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Auschwitz – A change of heart

If there was one place that I visited in Poland, which has impacted my life it’s Auschwitz. Although I read, view documentaries and discussed this place and what happened here a multitude of times, I could not have imagined what the people have went through.

Welcome to Auschwitz

Being there, in one of the coldest days in Poland in the last ten years, I began to imagine, how these innocent people must have felt. They arrived in this destination, feeling uneased, terrified of what’s next… taken away from their loved ones. They were stripped down off their clothes and possessions. Freezing cold, working harder than you ever thought possible, malnutritioned. Did you know that these workers on average didn’t last a week? And those, were the lucky ones. The rest, well you probably already know what happened to them.

I felt sadness, a heavy heart, bad things transpired here.

welcome-to-auschwitz-streets-museum

What I did not know before going to Auschwitz was to how many men, women and children this happened. Although I was familiar with the numbers, I could not quantify it. In a few words, a section of this museum (it’s no longer referred as a concentration camp) is dedicated to “Proof”. Here, you can see an abundant amount of what was left behind – shoes, hair, utensils, luggage. This was what made my heart slow down with pain and disgust, what really angered me. Now, I understood. Now, I know that this was one of the worst, if not the worst experiment that ever happened in the world.  I felt humiliated to be called human, I hope that such a thing never happens again. Although we were not alive then, we should still be aware of what occurred, and we have to be intelligent enough to not let it happen ever again.

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Wedding in Malta: How to get started

Daniel and I are both planners, which I’d say is of an advantage when it comes to organizing our wedding plan. We have heard about so many stories, where couples are stressed beyond compare, fighting every minute they get, that we were a bit paranoid. Truth be told, none of this has happened. Three months into the preparation, we have been very respectful towards each other, and we have managed to compromise on everything so far, be it budget, and choosing our providers.

We believe, that the hardest thing that we had to come up with was our budget. The main reason being that we had absolutely no idea on how much a wedding should cost.  We heard of weddings which costed 10,000 and others which were 30,000 and more! This confused us further, as we were unsure how two weddings which had roughly the same items (sizable venue and guest-list, food, DJ, open bar) could differentiate so much in terms of cost!

wedding to do list

So how did we come up with a budget? In reality, we did not! Wait, what? We decided on what we can afford. We decided on the guests we wanted to invite. I come from a large family, and we had to draw a line somewhere. We made the guest list, and we asked vendors for quotations based on these numbers. Then by priority, we started to add additional costs – listing the must haves and the nice to haves.

This is the must-have list we came up with:

– Gather an approximate Guest list and request quotations for food and drinks
Chapel & Venue – booked on the same day
Food tasting from top 2 or 3 caterers (based on price, reputation and wedding date availability)
Photographer – A beautiful memory to cherish in the years to come
DJ – a wedding reception without music, is not really a celebration. In Malta, DJ is the most common form of entertainment for weddings. Some choose to have a live-band or singer
Cars – Bare necessity is a bridal car and taxi for groom and our respective family
Hair & Makeup – We all want to look at our best for our big day
Rings – The symbol for our marriage
Invitations – Compulsory
Souvenirs – A small thank you gift for our guests
Clothes – Bride, Groom, Bridesmaids, Groomsmen
Bride’s flower bouquet

Nice to have list:

Flowers (for the church)
Church Singer
– Themed Decor (for the venue)
Lighting
– Videographer
– Red Carpet (for the church)

How To Fill The Time While You’re Traveling

What a lot of people don’t tell you about traveling is that it isn’t all fun. Although you get to explore some incredible cities and see new things every day, there are times when you’re waiting around for a bus or sitting on a dark train through the night or trying to get over jet lag at 3AM in an uncomfortable hostel room bed, and at those times, traveling really doesn’t seem like as much fun as it’s cracked up to be! Here are some tips to help you get through the hardest and loneliest parts of traveling the world…

Start Reading

There’s nothing better than an e-reader to get you through some rough times. Download your favourite books to dive into whenever you feel a little blue – try Harry Potter or the Game of Thrones series for exciting reads that you’ll be able to dip in and out of. Not only will it provide you with something to do, but if you don’t feel like talking to anyone then reading is a surefire way to tell them that you’re busy and to back off.

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Get A Streaming App

Streaming apps can enable you to watch movies and TV shows on your devices, whether that’s your smartphone or your tablet. Being able to watch a half-hour comedy on your tablet with your headphones on underneath your sheets as the hostel you’re staying in will help you feel a little more grounded and it’ll put you in a much better mood. ShowBox is a popular app among Android users – the latest version APK download link is here if you want to check it out. Just remember to take an extra charger so your devices don’t run out of juice too quickly.

