Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Gee, it’s New Year’s Eve – again!

Yah yah, I know, you’d expect me to say the usual “Oh, time flies so fast!” (Which happens to be what I was thinking…)

“Jeez, next thing you know it I'm gonna graduate, have a job, raise a family, get grandchildren and die of old age. xD” (quote, Shaun Yow)

Hahaha, I read that on Shaun’s blog and I laughed at the bluntness of it. Well, it wasn’t what I was thinking, but I found it amusing. xD

For now, I’m just waiting for 2009 to begin. The past few weeks have only been an “introduction”. On the 1st of January, I’ll “officially” begin my new chapter here.

In February, school begins. For the past few weeks I’ve been waking up at nearly 11 each morn. When I roll out of bed, I always wonder how I’d manage school life – having to wake up in the cold at 7 am and wear a uniform. Seriously, if you’re talking about school life, that’s all I’m worried about.

As most of you know, I’ve been homeschooled since 9. I didn’t have to wear uniform, carry a heavy schoolbag, do extra homework, tolerate other students and teachers, wash school shoes, prepare a lunch box, face exams and report cards…

You would say I had a blissful “school” life in M’sia. Sure thing, I did. I’ll admit that I love the comforts of homeschooling, but I’m still very excited about going to a real school. People tell me year 10 is gonna’ be my fun year. It’s not like Form 4, where you have to perk up and start stressing about SPM. I’ll take their word for it and savour every moment! =)

Sometime next year I’d like to read this again and see how I had greeted 2009 and anticipated the new experiences I’ll have here. As for 2008, what have I accomplished and learned? That’s for me to know and it’s too tiresome to list. However, there is one thing that I’ve learned that I must write about, and carry with me into 2009.

I’ve realized that throughout life, there will always be people who’d talk a lot and give smart advises about how I should live my life, what I should do, etc. People advise out of goodwill – I’ll appreciate that. But there’ll be some who are just offering their two-cents worth of nonsense. It may sound brash, but I’ve resolved that if I listen to such people, I’d probably end up not doing what I desire in my heart to do, and of course, what God has in store me.

My dad had once given an illustration using a compass. I’ll remember it for life. We all know that the main purpose of the compass is simply to point True North. In this metaphor, the True North represents God. In life, there’ll always be many other “magnets” that will cause our compass needle to go swing back & forth without clear direction. We’re always distracted by so many things that most of us are just cruising in auto-pilot with no clear purpose.

I have determined that no matter what people say – some may even discourage me from doing what I really want to do and push me off the track I’m determined to take – I will always, always remember to swing back to the True North, to God, for His guidance. You can forget the previous paragraphs, but I hope that you’ll carry this last bit with you into the New Year, too. =)

" You will show me the path of life, and in Your presence is fullness of joy." - Psalm 16:11

Tell me you like this one! Hahaha, my sister was marvelling at the amount of time I took to edit one such picture - yes, a lot of time. :P

We’ll be going to Melbourne City tomorrow to watch the fireworks. There’s going to be free train rides the whole day. Yipee yay. :D

Till then, God blesscha’ and have a fabulous New Year’s Eve!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Our First Christmas in Aussie

Hey ya’ll! Hope you guys are having a verrry Merrry Christmas and are not forgetting the reason for the season! :D

We had very beautiful weather on Christmas day. It was sunny, yet the temperature was nice and cooling. And that’s what I call “the best weather everrr”!

For the first time, we are spending Christmas on our own – without the jolly company of our relatives, cousins, and also church friends! But thankfully, we are here celebrating together as a family and also with some new-found friends who’d invited us over to their house for Christmas dinner. =)

Before our arrival, we tried to imagine what it would be like to celebrate our first Christmas in Australia. And we were hoping that by Christmastime, we would’ve found a house and we could have thanksgiving dinner on the eve. Though I did try to imagine what it would look and feel like, I just couldn’t picture it.

But hey, here we are now! And by God’s grace, we have a nice, cosy house. Also what’s more, we are not celebrating Christmas alone, but with some new friends! And as we had imagined, we did have our thanksgiving dinner in our own house on Christmas Eve. It was good.

My parents bought a roast chicken with stuffing and my mum made some pasta and potato salad. It sounds like a simple dinner, but it was thoroughly wonderful. We thank God for leading us thus far and for all the good and not so good experiences that have brought us to enjoy what’s here and now before us. It’s been so exciting for me and my sisters.

On Christmas day itself, we had a nice roast turkey, ham, and beef dinner at Eleanor’s house. Aunty Sonya and Uncle Ken were so nice to invite us. There was a lot of food. My mum brought tuna pasta and a banana chocolate cake. There was also Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, salad, and cheesecake. It was really good. :D

Here are some pictures we took on Christmas Eve and at Eleanor's place on Christmas day. =)

The three of us at the dining area.

