ON CONTENTMENT

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I hope everyone had a good Christmas because I sure did! It was my first time celebrating the festive season properly, not that I never did but growing up, a lot of Christmas was carolling with Church and staying home on the actual day watching the telly. I was so glad to have been able to have an authentic Christmas this year with some of my closest friends. From roasted turkey on a beautiful table set-up and drinking wine by the fireplace, singing along to some crazy tunes, I couldn't have asked for a better past 2 days. I am so so so blessed to be here in London, and everyday it hits me how privileged I am and I cannot be more grateful to God for seeing me through, for allowing me to be here and to live and breathe in this city amongst the best group of people I could ask for. 

It's hit me a couple of weeks ago that I've been busy..being happy. I remember I was saying a prayer and I was mad at myself for always drifting off to sleep without finishing, after all, conversations with God are very important and personal to me. Then I realised, I drift off to sleep with a smile on my face every night recently because I live each day as it is and in every moment there possibly is, that I go to bed feeling like I've served my purpose for the day and I am ready for rest. While I still make sure I live in gratitude and continue to give thanks for every little thing, I have finally reached a point in my life where I feel really content. It's nothing fancy, I didn't strike the lottery, I didn't get my dream job, I just.....live. I have an amazing group of people in my life. I have a roof over my head in a place I love being in. I have food to eat. I have a lot of fun. I get to do fun things for work. It's a scary thought that for the first time I feel some sort of comfort and happiness, it comes with the fact that I now have something to lose. 

Being the last few days of 2015, I've been thinking a lot about this and where to go on from here. I know I should keep doing what I do but sometimes I just can't help worrying that it's all going to go away. I don't want to keep living and then simply forget... start taking it all for granted. My life here, my friends, my family, the work that I am so lucky to be able to do everyday. I can safely say that I am genuinely in a good place and there is nothing more I need at this very moment, this is a first of many firsts. Having something to lose. Embracing the here and the now. I'm kind of lost for words. But I guess maybe it's a good thing. This entire 'epiphany' has made me realised that when you let go of certain expectations and just live each day as it is, step by step, you get so much more and we are able to grab pretty unbelievable opportunities or perspectives from these very moments. This christmas, I celebrated the present and I will continue to do so for last the next few days of the year and this is exactly how I will welcome 2016 into my life. So I just urge anyone, if you're going through uncertainty, embrace it. If life's going good, embrace it. It's all about the present.

So here is my list on how you can be content too:

Practice. Even when the going gets rough, think of every thing you can be grateful for. Survival. Your nose. Food on the table.

Love. Wholeheartedly, genuinely. Keep loving. Breathe love, give out love, and celebrate love. You'll find yourself truly happy.

Embrace the present. If you're going through uncertainty, embrace it. If life's going good, embrace it. It's all about the present. It's about the NOW. Deal with your feelings and embrace every bit of it.

Take it easy. I can't emphasise how important it is that so often, we human beings are the hardest critics on ourselves. If there is anything we should do, take it all step by step. You simply are better at things. You're more alert. Do it at a good pace. And if you're having a hard time, embrace it. Then go on, start your day afresh and come home after you've served your purpose for the day. Rest, and start over. Step by step, day by day. Don't be so hard on you, and put the weight of the whole world on your shoulders.

On a lighter note, I moved to a new place last week, got my room dolled up with my! dream! chair! I've always wanted one of these. Vj and I ran to the flower market over the weekend to buy so much plants for the new place and it was so much fun. Moving has been exhausting but I am so glad my little cozy corner is done. With the chilly and gloomy winters in London, I love that I am able to wake up in a room that feels warm and be reminded of summer. So I still put on my denims and crop tops at home and run around in my strappy heels and have dance-offs while pasta is cooking with my friends. I am wearing the Mia Heel from RAYE and the Finn Top from Tularosa courtesy from Revolve. From the 27th of December (for one day only!) there will be up to 75% off. I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on some of my favourite brands like For Love and Lemons, Frame Denim and Zimmermann. 

Merry Christmas again and thank you for the continuous support from you guys, I am nothing without you! 

NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU.

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<i>Wearing Klarra Overalls, Free People top, Celine bag and Miu Miu sunglasses and shoes. Photos by Henry Bae. </i>

We shot these images in Times Square during my last few hours in New York. While it’s every other New Yorker's and my own nightmare, it made sense for me to revisit the classic ‘concrete jungle’ backdrop. It reminded me a lot about my love-hate relationship with the city, while it's amazing being surrounded by all these billboards, people and feeling like anything is possible, it was a place you are and feel incredibly small in. 

I was partly in New York for work and to visit one of my best friends and while I would sum it up as a good time, I felt like a complete mess while being there. I guess this could be partly because the last time I was in this unforgiving, fast-paced city was when I decided to travel here solo and found it to be one of the most depressing weeks of my life although I came out from it stronger and motivated. This time around, there was that constant fear of being alone and it was the last thing I wanted to do. Henry and I argued- I was being a complete brat at times. We were both so insecure trying to make each other feel vulnerable. 

