Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Surrender.



Reflection on the past 8 months.

As we are welcoming September and embracing the few months we have left for 2016, I thought I'd do a self-check before the year ends. This has got to be the most adventurous experience for me. So many new experience and unforgettable lessons.

Started off the year as a working Interior Designer, left my job, got into a relationship, moved to Singapore and now continuing my studies to do what I love most. That's just the surface and summary for what these 8 months have been. It's crazy how so many things have change in such short time, especially when it comes so suddenly. But when God opens the door, He really will open that door haha.

I find this few months so special to me, especially when I reflect and look back to 2015. I wouldn't touch on too much of depth here, but all I would say is that I never could have imagine where I am now.

I wrote 'surrender' on that picture because for the past few weeks, after battling my own 'separation-anxiety' from home, it has repeatedly been on my heart. It's so easy to say, so easy to hear God but listening is another challenge. It was a personal struggle for me, leaving home where I've been so comfortable and familiar with for the past 21 years. The first few days after my parents and Howie left Singapore, that was when I started to realize that I was all on my own. All alone in this new, foreign city; so close to home, yet so different. I felt so alone, I didn't know anyone, class hasn't started yet and everyone I loved was at least 300km away from me. All I kept thinking was how strong my friends that are all the way in UK, US, Australia etc. are, to be so much further from home and some not being able to come home.

I cried every night, I just felt so foreign to this place. Church doesn't feel like home and for an extrovert like me, my weekends were such a bore. Everyone keeps telling me that things will get easier/better, which I know it will be. Well, things did get better and a little easier when orientation started. Actually, I only started feeling better after class starts (which took a while too cause a lot of them were from BA1 and I didn't have any friends) and after I met some people in church.

Time really does help ease things :) When God told me to 'surrender', I realized how tightly I was holding my comfort and home. I realized that I sulked into this pattern of 'loneliness'. But when that broke, I started seeing hope again. I saw how much opportunity and beauty this nation has to offer, how much God loves his people here. I know that this is where I need to be right now, not for the nation or the church, but for myself. It took me a while to really let go and turn my view on things around. It's hard to hold onto God's promises sometimes. But, that's when faith comes into action. I know that He will always be there to look out for me, At the end of the day, I draw my strength and joy from Him alone and not where I am; and in this context, 'home'.

Of course I still miss home. But I have the privilege to fly home almost every month, though it's just a few days. It's still so rewarding and refreshing. Being away from home is hard, but this has taught me to love and appreciate it even more. Stepping into a new phase in life is scary, but this has taught me faith and trust. Learning to be independent is tough, especially when you're sick (and in my case, I've fallen sick twice since I'm here), but it'll just make you stronger.

Excited for the few months left in 2016 and especially excited for CHRISTMAS! 

I'm done rumbling. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Chronicle of Kuantan

Last draft to clear!
I've been drafting so many posts, too lazy to type them out, just pictures on them in case I forget to blog about them. Been quite motivated to blog lately, not sure how long this motivation will last. I really do enjoy reading back all my posts- me being a very sentimental person- so I have to make more effort to actually blog them.

In January 2016, Norman, June, Howie, Isabel and I decided to go to Kuantan for a trip. No spoiler alert but boy, what a trip! Hahaha. It was quite a spontaneous plan as I've only known June for a few weeks maybe almost a month plus before this trip happen. Even how June and I became close is a very spontaneous thing. The first time we actually hung out was a trip to Genting with Norman and Howie. I've known her existence from seeing her talking to Norman during GLA15 (little did I know, that was when they first met too) oh and that's when I first started talking to Norman too, during GLA when Howie introduced me to him and we went and get Boost.

Wow, this is becoming like a story of how June, Norman, Howie and I all met, started to hang out and become almost inseparable. So yeah, we went up to Genting, hung out at Starbucks and played a really funny game. Ohmygosh, thinking about it now it's so stupid but it was so funny during that moment. It was so cold that night but our laughter made it all so warm. That was such a beautiful and significant night. I truly believe that God brought us 4 together for a reason. I honestly treasure our friendship. It's so special, so unique, and pure love for one another. June and Norman have a really special place in my heart. They're not just my friends, they're my mentors, my pillars and it's so comforting just thinking how they have my back :')

Ohmy, back to Kuantan trip. Oh this btw, was the beginning of our numerous trips back Kuatan. It has been 4-5 times from this trip in January to the last one, which was the spontaneous YOLO waterfall trip in Kuantan.

