Adjusting to Change

Standard

I’ve been back at school for three days now. It’s a different ball game altogether this year – new subjects to learn and officially being one of the older students in the school. I’m in a completely different class from last year and most of the familiar faces of last year’s classmates aren’t in my class – luckily I still have two of my closest friends in class with me. Not to mention that a lot of my dear friends have moved school this year – one is even migrating to another country! And I’m definitely not used to the freshmen looking up at my friends and I with a kind of awe – did I do that when I was new here? Even my chess teacher is different this year.

I’m not a stranger to change – over the past few years things have altered so fast and so much that when I look back on my past self in maybe 2007, I find that I don’t even recognize that girl anymore! I seem to have become a different person every single year since then, different people who don’t even ring a bell to my mind any longer. They seem like strangers – ghosts of a past life or something like that. Sometimes it sort of unsettles me, to look at myself in the mirror and not recognize the person staring right back at me.

I’m not gonna lie, I hate change. Not because change itself isn’t good, but because it loves to say “I told you so!” When something changes, it’s almost never positive, but then a little later, maybe a week, a couple years or even a decade later, you realize that it was for the best. And change shoves it in your face, like, “See?”

Anyhow, back to the original subject – getting used to this new, alien year at school. It’ll take some time to adjust to this new routine and everything in it. I don’t usually find it so difficult to adjust, but this – this is something else altogether.

I remember watching an episode of my favourite crime show, Bones. In it, the main character, Temperance Brennan finds herself dealing with a case she finds personal. A body of a rich woman is found in a bad part of town and she goes to investigate, and she finds several similarities between her and the victim – height, weight, favourite animal, etc. When she sees the victim’s ID photo, she finds that it looks exactly like her. When she asks her partner FBI Special Agent Seely Booth if he recognizes the victim, he says no. When she hears a recording of the victim’s voice, Brennan hears her own voice. Her colleagues begin to worry about her when she has difficulty being objective on the case as she relates very much to the victim, even in terms of love life.

She can’t sleep, so she returns to her lab late at night to continue working on the case, and Micah, a security guard, finds her there. He tells her about a lecture he attended – an experiment was set up where a group of people were made to wear glasses that made them see the world upside down.  For three days, the world was upside down for them (literally, mind you). But after three days, they were made take off the glasses and instead of seeing things right side up, everything was upside down. The conclusion of the experiment was that it takes the brain three days to adjust.

It took three days for Brennan and Booth to solve the case, and after those three days, Brennan looked at the ID picture of the victim and no longer saw her face staring back at her, but the real face of the victim.

I guess what I’m trying to say is – I’ve been at school three days. Maybe when I go back on Monday, everything will seem normal. Maybe my brain would have adjusted…or maybe it would still be stubbornly unadjusted. My brain’s a little weird.

Whatever the case, change is inevitable in life and we just have to adapt to it. Unfortunately. :)

The key to change…is to let go of fear ~ Rosanne Cash

Happy New Year! and an excuse

Standard

Did I say last time was a record? No way, not even close. Now it’s six months… Get that man! Six huge whole big fat wide tall months! And I used to write at least once a week!Don’t worry, I have a (sort of, something like, actually not really) brilliant excuse:

Image

STUDYING

You see, for the past six months up until October I had been up to my nose in studies, all for a VIE – Very Important Examination. Ok, so after October I had tons of time to blog, but I was too busy being an absolute bum, and wasting away through a whole bunch of storybooks and friend hangouts that had been put off for far too long. And before that I had been participating in a dozen different writing competitions, so I focused on that and not on my blog.

Image

Doomsday...

So I was all chill…until the terrifying and inevitable arrived – the red letter daythe day of my results for this VIE (yes, this is a very exam-oriented country). I sat with my best friends in the result hall – they made this huge deal of it, you know, like announcing the names of those with straight A’s, and I was thinking, like, oh no oh no oh no! I was just about dying when my name was announced along with the rest of the straight A students. Yipee! Well, that was over and done with so I got to relax. Now, believe it or not, it’s a new year! I can officially put the terrifying exams behind me until the next one – a VVIE (Very Very Important Examination – did you even need to ask that one?) comes up in another year. So I have two years till my next one, so it’s fun and games for now, right?

