WARNING: Long and honest post on God’s grace in my life (don’t say I didn’t warn you)
I think I haven’t actually written much about my feels ever since I got back from the US. I’ve decided to break my hiatus (again) and write something here for myself so that I’ll never forget.
I wouldn’t say that my life was rainbows and butterflies while growing up; I had my fair share of epic times and struggles (like most people do) but nonetheless, I had a lot to be thankful for. When I left for LA, life was on the rough side because of my feelings and the consequences that came with them. I felt like I lost many things and I just thought that a long time overseas (at least a longer time than my usual trips) would be good. It would be a good time to allow God to show up. But actually inside I felt like I wouldn’t mind if my plane crashed on my way to LA.
On hindsight, I really liked my trip because it was far from glamorous. I’ve never felt this lonely and vulnerable, probably also because I was far from home on top of being emotionally and spiritually jaded. I spent the first few weeks of my trip making and toying with decisions that really could have put me in dangerous situations. I was okay on the outside, still declaring and patronising God’s grace but inside, I was tired, my heart was cold and I just wanted to give up and run away.
I remember the first time I saw Hillsong LA. I didn’t want to go but Josiah asked if I wanted to check it out with him because I mentioned it earlier during the trip. So we went. It was this run down old theatre venue used as a church with banners on the outside that said “Welcome Home.” There were ushers and hosts smiling and greeting people as they walked in. As I walked in and smiled at the people who greeted me, I felt this feeling that I haven’t had in a while; like my heart was gonna jump out of my mouth.
I stood on the second level of the theatre and sang along to songs that I used to listen to almost everyday. I remember thinking to myself, “it’s been a while since I got to do this without feeling like I had something to hide.”
I felt free again. I felt loved for the first time in a long time and I thought to myself, “this is what home feels like.”
Things did not miraculously get easier after that. But more and more as the weeks passed I started to see God’s relentless protection and love towards me through the people around me and the situations that I found myself in. It was a whole new level of seeing and it was kinda scary because of the countless instances God happened but it was comforting more than anything else. I had hope again, I stopped feeling lonely and I wanted to love people again. When I started serving for Hillsong LA all I did was distribute and arrange flyers and cards on all the seats in the theatre, direct people to seats, as well as count everything after the night service. I’ve never felt so happy making sure that cards and flyers are centralised on rows and rows of seats.
There was always a supernatural safety net that I constantly fell into. Be it on the road, the things that I did, the unfortunate stolen bag incident, it became really hard for me to not believe that God is real. Honestly, being real here, I still feel a bit shy saying such things, but yeah. God is real.
And of course, the issues of my heart. The events that occurred during my time in US were imperative to the healing that I experienced. It was almost as if everything happened just in time, like God prepared a presentation slide for the questions that I accumulated throughout my life and flashed them one by one as we got closer and closer. He didn’t answer all my questions but as I got see more and more of his slides, I felt like I didn’t need to ask anymore even if everyone else continued to. And I crey because I really didn’t feel like He needed to put in so much effort to chase after one (or two) lost sheep. But he did. He showed me how much he is for me and how much it doesn’t depend on what people (myself included) think.
Grace took on a form that I wasn’t used to seeing. I know I’ve mentioned something like that in one of my previous posts but this time I really, really wasn’t used to it. And I’m sure many people would not even think that grace could look like that.
Now, there’s a peace that I’ve never experienced before and my prayer is to never forget my journey in LA.
I’m now attached (more on that next time), certainly not out of fleeting emotions or whim, to an amazing person who has always played a part in pushing me (whether I liked it or not) closer to God. I’m happy, hopeful and looking forward to new beginnings, new memories and restoration, which have already started to miraculously fall into place.
With that said, I’ll be honest and confess that my other reason for writing all these is because somewhere along the way I’ve lost the courage to open up to this person who matters to me and this is the only way I can think of right now. I don’t know if you still read my blog as religiously as you used to proudly confess but if you’re reading this, I want you to know that I miss you. I miss us. And I hope one day I’ll be able to share everything with you again.
So here’s an extremely late video of my family reacting to me coming home unannounced from my US trip. I’ll talk about my Seoul trip again soon – once I’m done procrastinating.
Now that I’m back from Seoul, I miss being able to get to the brothers’ within less than 20 steps. I’m also glad that I got to speak with people who went through similar situations and in the differences, made the effort to understand and see my perspective. Thank you for not dismissing my journey as another brick in the wall and standing by me so unflinchingly. I still find it amazing how many things that occurred from the time that I left for LA until today seemed to blatantly occur just in time. Now that I’m back in Singapore and half way back to reality, I hope that I continue to be stunned in a good way.
I pray to never forget my journey in LA even if everyone else chooses to.
That’s right. The family has been planning this and I’m finally in a different country with them!
It’s our third day and I haven’t had a bad meal. It’s actually making me pretty distressed because I CAN’T STOP EATING. So here are some photos that I took during the trip. I’m a little too lazy to beautify the colour of the photos so… No filter.
So on Day 2 we saw a line of human-sized soju bottle mascots prancing around (I think at Ewha) and Mikaela was instantly fixated on them. But we couldn’t take photos with them because the scene was too chaotic. So Mika kicked up a big fuss and kept saying “water bottle” because she wanted to follow them. Fast forward to the above picture, she fell asleep and started dreaming and then went crazy and sleepwalked and then started weeping and saying “water bottle”. We couldn’t wake her because she didn’t want to wake up from her dream. So we guessed that she probably dreamt of the line of walking soju bottles.