So,we stayed in June's beautiful house during this trip. I was amazed by her house! It was beautiful. A little scared at first because there's no railing at all on the stairs and Isabel and I share a room on the 3rd floor. I was so scared that I'd fall but... I didn't. Yay.

June. Just look at her grace and beauty. She carries so much wisdom, so much love and strength. I look up to her so much. Oh and she gives the best hugs :)

That cute poodle is Charlie! We got to love and play with him for the 4 days we were there. He is such a cutie.

We also got to meet her mum, the most generous and hospitable person. It's funny how she said that her mum is picky on who she's nice with, thank God that Norman, Howie and I are on the "nice" list. She brought us to so many good food and places! Fast forward after the Kuantan trip, she even invited us to celebrate her birthday with her when she was down in KL. It was after Kingdomcity's 10th Anniversary. It was such a fun evening.

Uncle Norman, drinking his fruit-induced water that Howie and him both loveeee. It's funny how he always call me 'mini-me' but also so honorable how he sees a little part of him in me. But hands down, I'm definitely the funnier and better version ;P

The pictures below aren't in order, because I forgot the timeline and I feel really terribly sick during the trip. Most likely cause of the stress and fatigue from work, I've never gotten such high fever before.

Us at Terrenganu. We went and met with Richard, June's childhood friend, and he brought us to the best dinner! Stuffed crab! And after that, it was magic.

We went for a boat ride to watch fireflies. It was really magical. A dream come true I would say.

Early morning hike to catch the sunrise at Panorama Hill, Sungei Lembing. Sadly, we didn't catch the sunrise cause it was cloudy but the view was still beautiful.

Love old shops like these. This was taken after we bought the Mango Cheesecake, on the way back to the car. Thank God we ate it in the car because it started raining really heavily. It was a lovely meal :)

June's doggies. SO CUTE

On the peak of Panorama Hill

Good job buddies, for waking up and making all the way up the hill. We conquered the stairs!

It was a very meaningful trip :) Loved that this was the spark of something greater in our friendship.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Pulau Kapas (Cotton Island)


I was honestly looking forward to this trip to Pulau Kapas. The whole idea was for me to relax, rejuvenate and spend intimate time with God and myself. The reason was that I was working so tirelessly for the past 6 months; staying up late all day and sometimes up to more than 24 hours in the office, working on the weekends and public holidays, and slowly losing myself along the way. When I decided to leave the job (when I finally came to my senses), I told myself that I would treat myself with a getaway. Away from the city and work, just me, myself, God and nature.

It didn't turn out to be an "alone" trip though (as much as I wanted it to be), a few of my other friends were part of this trip too, which I'm definitely not complaining because it was still really good! I got to spend some time alone, with God and with my friends :) It was still really nice.

All in all, this trip was really really refreshing. I tasted freedom again, I rediscovered my passion, my plans for the future and I understood so much more about God and what I really want.



We took a plane to Kuala Terengganu, and then a boat ride to Pulau Kapas. Pulau Kapas is a really lovely place. It's not commercialized but it's known for backpackers and campers. Life there is so chilled and carefree.

My kawan :)

We stayed in a tent. Totally forgotten to pack a tent fan, it was soooo stuffy in the tent. But it definitely protected us from all the mozzies. I did try sleeping by the beach with my sleeping bag, but there were just too many mosquitoes that I moved back into the tent.

I absolutely loved waking up to the sound of the ocean and this view.



We didn't do much on the first day as we arrived in the evening. We just watched the sunset, some of them swam in the ocean, and we just admired the sky and ocean. The night sky was so breath-taking. We could see so many stars, and I think we even saw shooting stars.

One of my favourite memory was lying by the beach, playing the guitar and worshiping. It was so easy to be connected to God when you're being surrounded His rawest creations.

I think we ended the night by chasing after crabs or chatting away :)

This view.

We hiked up a trail, planning to catch the sunrise. I think we started the hike around 6am? We didn't expect it to be such a long and tough hike! It took us more than an hour and halfway through it, the sun has already risen. The view was still amazing though. It was worth the adventure.

On the rock with this fearless one.

Snorkeling :)

We saw a turtle! It was so much fun being in the waters. So many fishes and the water was so clear. One of the most tiring thing we did was swimming to another island. It was like close to a 2 hour swim. Boy, it was tough! We swam to Gem Island which was opposite Pulau Kapas. Gem Island is a smaller island with private resorts. A more exclusive island I would say. It was beautiful though. While Chelsea, Daniel and Julian continued to snorkel on the other side of the island, Kent and I took a nap on a hammock while enjoying the scenery.

