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.

bike

Tomorrow

This is a day from the past, on which bittersweet memories have been forged and tried to be forgotten. But that day, she learned something else – she let go.

She had been laying awake for hours.

It was not her fault; she just couldn’t make herself to fall asleep. Too many thoughts came to her mind – unwanted thoughts.

She curled under her yellow polka dot blanket, and started to count to 100. It didn’t help.

The day would soon become tomorrow, and tomorrow would soon become another day. But not today. She thought, not today.

She glanced at the ceiling, but to no avail. It was pitch black there, what was the use of opening your eyes?

Groaning, she reached out for her cellphone on the bedside table.

It was 12 minutes to tomorrow.

She kicked her blanket, got up to her feet, turned on the lights, and started to search for something in her closet. Behind the pajamas and the colourful stack of clothes, she took out a small rectangular black box. She smiled sadly.

With the box in her hand, she began to walk back towards the bed. This is going to be a long night, she thought. She sat down, put the box on her lap, slowly removed the lid, and straightaway found two smiling faces staring back at her. A girl, who used to be her, and another boy, who used to be hers.

He was handsome, young, and athletic, or so she thought, and he was putting his left hand on her shoulder. They were standing in front of a decorated Christmas hut in a shopping mall, taken about four months before.

The girl studied the faces for a while, run her fingers on his face, bit her lips, and set the photo aside. She saw a letter that she received a year earlier, exactly on her 16th birthday. It was just another ordinary birthday card, but for her, it was enough. Her vision was blurred by then, and she couldn’t read what the words were.

She put the card back into the envelope, and set it aside.

Then she saw it – a stainless steel ring that used to stay on her right index finger no matter what, engraved with her name, the name of the boy in the picture, and a heart shape.

Now, she was struggling to breathe.

Six months ago, the boy and the girl went to a Disney on Ice show, together with their friends. They laughed, took pictures, sat next to each other, and had a good time. After dinner, he suddenly took her hand and slipped the ring into her finger.

She was surprised and happy, and so was he.

Suddenly, the sound of her cell phone caught her off-guard. A phone call from her best friend at exactly 12am. She was officially 17.

After trying to hide her betrayed voice, saying thank you, and pretending to call it a night, she put her phone on silent mode. Tossing the phone aside, she returned her gaze back to the box.

More photos.

One was taken when they were in the car, on their way home from a badminton practice. Both were in the school’s team, although at first she won against him, in time he showed his strength and he won against her. They loved badminton, watched tennis, and adored Federer. She liked vanilla ice-cream, he liked green-tea. And both loved Chinese songs.

The first time he met her, she was playing the piano for the school’s chapel. He looked at her, and thought, that must be a lonely, quiet girl. They met a couple of days later at a Badminton practice, and he fell for her.

Two years later, he got the girl.

After six months, she had fallen for him, hard, and he was suddenly gone.

She glanced at another picture of him, which was her favourite – him in a long-sleeved white shirt with vertical thin black stripes. He smiled tenderly, and now she remembered his love letters, his funny jokes, and his driving skills. Boy, he could drive, and he was a good one too. She remembered wearing his jacket, and how he liked the sight of it. She smiled, but it quickly disappeared as she was tossed back to the reality.

He was gone.

She closed her eyes, letting a tear fell down. She began to remember the fighting, the hard times reasoning with him, and his broken pride. His pride. She couldn’t do anything. She excelled in her studies, but he was just an average. She continued to say that it didn’t matter, for everyone had their own talents to be pursued for. But he never listened. He always thought of her as a shadow, chaining him wherever he went to, for people compared them, or so he thought.

She remembered his cold eyes when they met at school, and his short, unraveled chats. She remembered him wanting a break, followed by a demand for freedom, or so he said. Nothing happened, just lost feelings, he told her.

And he admitted that he had never been happier.

She let another tear fell. There was not a single statement of apology, not a single hint of cherishing their moments. Why do you chase me for two years, if you are going to run away?