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Plan Your Trip

One of the best things to do if you feel a little bored and down is to start planning the next phase of your trip. Even if you’re about to head home, why not start a list of the next countries that you plan to visit? If you’re feeling a little lost and you miss your friends and family at home, opening up your guidebook and deciding what attractions and cities you want to visit next will remind you why you wanted to start traveling to begin with. It’s also a good idea to start looking at your budget to make sure that you have a decent money situation – you want to make sure that you can travel in financial comfort.

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Make Friends

Finally, use any moments of loneliness to start making new friends. Other people traveling will be remarkably friendly and could prove to be friends for life – and even if they’re only backpacking friends, that’s okay too. Some people are perfect to have as friends for a certain part of your life before parting with goodwill towards each other. Strike up conversations with people who seem friendly but make sure that you stay on your guard and remember that if any situation makes you feel uncomfortable it’s totally okay to remove yourself from it.

Seven Incredible Places In Thailand You Just Have To Visit

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Thailand is such an incredibly rich, diverse, and beautiful country. If the food doesn’t make you fall in love with it, the people certainly will. And its history and culture have remained untouched, despite the fact it is one of Asia’s most frequented countries by visitors. If you’re considering a trip to Thailand, or you knew you wanted to visit East Asia, but you couldn’t decide where, let this be all the incentive you need to book your flights to Thailand and have the adventure of the lifetime. Here are seven things you just can’t miss.

  1. The sights of Bangkok

Understandably, the capital city of one of the most beautiful counties in the world is absolutely stunning. Even if you have no interest in a city break, and your holiday is purely for relaxing on a beach or exploring the jungles, don’t miss out on a couple of days in Bangkok. The sights such as the Grand Palace and marketplaces make this a truly unique city, worthy of a day or two of exploration.

  1. Visit the long neck hill tribe villages

The culture of Thailand has remained virtually unchanged for hundreds of years, and this includes some of the tribes in the rainforests and mountains. The hill tribe villages are still known for their beautiful handmade clothes, traditional crafts, and their original look with long necks, elongated by brass bands wrapped around their necks.

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  1. Explore the Chiang Rai White Temple

The stunning temple was built to symbolise Buddha’s purity, but the style does not follow suit of other more traditional styles of Thai architecture. It’s a visually interesting piece of art and place of worship that is an absolute must for anyone staying in Chiang Rai.

  1. See the Bo Sang umbrella village

Near Chiang Mai, the umbrella village features handmade bamboo umbrellas and parasols, made in the traditional way. It is free to watch the women expertly craft these umbrellas, and visitors can buy them to take home as mementos if they wish, but it’s also just a beautiful place to visit and experiencethailand-3Image Credit

  1. Take a boat at the Damnoen Saduak floating market

East Asia is famous for its many styles of floating market, and Thailand is no different. In particularly watery areas of the country, their markets have been this way for hundreds of years, so there’s no plan to change them yet. They’re visually stunning, vibrant, and exciting places to visit, and the street food is exquisite.

  1. Visit Chiang Mai

The city of Chiang Mai is perfect for a few days exploring, or even a while longer. It’s a popular place for people to volunteer in Thailand teaching English and computer skills, as it’s very traditional, but the locals are friendly and welcoming.

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  1. Explore the Ayutthaya National Park

This UNESCO World Heritage site is full of the mystery of the Orient, with incredible archaeological sites from when it used to be the second capital of Siam. Explore the ruined temples, palaces, and Buddha statues, and the iconic overgrown Buddha head at Mahathat Temple. The whole park is awe-inspiring for people of any age.

Hopefully, you’ve got all the reasons you’ll ever need to visit Thailand, because when you’ve been once, you’ll want to return again and again.

 

The Most Awesome Places to Eat in Kuala Lumpur

Holidays are an adventure. They’re about discovering new things, and one of the best ways to learn about a country’s culture is through their food. You can learn a lot about a country from the food and drink they serve, and Kuala Lumpur is one of the hottest destinations in Asia to experience a diverse fusion of cuisines.

