Monday, December 26, 2016

After 8 years of SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythemathosus)

Keep dreaming :)

I just reread my own blog post that I wrote 3 years ago. I guess, things haven't changed much since that day, except that I've fulfilled more destination dreams in my life, especially last year and this year. I've fulfilled my dreams to visit Reykjavik  (as the city name resembles my nick name - Rima Reyka - and produces Reyka vodka), and at the same time I was very lucky being able to watch the Aurora Borealis (northern light) - never thought that I'd ever seen it in my life.

I've visited many other places that I'd never visited before too, like Russia, Korea, Vietnam, etc. I've fulfilled my dreams to visit the beautiful and romantic place of Taj Mahal, and to where Dalai Lama resides (Dharamsala). Never expected that the younger days' dream to visit the Buddha pilgrimage sites such as: Lumbini in Nepal, Bodhgaya, Sarnath, Kushinagar, Tso Pema in India, China's Silk Road, etc., have also been accomplished!!! I've even traveled to more places in India like Kolkata, Sikkim, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, and so on.

I'm very lucky too for visiting Bhutan 3 times in 4 years' time. Visited many places from west to east, to the south, that the Bhutanese themselves were amazed with the extent of the places I'd been too. It was all thanks to everyone who had been willing to invite me there, bring me around, let me stay at their houses, and cooked Bhutanese meals for me everyday. I've become more like a Bhutanese now :)

Usually I'd fly alone then meet up with friend/ friends there. But many times I travelled with my parents, sometimes with hubby or with son, also with siblings to create our memories together.

I've visited my sisters and stayed for some time too as to spend more time with them and their families - Australia for a month and Hong Kong for two weeks. Maybe soon I need to go home and stay longer with my parents :D

I'm very grateful that for the past 8 years my SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythemathosus) condition is quite stable. With my visit to Hong Kong this year end, it reminded me how it was all started. Read more about it here.

Yesterday (on Christmas day), I went hiking at Sai Kung Country Park - eastern part of New Territories. I'd heard about the place before and when my cousin, Jessica, invited us (my brother, my sister, their families, my son, and I) to hike there on Christmas day, I was so much excited!!!

Our hiking at Sai Kung Country Park, Hong Kong :)

She explained the territory to us beforehand. At first she said it would be around 11 km long and the trail would be up and down. So the expecting time to finish the trail would be around 4 hours. In the beginning I was hesitating if I could do it because on Christmas Eve we went out until late and walked a lot. My period was about to come too. Also, usually my morning walk in Singapore took me only around two hours time while the trail was quite easy to walk.

Despite all that, I told myself, "Rima, let's try!! Isn't it what you're looking for? Basking yourself in nature is what you're looking for right now. Since someone is willing to guide you, why miss the opportunity???" Therefore, I told my brother that I'd join them if my period had not started yet in the morning. So, I joined them and 4 of us went together :)

Beautiful mountains view at Sai Kung Country Park 

The terrain was really as what she mentioned. It was full of ups and downs. In between, we passed by 4 beautiful beaches (Sai Wan or West Beach, Tai Lang or Big Wave Beach, Sian Tian or Salty Field Beach, and Tung Wan or East Beach). We walked with total distance of 13.2 km for almost 4 hours time. We had lunch break in the middle (after passing the wooden bridge at Sian Tian Beach).

This hike showed me what life was really like. I started it with mixed feelings (mostly happy and exciting to see what lies next) and full of energy. I felt happy when the slope was going down (just like finishing one task successfully in life, e.g. finishing study), but prepared myself that it would be the beginning of another slope up (just like starting a new job). It required hard work, sweat, and determination to reach the top. But once you're there, you'd see the beautiful view from the top. That was when your hard work paid off - satisfaction. From there, things got easier again, then up again, until you reached your destination.

Live is short. Enjoy it to the fullest!!! :)

I felt great when finally accomplished the trails. I was just like the rest of the people who were in good health. Even the healthy ones were not necessary able to hike like that hehe...

So, let this year's Christmas hiking would be my celebration for surviving 8 years from SLE. My mind set is rather pessimistic though. I always tell everyone that I live my life as if I'll die tomorrow. They all immediately knocked the wood 3 times when I said "life is short, who knows I'll die tomorrow."