She reached for her phone and looked at the clock, it was 12.24 am. Some birthday messages from her friends, but not him. Some missed calls from her closest friends, but not him. Now, she was angry.

Angry for broken promises, for letting herself opening her heart, for him going away. She could feel that sword called pride piercing through her heart, and she cursed it, hard.

After another silent treatment from the smiling faces that did nothing but stare back, she started blaming herself.

Was it my fault? Did I do something wrong? Have I loved him wrongly? And the questions went on. She began to replay every single memory – the hours they spent talking on the phone, the mornings when they did wake-up calls, the mini dates at the canteen after school, and her slipping notes in his wallet.

Feeling betrayed, she took his picture and started to hold it with her trembling fingers. She hesitated, for she just didn’t have the heart to rip it. At least, those memories were real.

The girl cried some more, and after looking at her cell phone blankly for what seemed like forever, waiting for a sign, the girl knew what she should have done months ago. She opened his messages, re-read the proofs of affections one more time, and with shaking hands she hit the button delete. Delete. Delete.

And as she wept silently, she prayed that she could delete the memories, delete the past, and delete the love.

But she couldn’t.

She used to say to him that he could be anything he wanted, if he just believed in himself.

But she knew she had to let him go, for he needed someone who would boost his pride, instead of wrecking it. And she needed someone who wanted to lay down his pride for her, instead of defending it.

She took one last long look at their picture, smiled, cried some more, and put it back into the box. She then made her way to her closet, turned off the lights, and went to bed.

As she curled under her yellow polka dot blanket, she prayed to God that she would fall asleep soon, knowing that at last, she had the courage to do the right thing.

And tomorrow, tomorrow, she’d walk with her head held high.

Postscript

There is a happier ending towards this story. Well, if you can consider three years later an ending, then yes, it should be one. The girl reconciled with her heart, and moved on, opening heart once more. She met that someone special two years later, and throughout the process she smiled because that night did happen – she would become a different person without it. The boy did seek for an apology some years after, and although they have went on separate ways, she wished him happiness.

Weekly Wraps

I have to admit, I haven’t been reading a lot lately. I have just realised that no matter how much I read and how much I take in, I would filter it. There’s no use of too much reading if in the end I’m not really implementing of what’s I’ve been reading.

(Is that a good excuse?)

Anyway, I only have two inspirational articles for you to read today, one is about journalism (yes, just because I’m studying and working as a journalist at the same time – and yes, I consider my voluntary internship as a job), and the other one is about relationship.

1. Forget That Survey. Here’s Why Journalism Is The Best Job Ever.

I feel like giving this author a big hug. Why? Because even though the reality says that being a journalist is a no-go:

  1. we would only be able to make quite low-to-average amount of money (and not a generous one),
  2. we would work to death as it is our baby – it’s our creativity and our own creation at stake, and
  3. we would bleed with no work insurance, just because it is such a competitive world,

we would still choose to be journalists.

First of all, our jobs require us to keep on learning, which is fun (most of the time), and yes, we would get paid to read a ton. Scrolling Twitter in the morning is justifiable, in fact it’s expected, just because we need to be plugged in.

We would meet interesting people, and not necessarily need to be celebrities. Interesting people are everywhere, but being a journalist gives you the VIP card to ask controversial questions which you would not even dare to ask your best friend. Cool.

Who says we are stressed? We are excited – which is somewhat true. I work with blood, tears, and sweat to finish a 10% worth assignment, while not really putting the same amount of effort for my 40% non-journalism ones. We are proud of our own creation, and we are willing to give everything we’ve got out there.

We will go places – and we will get that luxury of going to pre-screening movies and free tickets to events.

And – depending on how you see it, can be a blessing or a curse – we are constantly looking for stories, even when we are not working. And we took pride of being able to tell an ordinary story to become an extraordinary. Well, my motto is, everyone’s got a story worth telling. You just need to dig deeper to know it. And even if it’s a boring one, it’s a journalist’s job to figure out the angle and make it interesting.

