Friday, February 28, 2014

Colours Collide

Words can't express how grateful I am for everything that has happened this past few weeks. School has already started. It is arduous, indeed, which explains the lack of blog updates since early this month. Surprisingly, I have been enjoying it so far! I think the highlight of my JC life is, and will most likely continue to be, the orientation.

"Come in PE attire tomorrow and don't forget to bring S$30 for Orientation Pack."
"*so ex ah?* ... okay."
"Oh, your OG name will be Koko Krunch. What do you think about the name?"
"Um, okay la."
"Hey, Koko Krunch is a cool name okay! You can't just answer like that, you are supposed to say that it's cool!"
"Ummm, okay it's cool. Hahaha."
— orientation prank call, the night before orientation

It never crossed my mind how the first twenty three people I met in JC are going to have that much of an impact about the way I look at school life positively. School is no longer a burden because I have these people I always look forward to see everyday.

Just by looking at these photos already makes me miss orientation so much. Four days of orientation is definitely not enough and I really miss BB11! I miss our OG dinner, crowding at either Nex or Junction 8, playing truth or dares and Monopoly Deal and MRT games and etc. I miss our 'shipping company' which when I think about it, actually only has one single but solid ship: the KarBen. I miss playing frisbee, practicing dance, playing war games and doing all sort of fun things (or even just having a heart-to-heart talk) with them.

I know some of my seniors told me that most OG won't last long. "Just wait until one week after orientation. Most OG will die already." But thanks to Paul who came up with the idea of 'OG breakfast' every morning. Now most of us will get to see each other everyday! *said someone who has been using waking up late as an excuse not to turn up for the past 3 days :p* Nonetheless I think it's a brilliant idea and I sincerely hope our OG will continue to stay as closely knitted as we are now. It's not about being spammed by the noisy WhatsApp group chat. It's not about making sacrifice to wake up 10 to 15 minutes earlier and having to miss breakfast on some mornings. It's about maintaining friendship with the people you once shared sheer joy with, in the hope of keeping it long-lasting.

Yuchang, Jessie, Natalie, Kar Leng, Vivian, Yimin, Audrey, Anyee, Rachel, Ching Kuang, Darryl, Zexuan, Reuben, Ke Jie, Paul, Qi Hui, Nicholas, Dae Young and Nigel. It's been my greatest pleasure knowing you guys and being one of your OG mates.

Also, another monthly music favorites.

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Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Mind's Playing Trick

My understanding of life's Ferris Wheel analogy is that first, we can be on top at one moment and the next, you've hit the bottom. Second, we are not the ones in control of the ride; we trust the operator. Providence allows us to practice our faith — that the Ferris Wheel will keep moving and that the material used to build the body is strong enough to support our weight and that the time will come when we get off our seat and move on to our next journey.

At times when life is difficult and we have so many challenges to face, sometimes we just hope that we can fast forward the time. But on the other hand, at least for me, I always feel the sense of insecurity when, ironically, everything is going right. I mean, life couldn't be that simple, right? I believe many would agree with me that the most beautiful scenery is seen when we are on top of the Ferris Wheel. But am I the only one who's constantly aware that soon the time will come when we've to come down again?

There are two different takes in which we can choose when we're in our so-called 'smooth period' in our lives. Some people choose to go all out. Enjoy the ride. YOLO. They live in present moment. Not worrying about the past nor the future. Others choose to take precautions. The moment they're free from their problems, they build walls in order to prevent from future catastrophe. I belong to the later group. While the pragmatic school of thought would agree that prevention is necessary, it sometimes is tiring to the soul.

I've yet to learn to draw a line between happiness and awareness. Things have been going pretty well in my life recently. My new hostel turns out to be not as bad as I first expected. My new roommate is by far the nicest roommate I've ever had. I've made a lot of new friends from RIMO events and I'm pretty surprised that some would actually take the initiative to talk to an introvert like me. I've made the habit to run at least 3-4 times a week and it's been successful in helping me feel healthier as well as clear my thoughts. Here are some pictures from Instagram and Facebook.

During RJC Open House

The amazing view from outside my window

Me, Cynthia and Geil savouring our Ritz Apple Strudel

My awesome RIMO team and super cool Malaysian students (first picture) who like to show me some magic tricks

Despite all these blessings that I've received, I keep pushing myself to become more self-aware. I've received so much but have I given my best? I'm afraid of being too indulged in temporary pleasures that I forget what's the main purpose of why I'm here. Often times when I run, I think of a lot of random stuffs from what could be the name of that brown poodle running with its owner in front of me, to even more absurd things like whether I can actually run further, make more friends and achieve higher in school if only I have the motivation to do so. It's very tiring to stress a lot. People who only see me from the outside might think that I'm fine. Yes, right now I'm actually having one of the best moments in my life. But at times when I unintentionally pull out my panic cord, it's hard to seek for help from anyone but myself. Right now I might not have problems to worry about. But I'm worried that I'll ever create more problems. On one hand I wish I'll ever stop panicking, worrying, stressing, whatever one may call it. On the other hand, I feel that it is 'these things' that have pushed me out of my comfort zones up till now. A little stress is always needed, but how much is enough?

