Friday, March 13, 2015

After 10 years at home

This blog
I wrote the very first post in this blog on 20 March 2007, and up to the post before this one, there had been 797 others in the span of eight years. It covered a mish mash of topics, but mainly about things that matter to me i.e. my child, family, things we did, places we visited, my weird thoughts and feelings. In the early days of my blog, when my life was very focused on growing my toddler, I wrote several posts a day. As time passed and things changed, it was reduced to one post a day, one post a week, one post a fortnight, then one post a month and now, it looks like it's one post a year! One post a year is the very least I should do, so I'm writing one now as March appears to be a significant month when I left my 13-year career in corporate communication in March 2005, making it 10 years already now.

The past year, 2014, and present 2015
A few important and significant events and achievements I can remember off-hand right now:

Family Travels
During the March 2014 school holidays, we made a short trip to Ipoh. Besides enjoying Ipoh's yummy food, we visited Lost World of Tambun. The rides there were nothing to shout about, but we enjoyed its closeness to the limestone hills, and soaking in the hot spring.

We went on our very first cruise to Phuket and Krabi in May 2014 on Star Cruises. It was a fun and educational family holiday.

In November 2014, we spent a few days by the beach in Penang, savoured hawker fare, got C hooked on 'ice kacang', and attended a relative's wedding at the Blue Mansion. We drove on the Second 'Crooked' Bridge for the very first time, visited Penang Hill and the 3D Museum.

In February 2015, we travelled to Seremban and Melaka for Chinese New Year.

C switched to a new school in January 2014, and began her first secondary school year. It took off on a bad note with a class bully targeting her. It was a rough patch which tested our perseverance and wisdom as parents. After a few dramatic incidents and the dismissal of the student, the rest of the school year moved on generally well. She joined her school floorball team and participated in two tournaments, both with victory, considering the team was only less than two months old. She continues to attend training every week.

She also performed a solo 'Hairspray' number in the year-end school concert. She and her friends practised hard singing and dancing with the guidance of good teachers. She also won 'Best Achievement' awards for English (her favourite subject) and ICT.

C still plays the drums and is into her seventh year making a ruckus at home when she practises. She is into her second year playing in church two Sundays a month. She also started vocal lessons.

In November, C insisted on adopting a rescued pup from Malaysian Dogs Deserve Better, much against our desire for practical reasons. We relented hoping that she would learn to be less self-centred and more responsible. We are still hoping *grit teeth and grin*. She named the pup Mocha. Mocha is a thriving, up-to-mischief, active six-month-old now.

E remains in his current job and continues to be the main breadwinner for our little family. He took up cycling seriously and had spent a considerable amount of time and money on this renewed interest, cycling with a group every weekend. He participated in his first 'century ride' (100 miles) in Trengganu. He has signed up for another century ride this May 2015 in Perak.

He is also exercising regularly by running on the treadmill, and for short distances with the dogs when he walks them in the evenings. Next, he would probably consider swimming...and the Ironman Triathlon, maybe?? As work and exercise take up most of his time, the rest is spent exercising his fingers on the TV remote, iPad or mobile phone....but he also spends a considerable amount of time picking up where I left off (the Cantonese would say 'mo ngan thai' or 'no eye see') in dealing with a strong-willed teenager, talking about stuff and giving pep talks at the dining table.

Ten years at home. And to say my oft-said phrase, time flies. In the span of 10 years, I have, and am still, raising a girl who is quite like me in some ways (strong-willed and opinionated to say the least); therefore I continue to struggle with constant battles of knowing when to release and when to pull in the kite strings. Parenthood is a treacherous yet weirdly fulfilling journey. All other responsibilities as a cook, chauffeur, housekeeper, administrator, nurse, teacher, gardener, laundrywoman, wife, daughter, daughter-in-law, aunt, sister, etc., remain unchanged.

In 10 years, I have earned some supplementary income, mainly through writing and writing-related work. I tried making money by blogging and writing sponsored posts but discovered it just wasn't me to write stuff I wasn't interested in simply to earn some peanuts. It was different when I was in employment to do that. So I turned to writing about stuff I like. I had a fortnightly parenting column in a local daily for two years. Then I shifted to a different column under a pseudonym, and am still doing so. In between, I got random assignments to write interviews, website articles on parenting and educational subjects, transcribing and proofreading.

In June 2014, I was approached by C's principal to teach at their kindergarten. As I enjoyed being around children, and given the opportunity to teach them how to read, I accepted the offer. It started off quite uncomfortably with assisting a rather bossy co-worker, and other unexpected additional work, but progressed well with me becoming a part-time teacher, responsible for teaching reading only. As the timing and travel arrangements were not practical, I stopped teaching last month. Next month, I shall be helping a few kindergarten and primary school children in that school, guiding them with their homework in the afternoon. This arrangement would be better for me.

I am resuming my interest in reading books, not just articles on the internet. It is about time as I feel totally guilty hoarding books but never making the time to read them. So this month, being in-between jobs, I've managed to read three books and have started another one.

In the past three years, I've also become more active in my faith, by going to church every Sunday where possible, and serving in a few areas.

By God's grace and strength, I hope to continue doing everything I do with a joyful and generous heart. I have learned much in 10 years, too much to list out here.

2014 was a good year with many new things for us. May 2015 be as good, if not better.

Last but not least, another family member says, 'Hi!' Dear Rusty has been a good boy the past year. Unfortunately, he has not been getting as much attention since Mocha joined the family.

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