Sunday, 30 July 2017

Configuring update. Please do not turn off computer.

Oh hi. It's been a while. 

Remember how in my last post I said I was still waiting for a job? Well, the wait is over. God has graciously provided me with a full-time Speech Pathologist position at a school. Ever since starting work (about two months ago), the days and weeks have just flown by. It's pretty unbelievable that we are already more than halfway through the year. It seemed like only a few days ago where I flipped my calendar into June (but we're already in August?!)

Blogging has been very sporadic this year. The past half of the year has lacked routine and I had been spending most of my time trying to find my feet as a newbie out of uni. Now that things have settled down a little bit, I thought I would provide an update on my new job and other things that I have been up to during the past few months that I have been away from my blog. (Just a forewarning, it's quite a wordy post).

After graduation, I had an inkling of where I wanted and didn't want to work. I was certain I would steer away from working in a school setting. But God is full of surprises and he has placed me in (you guessed it)...a school. I landed the job after one of my friends from uni messaged me about a school in Logan looking for a Speech Pathologist to join their team. Her uncle is the head of college so she had this information hot off the press. They've never had a Speech Pathologist before and I would be first and only one. Knowing that I would be a sole Speech Pathologist and also the role being in a school setting, I was hesitant. Ideally, I wanted to work alongside other Speech Pathologists so they could offer me advice and guidance as a new graduate. But I decided to take a leap whilst making sure I would be proactive in looking for mentorship from other sources. I also told myself that even though it wasn't my "dream" setting to work in, I knew that I would grow to love it.

I was quietly anxious about it all but after the first few days, some of the anxiety was dampened by how caring and welcoming everyone was. I got asked how I was finding things by at least one person each day and just as I thought I could quietly integrate myself into the community, someone wrote a huge welcome message on the whiteboard in the staff lunchroom for all to see. And just in the first month of working, there were three surprise parties for several staff members and it just showed me how generous and thoughtful this community that I had found myself in was.

Being the first and only Speech Pathologist meant that I had to lay the groundwork for basically everything. I had to order a whole lot of resources, set up a referral system for teachers, create alternate ways of doing things while I waited for resources to come, learn the existing system of how things operated and figure out how I could integrate into all seemed like an overwhelming task. And while I still have many moments where I doubt myself and feel like I have no idea what I'm doing, it's been a great learning curve and I am feeling more and more comfortable and confident each day that I am there.

After spending more than a month assessing students and developing resources, I was finally able to start my therapy groups last week (yay!). Currently, I am working with students from Prep to Year 3 and boy, has it been interesting (and cute). Little people have such interesting and surprising things to say sometimes. My favourite part is getting random hugs and 'hi's from some of them throughout the day. Some also think I'm one of the Chinese teachers so I get a few "ni hao"s from time to time which is quite hilarious.
Working has sapped most of my energy nowadays but there have been pockets of time and weekends where I was able to kick back and do things I love. I was lucky enough to have a few days off during the school holidays to visit a new brunch spot, explore the quaint suburb of Graceville (from where the above photo was taken) and revisit a childhood memory of painting a pot. I also visited the Etsy markets yesterday and seeing creators and their handmade goods always tickles my itch of wanting to create my own goods. But alas, that day is yet to come.

It has also been a month of new music, with Oh Wonder releasing their second album (which I fall in love with a bit more every time I listen to it) and Yoste hosting their first official gig - which I was so glad I could be there for! I was very impressed by their opening act as well (i.e. T Scarlett).

I think I have officially broken my record of most words in a post, and with that said, I should probably stop it here. Hopefully I can provide another post soon :)

Now playing: Slip Away - Oh Wonder 

Friday, 12 May 2017

In transit

It's been a while since I have done a more casual and candid post where I updated this space with all the bits and pieces that I have been up to over the past few months. I was scrolling through my camera roll and it was flooded with so many photos of all the food, events, and odd moments that have made this 'in between study and work' period of my life more bearable and enjoyable. Here are some of the snapshots that I've plucked from my photo album: 

I discovered and visited a lot of small boutiques and thrift stores last month in West End. Nook was one that I particularly enjoyed. It resides in a small and humble cottage in an unexpected spot and showcases products by small businesses, ranging from hand-made jewellery to quirky cards, vintage clothing and tea. They also have a resident cat that you might find napping by the window. Doesn't that all just sound like the perfect little shop?  

