The 5-Minute Journal #3

Today I am grateful for:

  • Getting new work laptop ✨
  • Receiving Christmas gift from Lina ✨  
  • Retrieving my lost spectacles ✨
  • Fixing my I-thought-it-spoilt shoes ✨
  • Having lunch with colleagues at Sanook Kitchen ✨
  • Be punctual at work ✨
  • Getting popular at work HAHA ✨

Today’s affirmation:

  • I am thankful for what I have, for what I receive 💖
  • Feeling so good to receive good energy. Law of attraction indeed 💖
  • I always do my best, for myself, for others 💖

Here are few amazing things that happened today:

  • As I will be flying overseas soon, my colleague actually prioritized my queue in getting new laptop so that I can fly at peace 😊
  • Gotten a sling bag as Christmas gift, something I have been wanting to buy for my phone 😊
  • Lost my spectacles 2 weeks ago. So lucky that someone actually helped to keep and return me! Not to mention, I just changed them this year! 😊
  • Wore one of my favorite heels to work today. I thought it spoil, but I managed to fix 😊
  • It has been awhile since I had lunch with bunch of colleagues at work. The food was good 😊
  • More and more people knew me at work, not sure why. Maybe I have more authority since I am working in office. But sure, since I love helping people 😊
  • Managed to call for Grab early and reached office on time today, was difficult to call for Grab for the past few weeks 😊

The 5-Minute Journal #2

Today I am grateful for:

  • Having booster shot ✨
  • Waking up at 9am++ after so long ✨
  • Having group call with family ✨
  • Eating Tiramisu (fav cake) in birthday month ✨

Today’s affirmation:

  • I am thankful for what I have 💖
  • I am feeling better after staycation 💖 
  • I will not worry about things beyond my control 💖 

Here are few amazing things that happened today:

  • Waking up at 9am++ on a non-working day today. I have been waking up at 5am++ regardless working or not everyday earlier 😊
  • Claim birthday cake- Tiramisu (fav cake) in birthday month before new year 😊
  • Some me time to do self reflect. My mind is clearer now 😊
  • Continue reading a book which I have been longing 😊
  • Was praised for having nice hair while checking out vaccination center 😊
  • Was showed concern if my hometown was hit with flood 😊
  • Grandma + uncle’s family were safe from flood 😊
  • Got to rest like finally, finally! Though no alcohol for the next few days 😊

Last but not least, Merry Christmas everyone! 🎄 An annual festival commemorating birth of Jesus Christ!

Law of Attraction

I don’t deem myself a book smart or very intelligent person. But somehow I am one lucky girl- I always get what I want, of course I work my way up too. I am an optimistic person who worry less though I used to get anxious over unforeseen circumstances that might never happen. It is a total waste of time I would say. No jinx please, still counting my blessings. I believe in law of attraction, especially after reading the book myself.

The law of attraction is a philosophy suggesting that positive thoughts attract positive results into a person’s life whereas negative thoughts attract negative outcomes. It is based on the belief that thoughts are a form of energy and that positive energy attracts success in all areas of life, including health, finances and relationships.

I never doubted myself for not able to achieve what I want. Never. I am not being ignorant. Just saying I am the kind who will focus, work on my goals and never look back. I am very determined to work things out though I might cry when I am stressed out. I never back out. I never told myself that I don’t deserve anything good. I totally deserve it! I would rather work harder than settle for less.

Recently, we went Ocean restaurant to celebrate our birthdays. Pretty much an extravagant experience that I prolly won’t be going back again. The overall experience was top notch, for instance their services, food and restaurant ambience. Just saying it is not a norm where I will be going back as a returning customer cause the experience was not cheap. It is meant for an extravagant experience like I said. But, oh wells, once in a lifetime, plus since we are stuck in Singapore during birthdays. Why not?

It was indeed a memorable night. Having jazz music as BGM with fishes swimming in front of my eyes, I never thought I will be experiencing this in my lifetime. Not that I don’t deserve it, but rather I never thought I can make it this far. Living overseas for almost a decade, I guess I am doing good, to be able to afford such experience. Moral of the story: work hard to have more choices, to deserve better life. I guess we need to be practical and realistic at times where money does provide some sort of security and comfort.

