The One with The Long Vacation

If you read my blog often, you’d know that I’m one of those torn souls with two homes: Oslo and Kuala Lumpur. For me, it’s always bittersweet to go home because in a small amount of time, I have to do all my duties:

  • be a responsible daughter
  • be a responsible sister
  • be a good friend and organize/show up at catch-up sessions
  • be a discerning shopper – buy everything I need (more like want) that I cannot get in Oslo, especially not at Malaysian prices [Hey, shopping is a duty too! I have to help contribute to the Malaysian economy, right?]
  • be a good person – I usually buy a lot of gifts for my family/relatives when I’m back because I like seeing them smile. When you give them a gift, to me, it holds the message “I may be far away, but I haven’t forgotten you”.

So, my trip is always jam-packed with stuff to do, people to see, and stuff to buy.

But to be 100% honest? I wouldn’t have it any other way. I guess it takes a bit of time to realize that it’s a strange situation to be in, but it’s the right thing to do. Since I only see some of these special people once a year, the least I can do is please them. Over the years, it has gotten a bit easier to say no sometimes.

This trip, that lasted for 2 week is actually a combination of ~5 days in Bandung (Indonesia) followed by the rest in Kuala Lumpur. I stepped out of the airport at around 7.30pm on 31st March and my parents drove me to MidValley Megamall straightaway (I’m sorry, if the mall smelled a bit strange around that time, it was probably my stench ;)) to see the Nikon camera fair that had started that day at 2pm. They were closing at 9pm so I had to decide if I wanted to buy a camera there or not. The bf had convinced me not to take my old camera with me so I wouldn’t have to lug two cameras back home.

Of course, like most gadget lovers, I caved and picked up the Nikon D7000. I won’t say the price was a steal but it was a really good deal 🙂

My New Baby - Nikon D7000 with the 8-105mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR ED Nikkor Lens

This baby weighs quite a bit more compared to my old camera, the Nikon D40. I picked up the D40 in November 2007 so it has been a while, but I plan on keeping both cameras because it’s a bit difficult to part with the older one. I’m a bit sentimental 🙂

If there’s one thing I love about Malaysia – it’s the shopping malls. Nobody makes them like Malaysia does. Well, the malls in America are very good too, but the malls in Oslo are nowhere near MidValley Megamall or 1Utama. The variety you get in KL makes shopping so much fun that you have to pace yourself and say “Don’t buy everything here. The other malls will have other variety too.”

So after picking up the camera, and trying to resist buying anything else in MidValley Megamall, we went home and ate home cooked food. Then my elder sister dropped by with her husband and her little daughter. Now my niece is a live wire. Although she is barely 2.5 years old, she does not behave like a child. She’s like a little lady herself. She knows what she wants and how to get it 🙂

We left for Bandung the next day and spent a good 5 days shopping. That’s kind of the highlight of Bandung – the outlet stores and some nice malls. It’s a nice place to do a vacation if you’re into shopping. A lot of these outlet malls hold last season/rejected items that look fine. Some of them are original. I’m a bit wary of picking up imitation items so I was very picky with what I purchased. My favourite place was Paris van Java which is a huge mall with regular stores. I really liked their range: Zara, Topshop, MNG, Nike, Fossil, Kipling, etc. at slightly lower prices since the cost of living in Bandung is relatively cheaper than Kuala Lumpur.

After coming back from Bandung, it was a bit of a rush to get everything else done:

  • Buy glasses and stock up contact lenses
  • Fix one of my winter coats which had some messed up buttons
  • Give 4 coats for dry cleaning (the price of dry cleaning a wool coat in Oslo is equivalent to the price of a new blouse!)
  • Buy food stuff like curry powder, spice mixes, chicken floss meat, udon noodles (I can’t find them here), Maggi noodles, Boh Seri Songket tea (it’s good stuff), Tau Sar Peah biscuits (will blog about it soon), a few bottles of Kaya (Malaysian style coconut jam), etc.
  • Buy clothing for Spring – I love the range we get in Malaysia, not to mention the bargains. I picked up a few pairs of jeans and pants (I have a fetish for pants), some blouses, and a few pairs of flat shoes and slippers. I really hope Summer is nice and warm this year otherwise I’ll end up staring at those slippers with a lot of negative thoughts.
  • Meet up with relatives/friends

I visited a lot of malls: MidValley MegaMall, 1Utama, Pavillion, Farenheit 88, The Curve (and IPC), and Sunway Pyramid. I also managed to squeeze in a movie with the bf and my younger sister (we watched Source Code, it was not a bad movie but does have some loop holes in the plot) so that I could binge on caramel popcorn. Norwegians love their salty popcorn way too much to even consider the option of caramel popcorn. So if you ever see me at the movies in KL with a large bucket of popcorn, don’t judge. I’m deprived of caramel popcorn.

