Fun Facts about Libra

(Sources from @ZodiacFacts)

Libra would rather cooperate than compete and will compromise, (even when in the right) in order to avoid an argument.

Although Libras are extremely intelligent, their much-heralded intellect is sometimes wasted on 100 ways to say “On the other hand”.

Sharing turns a Libra on, and tactless or uncouth behavior is a turn-off.

Foreplay for a Libra can be mental — they love to communicate with you about the relationship.

Libras always play innocent when they are challenged, and can generally charm the birds out of the trees to win your favor.

As friends Gemini and Libra are almost identical to each other in many respects. Both have same intellectual skills.

As friends a power struggle is bound to break out between a Libra and Capricorn. That being said, you’re good leaders in different areas.

Libra Play date: A Fancy Restaurant.

As a Libra, the Zodiac Sign most helpful for emotional support: Capricorn.

As a Libra, when you are in love, you are genuinely in love. The partner has all your warmth, care and affection.

Libras make perfect friends because they’re so open, outgoing and obliging.

Expect any woo to be very direct. It is easy to know what is on your Libras’ mind, as when they adore something they show it openly.

As a Libra, Earth signs tend to lack your natural social graces and you are keen to help educate them.

As a Libra, you’ve never given yourself much credit for being gifted. Stop selling yourself short.

Libras are friendly-witty-balanced one time and stubborn-irritating and unbalanced the other time.

Libras can make you crazy when it comes to making a decision and then they will question Your thinking.

Libras simply needs to be told to take a “time-out” or to “walk it off.”  These gentle souls don’t really like to argue that much.

Over a spilled latte

I had a fun night out. Nothing to do with fine dining or partying or great movies. Fun is purely subjective. Some people thinks golf is fun. Some people thinks reading Agatha Christie is fun. Some people thinks sex is fun (who doesn’t?). But I had my fair share of fun night.

The plan was to meet Serena and Javad who wanted to have beef noodles at Petaling Street. I arrived late. Since I don’t know the exact restaurant of the infamous (or rather pretty famous) beef noodles, Javad said wait in front of Hong Leong Bank at the intersection of Petaling Street. As I saw him walk towards me, I went to him and as usual, he hugged and lifted me off the ground. This is really literally sweeping me off my feet. He was carrying me for a few feet until we heard weird cheering from the hawkers around. Obviously weird to see a hooded boyish girl being lifted by a tall Iranian guy in the middle of Petaling Street. Some people are just jealous. ;P Well, I don’t blame them. Maybe if they had some experience of being lifted up like that, they’d understand the child-like joy I get from it. 😉

Although I didn’t eat the beef noodles, the soup tasted quite okay. I mean, my mom cook soups every week. So if it’s as close as my mom’s cooking, it should be okay. After that we went for some longan drinks and my chestnuts. Yes. MY chestnuts. Only a nut with a chest-rack can say that with pure conviction and confidence. 😉 Before that we were talking about public phones so we wanted to test the theory whether public phone still exists and works in this mobile era. We found one and what do you know, it works! I have used public phones a couple of times for the past one year. I have no doubt saying that life circumstances will lead you to go back to your roots, or even time-travel to a backdated necessities such as public phones, pens and papers, postcards and snailmails. Those are the practices I still preserve in my life though. I wouldn’t preach (not that I’m preaching right now) or believe in something I wouldn’t do. I still write and receive postcards. And I do mail my love letters, handwritten love letters in a handmade envelope with a self-licked stamp on it. YES.

After Petaling Street, we head to Bangsar for coffee. Javad was going on and on about this G3 place so we decided to go there. G3 Bangsar impressed me much, a very laidback place for coffee and cakes and a good company. The friendly waiters and the laidback ambiance is pretty comforting. Very nice for brunches or tea time with a good conversation (highly recommended on the conversation bit).

Then we got to talk about life and what goes around it. It’s nice. A very well traveled Chinese girl, a highly inquisitive Iranian guy and then ME. Neither well-traveled nor highly inquisitive (curiosity of a 12 year-old does not qualify to being inquisitive). We talk about pies, scones (or maybe not scones), big cookies, traveling, meditating, religion, languages, Farsi (I NEED TO LEARN THIS), and death.

I told Javad, that what I learn to believe about death, is how the passer-on (the dead) will finally get their peaceful rest, and how lucky they are compared to us, struggling in our everyday life, not knowing when we will die, how we will die. Then he asked me, “If I were to tell you, you’ll die tomorrow, what would you feel?”

