Tuesday, October 26, 2010

on work, again.

Dear all, I think I will soon be reduced to posting here once a month. Working life is not exactly the most exciting thing to write about, as most of my friends have already started working or will be starting soon, and I don't want you guys to have to go to work eight hours a day and come home and read about work again, do I?

But, besides work, I really have not much else to say. Sigh.

Yesterday was my first time working on a night shift in outpatient. I certainly didn't get off to a great start, as I was supposed to work from 5-10pm. I overslept (afternoon nap of course, not from the night before!) and woke up at 4.45pm. Jumped up from my bed and jumped into the car, literally, and rushed to the hospital but still ended up being five minutes late. I'd set my alarm at 4 for me to eat and bathe so I didn't get to do any of that. (Eww, I know!)

Working at night is boring. Period. There was only me and one pembantu farmasi so there wasn't much conversation possible, and the prescriptions kept flowing in though it was already night. And most of the prescriptions are the same: PCM, syrups, antibiotics, the works. It didn't help that I had a throbbing headache from waking up too abruptly (yeah, it happens to me) and a growling stomach. Not a good night indeed...

And! I will be having my oncall a few weeks later. For some reason we got scheduled for oncalls earlier than the more 'senior' prps, and I have only been attached to opd and drug info so far, so I had to learn everything latest by this week. And of course, practise my driving skills at night, and practise driving while I'm groggy (assuming that I'll get called in the middle of the night). One week of sleep deprivation certainly does not sound fun, but thankfully our hospital has so many prps that we'll probably get a week of oncall in 3 months perhaps, which is wonderful!

Working life is growing on me. But I find myself gradually losing my hopes and dreams the longer I work. I want to keep my dreams alive, no matter what. I don't intend to become a cog in the wheel, churning out the expected results eight hours a day, five days a week. But sometimes I really don't know what I really want.

Actually, I do. I just want to be happy, and to make a difference. I just haven't figured out how to do that.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

work, two weeks in.

Dear all, it's been two weeks since I started my career as a pharmacist. How fast time goes by, a blink of the eye and I've been working for two weeks. Two weeks! I remember how awful I felt the first day at work, I didn't know anyone and didn't know what was expected of me, and what I was supposed to do. I started off with labelling, and then filling, and dispensing. Now I rotate between all three, depending on the number of prescriptions flowing in and the people available at that time.

Dispensing is still a challenge for me, I still can't remember the dose, frequency and indications of so many medicines, and I have to dispense with a BNF by my side. I am still slower than most of the other pharmacists but then again, I still have so much to learn. I think it will take a whole lot more time for me to feel completely at ease when a patient comes up to the counter.

I admit I'm much happier now compared to my first day as I have made so many wonderful new friends, who actually make the effort to include me in their activities. My housemate (technically my senior) described me as outgoing and likes to go out (hey it kinda rhymes!), which I thought was the exact opposite of what I used to be. I mean, I have been a homebody for the longest time and I still don't quite know what to say to strangers. But I am trying my best and it certainly feels great to have an awesome bunch of colleagues who really make all the difference. Especially those that blurt 'Uncle your cincin very cantik!' or 'Auntie your blouse is so pretty!' in the middle of dispensing, and the conversations which leave us dissolving in laughter in the OPD.

Life is good so far. I hope it stays that way for this one year.

I just want to be happy. =)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

a new place, a new life

Dear all, I have been posted to Hospital Seri Manjung, in Sitiawan, a small town very near Lumut and about 1.5 hours from Ipoh. I have just got the news on Friday, by which then I immediately rushed to JKN to report, so I'll be starting work on Monday. I think there was too little time for me to digest the information that I'll be starting a whole new chapter of my life in a whole new place, so much so that when it finally sank in, it felt terrible. I thought I have learnt to mute my heart towards such things, I don't think I have felt much even when I knew I was to enter the national service, or before leaving home for Glasgow. I would like to think it is just another normal part of life, at which I'm supposed to work, earn money, support and take care of myself, without all the people that I've been used to. I will be there without my parents, my best mates, and all will be new to me in that place. I want to think I'll be alright, and I thought I was strong enough. But somehow I still feel scared sometimes at the prospect. I am scared of the unknown, and I think a new job, a new place, and new people to deal with would make enough unknowns to make anyone scared. Ever since a long time, this is the first where I don't quite know what to expect, and I don't really know what to do.

