Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Monthly Bucket List, April 2014

Monthly Bucket List for April 2014 

1. Make a new friend. 

 Of the new friends I have made in April 2014, three stand out in my mind: 

i. Alison, who is the founder, manager and administrator of Project Light A Home, a non-profit organisation with the aim of providing solar lamps to indigenous and impoverished rural families; 

ii. and iii. Joslyn and Tena, who I met when I started volunteering again with The Revolving Library, this time to read to the children in Anbu Illam, a home for at-risk boys. 

2. Help a stranger. 

i. My friend Lynette informed us of her friend Rebecca who had rescued kittens while living in Langkawi, and needed funds to transport her rescued kittens back to the UK with her. I didn't ask any questions. I knew that Rebecca and her kittens deserve and need to be together, and contributed what I could afford. 

ii. I've started volunteering with The Revolving Library's weekend Volunteer Reading Programme again, only this time we are reading at another children's home, Anbu Illam. The location and distance are a lot more favourable to me and I can drop by after volunteering at the SPCA. The last reading session merits a post all on its own. 

iii. I started volunteering with the Free Tree Society on Earth Day, and plan to return as often as I can to help out in the garden. 

iv. My friend Suzane informed me of an Orang Asli family who had lost everything in a kerosene lamp fire one weekend, and together with some other friends, I donated clothes, household items and cash. I am also liaising with Project Light A Home to see if we could find sponsors for solar lightbulbs for the entire village. 

3. Eat something/at someplace new to me. 

i. I've always been curious about rhubarb but have never tried it, not even in tarts or pies, simply because it isn't common or popular here. When I found a can of Waitrose sliced rhubarb stems in syrup at the discount section of the supermarket, I wasted no time trying it out. I'm thinking hard about what I have to say about rhubarb. Maybe it's the preparation. Maybe it would taste nicer fresh, or if it were another brand of canned rhubarb, or if it were baked in a pie or tart. I think I wasted way too much enthusiasm and curiosity on rhubarb. 

ii. When the Battletank started heating up in traffic one night, I decided to blow my schedule rather than blow up my car, so I parked behind a gas station in Section 17 to let the 'Tank cool down and walked over to a restaurant I have never been to, Restoran Sayur-Sayuran Guan Yin. I had fried udon noodles with vegetarian ribs (which I would otherwise never have, but it looked filling, and I was famished) and an iced longan drink. I'm glad I found this reasonably-priced neighbourhood restaurant, and I plan to visit again sometime. 

iii. On a night out with Ellen and Tom, Ellen learned that I love liquorice and aniseed flavoured liquor, so she bought me a shot of Anisette. Predictably, I loved it! It was sweet, fragrant, spicy, and all the good words in the dictionary. I would have kept drinking anisette all night if not for the fact that I had to drive home. Next time, I will take the cab. 

4. Go someplace I've never been. 

i. Volunteering with the Free Tree Society brought me to a part of Bangsar I had never explored. I was thrilled too, to find that the nursery was adjacent to the Federal Hill green lung, and had the opportunity to explore the trail on a Saturday. 

ii. I visited Aquaria KLCC with Aravind on April 18, before watching Jersey Boys. And although I had been to Istana Budaya once in 2002 to take CovertMum to watch Cats, since I had never been there to watch Jersey Boys, I count the new experience as "someplace I have never been." 

iii. With all the new shopping centres mushrooming all over the country, there was no way I could keep track or visit all of them, nor do I have the inclination to. On one rainy Wednesday night after work, however, I dropped by The Sphere in Bangsar South to pick up a potted plant and seeds from my friend Pikwun. The shopping mall was unremarkable and pretty similar to all the office-cum-shopping-complexes in the city, but I was happy to meet my friend and have dinner with her. 

iv. Resuming my volunteer reading sessions with The Revolving Library took me to Anbu Illam Home for Boys in Taman Permata, Ampang, a part of town new to me. 

5. Learn something new. 

i. I learned that I could name 162 Countries of the World within 12 minutes on the JetPunk Quiz, and that I know my Africa and Asia better than I do my North and South America. 

ii. I've taught myself to ride off the ledge and ride up a curb on my skateboard and am learning how to do a manual. It's not easy when you are 36 years old and out of shape. 

iii. Visiting Aquaria taught me to identify many species of fish, while volunteering with the Malaysian Nature Society at the KPA Teachers' Workshop taught me to identify several species of mangrove plants. 

iv. I also learned that I don't like the taste of Waitrose canned rhubarb very much. 

6. Declutter and cull 100 items

i. The Free Tree Society asked for donations of plant pots, so I spring cleaned my garden and driveway, washed the unused plant pots, and donated more than 10 pots to them. 

ii. I also spring cleaned the Bachelor Pad and removed over 20 items each week for disposal, recycling or donation, and this includes expired and unwanted medicine that I will take to the University Malaya Medical Centre for safe disposal. 

7. Give up something for a month

i. I have a thing about buying t-shirts, especially football jerseys and tees, rock band tees and tees from non-profits. For the whole month of April, I gave up buying or acquiring new t-shirts. 

ii. I also gave up relying too much on my dominant hand, and for the whole month, practiced using my right (i.e. non-dominant) hand to do most household chores, including using a knife and scissors. Still struggling with writing and using chopsticks using my right hand.

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