jubilee project picture perfect

Tuesday’s Tale: Picture Perfect

I cried.

Life is full of surprises and adventures, but sometimes it’s the seemingly ordinary moments that make life special. Picture Perfect is a tribute to those little moments and a reminder to cherish each and every day. We produced this short film in support of Leukemia awareness…

- Jubilee Project

Guessing by the guy’s body language and the storyline, I have known from the first minute of watching that the girl’s died. Ever since I realised that, I cried for the next six minutes while the guy is reminiscing their perfect moments, because I know she’s gone.

Beautiful story, beautiful cinematography, and beautiful lesson. I’ll always be a fan of Jubilee Project.

old-couple

Saturday’s Story: Oh, how I loved her

written by Hanoch McCarty, Ed. D., published on Chicken Soup for the Soul

The clergyman was finishing the graveside service. Suddenly, the 78-year-old man whose wife of 50 years had just died began screaming in a thick accent, “Oh, oh, oh, how I loved her!”

His mournful wail interrupted the dignified quiet of the ceremony. The other family and friends standing around the grave looked shocked and embarrassed. His grown children, blushing, tried to shush their father.

“It’s okay, Dad; we understand, Shush.”

The old man stared fixedly at the casket lowering slowly into the grave. The clergyman went on. Finishing, he invited the family to shovel some dirt onto the coffin as a mark of the finality of death. Each, in turn, did so with the exception of the old man.

“Oh, how I loved her!” he moaned loudly. His daughter and two sons again tried to restrain him, but he continued, “I loved her!”

Now, as the rest of those gathered around began leaving the grave, the old man stubbornly resisted. He stayed, staring into the grave. The clergyman approached. “I know how you must feel, but it’s time to leave. We all must leave and go on with life.”

“Oh, how I loved her!” the old man moaned, miserably.

“You don’t understand,” he said to the clergyman, “I almost told her once.”

Maybe one day, I can be the next JK Rowling.

What I want to be

After two and a half years of uni, I have finally decided what I want to be. I want to be a writer.

Declaring it publicly is much cooler than saying it to yourself. And now, I’ll try to fulfill my dreams because I have made the choice.

I want to write.

The decision is not an easy one to make, especially when you know that you are not that good. But good is relative. I’m already a writer, it’s just up to me to become a better one.

The realisation came to me two days ago when I was interning at the hospital. Torn between psychology and media for all these years, I vowed to make the decision after I finished my internship. Now, I know. Psychology, with all its charm, is just not for me.

Maybe one day, I can be the next JK Rowling.

When it all started

Choosing to study Bachelor of Arts is a pure accident. Or I should really say, a pure gut-feeling. While having been admitted to Bachelor of Biomedicine in Melbourne University, one day before the application closed I decided to switch to Bachelor of Arts, thinking that this way, I would be able to pursue my interest in the media, as well as keeping my science background to live in Psychology.

I wasn’t thinking of writing, though. I have never thought of writing. The reason why I chose media is because I used to give a good presentation. I’ve done a few public speeches, including my senior high graduation speech, and I feel like studying PR, work in a television company, and become a presenter.

The reason why I decided to do a double major with Psychology, is basically because I’m interested in humans. I have always been an emotional being, and studying Psychology, in my opinion, would enable me to know humans better.

To some extent, it’s true.

Then, I fall in love with blogging, and I found out that I actually can write. Joining Meld and becoming its journalist / columnist is one of the best choices that I’ve ever made in life, and from there I learned a lot of things, more than university could ever teach me.

I told my friend the other day that even though I am doing some journalism classes in uni, it feels like because I’ve learned how to write in Meld and thus I’m able to do the pieces for uni, and not the other way around. Clearly, without Meld, I wouldn’t even pass my journalism subjects.

From here, to there

Of course, from now on, it would be a rocky path. But it would make me happy. I don’t even realise how many hours I’ve spent on deluging the news, browsing on writing articles on my iPad every night, and trying to improve my blog every day. My significant other is right. He told me that I have always been more passionate about writing, yet doubting myself for the fear of falling.

But what is life without a few risks, aye?

Now what?

There is one point that I would like to say: the years I’ve spent learning everything else are not wasted at all.

Why, you may ask?

