2017: In hindsight

Hello! I know it’s been a while since I’ve last written (I wrote more frequently in my physical journal though) but I just needed some time to grieve over Jonghyun and make sure I made peace with it before I continued writing here. Strange, right? But I felt like that was the only way I could do him right, in a way.

Anyway, here I am writing my annual Year in Review post. I think I’ve always done it every year but since I have a very fickle mind and love to change websites, it’s all scattered over the internet. And I can’t even remember the names of some of the websites I created. What a pity.

In hindsight, I think 2017 was one of my best years so far. Lucky me since 17 is my favourite number. But I did go into this year planning to make this year work (the second half of 2016 was a mess but looking back those months made me who I am today so…)

Not to delay things further, these are some of the memorable moments of my 2017, in thematic order. It includes ups and downs like any other year but I think as a whole, it definitely was a great year. Great for me personally, but not for the whole world in general sigh.

  • Work  – this is definitely my main highlight of the year. I started with a temp job in February which helped me land a permanent job in May. I have definitely been gaining a lot of insights into office life and the civil service and I’m happy to say that I’m generally happy with my work life! It definitely could be better but hey it’s a first job and it’s the career lattice (sadly, there’s no such thing as a career ladder these days) so I am working my way up. It’s definitely a good starting point for me to slowly achieve my career goals.
  • Financial stability – of course, this comes with having a full-time job. As a creature of routine and schedules, you cannot believe what a relief it was for me to finally have a secure footing in Adulthood. This is why the second half of 2016 was a nightmare for me cos it took me so long to get a permanent job after graduation. Very thankful that I can now afford most of the things that I need and want, provide a bit for the family, give my parents and grandmothers some monthly allowance, and make financial planning for myself. I bought a long-term insurance/savings policy last month. I am too Adult already hahaha.
  • A qualified driver! – I passed my driving test after taking it twice! With a marked improvement lol. From instant failure the first time round (cos I went up a curb), to 10 points the second time. Itching to get behind the wheel soon but cars are so expensive and impractical here. I might want to try the BlueSG electric car-sharing thing if I have fellow friends to go with! *innocent jio*
  • Fanmeets & concerts – I think I went to several events this year? Started with Bogum in February (still one of the best days of my life; he’s so charming and friendly), saw Lee Dong Wook for a little bit at Plaza Sing, Music Bank Singapore (some of my favourite acts, including of cos the ult stan group BTS. Please come back for a full concert, boys.), got to see Kang Ha Neul pretty up-close before he enlisted for NS (thanks Jacq!), and saw and met VIXX in concert (actually getting to see them for a group photo was so surreal I can’t).
  • Korea – my big trip of the year! And also almost a year in planning lol. I loved experiencing autumn for the first time (I’m now unsure whether winter or autumn is my favourite season), and enjoying life in the big city where so many of my kdramas and kpop acts come from. Is it my favourite city? No, but that doesn’t mean it is bad. I liked it a lot and it was a great break from office life. Gave me the much-needed perspective that work is not everything. Sometimes, when you’ve been working non-stop you would think that work is everything. Yes, it’s important but it’s unhealthy to let it overwhelm your life. The Korea trip taught me that. So now, I’m coming into office each day feeling a bit lighter that work is not so burdensome.
  • Reading goals / TV goals / Movie goals – It was a bad year for all these goals lol. I needed some time to adjust to full time work so for a while, I just didn’t do any reading or watching. I’m definitely going to have reduce them for 2018 just to make them more achievable.
  • Many firsts – Paintball (so fun but so painful! My bruises have still not healed lol rip to perfect leg skin), Noosh (one of my favourite hangouts now!), giving out instead of receiving Hari Raya money for the first time, wearing skirts and dresses for the first time (and now they’re pretty much a staple for my work outfit haha they’re so convenient), tried Poke (so delicious but also so ex sigh),
  • Friendships – I’ve made lots of friends this year! My definition of ‘lots’ anyway. Thanks to work, I’ve met a lot of great people working in the same department/floor as me and it’s fun hanging out with them. Hopefully it’s been fun for them too haha. I’d like to think the amount of birthday / Christmas gifts I’ve received from them this month are an indication that it is 🙂
  • Drama – Speaking of friends, I just got a taste of my first office drama. I’m pretty much just collateral damage in this one, but gah I’m so mad that I’m dragged into this. Sorry to my friends who have to hear me ranting about it. But it’s over something completely stupid. I think it’s mostly over now but we’ll see. Next week, in the new year, when everyone is back in office, I think we’ll really see how it plays out sigh.
  • Confidence – this is something that I want to talk about. I’ve written about this a couple of posts back but I really do feel more confident than I’ve ever been this year. I’m speaking up more at work, with friends, with family, instead of just being the observer. Not to say that that was a bad thing (cos I learned so much just from observing people lol), but it’s a good change that I’m embracing. I think that confidence is also what made me sign up for CMB too haha. Confidence also made me know when to cut my losses like how I just ended things with this guy from the app cos it was just too one-way for me. I don’t need that.