Still working hard on my goals. Still sending positive messages to the universe as I believe I will receive the same. I don’t wish everything is smooth in life cause I know that’s not possible. Instead, I pray for the strength to conquer challenges when times are bad. And of course, always reminding myself to be thankful- appreciate for what I receive, for what I have. Feeling abundant!

Are you working on your new year resolutions already? Cause I am!

Unsettled

At times I stay late at work, biting granola bar, thereafter continue drafting my emails…

At times I eat sandwiches as late dinner by the roadside, waiting for taxi to go home…

At times I walk around to buy dinner but all shops have closed, and I am starving…

Totally not ranting how I am being tied down, but rather feeling contented to be able to enjoy what I am doing now even though I give in a lot of time at work. At times where I feel stressful over workload, being tasked to coach and do reporting recently, I am glad I am valued as an asset to the team, to the company. Not to mention, I just joined the team 4 months ago. How time flies.

I have learnt so much, and definitely so much more to learn. I am thankful for having knowledgeable bosses and considerate teammates. They are more experienced than myself, and being very open and always up for discussion whenever I need help. I am tasked to assign, to do reporting and to coach a newcomer. Though at times I still feel I am rather new, not sure if I am ready to handle all these matters, but I will definitely do my best!

Counting down 2 more days to December, and it is the beginning of festive season as well as my birthday month hehe!! I am totally looking forward to all the plans I have with my friends- cycling, Thai food feast, Ocean restaurant experience, staycation, meeting my long lost friend, buffets and gifts!! So excited, and hopefully I never gained a lot of weight by eating too much.

Ps. Sagittarius rocks 🙂

Mon Vaccination Experience

Today marks my day two after jabbing second dose of Pfizer. Not to mention, it is also my second day on medical leave. All I want to say is Thank God I survived. The side-effects turned out so much worse than I expected though my friend did mention about it.

Last Sunday, I was still happily eating my all time favorite- Wanton noodles for dinner while watching Olympics games after vaccination. No side effects at all, very healthy. Prepping myself to sleep thereafter, finally get back to work on coming Monday at home, no longer in quarantine hotel! Wohoo, I thought.

Woke up to muscle ache on my left arm and having chills the next day. I declared MC, so as to get some rest instead of working. Sooner, I started getting fever. I thought it gonna get better after some sleep and drinking much water (that’s what I did during my first dose). I was wrong! It was raining cats and dogs. I started getting high fever and feeling very uncomfortable. Started shivering and felt like my whole body was burning.

Things got worse when my head started aching. I climbed out of my bed for lunch, so that I can have Panadols after that. I definitely made a right choice by ordering a 10-days meal package which will be sent to my house around noon. I remember the days when I was serving quarantine order, not able to cook at home (avoid physical contact), not enough ingredients to survive for 2 weeks (can’t leave home) and expensive food delivery with limited choices.

Back to sleep again after taking medicine. Couldn’t recall how long I have slept- 5 hours? 7 hours? during daytime. Things finally got better after late afternoon, when medicine took effect. I managed to take a shower after a long day, able to walk around and study a bit. Updated mom on my status, told her I have overcome the side-effects, I survived. I really thought I gonna die for goodness sake. Don’t really remember when was the last time I had such high fever.

No more muscle ache on my left arm but still having mild fever and discomfort today. My boss asked me to take another day off to rest. I am really thankful for her. As much as how dramatic my days with the new team, she is always there checking on me. To be honest, I feel like I have someone on my back whenever I need, I should definitely work hard when I am back to work tomorrow. Haha! Guess I am good since I can joke eh. 🙂

Finally, I am done with both doses, waiting for 2 more weeks to take effect officially. Can’t wait to go home, looking forward for the day I am able to travel the world again!

I Was Issued Quarantine Order!

You might not know this, but I was issued Quarantine Order (QO) under the Infectious Diseases Act for quarantine for 10 days. It all started on one fine morning, where I woke up to an SMS from Ministry of Health (MOH). I will be contacted with more information including transfer arrangements, it stated.