But yes, being a journalist would cause so much drama.

2. Balancing Opposite Sex Friendships

This is the letter that I would write to myself at 16. If only I know, I wouldn’t have caused much heartbreaks.

Darling—no man, no matter how good of a friend he is to you, should be the one you confide in about all the turbulent places this world will take your sweet heart and mind.  He cannot be your validation when your self-esteem has been challenged, and he will not be able to speak into those inherent longings inside you that only a woman would understand.  Remember that who you need to be filled with is the One who made you, not the one standing in front of you. 

Have a great weekend all!

Tuesday’s Tale: More Than Money: The Good Life Parable

Success is not how much money you make, but how much time you spend with your closed ones, and how have much have you lived ‘the-good-life’ style.

So ask yourself the inevitable question: “Then, what?” What lies beyond getting famous, being a millionaire, and living what the world thinks as “the good life”?

If you’re too busy prioritising the wrong things, now it’s the time to start prioritising the right ones.

Happy Tuesday, and may you live the good life.

Weekly Wraps

1. The one trait every writer needs | The Daily Retory

Perseverance is the key.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s oft-quoted book Outliers, he asserts that it takes approximately 10,000 hours of doing a thing before the typical person becomes an expert at actually doing that thing.

So, don’t expect to become an expert writer until you’ve logged about 10,000 hours clacking away on a keyboard or scribbling on a legal pad. It takes time to hone your skill, but the best writers understand that and forge ahead.

Considering I write two hours every day, and the fact that I started writing regularly two years ago, it would take me 5,000 days, or 13 years to be an expert writer. So, 11 more years to go.

2. 10 Lessons Seth Godin Can Teach You About Blogging | Quicksprout

If you like blogging (yes, I know you do), read through this article. I don’t really agree to all the points (like the commenting or twitter part), but the other lessons are quite good!

3. What I Learned About To-Do Lists from My Eight-Year-Old Son | Michael Hyatt

My to-do-list always looks like this:

1. E-mail tutor/lecturer/Karen (my editor)/Sherryn (my mentor at RCH)
2. Read textbook for tomorrow’s lecture
3. Finish draft for assignment
4. Final editing essays
5. Submit lab report

How good it is if my to-do-list looks like this:

1. See the sunset
2. Drink coffee while reading a book
3. Smile to strangers
4. Say “I love you” to the people you care
5. Sing in the bathroom

4. “Why Me?” | MamaMia

A very heartbreaking read. Once in a while we ask the question, on which we do not really know the answer. It’s the same like asking, “Why good things happen to good people?”

If you find yourself uttering this question at the moment, there’s a quote that I want you to read. It’s by Randy Pausch – a lecturer, father to three kids, and a terrific public figure who lost the battle towards pancreatic cancer years ago:

We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.

Randy Pausch

5. 15 Ways to Live, and Not Merely Exist | Marc and Angel Hack Life

I love my life. That’s enough reason to justify why I want to keep on living, and not just existing. And this is my favourite tip from the article:

Be who you really are. – If you’re lucky enough to have something that makes you different from everybody else, don’t change.  Uniqueness is priceless.  In this crazy world that’s trying to make you like everyone else, find the courage to keep being your awesome self.  And when they laugh at you for being different, laugh back at them for being the same.  It takes a lot of courage to stand alone, but it’s worth it.  Being YOU is worth it!

Love it.

7. Why Should I Read Your Blog? | Jeff Goins Writer

Aha! Why should I read your blog? (or the question should be: Why should anyone read mine?) Before I can answer this question, it is fair enough to assume that no one should read my blog. Why? Because if the writer doesn’t even know the reason of why others need to read her writing, what’s the use of reading it?

So after thinking it through for a few minutes trying to give some fancy answers like because “I’m awesome”, or because “my writing will benefit others”, or  because “I have some specialised skills or knowledge” in certain topics, I realised that I didn’t really have any of those. My writing is just… honest. Let it be stories about my life, my experiences, my thoughts, and my mistakes, I have tried to write them with honesty.

