A letter to myself: 5 things to note when falling in love again

“To love, and to be hurt often, and to love again — this is the brave and happy life”   J. E. Buckrose

28th April 2014, Maldives

I wake up in the morning, and everything is in place. The world is moving like how it’s supposed to and I move along to it as well. I feel okay today. Unsurprisingly there is a void looming in my heart. Silent; it has no voice, almost weightless yet ironically heavy at the same time. Time passes and the world continues to move. I occasionally think aloud on how silly I was, to cry back then like it was the end of the world. But no, the world is still moving. And I too was moving along with it. I throw my head back and laugh and then I feel it. The lump at the back of my throat. Almost immediately I could imagine, a huge tangled dirty ball lodged right there. Still there. Uncertainty, fear, sadness, anger, disappointment. Hurt.

Throughout my journey of healing and learning from hurt and betrayal, I constantly wrote to myself. It was not an easy process, writing down exactly how you feel, because how does one explain the feeling of betrayal in words? While I was healing, I observed and listened to how people perceive and deal with hurt. I was blessed to meet people who were placed in my way to help me, to guide me through my darkest moments in life. I learnt much about betrayal and how to grow while dealing with it . Let my story be for now; But I am ready to share a letter I wrote to myself.

This is a letter of reminder, a letter of courage and a letter that pushes me to not allow whatever that has happened define who I am.

This is a letter for you beautiful souls who are fighting your battles hard. We will pull through. I promise.

5 things for me to note when learning to fall in love again.

Dear me,

For when that huge tangled dirty ball gets stuck at the back of your throat. Remember this dear heart.

1. Trust me

Love and trust go together. Neither can stand on its own. In order for you to learn how to love another, you first need to learn how to trust. And trust is not seeking another person you can give your trust to. But you. Trust you. Learn to listen to your inner voice. Once you start to learn to listen to your intuition, you have no reason to doubt it.

2. I am worth it

There is no point in beating yourself to what has already happened. Rediscover the things you love and dislike. Know what makes you feel loved and set your standards clearly. Recognize that you are spectacular. For every single day, take active steps to be the best version of you. If you can’t smile, make someone smile through simple gestures. Taking active steps and adding small doses of positivity into your daily life even if you are not at the immediate receiving end will make you realize that you are capable and worthy and you can make a difference.

3. I’m going to have bad days and it’s perfectly okay

The road to healing is never smooth sailing. In fact it is going to be a steep learning curve, if not a rollercoaster ride. Some days you’ll feel like you are not progressing at all. Some days you regress and go back to square one. And it is okay. You are enough. You are doing the best you can. Forgiving does not equate to forgetting. But remembering does not have to include negative feelings. We are all work in progress. One step at a time.

4. Listen and appreciate constructive criticism with an open heart

Quit drowning in self pity on what has happened. While it is natural for humans who go through hurt and betrayal to be defensive, it is not going to help in healing you.  Listen to all criticisms and silence with a pinch of salt. If your loved ones turn silent when you start your stories of what you went through, you know that you are not helping yourself. Learn to listen when people criticize you even if it is not what you want to hear. Reevaluate the criticisms and realize that you are not perfect.

5. Love is a responsibility, not an entitlement

Understand that love is sincere hard work and effort. Everybody has a right to love and be loved but nobody is entitled to love. That includes saying, ” I’ve love you all my heart, how can you do this to me?” You’ve loved with all your heart – it is their loss not yours. Once you start remembering that, you appreciate that you’ve done your best, and that nothing has been taken away from you. You have gained and learnt the real meaning of loving someone.

Feeling hurt is something we naturally avoid given any circumstance. I too, was afraid of being hurt. But I have learnt that getting hurt is an essential life experience that is required to make you whole. I believe now that being hurt and feeling hurt does not take a part of you away, instead it further refines who you are as person.

I am healing and I am learning to fall in love again. I am a work in progress.

Whether it’s losing someone you love or loved or learning to love the same person who broke you. Your partner, spouse or family. I hope this letter gives us courage to continue in our journey in being the best version of ourselves.

