40 minutes

Finished the First Aid test ahead of time today. Had about 40 minutes till the next session started. Went out, grabbed many eclairs and stood outside the class with Jess.

She wanted to sit down but not in the classroom because it was so cold, so we sat down on the pavement. We sat there and we chatted about our society and time just flew past. Before we knew it, time was up and we had to return to class.

Savoured the moment while it lasted. As I grow older, fewer and fewer people are willing to sit by some random pavement and indulge in conversations. In fact, quality time with people is hard to come by these days. Enjoyed that quality time. Not classy at all, but I like it.

#ilikemyjob because I get to spend time with people I care about.

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40 minutes

Reminder of God’s Faithfulness

For the past few weeks, I’ve been feeling rather left alone, somewhat forgotten. Kept asking God, where are You.

But today, I set aside my lunch and dinner time to meet with two ladies. One from work, and one from church. With Pris at lunch, we took time to get to know each other as fellow Christians and prayed for the organisation together. With Yvonne at dinner, we shared about where we are with God, in particular how it has been trying to keep our faith as working adults.

For one, I appreciate the vulnerability in the time of sharing. Such an exchange is very much needed. I feel like I’m running so low on quality time like that, so much so that I have been feeling a lack of support in my spiritual walk.

In my conversation with Yvonne in particular, I shared about how God has been hearing my prayers since I started work here. From praying for Christian support, praying against divisional changes, to praying about my work relationship with my superior, God has been answering my prayers. It was then that I said, “I realise God has actually been quite present in my work place.” To which Yvonne affirmed and reminded me that it is often such times when we look back on what God has done that we realise that God has been here with us.

Struggling with community, but this is also a good reminder of the importance of community in spurring each other on. Today’s a good day, though tiring.

Reminder of God’s Faithfulness

Dive

Started off the day with breakfast with some colleagues as usual. We had our first dive into a deep conversation. I can’t remember how the conversation flowed, but I saw an opportunity and wanted to hear from them if they really have a 5-year career plan, like what I’ve been hearing from others. Adeline gave her thoughts on it and Alan assured me that it’s fine if I don’t have one because we are on a journey of discovery, he said. We went on to talk a little about ourselves, about where we were and where we are at the moment.

Lunch time, a few of us decided to eat at the F&B outlets instead. The lunch conversation was filled with many mind-blowing discoveries about one another. Talked about sexual orientation, and the three married ladies shared about whether they would date another person outside of their marriage – to be honest, I still have no idea how serious they were when they said what they said. We went on to talk about choice of schools and opportunities in life rising from that. We also suggested a few good-looking guys/girls in the organisation. Quite rubbish talk haha.

After work, someone jestfully suggested getting a drink. To our surprise, the joke actually turned into an impromptu night out with us sharing a jug of beer. Talked at length about views on marriage and relationships. One of the things that was more impactful – though not exactly in a good way – was when the topic drifted to Christianity. The discussion started because one of them asked if I would only choose a Christian partner and I asked for some time to respond because I had to reply a text. To buy time for me, the only Christian at the table, they went around sharing about their unfortunate encounters with Christians. Very, unfortunate. So much so that it saddened me that they had such negative encounters – filled with condemnation and much fear. Sigh.

I’m glad they talked about it though. Now I know. As for me, to be faithful with my role as a Christian, and to extend the love of Christ.

What a day. A day full of meaningful conversations with the colleagues. Something tells me it’s God. It’s God showing me that He is here and He is moving in our midst. So awesome!

Dive

Intentional Conversations

16 December was a wonderful day. I woke up that morning and started the day off with prayers for the people on the trip, for meaningful conversations, for opportunities to be seized.


That morning, our group was supposed to set off for the mangroves after breakfast. As we were walking out of the research station, another Teaching Assistant (TA) and I walked up to Joe and began disturbing her. My impression of her had never been someone who can be so crazy (and annoying) in the past 3 years of knowing her (kept quite infrequent contact ever since I left school though). But through this trip, I got to see that side of her. So yeah, whenever we walked past each other, we would intentionally disturb one another by saying certain things or making faces at each other. So much so that, that morning, the TA who was walking with us asked us, “Do you guys need to speak to each other like that”, ‘that’ as in being mean towards one another.

Not long later, I asked, “So how have you been? We haven’t spoken in such a long while.” The reply that came was – genuinely, I felt – “Are you asking this as a “don’t know what to say” kinda thing or are you really asking?” Of course I’m really asking! So how have you been?

As requested, we walked further in front, away from the pack, and started a conversation. She revealed that she has been struggling with community issues the past few years and tried visiting another church but didn’t find it suitable. I didn’t quite expect a conversation of such a depth actually took place, and for it to take place so suddenly. Offered practical help as much as I could, and thought in my heart, this is a good beginning of an answer to the prayer in the morning. Was kinda satisfied.