Because I need to know for sure. Without really trying everything (learning science, psychology, marketing, and even business), I wouldn’t be as confident as now to declare that I want to pursue a career in writing. They are all merely telling me that those things are not what I want to do for life. My path lies somewhere else.

And as much as I love Psychology, I am not the type to work in an office, diligently editing research papers and organise a bunch of others. I hate the paperworks. Clinical work, even as awesome as it may sound, is just not me. One on one consultation using some theories that are too complicated to be understood is just not my style. As a writer, it’s always been my job to simplify things, not making them more complex.

I still have to finish uni, of course. But as I’ve decided which path to take, my learning would be more focused, and hopefully, more fruitful.

My biggest dreams:

1. Write a novel that would be adapted into a movie

2. Become a well-known columnist (not journalist)

3. Open a cafe that publishes a monthly broadsheet

4. Live a great story, and write it down

rebound relationship

Rebound: Only this isn’t basketball, it’s relationships

Published on Meld Magazine last week!

IT’S funny  just how heartless we can be when our hearts are broken. Marcella Purnama reflects on the pain of being a rebound and feeling like a distraction until someone better comes along.

The only thing sadder than being the “other” person in a relationship, is being someone’s rebound. And no – I’m not talking about basketball.

My first experience with being a rebound was in the short period between a farewell party for a friend leaving for Bali (a trip I didn’t end up going on for various reasons, but that’s a different story) and my end-of-school prom night.

The man in question had been my best friend since junior high – right up until he got together with this girl in senior high. Our friendship had crumbled.

But when he broke up with his girlfriend and prom night drew closer, we found ourselves reconciling at the goodbye party.

To my utter disbelief, he then left me a bouquet of roses, complete with a love poem, in front of my house on prom night shortly after – gifts I didn’t discover until the next morning.

While I didn’t really expect the roses or the poems, I knew something was up. I’d heard way too many stories of boys acting strangely after a breakup to take this as just a sweet gesture.

A few days later, he left on his end-of-school trip, leaving me alone with my confusion.

But it didn’t take long for the gossip mill and the miracle of technology to bring me the news: he’d gotten back together with his girlfriend.

Just in case you were wondering, and if you have been following my relationship columns, this is the guy in “My friend, you have been dumped“.

Suffice to say I was shocked. Never before had a guy acted amorously towards me, only to get back with another girl. But as far as first rebound experiences go, I’d say I got off easy. I mean I didn’t even become emotionally attached to him or anything.

But it was crazy to see what a guy can do during his relationship “mourning period”. And I did learn an important lesson from the whole thing  – if any of your friends of the opposite sex have just experienced a breakup, never, ever, and I mean, never, try to get close to them, even if it’s just out of genuine sympathy to cheer them up. Let their mates of the same sex do that.

Now if I had only taken my own advice…

My second rebound experience was completely different story. To say the least, it was a bit dramatic. Here’s the fairy tale version:

Once upon a time, there lived the gorgeous, stunning and feminine Princess B. Many handsome, young princes had approached her for her hand, but in the end, it was Prince A from a faraway land that got the honour of being her partner.

After being together for quite some time, Prince A knew in his heart that he wanted to be with her forever. One day, he got down on one knee and asked her to marry him. She said yes.

But not long after that, Princess B started to have second thoughts. She decided to flee from the impending nuptials. Feeling betrayed, Prince A jumped off the cliff into depression. With Princess B nowhere in sight, his friend, Commoner M, tried to heroically save him from the pit of gloom.

Suddenly, Prince A became unusually nice, giving Commoner M signals that he was interested. She picked up on these signals but while she was interested in Prince A, fate had a mind of her own. Commoner M chose not to show Prince A how she felt. Instead she disappeared and let the two royal highnesses got back together again – as she knew they would – but it hurt like hell to do it.

Well, I don’t even know what to say about that. Don’t play with fire or it will burn you, maybe?

I guess I should have learnt my lesson the first time around. Being someone else’s rebound can be really painful. You feel used and unwanted, like you’re just there to distract the person until someone better comes along.

But if I ended this article by just bemoaning the terrible experiences I’ve had being a rebound, I’d be a hypocrite.

I’ve been on the other side before.

I remember making someone my own rebound. I’m not proud of it, but it’s the truth.