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If this post inspires you, share it with the people you love or those who need it most. Share your stories of strength on Instagram and hashtag us #wanderingwonderers or @ashaadn and @thetudungtraveller

Love and Courage,
Asha.A

 

Savoury Banana Fritters (with a twist)

So lately, I have been craving for bananas. I’m quite certain it must be the Bananas in Pyjamas episode I accidentally watched (Well, i ended up watching 3 episodes) which resulted to a kitchen experiment of combining two of these delectable desserts, Thailand’s Kluay Tod (Thai banana fritters) and Borek (Turkish baked filled pastry).

I’ve experimented (now, I should have been a kitchen scientist) a few variations and this is my personal favourite. I love how easy and fast it is to make especially if you’re always on the go like me. With a comforting combination of sweet and salty, this is sure to impress your loved ones (or your future mother-in-law). So get creative and attack those bananas!

 

Savoury Banana Fritters

serves : 1

duration: less than ten minutes

Ingredients:

1 small ripe banana

1 slice of cheese or  1 tablespoon Mozzarella cheese

2 large popiah skin (spring roll pastry)

Unsalted Butter

Vanilla Ice Cream

Condensed Milk

1 tablespoon Crushed Pistachios

Slice ripe banana half lengthwise and place it to a corner of the popiah skin

Slice ripe banana half lengthwise and place it to a corner of the popiah skin

Slice cheese into half and place it on top of the banana. If you are using mozarella cheese, sprinkle half a tablespoon on the banana

Slice cheese into half and place it on top of the banana. If you are using Mozzarella cheese, sprinkle half a tablespoon on the banana

Fold outer corner ensuring it covers the banana

Fold outer corner ensuring it covers the banana

Roll it gently but firmly

Roll it gently but firmly

Once you're at the  mid section, fold both left and right outer corners in

Once you’re at the mid section, fold both left and right outer corners in and continue to roll till the end. Use a little water to ensure the tip sticks.

Heat saucepan with butter and pan fry on medium fire till it turns golden brown

Heat saucepan with butter and pan fry on medium fire till it turns golden brown

Meeanwhile, grab a tablespoon of pistachios and pound them

Meanwhile, grab a tablespoon of pistachios and pound them

Cut banana fritters into half (I love how the cheese oozes out) Serve with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or any ice cream of your choice. Drizzle with condensed milk and sprinkle the crushed pistachios. Now, I am going bananas!

Cut banana fritters into half (I love how the cheese oozes out) Serve with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or any ice cream of your choice. Drizzle with condensed milk and sprinkle the crushed pistachios. Now, I am going bananas!

Don’t forget to hashtag us on Instagram,  #wanderingwonderers when you try this accidental recipe. Bananas UNITE!

And if it’s not a little too late, I’d like wish all my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters a blessed Ramadan. May this beautiful month bring you an abundance of blessings and may Allah forgive our sins and accept our ibadah :)

Love and Laughter,

Asha.A

 

 

Travel in Style with Us – WW Collection One

“Atikah, where do you get your dresses?”

It’s a common question I get, and truth be told, my dress purchases are often accidental. I’m tall and by Asian standards, I’m plus-sized, so buying dresses is a game of chance. I know how frustrating it can get to see a really nice dress and fall in love with it, only to be told that it’s ‘free size’. Honey, there’s nothing that’s free size. The complete phrase should be “free size between [insert minimum size] and [insert maximum size]”, like “free size between XS and M”, thank you very much. Buying a dress online is even trickier.

Trust me darlings, I know how it feels.

I recently fell in love with chiffon dresses. Asha has too! We’ve been wearing it frequently, no thanks to the facts that it is comfortable for all the travelling we need to do both in Singapore and overseas, it flatters our body shape, and it is oh-so-pretty.

I found the perfect dress one day while travelling, and immediately knew I needed to bring it further. I loved everything about it, from its material, to cut, to colours!

