Sunday, March 15, 2009

Best Birthday Ever!

I turned 37 on Satuday in what was the best birthday anyone could have.

It started with my sons' sportsday where I was invited to run in a 4 x 100 parent vs teacher race. Being used to longer distances, doing a flat-out 100m sprint wearing tennis shoes and cargo shorts is pretty painful. I can still feel the pain today. With the help of fellow LeTuanger Yusran, we won the race.

Then my kids took me for a birthday surprise. Half an hour in a fish spa. We spent the first five minutes daring each other to put their feet into a tank filled with lots of hungry little fishies. Once we put our feet in, the next 10 minutes were spent giggling away as the tiny fish started nibbling on our feet. It was very ticklish, especially when the fish got between our toes and under the soles. When we finally got used to it, we only had about 10 minutes to enjoy it before our time was up. It may seem disgusting to have little fish nibbling at your feet but once you get over that and get used to it, it's actually quite therapeutic. It felt a little electrifying, like those vibrating massage chairs.

The day got even better after that. My beloved Senn took me out for high tea at the Saujana where we "bumped" into AJ and Julie. They were apparently on the way to go flying but decided to stop at the Saujana to wait the rain out. While having tea, AJ invited us to join them and me, who has dreamed of being a pilot ever since I was 9, couldn't refuse.

We drove out to the hangar at the old Subang Airport and there it was: a Cessna with a big Happy Birthday banner strung across its wings! AJ, Julie and Senn had been planning this all along! I suspected that it was more than coincidence for us to bump into them at Saujana!

The deal was I was to fly the Cessna with an instructor and Senn, while AJ and Julie would tail us in another aircraft behind. I was actually going to pilot an aircraft! A lifelong dream come true!

We took off and took a hard right towards Kapar, where the instructor showed me how to do some maneuvers. We did a long left turn, then we pitched up, then did a stomach-lurching pitch down, which almost threw my lunch out! Then the instructor showed us a couple of stalls before we headed back to Subang. Then the instructor said, "I assisted you on the take-off, and those other maneuvers, now you're going to assist me on the landing." What?! He wanted me to help land the plane? The last time I tried that in a simulator, it wasn't very pretty.

Anyway, I lined the aircraft up to the runway using the instruments and pretty soon we were on the approach. We got lower and lower and then he eased off the power and asked me to pull back on the yoke. And before we knew it, we were back on terra firma.

Man, what a rush! I finally flew a plane, an actual plane! I was just speechless throughout the flight and after I was grinning ear to ear like a Cheshire cat on the way back in the car!

But the day hadn't ended yet. There was still the satay feast with the LeTuangers at Restoran Malaysia in Kajang. It was a long drive but the food was worth it. And the company was priceless.

So a big thank you to all LeTuangers. You guys have made my special day even more special. Especially AJ and Julie who made a lifelong dream come true. And a big, huge thank you to my darling Senn, who painstakingly made this all happen.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You've all made me enjoy birthdays again.


Zailan said...

Wow...what a way to celebrate your birthday man. Happy birthday my fren.

KOOKY KASH said...

Happy birthday Arif, belated! I thought veterans like us dont get to enjoy birthdays like when we were kids.

Dancing Ciken said...

fuyooo happening nya, semoga murah rezeki dan nampak muda selalu, ecewah!

Wandernut said...

So sweeeeeeeeeeeetttt :)

Happy belated Arif!!

And I'm sure there will be many more happy birthdays to come.