Can’t wait for 2014 to come!

The last 12 months have been a fairly difficult one for me. Just 2 weeks ago, a friend whom I considered fairly close, whom I have lost contact for 2 years, broke my heart. I finally managed to locate her husband on the net and when I tried to contact her, was told very politely but coldly by her that she is purposely cutting off all contact from everyone she knows from Singapore. She has been living overseas for many years now but we have always kept in contact. The last time we emailed each other was 2 years ago and we have always been able to talk about almost everything personal. From her email, I know she must have had her reasons and I respect her decision and I tried not to take it personally but still it was a blow to me.

10 months ago, my father passed on after an excruciatingly painful episode of 8 months in the ICU and another 6 months of complete bed-bound home stay. Although we were prepared and even somewhat relieved that he has gone on to a better place, the realization of that loss is only slowly being felt now, even though we had a very traditional “Chinese-family” relationship with him. And just about 2 months before my father passed on, I had another whammy of being cut-off from another person’s life whom I have always considered a friend, I even thought there were many similarities in how we think. It took me many months to piece together the “puzzle” of why it happened but eventually the realization was that she had always disliked me! I had absolutely no idea! That was the most painful part to swallow.

But through it all, there were many blessings for me to count as well! I have 2 sisters who rallied around one another to go through the difficult period of my father’s illness! I don’t know how I would have been able to survive through it all without them! And I have friends who rallied around me to comfort me too when I was crying and not understanding it all! You know who you are! And through the upheavals, I have 2 angelic faces who still tell me every night “I love you, mummy!” regardless of how impatient I have been with them throughout the day because I have been having a rough day! They truly are angels sent by God to someone as undeserving as me! I thank God for them every day!

As I draw near to the end of the year, I am looking forward to a brand new year! And I resolve to do better, to treasure my family more, to spend more time with friends who truly care for me, to spend more time on things that goes toward the eternity than toward the transient. I am feeling particularly melancholic today but getting this off my chest has been great! December I know is going to be a wonderful month of getting off work and spending lots of time with the family going on trips, at least 3 trips, mind you! And I know 2014 is just going to get better!

Leaving the matrimonial home

And so I shifted in late September. Finally.

The packing was done during the month of September! Actually the actual packing was done about 2 weeks before the shift. The other preceding 2 weeks I was in a massive throw-everything-at-sight exercise! Given the luxury of space, I had no idea I have hoarded so much stuff in the 9 years I have lived at Bishan. It was scary!

It was stressful to say the least and coupled with the fact that the hubs was away for 8-9 days and only returned 2 days before the actual shift, I fell so sick that I needed two courses of anti-biotics to get well where normally I don’t fall prey to the viruses circulated by the children at all. Both children were also on two doses!

And I think about 2-3 nights before the actual shift, surrounded by all the boxes in the bedroom and alone in the bedroom, I gave in to a huge crying fit! Its embarrassing to talk about that right now but seriously how do people leave a place where so much memories are made? Both my children were born while we were staying here, they took their first steps on the marbled floors of the living room, ate their first meal here on the trusty teak dining table and so many other firsts happened here! We came in with 2 persons and 2 luggages and left as a family of 2 adults + 2 kids + 1 doggie and 100 boxes of things!

I would always carry the lovely memories of Bishan with me, the nights of feeding the babies in the wee mornings and looking out the window and spying on my neighbours, the wonderful breeze that blows in when we are having our meals, looking (and shouting) at the children when they are at the playground, strolling happily as a family to Bishan Park which is 5 mins away and many many more memories!

A good friend told me as a family, we will go somewhere else and continue to make new memories! Yes and so we shall! but the first home will always remain very very special! Thanks for all the memories, my dear 261, may the next family be as happy living there as we did!

Amusement is….

Back from work feeling kinda exhausted but the children wanted to play UNO, obliged and the children tasked to get the cards from the room. Little girl started to role-play with her red bilbo on her back pretending to be snail crawling her way towards the room. Progress was slow as a snail should rightfully be. 5 mins later and halfway through, she got distracted by her brother lying on the floor pretending to be an obstacle. Then both decided they shall be baby horses learning how to gallop, munching their hay, playing with each other, sleeping in the stables. 30 mins later after lounging comfortably on the sofa watching them, I announced its time to go for their showers and get ready for bed. Big protest ensues “But we have not played UNO yet!” Chuckling I said, “Who asked you to become horses in the process of getting the cards?” and packed the grumbling children upstairs!

of mice and men…

and so I have changed jobs. It has been one month and has been going well. I now work out of a home office of my colleague till the new office’s renovations are done, likely to be mid December 2011.

I eat home-cooked lunch everyday by my colleague’s dad, goes to work in my bermudas and tees when there are no meetings and generally leave on the dot at 6pm! woohoo!

But this is because things are just picking up and I have been told, “Pls enjoy the honeymoon period as much as you can now!” I have just hired another staff in anticipation of the pick-up in workload but till he join us, the 4 of us (me + owner + 2 other permanent part-timers) sit facing each other in the small home office, meaning to say I have absolutely no privacy! But even though it has been just 1 month, it seems like I have known them forever and have been doing this for the longest time! The hustle and bustle of Raffles Place seems like a lifetime ago!

90% of the staff here including bosses are believers, we give thanks together when we go for meals. Bosses share with me how they are doing out-reach using marketplace ministries! How cool is that!

Even the best laid plans of mice and men often go array, I figured I will just leave it to the divine and pray this is indeed the place He has intended for me.