And my readers can count on that.

So that’s why anyone should read my blog. Because whatever that you’re reading in this in an honest reflection of my life.

bragging

Tell the mirror, “Bragging is not cool, dude.”

Don’t brag about yourself, let others praise you.

Proverbs 27:2

You see, everyone hates people who brag. But people brag, right? I mean, name me one person who never brags about themselves. Well, maybe you know one, or two. Or even many. But… Most people want to get known. At least I do.

And sometimes bragging is not done through a very provoking move. It’s not like, “Hey, hey, look at me, I can do this, this, this, and that!” No, people nowadays are more subtle. They don’t update their Facebook updates into “Oh, I got a job at X!” Nope. Instead, they write, “Thank God for the opportunity!” or “Today’s my lucky day!” Then friends will start swarming the comments, saying, “Congrats! So what happened?”

Isn’t it a very good way to brag?

And I do that. I’ve updated my Facebook “about” page accordingly. A journalist at Meld Magazine, check. A service staff at Laurent, check. A barista at Travancore cafe, check. A blogger at Farrago, check. An intern at Royal Children’s Hospital, check.

What’s the use anyway?

So people will know. So people will notice.

The day before I started my internship, I specifically shared an image which says, “When is the last time you do something new?” And on the comment I wrote, “tomorrow”. Pretty straight-forward, huh? Then everyone started to ask me on what would I be doing tomorrow. And since people ask, and I’m not the one who declares publicly on what I’m doing, that’s not considered bragging, right? Ehm, no, not really.

I think there’s a desire inside me that always want to be known by others. So when they hear my name, they will remember that, “Oh, she has done something worthwhile with her life. She is able to get much experience.”

Now, I feel like it’s a stupid move. The best thing happens when other people brag about you. But all people are too busy bragging about themselves, who will brag about me? No one but myself, of course. That’s why people brag about themselves, because no one will brag about them.

I don’t like to see a bragger, but I’m one of them.

I can’t help it when chatting with one person who can’t stop talking about himself, telling me about his experience here, his experience there, and that he has done this and that (without I’m asking, of course, there are some occasions when I really want to know more about their experiences), but in fact, I’ve done it myself.

I hate it when people try to look smart and try to bestow their life advices on me, again and again, but I used to do it.

Now, I kinda look like a hypocrite.

So here’s the million dollar question: when I write on my blog, do I write it from my heart with a pure, genuine motive, or do I partly write it because I want to look good?

I hope I’m not the latter, but each time I write a post I ask myself, “Why do I write this post? Will this benefit the readers in one way or another?” If by sharing my experiences, the readers can learn from it and know that they are not alone – I have gone through exactly the same issues before, then it’s worth writing.

But if it’s just for my ego boosting, no, it’s not worth writing.

Most often in life I need my brain to literally scream to my tongue that I need to talk less about myself. More listening to others, less telling them that you’ve been in their shoes and have mastered the issues successfully. More asking questions about their lives, less telling your work and internship experiences.

More them, less you, and most importantly, less preachy you.

There’s a thin red line between bragging, and being proud of yourself. Having pride is good, healthy even, if it’s done in a correct way. Bragging, is never healthy. It just simply means you are insecure about yourself and what you have accomplished, so that you need to tell others in order for them to admire you.

But a thousand praises will not quench your thirst of being famous. The secret is to truly accept who you are, whoever you are. The key to make people brag about you is modesty.

And both self-acceptance and modesty do not search for fame.

I know, I’ve been there. And I’m still learning.

Do you hate those who brag? Or do you secretly still occasionally do it yourself? Share your thoughts below.

Tuesday’s Tale: Kathryn Schulz on the psychology of regret

This is exactly why I love psychology. It makes me understand life.

Do you have any regrets?

