I’ve been wanting to write about how we met and how are things between us now because I think it’s such a rare, precious story. There have been several attempts in the past but no matter how I write it doesn’t seem to do our story justice.
But this time, what the heck. Let’s give it a shot. And if Krista doesn’t like it, she can write another version herself. 😀 This is going to be a long post because I’ve procrastinated for so long, and it’ll be longer if I don’t write it now.
It all started with a simple online search for a street I was supposed to study about. Back then I was training as a heritage tour facilitator and I was looking for any history regarding Armenian Street in Penang. Not knowing what to expect, I clicked on a few links Google presented me with and I stumbled upon a blog called MayaKirana, and the blogger wrote eloquently about a little cafe along that street, whose owner by coincidence was also an acquaintance of mine.
MayaKirana…MayaKirana… what comes to your mind when you hear that name? To me, it wasn’t Maya Karin, but it gave me an impression that this blogger probably liked things that had to do with arts, culture, and probably even mystics. Because Maya in malay meant “illusion”… yeah, you get the idea. Deep stuff.
Being a blogger since 2004, I must say that it is quite hard to find bloggers who take writing seriously, even now. And when I find one worth reading, it becomes my daily digest. I bookmarked this fellow blogger, but didn’t leave any comments, just so I could go back and read more from her site.
Then came her post about her aunt’s pineapple tarts. Now before my mom mastered the art of making melt-in-your-mouth pineapple tarts, the only great pineapple tart I had tasted was the ones my mom’s ex-boss brought back from Taipei. Go on, read that post of hers, even though it’s already dated way back and tell me if you don’t feel like having some of those delicious-looking tarts right now. And they actually taste as good as they look! The funny thing was, I met the blogger’s aunt before I actually met her! I didn’t know her real name then, so I only mentioned that I found out about her through her niece MayaKirana’s blog and she shot me a confused look, much to my amusement.
It wasn’t til months later did I decide to make my presence known as a reader. I left her a comment when she wrote about attending a storytelling session by Austrian storyteller Folke Togetthoff, on the same night as I went too! Since then we started exchanging comments on each other’s blogs and before I left for university to start my foundation studies, we decided to meet up.
We didn’t meet in some fancy restaurant and neither of us wore a red scarf for recognition or something. In fact, our meet was sort of a blind date. She drove up to my place in her white SLK (small little Kancil) and I stepped into her car just like that. For all you know I could’ve been kidnapped and never be seen again (which I think was what my mom was very worried about so she accompanied me to the guardhouse), but we ended up at Swatow Lane with a plate of char koay teow each while getting to know one another.
That was the beginning of our offline friendship.
Our friendship grew steadily over the years, but we seldom met because I was away for studies. But each time I was home, we would meet up for a makan-makan, sembang-sembang (eat-eat, chat-chat) session. After all, what better to do in Penang than that classic combo?
Eventually I also met Nic, her husband, whom I was quite intimidated by at first, but trust me, things got even scarier when we found out we were more alike than we thought! Krista and Nic run Redbox Studio together, a cosy web designing company that will always hold a dear place in my heart. When my brother needed a website for one of his earlier startups, Nic helped us out. So for awhile there, my brother became their client.
Oh by the way, Nic is a MENSA member, which means he’s some kind of genius.
As far as I’ve remembered, I’ve always worked during my semester breaks. Usually I would be helping my brother out with his events company, but somewhere along having fun and being creative, I had a deep desire to develop my skills in a particular area of design. As my interest in web designing grew, I decided to ask Krista if they could use an intern at Redbox Studio. Nic officially became my sifu in web designing as I started my internship with them, and I had an awesome time learning and playing at the same time.
So to sum up so far, Krista started as my blogger friend, offline friend, then mentor, and even my boss. Just when one would think the whole circle might just end there, guess what? Just before I left Redbox Studio to go back to uni, she told me that she was going to become my neighbor! She and mom kept it a secret for a while to preserve the element of surprise, and yes, I was very surprised and pleasantly so. But it wouldn’t be until my next trip home that they would have officially moved in and write a new chapter in our friendship all over again.
Year 2010 – now
I finally got to meet the most distinguished member of her family – Margaret. Strong-willed, proud and with an odd liking for jazz music, she’s definitely a tabby with an attitude. Yes, she’s a cat. A fat one at that, with a short-tail and a white sock. I’m not much of a fan of cats, and Margaret isn’t much of a fan of people either. But funnily enough, we get along. Maybe it’s because we know how to give each other space. Waha, I can hear her scoffing.
Since we became neighbors, I would often hop over to their place and have chit chat over tea. We would occasionally have our “muh” parties (code for members-only), and we continue to write more stories as our friendship grow over the years.
I must say that I’ve been very fortunate to have made some really good friends from the blogosphere over the years. People like Krista make me want to become a better person and strive to reach my own goals. Today, both of them – Krista and Nic – remain to be my faithful mentors and friends who inspire me in so many ways.
Fate is funny thing, doncha think? 😉