Going back to the Ferris Wheel analogy, I feel like I've forgotten how to surrender my life to the one and only Creator of this universe. Another analogy I would like to share is the father and baby analogy. Most of you might have heard this famous analogy about how when we were little, our father liked to throw us to the air yet we never worried if he didn't catch us. I miss having that kind of trust. As we grow older and become more independent sometimes we forgot that even the smartest, richest, most beautiful human being still needs Savior. I miss being under my Father's presence and I know that I need to go back to His track soon. Here's a verse that I would like to share, mostly for my own self-reminder but I also hope that there will be people out there who find this helpful.

 And on a completely unrelated note, here are some of my favorite songs this month. Hope you like it. (:

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Midnight Ramblings

It scares me whenever I think about how flexible the concept of time can be.

During my stay in my grandparents' house in Majalengka, my day only consisted of sleeping, eating, watching soap operas and checking out my social medias. I wished there's more I could do but I guess life in the suburb is just to serene, too simple yet too small be dug by one adventurous soul.

But when I was at the peak of my roller coaster ride, aka having the best time of my life, time didn't just fly. It's gone. Poof. At the end of the day was a rumination on how I've been spending my time so far. How is it that such precious thing can be stolen away from me?

I shudder after knowing that I will be back in Singapore 4 days from now. Not that I hate the school or my friends or the plain-but-healthy food that the boarding school will provide me daily, I'm just very anxious about the idea of having to start everything all over again. New year, new me is nothing to me as compared to new year, new JC, new boarding school, new roommate, new classmates, new CCA-mates and the list can go on and on.

I might just be over thinking and sound extremely exagerative but sometimes it is stress that forces us to carry on, no? For people who can handle their stress pretty well, good for you. But as for me, I'm the type of person who is always excited, but at the same time petrified, at the notion of change. Change is inevitable (high five if you're a Geography student and know what I'm talking about) and the only thing we can change is our attitude towards it. Unfortunately, I'm still in the process of trying to embrace that changes I'm about to face.

As always, my constant battle most of the time is with my thoughts. If I were to think logically and faithfully, I know very well that everything is gonna be fine for me because I have Christ. If I've managed to survive for 2 years why can't I carry on for another 2 years? Honestly, the past 2 years was probably the fastest period in my life ever. It feels like just yesterday I took my first overseas flight to Singapore and stayed with my first foreign roommates. It's also still very clear in my mind how I used to cry after Skype-ing with my parents and grumble over the oh-so-difficult chemistry questions.

But hey, I finally get through everything, somewhat smoothly and auspiciously. So again what actually is there to worry about, I keep asking myself. I wish I know what's wrong so that I can correct it. But the fact that things merely go as they should and I'm not the only one facing this shows to me that maybe it's normal to feel this way: to know that everything will be okay but still worry anyway, to know what actions to take but still need reassurance nonetheless.
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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

(not so) December Favorites

I have half a mind to do my usual monthly favorites. Not that I don't have any, in fact, I've taken quite a number of pictures as well as edited some of them in Photoshop. But right now, I just don't feel like writing so much yet decided to play around with my new Photoshop CS 6 and make the design you just saw above instead (tell me what you think!). I don't know why I'm feeling so fancy right now that I actually put so much effort into making it. I'm still not sure whether I will eventually write about the rest of my December Favorites or include them in the next monthly favorites. But for now, I guess music favorites will be easier and less stressful to do so here it is, my not so December Favorites.

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Last day in 2013

My last day in 2013 was very well spent, so to speak. Just thought I'm gonna share with you some of my last moments in 2013 in this post. My bff, Devina, finally went back to Semarang. We haven't met each other for 2 years!

It's funny and good at the same time that even though we all are now in different schools and haven't met each other for so long, we still are very close to each other. There's never a time when we have nothing to talk about (or gossip about!). My stomach hurts because of laughing too hard every time I'm with these people.

We decided to try out the recently opened photo booth (or more like I dragged them inside). Some of them turns out really blurry and these are the not-so-crappy ones.

In the evening, me and my family went to a New Year service in our church.

The guest of honor, Mr. Jeffry S. Tjandra

No New Year's Eve is complete without FIREWORKS!

Osa. A bestfriend of mine since we were 2 or 3 years old. How could we ever separate, we can't.

