seoul, south korea – day 1 to day 3

i just came back from seoul last saturday and i want to quickly pen down what happened during the trip. it was my first overseas trip after sooooo long and my first time with two kids. my sister and her friend came along and we brought my mum too.

 

day 1 – we had a sunday morning flight at about 2am. i thought i will save my leave and work on the saturday. we booked the 2am flight because we will reach seoul at around 9am thinking will be able to walk around afterwards happily.

wrong. oh how wrong we were. we were all exhausted. i had the bassinet for baby a but she slept with me baby wearing her the whole time. my neck and shoulders were aching so bad when we touched down.

we got to our airbnb by their a’rex line. good thing we didn’t have to transfer BUT with so many luggages and a stroller, it was pure torture to get through and fro on the first and last day. our accommodation was at hongik university.

the train line is just 1 minute walk away, gs 25 which is the equivalent of our 7-11 is just downstairs. the neighbourhood is very lively even till late at night. another torturous part is that the place does not have any elevator. it was like a landed property on it’s own so imagine the dragging up and down the luggages 😂

we couldn’t do early check in as they were still cleaning up the place so we left our luggage and went to itaewon for lunch. the weather was lovely about 11 degree celcius. i didn’t put any heat tech underneath my knit wear and it’s bearable.

i’ve always heard seoul is very hilly even from my colleagues who went there before. and i swear there were so much hills i’m not even kidding. i was baby carrying while my husband pushed up the stroller with toddler a.

after going up a hill, there was another steep hill anddddd another hill after that. to top it off, it was raining. we didn’t have umbrellas with us and both the toddler and baby were very cranky by then. we finished our lunch, took the train back and then had an early night.

 

 

day 2 – woke up at around 9am because we were so tired. i think the down side of travelling with those who don’t have kids is that, they do tend to rush the kids and us. which is difficult. because once we were ready to get out of the house, toddler a had to poo poo.

we were supposed to go to gyeongbokgung palace to catch their guard changing ceremony which was happening at 1030am. in the end, we left the house at 1100am. got to the palace by 1145am. toddler a had a meltdown at the sidewalk of the palace. i tried to be very patient but i went the annoying mum route and started hushing him. made him milk and he fell asleep. afterwards then i realised it was actually his nap time anyway and i felt guilty.

we walked around taking pictures at the place and were already very hungry. we went to get lunch at halal kitchen which was nearby but the hills, remember? that nearby took us about 45 minutes to reach there hehehe.

the area was really nice. the walkways are levelled and nice for strollers. once in a while cobbled but our babyzen yoyo had no problem over there. we woke toddler a up for lunch and he was in a better mood by then. he made friends with our korean server who is a little fluent in malay.

he asked toddler a how old is he, what’s his name and such. then toddler a decided to introduce all of us to the server. it was so cute and i managed to take a picture of them together. when we left, the server passed a compliment to my sister’s friend saying the kids are very beautiful.

generally, they genuinely like kids when they are well behaved. they will strike a conversation with you in korean, knowing very well you don’t speak it, but they are still very happy to chat you up about the kids. i always get gestured to sit down in the trains since i’m babycarrying baby a. sometimes i politely decline because baby a is cranky and i need to sway her but i’ll get pushed to sit. so nice kan they all? hahahhaha.

anyways, after lunch, we walked back to the palace and took a bit more pictures and then we headed back to airbnb because my sister had migraine. she slept and i was more than happy to let baby a off my shoulders. after isya’ which was very early since it was winter, we went out to the neighbourhood and ate at the halal guys for dinner.

shopped a bit at Loh-B for my heimish balm make up remover and then headed back home.

 

day 3 – woke up super early because we had to take train and bus to nami island. by this day, i was already done with the train transfers. their train is well connected but to transfer to the next line will take you legit 10 minutes or more if you’re carrying a baby like me. it was super tiring ok hahahaha.

i whined a lot about the distance and my sister insist their train systems are already good. i cannot expect their transfers to be like the ones in city hall or even doby ghaut given the size of their country.

with strollers, is even worse because some stations do have elevators and some do not. and when you get into one, you will get squashed with their fit ahjummas and ahjushis. one thing i learn about them is that, you do not press the elevatos buttons! not even to press it close or open. i wonder why?

