A quick catch-up

In the wink of an eye, it is now April.

Where has all the time gone since I last blogged?

There are a few things I want to tell you, so here we go with catching up…

27th February 2017. GD finally enlisted into the army. After all the agonising, he is finally gone. In the weeks and months leading up to his enlistment, I have found it crazy how disproportionate his fans’ grief is as they lament and bemoan the fact that they will lose their idol for the next 2 years. They weep and bid farewell as if this man is dying, never to return again. The negativity and sadness from the entertainment news were really weighing me down, which actually made me wish that he would just go quickly. Go quickly and return quickly- that’s my policy. In the meantime, while GD is gone, I am motivated to use these 2 years as a time target for my own health and fitness journey. When he is discharged on 27th Nov 2019, I want to be a new me. A beautiful girl unashamed to go and see my favourite artist in real life. If I have reached my own goals when he returns, I will go to his comeback concert. New GD, be prepared to meet the new me (in 2 years).

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Speaking of my health and fitness journey…. So, after Christmas and New Year, I bloated up SO BAD.  Despite being convinced that I did not overindulge over the holidays, the weighing scales did not lie. I had piled on the pounds. All my hard work had gone down the drain… and I was back to square one yet again. I saw a picture of myself on Chinese New Years day (when eating Hotpot with Laura) and was *shook* (pardon the grammar… this is a new young generation term). My face was so round… my arms so thick. I hated that picture, and hated myself for it. I was starting to feel really despondent. 2 years of exercise hasn’t done anything, 2 rounds of BBG hasn’t done anything, slimming world worked for all of 2 weeks, reducing my chocolate/ coke/ cake/ cookie intake hasn’t done anything, healthy-eating/ meal prep hasn’t done anything… nothing has worked! One day at work, I was randomly chatting to one of my juniors about my (lack of) weight loss… which was when she suggested using myfitnesspal to help me track calories. Now, I have never tried calorie counting before so this is a brand new adventure for me. I was initially worried about the math and work that this was going to involve… now, I am 6 weeks in and the app has worked a treat! The ability to add calories to your daily count simply by scanning the barcode of the food you eat has made this seemingly tedious chore much more of a breeze than you would expect! I think I am starting to see some result… I have certainly had at least 2 people come up to me in the last week commenting that I have lost weight. Some days I am immensely motivated to keep within my calorie budget, other days I really just want to give up. Yet, I have to keep reminding myself that “Rome wasn’t built in a day. You didn’t get fat overnight” and “good things are worth waiting for.” Let’s see what happens in the coming weeks and months! I am excited to see what changes my body will undergo! In the mean time, God please keep my food cravings at bay!

Badminton and body pump. After 2 rounds of BBG, I gave up BBG on week 7 round 3. Why? Because it was getting really really boring. The exercises still hurt, but it was so boring and my body was starting to resent going to the gym in anticipation of the pain. And so, as a way to spice up my exercise life, I engaged SH to play badminton with me every Saturday morning. We bought some cheap rackets and shuttlecocks on amazon and starting playing at the university sports hall. We are amateurs, so we play without any rules or boundaries. Our aim is to keep a rally going for as long as is possible. So far, it has been a tonne of fun. The cardiovascular exercise of running around chasing a shuttlecock has been awesome. The times when we manage to really keep a rally going has been exhilarating. It has been so much fun being able to play with a friend and our friendship has certainly deepened as a result. SH and I have actually made these Saturday mornings into “Play and Pray” sessions. We play badminton, catch-up a bit on life, and then pray for each other for the coming week. I love both bits of this P&P and look forward to it every week! On top of spicing up my cardiovascular exercise with badminton, I have also started going to body pump classes to help me with my strength training. After 2 years in the gym feeling too scared to step into a class (there is a constant worry about not being able to keep up, feeling embarrassed, and not being to escape!), I finally bit the bullet and went on 27th January. Bodypump has been great! It is nice to exercise with 20+ other people, led by an instructor who knows how to train and motivate, and to lift to some really good groovey music! Admittedly, these low load high rep exercises really kill my muscles… but when I have overcome them and as I walk away with jelly legs, I am filled with a sense of pride that “I did it!”

