A milestone, 2013.

I first started this blog four years ago, on the night I touchdown in Manchester. It was my first journey overseas, although flying from Miri to KL was technically “over (the) seas”. Get the pun?

City of Manchester

first day in Manchester
first day in Manchester

Jokes aside, when I first came to UK, I had absolutely no clue what to expect. Even with several lengthy emails with an acquaintance on the weather and lifestyle, it was all new to me. Don’t you agree that reading about things and experiencing is totally different? I had no bucket list to check or travel destination to meet. At that time, I was simply an excited 18-year-old going on an adventure (picture on right shows how I looked on my first day in Manchester)

I was one of the many lucky ones to have both parents accompany me on this journey. They stayed for less than a week to make sure I got the basic things right – setting up a bank account, paying my tuition fees, settling into my university accommodation, etc. I had never been away from home for more than a day, and being daddy’s little princess, I had been pampered a lot by all my family members. For the first time, I was going away for 9 months straight and was excited to see what I was made of – if i could stand on my own two (not-so) little feet, or if i just bend and break.

Everyone was skeptical when I said I never cried after my parents left. To be honest, I didn’t understand why. Sure, I was sad when they went back to Malaysia, but what I learnt from young was that you don’t have to cry show that you’re sad. And… there was a whole new world to discover! It was a good two months before I actually shed my first tear in UK – that’s a story for another day.

In my first year, I blogged about everything down to the most mundane events like university events, which eventually made it to the blog trash. I was probably still getting used to the exchange rates and the responsibilities of buying groceries, cooking food and doing laundry. By the end of the forth and final year, I have felt, seen and done so many things that never crossed my mind. And for that I am always thankful for the opportunity given to study abroad.

“Sometimes we don’t know what we want, until someone shows us the possibility.”

Changes: I am definitely more expressive then before. Gone was the shy, quiet and the pushover. Gone was the girl who texted far too much. Here came the new and improved TY 2.0.  Haha. I started defining myself – after all, who knows you more than yourself? I noticed a lot of changes within myself, some good and some needed a little improvement… The most interesting part was learning about social cues; I now converse more comfortably with people, especially strangers. 

4 pictures, 4 terms (from 2009-2013)
4 pictures, 4 terms (from 2009-2013)

I am still obsessed with the shades of purple, which is probably the reason why I love lavender so much. Did you know that lavender blooms in late summer? I went to two different lavender farms in my final year, and both times I was feeling a little blue. And seeing a whole field of these pretty little things brought an inevitable smile to my face.


Canon s95
Canon s95

I enjoy photography a lot more. It started with snapping pictures outside my room for my parents to see. After all, pictures speak louder than words. Then I realised how much I love capturing the moments, including pictures of food, sceneries and other random shots. It then became a regular habit to bring a camera everywhere I went out even within Manchester, and finally the little camera was nicknamed the dot-com (pictured right). 

On a more sensitive topic, I waited until I was 20 before I started drinking and went to clubs. And I disliked both, no surprise. In clubs, I only enjoyed the blasting loud  music; dancing, not so much (i still can’t dance haha). I hated skin contact with strangers, and always ended up at the table after a couple of hours.  As for drinks, my first alcoholic drink was a tequila shot from the bar and followed by a lot of random mixers in house parties. In my opinion, social drinking is acceptable as long as one does not go over the limit and start being an embarrassment. 

Four Seasons: I experienced four seasons for four years. First came autumn; the falling twigs and changing leaves signified the start of term year. In winter, the trees were bare and I waited for snow; I awaited the sight of fluffy white ‘cotton’ that covers the city. I remembered being so excited on seeing the first snow sprinkles of my life that I actually ran out of the student accommodation with my sleep wear (it was near midnight I think). Flower started to bloom by spring (although some were conveniently planted). It was a beautiful sight, especially when I went to visit a botanical garden in Birmingham. And finally, summer – the few short months of warmth before the cycle began all over again. 


Favourite season? Probably winter. Despite the cold, I always waited for snow, and when it happens, I take a moment to enjoy the beauty of nature… before i whisked out my camera and snapped a couple of pictures.  