anyway, nami island was about 2 hours away by a chartered bus. we got the ticket via klook. when we reached there, we found the line of trees much like the ones in winter sonata and took lots of pictures. had lunch at their halal restaurant. i had jjampong which is the spicy seafood noodle. was so delicious yummmmm.

toddler a had fun with the playgrounds although just a while because we had to leave for the ferry by 4pm because the bus will be leaving on the dot back at 5pm. he didn’t want to leave and had to bribed him with banana milk.

that night we had yang good bbq for dinner. it was delicious and very worth it. we paid about 133,000 won which is about $160 for 5 adults? went back via taxi and it was our only weird experience with the taxis there.

we had 3 adults and 2 kids so naturally my mum wanted to sit next to the driver. he told us, in korean, 4 person then 1 can sit in front. which was very puzzling because we have 2 kids ya is so cramp at the back.

next, we were from gangnam and to head back to hongdae was about 15 mins tops. he took us on a trip on the highways, entering and exiting at least 3 times  and half an hour later before we reached hongdae. once we were at hongdae, he insisted to drop up directly infront of hongik university.

i swear at this point my heart was palpitating already. my wifi egg battery went flat and none of us had auto-roam. i was so scared! he asked for directions from a local guy. he was kind enough to read our direction which was in english to the driver and he got a location on his gps. i was so happy but it was shortlived because as he drove down, the location was not even near to our accommodation la sei.

luckily i recognised a few buildings and it was the same street we were at yesterday for shopping after the halal guys. i told him to drop us there and we walked all the way home. phew. the cab fare was the most expensive out of the many cab trip we took.

decided to learn how to say hongdae station exit 3 (which was the nearest exit) in broken korean and abused it greatly after this night lol.

 

baby a and toddler a updates

baby a is now 6 months!!!

  • wow, i cannot believe it’s been 6 months being a mother of two 😂 it’s been so, so tiring because everyday is a mad rush. i literally live my life down to the seconds these days. from the time i wake up, to the time i need to send abang to child care, to the time i need to pump and eat lunch at the same time, to the time i punch out of work, to the time i get home after fetching abang and settling him down before attending to adik. i feel breathless after typing this all out.
  • maybe because adik is a girl, she’s more sensitive? she gets scared easily. she’s scared of her own fart, loud voices, my mum’s laughter (lol), my cat walking past her and being left alone with a toy on a floor.
  • she had apple as her first food. but she kept gagging lei. i think it was too sour. so i bought japanese pumpkin and she was still gagging. i think she’s not ready to eat. but then i cannot keep up with her (breast)milk intake anymore. she’s drinking a lot and is up almost every hour on some nights. i shall wait for another one or two weeks more before introducing her food again.
  • she’s crawling backwards and is able to sit on her own albeit a bit wobbly. still for her weight and size, i’m quite impressed she can hold herself up for a while.

toddler a is 27 months!

  • alhamdulillah lots of improvement in abang’s temper the past few weeks. he used to get very upset when he didn’t get what he wants. lately he understands us whenever we say “no – this is not what we want because….” of course once in a while a we get the usual meltdown.
  • his personality is showing now. he’s so cheeky! he knows how to play with us. example whenever we fetch him home from childcare, he will run to the shoe cabinet to get his shoes. but he will pick a few shoes that are not his and will show it to us before finally picking his shoe up. we usually play along saying, “oh what pretty pink shoes but is that yours?” and he’ll put the shoes back, smiling very proudly because we know it’s not his 😂
  • he’s still not speaking in sentences. but he is picking up lots of words. majority of it is in malay of course. his teacher told us to start talking to him in english so that he will pick it up in no time too. he has no trouble understanding english instructions in school but he’s communicating in malay to his teachers. even his laoshi told me “everyday he like to say to me – hmm ape tu?”

mummy me

  • i am suddenly obsessed with wooden toys. since my last post, i’ve paid the remaining debts i owed alhamdulillah. so to have a sudden cashflow for the month is so distracting. i manage to get a large rainbow and a convertible for abang last month. it will reach me soon and i’m excited. hopefully he will like them.
  • i’m having difficulties losing weight. it’s a struggle man. i’m always hungry. i will eat dinner after settling the kids, around 8 plus pm, and then at 3 am my stomach will be growling when i’m nursing adik. how now. should i just wait till my breastfeeding days be over and then i get serious about losing weight?
  • because of that… a colleague of a different department asked me when am i going to deliver….. krik krik krik HAHAHHAHAHA. i wasn’t offended but she felt very paisei when i told her baby is now 6 months already 😂

money money money

i’m very ashamed that nearing to my 30s, my finance is still not yet sorted out. i borrowed money from my mum, my sister and a good friend last year and i’ve been repaying them every month, putting them on automated transfers and i’m down to my last $800.

