Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tomorrow Draws Nigh

I just finished packing for my first day at VCASS tomorrow. The best thing I realized is I don’t have to don the dreaded uniform no more! Yay, just so happy. :D I felt I needed to write something before a significant day. February 1st kinda’ officially kick starts 2010 for me.

It’s hard to believe that a few months back I had my mind whirling, and my hands wrenching, praying God would allow me this opportunity to be accepted to school in VCASS. And after I got it, I imagined the day would come when it’ll all start. Now it’s here! Thank God for the satisfying summer break. I went to all the places I wanted to explore, I spent all the time I needed with the people I love most, and I photographed all the moments I could possibly wish to see – what more can I ask for?

Well now it's 2010, it’s a whole new ball game this year. I haven’t an inkling what will happen, who I’ll really make friends with, what kind of music teachers I’d get, or… how I’d get up in winter. But oh boy, I’m nevertheless just so glad for this change! It’s a new adventure, and once again, I’m venturing out on my own to discover what it’s gonna’ be like. May God be my guide always!

I really hope and pray that I will be given a good, dedicated and fun piano teacher, who’s so passionate about music that after each lesson, I’ll be going home inspired and refreshed. I am thankful to God that I had such a teacher in Blackburn High last year. I hope this year will be as memorable, as challenging, and as rewarding.

I am also terribly excited to meet new people once again. This time hopefully I will meet even more people who share similar values and passions, and who are like-minded about music and everything else under the sun. Whee. I think I’m just pumping myself up for tomorrow. :D Haha. I want this to be a good start. I want my whole heart and mind to be part of it, and my family to be part of it. Most of all, I want God to be part of it, to take the whole of it and turn this experience into something even more memorable and extraordinary.

I hope I will not just be pumped up today, or tomorrow, or whenever the day’s all sunny and pretty. No, I hope there’ll be this driving force in my heart, mind, and soul, that will get me through all the cold, rainy days, and all the challenges that come my way. Tomorrow draws nigh, and I am not entirely prepared, but that’s what life is about. I just gotta’ do my best, reach for the highest, and leave the rest to God.

I wanna’ thoroughly enjoy this year. To live NOW, the moment when I am truly alive. I want to give the time that I have now, back to God, that I may live a meaningful, purposeful existence. Let me not turn to the left nor to the right, but to keep my focus, to fix my heart and mind on Jesus. And on the things that matter – truly matter, in God’s sight. And though I will forget this, may God remind me every now and then to reach for the things that will count for eternity.

Wahoo! Come what may, tomorrow will be a good day!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

My Nokia E71

Well guess what, my dad recently signed me up for a phone plan. I got a Nokia E71 with it! Believe it or not, it’s my first NEW phone ever. I’ve had 2 hand-me-downs ever since. But anyway, I didn’t mind those. Believe it or not, I think I’ve never asked my parents for a new phone. Well, not only until recently – and that was because I could barely scroll up or down with the old broke phone! Haha.

Must say, I am really so grateful that I finally have a new phone. It’s brilliant! I love the design and the QWERTY keyboard. It’s metallic and white. And I am embarrassed to admit that I’m actually worried about having to handle this phone… simply because I don’t think I’d be able to properly remember how to use all the various applications and functions! Plus, I’m quite absentminded and I never treat phones as my “baby” or my “lifeline” like many people do. Hahaha.

Seriously, I’ve never really been into all these stuff. I’d prefer an ordinary “simple” phone than say, an iPhone, perhaps. Yeah yeah, the one everyone’s raving about! Sorry, I probably am a bit “off in the head”. :P But seriously, I think it has so many games and functions and applications on it that I’d be afraid to use it!

But of course, if I really think something is so worth my time, I would make time to try to learn how to use it the best I can for my own benefit.

So before I sign off, I must say thank you Dad for getting me a new phone! And of course, thank You God for answering my dusty prayer about 5 years ago when I wished for a phone (because everyone seemed to be getting one). Ha ha ha. =)


Thursday, January 28, 2010

More Adventure!