You know how people sometimes ask, what would you save if your house were on fire? Well, bizarre as it sounds, I feel like what I'm about to face is just that, though neither my house nor my future hospital is on fire, hah! I feel like I'm losing everything that I'm familiar with, and yet again, it scares the shit out of me. I feel like clutching at whatever is left of the life that I'm used to, no matter how trivial it may be. For me, that would be the company of my parents and friends, the 7pm and 8.30 drama series I'm used to watching on the tv, the familiar smell of home-cooked food, and my cozy little room at home. All I'm bringing to my new residence would be two suitcases and a purse. I want to claw and struggle against change, I want to resist the change, but yet I know I can't stay the same forever. I can't be under the protective wings of my parents forever, I can't be used to the comforting presence of my current, wonderful friends forever. Things change, life changes. I know I should embrace it, but so much change in one go still leaves me so fearful that sometimes I feel I may have chosen the wrong career. I mean, if I was about to start work at something I love, I would feel excited about it, and not feel the cloud of impending doom above my head that I can't seem to shake off, won't I? I really don't know.

As said (very beautifully) by a friend, what's the worse that can happen? I may make mistakes at work, I may still drive horribly but really, whatever comes, the only option is to deal with it, and make sure it won't happen again the next time. Thankfully I still have two high school friends who are working in the same hospital, one of them was my best friend back in high school, who's working as a houseman at the exact same hospital. I hope we'll be able to revive our friendship, and I really, really hope that I'll be able to make friends that are equally as awesome as my current besties.

Right now, I'm nervous, scared, and somewhat sad. But I want to enjoy my life, I want to be happy. I really hope that, in time, I will be just that, fingers crossed. Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

this is your life.

After spending a few years away from home, I came home to realize that there was a recurring theme in my family - we tend to force ourselves to do many things that we didn't like, just because we SHOULD. Perhaps it's a common concept in traditional Chinese families, who tend to put anything and everything above themselves. Work comes first, making money comes first, children comes first, a large house, the perfect picket fence...you get my flow. I never felt this way before when I stayed at home but after I came back from my studies, I realized that my life at home had been quite suppressed. We would deny ourselves the most minute of things, just to save money or 'because we shouldn't do it.' The most common examples in my home is that we tend to NOT turn on the fan if we could, for the sake of saving electricity and money. Not that bad, you think? Well, certainly not the best idea in the blistering heat of Malaysia. Another thing is that my family has this notion that everyone should do everything together. For example, they used to drag me to the pool and badminton court, when I really really hated swimming and badminton. But when I was young I never even thought of rebelling, and went along on those swimming trips and forced myself to swim. (Don't ask me why I hate swimming so much. I'm just born with it I think.) Years after, I wonder to myself why couldn't I have just refused to go along, and saved myself all of that. But to be fair to them, some good came out of their efforts, I grew to love badminton after playing with them for so many years.