I was in junior high at that time and in puppy love with a senior. After a short courting period, he gradually made his exit. Someone else tried to court me shortly after, while I was still in my mourning period.

Guess what happened next?

But… my record of being someone’s rebound and making someone my rebound is still two to one – so I guess I’m forgiven, right?

Well, maybe not.

It’s crazy, really crazy, what we can do when we’re broken-hearted. But it’s even crazier for me to think that I can try to cheer my friends up who’ve been through the same ordeal, or try to distinguish between love and loneliness, when I’ve been guilty of being on the other side.

Have you ever been someone’s rebound? Have you ever made someone yours? Share your experiences with us below.

friendship_love

What do Adam descendants think about Platonic relationship?

This is a guest post by a friend of mine of the opposite sex, Eddie Mnt. After reading my article on Do you believe in platonic relationship?, Eddie decided to share his perspective on the matter. Check it out, it’s a beautiful read (and totally worth the time).

Platonic relationships: The concept or idea that a male and a female can maintain a deep and meaningful relationship that is not consumed by intimacy or romance.

Many of us would like to think such a relationship exists. Many of us would like to think that we can be completely open to the opposite sex and not worry about them wanting to become more than what they have.

But in reality, there is usually one side of the party who wishes to become more than friends, somewhere down the road of the relationship. This cannot be helped, as men and women were created to be naturally attracted to each other, it is in our human nature.

It is very naive to believe from the start that a male and a female can go into a platonic friendship and maintain such a relationship on the same level. Both males and females are created to act and think differently, and hence miscommunication through these actions can send different signals to both parties.

Men in general are very proud and like to provide, so a simple coffee shout may be misinterpreted by a lady friend: “He keeps paying for everything, does he like me?” Ladies by nature give off a friendly aurora, being cheerful and bright in their expression, on which can easily give the wrong signs to a male friend: “She keeps smiling my way, does she like me”

These unintentional mixed signals from either party may lead the other into thinking their friend ‘has feelings’ for them. One feeling leads to another and for most people, this platonic relationship either goes one of two ways: becoming partners or becoming strangers.

From my observation, I do not see many of people in a platonic relationship of this kind. People are either in groups of all females, all males, a well balanced mix, or coupled. It is a relationship that is uncommon and rarely produced, hence the reason why many people are skeptical if such a relationship truly exists.

On saying this, anything is possible. Or to be more correct, anything is probable.

I am a believer in platonic relationship and from my experience and observation, they existence dependent on what both the male and female want and value (which I’ll cover in three points below).

1. True Initial Intent: A platonic relationship with a pure intent beginning 

The reason why I am a believer in such a relationship is because most of my closest friends are female. It’s not that I do not have male friends, I do. With my male friends (in general), we hang out, chill, play games, watch movies and just relax. Rarely do we ever go into deep and meaning conversations, or if we do, our train of thought travels the same logical wavelength, confirming what I know (again in general).

With my female friends, whenever I open up, I get a different perception on the situation at hand, and I find it easier to openly talk to my female friends. Hence in my life I tend to hang out with more female friends in comparison to male friends.

This leads to my friends and family teasing me on having too many girl friends, which is humorous. Every time I go out to see a musical, a show, a movie, shop or to hang out, I would get one person asking, ‘Whose Eddie going out with?’, while another would answer, ‘I don’t know, one of his many girlfriends’. One of my friends that they would always tease me about was my best friend.

I met my best friend at my current work when I was 17, in a food court selling Chinese food. I don’t know how, but we hit it off straight away. Could be the fact that I made fun of her name, and she made fun of me. Work was always enjoyable where we talk about absolutely everything, from school, sports, TV, family and so forth.

I remember one time she pointed to a guy in the food court and told me she once had a crush on him. Recently, he told her that she was ‘HOT’. I laughed and walked away (note, that my best friend is drop dead beautiful). About an hour later when we were moving the food onto new trays, my best friend said to me ‘I’m Hot’.

Knowing exactly what she meant, I pick up a bundle of used trays, gave her a stare and walk right into the kitchen to wash the trays. A minute later she run into the kitchen and said, “No, I didn’t mean I’m ‘HOT’ hot. I mean I’m hot from changing trays”. I nodded my head and replied sarcastically, “Sure”. It was never work when she was around.

