A Little Life

I initially had written a long post earlier today, but for some reason when I published it, the entire thing disappeared. The version history didn’t have a record of it, and it’s not in the trash. I don’t want to let my effort go to waste so I’m going to try and retype everything again.

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On my way to the clinic. Our place is at one of those buildings on the right side.

I was sick today. Actually, I’ve been feeling unwell since 2 days ago. And if I’m gonna be more honest, I’ve been unwell for the past year. But let’s not get into that. What I want to get into is a little diary of sorts for future-me to look back on.

Wednesday, 4th of July

Yesterday was a normal day at work. If you really want to know what’s a week like in the work life of a Web UX Designer, go to celenadoesux.wordpress.com.

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Check out this chili-colored dragonfly that I saw on my way to work.

When I got home from work, my housemates and I cooked a dinner of tocino, tapa, and some soup. After dinner I went straight to bed and nursed myself to sleep with tiger balm and Jonathan Van Ness’ Getting Curious podcast.

Tuesday, 3rd of July

Tuesday was another normal day at work. I’ve been reading a book called A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I’m loving it so much. It follows the life and the friendship of 4 guys in New York who had just finished college and are finding their place in the world.

When we got home, my housemates weren’t around. It was raining super hard but we were out of rice, so K had to go out and buy some. Meanwhile, I cleaned our room a bit, washed my underwear, and cooked torta. We watched some Avatar: The Last Airbender. I am loving that show so much. It reminds me not to lose a childlike sense of wonder that not only makes life bearable, but exciting, too.

Monday, 2nd of July

Last Monday I started with the kickboxing class that I had signed up for. It.. wasn’t what I expected. I had thought that it’s going to be some muay thai-style class, but it turns out it was like zumba but kickboxing moves. Not exactly my jam, but oh well. After work, we went to Japanese class. We have gone through all the hiragana characters, and counting up to the hundred thousands. I’m a little overwhelmed with everything, but I know I can master it, with lots of patience and practice!

Sunday, 1st of July

Now we’re getting to the good stuff! There are two highlights of my weekend, once of which is playing badminton with my housemates at the Thomson Community Club!

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I’m not a very sporty person. So I was a little apprehensive when K booked us a slot for the courts. But to my surprise, I was a pretty decent badminton player. And more importantly, I had fun! I, too, cannot believe it. It is such a delightful revelation, ok.

Saturday, last day of June

The other highlight of the weekend is going to the Sobs album launch.

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They were joined by a couple of other bands from Jakarta (Grrrl Gang, Bedchamber, Gizpel). They were hyping each other, moshing and crowd surfing. It was such a fun time, and I wish there was more of that in Singapore.

Before all that, I started Saturday by reviewing my Japanese notes. Then my housemates and I went to the gym. I ran for 30 minutes while watching the Chinese version of My Bestfriend’s Wedding. After the gym, we went swimming. It was such a fun and relaxed afternoon.


So yeah, July was off to a good start. I look forward to the coming weekend again. I live solely for the weekends, it seems. Here are some of my goals for July:

  1. Prepare for Taiwan trip (outfits, my nails and eyebrows, and teeth)
  2. Sort out my finances (continue tracking my finances, read 1-2 books on finance, research bank loans)
  3. Update my portfolio with 2 case studies: (1) SMU website redesign, and (2) PCE redesign, and update the graphic design and UI collections with new work
  4. Clear out my closet and do some much-needed general cleaning
  5. Continue my Javascript class(es) and join Techladies Bootcamp

*BONUS* Do a ‘day in a life’ video?

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2D2N in Phuket, Thailand

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Karon Viewpoint

If I want to be more accurate, I should probably say 1.75D2N in Phuket. Our flight from Singapore is at 8AM on a Friday, and the return flight is very early Sunday morning.

