Trying out something new

Best Air Purifier in Malaysia (and Singapore) – What I Chose and Why

*This is a guest blog post by Nyagoslav Zhekov, the loving husband of Jenny Zhekova.

Note! This blog post is solely for sharing purposes. We are not selling or endorsing any air purifiers! ūüôā

If you have been following this blog, you most probably know by now that my wife has been fighting with severe sinusitis for many years. As things she tried worked with moderate, short term success, I decided to try something new.

Air Pollution in Malaysia and Singapore

Air pollution in Malaysia and Singapore is a serious problem. If you have ever lived in any of these two countries, chances are that you have experienced the May-July severe haze Рa direct result of forest burning in Indonesia. But Indonesia is not the main problem. Overpopulation in certain areas, industrial activity, excessive usage of personal transportation means instead of public transport, are all add-up factors. States of emergency are not uncommon due to pollution levels rising above the Emergency level of 500 API/AQI/PSI.

Air Pollution Index

There have been times when surgical disposable masks¬†were not available in pharmacies.¬†The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Malaysia shares an interactive map of the hourly changes in air pollution levels in the country per area. Similar map is maintained by the National Environment Agency of Singapore. In fact, you could even download and install this¬†app that provides the same information via¬†phone updates. Of course, this wouldn’t really help resolve the issue. It could only make you more aware of the threats you are facing in your everyday life. And as different respiratory illnesses have been directly linked to air pollution, I suggest you act fast on getting a healthier life, without having to move up to some secluded mountain.

Buying Local vs. Buying from Amazon

Before starting to discuss the factors that you should take into account when purchasing an air purifier, I should mention that your biggest problem might very well be the undersupply of high-quality air cleaning systems in Malaysia and Singapore. If you try to do your own research, you will probably encounter a number of articles mentioning products that you will later on discover are not available in the local market. These articles are most frequently written by Americans, and as almost all of the best brands are American, there is certain logic into this fact. Unfortunately, if you are reading this article you most probably live in Malaysia/Singapore. What are your choices then?

1) Buy from Amazon.

2) Scrounge the local market and buy from a local supplier.

If you decide to go with option 1, you will discover that the variety is bigger, and the net price is much cheaper. However, you should take into consideration the following factors:

РWarranty is almost always limited to the country where the machine comes from (most frequently the US). If you get a defective product, you would either not be able to exchange it, or even if you are able to exchange it, you would need to bear the international shipment costs.

РChances are your product will be tailored to the 110 Volt electricity in the US, so  you would need to buy a voltage converter. These usually cannot be used long hours, and are in general not recommended for usage whenever they could be avoided. Sometimes they could be stated as a cause for warranty forfeiture.

– You will be getting your air purifier transported from overseas. Besides the obvious threat of it getting spoilt along the way, the transportation costs are also not to be neglected. A regular home purifier might weigh between 5 and 15 kg, which means that shipment might be in the range of US$150 (~MYR550 by today’s exchange rate) per unit.

– You will not be able to test your air purifier personally. Things such as noise level and design are much more difficult to be comprehended “on paper” than in front of one’s eyes.

Having taken into consideration the above factors, I personally decided to buy an air purifier from a local supplier. As mentioned above, the options are more limited, but many of the negatives a purchase of an Amazon purifier would come with are avoided.

What Are the Options?

There are just a handful of companies that sell air purifiers in Malaysia, and not all of them offer the highest quality products. For instance, Harvey Norman, which is one of the few suppliers¬†that are physically present outside Kuala Lumpur/Selangor, feature¬†a range of Sharp, Panasonic, and Hitachi air purifiers. When I went in person to the Citta Mall branch, I also found a DeLonghi air purifier there. Of these, only some of the Hitachi ones rely mostly on¬†HEPA filter technology for air purification (more about why this is of crucial importance below). Another option for the ones not living in the Kuala Lumpur area¬†would be Lazada, but while it features a wider range of products than Harvey Norman’s stores, the quality level is approximately¬†the same.

If you live in the Johor Bahru area, you might consider purchasing an air purifier from Singapore.

If you, however, do live in or around KL, you would have the following options for high quality air purifiers:

Alen Air Р3 types

Coway Р5 types (not available in Singapore)

BlueAir Р3 types (6 types in Singapore)

Honeywell Р3 types (4 types in Singapore)

Therefore, everything could be boiled down to a choice between these 14 models of home air cleaners.

What Factors You Should Consider

The number one factor, which I will not even write in detail about, but will just share some additional resources on, is the presence of a “True” HEPA filter and the reliance on this filter for air purification. You could read more specialized information about it here and here. All of the products mentioned above do feature such filters.

The second factor I looked into was the size of the filter and the airflow intake. While you might find different statements about what area certain air purifiers can cleanse, this is the one “empirical” factor that could be very telling. You could take a look at the motor of the air purifier. If it is bigger in size, the chances are the air inflow is larger, too.

The third directly-related-to-air-cleanliness factor I took into consideration was the tightness of the casing. If you actually take a look at some of the lower quality products I mentioned above, you would notice that there are holes in the casing, probably left for design purposes. If there are holes, it means at least some part of the collected dust and other air pollutants go back to the room air.

An obvious factor to consider is the cost of the device you would be purchasing. A top quality air purifier (the ones I strongly recommend you look for) would be in the range of MYR2,000, but the price could very well go up to MYR5,000+. It is important to remember that with air purifiers, the higher the net price of the product, the lower its long-term cost. Additionally, the more simplistic the technology, the lower the chances of technical glitches over a period of time. The cost of the filters, and their average lifespan is an added figure of the total long-term price of an air purifier.

There are a few less important factor for me personally, which I am sure might be of primary importance to others. For instance, the design of the air purifier. However, frequently certain design decision are made in expense of technological embetterment. The noise an air purifier produces could also be considered, especially if it is to be used in a bedroom. The electricity consumption is another factor, which could add up to the long-term usage cost.

Which One I Bought and Why

I bought a Honeywell HAP 18200 from House of Air Cleaners. It has the thickest filter of all, one of the largest (if not THE largest) airflow intakes, and a relatively long lifespan of the filters (1 to 5 years for the HEPA filter, depending on usage).

Honeywell HAP 18200 Front

Honeywell HAP 18200 Side

I understand it doesn’t cut it when it comes to design, as it might seem¬†a little bulky to some, but I am far from the idea that an air purifier’s main purpose is to improve the design of a room. Additionally, because of its very powerful motor, it scores lower at noise levels and power consumption, as compared to other similar range purifiers, but as I mentioned above, these are less important factors for me personally. The Honeywell air purifiers have a lot of endorsements from hospitals and independent physicians, and the brand is¬†among the highest regarded in the field of air purification.

