Friday, July 18, 2014

Hoon's 2014 Birthday.

17 July 2014 marks the XXth birthday of my sister Hoon. I'm the eldest and she's No. 3.
We had a good, meaningful dinner together on the eve of her birthday =)
我们在她生日前夕共度了一顿美好,有意义的晚餐 =)

It's been awhile since the last time I celebrated my siblings' birthdays. For my first few years in the city, back when my cashflow felt more abundant, I would gather my siblings up for a good meal whenever there was a birthday. Then the unofficial tradition died off as things happened and I resorted to giving simple presents or a slice of cake instead. Sometimes a call, or just a message even..

"So sad."

The above 2 phrases are actually Hoon's catchphrases, everytime she utters any of them especially the Chinese one, I would feel slightly tickled. Only she can say it with such natural flair coupled with a little hint of helplessness.
Definitely her trademark, no doubt about it.

Tutti Frutti

Our Tutti Frutti treats, courtesy of Hoon, who managed to get a deal for 2 from Groupon just hours before our dinner because she wanted to try and see what Tutti Frutti's all about. The huge, almost overflowing one is mine hehe (it was accidental owhkayyy), I must say the TF Tart flavour is quite yogurt-y nice!
我们的Tutti Frutti冷冻酸乳酪,运用凤在我们晚餐前几个小时透过Groupon网购的特价,因为她想跟她大姐我尝尝这个Tutti Frutti到底是什么东东。超大的那杯是本人的(不好意思,真的[纯属意外]啦!),TF Tart口味好吃!

The sister of mine has a heart of gold that not many people can see.
I was one of them previously =.=
本人之前也是其中一个 =.=


Umai-Ya was an impromptu decision because she originally wanted to go for the Taiwanese restaurant next to it, but I should have known; she's more into Japanese as well as Korean drama and music. When we were ordering, she was actually silently (helping me watch my budget) and efficiently (she's an accountant cough) calculating away the prices while I browsed through the menu from the front to the back, and from the back to the front again, looking for food that's special, nice and at the same time, filling.

I need more practice in ordering good food =.=
点菜这方面本人还得多练习 =.=

The decision to buy Hoon a birthday meal after so many years was quite spontaneous in itself too. The thought hit just few days before; learning to go with my instincts despite feeling fear as usual, I asked her anyway.
And there we were =D
所以就这样啦 =D

We had the best sisterly chat ever between us throughout the night, even when we were in the car heading home, sharing and listening to each other on life and about what we are going through now, especially the good ones. I'm very happy and glad to see the good changes in her; happier, more relaxed and finding more friends that see and accept the wonderful things in her while she retains the idiosyncrasies that are so characteristic of her.

Hoon, wishing you a very happy birthday, I don't have anything big to give you but I wish you from the bottom of my heart, true happiness, peace and health, that no matter what comes your way, you'll live through them all with gladness, peace and strength in your heart. I'm proud of you! =)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Yes And No: The No.

Click here for the first part of this post.

The No.


One would think that for someone who loves to keep to herself so much, I probably don't have qualms when it comes to uttering a no.

This is actually true to a certain extent =.=

As much spunk I have when it comes to protecting my personal time, I too realize that dedicating all of my free time all to myself for an indefinite period of time will ultimately lead to off-the-scale imbalance and therefore a very, very depressed and unhappy me.

This is where the challenge comes in, saying no when I feel the urge of saying yes again and again after saying no far too many times before saying the first yes =.=

Doesn't quite make the standard for logical common sense, but that's me.

In general, self-centred as I am, I too fall victim to situations where I feel obliged to say yes even though saying no is actually perfectly fine. The humanist in me just won't let me off the hook sometimes. Come to think of it, the hardest time for me to say no would be the time when I think I have to say yes even if I don't really have to.

There was one time I was chatting with a friend over dinner when 2 girls came to our table with a guitar and sang We Are The World right away much to my amusement. One of them extended a donation drive's brochure to us and asked us to contribute. I seriously didn't know how to react and I was thisclose to pulling out my wallet to fish for cash =.= My friend, on the other hand, said no, thank you (or was it sorry, no..), repeating the words several times as the girls repeated their request again and again.

