Differences between Bulgaria and Malaysia

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?”

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° (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 musakakebache, sarmi, banitsa, tarator, gyuvech, ayran, boza… 
  • A side note: I know better “to eat”, and not “to explain”. Haha! 😀

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! 😀

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. “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 second and the third questions.

Note:
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. 😦

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. 😀

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! 😀 But, how can I blame the kids? They’re just too cute! 😀

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! 🙂

 

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°C) 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°C 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? 😀 But then again, my drawers are already full. 😦

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. 😀

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. 😛

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! 😀

So, did my joke work for you? 😀 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.

Phrases that Mr. Hubby uses all the time in Malaysia!

Languages are just so fascinating. If you know or speak more than one language, I’m sure at some point of the time, you are tempted to mix different languages in one sentence. I am a lecturer, teaching mainly English language and communication-related subjects. My job is to teach and ensure people use language (specifically English) the correct way for effective communication. But I have to admit, when I’m off from work, my proper English usage knock off from work too!

English is the main language of communication for both of Mr. Hubby and I. I remember when I first met Mr. Hubby, I was drooling over his sexy and exotic accent whenever he spoke. But if you have spoken with with Mr. Hubby in the past months, I bet you must be thinking that I’m lying about his sexy accent. When we went to Beijing the last year, none of the tourists in the bus realized there was an angmoh (Caucasian) seated at the far end. When people saw Mr. Hubby, they were in shock and said, “How come he speaks exactly like a Malaysian? We didn’t even realize there’s an angmoh in this bus!” Well, now I drool when he speaks Bulgarian.

So yes! After about 3 years of staying in Malaysia, I can say that Mr. Hubby is almost Malaysianized! If you don’t look at his handsome face, you are most probably going to think that you’re speaking with a Malaysian! Don’t you agree, my Malaysian friends?

In Malaysia, we speak so many different languages and dialects. But in this post, I’m going to share mostly about Manglish. For my international friends, Manglish is not the standard Malaysian English that we use in the formal context. I call it “the Malaysianized English”. Seriously, I don’t even know if it should be call “English” because it’s a mixture of so many different languages and dialects. You can search about Manglish on the Internet if you are interested.

I blame it on Mr. Hubby’s learning enthusiasm. He picks things up very quickly. Everything that goes in his ears, stays in his brain. And he usually uses it against me later. I’ll share with you some phrases Mr. Hubby uses all the time in Malaysia.

  1. There…zhe ge ren lo.. (pointing at me)
    What is it: There + zhe ge ren (Chinese phrase for this person) + lo (a particle as a complement to a sentence used widely by Malaysians)
    What it means: This person here
    Where did he learn it: From me, especially when I’m talking bad things about him with my friends, right in front of his face. He heard it so many times that in the end he understood that zhe ge ren (or “this person”) is him.
  2. Mati signal (when driving)
    What is it: Mati (Malay word for die) + signal
    What it means: Switch off your turn signal
    Where did he learn it: When he was taking his driving lessons in Malaysia. There was only one instructor who could teach the lessons in English. And he came home asking me what is mati.
  3. Cannot tahan
    What is it: Cannot + tahan (Malay word that can mean resist, tolerate, take it etc in different contexts)
    What it means: Cannot resist, cannot tolerate, cannot take it etc depending on the context
    Where did he learn it: From my mum and my sister.
  4. You go chi da bian lah
    What is it: You + go + chi da bian (Chinese phrase for eat shit) + lah (a particle as a complement to a sentence)
    What it means: Go eat shit (in a joking manner)
    Where did he learn it: From my BFF who goes by the initials CYW. Hahahaha…. I’ll tag her on Facebook (maybe).
  5. Siao ah you ? / Shen jing bing ah you?
    What is it: Siao (Hokkien/Chinese dialect word for crazy) OR Shen jing bing (Chinese phrase for crazy) + ah (a particle as a complement to a question) + you
    What it means: Are you crazy?
    Where did he learn it: From me, when I’m asking my friends if they are crazy (in a joking manner).
  6. Sien loh
    What is it: Sien (Hokkien/Chinese dialect word that can mean bored, frustrated, annoyed etc in different contexts) + loh (a particle as a complement to a sentence)
    What it means: It’s boring. It’s frustrating. It’s annoying. All depending on the different contexts.
    Where did he learn it: From LINE chat, there’s a Moon sticker with this phrase! I think…
  7. Aiya, no need one
    What is it: Aiya (An interjection/expression word in Chinese for negativity) + no need + one (complement word)
    What it means: Well, there’s no need to…
    Where did he learn it: Erm….I have no idea. From me, I suppose?!
  8. Walao / Waliu
    What is it: Walao or waliu (An interjection/expression word in Chinese dialect?? to express either shock or surprise)
    What it means: Wow (to express surprise) or What the hell / WTF (to express shock in a very nice manner)
    Where did he learn it: From my BFF who goes by the initials AT. Hahahahahhaa……
  9. Me meh?
    What is it: Me + meh (complement word for question)
    What it means: Is it me? OR Does it have to be me? OR Do you think it’s me?
    Where did he learn it: I have no idea too. But he uses it a lot when I ask this question, “Did you just fart?!!?!?!?”
  10. Pi gu ren
    What is it: Pi gu (Chinese words that mean buttocks) + ren (Chinese word that means person)
    What it means: Butt person???
    Where did he learn it: I don’t know. But he calls me this all the time and he claims that it’s “cute” nickname. I believe he means it the nice way…hmmm…