My dad with the yummy roast chicken.

Dig in!
We thank God for our first Christmas here in Australia!

Haha, at Aunty Sonya's house. We were attempting to jump in our skirts and dresses. :P From the left is Shona, the youngest of the four girls, then their third sister, Hannah, and Janna, me, and Jirene.

All of us had our scrumptious dinner at the patio facing the backyard - where we did our jumping stunts. Haha.

I didn't know Eleanor could be such a meanie. She pushed me down when we jumped! :P

You know, sometimes we just run out of poses. -.- Hahaha.

Hahaha, Hannah, I think is a failed attempt. :P LOL.

Hannah, Joanna, and I. Joanna was Hannah's neighbor when they were in M'sia. Her family migrated here as well!
Finally, the three of us with Shona and Eleanor. I wanted to take a picture of all of us, but then we were preoccupied with watching Ever After. Haha. So anyway, it was fun hanging out with you guys for Christmas!
I hope you all had a wonderful time back in Malaysia as well. :D Take care and God bless as we look on to the new year in 3 days! ;)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Good News!!!

Yippee, I have lots of good news to share today! After a month and two weeks in Aussie, we’ve finally moved into our own house! :D That’s the first good news. Praise God for everything. When most people doubted that we’d find a house in a month, all my parents could do was to continue house-hunting and pray that God will lead us to the right place.

On the day we got the keys (last, last Friday) we actually planned to stay in our empty home – with sleeping bags – until our furniture from M’sia arrived. But miraculously, in God’s perfect timing, a friend in Hope church invited us to join a Christmas deco party at a youth leader’s house. Her name’s Eleanor. My parents met her mum and somehow, at the end of the evening, she invited us to stay over at their place until our stuff arrived. It was a real surprise!

What makes it more incredulous is the fact that we’re total strangers to each other. But I know for sure that it’s not by chance we met them that Friday. Sure enough, after a few days, it already felt as if we’ve known each other like, forever. Haha. If not for God’s perfect timing, we would’ve camped out on the cold floor in our empty home and not have met such wonderful people! That’s the second good news.

Last Thursday, my dad got a call that our stuff had arrived. Since then, my parents have been going to the house to arrange the furniture and sort boxes while the 3 of us stayed at Eleanor’s. Although some of our stuff is missing, we’re thankful that most of it has arrived before Christmas! That’s the third good news.

On Monday, we officially moved in. :D The house is a single-storey and it’s pretty small – but cosy. We have 3 bedrooms, a garage, and only one toilet and bathroom. Apart from the one-toilet-for-five-to-share problem, we’re pretty contented. Haha. =)

It may be small indoors, but the land outdoors is big! We have a huge backyard. I remember my mum used to tell us to pray that someday we can have a nice big backyard to play in. Now it’s a dream come true! (Though we’ll have lots of lawn-mowing and weeding to do… Haha.) That’s the fourth good news.

After all the houses we viewed, it’s a wonder that we ended up in Forest Hill. What’s more, we discovered later that this location is a pretty central area. We have a few libraries and two big shopping centres within 5 to 10 minutes drive, and there’s a nice little park a few houses up the road. Plus, it’s the only house my parents viewed that’s nearest to Blackburn High. And we got it! Now that’s the fifth good news.

And finally, the last exciting bit is that Janna and I have received a letter from Blackburn High saying we’ve been accepted into the Piano Program! It’s especially good news because the school offers it to only 30 students who show potential in piano at an audition. They don’t offer piano lessons to everyone cause’ it’s a solo instrument. So yeah, we’re very grateful that we made it! It’s less expensive to learn at school and it saves us the hassle to find a private teacher.

So anyway, after all the updates, I have some pictures here taken at Eleanor’s house. :D

Eleanor and I. It's a wonder that we got along really well although we're 10 years apart. Hahaha.
She was real fun company!
I badly needed to trim my hair. And to my delight, Eleanor offered to give me a haircut! Haha. And that's Eleanor's sister, Hannah, at the back, serenading us with a guitar. LOL.

Janna, Jirene, and Hannah.

This was taken on Monday, when we "checked-out" of their house. Haha.

I know, we all look very angelic and white. Hahaha, it was a very bright day.

Eleanor, I know you're gonna' see this. Thanks a million for having us over! You guys are truly a blessing. :D

And finally, this is a shot taken at our new home. Janna and Jirene we sorting out their stuff in their room. Haha, once our house looks neater, I'll post some nicer pictures. :)

Oh my, tomorrow’s Christmas day! We’ll be joining Eleanor’s family for our first Christmas dinner in Australia. :D They were so nice to invite us. So anyway, I hope you all have a very merry Christmas this year! Take care and God bless! ;)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Kyneton Bush-Lands

I think I had the most fun at Kyneton compared to the other two holiday spots we went to – Yarrawonga and Mansfield. At Kyneton, I got to have a feel of what it’s like to hide behind the bushes and “film” wild kangaroos and snap photographs of them. Haha, it was so cool! In fact, I was the only one in my family who always spotted the kangaroos. Somehow, even when I pointed the kangaroos out to them, they couldn’t spot them at first sight. -.- Hahaha.

