Saturday, February 28, 2009

Music Mania

Whoopee, guess what, I’m earning some good money! My violin teacher Ms. Carrington approached me last week and asked if I would like to give piano lessons to a Year 9 student cause’ the school’s piano classes were full already. I was actually surprised that she would think of me! I was thrilled at the opportunity at hand, and I told Ms. Carrington that I’ll think about it.

Later on, I found out who the Year 9 student was – she’s a German girl by the name of Emily, and I had actually met her at the swimming carnival earlier this month. Emily will only be here until July. She had followed her dad on a working trip since last October. So I thought it’ll be pretty worth while teaching her piano while she’s here.

Emily will pay me 30 dollars for each lesson. How awesome is that? If I worked in Subway, I would have only earned 8 dollars an hour. But as my parents have always told me, with a music skill, you can earn triple the amount just by doing what you do best! Now I understand what they’ve been talking about. Haha. I’m really very thankful to be given such an opportunity!

So we had our first lesson this Wednesday at lunch time. It was quite fun, and thankfully not that difficult since Emily already knows how to play the piano. She had stopped learning some time ago. And I think it’s really good for me as well because I’m also learning a lot when I’m suddenly switched to playing “teacher”. Haha.

My parents also want me to teach Jirene piano now instead of having to look for a piano teacher and pay the extra money. Well “naturally”, I’m very impatient when it comes to teaching my own sisters. I end up being quite nasty. xD I’m really sorry about it, but it’s just difficult when you try to teach a family member. Haha. Well oh well, I’ll try to be better at it.

And oh did I tell you, Janna has opted to learn violin as well! She tried it out at the school’s Music Expo – an event where all the students get to try all sorts of instruments and choose one or two to learn at school. It was really cool! I’m still thinking about learning a third instrument (it will be for free), which might be saxophone, clarinet, or viola. But I’m weighing the pros and cons because I am already committed to focus a lot of time on piano and violin.

Right after House Music, the school started running rehearsals for the many stage bands, choirs, and orchestras. It’s quite crazy. I’ll be involved in the Senior Strings Orchestra and the Symphony Orchestra. Man, it’s pretty difficult (well, what’s not?). Ms. Carrington had just put my name in and I managed to duck the audition with the Music Director. xD So I guess if my teacher has confidence that I can do it, I’m sure I can.

Being a part of an orchestra is a new thing for me. House Music was a much smaller scale. It feels like the little part you’re playing doesn’t really matter since the group is so big… But I’m sure that every little sound contributes that bit of zest to the whole piece. I’m really happy that nearly all the friends I’ve been hanging out with are involved in music. So I have good company at the orchestras. What's more a few of them are above grade 6 in violin, so I get to learn from them. :D Haha, as much as I feel small and inexperienced, I still relish the opportunity!

Yeah I know, I’ve been talking too much about my music life. Does it sound boring already? Haha. But really, playing music makes up so much of my life! I’m actually sacrificing lunch time each day to practice piano. I have to. It sounds mad, but I guess it’s a sacrifice worth making in order to be better than good!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Blackburn High’s House Music Festival

Yesterday’s House Music Festival was a blast! It was so much fun!!! :D I didn’t expect it to turn out so awesome. The four musicals that were presented by Cuthbert, Landy, Porter, and Strickland houses were simply amazing. Every actor, dancer, singer, and musician that survived the crazy rehearsals during these 11 days did such a splendid job! All the hard work paid off well and the audience’s applause for each performance was bombastic. I loved every bit of it. :D

Janna and I spent the whole day in school yesterday. At about 6 pm, we started to get into our Halloween costumes and all of us got our masks, make up, and face-painting on. It was really cool. I think our musical had the best and most fun costumes! We looked freaky hey. :P I had this really cool flowing black top that looked vampire-ish. (I actually found it in my mum’s closet.) :P It was perfect for the occasion! And Janna was acting as a witch. Her pale-green face and black lips freaked me out!

Our house – Cuthbert – was the first to perform. We were so pumped up for it. Our musical The Nightmare Before Christmas turned out well and at the end of it, we received an awesome applause from the big crowd of parents & students. We had so much fun doing it for real! Though there were some glitches in between, we were all very pleased with the overall outcome.
What got me so amazed when I watched the other performances was the fact that all of us had only 11 days of practice. And we managed to come up with costumes for everyone, props, dance pieces, and some really good instrumental pieces. Note that it wasn’t a simple skit or something – it was a 30 minute performance! There were so many notable talents. Many could sing and act really well and there was so much fun and humour.