My best friend and I melded so well, everyone would ask, “Why don’t you ask her out?” Funny thing is, (and I can’t tell her) it never crossed my mind. I was completely content with our friendship – it was a marvelous thing.

I would call and bother her when I had nothing better to do. She would listen and tell me she was sick. I’d be over the next day with a get well card while accidentally meeting her dad (who scared the crap out of me). She would call me later telling me what her dad had to say, and we would both laugh at it. But from what I could recall, there was never a moment where we wanted more.

It could also be due to the fact when I was 17, I was chasing down my own Korean love story, giving roses to girls at highpoint, following a dream of regret leading me to an all girls school, whilst at school she was getting a lot of attention from many of the guys I knew who thought my best friend was, in their words, HOT.

When my best friend was asked by another guy to go out at the end of year 12, a lot of my friends and family questioned me, “Why didn’t you ask her out first?” and said “Eddie, you lost your chance”. I would laugh at them, because deep down I was happy that my best friend found someone she could always count on.The only down side was that I couldn’t always bother her as much as I use to.

A lot of the times I would call, ask what she was doing and say she’d answer she was on the phone with her boyfriend. I would laugh, tell her to tell him I love him and would talk to her another time. One time I called in between one of their call sessions and she answered the call with a “Hey Babe”, I replied in confusion “HEY BABE?”. She laughed her head off and hung up on me. I was on the floor laughing knowing that “Hey Babe” wasn’t for me.

But although things did change a little, as they do when friends find a partner, my best friend always did make time to listen to my crazy stories. And on the rare occasion she needed someone to talk to about her relationship, I’d always pick the call and talk, talk, talk to keep her mind off the matter. And frequently I would steal her boyfriend and take him out to see a movie or pizza and she would complain to her girlfriends that I took him on a date.

Without being too naive, what made our platonic friendship work from the very beginning is that we got to know each other so well, and we valued who each other were. She knew if I got her a rose from Valentine’s Day, it was out my friendship, or I was feeling rich that day. I knew if she got me a toy lightsaber, it because she felt bad about forgetting my birthday for the 1st time ever (plus, I was having a semi mid life crisis).

From the beginning, we both knew our gifts, laughs, calls, smiles, talks were all pure at heart with no misconception. Our relationship started with the pure intent of creating a platonic relationship. As we grew, so did our values in each other, what we both meant to one another.

It is a relationship that is one of a kind, a relationship that is one I will cherish forever.

2. Force of situation: A platonic relationship built from unforeseen circumstances

Of course you get your skeptics. Times where I tell people how my relationship with my best friend came to be, I get the odd one or two individuals who do not believe that my platonic relationship was founded from the beginning, but was produced due to the fact that she became someone else girlfriend before she could became mine.

Because of this result, these individuals insist that if she was never taken I would have asked her out, due to human nature of attraction or yearning to be or have more. But due to the situation at hand, the only outcome between my best friend and I was a relationship of the platonic nature. Which I agree is a valued point and very logical.

These individuals, though skeptics, do believe in platonic relationship. They believe it can only be developed in two different ways: a couple who have dated, broken up and have remained close friends or, as mentioned above, one of the pairs are taken and the couple can only resort in a platonic relationship.

Again it comes back to what these individuals value and what they want from such a relationship.

I would personally say a platonic relationship occurring after two people have dated, is just as rare as two people becoming platonic from the very beginning. Not saying it doesn’t happen, it is just I haven’t seen anyone I know maintain a friendship with someone they have dated with, mainly because it is HARD to start over.

The idea is that both men and women are attracted to each other, human nature. Only once you have past that attraction, through become a couple, the two of you can create a platonic relationship. It is because the two have reached that level of attraction and decide to lay it to rest, which allows the two to enter a platonic relationship with no worries of any other feelings arising.

Even with these skeptic individuals that question my relationship, I question them whether they still stay in contact with their past partners. Of course to win, they argument they say they do, but from what I see, the most contact they have with their past partner is having them as a contact on their phone.

Like any relationship, it ends due to people changing, not valuing the relationship they have or two people growing out of the relationship (that goes to for platonic as well). Once a relationship has ended, it is HARD to restart it (hard, not impossible).

