Living Abroad

Recently I’ve seen this post from Thought Catalog making its round on social media and it inspires me to write my own ’10 things’ about living abroad. Some of them may be similar or even the same as the ones mentioned in the article, but here goes:

I’ve been living abroad for 8 years now, starting from 3 years in Malaysia for university, 1 year in China for language school, (coming back to Jakarta for 1.5 year afterwards), and close to 4 years in Singapore at the moment.

To me, living abroad have given me invaluable experiences which I will never get from living in my hometown alone.

Harbin

1. Being independent
One of the first things most people will think when they first found out that you are living abroad is you are independent. I won’t say it’s necessarily true for everyone, but I do think of it that way. When you are far away from home, from your family, friends, and loved ones, you have no choice but to buckle and toughen up! This is especially true if you have no friends or relatives in the new country you are going to. Being alone in the sea of strangers can be quite intimidating sometimes, but there’s some fun to it! 😀

You’ll also need to do everything on your own, including house chores. Ha! Not everyone is used to do cleaning up back home, but when you are abroad, you gotta do it! Otherwise, good luck with all those dust and mites at the corners of your room.

 

2. Freedom
Yeap, I won’t deny that living abroad gives me the freedom I need. I love Singapore for its safety and super convenient public transportation, unlike Jakarta where I can’t go anywhere without a car or hailing a cab. This really helps when I’m out and about.

That’s just one kind of freedom though. The more important point here is that, having the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want it is very liberating, and it helps to shape you as an individual because although you have the freedom, you have to bear the responsibilities that come with it. You have to make decisions on your own to justify what you are doing.

 

3. Growth
From my observation, people who have lived abroad tend to be mature a little bit quicker than those who don’t. Maybe because they are somehow ‘forced’ to grow up. Please note: I’m not underestimating those who have not lived abroad before. This is just my own observation.

I guess it relates back to #1 – Being independent. As you learn to be independent, you grow.

 

4. Lonely
Not everyday is a bed of roses. I admit there were times I felt kinda lonely as if I have no one. There was a period of time where I was surrounded by friends and colleagues and yet, I felt so alone. But I gotta put a disclaimer here: I haven’t felt lonely for the past 11 months. All thanks to AmoreDio! 🙂

But being alone sometimes allows you to think of things you wouldn’t otherwise. It gives you time to reflect on things and sometimes, being alone do help to put your mind to rest and just… relax.

 

5. Excitement
Of course! Living abroad is exciting (okay, maybe the excitement may wear off after a couple of years or so, depending on the individual), with everything going on around you, new things, new places to discover, and just… new everything!

Yes, it IS exciting. One thing to keep the excitement alive is to regularly find something new to do. For me, it’s finding a new place to dine at, a new bakery or patisserie, or just simply finding something interesting in places I’ve visit hundreds of times. 😀

 

6. Financial planning
Tell me about it! When you are living on your own, moreover when you are abroad, financial planning becomes something crucial that you gotta do. From managing your daily expenses to savings/investment, everything has to be calculated properly. On my first few months in Malaysia, I jot down every expenses I’ve made and I tracked how much I spent each month (okay, it was more like my mum asked me to do it. Lol). I don’t do it anymore though (too lazy!), but I sure know how it’s like surviving with just 2 digits in your bank account when your pay day is 2 weeks away.

 

7. Farewells and goodbyes
One of the things I dreaded the most is farewell. I enjoy making new friends but I dreaded it so much when it’s time for us to part ways. This was especially true when I was about to leave Beijing. I still remember it quite vividly. A few weeks prior to my departure, I had to say goodbyes to my close friends there and it was not a pretty sight filled with tears. On the morning of my departure (and a few other friends as well), a big bunch of friends sent us off at the school front yard and it was not a happy thing to do 😦 To this moment, I am still missing each and every one of my ex-classmates and have only managed to met up with a few of them. Looking forward to the day we could have a reunion in Beijing or somewhere!

 

8. Awesome stories to tell your kids and grandchildren
“You know kids, there was once I went for a Japanese all-you-can-eat with my friends and one of the Japs in the group ordered this thing called yamaimo…”

“What does it look like, grandma?”

“Well, if you’ve ever looked at your own phlegm, that’s exactly how it looks like.”

 

9. Realising that holidays with family that you rather took for granted before are precious moments you really look forward to
Because you don’t see them everyday anymore now.

 

10. Making international friends
This, I’d say, is one of the most awesome perks of living abroad!! Never in my life have I thought of having friends from Reunion Island, Italy, Japan, Thailand, etc.! And thanks to social media, our distance is nearer than ever 😀

Be happy!

