The Best Experience Of My Life

I am such a big girl now! haha But I don't want to grow up sighs OK whatever. Back to this blog post.

The only reason why I chose to pursue my Internship abroad for six months, was to challenge myself. Indeed that's what I got and a whole lot more.

This post is dedicated to all the people who I have met along the way, my challenges and definitely to myself haha

Here it goes!

My Internship

As a soon to be graduate Chemical Engineer, it is required for students to undergo a six month internship at a company or any institution. I pursued my internship at the Department of Chemical Engineering at the National Cheng Kung University of Taiwan.

My project deals with carbon dioxide reduction and trust me it is the first time I am being exposed to all this as my university is more driven towards the oil and gas sector. It was hard to digest at first, the job scope and the technical parts of the project but after a few weeks, I soon got the hang of it. My job scope requires me to immobilize a metal complex on a solid substrate that will act as a catalyst to reduce carbon dioxide. I know you are probably wondering am I to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere or? I was thinking the same thing too. This project focuses on the application of carbon dioxide reduction at a laboratory scale and will be applied at a larger scale depending on its success rate.

Since the project is technical and requires me to explain in technical jargons I will not go into much detail on it. I would say my project was one of the most challenging tasks I have ever encountered. There were many times I felt demotivated but I made sure to never run out of effort and determination. I guess my persistent nature to begin with an end pushed through after all.

After my internship, being exposed to the technical and research field of Chemical Engineering,  I have decided to pursue my Masters in Chemical Engineering in the mere future *claps* *haha* but it depends on what the future holds for me. As for now, I shall focus on graduating *winks*

The usual shot at the signage? That's me on my first week here. Chubby bunny?!
The usual shot at the signage? That's me on my first week here. Chubby bunny?!

 

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It was cold for the first two months! Look at the leaves! So pretty 🙂

 

My Travels

Obviously being abroad has allowed me the opportunity to travel around Taiwan. Although there are still many undiscovered spots, my friends and I managed to visit most of the attractions. One thing I can assure you, being abroad, away from family and away from your comfort zone, makes you a whole different person and only you can feel it for yourself. It makes you more independent and capable of handling any sort of situation.

Us at the National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium
Us at the National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium
The view at Kenting National Park! Amazing :)
The view at Kenting National Park! Amazing 🙂
Shopped till we dropped!
Shopped till we dropped!

Other than travelling around Taiwan with my friends, I was also tremendously blessed and super happy when both my parents visited me here in Taiwan for two weeks! We travelled to Kaohsiung City and made our way up north, to Tainan City (where I live), Sun Moon Lake in Nantou and the capital city of Taipei.

Mum & Dad!
Mum & Dad!
Dinner with my parents, Kat, Louis & Kuan
Dinner with my parents, Kat, Louis & Kuan

My Lifestyle

Before coming to  Taiwan, I would say I spend most of time being boring *haha* I'm usually always thinking of ways to write more stuff and add new items to my online store (Mavv Concept Store). Other than planning outings with my babes, I'm mostly at home chilling on the couch with my family. On weekends we usually catch a movie in the cinemas or probably visit a few relatives.

Within two weeks upon my arrival here in Taiwan, my friends and I pretty much travelled to most of the places in Tainan, the night market, temples and parks which kind of left us with practically nothing much left to do over the coming weekends (such a bad idea guys haha).

Weekdays are not 100% routined. Some days I am super busy in the lab preparing samples and running experiments whilst some days I am more relaxed. Weekends in the other hand are very unpredictable. Some weekends I will be in the lab running experiments, some of them you can find me wandering the streets nearby, shopping? eating? yeah. But I kind of like the lifestyle here. There is not curfew or exact working hours. You come and go as you please as long as you get the job done.

 

Being abroad for six months, I have managed to:

1) Get back into shape and lost possibly all the weight I have gained since I started university (which feels so exhilarating!). I'm back to running and jogging in the evenings as well as timing myself for each lap I complete (not that big of a deal though, but I feel very much accomplished).