Floren. And one lovely young lady that photobombed us.

Verse of the year:
"The LORD will surely save me; so we will play my songs on stringed instruments all the days of our life at the house of the LORD." - Isaiah 38:20

In every end of year some of us often said to ourselves, "This year is not my year. I hope next year will be better." But I just want to remind everyone that your life is now, this moment, not next month or next year. Rather than waiting for the year to change, why not change ourselves now. Every breath is a second chance. A new year to me only signifies a change in number. Same as a new hour, a new day and a new month. What matters the most is our change in attitude. Rather than expecting for the years to 'be-a-nice-year-to-me', I hope than we can grow to become a better and more mature person in facing every obstacles and challenges that we have in 2014. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve Nail Tutorial

Great job, Jessia. Two posts in a week! Initially, I planned on posting this before Christmas but then I wasn't feeling very well on Christmas Eve. But I still think this nails will be perfect for a New Year's Eve event too! Probably because of the gold and glitters, the epitomes of New Year. As I've been wearing this since Christmas, my nails are not looking as good as what I have in the pictures below. I need to retouch them as I'm gonna wear them on the New Year's Eve service at my church! Also, if you are like me who still find it difficult to move on from Christmas, one of the most wonderful time of the year, I dedicated this easy, a bit Christmassy but still adorable New Year nail design to you.

All you need are red, white, glittery gold, and green nail polishes as well as a top coat (which I forgot to include in the picture). The dotting tool is optional. It will be good if you have one but if you don't, you can make one using a round-tipped bobby pin or a toothpick.

Apply white nail polish as a base color. Using the smaller tip of the dotting tool, draw golden lines vertically.

Draw three leaves using the green polish. If you find this difficult, you can use a separate small brush.

After that, use the bigger tip of the dotting tool to make the red berries. Dot them in between the leaves

Apply top coat and voilà! You have your simple New Year's Eve nail design. I personally think it looks as if you put a lot of effort to your nails when it's actually pretty easy to do.
Happy New Year in advance to everybody! I hope 2014 will be a better and happier year for all of you. :)

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Overview

The year 2013 is gonna end in one day. I thought this will be the perfect time to sit back and reflect on what I've done and achieved during the past one year. Before jumping to the main part, I'd like to state that I'm by no means trying to boast about myself in any way. I write this for myself as I'm an overview planner and evaluator type of person. I kinda did the same thing last year and I found that it helped me to see the bigger picture of my journey on that year. It helps me evaluate my areas of improvement, motivates me to achieve higher on the following year, and somewhat makes life more structured and simpler.
Resigned from JCRC
If you're not a new reader of this blog, you would have probably known what JCRC is. If you don't, JCRC stands for Junior Common Room Committee; it's a leadership organization in my boarding school. How it works is that it arranges many events like the formal dinner and homecoming, and also receives suggestions from the boarders community in hope that they can work to improve the boarding school to a better place. I first joined in 2012 because I thought it was super cool to become a 'leader' that everyone can always look up to. My position was as the Deputy Social & Culture at that time and I remember being overly high just over the fact that I got accepted in one of the organizations that I always deem prestigious.
However, during the last half of 2012, I started to get lazier every time we had to have a meeting. I also felt less passionate about my job and only did it half-heartedly. It's not the job, it's not the people I was working with, it was me. I realize I had only been doing it for the sole purpose of impressing other people. A little part of me knew that working with a large team had never been my thing from the start, but I neglected it. I chose to appear wonderful with the image of a leader-like, multi talented scholar when in fact I struggled a lot with my studies because of the hectic schedule from JCRC.
Still, I don't blame it on the organization though; it was purely me. If you think you can manage your time well, if you think you can handle busy schedules or if you aspire to be a leader that works with like-minded team, by all means go join JCRC. I think it's a great organization and I do learn a lot from my experience. I learn to manage my time better, work with people that have different backgrounds and be more confident in expressing my views. I just don't think I want to join for another year and I'm glad I didn't because my grades in school have significantly improved in 2013 (JCRC is not the only cause of my improvement but will talk about that later). I also feel less stressful as I finally had the time to do the things that are more important to me and I truly enjoy doing.
Some of you are gonna think that this topic is where I ramble about my depression and how miserable I am because of homesickness. But nope, it's actually quite a happy topic to talk about (emphasize on the word 'quite'). The reason is because I can pretty much say proudly that I've 85% dealt with my homesickness. If you are close to me you should know that in 2012 I was homesick, pretty much all the time. You won't know how terrible feeling it is until you experience it yourself. For me, it got to the point where I would cry myself to sleep at night and lost the motivation to study. But now, if you asked me how I dealt with my homesickness, I wouldn't know what to answer either. I think it just gradually disappears over the time. Well, maybe not disappear but I've just kinda gotten used to it. I'm a bit pessimistic as to whether or not I will be able to fully get over my homesickness because I don't think you can prevent that longing to a place you called 'home'. Not until you find another home.
Homesick is still there, and it always will. I just forget about it sometimes when I'm studying, or when I'm with my friends or when I'm watching a movie or reading a good book. But every time my mind is empty, I just can't help but think about my home and how it would've changed a lot while I'm not there. I hate how living overseas has not only made me miss my home but also lose my home. I always live in that state of confusion whenever I'm back home for holiday. That state where the 'home' I grew up in for 15 years feel familiar and foreign at the same time, and I feel like a tourist in my own hometown.
But anyway, I don't think it's a huge problem for me anymore because this year I've learned to control my own feelings. Whenever I studied, I never felt homesick anymore because I tried my best to focus on what needs to be done at that moment. I tried to blocked away all the negative thoughts and as a result, my comprehension improved hence better result. Now, I've accepted the fact that homesickness is a consequence I must bear from being an overseas student. And I never regret studying overseas because I've gained more than I lost. All I need to do is to be friend with my homesickness and try to control, if not minimize it as best as I can. Maybe home has never been a physical thing. Maybe home is really where my heart is, as cliché as it sounds. Maybe my home hasn't changed as much as I thought it has and maybe I'm the one who've changed a lot. Hopefully in a good way.