Many of these places are local areas that are close to public transport, so make sure you book a room at budget hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in advance so you can be as close as possible to these delicious eateries.

foodPhoto found on Flickr

Naughty Nuri’s Life Centre

20, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur
50250 Kuala Lumpur

Naughty Nuri’s is a popular BBQ restaurant and bar. It’s well known for its mouth-water BBQ pork ribs and cosy atmosphere. The staff are extremely well-mannered and provide a great service to the customers. It’s a popular spot for both lunch and dinner, so make sure you get here early. If you love Korean BBQ, you’ll love Naughty Nuri’s.

food1Photo found on Flickr

Hutong Food Court

Lot 10 Shopping Centre, Food Court,
Lower Ground Floor, Jalan Bukit Bintang
50250 Kuala Lumpur

This is a diverse food court with many different styles of cuisine to indulge in. There’s also a fantastic selection of exotic fruits such as durian and mango. This is a predominantly Chinese area, which means you’ll find a lot of iconic dishes like Wan Tan Mee, Bak Kut Teh, and Hokkien Mee.

food2Photo found on Flickr

Tg’s Nasi Kandar

3, Tengkat Tong Shin, Bukit Bintang
50200 Kuala Lumpur

Nasi Kandar is a Malaysian dish that consists of steamed rice and a variety of curries and side dishes. It’s very reasonably priced, but that doesn’t affect the amazing quality of food that Tg’s offers. This is a popular hangout destination for workers and students, so expect it to be packed with patrons throughout the day.

food3Photo found on Flickr

Din Tai Fung

Pavilion, 168, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur

Din Tai Fung is a restaurant chain that originates from Taiwan, and they’re known for their mouth-watering soup dumplings or xiaolongbao as they’re called. This is an entertaining location because the only thing that separates you from the chefs is a glass window. You can watch the chefs skillfully put together your dumplings moments before they’re served to you.

food4Photo found on Flickr

Heun Kee Claypot Chicken Rice

59, Jalan Yew, Pudu
55100 Kuala Lumpur

Heun Kee is a relatively hidden spot near the Pudu wet market. It is, without a doubt, one the most famous clay pot chicken rice spots in the whole of Kuala Lumpur. Their signature dish contains juicy chicken, delicious lap-cheong, and there’s optional salted fish as well. Huen Kee prepares their clay pot rice with a special method that speeds up the cooking process and evenly cooks the rice—something that other places just don’t get right.

food5Photo found on Flickr

Nasi Lemak Famous

Bangsar Bangsar Selera Food Court, Jalan Telawi 1
59100 Kuala Lumpur

Nasi Lemak is a fragrant rice that’s cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf and is considered the national dish of Malaysia. This location is affordable, and the sambal (Malaysian hot sauce) is also delicious here.  One of the most popular dishes here is the “Ayam Goreng Rempah”, which is essentially a spicy crispy fried chicken that pairs well with the rice.

Over-tiredness

For the last 3 weeks, I have AGAIN started to struggle with lack of sleep, and/or waking up at random hours of the night. Sometime between 2 and 3 AM seems to be a regular nowadays (even if I sleep after midnight… ugh!).

My body-clock is broken.

And despite this, I have to wake up 6AM latest during the week because I am in work at 7AM; less traffic and parking stress this way.

I have been trying to find a solution for my restless nights as I am becoming overtired now, and still for some reason, I don’t get a full night of sleep. Seems like I am stressed beyond repair.
– I exercise or go for a walk to get my body tired
– Don’t get all worked up and pissed off at people towards sleep time aka alone & quiet time
– Drink Camomile / Herbal tea – Maybe it is time to quit coffee all over again? (I only drink this in the mornings)
– Read before I sleep
– Listen to relaxing music
– Nice, long, bubbly, warm baths before bed

Seems like that none of this is helping, even if I do a combination of two or more.

The more I think about it, the worse it gets.

I am getting frustrated and annoyed, and I can’t figure out a way forward.

Wish I could switch off my brain and my feelings for a few hours a day… Maybe that would do the trick… But I guess I am not a cyborg (half human half machine), so that cannot happen effortlessly.

Rant done.
Over and out.

Want to Drive Sooner Rather than Later? Here Are the Keys to Success!

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When you’ve decided that you want to drive, the wait between the decision and actually getting your license can be torturous. Most learners just want to get on the road and start exercising their newfound vehicular freedom. Well, the key to doing that is to become a driving pro in as short a time as possible. Here are some essential suggestions for you.

Start the preparations now

If you’re reading this article, you might be on the verge of taking your driving test. But it’s also possible that you haven’t even applied for a provisional license yet! It’s important that you do this as soon as possible. One reason you may not have done this is that you haven’t reached the legal driving age yet. Depending on where you are or what you plan to drive, this is generally between 16 and 18. But you can usually apply for provisional licenses three months before you turn of legal driving age! You should also get together any other documents you’ll need.

