Friday, December 31, 2010

Almost a New Year

It's 8:20pm of the 31st of Dec 2010 and the home rotisseried chicken chicken has been polished off, all the dishes cleaned up and the parents and relatives settled on the mahjong table.
I'm holed up in my room not too concerned about the parties that will be in full swing shortly,
quite a change for someone who had a hard time staying still in an MRI machine.
My mind travels to snippets of the journey that preceded this moment.

Forays through the scenes of a life lived before this year: entire mountains made of coloured pebbles, endless salt plains and the flamingoes that lived there, piranha-infested Amazonian tributaries, rainforests brimming with strange and wonderful creatures, and the edge of a continent where the desert plummeted into the ocean.
"Did you find what you were looking for?" Mom asked when I got home from that trip.
I must have made up an answer to cover the effort such a trip entailed, because I knew I hadn't.

A year ago this day I was on Cockatoo island watching fireworks shoot off the Harbour Bridge in Sydney, trying to placate a tinge of emptiness that insisted on prevailing despite of all the beauty I had experienced and people I'd met.

This year's activities for NYE are slightly less glamourous, blogging in front of my computer, yet enjoyed with infinitely more peace,
for somehow along the way, my journey led me to the turbulent sands of Australia, where while freezing in a brick and zinc shed at the back of someone's garden, I lay sprawled out on a pink yoga mat snuggled as close to a heating lamp as was safe, and in a lingering depression read the words of an ancient book that I didn't always understand but was convince held the keys to what I needed.

Not that I'd never read that book before, but that night while feeding on printed words, I felt a peaceful presence settle over the shed, listening to every word and cry over matters that probably weren't even true, yet comforting and loving me all the same.
Whatever happened that night, I can't put into words, all I know is that where there used to be incessant clamour in my mind, there is now peace and silence.

The clique I kept hearing and had been most cynical about must have been true -
Peace and love are a person, and His name is Yahweh.
And after you've met Him, you're never quite the same again.

Here's to the best year ever.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Naughty or Nice?

Kamut flour pineapple tarts
Sprouted millet & chia bread
Sprouted bread + homemade cashew
butter & raspberry jam

This holiday mom and I got an electric oven, which brought on a rampage of treats long over due for lack of a functioning baking appliance.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A little piece of heaven

Today we had fusion food, yt, mr c and I.
3 lonely meatballs and a pizza at Da paolo pizza bar
followed by.. my favourite food moment of my trip so far,
one kosong and one egg prata at the holland village corner kopi tiam.
It felt just like our Fong Seng days
"Remember the time when we only had pagers?"
yes, and then there was a time when we didn't even have pagers.
Had it really been 10 years of autocad, crazy schedules, ice milos and roti prata?
It's good to know that nothing had really changed, even if a lot had.
SGD$5.50 can buy quite a lot of bliss, when you are rich enough to have friends to share a decade of food and memories with.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

On the last day of my 20s

I won't be ashamed to admit I spent most of this afternoon crying
Blame it on clearing my sms inbox and chancing upon an old text message from the heart of a former relationship
in addition to a series of careless messages the night before from a friend who was too sleepy to pay any attention to what he was saying.

I don't usually cry these days, except when I'm overwhelmed by the love of God
but today a deep pain stabbed a carefully lived out life.

I never really expect to be crossing into my 30s without anyone significant by my side.
I'm deeply grateful for my friends and my parents for standing next to me,
but with an evil comparing glance around me revealing friends in various stages of attending pre marriage classes or buying HDB flats or comparing strollers,
I vaguely felt what I'm sure everyone has felt at one point of time or another...
that I missed the boat somewhere along the line.

As much as I'd never thought I'd live this long without meeting a suitable candidate
I'd also never thought I'd have gone quite so far away from home,
lived in as many different cities as I have or seen the things I've seen or experienced what the last 6 years has rolled along.
I guess you have one or the other... and I doubt I would have given up my lot of life for a fleeting chance of HDB flat right this year.

A quick glance at my new ID photo pacifies my panic slightly, at least I don't really look 30 yet, sometimes...
and a quick look at 1 Corinthians 2:9 puts the finishing touches to quelling the storm
No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him

I'm going to be believing for good things this year.
come on 30, bring it on.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


There are 4 climates that one tends to encounter in Singapore
1. Hot and humid
2. Hot and rainy
3. Airconditioned + wet from being sweaty
4. Airconditioned + wet from being drenched from rain
The former 2 being predominantly macro climates while the second 2, micro ones depending on an individual's lifestyle.