Our family planned another day trip adventure to Mornington Peninsula, about an hour’s drive from Melbourne City. We drove along the coast of Mornington Peninsula and passed all the beautiful beaches. Dad planned for us to visit the Point Nepean National Park. It is right at the tip of the peninsula. We took a long, leisurely 8 km hike up to the tip where we could see the whole of Point Nepean National Park and beyond. We also visited the historical Australian military forts and tunnel sites at Fort Nepean, which were built in the 1880s through World War I and World War II.

The day was splendid for a hike. It was partly cloudy, so we didn’t sweat it out along the 10km walk and hike. But thank God for the occasional sun peaking out from the clouds. Later in the afternoon, the sky cleared into a light blue. It was a perfectly enjoyable day out! Enjoy the photos... =)

Cheviot Hill. I love the way the clouds form the same shape as the hill.

Janna and Jirene goofing along the trail.

Walking through one of the military tunnels.

Looking from the inside out...

A gecko!

The three stooges walking up the hill to Fort Nepean.

What a sight! We could see from all sides.

Two ferries.

The earth is round.

Jirene, almost reaching the tip.

Having a cuppa' before continuing our hike.

One of the military sites along the coast.

At the military fort.
It was a old, cobweb dusted place.

At Fort Nepean. The strangest thing: we heard faint whistling when we entered. We saw no one. Either it was some joker whistling away in another part of the many tunnels (there's a lot of echo) or like my dad said, there's an old ghost of a soldier... Mwahaha.


It was both eerie and exciting! We really enjoy exploring historical sites. Gives you a strange, awestriken, haunted feeling.


They were attempting to look scary, or ghostly...

Haha, goofing around with my sisters.

At the London Bridge during sunset. =)
Next up, I planned a day outing to Williamstown, which is known as Victoria's first port. It was also supposed to be the capital of Victoria, before Melbourne was chosen. Anyway, I'll have the photos soon!
Meanwhile, I'm preparing for school in 4 days!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

VCASS – A Reality in 2 Weeks!

I regret to admit that I am very unhappy with myself for not feeling totally enthusiastic about starting school at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School in 2 weeks. I know I am being terribly foolish to allow myself to keep worrying about the 2 hours of travelling everyday and the performance pressure and the heavy workload (music + academics), etc etc. I just can’t help it. But I know I do want it. I am really thankful for it, but why in the world am I worried for nothing? I know my unnecessary worrying is spoiling this great opportunity I am given. I need to stop!

I remember what the VCASS principal Colin Simpson said at the welcome night for new students, “Whenever you think this is too hard or you’re discouraged, think about the feeling you had when you received that big VCASS envelope saying you’ve won the scholarship.” I need to remind myself how hard I prayed every day leading up to the audition. How badly I wanted this change, this opportunity.

I need to remember the wonderful relief and joy I felt when I opened the big VCASS envelope. Oh the excitement, the ecstasy and happiness, not to mention the nerve-wracking-ness, all at once! I mustn’t forget that.

I know, we humans are exasperatingly fickle, aren’t we? At least I know I am.
We know we want something very badly, yet when we get it, there’s this queasiness that reminds us of all the expectations that come with it and bla bla bla. Then we start to worry about the difficult parts, the responsibilities that come with the opportunity or gift. How silly we are. No wonder God does not often answer our prayers at once! It is a matter of our own readiness and the lessons God has to teach us before we deserve to have certain prayers answered…

So yes, I am going to try my best to keep a good “balance” of mind. Allow the worries to keep me in check and not take things for granted. But also live life and seize the opportunity God has given with great thankfulness at all times.

Friday, January 15, 2010

If Not For the Music

Whenever I feel miserable or unhappy, or just tired of living life for some reason, I find solace at the piano. That’s when I shut everything out, so that I can hear that imaginary note in my head. And then… I play it – that first note, any note at all. And soon I hear the next one coming, and the next, until it all pours out on the piano: a collection of thoughts and a lot of emotion, weaved into one expressive musical story.

