Sunday, February 24, 2008

Back into the swing of things

Finally, I'm back in NZ and I am glad to be back! Yes, you heard right...for the past few weeks, I have been rather open about the fact that NZ is the right place for me at this present moment of my life.

So, I touched down at 12.10pm yesterday and arrived home bout 1.45pm...Then it was straight back into my crazy life. I unpacked and freshened up (not that I needed to considering the weather I was greeted with!) and headed out the door to run some errands. No surprise really...Jean = busy!

I'm still very jet lagged but the feeling of being back in NZ where my friends are and life is, trumps the overwhelming tiredness I am currently feeling. It was great to be back at cession again tonite. And what was better was that feeling of freshness and renewed perspective and hunger to be back at church and 'getting stuck in'.

I was also a recipient of some rather exciting news but coz it's not my place to tell, that named person can announce it to the world (if you choose to) in their own time! I was very stoked...

Well, I'm off to try and get some decent 40 winks before the week ahead creeps up.

It's good to be back........Aaaaahhhhhh
p/s: photos will come when I have some time to organise the mammoth pile.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

4 weeks down, 1 more to go

Well, well, well...I can't believe it's been a motnh since I left Auckland for my holiday. Since then I've been in 3 cities (1 new city and 2 others I've been to), travel many miles, hopped on and off the plane too many times to count and eaten WAY too much.

It has been a good month and it was definitely a much needed holiday. I needed to go away and gain some perspective on things in my life. I just needed space, clearity of mind. Last year, I fell victim to a build up (over a few years) of doing too much, expecting too much and giving back too little to myself.

I started to lose interest in a lot of what I was doing. The area that suffered most was ministry. There was no more hunger, passion and love in what I did/gave. I hated that feeling and by trying to make up for the lack of everything, I pushed myself harder in other areas (work, uni) to try and find this hunger, passion, drive and love again. Even though I really enjoyed uni and competition season last year and found a job that I now love, it did more harm then good at the time. I was a tap whose reserves were running out and instead of turning the tap off to let the reserve refill, I kept draining it.

I had nothing left to give to anyone, esp myself, by the year's end...

So with 1 more week left of my holiday to go, I can't wait to get back into the swing of things again. I already have a list of things (that started even before I left for my holiday!!!) that need to be attended to the minute I arrive home. However, it will require a lot of smart planning so as to not end up in the same position again.

I had a hard year and instead of leaning on God, trusting Him and listening to what He was trying to say to me through my friends, I decided to do it my way. It was very humbling. The big man and myself didn't have a particularly good year together. At the time, it didn't seem like He was there but He was. How do I know this? Well, just look at the amazing support system He has put around awesome friends (there's too many of you to name and I don't want to be guilty of leaving anyone out). These people aren't just those that I see on a fairly regular basis but also those who are overseas, those that I can just pick up the phone and have a conversation with for hours on end.

This year will very much be a year for me to be intentional with every part of my walk with God. Sounds so contrived...having to be intentional but I guess I need to start somewhere or it'll never happen. And this will start with me making sure I have at least 1 conversation with Him and then 2, then 3 then hopefully it'll just happen without thinking. After making the step to start talking to Him, I then need to learn to listen. I tend to be really bad at that. Since I suck at keeping to my Bible reading, I'll have to try and figure out a way to keep at it...

I can't wait to go back to Auckland and get going with uni and work and church this year. But with 1 more week remaining of my holiday, I am going to enjoy it and make the most of it!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Too much eating...

...pretty much sums up what I've been doing over the past week! Since being back in Malaysia, I've been doing more eating than I really should, esp since I have friends around.

I've put on WAY too much weight and losing it is definitely a priority when I get back to NZ. It's been good taking my friends around and letting them experience proper Malaysian food as opposed to the crap that is being served in Auckland. Sad but true...

