Day 9 to 15 (Mon to Sun): The last leg

Time blurs away, ebbing profusely with every passing night, seemingly going both out of and into focus at the same time.

It’s strange really, when you reflect on days gone by, trying to string up the things you’ve done with the things you actually need to accomplish — a sort of a mismatch made in earnest, and it makes you want to believe that everything that has transpired is good work done.

Really, time flies, and so did my family, returning home on EK354 (Emirates) on a Sunday afternoon, and it was reassuring and calming to hear again from Sis and family coming back on their last leg after almost a week of no contact, which was surprising indeed, because Sis isn’t the type to scrimp on getting good wifi/network and forego little talks!

All those nights without news I know in my heart that all is well, and that they are preoccupied with something bigger, and that’s good enough for me to sleep on.

So everyone’s back, alhamdulilah, and it’s really good to see everyone back together again, ‘cos I really missed them all — but I’m sure they miss Medina and Mecca more than they’d miss me! *wink-wink*.

Day 7 & 8 (Sat/Sun): The Extended Procrastination.

It was the weekends, what do you expect — once a gamer, always a gamer — and it was only natural~

Sure, I had things that I needed to do, personal admin stuffs and I left it all to the eleventh hour (Monday morning!) to complete.

So I was off for the weekends from work, and I spent it all on Gaming, Soccer and more Gaming!

Mind you, not the casino gaming kind, but the Hearthstone, Magic:The Gathering and Clash of Clan kind!

But first, soccer on Sunday morning, where surprisingly I lasted the whole 90 mins, scoring yet another goal (1 this week, 1 last week), despite sleeping only at 5.30am for 3 good hours of rest.

Why 5.30am? Because me and my Magic buddy playtested the Modern (Magic) format from 7pm till 3am from the night before, while watching Chelsea thrashed Sunderland and Newcastle drawing their games, which is probably the longest period I’ve ever expended playing Magic.

Oh my, the Magic games were intense and furious as my Zombie deck and my buddy’s ‘fair’ decks traded blows, all in the name of practice because we were practising for the upcoming Modern Championships and the events coming up the next day.

Guess what happens when next day came? Yep, we skipped all events and stayed home to do our things instead — me, playing soccer and gaming — so much for the anticipation of those events huh?

I still managed to do my household chores over the weekends. Cleaned the rooms, swept the house, did the laundry, wiped the tables and cleared all thrash. So proud of myself now. *beaming*

But the emptiness that laid bare at every spick and span couldn’t escape me, reminding me that my family are facing sterner challenges on their Umrah trip, than any whines or complaints that I can come up with.

And while I’ve been messaging Sis every now and then, my heart yearns to hear more stories from them.

Indeed it gets lonely once in a while, but I’ve been coping really well by being really busy and I’ve been really, really busy.

Work, Magic, Hearthstone, Stalwart Empire, Stickerdojo, APC, Barneys FC and housechores and I find myself stretching myself to the wee hours every single day, trying to accomplish one of these things.

Next weekend will be a much welcomed weekend as I have decided to ‘clear leave’ starting from Christmas, 25th Dec and will be back at the office only on 2nd Jan.

Now that’s 8 days of rest unlike any that I’ve experienced before, and the only think I fear coming out of it is an extended procrastination of my things to do.

Yikes.

Day 6 (Fri): The Intern

Oh man, these ‘Day X’ posts with my dealing of family’s Umrah Trip is almost alike Mark Wattney’s vlog while stranded on Martian soil, and actually harvesting potatoes grown from personal poop. **couldn’t resist pointing out the solitude life that both Me and Mark have to overcome!

‘The Martian’, very very good movie by the way..

But.. The Intern?

Well.. yeah, I had a juicy, smoking, hot, private affair with ‘The Intern’… a Nancy Meyers movie (Director of It’s Complicated, Something’s Gotta Give, Sister Act), so you know it’s going to be all warm and mushy, gleaming and almost perfect.

Yep, I watched the movie ‘The Intern’. Bah.

Almost perfect, because while the movie was a real a joy to watch, it got a little bit tedious towards the end as you sort of get impatient in wanting to skip towards its climax — a 2min scene out of a 2 hour+ movie indeed!

The movie, starring Robert De Niro, a retired widower who feels he can accomplish more, and Anne Hathaway, a business owner who zips through her workplace on a bike so she can save time, is about a career woman’s meteoric rise in e-commerce and the baggages that comes with it.

Fresh from watching De Niro in ‘Heist’, I thought he downplayed his character here much too many, but in the end it proved to be quite effective as he became the calming force to the tornado that is Hathaway.

I think the movie was quite serene, romantic, modern yet charmingly chivalric at times, and if I could sum it up in one word, enjoyable.

Hmm, much like how my week has been too. ; ) *winks*

Day 5 (Thu): The unknown

It’s been almost a whole day that I’ve not heard from my Family and while I’m not worried, it makes me slightly restless that I’m unable to keep up with the progress of their journey.

Where are they now? What are they eating? Who is guiding them along? When will they reach Medina? Why aren’t they responding?

Valid questions and all unanswered, but I’m pretty sure God will take care of them and that they’re travelling safely — insyallah.

The only good news: 5 days have already passed by, which means that there is slightly a week++ left before everyone returns.

Can’t wait to hear more of their stories!

Day 4 (Wed): The next leg.