Another common trend in Asian people is that we tend to do something because it fits us in the 'acceptable' mould, be it of a good husband or wife, a filial son or daughter, or a responsible employee. I think the main difference between western and asian people is that the westerners embrace their individualities. They encourage their students and children to pursue their passion in life, regardless of whether it will be a profitable career in the future. They encourage their young people to embrace differences in personalities and characteristics, likes and dislikes, beliefs and goals in life. No goal is too trivial, no passion is too silly. A very real-life example is that people who dress differently are wholly accepted in the west. No one bats an eye if you walk down the street with a mohawk, or wear fishnet stockings with thigh-high boots. Try that here in Malaysia and people will probably think you're crazy. And most parents in Asian families would encourage, and sometimes force their kids to study something 'socially acceptable', preferably professional courses. That would perhaps explain why our population is overflowing with doctors, engineers, accountants, lawyers, and dare I mention it, pharmacists! How many a budding artist has been fully encouraged to pursue their true passion in life? My bet is that most parents would coerce the little Picasso to brush up on their maths or science, instead of spending his time drawing. Sometimes I wonder if it is due to an innate fear of 'losing face' that make parents force their kids to have, what they think is, a proper career, and let the parents be proud when stating in front of the relatives that 'Oh, my son is a doctor *cue for parent to smile and swell*' instead of saying 'Uh, my son is a starving painter *cue to drop head and sad frown*.'

Does that not sound sad to us? We do things for people to accept us as one of their own, for fear that we would be ostracised for doing something we really love. Are we really doing the right thing when we heed our parents and relatives' advice to become a doctor 'because people will look up to you and you will make lots of money', and hate our job with a vengeance all the while we're at it? Are we?

What I am just saying that if we realize that something that we've believed wholeheartedly in for our whole life is not quite right, we should at least try to make a difference in our life by changing for the better. And what is 'better'? I guess it is whatever that makes us happy that counts.

Life is too short to waste on doing things that are useless, or make us unhappy, as long as we don't harm others in the process. Isn't it?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

something for all my friends...or maybe not ALL. =)

☆戴爱玲 对的人☆

你问在我心中 是否还苦恼
那次受伤 否决了爱的好
谢谢你的关照 我一切都好
一个人 不算困扰

爱要耐心等待 仔细寻找 感觉很重要
宁可空白了手 等候一次 真心的拥抱
我相信在这个世界上 一定会遇到
对的人出现 在眼角

那次流过的泪 让我学习到
如何祝福 如何转身不要
在眼泪体会到 与自己拥抱
爱不是一种需要 是一种对照
然后得到多少 并不计较
放手去爱 海阔天高

I have been loving this song for the longest time. It's incredibly inspiring to all the single people out there!

Friday, September 3, 2010

updates, I'm not dead!

Dear all, I'm sorry it has been months (longest hiatus ever!) since I posted. Mostly that stemmed from the fact that I've been doing very little besides rotting at home, and also partly because I just don't feel the urge to write about my boring, boring life without boring the rest of you. But anyway.

Yesterday was my mom's birthday, which translates to birthday cake and free calls to maxis numbers! *wide grin* My mobile is registered under her name so I made full use of the privilege and called all my old friends one by one according to alphabetical order. It was great fun! In fact I'm just so incredibly happy that I got to talk to them after years of not meeting each other. I found out I was just in time to contact one friend, who was about to leave for the UK to study masters. Phew! caught her just in time. I also chatted with a few friends still in medical school and inwardly congratulating myself for not choosing that profession...ahahah don't hate me doctors! But I digress. Another friend has been posted to Sabah for her PRP year together with four other BPharmers, but she seems to be having fun despite the underlying terror that has been going around our batch about the prospect of being sent there. (buhbye brendan, siva, chunwai, kamarul and perhaps renly...you guys are going to be missed sorely!)

Penang road trip was a success! I've posted the photos on FB so I won't be posting them here. Jason very kindly lent us his Batu Feringghi apartment (which was gorgeous, by the way) and Wenchin, Weiluen and Jeannette brought us around the island for those three days. Penang hawker food lives up to its name indeed but in the end I ended up with food poisoning, dang the seafood! But I'll definitely be going back for seconds once my stomach has become more resilient! And the last day was hilarious. Most of us putty princesses were tired and washed out by the heat at the end and begged the tour guides to bring us to the mall for the day. The guides smiled and we happily went back to our cars and guess what? They brought us to the youth park instead....to see monkeys! The joke was on us in the end, I even spotted S hitting W on the head in the car in front of us when we almost reached the place. Classic!