Here’s a quick outline of what we did:

Day 1 (Friday): Check in & City Tour

  • Wat Chalong
  • Big Buddha
  • Karon Viewpoint & Karon Beach
  • Indy Night Market

Day 2 (Saturday): Island Tour & Night Market

  • Phi Phi and Khai Noi Island Tour
  • Phuket Weekend Night Market

Day 3 (Sunday): Head home


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A cute corner in the hostel lobby

Where We Stayed

We stayed at 12 Month Hostel in Phuket Town because the location seemed convenient and it was dirt cheap (SGD 8/pax per night for the four of us). But I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone because:

  1. the place wasn’t very nice (I know, we get what we pay for, but come on, fungi growth on the ceiling that is like less than 2 feet away from our loft bed? The listing also forgot to mention that the room can only be reached after 6 flights of stairs.)
  2. it’s much better to get a place near a beach, because airport transfers via taxi aren’t that expensive (650 THB as of this writing)

Getting Around

As mentioned previously, the taxi fare from the airport to Phuket Town is around THB 650. We contracted the same taxi company to pick us up from our hostel on Sunday, which is another THB 650. The same taxi driver also managed to convince us to let him tour us around the city for 1 day for THB 2200/SGD 90+. For 4 people, it comes down to about $22/pax so we were okay with it.

Phuket actually has Grab (SEA version of Uber), but we find that it is actually more expensive than hailing a cab ourselves. For wifi, I bought a sim card from Klook for around SGD 6. It’s around the same price that my friend got from the airport.

City Tour

Now some pictures from the first day:

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At Wat Chalong

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A814D73B-99E1-4D37-B1E6-C523A9C82E5E.JPGWhen visiting temples like this, always remember to wear pants and shirts with sleeves or bring something to cover your legs and shoulders. After admiring the architecture at Wat Chalong, we went straight to the Big Buddha!

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Selfie-taking couple for scale
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The Big Buddha place offers a nice view, too

There isn’t really much to do here except take pictures. It’s also obvious that there are still some undergoing construction outside and inside the Buddha (yes, you can go inside the Buddha!)

The next stop was Karon viewpoint (see photo above). Again, there isn’t much to do here but relax and take pictures. The nice thing was it wasn’t very crowded. After Karon viewpoint we were starving, so we went down to Karon beach to catch the sunset and have dinner. This proved to be the best decision ever because the food was AMAZING and the sunset was glorious!

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I didn’t manage to take a photo of what we had but we had a little bit of everything. Fish in this mouth-watering garlic and lemon sauce, spare ribs, spring rolls, sautéed veggies, omelet, etc.
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The place we ate at is inside this market. I think it’s right behind the shopping sale, near that ‘Fish’ signage at the leftmost corner.

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We were supposed to go to see the Simon Cabaret and hang out at Bangla road at Patong, but we were dead tired. We ended up going back to the hostel, washing up, and then just walking around Phuket Town. We ended up at Indy Market (because Phuket Weekend Night Market was open only on Saturday & Sunday nights). The actual market was pretty small, so I don’t recommend going there (unless you didn’t have any choice, like us).

So that was it for the first day. My biggest regret was that we didn’t get to check out the old Phuket Town at all. It looked so pretty when we passed by it on Saturday night. Maybe next time.

Island Tour

The second day started pretty late (9AM). We got picked up at our hostel for our Phi Phi Island tour (which cost us around THB2500/pax – we know, expensive! You can probably find one for THB1500-1800) Aside from that, we also bought some beach shoes for THB 350 to protect our feet from sea urchins. The good thing is that softdrinks and clean water are available, and there was an average halal buffet lunch.

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I can’t exactly tell the itinerary of the boat tour, I just know we went to the Phi Phi Islands, Maya Bay, etc.

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We got back to our hostel at around 5:30PM, then we showered and headed to the Phuket Weekend Night Market. That place was super overwhelming! The food! The clothes! It was so overwhelming that I forgot to take but one photo:

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See that chocolate ball? That is what heaven on your mouth feels like.

The only bad thing about this place is that it closes at 12AM! So early wtf. We didn’t have enough time to feast and shop. Good thing there was a Super Cheap (this is seriously the name of the shop) nearby, so we did some groceries (read: bought beers) there and headed back to the hostel.
We woke up at around 5AM and headed back to the airport at around 6AM. Aaand that concludes our quick Phuket weekend trip. Going to Thailand is always a pleasure, and I can’t wait to go back next year!

What’s in my bag (2018 Edition)

I first wrote a rather gross ‘what’s in my bag’ post 5 years ago. It’s pretty bad. This was back in college, okay, so obviously things have improved now. Here’s my bag which I got from my mom:

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So cute, right?! I really like that it makes me look like a professional adult woman who has got her shit together (the operative word is look). AND it’s so small that it reduces the strain on my shoulder.

