Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Just when you thought it's over...

It's not!

DH sat for the Singapore exams yesterday. This is the one that is equivalent to the exams he took last week in London. The results were released this afternoon. He passed!

I was thrilled! I thought that with the results, DH would be happy. However, four years of continual studying, hard work and night shifts have taken its toil on DH. He wants to quit this job and change speciality. I was not prepared for this.

It was very difficult for me as I thought that this result would be the start of a new beginning for us, giving us a life where we can finally breathe normally again.

DH has his reasons for wanting to change specialities. I wrestled internally. As much as I wanted to be supportive, I am scared. We had made bad decisions,albeit with good intentions, in the past leading to a lot of pain, disappointment, anger and bitterness.

The new job is open to him on 5th May. Questions flew in my head. Is this too soon? Is he burning his bridges? What if he hates it? Will he become bitter and angry again? What about all the effort that he has put in the past four years? DH strongly believes that this new job will lead to a greater fulfillment on his part and a better life for us as a family.

I want so much to trust him but the emotional baggage from our past haunts me.

We talked, we prayed, we read the Bible. We listened to each other although it was a struggle for me to listen without all my emotions clouding my judgment. We talked until past midnight.

Finally, I cried and I surrendered as I asked God to give me the courage to be a supportive wife. I can't do it on my own will and strength.

Amidst the tears, I told him that I will support him in whatever he decides. He promised me that he will continue praying and any decision he makes, it will be with the family's interest in mind.

It's now almost 2am as I write this. I am more settled but I can't sleep. Hopefully writing all this down will help calm my spirit. I just have to let go and trust that God will guide my husband to do what is right for the family.

Keep breathing!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Take a left turn into DISAPPOINTMENT

DH's exams results were released on the college website last night. My heart broke when I couldn't find his name in the list. Both of us went through the list several times, from A to Z, hoping that somehow there was a mistake and his name was really in the list.

It wasn't. We are feeling very disappointed. We prayed hard and so did our family and friends. Still, this is the result that God has chosen to give DH. We do not understand the reasons for this. We have been facing so many obstacles in our lives since we moved to Singapore. On some days, like this, it seems that we have one obstacle after another being put in front of us. Wherever we turn, it leads straight into DISAPPOINTMENT or its friendly neighbourhood towns of FRUSTRATION and REJECTION.

Somehow, the roads we chose has never led us to any other friendlier places. If only, we could settle down in the tranquil countryside of PEACE and CONTENTMENT.

Maybe, it's because we have been using the wrong roadmap. I think I'll need to go to the bookshop again and pick up another directory. Hopefully, with a renewed sense of direction and a clearer sense of our final destination, we will be able to arrive at a place with constant blue skies and no more tears.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Crunch time!

This is it! Crunch time for DH and for us as a family. DH left our friends' home in Feltham noon time today to sit for his exams in central London this afternoon. He's doing his practical now as I type this. He's been studying so hard for so long. I pray that he will succeed this time as the exams are taking so much out of him. I know I run the risk of sounding like a broken record but the truth is that these exams and all the preparation that he puts into it really drains him. As time is short for him, he has had to sacrifice his time with us for his revisions.

My friend took Osh Osh and I as well as another friend of ours to the Hounslow Urban Farm near her home. It was a very nice gesture from both of my friends to plan such a lovely day for Osh Osh. It was nice and sunny. Osh Osh had a lovely time feeding all the farm animals there. However, I felt detached from everything. My mind was with DH. I was worried for him despite having prayed. I felt that I'm just as stressed as he is and wished I could do more for him. So much is riding on him passing these exams. He can progress in his career and he can have more time for us. We can finally breathe a little easier as right now, I feel that both DH and I have been holding our breaths in anxiety. That's not how we want to carry on living our lives.
However, part of me is telling me that I'm giving too much importance to these exams in that I am making it sound like an insurmountable problem. Instead, I ought to focus on God as no problem is too big for Him. We can overcome if we trust in Him completely. It is difficult for both DH and myself to break free from the hold our past failures have on us.