Brains fried…

Lately, I have been experiencing the “fried brains” syndrome. I don’t seem to have much to think about nowadays, which explains I don’t have much to blog about recently as well. Well, the issue has always been time, but hey, it would be like I have much to blog about, just that I don’t have the time. These couple of months, time’s still a scarce commodity but there ain’t much to talk about…

I can think of a few reasons for the dry spell I guess, I haven’t read a good book in like 6 months, whenever I am in my reading season, I tend to get more introspective. Work has been, OMG, like whirlwind! I get sucked into it and am just struggling to stay afloat, that certainly will not help.

I haven’t done anything different like in the longest time too…routine has very much set in and I think that certainly will not help matters here too! and too much mundane and day-to-day things to sort through, to worry about that its firefighting day after day!

But anyhow I hope its a phase though and my brains will regain some of its activity soon!

The daddy-not-around survival kit

I am very lucky! I have a husband who does not need to travel for work even while I occasionally need to. The last time he was away was when he brought his mom and sister to KL while I wo-manned the fort at home with the babies. Last Saturday, he brought his mom back to Swatow for a 2-week visit and that would be the longest stretch of time that he has been away since we have been married!

To cope, here’s what I have done,

1. Take out the GPS (or street directory for that matter!)
With daddy not around, mummy now has to be the one in the driver seat instead of chilling out at the passenger seat beside. And it is a known fact that I have absolutely no sense of direction at all, so bad that on Saturday, on the way to a full month party, the little girl suddenly, without a cue from anyone, started praying – “God, pls don’t let mummy get lost. Amen!” I nearly expired from laughing and had to slow down just in case I go up the curb!

2. Load up on Pi Pa Gao
Two pairs of ears but just one mouth to read the books, guess whose throat needs lots of nourishing?

3. Take out Mr Cane
One loud booming NO from the daddy is enough to stop the children in their strides. Now that the booming loud voice is not around, Mr Cane is making a lot more guest appearances. He actually doesn’t need to do much, just showing his face now and then is enough to achieve the effect of getting naughty children to obey!

Hey! that’s not really a very long list isn’t it? so there! I would lurve to think the mummy-not-around survival kit would have a longer list! *AHEM*

Playmobil

I wish…

Just like in the beautiful utopia world of Playmobil, the little guy would already be toilet-trained…

Slowly weaned off drinking from his milk bottle…

He would be able to self-feed…

and transition from sleeping in a cot to a toddler bed…

The little girl would become accomplished with using her camera…

and learn how to ride a bicycle…

and would be interested to pick up tennis, golf or horse-riding…

and most most importantly of all…

Both of them will play together without bickering or screaming or fighting…

I WISH!

Friendships and Auld Lang Syne

Well, today is the last day of year 2009 and I just sent a dear friend who was visiting from Germany to the airport last night. She took a well deserved break and stayed with me for the last 3 weeks and it has been wonderful just catching up with her. I could hardly believe it that the 3 weeks flew by with us just going to church together once, having lunch together twice, going to a concert together and having her celebrate Christmas together with my family on Christmas eve. We have known each other for almost 20 years and held each other’s hand when we broke up with our exs and dried each other’s tears, did crazy things like queue overnight for concert tickets and now we are both mothers of two.

And coincidentally another dear friend who is posted to India was visiting during this festive period too and I had to say no to meeting up last night and today’s lunch as I am meeting up with yet another group of old uni friends for lunch. Isn’t it just apt that this is the season for singing Auld Lang Syne and I am doing so many catch-ups?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

Chorus.-For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

The words ‘Auld Lang Syne’ literally translates from old Scottish dialect meaning ‘Old Long Ago’ and is about love and friendship in times past.

I realised it is so much harder to forge good friendships as we grow older and which is why we should hang on more to our old friends!

Here’s to friendships and a brand new year of reconnecting and re-establishing old bonds! Cheers!

Perception

Perception is the process of attaining awareness or understanding of sensory information.

What one perceives is a result of interplays between past experiences, including one’s culture, and the interpretation of the perceived. If the percept does not have support in any of these perceptual bases it is unlikely to rise above perceptual threshold.

In the case of visual perception, some people can actually see the percept shift in their mind’s eye. Others, who are not picture thinkers, may not necessarily perceive the ‘shape-shifting’ as their world changes. The ‘esemplastic’ nature has been shown by experiment: an ambiguous image has multiple interpretations on the perceptual level. The question, “Is the glass half empty or half full?” serves to demonstrate the way an object can be perceived in different ways.

Just as one object can give rise to multiple percepts, so an object may fail to give rise to any percept at all: if the percept has no grounding in a person’s experience, the person may literally not perceive it.

The processes of perception routinely alter what humans see. When people view something with a preconceived concept about it, they tend to take those concepts and see them whether or not they are there. This problem stems from the fact that humans are unable to understand new information, without the inherent bias of their previous knowledge. A person’s knowledge creates his or her reality as much as the truth, because the human mind can only contemplate that to which it has been exposed. When objects are viewed without understanding, the mind will try to reach for something that it already recognizes, in order to process what it is viewing. That which most closely relates to the unfamiliar from our past experiences, makes up what we see when we look at things that we don’t comprehend.

Now, which matrix are you living in? Have you ever questioned your own preception of the world? Does it ever occurs to you that some comments made by others simply doesn’t make sense to you.

Take afew minutes to learn more about Perception by afew experts who spoke at TED conference. Don’t worry, they start from the fundamental with great illustrations.

Perception of Sound:

Perception of Colours:

How the brain works:

TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.

One of my wish is to attend a TED conference soon. Perhaps to have a similar inspiring network in Singapore.