Monday, July 23, 2012

6 working days to go

The time draws nearer and nearer. I am soon going to leave. I have been feeling strange the last week or so. The occasional excitement gives way to melancholy. And at other times, I dread the feeling of losing one big part of me.
I am not quite sure how else I am going to feel.
I have been meeting up with various people, having farewell lunches and dinners and meet-ups. It's been great meeting everyone. But it has also been hard knowing that I might not see these people again for a long time to come.
In the mean time, I am worrying about how things will be for my mum. She has been calm and collected, rather quiet, in fact. But I am concerned that she will end up crying and wailing on the day we leave. I am not sure how I can handle that. All I know is that I want her to be strong and look forward to our return to visit perhaps in half a year or even less. Sigh.
Hubs is now in Canada, and I know he will be very tired in the next 2-3 weeks before we fly to Shanghai together. I hope he can cope with his work. And I hope we both can cope with our new life in Shanghai next month.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Two weeks to go

In less than 2 weeks actually, I will leave the workplace which has been very much a "home" to me. I shall leave the students and teachers and the place ... with mixed feelings. Reflecting on my love-hate relationship with SA, I have to say, I have had more good days than bad days there.
I have learned a lot of things in the 15+ years I have been there. I never thought I'd last so long there, but .... well, it has been over 15 years.
I have learned to be more pro-active. I have learned to be at least a step ahead of my students in many ways. I have learned many sports. I have learned many responsibilities. I have made many new friends. I have enjoyed keeping some of those friends.
Will I shed a tear on leaving? Very likely. I will miss many things that I have come to hold dear to my heart while there.
NO I will not miss some people. But I will bring with me the knowledge that I have done the best I can most of the time, and even better than I ever thought I could. As much as I have been the teacher, I have also been a student. I have learned much, just as I have loved much.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

31 going 30

 I am one month away from departure.Today the staff had a lunch for Chong and me. Chong's last day is tomorrow. Me? Another 2 and a half weeks. We had our makan2 and then we were presented with our farewell gifts. I have been getting gifts the last week or so, hence the photos. But really, it is not about the gifts, but about the givers and the friendships. Nevertheless, I appreciate the gifts a lot.

 Top view of the few gifts that I have been given.
Close-up of the gifts
The pearl earrings from the English panel
 The cabin bag and the purse are from the staff club.

 This watch is precious to me, not just because it is a beautiful and expensive watch, but because it was given by my very good friends and the ones who bought it made an effort to find something so beautiful for me.
 This watch is also a precious gift to me as it was given by my colleague, someone who is quietly supportive and helpful most of the time. I really didn't expect this.

This is a close-up of the red purse.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

35 days going 34

5 weeks. That is all I have left here before I become a foreigner in a land where my forefathers come from.  
I am still not very prepared. My mind and my heart basically refuse to get into the relocation mode the last few days. I have so many things which I cannot seem to put down (direct Chinese translation). I am still in the thick of managing work, worrying over things which I have no control over, and being devious in getting some people into trouble. 
If not for being "forced" to let go, I seriously won't be able to. And God knows me well enough to force it upon me very gently. 
It was Hari K yesterday. And I met up with many former students. Many of them came running to me screaming "Puan Chrisssssssssss". And we talked and talked and just enjoyed the sharing of our lives. Yes, it was a sharing of our lives - how they were doing, where I will be going and what I'll do. And I realised, I miss those kids who have now turned into adults. I will miss being part of the lives of my students, especially those who have been close to me.
Someone said to me today that "our students contribute a lot to make us do the best we can". I was once his student. I felt honoured that he said that to me, and I can pretty much say the same about my own students. 
It's hard, this business of letting go. But do it, I must. And I know, much as I want them to miss me, I would rather that they move on quickly and do the best they can in all they do, and make me proud - as I watch from afar.
If I have the time, I will be posting individual letters to some people in this blog, before I leave.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Meaningful photo

This is a meaningful photo of my very good friends and me. The photo is courtesy of Azrianna, our student. We have had such good times together. I will miss them very x10000000 much.

The countdown begins

In 1 month and 9 days, I will be on my way to Shanghai. Yesterday when I was at work, I felt it very strongly .... that I will be leaving really soon. It is something I am looking forward but also scared of. I feel heavy-hearted about leaving all that I am familiar with, and people who are dear to me. My friends and relatives as well as my students - have been a big part of my life and I will miss every single one of them, even those who irritate me to no end.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Cheer competitions

