Friday, August 31, 2012

Being Patriotic in a Land Faraway

It is Malaysia's 55th Independence Day. And I am not in Malaysia to celebrate Merdeka for the first time. The days leading to today have been reminders why I am Malaysian first and Chinese (descent) second. I am so Malaysian that when I am in China, I do not associate myself with people of the same kind with me, orientals, Chinese. I have a different kind of mentality due to different upbringing. I might look the same. But I am not. I am Malaysian. Everything I do and say, and think, is Malaysian. Much as I complain about the country of my birth, I love Malaysia, nevertheless. Will be posting more later, after I come back from a Merdeka celebration lunch.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


The last post was about fear. This post is about hope, the hope I have for the next 2 years. The hope that I see at the end of a short tunnel of uncertainty.
The last one week, I can only say I saw how God moved in our lives and how He is arranging so many things for us so that our time in Shanghai can be more positive. Actually not just the last one week but the last 8-10 months.
We can begin with the fact that James  was placed in Shanghai to work since Nov last year. It'sas if his being in Shanghai is a preparation for our relocation.
Then James and Sandy introduced me to Lay Ming and in March I came here and stayed with her for the whole week, learning about Shanghai and preparing to move. Of course, she, in turn, blessed me in many other ways.
We are also blessed that the job came with a package for the children's education. It is not cheap studying in an international school. So we can ill afford it. But since it comes with education for all 3 boys, we have assurance that things will be ok for them. Even the transport to school is covered.
In May when we came, we were blessed to have a relocation agent who understood what we needed. We found our apartment without much of a hassle. When we had to pay upfront a lot of money for rental and deposit, and a whole lot of other things, James was here to lend us the money because we just didn't have so much cash with us. I almost wanted to cry then, but thank God for how things have turned out. God indeed will make a way.
Now that we are here, I have been blessed with "chance" encounters with wonderful people. We met families in the church we visited and connected with a cell group. I have been put in touch with a fellow Malaysian parent in YCIS. And she has shared a lot of things with me, and she is Christian too,
So yes ... I am convinced that God has been watching over us and guiding us. He has been opening doors and shutting some other doors for us. I hope and pray  that we will be able to fulfill the reason why we are here. Just want to pray that CM will be strong and persevere in his work.

Monday, August 27, 2012


We have moved to Shanghai for 2 weeks now. And in these two weeks, we have been trying to adjust to various things here. It hasn't been all that easy but it has not been that hard either. I am grateful for having made the trip to Shanghai twice before the move.
Well, this new post is about fear. It's fear that I do not usually have. It's fear that is as alien to me as I am an alien in China, the land my forefathers come from.
My first fear stems from the fact that hubs has started travelling and he has left for Japan and will be going to other countries in the next two weeks. The boys and I are now left on our own and it is scary. We have only been here for 2 weeks and Jon & Jeremy have just started school. And Joel is about to start school. There are so many things that need my attention, not just the mundane every day things. I am afraid that I cannot handle things or make decisions.
But I know that with my God, I can do all things. I know that if I have Him on my side, who can be against me. I take comfort in that.
My second fear is the unknown. Since last night I had been agonising over the possibility of a typhoon hitting Shanghai. I was afraid, in case untoward things happen. I was afraid if the boys suddenly had to be taken home before school was over. I was afraid in case accidents happened. And I was supposed to meet up with a friend and I was afraid in case the weather took a turn for the worse and we couldn't go home.
So far the weather has held and there is no typhoon in sight. But it might be a rainy evening / night. I don't know. I was afraid because I have never encountered severe weather before.
But I am reminded once again that we are being watched over by  none other than God Himself and I should not have to be afraid. Even if hubs is not here. We will be fine.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Shanghai - our new home

 On 12th August, we left home early in the morning to KLIA and our flight was at 9am. We arrived in Pudong Airport at about 2:15pm and we then proceeded to have lunch at Burger King. After that we took 2 taxis and came back to our home for the next 2 years in Shanghai.

 This is at the lobby of our apartment. Nice big piece of art there, and it is air-conditioned too. This was necessary seeing that the weather in Shanghai in August is sunny and HOT!

 In our apartment, the boys have to find things to do to amuse themselves. So far they have been contented with the books we have sent over, and playing with the Ipad. Thankfully we have an 'ayi' who comes in to do some cleaning on some days. That's her in the background.

These two pictures are taken just outside the compound. Yes, it is called Xiang Mei Garden and actually there are 3 phases of XMG, I think.