Here’s what it looks like when you open it:

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A little cramped, I know

I can only bring my absolute essentials due to the size of the bag, but it helps me survive with very minimal stuff so I count that as a win:

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Okay! Here’s what I got from top to bottom, left to right:

  1. My passport, in case I spontaneously book a trip to somewhere lol (it’s happened more than once)
  2. My employee ID!
  3. Mirror from miniso. I used to take pride in being able to do my makeup using my phone camera, but I suddenly questioned why I need to treat myself like this! I do my makeup in the bus and it just makes the whole process easier if I have a pocket mirror. The fact that I like we bare bears & pink does not have anything to do with this, ok.
  4. Phone charger. This usually goes with my earphones, and I’m a little bit concerned as to why it is not in my bag right now.
  5. Etude House’s Drawing Eyebrow in dark grey. I only bought this because my Holika holika one ran out, but now I have 3 and I’m just waiting to finish this one.
  6. So Matte Lipstick from Sooper Beaute (it seems like it has been discontinued?). I like the color of this lipstick, but it’s super drying.
  7. Chapstick because my lips are so dry lately
  8. My tita wallet lol. I’ve been looking for a wallet like this for so long, so when we stumbled upon a shop that sells it for 10 sgd, we didn’t let the opportunity pass.
  9. The notebook that I cannot live without. If I don’t write down what tasks I need to accomplish for work, I forget it and get distracted. Such is the state of my 24 year old mind.

That’s it! I wonder what would be in my bag another 5 years from now.

Let’s have fun & not get worried & stuff!

I can’t think of another way to start this than: it has been awhile! And it has. 3 months and 12 days to be exact. I’ve been meaning to update this, but as usual, life (or mere laziness) gets in the way. What have you been up to?

What have I been up to?

It’s so hard to answer this, even though I haven’t been doing a lot of things (it’s mostly just work). So, let’s scrap the idea of writing everything that happened since I last wrote here. Let’s just start with today.

A Stressful Dream

Today is a Friday. It’s a Hari Raya holiday. It’s 7 minutes to 12 noon. I just finished hanging my laundry. Breakfast was chips (ruffles jalapeño – so good!) and some cereal.

I woke up from a stressful dream. In it, my job contract had been cancelled and most of my teammates were also leaving the company. Because of this, our team basically got ~disbanded~ and the remaining ones had to be under a different team. It was so sad! The next thing I know, K & I are in the airport. We are on our way to Japan, with the intention of finding a job there. Internally I was beating myself up for not taking care of my portfolio and writing my case studies when I still had a job.

From this dream, you can basically tell what’s stressing me out at the moment: (1) losing my job (my mom just recently lost hers, so you know, I somehow found a way to make it about moi), and (2) not preparing my portfolio & case studies when I still have time.

Speaking of Japan…

I have 2 updates:

  1. We are going to Osaka this October! I’m so excited to go to the land of Terrace House.
  2. We are taking nihonggo classes! We signed up for 10 classes every Monday evening at Ikoma. So far, so good. In the first week, we learned about 8 hiragana characters. Last week, we added another 8. We also learned some basic phrases: ohayo, konnichiwa, oyasumi, tadaima, okaeri, arigato, hajimemashite, watashi wa (name) desu, dozo yoroshiku. We’re learning the numbers too. I think the beginner class is really good for someone like me who wasn’t really into anime & Japanese culture before.
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View from our second classroom at Ikoma.

I’m happy that I get to cross #2 out of my 10 goals for this year. But I’ m also a bit anxious about it (seriously, when am I not anxious about things!). I am scared that I might get lazy and grow sick of it. I feel like since we started the class, we ought to finish it until the end (because it’s not cheap! Around SGD 400+). And that towards the end it should result to something tangible, like a job offer in Japan.

I need to remember that sometimes I can do things just for the sake of it. That I should stop worrying and enjoy it. And that I can measure my success on whether I had a great time. And that with having fun with it results to more curiosity on my end, resulting to more learning, yakno? Anyway, it’s one thing to be aware of this, and another to actually ~feel~ it. But I believe in myself! Let’s have fun & not get worried & stuff!

But my goals!