Everyone has enjoyed every meal that we've had. It's a pity that one of them will be heading back home tomoz as there is so much more to try and we have barely scratched the surface; and this is after 14 meals + snacks over the past week! The others will be here for another week so will be taking them to have more food. They've also been able to experience the Malaysia shopping malls in between all the eating to try and walk off some of the food consumed. Again, it's way better than Sylvia Park.

Apart from that, I really don't have much to offer in terms of news. I was looking at my diary the otehr day and noticed that I'm already looking really busy the minute I set foot back into Auckland. Oh well...I'll just leave that at the back of my mind until the time comes. In the mean time, I'll just keep eating...

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Vietnam, Singapore

It is the 2nd day of Chinese New Year and celebrations are much different to when I was growing up. This time round, it is a lot quieter and low key; no big family get together and dinner or big queues from auntie to auntie/uncle to uncle asking for red packets (a tradition where the unmarrieds receive red packets from marrieds filled with money).

Anyhow, I'm back in KL after being in Vietnam and Singapore for 1.5 weeks. The trip started off in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam with a reunion with my friends. It was nice to see familiar NZ faces again after such a long time. I hadn't seent these friends seen they left NZ 2 months ago.

In general, I found Vietnam extremely over rated. I was very disappointed but nonetheless a good experience. Traffic in Vietnam came as a total shock to me. I thought Malaysian traffic was bad but Vietnam was 10x worse! There is no sense of care or safety. There are also no road rules. On a one way street, don't expect traffic to come from only 1 way...traffic still comes from the other direction! Car/motorcycle horns constantly fill the air. Horns are not used as they are in NZ to voice annoyance or anger but more as a way to say that "I'm behind you" or "Watch it, I'm coming through and get out of my way". It was a rare sight to see only 1 or 2ppl on a motorcycle but rather a family of 4 or 5! It was unbelievable...

Back to food, most food was sub-par. A lot of eating was seen but not a lot of feeding. We never felt like we ever had been fed after each meal, feeling hungry again after 2 hrs. Having said that, there were 2 meals that were VERY enjoyable-'Pho' and 'Ban Xeo', traditional Vietnamese soup noodles and Vietnamese panckae respectively. Apart from that, all very disappointing.

My reflections on Vietnam: it's worse than Malaysia...I guess I can't complian anymore; Malaysia, though I never intend to leave here ever again is much better than Vietnam in terms of economically, hygiene, food and mentality.

After a week in Vietnam, we headed of to Singapore. Originally, this was the leg of the trip that I was least looking forward to but I was proven wrong.

The highlight of the Singapore trip was a dinner at Aurum. It is one of the few molecular gastronomy restaurants in Asia. My friend found the website while we were still in NZ and after checking it out and asking round we decided we'd make a nite of it. We were VERY impressed with the food, service needed some work but the food made up for it. You'll have to wait for photos....

I had their degustation menu that was on offer that nite. 9 courses, 1 cocktail & 2 glasses of wine later...I was very very satisfied. I'd be back in a heartbeat. (I'll dedicate a seperate post to do justice to the food and along with it photos, so hang in there).

The following nite, we went to try out Les Amis. It has been up and running for many years now and has definitely made a real name for itself in the Culinary scene. However, we were quite disappointed especially after the meal we had the nite before at Aurum. A real anti climax...Service was amazing but food didn't match up to it. Wine list was ridiculously huge but interior design and layout was good. They just needed to work on the flavours and combination of each dish considering the prices they charge! Oh I know.

So, I'm back in KL now with the mob and it's pretty quiet. But we are still doing heaps of eating, what else?! They'll be here for another week or so, which equates to MORE eating...

Tomoz we are heading up to Genting Highlands. As the name suggests it is a highlands situated in the East Coast of mainland Malaysia. It is a popular holiday location for both locals and tourists alike as it is nice a cool (~16-20C) as oppose to the usual hot and humid weather. It should be a good day out...

Til the next post...

p/s: I don't have anyway of downloading photos from my camera to the computer thus I have not posted any. I will do so asap when I get my hands on a cable or wait til I get back to NZ. I do apologise...I am very annoyed at myself for forgetting to bring it with me. :(