On a regular day, logging on to WordPress means staring into a white box for about 20 minutes before logging off eventually. But I’m determined to change that at least for today. I got reminded of how I used to blog every single day when I was in Secondary School about things that… Aren’t actually that interesting. Actually my blog was very lame and not very constructive (the design was horrendous). But everyday I had a lot of readers and comments on my tagboard (do those still exist?) and as much as I had fan mail, I had hate mail too – sometimes from the same ip addresses as the fan mails.
That was like, almost ten years ago. If you think I’m 30, I’m not. I just started really, really young. Honestly, I was quite a brat at one point and I caused a lot of trouble for some unfortunate people (for that, I’m extremely sorry). But I also got into a lot of trouble with people who seriously lacked the ability to look past the cover of a book (or a blog. or a tv screen).
So when I was a little bean sprout I used to think that I’m all that because of what I did but what I did eventually became the main reason for people to pick on me. And I got pretty affected by outward circumstances because yeah, my validation was all over the place. It was in the amount of views or likes I had, my exam results, how many things I owned, how people thought of me, how many friends I had, how I looked and how I sounded etc. It’s damn tiring and unnecessary.
All these things fade away eventually but it’s so easy to forget that. I still do. Some people flaunt what they have all the time, wave it in your face just to make sure that you know what they’re capable of. Some people feel so small they need to insult someone just to feel good about themselves. But that’s not all there is to life. All these people can do so much better and are so much more than that. If owning things, being able to do certain things or being known by people equates to how big a person you are compared to everyone else, then what you really are is a poor, small-minded idiot. At least for me, I wanna stop looking at the book covers of other people, of my own, and start reading.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it’s stupid.”
I used to think that I knew exactly what people were talking about when it comes to constantly choosing to love and constantly chasing. It just means choosing to love them lor. It means you know, jio-ing them. But then I realised that I didn’t really know what that meant. I kept thinking that yeah, I’ve done all that’s stated in the list. I cared, check. I did this, check. I cooked a nice meal, check. I gave a forehead kiss, check. I said I love you today, check. I gave my 100% but then sometimes I end up wondering why the recipient only managed to feel 50% of it.
So I learnt recently, on a new level for the romance category, what it means to love someone. For me, I learnt that it’s not about giving what love means to you to someone. But rather, it’s about learning to give what love means to someone to them. The list that I’ve been checking was actually my own list and not theirs. Did I get that out correct? My love language consists of mostly food, hugs and acts of service. I cook, hug or do shit for people if I care about them. But if someone feels the most loved through hearing heartfelt words or reading handwritten letters, then me cooking for them wouldn’t be as effective as me writing a letter for them. So I always knew that love languages are important when it comes to building relationships effectively – It means loving someone using the love language that they relate to. Textbook answer. And the whole time I thought it was easy since I kinda had an idea… BUT NO. It’s harder than I thought.
It’s damn difficult for me to speak my heart and praise someone constantly, it’s damn difficult for me to keep reminding someone that I love them the way they like me to. Because it’s just not what I’m used to. And when I finally remember to choose to do something that I’m not used to for someone, I feel like I did a lot (because it’s a sacrifice and you don’t make sacrifices all the time. If not they won’t be called ‘sacrifice’) but in actual fact – it’s not a lot. If for one week I step out of my comfort zone 7 times, it means that the person feels the most loved only once a day and that’s really not a lot. On top of that, someone told me this, “Nobody would mind getting praised or being thanked for many times a day”. That’s much, much more than stepping out of the comfort zone 7 times a week for me.
That’s exactly why love is a choice. You choose to be nice when your flesh is used to getting upset. You choose to be there when your flesh is used to running away. You choose to do more even when your flesh tells you that you’ve done enough. It’s really a lot of hard choices but ultimately, you’re really choosing to see what you can’t do as the perfect avenue for grace to show up. Love makes you believe that you’re more than you know.
If you love someone, you’ll learn to constantly step out of your comfort zone for them.
It’s learning a new language, making grammar and spelling mistakes but still choosing and choosing until we get better not just as people who love, but as unique individuals.
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.