Here comes 2017

So, a year has gone by just like that. A lot has happened since I last wrote on this platform.

In May, I started a summer job running a cafΓ© in the fortress island I’ve always been working in. I also had a very pleasant birthday celebration with some friends who came to surprise me at my door. They took me out for lunch and then to Hernesaari to enjoy the cool sun and sea breeze.

13239350_10154178524243245_1250497696403013841_nIn the same month, I experienced muscle spasm in my back, making it painful for me to make any movements at all. It happened at work, when I was about to lift a crate of soda off the ground – bended my legs and all but still managed to get a sharp pain in my back and then it stayed for a couple of weeks. Standing, sitting, laying down…all kinds of positions I tried to be in were difficult. Thankfully, it wasn’t a slip disc but just muscle-related. It went away eventually.

The summer job went on until September like a speed train. Before I knew it, summer was over. The job this time was more demanding and very challenging because of the people I had to deal with directly now. It literally drained my energy to do any other things except to make sure I don’t get crap at work every day when I get it.

In June, Alice and Lotta threw an epic 80’s party to celebrate them turning 30 each. It was the most fun party I have ever attended, seriously. It was held in Korjaamo, an event venue and it had its own band, which consisted mostly of friends from church. Everyone dressed up well according to the theme. Amy randomly bought 3 ugly 80’s outfits and I borrowed one of them. We wore ugly blue eyeshadow makeup and big hair.

In August, I got set up to go on a blind date. It wasn’t a disastrous date, but it wasn’t exactly one that made us both excited and elated that we couldn’t wait to see each other again. We gave another try and we went out the second time a month later, due to our conflicting schedules. We began to like each other more and continued to see each other at least once a week for the next month. It was all fun and games, until a couple of reasons: 1) he was leaving. Although only for a few months, I didn’t feel this was going to go anywhere at that time. 2) I wasn’t the only person he was seeing. While technically we were not a couple, I greatly appreciate if the other person makes his intentions clear.

It felt like dΓ©javu. It felt familiar. The ‘betrayal’ felt familiar. It wasn’t a nice feeling. I didn’t like it, but at the same time, I couldn’t hold too much grudges on him. Because it wasn’t like he had promised anything to me. But still, on some level, I felt it wasn’t entirely appropriate. I never saw him again after our last date, which was less than a week before he had to leave. Don’t know if I will in the future.

joensuuIn the same month, I resumed my counselling/therapy sessions after the summer holidays (for others, not me). The whole counselling thing opened me up more and made me see some things from new perspectives. It made me trace back the experiences I had in my childhood and how incidents from that time has affected my present and the decisions I make as an adult. I am truly grateful that I had the opportunity for the couselling sessions because not only I got to talk to someone professional about the things that go on in my head, but through her, I also got advised on my walk with God. And this, contributed to my spiritual growth.

Also in the same month, I went to Riga with some of the Malaysians. It was a short trip, but a fun one nevertheless. We were half spontaneous and on one of our randomly walking around, we found KFC and had them for tea time AND dinner in the same day πŸ˜€ One thing I like about this trip was that I was very lenient about how I spent my money. We saw a nice restaurant offering brunch, which Devrin had been there for dinner before, and we just went in for brunch the next day without much thought. And then afterwards, Angeline and I went for a massage. Totally did not budget, and I felt relaxed. Although my passport almost got picked while on the way back from the massage but that’s another story.

13925090_10154375244188245_5070911402262241596_nAmy’s wedding and FMA’s international food event were also held in August. Looking back, August seems like a very busy month πŸ˜€ or a very eventful month. I was in-charge of the food department in Amy’s wedding. Most of the food were contributed by guests but it was wise that someone would be overlooking the whole food organisation. There were 98 people to feed altogether and I was an invited guest as well. At one point, I wore my maxi dress in the kitchen with an apron over it πŸ˜€