This is how Mr. Hubby and I communicate, usually when there are no other people or when our friends speak Manglish too. What do you think of Mr. Hubby’s Manglish? Out of 100%, how many percent would you grade him? 😀

Update: There’s a second part! Click here to read it.

Annoying questions of all time!

Some people ask questions because they are genuinely concerned about your welfare. Some people ask  questions because they haven’t seen you for a long time. Some people ask  questions because you have experience in that subject matter. I categorize these questions as “constructive questions” and honestly, I am more than happy to answer these questions.

The same questions asked by different people can have different effects as well. For example, if your parents ask when are you going to get married, it shows that they are concerned. But if your mum’s cousin’s friend’s neighbor asks your parents when are you going to get married, that is plain gossiping. These questions are just lame, senseless and simply a waste of time. I mean, really? These questions clearly do not benefit both the person who asks and the person who replies. Why do people want to ask those questions anyway? Seriously, I have no idea.

I am sure everyone has experienced such situation. Me too! And I’m going to list down a few annoying questions I get all the time for the past 6 months before I came to Bulgaria. Perhaps you are thinking why am I so mean when people are just showing concern. Well, maybe they are just showing concern but I would probably empathize their concern better if they:

  • rephrase their question
  • omit any kinds of assumptions (usually the first part of the sentence before the “actual” question)
  • use a more suitable interjection (a.k.a expression word)

But don’t fret! I’m a nice person and I’ve been answering these questions in the most courteous way possible. However, I sometimes wish that I had been less courteous. Continue reading and then tell me again if you think that they are genuinely showing concern or not.

  1. About my car
    Question: “Ohhhh, but you just bought your car last year, didn’t you? What are you going to do with it?”
    What I answered: “Well, I am just gonna leave it here for my family to use it.”
    What I should have answered: “I’m gonna give my car to you, you want it?” 
  2. Still about my car
    Question: “What will you do with your car? Are you selling it? How much do you wanna sell it?” (Yes, all these came together at once.)
    What I answered: “I’m not selling it at the moment. My family can use it.”
    What I should have answered: “How much you wanna pay for it? etc and drag the the whole conversation for 30 minutes and then tell that person that I’m actually not selling it.” 
  3. About what I’m doing after I left my job
    Question: “Oh, you just left your job right. You must have a lot of free time. So, what do you do at home?”
    What I answered: “Well, not exactly having a lot of free time. There are quite a lot of things to settle. (give examples).”
    What I should have answered: “Oh ya, I am so freaking free now. You know, my house cleans by itself, my clothes wash by themselves and my toilet bowl cleans by itself too! Also, I breath in all the dust in my house so it’s dust-free! And my clothes pack themselves in the luggage too. You have no idea how free I am! Woohoo! 
  4. Still about what I am doing after I left my job
    Question: “Oh, it’s so nice not having to work. You know, working is so tiring blablabla. So, you are sitting at home doing nothing right?”
    What I answered: “Actually I’m not really entirely jobless. Remember the company I set up together with Mr. Hubby. Now that we are relocating to another country, there are many things I’ll need to settle before we leave (give examples going to SOCSO, SSM, KWSP, LDHN etc). It’s quite time-taking.”
    What I should have answered: “Yeah, it’s such a nice feeling that you should just leave your job too and join me to sit home and do nothing!” 
  5. About my master degree dissertation
    Question: “You haven’t completed it? I thought you submitted it in February? Why is it taking so long time?”
    What I answered: “Well, they take 2 months for the examination. After the examination, I had some minor corrections to do. And I’m not in KL personally, so it was a little difficult to schedule an appointment with my supervisor because she’s travelling abroad frequently too.”
    What I should have answered: “You obviously don’t have a master degree.” 
  6. About when I’m going to get pregnant (The most interesting one of all time!!!! Yay!!)
    Question: “You are so free now. You should get pregnant! Then you can take care of the baby.”
    What I answered: (Mostly just to get rid of the question fast.) “Not now. Perhaps when I’m more settled in a place. I really enjoy my freedom right now.”
    What I should have answered: “So you expect me to travel halfway around the world, to search for a new house, to renovate my new house, to settle in a whole new environment while I’m pregnant?” 
  7. Still about getting pregnant
    Question: “When are you getting pregnant? Your baby must be cute because your husband is angmoh (Caucasian)” (I think that was supposed to be a compliment but I think it’s actually better not to mention it at all.)
    What I answered: “All babies are cute!”
    What I should have answered: “Yeah, you should get a Caucasian husband too!”

