Rays of Splendour


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Been so long since I updated this blog!

The last update on this blog was last year! It’s not that I do not want to update this blog. Many times over the course of the past few months, I’ve been wanting to update the blog. However, so many things have been happening at one time and I’m just so exhausted to do anything else during my free time except to sleep or just do mindless stuff like look through my Instagram feed.

Some of the things I’ve been wanting to write a blog entry about:

  • The lead up to my preparations for my wedding which took place on 7 and 8 July
  • My thoughts about being newly-married
  • The first time I found out I was pregnant
  • My pregnancy journey
  • My labour story
  • My thoughts on being a new mother
  • My thoughts about my new baby
  • My thoughts on my confinement and breastfeeding journey

So many blog entries that I’ve been wanting to write about but I don’t think I’ll be able to write all of them! Nevertheless, the above serves as a good summary of what’s been happening in my life since the last time I blogged!

I need to end the entry for now cos I just heard my baby make some noise. Gonna check on her…


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Life since October 2017 update

It has been six months since I last blogged. Over the months, I’ve wanted to blog on many occasions but my resolve is always broken by other things which demands my attention.

So since the whole house is already asleep except for me (I’m unable to sleep tonight and am blogging this at 2.08am), I felt that now would be an apt time to pen my thoughts down somewhere.

Here’s a list of the events that have marked my 6 months:

  1. Sat for the final exams of my MA life
  2. Went for thesis defense and passed it
  3. Finally sent my thesis for binding and submitted it after weeks and months of working on it
  4. Flew back and forth from Seoul to Singapore a few times to settle the last few things needed before officially completing my MA life and closing the chapter to Seoul
  5. Basked in about 1 week of happiness and gratitude travelling in Jeju with R and my youngest brother.
  6. Officially graduated from uni and attained the MA on 26 Feb
  7. Packed all my belongings in the Seoul apartment, gave away stuff and officially flew back to Singapore on 27 Feb.
  8. Started full time work yet again on 2 Jan after 2 years of no-pay leave. Since work started before I officially graduated from school, that explains the need to fly back and forth a few times from Singapore to Seoul.
  9. R and I collected the keys to our first apartment together on 10 Jan (I remembered this date as it’s my youngest brother’s birthday!)
  10. R and I have been spending the last few months scouting for an interior designer or contractor. I acknowledge that I do get wistful when I see IG updates from others who got the keys later than us and already had their houses done within 3 – 4 months.
  11. Planning and settling all that needs to be done for 7 July.

It has been an intensive 6 months. Some days, I managed to squeeze in only 3 hours of sleep.

Hence when I got to stay at home for the past 2 days, I found that to be such a deviation from the norm that I found it odd!

At this point, I just feel so unsettled inside. With everything that has happened, is happening AND going to happen, I think that it is inevitable I’m feeling this way.

Regardless of the tsunami of activities that is occurring, I still find myself craving to have a quiet moment with Allah deep down inside. Just me and Him.

I feel that this is a connection that I have not been successful in ensuring its strength and stability in these past few months.

Hence Ramadan really comes at an opportune time. It’s currently Ramadan as I’m writing this. Unlike the previous Ramadans, this is the first time that I’m realizing how blessed it is to be able to perform your ibadah in this month.

I pray that Allah keeps me in a state of purity for the remainder of this month so that I’m able to taste the sweetness of ibadah and connection with Him. Amin.


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Wk 4/15

10-days holiday

The school week have ended and we’re now headed into the 10-days public holiday here in Korea. It’s going to be National Foundation Day, Chuseok, and Hangeul Day all into one.

I’ve been trying to get tickets to fly back to Singapore for this 10-days holiday. I figured I’d rather be home and spend time with my family. However, all the air tickets out of Korea are either:
(a) Mad expensive
(b) Most of the tickets left are the premium economy and business class tickets which I obviously cannot buy since I’m an unemployed student for now.
(b) Sold out – I kid you not when I say the tickets are sold out. Not just to Singapore but to many places: Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Osaka, etc!

So I’ve sort of given up trying to get out of Korea. That required a huge shift in mindset which saw me spending the past few days coaxing myself to remain positive and embrace God’s plans of placing me here for now.

Humbled

Besides that, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the process of acquiring knowledge. That sparked off from the experience I had in school this week. I had a lesson in which I felt very, very, very humbled by my classmates.

As usual, we had a seminar session where we’re supposed to contribute and express our opinions on the issues being discussed.

I’ve came to class prepared. I’ve been catching up on the latest news that have occurred in the past week and even read the required readings prior to class. I had understood what I read so technically I should be able to participate in the discussions too.

The discussions happened. Opinions, thoughts and questions were expressed. But by the end of the lesson, there was no contribution from me.

When the seminar took place, it unfolded very, very fast. Points were expressed swiftly. No sooner had I digested what was being said and tried to formulate my own thoughts based on the point which was just expressed, someone else had interjected in agreement or to disagree with it. That left me humbled.

I was humbled at how fast my classmates were in grasping the complexities of the issues and points being brought up and then responding to them. Seriously, they have such brilliant brains!

