Tag Archives: travels

A FISHBOWL & A HEAVY HEART

3 things that I’m thankful for:
A shoebox of my own in just under a week
An inspiring church that’s just a 10-minute walk away
A job interview

Yes, I took a leap of faith and upped and came to New Zealand, just as I’ve said that I probably would in my previous post. I’ve loved every moment of it since my arrival – the temperature (a steady 14 – 18 degrees), the sights and sounds, and just the convenience of moving about. Oh, and the public library!

But the real struggle is when you’re here on a mission, and not just for a vacation – the game changes. It’s been 17 days in to my little adventure but I am still trying to find that spot of calm, that peacefulness of knowing that ‘everything will be OK’. I knew it would be tough to attempt settling into a foreign environment, but I didn’t have a gauge on the extent of it until I embarked on a job hunt for a full-time position. It’s been tough. Sending out more than 10 applications only to hear back from just a couple sure leaves a dent in your self-confidence. But on the flip side, it has also reminded me of how blessed I’ve been for all these years. Back in Malaysia, I had jobs that were waiting for me. While I was in the midst of my college degree, I was referred to a small creative consultancy that did amazing works for one of the world’s largest shopping malls. I interned with them and eventually became a full-time hire. I worked there for seven years, and when I resigned, I immediately had something else to take on. I did not actually have to go through a job hunt.

So here I am now, actually experiencing what would be my first job hunt in 29 years of my life.

While the calm is taking a while to set in, I have made conscious effort to try things I otherwise would never even think of – applying for an assistant store manager role with kikki.K, for instance. Haha! Yes! I am very aware that I do not have the experience for that role, but what the heck, right? It could only go two ways – a. they won’t hire me, or b. they’d love my enthusiasm and train me for it. (ps: I’ll give an update to this if they reply me.) Also, I’m practising letting go of things and events that I really just have no control over – whatever happens after I hit the ‘Submit’ button on every application I send out. I’m almost a control freak, if not one already. I don’t like the feeling of not being in control of things be it my finances, schedules, or my future. And this leap to Hobbit Land has definitely stretched me in a lot of somewhat uncomfortable ways. But, I try.

I try to look on the bright side. I feel very grateful for everything I’ve achieved so far and know that other people have to struggle up much bigger hills than my own. But sometimes, gratitude and optimism can only get you so far. Gratitude and optimism can’t satisfy lingering doubts, or tell you what it all adds up to – or if it is meant to add up to anything at all. They don’t soothe the voice that keeps prodding and asking, “What are you doing? Do you think any of it really matters?

The voice wants answers, but I haven’t got any. I just keep going, ploughing ahead, and hoping to God I can pay my bills, while I watch the days and weeks flit past. These 17 days have sometimes felt like an exercise in contortion. They have sometimes felt like I have twisted and wrapped myself into strange shapes to continue on. Sometimes I have felt like I have become someone else entirely: the kind of person who doesn’t think about anything other than the achievement of goals, not their meaning. The kind of person who is committed and confident and sure. The kind of person who believes, intrinsically, in what they are doing. The kind of person who is not afraid.

When you go to bed after hours of being someone else, your head feels as full as a fishbowl and your shoulders feel as heavy as your heart. Instead of relaxing, you find yourself trying to reconcile the distance between who you think you are and who you need to become to get by. I have tried letting go. I have tried resigning every conceit I have about myself and just accepting that I need to become someone else for good. But every time I have tried to let go, I’ve found some small part of myself clinging determinedly to the remaining strands of who I imagine I am, or who I imagine I should be.

So I carry on and hope that, in the end, it all works out.

17 days in to this adventure have definitely done a very good job of pushing me out of my comfort zone, right into something I knew very little of. I’ve got a loooooong way ahead of me, and a lot of praying (and crying. Haha!) to do, so wish me luck and keep me in your prayers.

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LIFE, AS IT IS.

The hiatus has been a long one but I’m glad to be back, with the greater hope that I’d be able to keep up with the thoughts in my head, and translate them into posts right here.

