World is in lockdown.
We will never forget these times.
Stay safe, everyone.
#stayhome #flattenthecurve #thankyoufrontliners
World is in lockdown.
We will never forget these times.
Stay safe, everyone.
#stayhome #flattenthecurve #thankyoufrontliners
Today’s Gospel reading was taken from Luke 12:32-48 and the verse that struck a chord with me was the one above. What do I value most in my life? I mean, like right this very minute. Is it material possessions? Is it my awesome job? What is it that excites me and makes me want to get out of bed every morning? Is it the prospect of seeing my gorgeous work colleague? (Yeah, maybe.)
Okay, I’m going to get serious now.
Christians are taught that we should not be attached to worldly possessions and for good reason. When we finally go back to our heavenly home, we won’t be able to take any of that with us anyway. Hand on my heart, I give utmost importance to my relationships with others. I look forward to hanging out with friends and keeping connected to family. It is no surprise then that my top two languages of love are “quality time” and “acts of service”. (See Five languages of love.) Although quite introverted – no objections, please! – I find social interaction uplifting and essential to a healthy life. I am a rich, successful, and better human being because of my family and friends.
I also value music a lot. I mean, A LOT. I could not imagine a world without music. It would be so depressing! It’s funny but I am more inclined to like a new acquaintance based on his or her type of music. And I’m suspicious of people who don’t appreciate music – any kind of music – at all. I mean, come on!
Again, it’s no surprise that choir practice is the highlight of my week and that choir forms a large chunk of my life. I’m lucky to have met some pretty amazing people who not only share my interests and values but are also the most welcoming and loving bunch of crazies ever to walk the streets of Chatswood together. Haha!
When I sing at church, I am reminded of the second part of Luke 12:48 which states:
Whether all of us admit (or realise) it or not, we sing because we can’t help but share our God-given talents and to praise God the best way we know how. I believe there is that stirring inside each of us. There must be. There is no other explanation for it.
Ultimately, my treasure lies in the knowledge that Jesus loved me first and because of this, I can’t help but love others (and myself) even when we are sometimes unlovable*. And because He has given me the ability to sing, I am compelled to honour Him through song. I always pray that God will use me to bring people closer to Him; that by the way I live and make use of my talents, I may glorify my Saviour.
And until my last breath, I will continue to serve God through music.
*Our Daily Bread devotional: It is impossible to love Christ without loving others.
As I get older, my birthday becomes less about me and more about celebrating my mom and commemorating the day that I changed her life forever. So before this day ends, allow me to renew my commitment to honour her the best way I can: by living my life with integrity, kindness, and generosity. If I am seen by others as a strong and level-headed woman, then that is a testament to how I have been raised by Mama. By her example, I have learned how to be self-reliant and never to wallow in self-pity.
One might think that I had been sheltered all my life since I was the unica hija. While it might even be easier to shield me from heartaches and sorrow, she let me experience the pain of heartbreak and the disappointment of failures. Though she might have wanted to hold on to me, she let me spread my wings and see the world. She gave me the skills to navigate through the ups and downs of life and I was well equipped to face the world confidently. Once I made a comment that while I was her only child, it seemed to me that she worried and looked after everyone else but me! Again, that is a credit to her excellent parenting.
It is no mean feat to raise a child as a single mom and yet she made it seem easy. I grew up knowing I was loved and wanted and that has made all the difference. I am and always will be your Little Miss Sunshine, Mama. I love you and thank you for bringing me into the world.
The first month of 2016 is over. Wow, that was quick. We’re sorry we weren’t actively blogging in 2015 but you know, that’s what happens when you get waylaid by life.
It seems like only yesterday when the three of us embarked on our epic UK adventure that the memories remain fresh in our minds. We continue to daydream about our next big trip and even thought about going to Brazil or Palawan but it seemed that fate had other plans. Now that we’re all living in three different continents, it seems trickier to organise getaways. Maybe it’s for this reason that the three of us have not seen each other in nearly four years. FOUR YEARS!