Okay, I know I just said to not get worried, but honestly, I’m also beating myself up for not accomplishing many of my goals set for this year. We are halfway through 2018 (insert JVN ‘Can you believe?’.gif), and I feel like it is the perfect time to review my goals & my very little progress:

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I impulsively bought these two books from a seller at Carousell. I’ve been wanting to read the Miranda July book because I was under the impression that is going to be something like what Heather Havrilesky writes. Boy was I wrong. I hope A Little Life does not let me down.
  1. Read 12 books. I’m doing pretty well here! 3 books ahead of schedule.
  2. Learn basic nihonggo. Done, 8 weeks from now!
  3. Get life insurance. Okay, this & no. 4 overwhelms me, honestly. I should break it into tiny steps like (1) read up & maybe (1.5) take some classes, (2.1) track my monthly expenses, (2.2) write down my risk profile, financial goals & timeline, etc. (2.3) meet with a financial advisor, (3) meet with at least 3 life insurance agents, (4) get life insurance! I should do items 1 to 2 from June to July, then on August, do #3-4.
  4. Try investing in mutual funds and/or bonds. See above.
  5. Get braces. This one overwhelms me also, for some goddamn reason. Like all I need to do is (1) meet with 3-4 dentists, and (2) set up an appointment to fix my teeth. Let’s get this done before the Taiwan trip, self.
  6. Finish a project. HUHUHU not even close. #6-7 is causing me a lot of stress. I can’t manage my time properly. But I’m going to take a zine-making class next month, and I’m planning to buy a film camera, so hopefully I get to do something with my hands by July.
  7. Finish my online classes. I.. have fallen off track. But I think I need to divide this in smaller chunks as well. I will follow up later!
  8. Maintain a capsule wardrobe. Not a big priority. Maybe can be done before or after my Japan trip lmao.
  9. Run a 5k/Learn jiu jitsu. I have fallen off track here, too. This & number 10. I WILL GO BACK TO THE GYM THIS WEEKEND AND GO TO THE GYM TWICE NEXT WEEK AND THEN THRICE AFTER THAT AND THEN FOUR AFTER THAT AND THEN TRY TO SUSTAIN THE 4x A WEEK.
  10. Maintain healthy eating and exercise habits. See above!

I need to write this down somewhere because I hardly look at my blog anymore lmao. Please pray for me!

Saturday Currently #2 and 2018 Goals

This will be a quick one! It’s 2:38 AM, and I’m wide awake because I fell asleep right after I got home. I’m currently..

..listening to: or more appropriately, watching the new Japanese Breakfast video for Boyish. This is one of my favorites out of the two or three songs that I know lol. Please watch!!!

..reading: Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. OK, first of all, I didn’t know that this book was going to be too… literal. I mean I was expecting something else than a love story that is literally set during a time of cholera outbreaks. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it isn’t that.

Anyway, I don’t regret going in blind, because I don’t think I would’ve picked up this book if I knew what the plot was. The primary feeling that I get when reading this is that of discomfort, because of the racism, infidelity, social prejudice, and especially because I’m now at the part where (spoiler alert!) Florentino Ariza starts sleeping with a 12 year-old. I can’t wait to finish this book this weekend.

..watching: Well, I didn’t watch anything today, but a couple of days ago we tried watching Hyori’s Home Stay. I had to stop because the captions are blocking the subtitles, making it very hard to read.

..thinking: of all the things I want to do this weekend. I want to continue my 3d for designers course, and maybe one skillshare course, too. I want to go to the gym, and go to a flea market and meet up with a friend. I want to clean up our room, and finish my book. Two days is just not enough! I need 3 or 4-day weekends lol.

I’m also thinking of the goals that I’ve written for the year. I know, I only have 10 months left, but I think most of these are still doable:

  1. Read 12 books. I miss the days when I could read up to 60 books a year. This year I humbly and hopefully aim for 1 book a month (so far, so good).
  2. Learn basic nihonggo. K and I have been talking about taking nihonggo classes since we started watching Terrace House and I think it’s a good skill to have.
  3. Get life insurance. For someone who frequently thinks about what might happen after death, I sure am not preparing well for it. Ideally, I want to have paid off my life insurance before I turn 30.
  4. Try investing in mutual funds and/or bonds. I definitely have an emergency fund (6 months worth of expenses), and I’m also saving for my brother’s college education, but even then I think I’ll still have some left that will depreciate if I don’t invest them somewhere. I think mutual funds & bonds are a good place to start investing (aside from the house & lot that I started paying for last year). I will probably read up a bit, start on one that is low-risk, low-return, short-term, and another one that is longer term. Eventually (maybe in the next year or two), I’m hoping to try other investments such as stocks, land, a business, etc. The higher risk, and higher return ones. But not this year just yet.
  5. Get braces. This is a different kind of investment lol. But it’s also something that I’ve been wanting to do, because if I get married I want to have nice teeth in my photos ok!!
  6. Finish a project. I’ve made this super vague because it doesn’t matter what I finish, as long as I do finish it. It could be a zine, an e-commerce shop, or the 100 Day UI challenge.
  7. Finish my online classes (3d for designers, web accessibility, drupal, web dev. courses, and saved skillshare courses). Last year I bought two classes on udemy (one on drupal and one on web development), and early this year I joined 3D for Designers (which I am loving). A few weeks ago I joined Skillshare (I have a promo for 2 months, and I hope I can finish 1 or 2 classes a week), and earlier today I signed up for a course on web accessibility. I’m really happy that I have the money to pay for those courses, but now I have to actually finish them. Should be fun!
  8. Maintain a capsule wardrobe. I used to be super obsessed with thrifting, back in my college days (I sound so old when saying that wtf). I upgraded to fast fashion (H&M, Forever21, Cotton On, etc.) when I started earning money, but I find that the quality is usually poor (because it’s cheap), and that I even prefer my thrifted clothes over the newer ones. So I’m thinking, since thrifting leaves me with not enough closet space, and shopping leaves me with clothes I get sick of quickly, might as well invest on a few good quality pieces that I can just mix and match, then get rid of the other clothes that I don’t really like. I’ll have cleaner closet space, without sacrificing quality. Or maybe I’m just looking for reason to buy clothes in Uniqlo and Muji, I don’t know.
  9. Run a 5k/Learn jiu jitsu. What is a goals list without fitness goals! I can lock down 3.5-3.8 km+ in 30 mins, but I want to push myself to do a full 5k. On the treadmill or in a marathon, it doesn’t matter. Although, a marathon medal sure feels like a more tangible proof of achievement. Meanwhile, jiu jitsu is something that K wants to do, but I’m open to it too, as long as we’re both trying to stay healthy by exercising regularly and eating well. I read that one must clock in 100-150 hrs of exercise a day, and I hope I can do that through running or jiu jitsu.
  10. Maintain healthy eating and exercise habits. I am still so much in love with fast food and junk food (shame!!) But I think as long as I try to sneak in some veggies every now and then, I’m good. I’m just 24, after all. If there’s a good time to eat all the unhealthy food that I want, it’s now lol. People who naturally love salads and tofu and other healthy foods are so lucky!

It’s now 3:36 AM! I’m feeling a bit optimistic (and naive, maybe), but I have a good feeling about 2018. In any case, I hope I have enough strength & wisdom to deal with things that don’t go as planned. Bye!

 

Life Lately: Jan – Feb 2018

We are now almost half-way into the second month of 2018, and things have been pretty good lately.

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Holidays at Home

K & I celebrated the New Year at home in the Philippines. Leaving and going back to Singapore was a bit harder this time around, mostly because it’s sad to leave my family, relatives, and friends behind. But it’s nice to see everyone early in the year. I didn’t realize how much I missed them. I even got teary-eyed while boarding the flight. Homesickness kicked in a year late.

Saying Goodbye to Another Home

When we got back, we had to say another good bye, because we are moving out of Boon Keng. I still remember the first time I laid my eyes on that place. It was literally love at first sight. I must’ve viewed around ~10 units prior to that.

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I came home to this one day for lunch. I asked K to get us chicken rice & yong tau foo from a nearby hawker food court. But he went above & beyond my expectations lol.

Anyway, I made the most out of our remaining time there by going home for lunch, and having our dinners there. Then we had to go through this whole ordeal of moving in to another place.

Nothing could’ve prepared us (well, our agent could’ve done it, if he did his job) for the stress and frustration that ensued. It’s a good thing I got to read ‘The Magic of Tidying Up’ by Marie Kondo prior to moving, because at least we got to discard some (not all – YET) of our rubbish.

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Our new place in Upper Thomson is just lovely, despite the long 5-minute uphill walk (and an hour+ bus ride) to get there. We are sharing it with my friend from high school and her boyfriend. It’s been great so far. They have better cooking skills than us, and they are always game to go the gym!

Started a Ritual

Speaking of going to the gym, K & I signed up for an 2-week HIIT trial in the middle of January. I stumbled upon Ritual on Instagram, and their whole ’30-minute gym’ and ‘just bring yourself’ gimmick is super attractive. They literally addressed the main things that are keeping people (read: me) from going to the gym regularly: 1. lack of time, and 2. the hassle of having to pack gym clothes, shoes, and towel.