So anyway, I’ve got all the pictures nicely edited and posted. The kangaroo ones are up too. I managed to post a video of a mother kangaroo and its joey. It’s so adorable, I tell you. Well, have fun watching! :D

Janna and Jirene enjoying the big box of cherries we bought on the way to Kyneton from a cherry farm. It only cost 25 dollars for 5 kg! The box of cherries lasted us a whole week at Kyneton. Haha. This is the first time we ever had the luxury of eating so many juicy and sweet cherries.

We each rented a bike for a whole week for 2 dollars.

A shot with some friends we met at the Kyneton Resort. They were three sisters as well, from Sunbury.

At the pool.

We were at Daylesford market. There were loads of good bargains. Unfortunately, upon arriving, my dad announced that he had forgotten to withdraw money from the bank. He only had 20 dollars in his pocket. -.- Lol.

Overlooking winery fields.

We spotted three cute lil' ponies!

I look like crap here. Hahaha. Well you see, I nearly fell of my bike while trying to "multitask". I was trying to ride my bike and at the same time hold the oars and life jacket for canoeing and at the same time, my back pack and sweater was falling off. I looked terribly silly.

To my embarrassment, Jirene seemed way more organized. Hahaha.

We were canoeing at the lake and the sun was literally frying us. The skies are too clear here.

I love the reflections of the canoe and the two yellow people in it.

Oh look, the two yellow people!

Me and Janna were in the blue canoe.

Guess what's the little splash? It was a flying fish, I think! I sat for half and hour by the lake trying to get a shot of the fish jumping up, but I guess it was just too hard.

That's my bike on the bridge overlooking the lake. I like the shadow of the bridge railings and of the bike wheels. I purposefully tinted this a lil' greenish over B&W.

Janna and I riding our bikes over the bridge.

We took a ride around the lake. Really nice.

Can you spot the hobo sleeping on the bench? Haha, kidding. He's not a hobo. And he's actually my dad. Taking a nap on the bench by the lake. :P


Jirene was brave enough to canoe on her own. She didn't want me on her boat because I would keep rocking it and pretend a Great White is chasing us. Haha, that's what sisters are for. :P

As usual, my dad decided to sunbathe on the canoe, in the middle of the lake.

Aha! I managed to clamber into Jirene's boat as she was rowing out, and there I was, following what my dad was doing while Jirene was playing boat-rower. Hahaha.

Yeah, I'm a meanie. That's what sisters are for. :P But hey, it was fun. HAHA.

I spotted wild kangaroos outside our villa! There were a pack of them. About 7 kangaroos. I ran out alone and hid behind the trees and bushes to video them and snap photographs. I spent nearly 2 hours outside in the evening cold. But it was so exciting! For a moment I felt like I was one of the dudes filming wildlife on National Geographic. Hahaha.

It looks so cute and gentle, doesn't it? I'm so glad I managed to take a lot of close-ups this time. And thankfully they were very clear. :D

A close-up side view of one of the kangaroos.

Haha, this one was chewing on a straw of wheat. So adorable.

The two kangas happened to pose for the camera at the same time! I love it! Haha. You know, it so happens that in my family, I was the only one who kept spotting kangaroos. Even when I pointed the kangaroos out to my sisters and parents, they somehow won't spot them at first sight. Haha.

A joey scratching itself.

This was totally "the moment", man. I found this mother kanga and its joey so fascinating that I watched them for a long while. They didn't do anything fascinating at first, but then my patience paid off and I managed to snap this short moment when the mother affectionately held the joey's head close to her.

They were ruffling each others' fur. I've got this one on video.

The focus is on the stalks of tall wheat, while a lil' kangaroo poses in the background.

I love the way the warmth of the sun falls on its fur and outlines the kangaroo's head and ears. I find it a pretty simple shot, but it's somehow very beautiful.

This is one of the many videos I took. But I like this one best. At the beginning, the joey looks like it is nodding at me quizzically. It’s so, so cute! And later they take turns ruffling each others’ fur. I love it. :D

Okeydokey, that’s all for today. I gotta’ have dinner and rush out with my friend Eleanor for a Creative Arts workshop in the city.

Hope you guys enjoyed the kangaroo pictures. They’re so lovely. I can’t stop raving about them! Haha. And oh yes, one last update: My parents just got a call today that our shipping stuff and furniture will be sent to our house tomorrow! So yes, we’ll be moving in before Christmas. Thank God. =)

Hope you guys are having a blast of a time preparing for Christmas! God bless. ;)

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