I guess I haven’t really blogged in a while, so I apologise in advance if my writing is incoherent or has grammatical errors. I suppose the simplest way to summarise the last year and a half (and not just the time since I last posted, which was in February), would be the word “patience“. Patience is something I struggled with in the various circumstances that God placed me in over the last year and a half. Patience is something I learnt a fair bit about from my experiences with different settings and people. And patience is something I still continually strive for as I try to make sense of God’s plan for my life.
At long last semester 1 is over. Even so, it’s taken a few days before I could actually settle down into the holidays. This has been my busiest semester at university to date; and to no surprise at all. This is second year after all, it’s expected that the work load and the effort needed should increase. But rather than prepare myself for it, I instead decided to explore my freedom of being in university; that is, picking up more things to do.
One of the obvious things that made this semester hard was paid work. Even though my Saturday job is only on that one day of the week, it somehow manages to completely pull apart my day. 8 hours of continuous work is somewhat quite tiring even though, I admit, I don’t actively work the full 8 hours. After work comes an hour of badminton; and at the end of all that, I’m just completely exhausted and can’t get any work done. So my entire Saturday becomes unproductive, except whatever uni work I manage to get done at work, which sometimes is a good enough compensation.
And as I had originally wanted, my Saturday job is not the only form of paid work that I have. Of course, I’m talking about tutoring. But within my harsh schedule each week, I wonder if it’s possible for me to go beyond teaching two year 11 students for a total of two and a half hours each week. And that comes with its own preparation time, which sadly I have not invested much on. But yeah, this was what I wanted, to tutor (and teach maths); and all in all I am getting what I need, aka money. Income has been very comfortable as a result of these two factors.
I would never have believed that this semester would see me utilising my free hours for something productive, but not study-wise. Of the five free hours I had during my week at university, one of them is devoted to high school friends while the other four have been put into helping out and participating in CBS activities. All of those hours have been productive in their respective ways and I’m happy for that. My only concern about those hours I spend for CBS is that it may require more effort in the future. Thinking short term, there would be a fair chance that my services will be needed for more CBS activities. It’s certainly not that I don’t want to serve God on my university campus; but when juxtaposed with all the other duties and commitments that I have, the toll begins to build up.
Youth group has been an ongoing thing since the start of last year and the effort for that slowly begins to pick up. Our church will constantly require more and more effort as it continues to grow; and being put as leaders in this position of service, we’re going to need to put more and more effort as the church grows, so that the church can be built up. Not such a scary thing, it’s something we all want of course. We know that it’s good. And yet again this adds to the toll of having so many things going on at once.
And finally can I now talk about university work. The work load had indeed picked up. This will definitely be my worst semester, mark-wise. There is a chance I’ll actually fail some of my courses, which is a very disturbing thought considering where I’ve come from, a place where 100% is a mark that is far from impossible to achieve, and failure is not an option. I can at least prepare myself for next semester, since all of these things that have happened this semester only began this semester. Hopefully six months is enough time to break into my new routine.
But at the everything, I would say this has been a very busy semester; very productive and challenging at the same time. It certainly does foreshadow what may be coming up next semester. Having been through everything now, I hopefully will be more prepared next semester.
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?
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.
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!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
I didn’t really plan to get a job this summer, but somehow something did come to fill in the void that is the summer break for this year. Part of me is glad that I have a source of income, sort of. The other part of me wishes I could just relax and play games all day; though my parents probably like that much.
Anyway, got a call on Tuesday to say that I was being offered casual work as a receptionist for a real estate company. I won’t say who exactly, or where, for fear that someone will trip me up haha. Oh but I don’t know, it might be boring without some fun but then again who knows. Anyway, to make things more rushed, they asked me to start working this Saturday and that I needed to have my orientation within the next few days.
So sure enough, the next day I popped down to their office in Wahroonga, they wanted me to work there on Saturday. Met up with the normal receptionist there and had her go through the tasks that I needed to do. Stuff included answering the phone, taking messages and redirecting calls to certain agents, printing stuff and making sure that the brochures and pamphlets were always stocked and such. I guess with so many tasks I would be kept busy during my 8-hour shift; yes from 9am to 5pm, a long day. Bad thing is that I don’t get a lunch break, I’m not really allowed to leave the office at all, especially if I’m the only one there, on account of the other agents being at open houses and such.
Biggest fear at the moment is the phone calls, I don’t really have much of a clue as to what sort of requests I’d be getting, whether it’s simply just transferring the call or leaving a message for someone else, or some other thing which I won’t know how to respond. I might get a question such as “Is [this] house open today?” In which I can quickly look at the website and the “open houses’” list to answer the question. But if it’s something I’m entirely new to then I fear trouble will ensure. Oh well they say Saturday is a really quiet day and perhaps it might be even more boring than I anticipate, maybe I won’t get many calls and I can just Facebook the entire day haha!
Anyway after that orientation, someone from the Thornleigh office called up (to their office, while I was there), telling them to tell me to go back down to the Thornleigh office for yet another orientation. So after lunch I made my way back down there, and found that I am to work there this Saturday instead; excellent, a much easier place to get to. luckily this office was more “noob-friendly” and the receptionist there had a notebook which had instructions written down telling me what to do and how to do them; hopefully they’ll be enough. Same hours as usual. Getting there early will be a pain, leaving late will be a pain. But other than that I’m fairly excited and scared at the same time about work tomorrow. Have no idea what will happen, probably just have to take whatever comes my way. At least the other staff are really friendly, they’re not serious at all unless they’re talking to a client, I like that atmosphere.
The pay is $150 for the entire day, that equates to $18.75 per hour, including that supposed lunch break hour which I don’t get. Still have to sort a few things out with the bank, get my TFN form filled in and other tid-bits. It’s just casual employment, they just need someone for the weekends during the holidays, so I doubt I’ll have to work every Saturday which is good. Oh well, let’s see how tomorrow goes then…