My wishing stones built at Ta Lang Beach - Sai Kung Country Park, Hong Kong 

It's reality though. Everyone will go there one day. It's just a matter of time, 'when?' I just want to fill my day with happiness. Forget the unhappiness. Let it go altogether with what causes it. And at the end, only peace will remain. Let's see how many more years I'll be able to continue living and celebrating more surviving years from SLE. For the rest of SLE owners, hope you are blessed with long life and stable condition. So you can reach for your dreams like I do, live your life to the fullest!!! You can do it!!! :)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

My Motivation Quotes :)

Hi hi!!! I'm back!!! It's been long time since my last post here. I'm still alive btw hahaha.... It's just I was away for pilgrimage trip to India for more than 3 weeks time :)

So many things were going on while traveling, started from Modi's big surprise on the Rupee exactly at night before I flew to India (the 500 and 1000 notes were declared no longer to be used and at the mean time we had to use the smaller denomination until the new 500 and 2,000 notes arrived). Initially I was worried because I had only 500 notes in my pocket. It could be seen clearly in my face especially by those who saw me on my first day reaching India.

"You love adventure, you got it. Double!! Ha ha ha," claimed Passu. Yeah, because of him I could put my smile back towards the situation and he tried his best to help me. And many people were indeed helping me in many ways to solve the problems I faced. The situation too, often not, would be blessings in disguise at that point of time :)

Now it's over and I'd returned home safely and sound. It'd been almost 2 weeks now and I spent most of my time sleeping on my bed. My bed missed me and I missed my bed. Hehe... No la, I just felt tired from the continuous traveling and the good thing was, I lost 2 kg from this trip!!! ^^

"When tired, learn how to rest, not quit"

People might think that I was just wasting my time. But luckily none of my family members and close friends thought so. For me, taking a rest wasn't a waste of time. At the end, it would benefit for my health and mind, wouldn't it? ;)

Until when? I didn't know yet. Let's see and let nature takes its course. At the mean time, I was trying my best to get back on my feet again, starting with getting up early. Lol... :P And today, I started my habit back to go for a morning walk. It'd been some time since the last time I went to MacRitchie Reservoir. 

This morning I went alone. I waited until the sky turned brighter because otherwise it would be quite dangerous for a woman to go alone (well, although I didn't look that attractive, still precaution was the best measure hehehe...). And since there was renovation work at the golf area, from Jelutong Tower, I made a detour and walked towards Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. 

I'd been wanting to try on that route since long time ago but was too afraid to go as I wasn't sure about the path. So today, I decided to walk that path, alone.

"Om muni muni mahamuni sakyamuni ye soha..." I kept repeating the chant while walking. It reminded me the melodious sound that the Bhutanese chanted during our pilgrimage trip in India. Soon, I saw few people coming from the other direction. Some of them would smile, some would wave upon passing by. Wow!!! The power of the mantra!!! ;) There was even someone offering me a lift towards the main road. First time I encountered it in Singapore!!!

With the new short cut hair at MacRitchie Reservoir :)

Since beginning, I heard many mysterious sound along my path, which usually were caused by the animals and mostly were the hungry monkeys. Yalama!!! Their appearance was startling me!!! Many times I had to face them in the middle of the road that I had to pass.

So along the way, I kept thinking, "Imagine those monks who went to meditate alone in the middle of the jungle. How would they overcome their fears towards wild animals that they encountered along the way? They must have used their power of love and compassion!!! So Rima, try to apply that now!!!"

Hahaha... It was easier to say than done! I decided to allocate my eye sight to somewhere else while walked past them (avoiding eye contact), and try my best not to agitate them. Omg!!! It scared me so much la!!!

It was fun though! From there I could contemplate what I'd been through and at the same time trying to keep my mind thinking positively so that my journey would be safe :)

Happiness is...