i wish i could pay it off at one shot and they keep telling me that they understand my situation and that i can take my time paying back. but that mindset is so dangerous. whenever i see the money get out of my account on payday, my shoulder just feels lighter. i doa Allah swt accept their deed of kindness in loaning me the money and accept it from me in paying them back even though i’m struggling to make ends meet for now.

and i doa Allah swt gives me the means to help others in the future when they need it or when i need it to up my scale of pahala.

why am i suddenly talking about this? nobody will admit that they are in debt or have loan with the bank let alone another person. it’s just a tabboo topic. but i want to remind myself the kindness of the loved ones around me. and also remind myself that money is not everything. i spend months looking and staring at my financial goals and alhamdulillah i manage to pay them back in a year.

which is why the cash envelope is helping me so much. the best envelope will definitely be the one for raya. we set aside $100 each month since december so that we can comfortably buy new clothes for us and the kids and also set aside money for zakat. in july, we will reset and reduce the amount to $60 per month in preparation for next year’s inshaa Allah.

by july this year, i will be debt free inshaa Allah! i’m so looking forward to that month. hoepfully by end of the year, our savings will be stable and we can stop living worrying we don’t have enough.

wobbel wobbel

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abang’s birthday is next month. we did not celebrate his 1st birthday because i didn’t deem it necessary. his 2nd will be celebrated in school with his teachers and friends so instead of the usual food goody bag, i ordered playdough to be given out. will get fruit cake since it’s ‘less sugary’ than chocolate.

 

i’m so ready to get the wobbel board for him. but it’s SGD $299 and the husband got a shock when i told him about the price. he said $300 can buy kitchen appliances that i so badly want.

but it will grow with him! and since he’s so active and imaginative, i don’t think it’s a waste. also it looks pleasing to the eyes no? i don’t have enough yet (totally forgot to budget present for april and there are so many birthdays in april 😭) but once i do, i’m not going to think about it anymore.

i was contemplating the wobbel board and grimm’s rainbow. but i shall save the rainbow when he’s 3.

 

terrific two

warning: this post is about me self doubting my ability as a mum. you may skip if it’s too uncomfortable.

my friend, who is an early childhood educator, told us that in theory there is really no such thing or concept as the terrible two phase. she have not heard of it before when she was studying during her dip and degree but kept hearing it when she started working from parents and friends around her. when i heard that from her, i decided to rephrase it as terrific two because anyway anything from the mouth of a mother is a doa for her children kan? may Allah swt grant us patience to see through it all.

toddler a’s terrific two began quite early, i think when he turned 16 months? when he was already very mobile and already know what he wants. earlier on, we will give in to him but as time goes by, naturally we start to set boundaries for him. now that he’s slowly inching to 24 months, his behaviours and tantrums are a little bit harder to understand.

all he will do is sit on the floor, kick his legs, flail his arms, whineeeeee, fake cry, grunt and throw his body on the floor. i’m just very concern that he’s turning 22 months but he’s still not ‘talking’ talking. his vocabulary is quite limited – abah, adik, ball, goal, bird, taknak, hi, bye. and i think that’s it?

on his developmental assesment two months ago, the dr did mention he should be saying loads more at his age and wanted to review us again. i tried everything in this 2 months but still not much came out of my effort. am i doing things wrong? are my techniques not working for him? should i do the wait and see approach? we ended up skipping the review because i am still under pantang and husb couldn’t get anymore time off from work.

my mum and the husband told me not to worry and not to compare toddler a to other kids. she told me if Allah says it’s not his time to start talking, he will not be talking no matter how i force it upon him. in her angry words to me, “you forget that Allah says Kun Faya Kun!!” in my desperate attempt to get toddler a to communicate, i’m embarassed to say this slipped out of my mind. everyday now i remind myself that everything will happen in His time and not mine. i can doa, usaha and tawakal.