Except…

Next year is going to be even worse. I’m entering Form 4 in high school, and if I’m going to pay attention to all the horror stories told by my seniors, it’s supposed to be extremely difficult. New subjects, a new thing altogether – we even need to have orientation for it.

I’m not trying to be pessimistic or anything. Just…being a realist, I suppose.

Anyways, a new year is here, and I shouldn’t be being so negative! I mean, I know that everyone’s worried about the world ending in December this year, but what if the Mayans simply ran out of space on their calendar and thought, never mind, let’s just leave it like that? Maybe they ran out of space on their rock? Think about it.

Image

I don’t have a new year’s resolution this year, but I think I’m going to stop biting off more than I can chew (not literally, of course) and I’ll probably try to blog a little more than I did before – don’t take me up on that one, though.

Here’s wishing everyone a Happy New Year and a blessed 2012.

New year, new chapter, new beginnings.

Image

The Confounded Writer’s Block

Standard

And… this has got to be a record. No new blog posts for nearly a month… Wow.

An old childhood favourite... Calvin and Hobbes

You see, I’d love to blog about something. Anything. Unfortunately my mind fails to allow me to think of an interesting topic that hasn’t been done before. It’s too busy focusing on my sinking History marks. And I haven’t written much in my book either. Gotta keep working on that one.

A sad scene that would likely take place at my desk.

I can’t stand writer’s block, honestly. But I honestly don’t consider it until I open my book to write in.

Oh dear me, I can’t seem to think of how this plot could go. Maybe if he kills the evil assistant… No, it’s too soon. Maybe he should make a new friend?

Then I realize that I have been having trouble with other things too, namely my blog.

Oh, it’s been a week since I’ve updated my blog! I must start a new post. Let’s see…

I then have to come to terms with the fact that I have no idea what to blog about, so I spend ages wracking my brain for a suitable topic.

Environmental issues? No, I’ve done that one before… Singing? Did that too. Oh what about this awesome book… Oh wait that’s been done on Freshly Pressed.

And in the end I’m just like:

A typical reaction of mine upon discovering that I have yet again been infected by writer's block.

Soon, a couple of hours pass and I have to get off the computer. I decide that if I stop thinking about it, I’ll come up with a good idea.

I’ll just take a break and see if something pops up. Sooner or later, it always does.

And before I know it, nearly an entire month has flown by and I’ve forgotten about the fact that I am suffering from the dreaded and highly fatal writer’s block. Until…

What’s *insert random name of friend here* doing over there on that computer? Oh, she’s blogging. Oh no I haven’t blogged in ages! How long has it been? AH!

So I go and check my blog for the first time in ages.

I’ve been subscribed to…! Oh. By someone who’s already deleted their account. Oh, look at all these comments. Well… 34 spam comments actually. I really must get a blog post going.

And that is how I came to be sitting here today, typing away.

It never fails, you know, no matter how often I follow online writer’s block solving tips. I got this list off the internet.

1. Implement a Writing Schedule.

Yes, I have gone back to the same place at the same time every day and still nothing springs to my head. Sometimes I just let my hand free-write on the paper and all that comes out is… garbage.

2. Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself.

How can I not be? I’ve been trying for three weeks and still nothing comes out of my pen.

3. Think of Writing as a Regular Job, and Less as an Art.

4. Take Time Off If You’ve Just Finished a Project.

5. Set Deadlines and Keep Them.

(This is the only thing that really works for me… Except for the fact that the finished product is a little on the… well… awful side.)

6. Examine Deep-Seated Issues Behind Your Writer’s Block.

7. Work on More Than One Project at a Time.

(Three projects going on and I’m still getting nowhere…)

8. Try Writing Exercises.

(I do this in English class in school everyday.)

9. Re-Consider Your Writing Space.

(It’s actually a cosy little nook.)

10. Remember Why You Started to Write in the First Place.

(I need a LOT of help with this one.)

I do this... A lot.

Actually, I’ve discovered a really awesome way to beat writer’s block when it comes to blogging: If you can’t think about anything to blog about… Blog about the fact that you can’t think of anything to blog about.

