Sunday, August 2, 2015

Collecting Memories : Club Med Cherating Beach

"How does it feel like to return to a place where everything started ?"
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That was the first question I had in my mind when I was thinking about going to Club Med Cherating Beach about a month ago, between worry, doubt and excitement whether everything will be the same like 5 years ago and how would I feel when I actually step into the lobby Club Med again, for real. My Schengen visa was about to expired after spending almost 3 months exploring Italy, Germany, Santorini, Paris, Spain  and somehow I just wanted to continue traveling. I wanted to see the world, meet new people, maybe reunite with good old friends and let life surprises me more in ways I could never imagine. Talk about the beauty of uncertainty, obviously I had no idea what's next but one thing leads to another and next thing you know...you're living the dreams.

I told myself when I left Club Med Cherating Beach 5 years ago and decided to moving forward with life, I knew one day I 'd be back even just for a while, to have nostalgia time, make new memories and maybe I will have to leave my heart there once again like I did last time - but I don't mind. Club Med Cherating Beach has always been one my favorite places in the world, my home away from home. Perhaps because I had a long history, I grew up and practically started everything there.  I remember I was only 20, had a short hair, innocent, but highly motivated, energetic and all I wanted to do was just working overseas.  The universe conspired to make it happen, I couldn't thank Sentha and Ivan enough for giving me the opportunity to explore myself working with such a beautiful dream team in a paradise. Never thought my decision to work in Cherating Beach for a year brought me a lot of life-changing experiences that made me who I am today. I have traveled far, been through lots of ups and downs but always manage to get back on my feet, made some achievements, and for that...I need to give myself a little reward : coming back home to the place where I started, fall in love, be the sunshine, leave and fly even higher. As soon as I found out a good friend of mine is currently working there, I decided to contact her and see if there's any opportunity to work part time for a month. While I'm on a long break, I thought this is the perfect time to return to Cherating Beach and collecting memories. 

30th June 2015, I arrived in Kuantan airport. Still the same girl with the same energy like when I first arrived in 2010. Driving for 45 minutes to the RESORT was kind of a long movie playback. All the memories suddenly haunted...emotions...excitement... ( you can call me drama queen, that's fine ) Nothing much changes in Club Med Cherating Beach, except the zein pool, team and evening show. I had no expectations but one mission to make the most of my 30 days. On my first day I found it really sweet when some of the local employees still recognized me even after 5 years, I was happy to reunite with Marianne, William, Javed, Rajes, Sentha, Dinesh, Gil, and Glen - knowing they're doing great and being so kind to have me working with the new team. As much as I wanted to have my old team back and every corner in Club Med Cherating like backstage, swimming pool, the beach and many more seemed to have a story that only reminds me to the past, I'm glad to live in the present instead and make new friends with  some of really cool people I met there, Sentha gave me a chance to work for two weeks in Passworld , and I even got to do a photoshoot with insanely talented photographer Andrea Panero from Turin. Simple things like walking on the grass or along the beach in the morning, smiling to people and the Bar team, being silly and crazy with my team and Passworld were just few little things I appreciated a lot. In the end of the month before I left, my mission is accomplished : I fell in love again with bunch of special people, I created new memories and somehow ready to move forward, to fly higher.  Cherating Beach will never lose its magic, at least to me.  
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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Penang, Malaysia