What do you think of these questions? What kind of annoying questions you have been asked? Share with me! 😀

Note: This post is meant for sharing and/or entertainment purposes only. It is not meant to offend anyone.

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. Нягослав
    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. Аптека
    How I see it: Anteka
    What I think it is: Antique?
    How is it pronounced: Apteka
    What it actually is: Pharmacy
  3. Вход
    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. Гараж
    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. Може
    How I see it: Move? Moxe?
    What I think it is: Move
    How is it pronounced: Mozhe
    What it actually is: May / Might
  6. Джени
    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 Джени written everywhere on documents, not knowing that it’s actually my name. But of course, I know it now.) 😀

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. Сок (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. Мед
    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. Хора
    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. Жъне
    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. Няма (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.

Sometimes it is better to say “yes” or “no” than to nod or shake your head

I must say that this is one of the weirdest things I’ve encountered in my whole life. Back in Malaysia, when someone asks me a question, I usually include some gestures in addition to my reply. I don’t know why I do that. I guess I just want to be a little more expressive in my reply.

Q: Do you want an ice-cream?
Me: Yes, please! (Nodding vigorously)

Q: Do you wanna go out after work?
Me: (Shaking head slowly). No, I feel a little tired today.

Q: Can I have this document by tomorrow?
Me: (Nod once). Of course, I’ll pass it to you tomorrow morning.

Is there anything wrong with my gestures? Absolutely no!

BUT… if you ever want to visit Bulgaria in future, I highly recommend that you strictly stick to saying just “yes” or “no” instead of nodding or shaking your head. Why is this so? It is because nodding and shaking your head mean exactly the opposite! Huh? Yes, you are right. Back in Malaysia, nodding usually means yes while shaking your head means no. However in Bulgaria, nodding means no and shaking your head means yes.

I am not joking!!

I remember very clearly on my first visit to Bulgaria, my mum-in-law (back then, she was “boyfriend’s mum”) prepared a feast for my arrival. I was very happy that someone whom I met for the very first time actually put in so much effort and prepared so much food to celebrate my arrival. Everyone was very nice to me eventhough I didn’t speak the same language. Mr. Hubby (then, “Mr. Boyfriend”) acted as the translator between me and his family members. The food wasn’t just delicious but they were also nicely decorated too.

Here comes the scandalous part. Everybody was happily eating and chatting. Eventhough we didn’t understand each other, we were all smiles. As we were eating, my mum-in-law popped the questions, “Is the food okay for you? Do you like it?” Mr. Hubby translated. Well, I didn’t speak Bulgarian but I was thinking that even if I reply “yes” (in English), they should be able to understand me. So, I replied like I usually do, in addition with the head gesture.

Mum-in-law: Is the food okay for you? Do you like it?
Me: (Nodding vigorously), YES! YES!

Do you get the picture of what just went wrong? Yes, I just nodded vigorously. Nodding in Bulgaria means NO. So I supposed nodding vigorously means NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!! When I was nodding, I actually didn’t look at them face to face. I was too shy, after all it was my first time meeting my boyfriend’s parents and I just wanted to be as proper as possible (ahem!). Then I realised something was wrong. How come everyone became quiet after I replied? So I looked up and I saw that everyone stared at me in shock.

Well, Mr. Hubby then explained to me that nodding means no and shaking head means yes. Seriously, at that time I just wanted to dig a hole somewhere and hide inside forever. Looks like my plan to be proper failed miserably. So, I was in shocked and I explained that what I really meant was “Yes, I love it” and NOT “No, I don’t like it”. Mr. Hubby translated. We had a good laugh. It was so nice that they were so understanding and didn’t blame me for that.