At the same time, it is competitive price-wise. I was considering purchasing it from Singapore, where it is sold for SG$599 or SG$609 (~MYR1,600+), depending on the dealer, but I decided to go to House of Air Cleaners, where its “official” price was MYR1,959. My decision was based mostly on the fact¬†that the retail store is less than 15 minutes driving away from my home, and because I got a discounted rate of MYR1,850, as well as a carbon pre-filter as a free gift (worth MYR85 at the same store, but worth MYR120+ in Singapore). You could also purchase substitute filters from the same store – activated carbon pre-filter, and HEPA filter.

House of Air Cleaners’s retail showroom’s address is:¬†11, Jalan SS2/55, 47300 Petaling Jaya. The street is very heavily congested with parked vehicles on both sides, especially during business¬†hours. Additionally, there is pasar malam (local night market)¬†on Monday,¬†so it is generally recommended that you visit the store during their weekend working hours – Saturday from 10 am to 7pm, and Sunday from 11am to 3pm.

Other Products I Considered

There were a few other air purifiers I considered, or I would have considered in other circumstances.

The first one in this list was AlenAir Paralda. However, the price point is a bit high (MYR 3,188 after discount, MYR3,588 standard price, at the time of writing this article), so value-for-money-wise I consider it worse than my Honeywell device. The price of the same product in Singapore is SG$1,280 (~MYR3,450).

The second one was BlueAir 203 SmokeStop (MYR1,559). Having in mind that neither me, nor my wife smoke, one of its main features was useless to us. It is cheaper than Honeywell, but it covers smaller area and its general inflow capacity is much lower. You could find the same product in Singapore with SmokeStop filter, as well as without that filter. The price is SG$625 (MYR1,680) and SG$588 (~MYR1,570) respectively. You might consider going with the 450E SmokeStop model (MYR2,459 in Malaysia), although I do believe Honeywell 18200 is better.

A smaller, but powerful air purifier, which came close second in my choice list, was Coway Aires¬†(MYR2,100). The fact that Coway directly sell it in Malaysia (and not via a distributor or a third-party retailer) is an added advantage. I would have probably gone with it have I had smaller rooms to purify. It might be a good choice if you live in a suite apartment, for instance. Coway don’t have physical offices/stores in Singapore, though.

Final Words

Choosing an air purifier is a long-term investment that could have significant implications on your own and your family’s health. Do not take my word for granted as what suits one might not suit another, and do your own research. The good choices, specifically in Malaysia and Singapore, are limited, so it shouldn’t take you too long to sift through the available options.


Five essentials for the summer

I’ve visited Bulgaria many times, but never had the chance to really enjoy the summer here.¬†My first two visits were during the winter and my 3rd visit was during the autumn. Last year, I came here for the 4th time during the summer but I spent all my 3 weeks preparing for my wedding. This is my 5th visit. For the past 2 months, I’ve experienced the summer more than I have ever wanted. In this post, I’m going to share with you how I feel about summer and 5 essentials you should have with you if you want to visit a country with 4 seasons during summer.

Note: The author is neither a geography expert nor a climate expert. This post is solely based on the author’s experience in Varna (Bulgaria), Rome (Italy) and Milan (Italy) in July 2014. This does not apply to all Bulgaria, all Italy or all countries with 4 seasons. This post is solely for sharing and/or entertainment purposes only.¬†

I am from Malaysia, a country with equatorial climate. It has either sunny or rainy days. When I told my friends that I’m visiting Bulgaria during summer, they quickly assumed that the weather conditions of “a hot day in Bulgaria” and “a hot day in Malaysia” are the same. If you’ve experienced similar conditions, you’ll definitely know that they’re not the same.

Note: The following information is solely based the author’s experience on a sunny day (without rain) in JB, Malaysia and a sunny day (without rain/snow) in Varna, Bulgaria.¬†

A sunny day in JB¬†is usually hot and humid. The difference in temperature between day and night is usually small. Except when I’m in an air-conditioned room, I get sweaty very easily even I’m in a sheltered or shaded area (e.g. at home or in open-air cafes). On a daily basis, I use BB cream with SPF50 on my face, but¬†I don’t use any sunblock on my body (unless I go to the beach, but that’s another story). Without sun block, I think walking under the sun is bearable. I try not to be exposed for too long because I’ll get tanned (or “burnt”) and freckles will start appearing. I would say that walking under the hot sun is bearable (but not advisable) without wearing a hat or sunglasses. The glare of the sun is also bearable if you don’t look at the sky directly, but of course you are most likely to be walking with your eyes half-closed (trying to protect them from the sun). Well, this is based on my personal opinion but I may be biased¬†since I’ve lived in Malaysia most of my life! ūüėÄ

A sunny day in Varna¬†is usually hot and dry. In the middle of the summer, the difference in temperature between day and night is small too. The temperature at this time is around 30¬įC (or hotter). However,¬†during the start and the end of summer, the temperature differs quite significantly. The temperature during the day is usually around 27¬įC but during the night, it can go as low as 16¬įC. I personally feel weird because I’ve never slept in 16¬įC back in Malaysia at night. Even if I were to switch the air-conditioner to the lowest, it was 18¬į but then I would never do that. I usually kept it at 26¬įC. Here in Varna, I don’t get sweaty easily. Unless I exposed myself to the sun for hours, I usually don’t get sweaty after a 15-20 minutes walk under the sun. It is very weird for me that my skin burns when I’m directly exposed to the sun but once I step under some shades (e.g. trees), it actually becomes¬†cooling. Weird! In JB, the only difference when you are under the sun or under a tree is that you don’t get burnt. Otherwise, the hot “feeling” remains quite the same. I cannot tell you why but you just need to experience the magic of tree shades during summer.¬†Although I don’t get sweaty, that doesn’t mean I don’t get burnt! I get burnt way too fast as compared as I was in JB. Therefore, I usually apply 2 layers of BB Cream with SPF50 on my face, and a layer of sunblock with SPF50 on my body when I walk to the mall. Everyone wants to get tanned here and I’m taking measures to prevent myself from being “burnt”. Without hat or sunglasses, my eyes are almost (not half) closed. The glare from the sun can be so harsh that I can’t see properly.

If you love being tanned, then summer is your best friend. Well, if you don’t like being tanned but still love the summer, I recommend these 5 essential things you must have with you (especially if you plan to visit a country that has summer days like Bulgaria)! But ¬†“hotness” isn’t¬†just what I’m talking about here. Taking care of the “dryness” during summer is equally important!

Note: I like to use the word “burnt” instead of¬†“tanned” but¬†what I really mean is that “the skin becomes darker”.

