Changi Airport / Staying the Path

I love this place. Changi Airport has been a huge part of my life. My memories of it as a child aren’t that clear. But the memories I have of it when I was still in Anglican remain vivid.

I remember dashing into the train after school at Tanah Merah, and doing silly things at quiet areas with my friends. Lying on the stairs, pretending we were mannequins are among the many things we did there as teenagers. Many of those spots and now gone but I’ve kept some in photos for my personal viewing pleasure. Camera phones had just come out then and though the quality isn’t good, it’s at least a preservation of the stupid things we did.

I remember studying at the airport. McDonalds, TCC, viewing galleries, Burger King, staff canteens, and I’ve lost count. All the food options made it so convenient. Students in Singapore study here all the time. It’s the one airport that I’ve seen people actually come all the time to do non-airport things. As an adult, I spent countless nights here marking assignments at Krispy Kreme and again, the viewing gallery.

I remember all the flights in and out of the country. The several short trips with my friends and the rare long one to Italy. I remember crying the entire flight back from Paris, and leaving with joy in my heart for my honeymoon in Japan. Trips are always something I look forward to but coming home to the warmth of Changi Airport cushioned the disappointment of coming back to real life in Singapore.

I remember all the good meals I’ve had with my family at the airport – from fast food, to cafes, to ramen, sushi and tonkatsu, to hawker fare, to Penang cuisine, and our ever delightful Aston’s. It’s the one activity that we all enjoy and living near the airport made it our favourite ‘mall’ to go to.

As I write this, there are countless families hanging out here, children running around or scooting while parents watch them knit these memories into their childhood.

Today, the airport has served as my place of refuge again. I come here whenever I don’t know what to do (both in the lost and bored sense). I brought a book that Immanuel got for me from Hillsong. Bobbie Houston’s Stay the Path. I listened to the audiobook before but as I’m reading it now, it seems pretty fresh to me. Which should be a sure sign that I should terminate my audible subscription.

I love how Ps Bobbie talks about being convicted of who I am, where I’m headed, and what I am about. Because these are the exact questions I’m trying to answer in this season. Through journaling and blogging, I’m hoping to pick up the many pieces of my life – scattered thoughts, rushing too much too fast in my career, and the next transition I’m facing. By no means do I consider myself a leader, but I do desire to be a servant. Many times I’ve struggled with pride and self-righteousness, and beating myself hard over things that don’t even matter to others. With 90 years left, I want to live my life clearly. I may not always have clarity, but I want to be clear about the person I am about.

And that bit on ‘what compels you’ got me. To know the things I stand for and care about, and know the things that I can let go. Not everything is meant to be put in such deep focus, and for me in this season I know my focus isn’t working in a school and teaching large classes, and handling all the responsibility that they zap my energy, drain my mind and take time away from my family. Did I do exceptionally well? No. I’m not on that track. If I wanted it, I guess I could slog even harder to get it. No guarantees though. But I think I did a fairly good job, considering that my rankings were decent. I genuinely cared for some students, got along well with my colleagues, and did many things for the school. But none of what I did compelled me.

I enjoyed parts of my job but rather than energise me, I was perpetually drained. One can get drained on a job but I couldn’t deal with being drained and being in front of my students. What a role model I would’ve been if I continued next year?

I made the decision to leave now so I wouldn’t have to find out.

So many thoughts on just the first 2 chapters. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of it.

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Sebastian’s / At the Myo

Jie brought us to this place that she frequently patrons, and it turns out that they moved to their own space which was right where Imm proposed!

Excellent wagyu truffle rice, which would have been so much better with an onsen egg. But it’s not like I love egg yolks anyway…

Mummy’s aglio olio with chicken

Off the menu clam soup – usually served with spaghetti

French onion soup

Mushroom soup

Lamb chops

Yx’s double portion spaghetti with steak

Discovered this sparkling yuzu drink

Har Cheong Gai

I’d definitely go back again, for the wagyu rice, clam soup and the view of our proposal venue.