Travel: I’ve travelled to several places in UK and Europe. I travelled down to London more than 10 times in 4 years. Thank you for YeeChing and ShyuFei for always letting me crash at their place, otherwise accommodation in London would fork out a huge chunk of my expenditure. Manchester and London excluded, I’ve seen a bit of UK through Nottingham, Leeds, Arnside, Lancaster, Birmingham, Bolton, Blackpool, Peak District, Stonehenge, Birmingham, Oxford, Cotswold, Warwick, Bath, Newcastle and several little towns. 


My first trip to Europe was to Germany. I was not an avid traveller, so I was usually the tag alongs for all trips. The only trip I was properly involved in is the Italy trip in winter2012. Much to my surprise, I have checked several countries off the Europe list  – Munich and Berlin in Germany, Oslo and Bergen in Norway, Amsterdam, Scotland, Poland, Budapest, Paris in France, Venice Rome Pisa and Florence in Italy,  and finally ended with Zadar, Plitvice and Dubronik in Croatia. The most exciting place I had been to is Paris Disneyland. At 22, I was equally as excited as any 6-year-old in the park that day. 

I was also fortunate enough to be involved in London 2012. This is probably the best spur-of-the-moment decision I made in the four years. I went to all the training sessions in London without being sure if I would volunteer for the event. After all, the penultimate summer was always the best time to go for an internship and get a head start of my future career. I went in the end – and in all honesty one of the main reasons I went was the poppy purple uniform! 

Graduation: This marked the end of the four-year journey. I attended and missed a couple of my friends graduation. I was extremely fortunate to have both my family and friends share this wonderful occasion. Even with painful feet, all of us were smiling widely. We took single and group photographs, made conversations and bid our goodbyes to people we would rarely see in the future. 

4 years…

graduation (1)

A handful of experience .. 


a lifetime of friends. 


44 thoughts on “A milestone, 2013.

  1. muffin4kyu September 23, 2013 / 6:02 PM

    Nice post! 🙂 Maybe I should do one too!

    • Jill September 23, 2013 / 8:04 PM

      Yeah you should! It will be an interesting read 🙂

  2. writingsprint October 6, 2013 / 6:24 AM

    This post was beautiful. Good for you! What a great experience!

    It reminded me of my study abroad trip in Lancaster UK — an experience that completely changed my life. Thank you for the post.

    • Jill October 6, 2013 / 7:13 AM

      You’re most welcome! I hope you had a wonderful experience as well.

  3. lifeconfusions October 18, 2013 / 10:58 PM

    Such a great post Jill…It s always a treat to see how far one has come in their lives. It was a treat to see yours.
    Good luck with the future. best wishes 🙂

    • Jill October 19, 2013 / 3:08 AM

      Thank you for your wishes! 😉

  4. Meg Cook (@audiencewatchme) January 9, 2014 / 6:55 AM

    Hi Ty! I love this line: “Here came the new and improved TY 2.0.” The seasonal change pictures were absolutely wonderful. I notice in this post that you seem to like use visual aids to show change. This, for me as your audience was very interesting.

    • Jill January 15, 2014 / 1:28 AM

      Thanks for your feedback! I really appreciate it (: and yes, I prefer to put photographs to enhance my posts.

  5. Meg Cook (@audiencewatchme) January 9, 2014 / 7:01 AM

    I posted the first comment, so that you will feel free to delete this one, if you wish. But, I hope you won’t. My name is Meg Cook, and I am the Founder of AudienceWatch.me, a place where you get customized feedback with epic amounts of detail for bloggers. You have been working on this blog a long time, so I am sure you have found yourself wondering what your audience is or is not thinking about your blog, what could make it better and what is really great. I can’t wait to work for you! http://audiencewatch.me/buy-audience-review/

    • Jill January 15, 2014 / 1:33 AM

      Hey, thanks for posting TWO comments!

      I couldn’t access the hyperlink above. I was wondering if you could send the relevant link, so I could respond appropriately.