1. Sunblock & sunscreen

  • This is a serious must! Even if you love tanning yourself, there’s no harm applying a layer or two if you know you will be exposed to the sun for a significant amount of time. I think my explanations are pretty much in the previous paragraphs! ūüėÄ

2. All your moisturizing agents!

  • Face moisturizers: If you have oily combination skin like me, please don’t think that being in a dry climate place is going to make you a beautiful princess. Your pimples will still pop up if you don’t use proper skincare. The good news are¬†that you can put lesser layers of moisturizers on your face and that your face will not get oily so easily/fast. The bad news is that “the very moisturizing” formula you used back home is probably not suitable in this climate. I’m not sure about other skin types, you may want search for more information on the Internet.
  • Body lotion: Also a must, preferably after shower. WHY? I can’t imagine myself applying lotion on my body when I already have layers of sunblock. Over time, your skin gets drier without you noticing it. I’m not even staying/sleeping in an air-conditioned room here in Varna and I can sometimes feel my skin is dry and tight, what’s more if you are travelling and are sleeping in a hotel with air-conditioner? Body lotion is a must!
  • Hand cream: The skin around nails sometimes becomes dry and eventually it cracks. Use hand cream whenever you can. It’s not necessary but it’s good to keep one near you.
  • Moisturizing facial masks: If you have invested in good moisturising skincare products, facial masks are not really necessary. But there’s no harm wanting to look beautiful, so you can use some sheet masks. I personally gel mask.

3. Hat

  • This is pretty obvious. You don’t want to have a burnt forehead, right? It’s a good way to keep your eyes “opened” (without the sunglasses) under a sunny day. Seriously, without a hat is not so bad. You’ll just have to live with a “burnt” forehead for a few months. But without sunglasses…

4. Sunglasses

  • Well, it’s a good way to keep your eyes “opened” more (with or without the hat). It helps to shield the glaring sun. ¬†But please don’t look at the sun directly, thinking that you are 100% protected. You’ll most probably be blinded. I’m personally not a “sunglasses-kind-of person”. I prefer to see things in their natural form/colour. But yeah, … without sunglasses, it’s so difficult to see anything¬†because of¬†the glaring sun. Everything seems to be reflective of the sun light. At this point I’m wondering, why does the sun glares more in Varna than in JB? Does it? Or does it not? Maybe I’m just biased. Hahaha…never mind.

5. Insect / Mosquito repellent

  • Seriously, I myself am surprised from this. I came from a place where mosquitoes are breeding like crazy. Yeah, I’m talking about living near to a dengue-infested lake near my previous apartment. But put aside these Aedes mosquitoes, I would say that “normal” mosquitoes are not something new back in JB. Honestly, I’ve very rarely¬†used a mosquito repellent back home. The only time I remember using it was when I went with my parents-in-law to the Tropical Spice Garden in Pulau Pinang. I’m not sure if it is considered a mosquito repellent, it was some lemongrass spray. I didn’t feed myself that much to the mosquitoes there. Perhaps one or two bites which were inevitable. Well, I would say that in Varna, if you avoid “grassy” areas like the parks or the gardens, you are surely safe! But if you enjoy garden dining like I do, you definitely have to prepare insect/mosquito repellent! Initially, I was thinking that I was just unlucky when I garden-dined in Varna. But, I encountered the same when I garden-dined in Milan!!!!! After 2 visits to 2 different restaurants in 2 different countries, my legs are full with mosquito bite marks that I sometimes feel like crying. T_T

So, nothing about what clothes you should wear blablabla. You wear what you wanna wear during the summer. Woohoo!! You don’t need anyone to tell you that. In case you are interested, I usually wear my favourite 3S – shirt, shorts and slippers when I’m going out. Sometimes, with short dresses too. However, if I know I’ll be exposed to the sun for more than 30 minutes, I usually wear long¬†dresses or thin long sleeve shirts with long pants (plus my hat – still not liking the sunglasses). So it really depends whether you wanna get “burnt” or not. If you’ve decided to get “burnt” all over, the best solution is to go to the beach¬†in¬†your tiniest strings! I promise! ūüėÄ

Finally, do I like summer? Hmmm….95% yes! Where does the remaining 5% go?! Well, I had “some problems” with summer when I had to pack for my Milan/Rome trip. After all, they are the major fashion cities and I did not want to be “underdress”. I had difficulty choosing “the perfect colour combination” so I ended up with the “safest combination” of black and white. -_-” During that packing session, I was secretly wishing that it was winter so I could just wrap myself in winter coat! Enough said! Hmmm…

Have you experienced summer in another country? Are there any differences between a sunny day in a foreign country and a sunny day in your home country? Share your thoughts with me. You can leave your comments below. Don’t worry, your email address will be invisible to others. ūüôā

Alternatively, if you have a story about your experience about summer which you would like to share, find out how by clicking here.

Unexpected inspiration!

I have an exciting blog post which I wanted to share today. But I know that the coming¬†Monday is a public holiday in Malaysia and most of my friends are probably somewhere having their long weekend vacation. So, I’ll save that story for next week as a way to chase my friends’ post-vacation blues away. Hahahaha!! ūüėÄ Happy holiday to my Malaysian friends. And happy weekend (in advanced) to the rest!! ūüėÄ ūüėÄ

To keep myself disciplined, I’m going to share about how I feel about blogging. I think this post is rather unexciting. So, it’s okay if you don’t want to continue reading. But if you do, thank you so much and I love you!! :* Alternatively, you can click on some old posts (check “archives” on the right if you’re on a computer OR all the way to the bottom if you’re using a mobile device!) If you’re interested, you can also check out¬†Bunny & Bee¬†for some stories I posted 2 or 3 years ago.

I¬†love sharing my stories. I’m always glad that my stories are able¬†to help or inspire other people in some ways. Click here to read why I started blogging, mostly to document significant things that happened to me and Mr. Hubby. Many people think I’m “public” person. In fact, I’m a very private person. From time to time, I’m actually “filtering” my friend list on Facebook because I only keep the ones whom I’m still in contact with. First of all, I don’t see the point of keeping “friends” that¬†I¬†don’t keep in touch with. It’s a waste of space. And it’s not like they take the initiatives to keep in touch with me in any way. Secondly, I don’t need thousands of friends on my friend list to boast my social circle. It’s totally unnecessary. I also don’t accept friend requests unless I personally know the person. I don’t subscribe to any channel to publicize my blog. I only share my blog on my Facebook. In short, I only share my blog to 600+ “chosen” friends on my Facebook.¬†¬†But of course, not all of them bothered to read my blog any way.

Today, I logged in to the blog I share with Mr. Hubby. I haven’t logged in for more than a year. The blog is currently not active. Haha. Don’t ask me why. I can list you 100 reasons and you will still think that I’m giving¬†excuses. So yeah, it is currently not active. But, I’ll try to make it active again soon. I was amazed that there were actually people (not from my friend list) who subscribed to it. I also received¬†a few comments from strangers¬†who told me that they came across my blog by chance and how did it help them in some ways. Few weeks before I left Malaysia to come to Bulgaria, I also received a message from a friend, asking me for advice about the marriage registration processes (with a foreigner) in Malaysia. She told me that she had read my blog about my experience. 2 days ago, another friend also mentioned that she had read about my R.O.M experience when we shared about relationship issues.

