Balik Kampong

Kept telling my cousin how healthy I felt when we were there. We slept at like 10ish 11ish almost every night and waking at 8.15am the next morning. That’s like a good 8 hours covered, which is considered quite a luxury in Singapore. She also pointed out that we’ve been having meals at regular hours. Now that I’m back here, I’m missing my breakfast which I have never failed to have when I was there. I haven’t been coughing much as well, guess it’s because my trip had been really chillax and without aircon.

Last night, I sat on the bed to talk to God a little. I realised that I’ve been enjoying the pitch dark and silent nights the past week. That was peaceful – other than the chaos that was in my head/heart one night.

It’s been a great week of rest! We didn’t get as much of a technological detox like what we expected, but I guess we still had some in the hours that the hotspot was down. Felt wide awake and refreshed this morning when I woke up – this is one of the best feelings one can have.

Well, if there’s a stable passive income that’s sufficient for use, I think I won’t mind staying there for a longer time.

Balik Kampong

Night Conversation

​The heavens declare the glory of God,
And the sky above proclaims His handiwork.

(Psalm 19:1)

I looked at the coach’s digital clock staring right back at me. It told me it’s 3ish in the morning. Tried to get back to sleep on this chair but realised that I was wide awake. So I decided to have a conversation with my Best Friend about what has been going on lately.

At one point, I paused and looked out of the window. The road was no longer flooded by those street lamps, for once. Instead, I saw the moon hanging on the nightsky. It’s huge, and round. The moonlight pierced through the darkness surrounding it, giving form to the hills and trees it landed on. When was the last time I beheld your beauty this way?

It then occurred to me that just as the street lamps tend to flood out the moonlight and the stars, many other things flood out the testimony of God’s glory. The Bible tells us in Romans 2:19-20 that God has revealed Himself to all of us, ever since His creation of the world. Psalm 19:1 also speaks of how God’s creation declares His glory and proclaims His handiworks.

Yet, in this era which we live in, we have our eyes glued to our screens, we have our ears plugged in with our earpiece. As a result, we fail to take notice of the sight God has placed along our paths. We fail to hear the chirps, the croaks, the rustles surrounding us. Our minds, too, are often occupied with many other things that drown out what God is trying to tell us.

I am guilty of these things as well. I am thankful that tonight, He stirred me up from my sleep to have a conversation with Him, just when I’m cut off from the internet and those around me are fast asleep. Perhaps this conversation has long been overdue, but I just couldn’t seem to get myself settled down to talk about it over the past few months. Tonight, it’s been a good time telling Him how I feel and what I’ve learnt, and surrendering to Him once more.

Night Conversation

Small joys of today

Just came home not long ago from supper with Karen because she’s staying over somewhere in the area tonight. Really enjoyed the time of fellowship with this friend! Talked about lots of stuff from family to friends to church. I appreciate times like that when you can just be sharing about your life with a friend, and just enjoy spending time to hear from each other.

Thankful for the time we had just now. It always feels good to be able to share openly and honestly, and being able to take other person’s words for it.

And it seems like that particular kopitiam has become one of the places that I hang out and build friendships with people in. haha maybe that helps to explain why so far, most of my close friends (not that I have a lot actually lol) are the ones that stay in the region. Guess it’s always good to have somewhere that opens till late to accommodate extended fellowship like that.

Another joy! Just accepted a friend request on Facebook from one of the deaf staff working in the hotel we stayed in when we were in Bohol. Communicated with a few of them via sign language, and was exhilarated when I was able to do so (Take my words for it when I say exhilarated, because how often does WX use big words?) :D Decided to find out a little more about him so I explored his page a little (my stand is, it’s not considered stalking if I’m just looking through what you’ve placed on FB). And I found this:

l am so happy because same deafs l am always meet my new friends that can hear l surprise hearing people make sign language they want to communicate with me l am happy feel me important as like them…thank you so much… : )

I know the English isn’t exactly easy to interpret. But from what I’ve gathered in his write-up about who he is, he didn’t like being deaf. He’s now able to accept that because he has found friends who are deaf as well, and he can communicate with them. And in what I’ve quoted above, he feels happy and surprised whenever people sign to him because it means that they want to communicate to him. It makes him feel important.

Think this warms my heart. It also reaffirms my decision to pick up and sign language and practise it from time to time. It lets me know that there is a value in doing so – it’s no longer just a thought/belief that they will be happy when someone converses with them in sign language, but these are the words that came from someone who’s deaf. What he wrote lets me know that he feels valued when we sign to him. Glad it made a difference :)

Last but definitely not the least, trust issues have been on my mind over the past few days. Well, mainly because one of my friends have been talking about that on Instagram and also partly because of the drama that took place in another friend’s life. It seems like the friend who’s been talking about it has given up trust in all of her classmates, and that includes me :( And today I was just reminded of how I was tempted once again to give up on trusting people when I found out about the drama in the other friend’s life.

Trust has been a big thing in my life. One belief I’ve always held is that we should not over-promise. And I feel a lot about that especially when it comes to kids – I really don’t like it when people promise kids stuff just to bluff them to do something. Experienced broken promises as a kid and I hated it, so I feel really strongly about this. Oh talking about broken promises, haha the first time I ever got a proper pass in my secondary school English composition writing and actually topped the cohort for it was at the end of Sec 3 when I wrote an essay titled A Broken Promise. Another thing about me and trust is that sometimes, I have measures set in place to provide me with a form of defence should I be betrayed one day. When we discussed about the mean world syndrome (having the idea that people are unkind and can harm you) in class, I saw that in myself.