Anyhow, I’ll just head off now… I just found a good plot for my book… I think.

D-Day: Dad’s Day

Standard

Hopefully it isn’t too late for me to compile these awesome quotes together like I did for Mother’s Day…

He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it. ~ Clarence Budington Kelland

When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around.  But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years. ~ Mark Twain

Dad, you’re someone to look up to no matter how tall I’ve grown. ~ Author Unknown

None of you can ever be proud enough of being the child of such a Father who has not his equal in this world – so great, so good, so faultless. Try, all of you, to follow in his footsteps and don’t be discouraged, for to be really in everything like him none of you, I am sure, will ever be. Try, therefore, to be like him in some points, and you will have acquired a great deal. ~ Queen Victoria of England

By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong. ~ Charles Wadsworth

One night a father overheard his son pray: Dear God, Make me the kind of man my Daddy is. Later that night, the Father prayed, Dear God, Make me the kind of man my son wants me to be. ~ Anonymous

It is impossible to please all the world and one’s father. ~ Jean de La Fontaine

In the meantime, I shall quote my mother as a depressing melancholy parting…

Remembering the fatherless, and The Perfect Father who takes care of them all.

Happy Father’s Day.

My Experience at Nationals

Standard

Maybe (umm… maybe not) you’ve noticed that I haven’t posted a single thing all week? Ok fine, I don’t actually post so super often, but this time around, I have a legitimate reason… I’ve been at awesome Penang for chess nationals (MSSM)! It’s my first year, so let’s just say I was super excited to the point of bursting.

Shoe shot - a tradition (credits to my namesake)

Since I’m a newbie I had no idea what I was doing. I either packed the wrong things, or didn’t pack the right things. Firstly, Penang is a beach and smart me didn’t pack shorts. Secondly, I brought along my homework. Why is this bad? Simple. We’d either be so busy with training or playing hardcore chess games. So no, no time for that. Thirdly, I didn’t bring a camera. Yes, it is true that the only camera I could bring tells you it’s out of battery every time you shoot a picture, but at least I’d have more than one of these pictures to my name. Next, I wouldn’t have brought free shampoo from another hotel because my roommates would mistake it for free ones from our hotel, and finish them off for me. The list goes on and on, but I’d better not bore you with my packing dilemmas.

That's our bus outside... This is the only photo that's mine... *cries*

The first day involved what should have been a 5-hour drive in a nice bus with nice air-conditioning. Instead, it involved an EIGHT HOUR drive in a hot bus that practically resembled a sauna (to be optimistic, it was a free one). On the bright side, though, it was fun the whole drive. I sat next to a crazy peyi (tamil for ghost) who wore sunglasses so she could sleep without people noticing (of course, everyone noticed because they were all thinking “Why is she wearing those things?) and kept whacking me on the head with a pink pillow every time I shut my eyes for a few seconds. And since there were two other people with my name in the bus… things got confusing.

View while crossing the bridge (by Pavi)

When we reached there, it was time to register for the competition. Of course, we just HAD to go to the wrong place for registration… I mean, duh, we can’t get it right. What’s the fun in that?

Registration (photo credits to our awesome captain)

We checked in to our dwelling for the week: Paradise Hotel. Right next to the beautiful beach – which we were not allowed to go to (though some of us went anyway) – and one kilometer away from the tournament hall. I was told that last year they ended up in a hut of some sort (thankfully I didn’t make it then), so our hotel must’ve been an improvement. We checked in and heaved our bags into the lift. Everyone got rooms from floors 5-8… While me and three others were the only ones all the way up on floor…wait for it…SIXTEEN!

As I said, there were four of us… And walking onto a room on a floor stories high from everyone else’s felt like a blessing due to the breathtaking view.

The beach <3 (by Pavi)

Isn't the sea so pretty? :D (by Pavi)

The lovely sunset :) (by Pavi)

Until we got into the bedroom and discovered two SINGLE beds. SINGLE beds. We tried pushing the beds together and had enough space for three people. Just as I was about to take the sofa, we came to a funny solution… We heaved the soft, short upper mattress off the hard, tall mattress of one of the beds and slept lengthwise on that, with our heads on the short (but soft) mattress and our legs flying up on the taller, harder one. Needless to say, we awoke with aches and pains.