We didn't want to swim back to the island again because 1) it was a very long, tiring swim 2) the walk back to our camp involved many stairs and long distance 3) we were just really tired. So, a boat brought us back to our accommodation :)

My love for hammock! #hammocklife


There's a lot of firsts in this trip. I got to experience canoeing in this trip. One thing I love about this island was that we could do whatever we want and go wherever we want to! There's absolutely no restriction, which scares me at first cause I was thinking, if our canoe turnover in the middle of the ocean, no one would know :o


Canoeing was so much fun. I love it. It was a little terrifying at a few times as I'm afraid of the ocean. But I really enjoyed it. So unforgettable :)



The crew!

Pulau Kapas was the beginning of my break from work and the transition to uni life. It was so significant because looking back (coming from the future me: Jessie in August 2016), so many things have changed and grown. Who would have thought that I'd end up in Singapore? Definitely not me.



Friday, August 26, 2016

Taman Negara

This is one of the best trip; I know I say this for almost all of my trips but this has to be one of the most special and intimate time I spent with God and the friends :)

Legends. World changers.
Each of their stories shows how real God's redemption is. You can so clearly see how God works through them, how much He loves us, just by being around them. Such an inspiring bunch.

We walked around Taman Negara on the 2nd day. It was a really short but so fulfilling trip. I remembered we walked about 20k just in the afternoon. All the stairsssss, but so worth it because everytime I look up, I see the beauty of the tree and nature ❤

Ivory! <3 Fav fav fav! She's not just a mentor to me, she's the sister I've always wanted. Her heart is so pure and her love is so gentle and pure.

I can still remember so clearly. It was during our walk down from the hike, we were talking about how God is preparing her to be a wife. Fast forward 8 months now, she is ENGAGED. My jie jie is getting married ❤ I think I'll definitely cry during her wedding haha. Their story is so magical. Only God can pull something like that off.

I thought I'll freak out cause of the bridge, but it turns out to be okay! I think I just don't do well with instability haha.

.

Just look at this! How can you see this and not believe that there's a God that made all of this for us



We met the nicest soul during our boat trip. He brought us around, told us about the area and even stopped by this beach to tell us about the colour chalks and drew them on my face haha. Can't really see it but he drew on my face :)

It was such a humbling and refreshing experience.

The drive home was so scenic. Definitely want to go back to Taman Negara again.

Simplicity at its best.

Sungai Lembing

So, I'd probably will have a few post ahead (Was inspired to blog again after reading Penny's blog haha)

Last year in August, a few of us Ohana went for a trip! It was soooo nice and special :) We really bonded and created so many precious memory together; though I am sure now I have forgotten half of it since it's been a year!

This was a trip for SV and JP since they were leaving to study abroad and we probably won't have another chance to go on a trip with the Ohana (or at least in a big number) for a while. Thinking about it now, everyone is everywhere! But it's so nice to know that wherever you go, a part of home is there to welcome you! Hehe :) I honestly can't wait for that day where we reunited and share our stories. It'll be so amazing to see the growth for each of us individually and in a whole :)

So, for the trip, Hui Wen's driver was so kind to drive us all the way to Kuantan and drop us off. It was a long ride, but the company made it fun and interesting.



And we have arrived! Checked into our accommodation and started exploring this small quaint town. Sungai Lembing is definitely my favourite little place to be. I've been there so many times yet there's always something new to discover each time.

We went to the suspended bridge, walked around and decided to rent a bicycle. It was so fun riding around Sungai Lembing :)

Super yummy homemade noodle!


This uncle was so lovely. We had durian after our meal. It was goooood.

❤❤❤

The next morning, we woke up super early for the rainbow waterfall. Still one of the most magnificent waterfall I've been to.

There were quite a lot of people on that day. But it was alright :) We caught the sunrise before continuing our journey to the hike.

Look at the amount of people! Haha, we spent an hour or two there. Hui Wen and I just sat by the rocks while the others swam in the waterfall. It never fail to astound me how beautiful nature is :)

A tree fell on our way back from the waterfall. It was so nice to see everyone working together to chop the trees.

This was the heartiest meal.

We had bak kut teh and heart to heart talk on the last night of our stay. I loved it so much. We got to share, listen and just bond with each other. I love these people :)

*I probably missed out a lot of things in between but that's what happen when you blog about it one year later*