Best registrar. I went to a MET call the other day with one of my SHOs. The patient had a low GCS and needed to be intubated on the ward and then transferred to CT scan before going to ITU. On arrival, I took charge of the situation and quickly made decisions as to what needed to be done for the patient. As usual, I asked for the names of the people I worked with and assigned jobs to them on a first name named-person basis. I tried to be methodical and calm, aiming to take control of what would otherwise be a chaotic situation. We vocalised our thoughts and plans and verbally went through our pre-intubation check-lists. The patient was eventually stabilised, secured and packaged before we set off on a little adventure around the various departments of the hospital. The patient took up a good part of 2 to 3 hours of my time. When I eventually returned to the theatre coffee room, I found my SHO was there having her lunch as well. This was when she said some really precious words to me, to the effect of “I just want to let you know that I think you are the best registrar that I have ever worked with. I really admire the way you handled the situation. You were so clear, and I could totally follow what your thought processes are– something that I struggle with some other registrars when I just don’t understand what they are thinking! I want to be just like you in the future.” It was such precious feedback! These words are something that I hold closely to my heart– to think that I am a role model to one of my juniors! All too often, I beat myself up over the things that I could have done better/ should have done/ shouldn’t have done… so much so that I forget that I can be quite good sometimes! Obviously, I am not going to let this get to my head… but I want this to stay in my head, to remain as a precious reminder that I am still deemed to be “fit-for-purpose” and to stop doubting myself and my competence so much!

I am done with being the organiser of the PFMs. After a year of really hard work at overhauling the format of the meetings, after multiple frustrating emails to and from the associate head of school, after being on the receiving end of non-stop moaning from the registrars, the PFMs have become a precious baby for me and V. And so, it was actually really hard to give it up…. to trust other people to carry on the good work that we have done. But it was necessary, since I finish training this summer and V will be off on maternity leave in February. Our last meeting was a roaring success. One of the speakers from London even sent an email to SM to commend me for my good work- what a wonderful way to end off this term of being PFM organiser!

It is Easter Sunday today! On a day like this, this song shouts out to me…

As my saviour hung nailed onto the tree, his love was poured out to set us free.

Man of sorrows Lamb of God
By His own betrayed
The sin of man and wrath of God
Has been on Jesus laid

Silent as He stood accused
Beaten mocked and scorned
Bowing to the Father’s will
He took a crown of thorns

Oh that rugged cross
My salvation
Where Your love poured out over me
Now my soul cries out
Hallelujah
Praise and honour unto Thee

Sent of heaven God’s own Son
To purchase and redeem
And reconcile the very ones
Who nailed Him to that tree

Oh that rugged cross
My salvation
Where Your love poured out over me
Now my soul cries out
Hallelujah
Praise and honour unto Thee

Now my debt is paid
It is paid in full
By the precious blood
That my Jesus spilled

Now the curse of sin
Has no hold on me
Whom the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed

Now my debt is paid
It is paid in full
By the precious blood
That my Jesus spilled

Now the curse of sin
Has no hold on me
Whom the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed

Oh that rugged cross
My salvation
Where Your love poured out over me
Now my soul cries out
Hallelujah
Praise and honour unto Thee

See the stone is rolled away
Behold the empty tomb
Hallelujah God be praised
He’s risen from the grave

Oh that rugged cross
My salvation
Where Your love poured out over me
Now my soul cries out
Hallelujah
Praise and honour unto Thee

Praise and honour unto Thee

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Sweet love?

Found these online.

Very cute illustrations of all the things I have ever hoped to do with someone special.

Made me smile. (:

Loneliness knows me by name

Tonight has been a really difficult night for me.

Randomly, I am awash with a really deep hurting inside.

There is a heaviness weighing down in my heart,

A throbbing ache in my gut,

A desperate sorrow that I cannot even begin to describe.

Somehow, tears of loneliness have found their way out of the sockets of my eyes.

I am terribly missing something that has never been mine.

I am overcome with agonising wanting.

For companionship, for friendship, for relationship.

If ever I knew a lonely girl, I am the one.

My singleness is slowly but surely eating me away.

It is the thorn in my flesh, my cross to bear.

I want to love and be loved.

I want to treasure and be treasured.

I want a hand to hold and another pair of footsteps next to mine as I journey along this road of life.

Yet,

God never promised to fulfil these earthly desires.

So far, His answers have been no, no and no.

The NO refrain is a hard pill to swallow,

Especially when so many other people have been given the yes, the go ahead, the try again.

Why, oh Lord? What do I make of this suffering of singleness?

What can I learn from this hopeless loneliness?

I do not have an answer.

But I know that your will is mysterious and always good.

I know that well in my head.

Yet tonight, my head refuses to speak to my heart.

Rather, this heart refuses to hear reasons from a level-head.

This bitter heart wallows in sorry self-pity.

This broken heart is screaming out its pain.

This wretched heart drowns out the whispers of your love tonight.

Father God, forgive this irrational, grief-stricken heart.

Comfort it and draw it back to you.

Love is nothing, if love is without you.