If you follow me on my Instagram (@thetudungtraveller), you’d know this dress is a favourite of mine. I’ve worn this dress for school, for dates, for work, for travel… Recently, I wore it for my flight to Mauritius for my internship stint, and I don’t regret it one bit! I was comfortable throughout the flight, I felt pretty, and it was fit for the occasion. Asha wore hers during her trip to Maldives too! Beside the conventional uses, it can also be used as a modest cover up on the beach! Other plus points – it doesn’t wrinkle too much, and it’s easy to pack. Perfect to fit into your backpack for days/nights on your trip when you feel like dressing up!

Like they say, good things must share right?

So here you go!

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Wandering Wonderers Travel in Style – Collection One

This collection has Atikah’s picks and Asha’s picks – they are of different measurements and cut. Please take note of the measurements before you make your pick! ☺ You can use our pictures as an estimate too. Ribbons are detachable.

Atikah’s Picks

Measurement (in cm) Shoulder Bust Waist Length sleeves Length of dress
Items are measured laid flat, please double for full circumference where appropriate 40 54 50 57 139

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 GRANADA DRESS

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SEVILLA DRESS

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JAEN DRESS

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CORDOBA DRESS

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CADIZ DRESS

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ALMERIA DRESS

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MALAGA DRESS

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ASHA’S PICKS

Measurement Shoulder Bust Elastic Waist Length sleeves Length of dress
Items are measured laid flat, please double for full circumference where appropriate
41 44 45 (max) 57 136

 

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MATHIVERI DRESS

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SIPADAN DRESS

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For this first collection, we are offering it at a special price of $37!

Asha and I personally handpicked these dresses, and to be honest, I want to have one piece each for myself. These dresses are so versatile – we can keep it casual with sandals and minimal accessories, or play it up with make-up and heels. They can also be worn with hijab or without hijab, so hey, this goes out to all you ladies out there!

Plus y’know what? With the Ramadhan and Eid season coming up, it can be worn for terawih, for Eid visiting and hey, especially for those Eid Open Houses during the weekends! You can take it from school/work to Eid visiting, anytime!

To make your order, send an email to wanderingwondererssg@gmail.com with the following details:

Name
Order Details (Dress Name & Quantity)
Contact Number
Address
Normal/Registered Email (additional charges apply for Registered Mail)

We look forward to getting your emails!

We have limited stock for this pioneer Wandering Wonderers Travel in Style collection so what are you waiting for? Purchase your dresses now!

Lots of love,
Atikah Amalina

For the love of children – a trip to orphanages in Batam

A couple of weeks ago, Asha and I made a short trip across the ocean to the little island of Batam. We were in need of a short getaway from the hustle of our daily lives, but more importantly, we were due for a visit to the children homes.

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Both of us have a soft spot for orphans. In Islam, it is narrated that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “I and the one who takes care of an orphan will be like these two in the Garden.” – indicating with his forefinger and middle finger. [Sahih Bukhari]” Isn’t that an amazing thing to aspire to? :)

Last year, we made a couple of visits to three children homes in Batam, all of which details you can read on the links here. We’d set a goal to visit the homes at least once every few months, and we finally had time to fulfil that goal recently.

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Less than a week before our trip, we made a shout out on both Facebook and Instagram for monetary donations for these homes. Oh boy, were we pleasantly surprised at the response!  THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO DONATED!

With the money in our hands, we went on to use half of it to purchase groceries and books for the children.

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The other half, we presented it to the heads of the children homes.

Y’know, we did not inform them of our visit, silly us. Imagine their reaction when they saw our van at their doorstep and our grinning faces stepping out! A moment of surprise before a barrage of happy cheers, smiles, laughter and hugs!

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I know we’re not supposed to have favourites when we visit, but little Yusuf has stolen my heart since the first time I saw him! He’s definitely someone I keep a lookout for. :)

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Since it was just the two of us, it was just a quick trip this time round. We are hoping to make another group visit to these homes in the near future, similar to the ones we did before. It will involve interaction through games and activities with the orphans and children in these homes.

If you are interested to be a part of our RainbowsforBatam project, keep a look out for our announcements, coming your way soon!