So, let's see where my fate bringing me this time. At the mean time I had to recharge my positivity level to the max as that was what I'd attained from the pilgrimage journey. The emptiness feeling that arose turned up to be the positivity filled heart that I believed to be useful for my next journey in life. And I will no longer allow the NEGATIVE things in my life to SPOIL all the GOOD things that I have would be my motto to achieve happiness in my life :)

Everything happens for a reason :) (Photo source:

And exactly as the above quote, "Eventually all things fall into place. Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moments, and know that everything happens for a reason, and only for a good reason!!!" Hope this won't be my last post this year. As for now, these would be my motivation quotes to help me to stand up on my feet again!!! Wish me all the best guys!!! ;) And please make use the quotes if it helps you too!!! Wish you all the best too in everything that you do!!! :)

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

D3 Iceland - South Coast of Iceland

Morning view of Stracta Hotel

We had delicious and fulfilling breakfast before leaving our hotel. I took photos of the hot tubs and sauna that we used the night before. It was beautiful, wasn't it? Made of wood, it looked so natural and cosy :) And yes, that was the van that we took for our tour at the southern part of Iceland these past few days.

Group photo courtesy of Francis Lew - Seljalandsfoss, Iceland

Our guide cum driver was named Inggo, a tall, young, and strong Icelandic man who told us lots of fable from Iceland throughout our journey, the one who stood directly behind me :) And yes, the photo taken was with the background of the magnificent 60-meter high Seljalandsfoss waterfall, our first stop for the day!

Jump pose at the Seljalandsfoss waterfall - South Coast of Iceland :)

Footpath behind the Seljalandsfoss waterfall - Iceland

Unlike other waterfalls in Iceland, here it was possible for us to walk behind it (see the photo above), via a footpath at the base of the cliff. It was wet, stony and slippery though. So, a good waterproof hiking shoes were really needed!!! And I was amazed on how my Mom would be able to walk through it!! Well done Mom!! :)

Other waterfalls next to Seljalandsfoss waterfall :)

In panoramic view - Seljalandsfoss waterfalls - Iceland

And there were other few waterfalls next to it as shown in the two photos above :)

Icelandic horses on the move :)

On our way, we passed by through many beautiful view on our left and right. I loved the view of Icelandic horses running freely in a small group, so free and natural :)

Icelandic turf house - connected to stones

We also passed by many Icelandic turf house like shown at the photo above. Too bad we did not have any chance to visit and see how it looked like.

"The common Icelandic turf house would have a large foundation made of flat stones; upon this was built a wooden frame which would hold the load of the turf. The turf would then be fitted around the frame in blocks often with a second layer, or in the more fashionable herringbone style. The only external wood would be the doorway which would often be decorative; the doorway would lead in to the hall which would commonly have a great fire. Another interesting aspect of the Icelandic turf house was the introduction of attached toilets, which were communal, and the act of going to the attached toilet was often done in large groups. The floor of a turf house could be covered with wood, stone or earth depending on the purpose of the building. They also contain grass on their roofs."- Source:

Skógafoss waterfall - Iceland

We visited another beautiful waterfall called Skógafoss waterfall - a 60-meter high waterfall in the Skógá River. Legend said there was buried treasures (chest of gold) by the settler called Þrasi Þórólfsson in a cave behind this waterfall.

View of the Skógafoss waterfall upper part :)

At the upper part of Skógafoss waterfall - where the waterfalls came from :)

Here, there were staircases where we all could go up and see where the waterfall came from. So I guess, the above photo was the Skógá River itself. Oh my!!! It looked so wonderful!! So pretty!!! Love it so much!!! :)

Reynisfjara or Black Beach at Vik Village - Iceland

From there, we continued our journey to see the unique black sand/ pebble beach called Reynisfjara located at Vik Village, south coast of Iceland. The beach was named by International Islands magazine in 1991 as one of the ten best beach in the world. Perhaps due to its uniqueness where all the pebbles and sands were black in color.

Eldhraun Lava Field - Iceland

We had lunch afterwards and continued our journey across the Eldhraun lava field.

"This impressive lava field the biggest lava flow in the world which occurred during the Laki eruption in the late 1700s. The enormous site which is 565 square kilometers (218 sq mi) is where the Apollo 11 crew came to train for their impending moonwalk."- Source:

"The thick green moss dressing the lava wipes out all hard edges and, for a while, the world exists only in the colors of the asphalt, the sky, and the moss."- Source:

 It felt simply amazing just passing through this huge area. There was no one staying as the area not suitable for living.

More waterfalls throughout the journey - South Coast of Iceland

More waterfalls - South Coast of Iceland

Iceland was truly rich of natural resources. As we passed by, more waterfalls were to be seen on our left side. Simply grateful with the beautiful view it offered!!!

