the holidays are here and i finally have time to come here. my sanctuary.
the last 10 weeks have been kind of crazy. sometimes, i enjoy my work and the people i get to work with (students and colleagues alike) so much that i forget that it's not always a bed of roses. the stresses of working, the burden that i carry whenever i get reminded that my work deals with the lives of young people, that nagging need to strive for perfection and acceptance, that want to bring glory to the Lord and live my life as a testimony to the grace that i've been given.
sometimes, i'm glad i have a (physical) place to turn to in the middle of the work day. to reflect. think. cry out. pray. whenever a silly mistake was made. whenever big mistakes were made. whenever.
watching the whole slew of season and series finales the past few weeks to destress from work. thankful. 4 outstanding finales ought to be mentioned here.
1. house - just because it was shot entirely with a DSLR in HD. the canon 5d mkII was used, together with a mix of canon primes (i suspect they are below f1.4) and zeiss zooms (24-70mm, 70-200mm, if memory serves me well). the result was no different from the regular tv shows, but with an added bonus. the tremendous f-stops used ensured amazing an array of depths of field. and even though some scenes may seem out of focus, it fit into the storyline well. and did i mention cuddy and house are finally trying to make it work? :)
2. flashforward - went out with a cliffhanger-open-to-interpretation. the practicalities and business of broadcast media in america led to the axing of a once-promising show. and i'm still quite sad. the show was bouncing back from a few episodes of bad writing and script, but got axed way too soon. farewell flashforward.
3. lost - went out with a poignant smile, fully redeemed. in the end, the important questions were answered. the flash-sideways world was explained. our characters got the redemption they needed. and they moved on, together, to whatever comes after.
after all the adventure, mythology, spirituality, science, faith, philosophy, history, and the countless lessons and knowledge i've picked up watching the series, there are no regrets, no yearning for more (like i usually do with series finales), no burning questions (just a few small ones to satisfy my science brain), but just a quiet, poignant smile as jack closed his eyes and step into the light.
it also reminds me of being redeemed by the blood of Christ, reconciled with God, justified by faith, and the life in Heaven that awaits after we are done in this life. i used to struggle with the reality of a Heavenly Kingdom where there are no tears and sorrow, no sadness and fears. but God, sitting on His throne, where the angels sing and i can find rest for all eternity. though i still struggle with this sometimes (thanks to my science brain), i'm glad for a tv show that can remind me of this fact.
4. grey's anatomy - the season finale left me at the edge of my seat as charles, alex and derek lay dying and a grieving man who lost his wife went on a 2-hr (unrealistic, yes. pumps up the drama equation, yes.) shooting rampage in the hospital before committing suicide.
after i finished the show and started to think about what i saw, i got these flashbacks to the time where i was on exchange in the US. sitting in my poli-sci class, reading breaking news off my classmate's laptops about a shooting that happened on campus. MY campus. and i was ON campus, not at home. without details, my mind started to go crazy. is the gun man still going around shooting people? is he going to walk into my classroom with that loaded gun? it was a crazy time and i hardly paid attention. when i finally got hold of the details, the gun man had shot himself after he shot his ex-girlfriend in the chest 5 times, an ex-girlfriend he had been stalking. i'll never forget those crazy minutes (40 or so minutes) of fearing for my life.
and a few weeks later, the virginia tech massacre happened across the country i was in. my nightmare. and it is a sobering wakeup call for america to rethink its gun and ammunition laws. and it's also a gentle prod to be thankful for singapore.
ETA: i'm shaking my head as i type this after i saw a CNN breaking news tweet about a man going on a shooting rampage in the cumbria region of the UK, killing 12 people. they just found the shooter's body. cumbria is the region where lake district is, a beautiful place i visited last year. it's unthinkable. seriously.
one more thing that caught my attention in the grey's finale. the shooter asked the people he met whether or not they were surgeons. if the answer is yes, he shoots. this closely mirrors the rumors that surfaced during the aftermath of the columbine shootings, that the shooters asked the people if they believed in God, and if yes, they shoot. the rumors proved to not be true.
however, i thought about if it were true, how do people face such situations with the tremendous amount of courage that is needed. would we all respond like how Peter did, bearing in mind that a positive response would mean suffering, pain and death. or would we stand up for our faith and take the bullet, like so many disciples and apostles and servants of God today did? would we have that courage?
and yet i know, there is still hope in prayer as i grow in my faith. as we studied from the book of Jeremiah during YAG retreat, i can't help but change my mind about Jeremiah. i used to think he was really whiny and emo (esp. after studying the book of Lamentations).
but looking at things from a bigger perspective, i can see why the tears came as he prayed. his people were deliberately rebelling against God and not heeding his advice or warnings. Judah was suffering and yet Jeremiah's words fell on deaf ears. what was so outstanding about Jeremiah was how faithful and persevering he was as he served God. despite all that he went through, he still remained a faithful servant, and he constantly went back to God in prayer. that, to me, was really special. and inspiring.
i'm constantly reminded that i have been neglecting this space, and penning less thoughts here. i still have the kings of convenience concert to archive. tomorrow, i head to esplanade theater to catch 'the tempest', this year's bridge project installment. and that will, hopefully, be followed by a good review (much like last year's 'the winter's tale'). and again, that reminds me, i didn't review the 2nd play of the bridge project's double-bill - chekov's 'the cherry orchard' after i saw it in london.