Here’s my answer;

My only concerns are my debts. My PTPTN debts. My car loan. My Maxis debt. Monetary. Those are my responsibilities. I’ll be sad to know that I have left a burden on my parents to clear my debts for me. On the positive side, I’m quite satisfied with what I’ve done in life, what I’ve achieved (it being small and incomparable to many), the people I’ve met in my lifetime, and the love I gave. Another concern is the fact that I die before my parents bother me. Being raised as a Muslim, one thing I totally believe in is that our prayers for those who passed on will be something they would carry in their afterlife, wherever or whatever that is. And I can’t bear the thought of dying before being able to do that for my parents. If I die before my parents, who would pray for them? I mean, yes, my siblings, but who else. And I wanted to be that person. Who sends out those prayers for my parents.

Listening to myself, it dawns to me that I don’t have much worry for myself, except that my worries for others. Maybe that’s the hippie in me. I remember one thing from a sermon on TV during one of the Maal Hijrah show. Yes, oddly enough I actually listened and paid attention. The ustad was talking about the meaning of Khalifah. Pembimbing. Guider of mankind. We’re all guiders in life. We guide others. How we guide them is subjective. The fact that we’re sent down to living is to have an impact in the life of others is amazing. The scale of selfishness to selflessness is pretty wide, but with just one purpose. We’re either guiding by reminding, sharing, or holding their hands throughout our lives. We can do all that by either being their loved ones or even enemies. Seriously, Mitch Albom wrote a whole damn book about it. The Five People You Meet In Heaven. We never know how our actions have an impact in the lives of people we have never even met. But that’s the universe coinciding with this theory. I can go on and on with this psychoanalisis bullshit of mine. But why am I refering it to bullshit? Because I do, give a shit about it. 🙂

Every year, we reach a new age, or landmark of our physical age through our birthdays. Some whine saying birthday sucks, a reminder that they’re getting old and probably dying. I tend to reflect on every single of my birthdays and think about the little achievements I’ve made. Maybe just to fool myself that I’ve done good for myself. But why am I so positive about life? It boggles myself even. There are times when I whine, rant and complaint, yes. But why not. A true Libran who justifies her own thoughts and behaviour, I’m fully utilising my emotional medium as a human being. Who live life with constant negativity and pessimism? Who live life with constant positivity and optimism? There’s a balance to it. Some uses the word moderation. Some goes back to humility.

We do as much as we can in this life. We don’t know about a next life, or an afterlife. Nobody knows. We believe. We have faith. As how we believe in God, in divine powers, in Mother Nature. As how we have faith in trust, in love, in nothingness.

As I let you ponder with all these nonsensical thoughts of mine, I go take Mother Nature’s call.

Suicidal with no intention of Killing

Suddenly, I feel the need to write. With Twitter, my ability to write more than 140 characters have been questioned by myself. Especially a poet like me, stanzas, verses, rhyming, we can make do with the small spaces we’re given. I can write,

You are wonderful.

..and think that be such a poetic moment.

But yes, blogging has been so last season. Unless you’re blogging for commercial purposes. An event write-up, a product review, and so forth. Of course, political commentary could also garner some commercial values. Of some sort. Let’s agree for just once, politics and money are like air and lungs.

Unfortunately, I intend to write about the state I have put myself in recently, or maybe precisely for the past 40 days. In pursuit of love.

Part of this is suicidal because this post will appear on my FB wall and she might come across it, click it, and read it. But if I were to be negative thinking she won’t check on me, or my FB wall, or even know I’m writing about this, then I’m safe. So, there it is, no killing!

It’s been awhile. Pursuing love. If you have followed my blogging adventure since 2007, my ups and downs of longing and loving, my endless ranting about being heartbroken, you might gather what a total wuss I am when it comes to the topic. Heck, people knows me as the romantic poet. “Your romanticism is killing me,” an audience once said. And I grin like a foolish bean when I read one of those very highly intoxicating lovey poems of mine. Or sometimes, I held back tears and went through lumps in my throat, trying to finish a heartbreaking poem, also, one of mine.