I mean, how amazing can that be? People getting inspired by my stories? This is like the “bestest” feeling (greatest satisfaction) I get from blogging. I was actually thinking nobody cares about my “nonsensical” stories. Apparently, it’s not so nonsensical after all. So, if you do have a story that you would like to share, don’t hesitate! Share it! You never know how much your personal experience can actually help or inspire others. Click here to find out how you can be a guest writer for my blog.

Let’s share our stories and be an unexpected inspiration to someone else!

A little “welcome back” note

I actually wrote this “welcome note” (3rd paragraph onwards in black) 2 weeks ago but decided not to publish it because I wasn’t sure if I’ll be diligent enough to keep my blog active or if I’ll have enough readership as motivation¬†to keep my blog going. Apparently, I have been diligent enough to write for the past 2 weeks, except for Saturdays and Sundays which I declared as non-writing days for myself. In addition, I’ve also been getting so much love from my friends who have told me that they enjoy reading my blog. They even gave me suggestions on things they’d love to read on¬†my blog! So much love! ‚̧ ‚̧ ‚̧ ¬†Thank you!¬†

Because of this blog, I’ve reconnected with many of my friends. I’ve also found out that many of my friends have really great stories that they would like to share. If you are one of these friends, click here to find out how you can be a guest writer on my blog.¬†

So, back to my little welcome back note.

Welcome back to my blog! After more than 2 months of hiatus, I hope I’m ready to write again. Sorry if you’ve been missing my nonsensical stories. It’s not because I’ve been lazy. It’s because I’ve been tremendously busy. Well, perhaps after that “tremendously busy” period, I did get a little lazy. But anyway, that’s not the point. The point is that, I’m back and the fact that you’re reading this means that you do care about me. Thank you so much for your <3.

In case you’re wondering about my whereabouts and what I’ve been up to, allow me to update you. As most of you probably know, I am currently back in Bulgaria with my husband.¬†Before we came to Bulgaria, we also had a lot of things to settle, mostly work-related things like going to the government administration offices and other things like the terminating the Internet and satellite TV services etc. ¬†Moving out from our rented place was really a nightmare. Arranging who to take care of which stuff was also a big headache. It wasn’t easy but I was glad that we managed to settle almost everything before we left.

Back in Bulgaria, my husband’s working hard as usual while I’m just having fun, doing nothing at home. I’ll just take it as a holiday reward for myself for being busy and hardworking before I came here. Well, I do have proofs. Remember my¬†Happy Spring Cleaning Part 1¬†and¬†Part 2¬†posts? ūüėõ

In fact, we’re¬†relocating to Canada soon. When will that be? I’m not sure. It depends how fast the applications get approved. How long will we be there? Hopefully for long, because it’s really not fun to “move in and out” a place, especially when you’re settled and used to the environment.

So, that’s pretty much all about me (or us). And I’ve got some really great stories on my writing list. Stay tuned!

Jenny Zhekova

P/s: If there’s any specific topic you would like to hear from me, let me know! ūüôā

Differences between Bulgaria and Malaysia

1. ‚ÄúWhat do you miss the most about/in Malaysia?‚ÄĚ
2. ‚ÄúWhat do you like about Bulgaria?‚ÄĚ
3. ‚ÄúWhat do you think about Bulgaria?‚ÄĚ
4. ‚ÄúWhat are the differences between Bulgaria and Malaysia?‚ÄĚ

I’ve answered the first 3 questions in my previous posts. Click on the links above if you haven’t read them. In this post, I’m going to share about a few differences between Bulgaria and Malaysia.

There are 3 significant differences between these 2 countries:¬†the climate, the languages, and the food. There are definitely more than these but I’m going to share just these 3 points in this post.

1. Climate

  • The climate in Malaysia is equatorial. In short, it has¬†either sunny or rainy days. The humidity level is quite high. During sunny days, it can be hot and stuffy that you can hardly breathe. During heavy rainfalls, the thunder and lightning can strike so hard that you feel like they’re just next to you.
  • The climate in Bulgaria is continental. There are several regions in Bulgaria that have the Mediterranean climate. In short, it has¬†4 seasons – Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Spring and Autumn can be chilly at times but I think the weather during these 2 seasons are the best (or I should say, more “humane”). Winter can be drastic and temperatures can drop down to -20¬į (or less). Summer can be so hot that you feel your skin burns under the¬†sun.
  • Side notes: 1.¬†No¬†weather¬†is perfect (haha!). 2. I’m not a climate expert. You can search for more information on the Internet if you are interested to know more.

2. Language

  • In Malaysia, we mostly use Bahasa Malaysia (BM) for government-related matters and both BM and English for official matters. However, Malaysians¬†use different languages/dialects at different times, in different contexts and to different people. We usually speak “properly” when we are at school or at work or when we are talking to the elders, but most of the time, we prefer to use¬†Manglish among friends to show solidarity.
  • In Bulgaria, the Bulgarian language is the main language. English is not necessarily a second language for Bulgarians and it is not widely used here. German, French and Russian languages are among the common choices for Bulgarians as a second language.

3. Food

  • I have problems describing this part. I’m not sure if they are called the “Malaysian cuisine” but we usually call it the “typical Malaysian food”. If you ask me what kind of Malaysian food I like, I’ll tell you that I like¬†char kway teow¬†(literal translation: stir-fried ricecake strips, from¬†Chinese cuisine), nasi lemak¬†¬†(literal translation: rice fat?? – fragrant rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves, from Malay cuisine) and roti canai¬†(some kind of flat bread, from Indian cuisine). It’s really complicated. You should really search for more information on the Internet.
  • Pizza and pasta are common in Bulgaria, but most people stick with the typical Bulgarian cuisine. When you mention “Bulgarian food” (or beverage), you immediately think of¬†musaka,¬†kebache, sarmi, banitsa, tarator, gyuvech, ayran, boza…¬†
  • A side note:¬†I know better “to eat”, and not “to explain”. Haha! ūüėÄ

In addition to these,¬†I’m¬†also going to share about other differences in lifestyle I’ve experienced¬†in my daily routine.

4. Nodding vs. Shaking your head 

  • In Malaysia, nodding generally means “yes” and shaking your head generally means “no”.
  • In Bulgaria, it is the complete opposite.
  • I’ve mentioned this in one of my previous posts, click here to read about it.

5. Rice vs. Bread

  • In Malaysia, rice is essential in almost every meal. ¬†Bread is mostly eaten during breakfast or as a snack.
  • In Bulgaria, bread is essential in every meal. Even if your meal consists of rice, you still eat it with bread. Rice is like a side dish.

6. Fork vs. spoon

  • In Malaysia, except in the case of fine dining where more than one utensil is used, we generally use spoon when eating. I use both fork and spoon but most my family members use only spoon when eating. Some Malaysians prefer not using any utensils at all.
  • In Bulgaria, again with the exception of fine dining or when you are drinking soup, usually only the fork is used. Yes, I eat rice with fork here! ūüėÄ

7. Alcohol vs. Non-alcohol

  • In Malaysia,¬†alcoholic drinks are only allowed for non-Muslims. People usually consume alcoholic drinks (beer, wine or liquor) during night time or during special occasions.
  • In Bulgaria, people drink alcoholic drinks all the time, at any time of the day. In the restaurant menus, alcoholic drinks can take up¬†more than 5¬†pages. Non-alcoholic drinks usually take up only about half a page. Alcoholic drinks are considerably cheap here. And many people own a vineyard and they brew their own wine.¬†Every year, my father-in-law brewed his own wine, on average 200 litres per year.