Just in case, you wonder what is QO:

A QO is a legal order issued to individuals who is, or is suspected to be, a carrier of an infectious disease or a contact of a person confirmed to have an infectious disease. MOH will establish if a QO should be served out in the home, dedicated Government Quarantine Facilities (GQFs) or hospitals, based on an assessment of a person’s contact history, state of health, and the suitability of the home.

I was all good in quarantine hotel with no symptoms at all. Tested negative for both Antigen Rapid Test (ART) & Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests in the mid of quarantine, however I am still required to complete QO.

Some tips to share:

  • Always on your Bluetooth (token or phone) as my possible exposure was not shown in Trace Together (TT) app- a tracing application used in Singapore. Likely I came in contact with Covid confirmed personnel on public transport as I was nowhere in any clusters too.
  • Always wear your mask. Never remove it unless you are eating or drinking. Shut up when you are on public transport, to avoid exposing yourself to potential carriers.
  • Don’t anyhow touch- in “Singapore slang”. Reduce physical contact whenever possible. You might not know if the person/ item is a potential carrier.
  • Walk away from those who cough or keep sneezing on public transport. Those who are ignorant, might still go out, and it’s us to protect ourselves !!!
  • Stop sharing food with others. My mind was a blank when I was issued QO without knowing any contact history or so. No records were shown in TT but big data kept with MOH which is confidential. Not to mention, I went out with a friend few days ago. But, it is then confirmed I got exposed a day after meeting her.
  • Don’t go out whenever possible. It’s tough with lesser gatherings, outings, but it is vital to stay safe. My parents totally freaked out when I told them about my QO. 😦
  • Reach out MOH proactively if you are the only one (in household) being contacted to serve QO. Rightfully, you should stay away from same household for health concerns. Driver will contact and inform you on the designated quarantine hotel and pick you up thereafter. So, pack your bag beforehand.
  • Download “Homer” from app store to update your temperature and symptoms. It is also used for your location tracing as well as health status. You might be contacted or do expect house visitations if you fail to do so. It’s a breach of act if you leave house while serving QO.
  • Bring a pack of facial masks with you as it is dry and cold in the quarantine hotel room. Always moisturize and hydrate your face, otherwise it will eventually crack and become flaky like mine. It’s darn painful!

I am truly blessed to have considerate boss, team members as well as landlady. They have been checking on my health status and asking if I am well, or need any help… Not to mention, it was my second day with new team when I first started QO. My friend even sent desserts to me. What a lucky girl! 💖 Also shout out to the staff where I have been well taken of during my stay. They often reach out to me to check if I need anything, send reminders for food collection and attend to all my queries. 😀

To be honest, I was quite anxious in the beginning for not knowing any details i.e. contact history, state of health (no tests taken), being traumatized if I might have Covid and spread to others, especially people from the same household. Well, life still goes on right. It’s important not to feel low when we can change nothing. I constantly remind myself how blessed I am to have a roof to stay, food on table and clean water to drink.

It was not a bad experience, but I certainly do not look forward for the experience again. Despite serving quarantine order, I thank God for the well-being for still able to work, catching up with Olympics, read book, study for my paper, write a blog, do some Tabata, attend online French class etc. Yup, I did not put my time into waste.

Nonetheless, take care and stay safe everyone xx. We shall see each other safe and sound someday! Cheers ✨

Ps. Feel free to reach out to me if you are *touch wood* being issued one too. I can share more details based on personal experience. 🙂

Nothing Lasts

A star has fallen.

He left few days ago.

She is leaving in 2 weeks’ time.

I am leaving in less than a month.

“Cause in my mind, nothing lasts…” From a song I have been listening recently…

A high school junior of mine just passed away few weeks ago due to cancer. He used to represent our school, district, state for Chinese Martial Arts competitions. I came across his posts in Facebook one day, knowing he was suffering and finally not anymore. He has been surrounded by his loving family, friends and devoted girlfriend till his last breath. Let’s send prayers to him and his family. May he rest in peace and free from all the pain. God will comfort his family during this sad and difficult time.

