Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Penang. PhD Progress

Oh Hai.

I have just got back from a week in Penang.

Penang is in Malaysia. It is near Thailand but is not Thailand, just to clarify (people asked me).

To summarise, we ate, we drank, and we sat our bum by the pool (there being jellyfish in the ocean and all). I read books and tried to beat the advanced computer on my iPhone scrabble.

I think the advanced computer is a cheater. It makes up words.

We bitched about the haze enveloping Malaysia and Singapore from bushfires in Indonesia. We only saw the sun on the day before we left.

We walked around, like mad dogs and Englishmen, in the midday sun. It was hot and humid and yucky and there were no people around. So we did the only sensible thing and retired to the local hotel bar for a beer. Hydration being paramount and all.

We partook of nightly happy hour. 5:30 to 7pm free beer, wine and cocktails. The waiter, Chan, was a very bad man and relentlessly topped up our drink.

As always, pictures are worth a thousand words. Here are some. They are mostly food.

My view for most of the vacay
Cendol being made

Hokkien Mee, Poh Piah and Char Koay Teow, at Hawker Market

Some street art, Armenian St
More street art, Armenian St

Frier in action. The products were delicious 

Still more pics are on insta. Thankyou to all those who "liked" them.

So I had the results back on the PhD. Long story short, one good report and one very critical, however long story short I need to make some reasonably minor changes and respond to general comments, and the changes only need go back to the local chairman of examiners at our uni, not to the external examiners. The chairman will sign off and it's signed, sealed and delivered with a floppy hat on top!

I am quite the Jetsetter at the moment, and am off to Turkey for a conference on Monday. All of this brief and business travel has whetted my appetite for adventure travels from days of yore. I want to go to Israel and Jordan, and do the Inca Trail. I want to see all the places and eat all the things. Some folks look at shoes and jewels, I look at the Intrepid travel website.

Though my tolerance for discomfort during travel has diminished in my older age.

How are youse? Where have you been and what are you doing?

Saturday, 10 October 2015


You may remember my reaction to my sister's announcement of her pregnancy.

You will probably remember what happened with mine.

It's a hard situation, but I think I have found my peace with it, for the moment.

My sister's baby is imminent. I drove about 80km to see her yesterday, and spend some time with her. We had a lovely time, and bonded. Perhaps the closest we have ever been. My big sister protective instinct has kicked in, and I spoiled her a bit yesterday. Bought the baby a teddy bear, a purple Care Bear. I would've loved a Care Bear as a little girl, but they were too spenny.

As I've mentioned, my sister and I are chalk and cheese, and we have clashed many, many times. I have tried very hard to be supportive to her during this pregnancy, while still honouring my own emotions.

It has involved listening, and saying things like "how do you feel?", "how are you coping?" and "what do you need?", rather than telling her what to do and feel. I know she is feeling anxious, as most first time mothers do, plus they are in a financially very tight situation already.

I got the same treatment back, yesterday. She asked me how I was feeling about the miscarriage thing, listened as I told her about some recent career wins. She didn't try and say "oh don't worry you'll be pregnant again soon". We punned and swore and giggled.

When I got back, I received a text. Care Bear was placed in the cot, awaiting her little friend:

This made me very emotional.

This has been hard, but I have learned the true meaning of grace, and I am proud of this.

I am very much looking forward to being an Auntie.