Thursday, 30 January 2014

Breathe.

Yup, breathe. That's exactly what I've been practising for the past few weeks, in the midst of preparing for AS finals, while sitting the examination, post examination- I breathe. Sometimes I take short, shallow breaths; other times I inhale very deeply, and exhale slowly, until I feel my stomach manage to twist out of the anxious knot- before the butterflies start fluttering in it again. When I breathe, lightly or hard, the left ventricle of my heart pushes the oxygenated blood into the aorta and the blood is carried to my brain to function and think. #signsofbeingabiostudent

My heart races in intense speed particularly before entering the examination hall, or when the paper is a minute away from being distributed. It pounds like a thousand horses during a stampede, and I gently place my hands on my chest, desperately trying to calm it down, as though afraid it would explode- unable to withstand the vast tension that I have been dealing with.

It's maniacal and deranging, honestly, no matter how well-prepared I am, the shakiness, pounding head, hands turn icy cold, breathless symptoms would bother me. Like ants on hot bricks, I struggle to simmer down. Countless times I have find myself unable to get hold of myself, feeling both uptight and overwrought, I would fretfully pace in my house, or break into yoga poses to regain my composure. 

Allow me to take you back to two days before, when I had to sit for  both my Biology and Economics Paper 2 examination.

Insane- is ultimately the word to describe the day.

I had almost gone demented. It was 7.00 in the morning that my mother and I departed from home. Given the massive traffic congestion, it usually takes about 45 minutes or so to reach my college. My first paper of the day, Biology Paper 2, starts at 8.30 a.m. We were told to gather at the examination hall at 8.00 a.m. as it was going to take some time to settle the large amount of students down. I had assumed I was going to make it in time, in fact, have a bit of spare time to use the washroom and talk to my friends before the paper starts.

Little did I know, the traffic was not in my favour at all. It completely drove me up the wall that day. I was absorbed catching up with the notes, that I didn't realise it was already 8.00 a.m. when I still hadn't arrive in college. The distance was near, but the traffic- oh, the traffic- I had no idea why or how did we end up being stuck in the congestion, but I was aware of one thing- we were dangerously close to being late. It was horrifying, I was mad disturbed by the thought of not making it in time, that I totally threw up my notes and buried my face into my hands.

I didn't know what to do. My mum was helpless. She repeatedly told me to hold myself together, and in the shakiest voice- which I believe was the toughest she could manage- assured me that she was going to send me to college before the examination starts. Of course I wasn't buying it. The traffic light turning green didn't make any progress to the movement of the cars. Cars were moving, so, so, slow- and my heart sunk as every minute passed by.

I glanced down at my watch. 8.15 a.m. I was alarmed. I choked, and I nearly burst out into tears. The pressure was distressful and I had an exasperating thought to leap out of the car and race towards my college. I was in a tizzy. I couldn't breathe.

I remember telling my mum how awfully disappointed I was in myself. I recall moments when I would shake my head in disapprove when I see students coming in late for examination. It's the future we're talking about, how could you be late? I would think to myself. I was being captious at myself at that point, and my mum, on the other hand, was gravely trying to cool down her fretful self as she fought against the heavy traffic. There I was- fastened in the car seat, and feeling myself being shot into pieces as the cars honked and honked, but only to notice that the traffic was worsening.

I was fiercely fighting back my tears. I had to grit my teeth real hard, hold my hands into taut balls of fists, and breathe thoroughly.

Though the reality was, I couldn't bring myself to think. If I imagined any further the consequences of me being late and not being able to sit for the paper, I would have no doubt that I was going to pass out due to the consummate rile. 

I thought about my future. I visualised myself answering the questions with a strong, clear and confident mind. I figured I needed to do what's best for me at the moment. I decided not to let time go into waste anymore. I found myself whipping out my notes, read them out loud in the car, forcing myself to concentrate on the facts and details. I had studied immensely hard for the examination, I was determined not to let being late affect my emotions.

At last we reached. I sped up the stairs, assembled my stationary as fast as I could, and entered the hall. All the students were seated, and the exam papers were being distributed. The embarrassment was alarming, but the relieved feeling of being able to make it before the exam started was ultimately overwhelming. Needless to say, my heart started to relax a little bit when I was approaching my best friend, Yong Qi, who pointed my seat to me. I was, and still am incredibly thankful that I had a chance to look at her before the examination started. Her smile did wonders to settle my speeding heart down.

I immediately sat down to my seat, gazed at the clock hanging right in front of the hall, which read 8.28 a.m. I had arrived 2 minutes before my Biology paper. It was bizarrely close- and painfully pressurising- which made me even more grateful that the odds were, in the end, in my favour.