8. (On a sunny day) Shopping malls vs. Beaches 

  • In Malaysia (except on long weekends or during school holidays), on weekends when you have nothing to do, most people go to the mall. After all, the malls are air-conditioned and you can find everything there. And you don’t have to suffer under the hot sun!
  • In Bulgaria, everyone goes to the beach. If you don’t go (or haven’t gone) to the beach, they think you’re weird. (Yeah, I’m weird). I know people who can go to the beach everyday for a month. Apparently, people here like to “suffer under hot sun” (a.k.a to get tanned)!

It’s so interesting to see the differences in the lifestyle of different people in different countries. I think the most interesting difference for me is eating rice with a fork. Which do you think is the most interesting?

What I like about living in Bulgaria

In my previous post, I mentioned that there are several questions I was frequently asked in Bulgaria.

1. ‚ÄúWhat do you miss the most about/in Malaysia?‚ÄĚ
2. ‚ÄúWhat do you like about Bulgaria?‚ÄĚ
3. ‚ÄúWhat do you think about Bulgaria?‚ÄĚ
4. ‚ÄúWhat are the differences between Bulgaria and Malaysia?‚ÄĚ

In this post, I’ll answer the second and the third questions.

The things I’ll share in this post may be similar to what other people have experienced in other European countries or countries that have similar characteristics. This post is mainly about my experience living in Bulgaria.
 I am making a comparison based the cities where I lived and am currently living: Johor Bahru (JB), Malaysia and Varna, Bulgaria. This doesn’t apply to all Malaysia or all Bulgaria.

1. Safety

  • In JB, the crime rate is rather high. Many of my friends and family have been the¬†targets of snatch thefts and robberies. Last year, on the night before my wedding in Malaysia, I had a small family gathering at home. There were about 20 of us, mainly adults with 2 kids. My elder sister was robbed right¬†at the front porch of the house, just 2 steps away from the house entrance. In separate¬†incidents, my bro-in-law was robbed at knife point while on his way to work in broad daylight, my dad was chased by 2 motorcycles with masked robbers after withdrawing money from an ATM, and my mum’s bag was almost snatched when she went to the market in the morning. It doesn’t matter when or where. You just have to be extra cautious especially when you are alone. You can be the target of crime no matter if you are a woman or a man.
  • I’m not saying it’s crime-free in Bulgaria. I’m sure crime happens everywhere in the world. However in Varna, I feel relatively safe. I can walk on the street without having the constant fear that someone might come on a motorcycle to snatch my bag. I still practice caution whenever I go out. But I definitely feel much safer here than I was in Malaysia.

2. Everything is fresh and organic here!

  • In JB, organic fruits and vegetables cost a lot of money! I wouldn’t say Mr. Hubby is picky with his food, but he is very particular with the quality of his food. I think organic fruits and vegetables generally taste better than the “non-organic” ones. I usually spent about RM100 (approximately 50leva), buying just vegetables and fruits. Seriously, I can go bankrupt by just eating fruits and veggies back home.
  • In Varna, everything is fresh and organic. It’s cheap too! Well, during winter is another story. After buying the fruits and veggies from the market, you can simply rinse it with water and eat it. Unlike in JB, I had to wash and soak and use special drops to remove the “toxic” on the fruits and veggies. It can be a very tedious process. ūüė¶

3. The tap water is drinkable

  • In JB, the tap water is not drinkable. You can choose to drink it and end up having diarrhea later. Most households invest in water filters. Only with water filters, the water from the tap is safe to drink. However, I know some people are still boiling the water even when it is filtered, just to make sure it is 100% drinkable.
  • In Varna, the tap water is drinkable. When I first came here, I thought it was a joke when Mr. Hubby told me that I could drink from the tap. I was like, seriously!?! I still prefer not to drink from the tap¬†although everyone else at home does that. I sometimes buy bottled water from the grocery store. But if my bottle is empty, I don’t mind to just crawl to the kitchen, turn on the tap, and drink the water from there. ūüėÄ

4. Minimal air and noise pollution

  • In JB, air pollution is a serious problem. Every year, when one of our¬†neighbouring countries¬†decides to burn its forest, the whole Malaysia would suffer horrible air pollution. Even without that, the exhaust fumes from the vehicles are enough to suffocate you. And, I have black boogers all the time!!! As for noise pollution, with on-going construction works everywhere, it’s difficult not to have any noise. That’s understandable. But the worst “noise pollution” is when your neighbours fight. They scream and shout and throw things at each other in the middle of the night, especially near¬†your front door. That’s the worst kind. (Note: I lived in an apartment in JB.)
  • In Varna,¬†the air pollution is minimal.¬†Vehicles here rarely “fart” black fumes. Smokers are everywhere but there are designated smoking areas. As long as you don’t go near those areas, I guarantee your hair will still smell nice after 2 days and you will not have black boogers!! As for noise pollution, there are almost no constructions nearby the place I’m staying. My neighbours are friendly and civilised, as least I haven’t seen them shouting or throwing things at each others. I would say the “biggest noise polluters” are the kids playing in the playground in front of our apartment! ūüėÄ But, how can I blame the kids? They’re just too cute! ūüėÄ

5. No ants loitering around

  • In JB, if you don’t keep your snacks properly, ants attack in 5 minutes. If you don’t pack and throw your garbage daily, ants form an army around your garbage bin. If you don’t wipe your spilled drink in 2 minutes, ¬†ants swim in it. There are always ants attack, any time of the day. If they don’t attack the food, they attack you!
  • In Varna, I hardly see any ants. I can leave my food unpacked for hours, no ants will attack. I can leave my glass with fruit juice stains until the next morning, ants don’t bother to pay a visit. If I see any ants here, I most probably will attack them by throwing food at them!

Of course there are many other things I like about living here. But I’m just gonna share these 5 points today. So, what do I think about Bulgaria? I think it’s generally a nice country. What do I think about my¬†stay in Bulgaria? So far, I’ve been treated like a princess here. So, I would say that my stay has been great! Hahahahaha…

So which place do I prefer? JB or Varna? NONE of them. Every¬†place¬†has its nice and not-so-nice features. There are things I prefer in JB¬†and there are also things I prefer in Varna. There’s no perfect place in this world but you can always adapt and embrace the¬†local cultures¬†to make your stay perfect in different places. Do you agree? Share your thoughts with me! ūüôā


Things I miss doing the most back in Malaysia

In Bulgaria, I have been asked these questions rather frequently.