We often live life knowing a thousand others people who have one. We live life knowing a hundred of thousand others who tell us to live without regrets.

But what is a regret?

Kathryn Schulz says that regret is something we have done that we wish we can undo, something that if we are given a second chance, we can do it right.

Characteristics of regret?

Denial.

You will know other characteristics as you watch through the video, but denial is a very important key. Denial is the first and foremost thing that we do when we wish we don’t do things, or when we wish we do. We deny that we make those mistakes, we try to run away, instead of facing that problem. We run.

But as Kathryn says, humans are humane, and we need to live with regrets. The things is, we are not to live without regret, we are to live with it, but live without hating ourselves for having it…

If we have goals and dreams and we want to do our best, and if we love people and we don’t want to hurt them or lose them, we should feel pain when things go wrong. The point isn’t to live without any regrets, the point is to not hate ourselves for having them… We need to learn to love the flawed, imperfect things that we create, and to forgive ourselves for creating them. Regret doesn’t remind us that we did badly — it reminds us that we know we can do better.

Do I have any regret? Yes, I may have on, or two. I may regret of falling in puppy love over my high school years. I may regret not reading more books when I have time to do so. I may have regrets.

But I also regret for having these regrets, because I know, without them, I am not who I am right now. I learn life so much more.

Where should I go? Stop thinking too much and just follow your heart.

When being impulsive is needed

Do you think too much? Sometimes life is to be lived by reading between the lines, and by making impulsive decisions.

Life has always taught us to think before we speak. We are also taught to think before we decide, and to think, before we translate our thoughts into actions. We are taught to think first, because, the phase after thinking means that the damage’s done. And when it’s done, it’s done.

But I’m one of those people who always think too much. When this is the case, usually, nothing gets done. Weighting the consequences, the pros and the cons and making a beautiful colourful chart about them will just prolong the decision. In fact, most of the best decisions I’ve made in life are based on mere impulsiveness.

Why sometimes life needs some impulsive decisions

Of course, we do not buy a car impulsively, or sign that 30-year mortgage after being charmed by the seller during our 15 minutes meeting. We do not impulsively decide that we will go into med school, or even punch that guy just because he is so damn annoying.

But for everything else, sometimes we need to give ourselves that leniency and start to make impulsive decisions. Because sometimes the best things in life happens when we do not think too much and just let your gut feeling decide it for you. Or your heart, whichever you believe in more.

Where should I go? Stop thinking too much and just follow your heart.

What happens in Meld…

I have been a journalist in Meld for about one and a half year now and it’s one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. I have learned so much, and Meld makes me a better writer. But I didn’t think for 24 hours in order to join Meld, I only had 24 seconds.

A friend of mine, Steven, was (still is) doing media subjects with me back in the first year. He googled about writing opportunities, came across Meld website, and shot the editor an e-mail. He messaged me afterwards, asking if whether I’d like to join him to apply to Meld. I was a newbie blogger and a newbie media student back then, but I did make a promise with myself to become a better writer.

But, joining an online magazine would mean taking my freedom away, confiscating my free time which can be used to relax, to watch more movies, and to sleep more, wouldn’t it?

I was about to say, “I’ll think about it,” but we all know what that actually means. So what the heck, I replied yes.

What happens in Ballroom dance class…

We all have childhood dreams. For me, it’s learning ballroom dance. A friend of mine, Ruiting, was joining the Melbourne University Dancesport Club (MUDC) back in the first year and she asked me to come with her. However, thinking that “it’s too much to handle”, I said that “I’ll think about it.” She came back to ask my answer two years later.

Going to the free class on the first week, I was tempted to join, but I knew this once a week class will add up the pile of my so-called busy life. I contemplated, saying, “Hmm, I’ll see whether I can come next week, and then decide afterwards.” However, another friend of mine, Esther, said that if I did not join now, I would never join the dance class ever.

So I paid the fee, and I have never missed a class since. Waltz, foxtrot, tango, quickstep… Here we go!

