12/25/2016 12:11:00 pm

List 1: Things I like about December

Merry Christmas!

December, the last month of the year. In some places, December means winter. In other places, it means summer. But for me, living in a tropical area with summer weather almost all year round, December just means more rains and cool weather. It's also semi-monsoon season. Physical conditions aside, December is also a month of less work, less stress, and more breaks. No school, no schoolwork, no classes.

Things I like about December
  • Mumbo
  • rainy days
  • cool weather
  • Christmas decor [on the streets] (even though my family doesn't celebrate Christmas)
  • no school + homework
  • hoodies
  • the year ending
  • School holidays
  • meetups with friends

12/24/2016 02:29:00 pm

Five Tips to Surviving Online School

Even though I am not currently attending online school and taking any online courses, I did take 2 academic years of Geography, 3 years of English, 1.5 years of Physics, Chemistry and Biology online. Here's a few things I picked up along the way:

1. Pay attention.
I know it's difficult sometimes to focus on what you teacher is saying, especially when the teacher is halfway across the globe sometimes and droning on and on, and you can't see their face nor other classmates, but refrain from going on the internet or doing something else (besides taking notes).
True, the teacher can't see you, but it's for your own good to focus in class and absorb as much as you can.

2. Even though your teacher is not physically there in front of you, you still should complete and submit your assignments in time, because a. it's for your own good, and b. your teacher will probably chase you afterwards for uncompleted assignments, and if you still don't do it, your parents will be notified.

3. You can have food while in class, to keep you awake or just because you crave it. Even better, you can have your classes (online ones, at least) in a cafe or restaurant.

4. Sometimes it's going to feel very lonely and isolated when you see your friends in public school hanging out with their classmates and friends, and your classmates are all across the globe, and you don't even really know them that much. But it's alright, you should make friends with people around you too.

5. Because you're staying in front of the computer a lot of the time, do spend some time away from technology. Go out, breathe some fresh air between classes, exercise your body and rest your limbs. Give your eyes regular breaks.

12/24/2016 12:22:00 pm

Post O-Level List: December Updates

It's been awhile since I ticked more things off this list. I'm honestly slightly disappointed that I couldn't complete the tasks as anticipated, mainly because I've been packing, planning and going on more activities than I thought I would. Namely, there was a day trip to a leisure farm with a couple with friends, plus a 6-day Hong Kong trip with my Aunt. I'm currently in the process of going through my photos and picking out the ones for a blog post, so they'll be up sooner or later.

Here's what I've completed since the last post

 1. Mumbo
 7. Volunteer work
 10. Pet therapy (help out there)
 13. Have blackball
19. Get a tripod for my DSLR (earn some cash first!) 

Current list:
◼ 1. Mumbo
 2. Go to Coney Island
 3. Get fairy lights from IKEA
 4. Make a timelapse of sunrise/sunset
 5. Start tutoring (children)
◼ 6. Watch Pink Panther with (friends) (20 Nov)
◼ 7. Volunteer work (help out at a children's christmas party for underprivileged children)
 8. Watercolour
 9. Resume choir practices
◼ 10. Pet therapy (help out there)
 11. Photography trip
 12. Play with & watch fireworks
◼ 13. Have blackball
 14. Eat +/make cake
 15. Swim total 10km
 16. Run total 15 km
◼ 17. Stay up through the night (21-22 Nov)
◼ 18. Sleepover (14-15 Nov)
◼19. Get a tripod for my DSLR (earn some cash first!)
 20. Make 20 lists
 21. Pick up a new skill
 22. Make 99 origami stars (process will be vlogged)


12/21/2016 11:10:00 pm

Thank You

Thank you
for being my first best friend
Thank you
for brightening up my childhood
 jumping on trampolines
Thank you
for always making me laugh 
with the inside jokes
and puns that i'd facepalm to
Thank you
for making me who i am today
for if you weren't there
i'd be a quiet introvert
Thank you
for being my school buddy
those weird fish mummy-fyng experiments
volcano eruptions
and DNA and cell candy
I will always remember 
Thank you
for letting me understand
the concept of
'someone i used to know'
Thank you
for all the memories.

12/21/2016 11:10:00 pm

What do I fear losing?

What do I fear losing?
How is it portrayed in the photos I take?
I fear losing memories, that's essentially what I fear.
That's why I try to capture every moment possible.
I fear losing nature.
Hence I try to capture the large majestic trees, the dainty beautiful flowers, furry moss
I fear losing my childhood
That's why I love to capture photos of children and their genuine beaming smiles.

12/18/2016 09:07:00 pm

Post O-level List #17: stay up all night

21 Nov evening - 22 November morning

The last time I stayed up all night (excluding camp activity), at home, was during my PSLE (Primary School national exam) preparation days, when I just... couldn't sleep. I took a book out and started to read, and occupied myself until the next morning. 

Yesterday I was really tired, so I slept at 1am-ish and woke up at 11am-ish, so hopefully I can stay up all night. Also hope that my mum/dad doesn't notice that I'm awake in my room and make me go to sleep, because I really want to complete my post-o level list.

10:00pm : ate oats and milo plus 2 cups of ice milo (homemade). Then watched Taiwanese talk shows. But wifi is almost nonexistent up here, so it’s frustratingly slow.

11:00pm: took a shower, changed into long pants 

12:30am: Still here. Decided I’ll tick #17 off post-O level list (POL) : stay up all night, since I don’t have anything on the next day and I might not have this opportunity another time.
12:52am: I’m feeling a bit tired, but I think I can hold it till the next day if I occupy myself. Right now the wifi’s still slower than the snails, and I feel bored and my brain feels that sleep is a good option. Maybe I'll fold some origami stars and film the process (but I only have 40ish stars?). Also pre-load some youtube videos so hopefully I don't have to wait for the loading.

