[ I remember you ]

I remember the heat of September sun glistening on my face, accompanying the cool autumnal breeze.
The earthy smell of fresh fruits and vegetables filled the morning air as we stepped into the Saturday market set up weekly in front of the castle.
Oh, my nose caught a whiff of freshly baked breads and grilled bacon strips which triggered hunger in my stomach for breakfast.
I remember the warmth exuded by the local farmers, greeting us with a wide smile and sharing with us what they do for a living.

I remember the medieval buildings that surrounded the market and city center, aged centuries ago.
There was a tinge of Hogwarts feelings as we cruised through the city constructed with layers of histories.
Exploration is all about finding new and unusual things before we reach our destination.
As we got lost in the excitement of discovering new places, we encountered inspirations and surprises.

I remember us meandering through narrow pathways and closes with names we couldn’t help but giggled at.
Out of that amusement, we certainly felt we had unveiled some secrets tucked nicely within the structures of the city.
My eyes flickered at the sight of green residential yards as we emerged from the seemingly mysterious and obscure trails.
I remember the familiar, homely feeling that every corner and side of the foreign city embodied.

I remember the richness in literature and arts that the city portrayed occasionally.
The bagpipe players dressed in kilts lining the main street reminded me so much of the land’s cultures.
I remember how accepting the society was towards outsiders, how appreciative and supportive the people were towards talents and gigs.

IMG_0397Surely, almost one year has passed but I remember you.


[ 3 steps to better expectation management ]

Just to start off this long-overdue post with the right mindset, I’d like you to set your expectation bar low enough for a 3-year-old to step over. We have been through this relationship stage before: where I confess my blogger’s block and you (on my own assumption) forgive me; where we introspect ourselves, accept each other’s flaw, and then move on. There is no denying that the vicious cycle of failing to fulfill another party’s expectations will repeat itself. Endlessly feeling apologetic does more harm than good on my part and hence the birth of this post to rectify what needs be.

Step 1: Three-m off your past experiences of the present

As the saying goes:
Old people live in the past;
Young people live in the future;
Wise people live in the present;
shouldn’t everyone of us strive to be wise?

I know it’s a hell of a time trying to detach ourselves from the past. I always liked to remember and associate good and bad experiences I had with my current situation. That sense of familiarity makes me feel secure and confident of what is to come. Just as how I am used to the way strangers often smile back at me on my way to my routine, I expect my initiative to host a reunion dinner with old friends to have unwelcoming responses.

How, then?


Step 2: Ex-three-m worry of the future is unnecessary

I know I’m being a hypocrite when it comes to erm.. let’s say forward-thinking, to put it subtly. I worry about the number of hours left to lunchtime when I have my breakfast in the late morning, which will subsequently affect my afternoon snack and dinner timing. I worry about the kind of stares I will get on the subway when I accidentally mismatch my outfit and how it looks on my body. I worry about not being able to entertain the people I have interactions with. I worry about worrying itself. I wish I were a warrior, and not a worrier.

Come to think of it, I sound more like a person with OCD or perhaps a mere control freak.

How, then?


Step 3: Three-t and be kind to yourself

I’d say many of us like to be nasty and harsh to ourselves when something doesn’t get done properly as expected. I often end up bombarding myself with questions and getting so disappointed when things turn out differently from how I want them to. How selfish of me, right! I like to think I control the universe sometimes, just to make matters worse. Ha!

How, then?

Sorry to disappoint, I’m no Agony Aunt that you can subscribe to every month. I honestly don’t know the answer to those questions. Hopefully your expectation bar is still as low as I deemed you to set in the first place, lest you trip and fall.

My only suggestion is to stop ignoring the root cause — overthinking; yes, that’s you and me – and acknowledge the facts that:

1. We DO establish the foundation of our future experiences on the past ones

2. We DO have our worries about the future

3. We DO get disappointed at times

I am not going to deny that I always overthink. I am going to live with that but not let these things bring me down. Expecting certain things to happen is simply to ascertain that we humans do still believe in even the slightest glimmer of hope?

On a side note, Happy 3rd Anniversary to About Giving and Re-three-ving! ;)


Image sources: Tumblr

[ Wander to wonder ]

“I have a spare bus ticket. Up for a trip to the mountain?” a friend asked.