House Music it’s a yearly tradition at Blackburn High and it’s also a competition. So at the end of the night, the winner for the best musical was awarded to Porter house! They played the Pirates of Penzance. Landy house – who played Hercules – came in second, and ours came in third followed by Strickland who did The Aristocrats. Porter really deserved the win because they had a great variety of everything that a musical should have. They’ll get the chance to perform for the whole school next week. =D

I have no regrets joining House Music. Most of my friends at school haven’t joined even though they’ve been here for a few years already. I wished they did. It’s one of the best and most fun performances I’ve ever been a part of, considering I didn’t know anyone in my house at first. I really thank God for the opportunity and that I am here to experience this in such a time in my life. =)

And oh yes, I’m sure you’re very impatient for the pictures. :D So here we go. ;)

A group picture taken at the music hall before our performance. Haha, we looked so crazy!

Michelle Bedggood and I. She's in Year 10 as well.

Rawr. :D

Josh Dema, me, and Michelle. I was playing the piano with Josh for one of the songs.

Haha, Janna looks so gross right. :P The girl beside her is Hannah Casihan. She's from Phillipines.


One of the scenes in the Nightmare Before Christmas. Aw don't you love the way we look? It's so colorful! What a freaky bunch. Haha. I wished I could have been in the audience to see what we looked like. xD

Jack, the Pumpkin King! Haha. The role was played by Elijah Cornish, our house leader.

The dancers in their scary poses.

At the end, the instrumental group played the final music medley. For those five minutes when three of the actors were acting in front of the curtains, the rest of us were behind the curtains busy arrange the music stands, the chairs and our instruments! It was havoc because there was little light in the back stage. Haha. Well, that's what happens behind all the glamour.

Whee. First time on stage with my violin! The guy beside me is Patrick Casihan. He's in the same violin class as I am. It was fun practicing with him.

Landy house performing in the Hercules musical.

There was a lot of humour in every play. I loved watching every bit of it!

Mr. Hardie, our school's assistant music director.

The last performance by Porter house called the Pirates of Penzance. This one was really extra good. Everything was planned to precision.

Aye aye pirates!

All of us gathered on the stage after all the performances to see which house will be announced the winner.

There was so much cheering, clapping, and screaming after that!

With the Millane sisters, Mira and Yana. They were in the Pirates of Penzance.

Me, Jess, Jenny, and Ling Yun.

These girls are heaps of fun! I got to know them through Michelle Wong. :D
Okie dokie, this really took me a lot of time! Haha. Hope the pictures did give a hint to all the great performances we had. I'll post some videos when I have the time.
Have a fantabulous weekend, peeps! ;)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Wahoo, I’m back, folks! Miss me? It’s been a long and busy week since my last post! I’ve met a lot of new people in school since, and every day has been pretty good and eventful. We’ve been practicing so hard for the House Music Festival and for our Cuthbert house musical, The Nightmare Before Christmas.

It’s been tiring every day cause’ we have so many rehearsals. I find it a wonder that all of us worked so well together! I must also say that although it is my first time playing in an instrumental group, I managed to fit in pretty well. I really thank God that I didn’t back out of it after realizing that the part I’m playing is a bit too difficult for me. But I committed it to God anyway, and determined that nothing is impossible to play as long and I practice mean and hard.

When I first got my violin part last Friday, I was blown over by the amount of sharps and flats in the piece! Despite all that, I was still quite ambitious and decided to go ahead with it. One day later, I was already tempted to quit cause’ my patience was running out! But oh well, I guess I was still determined, and I prayed that God will give me the strength and ability to practice till I get it right. I reminded myself that it’s my first opportunity to perform with the violin, and I must get it right – whatever it takes!

One week down the road, I am really thankful to God that I am able to play the part quite smoothly. But behind every well-played piece, there will always be a lot of time, effort, and sweat put into it! Seriously, my fingers and back sweat buckets each time I practice! xD

Our little instrumental orchestra is composed of flutes, violins, cellos, double basses, bassoons, oboes, tubas, trumpets, clarinets, a xylophone, cymbals, a trombone, and our good ol’ conductor, Elijah Cornish (he’s our Cuthbert house captain and the school’s music captain). As I observe how everyone plays their part to make a beautiful and exciting medley, I am once again so glad that I decided to join the House Music! I’m learning so much and it’s a memorable experience, considering it is only my third week.