Oh and, by the way, I hope my results would speak what I expect of my results- because I think I managed to do well. Choking down the past year questions helped tremendously- and I wasn't kidding about choking them down- every time the thought of giving up crossed my mind I would tell myself that it's now or never- suck it up back and persevere. It was tough, with the additional Economics subject to tackle on the same day- only the 9 students who were taking the combination as I do in this college would feel the heavy load of burden.

I distanced myself from entertainment, to keep myself focus on what was important, what was crucial. I worked hard, really, really the hardest I've pushed myself in my 19 years. 

I felt truly justified to myself, that I've given my best, and I will forever be grateful for all the help and guidance I've received, the encouragement and support my loved ones faithfully showered me with.

As for my results, I will keep the faith, and press on. 

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Life Lately.


There's no simpler way to put into words how life has been lately, other than that one word that sums it all: Busy. I've been occupied, all day and night, either settling Reader's Club's matter, solving Mathematics questions, coordinating with the SDC, completing Chemistry tutorial, attending meetings, writing reports, sending emails, designing and printing posters, preparing for the upcoming Club Recruitment Drive (which is like what- tomorrow?!), study for my Chemistry test, get ready for the Annual General Meeting, look for information for Biology Debate on Friday, hand over past year papers to my juniors, and the list goes long on.

Serious stuffs are boring to tell and listen (read) to, so I'll just talk about a visit my friends and I paid to Upstairs Cafe on Monday, and since we walked there under the hot sun + scared ourselves jumping out of the way of the vehicles on the road, we decided to treat ourselves for a good meal and hang out a little while longer than usual.

We arrived around 10.20 a.m., which was the perfect timing as Upstairs Cafe opens at 10 a.m. hence we had no trouble finding a spot we liked. Major whoops for perfect class break timing.

Yu En ordered a brownie with whipped cream on top to start off with. It looked decadent from the outside, so I assume it tasted like the usual rich, chocolatey brownie. 







Kai Xin's Latte arrived the first among all coffees. She didn't bother adding the sachet of sugar, being the health conscious girl she is. Soon to be nutritionist/ dietician, people! Winking smile 



































Yong Qi kicked start her lunch with a cup of Caramel coffee.

































It was aromatic and I was sure she enjoyed it. I mean, just look at how blissful and giddy she looked with her cup of coffee!



































 This was Yu En's cup of Hazelnut Latte! Such a pretty coffee art! :) But Yu En declared the coffee art when she came the other day was much sophisticated because the barrister was a much more experienced one. Still think it's lovely in my opinion.

Then came our main orders. This dish was Kai Xin's order: Mushroom Bacon Risotto. She later told me she had never tried risotto before and had been wanting to give it a try. So, voila!

 

I've tried risotto once in Italiannies, so I had an idea of how it tasted. I wouldn't say I loved it because its richness was suffocating. However, I've read about the review of this exact dish in my foodie pal, Jia Qi's food blog and she commended this dish for not being cloying or overly done. In fact, I love the sunny side up! That's easily one of my favourite ways to eat eggs. Actually, any kind is my favourite- until I come across any methods which I dislike, so far, scrambled eggs come last in my list. Kai Xin's plate was the cleanest in the end, so there shouldn't be any doubt that this dish was to her liking.

Alicia and Yu En shared this Mexican Pizza. It was spicy, according to the both of them- and Yu En especially told me not to order this if I ever return to this Cafe as the spice would set my tongue on fire, which I totally believed her- given my extremely low tolerance for all things spicy and hot. People who pay attention to the little details of my 'okay's' and 'not-okay's' makes me unbelievably delighted, like a kid who had just gotten her present from Santa. Open-mouthed smile So thank you, Yu En. 





Runny sunny side up on top as well!





My dish of the afternoon was the Eggs Atlantic. I saw it on the menu and was curious as to what the dish offered, so I asked the barrister. He only had to make his way through "Smoked salmon, eggs, mushroom..." and I was sold. Mushrooms, smoked salmon and eggs- three of my favourite food in a dish- what more could a girl ask for? (Actually there's a lot more if were to get started- like more shoes and clothes, please.) I decided this was my kind of dish, and Yong Qi decided to follow suit because she trusts my taste in good food. Smile with tongue out Hahahahaha.

Yu En even pointed out that the dish was assembled in a manner that resembles a smiley face, which Yong Qi didn't agree to but I thought what Yu En said made sense.






The poached eggs on top of the sliced bagels were so beautiful I really didn't want to poke at it! But I did anyway, because I was hungry and no food is ever that good-looking to not be eaten. Jun's theory.  Beneath the poached eggs were sauteed mushrooms, smoked salmon and spinach. I loved it! The bagels were chewy, the runny yolk made an amazing sauce to everything on the plate. However, it was just a teeny weeny bit salty that I had to gulp plenty of water but the meal was delicious and filling, nonetheless.

