01 June 2019

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Now that the major wedding preparations are settled, and it’s finally time for some beauty sleep before walking down the aisle, the wedding countdown insomnia starts kicking in. I can’t sleep, and I am not sure if it’s my brother’s thunderous snoring, the sound of cars whizzing on the highway, or the wedding nerves that’s keeping me awake. And since I can’t sleep, why not try writing to calm myself down?

I’m getting married, in exactly 12 hours’ time.

Wedding day, a day of changes. This is the day I gain another father and mother, the day I change my marital status on all application forms, the day I take on a new last name, the day I start growing up and building a new family with Jeremy.

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Get married, have a new family, and live happily ever after. Fairytales and all the other romance movies make it seem so simple to do so. But, we all know what we learn from storybooks and movies are fictional – not applicable in real life.

Being married is not just about how grand or beautiful the wedding ceremony is. It is about leaving my comfort zone, leaving the safe arms of my papa and mama, two people who have spent their whole lives protecting me, and thrusting myself into the arms of Jeremy – a person whom I’ve only met for four years. It is a whole life spent discovering and accepting each other. It is a lifetime of loving him unconditionally.

Love unconditionally. This means to be patient as Jeremy learns more about me, as he is when I am learning more about him. It is about seeing him as the apple of my eye, even when he gets old, smelly, wrinkly and maybe have a tummy. It is about saying kind words and exercising patience on days instead of having cold wars when our opinions disagree. It is about loving his family as mine, as he learns to love my family as his. It is about wanting the best for him and acting it out – helping him with housework as he strives at work, supporting him in his career, allowing him his time to relax, having savoury dishes for lunch / dinner even though I prefer my sweets, allowing him to rear fishes as it keeps him calm even if I dislike it, and always taking the initiative to keep him joyful (through dates or puns) till we are 80 and beyond.

This hard work sounds impossible, and seemingly  daunting. In fact, it got me nervous. But, I am not alone. In fact, you’re feeling it too, Jeremy, aren’t you?

Yet, you focused not on the problems, but on what we could become. You took the leap of faith and committed to take care of me when you proposed at Love Valley in Turkey, and you have never failed to keep your part of the commitment.

You cover me with your jacket when I am cold, prepare freshly squeezed orange juice when I am unwell, offer me a hug and a shoulder to cry on when I feel insecure, join me in volleyball games because it is my favourite form of exercise, bring me to nature places to rejuvenate my spirits, and pray with me when life is at its harshest.

I’m scared, and you’re scared too. But you always choose to persevere in loving me. You held me hand and fearlessly led me through, defending me from all the obstacles that we may face in our relationships. Perhaps this is what “falling in love” means. That no relationship is perfect, but it gets sweeter and better as we continue committing to love even when we fall.

Thank you for choosing to love me. This love you have for me can only be possible with God and it has inspired me to take a bold step into our new adventure ahead. And, I pray that as we say “I do” later, we would remember this precious love that God has given us and that with Him, His strength, grace and mercy, and the blessings of our family and friends, we would be able to love unconditionally and age gracefully together, till death do us part.

Happy fourth anniversary, my dear. I love you fourever.

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Teaching Life Reflection

Was talking to a few colleagues about “fun” post exam activities. Soccer, volleyball, movie screening, games, and anything and everything that allows the students to move around or interact or go outside the four walls of the classroom. The more we discussed about these, the more our spirits were lifted. We concluded that fun activities drive students to learn, joyously, and motivate the teacher to teach. Classes should be fun. Learning should be fun. Teaching should be fun. Sadly, my laziness and fear of the extra planning makes me guilty of taking away the fun. Today’s chat reminded me that… simple things can be fun too. And, strive for delayed gratification instead of instant gratification.

It’s never too late to start having fun!

 

On the bright side

Here I am, nearly 29 metres through the pipe of life,

with perhaps 50 or more obscure metres to go.

Where?

That end, where everything gushes – evaporate

into thin, fresh, air, and…

make shapes with the clouds.

But it’s still 50 or more claustrophobic metres away.

If I’m lucky, would I seep through a hole

into the light that guides me home?

It’s still 50 or more metres away,

the natural forces will get me to the end,

It’s slow, but it’s sure.

The bright side is… near?

 

 

 

Are You A Worry Wart?

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The more I read Peanuts, the more I relate with Linus. We both have a baby blanket that we can’t detach ourselves from and we are both worrywarts.

Going into 2019 was a rather nerve-wracking experience, and it’s probably the first time I enter a new year this anxious. I worried about my new classes, my new workload, my ability to juggle work with serving in church, and with planning the wedding. And the way I dealt with all the issues was to compare my worries, envy others, complain more, work and juggle more unhappily, and try to come out with my own remedies. It was just like that time when I realised that my soup was too salty and panicked. Instead of asking for professional help, I added more water.. and for some stupid reason, more sugar. Needless to say, the soup was a disaster. And I am, at the current moment, am bathing in that hot soup.