When the girls left, I asked him out of curiosity why did he say no, somehow expecting a common degrading answer like what most would give in the very same situation. My young, wise friend instead replied, "I'm learning to say no.. I'm saying no to them, at the same time I'm also saying yes to myself."

Now that is what I call wisdom in practice. It was truly a eureka moment for me, I tell you.

Saying no to others in order to say yes to myself, liberating myself from what I think I have to do, allowing myself to focus on things that actually matter more to me and bring me more satisfaction, fulfilling my own expectations rather than the expectations of others. I'm slowly getting used to this approach having tried it several times so far and I must say it's rather therapeutic; I'm now much happier and contented. Furthermore, I am more willing to say yes to others when it really does matter, far more willing than I thought I would be.

There's another wise example of a mom calmly rejecting her young son here, from where I grabbed the above No image hehe.

Also, Jim Carrey's character in Yes Man began to experience repercussions too when the scale was off-balance after he said yes once or twice too many times. When you have too much of a something, be it good or bad, you can almost always expect things to get a wee bit out of control if you're not watching the scale from time to time. And I do not exactly mean the weighing scale, although that may also apply in certain circumstances.


Very, very sanative. Although it takes me quite a bit of time and effort to write out posts like these, I find it extremely helpful in getting to know more of myself, my thought processes and especially the life principles and values that I've always wanted hold on to but more often than not hesitated to.

Faith. Hope. Love. Patience. Honesty. Integrity. Balance.

Just to name.. a few.

I still believe that everything happens for reasons that may not be apparent at first, regardless of a yes or a no. Faith that things will eventually turn out well is key here; constant heartfelt prayers are the essentials. I also believe in timing, God's timing, to be exact. He has everything figured out no matter what decisions I make, and that's actually kind of freaky yet at the same time, comforting.

So why then the need to distinguish when to say yes or when to say no?

For character.

I believe in building up a person's character rather than personality. To me, character is the foundation on which personality is built on; character defines a person from the inside, personality is what others see on the surface. Just like a building without a solid foundation, personality is not something that will last long without a solid character. By clearly stating yes or no and knowing very well why I'm sticking to it, I am essentially building up fundamental confidence and courage to just be.. me.

It takes a lot of focus and guts, I tell you.
There will always be distractions all along the way and whether or not I succumb to them largely depends on how strong is my hold on my personal values.

Yes And No: The Yes.

This post has been constantly floating on my mind for quite some time now, begging to be written out. Yet somehow I've been inadvertently avoiding just that, brushing it off as a classic case of writer's block.

Perhaps I'm scared of being held accountable over what I'm planning to write.
Or maybe it's just too boring a topic for me, too practical in a sense, as I more often than not choose to remain in the comfortable realm of my thoughts =.=

Comfort zone. Can't live without it, can't live with it either.
In other words, balance is still key.

Suffice to say, as someone who has pretty much lived her life in her mind most of the time (I'd say at least 60-70%), when it comes to practical decision making or giving firm answers to invitations or queries, I'd almost always go for ambiguity just to remain on the safe side.

Lame, I know.
I'm a dreamer and for a dreamer, the possibilities are seriously endless.
Unfortunately, temperamental and fearful as I am, that also means I more often than not choose to remain with what I'm inherently comfortable with.

So here I am, blogging this out in an attempt to help myself see things more clearly and hence learn to be at peace with myself over any decision that I make from now on.
Especially the results of any of those decisions.

The Yes.

Yes Man (2008)

Jim Carrey's character in Yes Man initially said no to everything, having himself settled into a disillusioned state after his divorce. That is until one day, he attended a motivational talk and unwittingly kind of swore that he'd say yes to everything from then on. Which he eventually did after he coincidentally experienced some minor repercussions during a short period of disbelief, and his life began to take off on a different trajectory with each yes.

