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It is winter in Isle of Man now which means it’s dark, cold , wet and gloomy. I barely see the sun when I finish my work at 5 pm. You might wonder why I am mourning so much about the weather. It’s because I spent 42 years of my life in warm , sunny , weather where I can feel and see the sun till 7 pm , even without mentioning about how fabulous to go and sit at the beach after 10 pm when street performers are strumming the guitars with the sound of waves at the beach called Teluk Chempedak.

Teluk Chempedak beach in Kuantan where I used to live for 12 years

I miss Home or a place I called Home for 12 years called Kuantan in Malaysia ( South East Asian country ). I don’t even miss Yangon ( capital of Myanmar ) although I was born , raised and lived there for 28 years. Yangon is a city with 8 million population and when I think of traffic jams, noises and stress of citizens, it makes me shudder to live there again.

Yangon nightlife

I lived in Kuantan, a town near South China sea for 12 years and that was the place I loved and enjoyed very much.

Kuantan with Pahang river . There was 2 crocodiles in the river and town council tried to relocate them before. The mangroves in the photo are the home for millions of wild life.

I had beaches, rivers, mountains and waterfalls in Kuantan . I enjoyed tropical fruits like bananas, mangoes, rambutans, durians , I enjoyed sharing nature with monkeys and wild life although they can be annoying sometimes. Above all, I miss a place I lived, a terraced house with 3 bed rooms. The house is an old house and belongs to an elderly man called Uncle Yeo. My dad thinks Uncle Yeo loves me like his own child. He is also one of the kindest person you can ever meet. I can never leave his house without taking something from his house, like banana, apple, a packet of keropok ( fried fish crackers ) or cooked food. He also regularly drove me to and fro from airport or bus station for my crazy travelling. He behaved like my God father and for me, he is one of very few people who have loved me unconditionally. He never thinks me as a doctor, but in his eyes, I am just a clueless, reckless, girl with wild imaginations and crazy ideas. He is an old teacher and he used to tell me I am one of the bravest and smartest person he has ever met. When he hears something about me from patients, he beamed and told me immediately. He said he met patients telling ” that Burmese doctor is good ” and he told me he felt like telling them he knows me well. Whenever I had good news, I ran to his house and told him immediately because I know he would share everything with me. I still remember he hugged me , tears in his eyes, when I said I finally passed my PACES, a freaking exam after 4 times of attempts. I never thought he was sad about my failure before until I passed that bloody exam. Right now, I am starting to cry thinking of him .

In Kuantan, my house is a musical house, I had a piano and two guitars where people came and played along.

My rented house in Kuantan, the child who was holding my guitar is my God son , Kiran when he was a little boy, now he is 11

At one time, we even wrote a song together with Joy and Yeo ( my junior colleagues ) and that song nominated to our workaholic colleague called Tan. At that house, friends came and cried over my shoulder talking about their problems. At that house, friends have stayed over night, cooked meals, tucked me to bed when I got sick, brought their boyfriend as parents could not tolerate their dates. I have accommodated many couch travellers and friends who come over from overseas. I am an introvert, who loves being with people I chose. It is strange indeed, I need space but I am not afraid of sharing my space with people I love.

they are my friends or colleagues, or even the lady holding me is my medical director and these guys standing behind me are talented physicians who also went out with me to bars occasionally

Girls are important part of my life who are always close to my heart. Even when they are married with kids, they love to spend time with me, picking me up from my house and walking at the beach with their kids. My close friend Nazlin lives near the beach and we usually jog near her house and her mom would usually wait for us when we come back home with a bowl of fruits or snacks. Everybody loves to feed me in Kuantan .My old lecturer Mama May Khin who is originally from Myanmar became a professor in university of Kuantan and she regularly invites me to have meals at her house while her son , Thar Thar entertained me with his stories.

with my close girl friends Dayang and Nazlin

When I left Kuantan, I cried many nights and even many days secretly, mourning about the place and people I love. Then I moved back to Myanmar and tried to create a home at a hilly place called Taunggyi. It was a lovely place with hills, rivers and very beautiful lake.

Taunggyi, Myanmar where I bought my flat
a beautiful Lake called Inn Lay near my flat

The weather was perfect and I finally renovated my flat into a modern home with open plan .

at my flat with Mom and my niece Honey at Christmas

In Taunggyi, apart from beautiful weather , food is delicious and there are lots of fresh vegetables and fruits . In the morning, I could walk at the hill with lots of trees.

The view of morning walk in Taunggyi

Unfortunately, my career was not satisfactory in my country ( I had a well paid job but I was not happy and what is the point of staying at job I don’t enjoy ) and I moved to Isle of Man . I still remember the first day I arrived Isle of Man. I thought trees were talking to me ” hey, look, Hnin is coming to live here, let’s look after her and greet her “. I remember I walked in a lane which was surrounded by old trees and I replied them ” thank you very much ” aloud . I know it was crazy. Isle of Man is alive and filled with voices of nature. Do not think me wrong. I am very grateful to Isle of Man for accepting me. I do believe you can not stay anywhere long if the place is not very fond of you. I respect this Irish sea, beautiful island and it’s resources of nature . I have walked along beaches, climbed hills, touched the wild flowers along the trails of glens, watched the sunset and I definitely love Isle of Man.