Honestly, until today I still can’t get used to the Bulgarian styles of nodding and shaking heads. I mean, for 20+ years, I’ve been nodding for agreement and shaking my head for disagreement. It’s very difficult for me to change it, no matter how I force myself to. Now, I avoid using any head gestures. I stick to just saying “Yes” or “No”.

Have you ever encountered any situation like this? Share your stories 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?

Pros:
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.

Cons:
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

References:
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! 😀

Love,
Jenny Zhekova

Happy Spring Cleaning – Part Two

Today I continued my spring cleaning like I have been doing for the past 2 weeks. The “storeroom” is almost cleared so I proceeded to the living room today. Again, I found a lot of treasures today. I focused on 3 sections (or collections, if you want to call it that way) – magazines, CDs/DVDs and bags.

I started with the easiest one, which was the magazines collection. From the picture below, you may think that they were not a lot but in fact, these magazines occupied almost 2 big containers. How was that even possible?! :O Since I needed to use the containers to transport my things, I decided to put these magazines on the shelf. Seriously, how can these magazines be so HEAVY? Were they made of steel or what?! Anyway, arranging them was as easy as ABC (minus their weight) so I spent only about 15 minutes on this task.

Then, I continued with the second section, which was my bags collection. I thought that it would be real easy since I had already given many bags to my elder sister. But then I realised I actually still had many left. I took much longer time to wipe and dust and keep and arrange them than I expected it to be. It was still a relatively easy task because the bags were light. Since most of them were in their dust bags anyway, so cleaning them was generally an easy job.

The last part was my CDs/DVDs collection. Well, not mine entirely. 50% belonged to Mr. Hubby. I removed the CD trays and kept the CDs/DVDs nicely in the container. Anyway, I was quite amazed how much money I spent buying all these original CDs during my early teens. In my late teens, I think the trend shifted from “buying” original ones to “burning” original ones. Hahaha. However, I did not keep these “burnt” ones and decided to throw them away. Yes, they are now in a blue rubbish bag.

I relocated most of my treasures to my mum’s place. Some of them are now in my sister’s place. Why am I relocating them? I’ll tell you in my next (or maybe next next) post. I spent the rest of my afternoon in my mum’s place, arranging things which I had earlier brought there. I found lots of “love letters” and greeting cards from my friends. They were all handwritten. Most letters and cards had almost no space due to so much love (a.k.a “words”) written on them. I also found my autograph books from secondary school. And TAA DAA, some of my soft toys collection, stuffed in a big container. I didn’t want to stuff them there BUT there was no enough space to display them. AND I’m definitely NOT going to give them away because I’m a selfish pink monster who needs a lot of soft toys! (Note: I actually had given a few to my nephew so I’m not really that selfish.) 😀

So, what’s the fun arranging things today? I re-read all the letters and cards from my friends. And, I found the content of these letters extremely hilarious. Some of them were really mushy. I mean, if all these mushy words were from only guys, I was most probably going to be flattered. BUT honestly, 50% of them were from girls. Seriously?! What were we (me and my girl-friends) thinking? I think puberty must have hit us really hard at that time!!! What’s more we were in all-girl school. Hahaha!! I’m not going to talk about all the content because it will take me forever. You will understand what “forever” means when you see the pictures below.

Have fun looking through the pictures! 😀

My magazines, CDs/DVDs and bags that were cleared today! Sometimes I feel really fortunate that I’m not an “expensive bags” collector. At least I can easily give away the bags to others when there’s a need. Please pardon the horribly arranged backpacks and baggages at the bottom right picture.

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More treasures found in the containers I moved to my mum’s place earlier. Diaries, autograph books, soft toys and wait, what?! So many boxes of name cards? I didn’t know I was such a “big” businessperson. Oh wait, not all were mine. Haha. Who is Nyagoslav Zhekov? 😛

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Love letters from my “lovers” (a.k.a friends and pen pals). There are also letters and cards from my aunt. Yes, I am a nice niece! 😀 If you are looking again at what you were looking at the second picture on the left, YES, that was exactly what you were thinking!!! Take a guess who was the sender? (Hint: A friend from my secondary school!) Look at the epic Meteor Garden (F4) letter pad!! Hahahaha… And now you know the meaning of “forever”. I almost pengsan (faint) reading all of them! But from these letters, I could see who are my good friends. I mean, only good friends would take time to write you so much stuff, right? Shit friends usually wouldn’t be bothered.

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A random sleeping cat that I saw outside the window when I opened the window for fresh air. I was wondering if it was sleeping or dead? My mum told me that the cat regularly sleeps there. Hmmmm…

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Hope you enjoyed my post!

Love from the pink monster ❤