a few weeks ago i came across this youtube page, Learn with Adrienne. she’s a pediatric speech-language pathologist. and her videos are like gem to me. she’s a professional and through this video, i realise my husband and i have been reading to him ‘wrongly’. if i found her earlier on, will it help us to teach toddler a better?

anyway, it’s been a month since he attended childcare and he’s fallen sick twice. both times he had high fever but once he’s home, his temperature went down with meds and balms.

i attended his orientation day last week with the husb and got to see the kids’ work in the classroom. so happy and proud that he can actually sit still and get activity of the day done. his teachers did feedback that he’s a very active boy. they also commented he has already settle down in school. mum told me he has stopped crying during drop offs and has started waving and saying bye bye to her happily. and on one of the pick up she said, he didn’t even want to go home.

i’m so relieved to hear he’s adapting and see that he loves school. he will run to his school uniform every morning even on weekends. it supresses the mum guilt in me for having to send him to cc.

cannot wait for pantang to be over in two weeks! hopefully we can go out and get some fresh air on the weekends and for him to finally have some fun outdoors. we shall start with the park downstairs first 😬

39 + 5 weeks

alhamdulillah. as i’m writing this, i am day  19 post partum. baby decided to be out on the 3rd of january. the significance of the date is that it’s my late father’s death anniversary hence mum got a bit emotional. also, baby share the same birth date as her abang only different month.

i must say my labour and delivery process is quite fast as compared to my first. i noticed my mucus plug dropped around 3pm on 2nd january. this happened after husb and i fetched toddler a back home from his first day at child care. i didn’t manage to see my mucus plug during my first labour so i asked my best friend for a brief description of hers 😂 she told me to get ready for the contractions.

contractions started sporadically after asar. and then by magrib i noticed it building up. by 10pm i was whining about how pain it is as it comes and go. mum told us to head down to the hospital but i told her and my husband i don’t want to go to the hospital so soon. i started timing the contractions but i was a bit unfocused so the readings weren’t accurate.

from 10pm to 12 midnight i was just whining and groaning every time the contractions came. i decided to try sleeping it off. i don’t know why i thought it will go away with sleep 😂 but as i drifted to sleep, i woke up with each contractions. by 2am, i was groaning and crying in pain.

i woke the husband up but i was still wishy washy about going to the hospital. ten minutes later i decided to call delivery suite and they told me to head to a&e first because their delivery ward is full. nak nangis ok when i hear that. in my head i was thinking, why you rejecting meeeeeee hahahaha so drama.

woke my mum up to tell her we are going to the hospital. then went back to my room to kiss toddler a. i was bawling by then because i know that’s it. that’s the last time my toddler will be our only child and i said sorry for the times i was angry with him throughout the pregnancy. we cabbed down to nuh and i was crying and sobbing very hard in the cab.

side note, alhamdulillah, i am very happy tho i get to feel the contractions. with toddler A, the contractions were so bearable. with this baby, it was so very intense and it’s a feeling i will remember for life.

when we reached a&e, they wheeled me in straight into triage and we waited for a while more before gynae on duty came to say there’s an available room in delivery suite for me already. once we reached the delivery suite, it was 3am. the midwife was taking down our particulars and then asked for my mode of pain reliever. i immediately said epidural. her remark was, “huh already want epidural? do you want to try other options first?”

actually epidural is the reason why i didn’t want to head down to hospital straight away. it’s my lousy attempt to try delay asking for epidural. also at the same time, i’m afraid if i wait for too long, they won’t give me any. HAHA dilemma kan. still so wishy washy right till the end.

we waited for a while more before she came in again to inform us that all the drs were busy so she will help to check how dilated i am. imagine my surprise and her surprise when she said i was 5cm dilated. then she start to kanceong. i finally got changed, waited some more…. my eyes were on the big digital clock all the time. another nurse came in to inform the anaesthetist won’t come in so soon because they needed my blood result to come back first.

i only got my epidural at 5am. from 3am to 5am, they gave me gas but like everyone said, there’s definity no effect during active labour. at 530am, they burst my water bag. and then both the husband and i tried to get some sleep.