The cheer season for 2012 has come and gone. D*starz has competed in 3 competitions, getting 4th in NYD, 6th in C3 and 3rd in Cheer 2012. Juniors got 9th in NYD, 21st in Cheer 2012 and 4th in C3. The roller coaster ride of the team for the competitions was great. I wasn't around for NYD and for most of the last bit of preparations because I was in Shanghai.
But what I am just going to write about it the feeling of having brought the team to top 3 in the nation. D*starz has come a long way from 2004 when it was first formed. In 2008, I first took care of cheerleading in SA. Though I was supposedly only taking care of B*starz then, I ended up taking care of D*starz because someone else didn't want that burden. In 2008, their coach was Eric. I kept an eye on the team from afar, esp when I had to attend a course ending on Cheer 2008's first day. They did ok, as top 15. In 2009, I took over D*starz fully. The team was coached by Marcus. And ended up as 16th or 17th I think. Not too sure, cannot remember.
Then in 2010, everything changed. The dynamics of the team changed, the coach changed ... we took part in SOX for the first time and won, then Cheer 2010 and got 5th. That was something we had never really ever dared to even think about. Chee Wei coached with his team, and continued in 2011. 2011 was different as we had a young team, but we still ended up 8th. This year, 2012, our aim was to win. Realistically, it was going to be extremely difficult. But we still aimed high. And we ended up 3rd, something we were happy with but now we know, we can indeed aim high.
I am proud of the girls. It was a year of hard work starting from late 2011. We had worked hard for almost a year. The team was as strong as it could get for 2012. We had a few panics, when Hannan fractured her arm and had to pull out of the team, then Sobana having a fall and almost fractured her arm as well. In fact Sobana had a few mishaps but thankfully, she was still in the team. Lay Mun had major problems with injuries. She hurt her wrists and also her ankle. She was limping during competition. So it was very challenging this year. It didn't help that I had to break the news that I was going to leave them after the competition. It was hard, but everyone recovered and focused.
In spite of the problems and hiccups we had to go through, the team prevailed. Winning 3rd spot is nothing to be ashamed of, neither is it something to really shout about. We can still do better. Seriously. The potential is there. The problem is how to harness the potential and getting the support they need.  But for now, I am proud of them. I have seen the team grow. I am like a mother hen to them most of the time. I hope I have done enough these 5 years.
Season 2012/13 will soon begin with training and later audition. And I won't be there to see it. But they will always be in my heart and I will always pray for them, their safety and well-being.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

My Shanghai Trip

This is something I was supposed to have posted a few weeks ago. But I have been so busy since I came back from Shanghai that I had no time or energy to put everything into words. Since whatever photos I have are already on my fb page, I will only write about the trip, minus the photos.
Joel and I made our way to Shanghai on 23rd May, early in the morning. We took the 9am flight out. Joel was really good, waking up so early to get ready and go, and while we were in the airport, he was well-behaved and we managed to get some food in before we flew off. On the plane, he played games and also ate a bit of the food he was given. Not very nice food. So, by the time we arrived in the Pudong airport, he was starving. We made our way to Burger King and that was our first meal in China. Joel was so hungry he walloped everything down. From there, we took a taxi to JW Marriott Executive Apartments in Tomorrow Square. Hubby was not back from work yet but we managed to get into the apartment as he had left instructions with the reception. Joel and  I had a good rest waiting for him to get back. In the evening, all 3 of us went for dinner and also bought supplies for cooking and other purposes.
The next 3 days, we went house-finding. We went to probably about 20 to 24 apartments in total during the 3 days. It was not easy trying to choose units that we liked. Joel and I went the first two days while hubby joined us the third day.
We could not make up our minds until much later and we finally chose an apartment in Xiang Mei Garden. It is a very cosy apartment which the owners were still staying in. We feel blessed that we were able to procure the apartment at the rental rate that we were aiming for.
We were also very blessed that the relocation agent we were assigned was a really nice lady, Ling. She's Singaporean and she understood my concerns. She brought me to various places to settle various things. 
As for school, we had some problems. Joel went for the assessment and interview and we were eventually told he was not accepted by the school. I was devastated. My heart broke as I could not believe that Joel was being rejected for school. We had to make other arrangements. I actually went to see the teachers and asked for feedback so that we could understand why he was being rejected. Sigh. It was sad,  but I understood.
While in Shanghai, I managed to cook a few meals for ourselves. Poor hubby had been eating out, so, getting some simple homecooked food was good for him. Easier for Joel too as he was choosy about food. I managed to find a local market as well as some supermarkets / minimarkets near the service apartment to buy supplies.
I also managed to meet up with Irene Jenkins, a friend's friend. We had a good meet up and she told me about her church which we will probably visit. 
We also met up with Lay Ming a few times too, and most importantly, we met up with James, Sandy and Jaeriel. It was a fellowship which I really needed, especially after getting the news about Joel being rejected. I needed the time and company.
We left Shanghai on 6th June. The 2 weeks there was a fruitful period. Both Joel and I had a good time there, especially since he felt like an only child, with both his mum and dad's attentions on him only.
We came home to 2 very excited boys who had missed us a lot. The almost nightly skype sessions were just not sufficient. I had missed Jon and Jeremy. I was glad to be back with them.
My impressions on how we would live while in Shanghai?
  • The housing would be wonderful, as the apartment is cosy and has everything we need.
  • Going to school for the kids should be ok. Not much of a problem is expected.
  • I am going to have to adjust to life as a homemaker, and also tutor to the boys.
  • Many responsibilities will fall on my shoulders, to care for the boys and occupy their time. 
  • I will miss life in Msia a lot.
Well, so much for the Shanghai visit. More to come.