Sometimes it goes on for what seems like a long time. Or a short time. Well actually, time seems to stop. Everything stops, except the music. Until… the musical story finds an appropriate conclusion for itself. A sort of musical “resolution” to whatever conflicting thoughts and unpleasant emotions I’m having. Somehow, the music in me finds a way to resolve and make sense of the gloom and the unhappy mood I sometimes find myself in.

That’s one of the best things I’ve discovered about being able to play an instrument! Playing music clears my mind; it helps me think better, live better. Music frees me. Somehow, someway, it has the power to creep in to my inside world, to touch my feelings, my emotions. It’s an amazing gift of God!

I’ve also discovered that the right music can actually make my brains and memory work better. In my last 2 years of homeschooling, I had a daily habit or routine of playing the piano before I started studies. Most of the time, I would play Christian worship songs or practice a piece. It was mostly for practice sake. Until one day, I discovered how vital this daily routine was to the well-being of my mind, my brain.

That morning, I decided not to play piano before studying. After breakfast, I went straight to work. And for the first time, I found my brains working very “sluggishly”. It took me twice as long to answer questions and I was making slow progress. I knew it wasn’t lack of sleep or anything like that. I had forgotten something as essential as having breakfast: the music.

True enough, after I stopped forcing my brains to work and went to play the piano for 30 minutes, I found myself studying much better! All of sudden, I was more alert and awake. My mind processed the information faster and I didn’t feel like I thoroughly disliked the math I was doing. How awesome, right! :P That’s why I didn’t mind practicing 4 hours a day!

Music is a truly beautiful, glorious thing. I cannot explain it. It’s not merely a sound or noise. It baffles me that by simply listening to certain songs we can be emotionally moved or aroused. Some music can even make us reminiscent of a particular person or occasion. It can spark our creative side and expand the frontiers of our imagination.

Music is unlike language, it does not strictly represent an object or anything at all.
But it can still communicate to people in an intimate way, and sometimes reach deeper than words can. It can shift our moods from light hearted to melancholic. A good piece of music can say a thousand things and spark a vast range of emotions without using any words to fixedly say something. Words can sometimes be flat, but music is almost always so… “3 dimensional” – yea that’s the word! If such a description makes sense!

If not for the music… I think I’d hardly have a life. Thank You God for the music! The music.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

One Word – Magnifique!

Recently, my family went on a Great Ocean Road trip with our relatives. It was our second visit, but this time I managed to plan the itinerary quite nicely and we visited just about all the best spots. I was the happiest gal around. This was one the best summer holiday trips we made! =)

All 11 of us (my family, our cousins Jon & Ben + parents, and aunt Rachel + her son Mark) plus 5 other relatives, travelled nearly 6 hours along the famed Great Ocean Road. We rented a 12-seater van for 11 of us to travel together, so it was fun. And for this trip, we planned to stay at least one night – didn’t wanna’ rush it. The only problem was we didn’t book any accommodation. So we actually planned to sleep in the van unless we managed to get a place at the last minute!

Thank God, my mum called up a motel at Port Campbell (which is in between two sightseeing stretches – 12 Apostles and Bay of the Martyrs) and they ngam ngam – for lack of a better word :P – had 5 rooms to fit all of us for about $48 per person. It sure was expensive for our family, and my dad was almost happy to sleep in the van. I wouldn’t have mind, really. Nothing like a bit of adventure. :D

So after watching the sunset, we drove to Port Campbell ready for food and rest! We were really glad we found a motel! It was such a long journey, and I couldn’t possibly imagine having to go back miserably to the van for dinner and sleep – without the luxury of a shower, a hot drink, a cosy bed and someplace to use my toothbrush. Ha ha.

Before sleeping, my parents and I decided that we’d go for sunrise the next day. We’d never done it before, and thought it just might be worthwhile… We invited the others, and as expected, only 3 of them were game to wake up at 5am and brave the cold to watch a possibly unpromising sunrise. Aunty Rachel, Mark and Ashley joined us on our lil’ too-early-morning escapade. But to my great delight, we were not for a single second disappointed at the sight and sounds that were captured forever in our memories!!!