Bye, Anxiety
I got pretty stressed out over my results during my first semester in Year 4. I've worked insanely hard and spent most of my time studying but my grades don't pay me out. I remember almost every night before any big exam, I could never fall asleep because I was just that anxious about my school performance. During the exams itself, my mind would go blank and I would forget everything that I've studied before. My hands would tremble and I couldn't do my best on the exams. I was very sad and I felt very stupid for not being able to get good grades, despite all the hard work that I've put.
At first I didn't know what's wrong with my studying method. But one day when I was watching Jenn Im's video, it stroke my mind that maybe I've been studying with the wrong motivation. I've always studied because I wanted to have good grades and I always thought that the longer I study, the smarter person I become. One day I decided to stop caring about my grades. That doesn't mean I decided to become a lazy ass, I was just telling myself to give it my best shot without caring about the result. I started to study more efficiently which means I study more in shorter time. As a result, my weekends are almost always free and I use them to have a good break from my study. Studying has never been this interesting before because I started to have a clear picture of what I'm actually studying about and I never feel obliged to do so anymore. 

Before taking any exam, I would take a deep breath, pray for God to guide me while I'm doing the test, and remind myself that the result doesn't matter. My grades don't define who I am as a person but my efforts do. Turns out, my results have improved at the end of the year because I try to focus instead of panic. My efforts don't go to waste because I turn them into self confidence and then into good result. Trust yourself, that's the most important lesson I've learned this year.

Positivity to It's Max
This year I've learned to see the bright side in everything. I used to be a loner back then in 2012. I do love being alone but part of the reason was also because I used to have difficulties trusting people. Whenever people approached me I always pulled myself back because I was scared that they will hurt me. I've never known that being in a completely new environment would make me overly defensive about my new surroundings. I was scared because I thought everyone is just waiting to see me fall that I decided to not make any close friends in my new environment.
However, I think it was also because of my re-encounter with God at the end of 2012 that I started to realize that my Creator would never plan bad things for me. Life is not always smooth but that doesn't mean it's a bad life. Bad things happen to everyone, even to the good people. But what's the point of having a God when you don't believe in happy ending? If I know that in the end, it will be great because that's what God has promised, I might as well see everything in a positive manner because nothing in this world is eternal.
Besides that, I've noticed that being positive has also helped me to become a happier person in general. People might have bad thoughts about me but that's their loss, not mine. I've met some genuinely nice people in 2013 and I'm extremely grateful for that. Thanks to my cell group, Ci Arlene, Ci Thirda, Natasha, Adela, Ervita and Cynthia for helping me grow and for growing together with me in Christ. I started to read my Bible everyday and live my life based on it. Believe me, once you build a strong foundation in Him, the world turns into an utterly better place because you know that you are not alone and that you are protected and your life is guaranteed.
I promise to continue being positive and in 2014, I'm gonna try to write down some things that I'm grateful for every night. Hopefully it can act as a reminder that even though bad things happen, good things happen too. And rather than focusing on what I've lost or what I can't have, I rather use my energy to thank God for all his blessings in my life. I'm not gonna write a new year resolution for 2014 because I just simply want to become a better and happier person as a whole. I want to achieve as much as I can, not for me but for Him because I can never thank Him enough for everything that has happened in my life.
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