Greetings from Penang, Malaysia ! 
You have no idea how incredibly happy I am to return to Asia after been gone for almost 2 years. A month ago before my Schengen Visa expired, I told the universe I wanted to continue my journey to a new place i've never been before. After searching for flight tickets on Skyscanner, I found a really good deal to Penang from KL for $28 round trip. Have always wanted to visit Penang since many years ago cos I heard that place is a haven for food, I didn't think twice to book the tickets. Just like the previous years where I loved to treat myself a big birthday trip, turning 26 last Tuesday I couldn't think of other places to continue my USA & Euro trip but Malaysia for a week. Excited to see some good friends of mine in KL and I guess after living overseas for few years, I really need to feed myself delicious Asian food and super curious what Penang has to offer. 
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Flew back to KL from Istanbul not only brought me so many memories of how I started the journey with Club Med around 5 years ago ( and jetlag too ) but also the joy of coming back to Asia. I never thought the sweet scent of durian, the heat, fresh coconut, endless food stalls, diversity, old buildings and how truly beautiful Asian people and culture would make me so happy. Been extremely lucky to travel the world, even heard so many rumors about Asia isn't safe, dangerous, a sad place to live...etc ladidadidaa, I knew not all those things they mentioned are true. I will always find Asia as charming as ever, a safe place to visit, offer so much happiness, inspirations and colours...especially when you talk about food, I can make sure nothing beats Asian food. 
If you ever come to Penang, you must try nasi kandar, indian food, mee goreng / friend noodle, char kuai theow and basically dare yourself to eat the street food instead of going to the top restaurants. You'll find Indian, Chinese, Malaysian, Indonesian cuisines even things you haven't heard of the names or tried before. I don't have specific places to go, my friend recommended me to go to Lorong Selamat to try char kuay theow ( RM 9 ) but I found the food was OK, the same thing with coffee and cake at China House, was a little over price but the cafe is unique and cute so if you're kind of person who loves arts - yes you should go to China House at Lebuh Pantai. I hang out mostly at Lebuh Chulia, Kimberley street and tried everything they sell on the street. Food price starts from RM 3 - RM 9 for one portion. I spent about RM 10-20 per day for meals and stayed with Roommates Penang ( RM 30 per night for dormitory room ). The hostel is small, they only have 2 rooms with each 6 beds, breakfast including and shower is at the first floor. See that's another great thing about traveling in Asia, everything is pretty affordable.
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Disneyland Anaheim

While traveling the West Coast last March with my little sister Chanapha, we visited Disneyland Anaheim for two days, reunited with a good friend of mine Moses who was super kind to show us around the city and took us to eat tacos and donuts. Been really fortunate to work with incredible team at the happiest place on earth Disney World for a year now, I would like to share a little information that every year The Walt Disney World in Florida  hire international people from all over the world to promote their culture, this unique opportunity opens for fresh graduate or young professionals who interested to explore their talents with Disney for 12 months on  Disney International Program, it is  a paid program for a year that offers the participants from throughout the world the opportunity to work and learn from one of the world’s leading entertainment company. The Walt Disney World has 4 theme parks, more than 25 Disney Resorts, from budget-conscious value Resort hotels to some luxurious deluxe resort hotels and Downtown Disney as well – an outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment complex at The Walt Disney Resort. Talk about roles, there’s a lot of jobs you can do at Disney, like merchandise, food and beverages, guest relations, character performer, photopass, custodial, lifeguard, education presenter, entertainer and many more! If your passion is cooking – you can explore your talent with Disney Culinary Program, or if you love animals you can work at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and be the Safari Guide. Let your talent shine, the stage is yours.
Scroll down for some photos we took at Disneyland California and the benefits of being Disney Cast Members, you never know maybe this program is a great opportunity waiting for you out there.
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1. Work Hard Play Hard at Disney World
One of the privileges of being Disney employees or Cast Members is you’ll get to play at The Walt Disney World for free. Disney World has 4 theme parks ( EPCOT , Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Magic Kingdom ), cast members usually get 3 passes where you can  take up to 3 of your family members or friends to the parks. Even better in the end of the year, the company will give you extra complimentary tickets which you can use to visit  Disney World, Disneyland California, Disneyland Hong Kong, and Disneyland Paris. Again, it’s all for free ! 
2. Discounts for Cast Members
Cast Members get 20 – 40 % discounts on food and beverages and merchandise at Disney properties, 50 – 60 % discounts on hotel rates, with big discounts like that we admitted that 50 % of our paycheck in the end of the week goes back to Disney as it’s just impossible not to shop or eat at Disney World.  
3. Backstage Tours
Working for one of the biggest entertainment company in the world allows you to experience how Disney making dreams come true. From Magic Kingdom backstage tours, Expedition Everest, Finding Nemo, Kilimanjaro Safari and many more – you will see and learn more than the other guests can do, and the best thing is always to meet some really creative - inspiring people like Walt Disney Imagineering, Entertainment or Production team. 
4. Audition
Cast Members who meet the casting requirements can also audition for Disney characters, singers, and dancers. Imagine if  you get the role, it will be just a great first step to pursue your career in entertainment with Disney.