 

32

Whenever my mum sends me messages like this, my heart feels all warm and fuzzy and I feel a little bashful. I am so thankful for this beautiful and resilient woman who gave birth to me and raised me, and till this day still loves me so unconditionally. On a day like this, my celebrations are now so much more about her and less about me. Thank you mama, I love you to the moon and back.

In these last few years, I have really struggled with conflicting feelings on each birthday. On one hand I feel like “this is SUCH A SPECIAL DAY, I need to cherish every second!” Yet on the other hand, I do not really know how to celebrate anymore. I do not throw parties, or invite friends to dinner, or want to make much of a fuss these days… largely because I don’t really have many close friends left in this city, but also because I am too lazy, and also because I do feel burdened by the weight of every rise in the numbers that indicate my age.

Perhaps on a day of emotional conflict like this, it will be best to spend some time in thoughtful reflection. Here it goes..

Things I am thankful for:

  1. I am finally in my final year of specialist training. This time next year, I will have CCT’d and be eligible for a consultant job. At last, after so many years on the conveyor belt of exams, WPBAs, registrar on-calls and ARCPs, the end is in sight. Imagine me, a consultant, a boss!
  2. I have found a creative outlet/ hobby at last! Since October of this year, I have taken up brush lettering. It is perfect for a person who cannot commit to doing things at fixed times at specific locations like me. I can practice anytime and anywhere. All I need is an ink-filled brush pen and some paper. I am in awe of people who write beautifully. I hope my practice pays off, and I can eventually graduate from brush lettering to modern calligraphy.
  3. I SAW GD IN CONCERT THIS YEAR! I breathed the same air he breathed. I saw his charming, bashful smile in real life. The excitement of seeing GD made me feel alive again.

Things I am prayerful for (short-term):

  1. Smooth sailing redecoration of my parents’ house. It is an exciting time- we are renovating! The 20 year old, yellowed and creaky built-in cupboards, desks and shelves will finally be hacked. The tiny holes on the floor will finally be filled and the tiles polished. We are installing an oven in the kitchen. The greyed walls will finally receive a fresh coat of paint! I am so excited to see our old flat look new again. We have been packing and throwing- that was all I did when I went home in October. It is such a challenge to try and throw out the trash we have hoarded for the last 30 years (I found it particularly hard to throw away stuff from my childhood) and to pack everything into boxes. I was exhausted after only 2 weeks of that… I hope my parents cope better as they have to continue this process till the actual renovation begins next February/ March. I pray that mum will not get too stressed out and that the whole process goes a lot smoother than we ever expected.
  2. What happens next in my career. I have come to yet another point/ cross-road where I have to apply for jobs again. What do I want to do? Where do I want to go? What does God want me to do? Where does God want me to work? I am thinking of a post CCT fellowship, potentially at the tertiary paediatric centre in this city… but I am also thinking about Canada, or Australia, or even Singapore? I also want to go and work on Mercyships for a bit. However, if I leave the UK, does this mean an end to this chapter of my life? Moving on after 14 years is not going to be easy.
  3. I need some new friends. New good friends. New best friends.

Things I want to fully trust God for (longer-term):

  1. Health for me and my family. I have started exercising regularly, and have certainly started taking a keen interest in what I put into my body. At present, I STILL haven’t seen much change in my body but I need the Lord to help me persevere. I need to lose weight, and I want to look beautiful for myself. Quite honestly, I would like to have a 6 pack at some point in this life. I hope this point is now.
  2. A husband and children. When I was about 14 or 15 years old, my mum suggested that it was a good time to start praying for my future husband. I took her advice and have done so for years. Yet, I am 32 and STILL single. Cycles of posts have come and gone on my social media. Friends posted about their new boyfriends and girlfriends. Then people started getting engaged. This was followed by a flux of wedding photographs. Baby pictures then flooded my FB feed. And now people are posting about their 2nd, their 3rd or their 4th child. Other friends have gotten divorced and are re-married. Through all of these… my relationship status has remained unchanged. Single, a little desperate, and seemingly unwanted. I’m not entirely sure why men are not interested. Perhaps it is my fierce independence? Or maybe I am just too boring? Now that I am 32, I’m thinking that I may be too old? Whatever it is, I hope these will be overcome and that the Lord blesses me with a single, Christian man. And if possible, a couple of wonderful children.
  3. Contentment. People love to ask the question “If you were to have one superpower, what would it be?” I’ve thought long and hard about this… and whilst most people will tend to suggest “invisibility”, “telekinesis” or “time travelling”, I think I would prefer to be blessed with the power of feeling content. I would like to be content and happy in any and every situation that life throws at me.