A journey always begins with the first step, as the cliche goes, and the only thing harder than the first step.. is that second step.

On a day that Stalwart Empire embarks on its newfound second leg of its freshly minted startup journey — after the considerably ‘experiential and mildly successful’ NTUC Future Starter campaign — my family is also moving forward towards their second leg of this year’s Umrah trip.

Fresh from the near freezing climate of Masjid Al-Aqsa in West Bank, Palestine, they travelled back into Amman, Jordan where they’ll take another plane trip down to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, before heading to Medina.

Sounds awfully exhaustive? Well, you bet it is.

Actually, both the Umrah trip and this Startup experience are unequivocally exhaustive, considerably taxing the mind and incessantly sapping away the energy of all willing participants.

Despite all that, we steadfastly, humbly and devotedly keep soldiering onwards, because, as another cliche saying goes, no pain no gain.

Onto our next steps!

Day 3 (Tue): A magical night.

A magical night? Lol, not quite in that mesmerising sense but more of in the card gaming sense, as I visited BricksPlay for Modern night, and promptly got thrashed left-right-center as my 4C Zombie deck’s wild variance reared its ugly head.

Indeed, sometimes you just got to put up your hand and admit defeat as luck passes you by, looks at you with one glance and ignores your plight.

Bad draws, bad draws, and bad draws were the order of the day as the Zombie deck malfunctioned extravagantly, but fortunately my dinner of Yellow Submarine ‘sub-radar’ beef with cheesy fries was oh-so-awesome.

Anyways, as for my family, they’re doing really good over there, and though it’s cold, they’ve prepared well with chemical warmers, cold jackets, thick clothes and a staunch faith in accomplishing ibadah.

I vividly recall my Arabian nights — see what I did there? — where I spent nearly 2 weeks accomplishing my own ibadah at Medina and Mecca.

They were cold, not freezing, but cool and pleasing, and the most vivid experience that I recall is that peaceful and serene effect the place had on me.

The place was no barren or desert, but it was simple and… functional.

Days pass by like cars and bikes on a busy road, where you don’t really notice them passing by, and while I’ve always wished I could go there again, somehow this time round I’m unable to.

But I’m really happy that my family gets to experience those magical nights on my behalf.

Ain’t nothin like an Umrah’s Arabian nights.

Day 2 (Mon): A quiet affair.

At work, the sisters Ching (Teng & Ling), were away and so there wasn’t much ramblings or musings to ramble and muse about, and before I knew it 6.30pm greeted me and I was on my way home in a flash.

Stopped by Taman Jurong shopping Centre and bought Chicken Wing rice for dinner, but as tasty and yummy as it was, eating alone in my sis’s room wasn’t as enjoyable as eating with them all~ *pangs*

I tried to start a bit of work here and there but everything just crumbled as I kept refreshing multiple channels of Heartstone streams on Twitch, and today somehow Mira chose to stream exclusively in Russian, to my annoyance.

And to her annoyance, she retorted “Don’t question how I stream” when I asked “Why only in Russian today?”. ;p

Pretty soon, I was too tired to continue and after a quick exchange of messages and checking to see that everyone is doing fine in Palestine, I succumbed and rested till the next morning~

Day 1 (Sun): A Good Start

It’s day 1, and they’ve yet to contact me, as they’re probably still on their way to Hotel Holyland Jerusalem, after landing at Amman, Jordan hours earlier.

Me? As usual, it’s my Sunday morning soccer game baby!

Made an assist and even scored a screamer of a freakish freekick for Barneys on Sunday morning, to make it 4-0, and I think I had a decent game at both Leftback and Rightback position.

The opponent were way more technically gifted and skillful, but somehow we were more clinical and finished the game 5-0, good game indeed.

It was supposedly Modern GPT at Bricks Play next, but the incessant rain dampened all plans and I stayed home instead, and it was a very, very quiet Sunday at home, because usually when everyone is around, you can’t get 10 minutes without someone annoying, pleasantly of course, you.

SO, with me all by myself, I cleaned, washed clothes, watered the plants, fed the cats, played games, watched movies — and about that, I watched Heist, starring Robert De Niro, a not too shabby show indeed!

Also added to my watched list was Matt Damon’s “The Martian”, a really really good show, and a weird “Scout’s guide to the zombie apocalypse”.

What else could’ve top off my lazy  Sunday?

What else, fried chicken with salcicia spaghetti pasta from Pastamania! Yummy

Day 0 (Sat): Umrah Sabatical, The send off.

Everyone except me went for their Umrah trip, and I just came back from sending them off at Terminal 1, an hour earlier where they took flight at 0120hrs with EK405 (Emirates).

Even bro and his 9 month pregnant wifey was there to grace the occasion and lend their precious time, as our family faded into the departure halls along with about 30 other participants from Jallaludin travel.

The send off was clean, peaceful and a little joyful too, fortunately.

I vividly recall my last trip to Umrah, circa 2004, as a homage to my late mum’s passing, as the opportunity to get closer to god presented itself, many many years ago.

Today, is Day 0 of their trip, as well as my solitary sabbatical, albeit at home — a much welcomed change of pace, as I’ll be aiming to complete tasks and achievements within the next 2 weeks.

Tonight, actually, is a challenge that I am looking forward to, one of many to come.

2 weeks.

Let’s see what I can accomplish eh?