14125633_10154425077548245_2407505085173214308_oIn September, I went to London for the first time in my life. I went to see Sacha who was there for work. Killing two birds with a stone, I paid a visit to my cousin too, whom I have never met before. My aunt moved to live with them a couple of years ago and I’m glad I got to see her because she’s now really old and frail and has dementia…and bed-ridden :/ Oh well, circle of life, right? But anyhoo, I finally got myself to London. Saw all the touristy spots and objects. Had English breakfast but not fish and chips. All good, anyway. Ooh, and had lots of dim sum! The stupidiest thing was that I was gonna fly without my passport haha. Long story short, I ending up staying for another 2 days and caught Wicked, the musical πŸ™‚

15785675_10154845507038245_374726017_oI came back to Helsinki from London at the end of September. In October, I started a new job in a restaurant. Everything in this new place is fine and dandy, although I feel change is happening and things may not be very stable for me. But then again, I’ve been feeling unstable for the last 6,5 years I’ve been in Finland. Being stable does not seem like something I am entitled to anymore.

At the end of October, my beautiful niece was born. She was named Chloe Enya Moh. Her middle name, Enya, is also her Chinese name, which means grace and elegance. I fell in love with her when I saw her first photo. And I thought the names they gave her were just as beautiful as she is. She lives in the faraway land of Australia, and I’m going to see her in a week’s time. I’m not sure how often will I get to see her, though I wish I could go and visit them every year. Well, that’s me being optimistic. But if you wish for something hard enough, you’ll get it, right? πŸ˜›

15625711_10154812301093245_3670544047000272573_oFast forward to December, I finally got my thesis out and managed to graduate on time. Thankful for my supervisor for pulling strings for me and rushing through everything with me as well. It was over so quickly I couldn’t believe it myself. After 5 years of staying in school for various reasons, it didn’t feel real. I’m still slowly absorbing the idea that I’m free from school now.

15625944_10154801077663245_6623098024235425470_oI spent Christmas eve dining formally with some of the Malaysians. Edmund made a wonderful 7-course dinner and we dressed to the nines for this epic event. I say epic because the dinner was 8 hours long! πŸ˜€ We went out in between courses to take photos and wash some dishes we borrowed from our restaurant (that Ed and I work in) haha πŸ˜€ It was 2deg Celcius but man, it was windy. Yet, we were crazy enough to take hundreds of photos outside without our jackets and in the middle of streets.

15856925_10154845611378245_935918964_oChristmas day was spent by visiting each other’s home as though it’s Chinese New Year haha. It was really fun though. I love that we have been spending Christmases and New Year’s together for the last 3 years. Time really flew. Devrin will leave Finland in February and back to KL for a while, at least…until he gets posted again, or to another ministry. Things will change a little bit and he will be missed.

15723632_10154827985593245_1597097977735921156_oIn the same month, I got to know someone quite special πŸ™‚ Since this blog post is sort of a list of highlights of 2016 of my life, this is certainly one of them. I’m not gonna say much about it now, but I can say that I am thankful for the bad dates and horrible break-ups that when something good comes along, I know how to appreciate it haha πŸ˜€ No, honestly, those experiences made clear what I need and want and should have in my life. And I may have just found it.

But I’ll leave it to the big guy upstairs πŸ™‚

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At a junction again

So it’s the end. It’s clear that it will not lead us to anywhere but more heartbreaks in the future. So we decided not to pursue any further with it.

Do I feel sad about it? Absolutely. Over a few reasons.

For the first day and a half, I just felt like sleeping and never wake up. I went to work but did not feel like working. Got off early, which was a good thing. So, I decided to go for the gospel concert, which I thought I didn’t have the time to go to initially.

Worship is my way of being in God’s presence and that’s when I really feel Him. I thought going would do me some good that evening, instead of just staying at home and mulling over a not-so-good day at work and the bleh emotions I was feeling from the day before.

And it was good.

I meditated on the words of the songs that were sung that evening and I was touched. The concert went on for three hours too, so that was also kinda good. Didn’t expect it to be that long haha, but just being in His presence and where everyone was so gung-ho in praising Him, was amazing.

The next day I woke up feeling… free.

It was a brand new feeling. I actually felt liberated from it all. From him. I didn’t have anyone to answer to, or to care for. I had only myself. I only had to focus on myself.

I can choose to do whatever I want.