THE LEAP OF FAITH
The past two months have been rough on me, mentally. It was a mashup of exhaustion and exhilaration, both at once, and you can only imagine how draining that would have possibly been.

Plans to go abroad are in the works, and with the year coming to an end too quickly, it has almost if not already forced me to fast forward a lot of my other plans on hand. There’s that fear of making it, or not making it, and the dealing with it afterwards, whichever the outcome may be.

I think what really affects me here, is the idea that I don’t seem to have much time left to do a lot of things I initially set out for myself. Or more possibly, having to postpone my next dive trip. Haha. Yes, I hate when that happens. But on a serious note, it does feel like a severe case of “too much to do, too little time”. This is nonetheless a step closer to my dream, to say the least. So it’s alright, perhaps.

The collating of my portfolio has also been a rather arduous one, if I may add. I have had to painstakingly sieve and sample what felt like a million portfolio hosting sites only to return to good ol’ WordPress and Behance. And then there’s the LinkedIn profile that needed dusting, and lots of refining. Did I mention that I suck at beefing up a personal profile? Lol. I could so do someone else’s but mine.

I’ll be visiting that place abroad in November, for the first time. It’s going to be my chance to fall in love with that new ground, that unfamiliar space, with absolutely no strings attached. It was a fairly spontaneous decision to book that flight out, but I’m glad I did it. It’s going to be a really good holiday. I can feel it already.

I’ve had big dreams before, but none thus far that have required such attention to the life changing details, up until now. “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough,” so I read somewhere.

At this rate, yup! It’s safe to say that my dream is officially big enough.

THE BOOK JOB
I am a storyteller, a blogger, and a writer. What I’m definitely not, is a copywriter.

The difference, you ask? I don’t like writing to sell. I enjoy writing in hopes of promoting something that I believe in.

Part of the worry that I had about going abroad was simply, not knowing what I should sell myself as, and what sort of jobs I would/could/should land. Should I be a writer, or a photo stylist? How about an editor? Oh, what about a graphic designer? It always felt like I was half-baked in every way despite the endorsements I’ve received. It felt like I was a jack-of-all-trades, and a master of none. It was tougher than I had thought it to be. It became a personal battle – a constant one that made me question if I was ever good enough to make the career cut out there.

It was during this time that someone reminded me of the other side to it. Much like how David saw Goliath, the giant – too big to miss, I had ample skills under my belt to at least land one job out of all the possible writing/styling/designing vacancies out there. I found myself breathing a little easier after that, really.

About three weeks ago, I was briefly in touch with a publishing house – more specifically, a publishing division of the renowned Penguin Books. We spoke about my manuscript (which still is a work in progress and a far cry from completion), about its illustrations, colours, paginations, cover finishing of choice, and we even got to the part about marketing and royalties!

The whole conversation was amazing, and I loved how alive the idea was that I would be able to publish a book of my own, eventually. It did come with a relatively huge (but affordable) price tag, but I’m just really glad that I had the opportunity to be in touch with the young lady on the other line, and to discuss all the possibilities that we could put together, especially under such a prestigious publishing label that I grew up with reading its titles.

It’s not everyday that I get these kicks that make me feel like I can take on the world, with words. And it’s also things like this that reminds me that my writing carries weight, if I allow it to. It pushes me out of a zone of disbelief that I have inevitably created for myself along the way, and helps me realize that there are a lot of things that could be well within my reach, if I would only stretch a little further and grasp for a little more than what I think I’m comfortable with.

It’s one of those life-changing experiences, you know? The kind that comes right when you need it, and right where you need it.

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INSTANT: SEPTEMBER

instant september

Fall’s here! While we don’t particularly celebrate the four seasons in Malaysia, it’s always nice to see the change in the collections of clothes that arrive in our stores – the warm colours of autumn, beating around shades of brown, orange and red.

Dear God, September started good. And then it kinda crashed along the way. Honestly, I can’t wait for October to swish by, because that would mean we’re just a month away from Christmas, and hopefully a really long break everyone on earth perhaps, could use. Can you tell October to be kind? And make it a quick one too. I’m working all of the month’s weekends, on site if not from home, and I really am dreading it.