Dear Lord, hear my prayers.

Moonbathing

I was invited over to the Tons’ residence for dinner this evening.

It has been a while since I’ve had a dinner invitation of any sort by anyone, so I was very happy to accept their invitation.

We had dinner in their new house, which was beautifully decorated.

N made a really pleasant dinner- roast chicken, mixed salad, egg and couscous, beans… yum.

JH and DW live with them too, so I had the pleasure of enjoying their company for dinner as well.

After our food, we sat out on the steps leading out to their backyard. DW lit a fire in the little ‘cauldron’ outside so as to keep us cosy and warm on this cool summer’s evening. We threw some incense into the fire too, and were quickly enveloped by a magnificent aroma. Soothing music played in the background, and I was thoroughly relaxed.

Under the beautiful full moon, we sat around the crackling fire chatting about anything and everything. From our work, to birthing, musicals, food, dental whitening, superstitions, to Christian attitudes towards gay friends and how to show love to homeless beggars on the streets… we spoke sincerely to each other and laughed a lot.

It was wonderful.

It has been a really long time since I have spent such an amazing time with friends.

Dear Lord, thank you so much.

Pensive on the train back home again

Just dropped my parents and brother off at the airport.
I absolutely hate goodbyes. Whether I am leaving them or being left behind by them, I always end up turning the waterworks on full blast. I find myself reduced into yet another sobbing mess as I bemoan the distance and time that separates us. I love my fam-bam and really wish I can be closer to them. Sure, there are plenty of trying days when we are together- dealing with my bro’s complete nonchalance about virtually everything, my dad’s apparent acopia borne simply out of laziness & forgetfulness, and mother’s fearsome and capricious temperament. There are days of frustration, days of anger, days of tears… But ultimately, I know that my mood gets swayed so much by these three people simply because I love them and care about them too much. Will I be moved by people that I simply do not give two hoots about? I very much doubt so.

When we are together, I feel stronger. I know someone has my back. I know they will be there as extra pairs of hands (as demonstrated by this morning’s extremely efficient packing and house-cleaning), I know they are there to comfort me in my sadness (trying not to remember last August), to advise me in my searching moments, to multiply the joy that bears out of my proudest moments (a la FRCA graduation). I treasure this family and I am ever thankful to God for them.

The last 12 days with them by my side have been tiring but precious. Tiring because I am an interpreter, a tour guide, a driver, a grocery shopper, a time keeper, a bill payer. I am weary because I find myself constantly worrying if they are still hungry, if they need the loo, if they are warm enough, if they are sufficiently rested, if they are too tired or achy as we travel across and even out of the country. I have had many chances to hold my parents’ hands these last 2 weeks. However, the strength of their grip and the weight of their pull on my arm has made me realise how much they have aged, and their increasing dependence on me- this realization makes me sad, and this has been emotionally exhausting.

Nevertheless, these days have been precious. We have gone away and seen some of the most stunning of God’s creations. We have enjoyed each other’s company and have created a multitude of wonderful memories for us to hold on to.

Perhaps being such a family- orientated person is God’s way of telling me that He will ultimately provide me with my own. Perhaps He will one day bless me with a husband and children. After all, He knows how much strength I draw from family, and will hopefully complete me as a person by eventually placing the correct puzzle piece of a man to fit me wonderfully- complete with all my jaunty angles and jutty- outty bits.

I shall not assume that God’s plans are going to necessarily fit mine. Perhaps He knows that my overt attachment to my worldly loved-ones is actually not healthy for me. Perhaps God has decided that keeping me single will spare me the potentially debilitating ache of fretting over, and ultimately losing loved ones in this world that we are simply passing through. Perhaps this is His way of protecting me.

I lift all up to you Lord.

My mum, my dad, my brother.

And my future significant other.

Blown it

There is a guy in church JH whom I have been really wanting to get to know for the last year or so. I never had a chance to go up to him and have a quick chat- no, not even a superficial one. Lately, he started attending the afternoon church services (whilst I continued to go to the morning ones) so the chances of seeing him have been reduced dramatically. We have known of each other for the last 10 years, but never actually had a proper conversation. Why am I interested now? you may ask. Well, because he is a rarity. He is a single, Christian, (pretty good-looking) man- one of the last few that I know of who isn’t 10 years my junior.

Today, I got my chance. We were at a thanksgiving lunch for one of the kids from our church. There was an empty seat next to him, so I asked to join him at the table. We got chatting and it was nice. It was really lovely to see a man who loved Jesus so much. His passion for the Lord translated into real action of going out as a missionary in parts of the world hostile to the gospel. He spoke animatedly about his desire to share the good news of Christ with the people around him. It was evident that God has filled his cup, and his cup runs over. I was attracted to him instantly purely for his love of my Lord Jesus.