HOKAY. so easter came and went. i promise, i promise i will pen my thoughts down (here or elsewhere). the easter musical, again, moved me so much with its narrative and songs. it's just so amazing how songs, lyrics and music can move people and stir emotions.
finally bought my air tickets to zurich, which is my connecting city to scandinavia. quite a good bargain i must say - $1.6k return on the singapore airlines A380. now it's about finding my other flights, trains and cruises, plus excursions to neighbouring towns and norwegian fjords.
going on this trip means forgoing a study trip to hokkaido with science teachers association of singapore, which is totally expensive, but totally interesting. but to console myself, scandinavia is a pretty good thing too, plus i get to go for my singapore arts fest concerts and dances (yay joshua bell).
i'm being super tied down by work and more admin sai gang. but the Lord graciously gives me strength that is renewed with each new day. :) more to come.
used to study her brains out at Nanyang Technological University and University of Washington, and took graduate courses when she was just a 3rd year undergraduate student. turned out ok by the way.
used to miss all things Singapore. family, friends, food, warm go-to-the-beach/wear-summer-clothes weather. now she misses seattle, california, new york city, rome, florence, switzerland and paris.
loves music, biology, beautiful sights, photography, delicious food, starbucks coffee on a cold day, retail therapy, tv&movies, fashion, concerts, thoughts, good conversations, travels, learning.
strives to be independent, mature, dependable, teachable, understanding and a faithful child of God, with a heart full of joy, hope and love. to have a gentle and quiet spirit.
was glad to be in the United States to grow as an individual. loves the beautiful and laid-back seattle. now she's settling back to life and reality.
is always thankful for everything, because there are lessons to be learnt from everything. good or bad.
is an eternal optimist.
upon a star.
* apple's magic mouse * Lumix GF-1/LX-3 * 10.5mm DX ED Fisheye lens * christian louboutins
* mulberry alexa * dinner at les halles, fifteen
* 24mm f1.4 lens * chanel 2.55
* canon 5d mark II * round-the-world air tickets
through the looking glass.
next trip out: a summer scandinavia trip to helsinki, finland. followed by trips around finland, st.petersburg, stockholm/sweden, oslo/norway, the arctic circle.
previously on the travel channel: western europe. starting at scotland's sleepy university town st. andrews, edinburgh, to cosmopolitan (and expensive) london and its countryside (pride and prejudice! and factory outlets at bicester), to germany's berlin and munich, followed by an italian escape of venice, rome, florence with road trips to its small quaint towns outside rome and florence like pisa and siena, then it's to the swiss alps - interlaken and luzern, before heading to zurich for a flight to the beautiful french capital, paris, where my graduation trip ends. (:
a trip with the family to tokyo, hakone, kyoto. shin-kan-sen, authentic japanese food, japanese hospitality, beautiful scenery.
12-day trip to england and france. starting at cosmopolitan london (with sightseeing, vintage shopping and musicals/plays-watching). to a road trip around central england to towns and sights at lake district, windermere, coniston etc. then the eurostar to paris for more of the french culture and food. then another roadtrip to the wine region of champagne. :) :)
possible trips in the making: the eating-shopping-sightseeing trip with mel to hongkong, taiwan, even though she just returned from said countries.
a backpacking trip through south america, starting with venezuela, peru & machu picchu, depths of the amazon forest, rio de janeiro, chile & easter island (if i'm rich), and ending with buenos aires in argentina and a trek across the glaciers of Perito Moreno in Patagonia, and Tierra Del Fuego, the southern-most point of south america.
a budget flight to darwin, australia. then board the ghan railway that stretches from northern australia to adelaide in the south, passing through the australian outback and national parks - ayers rock in uluru nat'l park, alice springs and the salt lakes. then a road trip from adelaide to cairns, passing through melbourne and the great ocean drive, sydney, gold coast, brisbane and to the great barrier reef.
a adventure tour through tibet and mongolia. maybe the mysteries of urumuqi and xinjiang in western china. throw in a trek around nepal and if i'm fit enough, a climb to mt. everest 1st base camp. (:
and other places like eastern europe (poland, austria, czech republic, slovakia, slovenia, hungary), south africa, middle asia (turkey, israel, egypt), southern europe (spain, portugal, greece, monaco, nice and other parts of southern france), and morocco, south africa, micronesia islands (the island of yap), polynesia, caribbean (the bahamas, cayman islands, trinidad & tobago) and alaska.