Friday, April 23, 2010

Nothing like good old friends....

Finally, after what seems like decades, the 3 of us have managed to spend a weekend together. Audrey and Yin Ling (a.k.a Agnes) - my best university mates, finally made their way to good old Kuantan, so that the 3 of us could catch up on each other. I must say, physically, they look as young as ever, but we all realize our thinking has changed pretty much.

Dinner at an atmospheric Malay eatery, called 'Padi - Tom Yam.' There are fish ponds and aquariums within this restaurant, and the 'tom yam' is delicious! Over at Padi, my 'old' friends got to meet my 'new' friend, Andrew, who was just about to have his dinner alone, accompanied by a faithful book. Well, the more the merrier! *Thanks for dinner, Andrew :)

*Audrey, you know we canoed under the scorching heat, pricking our feet in the burning sand, just for you!:P And who would have thought, we actually attempted playing 'batu seremban' with sand balls!

Audrey, a self-declared 'water sapien' has earned her name as she got us into the canoe. She is totally in love with anything and everything to do with the sea, sand and sun! Splashing water all over us, as we sang 'Row, row, row your boat....." Audrey was like a fully charged battery while we were merely surviving. I have to say, I enjoyed every minute of it, despite the not exactly enticing weather.

Not forgetting the 'Turtle Sanctuary' of course...pleasant views of Nemo's ocean friends - educational indeed.

*We did experience a misadventure after canoeing - a flat tyre, and a flat spare tyre! Thank God for a friend nearby who saved us from being stranded on the streets! So much for the conspiracy theory, huh, Yin Ling! Ha ha..

*I am currently down with flu, fever and a bad cough after the extreme weather conditions during the weekend. 3 days medical leave...he he .....But I count it worth the trade:P Wouldn't have liked it any other way!

As with every visit from my good friends, I get really excited and cherish every moment of it. Audrey & Yin Ling - missing you already!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Out of the Rut

The weekend is something I always look forward to. Off days, staying up late, waking up when the sun is out, doing laundry, cleaning the house, meeting up with friends, going to church… But a strange feeling came over me this time. Something I had never felt before. Complete boredom, eliminating the mood to do anything at all, and it really surprised me as the year had just begun.

I got home after work on Friday; I went out to the driving range to hit some ball with my colleagues. Instead of improving, I seemed to worsen with every hit. The previous day, I had at least reached at 70 meters. But this time, when I hit one of the balls, it just jumped up and landed about 10 cm away! I thought no one was watching but my colleague laughed, saying, “What are you doing? That’s not even one step away!” So, the two guys laughed hilariously at me, but it felt ok, coming from my ‘teacher’ :P And I was glad I was right at the end of the line, with only my colleagues beside.

I got back home feeling exhausted by a straining, yet unproductive session. Friday night, everybody had something on. So, I just came home, and thought I’d watch television – a luxury since I hardly sit and watch any shows in a long stretch. Every other day, I’d usually watch the news, and type away on my laptop, or surf the net. “No laptop or internet for tonight!” I vowed to myself. In fact, the sight of the black bag made me want to puke. So, I stayed up and watched the America Idol audition. Some contestants were superb and I already have a favorite. Although it’s just the beginning stage, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’ll make it to the final 5. On the lighter side, 62 year old guy came and danced sort of hip hop to an original song; it was totally hilarious and the lyrics are still in my head, “Get your pants off the ground, get your pants off the ground, looking like a fool with your pants on the ground!” :P

Saturdays are when I usually do my laundry; sun them out in the morning so they’ll be dry by the end of the day. However, this time round, I woke up by 8, put on my sports shoes, and drove to McD. I packed a burger and sat down by the beach, savoring my Fillet O’Fish. After taking a leisurely walk, I drove to the driving range. Dissatisfied with my performance on Friday, I took a basket of a 100 balls. My ‘teacher’ was away on a golf tournament, so I headed for my usual spot at the edge, knowing that I’d be alone. I was the only lady there, and it felt comfortable to be left alone. But just like the day before, every hit brought the balls nearer, and nearer to me. “What is wrong with me?” I asked myself in disappointment. A hundred balls and no progress! Embarrassing, in fact! To be the only one to cause the first 50 meters of the green field to stand out with the hits of a terrible swinger; there was nowhere to bury my face!

Every now and then, I noticed a few of the senior men observing me swing the iron and it only added to my pressure to hit it right, but to no avail. Finally, after an hour or so, I decided to just sit and observe how these veterans play. There was one particular man with whom I always exchanged greetings but we never spoke more than a few words. As I approached him, he commented, “You’ve been hitting it for some time, but it doesn’t seem to go any further. I’ve been wanting to teach you but you always go so far away. And I replied, “Yeah, that’s why I came to watch how you play.” He was giving this other man beside him a few pointers on how to swing. After more than half an hour of observation and picking up some tips, I felt motivated to try again. This time, in the centre of the line, beside him.