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Thinking theoretically

A lot of people get stuck on the theory side of driving. One of the great things about theory is precisely that – it’s just theory! This means you can start getting practice in whenever you want. Some forward-thinking parents even have their kids study in a couple of years before they can legally drive. Get familiar with the various highway rules, as well as how the average driver behaves on the road. Start getting it in your head now!

Formal crash courses

One of the most popular ways of getting through this process quickly is by doing a crash course. I know that “crash” sounds bad in the context of driving, but it’s not about crashing. A crash course in driving offers you the required practice and learning hours within a week or two. It’s intense and fast, and requires a lot of spare time. It also tends to be quite expensive. Most people won’t have the time or the means to do it in this fashion. But the option is there!

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Longer lessons

Instead of going into full-on, intense crash courses, you could simply take longer lessons. Most learners will only take hour-long lessons at a time, maybe once a week or every two weeks. But as long as your driving instructor is able to do so, you can get lessons lasting two or three hours. This ensures that your required learning hours build up much faster. Of course, you need to be confident that you can absorb all the required information when you’re doing it this way!

Practice tests

You know what accounts for a surprisingly large amount of time during this process? Waiting to take your test once you’ve booked it. The people who oversee these tests are very busy. You may have to wait for just a few days, or you may have to wait several weeks. That, of course, is if you can even find a time that accommodates both of you in that period of time! Imagine how much time is lost when you have to take your test again. Your test is going to be very different from your lessons, and this surprises most learners. One of the best ways to tackle this is to take a practice test beforehand. Check this site out to find out more about practice tests.

Build up those practice hours

Lessons cost a lot of money. But aside from car running costs, practice hours are virtually free! It’s important that you get as many practice hours in as you can. These are the hours that you spend with a licensed driver overseeing some informal driving. You need to accumulate a large number of practice hours before you can take your test. But the key to quick success could be to take on even more practice hours than is required. You need to perfect those maneuvers and really get your head around the roads and codes. This will give you a big advantage when it comes to taking your test and passing it first time.

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Know your routes

Do you know where your test is going to take place? If so, then it’s vital you check this area out before the day. Spend some of your practice hours there. One of the most common reasons for failure during a test is that the learner is unfamiliar with the territory. Even seasoned drivers are a little more cautious in new areas. You should make sure you know the roads as well as possible. Consider using your practice hours to cover the five or so mile radius that comprises that territory.

Save Some Bucks This Christmas By Getting These Things Ready Now

We all know that Christmas has the potential to be an extremely expensive time of year. After all, there is a lot that you need to buy for it! From food and presents to decorations and greeting cards. But you don’t have to let the festive season be a drain on your bank account. In fact, if you start preparing now, you will find that you could end up saving a few books. That’s all because you’ll be buying out of season. We’re now in the run-up to Halloween and Thanksgiving. Stores are now focusing on selling all their Halloween and Thanksgiving products; you will find that Christmas stuff is still quite cheap.

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So what should you focus on getting ready now before the season starts? Here are some of my best ideas.

Christmas Presents

Ideally, you should look for Christmas presents for your friends and family all year round. There is no point waiting until December to do all your Christmas shopping. The stores will hike up their prices then so that they can make some extra cash before the holidays. So if you see something that you think might be suitable for a relative earlier on in the year, buy it! It doesn’t matter that you will have to wait a few months to give it to them. Just keep it in a cupboard or drawer where the recipient won’t be able to find it. If you do leave your Christmas shopping till later on in the year, it might be worth doing it online. Generally speaking, online shopping is a lot cheaper than going to a store. Looking for the perfect gift for your mom? You’ll be able to find unique gifts for her from Cuckooland.com.

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Food And Drink

Now is the best time to start thinking about the feast you will be having on Christmas day! If you have a big freezer, you will be able to buy quite a bit of the fresh food now and freeze it. Even your turkey! Try and buy your turkey within the next few weeks. Otherwise, you could end up paying quite a bit for it once we are into Thanksgiving season. Don’t worry that the one you buy now isn’t specifically a Christmas turkey. The only difference between a Christmas one and the ones you can buy all year is the packaging! And why pay more for a turkey that is covered in a festive wrapper? Buy all the dried and tinned foods that you need now as well. These will keep in your store cupboard. However, you can’t buy your fresh fruit and vegetables too far in advance. You will have to wait and get them a week or so before the big day.