After feeding our stomachs and satisfying our tastebuds, we did what girls do best- take pictures (to be more accurate, we were acting like typical crazy teenagers in the cafe laughing and giggling away when everyone else was just quietly trying to enjoy their meals. Sorry not sorry.).

At least we got some decent pictures. Bad lighting. But whatever. We were happy and that's all that matters.
Smile








It was such a great time out with the girls and I truly enjoyed myself. Spending time with my amazing friends is one of the things that brighten my day. They're the ice to my cream; sweet to my dreams; soy sauce to my eggs; and best to my friends. Smile Okay, okay, time to dive back to work. Gene technology awaits me.

The root to joy is gratitude.



Today I'm thankful for courage, for with courage I have learned to step out of my comfort zone and let go of fears.  Courage is not the absence of fear, it is feeling it but doing it anyway. I am proud of myself for trying today, and for not allowing fear to dictate me.

Today I'm thankful for my friends, particularly Yong Qi, Yu En, and the rest of my classmates, who are incredibly wonderful individuals who splash colours and fun into my everyday college life. They make me laugh and give me a hand in making the right choices and decisions. Most importantly, they are the ones I can feel comfortable to be around with and have lots of fun with!

Today I'm thankful for my parents, as they provide me with unconditional support and care. My dad works extremely hard everyday, and although he's fatigue he still comes home everyday with a cheery smile on his face and gives my mum and I a hug (extra kisses for my lovely mum, of course. :) ). My mum fetches me to college every morning, and has been my most faithful, loyal listening ear. She often shares inspiring, educational and funny stories with me during our car ride. I may tease her misuse of vocabulary or wrong pronunciations however she would brush them off and urge me to teach her the correct ones. She's a gem, I tell you. ;)

Today I'm thankful, because I've been having a rather rough few weeks but I am reminded just how blessed I am and how much I have that I should appreciate very much. A thankful heart invites life to give you more to be thankful for.

I love you all. Namaste.


Thursday, 16 January 2014

快乐。

前几天吃午饭时,我和妈妈聊起今年该如何庆祝华人新年。谈话中,我流露自己小的时候是多么地期盼华人新年的到来,想起可以吃好吃的,穿美丽的新衣服,与亲友相聚,我就恨不得变成一只小鸟,飞到家乡去。

妈妈柔声细语地说:“是啊,小时候的你们,会因为小小的事情而兴奋,高兴。惠钧,你知道吗?爸爸今天早上有感而发,他说小时候的惠钧,只要爸爸把惠钧荡秋千荡的得高高的,他就会看到你最快乐,最灿烂,最天真无邪的笑容。如今的他,不知道还有什么能够让你快乐,重现最甜美的笑容。”

我的心震惊。我的视线开始模糊,我想张嘴说一句话,可是喉咙却哽咽,我感觉到的,只是我都豆大般的泪水沿着腮帮滚滚而下。

对父母亲而言,最根本的快乐,不过就是看到我和我的哥哥,弟弟快乐,幸福。

Friday, 10 January 2014

I am in a huge dilemma.

My stomach is in a flunk.

My throat hurts and my head feels abnormally warm.

I feel sick but there's an event to attend the next day.

I hate to say I don't think I can make it 'cos that would mean cancelling on a person whom matters to me.

I want to feel better so that I can listen to the workshops without feeling like passing out.

I don't know what to do.

Help. :(


Thursday, 9 January 2014

I've missed you, yoga!


Today I shook the negative thoughts pulling me back out of my head and went to yoga my first time in three months. 

My hamstrings and inner thighs muscle were crazy tight. 

Like, insanely, ridiculously tight and the poses I used to carry out comfortably were such major challenges to me. I hope to regain my flexibility as I attend more practices because it kills me not to stretch and bend with ease. Although difficult, I will persevere.



Squinty eyes, don't be surprised. This was taken in Melbourne. Sean was standing next to me, now he's already happily (ha ha at least I'm pretty certain he is) settled down in his hostel in his boarding school in Singapore. 

Now, now, I just received a call from dad who's staying overnight in a hotel in JB as he was in charge of fetching Sean earlier on today. I miss talking to both dad and Sean and am glad to know they both arrived safely. 

Time to wash up!



Monday, 6 January 2014

Outing to Chili's.


Daddy brought Sean and me out to Chili's in Empire for lunch today. What a way to kick start the week huh? This Honey Chipotle Chicken was Sean's order. He wasn't too keen on eating the sweet corn so he appointed it to be taken away along with one chicken piece 'cos he wanted to leave it for mum. I swear this brother of mine is absolutely caring and thoughtful.


Dad's order: Ranch Chicken burger with a side of chips. Why am I surprised he only managed to eat 2/3 of it? Dad has amazing discipline. I am beginning to wonder if the genes are bias because I'm the least disciplined among the three of us siblings. Kidding. It's just my attitude. Something to work on.