Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Once Second Home

Kindly ignored the badly bitten arms by the sandflies.

Finally I am making this trip home useful: by paying a visit to the operating theatre. Hospital is not exactly my favourite place. It was my second home when I was young with dengue and frequent high fever cases. Being a regular, the nurses in Gleneagles knew me well and I knew my level for child care by heart. I remembered the fear of needles when blood test was needed regularly. I remembered the smell of medicine when it came with my meal. I remembered the laughter with my father when he tried to fake the Canadian accent, and I vomited the orange I just consumed. I remembered the company of my mother when she had to spend the night on the same bed with me because I was a timid kid, well I still am.

The last time I had a surgery was to cure my in-growth nails, once and for all, in 2007. I had enough of nails removal on both of my toes in clinics. The anaesthetic needle poked through my tiny toes and I filled the clinic with screams. I will never ever forget the pain and the reluctance to visit the clinic every evening to clean the wound. Layers of cotton on my flesh had to be peeled for daily cleaning. I had enough of stares by wearing ugly slippers to primary and secondary schools. I was made fun once where someone hid one of my slippers. I had a full body anaesthetic that time. I was fighting the resistance to fall asleep. Like all the past minor removal surgeries, I wanted to sit up straight and looked at the procedure.

I’ve said, hospital is not my favourite place, and doctor is not my favourite person. I do not trust them. I had horrible experience with doctors which was traumatising. I was a rebellious and fussy kid, I remembered being tied up once just to get an injection on my buttock. I was crying and screaming of course, I remembered saying to the doctor, ‘When I grow up, I am going to kill you!’ I stared at him deadly but weakly with my red and puffy eyes. I meant every single word I said that time, now I laughed it off by telling this story to my friends. Another doctor in a clinic put a plastic bag over my head, for some reason. It was weird; it was annoying; it was uncomfortable.

But I did have a pleasant experience. I had to inhale this gas to cure my asthma on frequent weekly visits to this hospital. The scent, from what I remembered, was magical and lovely. I looked forward to the visit each time.
This round, I had a minor surgery but as usual, I was tensed and scared. It was a quick 5-10 minutes removal, but the doctor was fatherly and lovely. I heaved a huge sigh of relief when it was over. Apart from the tiny tinge of pain with the anaesthetic needle, the awkward operated area and the fasting, things were okay and I was prepared by bringing laptop and a book to kill my time at the ward.

It was hilarious that I was seriously looking forward to have breakfast and lunch in the hospital. Or actually, I was just looking forward to eat.

Wen Xin

2015 in Review

Here comes the annual year review!
Before that, I did repeat the 2012’s practice to jot down my mood for 2015: 


1. MSO & Academics

I suffered a plunge in academic performance in 2014. There were expression of disbelief and words of encouragement from family and friends. I was left with no choice but a need of desperation to be completely focused on studies. At the same time, I blindly signed up for an extra commitment which I did not require. I involved further in the organisation for a test of ideas and leadership. I was grateful that despite all the sacrifices and tears, both MSO and studies had turned out alright. It could have been much better but for what I had on my shoulders, I was pleased. At least, I had learned about myself and organisation.

2. Discovering myself

There were some bits and pieces I learned about myself with the 2015 experience. I grew to be slightly meaner, to take care of my organisation’s interest. I grew to be more decisive, when decisions were needed for the organisation and myself to move on. I learned to be simplistic and a minimalist after a hard-fought year. The course, Corporate Valuation taught me to only keep or get something that adds value to your life. While I do not feel 23 during my birthday this year, I now do feel 23 and I have 6 months to be a better 23.

3. Relationship

I learned to handle relationships with friends and family. I learned to separate the roles and expect the least. I broke off a friendship which it wasn't working. I was selective on friendships I wanted to make. In words, I chose to be less of a hypocrite and stay true to myself. I was grateful to have more than a handful of good friends. And there were a couple of special ones this year. I was certainly grateful that some unexpected friendships/relationships blossomed.

4. Travels

I gave up travelling when I was working on another commitment. But I had also once said that I wanted to explore Australia as much as possible and not return for 20 years. I realised I was behind schedule to achieving this dream. Since September I was travelling extensively. I covered the outback, and after early January 2016, I am left with Tasmania which by hook or by crook, I will cover it before I leave. I explored different travel styles, including camping and in a troopie camper with a local, travelling with backpacker and my fellow Malaysians. I drove in Australia in different vehicles. I had met a lot of incredible people and some bad encounters during the final 5.5 weeks trip. I learned more about myself and had a noticeably change after the trip 


1. Failure of the second dream

Few knew about this. I was secretly proud of working on this, hoping that this ridiculous dream would come true next year. I was wrong and careless. After 3 years of working on this, I could not work on it. I was still proud of working on it but it still hurt once awhile. I had invested money, time and effort which was the one that was not enough to make it work. Through this dead dream, I probably learned how to work on my millions of interests in life. I am currently reading on a chapter about ‘The Upside of Quitting’. This quote summed up this downfall: ‘Knowing when the time is right to walk away is a perpetual challenge’.

2. Mental instability

I took a two-day mental health first aid course in Canberra. Throughout the two days, I was thinking about an incident and a broken friendship. Additionally, I was also thinking about myself. I had been uptight and nervous about myself and on what I do. I was always worrying and thinking about what will happen next and what can I do. A friend reminded me that ‘there is only so much you can do’, ‘enjoy the trip’, and ‘take one at a time’. I could not. I just could not. While 2015 is a year of letting go, perhaps 2016 is a year of releasing myself to work on things better.

3. Discovery of self

There were bad bits and pieces of myself as opposed to the ones on top. I am still the biggest procrastinator while being hit by a seemingly quarter life crisis. I am still a bad financial management person despite studying Finance. I am still demotivated and constantly questioning if I should fight. I am desperate and irrational during crisis which was the bit I wished didn't happen during the trip. I am unable to relax over commitments and responsibilities. Well, could only work to be a better person as time goes.

4. Fear and Letting Go

The theme of the 2015 revolves around fear and letting go. I manned up to overcome my 2014 failures, with a tinge of determination and fear. At some points, I really thought I could not make it. Questions of what-ifs swirled around my head. Towards the end of the travel trip, I was almost afraid of everything. I was scared of the dark, scared of the wild animals, scared of the nature, scared of not making to my flight. I tried letting go of myself, trying not to be tensed and uptight. But somehow fear overcame me most of the times and that was when I did mistakes, irrationally. Lesson learnt of course, and it’s definitely something I need to fix for 2016. As for letting go, it’s probably achievement of the year. God has taken a lot from me this year, 3 of my storage drives which store a whole lot of my past and a tiny bit of the future, friendships and relationships, stubborn principles and extravagant lifestyle; but it is all traded with a better mentality and idea towards myself and the future. After all, it was not too bad, only it was a long and slight painful process.

While 2015 has been difficult, I am definitely grateful of all the happenings. Thanking the families and friends who have been with me through thick and thin. 2016 would be a really exciting one with a new life journey, I hope I can make it great. 

Wen Xin