That incident also made me feel closer to her, somewhat? The teasing and arm over shoulder and all that still went on after that, and we really enjoyed doing that to each other. One day some of the juniors/students even asked if we knew each other for a long time because we seemed close, but I thought to myself, not really, we didn’t really know each other before this. In fact, other than what she shared that day, I barely know anything about her. That incident, though, did make her a darling in my eyes – first time I’m using this word on someone haha. And no, there’s no room for biasness because the TAs weren’t the ones grading them.


In the afternoon, we had our swim in the mangroves. And the boat ride after was a good time to ponder, giving rise to that post earlier on.

At the end of the field trip to the mangroves when we arrived back on shore, we had our lunch along the beach. I grabbed my packet of rice and saw this girl – whom I’ve been wanting to talk to – sitting down on a log with her packet. I found out that she’s a Christian the day before because of her laptop sticker, so I wanted to find out more about her story. I walked over and sat down on that same log, and we started sharing about our walks with Christ. Had a very meaningful conversation with this girl :) And that’s another answer to the prayer!


That evening, I sat down at the dining table right in front of Pierre. He’s been with us for 2 days now, but I didn’t really have an idea of who he is. Well, no one introduced anyone to anyone on the trip. I sat down in front of him, somewhat reluctantly because he’s a Caucasian and my inferiority complex was just… you know. He was fine with me having my own dinner and him having his too. But after some time I decided, let’s talk.

So I asked him where he came from. That started us off on similarity between languages – French and Spanish to be exact – and then we went on to what he’s doing now. As he shared about his perspectives and his projects, I got really excited. He’s really passionate about what he does, and that’s infectious! Not just that, I felt we had an opportunity to work together when I start on my new job. We ended up having a very long conversation, way beyond what dinner time would have required us to.


All in all, a very fruitful and blessed day. Prayer answered :) Thank You God! I would actually want to remember 21 December as well. Hope I’ll find the patience to write another one for that day.

Intentional Conversations

Haste Makes Waste

I remember there was this year during a church conference, God gave me a vision as I was worshipping Him. It was a vision of me busy figuring how out to capture the scenery before me. I was so busy with my camera that I neglected to enjoy what was before me. I was then told to take a pause and enjoy it for what it is; don’t miss the moment.

I guess this vision kinda became quite literal and apparent to me during one of my trips last year. I was in Taiwan with a friend and we had a pair of mushrooms that glow in the dark. The minsu owner very kindly lent me his tripod because he saw that I had a DSLR in my hands and figured that I’m into photography. My friend and I brought the mushrooms back to our room. While she watched videos on her phone, there I was trying to figure out the settings on the camera to get the best shot. Switched on the lights, switched off the lights, got the torch, hit that button, rearrange my set-up, google for photography tips – put these on repeat. When I was finally satisfied, I asked her what time it was and was surprised to find out that 2 hours had gone past. Sorry heh.

That, though, made me realise there is some truth to that vision.

Fast forward to the recent episode of the ankle injury. Other than forcing me to take a break, it certainly taught me to slow down. 

Initially, I treated it as a joke when I thought to myself that I learnt that not all things can be rushed, such as buses and trains. So many times I’ve watched them pass me by right before my eyes. Yet there’s nothing I could do unless I don’t mind falling flat on my face. And even if I wanted to run for them, I could only afford to limp further with each step.

And these few days, when I put my phone down to spend time with God, I would be close to close off in prayer and pick up my phone again in less than 15 minutes. Quite a few times I thought I heard God saying to me, can’t you just wait? Okay, I can… (less than a minute later) So what am I supposed to think about or do right now? You know my mind will drift right?

And then back to my activities. If I couldn’t slow down last time, I think it has gotten worse.

I got off crutches lately, over the time I spent with my grandparents in Ipoh. Slightly before that, I started practising walking without aid and without limping. The extended (because I need not travel on my own and hence not need a crutch) practice in Ipoh helped me to be more confident and comfortable in walking. 

After the Ipoh trip, I began to pick up pace. December – I have just a month and a half left to have my ankle ready for long hikes and swims in the sea in Thailand. I got to recover as quickly as I can. It hurts less in the day and as much as I can, I try to walk without limping and quickly. My ankle often ended up hurting at night after walking too much by the end of the day.

Just this afternoon, I stood up and felt a sharp pain on my knee when I placed my weight on that injured foot. I thought it would go away after some time – you know like how sometimes our body has random but temporary pains? But it didn’t after an hour, and it got me worried. I googled and found out that apparently, a bad ankle injury can lead to injuries on the knee as it tries to compensate for what the ankle cannot do. This is not funny anymore man. And this has to happen just 4 days after my appointment with the specialist that I’ve waited 2 months for.

But yes, once again, it’s another reminder to slow down. Feel the pain, take time to nurse that injury.

