Twenty-Twelve

So I guess I owe everyone a long report and explanation about what I’ve been doing for the last six months and why I haven’t posted a single article online for a while. Let’s get straight into it.

 

University

So the main thing that kept me from being able to blog was my uni routine. I’ll have to admit that third year provided the most amount of struggle for me: the amount of workload, the difficulty of the workload, and the sheer number of things I had to try and do outside of uni. After much stress and studying, I managed to get through this second semester, a little more bruised than in my previous years; but I suppose things are still going well for me academically.

 

My partake in CBS this semester was severely hindered by the unfortunate times of my lectures, namely having class during ALL the CBS talks and the like. I had a similar timetable in second year, can’t really remember what it was like back then, but I was still able to serve as a Bible Study leader (also despite not being to attend any leaders’ meetings). Yeah I suppose that was a struggle too, but it went reasonably well I think.

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Okay so moving on, I’ve been on holidays since mid-November. Here are some of my highlights in the holidays.

 

K-Pop Concert

Truly a night to remember, being my first Korean music concert and all. My last university exam was on that day (in the afternoon to be precise), so I was frantically rushing to the venue after my exam. My seats weren’t great (as you will soon see in the video below, but I had a blast watching all the different Korean artists perform and seeing all the wonderful stage production that other artists would normally never bother with. Koreans really do ante it up when it comes to stage production. Here is my fancam of my favourite performance of the night:

 

 

Terrigal Roadtrip

A week or two later I went on a roadtrip with some other people in my grade up to a nice beach house in Terrigal. We spent the three days there at the beach, playing games, jamming, and serving one another in preparing food and helping with washing up. It was a pretty cool experience getting to know the people our grade better. Props to the guys for doing most to all of the cooking; and to the girls for helping us clean up afterwards. This reminds me that I have some videos I need to upload from roadtrip…

 

My 21st

At the end of last year, I turned 21, had a nice Asian-themed party (to which very few people tried to honour the theme); but it was fun seeing all the people who managed to free up some time to drop by. Received some nice presents and some encouraging messages from a lot of people. I suppose I was a bit disappointed at the number of people who dropped out, even though they said they would come, I guess I’m not that important haha. But I was still glad at the number of people who did come. Still waiting on my photographer to upload photos haha, but in the meantime here’s my response video that I shot on my actual birthday:

 

 

One of the things I was really excited about for my birthday was getting an SLR. I’ve been testing it out heaps and trying to get the hang of taking good photos and editing them, not as a hardcore professional hobby, but more as a “I don’t just want a simple 1-second photo”; yeah. So my photo quality should be vastly better now.

New Years Eve

We had our (now) traditional CBS New Years party. But due to the sheer number of Christians in Commerce, we could only invite a select number of them to spend New Years with; the point of the party was to get to know one another better (something that is hard to do with a large group of people) and to also help pass on responsibility from our grade to the younger grades seeing as we are getting old and will be graduating soon. I gave a short talk on Acts 1, hoping to encourage not only the younger students, but all of us to step up and think hard about opportunities to evangelise since our freedom in university will soon be coming to an end. I believe I was the only one who stayed up all night, it was hard as usual but wasn’t impossible. Went to church the next morning and then had a few people chill over at my place in the afternoon. Here’s a photo of my grade (or the ones who could make it that night). This was taken with my new camera.

 

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Actually I realised that this photo is kind of pointless seeing as I already have one above of our grade on our roadtrip. I also snuck away to my church’s NYE party too that night, perhaps that photo should be more appropriate:

 

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Coastal Walk in the South

Early this year, I went down south for the first time and hiked (sort of) near some southern beaches. It was a good change of pace because most of our socials would always take place around where we live (in the north) because that’s where most of us reside. But for the sake of those who lived in the south, we thought it fair to venture down to where they lived and hang out with them there. Half the awesomeness of the day was in the walk and chatting with each other; the other half was in our luxurious crab dinner in Beverly Hills:

 

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^ I thought this was a pretty awesome photo xD

 

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Yeah I think that’s enough highlights for now.

 

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Looking to 2012

I suppose that as I come to this year, there is quite a lot to reflect and learn from last year. One of the things I want to change from last year is the way I do ministry. Last year, whilst dealing with a lot of administrative matters for church and CBS, I found that I had little time to build relationships with the people I was ministering to; I found that I didn’t know them as well as I have should and as a result it hindered my influence in encouraging them to grow in the love and knowledge of Christ. As a result, this year I’m going to try and focus less on admin matters, but put my time and energy into building relationships with the people under my care, and the people who do need to be cared for. I do hope that being freed to work on my relationships will help me to be a better witness for Christ to all my friends, particularly my non-Christian ones; that hopefully I’ll get opportunities to help explain to them what a relationship with Jesus is all about. That is my primary goal for this year.

 

Another thing I do want to work hard towards is defending the truth of the gospel, for fear that a lot of Christians lack the core truths and hence fail to understand what Christianity is all about. I’ve noted some ministries and churches in Sydney that may be preaching unsound doctrine; not things that are “completely” but where the truth is not evident for one reason or another. I know that it’s hard to correct a lie once it’s been implanted in someone’s mind, so I hope to be able to target these “untruths” before people root their beliefs firmly into them. And yes that will raise questions for me as to whether I know the truth or not; I hope to be able to address that concern soon in the coming weeks.

 

And of course lastly there’s university still to consider. My fourth year seems to be a bit more relaxed than last year. In a sense, you could say that this is my “second” 3rd year, because most of the courses I’m doing are just third year courses that I couldn’t fit into last year. As such, the courses I’m doing shouldn’t be difficult and so hopefully I will get that time and energy to focus on the goals I’ve listed above, as well as aim to get a graduate position in something. With my free time at uni, I hope to be able to meet up with some of you guys and to spend time getting to know you better, for the purpose of encouragement and edification (in case the objective wasn’t clear). We all need to ration our time carefully, so let’s use it as efficiently as we can.

 

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In the meantime I will be heading up to Hong Kong next week, for about 4 weeks. If you have something you want me to buy for you, please message me as soon as you can. Stay tuned for more posts and updates from Hong Kong. My next serious article will be on the theme of “Regret”, it shall be up soon.

SMAC Camp ‘11

There is no better time to be doing this than at 4:30am after my long slumber since 9pm. This year our church had a 5 day camp instead of the standard 3 days (or 2 days and a bit really). Likewise our 5-day camp was about 3 full days and two half days; it’s still quite a long camp. I think I’ll condense everything into one post so I’ll keep things brief.

 

This will be different from other posts I’ve ever put up for camp before this time round, the camp was made more for other people rather than for me. That is to say, I was more a contributor to this camp than a consumer. My primary objective for this camp as a youth leader was to look after the youth, get to know them better and to facilitate their learning of God’s Word. So this time round, I think I’ll recount camp from a leaders’ perspective even though it’s easier to do it from a participant’s point of view.

 

Contents

1. Thursday
2. Friday
3. Saturday
4. Sunday
5. Monday

Thursday

I was really exhausted and stressed coming into this camp on Thursday night. I had spent the full day at uni for class and campus ministry; spent the afternoon dealing with the seminar I had to prepare for camp. Our rear guard car (since we were the last ones to arrive on Thursday night) consisted of me, Jacky, Quentin and Athena; all of us were put under the same circumstances of needing to do something intellectually “rewarding” otherwise known as class (or tutoring/study). so we only managed to set off from our homes at 7:00pm-ish. Our first pit stop was Hong Kong de Cafe because we all needed to have dinner. Seemed quite unreasonable for camp to not provide dinner the first night, considering how everyone else was arriving there in the afternoon. We weren’t about to be shaken from having a decent meal. As a result we ended up getting to camp at 10pm, luckily there wasn’t any traffic along the way. Car trips are always a good time to have good conversation.

 

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150170478967362

 

Pretty much went straight to bed as soon as we got there. Sadly I was in the same room as my youth group boys, who were quite energetic for the first night of camp. We probably made the sad mistake of bringing our nerf guns to camp because our boys were messing around with them all night long, well until 12:30am at least. It wasn’t a pleasant first night, also considering how Jie snores. I’m a really light sleeper so it affects me greatly.

 

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Friday

The next morning, things were quite groggy for me. Getting only 4-5 hours for sleep the first night, coupled with roughly the same amount the night before really makes for a bad start to camp. Luckily there’s this thing called coffee for breakfast. I probably wouldn’t have made it past camp without that substance. Can’t remember what we had for breakfast or what we ate for most meals. I think we were really blessed to have Loretta’s parents there cooking for us over those 4-5 days. Few people really would give up their Easter long weekend to cook for a bunch of Asian kids, but we’re really glad that they could help. And as always, Asian parents never go wrong with food; so there was never any fear that the food would be bad or anything. I remember there was a large variety of food served over the days of camp, which is why I can’t remember them all.

 

For the three full days, the general routine of the day was this:

8:00am – Breakfast
9:00am – Morning session
11:00am – Morning tea
11:30am – Bible Study groups
1:00pm – Lunch
3:00pm – Group game
6:00pm – Dinner
7:30pm – Seminar
10:30pm – Lights out

 

Of course there would be some free time between everything thing; most of the free time was in the afternoon. The hard part of all of this is that our free time was spent preparing things for the rest of camp. There wasn’t really any time for me to relax at camp. Today’s free time alone was spent on preparing the seminar for night, I’ll get to that soon.

 

Morning Session

Our morning sessions were chaired by William, who did really well at adopting a charismatic attitude and tone to play out the theme of camp. He pretty well at shouting and making things as formal as he could; though he gradually relaxed to a normal church service tone as the week progressed. Music was done quite simply: one singer (Sharon) and one pianist (Phoebe), quite effective. It’s probably better to cut back on instruments than to put too much personnel into music. Won’t sound as amazing without other instruments but it’s still pretty effective.

 

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All the talks were done by our youth pastor, rather than a guest speaker. And this was kind of disappointing seeing as we always hear from our pastor every week on Sunday. However, it really was difficult finding another speaker who was willing to give up 5 days of their week to go to someone else’s church camp; they would have been giving up their Easter/Anzac long weekend and the chance to relax and spend time with their family. Our pastor gave a series of good talks over the week so we weren’t disappointed at all.

 

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Our topic for camp this year is justification. To save time I won’t really go over what it’s about but it was generally thinking about how justification, and justice, fit into God’s plan for salvation for mankind. All the leaders should have covered it at some point, probably during uni so it was more for the newer Christians to understand what it is about.

 

Bible Study Groups

After our morning sessions we moved into our Bible Study groups. Although I only had about half my usual group there at camp, we have a lot of good constructive discussion, as long as they learn stuff it’s all good. The good thing is that the nerf guns which were the bane of my sleep last night, turned out to be very useful. We used the nerf gun to play Russian Roulette. For those who aren’t familiar with it, we loaded the gun with one foam bullet, and spun it on a table. The person that it points at picks the gun up and shoots himself. If he “dies” then in this context we make them share something they learnt from the talk. So I guess for all you youth leaders out there, consider using this as a way to get your kids to share.

 

Our group stuck to the pre-written studies most of the time, but they also had their own personal questions about the talk, so there were many times where I decided we investigate the question they asked, rather than do the pre-written study. I tend to do that a lot haha, but then our boys had their questions answered and clarified which is more important than teaching them what we’re supposed to teach them.