I hope your October is great.(:

xo

Instant Months is a compilation of my month in Instagram shots. Check out the rest of my months here, or follow me on Instagram.

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INSTANT: AUGUST

instant august

They say that being busy is a good thing. That means that there’s work to be done, because having work means getting paid. Yeaaaaa, I suppose you could see it that way. I’ve been busy. So busy my writing (and reading) has taken a MAJOR backseat.

It’s now almost the end of September, and I’m only running an update on August. Lol So.over.due.

Well, August has been a really good month. So much happened for me just within that month. For one, I got my dive certification. Then there was the awesome trip to Singapore to hang with the cousins. And then my fitness training took off and my ass is slowly coming back in shape, and my muscles, slightly more visible (I lost 12kgs beginning this year, and with that, my ass too. If you’re wondering. Lol) Then there was London, and Rome, spilling into September.

Also, I’m incredibly glad that my Nook is happening for me. FINALLY. I’ve been having major problems purchasing books for my Nook out of the States. It sucked real bad, and I was so close to ditching it, but then Kobo books happened.(:

So yes, dearest Kobo books. If you are reading this… THANK. YOU. SO. MUCH. You saved me my last strand of sanity, from wanting to hammer the daylights out of my Nook.

August in a word – AMAZEBALLS. And p.s., September has been pretty neat too. So I’m really, really grateful for every single thing.

Instant Months is a compilation of my month in Instagram shots. Check out the rest of my months here, or follow me on Instagram.

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TRAVELOGUE: ROME

rome

London, then Rome.

I was in Rome for a week, and it was amazing! Having stayed in London for a week before that and adapting the chilly weather, Rome was a tad warm. Okay, make that very warm. Lol I started perspiring the instant I exited the airport!

But other than that, it was beautiful. The museums, the colosseum, the Vatican, the many basilicas – everything just fell gorgeously into place throughout my week there. Pasta, pizza, and lots of wine. Love.

Rome has always been on the top of my list of places to visit. So here’s to another thing to check off my bucket list after having gotten my dive license. CHEERS!

Any suggestions where I should travel next?(:

{photos by Jolene Tan}

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TRAVELOGUE: LONDON

london

{From top centre: Monocle Cafe on Chiltern Street/Chiltern Street/Liberty/Manchester Street/Croque Madame at Wolseley’s/Cobbled streets/Smoked salmon and poached eggs on breakfast muffins at Chiltern Firehouse/Breakfast at Monocle Cafe/London Bridge/Food kitchen at Chiltern Fire Station/My reservation at the Booking Office, St. Pancras/Park by Warwick Avenue/A classic electric cinema/Cute packaging: Feel good, recycle.(:/Portobello Rd. market/St. Paul’s cathedral/Doggie soaking up the sun!/Oysters at Colbert’s/Strolling down Little Venice/FCUK’s brilliant advertising/Fish and chips at Golden Union Fish Bar’s/Street stroll}

So, this was my week in London. I mentioned in my previous post that I was both very much and not very much looking forward to it, and here’s why.

Very much because…
It’s London. It’s 13 long hours of anticipation to lots of sightseeing, and coffee at cosy cafes. And I was all set to fly Business Class too. So who wouldn’t be? And not forgetting the chilly winds that let me take out my knitwear, pea coats and wooly things for an appropriate season.(:

And not very much because…
London was a work trip. And I had in mind to keep it just that way, until my boss insisted that I take a train, or a flight from there and go somewhere. I wouldn’t have to think twice if I was earning as much as she was, frankly. But alas, I broke my piggybank and traveled to Rome from there anyway. No regrets, but it could have been easier for me if I had the freedom to visit Rome on a very intentional, totally saved-up-my-whole-life-for reason. You know what I mean.

Anyway, Rome’s up next. Stay tuned!

{photos by Jolene Tan}


p.s. Please check their respective sites for up-to-date business hours as they may vary daily.