I’m back to feeling how I felt months ago. Sure, having someone to think of and knowing that person thinks well of you too, is all sugar, spice and everything nice. But after the honeymoon period is over, the real deal kicks in.

Nevertheless, I trust that God has a plan for me. I’m just human to have all these emotions and impatience to want to know what the plan is. On top of that, with the desires I have, it doesn’t make it any less confusing.

Yesterday’s sermon spoke to me. It was about work and glorifying God through your work. Joanne went up to speak about her work as in architecture and how her boss and mentor in Japan has shown her how his philosophies and beliefs influenced his work. In the same way, how can she glorify God through her work in architecture?

This hasn’t been something I had to think about until a few days ago when my housemate, Miriam, said to me, ‘Everything you do has to glorify God.’ And so I began to think, how would I do that if I was a designer? How would I do that when working in a cafΓ©? I can serve coffee with love and passion and friendliness but that’s just a surface glorification, no? πŸ˜€

Anyway, just a thought.

I have the desire to find out the purpose of my life here in Finland. One thing that struck me during the sermon yesterday was when Lari mentioned that in Finland, there’s no shame in saying what you do even amongst highly-educated people. Which is true. And which is something that I have always been grateful of and proud that I’m a part of this society where the gap between classes is really small. This is something I don’t think I can live without if placed in a different society. I can be myself here.

The past week have been an emotional turmoil. I’m glad to have the people I have around me: my housemates, my friends, friends from church…just about everyone. But through all these, I’m learning to trust Him more.

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A small journey

A bit over a year ago, I told myself to make a list of things that cannot be compromised in my future partner. Like a pro procrastinator, I never did. I probably kept thinking, oh I’ll still know what I absolutely cannot compromise. Or maybe I was just being flaky πŸ˜›

A month ago, I lost my job in IKEA. It wasn’t the worst thing that has happened to me, though. In fact, it was actually a blessing in disguise. Through that, I grew a little more spiritually. I saw a better light in God’s plan for me and a voice telling me, this is good for you. Now you can come back to me. Your Sundays are now free and you have more time now during the week for the other things you need to do. I felt thankful for that because I became a happier person after that.

Then, whenever I thought about my prospective future with a partner, I heard, ‘All you need is God.’ It was there in my head for a while and I wished for more answers or some kind of proof. My dear housemates and I started a book club on a book called ‘Lies Women Believe’. The initiation from me was the least even though I was up for it – just because I am not much of a reader. One night we decided to just start reading it together and go through the first chapter and we took turns reading out loud to each other. When it came for my turn to read, I read under the lie ‘God is not really enough’:

‘Sure, I need God. But I need Him plus close friends; I need Him plus a husband; I need Him plus children; I need Him plus a job that pays enough…’

That paragraph struck a chord in me. I knew it wasn’t an accident for me to be reading it. And for the longest time, I felt Him being real to me.

Surely, losing a job was painful and embarrassing, but it really spoke to me how having a job isn’t really all that I needed. I thought I’d be all satisfied with life as long as I had a full time job because I’d have the stability. Truth is, when I was working there, I did not feel I was all that satisfied. Not the way I expected to be, at least. After the release, I felt so much more at peace. I began to feel those words, ‘All you need is God’ were more real. Getting a job wasn’t really what I was searching for after all.

Whereas in the love department, I’ve stopped searching for a husband. Sure, I would still like to have a husband and a family in the future, whether it’s a near or far future. But I trust that now to be His plans for me. If His plans for me is to be single, then so be it. I’ll be at peace with it.

Back to the list of no compromises – I still have not written down one. A few weeks ago, I expressed my thoughts and feelings to someone I’m seeing. These are thoughts I have had for a while even before I met him. I probably should’ve prayed about it but this is probably a test from God as well πŸ˜› Anyway, those thoughts were things I would want in the next person who’d appear in my life. Maybe, I should’ve been more firm in them making them absolutely my no-compromises. But knowing me, I’m a soft-hearted person :/

On some level, I know I am wiser and I know how to stand firmer on my ground now. On the other hand, I really need to be careful so that I don’t lose myself in the process again; or hurt everyone in the process. I wish it is ok for me to have His guidance in this case.