  6. andy1076 January 19, 2014 / 2:35 AM

    That’s quite the journey you’ve experienced, both in personal reflection and being part of the world changing around you. Big cheers on facing it all with a smile and your becoming ‘2.0’ 😀

    • Jill March 11, 2014 / 1:01 PM

      I must have missed your comment until now. Sorry about that! Thank you for your comment (:

  7. New York Cliche February 12, 2014 / 12:32 AM

    Nice blog you’ve got here, Jill! Love the quartets of pictures. I’ve always been a bit regretful I never studied abroad. Nice journey and congrats!

    • Jill February 12, 2014 / 7:30 AM

      Thank you, Mary Lane. I believe wherever you study, you will definitely had a lot of wonderful experiences there too!

  8. Little Borneo Girl February 17, 2014 / 8:23 PM

    Thank you for visiting my blog and leading me here to read your beautiful story. 🙂

    • Jill February 19, 2014 / 2:37 PM

      Thank you! I really enjoy your blog as well. Psst, I’m from Borneo too!

      • Little Borneo Girl February 19, 2014 / 5:59 PM

        wow… so happy to hear that. Another Borneo gal ! Happy blogging. 🙂

  9. Ida March 11, 2014 / 12:21 PM

    How interesting! I was just wondering one thing. What kind of accent do you have now after all those years in the UK?

    • Jill March 11, 2014 / 1:00 PM

      Hello Ida (:

      I developed a mixed accent – if it made any sense. Basically I’ll just adapt to different people’s accent, depending on who I am talking to. But at the end, I still probably sound like a typical Malaysian.

    • Jill May 27, 2014 / 11:27 PM

      Thanks kimi colney 😉

  10. shoshana1989 June 3, 2014 / 2:22 AM

    Wonderful photo of the changing seasons 🙂

    • Jill June 3, 2014 / 6:54 AM

      Thank you! Which season do you like most?

  11. 3 di bumi June 13, 2014 / 12:03 PM

    nice post, thank you for sharing Jill 🙂

    • Jill June 29, 2014 / 12:15 AM

      You’re welcome 😉

  12. Jenny June 15, 2014 / 8:18 PM

    This is a really lovely post 🙂 Having lived in the UK all my life I tend to take the whole four seasons thing for granted (although I love each season in its own way), so it was really interesting to read about it from the perspective of someone who has never experienced it before. What are the seasons like in Malaysia – do you just get wet and dry?

    • Jill June 16, 2014 / 10:50 PM

      Thank you Jenny! I love the four seasons and the trench coat I get to wear there. Malaysia is summer all year round, the kind where you run away from the sunlight into the shades. In the UK, when there’s sunlight, everyone seems to be suntanning on the grass! 😉

      • Jenny June 16, 2014 / 11:48 PM

        Probably because we don’t know when we’ll see sunshine again 😉

        • Jill June 17, 2014 / 8:20 AM

          Well if you’re living in the northen UK then it may be hard to see sunshine, I feel you. The sun rays here are unbearable, makes you feel like you have skin cancer the moment you step out into the light.

          • Jenny June 17, 2014 / 3:18 PM

            Yep, I’m a Northerner, and pale-skinned to boot! 🙂 Your sunshine sounds painful 😦 Do you ever get used to it?

          • Jill June 19, 2014 / 8:02 AM

            I don’t want to get used to it. I try to stay under the shades as much as possible. There are some good days when the sunshine is just perfect, but it’s hard to come by.

          • Jenny June 19, 2014 / 9:51 PM


  13. Watercolorheart November 16, 2019 / 2:14 AM

    I really liked reading this! My favorite photo is the one of the trees. SO COOL!

    • Jill November 22, 2019 / 11:57 PM

      Thank you! I find the photo of the tree really mesmerising too! Would be nice if I took the same location at four seasons, that would be beautiful.

      • Watercolorheart November 24, 2019 / 11:00 PM

        I hope you’ll consider doing the four seasons series again, it’s such a lovely classical tetraptych composition.

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