1. “What do you miss the most about/in Malaysia?”
2. “What do you like about Bulgaria?”
3. “What do you think about Bulgaria?”
4. “What are the differences between Bulgaria and Malaysia?”

In this post, I’ll answer the first question. Instead of sharing what specific things (i.e food, weather etc) I miss the most about/in Malaysia, I’ll share with you what are the things I miss doing the most back in Malaysia.

I generally adapt to different environment pretty fast. After all, I am the one who decides where I want to go and where I want to stay. I wouldn’t call it homesick, but I do miss doing certain things back home in Malaysia. Honestly, I survive well even without doing these things here but that doesn’t prevent me from missing them. In fact, I can do these things here too. However, my stay in Bulgaria is not permanent so it’s really unnecessary and it’ll be a hassle to “achieve” them.

Note: I am making a comparison based on the cities where I lived and am currently living: Johor Bahru (JB), Malaysia and Varna, Bulgaria. This doesn’t apply to all Malaysia or all Bulgaria.

1. Wearing whatever I want

  • In JB, I wear what I want based on my mood. Except when I’m going to work or when I’m attending to some official matters, I usually stick with my 3S – Shirt, shorts and slippers.
  • In Varna, I still wear what I want but it depends heavily on the weather. Now it’s summer, so I still get to choose. During the day, it can be really hot (like 35¬įC)¬†that I¬†feel my skin burns when I step out of home. I can wear my favourite 3S but I’ll get burned like crazy. Alternatively I can wear longer pants/skirts/dress and/or long-sleeved shirts but I’ll most probably get sweaty fast. Tough choice huh? In the evening, it can get quite chilly (like 20¬įC or below) despite it’s summer. ¬†Even if I just want to get a short walk in the park after dinner, I cannot wear my 3S because I’ll probably get sick after that.
  • Solution? There’s nothing I can do about it because I cannot change the weather. I’ll just have to choose from what I can wear instead of what I want to wear, that’s it! Well, it is a good excuse to buy more clothes, eh? ūüėÄ But then again, my drawers are already full. ūüė¶

2. Eating hot and spicy food

  • I wouldn’t call it my favourite kind of food, but I like the hot and spicy sensation that really tickles my taste bud. In JB, I can have the typical Malaysian food like asam laksa, curry mee or nasi lemak with a lot of sambal. Alternatively, I can opt for kimchi (Korean food), tom yam (Thai food) or sushi with a lot of wasabi (Japanese food).
  • In Varna, most restaurants serve the typical Bulgarian cuisine. I believe there are many different cuisines served out there but I’m just going to share about “hot and spicy” Asian cuisines. There are Chinese and Thai restaurants, but only very few of them. The menu usually states very typical/authentic Chinese or Thai cuisine but the taste is very much Bulgarianized. I mean, who eats beansprouts with olives and pickles? At least, I don’t.
  • Solution?¬†I can live without spicy food. The Bulgarian cuisine is really nice. And seriously, my mum-in-law cooks like the best dishes in the world. What more can I ask for? I’ll eat the olives and pickles, minus the beansprouts. ūüėÄ

3. Driving

  • In JB, I drive almost everywhere. Public transports are accessible between main roads and old neighbourhoods but not between the new neighbourhoods. The distance between the nearest shops and¬†home is relatively near (about 5 minutes drive), but not near to the extent that I would want to walk.
  • In Varna, I walk almost everywhere. Shops and malls are relatively near, also approximately 5 minutes drive. But unless people are going downtown or are carrying lots of things, they usually prefer to walk. So yes, I walk about 15-30 minutes (depending on my walking speed and weather) to the nearest shopping mall.
  • Solution?¬†You would agree with me that buying a car just to satisfy my desire to drive is totally not worth it. I’m sure my father-in-law would allow me to drive his car, but I don’t want to drive a manual car.
  • A side note:¬†People here don’t believe I have more than 10 years of driving experience. They think I’m 22 years old. So I must have started driving when I was 11. ūüėõ

4. Drinking bubble tea

  • In JB, I drink a lot of bubble tea. I really enjoy chewing those pearls (black, chewy tapioca balls). It just makes me feel happy! It doesn’t have to be tea, I can have chocolate milkshake with pearls too. Whatever beverage I want, with pearls.
  • In Varna, there’s no bubble tea shop (at least I haven’t seen one). Because I’m writing this post, I actually found out that there’s a shop selling bubble tea in Sofia (which is about 6-7 hours drive from Varna).
  • Solution?¬†I can “import” those pearls but I think they come in big packs. I definitely can’t eat them all by myself, nobody’s gonna help me because it’s not “their kind of thing” here, and storing them will be a problem. Alternatively, I can travel all the way to Sofia to get it. 6-7 hours drive just to get my bubble tea? Nah, I don’t think so.

5. Going for facial and massage

  • In JB, I enjoy going for facial, at least once a month. I have this beauty therapist whom I trust a lot when it comes to doing facial for me because I have sensitive skin. I also enjoy going for foot and body massage whenever I want.
  • In Varna, there are facial salons. But I’m not sure I can trust that person enough to touch my face. I have tried searching for massage and reflexology centers but all I found was “erotic massage”. Hmmm…I don’t think I need an erotic massage.
  • Solution?¬†I’ll try to survive without doing facial and massage, at least for now. I hope I can find suitable ones when I’m in Canada.

6. Doing offline and online shopping

  • Honestly, I don’t have many choices in JB either. Kuala Lumpur is definitely a¬†better place when it comes to shopping. But in JB, I did a lot of online shopping. There were times I got like really bad quality products but for the price that I was paying, I would say it was acceptable. Sometimes I got really good deals online.
  • In Varna, the choices are very limited. The largest shopping mall in Varna is smaller than an average shopping mall in JB. The prices here are more expensive for the quality of clothes that they are selling. I cannot do online shopping because most sites are in Bulgarian.
  • Solution? I’ll stick with international franchise brands like Zara, H&M, Bershka etc or¬†I’ll shop online from shopping sites that ship internationally.

7. Going to work

  • In JB, I had 2 jobs. I was teaching in a college on a full time basis. I was also managing Mr. Hubby’s company (NGS Internet Marketing) – doing recruitment, accounting and dealing with the official matters.¬†Haha, you’ll never believe how much I miss working! For me, it’s not just about doing my job but it’s also about developing myself professionally and socialising with others.
  • In Varna, I don’t work.¬†I eat, sleep, clean the room (not the house), travel (sometimes) and write blog posts! I call it the “long and deserved holiday”.
  • Solution?¬†Finding a job here is definitely a hassle because 1. I don’t speak Bulgarian, and 2. I am not staying here for long time. I’ll appoint myself as a blogger at the moment.

So, if you have been wondering what I miss the most, I hope I’ve answered your questions here. What do you think? Have you been abroad and missed doing/having something badly back home?

When my external hard disk got broken, I did the most ridiculous thing in my life!

