These last three months of 2017 are mostly made up of adventures, travels, retreats and learning journeys. It has been a great period of time for me to learn more about the people who are close to me as well as the people around me. There were several new experiences that I just realized I just need to figure out as I go along. But increasingly, I am beginning to realize that the people around me don’t know everything too and that they are also in the process of figuring things out too and adjusting to their roles. I also travelled more in this last three months of 2017 and seeing more of the world always reminds me how small Singapore is and how sometimes we simply over-think about the small stuff. We aren’t perfect and we aren’t robots so it’s important to forgive ourselves for the mistakes made and move on from there. Sometimes I realize I worry too much about how others may perceive me and because of that, I become afraid of being myself. I need to learn to worry less about what others think. After all, I can’t control their thoughts and sometimes the eyes only see what the mind is ready to comprehend. I hope that in 2018, I will focus more on the tasks and the important people and listen less to the noise around me. Here are some snippets of the last 3 months of 2017 to remind myself of the most important people in my life 🙂
Mervin has never been to the River Safari before so on a nice Saturday afternoon, we visited the River Safari together. The last time I was at the River Safari was about a year ago and I must say that the animals, especially the sea creatures, have grown quite huge and the space given to them seems inadequate. We also did both river cruises – a river cruise down the reservoir and the Amazon river cruise. The first river cruise was rather unsurprising while the second river cruise felt like a ride in an amusement park with animals at the side. Dining wise, we ate the panda buns at the cafe and drank fancy hand brew coffee at the newly opened Starbucks near the ticket gate. Here is a happy picture of us with the panda. 🙂
My dad happened to get hold of WTA Finals Singapore Championship tickets one weekday night so we did a double date that night. We watched the match between Venus Williams and Garbine Muguruza. It was a close match but in the end, Venus won in 3 sets. The tennis was rather boring for that match as both sides just made many unforced errors, including several double faults. Nonetheless, it was a great night with great company.
NUS Department of Chemistry organised an 88th anniversary dinner at Fullerton Hotel one Friday evening. At the invitation of Dr Ang, several alumni of his group from different batches came together to enjoy an evening together. We won the table game; I guess we were all feeling rather competitive that night. It was quite funny that some juniors who graduated two years after me have heard of me even though we have never met before. It was also a coincidence that they are also in teaching so they asked if I had any advice for them. What I told them was to stay, or at least appear, receptive to feedback from the senior teachers and not to be too bothered by what others say. I told them people can be quite negative but don’t allow their negativity to get you down. Whatever it is, always put your best foot forward and love yourself.
It was also the evening when I met the group members from Mervin’s lab as well as his boss. His boss shook my hand enthusiastically and even invited me to take a picture with his group. The funniest part of the evening was when his boss went up to Dr Ang, shook his hand and told him that she didn’t know that Mervin was dating someone from his group. We thought it was quite a funny yet sweet scene.
Hortpark had a Community Garden Festival over a weekend in November. Mervin agreed to check out the festival with me. It was quite funny as it turned out to be a work outing for me as I enthusiastically took photos of many edible crops growing in Hortpark, information about the plants and information about various suppliers of garden-related materials. It’s interesting to see that so many Singaporeans are fond of gardening. I guess there is a certain joy in watching how plants grow and bear fruits under our love and care. After the outing to Hortpark, we walked to Labrador Park to see the mangroves before proceeding to Vivocity for a nice lunch. Here is a happy picture of us in front of a beautiful green wall.
Mervin and I did a quick 2D1N getaway to Bintan one weekend. We stayed at the Canopi. It was supposed to be a glamping experience but it was quite a luxurious stay. The only thing that remotely resembles glamping is the outdoors toilet attached to our “tent”. In our “tent”, we were able to enjoy the modern comforts of A/C while watching television and using Wifi. We did a massage, took a boat ride down a mangrove at night to get to a seafood kelong, swam in the very over-sized, crystal-blue swimming pool and rode on paddle boats on the same water body. All in all, it was a much needed getaway after a very busy semester and time together is always gold. Here’s a picture of us at our toilet attached to our “tent”. 🙂
Mervin and I did a 10-day trip to Taiwan and funnily, we ended up spending 5 days on an outlying island – Green Island. The reason was that due to bad weather, the ferries and flights out of the island were all cancelled so we had to stay an extra two days on the island. Green Island is a small island so we spent time examining different coastal features, exploring different parts of the island, learning about white terror in Taiwan and snorkeling. Besides Green Island, we also visited Taipei, Hualien and Taitung. Things did not really go as we have planned but it was, all in all, a really great trip and we learnt more about and from each other through the trip. One night in Taipei, we went to a music bar and it was nice to eat and drink while listening to good music and that was quite memorable too. Here is a happy picture of us at a hipster cultural park in Taipei. Can’t wait for the next adventure together.
On the last night in Taipei, I also arranged to meet Shufen. It was such a coincidence that she happened to be travelling alone in Taiwan and also happened to be in Taipei on that night. We hung out at the night market and we shared our travel adventures and misadventures in Taiwan with each other. She is such a funny, bubbly, outgoing girl and that was such an enjoyable night. It’s funny to think that I only got to know her a year ago on my trip to Finland. This is the third country that we have hung out together. Can’t wait to see her again in March in China.
This birthday is different from the ones before. On this day, we went to fetch my brother at the airport as he planned his return trip from London such that he would be in Singapore on my birthday. My family, my aunt, my grandma and Mervin came together for a nice dinner at the Wine Connection. Mervin was so sweet to get a rum cake from awfully chocolate and gifts for me. And for this birthday, I didn’t make grand wishes, I just wished for the people around this table to stay safe and healthy in 2018 and I wished that they would all be here to celebrate my birthday next year. 🙂 I suppose the older you get, the more you come to understand that you can’t take things for granted. It is human nature to look out for more and for the next big thing but at the same time, it is also important to take care of and appreciate the most important people in your life. Stay safe and healthy, everyone.
I did a week-long trip to Tasmania with my family. It was also incidentally my first road trip as a driver. My brother and I took turns to drive (2 hours interval). The roads were great, except they got rather too winding near Cradle Mountain and that in general, there were too many road kills in Tasmania. On average, it has been estimated that 35 animals are killed in road kills in Tasmania every hour. For me, this road trip is important as it helps me to come to terms with some things. I come to understand that some things are beyond me and sometimes certain things happen to people for no reason. Some say it’s fate while others say it’s in the destiny of the person so I have to learn to accept it.
Tasmania is a beautiful country – we saw a wide range of coastal features, we saw wild animals (>30 wild wombats!), we visited the biggest privately owned lavender farm in the world, we visited the best conserved convict site in Australia, we saw big trees and waterfalls and we went up a mountain. Most importantly, it was nice to travel together and create fond memories together. Here’s a happy picture of us at the Bay of Fires. Looking forward to the next trip together.