Sigh, unfulfilled dreams.
Then we went to Myeong Dong. The mum, brother and sister-in-law started picking hats for Mikaela.
She didn’t like any of the hats that they picked so she picked her own – after a round of tears. (Her tears like free one XD)
Great trip so far; I’m just missing my seoulmate.
My apologies for the hiatus! I am… BACK IN SINGAPORE.
So the last time I blogged I talked about sam coming over and then I disappeared because I got busy showing her around and going to epic places. I’m gonna dump all the photos that I took over the last few weeks in this post. Actually, I have more. But then I got lazy trying to upload all of them since they were from different cameras. Anyway, most of the photos here are taken by sam. Talented much?
The highlight of my journey while sam came over was our road trip. We took two days to drive to three main places, stopping along the way for breathers and photos. It was amazing. How is it possible that nature could look this beautiful!? You know, you just know.
Now, photos and videos galore (Photos are after the videos):
Sequoia National Park
Yosemite National Park
The Middle of Nowhere
sam got really excited cos of the cows so we had to stop the car for some photos. Look at that smile on her face. Just look at it.
Bodie Ghost Town
It was fun.
More updates soon.
Much has been happening, and I’ve been busy being occupied with doing other things besides taking photos. I’ll let the photos do the talking.
THAT’S RIGHT SAM IS FINALLY HERE IN LA! As for me, I’ve been busy getting a kick out of introducing epic places and epic food to her. Tomorrow is going to be pretty epic (and probably tiring) because we’re going on a road trip with the classmates! I will take videos.
I’ve been taking the public transport to work recently (since… I don’t have a car anymore because I got my bag stolen and lost my car keys, credit card, driver’s license, IC and all that jazz) and if you haven’t seen the song that I wrote for the person who stole my stuff and spent my money, I’m just gonna put it right here:
asshole got him/herself (probably) a celebratory dinner at the atas Artisan House, bought 40USD++ worth of supplies at the CVS Pharmacy, went online shopping on Google and bought a Zipcar (Car rental company) gift card worth 400USD ALL WITHIN THE 1ST HOUR OF STEALING MY STUFF. And since I’ve been doing my research on Zipcar using Google Chrome they can’t stop playing Zipcar commercials everytime I load a video on YouTube (thanks for rubbing salt on my wound, Google Chrome)
I have no space in my heart for nonsense like this to spoil my mood so it really was a laugh at it and deal with it kinda thing on my part. I’m just glad that once again, I have amazing friends, I’m thankful that everything’s settling down (slowly but surely) and I’m thankful that I’m still alive and well.
I’ve been calling up many people (to the point that I’m no longer that afraid of making phone calls. That’s a lot.) and it’s only recently that I realised how troublesome paper work really is because… PEOPLE REALLY PROCRASTINATE. Heck, I thought I was the only one who would go like, “meh, this can wait.” I was in for a big surprise. Hirzi and Nana have been telling me that I need to scream for things to move when it comes to dealing with banks and companies but I haven’t been heeding their advice.
I guess it’s time to scream at some people (that’s if… they even pick up the phone or hear my earnest voicemails).
Okay but seriously, this hoo-ha aside, the main point of my blog entry today is to briefly talk about… *jazz hands* My LA public transport experience.
I’ve taken the public transport quite a few times before I got my car during the first part of my LA trip and my understanding upon reaching here is that… People aren’t usually fans of the public transport in LA. New Yorkers take the public transport all the time, but not the average Angeleno. LA is a car-centric city. Everything is spread out, so the average person would drive instead of walk or take the public transport. So that means that:
1. Everyone else who does not own/can’t afford a car takes the public transport. It could be the average working adult, tourist, teenagers, aunty, uncle, whoever, really, but sometimes you also get the shady person/people whom you wanna be a little wary about.
2. The public transport system kinda sucks. It’s not as efficient, the buses can take a long time to arrive and half the people here don’t really get how these things work because it’s all so confusing. But obviously, there is a reason why the public transport works that way. In NY, the population is what, 4 times denser than in LA? So obviously they gotta efficient enough for that.
3. Okay. Singapore is too clean.
I’ve been taking the bus with my arms clasped over my bag like it’s my favourite pickle, but one thing that I like about taking the LA public transport that somewhat supersedes the not-so-nice for me, is getting to see people look out for one another.
Everytime someone old or disadvantaged gets onto the bus, at least be one person would speak up or get up to help. If someone needs a seat, someone would give up their own seats or tell someone else to get up if they didn’t have any to give. Just thought it’s cool, because people don’t get Stomped here for not giving up seats. They just do it because they want to. Never fails to warm my heart :’)
Alright back to work.
I’m not gonna deny, it’s been a tough week. Things are slowly starting to fall into place and I intend to treat myself to something when everything settles. Wow, I have no words. I’m just thankful that I have awesome friends :’) I’m just gonna dump all my photos in non-chronological order.
Epic dinner at the Whitley Household, where I took refuge in for a few days after having my things stolen.
So I wrote a song for the person who stole my bag and I will be posting it on Tuesday, 8pm (GMT-8), over here. I’m actually quite proud of it. If you wanna know what I have to say to the person to stole my stuff and then shamelessly went for some shopping and celebratory dinner at an atas restaurant, do keep a lookout for my video. But here’s a hint:
I’m looking forward to a great week ahead. Ain’t no silly thief gonna put me down, yo.