Hello, 2016!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

And just like that, the year is coming to an end.

I almost didn’t feel it coming. Being in university just makes time fly differently – a world with three day weekends, where 9am starts are considered much too early, where we get breaks for months and months at a time, and where the year feels like it begins twice, once in January, and again in September. So whilst that’s good in the sense that I get two chances for a ‘New Year’s resolution’, it’s almost inevitable that it just means forgetting about them twice.

But maybe 2016 will be different! It’s going to be a year of monumental change, with graduation coming up and my virgin foray into the full-time working world beckoning in all its desk job glory. I really have about 4 months to figure out how to do well in Law, which doesn’t sound like a lot of time, especially after the results of an EEG scan I did detected pretty dormant left-brain activity.. How have I been surviving law school with minimal analytical thought, I don’t know, but it sure does explain my awful receipt computing skills. It’s probably not surprising to you guys that I’ve spent a fair amount of time telling someone they’ve given me the wrong change only to realise that.. well, I can’t count. BUT HEY, acceptance is the first step to recovery eyyy?

Not having a lot of time before I stop being a student really brings the next year into sharp focus. At the risk of sounding overdramatic, our actions over the next few months would be critical in determining our entire future! I’m at a stage of life where I’m standing at a crossroad with so many options its dizzying. How do people ever make life-changing decisions?

I read something about making resolutions this morning that got me thinking about the way I want to live my life – more Christ-centric and outwards-focused. Do our resolutions have God in mind? Am I really giving Him my best, utilising the gifts He’s given me? Do our resolutions have God’s family in mind? Am I really thinking about the people around me, and tapping into or developing talents I have that could be useful to them? Do our resolutions have the world in mind? Am I doing enough to set a positive example to others? Am I able to lend hope and joy and peace to those who need it? Do our resolutions have eternity in mind? Where do my priorities lie?

Just thinking of these questions have given me a new lens to view the year from, with every day an opportunity to be better, to give more, to learn more. It can be so easy to become complacent with who you are when you know the people around you love you for you. It’s one thing to feel confident with yourself to know that you need to do nothing else to be loved, but it’s another to love yourself enough to yearn to stretch more, safe in the knowledge that your best does measure up, even if it isn’t what you envisioned.

For 2016, I have 5 main goals in mind.

1. GOD

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Over the year, I’ve amassed a very small collection of Christian literature to help me stretch and understand my faith a little better. LOL I’ve read a total of...what? 2 pages? This year, I will do better! I aim to finish at least 2 of those books, pledge to finish reading the Old Testament, and will find more opportunities to serve in church when I come back to Malaysia. And in every situation where I may be tempted to not take the high road, I aim to WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) through it! Huzzah!

2. RELATIONSHIPS

It’s true the older you get, the less friends you have. It’s not that people become more unlikeable the older they get (although feel free to dispute that lolol), but time becomes more valuable and it really becomes important to recognise who you can prioritise. For this year, I pledge to be better to my friends and really let those who I cherish to know how much they mean to me. This applies to my relationships with my family and boyfriend as well. Being present is so important and is becoming increasingly underappreciated in a world where chilling in one’s company watching YouTube videos is stretching social skills to its limit. It’s so tempting to hermit myself in my room when I don’t feel like going out, but genuine social interactions can be really meaningful and I pledge to have more of that in the coming year. So that’s that– see ya later, phones at the table, and hello punctuality!

For  my friends, I’m going to make an effort to arrive on time when I do make plans and always ensure to fulfil my commitments. When I tell someone I’ll get back to them, I’m going to set reminders on my phone to make sure I do. I resolve to be honest and sincere with my friends in all that I do, and will make more of an effort to show that I care.

For my family, knowing that I’m going to be apart from my sister for another year, I’m going to make sure to check up on her every now and then, and not respond suspiciously when she does the same (i.e. message me for what? you want smth ah? lolol). I will FaceTime my parents every week when I’m in London and will be sure to spend quality time with Dommypoo when I’m home!

