was a French cuisine at Restaurant Savarin with the CEO. Very unbelievable indeed to be able to have dinner with the top person in the multinational firm. We were able to mingle around and have a chat with him, to tell him personally on our thoughts and feelings about being the new employees in the firm, and for him to emphasize the company's missions and strategies.

French Cuisine in Savarin
Tuna lasagne and beef steak. Yummy!

The one thing I will never forget is that he told us that he made a visit down to the Malaysian office and he brought a pin along. The whole office was dead silent, and he could hear the drop of the pin. He decided to investigate on why is everyone there so quiet. Apparently he found out that the HR director told all the employees to be silent when he is around. He didn't like that, so he fired the HR director. 'Keng', leh?

The next time he goes visiting and if we are around, we must make helluva noise in front of him then. Heheheh...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Let's Kook!

[updated on 18th March 2007]

The training academy brought us to De Kookerie, a restaurant in the evening. This was where we, the trainees had to prepare dinner under the supervision of the chef and his assistant.

It was really interesting, actually - all 20 odd of us, from various countries, gathered together to make shrimp wanton soup, sushi and mango pudding.

De Kookerie
Presenting you, our dinner!

I had a little fun myself by making a mouse sushi. Hehe..

My Sushi Mouse
Looked too cute to be eaten!

It was definitely an enjoyable experience. Apparently the chef will give us a copy of the recipes. I can't wait to try on them myself.... When I get back to Malaysia, that is!

Monday, March 05, 2007

First Dutch Meal

[updated on 18th March 2007]

It's our first day in the HQ and we were provided free lunch at the canteen throughout our training there.

Typical Dutch Meal
Typical Dutch lunch

This is what they usually have for lunch. Meatball soup, bread with all sorts of ham and cheese, yoghurt, chocolate milk, fruits and salad.. How healthy can they get! I am definitely so not used to this. I don't think I'll be able to survive lunches like this for 2 and a half months. :(

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Arrival At Delft

[updated on 13th March]

Just a quick one to say Goede Morgen (pronounced as hoot te mor gen)! We're 7 hours behind Malaysia and won't be having so much of free time to blog nor chat online, but will try to update as often as possible.

Here's some pictures to mark the beginning of a new journey in the land of the windmills, clogs, potteries and cheese.

From Amsterdam to Delft

Have a nice day!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Rat Race

After a long CNY break, I'm finally back into the workforce and this time, joining the rat race, right smack in the heart of the town.

It's a whole new world being in the new firm. The previous company provided a very relaxed environment, less stress and allows casual attire. This one shows lots of signs of stress, everything needs to be documented online and there's a lot of restrictions in whatever you do. Got to wear smart and act smart too. As much as I absolutely dread having to brave through the horrendous traffic, I feel that I'll be able to gain good experience as well as disciplining myself work-wise.

Here I am, sitting in the HR room, overlooking almost the entire half of the city. It's a great view, but it's only a temporary place. Hopefully when I get back from Netherlands, I'll have a good seating place then. Speaking of Netherlands, I'm definitely flying off on Saturday afternoon. It's gonna be a long journey there, and two-and-a-half months stay in Delft and Utrecht. Looks like I'll only be back middle of May. I'm already upset at the thought of having to leave my husband at home throughout that period.

Somehow I wish the trip will be shortened. I am so hoping for that. *sobs*