The only couple I can think of who have maintained a platonic relationship after their romantic one ended is Ted and Robin from the TV show ‘How I Met Your Mother’. Even then, Ted still held deep feelings after they broke up in season two all the way up to the end so season eight, where Ted realized it better to have Robin as a friend than not have her in his life at all (which comes back to what he values).

It is a nice idea that two people can be so close after being so intermittent. I hope one day that, if this situation comes my way, I can maintain a relationship like theirs.

Although the skeptics could not win me over on the concept of a platonic relationship after dating (in reality), I will say it is a stronger argument, compared to the concept of entering a platonic relationship only due to one of the pair being in a romantic relationship.

Using my relationship with my best friend, I can tickle the thought that if she never was asked out, I may have asked her out. She is funny, quirky, and beautiful with a wonderful heart. But due to the fact I was to slow to pop the question, she became romantically involved with another. This either leaves me in one of two possible positions to choose to be in. I could stay and be a part of her life as a friend or leave and not have her in my life unless she was my partner.

The question here is, “What do I do?” Do I become distance and pull back from our friendship because I can’t stand the thought of her with someone else? Or should I remain friends and just continue to hide my feelings?

I have seen many males (or females) end their friendship with their female (or male) friend, for they find it too hard to stay friend when they do harbour feeling for them. Or they cannot stand not being the one who is not the partner. Which is perfectly fine, for it is hard to be around someone you care about and not have the same feelings returned.

I have seen others who stick around as a friend. Announcing that they are ‘only’ friends, to hide their feelings, hoping that one day that the friend they have harboured feelings for will eventually feel the same. Personally I think this is an unhealthy way of living and is not the same as a platonic relationship, and begs the question why be in any relationship if you both don’t value each other the same?

Again this concept can work dependent on what each individual values. If you either decide to end the relationship or hide in it within, I would ask, how much did you actually like this individual? I would assume very little from the result.

I admire people who go in and fight for what they want, even if they outcome is not favourable their way. Even then, if the outcome does not go your way, I would ask, how much do you like this individual? What is their value or importance to you?

A platonic relationship can be created here, it all depends on the individuals answer on ‘what do I do?’ Most people would end it, hide from it. Some people would fight for it. But rarely, people would ask themselves, “Do I stay as a friend with her (or him), because she (or he) matters to me?”

It comes down to: “Do I value this person enough, to keep them around, to stay in their life, because what we have matters, because they are important?” It is a simple question of do you want this person in your life, regardless of relationship status, for this is the major building block for not only platonic or romantic, but any relationship.

3. Growth from fall: A platonic relationship

During my university life, I was lucky enough to study for one semester in South Korea. It was fantastic experience, one I will never forget. I went to many places, ate so many different types of food, experience a wonderful culture and meet some unforgettable people, one in particular person whom I will always cherish and who taught me the value of an individual and our relationship.

This friend I met in Korea amazed me from the first moment we exchanged smiles to whenever we hung out eating or studying. In a short time frame before I knew it, we became really close friend talking about life at home, work studies, Korean stars, food, movies, everything.

And not long after that, I started to really crush on her. She was fun, entertaining, smart, cute and had a fantastic energy. Why wouldn’t anyone crush on her?

My crush got so bad I couldn’t think straight and would wake up in the middle of the night to run it off. I got to the point where I had to make the decision, to contain my feelings or let her know.

Knowing that telling her how I felt would end our fantastic friendship, I was caught in a major dilemma. It was a gamble of, do I want to sacrifice our friendship for a slim chance we might become more?

Ninety-nine per cent of me knew the odds were not in my favour and that it was better I hold my feelings back. But that one per cent of me had to take a chance, to get the feeling off my chest. My thoughts at this point were regardless of the come out, becoming a couple or ending our friendship, I want her to know that I care and where I stand, which I was content with.

So when I got finally got the chance to be with her only after mid terms, I gave her a gift she had been wanting and a note telling her I liked her and then disappeared (I needed to catch a train). About a week after, when we had time to again to ourselves away from our group of friends, she thanked me for the gift, but told me she felt bad, because I got her something so wonderful, and yet she had nothing to give back (sweetest rejection I have ever gotten). I smiled and told her, it was not about getting something in return, but about letting her know. She smiled and said thank you.