Lots of love,
Atikah Amalina

 

Roshi and Mashuni – A taste of a Maldivian Breakfast

My recent trip to Maldives was an incredible adventure. It was quite an experience to be living among the locals instead of opting for a fancy resort – something Maldives has always been popular for. I was welcomed warmly  by the villagers of Mathiveri Island, located at North Ari Atoll and immersed myself in the culture, food and lifestyle of local Maldivians.

An aerial view  one of the many atolls in Maldives

An aerial view of one of the many atolls in Maldives

 

Village life in Mathiveri Finolhu

Village life in Mathiveri Finolhu 

Village Mosque on Mathiveri island. The azan (muslim call of prayer) can be heard 5 times a day

Village Mosque on Mathiveri island. The adzan (muslim call of prayer) can be heard 5 times a day

Live reef coral boulders or Porite corals are removed from the seabed, cut to stone block while they are soft and air-dried before it gets used for construction of a typical Maldivian home

Live reef coral boulders or Porite corals are removed from the seabed, cut to stone block while they are soft and air-dried before it gets used for construction of a typical Maldivian home

Evening walk around the village

Evening walk around the village

Daily evening football game amongst the locals

Daily evening football game amongst the locals

A Maldivian girl invites me to a game of hopscotch, Maldivian style

A Maldivian girl invites me to a game of hopscotch, Maldivian style

Ishmael and his Dhoni (Traditional Maldivian boat)

Ishmael and his Dhoni (Traditional Maldivian boat)

Different shades of blue

Different shades of blue

Bikini Island is one of the many uninhabited islands that allow tourists/travellers to sunbathe freely in their swimwear (certain islands prohibit the wear of bikinis in public to respect local customs and beliefs)

Bikini Island is one of the many uninhabited islands that allow tourists/travellers to sunbathe freely in their swimwear (certain islands prohibit the wear of bikinis in public to respect local customs and beliefs)

I also had the opportunity to learn how to make Mashuni from a local Maldivian.  The first time I tried Mashuni, it was a pleasant surprise. It’s aromatic, rich, and fresh flavours were bursting within the first mouthful, cleverly teasing my palate.

Mashuni is composed of tuna, onion, coconut, and chili. This dish is usually eaten with freshly-baked roshi flatbread and sweetened hot tea.

Something interesting I learnt from Wikipedia: The fish used in mashuni was as a rule Maldive fish but currently many Maldivians use canned tuna. Traditionally when fish was scarce, chopped leaves from certain local plants and trees were added to the mashuni mixture. 

I have never been a fan of tuna, but now I’m seeing myself preparing this for breakfast or a filling snack. It is absolutely easy and scrumptious! In fact, I had it every single day for breakfast while in Maldives.

All you need:

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Ingredients:

1 Can Tuna Flakes  (in water)

1 cup of grated coconut

1 Green Chili ( You can add more if you like it spicy)

1 small red onion

1 teaspoon of lemon juice

Dash of black pepper

Dash of salt

 

Kitchen Tools:

Mixing Bowl

Small Bowl

 

How to:

1) Finely sliced tuna (drained) , green chili and onions

2) In a small bowl, mix onions, chili, lemon juice and salt

3) Pour finely sliced tuna and grated coconut and  ingredients from the small bowl into mixing bowl

4) The essence here – I was taught- is to mix with your hands. Mix it with lots of love.

5) Add a dash of pepper and your mashuni is ready to be served with toasted roshi/chapati/tortilla/bread. You can even have it on its own!

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It’s so easy peasy, you gotta try it. And when you do, don’t forget to take a picture and hashtag us on Instagram, #wanderingwonderers  :)

Love and Laughter,

Asha.A

 

 

 

For the love of cakes: Kat Ali Bakes

“If I was made of cake I’d eat myself before somebody else could.” 

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I love cakes. I love people who bake cakes – they are some of the kindest people I know.

I first met Kat Ali during the Rainbow Bake Meet I’d organised in January. I remember her as she came in with boxes of bakes, leaving me stunned because I told the bakers all they had to bake were 2 bakes each. I hadn’t want to burden them too much as it was a charity bake sale after all.

