Friday, 21 August 2015

Market hop

1. Takapuna Pumphouse Market

2. Hobsonville Point Farmers Market

PS/ All photos were taken on my Note II.

Monday, 17 August 2015

{Small Steps Everyday}: Milestone 17.08.15

So last week I was definitely feeling the aftermath of the previous week's crazy storm. Every morning I woke up feeling like my eyes were swollen, like they still wanted to be sealed shut. But I made some progress!
Hailstorm in Auckland. An appropriate end to a stormy stormy week. 
Learning to say no
Work asked if I could help out an extra day last week as they were short on staff at the airport. I'd be working at the airport from 7am to 3pm, which meant waking up at 5.30 am and realistically, getting home at 5pm. I didn't feel like saying yes last week, but I felt really bad so I did. However on Monday I was feeling like I would keel over any minute so I asked if I could leave early (small effort in "saying no"?). And thank god I did because they told me they forgot to tell me that they didn't need me anymore. Imagine if I hadn't asked..

On the thesis front, I've made most of the amendments and sent it to my supervisor to be checked. I am praying that the changes I've made are fine. Funny how I was dreading looking through my thesis so much, but when I actually sat down and work on it, it wasn't that difficult after all (unless the supervisor isn't satisfied with the changes... then I'll stress out again). But I reckon I should take it easy. This is a project that's dominated by life for more than a year! It's finallyyyyy at it's final stages. The finishing line is in sight. I can't wait to cross it. But really, it's not a race. I should enjoy the last moments, wave around at all those that have supported me, take my time to complete it to a standard that I'm happy with. After it's done, this will be the version that I'll look back to in twenty years and feel proud about. This is the version that will sit in my supervisor's bookshelf. This is the version that will join one of the other theses in the University of Auckland library.

I was really behind on my studies last week. I'm no superwoman. I can't work on multiple things at once and be up to date with everything! But I spent Sunday catching up - as much as my urge to read my novel vibrated through my every pore, I managed to finish all assignments. But this week... looks like there are four new assignments to be completed.

As I didn't work on Tuesday, I went for a jog/power walk despite it being freeeeezing cold. My head and ears pounded so hard and felt so uncomfortable but I'm glad I overcame my will to just stay home. All was well after a long hot shower.
Then on Thursday, I had double work out sessions! Went for an hour long power walk/run during the day, and then on a whim my sister and I decided to join a Zumba class after dinner. It was so much fun. The atmosphere was so pumped, the instructor was so hyped. It's a small group and everyone seems really friendly. I think Zumba classes are going on our schedule from now on.
It seems weird, but I'm actually looking forward to my Tuesday and Thursday runs now. What they say is true - running is addictive. Perhaps I should slot another session in on Saturdays.

I can't remember the last time I baked for leisure. The baking that I've done in the last few months were either for an order or someone's birthday. But since last week I've been craving some soft, pillowy  bread. Last Wednesday, while at work I couldn't stand it anymore, so I went to buy some buns. But the taste was disappointing - after all, I've been spoilt by the luxury of homemade bread for years! So on Thursday morning I decided that no matter how busy I was, I was going to spend half an hour to make some bread. There's such a sense of calm watching the dough happily resting, then the exciting anticipation of seeing it transforming from an ugly little duckling to a beautiful swan in a few hours.

Weekend leisure
Too many months have gone by without me taking a break on weekends. If it wasn't helping out at the Chinese doctor's, it was assignments. I made a conscious decision to make sometime for myself to relax and rewind. After living like a mad workaholic I now understand the importance of breaks. So last Saturday, I went market hopping with the bf. We went to the Britomart market to get some free range eggs, then visited the Takapuna and Hobsonville markets. In all honesty, the size of markets themselves were a bit disappointing. You could count the number of stalls there were with both hands. It didn't help that the weather was shite and there was no big buzz around. But there were a few stalls that sold some quality products. I bought two beautiful postcards just because. And got treated to some luxurious chocolate from Sweet Cuisine. Hopefully the markets pick up when the weather improves! I'll share some photos in the next post.

Now lastly, I'm sharing this beautiful time lapse documenting the breathtaking city that Auckland is. So much dedication and hard work went into this little video. Hats off to the photographer, Siyamalan.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

{Small Steps Everyday}: Milestone

Any progress is progress.

Masters thesis
I found out that I won't be able to graduate this semester if I don't hand my final amended, printed and bound copy in by August 17, which is in... like ten days! That's verging on impossible with me juggling work and studies, and recently, family stuff. I was angry at first. When I handed in my thesis in March, uni said I'll get it back in May but instead it arrived at the end of July. IF they had handed it back to me earlier, I would've been able to finish it up and graduate! Inefficiency... sigh.
But I thought about it later on. It really doesn't matter when I graduate. Perhaps it's better graduating next year, when things at home have settled down. I'll just have to try my best but if it can't happen, no use sulking about it. This way, I can spend time looking through my thesis properly and not have to rush it. Work carefully and produce a perfect final copy!

I had my third test today. Was worrying so much about whether or not I can make it. All these unexpected things happening and taking up my time, I barely had time to sleep, let alone study. I even woke up at 5am for some cramming. But pssshht, I didn't have to worry! The test was pretty straightforward. This shows that spending time doing homework during the week really does pay off. Lucky I didn't leave everything to the last minute!
Lesson learned: Time is precious. Work hard when you have time because you never know what will pop up unexpectedly.

Does exercising my will to not fall asleep count? Ha...ha...
Ok ok I did go for a one-hour long power walk/jog down to the beach in my new shoes which I love love love! Admittedly I did try running, but breathing in the cold air makes me puff even more so I settled to a power walk instead. Small steps everyday. Don't push myself too hard and end up pulling my knee or something. But definitely should increase the amount of time I go for walks/jogs(wogs?).

