Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The trip so far.

South America, a world so far away from my world and what I´m used to. Never before in my life have I thought that I would be travelling to this part of the world and yet here I am. It´s been a week so far and what an experience it has been. From surviving a 30 hour flight plus transits and sleeping on the floor of the Miami airport terminal to surving a 15 hour boat ride along the Amazon river, I have to truely say that so far, this has been a really eye-opening vacation. Right now, I´m in Lima and it sure is a very different place from Iquitos, Peru and Leticia, Colombia (where we were for the last week). Everything in Lima moves so quickly, especially the traffic. Travelling by the buses can be compared to a roller coater ride; you never know how fast it´s going to go, when it´s going to stop (or how suddenly for that matter) and when it´s going to swerve to the left or right. I found myself gripping tightly to the seat everytime I´m on a bus. A bus ´conductor´ hang out of the door yelling out the destination and if you hear the name of your destination, you can just hop on the bus (travel insurance not included).

Lima is a really growing city filled with old grand colonial buildings, but other than that, it´s pretty much just like any other cities; fast, crowded and noisy, not a minute goes without hearing the honking of vehicles. It´s still pretty cheap comapred to most European cities and every place can be conveniently reached. The best thing to do is to jop on a bus, which goes to places on the outskirts of Lima and you´ll be amazed at how different these places are and it´s very noticible now much more advanced Lima is.
Iquitios is a totally different story. I guess that I can compare it to some parts of Malaysia maybe 20-40 years ago, but the friendliness of the people more than makes up for it. I feel that that part of my travels deserves an entry of its own.
Tomorrow, we´ll be heading to Pisco, where we´ll be taking a boat to sail around the islands and hopefully catch more than a glimpse of the sealions there. I´m guessing that the 4 hour bus ride to Pisco will be somewhat of an adventure. Stay tuned!

Friday, 29 January 2010

How important is a language?

I haven't been writing in my blog for a long time and I think that it's due time that I put all these thoughts that been running through my head onto paper (well the electronic kind anyway)
My partner celebrated his 32nd birthday on 1.12.2009 and this was the 2nd time that I celebrated with him and his family. From what I remembered of last year, it was really awkward for me as I didn't know his family that well and my level of dutch was not at a level that it allowed me to converse with me and all I remembered doing was answering 'ja' or 'nee' and basically hanging out with the two toddlers as they were not able to converse as well (although for a far different reason). But after also a year here (and months of Dutch lessons), I felt more like a part of the family and like a real honest. I even baked two pies; an apple pie, because whats, a Dutch birthday without apple pie, and a chocolate cake, because lets face it, I was actually baking it for myself. It made me realise how important knowing and being able to effectively use the language is. I'm glad that I put in all that energy, money and time (and not to mention many hair-pulling hours) into it. For the last couple of months, I've been using the Dutch language more often and also more readily, to make appointments, to ask for information, and especially during my salsa trainings. It's come to a point that when my salsa trainer explained something in English, I sometimes feel like telling him to say it in Dutch. At the beginning of my stay here, and to be honest, even up to a few months ago, I never thought that I would be comfortable with the language. Don't get me wrong, I still have a long way to go in terms of mastering the language, but I also feel that it's not such a big obstacle like it used to be (I've noticed a lot less tears involved). I'm currently doing a class for 3 times a week and this time around, there's plenty more homework involved and at the end of the week, I've noticed how much more tired I am but it is all worth it. AT the end of April, I will have completed level B2 and home to take my NT2 Level 2 exam by September as this is what is needed in order for me to be a high school teacher.
So, if you don't see me so often on here, you know I'm up to... conjugating those verbs and using new words in sentences.

Monday, 23 November 2009

The first 10 months

So, it’s been a little more than 10 months since I’ve packed up my bags, said goodbye to the life that I’ve known for 29 years and set sail (or in this case flight) to the unknown. Well, it’s not exactly the unknown since The Netherlands is rather known but usually for nothing more than drugs, sex and windmills. Saving goodbye to my life in Singapore was a bitter-sweet experience. I was almost 5 years into my career and was starting to really enjoy it was learning alot and was climbing up the 'corporate' ladder but I know that that's not the only thing in life. Happiness to me, is not how big my bank account is, how many designer products I have or how many people I have working under me. But I know that I needed something more. I wanted a life. I want to be able to look back onto my life 40 years from now and say, "Yes, I did live it to the fullest. I did do the things that I WANTED to do and not things that I HAD to do." That to me is the true meaning of living. But of course life is not just something that happens to you. Maybe it does when you're younger and your parents or another adult pretty much made all the decisions for you. But they would come a point when you have to be responsible for your own life and ultimately for your own happiness.
Making the initial decision to move to Netherlands was easy. It usually is when it involves love. But between the time I decided to move over till the actual move itself was not as smooth sailing as I would have wanted it to be. Shakespeare said that the course of true love never did run smooth and that applies to long distance love too. And at times I did think about what I had to 'give up'... my family, my friends and my career. But I also know that the main part of what was sometimes keeping me back was fear. Fear of the unknown, fear that maybe my relationship was not going to workout and I would have to pick up the pieces. Fear of having to start allover again. I did need my partner to be the strong one and thank god he was. I would be eternally grateful to him for practically dragging me kicking and screaming onto the plane...well actually I got on the plane on my own cos he was here at that time. Looking back, it was one of the best decision that i made. Sure, there has been some difficult times for me; looking for a job, making new friends, adjusting to the weather here (which I love actually, except when I'm on my bike and it's pouring), but all those difficulties has made me a much stronger person. Being here has taught be plenty of things. I now know how to cook, bake and clean the house. These may seem like small accomplishment to some but to me, a person who has always lived with her grandmother has has always had things done for her, being able to do all that is a big deal. I can honestly say that I am rather proud of myself. It took sometime, but I realised that I will always have my friends and my family and that I will make new friends, and I did. I may not have a job now but I will always have my qualification and my experience. For now, I should just enjoy life and make the most of everyday. I should have things slow and stop to smell the roses (something I was not really able to do back in Singapore as I'm always so busy with work), and bake more!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Endless love