Woah, did she do it all by herself? And for our cause? 

She came in with SIX bakes: Sticky mango rice tart, white chocolate mousse raspberry tart, red velvet cake with cream cheese and nutella filling, Sally’s salted caramel cake, death by chocolate cake and sticky cinnamon buns.

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Are you drooling yet?

I was manning the cashier during the bake sale, but I’ve to be honest: I was buying and eating cakes on the job. It was too hard for a cakemonster like me to resist!

I bought two of her bakes: Sally’s Salted Caramel Cake and Sticky Mango Rice Tart. I’d taken a bite of the former and, OH MY, fireworks were bursting in my mouth and I was literally having a foodgasm. (Unbeknownst to me, some of the other bakers saw my reaction and had a good laugh – I can be dramatic that way.) It was the same for the latter!

KAT, WHAT DID YOU PUT INTO THESE CAKES?

When Asha and I were planning for our photoshoot, I shamelessly thought aloud: “Hmmm, maybe I should get some of Kat’s cakes for the photoshoot.” After all, we were featuring who we are as individuals – I needed cakes to show my cake addiction right?

I contacted her and she graciously agreed to bake for me my favourites!

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Me in a nutshell: books and cakes. 

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We had so much fun using the cakes as props!

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And eating it after!

My personal favourites are her Sticky Mango Rice Tart and Sally Salted Caramel Cake, which are her specialties together with Death by Chocolate Cake.

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During a picnic meet for all my volunteers recently, Kat brought this:

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TOO PRETTY!

Kat is actually a full-time registered nurse with a passion for baking. I’d say, hey that’s two beautiful ways of caring for people! She started selling her bakes to friends back in 2011 and has since baked for friends and followers of her instagram (@furrymittens). She used to send her bakes to Butterscotch Cafe!

I asked her what her personal cake belief is (hey, we all have one!) and she said:

I believe in baking with lots of love and happy thoughts. I also never compromise on ingredients! Always give the best to ensure the ultimate results.

She may have her specialities but she is always open to new ideas and requests from her customers. The prices for her cupcakes and cakes range from $3-$300, depending on size, amounts, fillings, toppings, decorations and the likes – made to order, definitely!

Check out some of her bakes (taken from her instagram @furrymittens):

If you’re interested to get your hands on her bakes, you can follow her on her Instagram at @furrymittens, or send her a message at +65 8333 2425!

Kat is also having a bake sale on 1st June 2014, so keep your heads up for that! Quote ‘wanderingwonderers‘ when making your purchase and you might just get a special offer! For more info on the offer, follow her on Instagram! :D

Trust me when I recommend bakes; I’ve had enough cake to know what’s good!

Have fun and may the cake be with you!

Lots of love,
Atikah Amalina

5 ways to say I love you.

“Miss, are you married?”
“Erm, not yet uncle.”
“Oh, do you have a boyfriend?”
“Nope.”
“Are you in love with anyone right now?”
“Erm, I don’t know.”

“Miss, I’m sorry for asking you these questions. I just felt like I needed to tell you this.

I loved a woman since I was twenty-five, but I was always too late to tell her. I was always busy with work, with my life. She married someone else, but I continued loving her. I never married. After her husband passed away two years ago, I got close to her again, but I always found excuses to not tell her I love her. I was going to tell her during her birthday this year.”

“You were? What happened?”

“She passed away two months ago. I never got to tell her I loved her, not in words. I hope she understood through my actions.”

“I’m sorry.”

“If you love someone, tell him. If not through words, through your actions. You look like someone who will love with all your heart, whoever manages to get your love is very lucky. You will always be busy, have work to do and goals to achieve, but dont let love slip by. Dont wait until it’s too late.”

I have a knack for getting into interesting conversations with cab drivers, but this has got to be one of the most heartwrenching conversations I’ve had.

Straight to the heart, this one. I alighted from the cab feeling shaken and having an intense need to call someone to say, “I love you”.

