My mom, dad and younger bro have just left NYC to head back home in sunny (and rainy) Singapore. It was worse sending them off in the airport, than it was for me to leave Singapore for the UK. I guess after having spent 3 wonderful weeks with them, it was rather hard for me to have them go back to Singapore, and for me to eventually go back to Cambridge. Which is a really nice place, but where I don't have parents to look after me (read: so I can behave like a kid) and I don't have my favourite younger brother (I only have one younger brother but that doesn't matter) to bully into carrying things and baking yummy food for me.
Mom and I; snowing in Callicoon, NY.
Me and my dad (with his cool sunglasses); at the Highline, NYC.
My favourite retard and I; outside the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C.
Not that my older brother is any less awesome. But I've spend lots of my time when I was younger taking care of and placating my younger brother, and I'll still be spending the next 10 days or so in NYC with my older bro.
Jonathan, Jeremy and me
What I love best is how we each have our own interests and hobbies and talents; how we're not all fixated by studying hard to get As to do the course that would earn us the most money in the future so we can get a huge house with a big car and lots of money to fill the house with useless things etc. But more with doing things that will make others happier (hopefully), or others' lives better, or things that make us happy, and well, good things. And I think a lot of credit goes to my awesome parents, for bringing us up.
So, number 1 on the list: thankful for my family who have always been supportive of all that I do. And you never miss them more than when you're overseas alone. And to all my extended family as well, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. Gonna be so different not spending Chinese New Year with them.
Thankful also for my friends; you guys know who you are (: Not having good friends with you in school is hard, I learnt. No one who will for sure without fail and without asking look out for you and take notes for you when you miss classes; no one to study with and ask silly questions; no one to make life more interesting and more exciting when you're feeling damn sian about going to school. I realise I kinda enjoyed going to school, because of the people.
Not having good friends out of school is also sad, cos there are fewer people to go out with and relax and do stuff with.
And most importantly, to have good conversations with.
Infinitely thankful for my faith, for God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Cos with Him, I know He's always looking out for me, even when I feel like no one else is. And with Him, all things are possible. And with Him, there's no reason for me to be afraid.
Especially when you feel like you can't go on anymore, and on the verge of tears, His strength will help you carry on. Something I felt acutely while in Nepal last year.
And something I never really felt before till I went overseas, food. I really never realised how important Singaporean food was to me. Home cooked food is the best. Hawker centre food is the second. And whatever else other people may say, food is important, not just for physical well-being. As the saying goes, the family that eats together, stays together. Meal time is bonding time, a time for sharing stories and making meaningful conversation. Which is why in Singapore, or with Singaporeans (or with any friends at all), the usual activity is to go makan (eat in Malay).
2012 has been yet another really awesome year. Worked in NParks, went to Malaysia and Philippines for a month each for volunteer work, had awesome trips with friends to Bali, Indonesia and to Sydney, Australia. Received the good news that I got the Jardine scholarship and made it into Peterhouse, Cambridge. Started uni, made new friends and learnt a lot, not just about academics, but also about life in general. Thoroughly enjoyed my gap year.
The year 2013 will be a vastly different one. No more gap year; a lot more studying. Plenty of things I want to do, and need to do. Exercise more, for one. And pick up some form of dance, perhaps, since dancing apparently can make people quite happy (a talk I attended listed dancing as the activity that made people the happiest). And sleep early.
I'll also have to deal with organising a climate and sustainability forum, managing the newly set up Cambridge Uni Nature Society, studying, climbing (more!), keep up my blogging, fundraising for my Summer trips and lots more random things that will pop up I'm sure.
New Year's resolution? I think it'll be to keep God in the centre of all that I do. With that, all else will fall in place.
take time to reflect and ponder over what matters to you in your life (:
Happy New Year everybody! :) Have a safe and happy holiday!