But this January, destiny organised a reunion! It was short and bittersweet. Truth be told, it was extremely difficult for me – for all of us – not to cry at seeing each other again after such a long time. We couldn’t pass up the chance to get a selfie in just before we all went our separate ways.
We are apart for now, but you can bet that we’ll reunite very, very soon. And we promise to blog about it too.
This is a spur-of-the-moment post inspired by a few things I’ve come across over the Internet in the past 24 hours.
Last night, I posted an article about geologist Maria Tharp, the woman who changed the geological community’s view and understanding of the ocean floors. Never heard of her? Neither have I and I’m a geologist! Just goes to show you that too many talented women don’t seem to get the recognition they deserve despite their groundbreaking contributions to their respect fields.
[Read her story here: How one woman’s discovery shook the foundations of geology.]
One paragraph in this article resonated with me: “At the University of Ohio, she discovered geology and found a mentor who encouraged her to take drafting. Because Tharp was a woman, he told her, fieldwork was out of the question, but drafting experience could help her get a job in an office like the one at Columbia.”
When I was taking up my undergraduate degree in geology, the ratio of male to female students was almost 1:1, and yet, I remember one teaching assistant tell me that I should (or would) never work in a mine because, as he said, “they’re all men and they probably won’t like having women around.” I’ve never been one to listen to such senseless comments anyway so I shrugged it off. Well, if he could only see me now. Not only have I worked in a mine site – several, in fact – I’ve worked in remote areas where sometimes, even if I am the only female, none of the men I’ve ever worked with treated me differently.
Earlier this month, Frankie tagged me in a post over on Facebook. It’s to do with our all-time favourite love story, The X-Files. Yes, you read that right. Let’s forget about the aliens and the conspiracies and all the other weird things that happened in that show. Let’s just focus on Mulder and Scully. They are the epitome of what a real partnership is. Theirs is a love built on the foundation of friendship, mutual respect, and admiration of the others’ intelligence. They are presented in the show as equals. Equals! Need I say more?
One of my favourite scenes from the show is where Scully says that the best relationships are the ones rooted in friendship. Hear, hear!
From The Rain King (S6, Ep8)
[How The X-Files ruined all other TV romances. Heck, it’s even ruined real life romance for me.]
I’m not what you’d call a movie-goer*. I watch movies sometimes and I know which ones I like and which ones I hate. If you were to guess which movies appealed to me the most, you might assume it’s the ones with the strong female characters, right? Sure. Except, are there really enough movies like that? I don’t know but I’d really like to know and so I’m going to help fund a Kickstarter project. Again, thanks to Frankie, I’m contributing to MaryAnn Johanson’s “Where are the women? (A feminist protest in film criticism).
[See also: Bechdel Test]
Now I have never been one to call myself a feminist but that doesn’t mean I don’t identify as one. I am and have always been. I get that from my mother even if she herself would never call herself a feminist. I suppose I was brought up in an household where we didn’t need labels. We simply were feminists in everything we did.
Why do I want to fund this project? Because I want to know if females are represented fairly and adequately in movies. If it is said that art is a reflection of society, then what does that say about our society?
I feel like the fight for equality will always be an uphill battle but maybe, just maybe, projects like these will help make the world see that women do a lot of great things. (And that this reality needs to be reflected in movies too.)
We’re right here and we matter!
[See also: Bechdel Test]
*I know, I know. Even my friend and former flatmate, Gerald, laughed at my somewhat antiquated term. And he’s one who loves his movies.
What up, y’all?! Seems so quiet around these parts, eh? Sorry about that. You know, things to do, lives to live, blah, blah. I just got back from a long hitch at work. By hitch I mean, fieldwork somewhere in outback Queensland where I don’t always have mobile reception or reliable Internet. Anyhoo, I’m back and it’s so good.
I watched a few concerts this year – go me! The most recent ones included Pentatonix, Sara Bareilles (love, love, love!), and Justin Timberlake. I was going to see Ingrid Michaelson (again) but sadly, she had to cancel her tour. Her mom passed away recently. On Thursday, I’m seeing Tori Amos (again). Woohoo! I saw here a few years back at the Opera House with Erin, Pia, and Oliver. This time I’m going with Cha and Liv. So excited! Then there was this one time I chaperoned two of Jogin and Ferdie’s kids to watch X-Factor Live. It was a week day and I was in town. It was good karma because that night, Ed Sheeran pre-recorded two songs for the show (to be aired a week later).