Few colleagues of mine are leaving and soon would be mine too. I have finally decided on farewell gifts and messages. Something I find meaningful and permanent. One month ago, I started prepping myself before all the crying, bidding goodbyes, leaving a place with many familiar faces. Adulting huh… I am a person who is emotionally invested. It might take me awhile to adjust from missing them even more everyday. So yeah…

I called my parents early in the morning today. I will be missing father’s day this year again, so I bought them some tonic and supplements. I love how my parents occupy themselves experimenting new dishes, pastries at home. We learn to make new dishes during lockdown, so that we can cook for you when you are back someday, they said. Actually, I am doing the same thing in Singapore, exploring new recipes, so that I can return the favor when I am back home someday.

My little brother finally graduated from university. A burden off my parents’ shoulders. One of the greatest gifts for Father’s Day, my dad said. Upon calling my dad, I noticed he got older, for a moment, my heart ached a little. I sometimes question myself for being able to work overseas, but leaving my parents behind. Am I doing the right thing now? Will I regret in future that I did not spend enough time with them? It makes me ponder sometimes to quit everything and go back to my parents’ arms…

The other day, my friend asked me have I ever wonder a day without them (my parents) in future… My eyes were already filling with tears before I can speak a word. A deadlock I had no courage to think of, that this day may come. I am not sure I can “survive” without them one day especially if I am still single. I would be all alone by myself, nobody else to call when I have bad days, no one to share when I have good news. I might lose the purpose to live, I feel. Idk. I guess it’s the time of month.

How I wish I can ask my parents to join me staying overseas or just frequent visits, so that I am able to see them, timely update them all the events I have. I am still working hard for it. A main goal I would want to achieve, even if I am married one day. So that, they can see me often, feed us with good food and shower their grandchildren with love.

Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it.

W. Somerset Maugham

Navigating Emotions during Pandemic

Stepping into Covid-19 pandemic for more than a year, most of us have found ways to cope and adapt the new norm. However, despite how hard we work on adjusting new routines, our mental health somehow got affected. At times, I feel less motivated, or worse when homesickness hits. I miss travelling, miss exploring new countries, and mostly, I miss my family and friends.

Classes, meetings and social events are moving to virtual platforms. Having digital life is more flexible and convenient at times, but, it can be exhausting and tiresome too. I recalled the days when I was asked to work from home. Yes, I don’t need to wake up at 7am, rushing for work, I thought.

Got disconnected from the world (not meeting people), having gastric (eating irregularly), being less productive (distractions at home), backpains (non-ergonomic sitting), wearing pajamas all day, thinking what to cook for the next meals or expensive food delivery etc. Pretty sum up how I spent my 2 months working from home. Aside being able to wake up 10 minutes before working hours, not commuting for more than an hour to office, I really can’t think of other pros working from home (wfh). Maybe I just need a separate space to work.

Slowly, I began to realize how blessed I am, not required to travel to and fro, having lesser contact with humans. Singapore was having records of more than thousands cases daily back then. Few friends of mine are actually working in healthcare industry, standing on the frontline amid Covid-19 to help others. As compared to them, I am nothing. Things got better eventually. For instance, end of circuit breaker, small groups of gatherings are allowed… And now, people start getting vaccinated.

Acknowledge Emotions

Let’s just admit that global community is suffering due to Covid-19, be it physically or emotionally. Retrenchments, pay cut, not able to return home, anxious about health etc. We have to acknowledge that it is beyond our control, and all we can do is to accept the fact and move on.

Albert Einstein said, “in the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.”

Some lost their jobs but started small businesses, hobbies turned side hustles, learning new skills and so. To be honest, I was quite anxious at first. Being an idealist, I like getting everything well planned. There is a lot of uncertainties, and no one can foresee what’s coming as we have never come across pandemic before. We all learn to be more resilient, better crisis management. Like how we work at alternate sites with limited resources under split operations, but we somehow survived and became stronger. We came out with ideas to speed up the processes, shared opinions and knowledge together, mingled with new colleagues at alternate sites etc.