Chiltern Firehouse
1 Chiltern St, Marylebone, London W1U 7PA, United Kingdom
Business hours: 6pm – 12am
+44 20 7073 7676

Colbert
50-52 Sloane Square, London SW1W 8AX, United Kingdom
Business hours: 8am – 11pm
+44 20 7730 2804

Golden Union Fish Bar
38 Poland Street, Soho, London W1F 7LY, United Kingdom
Business hours: 11.30am – 10pm
+44 20 7434 1933

Monocle Cafe
18 Chiltern St, London W1U 7QA, United Kingdom
Business hours: 7am – 7pm
+44 20 7135 2040

Portobello Road Market
Portobello Rd, London W10 5TE, United Kingdom
Business hours: 8am – 7pm
+44 20 7727 7684

The Booking Office Bar @ St Pancras
Euston Rd, London, United Kingdom
Business hours: 6.30am – 10pm
+44 20 7841 3566

The Wolseley
160 Piccadilly, London W1J 9EB, United Kingdom
Business hours: 7am – 12am
+44 20 7499 6996

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INSTANT: JULY

instant july

July, July.

I thank God for this beautiful month, really. It was a crazy busy one with many, many shoots and the inevitable preparation works that come with it, my dive lessons, rock climbing sessions, burger-noming dinner date – all in amazing company, and a very, very good long weekend in a quiet glass box hideout followed by a whacked out Singapore trip with the cousins.

To a good month ahead and more great accomplishments before yet another month goes by…CHEERS!:D Have a great August everybody! xx

Instant Months is a compilation of my month in Instagram shots. Check out the rest of my months here, or follow me on Instagram.

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DIVE BABY DIVE!

dive

Two weekends ago, four friends and I attended our dive lessons, sat for our exams and completed our confined water dive modules – all within two days. And now, we are just eagerly waiting to complete our open water dives, and to eventually be licensed to dive!

Breathing underwater definitely took (me) some getting used to, since it’s only natural to hold your breath when your face hit the water. And even crazier, is having to clear your mask underwater and/or removing your mask and putting it back on underwater (this is just so you’ll know what to do if you swim too close and your dive buddy accidentally kicks you in the face. Lol)!

So, counting down to August 2 for our open water dives in Tioman! One more item to check off my bucket list.(:

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WEEKEND WONDERS: COME FLY WITH ME

travel

I love these inks (against those really apt backgrounds). They are like little reminders to keep moving, to keep traveling, and seeing the world.

Speaking of ink, I am looking forward to my artist consultation to get some ink work done. I can’t wait for July to happen, really. There’s just so much to look forward to come July – dive classes, ink work, and my trip to plan for. I got this to start me off. Pretty, impressively concise, and definitely user-friendly!(:

Anyway, before I log off and get to my work, here’s to the last weekend of June, and to a brand new six months after…CHEERS! xo

Something to hit the weekend with.(:

Cute cinematics.

Picnic foooood! Yums!

Lessons in minimalism. A good read.

Packaging designs. Love #9/10/21/29!

Retro posters.

{tiny tattoos with paralleled landscapes on ModernMet}

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INSTANT: MAY

instant may

May, 2014.

So quickly, it’s Hello, June. May’s been pretty eventful for me – travels, new food places, deaths, and close to a couple of weeks of stressful breakdowns. But I’m here. Here to welcome June, the ohmygawd-is-it-already-mid-of-year? month.

June’s always been that “second chance” for me, read: resolutions and plans that didn’t successfully kick off at the beginning of the year. Haha! So it’s now, or pretty much neverat least within the year, that is.

So, swim. Run. And above all, live. That’s six months for me to do all these.(:

To whatever you have in mind as your “second chance” to accomplish within the year, I hope it starts well, and ends with a bang. Three cheers to six great and gorgeous months ahead! Cheers, cheers, cheers.

xo

Instant Months is a compilation of my month in Instagram shots. Check out the rest of my months here, or follow me on Instagram.

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