There’s something about entering a relationship. And it being a long-distance pursuit. I don’t know if I’m in one at all. And if we’re even together. But there’s a comfort feeling that makes me feel like I’m settled. At 29, you don’t want puppy love. There’s no more excitement. I’m old enough to be thinking what will happen in the future. Logistically. Practically. What to offer. What I can afford to provide. I’m almost like an old fart.

Friends have been advising, take it slow, enjoy the moment. Affairs are fun to have when you’re together, in each other’s arms. When you’re far, you can’t see the tangibility of an affair. As I write my love letters, I feel like those poets in the 18th century, away in warzones, having faith that their love will be waiting for them, clutching the pieces of papers sent with words of love and romance, as if in fantasy, their souls are dancing together.

Today’s love affairs involve more physical affection, sexual attraction and emotional drama. I’ve experienced all that. Using and being used. Everyone’s in it for something, or at least, get something out of it.

The problem with romantic affairs is that it has a shelf life. A year ago, I kept on thinking, this is my destiny. To just have affairs. As a writer, we feed on these affairs as our muse for our writings. As a poet, I feed on my longing as my muse. My longing in wanting something I can never have.

Now, something I can have is there, in a distance, but possible. I told her, I am not settling with her until something better comes along, because she is my something better. But could I be eating my words if things doesn’t work between us, I don’t know.

What I know is this, I want no one else except her right now. But this intangibility and space between us will suffocate me. And patience, as much as it is my virtue, will also be the death of me.

BBC’s 50 Places You Must Visit Before You Die

Came across this list while chatting about the Petra with my friend Serena. She emailed me some amazing photos of the place. Now, should this be a traveling checklist? I’ve only been to Sydney and Singapore (from the list) and those are not two places I can brag about.

Which Ones Have You Visited?

  1. The Grand Canyon, USA
  2. Great Barrier Reef, Australia
  3. Florida, USA
  4. South Island, New Zealand
  5. Cape Town, South Africa
  6. Golden Temple, India
  7. Las Vegas, USA
  8. Sydney, Australia
  9. New York, USA
  10. Taj Mahal, India
  11. Canadian Rockies, Canada
  12. Uluru, Australia
  13. Chichen Itza, Mexico
  14. Machu Picchu, Peru
  15. Niagara Falls, Canada / USA
  16. Petra, Jordan
  17. The Pyramids, Egypt
  18. Venice, Italy
  19. Maldives, Maldives
  20. Great Wall of China in China.
  21. Victoria Falls, Zambia / Zimbabwe
  22. Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  23. Yosemite National Park USA
  24. Hawaii, USA
  25. Auckland, New Zealand
  26. Iguassu Falls, Argentina / Brazil
  27. Paris, France
  28. Alaska, USA
  29. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
  30. Himalayas, Nepal / Tibet
  31. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  32. Masai Mara, Kenya
  33. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
  34. Luxor, Egypt
  35. Rome, Italy
  36. San Francisco, USA
  37. Barcelona, Spain
  38. Dubai, Arab Emirates
  39. Singapore, Singapore
  40. La Digue, Seychelles
  41. Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka
  42. Bangkok, Thailand
  43. Barbados, Barbados
  44. Iceland, Iceland
  45. Terracotta Army in China
  46. Zermatt, Switzerland
  47. Angel Falls, Venezuela
  48. Abu Simbel, Egypt
  49. Bali, Indonesia
  50. French Polynesia, French Polynesia

Time. You’re as funny as God.

I used to plan my life. When I was 18, if anyone were to ask me what I’ll be in 10 years, I can give them a whole scenario of what I’ll be doing at that exact moment, in 10 years time. Maybe that’s the writer in me. The ability to fictionise and visualise a scenario.

When I quit my job in 2009 and just decided to do whatever I wanted to do, without stability or back-up, I finally let go. Alone, still haven’t gotten over a previous heart break, I tried to sail through life without an anchor. The only stability I have, was myself. Again and again, I stumbled upon disappointment and obstacles. Trust me, I’ve had it all. From my car being towed, to going around town avoiding tollgates because I don’t have any cash with me. Declining dinner offers and shying away from gatherings. But there’s a blessing in everything. Every single thing that happened made me believe in myself, despite feeling suicidal. My faith constantly tells me, Rezeki itu ditangan Tuhan. I met interesting individuals, every single week. I drifted from one phase to another. Voluntarily. Waiting for the next thing life throws at me.