Sometimes, I do feel little overwhelmed in life, which leads to having negative vibes. I try to avoid meeting people as much as possible, as I believe it may affect others too. It is okay to feel bad, anger, sorry or upset. We are all humans, and we have emotions! I work on self recovery by having me time and do some thinking. I listen to music, sing or read books, to make myself feel better before I am ready (to meet people).

Personally, I don’t really like the idea- ranting when I am having issues. I believe everyone has problems in life. Ranting to others, is like throwing mess to others. No one takes responsibility for your emotions, not even your family. This is your own emotional response, and it is not someone else’s fault that you are sensitive to particular behaviors or actions. Well, it may be uneasy, feeling not comfortable in the beginning, but trust me, you will get better eventually.

Reminders, Be Grateful

Despite not able to meet my family and friends, being thousand miles away, our bonds remain strong. We had more video calls. Wrote postcards to my friends from all around the world (though some have gone missing). Reconnected with long lost secondary school friends. Surprise flowers delivery during Mother’s Day and few birthday celebrations. Learnt to cook and create new dishes, I even made desserts! Picked up hobbies again like drawing and painting at home. You will feel abundant when you appreciate little things, simple gestures in life. Happiness does not come from money or material things.

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation of abundance.

Practicing gratitude and connecting with our loved one gives us strength, motivation and courage to stay both emotionally and physically healthy during uncertain times.

I recalled when my best friend texted me and shared she was very stressed about work. She was having hard times in hospital as she made mistakes. We talked quite a bit, sharing we should be thankful for being able to work, having roof above us, food on the table. Life can be harsh sometimes, but you need to be strong and firm. Count your blessings!

Self Care, Take a Break

Went for few staycations. I love love travelling so much, that I prolly travel to 2 new countries every year. It makes me feel alive to have a short break from work. It is refreshing after spending time in a different space. I spend 24/7 either at home or office. I am an introvert, but I still need to take a break from spaces where I carry out daily routines. I am thankful that my company offers staycation deals. Why are you spending money to stay in hotels when you have somewhere to stay, my mom asked. I need some space to take a breath, I explained. I feel a lot better indeed. It might not be a thing to everyone, but I highly recommend to stay out for few days with your loved ones. It would be a great experience. Explore something you have never done when you stay out. Of course, under safe distancing and cautious measures.

Stayed out alone last week. Yup, alone for the very first time. I was feeling very overwhelmed, had sleepless nights for few days, migraine on and off at work. Had a new haircut before checking into hotel. Sang in the room. Ate dinner while watching variety shows. Had a warm bubble bath while listening to soothing music. Read books and attended few online courses. It was nothing fancy, but I felt way better! I am back to sleeping soundly at night, no more migraine in the office, feeling happier after the staycation. Take it slow to get yourself recovered, before reaching for a new height.

Spend time doing something you enjoy i.e. making handicrafts, reading books, café-hopping etc. We all deserve to do something we love aside working hard. Get some endorphins by working out. Happy hormones they said! I run for few kilometers around neighborhood when I am stressed out. Here I am writing this, to share some experience I had during circuit breaker. Hope it helps in certain ways. I love inspiring people or spreading good vibes with others. I am happy to share some thoughts whenever my friends asked for advices or took considerations on what I said.

I wish all of us better health and all the best. We all deserve a pat on our backs and well done everyone for surviving this pandemic. Life is always challenging, but I believe we can figure out ways! Cheers !

Expat Story: A Different Chinese New Year

Marking one year not returning home aka first time celebrating Chinese New Year (CNY) overseas. No reunion dinner, no new clothes, no visitations… initially! To be honest, I had no plans on how am I gonna spend time during CNY since I am pretty stuck in Singapore, not able to go home for celebration. However, kudos to my cousins and friends, they actually made initiatives to meet up for lunches and dinners. For that, I am beyond grateful. Not to mention, one of my friends purposely drove me some cookies and tarts right before CNY. What have I done to deserve this! *Crying inside

Ended work prolly 3pm during eve, rushed home to change before eating out. Oriental restaurants in Singapore were either fully booked or mainly closed. We managed to have dinner in a German bar with delightful pork ribs and barramundi. Eating out in an occidental restaurant without parents during CNY eve indeed feels very different. We used to gather to cook and eat together for many years, so much laughter in the house. Sitting in the bus on the journey back home while thinking how others spending time with their families, I had never felt such empty in my life.