When my external hard disk (EHD) got broken, my heart got broken too! I lost many important folders/files. It wasn’t the end of the world, but I still felt crushed. It was a horrible thing. A horrible, horrible feeling.

Several months ago, I had noticed that my EHD¬†started making weird noise when I plugged it in. I had wanted to purchase a new one to replace it but I just didn’t get¬†it. Why? I can list you 100 reasons but I’m not going to because you will anyway think that I’m just giving excuses. So, yes, I didn’t get a new one.

One fine day,¬†I decided that it was time to clear the rubbish in my laptop and to do some backup on my EHD. (Note: I used it¬†as my sole back up. I didn’t back it up my files in my D-drive (D:) because many years ago I had some problems with this laptop. But that’s another story.) When I open my EHD, I realized that the folders that I needed to do the back up was missing. I panicked. I plugged the EHD out and plugged it in again, again, and again. The folders were still not there.

I told Mr. Hubby what happened and we tried various ways to recover the folders. Initially, I thought I had accidentally deleted the folder by mistake. After all, I was merging the picture folders a few days before that. I might have deleted it. I was not sure. So, Mr. Hubby searched for information on the Internet and apparently, many people had the same problem too. He found a few types of software that might be able to help to recover the lost files. We scanned and scanned and scanned the EHD the whole day and managed to recover a lot of files which I previously deleted. But none of them was what I needed.

I didn’t give up and I continued to search for more information from the Internet. I realized that I didn’t delete the files. The folders/files went missing because the EHD itself was¬†already¬†faulty. The weird noise which I mentioned earlier was an indication of the problem. But I didn’t know and I didn’t take any action.

For about 3 days, I was just scanning my EHD over and over again, hoping that the files would miraculously return. I even prayed to God, telling Him that I would diligently back up my files in various places in future should they returned. Well, no. The files didn’t return. I knew they wouldn’t return anyway. After a few days of trying and feeling depressed, I bought¬†a new EHD for myself and backed up the remaining files in it, and also in Mr. Hubby’s laptop and my D-drive.

But, I still didn’t give up. (Ahem! Talking about persistence!) I continued to search for ways to recover the missing files. And guess what? I found a method, a very ridiculous one which was “recommended” in many sites. Actually, I doubted that method would help. Some commented that it helped for them but some commented that it was plain bullshit. I sought¬†Mr. Hubby’s advice. He said it was entirely up to me, whether or not to use that method.

Well, I had backed up the remaining files anyway and I didn’t have anything to lose anymore. Even if this method burned my EHD, I wouldn’t care because I had backed it up in so many places, right? Anyway, I was wrong because a few days later my laptop crashed too. Seriously? Talking about bad luck huh! (Again, that’s another story for another day.) But still, I gave a shot to this ridiculous method. So…..guess what I did?

I froze my EHD in the freezer! Woohoo!

I must have gone insane. Actually, this was the “recommended” method. If you don’t believe me, try to google it. I’m sure there would be at least 10 sites telling you the same! So yeah, I wrapped my EHD in cling film,¬†wrapped it again with 2 layers of sealed bag and dumped it in the freezer for 2 hours. Then, I plugged it in to my laptop, it wasn’t making any noise but I was still afraid it might kaboom. I used the software I had previously used to scan the EHD again.

So what happened in the end?

The files:

  • This method obviously didn’t work.
  • None of my files returned.
  • It was a waste of cling film, I should have used it to wrap some chicken drumsticks instead.

The EHD:

  • It didn’t get spoilt.
  • It is still functioning like normal (Yup, I just plugged in again to my laptop yesterday – 100% persistence!!).
  • I won’t use it anymore.
  • I’ll keep it as a “souvenir” or a “reminder”.

What I have learnt from this incident:

  • Back up all¬†files in as many places as possible, especially if they are extremely important files.
  • There’s no need to buy such¬†a super large capacity EHD because there are chances they will get spoilt in a few years’ time even if you are taking a great care of them, like I did.
  • Freezing it in won’t help to recover the lost files.
  • It’s better to save the cling film and sealed bag for food.

Seriously, I know it’s ridiculous. It sounds ridiculous too when I first read about the method. But I guess when people are desperate for something, they have the tendency to do the most ridiculous action, ever. Well, it was an experience for me. If I ever hear people talking about it, I can directly tell them “it doesn’t work”. Even if I don’t, I can always tell it as a joke! ūüėÄ

So, did my joke work for you? ūüėÄ Hahaha…

What was the most ridiculous thing you have done in your life? Share with me!

Note: The author is not a computer expert. This post is solely for sharing and/or entertainment purposes.

Bulgarian words that don’t mean as you see or hear them

Ever since I’m in Bulgaria, all my friends in Malaysia keep telling me to learn the Bulgarian language. I can assure you that learning a new language is not an easy task and it really depends on a lot of factors.

Nonetheless, I love the Bulgarian language. Bulgarian language uses the Cyrillic alphabets. Sometimes I wish I have already learnt them by heart. But, because I don’t understand them, it makes them twice as mysterious. Every word or sign that I’m seeing makes me feel like I’m deciphering some cryptic messages. And seriously, if everyone has a deep voice like Mr. Hubby, the Bulgarian speech can be so sexy. I can listen to Mr. Hubby blabbering in Bulgarian all day.

A few of the Cyrillic alphabets resemble the Latin alphabets but these alphabets are pronounced very differently. However, I must say that my brain sometimes cannot work properly to distinguish them.

These are some words I see them frequently. Eventhough I already know what they mean, I sometimes still have the urge to pronounce the words as how I see them and then define them based on my “personal pronunciation” (or perhaps¬†“opinion”).

  1. –Ě—Ź–≥–ĺ—Ā–Ľ–į–≤
    How I see it: Herocrab
    What I think it is: Hero + Crab?
    How is it pronounced: Nyagoslav
    What it actually is:¬†This is Mr. Hubby’s first name!
  2. –ź–Ņ—ā–Ķ–ļ–į
    How I see it: Anteka
    What I think it is: Antique?
    How is it pronounced: Apteka
    What it actually is: Pharmacy
  3. –í—Ö–ĺ–ī
    How I see it: Boxr?
    What I think it is: Boxer? Box? Boxing?
    How is it pronounced: Vkhod (Yes, V-kh-od). Seriously, how do you pronounce this?!?
    What it actually is: Entrance
  4. –ď–į—Ä–į–∂
    How I see it: Tapak? (A Malay word which means site or footprint. Please google it for more information.)
    What I think it is: I don’t know what to think of it.
    How is it pronounced: Garazh
    What it actually is: Garage
  5. –ú–ĺ–∂–Ķ
    How I see it: Move? Moxe?
    What I think it is: Move
    How is it pronounced: Mozhe
    What it actually is: May / Might
  6. –Ē–∂–Ķ–Ĺ–ł
    How I see it: Dxehn?
    What I think is it: I have no idea what is this.
    How is it pronounced: Dzheni
    What it actually is: Jenny (Yes, it is my name!)
    (I guess it was kinda sad to see¬†–Ē–∂–Ķ–Ĺ–ł written everywhere on documents, not knowing that it’s actually my name. But of course, I know it now.) ūüėÄ