2) Manage my money here better since I am abroad (duhh!) so I get pretty paranoid with how much I am spending and what I spend it on. Not that I don't care what I spend my money on back in Malaysia, but yeah, I hope you get what I mean *haha*

3) Improved my Mandarin though most you might not even know I can speak the language or if I am even a quarter Chinese. Either way I feel I have improved and it is something I am proud of *winks*

4) Seek comfort in being alone. Although there are times you find me out with friends, laughing and having fun, its when I am alone that I am somewhat more productive and tactful. I get the most job done when I plan and execute my plans and plus I believe having the right timing is the key to everything.

5) Meet amazing souls. The people I have met here in Taiwan from all over the world have all inspired me in their own way. From Sweden, my friend Per, Kat, Louie, Patricia and Pauline from the Phillippines, Armelle from France, Ra Mona from Romania and many many more. It has been an honour to have met you peeps! Not to mention all my lab mates who have recently been as crazy as I am! Peter, Jeremy, Brian, Yvonne, Fish ad Sunny!

Labmates! Gonna miss you guys a lot!
Labmates! Gonna miss you guys a lot!
Peter's Farewell Dinner together with Prof, his wife & lab mates
Peter's Farewell Dinner together with Prof, his wife & lab mates

I will be posting more on my travel adventures here in Taiwan so be sure to stay tuned! So since my internship is over now, I have a few more days left to spend in Taiwan before I head to Japan! Super excited and thrilled. So be sure to wait for my many awesome blog posts on Japan! I feel its going to be one of the best moments of my life too!

Much love,

Mavinia.

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Maria

 

The first time I saw her I thought she was bossy, not friendly and a total show off. But after getting to know her, she has become someone whom has inspired me. Today, not only is she my friend, she is my greatest confidant, my sister (although she has like 4 or 5 sisters already I keep forgetting) and a person whom I hold dear to my heart.

Today is her last day here in Taiwan. She will be heading back home to the Philippines tomorrow and it just occurred to me while I was walking back to our dorm, we will no longer ride our bikes together, where I am always in front and she's at the back. Forever slow *hahaha* We won't be eating at our favourite 'Spaghetti Shop', where we always order rice and not spaghetti anyway. We won't be watching movies in my room anymore every Saturday. I won't be able to speak to her without my saliva splattering on her face (P.S: She does it too). We won't get to meet downstairs our dorm anymore and end up wearing kind-of the same outfits. I won't get to hear the juicy details of her soon-to-be love life *please don't kill me for saying this*.

But the one thing I will miss most, is the person I become when she's around.

Life is amazing and I thank God I somehow met her here in Taiwan. In the midst of slowly building and shaping myself, she has added her own essence of nurturing and guidance in me and I will forever be grateful. I don't know how long I will go on writing. I don't know if I have even said everything I want to say. But I do know if I don't stop I will end up crying even more.

So here it goes (again),

Thank you Katreena..

For accepting me as the crazy human being I am. For always picking pictures that only you look good in *haha* I hope you know that this is not the end of me bugging you! We have FaceTime and blablabla but I will miss your presence a lot. I may not show it, but trust me I do. I will miss having someone who blogs as well and shares the same drive and persistence. I will miss having a person who can take good pictures of me so that its actually legit to be posted up. I will miss us talking crap and how the human population is slowly getting on our nerves. I will miss us wasting each others time *haha* I will miss all our shopping adventures and fitting room craziness, shouting from one end to the other end. I will miss making ugly faces not caring if you will judge me *haha* I will miss talking to you in my squeaky minion voice although it shalt not be the end of it *haha* I will miss the person I am when we are together. I will miss you Kat, the most. 

I know you will be travelling the world soon. Next stop China right? I hope I can join you some day. After I graduate and hopefully get employed to save up for my travels. Maybe we will stumble upon each other again in another dimension of this world. OK, Mavinia, too touchy *haha*

Oh Kat! One more thing. I never told you this, but here it goes. I want you and everyone to know. 

I always thought I was the most passionate and determined person, until I heard about your goals, your dreams and your achievements. Its true in life, you will meet many people. Some are lucky to be called friends, some even luckier. Thank you for believing in me, supporting me and cheering me up. I have never seen myself trying to copy or imitate a person. Nor do I have a solid role model whom I can look up to, other than my parents of course, but now there's you. Since you're 2 years older, taller and chubbier than me *haha* it kind of makes it legit. But I know many people whom are older, taller and chubbier too. Maybe I choose you! 'Pokemon'! OK stop. But seriously. Thank you Katreena (again), I somehow see the best version of myself in a part of you. 