Tomorrow’s gonna’ be a long and exciting day. Janna and I will be staying in school until night. We already have our “Halloween” costumes – remember the Nightmare Before Christmas? It’s gonna’ be real cool. Hopefully I’ll have some nice pictures to post up soon!

I’ve gotta’ run now. Guess what, I’m back to practicing violin for tomorrow! Yes, oh yes, I really am very, very dedicated. :P

Cheers! ;)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A New Phase

Howdy, friends!

Life has no doubt been pretty interesting. Nothing spectacular, but it’s definitely different from last year. And, school is getting better by the day! It’s only my second week, but I’m getting pretty familiarized already. Janna and Jirene are having a really grand time, too. By golly, Jirene is actually waking up at 7 am for school!!! HAHA.

I really thank God that we’re adapting so easily. It’s really by God’s favour and grace, considering we were homeschooled and the fact that school here is very different from M’sia. I thank God each day for every new friend I make and for every challenge and experience that comes my way. It’s a new phase in my life, and I want with all my heart to enjoy it and give God the glory at every opportunity!

And oh yes, I should tell you guys about our school’s annual House Music Festival! It’s so cool. The House Music Festival is a highlight every year where all four houses – Cuthbert (the one Janna and I are in), Landy, Porter, and Strickland – will each organize a musical and perform it for the school and all the parents. We’ll be judged by our performances and it’ll be great fun.

We will be presenting on the 20th of February. Our house is performing The Nightmare Before Christmas. A big group of us will make up the choir, the instrumental group, the actors and dancers, and everyone helping with costumes and props. We are headed by three Year 12 students. Bearing in mind that they have to bring such a big group to work together and polish up the play in two weeks, it’s not easy. Plus, we don’t get help from any of the teachers at all!

For the past few days, I’ve been occupied with the rehearsals at lunch time and after school. It’s tiring and takes a lot of our time cause’ we’ll be crashing through the week with full-on rehearsals. But I really don’t mind cause’ it’s an awesome chance for me to get to know other people and I enjoy practicing music in a group. I think it’s an opportunity of a lifetime and there probably will not be another experience like it!

Although all my friends weren’t interested in joining, I decided to go ahead and be part of it anyway. My parents encouraged us to join whatever program the school offers. So by taking a step forward even though all my friends didn’t want to, I’m rewarded with another group of friends that I met and still am going to meet during the practices.

I’ll be playing the piano for one song as an accompaniment to the choir and another song with an Italian-Aussie guy called Josh Dima. At first, I was kinda’ like a “nobody” since I was new. But after offering to help with the piano – since Cuthbert doesn’t have a House pianist other than the Italian dude – and thankfully after doing a pretty good job at it, I think they recognize me better now. Haha!

I was also hoping to play the violin in the instrumental group for one of the other songs. It’ll be really cool since I haven’t got the chance to perform with my violin! And oh, not to forget, Janna is involved in the musical, too. She’s singing and acting.

Meanwhile, amidst all our school drama, my parents are still job hunting. My dad has applied for a few interesting jobs. One of it includes a “Funeral Consultant”. HAHA. Seriously. But he didn’t get that one since the interviewers suspected that he won’t be interested to continue the job for long. Haha. But it would’ve been really cool if Dad got it. xD Anyway, we’re still praying for God to open the right doors. So keep us in your prayers! ;)

Oh yay, tomorrow’s free dress day! We get to wear anything BUT our uniforms for school. :D

Thursday, February 5, 2009

3 Days Later

Man, I feel so much better today! School was quite fun actually. I had 3 double periods of violin, Math Methods, and Music Technology. It was all pretty interesting. Maths was a bit boring because it was easy stuff. I sat beside Stephanie, my good ol’ new found friend. She’s new, too. Steph just arrived here a month ago, and she’s from Malaysia as well.

Yesterday we actually had a Swimming Carnival where all the students participated in swimming events. It was pretty boring at first because I didn’t know anyone in my Blue House. But after an hour, I decided to just join in whatever events I could sign up for. It ended up to be quite fun.

The funny thing about the Swimming Carnival was that I was probably the only girl who wasn’t wearing a bikini into the pool. Haha. I was wearing the only swimsuit I had – the one I used when I went diving in the tropical waters of Phuket. And I realized that there were no other Asian girls who joined the events! Blackburn only has maybe 15 percent Asian students, or much less.