12:55am: Tasting blood in my saliva... is it okay? (Don't panic first, I just had a tooth extracted)

1:02 am: Chatting to a friend online who's a night owl plus pre-loading some youtube videos.

1:15am: me right now ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

1:20am: finished the third 45min tv talk show episode for the night, starting the fourth (preloaded) one. Later when I fold the 40ish stars, should I use my phone (time-lapse mode) or DSLR to video (increase speed)? Thought the second option would be aesthetically better but am worried that the battery would run out before I finish folding them stars.

1:48am: preparing for star-making time-lapsing project now, googling which option is better for time-lapse (phone or dslr). Also, testing the time-lapse feature on my phone. It's built in with the camera, I use Asus Zenfone 2 Laser.  I'll also have to do some post-recording processing for that time-lapse video, maybe that would also be done tonight/day. Figuring out how to set things up, where to put the light and camera and stuff etc. 

2:05am: started making stars and filming.

2:25am: took a break as the 8GB sd card couldn't hold more than 19 minutes of recording so have to transfer the video to this computer, empty the SD card and resume star-making. Also water break.

3:15am: finished filming, transferred video to my laptop, going to start editing that video.

4:42am: finished editing the first 2 parts (45 stars, couldn't do 99 because lack of paper). Tired eyes, tired brain. But determined to finish this task (of staying up all night).

5:36am: still watching videos to occupy myself, but the brain is tired...

6:30am: using my phone to timelapse the sky changing colour (from inky black to white). Why are there roosters crowing? Where are they coming from? Also the cool morning wind is very pleasant. Love it.

6:45am: either there is more than one rooster or the lone rooster is very keen to wake everyone in my family up. Usually, I won't take much notice of it (since I'd wake at about 7 or 8am), but today is different.

7:30am: found this interesting drama series (Taiwanese) to watch. Then started my post-O level day of doing nothing much.

12/06/2016 05:14:00 pm

兜风 Night Drive

Cruising through the highway
Early morning
Late at night
Silhouettes of buildings
Lights like stars

In Chinese there's a term for 'taking the car for a spin', but in lesser words: 兜风 dōu fēng. Directly translated it means to 'catch the wind' because when you drive, you can let the window down and let the wind caress your face and lift up your hair (that is, if there's no air pollution around, else please don't wind down your window). I think it's a pretty cool description.

12/03/2016 10:05:00 am

Sometimes I Can't Breathe

Somedays when I'm feeling a bit more stressed than usual, 
I'd find myself consciously breathing.
Breathing is supposed to be an involuntary action taken by your body.
I would try to take in deep breath, but it doesn't seem to 'catch'
Like when you take in a large breath and you feel like that's a full breath.
So I get frustrated and try again
Try to breathe deeply
Sometimes it takes 4 or 5 consecutive breaths for it to 'catch' once.
When I get even stressed and try to focus on the breathing,
The OCD inside me insists on achieving full breaths
My brain also tries to help by making me yawn.
My lungs say "too much carbon dioxide is lost! we must stop her!"
My airways are constricted to reduce carbon dioxide loss'
I feel a lump in my throat and my airways feel constricted
I try even harder to breathe
They get even more constricted
It just feels horrible.

So this is how anxiety shows itself to me. I'm not sure whether it's bad enough to call it an attack, because sometimes this happens for a few days straight, sometimes it just comes and goes within a few hours.

The doctor has prescribed me an inhaler and ventolin tablets, but the tablets react horribly in my body because I have side effects like insomnia and palpitations, and though the inhaler helps me 'catch' my breath for the next 5 minutes sometimes, the other times it has absolutely no effect and sometimes makes it worse. So I'm turning to non-medication stuff to help.

I've come up with some things I can do to distract myself and also relax my body at the same time. Hope these help.

Short (0-5 minutes)
1. Blow bubbles
2. Breathing exercises
3.  S.A.M (App, Android | iOS)
4. Crossword puzzle/colour
5. Drink water
6. Eat nice things (healthy)
7. Listen to Matt Kearny’s Breathe In Breathe Out or 'Breathe In Breathe Out' playlist
8. Rain sounds (or any other white noise you'd prefer).
9. Ruffle my brother's head (in your case, any younger sibling who doesn't mind and has nice soft hair, or a furry pet).
10. Make lists. Like this one.
11. List down what’s stressing me and what makes me happy
12. Do some random interactive stuff on websites - Drawing abstract stuff http://weavesilk.com/ https://29a.ch/sandbox/2011/neonflames/
13. Fold paper stars/origami
14. Play with a rubix cube or anything hands-on
15. Light a candle (scented or non-scented)
16. Use essential oils (lemongrass is my favourite)
17. Have a sweet, good if it's a herbal one.

Medium (5-15 minutes)
1. Tidy desk/room/closet/shelf - this is to reassure your mind that you have control over some things.
2. Shower.
3. Play piano (or any other musical instruments)
4. Talk to good friends
5. Watch youtube

Long (15+ more)
1. Take an off day.
2. Excercise- swim, cycle, jog, walk
3. Read a book or watch a movie
4. Immerse in nature
5. Play with small children/animals
6. Take a nap

http://www.rainymood.com/ (with thunder and heavy rain)


If there are any other methods you find relaxes you, do share below! I'll be updating this as I discover new stuff.