What happens in Laurent, Farrago, and Royal Children’s Hospital

My first part-time job was being a waitress in Laurent, and it was pure luck. And luck was, basically, what happens when preparation meets opportunity. I knew I would never get a chance in working there, but impulsively, I applied nevertheless. I got in.

The same goes with the blogger opportunity in Farrago and the internship I got in Royal Children’s Hospital. Those were impulsive decisions that I did not weigh the pros and cons. They turn out to be the invaluable experiences in my life.

Now what?

So what’s it for you? Does it mean that you need to change your life paradigm, and be impulsive at every decision that you need to make in life?

Nope.

It means if you’re like me who is scared of changes, of future, and of uncertainty, thinking too much will never get you to your destination place. You need to balance it with action.

Of course there will be consequences. There will be some damage done if you choose wrongly. But one day, one day you’ll realise that you regret the things that you wish you’ve done but never did, more than the things you’ve done, but wish you haven’t.

Ps. One day a guy asked me for coffee. I never did think it through, and I just said yes. As soon as I said it, I freaked out. It turned out to be one of the best days of my life.

If I had my life to live over, I would try to make more mistakes.
I would have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary troubles.
You see, I have been one of those fellows who live prudently and sanely, hour after hour, day after day.
Oh, I have had my moments. But if I had it to do over again, I would have more of them – a lot more.

Paul Coelho

Holding_Earth_in_Hands

On Earth and Other Earths

From Marcella: This is a guest post by Naomi Sutanto. Naomi is a final year Biomedicine student in the University of Melbourne, and she is my long lost junior high school friend back in Jakarta. She just became a blogger a couple days ago (welcome to the real earth, Naomi! Ooops, just kidding, pun intended), so don’t be shy and say hello to her at naomisutanto!

Atticus Finch said, “you can never really understand a person…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” He meant it figuratively of course, but sometimes it’s hard to understand other people who think differently to us unless we have some sort of mutual understanding. In other words, it takes a certain amount of effort on our behalf to try and empathize with others, to see the world through their eyes.

A recent long talk with my dear friend Marcella Purnama (this is for you) elicited my interest in this phenomenon called “blogging”. I had heard of it; I even regularly visit blogs in my “favourites” list, but I never really thought of why bloggers do what they do, and how they do it. So, I felt that to better understand blogs and authors of blogs, I should start one myself. And start, I did.

Boy, was I deeply flustered and confused with all the technicalities of even making a blog. I had to google numerous words and visit many “blogging tips” sites to publish a single post. Blogging was a completely different experience to me, and it seemed that avid bloggers lived in a different earth.

It would seem that each and every one of us lives on a different earth. Whether it be through genetic or environmental factors, we have different worldviews because we were exposed to different things and our chemically different brain cells make different connections even though they all look like grey walnuts.

“World” seems to imply that it is a completely different universe, governed by different rules and laws of physics, but we are not. We are governed by the same laws, work under the same system, yet no two people think in exactly the same way, so I propose we live on different earths.

We have different gravitational pulls like earth and moon; same laws of physics apply, but different mass and radius means different strength of attachment. The only way for us to understand the person next to us better is to learn about their earths, the different elements affecting their lives which determine how best to go around conversing with them.

The world would be a much better place if everyone took some time to think about how the life experience of the person next to them might explain the decisions they made, instead of out rightly judging their actions. Sure, it takes effort, but it’s worth it. That’s a fact on my earth, is it in yours?

Naomi’s earth, out =)

Saturday’s Story: Joshua Bell playing violin in DC metro station

By unknown.

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that 1,100 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by, and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace, and stopped for a few seconds, and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping, and continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally, the mother pushed hard, and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the most talented musicians in the world. He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

loveiswalkinghandinhand_26

Weekly Wraps

1. Five Tips to Improve Writing in College

I know most of you who are reading this blog might have graduated from college years ago, but most of you are also bloggers, and writers. We might hear these tips to improve our writing again and again and again. But hearing it once again might improve our writing even more. Repetition is needed.