 

I think my group become more open to answering questions with more complex answers and responses, which showed they were thinking. They started getting used to the way each other thinks so for once we actually had good flowing discussion where everyone was building on each others’ ideas; that was really encouraging to see. Of course some of them still trail off topic here and there, but that’s natural, they’re only year 10-11. I’m proud of the things they asked and the conclusions they were able to reach.

 

Games

Our camp organisers had some interesting group games for everyone to play each day. Just one big game each day. We played in the same teams each day and it gave us a chance to get to know other people better. For the first day we played a giant version of monopoly deal. The interesting changes where that the property cards were changed into people, so everyone had a card of themselves, with a photo that was taken prior to camp, which was placed on a different coloured background, just like the different colours properties. in the original game. All action cards that allowed the stealing of properties involved an extra challenge (physical or mental) before the stealing could take place, which was fair. There is one whacked up video of such a challenge here:

 

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150170963897362

 

The objective of the game was to collect three sets of three (nine cards in total), cose to what the original game’s goal was. The game moved quite slowly but it was pretty fun. I had fun “activating trap cards”. Couldn’t find anything better so just watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Wyn1nH8XZ4

 

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To sort of hide this next little section amidst everything else, I think I should also address the behind-the-scenes when it comes to coming up with ideas for these games. I reckon the hardest part in designing games for anything is “balancing issues”. These include rules that not only run the game but also prevent people from finding loop holes in the games; and then you also have scoring issues if the game has a winner and a loser. It really sucks to have good group games spoiled at the end with a simple “But that’s not fair! They cheated!” or something like that, I know I’m a culprit of that haha. But then again, coming up with completely original games is hard enough as is; to make the game perfect in terms of rules and stuff would just take too much effort. Clearly the game above took a lot of effort just from first glance at all the cards and such. It just wouldn’t be worth it spending more effort “balancing” the game; for a Christian camp, that effort would’ve been better spent on improving the important parts of camp (eg: the Bible Studies). But that’s my impression as a leader, and my excuse to not put 110% into games for youth group haha.

 

Night Session

Every night we had a different activity at night. The first two nights were seminars and the last night was a performance night. Anyway, I was really anxious about Friday night’s seminar, mainly because me and Nat were the ones going to run it, and we weren’t exactly ready or finished in time. Well we did, but it was a bit rushed and too much stuff was going round my head with uni and all. Our seminar was on trying to encourage our youth group kids to have more godly conversations at church because they just seem to have a culture of chatting about random stuff and not really using the time wisely to build each other up in Christ.

 

Writing the seminar was extremely difficult for me; I’m not sure how things were on my co-leader’s end. The main problem for me was that I was writing on a topic I wasn’t familiar or sure about. For example, if you’re not a Christian and you don’t believe in Christianity, then obviously it will be hard for you to talk about Christianity. So for our topic of changing the culture of conversation at our church, I was really clueless as to how we would actually achieve it. I literally made up a lot of stuff; I mean, I vaguely had an idea on what I wanted to encourage the youth in but I wasn’t sure of how to best present it. I eventually came up with something I called the “4 C’s of Conversation”, I think I’ll blog it up some time later. Essentially I thought that our conversation should be guided by four criteria (starting with C):

1. Caring
2. Constructive
3. Centered Around the Other Person
4. Continuous

Why are there four? Because I was only able to come up with four. Anyway apart from just that section, we had a few key passages to look at, such as Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 13. We also had a lot of brainstorming sessions which seemed pretty good cos all our kids contributed a lot. And at the end we had some role plays done by the other leaders so the kids could see what was good or bad about each conversation. As something extra, yes Brandon I know I said I would try to base this seminar off of yours, but somehow things turned out like this. One thing led to another and I’m really glad we managed to pull off the seminar, it had me worrying heaps. I think I really do need to sit down and write up more articles for future seminars and what not.

 

I retired on Thursday night after the seminar; well, after another 1.5 hours of watching random anime. There was no snoring that night, which was good for me.

 

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Saturday

Saturday came and went in pretty much the same manner as Friday. The routine was the same, but the conversations were different. Obviously people start to get closer as camp progresses, and you finally see how much they’ve grown at the end of camp. And so, the truly encouraging things from camp are best left till the end of camp. In meantime, here’s what I did in the morning:

 

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150170453327362

 

Memory is starting to get fuzzy now but I remember that our Bible Study group went pretty well again. The boys really enjoyed the Russian Roulette idea of getting people to share what they learnt. For once they all actually stayed awake and concentrated through a 1.5 hour Bible Study; they normally find it hard to do that back at church on a Sunday morning for a 30 minute study.

 

I sadly spent most of this day watching anime in the afternoon for free time. Oh right, the game. This afternoon’s game was a rendition of “Capture the Flag”, combined with some rules from “Fresher”. If you’re familiar with how each game works you’ll sort of get a good picture of how this version was run. It was pretty fun, in terms of the teamwork and the chaos. Everyone got physically tired of course. Again there were “balancing issues” but the game was quite memorable. Don’t really have any good relevant pictures for the game, but seeing as there hasn’t been a photo for more than a thousand words, I think we need at least one photo to balance it out:

 

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As I was saying, I spent the afternoon watching anime. But to try and make good use of the time, I watched anime with a number of the youth. A lot of them are into some form of anime, but I reckon we all need to learn to keep anime in perspective. It’s more than a cartoon as many people would think; it’s an art form that does reveal some rather sensitive emotions and desires that mankind has. So while I can’t say the couple of hours was used in the best way, getting the chance to talk with the youth about what they liked and disliked in anime allows us to work out how people think. Okay fine, I’m just making excuses to watch anime; but it wasn’t as unproductive as watching a movie and not talking. We were all making insightful comments throughout the things we watched. I thought the Clannad movie would’ve been good for the youth who have never watched anything of the sort, but it was a sad disappointment. And of course it’s unreasonable to make them spend (not waste) like hours upon hours of watching the anime series instead. Oh well.

 

At night the second seminar was kind of like the first. And while it seemed a bit redundant there’s always something to be learned. I missed out on the first hour or so, took a break after dinner to recompose myself; lacking energy really takes a toll on everyone’s ability to suppress their negativities, like frustration and stress. Had to do the same thing on Thursday night too, after presenting our seminar. Sat by the lake’s edge for an hour and a bit to just relax and let my thoughts flow. It was nice watching the moon glisten on the surface of the lake and just letting the cool night air blow past. I think I’ve done this every time we had camp at Point Wolstoncroft; just snuck away at night to sit by the edge of the lake, without a care in the world. Yeah, people were looking for me, but so what? Haha. The world doesn’t stop for anyone taking a break, I certainly don’t expect it to stop for me ever.

 

To compensate for a short section on this day, I think I’ll add in a funny “blog post” that one of our youth daringly typed up on my laptop. The context is that she wanted to use my laptop to “blog” though she clearly normally doesn’t. I’ll censor relevant bits that breach privacy, and this is what she ended up with:

 

Hey 😀

This is Bianca *****!! Today I am going to introduce myself as I said before. I’m year 10 at ***** High School. Only cool people go to this school =)

I am now on Jason Tam’s laptop. The mouse is very sensitive. He just asked me if I can touch type. Phoebe is laughing really loud at Jason’s comments. Calvin is shooting a toy gun and Sean is building a rifle?!?!

I am listening to rocketeer on full blast but I can still hear Jason and Phoebe *sigh*

They are arguing about Korean music.

There is a group to my right that is playing a card game. There is Kylie, Natalie, Joy, Kevin x2, Jess, Danny and Jason Yap. Then the next table on the right is Kenny. On my left is some boys playing a board game with miniature statures.

Now I am clueless what to write! Let me ask Jacky. He told me to write about Jason. But he is too boring to write about! 😀

I asked Jacky again. He is thinking and told me write about the lake. I am never going to ask him for advice because he has no imagination. He nearly killed me with foam bullets!!! Time to plan for revenge =)

A chess set is being set up on the table

Jacky once again nearly killed me!!

Phoebe is now making Jacky smell the texta which is supposed to me cherry flavoured.

IM SO BORED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jason likes men. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA agreed =) This is no surprise.

Now I g2g because it’s time for fun and games!! I will be back to blog again.

Hi 😀 I’m back!!!

Sorry I had to go again 😀 had the awesomest night of my life!!!

We had a campfire and each group performed a 10 minute long performance. IT was amazing!! Army group did a musical but Pirates ended up winning. They won it fair and square =) CONGRATZ PIRATES!!!

Then we roasted marshmallows and made sandwiches with chocolate coated digestive biscuits

 

Yeah it’s really random and was heaps funny to laugh at. Honestly, I reckon only little girls have the writing style where they suddenly change into ALL CAPITALS FOR THE FUN OF IT! Ironic statement I know, but so is the one about me liking men. At the end of the day, blogging (or writing in journals) is a good thing because it shows how well your thought flow in your mind. The more articulate your words, the more able you are in translating your thoughts into words, and the more freely your thoughts flow in your mind. Will see if we can get her to start or something haha. I know I said to some of you that it would be funny if I tried a rendition on what her typical blog might look like (eg: boy problems) but it would be too mean so I won’t. Instead I’ll see if I can convince her to actually start a real blog.

 

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Sunday

Second last day and the energy levels are starting to drop dangerously. I guess with a longer camp, this is what naturally results. Once again coffee played a fundamental role in keeping me alert for the rest of the day. Again I’ll skip the daily routines and just highlight anything that was different or encouraging. Our Bible Study group did something different today, because I said so. No, I’m kidding. The boys had questions from the talk so we spent the whole time addressing them and discussing about them. That meant we had to jeopardise the Bible Study but had some very fruitful discussion. We went over homosexuality again and whether homosexuals can be saved or not. Moved onto smokers, which was random, but I helped them make it more general (that is, smokers is one example of a larger group of people known as “addicts”, and the real sin behind all of that is addiction, which leads to idolatry). And finally we talked about living as new Christians practically encompassed, like our priorities and out attitude to money and stuff.

 

In the afternoon we had a trivia game, not much can go wrong there. Afterwards we all had to work on a group act for the evening. I think a lot of groups were stressing over a 15 minute act, considering how we were given less than a day to do it. Me and Julz spent most of Saturday night and Sunday afternoon writing up lyrics for our act, which was to be a musical involving ninjas haha. Our two main songs were the “Hallelujah” one from the Shrek movie, and “Breaking Free” from High School Musical. Me and Julz wrote the lyrics for the latter one. Here they are:

 

God’s Grace is Free

Written by Jason Tam and Juliana Chen

 

We’re praying, praising
There’s not a sinner on earth that He can’t reach
We’re believing, that God’s grace is free

You know that God can see us
In a way that’s different from creation’s start
Creating space between us
Till we’re separate hearts

But our faith, it credits us
With righteousness

God’s grace is free
We’re praying, praising
There’s not a sinner on earth that He can’t reach
We’re believing, that God’s grace is free

Can you feel His suffering?
Like a lamb sacrificed to make us whole
Reconciled by his dying
Jesus paid our toll

Rising till it lifts Christ up
So everyone can see

God’s grace is free
We’re praying, praising
There’s not a sinner on earth that He can’t reach
We’re believing, that God’s grace is free
We’re preaching, serving
To live renewed lives to be what God wants us to be
Now’s the time, cos God’s grace is free

More than hope
More than faith
This is truth
This is fate
And His kingdom we see it coming

All for you
All for me
Not by works, or by deeds
Faith in Christ, sets us free

We’re praying, praising
There’s not a sinner on earth that He can’t reach
We’re believing, that God’s grace is free
We’re preaching, serving
To live renewed lives to be what God wants us to be
Now’s the time, cos God’s grace is free

You know that God declares us
Justified so now we’re no longer apart

 

We didn’t really get time to prepare it as a duet by that’s okay.