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I finished the trial early last week (I suspended it for a week because of a trip), and I got to say, I’m still seriously considering signing up for a full membership. K absolutely loved it as well. Even if we have our own gym in the condo, I would still prefer to go to Ritual.

The facilities are just A++, the routines are pretty flexible (in that there are variations for people who are more advanced), the instructors are friendly and attentive. The only thing that is keeping us now is the price. It is not cheap! Just to give you an idea: if I suddenly get a SGD 300-400 increase in my monthly salary, then I will feel less guilty signing up.

Trip to Batam

We signed up for the gym because we wanted to prepare for an upcoming vacation! Well, 1/2 vacation, and 1/2 team building for me. My second team building with SMU is in Batam! I asked for an extension for the weekend, so my mom and K can join me.

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Batam seems to be a quiet island that reminds me of the provinces in the Philippines. There are some areas that are more developed than others, and you can see the influences of nearby tourists in the form of hipster cafes (of course I went to one lol).

Since Batam is a big island, the places of interest can be quite far from each other, so I opted to just go on a day trip to a beach resort. We hired a driver service from Carousell. This proved to be a really good call because some of the places we went to don’t have taxis readily available, and if there are, expect the rates to be expensive. The service we got was around 45 sgd for the day.

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We went to Turi Beach (I think the day trip is around 40sgd per pax), ate at Rezeki and Bella Italia Ristorante, shopped around Mega Mall. It was a well-deserved weekend getaway for us, and I’m happy we went for it!

NN/g Conference

Prior to our Batam trip, I attended 2 days of the NN/g Conference in Singapore. My first day is a workshop on ‘Measuring UX’, and the second is a talk on ‘User Interface Principles Every Designer Has to Know‘. The first one leans toward statistics, while the second has hints of psychology.

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Both are conducted by the same speaker (Raluca Budiu) and I’m pretty satisfied with my choices! I’ve completed the exams this weekend (obviously the Measuring UX questions were a bit tougher for me than the theories/principles). I’m grateful for the opportunity and I look forward to attending 3 more classes next year to get my UX Certification.

ONE OK ROCK in Singapore

There’s one more highlight of last January: K watching his favorite band play live, and me discovering a new band to like!

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I did not know any OOR song prior to attending the concert (it was my Christmas gift to K), but I was completely blown away by their live performance. They were so good that towards the end I asked K if we can join the guys who are standing and dancing to the music (we were way up the stadium, and almost everyone else is just sitting). The lights, the music, the band’s stage presence, it’s something else.

Weekend & Valentine’s Dates

We got to check out new places & activities the past few weeks. We went to a new burger place in Cathay called B Burger, we watched Vince & Kath & James in an outdoor cinema in Sentosa, and for Valentine’s we checked out the Capitol and watched Black Panther. We also got to try the dinner buffet at The Fullerton Hotel!

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That is all, folks. I’m looking forward to going home for the Paramore concert (I AM STOKED!!!!!!), and completing a 3D for Designers course. Bye!

 

 

 

2017, The Year of Growing Up

2017 was the year I finally felt like I’m no longer the teenager that I was. It’s three years late, I know. I moved to a new country, started working for a new company, found a new place to live in with my mom and my boyfriend. I had the most freedom in my 23+ years of existence and if you have read my posts this year, you’ll know that it was both an interesting yet frustrating experience, to see how I’ll get by when left to (almost) my own devices.

The Bad

Feeling burnt out and getting the ‘impostor syndrome’: 2017 was just not what my ambitious self was expecting. I wasn’t as productive as I wanted to be. I felt really burnt out, demotivated, and stressed, day in and day out. I felt like an impostor, career-wise.

Relationships: I didn’t make as much friends as I wanted to. Adult friendships are excruciatingly difficult for me, it turns out. Additionally, living away from my social circles, my cousins, brothers, relatives, and most of all, my best friend, was more difficult than I anticipated.

Personal goal and hobbies: I didn’t manage my newfound free time well and I ended up not doing any personal work at all. Heck, I didn’t even get to finish my reading challenge (which was set at an all-time low of only 10 books for the year). I didn’t realize how much of my energy could get sucked in to work and housekeeping (and, fine, mobile games).