Today it was a cross between 1. and 3. as I trudged to the train station in jeans, well aware that the air conditioning in my destination would get to me otherwise.
Fortunately, I've since learned that emitting sweat up to a certain level does not lead to a stink, after it dries, as I restrained my pace to maintain a low sweat emission. One does not want to be too offensive in a train packed with passengers even at 8:35am on a Sunday.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Simply the luckiest girl on Earth...

Not to brag, but in absolute gratitude
For all that's happened, and what's in store.
9 days closer to a new decade and I mused... at how full life had been to date. You mean there's more in store? SICK! God is just too good, and I see it displayed everytime a friend pulls me out of a hapless coding mess... or some other stomach unsettling situation is somehow redeemed. Or in the moments of absolute acceptance, as His precious beloved.

I used to feel sad that I didn't know where to call home. Singapore certainly didn't feel like it. Now I realize what a blessing it is to be able to call so many places in the world home.

The other night, i literally felt 2 prods in my heart. I don't know exactly what I was thinking or praying at the time, but I figured that those must have been the seeds of love which I'd read about in Hinds Feet on High Places. Where this life goes I don't know, but I know it's going to be good, because surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, if those prods were anything to be believed. Grow little seeds.. grow.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sitting by the window of a flight bound for Singapore from Hong Kong there are a million things on my mind. Maybe just a hundred, but a hundred have the ability to expand to a million relatively quickly.

How things ended up this way. One one way air ticket to Pittsburgh, one from Pittsburgh to San Francisco, one from San Francisco to Nassau and then a whole host of others eventually making there way back to Singapore.

The journey back was bumpy, with the landing in Singapore being the bumpiest of all. There was the heat, and the curious comments at the market, the painful feeling that home did not feel like home at all and the desperation to find a place to belong.

Have you found that yet? I don’t know, but jumping around Asia has been an eye opener of sorts, one that makes you appreciate home for what it is. The truth is that we could be absolutely anywhere on this Earth and God has numbered our days here and our locations. From whom much is given much is expected and I do not intend to let you down.

For the future, a way to travel the world without worrying. Why travel? Because few things bring the same amount of liberation. A sense of freedom, as seen from the ground up. Bumping around on a tuk tuk, or on a 24 hour bus ride from Salta back to Bueanos Aires. Feeling free. Arms spread wide open, heart ready to sing.

In the past, a journal set to print of the places I have been to, and the people I’ve met.

Adventures on the road from











Costa Rica

For the mishaps, I am sure glad I did it. Because though my bank account is smaller, my experiences are a tad richer.

The worst hostel this trip… maybe the one in Costa Rica where the whole room started smelling like bathroom

The worst blooper… A tie between a $2300 one way air ticket or the kid who tagged along the trip lying all the way.

And as I make my way back from Hong Kong over the pacific and watch little cotton candy puffs of cloud over a baby blue sea, I am starting to understand that luxury can be overwhelming especially when enjoyed alone and that it really is not important where you eat at, but who you are eating with.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Run baby run

"You must be running away from something, or running towards something." The old Russian man said to me while we watched the sunset dip from sky to ocean, illuminating desert dunes that seemingly defied gravity to plunge sharply into the water.
"I'll take towards, thank you very much."
The site was Jericoacoara, Brazil.
He had just heard of the places I'd been, and the ones I would be traveling to and from his answer, was convinced that I had a messy part of my life I was escaping.
I was defiant that he had to be wrong, but tonight as I thought of my current situation of being back in Singapore after 8 years abroad, it dawned on me that I had faced one of my greatest fears - that of actually living in Singapore - head on without really noticing. Yes, there were the little annoyances, like feeling like a foreigner in my own country, thanks to looks that look more Thai or Filipino than Chinese, or the massive heat wave that my body revolted against. A larger gripe than that was possibly the light wind and lack of swell.

"You have to look at Singapore in context of Asia, you're in an incredible launching pad for so much" Barry had mentioned years ago. Last week's trips to Siem Reap, China and Hong Kong must have finally calmed my feathers down, and the new friends at the sea sports club were starting to make up for the fickle conditions.

I didn't think I'd say this even a week earlier, but living here permently was something I am starting to come to peace with, just in case that does happen!

Deliciously Imperfect

I was keenly aware that I wasn't sure what I was doing
and for the first time in my life, enjoying every moment of it!
Blame it on my life couch who had been walking me through my relationship with perfectionism
but it suddenly dawned on me that God wouldn't be faulting me for spending time investigating things, even if they were not the path I would ultimately take.
So as I clicked download on the Hillsongs college prospectus, a thought that I might be completely off track here crossed my mind. Followed by the thought, that God would be totally fine with me being off track at this phase of the journey and would guide me out if it was indeed the wrong direction.

Monday, March 1, 2010

March Already?