Two years of drifting will end soon. It’s Ramadhan now. A month, as beautiful as its name, that comes with changes for the better. I am telling myself, there’s something better awaits in the corner. God won’t throw me something I can’t handle. I grew up as an insecure girl. That girl who was ridiculed by the boys in her high school. The girl who had to carry the burden of responsibilities when all she wanted to do was silly mistakes.

After Ramadhan, September will come and I’ll be 29.

Dear Lord, I have faith in You. Have faith in me. I’ll make it through. And even if I don’t, the only way out is to come back to you.


Thinking in Mobility

I had lunch last Saturday with my bestfriend, and being someone who runs herself, she asked me out of the blue, “Why do you run?”

Why do I run?

#1 – I wanted to have a nice pair of calves. Mine is pretty fat-ish right now.
#2 – I have a very short attention span and I have problems focussing. Running helps me focus.
#3 – It helps me think, about a lot of things. Almost like my ME time.

My bestfriend agrees to the last reason, having it being her reason for running as well. Her quality ME time. I get to think about a lot of things when I’m mobile. While I’m driving, or walking, or running. It’s amazing how your brain prefers to work better while you’re at the mercy of speed, regardless it being movement or time.

After lunch, I rushed home for my first 12.3km Shape Night Run 2011 in Putrajaya.

This is my 7th Run, since I started running early last year. I’m quite excited for this run, first because this is my first run with my new Asics which I bought for a killer cheap price of RM 155, second because I’ve started upgrading my training to Metropolitan Park’s running tracks.

I didn’t get enough rest that Saturday. Head out as early as 8.30am for breakfast, went to teach tuition at 11am, went for lunch at 2pm and only arrived home 10 minutes to 5pm while rushing to get ready before I head over to my running partner’s place.

When we got to Putrajaya, my running partner whom I called ‘Sis’ was quite impressed with the city area by the government complexes. Especially the Palace of Justice and the arch by the Perbadananan Putrajaya. Portable toilets were placed right at the very end of the main area. Probably 300-400m away from the stage and the flag-off line. We headed straight to the stage where the warm up session took place. The warm-up session by the fitness trainers were a bit too tiring. At first it was fun to follow and fool around. Later, when you’re already panting and sweating like a pig 30minutes before your run, it was no longer fun. I don’t understand how warm-ups should be that vigorous. And I doubt the trainers are running the marathon. I’m just making assumptions. 🙂

There’s something about marathons/running events. There’s a certain camaraderie between the runners, especially those who run on recreational basis. We get to have our small peptalks with strangers who are there also to have fun. There’s no sense of competitiveness. Everyone there shares their experiences, and useful tips to just getting through the race. It’s amazing because it’s called a race but everyone is helping each other. But of course, there are some selfish individuals. But blessed be, I tend not to cross their paths. We chatted with a few older ladies while queuing up for the toilet. We chatted with the boys while waiting for our flag-off. I remembered in my other runs, some guys wearing placecards stating it’s their birthday, and we pat them on the shoulders and say, “Happy Birthday Man!/Babe!”. It’s a nice feeling, everyone was at a level playing field.

Then the flag-off. We started slow. Sis had some tummy cramp so I prefer to run by her side at least for the first 4km. I didn’t use my iPod shuffle this time and stored all my music in my BlackBerry. Unfortunately at KM2, my BB went bonkers and the music sounds forwarded like chipmunks. I was still running at that time, but was holding my BB, figuring how the hell it went that way, and then, I was like, “Fuck it”, and just decided to run without music. 5 minutes of no music, suddenly, Maxwell’s Sumthin’ Sumthin’ managed to find its way into my ears. Great. Marker said, 9kms to go. And we’re still running. All around the Putrajaya International Convention Centre.

Right after the second water station, Sis started slowing down to drink her water. I went ahead and left her behind. I saw the marker, 8km to go. I went ahead, slow normal pace. The one I used to do at the Metropolitan Park. My tummy felt a little gassy with the absence of dinner. I sipped my concoction of 100Plus and Water while running. Not easy, but I didn’t want to stop. We went on the Jambatan Warisan. Then I saw the marker. 6km to go. I almost wanted to jump at that point. Because I just ran 6.3km nonstop. But I wasn’t stopping, not yet. I still went on. Felt a little weak, but the slow pace was enough to keep me consistently pushing ahead.