From that day on, I chose to keep my distance from her to give her space, or myself space. It was unintentional, but I pushed her ever so slowly away for I couldn’t see us being friends. Not that I didn’t want us to, I did, it was I just didn’t know how and I didn’t know if her still wanted to be. I took a gamble and I lost, but I was content and at peace.

But out of sheer randomness, for our group Secret Santa, out of all the people to have gotten me, she did. I was hoping she wouldn’t, but she did. And the gift that she got me was one of the best I had ever received. It was a photo collage of all our friends and outings in Korea and a short passage from her saying thank you for everything.

But what touched me the most was her card, it had a photo of her and I on the cover and inside a message, in short it read ‘I’m sorry if I hurt you, but I still want you as my friend’. Right after reading her card, I went up to her hugged her and I could feel her tears roll down her cheeks onto my shoulders.

From that moment, I realized that there was a third outcome. We didn’t enter a romantic relationship, we didn’t end our friendship, we built on it can created a better and stronger one. This happen because, even though she didn’t feel the same way about me, she still wanted me in her life.

And although she didn’t become my partner, I still wanted her in my life. It’s because for both of us, no matter the relationship, we wanted each other in our lives.

There is a part of me that values her so much and I am very grateful that the relationship between her and I has bloomed into a beyond fantastic friendship. Six months after that, I met her in New York city and we had an AWESOME two weeks hang out as great friends.

Do you believe in platonic relationship?

And that is what lies at the core of a true platonic relationship. The ability to value someone for who they are and the desire to maintain them in your life.

If both male and female can see why they value each other and want each other in their lives, regardless of post-dating, dating, confession or after break up, if both people mean enough to each other, they will find a way to make a true platonic friendship work.

Just like Ted Mosby and Robin, although they dated, broke up and Ted confess his feelings for Robin again and she turned him down, he realized it is better to have her in his life than without. Ted realized the importance and value of Robin in his world.

With my best friend, I know how important she is to me and I am grateful for how our relationship has fallen into place.

But in hind sight, if I look back on what could have been, I can see myself asking her out in high school and seeing us going down the aisle. I can see us going out, not working out and still remaining close friends. Because whatever the scenario, I know how important she is to me and I know I would do all I can to keep her in my life until.

With both of my best friend and my friend I met in Korea, I can picture a future with them, because they have qualities I look for in a partner, because at the end of it, your partner that you end up with, will be your best friend. And even thought they will never be my partner, they are both important to me and I value what they bring into my life.

lady in taxi

A sweet lesson on patience.

by Homestead survival

A NYC Taxi driver wrote:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her.. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’

‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive through downtown?’

‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly..

‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice..’The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired.Let’s go now’.

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

‘How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her purse.

‘Nothing,’ I said

‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.

‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light… Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

I know they look all nice in the photo and all that, but oh boy, they do give me pain...

Attitude problem: is it them, or me?

Sometimes we start blaming others for our problems, without really looking at our attitude. Maybe, the problem is not caused by them.

I know I do have some attitude problems. One, and the only one that I will talk about here, is that I HATE calling service center. I. Just. Simply. Hate. Calling. Them.

Just. Hate. It.

Earlier this semester I realised that my 3 (3 is a mobile network service in Australia) 24-month-contract would soon come to an end. I would finally be free from the dodgy 3 network service once and for all. Then I made what I thought of as a 5-minute-trip to the nearby 3 store. Oh boy, how wrong I was.

As 3 has merged its company with Vodafone, I have decided to just “migrate” to Vodafone: they are technically the same company now, but I heard that the network service by Vodafone is way much better. (muttering under my breath: how odd is it…)

So I went to the store, only to find out that I need all my passport details to do the migration. All was done after 20 minutes of queuing.

The next day, I went to the store the second time with my passport, asked for the migration to be done, and after waiting for 15 minutes for the queue and explaining everything, the store assistant finally managed my migration. After 10 minutes of trying to make everything ready, he suddenly asked his co-worker, “If you have an existing plan, and I go through with the migration now, would it mean starting a new 24-month-contract?”

I thought to myself, damn.

Yes, it turned out that I wouldn’t be able to the migration at that moment, and after wasting 40 minutes of my time, the store assistant gave me my most feared suggestion of all: “You should call the 3 service centre and ask them to do it for you.”

Damn.