 Writing is hard, and no one should ever try to convince you otherwise.

But acing it is full of reward.

2. 11 of life’s most important lessons

The title is self-explanatory, but I smile when reading the article nevertheless.

As a personal favourite, I totally love this one:

4. Love not only makes the world turn, it also makes the ride worthwhile. Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way to show love to anyone and everyone that comes into your life.

3, If unemployment is so high, why hiring is so hard?

Self-explanatory, again, but it’s interesting to see in the middle of this economy crisis, it’s hard to lay people off, and it’s even harder to hire people.

4. Time is mine for the molding

If you read my post yesterday about how busy I am the past few weeks, you will know why I put this short article as an inspiring read today. Just because, even though when it seems that I don’t have time, the fact is I still do, and I get to choose what I want to do with my time.

And I hope I’ll choose wisely.

I choose. The time is mine to use.

5. Love Is Walking Hand In Hand: The Peanuts Gang Defines Love, 1965

I’m saving the best for the last, because, this is the best article that you’ll see this week (or at least, today?). It’s about love.

‘Love is buying someone a present with your own money.’

My Sweetheart,

Just a little ‘present’ to you, who taught me the meaning of the word this little book is about — Love.

I shall always love you more than yesterday but — less than tomorrow.

Bob.

Give me back my time, please...

You don’t have time? Make time

Written on Wednesday afternoon, while trying to… pick up the bits and pieces.

These past few weeks I have been so busy that I have not been writing properly. Yes, that’s right. Although the posts kept on being published everyday, I have to say that it’s not my freshly written post (excluding yesterday’s). Most are written more than one week ago.

I don’t know what’s better, keep on writing new post everyday or write posts in bulk, and then publish them one by one. Nevertheless, I’m running out of pre-written posts, so it’s time to start writing again.

I’m busy.

And what does being busy mean?

I haven’t had a time to have quality time with myself these past few weeks. If you remember my post about how writers are individualists, you should have known that I’m a big fan of having quality time with myself. I love my date with my book, coffee, and (now) iPad.

Give me back my time, please...

Last week I started my internship in the hospital and it was great. Psychology-wise, it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. But it confiscated my two days off. A fair game, but the change was so sudden.

And then last Saturday my Mom came to visit my sister and I here in Melbourne for two weeks. Thus begin my holidaying journey to everywhere, in the middle of the sea of unforgiving assignments because, well, Easter break is coming, and that means all assignments are going to be due before the break.

So what am I doing now? Blogging? Not really, just trying to make time with myself.

While writing this, I am traveling from home to uni on tram, waiting for my lectures to start, listening to the lecturers and trying to look enthusiastic, and sipping my coffee in between classes just because I need time to sit down and see the world moving around me.

I feel like skipping my classes, but my first lecture is of an awesome subject, my second lecture is about my upcoming assignments, and my tutorial is about my upcoming assignment as well. So I don’t really have a choice, do I? And all is done while my mom and sis are going to the shopping mall…

I miss the tea time at home where I can just sit down, blog, not worrying about the dishes or assignments or where to take my Mom for brunch tomorrow. I miss the quiet time of just looking towards the blue sky and feel the wind kissing my cheek. What I miss, in a sense, is time.

But if I can’t have time with myself, I’d rather make time.

And that means, picking up bits and pieces from the time I have, and having frequent five-minute break if I can afford it.

What do you do when life gets too busy? Do you embrace the situation, or trying to escape your business? Share your thoughts below.

Tuesday’s Tale: SITUATIONS MATTER by Sam Sommers

These days, I have watched a lot of videos made in this kind of style. To my amazement, they work. They are clever and intuitive, yet I don’t know how long this can last.

Style techniques aside, I believe the video has an important announcement to make. As a psychology student who has a specific interest in developmental area, I totally love this video.