We came down to the highway where we drove by earlier upon reaching Putrajaya. I remember seeing the “4km to go” marker where both me and Sis made fun off while in the car. That was my goal. And I know it was right up ahead the exit from the highway. As I passed by that marker, I gave the widest grin I can and almost leap through it like a finishing line. I immediately tweeted about it. I just ran 8.3km nonstop. That was an achievement. My achievement.

I started walking. We were entering the intersection of Precinct 8, before Jambatan Warisan. I gulped the last drop of my drink and at the traffic light, I started running. It felt nice, running at the great beautiful bridge. The feeling was exceptional. And what felt greater, was when Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” started playing in my ears, I started running faster. While banging the empty 100plus bottle in my hand following the beat, my steps became bigger. It was almost as if I wasn’t even tired. The music was pumping my speed. For a good 500m, the music have helped me speed up. And even after the song changed, I didn’t stop. I kept on my slow pace running.

Just as you can see the end of the finishing line, like most races, it got diverted towards the back of the buildings. Just to fill in the distance required. I obliged, at that time, the crowd was lesser. You don’t see many people running anymore. I kept to my pace. As I pass by the “1km to go” marker, I can see runners starting to put up speed. I kept to my pace, didn’t want to force it. I remember an advice from a seasoned marathoner. He said, “Don’t stop, but keep to your own wind. There are times your wind will bring you faster, and times when the wind is slow. But the rule is, don’t stop.”

As we head straight back at where we started, I can see the stage and the crowd. Suddenly, I see my friend TSB by the side. He went for the 5km run. Once he saw me, he shouted, “Come on Abby, come on!” and ran towards me. That was it. The final 20m. I sprinted like I was sprinting for a 100m relay. I sprinted as if if I didn’t touch the finishing line within 2 seconds, the whole world will collapse before me. And I jumped at the finishing line! I made it! 12.3km!

SHAPERUN 2011, 12.3KM, Nurol Latif, Ranking – 280th, Time – 1 hour 35 mins 38 secs. Average 7.72 mins per kilometre.

They gave medals to the first 200 runners. But it didn’t matter. I was proud of myself. I walked less than a kilometre and ran the whole way!

Sis did great despite having tummy cramps and whatnot. Although she was bitter for the false hope of getting a medal. Unlike KL Marathon where all finishers receive a medal, SHAPE RUN only gives us a blank certificate that didn’t even state how many kilometres we ran for.

On our way back, we had a few wrong turnings in Putrajaya trying to find MEX to go back to KL. But the company matters. We spent great time singing and joking around in the car in Kelantanese. And we end up going to Ampang Jaya for the famous Burger Sepah OM. A reward for our running. And dinner of course.

I got home as a winner that night. And Ramadhan enters with a month break from running. But September will come and we’ll start training for our Adidas Run for 16.8km on the NPE. I’m looking forward for that. Maybe next year, we’ll have enough endurance for a half marathon!

In retrospect:

My first run was the MPSJ-NST 10km run. I did fairly well, having to go through the entire 10km without water because organisers decided to use plastic water bottles at their water stations which not only unpractical for the runners but also bad for the environment.

My second run was the MKLand 7km Green Run. We all came back with a plant and the hilly route was a fair share of nature plus construction site run.

My third run was the Siemens 10km Run 2010. I started timing myself, or more like setting a Personal Time for myself. The best thing about Siemens run was the fact that you can put the reason what you’re running for. I ran for INDIVIDUALITY and of course, WORLD PEACE.

My fourth run was the Nike 10.10.10 10km run. That was a very dry humid city run. Not only that it goes up the AKLEH highway, but the tunnel at the Ampang Park intersection was a dreadful experience. They separated one lane of us runners and the other 2 lanes of non-moving traffic. The amount of carbon monoxides for our final 1km of the race could have killed a lot of brain cells.

My fifth run was the Penang Bridge Run where we did 10km. Having eaten a lot of dishes (almost forgot it was a running trip, not a food trip), I end up running while holding my poop. As gross as it may sound, the organiser did not provide any portable toilets along the 10km route and the drizzling rain didn’t help either.

My sixth run was the KL Marathon 10km run. Sharing almost the same route as Siemens Run, the final 1km wasn’t as cheerful as Siemens’ crowd with all the Banghra boys banging their drums and whatnot. But I still did my best and also got a professional running picture taken by my photographer friend, Johan Sopiee at KM 8.5. And we had our friend Rafai who came particularly to just cheer for us. What a great team for the day. 😉