When Mr. Hubby’s family talk, I sometimes mimic their speech. Well, that’s how I learn what is what. Here are some words which we often use it at home. Although I already know what they mean, I’m still guilty of defining them in their “alternate meanings”…sometimes…

  1. –°–ĺ–ļ (Seriously, don’t be¬†hamsap¬†(perverted), it is not what you think it is.)
    How is it pronounced: Sok
    What I think it is: Sock?
    What it actually is: Juice. (Yeah, as in fruit juice). Can you imagine how weird if you have like sok? As in sock juice?!? Hmmmm…
  2. –ú–Ķ–ī
    How is it pronounced: Med
    What I think it is: Med as in medicine?
    What it actually is: Honey. (Yes, honey from the honey bees.) ¬†Can you imagine when my father-in-law (a doctor) is like offering med to me and I was like “No, no, I don’t need med. I’m not sick.” Actually he is just offering me honey for my pancakes. I should dig a hole and hide. Hmmm…
  3. –•–ĺ—Ä–į
    How is it pronounced: Hora
    What I think it is: Horror? As in horror movie? :O
    What it actually is: People. (Yes, people as in human beings.) Well, sometimes people can be a horror too. Anyway…
  4. –Ė—ä–Ĺ–Ķ
    How is it pronounced: Zhune (pronounce “u” as in “cut”) like Zherne
    What I think it is: Jenny? Are they calling me? Well, it does sound a little like my name isn’t it?
    What it actually is: To harvest (a 3rd person singular)
  5. –Ě—Ź–ľ–į (This is the most fun word, ever. But please, I forbid you to use it in Malaysia.)
    How is it pronounced: Nyama (Okay, ni-a-ma, which sounds like a vulgar word people use in Malaysia?)
    What I think it is: I think I shouldn’t write it down here.
    What it actually is: There isn’t. Yes, it means¬†there isn’t.¬†If you wanna say¬†there isn’t any problem, you say in Bulgarian¬†nyama problem. Again, please don’t use it in Malaysia because if you use it, you are going to have a lot of problems.

I love languages. They are just so fascinating. What do you think of Bulgarian language? Do you think it’s easy or difficult? Share your thoughts with me.

The art of rolling clothes

Has anyone ever told you that packing rolled clothes in your luggage is the best space-saving way when you are travelling? The first time I heard about it was from a friend with whom I was travelling from Macau to Malaysia back in 2010. Well, don’t blame me for being a¬†katak di bawah tempurung¬†(literal translation:¬†frog underneath a coconut shell¬†which simply means¬†ignorant). I hadn’t travelled much back then and hadn’t had much experience in packing. Honestly, I am not a fan of rolling my clothes and I think the best space-saving way is actually to vacuum seal your clothes. But then again, who brings a vacuum cleaner with them when travelling?

Since I am in Bulgaria, I’ve been chucking my clothes in my luggage. The room I’m currently staying was previously occupied by Mr. Hubby and Mr. Bro-in-law. I would say that these two brothers don’t really have so many clothes but winter jackets actually take up a lot of space in the drawers and wardrobes because these jackets are big and thick and fluffy. As I can’t accept the fact that my luggage (filled with my clothes) is still lying on the floor after a month here, I’ve decided to get a chest of drawers for myself.

Last week, I finally bought a chest of 3 drawers with dimensions 70cm x 38cm x 73cm, after considering  that the chest should neither be too high to block the window nor too wide to block the balcony door. Here comes the challenge. How can I stuff all the clothes from 2 big suitcases into a chest which probably is a little bigger than a big suitcase? What did I do? Yes, you are right. I started rolling my clothes.

**Topic shifting for a while: Did you know that luggages  is not the plural form of luggage?  Luggage is a collective noun that refers to all your suitcases you are carrying.**

Back to the story. Well, because Mr. Hubby’s¬†collection of shirts expanded during the time he was in Malaysia, I agreed to share the chest with him. After all, he was the one who assembled the chest. So, I agreed to spare him one drawer. I started with rolling Mr. Hubby’s shirts¬†because his shirts are mostly of similar thickness and sizes. I excluded his pants in this chest because his pants were difficult to be rolled and I realised that the rolled ones actually take as much space as the folded one. So where did his pants go? To the existing wardrobe which he shared with Mr. Bro-in-law after some major rearranging.

Then, I started rolling my tops. I was happy because my tops were mostly thin and small. So, they looked really cute after being folded. And, it was really space-saving. After that, I started rolling my pants. Similarly to the problems I had with Mr. Hubby’s pants, both my long and short pants were not exactly “roll-able”. As they were not as thick as Mr. Hubby’s pants, I managed to fold the pants to the smallest size possible. And luckily, I didn’t really have so many pairs of pants with me. I must be really stupid to start with the easiest task. After organising my tops and pants, I had to roll the dresses. And guess what? Rolling didn’t work so well with the dresses because all my dresses were in different shapes and thickness – some with inner lining, some with laces, some with thick and fluffy sleeves, some with thick zippers, some were padded etc. Seriously?! But, I didn’t give up and continued to roll them. I managed to roll some of them into the smallest possible manner, but the ones with linings and zippers were almost impossible to be rolled. But, I managed to roll and stuff them all in the second drawer anyway. I just hope that I don’t have to open that particular drawer so often.

So, what’s my verdict on clothes-rolling?

1. It works well with t-shirts, thin tops, really thin pants, scarves, and pyjamas.
2. It really saves space if the rolled clothes are any of these: t-shirts, thin tops, really thin pants, scarves, and pyjamas.
3. It works well if you are using a hanging clothes organiser.

1. It doesn’t work well with thicker clothes like cardigans or sweater, pants, and dresses that comes in different thickness and designs.
2. It doesn’t save that much space if your clothes are thick.
3. It is very time taking.
4. If you don’t roll them properly, there’s a high chance that they will unroll by themselves.
5. It doesn’t work well with wardrobes or drawers because you will have a hard time taking out the clothes¬†that were placed at the bottom.

My conclusion for rolling clothes?
I think rolling clothes works well when you are packing for a trip, unless you are taking some extremely exaggerated clothes. It¬†definitely doesn’t work well if you are organising your clothes in a drawer or wardrobe. It works better if you organise your clothes in a hanging clothes organiser. If your clothes are thick, it is not going to save you much space. But if you yearn for that extra tiny little space (like what I’m desperate¬†for right now), you can definitely try this method.

The art of rolling clothes

1. My chest of 3 drawers.
2. Each drawer can stack up to 3 layers of clothes.
3. Small, thin tops can be rolled into such small size.
4. Rolled dresses with inner linings or laces don’t help much in space-saving.

Have you tried rolling your clothes, whether packing them for a trip or organising them in your wardrobe? Share your thoughts with me! ūüėÄ

Jenny Zhekova