Like they said, happiness is a state of mind. It is something you have a complete control over, so fill your mind with happy, positive thoughts and get rid of the negative ones!

IMG_6478

Being happy is a choice. It is something I have chosen to be, and I hope you will choose to be one too!

This fluffy bottom seriously makes me giggle. Y U so cute?! Oh, it’s my wrist rest by the way.

And at that moment, I realised everything was going to be alright

Some time ago I found myself walking down that empty street at night, alone. It was almost a total silence, with only the sound of my pair of shoes tapping on the black asphalt.

So much were going through my mind – happiness, sadness, and everything in between. Despite it all, my mind couldn’t seem to process them all and it resulted in my blank expression. It felt as if I couldn’t digest everything at once and my stomach clenched up. That exact same feeling I had whenever stress or anxiety came to visit.

Then I looked up the sky and saw a shining star in the distance. I smiled.

And at that moment, I realised everything was going to be alright.

Reconstructing Amelia

Maybe I should buy this book for my mom:

Reconstructing Amelia

Like so ngam, hor? (“Do you really know what’s going on inside your daughter’s head?”). Hahaha! Except that the story doesn’t sound as positive as the title.

From Goodreads:

A stunning debut novel in which a single mother reconstructs her teenaged daughter’s life, sifting through her emails, texts, and social media to piece together the shocking truth about the last days of her life.

Litigation lawyer and harried single mother Kate Baron is stunned when her daughter’s exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn, calls with disturbing news: her intelligent, high-achieving fifteen-year-old daughter, Amelia, has been caught cheating.

But they gave it 3.76/5 stars!! So it should be pretty good. Okay I may get a copy soon then!

Fry day!

HAPPY FRIDAY!

I actually came back from China with Panda flu (a.k.a normal flu. I said panda coz I got it at Chengdu, the city of panda :p) and haven’t fully recovered yet. I still have quite a sexy voice as of now. Damn phlegm! Please get out of my throat asap!

Anyway, Friday is finally here! This week has been pretty busy with the workload (always the case after a holiday, right?) and catching up on some things, so I am welcoming the weekend with wide open arms.

Flower Tea

Some flower tea at a cafe in 锦里, a tourist area in Chengdu.

p.s.: Not sure if it’s just me, but it seems like my iPhone camera produces better results after I’ve upgraded to iOS 7. The picture above was free of any editing.

27 Things “One Tree Hill” Taught Us

Was browsing through BuzzFeed when I spotted this article: 27 Things “One Tree Hill” Taught Us.

I’m not an avid fan of OTH. I’ve only ever watched a few episodes and I don’t even remember the characters’ names and all that. Hahaha. But the things mentioned in the article here were so true and they are applicable to our own lives. So here they are (not gonna embed the GIFs here) with some comments from myself in pink:

1. The lyrics to Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Want To Be” (‘All I have to do is think of me and have peace of mind’)

2. There are six billion people in the world. Six billion souls. And sometimes, all you need is one.

3. Expectation is the root of all heartache. – What a coincidence! I was writing about expectation a few weeks ago (still unpublished) and this appeared!

4. Some people will walk in and out of your life. Sometimes they come back.

5. … and there’s not always an explanation.

6. Some friendships are worth fighting for. – Agree! Speaking from my own experience several years ago back in junior high.

7. Some aren’t. – Uh huh.

8. People don’t always tell the truth. – Tell me about it. I am sure every one of us is guilty as charged.

9. … but it’s important to. – Honesty is the best policy after all, though it’s hard to do at times.

10. Just because you’re not related doesn’t mean you’re not family. – So true. Best friends are families too.

11. It’s okay to be who you are. – Being your true self is the best way to go.

12. But it’s not okay to take things for granted. – 10000000000000x agree.

13. Say what you need to say. – Before it’s too late.

14. Don’t believe everything you hear. – Not everything you hear is true.

15. Believe in yourself. – If you don’t believe in yourself, how could you expect others to believe in you?

16. Believe in magic. – I do 😉

17. Believe in love.

18. … because love conquers all.

19. You have to go after what you want.

20. … and never give up.

21. … because life is too short.

22. … and it goes by too fast. – So totally agree!

23. No matter how much you’re hurting, it will always get better. – Hear hear!

24. It’s okay to be fearless.

25. It’s okay to have lazy days. – Okay, an excuse to be a lazy bum once in awhile hehehe.

26. You matter. Your actions matter.

27. … and of course, your art matters. – Aiya, this one is not related to me coz my art sucks hahaha.

So yea, since life is short and it’s beautiful, we shall make the best out of it and enjoy it to the fullest! 😀

It's a Beautiful Life