Hello 2017

Sunday, January 8, 2017

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What a year 2016 has been. 

Truly, it has been an insane ride. I have stumbled and gotten lost, but have also gained a greater sense of awareness about myself, and can safely say that I have grown. Almost exactly a year ago, I published my "Hello 2016" piece where I described the coming year as the "most unpredictable year (I will experience) in a long, long while" - and my prediction was spot on. There was just too much uncertainty about the future then, and I'm glad I've taken the year to figure some things out, though with much difficulty. 

I've got to give it to 2016 though, for starting my year on a high. I spent the first couple of days of January in beautiful Sydney, and arrived back in Singapore to continue my stint as an editorial intern. Sure, it might have been a small company, but working there felt like an absolute dream come true - not only was I lucky enough to have colleagues and superiors (now friends) who appreciated and groomed me, I discovered, most importantly, that it was actually possible to do what you love for a living. After years of my parents telling me that such a mindset was just me being ignorant, and that I didn't completely understand the "pains and difficulties of earning money", I could finally properly substantiate my claim. 

Knowing that did unconsciously guide me along in making decisions over the course of the year, where I tried my best to find the perfect balance between practicality and interest. And that sums up how I eventually made my university choice. Looking back though, that post I wrote about decision making didn't actually accurately capture the emotions I was feeling then. I painted the process in too positive a light (not to portray myself in a certain way, but really done with the sole purpose of psyching myself into believing in what I was writing), although I was feeling hella small throughout it all. 

This feeling continued even as I started university, and in fact, all the insecurities and doubts I had magnified when I attended my first camp in business school. I signed up for it without realizing that it was a "social" camp. On the day of pre-camp, I was startled by how everyone appeared to be overwhelmingly extroverted and outgoing, which was too much for me to handle. It was a major culture shock, and I went home with a sinking feeling. When I was finally alone, I cried. It was so scary being thrown in an environment where I felt like I couldn't be myself, where I had to put on an energetic front all the time, and where I couldn't see myself spending five years in. Put simply, I felt trapped, and what a horrifying feeling that is. I did consider pulling out from the camp, but doing that would probably be an even worse way to start my university life, and I did make a promise that 2016 would be the year where I'd be open to different experiences. I eventually went for the camp. While I didn't feel completely comfortable or at peace throughout the entire duration, it did get better with time. 

Following that, I became a recluse from business-school related social activities (such as Rag), and spent the next month recharging alone, or with the company of old, familiar friends. Visiting Burma was one of the highlights that month, and definitely bode well for my psychological well-being. The sense of apprehension for school didn't go away though. 

However, I really hated how I was filled with so much dread, and that didn't feel like myself either. As such, I set on opening my heart to new experiences and new people. Although Orientation Week was cancelled, I met some people during the academic sessions and Flag Day that I was able to click with, and that make me a lot more assured and confident to deal with what's to come in business school. 

And university life turned out better than expected. I actually have friends now (yay!!!) although I'm still not 100% comfortable with opening myself up to others. Knowing my own personality, that'll take a bit more time - and that's okay. I am happy with how and the rate at which things are progressing. In addition, I really enjoy the flexibility and freedom we are given to curate our own experiences, and everything I've been learning seem a whole lot more useful than anything I've ever learnt in a classroom. The workload is also very manageable, and I can't believe I'm saying this - but I'm having fun. I spent semester one busying myself with case competitions, joining a CCA and (surprise!) Bizad Club. I definitely didn't think I'd join the latter, but I did eventually find myself becoming more comfortable with the biz school culture, and wanted to contribute to it, especially to reach out to those who may feel the same way I did - terrified, lost, confused - during my first encounter with the school. 

This winter break was pretty amazing as well. Not only did I catch up with old friends (and had plenty of great talks to last me for the year ahead), I spent a substantial amount of time getting to know new people too, which surprisingly didn't tire me out that much. Organizing photoshoots for O'Week publicity efforts, going to Taiwan with O'Week 2017 Comm (which I'll be writing about hopefully soon), and being a part of the Global Entrepreneurs' Conference - each has been so fulfilling in its own unique way. 

2016 has been real eventful, and I'm incredibly thankful for everything that has happened. So much love to the ones who've stayed by my side, and for everyone that has entered my life. 

2017 definitely isn't as unpredictable as the last, but I'm still filled with hope and excitement for what's to come. Here's to another year of stumbling and finding myself. I'm fired up, I really am. 

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L'ÉCLAIR with Chris

Sunday, January 1, 2017

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Merry (belated) Christmas! I initially wanted to abandon this post and move on to writing about the New Year but I really like the pictures here (plus, they've already been uploaded), and wanted to continue my tradition of writing about my Christmas dates with Chris.

Anyway, Christina seems to be the only friend I hang out with that I actually still feel inclined to write blog posts about. (Throwback to the times where I'd recap every single outing with every single person I spent time with). Lest people think that she's my only friend, I do have a couple of reasons to explain this strange occurrence. First, the things we do are usually pretty special (see: extravagant) and would warrant a record. Second, the both of us love obnoxious photo-taking... which usually ends up with me having a whole load of nice photos that I'd want to post somewhere. Third, we hang out during the December period, and this month's usually when I'm actually free to slowly edit pictures and craft out a blog post. 

So yes. Here we go again. If you're interested, here's last year's date, here's the one from the year before, and yes there's even one from three years back

I absolutely love our annual Christmas tradition. It always feels right, and I'm really thankful you're still here to spend time with me. This year, we visited L'ÉCLAIR by Sarah Michelle, and I'll just let the pictures do the talking (although note: the food looks a lot better than they taste). 

$50 for this set for two - comes with two drinks of our choice. 

Savouries - what a surprise because this turned out to be the best tier of the lot! The chicken and bacon pie was rich and flavourful. 

Eclairs - supposedly their specialty, and while these were good, they weren't mind-blowingly special. I suppose they are creative with the toppings and fillings considering eclairs are usually just plain custard/ chocolate.

So pretty though. 

The top tier of macarons and chocolate tarts - nothing special either, but decently decadent. 

Chris' matcha latte - my earl grey latte pales in comparison... on the "cute" meter.

White chocolate cranberry - a Christmas flavour. 


Too gorgeous to eat? Just kidding, we gobbled everything up without hesitation. In fact, it was quite funny because two other groups of girls in the cafe seemed to barely touch their food while we polished off everything very quickly. Truly not meant for the tai tai life. 

Tahitian vanilla and pecans. 

66% Mexique Dark Chocolate. 

Our window seat had perfect lighting. 

Unfortunately, we could only stay in the cafe for a maximum of 2 hours, and they were pretty strict about that. I felt like they could've been more flexible with this rule though, especially on a weekday afternoon when the place is evidently empty. 

Thank you for the great afternoon, and thanks for sticking by. 
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