At the Myo
Address4 Everton Park, #01-42, Block 4, 080004
Sun-Fri: 12pm – 9pm
Sat: CLOSED

Impact

I’ve been struggling with the concept of impact. Particularly in my previous career. I found too many relationships too fleeting and I couldn’t reconcile it with what I’m doing.

After so long of struggling with esteem, purpose, meaning, and just not being too pleased with the comparison of who I am and who I want to be, R summed it up in this quote she handlettered for me:

And I take heart that in the midst of all the voices of accusation that shout that I should’ve done more, I had one extremely sweet girl who got me a little bag because she saw that the one I used at work was stained.

If the 4 years I had spent, putting my heart and soul, tears and all, had amounted to this, well, I think I have succeeded.

Creativity

I chanced upon this article on the NY Times:

What happens to creativity as we age? 

I love this line in there:

Why does creativity generally tend to decline as we age? One reason may be that as we grow older, we know more. That’s mostly an advantage, of course. But it also may lead us to ignore evidence that contradicts what we already think. We become too set in our ways to change.

As I make the next most important move in my 20s (only a few months left to continue referring to myself as in my 20s!), I seek to gain more creativity. Having held a job in the civil service for a number of years, it’s the one thing that I craved the most. The freedom and creativity to do what I want and I love, yet at the same time, I have no idea what I want to do. In order to figure out what it is that I want to do, I need the time and being in the job didn’t give me that.

There are fears that what if, after all that figuring out, my conclusion points me back to the civil service, that I had just made the stupidest decision in my 20s.

But, if I don’t try now, I’ll likely never know.

So will I (As You speak)

This song was introduced to me by Immanuel one day, and this was done by our favourite worship leader.

When I first heard it on the album it was a little hard to catch but when I really devoured the lyrics, every word spoke to my heart and I see moving skies and creation lifting its voice to praise Him. It’s amazing because it talks about our amazing God.

X

God of creation
There at the start
Before the beginning of time
With no point of reference
You spoke to the dark
And fleshed out the wonder of light

And as You speak
A hundred billion galaxies are born
In the vapor of Your breath the planets form
If the stars were made to worship so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve made
Every burning star
A signal fire of grace
If creation sings Your praises so will I

God of Your promise
You don’t speak in vain
No syllable empty or void
For once You have spoken
All nature and science
Follow the sound of Your voice

And as You speak
A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath
Evolving in pursuit of what You said
If it all reveals Your nature so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You say
Every painted sky
A canvas of Your grace
If creation still obeys You so will I

So will I, so will I

If the stars were made to worship so will I
If the mountains bow in reverence so will I
If the oceans roar Your greatness so will I
For if everything exists to lift You high so will I
If the wind goes where You send it so will I
If the rocks cry out in silence so will I
If the sum of all our praises still falls shy
Then we’ll sing again a hundred billion times

God of salvation
You chased down my heart
Through all of my failure and pride
On a hill You created
The light of the world
Abandoned in darkness to die

And as You speak
A hundred billion failures disappear
Where You lost Your life so I could find it here
If You left the grave behind You so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve done
Every part designed in a work of art called love
If You gladly chose surrender so will I

I can see Your heart
Eight billion different ways
Every precious one
A child You died to save
If You gave Your life to love them so will I
Like You would again a hundred billion times
But what measure could amount to Your desire
You’re the One who never leaves the one behind

Warring

Are you fighting a war?

My students said as I stood in class helplessly. The others streamed out and only a handful greeted me.

A student’s energy can only be as high as the teacher’s. But mine was depleted.

Embarrassed as I saw the looks on students who seemed to come close to empathising my plight. Guilty towards those who were struggling and actually wanting to learn. Frustrated by those not trying and making noise. Angered by those who make their English goals a test for me.

Yes, I am fighting a war. I told the boy that I should be the general, not the enemy.

A few of them replied that they would like to help but don’t know how to. The sincerity there could not be felt though.

Yes I am fighting a war, and I’ve decided to pick my battles.