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As for my boyfriend, I resolve to cherish the time we have together by being fully present when he’s around, and when we go our separate ways upon graduation, I pledge to keep a positive attitude about the LDR and will make an effort to make meaningful connections every opportunity we get!

3. HEALTH

I’m really glad that I signed up for the gym this term (thanks a lot to Seth’s encouragement!) and have been exercising almost weekly with Zumba and Boxing lessons… till I sprained my ankle again haiyo. But this year, I pledge to eat better, exercise consistently, and sleep well! I’m going to cook better, cleaner meals and have dessert once a week rather than everyday. If I injure myself when exercising, I should find other ways to keep healthy rather than make excuses. By planning my day better, I should be able to have more consistent sleep and still get everything done! A few years ago, I gave up fizzy drinks for a resolution and I haven’t been craving them since. But just to be safe, here’s to cutting out sugary drinks entirely save for really special occasions.

4. MIND

Finding out that I’m primarily using only half my brain has been rather alarming so naturally, I’m quite set on reactivating my left side. I’m going to write once a week, may it be a blog post, a poem, or an essay in order to kickstart that part back into gear. Besides that, I plan on journalling daily – even if just a short paragraph of the day’s joys to help me summarize my day concisely. Rather than mindlessly fill my mealtimes with YouTube videos for hours on end, I aim to watch things that will stimulate my mind like TEDx videos, sermons, or public lecture recordings!

I also resolve to be more financially literate, and aim to find a way of earning money besides my main occupation in the coming year. I will also be more conscious of the way I spend money and aim to better identify my expenditure priorities.

5. WORLD

We all add something to this world, but it’s up to us as to whether that contribution is positive or negative. Rather than just exist on this space with words that would be forgotten hours from now or with pictures easily scrolled past and forgotten, I hope to use 2016 to fill my personal platforms with purpose. When I write or post, I resolve to share something with others, rather than post the most likes-generating caption or a click-bait title. I’m going to practice mindfulness and aim to be consciously aware of my actions and their impact on society, and will use my leisure time to bring about a positive contribution.

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These aspirations are rough and ambitious, and it’s likely that my goals and priorities would change as the year goes by. Even if they don’t, it’s also likely that I may not succeed. So, I guess my final resolution is to be happy and remain optimistic about the circumstances that are going to unfold and to trust God wholeheartedly.

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I’m really excited about the year to come, and I wish all of you a wonderful new year! Thank you for still reading, even when my words don’t come out right and I occasionally lose heart. I will do better next year! Red heart

Brr - Winter’s calling!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

As we approach the end of term, the pull of a holiday-to-come is bringing restlessness into the classroom. Besides the fact that I'm seeing fewer and fewer people each week, I've found myself fidgeting in my seat more than usual, having to forcefully pull myself back from the party in my head to the lesson at hand, and horrifyingly, I feel myself turning into that university zombie with glazed eyes and methodological typing. On the bright side, I think my touch-typing skills have improved so much in the past few years, I could be blindfolded, spun around twenty times, and could probably still type out word-for-word what's going on.

Pssst, lawyers-to-be, there's always transcription work if the legal world doesn't call to you.

I’ve been keeping busy the past few weeks and headed to Coventry for a weekend for Alvin’s birthday! Alvin and I became friends in college over a shared interest in pursuing law (amongst other things), but it just goes to show how differently life can turn out in a matter of years. Not only is he not studying law (ugh, ditcher :p), but in the time that I’ve known him, he became an uncle, we both got our driver’s license (although one of us - guess who? - doesn’t drive), we both ended up in different universities… and the scariest part? We’re both graduating soon!

In fact, almost all of us are!

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A pic of the group of us in 2012, and at the party in 2015 stolen off @shyhjin’s Instagram.

