Friday, September 27, 2013

3 Days into Twenty

Keeping with tradition, I will now blog sometime-around-my-birthday because after scrolling through my past blogpost, I have a little bit of a tendency.

It's Friday, and I'm three days into 20. TWENTY TWENTY TWENTY WENTY TWENTY TWENTYWENTY TWENTY TWENTYWENTY TWENTY TWENTYWENTY TWENTY TWENTYWENTY TWENTY TWENTYWENTY TWENTY TWENTYWENTY TWENTY TWENTYWENTY TWENTY TWENTYWENTY TWENTY TWENTYWENTY TWENTY TWENTYWENTY TWENTY TWENTYWENTY TWENTY TWENTYWENTY TWENTY TWENTYvWENTY TWENTY TWENTYWENTY TWENTY TWENTYWENTY TWENTY TWENTYWENTY TWENTY TWENTY.

Bet you now the word looks weird. Same way it feels weird to me.















Veron left in the morning, and I sat in Starbucks after she left spending time with C.S Lewis. After a bit, I felt lonely. I thought about Ching's message to me just before midnight and felt warmed in my heart. To warm it even more and remind myself to stop being a sob, I told Leo the busker I met in the Orchard-Far East underpass to "please sing a song for me, it's my birthday", and so he did. Instead of singing just the usual birthday song however, he sang a song about how I was like a storm in the desert, how I was like a sleepy blue ocean, and a walk in the rain... it was somewhere around the "storm in the desert" where my eyes couldn't hold all the water in any more and started leaking like a broken tap.

The song is called Annie's Song by John Denver (I googled it) and he transited into the usual happy birthday song after wrenching up heart out and pouring in steaming Sara-made chai. My heart was bursting, and I felt filled with God's love from a stranger.


As Chings pointed out, I tend to overthink on my birthdays, I tend to question friendships and life and existence and meaning of things and it gets me down.

Somehow, though, God has a funny way of doing things. He forces, FORCES me to remember that no matter how much I want to protect myself from the love of my friends, no matter how little I want to vulnerable and to accept less love so I don't feel so vulnerable, he doesn't let me. I don't want to grow up and start to be cynical about birthdays and think that it's a social exchange where if we celebrate yours, then you'll celebrate mine... I want to remain in my childish notion of joy and love and friendships, but I do realise it's not going to be easy to maintain birthday celebrations with friends forever. But we will try. And we will fail, but the effort counts for something, and the memories, perhaps, even more.

My beautiful god-siblings Aly and Drey blow out my candles for me after we have a scrumptious dinner prepared by my darling Aunty Yeni. She even used little green-tea chocolates on my cake because my favourite colour is green.


Halfway through the cake cutting, the door bell rings and Moses pops out from behind the door with a most cheeky grin on plastered unto his face and I stare at him for a few moments and then from behind him pops Kim, Mike and Bel and I don't really know what to say. God is so crazy for bringing these people into my life, and reminding me of his blessings all on one day, that I feel kind of that I owe him a great deal. 


Mei: Jie!! Look at the moon tonight! It looks awesome!
Me: Huh? But Mid Autumn festival is over. (Runs to the balcony nonetheless)
If there is a moon out there that gives a girl cause for joy, then this was it.
Me: (speechless)







I receive love from all corners there is no where to hide from all the love that strikes my heart. I am so grateful and guilty and terribly bad to receiving all this love, Starbucks and a opportunity to read C.S Lewis to him from Niraj, a beautiful card from Cara which made me feel awfully happy, a heartfelt note from Bobbies, Mel, Carmen, Theo, WJ. Reg and my Fairy Godmother... 

Without having had my friends come over, I know that they love me.

In the words of Henri Nouwen,
A friend is that other person with whom we can share our solitude, our silence, and our prayer. A friend is that other person with whom we can look at a tree and say, "Isn't that beautiful," or sit on the beach and silently watch the sun disappear under the horizon. With a friend we don't have to say or do something special. With a friend we can be still and know that God is there with both of us.” 















Thank you dear Lord, for the blessings of my friends, who show me how to be vulnerable when I don't necessarily want to. Thank you for my neighbours and my parents and my siblings and my grandfather and my Aunty who are representations of how you love me-- without reserve. Lord teach me to properly respond to these gifts of love. Teach me to do better in being a friend, a sister, a daughter, a neighbour, a student, a leader and most importantly, a child of god.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Something In the Wind Had Learnt My Name

Dear Lord,
Today was a really confusing day. I don't have my diary with me, but I think blogging again gives me a sense of relief. It's been a long time blogging and typing on a blank sheet of paper is, as a say again, really cathartic. To just type and type and type and not think too much.

I've been thinking so much my brain is going to explode.

Today, dear Lord, I went for a wonderful karaoke session with James, Jo, Bel, Kim, Marian, Veron, Mike and Rachel at the NTU graduate club. Lord, thank you for brining such wonderfully loving people into my life. I am really grateful. When we sang When We Believe and Top of the World, I felt the sense of... is it transcendence? We talked about this, Han Jie and I.

This morning, I awoke to Marian's sleeping face on the floor on my hostel and it was wonderful. She is such an inspiration to me. Then I tried to plan my time better using Covey's 7 effective habits.