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Merry (belated) Christmas and Happy New Year!

Christmas was fantastic. Spent Christmas Eve trough Boxing Day eating lots of food. We literally ate for 3 days straight. We had a proper Christmas dinner on the eve, and then ate leftovers on Christmas Day, and then spontaneously gathered again on Boxing Day making food from whatever we found in Devrin’s fridge πŸ˜€

I am also glad that we initiated gift exchange cos it was so fun! Everyone put in some effort in buying a gift and they all went to the right people. Bhuvan got a good bottle of wine from Edmund and the decanter I bought went to Edmund, who is a sommelier. I wrapped the decanter in a box I bought from IKEA cos the decanter did not come with one. And I was already thinking when buying that, if Edmund or Sio Sen gets it, Sio Sen would like the box and Edmund would like the decanter. True enough, when Edmund got the decanter, she liked both the decanter AND the box πŸ˜€

New Year was at Devrin’s too. We had steamboat and felt like Chinese New Year. It was nice too, we went to watch some fireworks at the bridge in JΓ€tkΓ€saari.

As I was writing this post, I was watching a movie called Hector and the Search for Happiness. Quite surreal. The moral of the story is that happiness can be in the form of anything, depending on the person. And that everyone has an obligation to happiness.

I’ve been trying to search for my happiness consciously for the past year. When I decided I was unhappy, I made a conscious decision that I would seek happiness. I may also have been doing that unconsciously for a couple of years now, trying this and that while going with the flow. I even bought books that are happiness seeking related, only to accidentally leave one on the airplane. But that wasn’t quite an interesting book to begin with anyway haha πŸ˜› Still, I’d like to have it.

On the other hand, I’ve also been thinking to write more on some of my deeper thoughts, i.e. to analyse myself more. I write random stuff on a blogging app called Dayre too, and I was reading through all of my posts that I have made since over a year ago. I realised that my thoughts, perspectives and decisions change…to the extent that I don’t feel like I am a consistent person. I am not grounded. Not fickle, but just not consistent. Somehow it bothers me. Because it’s somewhat that I would think about and say one thing and then months later I say another and then I get angry and blame it on another person and then get myself hurt in the process.

Something’s just not right. And I need to find out.

But anyway, in the movie, which is based on a novel, Hector went on a journey around the world and wrote down things that people think what happiness is. These are what (I assume) is found in the novel (I haven’t read it):

1: Making comparisons can spoil your happiness.
2: Happiness often comes when least expected.
3: Many people see happiness on in their future.
4: Many people think that happiness comes from having more power or more money.
5: Sometimes happiness is not knowing the whole story.
6: Happiness is a long walk in beautiful, unfamiliar mountains.
7: It’s a mistake to think that happiness is the goal.
8a: Happiness is being with the people you love.
8b: Unhappiness is being separated from the people you love.
9: Happiness is knowing your family lacks for nothing.
10: Happiness is doing the job you love.
11: Happiness is having a home and garden you love.
12: It’s harder to be happy in a country run by bad people.
13: Happiness is feeling useful to others.
14: Happiness is being loved for exactly who you are.
15: Happiness comes when you truly feel alive.
16: Happiness is knowing how to celebrate.
17: Happiness is caring about the happiness of those you love.
18: Happiness is not attaching too much importance of what other people think.
19: The sun and the sea make everybody happy.
20: Happiness is a certain way of seeing things.
21: Rivality poisons happiness.
22: Women care more than men about making others happy.
23: Happiness means making sure that those around you are happy.

The quotes that came up in the movie (of course, as usual, movies are always slightly different from the books) were half different from the above. Additional quotes were:

7: Does the person bring you predominantly a) Up or b) down.
8: Happiness is answering your calling.
10: Sweet potato stew.
11: Fear is an impendiment to happiness.
13: Listening is loving.
14: Nostalgia is not what it used to be.

And this:

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I guess I shouldn’t be CONSCIOUSLY seeking for happiness πŸ™‚

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Thinking back

It has been two months since I started working in IKEA. Since then, I have written drafts and never published anything. Work has been good so far. I know I do my job well and I try to exceed what’s expected of me as well. Thesis is still in the backburner, though. That has to be done soon. It’s getting too long.