On top of that, they are very well-read. They were making references to all these different books they have read. It’s books okay. Not just articles!

I realized how little I’ve read when I talked to a friend who is doing her PHD. I was talking to her about my thesis hoping that the process of talking would give me some clarity. As we talked, she brought up all these books she had already read and was suggesting to me as she felt they would be useful.

That made me reflect a lot.

These people not only have such brilliant brains but also, are really committed in the path to seeking knowledge and gaining deeper insights. Compared to them, I’ve such a looooooong way to go to catch up!

It makes me really re-consider the PHD route. If I were to go down that path, it would entail also having the discipline to read a lot. It’s no wonder my professors’ office are filled with thick books. Those books are not there for posterity, mind you. My professors would be able to tell you exactly what’s inside those books as they’ve read it from cover-to-cover!

Autumn song

Since it’s now autumn, this song is back on my play list. In fact, I’m listening to this song as I’m blogging this entry!

It’s been a few years since its release but this song still remains my autumn song.

I didn’t think of it when I listened to this song today but after singing along to it a few times, I started to be cognizant of the words I’m saying. It made me recall that version of myself back then and why this song was so relate-able at that time.

2012. Hmmm… I was 28 years old then!

A 28 years old me was a woman still full of idealism and one filled with lots of energy to chase aspirations. Nothing was impossible to me. I believed then that as long as I set my mind, heart and work towards it, I could achieve those goals.

It was also a time when I craved changes and constantly looked for new opportunities to experience. At that time, I felt like I needed to experience as much as possible, learn as much as possible and achieve as much as I possibly could in order to attain a fulfilling life. The 24 hours given to me simply wasn’t enough!

I even felt that work tied me down geographically and temporally such that for a few hours every day, I wasn’t able to do the other things I’d prefer to be doing and achieving.

I also used every opportunity I had to travel. Money was no issue and I was willing to spend as long as I could explore the world.

It’s not that I do not have aspirations to chase now. It’s also not that I still do not crave to experience new things and travel. But I think that I’m so much more grounded and settled for now? I still have goals but I do not define my time with pursuing just that.

I’ve reached that point in life whereby I’m okay with having a day or days when I’ve made no plans except to go with the flow of things and where alhamdulillah, I’m okay with work and don’t find that it keeps me away from achieving other things I wanted to. I still love exploring places but I also know that with financial responsibilities elsewhere, it is not my priority.

I miss that 28 years old me sometimes but alhamdulillah, I love my current 33 years old self too!


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‘Let’s meet in Jannah’

It’s almost 2.30am and sleep still evades me. I’ve cooked a bowl of instant noodles (I don’t eat them usually but tonight, I felt like I needed to cook something really quickly) hoping that I’ll be sleepy once I’m full but instead my eyes are still wide awake.

I guess tonight is one of those nights when I feel much more lonely than other nights. I feel lonely from the lack of companionship. No matter how many times I’ve done this (almost two years now!), I really cannot get used to turning in for the night alone.

I still crave and prefer the feeling of having someone by my side and being able to exchange final words for the day with them. Those words exchanged right before falling asleep are usually nothing important. It can be as minute as ‘Can you pass me the pillow from your side?‘, ‘Can you put my handphone over there?’, ‘Have you set the alarm?’ or ‘Okay okay no more talking. Let’s sleep!’ but it’s truly comforting to hear and utter them anyway.

As I reflect on this concept of living alone, I’m fully aware that I’m not the only one in this position. I have many coursemates who are living alone as well and this particular part of Seoul where I’m staying has the highest rates of single-person households. That knowledge should technically soothe my loneliness. People always say that knowing someone else out there could be experiencing the same things you do usually refocuses the issue away from yourself so that you will feel less troubled over it.

Yet, it still does not stop me from feeling lonely every night. It also still does not stop me from missing home and the people there. When it comes to missing people, there’s never been a night since my arrival in Seoul that I’ve gone to sleep without my heart aching for my family and friends.

All these led me to ask myself another question: How would it feel if the people I love were to leave this world permanently?

My parents who have always been there for me. My siblings. My bffs whom I have experienced a lot of life together and in recent times, R whom I also spend a lot of time as well as share things with.

For now I still have the assurance that I’ll get to hear from them again. It’s just a matter of picking up the phone to call, text or meet them. But there will be a time when I won’t ever get to hear their voices nor be able to spend time with them no matter how much I miss him or her. There will be a time when my phone would not beep indicating I have a text coming in from them nor would I be looking for their names on my handphone so that I could send them a message either on WhatsApp, Instagram DM or even Facebook. That perhaps the next time we meet will be in the afterlife, by His mercy.

That sentence ‘Let’s meet each other again in Jannah‘ that we sometimes utter to a person when we part due to various reasons could be light on the tongue but laden with far deeper meanings. It entails a future whose length of time is unknown to us. It entails a reality and journey whose nature we are unsure of before we eventually reach its destination.

So when I reflect on the reality that there will be a time when I’ll part with my loved ones, I really pray that Allah allows us to meet again in Jannah and that He eases our path to reach that coveted destination.