I just took 3 swings, and he noticed my mistake. He said I was too stiff. I gripped the iron so tight that I could almost squeeze it. He also said I thought too much; trying to achieve perfection. “Follow the routine quickly, and just do it. The more you think, the stiffer you become,” he said. To me, that was easier said than done. He taught me a few basic hand exercises to loosen my grip. I found that exercise quite difficult to do as it required carrying the iron with just one hand. I lacked the physical strength. A few spaces away, his little son was having a conversation about me with another kid, “Pity that elder sister...” they said. Ha ha….However, after a few attempts, with his guidance, I started to get the hang of it. It was a time of unlearning and relearning. Not before long, I made it past 50 meters! Now, that really made my day!:) A funny incident to add to that, another uncle came and asked, “Whose daughter is this? I thought of bringing my daughter to play too.” He was totally shocked when I said I was already working, since he assumed I was a student. Another man beside delivered some words of wisdom, “Do not judge a person by appearance.” Although I went there alone that day, I actually ended up having a good time with my new acquaintances. I realized that there are nice people everywhere who are actually willing to share, if I can let go of my inhibitions and embrace them. As the saying goes, the teacher appears when the student is ready.

I left the driving range feeling good, but I didn’t feel like going home just yet. There was nothing motivating once I reached my doorstep, so I simply drove around, enjoying the fresh air and greenery of the vicinity, with LiteFM playing “What a Wonderful World” in the background. Somehow, the malls did not entice me. Running out of ideas of where else to go, I decided to park in the Gelora Park. I was surprised a few people were actually exercising in the heat of the afternoon. There were a couple of families having a picnic, and a few lovebirds sitting by the beach As I started strolling, I understood how people could actually exercise under what seemed like the scorching sun – the trees made perfect shade and the wind had such a cooling effect. With each step I took, I began to see things I never noticed before although I frequent the place for jogs in the midst of many runners. For instance, the beauty of a monitor lizard’s skin when it’s in the water, and that there are white storks beside the lake, perched so firm and blending in as if they were placed as ornamental objects, 3 caterpillars crawling, and a few pretty butterflies; not forgetting the blooming water lilies.

I sat with the sea before me, the wind blowing gently onto my face. Such tranquility…I knew I could just sit for hours; a perfect environment for prayer and contemplation. It felt like a date with God. My heart went out for those affected by the Haiti earthquake, surrounded by destruction while I was so blessed to enjoy such serenity. I prayed for those who were fighting for survival and for grace as they pick up their lives. I was filled with thankfulness for all that I have and how far I’ve come. As I recalled my times of depression and took in the beauty that surrounded me, I thanked the Lord for opening my eyes to see that everything I was looking for was here all along. Gratitude filled my heart as I thought about my colleagues and friends; my ‘teacher,’ my assistant, friends who came any left, and those who are still here….everyone who had a part to play in bringing me out from my shell… the people who didn’t give up on me when I settled for my comfort zone.

My friends in the city came to my mind as I recalled chatting with them online; weekends are when they go clubbing, partying till the morning, meeting new people …doing stuff which people call ‘life’….. some even classify friends above 30, as old. I told God, “I don’t know what it’s like to live like most people my age, in the city. How would I be if I were sent there? The people I meet are like double my age, my activities are rather quiet ... but the thing is, I enjoy it! God spoke to me through the words of a youth pastor I recall sharing with a few years ago. He said, “You have a life. It’s just different from others.” Indeed, indeed. And I continued my refreshing session of learning from the past, and thinking about the person I would like to be.

I still didn’t feel like going home just yet after chatting with God, so I exercised. I brisk walked – 2 rounds. Then I drove to the mini zoo and watched the cute beavers. An interesting thing to note – they love to share. I saw a little one grab a piece chicken and scurry away. I presumed he must be trying to find a place to eat it alone. But he didn’t. Instead he went to his friend and gave it to her (or him, I don’t know). Then she passed it back to him, and he passed it back to her. This went on for a few times, until they finally shared it. So sweet J … After that I drove back to the beach, crossed the bridge to the other end and walked back again. I enjoyed another burger while sitting on the rocks, observing the crowd. Man, I sure did a lot of walking that day! Finally, feeling mentally and emotionally refreshed, but physically exhausted, I headed home.

After abstinence from internet and the laptop, at last, I am tapping my little fingers on the keyboard once again. So, it should come as no surprise, why I have so much to say! My long afternoon sleep also explains why while I am still awake at 2.30am when I should be in bed. I suppose, every now and then, it’s essential to get out of the rut, to spend time with one’s self and be revived. And it doesn’t necessarily mean doing something phenomenal. Just a simple change can make a whole world of difference! Enough said for now, have a productive week ahead!