Skeiðarársandur or vast sand desert - South Coast of Iceland

We passed by the Skeiðarársandur - a vast sand desert that used to be farms before, but destroyed by huge floods caused by the volcanic eruption that came beneath the Vatnajökull glacier back in 1996. It was so huge until it swept the bridge away and disconnected the Ring Road to eastern side of Iceland. It was said to be the largest Sandur (outwash plain) in the world covering an area of 1,300 km sq.

Panoramic view from the top - Jökulsárlón or glacier river lagoon - Iceland

The journey continued on. We were brought to Jökulsárlón or glacier river lagoon, a large glacial lake in southeast of Iceland. Many movies had been using this place for their background, such as: Lara Croft: Tomb Rider, Batman Begins, and 2 James Bond's films, which were A View to Kill and Die Another Day.

Beautiful glacier lagoon - Jökulsárlón, Iceland

Tried licking the glacier hahaha.... :P - Jökulsárlón, Iceland

Tasted the floating ice - I know.. the water looked dirty, but who cared??? :D

Wishing stones - wish for dreams to come true.... :)

My friend and I were having so much fun there. Licked the glacier pose was fun! Inggo helped us taking the photo and we were just laughing with our stupidity there! Hahahahaha..... :P We tried the taste of the glacier ice too :) Although the glacier lagoon looked dirty, but who cared, right? Hehehe... And while my friend was busy taking photos, I was busy building the wishing stones :) It was at the back of my mind wishing to have chance to build it and the chance was just there waiting for me :) Thank you SB for granting my wish!! I was very happy to finally have my dream came true there!! Thank you, thank you, and thank you!!! :)

Expression of my happiness by being there!!! Grateful!!! :)

Glacier lagoon at the black beach - Iceland

Amazing view that can not get it too often in life!!! You only live once!!! :)

Add one stone at the top of someone else' wishing stones :D

Group photo at the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon - Iceland

We did not finish there. Inggo brought us to the black beach nearby where we could spot the glacier there too. Oh my!!! Icelanders were very lucky staying in their country. For us, it might be a once in a lifetime experience to be here. But they could view this beautiful scenery as and when they felt like doing it!! I was very grateful though for the opportunity given. Thanks to my parents who made this trip possible!!! Without them, I might take much longer time to realize this dream :) Thank you, thank you, and thank you Pa, Ma!!! :)

Stayed and dinner at Hotel Smyrlabjörg 

After a very long day, we finally reached our hotel - Hotel Smyrlabjörg. Some of us ordered our dinner there while some made their own food at the hotel. I had fish again - one of the two fresh and delicious food in Iceland (either fish or lamb). Ma and Pa shared the lobster soup and lamb steak. My friend and I shared another beer - their own brand - Smyrlabjörg Beer. It was bitter though! But nice try! :) Overall, we had a wonderful day in Iceland. A bit tired, but worth it!!! Will continue the journey in a while... Hope you enjoy reading it and are patiently waiting :D

Sunday, November 06, 2016

D2 Iceland - Golden Circle at southern part of Iceland

Hveragerði Geothermal Park - South Iceland

We started our day by cooking the fresh eggs inside the stream of hot springs for 10 to 12 minutes at the Hveragerði Geothermal Park, a 45-km drive from Reykjavik. The egg tasted so delicious and thoroughly boiled! :)

Cafe Restaurant that used geothermal heat for cooking at Hveragerði

It was amazing to find the town like this where the hot spring's geothermal heat was used for cooking (outdoor kitchen), baking bread, space heating, laundry, and even greenhouse.

Beautiful nature at Þingvellir National Park - Iceland

Beautiful Þingvellir church and fissure from afar at Þingvellir National Park - Iceland

From there we headed to Þingvellir or Thingvellir National Park, the first national park in Iceland and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was a site of historical, cultural, and geological importance in Iceland - so called a must-visit destination in Iceland!!!

Þingvellir National Park - Iceland

It lies in a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the boundary between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. It was also the site of the world's oldest parliament, the Alþingi,established around 930 A.D, and location where Icelanders celebrated their independence from Denmark back in June 17, 1944.