We had training and game analyzation every night at 8:30 and most of the free time we had was taken up by either training (in room 606 with a coach or by ourselves in our rooms) or going completely crazy with roommates (admittedly, more of that). And even though we were next to the most beautiful beach ever we were BANNED from going there. Obviously, some of us just snuck off anyway… No big deal, right? ;)

Our photoshoot! (credits for photo to one of the parents)

The second day started off with a photo session for all competing states (yes, all 15 of them), with a banner in the background. In the afternoon of our second day we played our first 3-hour round. Maybe it was because I was a newbie, but my heart was beating so fast that I thought the world should’ve heard it by then… Like dug-dug, dug-dug… But since no one seemed to notice I guess it was fine. My stomach was twisting with funny butterflies by the time the first round was inaugurated. But of course it wasn’t as bad as I expected. I won the round (YAY!!!)

Third day… Second round today. I found out I was playing with some girl but I didn’t know who she was… I didn’t have time to find out if she was good… Until after the round. She’s supposed to be a strong player. Now this is not usually my principal, but in this case, ignorance was bliss because I won due to lack of fear that she was an awesome player. XD In the afternoon my category had a break and went for training in room 606… for hours. We were glad when it finally ended, so my roommates and I could go crazy dancing like maniacs in our room! :P

Fun group shot (credits to Joyce)

Fourth day… I ended up zooming all the way up to the second table and playing with one of those super strong players. AHHHH!!! Well I lost this round. :P Even though I wanted to know what I did wrong by analyzing my game that night, I caught a cold and had to go to bed early. =.=

Fifth day and woke up with a fever. Sigh. Lost the morning round because one of the arbiters was (and still is) very biased against our state (coz we’re awesome, yeah), and also because concentration was low. Oh well. Then I drank 100 Plus so the fever sort of went down, allowing me to win the next round in the afternoon. We got some awesome news that day too. The boys under 15 team had played their last round and… won gold! :D

Last day… I won the final round giving me a not-too-bad final score of 4/6. Since it’s my first time I won’t beat myself up about it. The best part? This year my state, KL, took home FOUR gold medals and TWO silver medals. And I took home an 8th place medal (oh well xP). The best part of the entire thing was feeling that amazing sensation you get from winning, and knowing you played for your state. Riding home was full of singing, cheering, junk food and just going crazy.

Victory! (credits for photo to my namesake)

Needless to say, I had a lot of fun (understatement :P). It’s sad to see all the seniors heading off because it’s their last year, though…

Next year I am so joining again… With a camera!

Thoughts into Music, Lyric onto Paper – My Outlet

Standard

So, everyone needs an outlet, right? A way to express themselves. A way to tell someone or something what’s on their mind, or a way to calm down, or a way to be oneself, especially after a long day. How one can (corniness alert) express what’s on your mind in a way words can never explain. A magic remedy. I know people who draw, or play an instrument, or something like that, and that’s their magical potion.

And me?

I may dance when angry, write when flustered and sing when sad, but none of them beat this:

I love writing songs. I’ve been doing it since I was 2. At that point, of course, it was just a bunch of gibberish where the only audible words were “riding in a playground”, but hey. The tune was catchy… ish. Just enough to sound presentable to other gobbledygook-speaking babies.

The second song, with real words this time, was written when I was seven. Something about the Sun rising in the east and setting in the west. Despite being ridiculous, it did help me to better envision the rotation of the Sun when I had to. It saved my Science test once. So, even though it’s the worst song in the history of songs, it’s my favourite, not only because it rescued my marks, but also because it began the stream of self-written songs that were in tangible language.

Next came the song with a ridiculous line. I myself have no idea what on earth could have possessed me to write “And I’ve heard that home is where the heart is, but right now the only place my heart is in is in my chest”. I know. Epically awful.

Soon it was more songs with senseless words and repetitive tunes where the chorus only appeared once. After that it was crazy songs that went out of time and key in random places. The words were always fine, but the melody always sounded like every other song out there. Typical lame tunes.