And right before penang we had our second convocation. It's weird is it not, to have two graduation ceremonies for one degree, but still... =) I went for the sole purpose to meet my friends and have a good time, less so for the convo, but I was still happy being able to finally wear the mortarboard! For some reason the universities in the UK doesn't seem to like the mortarboard and we couldn't figure out why it was so. Then someone came up with the briliant idea that with the characteristic strong winds in Glasgow all the mortarboards would be flying around in the air instead of staying put on our heads! It totally makes sense doesn't it? Oh and an old friend came over to attend my convo, which made me very happy as we'd not seen each other for, oh I don't know, years? I totally did not expect him to drop by so that was one of the best surprises I had for a long time. =)

Oh, and hello Mr. DC! Thanks for stopping by. *even wider grin*

Till then!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

graduation, and emo-ness.

Today, I have graduated.

I wish I could be one of those unbearably positive people who will say that leaving university is a fresh start to the rest of our lives, and they have high hopes for the future, and such. But I am not.

Instead, I feel an immense sadness. I am sad to leave the major part of my life behind, where I spent most, if not all, my time facing books and exams. I am sad to leave my dear, dear friends with whom I have built a strong bond in these past few years. Indeed I can say, the best friends of my life were made during university life. But then again, a lot of my life has yet to come so I cannot say that for sure…yet. I am also sad to leave the part of my life where I do not have to worry about money and putting food on the table. I feel a little terrified that the money I use in the future, will come from me and myself alone, and I will no longer be able to ask my parents for money should the whim to buy something new and shiny comes along. I will have to carve out portions of my salary and spend it with care, and will also have to scrimp and save a certain amount of money every month to prepare for rainy days (ie. angpau money for friends’ weddings!). I feel sad to leave this place, the place where I spent the busiest yet happiest year of my life. Strangely I feel sad to bid farewell to the gloomy weather in Glasgow, because I enjoyed it so much! Glasgow was a welcome relief from the eternally sunny days in Malaysia, and I feel sorry to leave it behind. I really don’t see myself coming back here for the foreseeable future, and I feel all the more reluctant to leave this country.

My parents flew in to attend my graduation, and they will be leaving tomorrow. I am really happy to see my parents, after six months of talking to them on skype. Not seeing them for an extended time made me even the more aware of the fact that they are not getting any younger as the years go by. I almost forgot how nice it feels to be fussed over by them, and to be able to fuss over them. I am so glad that they did not heed my advice to NOT come to my graduation, because I felt so happy that they are here to share the moment with me. My dad was forever the social butterfly, he was making his way around the crowd of parents and making friends along the way. The most I can summon myself to do is to nod and smile at strangers. I am not cut out to become a PR personnel after all.

Besides feeling sad, I also feel emptiness. An emptiness that stems from my indecisiveness as to where to head after graduating and what to do with the rest of my life. I do not intend to stop studying at this point but I am unsure where to proceed after this degree. Masters of Pharmacy is the obvious choice in our case, but I do not feel an inclination strong enough to sustain me through another two years of studying something that I feel for only half-heartedly. I thought about studying fashion or interior design, my original options in high school, but where would that lead me? Carving my way in the fashion world is no mean feat and I really do not think that I am well suited to that world of air-kisses and frivolity. Another obvious option`is, well, to get married and have kids and take care of them for the rest of my life but that doesn’t seem too appealing for now. I mean I know that will come sooner or later but it isn’t really a good plan to fall back on now is it?

Emoness aside, there is still cause for celebration!

Pic: the mob of paparazzi consisting of parents!

Pic: housemates!

Alright. Despite what I have just said, I really am happy that this day finally came, and it was made even better to be able to share it with my beloved family and friends. Amen. =)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Prague, and friends.