Another thing I want you and everyone to know is that you're an amazing writer. I don't know where you find all these words mustered in you, but some of your articles give me them chills yo (Check out Kat's blog at LoveAfterLove). Likewise, I thought I was good till I met someone better. Thank you Kat, for coming at a really important time in my life and thank you for gaining all the weight that I lost here too *HAHAHA*

There will be too many pictures of us on our phones, and I will be glancing through them and watching all our funny moments together. Our singing covers too! Oh yeah don't forgot to post them. My goodness. Just realised there is so much left to write.

One last one, I will miss calling you Maria, when everyone else calls you Kat.

Much love always,

Mavinia a.k.a Soul Sister

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I Still Think Of You

Today is a different day. It feels weird, like there is cold air waiting to disappear. I woke up feeling weary, like something was wrong. Then it hit me. Its unfair that we lose the people we hold close to our hearts. I feel life is unfair, but then life is life.

Honestly, I don't know how many years it's been since you left us. I never kept track because it all happened so fast but also because I prefer not to. Maybe three years, or four, I honestly don't know.

You were my greatest companion growing up as a kid. You and grandma of course. Both of you never failed to keep my tummy full and took me to school, church, family gatherings you name it. I couldn't of had a better childhood and all of us grandchildren, are indeed very lucky to have you both.

I remember you driving me to school in your Mercedes Benz, as you call it. You always looked smart and proper even if it was a short journey. Black pants, with a decent shirt always tucked in and your shiny black shoes which I remember you polishing some time ago. You always had black shades on, if not, your reading glasses and a copy of the daily newspaper.

During our drives to school you never spoke much in conversation. But you always made jokes along the way when we would come across pigs on a small farm or dogs running around the neighbourhood. You would comment on another person's bad driving and it would be so funny, I wouldn't stop laughing. I couldn't wait to go back home and tell my little brother, my mum, dad and my cousins all the jokes and remarks you made. You made everyone happy.

Nowadays, each time I go back to our house, I still feel you around. You somehow take care of us in spirit although I would like to see you for one last time.

The most prominent trait I remember, was the fact that you are always on time. You never made anyone wait, you never took time for granted.

In the end, I only hoped you had more time.

To see me graduate, to see me get a good job. That's what you told me. You told me to take care of Mum & Dad too.

I became a different person after you left. Emotionally lost and constantly seeking for you in every part of my day to day routines. I would sometimes find an old man that would have similar features as you, a girl and her grandfather crossing the road and sometimes I speak to you, when I need help or advice, when I need a friend.

I think its normal for people to go through this after a loss. Its sad. Many times I have caught myself crying because it would of been great to still have you around. The house is empty now, although Grandma is still around. Its empty because the liveliness of the house went away when you left.

I know you were in pain but I'm happy to know you are not suffering anymore. That you're in a better place, taking care of us from up above.

You were the light in my life and you will forever remain that light.

Happy Birthday Kung Kung (Grandpa)
I love you &
I still think of you. 

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How To Adapt In A Foreign Country?


Since I have been in Taiwan for about 6 months, here are my personal tips on how to adapt in a foreign country:

1) Learn the language
It helps when you can speak a little of the language. It makes basic communication easier and definitely makes your life easier too. Its good to learn up basic words like numbers, directions and how to order food. You can pretty much survive if you have these three. I know you are assuming that the English language is an international language but not most places practice it. So heads up!

2) Find other people from your home country
This is the most common thing anyone would do. Its normal to find people of your kind in other parts of the world but surprisingly  I have yet to find Malaysian students here in Taiwan! The reason why I believe finding people from your home country would help is because, they probably would have been there longer and are able to assist you if needed.

3) Don't compare food
I know its hard being a Malaysian and being robbed of all the deliciousness and spices of multi cultural food, but it is what it is. Learn to adapt with local food and if you ever get bored, then there's always the good old classic bread and jam that is available practically everywhere.

4) Explore
The many perks of being in a foreign country is definitely the opportunity for you to travel and explore the country itself. Plan your weekends for short getaways and discover the beauty of the land you are in. You never know how lucky you are until you allow yourself to feel it.

So there you have it, my 4 personal tips on how to adapt in a foreign country. You might have your own tips, so let me know in the comments below! 🙂

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