Professional help. We all need professional help. Thankfully, God reminded me today that He has given us the best professional help we can ever ask for – the Holy Spirit – and that He will be with us and He will give us peace.

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

John 14:26-27

It’s not easy to be contented in times of difficulties or anxieties. In fact, the human heart itself is a worrywart, especially in a world of troubles. But I’ve really got to remember, we’ve got to remember, that this world is temporary.  Our worries and troubles of the temporary should not blind us from the eternal. Jesus has died on the cross and He has overcome the world. He will come again, and all earthly worries will disappear.

So, have peace and joy. Instead of dealing with all my struggles and anxieties on my own, instead of working mindlessly, always come back to God first. Trust in Him and take a step at a time. He is making me, making us, a fearless and peaceful person today.

New Academic Year

So, work starts tomorrow.

It’s always sad when good things, the holidays, specifically, come to an end. I wasn’t ready for work, and the new responsibilities starting next year. I wish I could box work away (it’s boxing day after all), but I’m reminded that Emmanuel, God with us, and He has a great purpose for the work he has given us, one that prospers and not harm, one that gives a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

When God revealed of the plan He has for Joseph and Mary, the plan was not easy. It was hard for Joseph and Mary to accept the concept of the virgin birth. What if Joseph would not take Mary as wife? What if Mary was left alone, a disgrace, in the public’s eye? What if they do not have the ability to raise the Son of God? And if things did not seem bad enough, Joseph and Mary had to journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census near the delivery date.

But, when God has a plan, He also delivers a way.  God sent angels to guide Joseph and Mary. He also provided a manger when the inns were full. All Joseph and Mary had to do was to trust and obey.

What we are facing now is part of God’s plan. Nothing is coincidental and everything is for the advancement of the gospel. This plan he has may not be the easiest to execute. But, God is in control. He is with us, and he will carry us through. All we need to do is to sit back, relax, and trust and obey.

And so… even though one good thing may have ended, there is hope, for God will still put many more new and better blessings in the way. And, of all the greatest blessings, God has given us Christ, and his love for us on the cross that overcame death.

With this, I shall march on, more hopeful, and joyful and less of a control freak. Let Jesus take the wheel.

Merry Christmas (:

One more month

31 more days to 2019.

This year flew by so quickly and I am so glad that December is here. There’s always more time in this month to truly enjoy the beauty of life – a short run in the morning, having breakfast and tea at the table (instead of while running for the morning train), listening to Christmas carols while reading my book, and then time to do whatever I want till a good meal in the evening with my friends.

But before I kickstart the last month of 2018, here’s five things I’m grateful for for the last few months:

  1. I have finally completed one academic year in Pathlight!!! There were so many experiences gained throughout this year, and I am thankful for the friendships forged. More important, I am thankful for the HOLIDAYS! Time to recharge (:
  2. Wesley@Cathay is growing (: There are two new addition to the Sound team and this means a little more break from the weekends, a little more Sundays snoozing in rather than waking at 5am. More hands make work light (:
  3. What would I do without my parents and siblings and their unconditional love for me? Dad chauffeurs me around nearly every morning and brightens my day with his classic jokes and embarrassing actions. Mom nags really lovingly, though a little too much at times, and does her best to ensure that my welfare, and love for enoki mushroom and yakult, is attended to. Sissy, the fashionable one, always lends me her clothes and makeup because I can be a rather horrible fashion disaster. Timo accompanies me for all the extreme meals – early breakfast and late night supper – and keeps me up with the trend with his “coolness”. Last, Chaosu ensures that the house is homely and clean for a good rest. Family: Father and Mother (and siblings), I Love You (:
  4. Hew got into the top 8 for the SQS tournament (: We’ve grown so much over the past 10 years, and I am so grateful that we are always so supportive and close-knitted. Above all, I give thanks for Bin Wei, who pours his heart out to coach the team, for free! He attends most training sessions, travels to games that are at insanely inconvenient location, and never once asks for renumeration. Who does that?! Thank you for teaching me about being a team player (:
  5. Jeremy and I are 42 months old today (: And I really thank God for letting me find such a JEM, one who sings lullaby for me, assists me with my work, cheers me when I am stressed and down, tolerates my pranks and puns, keeps me accountable in my walk with God, cares for my parents as his own, travels everywhere with me and loves me so very much. Thank you, God, for Jeremy. I’ll love and cherish him. Though… I still prefer the hashtag #AliCaughtTheJerm instead of #AliFoundAJem.

One more month before the end of 2018. I’m gonna savour every bit of this beautiful year that God has made.