I ate a lot. But that’s kind of what you do in Malaysia actually – enjoy delicious food. If you’re in a restaurant, it’s always a safe bet to pick literally anything from the menu. That is how good food is in Malaysia. The only problem I had with food was indigestion probably caused from combining Pad Thai with Soursop juice. Ouch, that did result in .. err, nevermind, that’s TMI 🙂

Ironically I bought almost no make up during this trip. The first problem was that my lay over in Bangkok turned out to be non-existent as it was spent exiting the plane and walking to the next terminal, all the while holding this “Transit” card to be handed over at the boarding gate. My heart bled knowing that there was almost no time to stop and swatch some NARS or MAC goodies. It hurt 😦 When I reached KL, I was elated to see Shu Uemura and MAC at the airport, but we had to get out of the terminal ASAP as my parents were already waiting (our flight was delayed by 30 minutes or so). I find it difficult to purchase items in a hurry, especially cosmetics. I did manage to pick up a back up for my favourite primer: Laura Mercier’s Oil Free Foundation Primer. While purchasing the primer, I threw in one of Laura Mercier’s Sequin eyeshadows in the colour Lapis. I did not even swatch it, just bought it anyway. I’m hoping to review it one of these days.

On my way out of KL, I did manage to stop at duty free and blindly grab Benefit’s Bella Bamba and Coralista blushes. It was like a pick, pay, run to gate situation. I was soooo tempted to buy a Shu Uemura cleansing oil and their famous eyelash curler but I couldn’t convince myself to splurge knowing that my current cleansing oil (from MAC) and eyelash curler (a simple one from Sephora) were good enough. In Frankfurt, we had a bit more time and I picked up Chanel’s Coco Rouge Shine in Boy and Coco Rouge in Venise. I also got the perfume I reviewed earlier, Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Bouquet Numero 2.

I know, I know, I’m a bit crazy about duty free, but when you live in Norway and have to pay Norwegian prices, duty free feels like a cheap sale. I die a little bit on the inside, each time I don’t get a chance to peek at duty free :/

Overall it was nice to be home. I’m still yet to figure out how long is a good time to spend back home. It never seems to be enough – be it 1 week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks, or even 1 month. I guess that is probably how it is always going to be.

I did not take much photographs, but I will post what I have up on Flickr and share the link.

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8 responses

  1. i’m so envious! i saw the d7000 at the nikon fair too & was so smitten. the price was a great deal but too bad it’s still too expensive for me 😦 wonderful seeing you babe, hope next time it’s me visiting u in oslo hehe

    • Yes, I wish it was cheaper. I can’t afford to buy any lens or supplementary accessories for the camera now. Thankfully the kit lens is kind of nice. I’ve always wanted to try a Nikon VR lens.

  2. Welcome back to Europe. I was nodding in agreement at every single point you had up there. The shopping, the food, the family. Can relate to all of them.

    And whaddaya know, we bought a D7000 too, except it was at Amcorp Mall (at Kimberlycun’s advice at that!) and we splurged on a 50mm f/1.4G lens too. Im dying to know how much you paid for your kit :/ Gonna bang my head on the wall if its like loads cheaper.

    • Thank you! Yes, going home is always an experience. This is my 4th trip home and I still feel each trip is a story on its own 🙂

      Ah, a 50mm lens. Previously, I bought a 35mm f/1.8G lens so I cannot justify a 50mm lens though I really do want one. I paid around 4.2K I think but because it was the fair they threw in a lot of freebies like the leather neck strap, a tripod (which I had to leave in KL), a bag, a hand strap, 2 SD cards, etc. It was too good a deal to turn down.

      Kimberlycun and her bf are really good photographers. You were right to take her advice 🙂

  3. Oy, nice camera! I’m glad you got such a fabulous new gadget 🙂 Sounds like you had a lot of experiences back home, I’m glad to hear of them 🙂 Malaysia sounds like a nice place, excellent food and good shopping – I’d love to see some outfits you bought 😉 Hope you enjoy your weekend, dear!

    • Hey Pinchy! It’s good to see you on my blog again. I’ve missed you and our Twitter chats.

      Malaysia is a very different place. Someday you and your hubby should definitely come visit. Perhaps in a few years from now or something, when you feel like it, we can plan a trip. I’d be more than happy to play tour guide. There are so many places I’d love to visit given the time and having a friend around a good excuse 🙂

      I need to find a way to take piccies of clothing as I don’t have a full length mirror in my apartment. If I get some piccies, will definitely share them with you. Take care my friend.

  4. Hi my dear Fieran. I miss you so much and sorry if I had not commented in the longest time, just been super busy. Your trip back home sounds amazing and I’m glad you got your mom a Chanel Rouge Coco 🙂 I’m jealous of all your fabulous travels and cosmetics hauling 😉 I deserve a sneak peek already. xo

    • Hi Shivani. I totally understand – work and life is a challenge. Yes, I took your “advice” and got her that 😉 There’s nothing to be jealous about .. I’m sure you’ll get your share of travel as well.

      Will blog about my haul one of these days 🙂 Was meaning to do a post on Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Boy. Will do so soon.

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