 

At night all the groups presented their acts. Most groups had singing, most of them are well known songs where the lyrics easily fit into a Christian theme. The uni students would all have had experiences from having to do acts for camps such as MYC. Every group had a very unique act, and as much as I would like to recount them all, I can’t remember them that clearly, I’ll try to grab the footage from other people. One mentionable team was the Navy team (our camp had an army theme remember), and their act was completely made up on the spot. It involved a lot of actions that accentuated the lower half of the body. For example, imagine what “washing the boat” might look like if it was done emphatically. All their actions were funny and none of their act made sense, which was why it was really funny, it was just full of random. Marcus went far enough to make a joke about “sea-men”; and considering that only their team could’ve made such a joke, I more or less applaud them for making it. As for our team’s act, I pretty much put to use as many funny Naruto connotations as I could; our team was the Ninjas.

 

What I really liked about this activity was the way every team bonded when it came to organising the act. We had some quiet people in our team but gradually they opened up and weren’t shy in giving us their opinions. The activity really helped us build up teamwork. It was encouraging to see everyone open up to the whole congregation when they were giving the performance, especially the ones who were bold enough to dance in front of everyone. One of my boys really opened himself up that night, in more than one way too haha. That is, he was really bold in terms of dancing, which caught me completely in shock because he was never like that before. And then later on in the evening he made the mistake of taking off his jacket and ended up topless for a brief moment haha.

 

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Epitome

 

This last section deserves its own section. I said before that the true fruits at camp only start to show towards the end and surely, Sunday night must’ve been the most touching and encouraging night for me. When the night performances ended, and the odd rave party afterwards ended, we all retired to the lodges, not to sleep, but to stay up for conversations. Stuff the lights out thing at 10:30pm, let’s have some serious bonding conversation time. For myself, I literally stayed up all night talking; and I really mean that literally. Starting at about 10pm I chatted with one person for about an hour or so. That was pretty cool because I’ve never really had a serious conversation with them before so it was really cool being given the opportunity to do so. Learning stuff about the other person’s life really is productive because as I had said in my seminar, it allows us to understand the context of the other person, what their feelings are, and how they think and respond to different things we talk about.

 

For all the conversations that happened on that night (which also dragged on to the next day), I would not have traded anything for those moments. But that’s because they are my highlight for camp this year. And yeah, even though none of the actual organised parts of camp were most memorable, that’s how things are in all relationships, you can’t pick and choose and set which moments will be most important. They just come unexpectedly and knock away everything else.

 

Anyway, after that first conversation, people began to retire to bed seeing as it was the last night of camp. But for the same reason, people also stayed up for hours more. I continued to have conversations with a few other guys as the night went on. We just say outside the cabins and chatted quietly about all sorts of issues. Of course it wouldn’t really be a private D&M if I shared what was actually said. Anyway the next conversation went on for…6 hours? I am seriously not kidding, I was actually talking to someone else for a continuous 6 hours. Some people chimed in here and there in first couple of hours but eventually everyone retired to bed around 3am. So this conversation roughly happened from 11pm-5am. Again I assure you, I am not kidding.

 

At 5am we decided to take a break and have some noodles. Apparently we weren’t the only ones who were up at that time. Another person from the other lodge was awake the whole time, so we invited them over to share noodles, though they did not eat. In total there were three of us who stayed up. My 6 hour convo buddy retired at 6am, so me and mystery person #3 carried on and chatted for another 2 hours as we tried to watch the sun rise. Of course it was a cloudy morning so there was no sunrise to see, so we just stood by the lake and chatted. Even a whole night of D&M conversations takes its toll on someone like me. By the end of 9 hours of consecutive hours of talking, this last conversation nearly had me at tears because of what we talked about. Again I won’t share who it was or what we talked about but I definitely learnt something new about that person as well. It wasn’t something bright and it really did mean that it was my responsibility as their leader to follow them up about it. The ones who received lengthy e-mails from me will know who they are.

 

But yeah, who would’ve thought that the most productive time at camp would’ve been the one where we give up all our sleep for. I don’t regret trading away my sleep for all those conversations; I’ve definitely given up my sleep for the last night of camp for less useful things at other camps. This was the most well spent way of giving up sleep. And from a leader’s perspective, this is sort of what our goal has been all along; just being able to get to know our kids better, to listen to their life stories and to encourage them to persevere as Christians through their worries. It really makes me cry tears of joy knowing that we spent so much time for youth group every week and feeling like we didn’t “achieve” anything, but for that one moment at camp, all our time and efforts finally pay off, and we make some relational progress in growing our kids in Christ.

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Monday

Well technically, everything I mentioned above happened on Monday. And that’s always the problem with an endless night at camp; do you classify these things as having happened on Sunday night, or really early Monday morning? Anyhow the day came nonetheless, and as you can see from the photo, it wasn’t going to be the brightest of all days. That’s alright.

 

I think this post has gone on long enough; nothing exceptional happened today. But even though everyone didn’t get much sleep, and the fact that many people started getting sick, today was still a productive day. We had lunch, packed our stuff and left…for Hong Kong de Cafe again haha. There is much to reminisce about camp most definitely, whether as a participant or as a leader; but for now in all my exhaustion I am glad that camp is over because considering all the relationships that were built over camp, camp was not the end of them so there is nothing to be sad about, and nothing to “miss” about camp. Rather, our new stronger relationships with one another have only just begun…

 

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Shine On

This post re-caps my series of events on Wednesday, 12th January 2011. Today some of us CBS people living near the Hills (and some others who did not) were going to spend time with a few people who were about to go back to work for the new year; and so today was kind of the last chance to have some fun with them. We has a bushwalk planned out, followed by a barbeque, and then other random stuff in the afternoon.

We all met up at Nat’s house in the morning, and though it threatened to rain most of the morning, we still decided to go ahead with our bush walk at Cumberland State Forest and we headed there around 12pm. We had lunch first and I helped barbeque up a bunch of meat that Seb and Steph(en) bought. There were spiders around the barbeque, which freaked a lot of the girls out. Most of the guys took this opportunity to exaggerate the fear, and also to capture the moment on camera. During this time, there were people playing the ukulele and others playing Uno.

We finished lunch around 3pm, somehow it went on longer than expected; and we finally went on a short bush walk. Seb continued to sing along to the ukulele, making up lyrics on the spot as he normally does, I’ll upload a 9 min video to Facebook in due time. The walk wasn’t too bad, but due to the moisture a lot of insects and stuff came out. There were webs here and then, and the girls again screamed for their dear life because they were just that scary.

Afterwards we goofed off in the community centre for a while and then went to the shops to get ice cream. We got back to Nat’s place and decided to have 25 inch pizzas from a nearby place (which is only in the Hills). A couple more people came over for dinner and we all shared two large 25 inch pizzas. I guess we must’ve overthought things and in fact it became a struggle for 13 people to finish two of those large pizzas. After the whole group had finished one off we were all pushing our stomachs up a hill. At the end of the night we had to make people take slices of pizza home.

Throughout the night we watched Bride Wars and The Dark Knight, whilst having some interesting conversation, which may or may not include sexist comments and stuff haha. It was a fun day and shows that you can have heaps of fun just doing simple things (even if the pizza was slightly expensive). However, that is not the main point of this post.

SHINee

Oh, no I didn’t?! At the same time that all of this was going on, there were many other people who had gathered in the city to find tickets for a concert to see SHINee. I guess it’s not just any ordinary concert, it was the first time any famous Asian star/group (I believe) has come to Sydney (not Aus) to perform. And so today was actually quite important for the Korean music industry. Today’s concert was to “test the waters” and see how responsive the Australian (or Sydney) people were to Korean music.

As such I had friends (link to a fan’s post below – I know you’re going write one Sharon) who put a lot of energy into getting tickets and then making the most of their opportunity to see their beloved SHINee. From what I gathered on Facebook after I got home, tickets were being donated by UNICEF for a cost of $50, most tickets were handed out beforehand, and at the last minute to the show, people got let in free (probably not to be repeated again). That is a decent cost to see people as famous as SHINee. And judging from hearing of the success of tonight’s concert, there will probably be another one next one; but the tickets might be more expensive next year.

A few people uploaded their videos as soon as they got home, and from what I could see, a lot of people had their cameras out the whole night. But that is to be assumed since it is extremely rare to get something like this in boring Sydney – this was the first major K-Pop ever, right? The Koreans had some expensive cameras flying around as well, so at they decided to capture the moment on film, though I don’t think they’ll use the footage from tonight too extensively; not much point I think.

Well that’s my simple report on something I didn’t even look deeply into; but I will admit I was very interested in going to see SHINee, even if I don’t know what their names are and I only know several songs. I said on my Facebook that I didn’t regret missing out on SHINee to enjoy a day out with friends and I still stand by that statement. Since I’m not familiar with SHINee’s work all that much, I wasn’t too devastated to have missed out on $50 tickets to their concert. The main thing that would’ve got me going was the fact that tickets were relatively cheap (I even had to chance to get free tickets off other friends as well, if I had asked), and so in a sense I had traded away this opportunity for friends, which isn’t a bad thing, don’t get me wrong; somehow I can’t help but feel like sacrifices were made today haha. I didn’t lose much, but rather I gained something more important than watching 5 guys dancing to songs with poorly written English lyrics. “Oh no he didn’t?!”

But of course I would definitely go next year (almost added “again” but then realised I actually didn’t go haha). But yes I won’t miss out on the next opportunity. I just wished the Japanese weren’t as stingy as the Koreans – though I believe Sydney is full of anime sooks who don’t know anything about recent trends in Japan, let alone it’s music industry; it’d be a waste of them bringing bands like “UVERworld” or “the gazette”.

Link to a fangirl’s post will be here when it’s up. Right here

NYE 2010

At last the end of the year has arrived. This year CBS Commerce has managed to set up their NYE hideout at Andy’s place in Killara. I was able to meet and thank Andy’s dad today after church at Carlo Court and I still felt kind of sorry for the noise and mayhem they had to put up with on New Year’s Eve. But other than that, we were really glad to have found a place to hold our NYE party.

 

Through much collaboration we were able to organise a tonne of food (though it was limited by our budget) and games to fill the night with much rowdiness. I arrived in the afternoon with Cherie to find Jacky and Brandon, and other people preparing food. So we just prepared food and helped clean the kitchen while people continued to pour in. The highlight dish for the night was sashimi, which was also the one with the highest risk of food poisoning and turning everything that night into a “night”mare – haha get it?

 

I think we had trouble starting the barbeque again; it was probably my fault for not using enough firelighters, but then Elon said you didn’t need to use an entire box. I only used a few blocks but Andy suggested overkill by using the whole box in one go. According to some YouTube videos, you can easily light up coal by just burning newspaper, will definitely try that next time we need to barbeque something. Commando Lam, AKA Daphne, knew how to start a fire from her training as a cadet; so she went around Andy’s front yard and foraged a bunch of twigs to start the fire, but there wasn’t enough and she gave up some time later. The fire was eventually started later, somehow.

 

By the time we were ready to eat, somehow I assigned myself to the gas barbeque probably because no-one was manning it. That turned into me cooking all the meat for the next hour or so. Actually for the number of people that were there, there wasn’t much meat to cook and I was able to retire from the barbeque sooner than expected. Brandon later explained that they were over budget with the food because of the cost of salmon.