I'm back! As a matter of fact I have been back for quite a while, just that I have not gotten around to write a proper post. And yes, that was me complaining about Easyjet in my last post. Apparently we were not the only ones who got on the wrong end of Easyjet, another friend was stranded in Milan after her flight was cancelled. I'm not really sure about the details but that only further confirms our resolution to never fly with them again!

An update on my whereabouts: the week before the last we came back from our 16-day trip around eastern and central Europe, and Switzerland; and last weekend me and a couple of close friends went on a three-day tour to isle of Skye. There is something peculiar about travelling: after some time you kind of get used to waking up in a different dorm room each morning, and all the buildings and sceneries get sort of muddled up and start to look like each other! I am still a fan of backpacking nevertheless, just that I'll have to remind myself to bring much, much less stuff on my next trip, goodness knows when will that be.

*On an unrelated note, I am writing this post while watching (or, listening) to the Wimbledon men's semi-finals on the BBC website, so do forgive me if my words seem a little nonsensical at times. I am all for Andy Murray but somehow I just have the feeling that Nadal is going to win in the end. Ah well...*

First off, my long-ish trip to Europe and the Swiss. I think I have spent too much time in cold and gloomy Glasgow so much so that I have gotten used to NOT having the sun and warmth around! Prague, Budapest and Vienna to a certain degree were warm and very sunny indeed. I can't honestly say I've had a good time in those places particularly Prague and Budapest as most of the time I was busy running away from the sun and searching for shady spots.

Janice and You Mai, our INTEC friends, were kind enough to show us around Prague as they were studying there. It was more of like a catching-up session with old friends than a tourist-y visit to Prague but I loved it all the more. I haven't met them in a long time and it was just so great to finally able to chat with them. As for Prague the city, there wasn't an awful lot to see and do so we spent a lot of time chilling out, which was perhaps the better option as we would have melted to a puddle had we spent the whole day out in the sun!

Pic: Prague astronomical clock

The astronomical clock in the old town square of Prague is supposed to be one of the most overrated tourist spots, but it was amazing in its own way all the same. It can tell the time, day, zodiac sign and even tells you if it's daytime or night time (not that we need it to, anyway!). At the strike of every hour, there is a parade of the apostles and a skeleton at the side will pull the bell to signify the hour. Hordes of tourists will congregate in front of the clock 15 minutes before it strikes and so did we, and it did what it was supposed to, but I guess we have seen our fair share of amazing stuff and were thus kind of blase at this point... When the chiming stopped, all I could think of was, okay, what's next?

Pic: Kolkovna restaurant - lunch, day 1

They brought us to this restaurant for lunch and it didn't seem to be teeming with tourists, which was a pleasant change indeed! Irene and I shared a dish and it was delicious! Unfortunately I can't remember the name of the dish, I think it was duck and...pigeon? I don't know.

Pic: the dish consisting of duck and pigeon (?) and sour cabbage and potato dumplings. Yum!

Pics: shots taken around the Prague castle.

We went back to the old town square at night for the night view, and it was just as well that we did. There were fireworks in front of the Prague castle which could be seen across the river and I got this picture. Nice.

On the second day we followed the Sandeman's tour around the city but we ditched it in the middle as we had a tip-off about a sushi buffet for only about the equivalent of 10 pounds. It turned out to be a buffet indeed but with less sushi and more of other stuff. Nevertheless I stuffed myself crazy and had a great time. Food always does the trick for me!

After that we separated into two groups as the lazy ones (me included) wanted to shop around for a little while and wait for the sun to set before we went on our way, and others who didn't mind being baked alive by the sun and wanted to continue doing the tourist thing. I can't say I regretted my decision as I would perhaps have gotten a sunstroke had I stayed out any longer.

Pic: I think this was something like an opera house...

Pics: on the Charles bridge.