But anyway, so I was just thinking today about how my friend has lost trust in everyone else. And I realised that perhaps, the only reason why I am still able to trust people today (though that trust is comparably lesser than what others have in relating to people), is because of God. It’s true that it takes time for people to gain my trust, but it’s possible. Because I know God, I know His Sovereignty. Because I know God, I know how important people are to Him. Because I know God, I know He wants me to love them and that involves trusting them. Because I know God, I can trust Him with my friendships.

Thankful for God being in my life because as long as He is here, there will never be a day I run out of love, hope and trust. Even if the world should fail, I know that I will still find these in Him.

Small joys of today

Losing Count

Was counting the number of days since the day we got here, and also counting down the number of days till I get home. It was quite a dread to be here for various reasons, but mainly the lack of closer friends to enjoy this trip with. Not to mention that there are people whom I’m missing back in my home country *cues national day song in*.

I remember coming here with… somewhat much fears. God reassured me about the trip, and I said yes God I will trust. But in my heart still, there are worries over how relating with people would turn out to be. Especially after hearing from my senior that conflicts are bound to happen as everyone live in close proximity for 24/7, and not to mention that I don’t have any close friends on the trip. Came here with an attitude that’s more like just waiting for things to happen? Like, waiting for people to initiate a conversation, waiting for God to show up. Otherwise, I’m just gonna sit here and spend time with myself at times when I don’t have to interact with anyone.

God has been faithful, however. He spoke to me throughout the trip about all these insecurities, from day 1. He showed Himself real each time I made a prayer to Him to help me out here.

On one of those days, I prayed that God would help me to see my coursemates’ needs so that I can serve them. I’m honestly not good at identifying this. It’s still a work in progress. And so, I do whatever I could in my own quiet ways – like getting hotel staff to refill whatever has run out. I find myself enjoying serving people in this way.

To follow-up on my previous post… Well so today, we went into a forest to survey the ground. There was much to sweat about – literally and figuratively. Literally because we were trudging through tall vegetation while being cautious about the terrain (and wildlife) we were stepping on. Figuratively because towards the end, we were told that 4 of our classmates went missing in the forest while doing bird surveys. Those of us who heard that were worried, especially the girl whom I was talking about in my previous post.

We stopped to drink up before carrying on with the search and all. I noticed that she ran out of water, and I decided to offer mine. Well honestly, I do feel that I’m starting to develop some sort of emotional bond with this new friend (not in the romantic way!!!) that I actually want to extend help wherever possible? She got worried because 3 out of these 4 are quite close friends to her. Anyway, I quickly walked back to the bus with her to leave our belongings in there, so that we could return to the field site and help with the search. She was angry and pissed off, while I just kept quiet and prayed that God would protect our friends. No idea what I was feeling, but I wanted to support her in one way or another. After that, we were informed that these friends were found. Then this girl told me that she fell down before that, and so I helped her to treat her wound.

From wanting to stay away to wanting to care for this friend, I see a breakthrough, I see God moving here. God has been doing so much here. This is just one of the more significant events to me, and there are a lot more of such stories. There has been reconciliation, building of friendship and some form of appreciation. And I’m learning to serve this bunch of people with much joy in my heart. I’m seeing how God has blessed me with much to serve and to offer. I’m experiencing God’s favour in my life right here.

I would say that I’m enjoying this trip now. So much so that I’m losing count of the days that we’ve been here. And slowly, I’m starting to feel that time is passing a littleeee fast, and I’m kindaaa wishing that the trip won’t end so soon.

God has been good, and I’m so thankful that He is here with me as He has promised :)

Losing Count

More moments with people

The moment when Amanda went “Wan Xuan come over!” and handed me a bottle of aloe vera gel for my peeling face, 我有被感动到. Guess these few days as we’ve been spending quite a lot more time with each other. I would say it’s like a lot more than we did in the past 3 years of knowing each other. And there’s like 10 more of such days to go. I’m thankful for this opportunity to know what she’s been thinking about. Two days ago we were talking about leadership phobia (as in taking up leadership positions), and she said what I had been feeling/thinking concerning leadership. Finally found someone who understands how I felt. I did feel a little more supported when she shared that :)

Said a small prayer to God today too, and asked that He would be in the midst of my conversations too. Not long later, ZQ suddenly asked a question about the religion here and it went on and on and on about Christianity and other religions. At different points of the conversation, two more joined in and listened on. Quite cool that it happened. I do hope that this helped my friends to know God a little more.

Alright, really sleepy now haha time for some sleep. Been HTHT-ing the past two nights and getting quite little rest, oOps. But I enjoyed the moments spent listening and talking to these friends. There have been restoration of friendships as well as a building of some others. Thankful for these!

More moments with people

Highlight of Day 3

Sitting down with SE and doing our work in the hotel’s café. Halfway through doing our work, we started to talk and share about our lives, a time which I’m really thankful for. Realise that we are quite similar in some ways, like the person that we are committed to being, the opinions on certain things about life, certain principles we hold on to, the way we relate with people. Quite cool!

Today I found out a little more about this friend that I’ve always been thankful for :) Been feeling quite amazed at how this friendship is like. We may not talk often, but I know she’s someone that I would want to talk to and know more about.

And can I just say that while many others find the field diary stressful to do, I find it the most interesting to do. haha because I like thinking about what I do. And I guess today, it allowed me to spend some time with this friend too! Both of us are actually quite tired from today’s snorkeling activity already, but we know we got to be finish up some work. So that’s why we are here. She kept saying she becomes a little nonsensical when she’s tired, haha I’m perfectly fine with it and in fact do enjoy knowing this side of my friends.

My friends are probably blogging/journaling about the activities of the day. But I think I enjoy thinking about little moments spent with people more. So far, the trip has been good because of such moments.

Highlight of Day 3