 

After that, I retired to the kitchen to help with washing up. A lot of the girls came in surprised to see only guys in the kitchen, as opposed to all the jokes us guys normally make about the girls belonging in the kitchen; quite ironic. But at the same time it did seem loving (perhaps I’m not the one to talk though) of the guys to take charge of something we would normally (respectfully) expect the girls to do. Sadly, Jacky is a complete noob at washing up and I fear that we, or he, did not wash things up properly which may lead to food poisoning for Andy’s family in the very near future. We’ll find out soon enough.

 

After dinner everyone sort of kept shuffling around the house joining in on different activities; whether it was playing music with the guitar lot, playing card games, the Wii, or StarCraft II, which became my prominent activity for the night after midnight. At about 11:30pm we gathered together and as a Christian group, we broke off into small groups to pray for the things that happened this year and to pray for things this year. I’m glad we still kept Jesus somewhere in the program and that as Christians we still tried hard to encourage one another to continue living for God even though it’s so easy to slack off in the holidays.

 

At midnight we watched the fireworks on TV and then we went outside to play with sparklers. We managed to get a nice photo of “CBS 2011! =)” using the sparklers – yes, and that also included the exclamation mark and the smiley face. The photo is on my Facebook here:
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Soon after that everyone just settled into a passive post New Year’s mood; most people just sat around to chat and pass time or to sleep.

 

This was the time where all the guys started their StarCraft II campaigns. We played for pretty much the whole night, but with only 2 computers, we sort of took turned but most people just watched. The awesome points of the night were when we got the girls to play. We made Bec play two full games and Cherie to play one with Bec. The one where they played against each other with no help at all from the guys was hilarious. All the videos of notable games are on Facebook as well as my YouTube account – the YouTube ones will be posted on this blog later as well.

 

We played up to 5am where a lot of people left to drive off to a beach to watch the sunrise. I felt it was too far to the beach and that I was too fatigued (from gaming) to drive so I stayed at Andy’s house with a few other people, who were sleeping or still gaming. Played Modern Warfare 2 for a couple hours until they came back around 8am. Sadly, we didn’t have plans for breakfast and so there wasn’t much food left for the morning. I can’t believe they left my beautiful dessert for breakfast that morning. Still, people enjoyed it and I was happy that my food was enjoyed.

 

We left Andy’s house soon thereafter and went to Chatswood to have breakfast at a Chinese restaurant. It turned into brunch really, but the food was really for lunch. The day turned very hot so we just went home, well I did anyway. Went home, showered, slept and tried to last the rest of the evening for New Year’s Day.

 

Okay, so my blogging literacy is declining very quickly so I will end the post here. Our New Year’s Eve was pretty much a bunch of random activities one after the other, all of which would take a while to get through even from within my memory. But they’re not anything special to mention, other than it was more opportunities to spend quality fun time with friends. New Year’s Eve was again quite fun this year when spent with a large number of friends. Hopefully many more good things are to come this year.

 

In the meantime, I will think carefully about what I want to blog about in my reflection post, and also to make more StarCraft II videos. I still find it funny that most of the guys in Commerce CBS play SC2, and so now the guys all have something common to bond over haha!

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!

Hatsuka

When it comes to counting age in Japanese, the only weird number is the one for 20 years old: “hatsuka” although in kanji it is still written the same way in Chinese. Nevertheless, this post will be one to reflect upon the day that was my 20th birthday party and on my thoughts and feelings of the things that led up and happened on the day.

 

I’ve never been one to care much about my birthday, let alone my birthday. It’s not really a day where I care about how I’ve turned a year older or about what type of presents I would be receiving that year, if I was receiving any. As such I guess I prefer letting my birthday just pass by silently, without anyone noticing and making any sort of fuss over it. I really do still wonder how it is that I eventually organised a birthday party for myself, and how so many people were invited and actually came. I suppose at the end of the day I should care about my birthday because it was a day where people showed that they cared about me.

 

LAN

In the morning I had organised LAN although I never forced any RSVP on it; and that was because there was no need to book for LAN, nor to find out exactly how many people were coming. After all, you can game with as many or as few people. However, at 11am I would never have expected no-one to come. Apart from Jacky who accompanied me to the city, there was only Andrew and William who was there. Jacky ran off with Brandon to organise my present while I camped in City Hunter for three hours playing games with the other two. I think it was a pretty fun 3 hours; I mean, these were two people I haven’t gamed with much and so it was good to spend some time with them. We played Left For Dead 2 for a while and then Team Fortress 2; yeah that took up 3 hours. I wanted to play Black Ops or Modern Warfare 2, but our cheap $2.50/hr computers didn’t have them haha!

 

After LAN the three of us went to Subway off George St because I was still suffering from a stomach virus, which I now don’t believe was food poisoning but in fact an illness I caught off my brother. It caused a very dismal Christmas for me. Soon after lunch, people started arriving for karaoke. But throughout the morning, I was already being spammed with a lot of text messages about where people were, and whether they were still coming or not. Honestly, it was very hard to keep track of where people were.

 

Karaoke

Many people were either late to karaoke, coming for dinner only, or weren’t able to make it at all. I guess that was a bit of a disappointment having people say they were going to come but in the end changing their minds and such. Nonetheless, there were still a fair number of people who came. The bad thing today was that there was a surcharge (stupid Christmas being on Saturday) of $2. But funnily enough, the 15% birthday discount reduced the price back down to $12 ($11.9166666) to be exact. Because people weren’t here at 3:30pm, they let us sing for half an hour and then coming back out to pay at 4pm. By then we had about enough people to fill our one whole room and maximise the discount. But at that time as well, many late people had also come and it was difficult for me to count the number of people who were now here. It was also hard for the staff to keep track of this number as well; and so when it came to paying I believe not everyone was charged. What none of you saw was that after I gathered $12 from everyone and paid, I actually had $16 left over. It was as if I didn’t pay my share AND made a $4 profit haha! Worry not, I kept that in mind for the rest of the evening.

 

The two karaoke rooms were split into high school friends in one, church in another, and CBS people constantly mixing around in both as we always do. Both rooms doubled up on songs, and I had to keep jumping back and forth between rooms to catch up with everyone that had come. Mandy at the last moment had decided to come to karaoke and of course I was especially fearful of what would probably happen at karaoke; dinner was a separate issue as well. Nevertheless, I think I took enough preventative measures to delay the inevitable, and I was glad the room she seized was the one with fewer people, and the one where nearly everyone knew what was going on. There were a still a couple of confused and worried faces but everyone did their best to provide support.

 

Presents had also begun to stream in and so I kind of just dumped them all over the place since I was more engaged with talking to people than securing my presents into a single pile. My voice was somewhat more dead than usual that day; it died before the three hours was up. Everyone made me sing Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life Would Suck Without You” by myself, with my cracked voice. I do wonder whether people were laughing at me or with me the entire time. But yes, everyone sang happy birthday towards the end of the three hours, and I mustered the courage to stand and face my friends at that moment. I already said before I didn’t like making a fuss over my own birthday and I really do have difficulty accepting any sort of “special treatment” for that day. By this time most people had arrived; there were several late comers who were just early for dinner.

 

Again, I want to make clear that I refused to give a speech on that day for the reason that I had no words prepared and in order to give a proper speech regarding all my friends, I really do have to sit down and take time to think things through thoroughly.

 

Dinner

Everyone went ahead after karaoke to go to dinner. The reason I trailed behind was to help Mandy, who struggled to walk. I would definitely have been a bad host and friend if I had just gone ahead and not waited for everyone; it’s definitely not my style to neglect even one person. The funny thing was that I had to keep relaying orders to the forward group to tell them to eat, even though by the time we got there (which was 15 mins later) my table was still the first one to order T.T”

 

We went to Kobow which isn’t too bad a place as a Korean restaurant, but there were many that were better, but perhaps not cheaper. Again because of my stomach virus, there was a restriction on what I could and could not eat. Rather there wasn’t anything I could eat, but I had hot pot anyway, it was probably the safest option. Halfway through dinner, people made me go around to each table to have them toast their drinks to me; this is definitely something I would never do by myself. The bad thing about the whole ordeal was that I had a shot glass with Korean shots poured into them at each table. I stopped at what I believed was the second shot, but everyone else said it was my third; definite signs of getting drunk there. So thank you guys for trying to get me drunk. There were many things I did which even I was aware was due to the influence of alcohol. I had about a third or more of a bottle of soju (funny, I played some guy on StarCraft with that name) which apparently approximated 3 standard drinks; that’s probably more than what I would have safely tried for my first time drinking (properly).

 

I went around talking with as many people as I could again and despite Mandy getting into trouble with the people around us, there was still a pretty good vibe amongst everyone. I was glad to have been able to catch up people I haven’t really had a chance to speak with for a long time, as well people I haven’t seen for ages as well. It turned into a pretty good night and we stayed for quite a while even after we had all finished eating.

 

Dessert

Again my stomach was not in the mood for any sort of dessert; but luckily neither was anyone else. So instead, I took everyone to George St McDonald’s near Town Hall and I used the surplus I had obtained from karaoke, to buy a bunch of soft serve cones for everyone. And with the help of Leslie’s employee’s card, I saved 20% off for 22 soft serve cones. The staff were kind of puzzled at our order and it took them a while to churn out all 22 cones. Some people *ahem* Sharon were a bit impatient in waiting for their free soft serve cone but eventually everyone was satisfied. To be fair, even after buying everyone ice cream I still had a bit of a surplus; oh well.

 

We lingered outside McDonald’s for a while afterwards again, nearly blocking pedestrians as we normally do. Eventually people started going home, and I thanked everyone for coming.

 

All in all, I really enjoyed my birthday party that day, even though my self esteem kept from feeling up for it. I guess I’m still touched, though not emotionally as much as I should be, by everyone for their company and their kind thoughts. But this point will be further reflected in my proper reflection post  coming soon. In the mean time, thank you to everyone who did come, or who tried to come. Though I haven’t pondered much on the presents I received, I am still very thankful for even the smallest of gifts. To close things off on a decent note, here is a picture of all your birthday cards to me sitting above my desk:

 

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Commerce Mid-sem Break Social

Rather than jump into a summary of things that happened over this semester, what better to kick off the mid-sem break than with a post describing the events of the first day: one big social gathering with Commerce people.

 

LAN

In the morning, Andy Wong had a last minute idea to go play some LAN at Central’s City Hunter before the official social started. Spent 2 hours playing Left 4 Dead 2. Funny, it was my first time every playing this game, guess I’m just really out of it in terms of gaming. I suppose I can sort of see where the elements of addiction come from; it’s a fairly decent game, nice graphics and all. Jacky kept noobing things up because he was being too trigger happy with a rocket launcher, ah well, first person shooters are probably not his type.