There is something about being in this country that makes me feel a bit like a beached whale.
I don't know if it is the constant sweat on what must be a layer of blubber,
or the realization that I have magically transformed from a size XS to M in under 12 hours after crossing continents.
For right now I'm going to decide that this phenomena has occurred because my parents are taking joy in feeding me + I am making up for a 4 year vacuum of local food.
The vain part of me is a little dismayed that I'm no longer the skinny girl in the crowd anymore and the sane part of me is just happy to eat and surf.
"You still have a long way to go before you become fat lah... come drink some beer with us" said Andrew at the beach. "A lot of the girls in this country are anorexic anyway."
How helpful that line was for me is questionable, but after looking at some models sporting the latest fashion, I was keenly aware that they looked pretty hungry, and had slender toothpick arms that probably would not be able to pull up a sail in a lull more than twice.
Not that that was a good excuse for lugging a glut around, tomorrow I will add a new resolution to March - that this eating frenzy needs some moderation in this land, the fried rice paradise.

Monday, February 15, 2010

the man with the tattoos

"Are you going to watch or are you going to sail?"
the tattooed sailor asked, glancing back in my direction.
I was surprised by the attention I was not expecting.
You think that a decade away would erase a memory and render you anonymous,
but here at the sailing club, time had almost stood still
faces that were still around had stayed exactly the same
and so had the ritual of waiting for the wind on the concrete benches by the shore.

I had never known his name, but the last memory I recalled of him, he was ancient and I was a young punk still in school. Now it felt like the young punk had grown up a little and the tattooed sailor had stayed the same age. If not aging is one of the perks of windsurfing, I'll take it!

He talked about sailing over the Chinese New Year, because he didn't have to visit anyone.
Normally I would be envious of such a delicious idea, especially since the wind seemed to be cooperating, but after 7 months of solo backpacking, I was beginning to see, that maybe the ordeal of balancing very fickle wind with serious commitments to family and friends was a good problem to have. One I'd rather have than not.

If only I had been that wise while I was in San Francisco.

"Don't try to enjoy your reunion dinner... " He said as I hurriedly bid my farewells around the concrete bench after my session and scuttled home to slice slivers of raw salmon for yu sheng, "Make sure you enjoy it!" Almost as if he understood the anxious thoughts that preoccupy this windsurfing obsessed mind more frequently than not. Nagging thoughts like "Am I wasting these conditions?" "I rigged up wrong and I don't know what it is!" "It's been so many years and I still can't nail a gybe and tack?" were all silenced by one strong motto here on the beach, "just go out there and have fun, what else are you going to do in Singapore right?"

No more pressure for loops or vulcans, just a heap of blokes sitting with beers on the beach making the best of the conditions. For all the famines of wind we get here, this end of east coast is still a special place, where I meet myself again - sometimes as the girl a decade ago trying to uphaul, and sometimes as the oddly placed adult who'd found herself back after the same amount of time, only this time a little more welcomed into the club of the ancients, finding out that even after Maui and Brazil, I still had so much to learn from them.

aloha Singapore... aloha..

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Being one with sweat

Today was probably the hottest I'd ever felt in Singapore.
Ignore the fact that I was jogging in the evening, it honestly felt like an inferno was clawing at the peripherals of my skin, only to be let out in little beads of sweat, which in turn teamed up to form a uniform layer of grim all over my skin. My constant condition here on this island home.

The happier news is that I'm freelancing, which is something, as much as I enjoyed my time in the States was something I missed. The bliss of working at 9pm till whatever time suits me, windsurfing in the afternoon, where the wind decides to show up, is so ridiculously intoxicating that it almost makes up for the fact that the wind is rather wimpy and the pay is a lot less than I used to make.

So in between moments of near drowning in perspiration both while running and working, life has been good. Now if only my body would start getting used to the fact that the "hottest day in SF" happens every hour of the day (with the exception of public buses)this latitude of the equator.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Feels a lot like home

There is something about eating D24 durians and sambal stingray with old friends that makes Singapore feel a lot more like home.
To be honest, I was quite the grouch when I first landed. The thought of being stuck had a paralyzing effect on my return.
From a life of trotting across the expanses of Central and South America, to suddenly trying to set up a home again in a country smaller than anything I'd experienced in the past 7 years, was a little more challenging than I had expected.
Tonight I drove home through my old neighborhood to my current one, with a belly plied silly with popiahs, chicken rice, KK and D24 durians lovingly prepared by Lin and her family. The old comfort of being home finally started to sink in, with the knowledge that folks who'd known me since I was a kid, still cared about me, no matter how long I'd been gone.
This listless wanderer is coming to realize that home really is whereever God would have you. Vague as that concept may seem at the time.