As alluded to previously, sleep this week has not been good, particularly in the last two days. Definitely can feel the strain though. This makes it all the more important to sleep well normally, so when emergencies happen, I'll still have good health to fall back on. Look after that liver, woman!

Not exactly leisure, but it's a change in mindset. While I went for my walk/jog the other day I took the time to stop and admire the beauty around. Winter has such beautiful flowers! Like this one. I'm not sure what it's called but i find it so cute that it looks like it's wearing a fur coat. Although of course it's trying to get out of its fur coat. I feel like i should say something about don't judge a book by it's cover, you don't know what treasures are hidden inside, or unleash that inner beauty, or something along the lines of 'just when a caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly' but seriously my brain is suffering the consequences of sleeplessness. So there, I said all those things, rather un-poetically.

15. Appearance
I finally went for my haircut. I've been deliberating for the past two months whether or not to cut it and finally under the encouragement of my sister, I got it all chopped off! Well, not really all, but close. 
This was the first time I had my hair cut this short and I'm so happy with the results. The hairdresser at Hi Andy on High St really did an amazing job! Highly recommend going there for a cut/style/makeover. The prices are pretty reasonable too. 

I know a lot of people who are really scared of haircuts. But I find that if you feel doing something risky, haircut is a good choice because you won't die from it, even if you may feel like it - but just wear a hat, and after all your hair will grow back. 
Having my hair cut short, I feel so much more liberated - not just because I don't have to spend that much time and energy being frustrated by it. It's literally a weight off your shoulders. So if you've been feeling down lately, go for a haircut. You'll feel so much more refreshed, as I always do. 

This past weekend I have been touched by the kindness of friends and strangers, who extended their hands at my family's time of need. I feel so grateful and so blessed. And I feel that I should extend this kindness and pay it forward. I'm adding another thing to my list, and that is compassion. Make conscious effort of being compassionate in everything I do, no matter how trivial. The tiniest gestures really do make a world of difference. 

Now, off i go to bed. I shall leave you to admire these beautiful camellias that really brightened up the winter scene.  

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

One step at a time, but keep going

I've been feeling really uncertain lately. I am busy as fk and I hardly have time for leisure. I work, study, try to start up my own business. Each day is a race against time, how much can I get done? How much more do I have to do? But for all that I am doing, I feel that I am stepping in circles and stuck at the same spot while others progress in life - getting promotions, buying houses, travelling. Although I have a job, I am still far from being financially independent. I am lucky to have parents that give me a roof to live under and put food in my mouth. 

I just had my 25th birthday last week. Am I where I envisioned to be at this point in life? Far from it. Stuff has been happening at home that are taxing to the mind and body but that is life and you accept it and work through it. But I am definitely working hard and trying my best juggling all my responsibilities and commitment. Being caught in this whirlwind though, I have lost sight and am just living each day as it comes. Inspired by my sister and how she is consciously working to achieve her goals, I too am coming up with a list to tick off, and am calling it 'Small Steps Everyday'. 

I must remind myself that it does not matter how slow the journey, as long as I take each step earnestly. Everyone's journey is different. Never, no matter how tempting, compare myself with others. Never feel ashamed of my journey. Never underestimate myself. Never forget my values. Never give up. 

My 'Small Steps Everyday' List
1. Complete my Masters thesis and graduate - I am soooo happy with the provisional grade I got! But in order to turn that into the actual grade, I must fight with all I have on this FINAL leg of the journey. [End of September]
2. Complete my GCNZIA course and graduate with flying colours! - Being the over-ambitious person I am, I decided to take up a law course - complete tangent yeah, but I am enjoying this very much. Who knows what I'll be making a career out of, but this will be high on the possibilities. [Mid-November]
3. Fitness - Move it! Just get out the door! Marathon end of the year? Let's do it! Pick up a sport (yoga/dance?). [Ongoing]
4. Sleep is the best medicine. Sleep early, wake up early. Time to really stick to this sleep routine. [Ongoing]
5. Make time for leisure - make the effort to hang out with friends; work on my hobbies (photography, reading, baking, knitting, movies, singing, anything!). Dedicate at least half a day to one day per week for leisure. [Ongoing]
6. Independence. Stand on my own two feet. Find a stable (and well paid) job. This may take some time, but start with the little stuff. This also encompasses standing up for myself when need be.  [2016]
7. Stop being a cheapskate. Spend money when I need to, don't go for the cheap stuff as it will ultimately cost me more. Go for quality. But at the same time, learn to be content知足. [Ongoing]
8. At least ten minutes of quiet time everyday. To rest my mind. To reflect. 阿弥陀佛 [Ongoing]
9. Flipping go and get my citizenship. [By 2016]
10. Work on my skincare. [2016]
11. Start a charity project. [2016]
12. Continue learning Chinese Medicine/养生 [Ongoing]
13. Learn to say no. This also means stop overestimating my abilities. Don't bite off more than I can chew. [Ongoing]
14. Work on my talking/socialising skills. Everyone who knows me knows that I am 'the quiet one'. Learn to get out more. Get out of my comfort zone! Socialise more. [Ongoing]
15. Never slack off on appearance. I look good, I feel good. [Ongoing]
16. Start a diary and update AT LEAST once a week. [Ongoing]

Underlying all these goals, I should stop being frustrated at myself. Being happy means my temper/mood will improve and treat those around me better. 

This is a long list, but what are goals if they aren't challenging? 

Off I go to do my assignment for Goal no.2! And then sleep (Goal no.4).