And oh yea, I finally met Michelle Wong (a.k.a Lin Li) today! She skipped school for the first three days cause' she only got back from M'sia on Monday. Although I only vaguely remember her when we met on Facebook, it was still a relief to connect with her in school! =) I got to know the girls she hangs out with at lunch, and it was pretty cool getting to know them all. It really helps A LOT that now I know someone who’s been in the school for 2 years. She can help me familiarize with the place much faster. :D

Oh, I should also tell you guys more about Stephanie. When I first met her on Monday, I found out that she’s also doing piano and violin! It was so cool to meet her. After 3 days hanging out with Steph at recess and lunch, I think we’re already becoming pretty good friends. I’m starting to find out that we have quite a few things in common. Haha. I really thank God for blessing me with a handful of friends already.

School over here is pretty laid-back. Its fun and students are used to speaking up in class. Right from Year One the kids are already taught to speak up in front of others, to ask questions, and do oral reports. You get to be really creative in whatever subject you’re in. And if you need help, the teacher will come and explain stuff to you. Also, one really good thing is each class in limited to only 25 kids.

While it’s still our first week, we are still adjusting to the totally new timetable and to waking up early. Haha. You know, every morning when I wake up, I wonder aloud how I will manage to get up in winter! It’ll be freezing! xD

Anyway, I can’t ramble on anymore. I’ve got to practice violin. I’m still trying to make it a point to play at least one hour on school days. It’s so not easy! But thankfully, it’s not impossible either. Hopefully everything will continue to play out well.

Till then, g’day mates! ;)

Monday, February 2, 2009

My First Day at High School

School didn’t get me totally excited, or nervous – maybe just a bit of both. Naturally, I wondered if I will easily make some new friends. I prayed that there’ll be some friendly kids around. I prayed that I’ll have good, dedicated teachers. This morning when I slipped into my uniform, I looked in the mirror and rolled my eyes. My shirt looks so unfitting! Ugh. Oh well, no choice, life goes on.

Janna and I arrived at school at 8.45 and went to our Year 7 and 10 groups in the assembly. When the teacher began a speech, I said under my breath, “MY GOSH, I’M ACTUALLY IN SCHOOL NOW!” Haha. I didn’t know a single soul. I felt so new and fresh and yes, pretty lost. But it was a familiar feeling. Like the very first day of school – again.

High school here is like college. We don’t stay in the same class with the same people for the whole year. For each period, we go to a different class and meet a different group of people. Between the six periods, we’ll go to our lockers and grab the books we need for the next class. The good thing about it is I’ll definitely have a wider circle of friends in the long run. And it’s not so boring.

But for today, I felt totally lost! It was discouraging because there was no orientation or “welcome” for the new kids. Oh well, I guess that’s how it is. So I learned to be a loner for a while. But don’t get me wrong. I WASN’T ANTISOCIAL. Hahaha. That would be the biggest joke of all! In fact, though I felt very much alone, the whole time I had tried to mix with whomever I could spark a conversation with.

I met a handful of girls who were pretty nice. I wasn't alone at recess or lunch, thankfully. They were friendly enough, but I guess that although I was the new person, I was many times friendlier. Sigh. You know, I’ll make sure that whenever I see new kids in class, I’ll be the first to talk to them and make them welcome!

It was harder for me to make friends because most of them already had their cliques and obviously, why would they bother about some new Asian girl? But for Janna, it was easier cause’ her year is just starting and all of them needed to make new friends. It was easy for Jirene as well. She’s having lots of fun – primary school is like a big playground!

Anyhow, at the end of the day, I learned to place my security in God once again. I learned to put aside my disappointment, my worries, and insecurity. Although I will feel it again, I know that God will give me strength to face the next day. When I felt alone and weak, so new and just plain blur, I called out to God. It’s just a little thing, but I know that if I put confidence in myself alone, I won’t get anywhere.

It is challenging, especially when not all kids are friendly and helpful. But I’m sure I’ll learn many new things about myself and relating to different people. After all, it was only my first day! It’s hard, but I resolve to place my trust and confidence in Jesus. It’ll make all the difference in the world! Wherever I am, I want to be a testimony for Christ. That will make all the difference in the world, too.

I admit that I am weak. I haven’t experienced high school like most of you do. And I know that no one can give me more strength and courage than God.

So, I’ll let out a big, long sigh and say: I look forward to many good & bad experiences in school because tomorrow’s always a new day! ;)

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