I’m aware, though, that I had really high expectations and had set up unrealistic goals for myself. It’s like I’m setting myself up for failure. Obviously, if there’s anything to learn from this, it’s to learn how to set up realistic, attainable goals, and to cut myself some goddamn slack.

The Good

New living and working situations: Fortunately, every other part of my life (parts that are not me, if that makes sense, lol) are great. My boyfriend has been really supportive (to a fault, even). My new workplace and new colleagues are great. This new country and our new place, albeit both small, is amazing. And with this work-life balance, I get to spend my weekends attending conferences, watching movies and shows on Netflix, playing games, trying new places to eat at, etc.

Travelling with friends: For me, the biggest highlight of 2017 is probably when we went to South Korea and Thailand. I never really had any interest of going to Seoul until we booked a flight last November 2015, so I didn’t have any expectations.

As the flight schedule approached, we started watching Goblin and I started listening to a couple of K-pop bands. That’s when I really got excited to go, and oh boy, South Korea did not disappoint. I am seriously in love. We stayed in a quaint little Airbnb hostel in Myeongdong and we had a jampacked itinerary and we did so much shopping and oh my god just looking back gives me butterflies.

Our short weekend trip to Thailand is amazing as well. When I was younger I always dreamt of going to Bangkok, for some reason. My friends and I had a great time going to museums and temples, shopping, getting massages, and, above all, eating good (and drinking milk tea lol).

Managing my finances: Okay, maybe that’s an overstatement. But I’ve started investing on our own house now, after renting and living with relatives since forever. I also got to save a lot of my earnings this year and completed an emergency fund worth 6 months of our expenses. Some of my relatives also borrowed money from me and I’m still lucky that I’m now in a position to help.

I’m comfortable that if, God forbid, anything happens, we won’t be completely helpless. I’m always worried about bad things that could happen to our family, and the way I manage my finances is just an endless cycle of preparing for That Bad Thing.

For 2018, I hope I can finally get over my fear of starting a business. I’m going to start by selling my old clothes and other stuff on Carousell or a garage sale. Then hopefully I can branch out to something slightly bigger.

Exercising: One of my proudest achievements for 2017 is that I actually stuck to doing yoga once a week! I haven’t done any exercise since I finished with PE classes in college, and I’m glad to have made a small step (and stuck to it!!!) this year. Aside from yoga, there are also times when I run for 30 minutes in the gym. IN THE GYM. I WENT TO THE GYM.

I did gain 3kg towards the end of the year, but for 2018 I hope to lose those 3kg + my belly fat lol.

For 2018

2018 is going to be all about venturing out of my comfort zones and making myself vulnerable.

Whether it’s in making new friends, creating bad art & design, selling my stuff online or in person, trying a new physical activity, travelling alone, expressing my feelings and appreciation to others, etc! I will prioritize my relationships (with family, friends, lover, my self, the community, A Higher Being, etc.) first. I will also strive to take care of the only body that I was given.

Career and professional growth-wise, I will lighten up and become more humble. I am an amateur, but I am also very willing to learn and have fun. I can fail so many times, and it’s all right. I’m free to fail spectacularly, as long as I give it a shot.

2018 is going to be the year of still having fun!

Tuesday, 26th December

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Christmas ain’t over until we’ve finished the leftovers from the 25th. That’s an unspoken rule. So we are still in a very festive mood today!

Today was a pleasantly tiring day. We started at around 9AM with a breakfast buffet. I had the usual – cereal, bacon and eggs, potatoes, rice, juice, yogurt! After eating, we went back to bed and watched some TV. We don’t have cable at home so it was quite an indulgence. We watched some travel show on Niseko and Yamagata prefecture in Japan, and we decided we’d go to those places in the future. One of our hobbies is dreaming about going to Japan lol. We also watched an odd cooking show that has Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart cooking beside each other wtf. It was… enjoyable.

At around noon we checked out at the hotel to go home. All these hotel rooms are nice, but nothing really beats the comfort of your own bed.

I showered and prepared for today’s plans which really is just one thing: buy gifts for my officemates. You see, it’s not last minute shopping if you do it after Christmas. Right? Right. So after showering we went to Bugis, and shopped until around 5 PM. It was a HUGE relief to tick some items off my list!

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My mom joined us and we headed to Marina Bay to check out the Marina Bay Carnival. We were under the impression that there’s going to be some shops, but it turns out it was all a bunch of rides and games (like an actual carnival, duh). So we just walked around until we got to the Gardens by the Bay. We saw a giant baby, pictured below:

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When we were done resting on my new picnic mat (hell yea!), we headed home. And now I’m in bed listening to Chet Baker (I Get Along Without You Very Well [Except Sometimes]) and writing this.