Erupted geyser at Strokkur - Iceland

We had a short lunch break at "Geysir,"which means geyser or hot spring. There were few cafes available there. At the opposite, it was the site where we could watch the erupting small geyser, the place name called Strokkur, which erupted every few minutes. It was harmless though. People could just stood up surrounding it and watched it amazingly!!! Great experience!!! :)

First tier of the Gullfoss waterfalls - Upper part
Second tier of the Gullfoss waterfalls - Flow to the bottom creating splash like rain :)

From there we went to see Gullfoss, which means 'Golden Falls,' a breathtaking two-tired waterfall that dropped 32 meters into a long, narrow canyon.

Full view of Gullfoss waterfalls or Golden Falls - Iceland :)

The full-view of the Gullfoss would be as the picture above :) It was beautiful, wasn't it??? :)

Gullfoss - Iceland

There was a stone memorial to Sigríður Tómasdóttir, who determined to preserve the waterfalls and threatened to throw herself down into the falls in protest against the foreign investors who wanted to transform it into a dam for a power station. Fyi, my friend and I had to wear the raincoat as the falls' water splashed into us as we passed by the area. It was a wonderful exposure to keep walking up and see the upper part (first tier) of the falls. Simply beautiful!!! :)

Fridheimar Greenhouse

From there, we were brought to Friðheimar or Fridheimar Greenhouse, a place where tomatoes were grown inside there all year round through the long dark winter under the artificial lighting and using natural hot water from underneath. They opened small cafe or restaurant serving various food and beverage products using the tomatoes that they grew, such as: tomato ice cream, tomato and apple pie, tomato Schnapps, and so on.

Icelandic horses' stable - Fridheimar, Iceland

Other than doing horticulture inside the greenhouse, they also bred Icelandic horses at the stable nearby and offered demonstration of the famous five gaits of the Icelandic horses. They opened up the stable for us to have closer view and we could touch and have selfie with them as well :D Free coffee/tea was served while watching the performance.

The Gaits of the Icelandic Horse - Pic source: Fridheimar

The Icelandic Horse show at Fridheimar, Iceland :)

"Whether on the farm or for overland transport, the horse has been the trusty companion of the Icelanders down the centuries, and even today farmers ride into the highlands to round up their sheep in autumn. In modern times the horse has become the Icelanders’ favorite leisure companion. The Icelandic horse is a small, sturdy breed, famed for its five gaits: in addition to the walk, trot and gallop, Icelandic horses may have the tölt (a smooth run) and skeið (flying pace). Four- and five-gaiters are prized." - Source:

Stracta Hotel in Hella, Iceland

After such a long day, we were finally brought into our hotel - Stracta Hotel - located at Hella in South Iceland. Since there were 3 of us, we were given the Studio Apartment room, which cost double from the usual Standard Double room. There was kitchen facilities and bathrobe provided as well.
Wonderful dinner at Kanslarinn Restaurant at Hella, Iceland

It was up to us where we wanted to have our dinner at. Some chose to eat at the hotel's restaurant. Some ate their own food brought from Singapore, e.g. instant noodle. And few of us chose to eat at the Kanslarinn Restaurant located just opposite of the Stracta Hotel. It was one of the recommended restaurant by the Trip Advisor - coincidentally. My friend's dad and I had fish with boiled potato, rye bread, and salad; Mom ordered lasagna; my friends had fish and chips; and my dear father ordered the tenderloin horse meat steak.

Excuse me? Did I type wrongly? No, I didn't. And yes, he ordered the tenderloin horse meat steak for his dinner. When I read through the menu available, he immediately told me that he wanted to order that. When the food came, everyone was trying it. I was hesitant in the beginning as I loved horse, not as food, but as they were. My friend convinced me trying it as it tasted delicious, even more delicious than the beef steak. So I asked my dad for a bite, and true enough, the horse meat was really delicious!!! It was tender and juicy. The chef should have cooked it skillfully to serve up to this standard. Well done!!! So, if you happened staying nearby this restaurant, go and try it for yourself!! :)

Soaked ourselves with hot tub under the full and bright moon and stars :)

We finished our dinner and walked back to the hotel. Some of us met up again at the outdoor hot tub provided by the hotel, just outside the restaurant. It was cold outside at night but the water was warm at 38 degree Celsius and it felt so shiok to soak ourselves in it after such a long day!! Moreover, we were blessed with beautiful full and bright moon plus thousands of stars above us!!! Our day was ended beautifully!! We had a peaceful, warm, and beautiful sleep afterwards. Recharged and ready for our next adventure in Iceland!!! :)
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