Video-called parents first thing in the morning after washed up during Chu Yi (1st day of CNY). Chit chatted quite a bit, as it was their very first time spending CNY without us (me and my brother). Was invited to one of my friend’s house for lunch. We did potluck. All of us are expats working in Singapore, despite meeting them the very first time, we got bonded quickly. We had fun playing board games and pokers. We stayed for the day, spending quality time with my friend’s aunt and herself. Feel so good to have such good host to cater us, feeding us with good food. We left for the day with stomach full of food.

Visited another friend’s house during Chu Er (2nd day of CNY). The husband and herself even prepped us lunch. She texted me few days beforehand, asking if I have any plans, otherwise I can pay them a visit and have lunch together! Got to meet a new friend, eating themed doughnuts, and of course having steamboat together. Left for dinner with le cousins thereafter. Made reservation a month ago, since social distancing required with limited slots in a restaurant. We managed to video-call our families in every corner of the world. We greeted and sent our regards before eating. Despite being thousand miles away, it’s nice seeing everyone enjoying themselves and in good shape. It was a decent dinner, having Lohei together, checking in to see how everyone is doing, especially during this pandemic.

Met secondary school friends on Chu San (3rd day of CNY) aka Valentine’s day! Glad to hear everyone is doing fine, with one of us just got married and had job change; another one got his PR status of late. It’s always good to hear good news as it somehow motivates me to work harder, in achieving my goals while my friends are working hard for theirs too! All of us have not been returning home for a year, and God knows when would be the next time we meeting our families…

Writing this to remind how blessed I am. Have been telling my parents that despite not able to return home, I am doing very fine with friends making me feel like home overseas. Handwritten letter, handmade cookies, visitations, red packets (it’s a blessing!), lunches and dinners, CNY goodies etc., it makes me feel like I am not alone overseas.

It is a very different Chinese New Year to most of us. Not able to travel home, seeing each other via Zoom calls, limited visitations and so. However, without my knowing, God actually sends more people to me. Look forward to the day I am able to do more for them, my turn to host them in future! Happy Niu Year all !

2020 Reflections x 2021 Intentions

1.     What challenges did you face?
    –  Uncertainties, adjusting to new norm
 
2.      What lessons did you learn?
    –   Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice
 
3.     What do you want to remember?
     –  The year I had no idea when would be the next time I can meet my family and friends or travel. Never take things for granted 
 
4.     How did you grow?
    –  I learn to embrace when things might not turn out as planned
    –  I learn to accept flaws and not pushing hard on others and myself
    –  I learn to let go who no longer play important part in my life. 
 
5.    What do you want to celebrate?
    –  Thing that remains, friendships that stay
 
6.    What are you grateful for?
    –  A roof over my head
    –  I am loved
    –  I am alive
    –  A job that pays the bills
    –  Still chasing my dreams
 
7.    How did your heart break? How did your heart open?
    –  Screwed things up, and shut people off. Good thing about me when I hit rock bottom, I bury myself at work, and I will be fine eventually
    –  Knowing someone cares about me, constantly checking on me… For that, I am grateful. 

1.    How do you want to approach 2021?
    –  Remain fearless, stay calm for whatever happens. Not afraid in taking up risks, to stay focus for what I do
 
2.    How do you want to take care of yourself?
    –  To stay away from social media, unhealthy relationships & unnecessary conversations
 
3.    What qualities do you want to cultivate?
    –  Be present. Clarity
 
4.    How will you commit to yourself?
    –  Get honest with myself. Do something even if it is small
 
5.    What do you want to let go of?
    –  Dwelling on the past, worrying about future. Being a idealist.
 
6.    Where will you pour your attention?
    –  Mental health. Career. Education
 
7.    What habits or practices nourish you?
    –  Digital detox. Reflect. Journal/ blog