The last two weeks of have been the first time I've studied for about one and a half years. There are new friends, and old friends and new commitments and old commitments and balancing catechism class, with readings, with homework, with friendships, with family, with being healthy is quite a challenge. Talking about it Mom sometimes makes me feel like everything I don't want to think about comes back up to the surface. Mom makes me think about everything I don't want to think about and forces me to weigh both sides of the story and not avoid and escape everything I don't like to think about. I really love for her that, even though when I'm talking to her, it's difficult to control my emotions.

I'm growing and stretching and changing and my heart feels like it's being pounded upon by some invisible force, sometimes. I feel that some of the decisions I have to make wear me out and make my soul tired. I believe though, that something in the wind has not only learnt my name, but always knew it. I know that through my decision making, my thought processes, the tremendous workload, the feeling of inadequacy, the tension between having carefree fun and the tremendous weight of the responsibility of being alive, of part of the human race, of being a child of you, God. It makes me think hard.

That being said, God, please grant me wisdom that I might always listen to you and choose wisely in everything I do. Lord, I pray that you give me the strength to study hard, be a loving sister, daughter, friend, and student. I feel your joy seeping through me, through Mei's beautiful prayer for me, through all the people around me, Deens, Marian, Jo, James, Mike (who fetched us all over), Carmen, Vania, Tara... Lord, you are so amazing. Teach me to fall in love with you again-- I got tired, Lord and I didn't remember all the dazzling things you have blessed me with.

Lord, I want to be more reflective and record down my feelings on school and friends and Yale more detailed. Lord help me to have enough discipline to exercise, to love, to study, to be a good friend, to set meaningful goals, and win small battles for you every. single. day. Lord, thank you for being with me the last two weeks and bringing Gracey, Vania, Carmen, Chen Xi, Regina, Michelle, and Wei Jie, and Sanjana, Jon, Adrian, Carissa, Janel, Mariel, Mei, Charlotte into my life. Thank you for Rector McAdoo, Rector Lage-Otero, and my Professors, Prof Liu, Prof Gould, Prof Kua, and Prof Paul. They are such wonderful lecturers and seminar leaders. Lord, help me to learn from them, and work hard not to make sure they like me, but to love and respect them by doing the work they assign us well, and approach them for help and let them show me your love.

Lord, I love you. Tomorrow is a whole new day! My challenge is to wake up at 730, revise the lesson plan, and then be in church by 845. Small battles to win for you!

Love,
Amanda

Friday, July 19, 2013

YALE MMXIII
I think I must not have blogged in a year already. It's nice to come back to a place where I used to express my thoughts all the time. It feels comfortable. It feels nice (: 

I'm doing a few things concurrently now- typing, listening to Lisztomania and sweating out of my pores. I know only pigs sweat and we perspire but I feel like "perspire" is too mild a word for the dampness that is pooling under my arms. 

It's been 7 days at Yale, Berkeley College. It's been another 7 days in NUS's RC4. What began as surreal has begun to become a throbbing rhythm of life. I can't believe it's happened so quickly. Yesterday, I only had 2 hours of sleep because Daniel introduced me to this ridiculously amazing application called The Brain and I got caught up in trying to figure it out that I slept too late. 


Right now I'm standing in my dorm room which has no air-conditioning or fan but is pretty cooling because the night air is nice. My window is small, but overlooks the lawn and the big tree and the wind that comes through makes my heart skip a little. 
New Haven in general is very archaic and gorgeous. I felt very overwhelmed and bowled over by its immense beauty and grandeur. In fact, on my first day, I felt so completely spellbound that I literally couldn't function properly and felt confused and weirdly upset. All the buildings in Yale are modelled after the big brick-and-limestone + archways + cloisters + sprawling square lawns of Oxbridge. The entire place looks like a sprawling castle district with its intricately patterned gates, delicately designed stairwells, high, looming ceilings, and towering, gothic architecture. It has a kind of magnificence that makes me helpless with awe, such that I feel, firstly, deeply regretful at the fact that I will have to leave in 3 weeks, secondly, that I am so incredibly fortunate to being able to see and live in all of it, and lastly, an annoyingly persistent itch to take pictures of everything. 
Today, I woke up at about 7am and rolled off my oddly high bed. My bed is as high as my shoulder and I have to slide off it every morning. Breakfast is at the dining hall where the food is too good to be true. This morning I had scrambled eggs with french toast, salad and cereal. The cereal bar is too good to be true, theres a daily selection of 10 different types of cereal, a choice of skim/lowfat milk, and soy milk. I make a brisk-dash- sorta thing to the bus and we go off to Mystic Seaport.  
If I had to describe today with a song, it would be the Sound of Music with some alterations to the lyrics
"I'm barely alive, with the scorching sunshine."
Heat aside, though, I learnt an awesome song from Mr Saito, and also that Manas is incredibly good to memorising things. Sean taught us the theme song for Totoro- and I struggled my way through it like a floundering pre-schooler which Manas went like a train. Geniuses. 
Mystic Seaport was a great experience. We met this man called Rob Robertson who told us about Connecticut back in the 1800s, and how they would use too-heavy guns to fire deadly, explosive harpoons at whales. He was incredibly nice and let us handle the giant brass antique without even blinking. 
I also learn how ropes are made and I am deeply impressed by the amount of accuracy that goes into the making of one rope. One wrong hole and the whole rope would be messed up. Then we went to try our hand at rowing, and also leant how the olden-day pirates used archaic navigation tools like the sextet and night-compasses, together with the north star. 
It was altogether a really awesome day-- I'm bummed that I didn't get to try my hand at tango and improv, though. I'm really too exhausted today. Well, maybe tomorrow!

So long for now!