Sunday, May 24, 2009

My 3rd Instrument!

Guess what? I’ve decided to learn a third instrument at school!!!

It took me since Feb to finally decide. Though I really wanted to, another part of me will say, “Hey, you’re already full on with piano, violin, and a bit of guitar, where will you have time to work on something totally new?” I worried that I’ll stretch myself too thin.

Although I committed it to God, I did not truly believe I could do it because I was too busy worrying about not having the money to spend on an instrument. Now that I think back, I feel like slapping myself. How can I forget that God had provided and opened the doors for me when I wanted to learn the violin?

When I told my friends I am going for a third, their jaws dropped. Michelle said, “What!? Gosh, as it is you are not joining us for lunch already. If you do a third instrument you’ll have even less time!” Haha. Last year I started violin, but this year? Hehe, try guessing. :P

At this point, let me flashback to February 17th.

At that time, I thought of learning the clarinet or saxophone. While walking towards to music department to inquire, I bumped into my violin teacher. I decided to tell her that I want to learn a 3rd instrument. She described all the instruments she thought I might enjoy. And then, she told me about the oboe. I couldn’t even remember how the oboe sounded. But somehow, my interest was sparked.

When I heard a friend play his oboe in the Symphony Orchestra, I felt drawn to its pure voice and unique, melodious sound. It’s usually a solo instrument in orchestras and if you’re not good at blowing, it sounds like a duck. Haha. It becoming a pretty rare instrument and buying a decent oboe will cost you more than $ 2,000. An oboe reed – a 1 inch piece of cane with a tiny aperture to blow through – which will need to be changed every 3 months, will cost more than $ 20.

Finally, last week, I met the oboe teacher and decided. I figured that if I don’t do it now, I’ll miss the opportunity forever. Better now than never! I’ll be hiring an oboe from the school for only $ 165 for the rest of the year. Plus, I won’t have to pay any fees for learning a 3rd instrument! What a blessing. God is so good!

On Thursday, I had my first lesson with Mr. Jacobs. I found out that in whole school, there are only 6 oboists – now including me. :D

I will now have to make time to practice 30 minutes oboe each day. For now, my sound is still “ducky”. Haha. But my teacher is confident that I’ll pick it up fast. It’s a totally different thing now. I need to control my breath and purse my lips. It’s real tiring for my face and my mouth!

That's what an oboe looks like. Boy am I really excited for the day when I can play like my friend in the orchestra. Can't wait to be able to "sing" with the lovely voice of the oboe. Yeah, someday I’ll make it… x)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Janna’s Birthday :)

Just an hour ago, we celebrated Janna’s first birthday in Australia. Well in our family, she’s the first to celebrate. All our birthdays are one after another. Haha. :D Janna’s turning 13 this year.

We celebrated at an Italian restaurant called Sofia’s. Its well-known here for its huge portions (even by Aussie standards, I should think…) and overflowing plates of pasta. We had a real sumptuous meal. My parents treated us to the ice cream sherbet and gelati for dessert. Man, it’s too much sugar for one night!

I remember we used to have buffet dinners for our birthdays. Over here there are no pish-posh hotels to be found. Well, unless it’s in the city, I guess. But that’s too far away. Next time when we go back, it’ll be so cheap to go for all the good food we want. :D

Till the next post, have an awesome week ahead! God bless ;)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Yay, I’m Going!!!

Woohoo, guess what, I’ll be going for the Hillsong Conference 09 in Sydney in July!!! It’s just plain awesome! A bunch of us from CLIChurch is going.

You know, I didn’t expect to go. But then two days ago, Charlene sent me a message saying that two peeps had pulled out and she asked if I’d like to take their place. So, there was a flicker of hope! However, the price for the conference, accommodation, and airfare to Sydney was pretty costly. Well, that snuffed out the flicker of hope. :( I knew we won’t have the extra money to spend on such a trip.

I thought about it and I wanted to go. But of course, I didn’t have the means to go.
There was always the ever-present flicker of doubt. But hey, I remembered that I could always pray and ask of God. Even if it seems impossible, with God, you might just be surprised. =) And I can tell you, God has blessed me with many surprises!

So I prayed. I wanted to go, but even if I can’t, I’ll be okay as well. But there’s no harm in asking God. Every good and perfect gift comes from above. Every good opportunity and every open door is in God’s plan. Many times only we ourselves will know for sure whether it is an answered prayer from God or not. So anyway, I just committed this desire to God and left it at that.

Today, after church, Charlene came and told me that she can arrange for me to be sponsored to go for the conference. I let out a tiny, thrilled gasp. So I don’t have the money, but yay, I’m going!!! I actually asked Charlene a few times, “Really!?? I can go…? Really, are you sure? You can arrange for that?” Finally I said, “Man, that’s just AWESOME!” I felt such a surge of excitement. It probably didn’t show much on the outside, but boy, you can imagine I’m so grateful to God!

We’ll be going on the 6th – 11th of July. It’ll be the middle of winter at that time! But at least up in Sydney it won’t be as cold as in Melbourne, I guess. I’m so thrilled! It’ll be a good time for me to get to know the CLIChurch peeps as well. And eat Subway everyday, as Charlene said. :P

I just checked the
Hillsong conference website for the program and speakers and stuff. It’s gonna be fantastic! :D

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Autumn Concert

On Wednesday, our school held our first concert for the year – the Autumn Concert!

On the concert night, we were all half frozen. I was worried my fingers won’t budge when I play. Haha.

Did you know that this week the maximum temperature was only about 16 degrees? In the morning and night, it drops to less than 10. It is snowing in the higher parts of Melbourne. You know, it’s still autumn – winter comes in June. On Thursday morning, the temperature at Blackburn was 0 degrees. But thank goodness it increased later in the day cause’ of the sun.

So yeah, during the concert, we girls were freezing, and when the guys were complaining about the cold, we had all the right in the world to shut them up! They were wearing suits, for crying out loud! Hahaha.

Anyway, I was performing with my violin in two orchestras that night – the Senior Strings Orchestra and the Symphony Orchestra. There were nearly 20 performances by the various bands, orchestras, choirs, and instrument ensembles. I also sang in a choir. Janna and I were required to join the choir cause’ we were learning piano in school. Every student who learns an instrument from school will have to join at least one ensemble or orchestra.

Here are some pictures and a video my dad took.

Singing Finlandia and Blue Skies in the choir. I know, we were pretty slack on this one - had to refer to the scores. xD

With some of my friends. Vanessha, Stephanie, and Jenny.

The Symphony Orchestra. We played a movement by Haydn and Star Trek: Through the Years.

Hahaha, I know, we all tend to look dead serious when we play. :P

Yes, the orchestra is pretty big. =)

Joining the orchestras took a lot out of me. I practiced hard. But it’s still not good enough. It’s all supposedly way above my grade. The people I’m playing with have much more experience and the girls sitting beside have been learning for 4 years.
I’m really pushing myself quite far.

But oh well, its good fun anyway. I’ve been praying for such opportunities. God is so good; He’s been answering my prayers! :D

The Visitors