around 8 am, the morning shift midwife came in and i LOVE her. she saw the husband huddling on the recliner because he tak tahan sejuk and got a blanket for him. she even bought two cups of water in for me. when i woke up, she chatted with me asking how i’m doing and feeling, helped me to stretch my cervix and adviced me to get a top up of epidural because dr c.hua may be delayed as she was attending to a c-sect.

by 10am i was fully dilated but i was told to wait a while more. dr c.hua only came in at 1145am. she checked everything was great and told me to try pushing. i swear i can feel baby descending because by then the epidural effect is wearing off.

my midwife came in and we practiced pushing again. both her and my husband could see baby’s head with each push. dr came back in again and i pushed for less than 10 minutes and alhamdulillah, at 12.11pm, my baby was born. husband managed to cut the umbilical cord this time round. i managed to do skin to skin for a while because baby a had difficulty in breathing, i can’t hold her for the first 2 hours as they wanted her to be on oxygen for a while.

my placenta weighed close to 1kg btw. all of us were shock. gynae told us normally a placenta should weigh about 500gram but mine is almost double. i got stitched up and lunch was sent to me. i was soo happy it was western. i ate a bit but then vomitted it all back out 😂

i requested to be discharged the next morning. basically i spent only one night in the hospital.  i realise the longer i stay, the more anxious i get. i did get a one bedder this time round and everything was pleasant. my stress happened once i reached home because toddler a was so smitten with his baby sister. it’s because he can’t control his strength yet so baby keeps getting smashed on her head (yikes). toddler a is very generous with his sayangs and keeps patting her on the head and giving kisses whenever he can.

i have so much more to update about toddler a too. but this post is getting too long for me to read through again. i shall do a separate post for him soon.

with two kids now, i feel like i want to be a sahm sooner than later. it’s also because of toddler a’s progress in speech that is making me feel stressed and upset. more on that soon. for now baby a is calling me her 3 hourly milk.

new year, same old me

it’s the first day of 2019! 730am to be exact. toddler A is already up and his grandmum have been giving him ‘treats’ this past week by letting him watch tv this early because he’s starting childcare tomorrow. so i’m going to close both eyes and let it be….. once school starts, there will be minimal screen time for him and i’m very happy bout that haha.

39 weeks + 2

still baking adik in me. went for my checkup yesterday and my blood pressure was significantly high. was supposed to be at work for half day but in the end took MC.

i had scanning for water level done (which was low but ok-ish at this week), had ctg done and baby heart rate was ok and also found out i was having sporadic contractions but i can’t feel it?

no other labour symptoms yet and VE was done and i’m not even dilated.  in fact dr c.hua said my cervix isn’t soft enough yet.

i really doa for a normal delivery. i fear that adik will be overdue and then start pooping and be distressed. i interviewed a few baby girl mummies and found out they were either on time or one week delayed. 3 out of 5 end up with c-section because their baby girl was too comfy and end up pooping and got distressed. Allah, my greatest fear is actually going under the knife 😭 i am also petrified of going through pantang again.

2019 goals

anyway, i think i am very determined to achieve some goals for this year.

1. to lose weight. i NEED to lose weight. i feel very bad for toddler A because he’s at such a prime age to be out and about and be exploring but because of my somewhat difficult pregnancy, he’s cooped up at home most of the time on the weekends.

i’m 90kg as of yesterday, my heaviest in my whole life, and my goal is to reach 70kg by the time i get back to work. then i will gradually try to reach 60kg inshaa Allah.

2. to stick to the cash envelope system. this year with the addition of adik into our family, a family budget needs to be in place. admittedly, we were not wise with our money in the earlier part of 2018. gotta blame our house reno for that.

but because i have a plan in four years to be a sahm or at least working only part time in the day, i feel the need to start be money smart now.

husband got a paycut from november 18 because his long hours was taking a toll on his health and our family time. i told him i choose for him to be able to spend time with us rather than working extra hard for money and not seeing him at home.

also, i have a few financial goals this year. i track them in my bullet journal and i will review them weekly. will probably update monthly the different categories and financial goals achievements and fails.

3. lesser screen time for myself and kids. more exploration outside. i see a lot of mummies with boys going to all this fun playgrounds indoor and outdoor and i would love to bring toddler A out and see him run around. he’s a VERY active boy and i believe boys need to let go of all this energy they have in them. toys and books are good but i want him to experience a lot of physical activities too.

we are planning saturdays as our family outing day and will start this inshaa Allah as soon as i’m done with pantang. because this will be somewhat a weekly affair, i will also want to see how it will affect our budget too 😬

spending woes

i know i’m not supposed to be spending much for baby adik because everything is still in good condition from toddler A.

but…. how do i resist this??