Also coincided with the (recent) constant reminder to take time to feel the heartache, to acknowledge it, and take time to nurse it.

It seems like learning to slow down has been a long journey for me. Time and again, I’m reminded to slow down and take time. Physically, emotionally, spiritually. I just keep feeling the need to be doing something, to be occupied. Slow down, yes I will try. Tried walking real slow from church to the train station just now.

O God, I pray that the pains in the ankle and in the knee will not stay with me. I love and I cherish my active lifestyle and I want to get back to it. Heal me, I pray! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Haste Makes Waste

First Conversation

One thing that I’m thankful that I have is a curious mind. In particular, curiosity towards people. What makes them, them. I used to think it’s a petty “girl-thing” that my friends from Crescent found it awkward to initiate a conversation with someone whom they hadn’t talked to for a long time, because I had no qualms with doing that. But maybe, that’s just me.

Tonight’s one of those nights. It’s not so much of occupying my schedule – in fact I was looking forward to some exercise time after work – and definitely not for networking purposes. Simply, curious about how this person is. At the same time, a little nervous because I never had a one-on-one time with this acquaintance. Besides, she “has an accent” (pardon that ignorant phrase, but you get it), which makes me all the more nervous at the thought of meeting up tonight.

It started off with a random realisation some 5 years ago that she’s doing Environmental Science in UCLA, and I was like heyyy you’re doing that too. So I dropped a Facebook message to say that hey that’s interesting, tell me more about your programme. And then realised she’s a Christian and praises God through her photographs of nature. So I got in touch again by leaving comments on her photos. Randomly, last year or something, I asked her how she’s been keeping her faith because you know our course of study isn’t the easiest to deal with as a Christian. So it’s just been random dropping of messages here and there. It was not until December last year that she came to support a Human Library event I organised and I said, let’s meet up! I don’t say that for fun. For the past few months, it’s something that’s been on my mind but both of us couldn’t make it. Finally, it came to past tonight.

She made a comment tonight, we’ve never really talked, and it’s been 6 years since we last met – sort of. Ya so I guess if any of my friends hear this, they would probably think it’s awkward for me to reach out to her with such randomness. But well, I do such things. So what?

There were plenty we could talk about. Partly because we share some similarities (e.g. our faith, our interests), and I guess a large part of it was because we hardly knew anything about each other. Went as far back to our teenage years to tell our stories, went as far ahead to 5 years down the road where we see ourselves, talked about our families, where we are now, and many many more.

Time flew by just like that. I thought it was 9ish but no, it was 11pm by the time we said we should go. 

Quite an enjoyable night :)

First Conversation

一拍即合

Met up for SE on the eve of New Year’s eve for a time of catching up after 4 months of not doing so. In between we did meet each other but that was in a group setting, so we couldn’t really talk properly. Was pretty surprised when she asked if we could meet on Friday, “[so that] we can meet longer”. Wow because she’s someone who loves staying home alone.

We started off with talking about her job, which I haven’t got to hear about since she started in August. Also talked about mine, family, marriage and eventually about our personalities.

We realised how similar we are, in particular our introversion. Our introversion makes us tremble at small talks and at the thought of talking to certain kinds of personalities. Not that we want to shun them but it just makes us very nervous. Shared with her truthfully that the confidence that people around us see in me is just a facade. There was also this part where we burst out laughing because she felt a burn when I pointed out how similar we are. It was when we were talking about the traits of an INTJ (which I am one) and how this personality has difficulties in handling relationships, so she was like, “Does that mean it’s going to be hard for me to get into a relationship too?!” Well, well…

Went pretty deep that night. We didn’t want to leave, if not for the last train that was departing. Even after we tapped into the train gantry, we stood there for another 10 minutes or so just to talk. And when I got home, she texted to say that she had fun. The texts made me smile that night:

SE: You reach home already hor? Anyway had fun talking to you today. Hope we meet again soon.
WX: Ya reach home alr :) Haha I had fun talking to you too. Don’t be too sad about being similar to me, cos that makes talking to me fun HAHAHA
SE: HAHAHA That’s true. Well 难得找得到一拍即合的人 so I’m not complaining.

It’s a friendship that I enjoy and I’m glad she does too. One of the things that we have in common is the difficulty in having friends that we are comfortable with. That’s what makes each and every of a friend like that precious to me – and that’s why it hurts when they leave.

This is a friend that I’ve always loved talking to, even though I can’t quite find a reason to it and even though we hardly had time together in the 4 years of uni life. In one semester, we probably only had 1 or 2 opportunities to even bump into each other. I remember one time we didn’t meet for the entire semester and we only managed to talk in a 1-hour ferry ride to an island somewhere. Perhaps it’s the quality time that makes each meeting enjoyable.

I feel blessed to have ended 2016 with a friend like this :) You know you had a good time when the night’s not long enough even after spending 5 hours together.

一拍即合