 

The other funny thing that happened while we were playing were these “Wogs” (forgive the racial slang) who were playing DotA like in the area right next to us. You could not believe the amount of noise that came from those people, the amount of commotion over a somewhat slow game such as DotA. Phrases like “Omfg, get the f*** away from the tower” and “Why the f*** is the tower hitting me? Where are the f***ing creeps?!” were iterated multiple times throughout the two hours. From a normal bystander’s view, they were simply loud and annoying. From a gamer’s perspective, they were also very noob at the game. As a DotA player, I find it personally funny that you can get so “into” the game and yet be so bad at it. They were yelling out things that a person who’s played a lot would no longer be frustrated over. I occasionally shot a glance over at their game, most of the time they were yelling because their heroes died, from a lack of teamwork, and from the mere fact that they were bad at the game; and that caused a huge uproar amongst them every single time. There was one particular moment where they finally get a kill. All of them literally jumped up out of their seats and they all cheered and clapped and yelled, the kind of level of excitement you would expect from a patriot during the World Cup when their team scores. All that commotion over a game…

 

Picnic

Promptly after gaming, we joined the rest of our faculty by Town Hall and moved off to Hyde Park for our picnic. The trouble in all of this is the large number of Christians in Commerce; with over 80 people who were going to attend throughout the day, the task of arranging food, activities, and just simply moving people around the city seemed a daunting task. Luckily for the picnic there were only about 40 people who came. We played a number of games that our organisers Ben, Steph, Ellen and Chris had carefully arranged for us. Activities included Chinese whisper-charades, and another one where each team chooses two people at a time to hold a balloon between each other, back to back, move down to a line and then toss a tennis ball into a bucket placed at a fair distance from the line. The games were quite creative.

 

After playing through all the set games we sat down for a short period of time to eat some snacks, have some drinks, and play…Magic cards?! Yeah, somehow the game is making a comeback within our group, probably because of that one-off free cards giveaway that our uni had for a week; the damn promotion just got a lot of people into wanting to play the game again. I guess I am no exception. Then again, I do hope that we all realise that we just want to play with the cards that we already have, and that there is no need to pursue those new cards, and create that perfect deck with cards that we don’t have but would like to obtain through abusing our wallets and such. The game just somewhat changed for our high school group, when instead of treating Magic like a “trading card game”, it became “look at a list of cards, pick the ones you need and buy them game”.

 

Karaoke

After a quick game of Magic, many of us moved off to go karaoke. Others stayed back to hang around the park and others went off to Norita’s. Karaoke was heaps of fun with over 30 people, yeah most of us went karaoke since it is a speciality of our Commerce faculty. We were given 3 rooms between our group, which was a good thing; it allowed us to designate one room as what I call the “fob” room and the other two rooms as English rooms. And for once in karaoke, I did not sing a single English song, I stayed in the fob room for the whole time.

 

Part of the reason that today’s karaoke session was particularly good was that there were a few more people who had similar tastes in music (to me) – subjectively saying that today’s karaoke was good (for me). I managed to catch up on a lot of Jap songs that I haven’t been able to sing due the lack of interest in Jap music from other people that I normally go K with. I was very pleased some new music from K-ON!, Angel Beats and new Korean stuff.

 

The fob room was very unpopular at the beginning of our session but over time, people from the English rooms came in to find out what songs we were singing (not that they would know anyway). Towards the end of our 2.5 hours (we were leaving 30 mins early), more and more people crowded into our room and it become apparent that any common taste our faculty had in non-English music could be found in Korean culture. There was a huge “dance-off” once we hit the SNSD/Kara block. There are a couple of wild videos of us on Facebook (or soon there will be some) where we show our true passion for “those sorts of songs” through epic singing and epic dancing.

 

Have no idea what happened in the other rooms, since I never left my one, but it sounded as if other rooms had just as much fun; perhaps because most of the people were there anyway at the beginning. Sitting through a lot of Chinese music wasn’t too bad, still not my style of music but still is okay to handle once a while haha!

 

Dinner

After Karaoke, we moved off to dinner – some Korean restaurant along Liverpool St. The rest of our group (who didn’t go karaoke) were already there waiting for us. More people came just for dinner so our initial group of 40 expanded. I was surprised the restaurant had a seating capacity that could hold all 60+ of us AND still have a fair amount of space for regular customers.

 

Our table ordered hotpot; we were clearly ripped off by the lack of meat that we got but apart from that, the vegetables did fill us up good. Other tables ordered BBQ stuff and in general everyone had spicy stuff, although they didn’t really order it. It seemed like the cooks just made everything spicy even though the menu didn’t really mention anything about the food being spicy. They also forbid us from having seafood since they decided that it would take forever to serve us all if they had to prepare seafood for everyone; stingy Koreans.

 

We didn’t stay too long for dinner, chatted and played some card games afterwards. Wonder how Monopoly Deal became such a popular game? After dinner we went a short distance to take some group photos and then had ice cream. Not everyone wanted some so we managed to gather 11 of us to share in the biggest thing that the French Riviera had. It was a fairly tall mountain of ice cream for $51, and we probably didn’t need 11 people to finish it but it was quite enjoyable, and difficult to eat considering how it threatened to just tip over at the beginning.

 

Funnily enough, most of the rest of the group just remained outside the entire time we were inside eating dinner. Goes to show how idle our group can be if no-one decides on a concrete thing to do. Some people went home but the rest of them just loitered outside. In fact we continued to loiter outside after finishing our ice cream and it was only after another half hour did we decide to go home. Our bus ride home reminded Nat of a similar bus ride home at night on the same bus but with our youth group kids from RICE a couple of weeks back; there was sort of the same mood of having good conversation with one another on public transport. Yeah I guess those times can also be productive for conversation as well.

 

So all in all it was a long day. How did I ever manage to come up with the energy to blog this all up? And this is merely day 1 of our mid-sem break.

Mid-Year Conference 2010 – Tuesday

Monday Night Antics

This is under the Tuesday post since the Monday one was so long (as an introduction). After the night session from last night, it was just about 10:30pm. We all moved off to have supper, I went off to have a shower before everyone else starts rushing there. For late night activities, we went up to the Prayer Tower, an isolated building sitting on top of a hill away from the rest of the campsite. We trekked up to the building which was mainly supposed to be used for prayer but we decided to play a few games on the top level. I wouldn’t call it “defiling” the building in any way, we just decided to have our socials there; the building itself doesn’t have to be used the way it’s called, nor does prayer need to be confined to that building.

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Holidays Are Over (Part 2)

Holidays are definitely still over and there definitely isn’t a chance to bring them back this time round haha! Apologies for the bad layout of these last few posts.

 

Monday

I had originally planned to watch a movie on Monday of the second week of the holidays but I had forgotten that we had a youth group social that afternoon. Nonetheless, having watched Toy Story 3 on Sunday, it was satisfactory enough. I didn’t really get time to organise anything for this social so I pretty much rocked up and let William and Ken do all the organising.

 

This was our first super long holiday program which went from 3pm till 10pm at night. A 7 hour program is extremely tiring. We had the church set up with a projector and some sound equipment. William had the leaders help set up games, all of which were interesting in a sense. We had a game where we had to balance coat hangers on one another, there was another game where we had to transfer cotton balls using whipped cream on our noses as an adhesive. Then there were other strange games like trying to flip metal spoons into cups. I forget the games that we played but the youth were all very into it. A handful of photos:

 

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The last photo was for a game where pretty much you slide coins over the table and try and get it as close to the King as possible. My note here was that all the coins were Galaxy World tokens. William had a whole bag full of them…strange.

 

And to sum the rest of the program, we mucked around afterwards and the youth just played whatever games they wanted to with each other. Some of us looked at past church photos and all. For dinner we made pizzas using Coles ingredients and some flat bread or something like that. It took quite a while because the kitchen wasn’t big and we had quite a large group, more than 30 or so youth in total. After dinner we made the youth watch “Up!” and after that we called it a night. So I suppose the last couple of hours weren’t too bad but we still had to keep watch over everyone; it was sort of like a daycare thing once the youth started getting a bit more wild.

 

 

Friday

Despite the fact that it’s a four day gap, Tuesday I went out grocery shopping with parents and then had a youth group leaders’ meeting at night. So that was a full day too. Wednesday and Thursday were my days off to relax and do some stuff that I otherwise couldn’t have done because of going out everyday. Friday I finally took care of some university stuff. Went down to university with Jacky and Brandon to get textbooks and so transfer my swimming pass to Brandon since I honestly don’t have any time to use it, last semester and this coming semester. It was more my mistake of buying it prematurely without having planed things properly.

 

Haven’t figured out all my textbooks either, but for now I’ve managed to ascertain that I need at least 1 book and 1 course pack. There were a couple of other textbooks, some prescribed, some recommended but I honestly am trying not to buy too many of them, particularly for maths. I bought a Calculus textbook last semester that nearly doubled up on the one I used last year AND I didn’t even use it last semester. Goes to show just how “unnecessary” prescribed textbooks are.

 

There was also a $20 transfer fee for my swimming pass which was quite annoying, the university gym is such a rip off I probably will never use any of their resources ever considering the fact that they don’t give refunds on anything even if you try to return it straight away.

 

Walked around in the city with Jacky afterwards. Had Pepper Lunch and then walked around a couple of Morning Glorys. Saw David Loon in one of them and we both we’re awkwardly like: “So…what are you doing here?” Kind of funny really to see him there of all places.

 

 

Sunday

The last day of my “holidays”was by far the most extreme day of them all, since it sort of extended over 3 days in a sense. Woke up early on Sunday morning to catch the 3rd place play off match; wasn’t a complete waste of time like the finals. But anyway, after getting about another 3 or so hours of sleep, had to wake up and deliver my camp luggage to Rebecca’s house who was going to camp early today and we needed to offload some luggage early for the other cars that were going to pick us up the next day. This meant I had to speed my packing up to last night; frantically figuring out what I needed to bring to camp. At the least I would bring my mahjong set, regardless of the circumstances haha!

 

After church, went off to lunch with church people. Most of that time was spent chatting with some of the youth. We reached some point in the conversation which led to playing those weird puzzle logic games (eg: Black Magic) that have those weird stupid tricks that some people just can’t figure out because they over think about the trick involved with those games. I showed them Aaron’s game from last year’s MYC with the counting fingers; won’t get into the details of that one. But the thing is that the youth had such difficulty in figuring it out. In fact they were torn between not playing the game and desperately wanting to figure out the answer. I was going to leave early to pick up some stuff from home so that I could head down to the city early to get a present for Chris’ party later that night. The youth continually bugged me to stay so they could continue figuring out Aaron’s puzzle and consequently I missed the train.

 

The strange thing about it all was that I caught the next train to find that Jono Wang was also on it, quite a coincidence. We chatted during our train ride; he was heading out a bit early to the city too to get some poster paint for his brother, from some hobby shop in QVB. I was meant to meet up with Tim, Sophia and Eric on the previous train that I had missed. The extraordinary thing that happened was that me and Jono came across those three in that hobby store Jono was going to. So we just merged groups and continued looking for a present for Chris together. We couldn’t really decide on that to get but we ended up deciding on getting a cheap PS3 game and a Gundam model thingy, for a total price of $110. Jono had to call up Chris multiple times so we could work out which Gundam model Chris didn’t have haha! So much for the surprise. We also went to Woolworths to get a $2 card for Chris. I never knew the Town Hall Woolworths had like 3 levels, such a strange layout for a supermarket.

 

Chris took us to Choga in Haymarket for $10 Korean buffet. Sadly there wasn’t much variety of food there, but that’s okay. Chris’ party reached about the mid 20s in numbers. We “got to” (or forced to?) sit in this elevated section of the small restaurant by the window that had some really low barriers; it almost made that section of the restaurant look like a zoo area or something, and we were going to be the main attractions haha.