Peel, a town in Isle of Man
Isle of Man

But I am missing to be at home, a home where I can accommodate people and do whatever I feel like doing. I love waking at midnight and start strumming the guitar. I am currently living at a flat and can even hear the foot steps from upstairs. If I don’t stop playing guitar at 8 pm, my partner would remind me to stop as my neighbour has a baby.

For past 6 months, I have been chasing a house to buy. I love apartments but it’s not very good for privacy and management fee is very high. And it’s not good to renovate as well. When I think of freehold houses, most of them are too expensive with my modest income . I tried to view many houses hoping I will find a place I can call home. In my mind, it doesn’t need to be perfect and very grand. I love minimalist style , easy to maintain house. We need minimum 2 bed rooms to accommodate friends overseas plus a room for study plus music . I can even create a nook for creative purpose like painting. If possible, I also want to have a sea view because it’s always my dream to have a house with sea view . I have collected lots of souvenirs for home decoration from different parts of the world and I need to put them in place soon.

I have been trying to find blogs about home owners and as I cannot find many blogs, I am starting to write this blog on my own. I did a blog called flat renovation previously and you can see how much effort I put into renovating my flat from zero standard to a beautiful modern home. I am really praying my dream will come true and I will eventually find a place I call Home. I hope I can share with you when I eventually buy my first property in Isle of Man. Do you also yearn to have a perfect home?

Hnin

Vincent vanGogh museum ( 7th may 2018)

I visited van Gogh museum today without any information prior. I love arts but I have no sense of understanding about complicated art . So I bought a ticket from online and thought I would meet a tour guide at the entrance but I found none in the end. It was a chaos as I was also five minutes late for my entrance time. I texted to the tourguide but did not get any . I was panic when I did not get reply from the tour guide.I thought the guide would leave me alone and I would not be able to enter into museum. People were queing outside and it was such a lovely day as the temperature was 27C . One of the ladies even arrived ten minutes later than her arrival time. But the museum staff welcomed us and said its ok to arrive a bit late .  I went inside the museum with other people after showing my online ticket. For audio guide, I needed to pay extra 5 euros as it was not included in my online purchase.

Since from the beginning, I opened audio and I was blown away by detailed collections of his art work plus letters written by him to his brother and other artist. In the end, someone like me who knew nothing about Van goGh ended up being emotional after reading and observing all his work.

The fact that he only sold one painting during his short life span did not console me either. I listened to every audio and I was teary in the end. The ticket mentioned it was one and half hour tour but I spent three hours there looking at his paintings . So I recommend the visitors to have proper rest before going there so that you can spend more time there with clear mind.

In brief, Van goGh was born in 1853 and died in 1890 at the age of 37.  His Father was a pastor who was a devoted protestant.
Vangoh had two brothers and three sisters. His inappropriate behavior as the eldest son made his parents worried. He was a child who spent many hours outdoors observing nature. His parents tried to instill their values of hardwork and getting good reputation as a family into their children. Van Gogh uncle was an art dealer and Vangoh tried to work with him with little success and he was asked to leave the business. His honesty did not give benefit to the business. However his brother became a successful art dealer in Paris and Theo supported Van Gogh both financially and emotionally.
Vangoh and his dad had different opinions on religion and in his letter to Theo, he wrote his reluctance to move back into parents house . He wrote they would regard him as a big dirty shaggy dog which barks all the time. However, he drew the picture of his dad worn out bible one year after his dad’s death.

After his failure in business as an art dealer, his dad tried to put him under religious guidance to follow his footstep as a pastor. Van gogh studied Theology and moved to  , a poor mining village in Belgium. He became emotionally too involved with minors and his religious leaders decided he was not fit to become a pastor.

His true calling as an artist came only when he was 27 and he started studying arts by reading books about colors and observing other people works. He used pen, pencils, chalks and inks. Sometimes, he made his own pencil with great satisfaction. He drew 1100 artworks and only half of them is now in his museum. Theo saw his sketches and encouraged him to devote to painting. Instead of paying him monthly, Theo accepted his paintings and paid him for them or exchanged his paintings with other artists paintings.

His systematic planning and observation contrasted with his impulsive and emotional life of artists. He was also not a solitary artist and wanted to be in touch with other artists whom he greatly admired especially Paul Gaugin and Emile Bernard. He wrote letter to another artist Paul Sgnac with affection and gratitude in 1889   after Paul’s visit to him while he was unwell. He wrote that “ the best consolation, if not the only remedy , is , it still seems to me, profound friendships. Thank you again for your visit, which gave me so much pleasure”.

He lived with his parents in Nuenen, a rural poor countryside as he had nowhere to go when he turned 30 which was 3 years after his artist life.
Van Gogh loved rural life. He wrote to his parents that “a peasant who work hard and fight during his work is a civilized person. The more you go into urban life, the more you go into darkness of uncivilization, stupidity and wickedness. Peasant life is quieter , more peaceful and better. Even if they can be cheap to each other, they do not do as badly as they do in cities”.