One of the lessons I have learnt during this trip is that God has indeed carved our path and put wonderful people in our lives to touch us and teach us to be better people. All our friends whom we've stayed with have been very kind and supportive. My friend in Feltham has taken the extra mile to enable our stay in her home to be perfect. She has been a very gracious hostess and anticipated our every need. We are spoilt rotten here. I believe Osh Osh would love to carry on staying here and replace his Mummy for her!

Our friends here have their own problems and crosses to bear as well. However, they are incredibly positive people who strive to make the most out of each day, helping others and making a difference in the community they live in. They inspire me to want to do more and to think beyond my own problems and heartaches. I'm reminded by a question that is often asked in quizzes and polls - who is your hero? My answer to that today is the people who are genuine in all that they do and who care for you unconditionally, wanting the best for you. I am so blessed that my friends here fit that description to a tee!

Friday, April 17, 2009

A completely different way of life

We arrived in London safely two days ago. Osh Osh was remarkably well behaved during the thirteen hours flight and only cried as the plane made its descent due to the change in air pressure which caused his ears to ache. Thank God for in flight entertainment! Osh Osh must have watched the same episode of Ben 10 at least ten times!

We stayed at our friends' home in Feltham which is not far from the airport. It was such a warm, wonderful feeling to go to a home with a delicious hot dinner waiting for us and comfortable beds to rest our weary bodies in. Our friends were very hospitable and ensured that all our needs were met as we were too tired to think for ourselves that night.

The next morning, we had a four hour train journey and again, Osh Osh impressed us by being able to keep himself occupied and happy throughout the entire journey.

We're now in Brixham, Devon. Our hosts, DH's elderly friends, told us that it's the busiest fishing port in the UK. Having said that, you definitely do not feel the hustle and bustle of city life when you're here. It's so quiet and peaceful. Our hosts' home is up on a hill overlooking the bay. We can see the fishing boats come and go. There are seagulls flying around. One of them is a frequent visitor to the house which our hosts named as Popeye. Yes, Popeye has a mate named Olive, just like the cartoon characters. He eats anything from fish pie to apple crumble. I must admit that both Popeye and Olive have a good life!

Life here moves at a slower pace. We don't look at the clock and are not rushing about getting things done. This morning, we took a stroll in their large garden with Osh Osh. I had just taught Osh Osh how to use our video camera and he is learning it with gusto. He took photos of everything, from the flowers to the grass to photos of Mummy, Daddy and our hosts as well as the food we ate and the toys he played. He so enjoyed photography that it was very difficult to take the video camera away from him! I'm not being biased when I say that some of his shots are quite good. I'll put them up on Facebook when we're home to let you be the judge of them.

It was forecasted that it would rain today but it didn't. It was a bright sunny day. We took Osh Osh to a nearby field and a small playground. Osh Osh had a tennis ball with him. At first, he was just randomly throwing the ball in the air. Both DH and I had to be careful that it did not land on our heads. As we walked on, we noticed that there were several rugby goal posts. So, we decided to make a game out of throwing the tennis ball over the posts. It was quite high and Osh Osh was determined to throw the tennis ball over them. He succeeded three times and was beaming with joy each time. I was very proud of him that he didn't give up and just kept trying. Such enthusiasm!

Our hostess has multiple sclerosis and is wheelchair bound. Their home is built in such a way to provide her with utmost comfort and adequate mobility. She has an elevator in the room allowing her to move up and down their three storey home. Osh Osh was completely blown away by it and volunteered to be the bell boy who took the elevator up and down with our hostess. It's wonderful to see how much he enjoys being with them. I'm surprised at how fast he's grown attached to them given that we've just only arrived yesterday evening.

I would love to stay here as well. They were just joking earlier during dinner that they could use the help and would be delighted if we could stayed with them permanently! How I wish that was possible. I shall not dwell on the impossibilities. Rather, I will cherish this short time that we have here to recharge and take another look at life from a different perspective. Who knows what life lessons I may learn? Hopefully, I will return to Singapore being calmer and happier.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Busybugz has been busy!