It was the first time in a really long time that the five of us got to meet up again, but it was really nice just seeing each other, basking in the familiarity of one another.

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Happy birthday, Alvin! Great job on the surprise and the cake, Nicole! Winking smile

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My half chicken for lunch Smile with tongue out Which I pretty much polished off, thank you very much.

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You know how everyone agrees to pull a silly face for a group photo, and one person somehow doesn’t get the message? *cough Shyh Jin cough*

Although we all met up for the party on a Saturday, Seth, Shyh Jin, and I arrived the day before for a little touristing.

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Huge thanks to Baby J who kindly hosted Seth and me, cooked for us, and took care of us for the night! Open-mouthed smile

As J was busy with classes that evening, the three of us caught a train from Coventry to Birmingham to check out the Christmas Market! As its famed for being the biggest German market in Europe that’s.. not in Germany (non-German German market?), we thought to pay a visit.

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My forever +1

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LOLOL and our very bright bulb.

I love spending time alone with Seth, but I also really enjoy having company with us too! She pretends to put up with a lot of our cringe-worthy moments, but I know she secretly likes them hahah even if I do coerce her into taking loads of pictures of us.

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Our Lady & The Tramp moment! That was a delicious bratwurst, by the way. Besides the fact that it seemed neverending, it was hot and salty and perfect for a cold day up North.

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Look at the group behind me all enjoying their Bratwursts!

The market itself was lovely, with fairy lights lining the stalls that held little trinkets and goodies nestled within. If you asked me to compare it to Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland though, I’d have a hard time doing a fair comparison. I most definitely prefer the crowds at Hyde Park, and the layout of the market because once you’re there, you basically see everything! But with Birmingham, it was well spaced out which made it less crowded, but it also made it less exciting or less atmospheric? I didn’t get to take a look at the Ice Rink or its ferris wheel (because its so spaced out!) but I still had lots of fun!

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We came home that night with a box of chocolate coated marshmallows in an assortment of flavours, ranging from Lime to Whiskey, and it was a sweet finish to a great day!

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Heading to Dublin this week for a brief getaway, and will be paying a visit to Winter Wonderland soon after! Exciting stuff ahead, with a flight back to Malaysia over the Christmas break and a project I’m working on which would be great with your support!

This is what I shared on Facebook:

In the spirit of Christmas, I was hoping my friends on Facebook would be interested in a project I'm involved in.

Two summers ago, I went with a mission group to teach at a small school in a village in Sabah. These kids are children of immigrants in Malaysia, but they are born and bred in Malaysia, speak fluent Malay and very much consider Malaysia their home. But because of their parents’ circumstances, the kids do not have birth certificates or identity cards and cannot enrol in government schools, thus not being able to receive education except through independent schools like the one I went to help out at.

A friend of mine who hosted the mission trip initiated a project called Backpack of Blessings a year ago, aimed at providing these children in Sabah stationery for them to go to school. The pictures in this post were from last year's efforts. Having stationery of their own is a huge incentive for these kids to take their education seriously in an environment where it is hardly prioritised.

In order to raise funds for Backpack for Blessings, I am looking for sponsors of these backpacks, which will be sourced and packed by my friend in Malaysia, and the entire backpack, consisting of a pencil box, stationery and notepads will cost about £5 per backpack.

We will also attach a note with each backpack from the sponsor so whoever sends a bag can communicate directly with the recipient. I’ll be collecting these notes in the UK before I fly back to Malaysia on the 17th of December, but if you’d like to send a digital message, that’s fine as well!

We promise to keep everyone updated on the progress of this project, and will send pictures of your sponsored child with your bag once they get dropped off in January!

You can sign up to get involved at the link below!

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1-VbxaVQT57_eZsyY5zI14gQN--_HKAXFs3Rah8xMrfk/viewform?usp=send_form

Feel free to share this with your friends who may be interested!

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Fingers crossed that this will really take off and we’d be able to make a difference!

Till next time!

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