Personality matters a little, and character isn’t that stable as well. What’s important is the context. That’s what I have learned from my studies so far. Finally someone says it out loud in layman words.

“The world around you is pulling your strings, shaping your innermost instincts and your most private thoughts. And you don’t even realize it.

Every day and in all walks of life, we overlook the robust power of situations, of context, in our lives. And that’s a mistake, says Sam Sommers in his provocative new book, Situations Matter. Just as the museum visitor pays little attention to the frames around paintings, so do people overlook the influence of ordinary situations on the way we think and act. But frames – situations – do matter: They catch the eye and accentuate aspects of the paintings they surround. Your experience at the museum wouldn’t be the same without them. The same goes for human nature.

In Situations Matter, Sommers argues that appreciating and understanding the enormous impact that context has in our lives makes us more effective at work, at school, at home, and with each other. Recognizing the power of situations to shape human nature gives us a leg up in a wide range of endeavors, both professional and interpersonal.

Sommers takes us on a fascinating and engaging journey through how our assumptions about other people are flawed and shows us how to understand why we make these mistakes. He also teaches us to recognize what pitfalls to avoid so that we can make better decisions and smarter observations about other people, the world around us, and even ourselves.”

This is the lifestyle of an Arts student: coffee, books, and more writing...

We are indefinite beings, and we are proud of it

Doing what we are able is a good thing, but taking pride in doing it is another gameplan.

I miss learning about integral, derivative, function, and complex numbers.

I sat down with my sister for brunch the other day and we began talking about tutoring.

Being an ex-tutor herself, she believes that tutoring needs skills, for not everyone can tutor. But then we started talking about what high school VCE students learn. Maths. Oh, how I miss learning it.

Mathematics is the subject that always drives me crazy if I am not able to get the answer. During those good old times in high school, the only subject that I would study until 2am at night and wake up at 5am the next morning is Maths. Solving a math problem is challenging, and the feeling of getting the answer right is more than satisfying.

Right now, I can confidently say that I have forgotten almost everything that my Math teacher has taught me. I went back to visit my high school and saw a 9th grader’s exam paper, and I stood dumbfounded.

I have no idea of how to solve the equation y = 3x(square) + 7x +3. I have forgotten about the ABC formula, and what it’s for. Why do we need to calculate the turning point and make a graph out of it anyway? Now I am thinking of integral, and how I used to be able to solve the problems naturally. And I wonder why i(square) = -1.

I know I used to study these stuffs, and I know I was able to solve these problems long ago. But I stopped knowing how to answer these questions.

Maths is definite. It has a question, a logical method to answer it, and it has an answer. A right or wrong answer. You don’t need to panic because, you will always get it right, or get it wrong. It’s either black, or white.

My life now has been filled with grey. Every assignment that I have submitted is in the grey zone. Essays. Articles. News stories. Profiles. Opinion pieces. And I have no idea of how to master the art of indefinite writing, because the truth is, this field is subjective.

I miss knowing that when I have put much effort in learning something and memorising the formulas bluntly, I will at least do some justice towards my assignment. I miss knowing that if I keep on practicing the questions, I will be able to know the answers.

But I’m no longer a definite subject student. I’m an arts student, and we take pride in being indefinite. We take pride in putting on our critical thinking and opinion towards our art pieces, and we take pride in delving even more in our creativity.

We take pride in being the unpredictable. We love our lifestyle – browsing through real life articles and knowing more about real life issues instead of memorising geekish formula that we have no idea how to apply the knowledge in the real world.

We are the creators, and we take immense pride in our creations.

We never apologise for our writing, we just get better at it. We take things personally, because we are not following some step-by-step guidebook. We experiment.

After two years and a bit of being an arts student, I wonder who would I be if I chose to do biomedical in university. Will I be happy? Will my grades soar? Will I be doing something more beneficial with my life?

But then, even until now, I keep on writing.

I realised, I have chosen to be here.

And I’m proud of it.

This is the lifestyle of an Arts student: coffee, books, and more writing...