The first time I watched the movie was almost 5 years ago, at a time when changes were seemingly everywhere, in my life and at work. Changed job about half a year before that, followed by sisters moving out of the place while I stayed back, and then there was the end of a long-distance relationship.. They were coming at me one after another as if paying heed to my heart's desperate outcry to push me out of my comfort zone (read: comfortable but not happy) back then.

It was actually just the start of a whole series of gradual adjustments to my life in general. There were more to come after that, many of which I didn't know how to handle and caused quite a bit of stress on my entire being. I was like a little girl stuck in an adult's body, somewhat overstimulated yet terrorized and numbed by all the things that I was consciously or subconsciously saying yes to. Nothing illegal or unethical, just too many things for me to absorb and learn at a time, something that I had trouble accepting then.

There were times when I said yes just because I felt like saying yes.
There were times when I said yes just because I felt like I had to.
Now when I decide to say yes to something, I make sure that it's because I really want to.

This is important not just for me, but also for that something that I'm saying yes to. I've far too often said yes just because I thought I had to, and I am far too often left with bitter aftertastes to come up with the conclusion that that is not how it should be..

Had I really wanted to say yes, I would've accepted full responsibility for everything that might've happened, both the process and the results. Which means putting real, meaningful effort into it, taking part in coordination whenever necessary however minor my role would be, and finally embracing the results, be it good or bad, which really doesn't matter had I contributed my part wholeheartedly in the first place.

This is also why some people is able to let go and straightaway move on to another endeavour after everything is done without needing to know what the final results are.
Because they already know in their hearts what the real results are based on what they went through throughout the whole process.

There are also times when I know I have to say yes even if I don't really feel like it, usually due to a sharp reluctance to get out of my comfort zone. At times like these I try not to let especially my preference to keep to myself get in the way and to just go with the yes. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't.

Click here for the second part of this post.

Friday, July 11, 2014

When I'm Stressed..

When I'm stressed, I have this sleeping problem.

It's not insomnia.. My eyelids are practically drooping as I type out this post..

Trust me, I'll fall asleep within seconds after I hit the pillow.
It's way past my bedtime, honestly speaking.

I have this age-old habit of not allowing myself to sleep early whenever I have too much in my head, of which I did not even realize until recently. I've had always thought of it as a procrastination problem, along with dozens of other less-efficient habits of mine. I must have subconsciously thought that grouping all those problems into one major category can help me make more sense of what's wrong with me.

Plus it's convenient, solve one and voilà, I have the solutions template for each and every problem. Genius, I tell you.

Or so I thought.

I digress, yet this is something worth contemplating on though.
Mental note to blog it out in another post.

And so I would stay up late into the night, feeling as though there's a lot to be done only to end up reading or watching other people's work online.

I don't think I've ever come up with even one single solid solution for my problems on those sleepy nights. How can I, with a brain so subconsciously (I automatically go on auto-pilot mode when I don't know what to do with the worries that I have.. In other words, 逃避, my area of expertise =.=) worn out from anxieties? Duh.

To give myself credit, I managed to make myself go to bed by 11 p.m. few months back for at least 2-3 weeks. I still felt tired though, because I made myself wake up by 5 a.m. the next morning.

Yeah, very bright of me, I know.
I just so happen to like the wee hours of the morning, that's all.

The habit went away as another round of frustrations hit me, which lasted 2-3 months. When I finally had it solved through the advice and selfless acts of a friend (I am very, very touched by this friend of mine..), I once again made myself sleep early while observing the patterns of my sleeping hours, which is worthy of a post itself too.

That was last week. Yesterday I received something that I didn't manage to begin to take care of until today. It's not something big, but it's something that I really have no idea how to manage properly, something that I'm honestly scared to lose puff by puff just like that.

Just like how I did in the past, sigh.

And so here I am blogging this out hoping that it would serve as a reminder for me that sleeping early and getting enough sleep are also vital elements of living a wiser life.

It would at least keep me sane. *fingers crossed*

(I fell asleep just moments before I hit the Publish button just now =.=)