December 23

Today we tried kickboxing at the Evolve MMA gym. It seems quite easy to pick up, but the plans that they have are way over our budget. We’re going to look at a different place to try it again.

December 24

Spent the entire morning looking for a good and affordable airfryer as a gift to my mom. We tried two malls before we ended up in Harvey Norman in Millenia Walk. We also bought a small gift for our landlord. At around 3 PM we checked in at the Park Hotel in Alexandra. We just spent the day lazying by the pool, eating wedges and wings. It was just nice. We can see The Interlace from where we were sitting.

At around dinnertime we had our noche buena – some really good steak and instant mashed potatoes – in our hotel room. Love Actually was on so we watched it. At around 12AM we went for a mass. When we got back I was too sleepy to open gifts so I suggested we do it tomorrow morning.

December 25

The first thing we did upon waking up was to open gifts in bed, of course.

I had some really nice gifts from my officemates, and from K and my mom. Afterwards, we had a lovely breakfast buffet by the pool, and then we swam until noon. At around 2pm we checked out and went home.We received a log cake from our landlord. It seems like it’s a popular food for Singaporeans to have during Christmas. We videocalled a couple of our relatives from the US and PH for the entire afternoon, until it was time to go to a different hotel. Then we had dinner at our favorite place, Lao Yu Ji. I am so glad the stars aligned (read: my mom had a duplicate booking) and we got to have dinner there for Christmas.

We spent the rest of the night watching Batman vs Superman, which was still awful in the second viewing lol. Great day, overall!

Monday, 18th December

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Li Ka Shing Library

Today was a pretty perfect day. I woke up at 7 AM, quickly got out of bed, and felt really well-rested. It was the third time in a row that I woke up early, and I guess my main motivation was that I like having extra time in the morning to do stuff.

After forcing K to come with me, we went for breakfast at the McDonald’s across the street. We had the usual – egg mcmuffin for me, sausage mcmuffin (with egg) for him. I also tried something new with my commute to work.

When I got to the office, I picked up work on some of the pending things from last week:

  • one masthead design for School of Law’s event,
  • documentation of a usability evaluation that I did for a Password Reset service, and
  • the prototype for the Professional & Continuing Education course template.

Then we had discussion on the next steps for the usability evaluation, and before I knew it, it was way past lunch time. I had some chicken pie & green tea latte at Starbucks for lunch.

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When I got back, I met a new colleague who is going to work on the copy for an upcoming major website redesign. After that, I just polished up the documentation, applying the changes from our discussion, and then emailed it off.

At around 6PM I rode the bus to Choa Chu Kang, where I’m meeting a seller from Carousell to buy a really cute picnic basket. It’s my most prized possession now. It’s my Christmas present to myself and I’m really happy that I bought it! We had some dinner at a nearby food court, where we had salted egg chicken and a really tasty mixed rice.

The only sad part of today is that we had to tell our landlord that we are planning to move out by February next year. I’ve grown really fond of our place already, and he is such a nice guy. He had just put up some tiny Christmas decorations and it breaks our hearts to have to look at them when we know we are going to say goodbye soon 😦

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Boon Keng 😦

I’m feeling anxious about the new place we are moving into. On one hand, the place has unbelievably nice amenities (pool, gym, sauna, grill place, events area, karaoke place), it’s a condo, and the rent is going to be a little cheaper than what we are currently paying.

On the other hand, the location is a bit far from the city, and the place is super small, considering that there’s going to be five of us living together. That’s another thing. We are getting flatmates. It has to be handled really carefully or our friendships will be at risk. I hope it all goes well. We have to take care of cleaning up this place, and applying for electricity, water, and wifi. Above all, I don’t want to leave our current place and our landlord. 😦 I love our place, I just think it’s a waste to spend too much of our money in rent. Oh well. We’ll just see what happens.

Aside from this bit, I think today was great! I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

Wait it Out

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Pretty artwork at the new Bendemeer train station

Title is completely unrelated to the post. I’m listening to that Imogen Heap song right now.

Okay, it’s December. Time for my weekly(ish) recap. First, the weekend. The weekend flew by too fast. It’s all because we spent all weekend playing games. If I were to estimate it:

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The most disappointing chart of all time.

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