Then I got a guitar, and finally my rhythm shaped up. All emo songs of course, full of funny emotions that seemed too old for me. What I began to notice was that all my songs were sad songs. The only happy song I had at the time was my first nice song, that ran along the lines of love.

This is paradise

I’m in paradise

Whenever I see you smile at me

It’s paradise

I tell you, I didn’t even understand what I was writing about!

A while after that, my songs took a turn for the more negative. I had the most depressing songs anyone could’ve imagined! And still no sign of a happy song anywhere, by the way. At least they made sense (to other strange people).

And finally, last year… Bingo! A happy song! Yipee!

Since last year, actually, my songs began to sound more original. They were more balanced; not too sad, not too sappy.

What do I use to write songs? In the beginning (not the heavens or the earth), it was just vocals and a good memory. When I learned the piano, I still couldn’t play a tune I liked on it. And then (choir of angels, please) I got a guitar! I could then play my own songs and compose them properly. And soon I began writing with the piano (cue round of applause) too. Unfortunately my memory got a tad bad and I started forgetting my tune. My phone didn’t (and still doesn’t) have a recorder, so I use my mom’s phone to record whatever awesome tune I come up with.

I write songs because I love to. It’s my favourite way to express myself. When I’m too frustrated to write in my diary, I take it all out on a music score. I pour my heart out onto paper (it’s more patient than people). Every time something bad happens, I close my eyes and whisper to myself, “I’ll write a song about this later”. After a rough and long day, you can see me scribbling away at a piece of paper. Writing songs helps me to sort through my emotions and discover what I’m really feeling when I’m confused. It releases my stress and makes me feel a whole lot better in the end.

So what about you? What’s your outlet?

Mother’s Day

Standard

I’m not planning to say much for this blog (phew, that’s a relief), but I did compile a whole bunch of quotes to put down here. Really, there isn’t anything I can say to thank my mom enough for all she’s done over these past years. So I’ll just say:

Happy mother’s day! Selamat hari ibu! 母亲节快乐! Gelukkige moederdag! Feliz día de las madre! Heureuse fête des mères! Máithreacha sásta lá!

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.  ~ Tenneva Jordan

If you have a mom, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not already been.  ~ Robert Brault

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.  ~ Washington Irving

Your arms were always open when I needed a hug. Your heart understood when I needed a friend. Your gentle eyes were stern when I needed a lesson. Your strength and love has guided me and gave me wings to fly. ~ Sarah Malin

Who ran to help be when I fell,
And would some pretty story tell,
Or kiss the place to make it well?
My Mother.
~ Ann Taylor

Most mothers are instinctive philosophers. ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe


And my favourite which I found online:

Some Reasons I Owe My Mother

1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE.
“If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning.”

2. My mother taught me RELIGION.
“You better pray that will come out of the carpet.”

3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL.
“If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock you into the middle of next week!”

4. My mother taught me LOGIC.
“Because I said so, that’s why.”

5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC.
“If you fall out of that swing and break your neck,
you’re not going to the store with me.”

6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT.
“Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”

7. My mother taught me IRONY.
“Keep crying, and I’ll give you something to cry about.”

8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS.
“Shut your mouth and eat your soup.”

9. My mother taught me about CONTORTION.
“Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!”

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA.
“You’ll sit there until all the spinach and olives are gone.”

11. My mother taught me about WEATHER.
“This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it.”

12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY.
“If I told you once, I’ve told you a million times. Now, don’t you exaggerate!”

13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE.
“I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.”

14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION.
“Stop acting like your father!”

15. My mother taught me about ENVY.
“There are millions of less fortunate children in this world
who don’t have wonderful parents like you do.”

16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
“Just wait until we get home.”

17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING.
“You are going to get it when you get home!”

18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
“If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they are going to freeze that way.”

19. My mother taught me ESP.
“Put your sweater on; don’t you think I know when you are cold?”

20. My mother taught me HUMOR.
“When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me.”

21. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT.
“If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.”

22. My mother taught me GENETICS.
“You’re just like your father.”

23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS.
“Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?”

24. My mother taught me WISDOM.
“When you get to be my age, you’ll understand.”

25. My mother taught me about JUSTICE.
“One day you’ll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you.


Anyhow, Mom, thanks for everything! You really are a SUPERMOM!