And I think that’s it! Some pretty strong points up there. I’m really glad for this year and how it turned out to be. If I was a character in a video game, I’d definitely earned some XP points and maybe leveled up too ^^

Here’s to hoping that 2018 will be a good year.

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2 week flurry.

Hello! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? The main update with me is that I’ve started my new temp job! It’s certainly been a learning curve but I am hopefully adapting well – maybe too well, according to A (the person I directly report to), she was astonished at how fast I work haha maybe I should pace myself. I now know how to update the website which is very cool haha. Unexpectedly, I also need to do some Malay to English translations at work so I’m thankful that my Malay has not rusted over the years. Definitely took a while to get the gears running again but it’s a well-oiled machine now. I’ve also worked some outreach events! I think they’re the most interesting part of the job cos I meet Singaporeans from all walks of life and see how government policies really affect them. Certainly eye-opening.

I went back to Temb last Friday too for the Alumni CNY dinner! It was really nice to see familiar faces again and I always feel at home whenever I’m there. Also talked a bit to Jon Heng! It really is wonderful when you have effortless conversations – especially when I think about how I was so shy during that first Temb camp and Jon was one of my OGLs. I still have the set of nice letters that everyone wrote for me at the end of camp. Everyone said I was “too quiet but still friendly” lol. I’d like to think I have changed a bit since those times and am more open to strangers now.

I also met my mentor last Tuesday for lunch at the National Gallery. Another place I need to add on my To Visit list. We talked about my new job and I am just so thankful that she hooked me up with this opportunity. I mean I did have to ace the interview but she did put in a good word for me that helped me get the interview in the first place.

Another thing that I just started is volunteering my Mondays after work at my local Meet-the-People session. I’ve always wanted to give back to society after all they’ve done for me and I think my new job + this MPS session are good steps towards that goal. It is certainly interesting. I’ve attended one session so far so I’ve only observed how they do the petition writing report. There was one point where a lady almost broke into tears telling how she needed financial help to cope with all her personal problems. I just wanted to give her a hug but it wasn’t appropriate in that setting :/

The last thing I’ve done so far is that I went to Park Bo Gum’s fanmeeting last night! That deserves a post of its own cos I need to share the wonderful photos but I just have to say that he is the nicest celebrity I’ve ever met. So sincere, so kind, and very down-to-earth. He’s made it to the top of my K-Actors list (sharing a spot with Kang Ha Neul hehe). The next 2 weeks are going to be super busy with post-Budget stuff/outreach events but I’ll make time to write that post, sometime in the next week!

I hope the week ahead will treat all of you well 🙂

Introvert.

Introverts don’t get lonely if they don’t socialise with a lot of people, but we do get lonely if we don’t have intimate interactions on a regular basis.