 

Chris made us play a few interesting games which I do intend to steal for our youth group haha! He gave everyone a label with a commonly used word on it, such as “this”, “that”, “I”, “a”, etc. And the objective was to not say that particular; doing so would result in forfeiting the label to the other person who catches you. Player at the end of the night with the most labels wins. Chris had several cash prizes for his games, so it potentially was possible to win back the $10 for the buffet haha! Other games include some trivia challenge and a final challenge where the contestants had to eat a hot chilli, read through a list of colours writing in a different colour to the word being depicted; eg writing “Red” in blue; then finally strapping on a pedometer and shaking their hips to rack “steps” on it. Julian won it since he was able to continuously shake his “hips” without stopping for the minute or so.

 

After the party I quickly rushed home to get some rest to wake up for the FIFA finals. I was going to have had 8 hours of sleep over two days, not a good start to a 5-day camp especially.

 

And that’s my holidays over. After this comes 5 days of MYC which I know is going to be awesome, but somehow being tired from having so much on in the holidays really lowers the hype from what potentially could be the best five days of this year.

Holidays Are Over

In a sense, my holidays are over, before they even began. But I suppose I speak too rashly since only one week of three is down. However, my holidays are definitely “booked out” now; it was booked out since before they started haha. Let’s re-cap over the last 7 days.

 

Friday

After trying to relax from all that immense studying for that one final statistics exam that kept me from my holidays, I spent the whole of the following day preparing for my youth group seminar on Apologetics. It was quite a stressful day; it’s on the same level as doing an assignment from scratch that’s due on Sunday. It was pretty bad timing, because I was mentally exhausted from uni at all; a lot of my thoughts weren’t flowing well so it was additionally harder for me to get that seminar done. To make things worse, I really only had one day to get it done since I was going to be out all day on Saturday.

 

Saturday

Had a RICE meeting today out in Croydon. Sam Mak gave his thoughts on how as serving Christians, we might lose the focus on our ministries and simply call them “ministry” rather than it actually being “service”. Christian ministry is about service after all but amidst people’s busy schedules (such as mine), we might start having a different attitude towards wherever we serve; be it church, youth group, ISCF groups, or one-to-one ministries. There’s always that tendency to become overloaded and suddenly start getting tired from it all, and letting it become routine, without putting the heart into it. It was a good reminder for me to rethink my motives in wanting to serve at church, at uni, and for RICE.

The rest of the day was spent in the actual planning of a number of things, as well as to run through team procedures with all the extra leaders that signed up over the last few weeks. We have a large team of leaders again this year, maybe not as many as last year. But it never ceases to amaze me how a bunch of uni students and workers can get together and put together such a huge event that causes change in so many high schoolers. I look forward to the actual days of the events.

Had to give up work today, and for two weeks later at the next meeting; but money wasn’t the issue. In terms of what I really needed at the time, I really needed this day to work on my seminar for tomorrow. Managed to get enough of it done once I got back home. Though I was exhausted from the day, I pressed on till 11pm and called it quits, hoping that what I had done was enough.

Sunday

This was my 10th talk or so, and of sorts, in front of a Christian audience but this one just seemed really unprepared. But like every other time, it seemed as if I knew what I was actually talking about and I was able to pick out the right wording more often than I had expected. Apologetics is my area of “expertise” so to say; I’ve spent a lot of time reading about it, and pretty much the other Christian articles on my blog are the fruits of my knowledge in Apologetics. Having said that, it’s clear I’ve had a mental block in that field for a while now, but that’s probably bound to happen at some point anyway.

I’m glad the seminar went well, but of course I can only guess at how the youth felt about it, whether it’ll actually help them or not. The main goal is to stimulate thought, that in itself should be more than enough of a push for them to think harder about what they believe in.

After church I had the option of going back to high school to attend a reunion of sorts. But pretty much none of my friends were going so I didn’t end up going back. Guess I’ll have to pay my teachers a visit another time. Instead went up to Hornsby to have ramen. Spent $135 on a 1 TB external hard drive and went home to tutor.

Monday

Started working on a church camp video, I’m slowly making progress when I can, or when I’m in the mood. The rest of today was spent either gaming or catching up on anime. In less than a week I finally managed to watch all of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Yeah, that meant going through more than 10 episodes a day, amongst doing other things but it was definitely worth it. The 64 episode series had much more depth than its original counterpart and was animated much better; much more gory as well. I’m slightly shocked at how they’re planning on showing this to American kids after translating it and all. Given the level of animated violence in the anime, it should easily be given an M rating, possible M15+. *Sigh* at the Americans who keep (poorly) translating anime.

Tuesday

Went out to go shopping with parents and pretty much did what I did on Monday again. Hmm…I could’ve sworn the week was much more busier than how it appears for Monday and Tuesday. Oh right, it makes sense because of all the business with having to oraganise upcoming events in the following days. It becomes more stressful when a lot of things don’t get sorted out properly until the last minute.

Wednesday

Met up with my pastor in the morning to have a chat and stuff before heading over to Jie’s place for Mahjong. Five of us were there: Jie, Jacky, Nathaniel and Sharon. I had actually wanted Nat to come, so she could bring her small dog to play with Jie’s 4 big monstrous canines. His dogs were huge, two black, two white, the black ones were very aggressive. If Jie had a third black dog, I swear you could put those three together and you’d get something that resembles Cerberus. Wonder what Nat’s dog + Cerberus equals?

Haven’t mahjonged in a while and haven’t mahjonged with those people for a while too, since maybe some time last year. It was good to repeat old times, with the table trash talk and all. Me and Sharon came up with the biggest hands in the game, at 10 fan. Jacky also sought out this opportunity to try out Jie’s new flat screen TV, clocking at 52 inches. He made me bring my Wii and we mucked around with a couple of games. Didn’t feel that special, but that’s maybe because both Kelvin and Yit have equally as large TVs, the experience is already common.

Later that night we went back to church for a young adults social type thing. As I parked my car, some of the youth were also there for some meeting for a holiday crafts program or something for primary school kids. Sadly, they were “lost” because nobody else was there for the meeting. So I dragged them over to our young adults thing where they could sort of find shelter from the cold night to call their parents to pick them up. So after all that, spent a half hour on the phone with Kelvin (and then gamed for another hour or so) before finally calling it a day…the longest day this week.

Thursday

Our group’s meet up today turned into Eric’s birthday dinner. I suspected this was the case when Eric first offered to have a social thing on today but it wasn’t until maybe the week before that I recalled it was Eric’s birthday just on Tuesday. Which also means that we didn’t have much time to get presents and sort other things out.

 

I went down to the city a bit early in hope of looking for a present but I didn’t have much luck. Instead I spent the rest of the time with Charlie looking for a suitable birthday cake. I couldn’t find the Michelle’s under Myer in that food court for some strange reason and so after a long search I managed to get a Vanilla-Strawberry sponge cake from a place called “Dough!” I think

 

Eric took us to a Korean restaurant named “大長今” funny name haha! We managed to take the top level of the restaurant and had dinner there. There was a fair variety of cheap and expensive food there, but there was no BBQ buffet which was a shame. Me, Kelvin and Erica had BBQ while some of the other people who weren’t willing to spend much chose from the cheaper end of the menu. The food wasn’t too bad, neither was the price. Eventually we got down to the cake. Me and Charlie had also decided to get candles at the time; we bought a “1” and a “9” candle, two dollars each, what a rip!

 

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After dinner we went karaoke for an hour at Big Echo. Some new songs as usual, need to learn them again.

 

Sunday

Friday and Saturday were spent recuperating from everything that happened throughout the week. But Sunday again proved to be a long day. After church Nat had decided to go watch Toy Story 3 with a bunch of people from our youth group. At the same time, I was trying to arrange to watch a movie the following day in the morning, since it’s $8 movie tickets on Monday, But no-one was free on the Monday so I opted to just tag along and watch a movie with them. This day would be the first occasion ever that Nat beats me to any location by driving. I had major bad luck finding a parking spot in one of the Castle Towers car parks that I have never parked at haha. Anyway to my disappointment (in some sense), the movie was very popular and normal screening sessions were booked out, leaving us the only option of watching it in 3D (at the $17 price). My resolve to watch a movie there and then was stronger than my urge to save money so I went through with it. Won’t comment on the movie, other than that Toy Story 3 was a pretty awesome movie.

 

Watching a movie was not part of my plan at all for the day, and was about to severely impact the rest of the afternoon/night. After the movie I immediately rushed home to get changed for Josef’s 21st. The major issue at hand was that I had to work out the route to get there. This was the first time I’ve ever driven as far as Seven Hills on my own since getting my P’s last year. I took about 10 minutes to memorise the route on Google Earth, got changed and immediately sped off to the party. I was so glad I got there successfully and on time a s well. I was really pushed for time, seeing as I didn’t know how long it would take to get there.

 

Josef invited like more than 150 people that night and managed to book out a whole seminar room in the RSL club. His parents were also willing to shout all the guests dinner, seeing as it is his 21st. There was a structured program to the party and so we weren’t able to eat the entire night. But I think I had more than my fair share for the night. There were a number of speeches and some trivia games, a slideshow and a speech from the birthday man himself. After the party everyone moved off to the bar to chill; designated drivers obviously weren’t allowed any alcohol.

 

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I went off by about 10:30pm to get back home. But on the way I decided to swing by Ken’s place where our church was having hotpot; I obviously opted a free buffet over hotpot haha. I watched them play “the hat game” and then we left.

 

So that was a full week of action, nearly. But clearly it was enough all-day action to keep me exhausted at the end of the week. Apologies for the lateness of the post. But the second week of the holidays was also just as tiring. And it all starts with Monday, the day right after all that happened on the above Sunday.

Quick Play (Updated)

Just as the mid-sem break started, a couple of event came up without me realizing that they were there; and so the Easter weekend that just passed was filled with a lot of tiring activities that have set this week to one of recovery rather than study.

 

Ronnie’s R (something…)

Ah forget it, I couldn’t think of another R word to make some alliteration haha! Anyway Ronnie was free Easter Saturday and for some reason or another wanted to come up to the Hills area, where most of us CBS people lived. So he called up Nat asking is he could crash her house and form some sort of impromptu social; that was Friday night. I tried to help organize it, we were trying to work out what to do for dinner – whether we should cook or not. The idea of cooking as a group sounded like fun only the problem was that we couldn’t decide on what to cook; not to mention that we had to buy the stuff just prior to the night.

 

An e-mail was sent like on Saturday morning and I tried my best to rally some forced through Twitter at work, since Facebook got blocked >.<” Things didn’t get far and so the cooking idea was a no go. A number of us showed up at Nat’s place around 5-6pm where we tried to figure where to go for dinner; again that was a kind of fail discussion because nobody had ideas or preferences. Jumping onto my end of the story, I was talking to Athena in the afternoon and she offered the idea to eat at the pizza place she was working at that night. And looking back now, that was probably a better idea than no idea.

 

Nonetheless we ended up going to Castle Towers to see what would happen, walked around for a while, not wanting to go into any expensive restaurant – Athena’s pizza place was clearly a good idea at the time had we not already parked there. Eventually we listened to Matthew’s idea to go eat at Nando’s T.T” and so we all had like the family feast meal deal or whatever it was, spicy chicken, lemon chicken, random sides and a big plate of chips. Didn’t fill us up all too well, but hey, fail dinner is fail dinner haha!

 

We all drove back to Nat’s place again afterwards and this is probably a good time to introduce our multimedia item for this post:

 

 

Just to add more to the story than what’s on YouTube, Nat was trying to park as close as she could to the left wall of her garage but she was afraid of scraping the side and so she continually ended up slightly away from the wall. I just thought it was funny that she just kept going rather than just give up and leave it as is; in the end she didn’t manage to fix it up (on her own). There is Cantonese dialogue, which I’ll add annotations for later, for the non-Chinese speakers.