It was rather unusual that I was invited for an event or an adventure or whatnot since I was almost always the miserable wallflower. Deep down I was glad that someone knew I existed and cared enough to offer company.

“Yeah, sure. I mean, if there is nobody else who wants it,” I answered casually without sounding too desperate. In fact, I got so excited before even fully knowing what the trip was all about. We were talking about mountain here, my friend. Being outdoor was never my forte but I dared myself to give it a shot this one time. It was a bus trip and it couldn’t be that strenuous to explore the area, or so I thought. Besides, I would have the opportunity to take nice photographs of the surrounding. Kill two birds with one stoneI muttered to myself.

Never did I anticipate that I missed the throw and hit none. It was Ben Lomond, a mountain suited for someone fit for hiking and there I was wondering what hell on earth I signed up for. It has been proven that our agreement to Terms & Conditions is the biggest lie on the web, perhaps due to its excessive wordiness and our mentality that none of those points would harm in any way if we just do what we usually do. However, reading the small print could save us from big trouble. The problem is I didn’t even read the big print, duh!

Being outdoor is never my  forte, if I haven’t emphasized it enough already, but I didn’t realize it until I attempted it. Indeed, you’ll never know the depth of the water until you immerse yourself in it. I was just being trying to be adventurous and hoped it was worth it. There and then, I wondered.

The weather was kind. The sun was shining bright. The massive clouds were white and fluffy, overshadowing the plains. The sky was blue and clear. Why wouldn’t I be content?

The surrounding was amazing. The view was breathtaking. The path was dry. The rocks were smooth and steady. The trees, the grass, and the hills were a beautiful combination of autumn colors. The lakes were sparkling, reflecting the sunlight directly into my eyes. The breeze was blowing my hair gently. What was not to love?

I realized after a few hours that the gentle slope had turned to a steeper one, demanding more from my barely-remaining stamina. The more I climbed up, the harder my breathing became. It was more like a marathon than a sprint and I knew it was beyond my capacity to excel in that. I didn’t want to be regarded as someone who gave up easily but the more I pushed myself, the faster my heartbeat and body pulses got. It came to the point that the tips of my fingers and toes went numb from the cold, begging more for my persistence.

I willed myself to surpass what I always thought I could do but it made my head spin, probably as a result of either the lack of blood sugar or lack of determination. I wondered why I decided to go on this expedition to reach the peak in the first place, whether it was the right choice at all. Every nerve of my being started protesting for me to stop and then roll back down to the very base. My body didn’t feel like my own, it didn’t perform as my mind told it so. My legs wanted to give way. My tears and perspiration united as one pool of water drops which were too quickly wiped away by the wind for people to notice.

I started thinking of my family to distract myself that I came away thus far from home to achieve the unachievable. I started to question my life and dived into a deep and reflective mood. I begun to understand myself a little better. It was more practical to relent to the temptation of picking the easy way out, but thankfully my perspective was somewhat distorted by what I saw. The two young boys who overtook me seemed to enjoy the journey and not grumbled like I did. A few meters in front of me, there was an elderly couple who kept going enthusiastically with their walking sticks at hand. Further up, there was a man in his 30’s lifting up a bike with both hands while walking uphill. How could I call it a day without giving my all when these people persevered on despite their limitations?

Suddenly I remembered the friend who invited me. He was nowhere in sight. I bet he reached the top in half the time I would take to do the same. He grew up near the mountain, after all. No, Tania, that was just a mere excuse to make yourself feel better. I would do my best was all I expected myself to accomplish. However, one by one, people were passing me. This was quite obvious from the fact that only the back view of these people was captured in my camera, wasn’t it? I was embarrassed but who was I to think they were judging me? I could have been over-thinking it, as always.

Unlike any other successful stories which usually end up with the “heroes” victoriously conquered the obstacles, I didn’t. Or, well, I did the small ones. This is supposed to be a blog for people to seek inspiration, to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and there I dug out the gold from the mine for you. Oh, was it even a gold! Always try to perceive the brighter side of life during the dark moments even when you don’t have a torchlight. I didn’t reach the top but I was satisfied, and I don’t have a torchlight with me.

I wandered and thus I wondered.

Veni, vidi, vici. I came, I saw, I got conquered. Oh, God, no!



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