blessed.

I have two more Korean language classes to attend, and then I think it is an appropriate time to take a break from it. I decided to pick up Korean in August 2011 on a whim, because at that point I think I was in a Korean craze, being kind of caught up in K-pop and culture, etc. But as with many other things in my life, I think I have passed it. I have spent a fair bit of money on the classes, and although I hate to say it, it still is quite a large amount wasted. Till date, I don’t think I have achieved much in terms of proficiency. It is tough to study a language and excel in it, become conversant and proficient in it, if you are not living and breathing it. Especially when there is a lack of conscientiousness in revising and making it a bigger and more integral part of life. I don’t watch Korean dramas anymore, don’t watch Korean variety shows and don’t listen to K-pop now, or as much. Even with Japanese that I have been studying since… 2008, I don’t think I can call myself proficient. But Jap is different. Having invested that much time and effort in it, I don’t think it is something that I will give up, at least I feel a deeper attachment to it because after all, Japan and in particular Tokyo, is one place that holds a close place in my heart.

Over the last few days, I come to realise, or at least I think I did, that I have often been blinded by my own preoccupation with myself. I kept focusing on me and me alone, that I wasn’t able to let go of a lot of things and be happy. There are many things that I can be and ought to be thankful for, despite that I frequently lament about the lack in my life. Honest reflection will show that in reality, maybe I don’t really lack that much. In fact, I have lots of blessings and favour in my life. I don’t have many friends now, but there are the select few who can be around to offer me support and a listening ear when I need, whether they are physically around or not. My family is here with me, and although we were not well-to-do to begin with or when I was growing up, the amount that we had never really affect the level of joy and happiness that we enjoyed and shared as a small family unit.

This was drawn by one of my Korean classmates a couple of lessons back. She’s a very talented young girl who never fail to amaze me with her innocence. It is true that innocuity seems to bring about unadulterated enjoyment of life, which somehow gets lost as we grow up and come to become a part of society. 

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There were a couple of friendships that put me through a lot of pain and heartache in the last years. I was unhappy and angry for various reasons, and in one case, after I let go, despite that the friendship was no longer close, I felt so much better without the expected heavy sense of loss. Yes, it is sad that we aren’t as close as we used to be, but at least we have had a great time before and that was what mattered, now that we have both moved on. I just learnt to let go of another knot in me and with it, I also felt lighter and happier. It just happened, that one day I decided not to be burdened by the unhappiness that I had caused within myself, or the weight just lifted off of me. Maybe things have also changed between us like in the first instance, but at least I am no longer angry and I can start to move along once more.

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reflecting on 2012

Have I already done that? Somewhere at the back of my mind, I seem to recall that I have done it, but while scrolling through the past few entries that are mainly food and more food, I don’t think I have dedicated a whole entry to reflecting on 2012. Actually, I don’t think there is that much to reflect on, considering that I update this space rather often and am reflecting frequently while I write about other things.

Anyway, let me use this post to give thanks for 2012.

I can’t exactly say that 2012 has been a blast, but still some good things have come to pass and I am thankful for some events that have occurred, for some people that I have met, places that I have been…

This year, I finally got to see South Korean boy band, Big Bang, in concert, and not just once, twice but thrice! When I was in Tokyo this January for the CNY break, as well as to attend a one-week ‘exchange’ programme in Japanese at Aoyama School of Japanese, I had the good fortune of meeting a really nice Japanese girl through Twitter who helped me buy a pair of tickets to the YG Family Concert at the Saitama Arena, at no additional cost! Then, in September when Big Bang came to Singapore as part of the Alive World Tour, I managed to get a pair of standing tickets at the Singapore Indoor Stadium and had one of the best concert experiences in my life! Finally, through my friends in Japan, I had the opportunity to catch Big Bang again for their special Alive concert at the Tokyo Dome in early December. Even if it is the same group three times within a year, I really enjoyed each of the experiences and would do it again if I had to choose again.

In 2012, I think I did good with my continued pursuit of languages and hung on to my weekly Japanese and Korean classes. Despite that I am still lacking in confidence where use of the languages is concerned, I believe I will improve my proficiency in 2013! Maybe I could even sit for the JLPT N3 exam this year, finally after a couple years of procrastination.

Made some new friends this year through various avenues that I found amazing, such as getting to know some of my Japanese classmates better, getting to know some fellow Big Bang fans from Japan, and meeting up with friends I haven’t met in a while when I went on business trips abroad.

Some of you may know that I became a Christian last year, but due to work commitments and perhaps just a bout of laziness, I had not been very regular in attending service on Sundays. Sometime towards the last quarter of the year, I started going back to church and am so glad that I make it now a regular Sunday activity because of all the grace that I have received. Although December had somehow been a rather trying month, we are already into the last day of it and 2013 is fast approaching, which can only be a better year for me!

Of course, 2012 has really been the bumper year where travelling is concerned. Looking back on my life, this is the year where I had travelled far and wide. In the span of 12 months, I have made 15 trips abroad that have taken me to 15 different cities that covered North America, Europe and Asia! I missed out South America because Sao Paolo was a little too far for me as deemed by my boss for which I was openly grateful because I didn’t think I could have survived the 30-odd hours of travel time if I had to go there. We don’t really do business in Africa and Australia isn’t somewhere we need to travel to, so these two continents were left out as well. It has been tiring to travel for work, as I have found out after 1.5 years in this job but these are still experiences with some fond memories that I will look back on in future and not regret taking up such a job at least for a while.

Finally, yoga. I have been making it a bigger part of my life and returning to the hot studio, and I am happy about it. Besides travelling, learning languages and writing, this is something else which I really enjoy, and in 2013 I hope I can further deepen my practice, not to take it to any professional level but at least on a personal level I hope to better myself in this aspect.

plan to have no plans

Before the last weekend began, I think I had grand plans on what I had wanted to do, but as with the greatest plans things didn’t turn out as planned and so deviations occurred.

It has been raining so much lately, and towards the end of last week on both Thursday and Friday evenings, I thought so much rain had fallen that maybe there won’t be anymore rain for a while. Well, I was wrong because this morning there was yet another downpour that left my shoes all soaked and now I’m still hoping they will dry in airconditioning. I really hate the feeling of wet shoes and now I think I will bring a spare pair and leave it in the office for such days.

Weekends always seem to fly by especially when they turn out unexpectedly busy. Spent Saturday running around various places, with the highlight being the BBQ. We were thankful for the dry weather during those few hours, even though we were adequately sheltered. It wasn’t until after lots of food, wine and cake and half a movie and I reached home that it started to rain.

Didn’t plan to do much on Sunday but turned out that I headed out at 9am and it wasn’t until almost 11pm that I called it a day.

Caught Tatsumi last night and I think my Japanese really suck because half the time I couldn’t understand what the dialogue was about if I hadn’t read the subtitles. Sure, I caught a few words here and there but other than that, I wouldn’t have been able to grasp the gist of the stories if I hadn’t read the subtitles. So even after more than three years and two successful attempts of the Japanese Language Proficiency Tests, I am still nowhere near a beginner’s comprehension of the language. I wonder how long it will take for me to be even slightly conversant in it, and as well, how long it will take for me to attain that kind of levels where Korean is concerned.