I also visited quite a few new cafes and food spots over the past months, including Miss Bliss Whole Foods Kitchen who were the ones who made the beautiful plate of food that you can see above. Other top spots included Nodo, Campos Coffee, The Jam Pantry, Smoked Paprika, Clay Coffee and The Smug Fig.

My friend, Jewel, bought me tickets to see Vallis Alps for my birthday. It was the first time I had been to a small gig in the valley. I wasn't sure what to expect but I loved every bit of it. I walked out of it very sweaty, with my heart pounding and very much in love with the idea of small intimate gigs. And I'm so glad Vallis Alps was the first to break my dry spell of small gigs.

For my 23rd birthday this year, some of my girlfriends and I went to Kith 'n' Chow for a Sunday lunch. I had never been before but have heard good things about it, especially the platter (featured above). Although we were hijacked by many flies during the meal, all the food was well made and it's close and convenient location makes it a place I would love to visit again. 

There was a moment in April where I was on a bit of an adventurous, creative and inspired streak. A product of that was me signing up to a polymer bead jewellery workshop on a Sunday afternoon. I had seen so many polymer bead necklaces on Etsy and at markets that I decided I wanted to know how to make them for myself. Attending a workshop was another 'first' for me and it was such a relaxing time (maybe rolling beads and kneading play dough-like clay has something to do with it). It's definitely something fun to do with your mum or your girlfriends. 

At the end of April, Daniel and I did a double-date day trip to Maleny. It was something that had been on our "to-do" list for a while and we finally found a day during the uni holidays where all of us were free. There were a few spots that I wanted to visit, including this really cute and rustic and everything-that's-in-it-is-perfect-and-charming cafe called Shotgun Espresso. It didn't disappoint. What was disappointing about the day was that it was bloody windy and cold which resulted in 3/4 of us getting the sniffles. But all in all, a drive to a quaint little town with fun company always guarantees a good time.

I chopped half of my hair off! My friend asked me to accompany her to get a haircut and I left with one too. Well...okay, I sort of planned it but I didn't plan how much to cut off. I found this google image of a nice short hair cut, showed it to the lady and I walked out with this^. It has taken me a while to get use to it and I can't tie up my hair without strands of hair falling out...but after buying some styling mousse and doing some trials with a hair curler, I think I finally know how to style this mop. 

Other highlights from the past few months included:
1. Eating my first (and probably last) HSP. 
2. Going the daunting process of job interviews. 
3. Celebrating one-year with the boy.
4. Further developing my small business idea.
5. Attending a weekly AUSLAN community class to learn sign language.
6. Seeing Adele and being charmed by her candid British-ness.
7. Rock climbing and meeting so many new friends.
8. Making some pretty smashing white chocolate mocha macarons. 

Even though there has been tough patches during the past few months where I would feel listless and pitiful, I have been thankful for the time that I have to invest in other people and my other interests (while also applying for every suitable job that is posted). I have to be constantly reminded of God's sovereignty and to trust in His timing. The wait may seem endless but so are His provisions.

Now playing: Hollow Coves - The Woods

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

4 Life Lessons

I didn't mean to lure you in with a clickbait heading but it's getting late and I really didn't know what else to call this post. As I'm nearing another year older, I thought it was a fitting time to do some reflection on some things that I have learnt over the past year from my readings, conversations with friends and personal reflection. Here are four things:

1. Venting can be a form of complaining incognito. 
There was a period of time where a lot of my conversations was filled with "venting". Then, I realised that many of my words were not very helpful or encouraging at all. What I thought was harmless venting was actually complaining and it was just clouding my mind with negativity and cynicism. Same goes with getting caught up with other people's "venting". This article sums it up perfectly: "Science has even proven that 'venting' doesn't actually fix anything - instead, it ingrains negative thought patterns into your brain and actually heightens negative emotions. Complaining doesn't help you and it certainly doesn't help your listeners!" I have definitely learned to think before I speak and become more wary of how I respond to people's "venting". 