 

Played “Articulate” and just chatted, watched some YouTube videos and had ice cream. It was a nice chill time for all of us. Nat’s sister later complained about Ronnie’s loud voice, which projected very well within Nat’s house – he had it coming, he always does. We left at around 11pm, before Nat’s parents came home from their weekly mahjong-ing with family friends.

 

 

Cherie’s Baptism

The very next morning, we all had to wake up early to get ourselves up to Thornleigh CABC (Chinese Australian Baptist Church) for Cherie’s baptism – same group of CBS people, hence why we had to leave by 11pm, but then we had the daylight savings extra hour of sleep. I haven’t been back to that church since I left it in year 4; so many years ago. I hardly remember the people there anymore, a lot of new people came after I left so I don’t really know the church anymore.

 

Anyway Jacky was paranoid of not getting a parking spot, which was fairly likely to happen because their carpark was heaps small. So we drove there early, carpooled Sarah and Bec at the same time to save driving space. We were like the first ones there funnily enough, though we were only like 15 minutes early. We sat down in those nostalgic pews (to me) while the music team practised. I now realise that they also had those huge baptism pools as well that few churches have (I think). The only other one I’ve seen was at Matt’s church.

 

Anyway the rest of out group arrived soon; we had two closely-connected groups, one was for Cherie the other was for Michelle, whom I met at next gen like last year. Anyway the baptism video is on my Facebook, in all it’s awesome HD glory now haha thanks to my new camera (finally). And just randomly, seeing Fairen Tam today reminded me of how she bullied me when we were kids, I don’t remember the scene too well but I remember it happening a lot T.T” She gave me a small wave, and I’m pretty sure she remembers it too haha!

 

After their service some of our group decided to come crash our church since our service had yet to start; and so we all drove back and today our church had lots of new visitors…from CBS haha!

 

After our service we went out for lunch in Eastwood at the Shanghai place, because everywhere else was full and stuff. Paul Chan helped us scout for restaurants that weren’t full and in the end only 6 of us went out for lunch, oh well. That was Easter Sunday.

 

 

Steph’s Party

Oh wow it just goes on. The very next day again, Easter Monday, we went down to Bicentennial Park for Steph’s barbeque party, which was organized by Eva. Me and Jacky met Adrian again on the train at Epping, and we were like the first ones there. Olympic Park was packed with people by 11am, and it was very hard to find a spot. One of Steph’s friends, Janice, managed to guard a barbeque with her parents but we didn’t have a table. Luckily the Asian couple just next to us were happy to let us use one of the tables, and even gave us a mat to cover it (at least I think that’s what happened).

 

Anyway we waited for Eva to come by with the food, though no-one else was here. But that made sense because of traffic and how difficult it must’ve been to park there today. Eventually Eva came with the food and we began to cook. The party was more Abbotsleigh Girls than CBS but hence I overlooked the fact that someone had to cook for the barbeque. I volunteered myself in other words. I don’t mind cooking, I’ve cooked at like the last few barbeques we’ve had so yeah.

 

Today’s special restriction for the barbeque was…using only two tongs. That’s right, two tongs ONLY! Eva admitted she doesn’t barbeque much and so she only brought two tongs. I thought “okay, challenge accepted” although in hindsight  whether I accepted or not didn’t change the fact that we only had two tongs to use. I’ve barbequed enough (with mistakes) to think that the following materials are needed at a barbeque (minus obvious ones):

  • Spatula
  • Tongs
  • Oil

Give me those three things and a barbeque can go alright. Having only the tongs was indeed challenging; but there were ways to get around not having the other two things. Oil was of course the hardest thing to compensate for, but that’s what sausages are for. Although I forgot to do so at the beginning, I should’ve cooked the sausages first, let all the grease come out and use that as oil for the other meats. A tip for next time I guess. We cooked anyway and did our best without any oil and such. The spatula is there for the cleaning process rather than cooking. Last time we demonstrated that coke is an excellent cleaning agent to get all that burnt carcinogenic crap off the barbeque, you just need a spatula to help uproot it all.

 

Hope nobody is eating and reading this because your appetite is now about to be ruined. We turned on the barbeque right next to us, so we were using two, and about 10 minutes afterwards, little cockroaches began to spawn like from a crack next to the second barbeque. They were just crawling around on the brick parts. I suspect they came out because of the barbeque getting hot and forcing them to spawn. The really bad thing was that some cockroaches panicked a bit too much and ended up running onto the barbeque. Yes, that’s right. Fortunately they didn’t run onto any of the food as it was cooking but they did run onto the barbeque and I watched them suffer a very painful death. Extracting the corpses proved to be rather…disgusting and disturbing for onlookers at the same time. Eventually there was another group who wanted to use the barbeque after us. so we just gave them the infested one and halved our production.

 

Halfway through cooking we had to clean the barbeque slate, and without a spatula to scrap all the burnt meat off, it was going to prove exceedingly difficult. Thankfully, the people we gave our other barbeque to were kind enough to let us borrow theirs, in exchange for letting them use our knives, and so we mutually shared some utensils for the rest of the afternoon; it was nice of them. Everyone stood around and chatted, I think. I was too engaged to worry about what else was happening. Food eventually was served and we finally had a party going.

 

Brandon and Jacky helped with the cooking, I took a break after about the 3 hour mark and left them to do the rest of the cooking. You have to admit, it’s hard to cook for a long period of time without taking a break. I ate a bit while I was cooking but yeah it is tiring haha. Everyone just chatted into the afternoon until we had the cake and then proceeded to clean up.

 

 

Mandy’s Déjà vu

This post will be left off with this hanging: tomorrow is Mandy’s party, exact same format, exact same place. So tomorrow will be exactly like Steph’s party, and perhaps the same people once again haha! I’m still deciding whether I should go or not. Saw her today at Eastwood with Elon buying the food for tomorrow. Hmm…

 

UPDATE

 

Okay so I ended up going to the party. Nat came and gave me a lift there, though she was exceptionally late; she was meant to pick me up at 12:30pm but ended up picking me up closer to 12:50pm T.T” And then she still had to pick up…Cassian? One of her law buddies. So by then it was already 1pm so we were clearly late. Nat kept freaking out on the way because she didn’t know the directions too well. I had the map in front of me but it was slightly hard to follow Brandon’s instructions; probably because Nat copied bits down wrong or something.

 

Eventually we got there, after much childish panicking and people questioned our lateness. Nevertheless I got straight to picking up the cooking with Elon and Brandon and also dug into some food. Mandy provided more vegetable alternatives to meat (or simply alternatives I guess) and Ronnie pulled in later with more meat because we had pretty much run out.

 

Throughout the afternoon we chatted much, Mandy brought some board games for us to play, Jacky came in much later but brought a ball so the guys had something to do. The icky thing was that Cassian kind of slipped on the ball and nearly twisted his elbow, I’m not sure what was going on, but it was bleeding, not severely. Oh I almost forgot, Mandy’s theme for the party was to dress up as Cartoon characters from when we were young. Few people bothered to; and it was wet also so it wasn’t entirely desirable. Funny though because it was pouring around 8am but Mandy still decided to hold the barbeque.

 

We played cards as the sun went down and cooked the rest of the chicken drumsticks which took ages to cook. We then packed up and were going to head back to Mandy’s place before dinner, which was moved from the city to Parramatta now. Dinner was at 6:30pm but it was already 5:30pm so getting back to Mandy’s place seemed inefficient. Nevertheless we moved off. I stayed with Nat because after dropping Cassian off at Concord West, she’d be the only one left; I mainly doubted her ability to get back to Mandy’s house given the way she panicked on the journey here.

 

And as I expected she panicked once again because there was quite some traffic from the Easter Show and we soon lost sight of our convoy, so we were on our own. I didn’t know the way either so it kind of was a fail plan. I vaguely remember Olympic Park well but we drove past the Aquatic Centre and ended up back on Parramatta Road, I was at least comfortable with that area. I directed her back onto Silverwater Road and she knew the rest of the way which was good.

 

The ironic thing from all of that was that we were the first ones there at Mandy’s house, not even Mandy herself was back yet, which was mightily strange. But I just thought given Nat’s driving (from the above video too) that we were naturally be the last ones to get there. But we were first by more than 15 minutes which was a huge surprise. The reason was that everyone took the M4 but that was uberly flooded because of the Easter Show and so everyone else was stuck in traffic except us. Nat was very pleased at herself.

 

Mandy’s parents let us in and I finally got to meet her huge dog, who was like 50 times as big and as active as Nat’s entree (we were going to eat him that Saturday night after Nando’s haha!) Eventually everyone else turned up and Mandy pushed her restaurant booking back half an hour. We sat in a circle in the living and played some simple games, Mandy opened her presents in our midst. Eventually we had to go, some of us weren’t going for dinner (like me) because of the need to study. And when you think about it that’s fair considering how much I’ve been out this mid-sem break. And now it’s Friday as I wrap things up and I have camp later on today. There goes the mid-sem break >.<”

Pre O-Week Week

Okay, here’s some unstructured blogging, won’t be easy to follow, maybe. Anyway this week has been pretty hectic for me. Of course there’s no official title for it, and it didn’t follow any particular pattern or trend; things that happened one after another. So let’s get started shall we?

 

 

Sunday

Okay so perhaps the week doesn’t start on Sunday, but whatever. As everyone should remember this was the Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day, the awesome 2-in-combo that Chonny V-logged about. So at church we had to give in to the Chinese side, respect tradition and at least have lunch with them. Things were already rough because our pastor kept refusing to have a combined service with them. Skip the intricate details in the middle and we end up having a heaps shorter service, followed by lunch, which was pretty awesome. As always, when Chinese people want to celebrate for Chinese New Year, they do exceptionally well in regards to food.

 

I can’t quite remember what there was to eat but there were some good desserts. Anyway after lunch some of us from the ABC side stayed for the Chinese side’s afternoon shenanigans. There was singing, followed by some reflective words from the minister about things that happened over the year. It completely skipped my mind that our church is nearing its 1st anniversary of having moved to its new location. A lot has happened over the year at church huh? We had performances from the elders, as always. It’s not something that sparks our young minds in particular, but one can come to appreciate what they enjoy at their age; it was just some dancing and singing. There were some games which involved charades and guessing the Chinese New Year phrase, the ones that your parents say apart from…”Goon Hei Fat Choi” – whatever the proper English ping ying for it is.

 

It was quite a boring afternoon but I managed to sit through nearly all of it. Not the most interesting of all Sundays but certainly one that was pretty time consuming.

 

 

Monday

Okay Monday was another sort of bad day, hoping that certain people don’t read this. The legendary “Tensei” Victor Chan was having his 18th party at Bicentennial Park. It does bring a bit of shock, a bit out of normal expectations. The thing that became apparent for me was that Victor is a year younger than the rest of us; I knew there was something weird when I read he was celebrating his “18th birthday”. But such is the “Tensei” that he would start school a year early, according to him.

 

We met up at Olympic Park station at about midday. “We” was a very ambiguous term at the time; I had imagined “we’ would encompass…a decent number of people. But the net result was only 6, including myself. Yitian dogged me for his parents, some post-CNY celebrations? And then many others were no-shows. It ended up being me and 5 Ruse people – all of whom weren’t as rowdy as my group, or as the NSBs. There was a lot of silence, while walked back to the park.