Lastly, I pray that I always remember to embrace the present and the people I have in my life right now. Life is really too short to hold on to your ego, grievances, anger or whatever negative feelings you might have that could result from your interaction with your loved ones. As I think back to times when I might be angry with a family member or friend, I find that it’s always easy to respond either by snapping at them or giving them the cold treatment in such situation.

But life isn’t permanent. Death and separation can occur at any point in time. Time isn’t on our side even though we always deceive ourselves that it is. Everyday that passes is a day less with the people in your life. May I always remember to appreciate and embrace the presence of the people I have today. Amin.


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Summer of procrastination (on thesis)

At the time of blogging this, I’m finally officially having a summer break. Yessah!

I was tempted to spend the summer exploring more of the provinces of Korea. I figured a month would be more than enough to slowly travel and experience the different provinces. However, I had errands and matters to attend to back home and hence off to Singapore I went!

So I’ve been back in Singapore for about 2 weeks now. It has been a busy two weeks spent settling things, trying to catch up with people here and also, just to rest.

In between, I caught a flu bug that has been making its rounds among the people here and I’ve been trying to drive away the runny nose, scratchy throat and dry cough since last week. I’m heaps better at the time of writing this but yeah, my lungs still feel irritated at times. The air in this western part of Singapore I’m staying at is really polluted that it has triggered my asthma thus prompting me to use the inhaler EVERY SINGLE DAY since I got back. I probably need to get myself some new supply of the inhalers soon cos the current ones are almost empty.

Health-issues aside, I’ve been telling myself every single day to get my ass working on the thesis. Honestly every time I open my laptop, I have all intentions to start on my research or email some people who would be helpful in allowing me to get access to some data. But the reality does not pan out that way for every time I’m on my laptop, I will find a million and one other things to occupy myself with which has no relation to my thesis such as the following:

2

j88hbs

Instead of working on the thesis, I’m spending time googling for memes related to it and laughing my heads off at some of the funny captions. Some of these memes are so funny I.just.can’t!

#queenofprocrastination

I hope that the next time I blog, I’d have some updates about the progress I’ve made on my thesis. Amin.


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Back to solitary life

For the past few months, I’ve had a friend staying over at my place. It felt nice to have a roommate and basically, a companion these past few months. However as of this week, she has gone back to her country for a holiday and at the same time also moved out of the apartment.

These few days, I found myself adjusting back to solo life in Seoul. It’s back to days of waking up, spending my days and turning in for the night to an empty apartment. Since the last time I spoke to my mom on the phone 2 or 3 days back, I’ve not spoken nor communicated with anyone at all.

In the meantime, I’ve been sick but alhamdulillah I’ve gotten heaps better at the time of blogging this. Recuperating and attempting to get well by myself like this made me realize how it is that there could be cases reported whereby no one knew someone living alone had died in the apartment until perhaps a week after their death. I know it’s morbid but I now understand why that could be so. In a context whereby you live alone, lack social connections so basically there is no one who checks on you nor know where you live, and then you fell sick or an accident occurred in the apartment, it’s no wonder cases like that could occur.

That aside, it’s also back to days of scrimping on money. I knew I was lacking money when I got back to Singapore but seeing how it was Ramadan and Eid season – times when the family uses more money than usual – I didn’t have the heart to ask the parents for money to bring back to Korea. So yes, it’s back to days of making do with less.

I haven’t bought any bread since I finished it a few days back so that’s one expense less. Thank goodness Korea sells salad at such a cheap price (1000 – 2000 won only for a packet!) so my meals these few days are just white rice with salad and tomotoes and erm, lots of Eid cookies and crisps which I brought over from Singapore! Hahahah. Alhamdulillah, I still have a few cuts of chicken left which I’m trying to make last as long as possible by only cutting like 5 tiny slices to cook whenever I get too hungry. Lastly though I’ve lots of free time since school is only on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, I’ve not gone out. Going out = spending money on transport. Hence, I’ve been staying inside the house since Thursday.

I think I’m really becoming an expert in not spending money. Lol. On a serious note, I appreciate so much my house back in Singapore. When I was back home last week, the whole kitchen felt like Heaven cos it was overflowing with food!

Now, what else should I do to entertain myself in the house till Tuesday afternoon when class starts again?


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Two days till Seoul

Midnight just rolled around as I’m blogging this. It’s officially Thursday.

That means I only have two more nights (including tonight) where my family is physically so close before I turn in for the night. Three more mornings where I will wake up to a house filled with people I love very deeply.

I’m excited for all the things I am going to be learning in school but at the same time, my heart breaks at the thought of being so far from my family and loved ones. An emptiness echoes back whenever I tried to visualise myself shuffling around in the apartment, turning in and then waking up with the acknowledgement that my family is so far away. 

I’m going to end this very short entry (very unlike my usual entries!) with this emoticon that describes how I’m feeling at the awareness that I’ll be headed to the airport on Friday night to board the flight to Seoul: 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭

Can I like call the airline company and request to change the flight departure dates so that I can spend even more time with the family? 

Afterall, classes only begin officially on 9 March. I can skip the first week which is the add/drop courses week. Can, can, can????