Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 in Review.

It’s such a thing now, isn’t it? To say that the year was great, blablabla, there were ups and downs, blabla, and yet we wouldn’t have it any other way? As optimistic and positive as that approach towards life is, it’s not like we had a choice. Smile with tongue out

Hahah, but even if we did, I’m pretty sure if we had done things differently, it would have probably resulted in another “I wouldn’t have done it any other way”. That’s the thing about choices though. Sometimes you make them after taking a long time justifying them, and then other times, you make the choices, then find ways to justify them later on.

Someone once told me that humans don’t make mistakes, we only learn lessons and I found that such a wonderful phrase. I think as people in this (social media infused) age, we’re told a lot to ‘forget’ the bad stuff and leave it all behind and to focus on the happy things, especially since it is the culture now to share our lives. But I feel that the saying about mistakes and lessons is a lot more powerful because rather than make us forget the past, or even to see it as regret, it encourages us to see the bad things as something we can learn from. Open-mouthed smile 

One of the greatest things about having a blog is being able to go back to an old post and read exactly what I was thinking ages ago. I was reading the post I wrote at the beginning of 2013, and whilst my resolutions guided me well, I admit there were a few things which I allowed myself to fall back into old habits of. For example, not being punctual. Smile with tongue out But what I wanna pick out from that post are the things I looked out for 12 months ago:

2013 will be filled with so many surprises I don’t even know which to watch for first.

University offers and choices, results and the end of A-Levels, my sister heading overseas, ME heading overseas, the beginning of my degree, the end of my teenage years.. All of them bring uncertainty and I’m 100% sure that there will be difficulties as well.

When I started 2013, I was in the midst of my A-Levels, spending a lot of my time in Taylor’s College’s swanky new study hub, living away from home in Subang for the most part, and had no dream university.

For university, I ended up applying to Cambridge, LSE, UCL, Queen Mary, and Nottingham. To be honest, I had no choice since the bank I’m sponsored by had specific places they wanted me to go to. In the end, after drowning when I was pooled by Cambridge, I obtained offers from LSE, Queen Mary, and Nottingham.

So then, I got worried about my results. I firmed LSE and kept Queen Mary as my insurance (because I really wanted to go to London!) but both required A*AA! By the grace of God, I got ridiculous results and did manage to make it to London!

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And as for my sister and I heading overseas? That kinda made me appreciate my family more, I suppose. The house seemed so quiet after she left, and I’m sure it must’ve been even more so when I did.

Beginning my degree was amazing because I enjoy my classes so much! They’re challenging, but it isn’t in a stressful, I’m going to absolutely die kind of way. Each class makes me excited for the next one and although the workloads are insane with the hundreds and hundreds of pages of reading we have to do, if I manage my time better (this year lol), I don’t think it’d be too bad.

When I wrote my new year’s blog post last year, I said that 2013 would be a year of change. Whilst that was true, in hindsight, it felt more like a year of choices. There were a lot of choices I had to make last year, from academic ones to choices involving matters of the heart, which aren’t always the easiest of choices to make. In the process of making these choices, I learnt a lot about people along the way. I learnt a lot about perspectives and how a wrong perspective can really wreck relationships, and I learnt about sacrifice and how much I wasn’t ready to do it. I learnt about God’s grace in the lives of others in such a real and tangible way, and I learnt about hope, and the way it both makes and breaks a person.

I think a lesson that really struck me was that I learnt that when interacting, people have a tendency to make choices in a way that helps themselves. It doesn’t mean they’re selfish because sometimes they behave generously or kindly, but it helps themselves because they behave in a way that is easier for them to accept their own actions. And I learnt that there’s nothing wrong with that.

For 2014, I have a few resolutions in mind.

1. Finish reading the Bible
2. Exercise at least once a week
3. Travel to at least 5 different places
4. Quota of 5 soft drinks a year
5. Finish knitting something else
6. Get first class in some of my essays
7. Become more proficient in another language
8. Drink 2 litres of water a day

And a few goals as well!

Goals
Jan -
Blogilates Beginner's Calendar

Feb -
A photo a day

March -
Lose 2kg

April -
Speak Mandarin every day for breakfast

May -
Don't use my phone at the dinner table

June -
Don't repeat an outfit for a month

July -
Blogilates Calendar

August -
Take 31 Dustin themed photos

September -
Write hand written letters to my good friends

October -
Learn something new

November -
Keep my room clean every day

December -
Lumosity every day


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Yep, I’ve finally decided I wanna take an active effort in trying to lose weight. I got a bet going on with a friend of mine see, and the loser has to treat lobster.. and I’m not planning to buy a lobster for someone!! Surprised smile 

Last year, I made a pledge to read the Bible daily and I managed to finish the New Testament, which is a really big deal to me because I used to never read the Bible! Smile I plan to finish off the Old Testament this year. Open-mouthed smile 

Travel wise, 2013 was another year of travel and adventure! Smile with tongue out 

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Headed to Penang with my classmates from college after our exams! We were all up Penang Hill in this photo. Open-mouthed smile

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Went to Penang again in December but with my family and the Hongs. Open-mouthed smile 

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I’ve never been brave enough to venture out into the waves so that was quite an experience!

I also went to Johor right after A Levels with other friends to check out Legoland, which I will tryyyy to blog about when I can because it was so much fun! Open-mouthed smile 

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We went on this again and again because there wasn’t a queue. Smile with tongue out 

There were even visits to Taiping as well to say hi to my grandparents.

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With my brother and his previously skinny arms. Surprised smile 

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Hello, ah kong! Hello, ah ma! Open-mouthed smile 

Then there was the trip all across the continents to the United States. I saw New York, Philadelphia, and California!

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Met my childhood crush in Disneyland as well. Red heart

Spain was also on the list and I got to see Barcelona in all its glory for a really good price! Open-mouthed smile 

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And although it isn’t really considered travelling, I got to be a tourist in the UK, with a trip to Bristol and some sightseeing around London! Open-mouthed smile 

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Hi, Big Ben!

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And hello, Bristol! Open-mouthed smile 

2013 felt really long to me because there were so many things that happened, but they were great things and even if they weren’t, they were lessons. I don’t think it’s true that the slate is immediately wiped clean because we have a new year, but the chapters ahead remain unwritten and its up to us to write it the way we want our story to be told.

Happy New Year, everyone! Smile

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