Busybugz has indeed been busy which is why she has not posted any new blog posts lately. We're all packed, more or less, for the trip. I'm excited, anxious and hopeful all at the same time. I'm praying hard that DH will pass his exams this time. He's been working so hard and I can see how drained and tired he is.

Osh Osh is excited. He keeps asking me what we're going to do when we get there. I've informed him that it will be a long flight but I don't think he quite understands how long a 14 hour flight actually is. This is the first time he's taking such a long flight. Mummy is more apprehensive than he is. As they say, ignorance is bliss.

I've shown him photos of the friends we'll be staying with and meeting. He has tried hard to remember their names and with each new face, he asked, "What toys do they have?" [Note: no pressure on those who don't have toys...please do not rush out to buy any for Osh Osh!]. For kids his age, it's so easy to be excited and satisfied all at the same time. As long as there is something new and interesting to do or play, they are content.

The Easter weekend came and went rather quickly. The Easter service was moving with a testimony from a couple who has a baby with severe heart problems and brain defects. I was moved to tears when the wife spoke, especially when she said, "I know that God will not let me suffer more than what I can handle." Such strong faith. I definitely do not possess such a strong faith. Osh Osh kept asking me why I was crying but I couldn't answer him. The couple persevered and dealt with life the best that they could. That is the strength of the human spirit!

On a lighter note, I have submitted my second writing assignment yesterday. I don't think I will receive my tutor's comment any time soon as it is still the Easter holidays. I'm hoping that my time away and the change in environment will refresh and inspire me to write more. At present, a lot of my writing and thoughts are negative. It's so much easier for me to continue thinking negative thoughts. Yes, it's a habit.

I won't be online much for the next 2 weeks. I'll definitely write updates when we are back. Praying hard that it will be good news! :) Yes, chin up, head high, stand tall and I won't forget to breathe!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Fish out of water?

I did something a few nights ago that I wouldn't normally do. No, it's nothing raunchy or illicit! I joined an online writers' community two months ago. They hold meetings every month for their members to meet up and exchange ideas on writing. I missed February's meeting as I felt too inadequate. I didn't feel I was worthy enough as a writer then.

I drew courage from having that good assessment from my tutor two weeks ago, to attend this month's meeting. I decided to hold my head high and drown all the negative voices of my inner critic. The meeting was held in the basement of a little cafe in town. We were all seated next to the kitchen as that was the only available space to accommodate a large noisy crowd. Twenty four people attended!

The first question everyone asked me after we exchanged introductions was "Are you published?" I sheepishly said, "No", worriedly thinking that I've been found out as a phony and they would chase me out of the meeting with brooms and frying pans! On the contrary, the responses I received were encouraging. Although all of them were "published" in that either they had their works published in magazines or that they have actually published a book or two, they were very kind to me. One guy said to me, "If you don't submit your articles, you'll never know what you're capable of."

A lady who was a feature writer in a magazine was asking, "How does one know if one's writing is good enough to be published?". We said to her, "You are published!" She replied, "Yes, but these are just articles. Am I good enough to publish a book?" What followed was a lot of encouragement and advice. This may sound too simplistic but a man who has written four manuscripts and published two books said writing must come from the heart. It must be genuine, something that you are passionate of.

I was very surprised to hear her say something similar to what I would say, considering that her writing has actually been read by the public. I guess we all suffer from insecurities and self doubt. It's how we decide to deal with these insecurities that either propels us forward or destroys us. Do we succumb to them and believe that we are indeed limited in all that we can do? Alternatively, do we hold on to our dreams and persist in achieving them despite the criticisms and heartaches?

I went away from that meeting feeling inspired and yet forlorn. An oxymoron! It goes without saying why I was inspired because that is natural given the buzz and flurry of ideas being thrown around all over the table. I felt forlorn because I find it very difficult to carve out sufficient time to be relaxed and at ease enough to pen my thoughts and come up with a good piece of writing.

Nevertheless, I'm not giving up. On my way home that night, in a crowded train, I took out my notebook and scribbled down my thoughts. Oh, and yes, I've RSVPed a "Yes" to the next meeting at the end of this month!