Still on the music front, I’ve had to take a leave of absence from the choir until the end of the year. I just can’t do it what with being away for extended periods of time and without reliable outside communication. It wouldn’t be fair to the group plus I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and exasperated. Next year will be a fresh start and hopefully, there will still be a place for me in the group.
I feel like I’ve been thrown off a fast moving vehicle and dumped by the side of the road. I look up and it’s nearly Christmas. Seriously, 2014, WTF?! There are gifts to buy and Christmas cards to mail and I’m slightly panicking.
As I end this blog, it’s approximately:
This may very well be the last time you read me writing about my father.
Each year in June, the world (except for Australia)* celebrates Father’s Day. It’s an ambiguous celebration for me because, as you know, I didn’t grow up with a dad.
Earlier this year, I found out through my mom, who found out through common friends that my father passed away. It could be that he’s been dead for a few years now but we’ve yet to confirm that. I was talking to my mom casually over the phone when she said, something along the lines of, “Guess what?! I found out that your father passed away…” I didn’t really hear the rest of what she said because all of a sudden everything just went blank. Look, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sad. But I’m not sad for the reasons most of you might be thinking. I wasn’t sad because I’d never get to meet the person who gave me half of my chromosomes. I wasn’t sad that I never got to tell him, “Umm, thanks for the genes.” I wasn’t sad because I needed to connect with him. I was sad because the decision not to meet him had been taken away from me. I guess, up until that point, I imagined that one day I’d change my mind and ask my mom to set up a meeting. I feel sad that that decision has been made for me before I could definitively say: Yeah, I’m good. Don’t need to meet him.
Having said that, in the off-chance that maybe the rumor was false and he was still alive, I still wouldn’t suddenly scramble at the chance to come face-to-face with him. Although, observing his mannerisms would have been cool too. From a purely scientific perspective, it would be fascinating to see if I inherited any traits from him purely through genetics, having no interaction with him at all. I guess now, I’d have to be content with a photo or two. I’d be curious to see if we had any resemblance at all.
There, I said it. Happy father’s day, dad, wherever you are.
*Australia celebrates Father’s Day in September.
It’s Abbey’s birthday today! Your sisters, Blossom and Buttercup, miss you terribly! We hope that you’re having a wonderful birthday celebration and our wish is that we three can be reunited soon.
I know we keep saying this but yes, we will come visit you in Canada. We love you, Abbey! 🙂
aboriginal art, aboriginal people, adventures, alice motor inn, alice springs, australian outback, ayers rock, cairns, caravan, caravan park, dream time, ellery creek, emu run tours, geology, glen helen, imoova, kata-tjuta, macdonnell ranges, mbantua, mount conner, mount ebenezer, northern territory, olgas, ormiston gorge, outback, queensland, red centre, salt lake, simpsons gap, standley chasm, travel, trip, Wauchope Hotel, wycliff well
This is the final installment of the great Australian outback adventure, the highlight of our trip. Not to take anything away from all the other magnificent places and landscapes that we’ve explored on this trip – and my photos don’t do it justice – but seeing Uluru was high on my list of places to visit. I’ve been living in Australia for eight years before the dream became a reality.
On February 16, Kelly and I were picked up from the motel just before 5AM. We had a very long day ahead of us and we needed sustenance so our first stop was at Mount Ebenezer Roadhouse to grab some coffee and maybe a few snacks and drinks. It’s not like we needed to buy any extra food, really. Emu Run Tours makes sure to pack lots of snacks. As soon as we stepped onto the bus at 5AM, they handed us a small breakfast pack with muesli, juice, and other snacks. And all along the trip, they would hand out lollies, fruits, and lamingtons. They also brought large jugs of cold water so we could refill our water bottles. As our guide, Ryan, told us the other day, hungry tourists are angry tourists.