– Sophia Dembling, The Introvert’s Way: Living Quiet In a Noisy World

I’ve been feeling like this lately. And it’s not for lack of social interactions. I get plenty of that at home, at work, even at driving school. But I haven’t seen some of my closest friends in close to a month now and I’m feeling it.

It feels awful.

And not to sound ungrateful cos I had plenty of lovely conversations with other friends (see: JB tip) and acquaintances but it’s not the same. And I have been talking to #teamnoblindside online but it’s not the same. I always thought I could survive on my own but how silly and naive of me to think that. Of course I can’t. I need my closest family and friends around me. Take one away….and I end up feeling like this.

I just need to remind myself that everything is alright. Everything will work out. Thank God I’m meeting them end of this week if not I think I’m going to go crazy or lonely or both.

Sorry for the ramble. I just needed to get it all out there.

Little anecdotes.

This post might not make a lot of sense since it’s about the little moments in my life. Let’s do this.

#1: Sign of a great friendship

So, we Kambengs went on a Jalan Raya the last few days of Syawal a couple of weeks back. Thinking about it, it might even be our last ever, since next year Amira will be married and married life can be a little hectic (she’s gonna live in Woodlands!) and that made me a bit sad. I’m happy for her upcoming stage of life but come December, I feel like the group’s dynamic might be a little different.

Anyway, I just decided to enjoy the present rather than ruminating and getting anxious about the future and I’m glad I did. It was really a great time spent together. When we were at Amira’s place, Amira pointed out that the guy currently on television always reminded her of me cos it seemed like he’d be the perfect type for me. In her own words, “He’s cute and a bit awkward but not in a bad way and he’s really funny.” She was referring to Donal Skehan, the host of Grandma’s Boy. I’ve seen his shows a couple times browsing the channels mindlessly and I have to say, Amira is pretty spot on. Looking back, my past crushes has always been on cute people that are a bit awkward but has a great sense of humour. I’ve just never been able to categorise or see it so clearly before.

I was just a bit blown away that even after 7 years of leaving secondary school, she still knows me pretty well. I’ll admit, I even felt a bit touched.

#2: Mini-feature on TNP

In case you didn’t know, I run a bookstagram account (@bookmosaic). I’ve always been a bit too in love with books and words and language and what better way to showcase this love in the digital age than setting up an Instagram account? I think it’s a bit over a year since I’ve started and even though I might not have a lot of followers, it’s one of my little delights. I like taking photos. I like books. Bookstagram’s perfect for me.

Since I didn’t have a lot of followers, I thought I wasn’t really making much of an impact online. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. But yes, I was thoroughly surprised when my Book Friend Priscilla mentioned that we were part of a local feature on reading in The New Paper (link: here) It’s just a small mention near the end of the article but it seriously made my day!

Graduation, amongst other things.

Today, it was Amira’s turn to don on the graduation mortarboard and I couldn’t be more happy for her! Mine was 3 weeks ago and I still remember that special warm fuzzy feeling inside seeing all my friends from different stages of my life gathered together just for me. Is it selfish of me to feel like that? It truly was a special day and I’d definitely remember it for years to come.

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Very happy of all our successes so far! Who knew we’d make this far from being nerdy secondary school kids? 😀

Anyway, Amira dropped the big news that she’s getting married this December! 10 December, which is 5 days before my birthday. My first reaction was like WOAAAAAAH. I mean it wasn’t wholly unexpected since her boyfriend and her were pretty serious but still! My second reaction was omg I am so happy for my friend. I guess it shows the strength of our friendship (10 years and going now!) that I wasn’t jealous/feeling small of myself/comparing myself with her. Which I feel is talked about a lot more in TV shows or those self-help articles that you can find online (looking at you Thought Catalog). I just can’t help feeling so happy! Hopefully I’ll get to participate in the whole wedding process since most of my cousins are either married already or around the same age as me.