I know I have some bad experiences with service centers. It is just so long to reach a live person who can handle my problem. Plus, you wouldn’t really sure on which option to choose. Oh, it’s for my mobile service, so is it 1? Then it’s about a plan, so is it option 3? Oh no, I don’t want to start a new plan, this is horrible, I just want an assistant to talk to me so that I can tell my personal matter straightaway!

And 40 minutes later, you finally got a hold of a real person. Like, someone who talks literally like a human being.

I know they look all nice in the photo and all that, but oh boy, they do give me pain...

So after giving 3 a call, and after reaching a real live person in about 20 minutes, I explained my situation, and yup, granted, I would able to migrate to Vodafone. However, there was another problem.

When I first started a contract with 3, I was underage (not yet 18 at that time). Thus, 3 asked me to use my sister’s (or guardian’s) name instead of mine. So here was the thing: I need to change the registered name from my sister’s to mine first, before going through with the migration.

After 30ish minutes, I hung up. Why? Because my sister wasn’t there, and the person needed to talk to my sister to give her permission about the name changing.

Long story short, a couple of days later I called the 3 service again, now, with my sister sitting beside me. We went through all the procedures, and my sister talked to the call centre person. Yep, more procedures, more rules, and 60 minutes later finally the caller asked me for my passport details and home address to complete the last point of the lengthy procedure. Finally, the worst part was over.

Well, I was not even close.

After all was done, the service clerk explained that the migration needed a month’s time to be done (okay, why didn’t you tell me earlier?). I told her then, “Oh, but could you manage my migration to Vodafone first so that I would able to change plan from the $49 cap to $19 cap in two weeks, just because my 24-month-contract would be ending soon?”

In the nicest go-to-hell tone ever, she said, “Oh, you didn’t tell me earlier, all’s processed and you can’t change anything until it’s done.”

Dot. Dot. Dot.

So I was stuck with 3 for another month, I needed to pay for a month’s extra plan, I couldn’t even migrate to Vodafone, which literally IS the same company with 3, and I have wasted so many hours just to change my sister’s registered name to mine. It should be (I believe) something that can be managed over a short period of time on the store.

So after thanking her (I’ve really, really, really tried to become a good customer, okay?), I hung up, and literally almost cried to my sister. Not only I have invested too much time, both in phone and real life, in managing my stupid phone plan, I was getting nowhere.

Right after my contract ended, this very, very unsatisfied, hot-blooded customer migrated to TPG. No more 3. Heck, I don’t even believe in Vodafone now. I paid a $9.99 plan, with exactly the same benefits as my $49 plan (minus the iPhone, of course). Not only it worked beautifully, the network connection is like 100x better than 3.

But on my way home today I listened to a podcast by Joyce Meyer. Do you know what she said?

1. You will always meet the same problem over and over and over and over again until you manage to go pass that stage.

Or in Joyce Meyer’s words: “You will keep meeting those people, until they no longer bother you.”

When I heard this sentence, I laughed (sarcastically) on the tram. Why? Because I have a recurring thing going on with service centers over and over and over and over again. Now I realised why it will always be there. Because I haven’t graduated from the problem.

2. When you are about to do something, and you already believe that it will go wrong, it will. You just have the wrong attitude.

And every time I am about to deal with any of those service centers, I admit that I have the wrong attitude. I believe that I will have some bad experiences, and even if there’s nothing wrong, I will think of something. Just for the sake of reassuring myself that those call service centers do have a problem.

So is it me, or those-poor-service-center-assistants-that-I-have-sworn-to-hate-until-death-do-us-apart? I would really, really like to say it’s them, or at least 90% them and 10% me, but okay, I’m done with thinking that way. It is me.

It is my attitude that gets in the way.

And until I’m able to change it, I will keep on facing annoying service center assistants, I can assure you that. And if I do not want to change, I will keep on facing those annoying service center assistants even more often, literally until death do us apart.

So next time I’m dealing with annoying service clerk, I will remember the sarcasm in Joyce Meyer’s voice, and remind myself that it is me, not them.

Ps. If you are interested in listening to the podcast, it’s titled Seven Characteristics of a Perfect Heart. You can access the Part 1 and Part 2 by clicking the links. The specific part that I said in this blog was in the Part 2 at around min 12.