The reason why we know everything about Van Gogh was he wrote 820 letters and most of them towards Theo, his confidant. VAN goGh was not only a great artist but also a talented writer. In his letters, Van Gogh emerges as an intelligent , impassioned man with a great thirst for art and literature. Sometimes; his enthusiasm got the better of him, such as in his religious period ( 1876-1879) . He could hold forth with great zeal, and in so doing lost sight of reality. In vincent days, letters were delivered 2 to 3 times per day and he replied his brother immediately the day after he received his letter in Hague. He sometimes was totally out of money and could afford to buy stamp only with support from Theo.

In Nuenen, Vangoh was 30 plus and he drew everyday pictures of countrymen and women and their children. He said the country women who are exposed to sand, wind and sun are prettier than ladies. He admired their strength , simple life  and earthy life.

He  tried to go to Antwerp , Belgium and Paris to study arts . He met great artists in Paris and realized his Dutch work was too simple. He tried to learn from other artists about modern arts  and he also bought many graphic arts from Japan to study then in details. The japanese artists greatly influenced his work.

He appointed a house called My little Yellow house in Arles , France with the aim of inviting various artists to have art community. Only Paul Gauguin came after many invitations and lived with him in 1888. The yellow house is one of his famous paintings and it depicited how much he enjoyed life that time. There was a restaurant left to his studio where he ate supper everyday. His friend ,a post man lived with family near to his yellow house and all family members became his subjects for portrait painting. He became close to post office staff as he needed to communicate with his brother by post .

Van gogh had done many self portraits for economical reason. At that time, it was expensive to use live models.He used different colors for his eyes . He also painted flowers, fruits, landscapes and trees. He also painted sculptures.He wanted to become a painter of peasant life when he was in Nuenen. He once painted sunflowes in three different tints of yellows. The job had the best result and he was very satisfied and announced that he should be a painter of  sunflowers. Sunflowers are earthy and vibrant. When he died, his brother put sunflowers in his coffin.

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Apart from ordinary people, he painted prostitutes in dignity and admiration. He also asked his brother to buy a painting of prostitue drawn by another artist.

Paul Gaugin and Vangoh  relationship clashed when thry lived together. Two artists had different approach to arts. Paul made arts based on imagination and Van Gogh painted from real life. They had several rows although they admired each other. Paul left yellow house after a serious argument with Van Gogh. Van gogh developed hallucinations and cut his left ear after his friend departure. He presented his ear to a prostitute who called a police. His doctor diagnosed him as having epilepsy with acute mania. His neighbours made a petition to expel him out of yellow house as they found him wandering neighborhood confused. He admitted himself to Mental Institution after second attacks . Even when he was being admitted, he painted landscape of neighborhood such as orchards in blossoms. He wrote that he was allowed to roam neighborhood when he was not very ill.
Van Gogh spent final months of his life in rural Auvers- sur-Oise, near Paris . He painted 75 paintins in 70 days Van Gogh portrayed nature in all of its manifestations; gardens with full of flowers, a close up of waving wheat, and panoramic landscapes filled with emotion  For him, nature was sacred, a sanctuary from which to draw solace, or region strength. He created his masterpiece called starry night while he was not allowed to go outside the room. He painted starry night observing stars behind the iron barred window. It was phenomenal, blue sky mixed with yellow.

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After his hospitalization in the asylum in Saint-Remy, van gogh felt like ‘broken pitcher’ which cannot be amended even so, in between his bouts of mental illness; he worked on steadily and courageously to become a better artist. If he was not allowed to work outside, he painted the view from his room through iton barred window. Or he explored garden where he found endless subjects.

In 1890, he shot himself at chest with a pistol in a field near Auvers and died two days after that with Theo beside him. Twenty people of his acquaintances and friends attended funeral. His family could not due to short notice. It was a chaotic event as the pastor refused to make religious event for his funeral as he took his own life. VAN Gogh who was the son of the pastor did not have a pastor at his funeral. However, he claimed he was lucid when he shot himself and he always wanted to end the life that way. It was a bit strange for me but he kept painting even with his deadly injury.
THE LAST painting he drew was named the roots and it showed his confidence and ability to find beauty and magic in daily life. He was found dead hoding his easel.
My favorite painting is called wheatfield with crows. Van gogh regard wheat as a symbol of eternal cycle of life. Its being sown and grown and reaped in day life. Its like human death.

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Unfortunately, his brother died only six months after his death with syphilis at the age of 32. Theo behaved as the owner of the drawings and paintings that his brother sent him . Theo was distressed by Van Gogh death in july 1890. His widow 28 year old Jo Van Gogh_ bonger inherited collection of arts and with her effort of selling and lending his paintings to museum, his arts became well known . After Jo death in 1925, Vincent williem, the nephew of Van Gogh  created the Vincent vanGogh foundation and devoted himself to realising the Van Gogh museum , where the family collection found their permanent home in Amsterdam.

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