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i have another lenka oscha carrier which i still love so much and have stopped using since toddler A prefers the stroller more. and a kokadi which is great for newborns.

also a tula that was gifted by my colleagues during toddler A but i have not use at all and not planning to use because its padding is too thick.

third trim and toddler A updates

maybe because i got to know about this pregnancy about one month later, i feel like time is passing by so fast. i’m at 34 weeks now, i think, and i’ve not done much preparation.

manage to dig out my spectra and give it a charge. so happy it’s still working. i’ll just need to get the spare parts and a few storage bottles.

washed my jujube baby bag and the oscha and kokadi ssc. washed some of toddler A’s newborn clothes.

i think i only need to get a fresh baby changing mat and some minyak telons.. i have a lot of hand me downs from my colleagues for baby girls clothes and some lovingly bought by their Mama Fi and Papa Han and i think that’s it for baby adik.

we’re in a bit of a financial constraint this few months because we’re simultaenously saving up for our new house, for delivery and also for toddler A’s childcare fees. hopefully by next month when we receive our bonus, we get 80% of the things done. it is so stressful and i can’t help worrying sometimes. but, i started a new budgeting system for both husb and i. we are going down the stuffing cash in envelope route and i’m documenting our budget in pen and paper just because both of us like to see visual things. so far, i’m liking it. it puts me at ease knowing that even though our checking account is close to zero by epay day, we have most of our expected expenses covered.

anywaaaaaay, i have yet to pack my hospital bag. i’m hoping labour will start in january but i wouldn’t mind end december also haha. i got hospitalized two weeks ago due to high fever and found out my red blood cell is too low. tawakal and hoping for the best inshaa Allah.

other than that … toddler A updates:

still not talking as what people want him to. lots of baby babbling but once in a while we can hear him say a few words out in one sentence. when we encourage him to repeat, he’ll just shy away. at his 18 months developmental assessment two weeks ago, the dr want us to come back in january for a follow up.. what can two months do right? i mean for me if it’s not his time to talk yet, i wouldn’t want to feel pressured.

but since i was at home for a few days of HL, i started talking and repeating things in english and malay. feels like a broken radio at times haha. i do find joy finding books to buy and read for toddler A. my dream is to have a bookshelf for my kids at our house, maybe in the living room, so that in full view they will be encouraged to read. for now, toddler A is a riot. he won’t even glance at the book when i read to him. but i read somewhere that they are still listening to words in the background even if they’re occupied with a toy in their hands. so hopefully he will surprise us one day and start talking.

random

  • i think i just felt adik kicking me. it’s still too early right? how many weeks am i now? haha totally lost count and i now understand the baby number 2 syndrome – you’re just less enthusiastic as compared to your first.
  • my skin went from oily to normal during the first pregnancy. and now from normal to DRY. i would have never thought i get to say this because i’ve been living with oily skin for the whole of my teenage life up till now. so to feel my face so dry and tight now feels… rimas. but that means, i got a whole new range of skin care products to try.
  • i’m really itching to get something this bonus. but because we are planning to move in to our house before i pop, i have to be wise with spending. i have so much that i want but i think i should prioritise house stuff first. i really want a dyson vacuum. i’m so impressed with the reviews i saw but i still want to try it out once.
  • i miss travelling. i had plans with my sister to bring the family overseas by early next year but since i’m gonna pop, that plan has to wait for another year and a half or so. i wouldn’t dare to go so far although the sister is convincing me to save up for australia. i cannot imagine having two toddlers in tow and travelling. seram!
  • currently lusting after:

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  • this has always been THE bag i wanted. and then along the way i diverted my attention to the gucci marmont in black and fell in love. asked around for the price and felt that at its price point for something that is not as classic as the above is kind of a waste as my first purchase because what if this is going to be my one and only bag? i still like the marmont and the husband agree the marmont looks nicer. but i shall be wise and purchase this when the time is right haha. i don’t dare to walk into the store now because i want to get a wallet to go along with it. so let’s work hard for now and set this bag as a target for next year