As I am writing this, a few months ago, I felt happier than before. I was proud of myself – of what I have become and how much I have achieved. I moved into the city, which was a dream in itself; albeit small and simple but it was a dream nevertheless. I ran a summer cafΓ© together with a friend of mine (who, in the first place, got me the job in the previous summer). It was fun and quite successful. Our boss was proud of us and we were proud of ourselves. Unfortunately, it was only a summer place. Then I got this job, which is permanent…which has been something I had wanted in the last five and a half years. And it’s not a low-entry job. So I was quite happy and proud.

Something happened last week that made me feel as if suddenly I’ve lost the strength and pride I had in me in the past months. It got me so confused to the point I was constantly crying for about a week and a half. Reached out to friends and everyone gave me different advices. One friend I spoke to while I was bawling my eyes out, said to me what I wanted to hear. It was something selfish for me as it was good for my self esteem and it boosted my ego a bit. But it felt good. It served as a reminder to me. It made me see myself from a different perspective and it was kinda refreshing. After that, I felt better gradually everyday. Maybe that was what I needed.

I should count my blessings again. Trace back to what I had before and what I have now.

But I’ll do that when I have more energy.

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NEWS!

Excitement was two weeks ago but I didn’t want to ‘announce’ it here before things were confirmed, i.e. contract signed. But since things have started to roll even though the contract is not done yet, I GOT A JOB! Finally, after 5 long years in Finland, I finally got a job that will be long term πŸ™‚

So it all started with a phone call from an unknown number and the person on the other end of the line said, ‘I know I have already said no to you, but we have a new position opened up, we need more people and we were wondering if you would still be interested to come in for an interview.’ Hell, yeah!

The interview went well. I felt good. But I didn’t want to keep my hopes up too high cos I felt good before after interviews but it didn’t pan out well in the end. They told me they will contact me in two weeks, but they called me the next week and said, ‘We would like to have you in our team.’ πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

So I was bound to start on the 5th of October, which was yesterday. The day started well and easy, as I went through all the paperwork with the HR manager, she gave me all the necessary papers and booklets of policies and rules and the company values and what nots, to read.

Oh right, I haven’t mentioned where this awesome place is: IKEA.

Now, I work for a multi-national company. A company which I have applied to 4 times in the past 5 years to different positions. This time, they offered me the position of a Shift Leader in the restaurant πŸ™‚ So I am truly happy and grateful…also very very thankful for the summer job I have been doing in Piper CafΓ© in Suomenlinna because that’s (experience) what got me this job in IKEA.

First day, seeing my name everywhere in the HR-system made me feel good. And then realising I can take a free vase of orchid home because everyone gets one. And my name is on the list! All I had to do was find my name, sign and leave! πŸ˜€ Well, that aside, I learned how to make hot dogs and soft ice (sundae ice-cream) in the bistro on the first day. Not so easy at first! Buns breaking before I could put on the hot dogs, afraid of overserving ice-creams or them not looking so nice haha. But overall it’s ok.

Second day started with me circling around Kamppi looking for my bus stop! Missed my earlier bus, took the next one and would’ve arrived just in time (well, I would need 5-10 mins to change but still, won’t be too late), if not for the traffic jam!! Omg rush hour -_- Oh well, half an hour late. Called in to say I will be late. Went upstairs to the restaurant, was brought downstairs to be trained for the cashier procedures but no one received me, someone took me upstairs again and was told to go downstairs again haha. Oh well, today was a confusing start.

Anyway, as I left, I talked to the receptionist for a while and she told me the orchids were gifts to all employees as a thank you because last month was really good sales, or something along the lines. I was like oh! I thought they were getting rid of old stuff! And she was like nah, sometimes you do get stuff from IKEA. Christmas presents are supposedly even better. One year, apparently everyone got a Nespresso machine and if you didn’t want any present (before knowing what it will be) you have the option to donate the money to charity. Don’t know about this year but I’m totally looking forward to Christmas πŸ™‚

Breakfast shift tomorrow. Laters!

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