 More pictures in the apartment, in the living room. It is bright most of the time and at times we just need to close the curtains because the sunlight shining in makes the place warm.

 This is 21st August, and we have just gone to YCIS Regency Park to sort out some things.

 This photo is taken on the same day, in YCIS Century Park as we were there to attend the orientation and barbecue.

 My two older boys are getting ready for their first day in school. They woke up real early to get ready. 
 Waiting for the bus outside the compound.
Here's the school bus! Buckle up and get ready to leave.

How do I feel about everything? I am scared. I am worried that I will not be able to manage the children and their schedule. I am afraid that money might become an issue as I don't work and I simply dislike asking for money from hubs. I am not sure if I will have friends here.
Thankfully, many things have gone real well. For that, I am grateful to God for overseeing everything for us. We wouldn't have been able to do everything ourselves.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Leaving behind ....

I am going to write this entry is a different manner. I am going to express my feelings about leaving for Shanghai as the countdown begins. At different times I will feel differently. But here's the first :
16 May 2012
I feel a reluctance to leave. It is with a heavy heart that I leave knowing that I am, to a certain extent, abandoning a lot of people I care for. Foremost would be the students. I feel sad and guilty about leaving them just when they need me the most. I am afraid that I will not be able to complete what I need to do and they will have to face their exams without me. Truly I have been feeling like I am abandoning them. Much as I know that I do not have much of a choice, that my family comes first, I cannot help feeling guilty about it.
The form 3s are probably the easiest as they would be almost having their trial exams when I leave. The form 5s do not really need me that much but I wish I have a bit more time to teach them. I don't think I have done a very good job this year. The focus is just not there. The form 5 lit girls are the ones I worry about the most. They are the ones I still need to coach and guide. I guess I worry more about them also because no one else will do the job for me whereas the other classes will be taken care of.
The form 5 lit girls are in need of more guidance. I have not been as close to them as I was with last year's batch. I have not spent 2 years with them as I did with the previous batch. But I do love them, in spite of the frustrations I have had with them especially due to the production of "Holes". And I am not sure how things will be for them when I leave. Can I just push them to Sibyl and ask them to take classes with her for the last bit, that last lap? It is not fair on them, neither is it fair on Sibyl. So I don't know what to do.
27 June 2012
It has been over a month since I wrote the above. In the last month or so, I have had so many ups and downs that I just cannot really express my emotions. I have been sneaky and plotting with the girls to help them out. Yes they will be hijacked and my shadow will not have their cooperation. It is for their own good.
I was feeling very reluctant also to leave the cheer girls. But since I have to go, I am leaving them, And I am happy to say that I think they are ready to go on without me. It will not be the easiest thing to do but they will be fine. Better than I had dared to hope. Winning 3rd place for Cheer 2012 was the best gift ever, a fitting farewell for me. And that, hopefully, will give them the drive to strive for greater heights. I feel less sad to leave them.
23rd July 2012
I am slowly distancing myself from some people. Especially D*starz girls. I am not sure I can quit them cold turkey. So I am leaving them behind slowly. Bit by bit.
I am also starting to feel the anxiety of the fact that I will be in Shanghai, starting a new life with my family, in less than 3 weeks. It is scary although something which can be exciting. I am not sure how well I can be a housewife.

Second day I am on leave

It's been 2 days. I have been on unpaid leave for 2 days. I have been busy. I cannot see myself leaving when I still have so much to do.
I am no longer teaching. But I am meeting so many people. It's unbelievable. I have been meeting former students, former classmates, former schoolmates, former unimates, former colleagues, friends I have not met for a long while. I have been making time to see as many people as I can. It's crazy. But I know if I don't meet with them, I will regret it for a long time.
I have been receiving lots of affirmations from people who know me, about the work that I have done in school. I am thankful for them. Honestly, this is something no money can buy. Knowing that I have a place in the hearts of many people, nothing beats that. And I have been receiving gifts and cards and letters which have touched me to the core. Especially the cards and letters that contain some very sweet words from my students. I will keep all of them and one day I will read them all again.
In the meantime, I have been dragging my feet with some things I need to do. I still have to mark the Lit trial papers. I still have to clear my place in school. I still have to see to settling my housing loan. I still have to get people to view my Honda Stream which will be sold. I have yet to seriously pack. Yes I am seriously dragging my feet. I guess part of me is still not ready to leave. I mean, most of me is ready to go. It's just a small part of me that's not quite ready. I wonder if this is what most people who have to leave for somewhere new feel.
Hubs is coming back soon. I have missed him. Then soon, we will fly off.