But I faltered. Throughout our conversation, I do not think I came across eloquent, or confident, or attractive at all. I am completely clueless/ rusty at the whole flirting game. Well strictly speaking, I was not trying to flirt, though I was definitely trying to make more of an impression, and make myself appear more interesting and attractive. I was failing majorly as a woman seeking something more.

I guess I can say that I have “blown my chances” as the attraction certainly does not seem to be mutual.

Oh well. Pressing onward in my singleness. Chin up J.

It is all in God’s hands.

 

三十而立

I’ve turned tremendous thirty today.

Feeling thoughtful, thankful and terrific! (And maybe a little timid)

Blessed with the company of my lovely family, seeking new adventures and creating new memories.

God is so good, is so good, is so good to me.

I love you Jesus

BFFs? Maybe not anymore

Today I came to a (startling) revelation that one of my girlfriends whom I have always considered my “BFF” may not be a BFF after all.

I have known her for 14 years and we have certainly been close friends… but upon careful reflection, she is not my best friend by any measure.

To me, best friends are people who will be there for you all the time. People who have the same general outlook in life as you do. People who will stick with you through thick and thin and provide encouragement along the way. BFFs are people whom you can pour your heart out to, who will listen to you rant and ramble without making any judgment. They are the ones to whom you can speak before you think, or maybe even know what you want to say without so much as a word being exchanged.

KS is none of the above.

I have no doubt that we used to “click” and enjoyed each other’s company. I have no doubt that there was once a time when I could say anything and everything to her. I have no doubt that she was once a true BFF to me. Once upon a time.

I think time and distance has drawn us apart. Perhaps further than I am willing to admit. With her living in the USA for the last 8 years and me in the UK for the last 12, her living with her boyfriend and me remaining forever alone still, her pursuing an academic career and me a clinical one… I think our paths which once were crossed have now straightened out into parallel lines. Perhaps I don’t know who this person is anymore.

I find it so daunting to speak to her these days. Everything that I say needs to be politically correct. Everything I say gets a comeback from her. When I make a comment about my wants and desires, she throws a wet blanket over and never ceases to remind me how the grass is always greener on the other side. When I pass judgment over someone or something, she quickly reminds me that she never judges because “you have to hear the other side of the story.” When I talk about something interesting I’ve seen on facebook, she is swift to tell me to stop living my life through others’ and to “get off facebook and get a hobby” (whilst she herself is a subscriber to every single form of social media known to mankind). When I lament about the tragic state of society in general, she hastens to quip that “you shouldn’t make such sweeping statements.”

Yes, I know that she may well mean well. She may sincerely want me to have a balanced outlook at things. But no, I need this voice of reason when I’m being stupid; not when I’m frustrated and upset. When I’m irritated or sad I need a girlfriend who will just listen and build me up, not someone who will kick me to add an extra bruise to my wounds.

I’m fed up and sad at the same time.

Every time I get beat down I get so angry. I get so mad that I can literally feel the heat build up towards my head. I shake with frustration and then become completely inarticulate (which totally does not help my cause). I get so pissed off with her for making me feel like I am of questionable character.

Or am I really just pissed off with the fact that perhaps we are truly no longer the BFFs that we naively thought will actually last forever?

I really want this friendship to work. Having lost so many precious friendships to time, distance and relationships, I am grasping onto whatever is left. But I guess whatever is left is simply not good enough.

Not good enough.

And it hurts.

Wherefore art thou, Peace?

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:6-7

A catastrophe at work has haunted me for the last month.

Guilt, regret, sadness and fear have become my predominant emotions of late.

Within my head, there are dark clouds looming. A howling wind sweeps across my heart, and a severe chill pierces my soul.

I have been washing my face with tears. I have been crying in the bathroom at work- a lot. Anything and everything seem to be capable of turning the tap on- a word from my consultant, a dirty look from a nurse, a careless remark from a junior, and even an attempt to share prayer requests at cell group.

The flashbacks have been particularly painful. Scenes of that fateful morning run across my mind a couple of times a day, each time ripping my heart apart to make it bleed just a little bit more.

Why did it have to happen to me?

I am awaiting closure, which as yet does not seem imminent.

The helplessness and suffering is real. It is so real that it is crippling.

I have been struggling to get out of bed. Struggling to smile. Struggling to find confidence.

Dear Lord, through all of this, please help me sing the words of the psalmist:

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

Be still, my soul. For the Lord is on your side.