2. God isn't going to tell you what He plans for your life. So stop asking and waiting. 
This one blew my mind a little. For a lot of my life I had been asking questions like "Does God want me to do this?", "Is this where God wants me to be?", "What should I do next?" And for the most part, I would be incredibly hesitant when making decisions or was afraid that if I took a wrong step, I might veer off the path He wanted me to be on. I've always known that He has a plan for me. But I've learned that it's not our job to figure it out. I've been reading a book by Kevin DeYoung that has been very helpful and I wanted to share a bit from it: "The problem is we think He's going to tell us the wonderful plan before it unfolds. We feel like we can know - and need to know - what God wants every step of the way. But such preoccupation with finding God's will, as well-intentioned as the desire may be, is more folly than freedom. The better way is the biblical way: Seek first the kingdom of God, and trust that He will take care of our needs, even before we what they are and where we're going." We can afford to take risks in life because God doesn't. He already knows what's going to happen.

3. A presumptuous mind is never helpful. 
I usually give people the benefit of the doubt but from time to time, I can be quite sensitive and take things the wrong way even if the person didn't mean it that way. I think this can happen quite often with online conversations where you can misjudge the tone of voice and for people who tend to read between the lines. I also sometimes find myself overgeneralising things people do and blurt out statements like "you always..." when in reality, they might have only done it once. It can create this false impression of the person that they're a certain type or assume their actions before they've already done it. It breaks down trust and potentially friendships. And that's never a happy ending.

4. You can love someone without liking them. 
This is probably the toughest lesson and a lesson that I am still learning. It goes against the grain of what most people believe and it can be quite controversial in the way that people may argue "Why should I love someone who irritates me? I don't need to be nice to them if they're not nice to me." And while it's much easier to love someone you also like, there is something radical about loving a person you dislike. It is something that was shown to us by God. We reject and rebel against Him and yet He loves us. He provided a way out of the mess we had created for ourselves through Jesus. Free of charge too. It changed the game completely. And so would showing undeserved love to someone who you would usually turn your back to. Of course, it's easier than done. But it can be, with much patience and prayer. 

I realise that I have only scraped the surface on these four things and I could probably do separate posts for each of them if I wanted to. I'm sure as I'm still growing through these and learning more 'life lessons', I'll have plenty more thoughts to share. In the meantime, my birthdayweek begins tomorrow and I am very excited to (low-key) celebrate with family and friends. Photos to come soon!

Now playing: John Mayer - Gravity (Live at Nokia Theatre)

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

I'm back with some recent favourites! These are some of the things that I have been enjoying during the past few months: 

1. Banh Mi from Scotts Road Deli and Takeaway. This is hands down the best Banh Mi that I have eaten. I ordered the Vietnamese roast pork one and the pork was juicy, the bread wasn't too chewy, all the ingredients were fresh, and the pork crackle was on point. Best of all, it only cost $5! 

2. UQ Alumni t-shirt. Over-sized, soft and perfect for lounging. What more do you want from a shirt?

3. Pentel Touch brush pen. This has been my go-to for lettering or doing any fancy headings. The brush tip is very easy to manipulate to get all those smooth transitions between thin and thick. You can find it at Officeworks for $3.10!

4. Australian Open. That mens' finals with Federer vs. Nadal though. SO. INTENSE.

5. Gippsland mango and blood orange yoghurt. You have to try it to believe how good it is. And the last time I checked, it's currently on sale at Coles! 

6. Crank rockclimbing. I've been religiously going to rockclimbing every week for the past month now. This has been mostly motivated by a 10-pass coupon that a group of my friends and I got from Groupon (otherwise, it's quite expensive to go) and even after going a few times, I've already been seeing my overall body strength improve. 

7. Ed Sheeran's music comeback. I think you can be one of two different people: those who are still jamming to 'Shape of You' whenever it comes on the radio, or those who switch stations and get annoyed when that station is also playing the same song. I'm not ashamed to say that I'm still the former hehe.

8. Gilmore Girls. I could probably dedicate a whole blog post about Gilmore Girls but I will withhold myself. I feel like I had been vicariously living a Gilmore Girl life for the past few months as I watched from Season 1 all the way to the new revival. The withdrawal symptoms were quite real when it was all over.

9. Black Mirror. After Gilmore Girls, I didn't know where to turn to. I was recommended Black Mirror and although it's not my usual genre of choice, I really enjoyed it. It's a very suspenseful, thrilling and intriguing show. Each episode is a new story with a new cast but they all have the running theme of technology in the modern world and the uneasy and unsettling side of it that we often don't see. Definitely one to check out!