Ahh today was so good. The only thing that’ll make it better is if an interview email comes through (pls pls pls). The Quest for a Job is still ongoing, in case you’re wondering. I have faith in Allah that things will work out and at their own pace but I can’t help having totally panic-inducing and anxiety days where I feel completely worthless and undeserving to live under my parents’ roof even though I know full well that I have my own set of accomplishments with many more to add in the future. Gah. I’ve always said I’d love to fast forward to 2017 where I’ve hopefully settled somewhat into my job and living life with considerably less worries. But I know all these days will lead up to that one day I get a permanent job. Till then, I’ll just have to wait and survive it out. Pray that I do, guys 🙂 #stillholdingontohope

Afterwit.

Went to try Mexican food with Amanda on Thursday! Can’t believe I miss this girl so much haha, it’s pretty true that going on trips can either make or break it for friendships/relationships. Thank God it was the former for us.

Anyway we went to Afterwit at North Bridge Road; one of the only halal Mexican restaurants/cafes in SG.  I love North Bridge Road/Haji Lane area; there’s so much food I want to try.

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The food was pretty good even though we had a 40 min wait cos it was peak lunch hour. Silly us. But the time passed by quickly cos we always had something to say. Also the place has a nice chill vibe – they even have card games on hand – so we didn’t feel pressured to eat quickly and leave. In fact, I think we were the last ones out during the lunch hours. Quite interesting to see a crowded restaurant turn empty.

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How to finish I tell you.

The quantity of the food is definitely a lot. I had Cajun Chicken Tacos whilst Amanda had some cheeseburger-burrito-with-Mexican-rice combination and we shared nachos for starters. On hindsight, we probably would have been fine without the starters haha. I ended up not finishing my food but thankfully they allowed me to pack up the leftovers! #dontwastefood #savetheearth

Seeing Cap and the crew.

Finals begin tomorrow for me (9am no less, pls don’t break down MRTs) so of course this is the perfect time to update on what happened last week. Huhu procrastination.

But yes, I finally went to meet Captain America and the rest of the crew last week! Okay, maybe see was a better word since the turnout was very crazy (all 4 floors overlooking the stage were filled). Me, Jacq and Val even had a little adventure playing peek-a-boo with the security guards as we tried to sneakily open the black drapes that covered the best view on the third floor. Why there were even drapes in the first place, I have no idea. It’s not as if without the drapes people are gonna topple the stage lights smh.

These are some of the photos I took:

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Everyone looked really great in person. Especially Sebastian Stan homg he might just win the most-good looking person that night. Sorry Chris Evans. But Seb came out in this really lovely blue jacket and his hair was swept back and he looked like he had so much fun mingling with the fans. Anthony Mackie was amazing too though! Not only did he jump the ice-skating bannister to go into the audience (!!!), he also ran up the escalator up to the second floor, with puzzled security personnel following him hahaha.

Overall, I think it was a good experience. I didn’t get to see them up close but just seeing them is already meeting my expectations hahaha. Also one good thing about being small and petite is that you can sneak into places other average-sized people can’t muahaha. I actually managed to make a little seat for myself on the floor (cos I couldn’t get a good view standing and also I was tired of standing after 3 hours on my feet).

Afterwards, we were all pretty hungry and not quite ready to leave for home yet. Well, me anyway. So we made our way to Bugis/North Bridge Road to try The Ramen Stall, the first (and only, I think) halal ramen in SG! This was also my first time trying ramen so I was pretty excited.

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One mistake I made, which the others laughed at haha, was eating the entire edamame pictured there. Yes, including the skin. I’ve never had edamame before and I thought they’re just normal peas which you can eat the skin of. But nope, it turned out to be very straw hay-like after a few chews which made it difficult to swallow. But the ramen was really good! Obviously, I had no reference as to what makes a good ramen but I thought it tasted wonderful. The soup is more delicious than the noodles though which felt like a homemade version of instant noodles. I’m so excited to try authentic halal ones in Tokyo in 10 days time! 10/10 recommend The Ramen Stall. It’s pretty affordable too at $13 per bowl with generous proportions (though that is before the service and GST tax).

So, yep. Last Thursday was a very perfect day for me.