One of the ladies working at the roadhouse found four abandoned bunnies near the fuel pump. She took them inside and she let us (the tourists) take photos and pet them. They were so adorable!
All throughout the trip, our tour guides/coach drivers told us interesting tidbits about the changing landscape, including the plants, we were driving through. Richard told history and geology stories while Tic told dream time stories and introduced us to the native plant life in the area. At one point along the drive, Richard had asked if there were any geologists on the bus. Kelly and I kept quiet. For one, we didn’t want him to be self-conscious about doing his spiel, and more importantly, we didn’t want to get asked to explain the geology ourselves! He did mention that a few days earlier, there were two geologists on the tour with them. (Trin and Beck! Haha!)
Our next stop was at a look out point for Mount Conner, sometimes called Attila. It’s also been referred to as “Fool-eroo” because apparently, there were some hikers/campers/explorers who’d traveled from very far to see Uluru. They had been hiking for a very long time and so were so excited to behold a magnificent mound in the distance. They took photos then made their way back to Alice Springs – a few days’ worth of hiking. When they had the film developed, the photographic technician commented that they had taken beautiful photos of Mount Conner, not of Uluru!
Just before noon, we stopped by Kata-Tjuta (Olgas). From afar, we thought that the Olgas was comprised of fine sandstone but on closer inspection, it was actually conglomerates. Sorry, geology nerd. #sorrynotsorry
There are dream time stories associated with this place as well but blogging about it won’t really capture the essence of the stories. What I’m saying is, you have to go there yourselves and be immersed in the area to really appreciate the stories and to behold the breath-taking landscape all at the same time. Do it now, put this tour on your bucket lists!
We arrived at Uluru at high noon and stopped at the public access area to the Ayers Rock Resort. Here, we stretched our legs for a bit and went for a toilet break. We were also handed our packed sandwich lunches. There was a souvenir shop there but we didn’t bother entering.
After the Olgas, we visited the Aboriginal Cultural Centre and did the 45-minute walk around the base of Uluru. The trail that we took was called the Mala Walk. Now, something happened at this time that I felt I could have handled better. While at the Cultural Centre, I wandered off somewhere (probably the toilet or something) and when I got back to the bus, I was one of the last ones to enter. I told Tic that I was looking for my friend, Kelly, and he said, she’s at the back of the bus. I didn’t check and I should have. We drove off and I wondered where she was. Maybe she needed a break from me and sat at the back of the bus. But it was when we got out of the bus at the foot of Uluru that I really started to worry. I couldn’t contact her and I told the guides that really, we left someone at the cultural centre! Tic drove back to look for Kelly and the rest of the tour group continued with the Mala Walk with Richard. (I don’t think they ever lost a tourist before and I could see the panic in Tic’s face when I said I wasn’t joking.) More than halfway through our walk, I spot our bus and I see Kelly walking towards our group. Thank God! Moral of the story, never believe the tour guide that “your friend’s at the back of the bus”.
The next series of photos were taken during the Mala Walk at the base of Uluru. Now, there are some areas that are considered more sacred than others so Richard would tell us when we needed to put our cameras away. There are some areas that we couldn’t take photos of.
The next quick guided walk we did led us to the Mutitjulu Waterhole. Here, we heard more Aboriginal stories as told by our very funny (in a smart ass kind of way) guide, Tic.
Just before sunset, we made our way to the viewing area. There were other tour buses but our spot was the closest to Uluru.
While Richard and Tic were busy preparing our sunset barbecue feast, we all had a chance to take photos and do short walks or check out the art works being peddled by the Aboriginal women at the car park.
We had a glass of bubbly with the nice salads, bread, and sausages. Even with a bus full of tourists, we were all able to go back for seconds! After we had our fill of food, we still had time to watch the sun completely set and relax for a bit before we started our 6-hour drive back to Uluru. Kelly and I were the last to be dropped off at our motel at 1AM.
This has got to be the longest day tour ever but it was so worth it. I highly recommend doing the Uluru tour with Emu Run Tours.
This experience is indeed one for the books. I have to thank Kelly for making this dream a reality. It was magical!
P.S. Darwin is the epilogue to this adventure. Wait for it!