We spent our night in a bus travelling to Budapest to save some money, so in the next stop you will see us with tired looks and sticky hair. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

EASY rant

Dear all, I am finally back from my 16-day Eastern and central Europe trip! I know I haven't updated on my previous Dublin trip but there is so much to talk about especially now that I have the additional long trip to tell you. But before I launch into a very long post about that there was something interesting that we came across on the last day of our trip. I probably can make this quite long-winded, so perhaps you would like to boil some water and sit back with a nice cup of coffee while you read the rest of this post.

And as many stories would say, once upon a time...

Once upon a time five girl friends were returning home from a long backpacking trip. Being the frugal students that they were, they decided to book a flight with a low-cost airline, thinking that it would be much EASIER on their wallets. True to its name, it was indeed EASY on the wallets but the JET service was less easy on them. They arrived at Geneva airport only to realise that their flight at 7.30am was delayed to four hours later, to 11.30am. Fine enough, so they waited patiently at the airport while enjoying their breakfast redeemed with the 10-franc voucher provided. At 11.30am, they boarded the plane, fine and dandy.

But after 30 minutes, they realised something was wrong. The plane was not moving! Then the pilot announced that a passenger had checked in a piece of luggage but the person was not on board the plane. So the stranded piece of luggage had to be searched and retrieved from the aircraft hold. Fair enough, who knows if it may contain explosives then suddenly KABOOM! and all passengers on board would become fine particles floating in the air. But the delay on this flight made the five friends a little worried as their next connecting flight was at 1.50pm. Not really enough time but perhaps they could still make it if they ran all the way to their next flight.

Not good. When they got to the security checkpoint it was already 1.35pm. Actually the first person of the group made it to there at that time as all were separated at that point. The first person of the group ran all the way, barely made it on board the connecting flight, also one that was EASY to JET around with. But the second person reached the gate it was 1.40pm. The staff at the gate told her straight out: "You missed the flight." with a stern stare. (The plane was still on the ground at this point.) Needless to say, the third, fourth, and fifth person also did not get on the flight. The third person tried to explain to the stern-looking staff that they were late because of the delay in the first EASY flight, but to no avail. He would not listen and repeatedly told them, in a cold and unhelpful manner, to go the the sales desk outside. So there.

Then, the remaining four friends went to the EASY-to-find sales desk (actually it was the exact opposite) with the help of some helpful and other not-so-helpful staff. They were informed that to get on the next flight, they had to pay a 'rescue fee' of 43 pounds. They tried explaining that they missed the flight because of a delay in the previous flight of the same company and it was certainly not their fault that they did not get on the plane. No chance. Angry and disappointed, they were prepared to hand over the 43 pounds to get back home, when another staff member from the EASY plane company, heard their story and said that it was alright to provide them with free replacement flights back home. Yay! so in the end they put away the 43 pounds and happily got on the next flight back home, 8 hours later.

Okay, so this is the very long-winded story which happened to us, and can probably be summed up in a few words: because of the delay in our flight from Geneva to London, we missed the connecting flight from London to Glasgow. It wasn't our fault but the service and attitude of the people we met were awful. Several times we were told that we had to be at the departure gate 30 minutes before time but it was impossible! Previous problems with the same company (delays, cancelled flights) and this really bad experience made us really disheartened and vowed never to fly with the company ever again.

Anyways that is the end of my grandmother's story. Sorry to have made you sit through it all, but hey, what needed to be said had to be said! I hope I will be able to write about my travels in the next few days but no promises, as I will be heading to the isle of skye on friday for three days, and I'm sharing my current internet connection with friends. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ireland - Belfast