Your heart beat a little faster, your palms are sweating. You sometimes find yourself holding your breath and you feel light-headed. This is your body's and mind's way of telling you something. You're in love. At first, you were elated. You never thought that that could ever happen to you. You only thought that it could happen in extremely cheesy romance novels or in unrealistic movies with equally unrealistically beautiful people in them. Then came denial...there is no way that this is love. Maybe it's just a fleeting feeling. Maybe if you indulge in it for a while, it'll go away, just like any other feeling you've felt before. And so you went ahead and accepted it...for now. It made you feel good. Every time you are together, you couldn't get that feeling to subside, instead it just gets stronger. Before you know it, you realised that you cannot live without each other. You're happier than you've ever been before. You looked forward to the next time you can be together again and when you are, you never want the time to ever end. But just like every relationship, there will always be difficult times. At times you just can't understand each other. You don't know how to figure him out. And so you study him, over and over again. Study all the twist and turns and all the tricks and when you finally manage to cross that hurdle, you remember why you're in love, all over again. And at times, you did try to get away, thinking that you're better off without the other, that maybe this relationship is taking too much of your time but every time you tried to pull away, the only thing you felt was misery. Places, people and songs remind you of your love and so you let yourself fall all over again and it was good. And after so many years together, you know that you're meant to be. You know that you belong together and you know that it'll always be your first love. You do know that I'm talking about my love of dancing right....?

Friday, 13 November 2009

I know what my day will be like...do you?

Hotdog and ice tea... A simple meal, yet it's so satisfying. In a world where anything bigger, more expensive, more extravagant and with more bling is always better, have we forgotten about the simple things in life? Those cups of $1 coffee that they sell at the coffee shop, instead of those 'designer' coffee... plates of chicken rice that cost 3 bucks (complete with a side dish of soup) instead of a 4 course meal.... have we been fooled into thinking that the more expensive something is, the better is its quality? Things need not be expensive or complicated for it to be good. Just like life...to me the simplicity of a relationship is the best thing there is... having that someone to talk on the phone with, someone to laze around on a Sunday morning and get the Sunday papers with and eating a simple breakfast of pancakes and syrup. Simplicity in life has it charms that sometimes can be forgotten, especially in a world where every 'reality' series tells you that complication and drama is what sells, that if your life is simple and if you don't go through the day without having to deal with a cheating boyfriend, or a back stabbing friend then your life not worth living, that it has no value but I've grown to realize that craving drama is a sign of immaturity, I should know, I was there (not so) many years ago. But since I've been here and started my know life, I've grown to appreciate the simplicity of my life. To be able to wake up next to the same person everyday, to have dinner at almost the same time, to know what my weekend was going to be like...it may all sound so mundane but I prefer to refer to it as simple and simplicity will never go out of style.


Release me from the tempremental bonds of fate,
let the swift arms of destiny embrace me.
dancing in the pleasures of emotional deformity,
waiting to crash...and be devoured by desolation.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Things to get off my chest

Yet another rejected after another interview...and all for the same reason; I do not have a teaching certificate that is equal to the Dutch teaching certificate. It doesn't matter that I've had nearly 5 years of teaching experience, that my heart and soul is in educating the young minds and that I give it 200% effort each and everytime....all that matters is that somehow, the dutch authorities decided that I have not had enough EDUCATION. That's what gets me the most. No one can be a good teacher by just going to school. Believe me, I know of a couple of teachers who did 4 years of studies in education and are crappy teachers. Experience in the classroom is the key to a good teacher, that and dedication and I know that I have them both. But after all these rejections, it makes me feel that all the hard work that I put in amounts to nothing. All those hours of staying in school (up to more than 12 hours at times), and weekends that I spent in my room correcting books and planning lessons, all those times, i spent searching for resources and doing research so as to make my lessons fun and make the kids look forward to studying, is all down the drain.
I tried to be something else other than a teacher but that's not where my heart is. Teaching makes me happy, knowing that if I made a difference in at least one student's life is reward enough (though the school vacations and bonuses didn't hurt either). If I'm not a teacher, than who am I? Someone commented on how much I love rogrammes on crimes and suggested that maybe I should consider being a police officer, but that's a hobby I have, just like fashion and i want it ti remain as that; a hobby. Teaching is my career. It's my life....