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Greetings Cards

Most stores that sell greeting cards will have some Christmas cards on sale all year round. You probably haven’t noticed this before because you haven’t looked hard enough! As they aren’t in demand outside of December, they won’t be placed in a noticeable place. So next time you go shopping, have a long, hard look for the Christmas cards. If you buy them now, you will make a significant saving. One thing to bear in mind, though, is that there might not be a great selection just yet. If you don’t like what you see and want to wait till there is more choice, there is another way of saving some cash. You just need to buy in bulk in December. Sure, you will have more cards than you need, but they will last you for a couple more years!

Christmas Decorations

There may not be many decorations in the stores just yet. However, you might start to see some in large supermarkets such as Walmart. The supermarkets tend to display a small portion of their stock during fall to start selling as soon as possible. If you look now, you might notice that there are a couple of discounts and deals advertised. Buy them now before all those savings disappear in December! But, do you want to know the best way to make a huge saving on your Christmas decorations? You can make your own! This isn’t as difficult as it may sound. You will find plenty of guides and how-tos online on sites such as goodhousekeeping.com. There is, of course, another way to save some bucks on your Christmas decorations. And that is just to recycle them and use the same ones every year. If you do this, it is a good idea to check yours now to make sure they are still in good condition. If they aren’t, you then have plenty of time to make or buy some new ones. That way, there is no chance of the kids getting upset when they find all their Christmas decorations are broken!

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Plan Christmas Parties

You will no doubt be having an office party with work at Christmas. And many families and groups of friends also enjoy meals together in restaurants over the festive period. If you are planning any big celebrations such as these, it is a good idea to get everything booked now. The earlier, the better! That is because many restaurants and function rooms offer early bird deals. It’s just like the saying, the early bird catches the worm. Wait too long, and you will end up paying full price. However, book now and you could find that you can take advantage of deals and price cuts.

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Clothes

Are you looking for the perfect outfit to wear to all your Christmas parties? Maybe you want a cute dress for Christmas day? Now is the time to buy your festive wardrobe! It’s true that more glitzy stuff will come into the stores in November. However, this can be quite expensive. It’s a good idea to buy something from fashion stores’ fall and winter collections that are out now. You can always add some sparkle with some cool accessories!

Dreading an expensive Christmas? Not this year!

I’ll be there for you…

It seems that in the past few years, several people who I used to know or I was at school with, have decided to give up. They have realised that it is time, they’d let their struggles win, and simply let go of their physical life.

The news I read today, has devastated me.

It just makes me realise how fragile we are… How people can appear like they are having the time of their life from the outside, yet they feel dead inside; empty.
I can speak from experience when I say, that some of us can hide their feelings very well from the society we live in, and only break down when alone, in a safe place. I guess, it is difficult to admit that we are weak, in the fear of being ridiculed or shut down, when we show our true feelings. Experiencing neglect and being misunderstood is definitely much worse than feeling sad and insecure in your own head.

But this is our problem. If we don’t admit defeat, if we don’t ask for help… how do we get better? How can we win a fight we are not even trying to battle?

Moreover, if it is not you, but a friend of yours, how would you manage to detect their depression, insecurities and concerns? How can you help them, without making them admit they are suffering and going downhill?

I keep wondering, if someone knew what was going on, maybe the death could have been prevented? If someone cared enough, offered a cushion or a shoulder, tried to understand… Maybe the world could lose less people to suicide.

Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaant of the day.

Quality over quantity, always.
Be it material things or matters of the heart…

When I cannot think, that things can sink any lower, here I am getting disappointed again.

No, this is not another complaint about my love life, because this is not the case. I assure you!
This is about the so called friends.

As if it is not difficult enough to meet good, loyal, trustworthy people… I mean, I would know… I am not a very sociable person, in fact I would rather be around a few people than a group of loud beings. I have always preferred having a best friend rather than a lot of friends. I am the kind of person, who would rather have one person to count on, than many who don’t.

Every now and then, I try to organise a get together, to see some friends that I haven’t seen in a while. It is difficult to find a time and a day when everyone can join, and we always end up compromising, either regarding who should attend or the location, or the budget. I guess, that is okay, as long as things work out. What sucks is, that you put your heart in it, and since it is agreed upon several weeks before, there is always some sort of expectation for it. Then things get cancelled, and you are back to square one.

Is this normal, or do these things happen to just me?
When the only person who tries to solve things is yourself, is it the beginning of the end? Should I call it quits, before they quit me?

Sometimes you have to give up on people
not because you don’t care,
but because they don’t.