Dear all, I have been packing up my bags in a frenzy these past few days. I never realised one year of living in Glasgow could make me accumulate so much junk. I will be selling some of those soon, and everything else will have to fit into my two luggage trunks, and two more of my parents'. Which brings me to my next point: wouldn't it be awesome if everything I owned could fit into one trunk, or even better, one backpack? Wouldn't it be fantastic and SO convenient if I could just up and go, not having to worry about what to keep and what to take. I have toyed with the idea of minimalism (as stated in a previous post) but I realised I could never take it to the extreme - I love pretty clothes just like any other girl, and really they do make me happy. I know it's shallow but then again I reckon what's so good if I chose to adopt a lifestyle that I'm unhappy with? I would much rather minimise other areas of my life - I could do with less shoes and bags, and I don't feel the need to accumulate books. So if you took a peek into my two large luggage bags you would only find mounds and mounds of clothes. I'm only bringing back two pairs of shoes (downsized from over 10 pairs - no mean feat is it not?) and two bags (reduced from about 6 or 7).

Anyways, since I'll be pretty busy with prom and then my subsequent trip, I suppose I'll have to blog about Ireland now. Besides, I lose the urge to blog about my travels the longer I postpone them, and the memories fade before I can write them down.

We took a bus tour in Belfast to the Giants' Causeway the first day we were there. It cost about 20 euros and it took us to other places as well, like those little villages en route to the causeway and the suspended bridge. It was my first time on a tour where the bus driver doubled as the tour guide - it was scary at first because silly me was terrified that he would lose control of the bus as he was talking non-stop, and he was driving kinda fast, but he turned out to be extremely experienced and there wasn't really anything to worry about.

We stayed at Lagan's Backpackers, a quaint hostel with the quirkiest owner you'd have ever seen! He was funny and chirpy all the time, and he whipped up breakfast for all the backpackers staying there, every morning. And that's me looking happy with my full english.

I can't really remember what was the name of this castle. All I could remember was that we were only allowed about 10 minutes to enjoy it, or else.....!

And then, THE Giants' Causeway!

We had dinner at a local pub, and ordered the 'heart attack on a plate'. Why was it called such? This dish consists of fried and fatty food, and obviously that was not its name on the menu. But it is delicious nevertheless and should be tried at least once (or rather, once at the most!) when you visit Ireland.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Greece part 2

Day 3 and onwards.

There's a little town called Imerovigli near Fira which came highly recommended by friends, so we thought we'd make a wee detour there and see what it's all about. Turns out the village consists of mostly tourist hotels built on cliffs and little else to do (or so we thought!). However the landscaping of the village was spectacular with the whitewashed buildings scattered on the cliffs and lovely villas with balconies overlooking the Aegean sea. We sneaked into the hotel areas for the view, and managed to take a few photos before getting chased off the property. Haha!

Oya is another must-go in Santorini. It is said to have the best view and people flock to it to see the sunset everyday. I thought it did live up to its expectations indeed, and the sunset view was surreal. It would have made a perfect place for couples to spend a romantic evening. Tip: do go early to get a good spot for the sunset as the place can get very packed very soon. Perhaps about half an hour early would be sufficient.

The next day we took a local boat tour to the nearby volcanic islands. We stopped at an island with volcano craters, a hot springs area at which the people had to jump off the boat and swim a distance to reach the springs. I didn't jump - I didn't bring my swimsuit with me that day, a decision which I kinda regret. However they were only allowed half an hour to swim to the springs and back, which was not really enough time to fully enjoy the place, but anyway.

We met a Malaysian girl unexpectedly on the boat trip, Wanxing - Su Mei's high school friend who was studying in Finland. She told us she was on a one-month trip around the EU countries - - alone! Salute betul.

Day 5 - Mykonos

Mykonos is yet another Greek island with quite similar buildings and landscaping, albeit with much more tourists compared to Santorini. For my part, I preferred the latter as walking around with a bunch of tourists bustling around you doesn't really make the perfect vacation, now does it?

We even met a huge pelican waddling around a restaurant's al fresco seating area. I thought it looked a little old what with its balding-ish head, hehe.

Greek coffee. I don't really recommend that you try it unless you're able to take very strong coffee. Besides being really strong, it also has a gritty texture and it has a bitter taste. Not my cup of coffee I'm afraid.

Next stop: Ireland!