It was so, so beautiful. Ahh... I had an awed look on my face, then a dreamy one. The sight before me was a kind of “heavenly realm”. =) When I saw the thunderous rolling waves, swirling with the cold sea breeze and the golden mist (ohhh!) accentuating the cliff edges and rocks, I uttered one word: Magnifique! I don’t even know I had it in my vocab. Haha.

The grandeur of the sunrise along the 12 Apostles coast took my breath away. I ran from one lookout to another, getting different perspectives. I was out of breath and cold, but it felt so great. It was mystical, magical, magnificent. Just plain “wow”. :D

Afterwards, our next stop was the Loch Ard Gorge. Man, it’s the BEST PLACE IN THE WORLD!!! It was a very secluded beach, surrounded by tall limestone cliff walls. The blue-green waves crashed in through a gap between two cliffs, surging into the cove. Awhile later, my dad noticed a dark cave at the side of the cove and he ventured out by himself, climbing towards it. I decided to follow after Mark went, and boy, it was the best adventure ever! :D

The waves crashed into the rocks that I had to climb on to get to the cave. It was pretty slippery, but I really enjoyed doing something different. It was really cool! I took videos as I ventured towards the cave. And for extra excitement, I was screaming and squealing every few seconds, as if I was on a rollercoaster. Haha. xD

Anyway, here are all the best photos taken during the two days trip. It was short, but I’m glad that this time we managed to cover the best spots. I had such a grand time! :D

On our first day. At the Gibson steps. This was about 1 hour before sunset. Unreal, isn't it?

My family with aunty May and Rachel + my cousins.

Mum and I =)

With my sisters =)


It all looks so unreal...

This was the next day at sunrise!

Breathtaking. Look at the waves!!!! Ahhh! =D =D =D

You HAVE to watch this! I was taking this video when I said to myself: Magnifique...! The surf was just the BEST. It look liked something in a painting. A mesmerizing work of art. The only difference is it's LIVE, it's real.
Man can only go so far as to paint or to describe in words, or even to do some computer animation, but never can we create the real thing. Only God can work such wonders.

Almost heavenly. Looking at the photos, I realize they are NOTHING compared to the real thing!

With my parents. A photo with some of the 12 Apostles behind us.

With my cousin Ashley. =)

the Loch Ard Gorge. Look at the sky first, doesn't the swirl of the clouds somehow match the form of the limestone cliffs and the waves breaking on shore? Perfect timing it was!

This is my most favorite beach in the whole wide world! :D

Whatever my dad was doing... It was a cool candid shot! =)

The cave...

My dad going alone. Haha.

Man, I LOVE THIS SHOT I love this shot ILoveThisShot!!! =D

After this shot, I said to myself: I'm not taking dad's pictures no more! I'm going! :P

From the inside...

Exploring the cave. :D

Running back out was the funnest. :P We didn't realize that the tide was coming in. If it came in too deep, we probably would've to swim to shore, which was very dangerous cause' the rocks were close and the waves were very strong in the cove. So anyway, I timed my running out. The tide pulled back every 10 seconds. For extra excitement, I whooped and screamed as I clambered over the rocks and ran to shore just before the waves crashed back in. Haha xD

We love adventures :D

The wind-blown clouds made this photo all the more interesting!

At the Bay of Martyrs. I thought it was a cool name. =)

One of the "martyrs".

The London Bridge! Man, its so beautiful. I can't imagine how the rock formed like that.

Before going home, we went to the Loch Ard Gorge again.

Sun "baked" there for a while...

And my crazy dad and cousin Mark went into the freezing cold water!

Janna, Jonathan, Jirene, and Benjamin making sand castles at the beach.

This was at another site called the Grotto. We climbed past the wall that restricted people from going further in and got so close to where the massive waves crashed against the limestone walls. It was magnificent!


Enchanting. =)

Wish I could sit there the whole day and read a book. Ahh, that would be perfect.

Last shot at the Grotto! =)

Boy, all those sights were just too much for my eyes! Strangely, on the trip back, whenever I closed my eyes for a nap, I would see the crashing and swirling waves. Oh the beautiful, perfect surfs. I saw it in my mind’s eye! It’s forever with me. I loved every moment, every memory of it! =)

The Visitors