 

But I’ll just keep things short here. There was a lot of awkward silence while everyone silently wondered what we should do, or rather, was waiting for someone to say something. There was a lack of initiative which for the first time in my life, actually created minutes of complete silence. It was sooooo awkward…but I couldn’t stand up and take charge and provide direction. The party was not mine and these were not people I’ve ever seen before in my life haha, how could I be complete “chill” or “lax” with them? We did play cards, for most of the day, played handball a bit later in the afternoon. Food was complete fail; lunch was nothing more than chips and lollies. I was really hungry when I got home *sigh* I bought drinks and cups in the morning, really saved the situation because otherwise we’d only have chips and lollies, hardly fit for lunch.

 

Victor suggested bike riding in the afternoon; not something I’m familiar with, but it was a good suggestion, despite the hot weather and the odd cost of $15 to hire a bike for the first hour, and $20 for two hours…odd. After Ellen’s party I’m trying to be more cautious in my spending. Other people weren’t so keen for the idea either, so we just continued to play cards…fail. I left closer to 4pm because I was sort of at my limit for wanting to stay. It was not a fun party, I was there solely for Victor’s sake, and I am glad to have been 1 of 5 people that actually showed up as guests. It’s not always that you get to celebrate a “Tensei’s” birthday haha!

 

 

Tuesday

Had my wisdom tooth (singular) taken out. Talked to Jess the next day and she raised the observation that everyone seems to be having their teeth taking out these days; true or not? Anyway went to a family friend who was a dentist and had him perform the operation. Because it was only one tooth – and because it was a local dentist – I didn’t get knocked out, unlike most of you people, who were given the grace of sleep. I, unfortunately, was kept awake through the entire horrific sequence of events. From the first needle in the gum, to the second in the tooth, to the third, etc I lost count of the needles that I was stabbed with, the first one hurt a bit, that weird numbing pain, and a quarter of my mouth went numb. If you’ve never been awake for the operation, trust me, you don’t want to. Essentially the dentist just hacks awake at your teeth and the gum around it. And there’s the classic high-pitched whirring from some instrument which gives kids nightmares. That thing was so loud that it gave me a headache throughout the operation.

 

It took an hour to get one silly tooth out. Of course, my tooth resisted, by having to grow in a retarded direction, like nearly perpendicular to how the rest of teeth normally grow. Yes, it was growing sideways, and so the hole that eventuated was quite a big one. The dentist was trying to just force my tooth out; he was using a lot of force and perhaps got tired of the slow hacking process with that gum-cutter. He had a lot of problems and had to revert back to other tools before trying again.

 

Finally it came out, and I was lucky to get a good look of it before he chucked that annoying tooth out; other people don’t get the privilege to huh? He stitched me up and I was out by midday. The anaesthetic lasted until 4-5pm in which pain finally took over and worsened my headache. As most animals are, pain really does annoy you, it just sits there in the background constantly annoying you, and it really does mess your mood up. I wasn’t feeling sick, I was heaps annoyed because of the pain and the headache; sent me into a pretty bad mood for the rest of the night. Haha but that was night one, things would get better the next day, yes?

 

 

Wednesday

CBS Orientation Day (which I didn’t go to last year because I was in Hong Kong). Caught the train with Jess but saw Katie and some Baulko kids from the year below us at Pennant Hills station, how fortunate sort of. Oh I almost forget to mention. On Tuesday afternoon, while it still hurt to open my mouth for anything, be it talking or eating, Alan (our MTS) called up to ask me to be a Tour Guide for today’s Orientation; conscripted at the last second, nice. Anyway we got there and registered and met up with people we hadn’t seen for a few weeks haha. It’s funny because the last time we actually went to uni was for our final exams last year; so we haven’t stepped on uni ground for a good 3 months.

 

The Orientation was mostly like others except there was a talk from Carl Matthei and some interviews with older people about “Surviving as a Christian at University”, that is quite an interesting topic to address which might’ve given me a head start last year, rather than having me figure out first hand what being a Christian in university actually meant. Most of it was just sitting and listening. We moved off into faculty groups and guess which one was largest? Obviously Commerce; there’s no need to comment on the others haha! We had so many new first years, but we also nearly had the same number of second years, so our “grade” haha. I’m glad that there’s so many dedicated Christians in my age level.

 

During morning tea I ran off with Quentin to fix up our ID cards. Me to get a new travel concession sticker and Quentin to get a brand new ID card. He was unfortunate to not have had a haircut before today, and to not brush up on his complexion haha. Sad thing for him was how his ID photo turned out. I don’t have it of course but just to Sharon (if you read this part), if you haven’t seen it go do so. Poor Quentin was darker than…Obama in his photo. And I thought my photo was bad because I was dark, he was completely black nearly.

 

We hurried back and joined everyone else for more “lectures”. We eventually moved out towards lunch to conduct our tours; but before that we played a game and introduced each other. We made a huge circle in the quad because of the sheer number of people that were there. We had an intro from Alan and Emily, people in charge this year. And then we had some short interviews from older people. We played “Bang” with half the group (so two games), using it as an opportunity to learn names, a classic variation we played at church earlier this year.

 

The tours were rushed but we took them up and down campus. We made the first years trek the stupid stairs that supposedly “transport [us] from lower campus to upper campus”. They’re a pain and everyone who goes to UNSW must learn of it haha! Lunch was sandwiches with cordial, a nice budgeted lunch. I for one had a huge problem having lunch. In light of Tuesday’s events, today was a real test for me; it was pretty impossible for me to eat solid food, even with three quarters of my mouth intact. I had a banana and slowly got through my sandwich, with the hard hot dog bun. It was a very hard lunch time for me haha.

 

The afternoon session was rather short, just a few more words of encouragement about how to continue living as a Christian in this new uni environment, given also the lifestyle changes. Let’s face it, there are heaps more distractions now than back in high school. High school was simply bliss and ignorance. I went to pick up some of my textbooks after the orientation. They were so damn expensive; I haven’t bought them all and the bill comes to over $400 T.T” I’m still missing 3-4 more books, which come to another $300 or so, dang this term. My Actuarial Studies courses are horribly plagued with 3 prescribed textbooks. Impossible!

 

Everyone else went to get their travel concessions so I eventually caught up to them. Some of us went out to Town Hall to get Charlie Chen his present. It’s safe to talk about it now because he has obviously received it by now. It’ll be fun to look at what happened behind the scenes. We went to Myer, where Steph had the idea to get him cologne. None of us minded so we all looked hard and carefully at what was on sale. I don’t know how many different products we tested; Bec was holding like 20 or 30 so test cards with different scents on them. We spent a good hour and a bit just sniffing this and that, wondering what was suitable. Eventually we finally decided on one and we were all on our way home. It was hard to decide though, a lot of fun however.

 

 

Thursday

Got called up by work to pop down to the office for “further training”. The e-mail I got from the main receptionist that works on weekdays also mentioned problems that I had. I was so freaked out from reading that, I thought I was close to getting sacked. I admit that I like how easy my job is; I really do need to value it properly. I thought I was going to get a scolding about missing this and that, I hadn’t felt like I messed up a lot that it should draw the attention of everyone. Nevertheless I walked in thinking that they won’t dare sack me, since they had told me once that it was hard to find casual weekend workers who were constantly available. I secretly felt I was safe from being sacked; just had to distance myself away from that edge.

 

Luckily the receptionist told me only a few things. The ordeal lasted no more than an hour, which was interrupted by phones calls once a while. I suppose today doesn’t count as adventurous but I was pretty worried after reading the e-mail on Wednesday, thinking that my job would be in jeopardy. Tooth was still slowly getting better today, being the second day.

 

 

Friday

Ronnie’s housewarming party. I was the first to show up at his place, at 11am. His apartment is rather interesting, the building I mean. The lift didn’t work when I first got there; so I went back out and called Ronnie. Apparently he had to activate the lift from his apartment so guests could use it. That’s pretty cool, so random people can’t just invade the property. But there were stairs I heard?

 

Ronnie put on The Dark Knight in Blu-Ray and left the apartment in my stead when he went out to pick up Anita from the station. Others arrived before he got back so I had to answer the phone and get the door. Ronnie’s apartment is pretty good, rather nostalgic of Hong Kong really. They had a lot TVs and computer monitors; fairly loaded so it seems.

 

Ben brought mahjong, including a portable table; I so need to get myself one of those. His mahjong tiles were inside a…picnic basket. A lot of people were expecting to find food in it but found mahjong tiles instead, that was funny. Some of us played mahjong, others played with Ronnie’s board games; anything groupy was fine. We had lunch at about 1pm, everyone pooled food and snacks together and we had a decent lunch together. Poor Ronnie had to run out and drive several rounds to pick up people who were arriving at different times and then to get some chicken because Mandy faced traffic and failed in bringing Coles roast chicken.

 

The afternoon was long, we chatted and played more games. Some of the discussion went on to what games to play for another CBS day for O-Week next Tuesday; yes the fun hasn’t stopped yet. So we played a few games to see how they went; anything that was group building was good. We tried doing that activity where you sit back to back with someone else, link arms and then try to stand up. We tried it with 4 people; the girls failed repeatedly at standing up but us guys succeeded in one shot – that just shows the synergy that us guys have with one another.

 

I can’t remember what else we did. Oh, we played blind poker (sort of) where everyone holds a card on your forehead, so you can see everyone else’s card except your own. And then you’re trying to not get the lowest card, a bit of deceiving here and there but it was pretty funny at times when people traded away their really high cards for lower ones.

 

People started leaving as it got closer to night, the few of us stayed were juggling between my suggestion of The Princess Bride, and Mandy’s Italian movie Life is Beautiful. In fact let’s have a vote here, which do you prefer: The Princess Bride or Life is Beautiful. I shall make a poll on my blog here soon. Me and Mandy kept arguing, but she was more persistent, and whinny so I just gave in, out of courtesy. Adrian and Ken were playing some weird Lord of the Rings chess, and Brandon was just bored out of his mind; he wanted to watch Battlestar Galactica, which had near zero support haha!

 

At night we went out to Ikea to have dinner, because there’s heaps cheap food there. We had chicken schnitzel with chips, or pasta, for like $4 which was pretty good. Doesn’t fill you over the top but the price certainly makes it worth it. Ronnie bought some glassware as we walked through the rest of the store, and we then went to Coles to buy ice blocks. There wasn’t much food at Ikea at night, the restaurant was nearly out of food; but then we actually went there at like 8:30pm so that was sort of expected. And there was no desserts, how fail.

 

Went home after that. Jess drove me back to her house. While I waited for my dad I went inside and watched Family Outing along with Marcus; it’s fairly funny, I might not mind picking it up if I hadn’t made my commitments to anime already, otherwise I’ll have too many things to download haha. Oh and last thing, my camera broke today. I think I know why but it’s a fairly stupid reason. The touch screen cracked so now I can’t use it. Damn I hope warranty covers this; but even so it’s going to be a pain to get it fixed. But still I’d hate to blow another $350 to buy a new one; argh so frustrated from breaking my camera today.

 

 

Saturday

That’s today. I had work. It was long. I am tired. Badminton tired me out more. Me and Tim were nearly evenly matched, he beat me 21-19 for two games and the last one went to 22-20. Teased Claudia about being a weird NSG girl, but then again they’re all weird haha! And now it’s Sunday and I really need to sleep because of youth group in the morning. What a long and adventurous week, sort of. Ah, my beautiful camera. But on a brighter note I think my tooth had nearly healed up. The stitches are sort of coming out because I keep playing around with my tongue. I need to get them out on Monday next week.