Tuesday, March 31, 2015

First 120 days of my #KLChronicles (Part 1)


I think life is cheating on me. The last time I checked, I was clumsily dragging my 40-kilo luggage life through the steps of the Northpoint Residence lobby. It's where my employer billeted me for my first 30 days in Kuala Lumpur. That, ladies and gents, was four months ago. Whatever happened to my first 120 days? In my line of work, we have this jargon "first 100 days", meaning all the preps you will do for a new client - development of communications strategy, content, stakeholder mapping, spokesperson training etc.

I can't help but question what I have achieved during my first 100 days in KL? To be honest, a whole lot. Life has a way of spinning your head so fast that keeping a journal is the only effective way to make sure you record life's moments before the next big wave hits you.

My present concrete jungle

December 2014: Of Swift Introductions
  • I survived my first Christmas away from home and family. It was different, very quiet but extremely liberating. Was it fun? Not really. Was it so bad? Not as much as I expected. Did I regret it? No. It's one for the books. Something I think I should experience at least once in this lifetime. It taught me a few things I wouldn't learn any other way

  • It's my first time to live in a building, walk to work and eat tapau (takeaway) food for 30 days. I appreciate the convenience of living in a condo, but I miss the warmth and space of a real house. I also didn't realize how exhausted I was from all the commute to and from work back in Manila (not to mention the time you'll never get back) until I experienced living 10 minutes away from work. And eating tapau for 30 days? Never again. It was only fun for the first two weeks, and the bulges remain much longer than that.


January 2015: The Honeymoon Period
  • My friend and housemate, J moved into our permanent place. Still in a building, but triple the space and looks a lot more like a real house than a decorated shoe box. Our old, humble condo sits right in the middle of two train stations - KTM Commuter and LRT. Whatever it lacks in beauty and facilities, it makes up with its great location. It's four stations away from my office (total of 20 minutes relaxed commute), three stations away from the Central Station which connects us to the rest of the train lines going to the city (KLCC), airport, Putrajaya etc. Still a long way and a few thousand bucks to go to turn it into a cozy, modern looking house, but at least we've started with the basics.
  • Honeymoon stage with weekly trips to the mall to buy home ware. I fully embraced the #TitasofKL vibes! I found a church I like. I discovered the joys of endless bedding and curtain sale in Sogo (in Bandaraya, one station away!), the fresh organic produce from Sam's Groceria at Nu Sentral and even braved the wet market in Chow Kit where sotong (squid) sells for only RM10/kilo. Such a steal. Then you have the ever reliable AEon. They have everything from groceries to appliance, toys and what have you. They have 5% discount for all members every 28th of the month. Everything seems cheaper here. AEon will give SM a run for its money.
  • I also started getting busy at work with a few but nerve wracking pitch presentations and a thousand and one thing to learn about Malaysia, Edelman and CorpComm. Being in a new company, in a new country with a very different market, it's not very easy to build and find my way again. While I have extensive media contacts in the Philippines, here I'm literally starting from scratch. I started reading like a mad woman. I backtracked news and happenings in the last few months so I can bring something to the table and become a better consultant. I constantly asked questions no matter how stupid I felt sometimes. It's the only way to learn. Ask, get your hands dirty and just do it.

  • Last but very importantly, I learned that it's painfully expensive to move to a new place. You put deposits on everything - house, gas cylinder, mobile line, even condo pass. The usual comforts of home are all gone and I have to buy every single thing I need. Detergent, pillow case, knife, dust bin and toilet paper included.

Watch out for the second part of this post when the honeymoon period had passed and things REALLY started to get more exciting. Stay tuned! ;)


Much Love,
Dang

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

27 Things You CAN do before you settle down


While my timeline is exploding with sparkling rocks, grand weddings and adorable babies (don't get me wrong, happy observer here), here's 27 things you CAN (not need, really) do before you settle down. I like it that it's not over the top, makes-you-feel-bad-about-your-boring-life kind of to do list. Plus, it rings true for both ladies and gents. 

I've done most but I'm still figuring out the living alone and living somewhere else part now that I'm presently on an adventure in KL, so wish me luck! 






1. Travel with your BFFs - check, and I'm looking forward to more!
2. Learn to cook - I'm a kitchen geek by genes, thanks mom! I can bake you sweet dreams, too. 
3. Be financially independent - check 
4. Face one of your biggest fears - check 
5. Live alone - On my 4th month now 
6. Accomplish a goal - I think a house for my mom counts? :)
7. Find your drink of choice - whiskey/vodka, no beer please
8. Make the first move - check 
9. Challenge yourself - all the freakin' time 
10. Take a roadtrip - check 
11. Try a nice restaurant by yourself - not very posh places, but dined alone a lot of times and it's not bad! :) 
12. Live somewhere else - 4th month of my #DangKLChronicles :)
13. Learn to drive manual - I've always driven manual, I think it's hot! :D
14. Find a new show and watch it all in one weekend - Yes, and I was on sick leave the following Monday. Good times. ;) 
15. Get fit - I'm at my fittest now, thankfully. 
16. Build something with your hands - I always do, I like working with them. 
17. Stay up until sunrise - I can't count how many times this has happened, good and bad days of course. 
18. See your favorite artist live - Not my most favorite, but still on my top 10, so check!
19. Make a list of books you want to read, and read them all - I have a list, but still working on getting (books are expensive!) and reading them all. 
20. Learn to fight - I learned this early in my life, literally and figuratively. 
21. Volunteer - check. I actually miss doing Coral Watch in the Philippines. :(
22. Find a new hobby - I always do, I hate idle time. 
23. Apply for your dream job - check 
24. Keep a journal - online counts, right? 
25. Have a long conversation with a stranger - check  
26. Do something crazy and spontaneous - Woke up one day, texted a friend and got inked.
27. Get to know yourself - It's a never ending discovery, I love it. :) 

Care to share yours? Thanks to Buzzfeed for some of the most amazing finds online! 

Much Love, 
Dang