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.

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Intentional Conversations

Says the Relator

I don’t mind travelling far just to be with loved ones. And it’s always my pleasure to take a longer route home to spend time with people.

Was an evening well-spent with some friends. Made an impromptu decision and travelled from NUS to Punggol for dessert, and then taking a longer route home just to listen to stories.

Says the Relator

Drawn

It’s a blessing to have something to look forward to. Been looking forward to tonight.

It’s a blessing to go the extra mile for people, in literal way as well. Went the extra extra mile today – might have already reached home by now but I’m still a good 45 minutes away from home.

Feels like my heart has grown colder over the past one year. But I hope that I will never stop loving, that I will never stop giving.

—————————————————————–

Interestingly, a part of the conversation went like this:

Me: A relator. That means that while the person has the capability to make friends with a lot of people, the person only has a very small group of friends who are “deemed” (emphasis added with gesture) genuine.

SE:
Hahahaha so am I part of this group? Sekali I’m not.

Me:
You are la, you are. (awkwardly laughs)

In my head, I was just thinking to myself, looking at our recent interaction, I would have invested way too much time and effort if you’re not part of the group of close friends.

Was great meeting everyone tonight. Just wished that we had time to catch-up. But well, next time maybe!

Drawn

On This Day

Facebook reminded me that quite a few significant moments happened on this day…

  • Stood before the cohort after us to welcome them during the orientation camp in 2013.
  • Last service with NUS C2 in 2014.
  • Absolutely loved my internship with Wildlife Reserves Singapore in 2014.
  • Visited 四四南村 and climbed 象山 with Karen in 2016. That was my first time to those places in Taipei.

And today, came back from Taiwan. Missing Taiwan already, but also wished that I didn’t leave this time round haha. But well, back to living life “properly” and no more holidays in the short term! Taiwan ah Taiwan, will see you in another 2 years’ time perhaps.

 

On This Day

Seasons

For the past few months, I had this thought that I graduated at an non-ideal time for a graduation trip around Taiwan. Reason being that the temperature’s as hot as that in Singapore and May was known as the plum rain season. So I’ve been looking forward to taking this trip in March, to behold the beauty of Taiwan in March – with cherry blossoms blooming around Taiwan – that everyone else talks about.

Now that I’m on this trip, I realise how much more blessed I was than I had thought. 

First reason being that I had a friend whom I was comfortable with as a travel buddy. I wouldn’t say I’m the most comfortable on this current trip. My insecurities are slowly killing me; I’ve been feeling rather awkward on the trip.

Second was that even though it was the plum rain season, for some reason it only rained once or twice and had never hindered our plans. Perhaps it was God who held the rain – that’s what I’ve always believed. He blessed us with a good weather wherever we went. This trip, it’s been raining almost everyday. In fact it rained everyday when we were on Green Island.

Third reason was that even though it was warm, it was the season of much naturey growth and hence many sights to behold. Like, the bambi deers that were all around Green Island, the glowing mushroom at Guangfu, and it was the season for mangoes so we had the best mango ice in our lives. This time round, unfortunately, all the mango ice shops on Green Island were closed apparently because it’s not the mango season. Was looking forward to that, but ohwells. But yeah, most shops on Green Island were not opened because it was not the peak seasons for tourists in March.

I guess it’s still good that I have my chance to visit Taiwan in this season. To take a look and satisfy my curiosity I guess.

Seasons

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

Been a long way

Just met up with some university friends to just chat over lunch. Midway through the conversation, one of them made a sincere apology for what happened in the past and I said, it’s okay. 

Finally a sort of closure I guess. I felt a little uncertain in my approach when the conversation geared towards what happened during the Freshmen Orientation Programme planning process. In a way, I didn’t know what to bring up and what not to – in case we raked up unhappy events.

I was the Project Director in the FOP planning. Midway through the planning, a social explosion took place without warning, and I would say this was the main cause affecting my friendships in the course in the years to come. I grew increasingly aware that leadership was not for me and so, I dreaded the fact that I had to step up as the President of the next Student Committee right after the FOP. Life wasn’t easy then because people who didn’t know me disliked me since the camp. I hated the fact that I was in a course with only 50 people because I felt alienated by most of them who heard something from someone else which I had no idea what.

Many things happened in the planning and I guess my Vice Director and I could have defended ourselves. But all those times, I just kept sensing that God was telling me not to take things into my own hands but leave it to Him. And there were in fact times I found it hard to resist the urge to defend myself – and the fact of the matter would have cost some others’ reputation because of certain things they did. But the call was always to not do that, even if that put me at a disadvantage. In my heart, I had wished that some of these people who were angry at me would rise up as project leaders so that they understand the difficulties involved. 

At the end of year 3 sem 2, we went to Bohol. I didn’t want to be there travelling with a bunch of people who disliked me. But God spoke to me one day through a Psalm, telling me that He will rescue me. True enough, that trip became the turning point for many of those friendships, miraculously.

Interestingly, when the conversation geared towards FOP today, this friend apologised, saying that when she took on some projects at the community level some time ago, she understood my struggles. Her face turned red as she offered her apologies. It’s really okay because God showed up to save the day when we were in Bohol. In fact, the reason why we could sit down together for lunch (and meals before this) is because of God’s intervention. 

What today meant for us was I guess… a closure to things that were previously unspoken? And I’m glad there’s an opportunity like this, because things don’t always turn out this way.

And as I’m here typing this on a bus, I’m reminded of a friend who stuck by my side when I felt unwanted and alone in those 2 years. She came by after FOP, somehow, encouraged me through my presidency in the Student Committee, and celebrated with me when I finally laid down this huge Student Committee rock off my shoulder. I remember there was once a committee member lashed out at me on a group chat, and she found out about it somehow (she didn’t want to tell me how), so she texted to offer her comfort. I’m thankful for this friend. Texted her to say thank you – random, but this is what WX does isn’t it? 

It’s been a long way. So many things happened; so many twists and turns along the way. But thank You God for the experiences and friendships forged.

Been a long way