I had no romantic partner to say “I love you” to. Asha was away in Maldives and she had no wifi (DANG!). In situations like this, she would be the first person I’ll text, because she entertains me that way.

Instead of picking up the phone, I proceeded to walk towards the hospital ward my uncle was recently admitted to, shared the cupcakes I’d intended to keep for myself and just enjoyed the presence of my family members who were there in the ward with me.

But it got me thinking, this conversation. It reminded me how we often take the people we love for granted, no matter family, romantic partners or friends.

If you love someone, tell him. If not through words, through your actions.

This particular line stuck to me.

If there’s someone you love in your life right now, here are some ways for you to say ‘I love you’.

Adapted from Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages. 

1. Saying “I love you” and other words of affirmation. 

Words are very powerful. A simple “Thank you” or “You look nice today” or even “For all the bad things I’ve done, I must have something good to have you in my life”, make a difference. Sometimes we get so caught up with our day-to-day lives and challenges, that we forget to say what really matters.

Take a minute to look your loved one in the eye and say something nice. Or write a note and put it in a place where you can surprise them.

Use your words wisely. Build someone up and make their day.

2. Do something nice for them.

Cook their favourite meal. Do the dishes. Carry their heavy laptop bag for them. Queue in line for their favourite cupcakes. Post that letter they’ve been meaning to send since forever.

It’s the little acts of service that may seem trivial, but mean so much. It says, “Here, let me do something for you because I care.”

3. Give them a little gift. 

A handmade card (no matter how amateur). A pack of Ferrero Rochers. An iPhone charger cable to replace the wonky one they have that’s been driving them nuts. A snuggly sweater.

It’s not how much it costs. As cliche as it sounds, it’s really the thought that counts.

A gift received is a “Hey, I was thinking of you. Here’s a little something I thought you’d like.”

4. Spend quality time together. 

Put aside your handphone (or put it on airplane mode). Make the trip to that little island for a cycling trip. Spend the day at home lazing around the couch and entertaining your different tv shows quirks (one episode of Suits, followed by Sherlock, followed by 2 Broke Girls, followed by soccer replays. Yeah, why not?) Take a long walk from one park to another. Stargaze and tickle each other until you cry tears of joy.

Spending quality time with someone tells them that they’re important to you, enough for you to put aside whatever else that’s going on in your life and/or social media. In a world where our attention span is getting increasingly diminished, being able to maintain quality time and attention on one person speaks volumes.

“Hey, you’re worthy of my time.”

5. Hugs. Shoulder rubs. Pats on the back. Holding hands. 

There’s nothing quite as powerful and intimate as the human touch. At the end of the day, each and every one of us crave for it. We give hugs, pats on the back, handshakes and whatnots to our friends, family members and significant others.

This is a personal favourite. Anyone who knows me well enough will know that the best way to communicate with me is through hugs, hand pats and shoulder rubs. This also results in me having a tendency to lean into people when I’m talking to them, which may or may not lead to awkwardness, but oh well.

You can find all the good reasons to give more hugs today here but the bottom line is, nothing beats human touch that is filled with love and tenderness.

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Having said all that, people speak their love in different ways, and they tend to feel loved in a particular way too. For example, my strongest love language is Physical Touch followed by Quality Time, and I tend to show my love to others through the same means. It may not be perceived the same way as someone whose love language is Words of Affirmation, or Gifts.

More often than not, misunderstandings occur when love languages don’t match, and both parties are left feeling dry. I love holding hands and giving hugs, but it may be highly uncomfortable to someone who is averse to physical touch. (What do you mean? I’m just trying to show you my love?!) Asha took a while to warm up to my hugs and shoulder rubs – her love language is entirely different from mine – but I think she likes it now. On my side, I’ve learnt to do nice things for her and say words of affirmations to her because that’s her love langugage.  So take the time to evaluate what makes you feel most loved, and ask your partner what makes them feel loved, and act accordingly.

The bottom line is: Tell the people you love how much you love them today. You’ll never know if tomorrow will come, and if it doesn’t, let us take heart that we have done what we could.

Lots of love,

Atikah Amalina