Friday, April 30, 2010

Beautiful smiles

Yesterday I was chatting with someone whom I don't really know very well. This girl (let's call her R) is one of the most sunshiny, joyous, loveable people I have ever had the privilege of meeting. When she comes into a room, she just lights up the whole place with her joy and energy! She's perpetually smiling and enthusiastic and just nice to talk to because of these things.

I used to think that she was exactly what a Christian should be - someone who, just by the way they are, makes people wonder, "What do you have that I don't have? Where does your joy come from? I want the same thing too - can you show/ teach me how to have it in my life?" Except she's not a Christian!

So anyway, as we were walking, I asked her if she lives alone since we were both heading towards the grocery store, and usually those who live at home don't need to do their own grocery shopping. A shadow crossed her face as she explained that she lived at home but that her dad was a stroke patient and he couldn't move.

I was pretty surprised and asked her, "He can't move at all?". Her face was sad without a trace of its usual sparkle as she said, "No, not at all."

She smiled again as we waved goodbye and parted in the store.

I can't get that out of my mind somehow. I swear, you would look at this girl and think she is the luckiest, happiest, probably the most pampered girl you've ever met simply because of the joy that she has all the time. But... she has sadness, and trouble and heartache too...

I wonder how many people hide heartache behind the beautiful smiles they wear day in and day out? And how encouraging it is to know that many succeed in not bringing their difficulties and trouble and spread misery to others, but instead choose to lift their troubles to God and share joy instead.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Grandmom

Strange... I dreamt about my grandma two nights ago. I dreamt she had just passed away and I was crying and crying....

It's strange because my grandmother passed away a year and a half ago and none of us cried. She was a wonderful lady - all my friends liked her tremendously when they met her. But I guess as a family we had to be strong for each other so we didn't cry at all...we stayed strong.

Maybe it was just pent-up grief, I don't know. In my dream, I loved her and grieved at her passing so much.

But when I woke up, I thought back to the time that my grandma had died. And truthfully? I didn't know my grandmother that well. Family problems had always contrived to keep us apart right up to the time I moved out to stay with my dad.

By that time, we just didn't have enough time to get to know each other. We were like strangers... sweet strangers; but strangers nonetheless. I enjoyed being with her - she spoke Hokkien to me, Mandarin to my Canadian cousins, Hakka to my Alor Setar cousins, and Bahasa Malaysia to my brother and youngest girl cousin!

I regret... we didn't have time to get to know each other. And I wonder where she is now. Life is such that if you don't learn to lock up the grief - the wondering whether your loved ones made it to heaven - you won't be able to continue with the daily duties of life.

The night before she passed away, I woke up with a strong urgency to pray for her. I did so until I felt the burden lift and then I slept. My aunt told me at the funeral that she had asked my grandmother if she could pray for her and she said yes. A look of such peace came on my grandmother's face before she slipped away. Who knows what God did in just that one prayer?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Just back from Sydney...

Actually I've been back a couple of days :). Had a goooooooood long sleep once I got back!

It wasn't as busy as I thought; simply because I put my foot down and insisted on having time for myself and God! ;>

The weather was bee-yoo-ti-fuuullll!!! I couldn't ask for more! I was cranky when we touched down because we had like half an hour to get bathed and changed and then we had to attend a meeting. We were so fortunate to be able to check-in and bathe that I really couldn't complain!

The bellhop was so funny; when he saw me look thru my wallet for a tip, he kept asking, "Is there anything else I can do for you?" until I gave him the tip, then he said, "Thank you" and left!

When we got to the office where the meeting was to be held, we were informed both the tax meeting and the audit standards meetings were cancelled due to lack of support! Aiyah! But we did get to tour their office. Their office is like so modern with bold, prime colours, and there are lots and lots of rooms as each manager and partner has a room to him/herself. So blessed!

We had the rest of the day off so we.... crashed! We met up with my dad for lunch (poor dad's meeting was NOT cancelled as it was the regional board meeting and very important) and he told us someone had recommended Cafe Sydney. Well, when we got there, and saw the calibre of the guests, alarm bells went off that this would be a VERY expensive lunch. And it was! Being poor people from Malaysia (ahem!) we shared ONE salad, had a main course each, and refused dessert and tea/ coffee. Ritzy much!

The next day was full of morning meetings whilst I... errr.... dozed. It was frightfully interesting... really.... I mean... carbon accounting and technological changes in industry.... how could you NOT be fascinated? Right?.... yeah.... So right ;>.

We had a light lunch because we took a cruise ferry to Fort Deningham where we had tea. My dad and I are such piggies... the people there asked, "Who would like to tour the fort?" and 90% of the delegates said, "Me!" and got up. My dad and I calmly sat at the tables and ate our way thru sandwiches and scones with real cream and jam (uh-huh, you wouldn't have left the table either, would you ;>).

Then they took a long cruise round to get us sleepy for dinner (as far as I could make out!) and I dozed... and the delegate taking photos of the conference sneakily took my photo and threatened to put it into the international newsletter! Oy voy!

Dinner was another ritzy place. Spent the pre-dinner drinks time (no, I do not drink alcohol! I had juice like a goody-goody!) talking to a delegate's wife. It had been a difficult time for her lately, and I was real sad to see her get teary-eyed. Sigh....

Dinner was like, too much to eat, of course. Everyone was stuffed to the hilt anyway! One of the delegates had brought his three kids along, and they were just perfect sunshiny angels. I'm serious! I think it's because their parents are two of the sweetest people I've ever met.

The next day, my cousin came to pick me up for HILLSONGS CHURCH SERVICE!!!!! Whoooooooo!!! Envy me! Envy me! I was bouncing around the cab on the way there; I was so excited!

I raided the book/ CD shop as soon as I got there to get things for people back home. I finally stopped after spending like about RM1,000+!!!

When we went in, the hall was pitch black with five, count them, FIVE TV screens! Whooeeetttt!!! And we LCD'ists have trouble with, like, one! The music was sooooo loud and radical. It wasn't TOD, but I've realised I can't expect TOD anywhere else EXCEPT TOD, so I had a great time!

The message was exactly something I"d been talking to God about lately - happiness. I told God that many things had changed in my life, but I was still not a very sunshiny person... still rather serious than smiley. I was excited by the challenge by Pst Brian to shine more and laugh more.

Went back to hotel to shake dad out of bed, only to find he'd been having a good walk around the city whilst we were in church. We went to Chinatown and tried some Chinese food there that wasn't really nice and the portion was humongous! Then we had a ride on the monorail because my dad wanted to do that for some reason ;> and then we walked to The Rocks for a gorgeous Sunday market.

But wow, the prices! They were so expensive, we just did like window shopping without the windows, and then went into a cafe for hot chocolate with whipped cream (I know, right? No wonder my colleague exclaimed, "You've put on so much weight" before anything else the first day she saw me after Sydney :>). My cuz had a lemon tart too; she can afford to - she's slim as anything!

We rested a bit becos I was tired (read: lazy) back at the hotel, then went out for scrumptious Lobster Noodles (yes, you may commence salivating now!) The lobster was soooooo big and fresh and tasty! My dad and i had had angmoh food throughout the conference, so we tucked in like anything.

That was just the best day for me....

Okay, gotta go back to work and will finish up with the last day another time!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

From Stan-leeeeee... Awwies!

"Have you every thought of being a nurse. Working in the hospital for the past week, I practically saw you EVERYWHERE haha. Watching the nurses work, first thing that came to my mind was "Wah, this is so Gillian"."

Ooh... this is shoooooooooo shweet!!!!!!! I just had to post it here! Perasan much! Hearts!!!!