The week returning from my 3 week long adventure was a hard one emotionally and mentally. I pretty much lost myself. Travel for me is my escape and the moment I return to some sort of familiarity and routine, I seem to fall apart a little. I’ve realised that I am constantly trying to run away from the present. It’s been a lot of ups and downs this year, but recently I’ve found myself to be an emotional wreck due to finally coming to a realisation after so many years why I behave the way I do. It made me so sad that, that was it. And it was something that I simply couldn’t run away from anymore and had to deal with everyday, no matter how long it took. 

While New York City is known for it’s relentless energy and being the city where dreams are made of, where anything is possible, it is the one city I’ve found myself to be in a literal nightmare more than once and I really do question it. Why this amazing city- I really don’t know. But if going back has made me learn one thing, it’s simply to love. I think going back with a fear and kind of negativity was just a bad start. So many times I’ve told myself to do all things with love, and to think love, breathe love and live love. But I was mostly frustrated with the city. Angry, determined to not allow it to beat me up like it did two years ago. We all have scars, and the ones that remain shouldn’t have to haunt you when you’re revisiting a place or a time, it should only remind you to get yourself together and be stronger to turn it all around. If I had to sum it up, New York had won again but by turning the last few hours around into magic, I knew that I came out of it stronger than I did before. So thank you New York, for being so hard on me. You always seem to be the most real to me.  

TILL TIME GOES FORWARD

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I’m back in Asia for a quickie after one of the best vacations of my life in Morocco and Amsterdam. Singapore is my home and even though it’s only been a few days, it’s already been a whirlwind of emotions. I’ve come to question a lot about my achievements in the past year and wondering if I’ve lost myself in the process of ‘keeping the dream alive’. It is no doubt the dream has always been London. I’ve come to a point where I’m risking everything to see how I can make it work. There is a lot of stake and I find myself realising how tired I am- tired of living, tired of uncertainty and trying to embrace it. I’m normally one to share experiences, how I’ve come out of it or sharing the process. Today, I’m just lost. 

I’m happy to be reunited with familiar faces and catch up but I also want nothing more but to lock myself indoors and hide from the world. It’s confusing. I don’t know how ready I am for my next steps but I am so determined that I am just diving right into it, no questions asked. Morocco’s landscapes were some of the most inspiring I had ever seen and I am determined to get creative again, maybe the work I will get myself into will change my perspectives and allow me to embrace this circumstance I am in and I’ll be able to make something worthwhile out of it. I need encouragement, motivation and very simply (and so badly) some kind of stability. I’d love to hear if you’ve ever felt this way and how you came out of it. For now, I’m going with the flow and taking baby steps, getting through each day.

Photos taken by my dad, it was fun going on road trips and food adventures again with him while making him to take my photos. It's what I do best. 

WANDERING/WONDERING

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This weekend, I celebrated my first month being in London. Threw a party at my house on Friday night and had a ball of a time. But really, watching my friends having so much fun, even though many of them were meeting each other for the first time, made me very happy. All of this despite the obligatory waking up the next day, hungover, aching, entering a kitchen full of dirty dishes and empty wine bottles scattered all over.

 People don't really know what exactly I'm doing in London. So I will just clarify things: I'm here doing a full time post-graduate course and (supposedly) looking for opportunities. I go to class twice a week but I'm always mentally drained by the time class ends, on top of the additional work we have to do when we have on average 3 presentations a week. I've been really lucky since being here. I never like saying lucky but here I am using the word. Simply because I cannot emphasise how much I wasn't expecting to be enjoying my time here in London that quickly even though I have friends here and I've always loved this city. I came here with suitcases full of clothes, emotional baggage and fear. And right now to be honest, I feel too comfortable here. And it is worrying me. Not that being comfortable or happy is a bad thing. But I need to make the best out of my best time rather than just having too much fun. That Friday night at my house party made me realise how little I have done in the one month I've been here, not in the sense of 'exploring' but in 'connecting' and making opportunities for myself. It also made me realise how quickly time passed and how we are already (?!) at March. Oh my god, slow down 2015! Going into the unknown is never easy. I finished my BA at school last May and it's been about 10 months. These past 10 months, I chose not to get a job, or to start looking. I chose to take a break, enjoy myself and see where life would take me. It was an undefined time of questions and emotional roller coaster rides but I am so glad I did it. My time here in London is the same. I may be at school but I know that my main purpose of being here is about where my future, or my entire life will go on from here so everyday still feels like going into the unknown. During these past 10 months, I've been through the whole thing where my family and friends were constantly putting a lot of pressure on me to do something. But guess what, it was also one of the best times of my life. I travelled a lot, and engaged myself with a lot of projects, caught up with so many friends and honestly just gave myself a good break. I've been getting a lot of emails about this lately, so this post couldn't have come at more perfect timing.

 I believe we should all take breaks in life. So while you take this time to wander/wonder, you'll be asking yourself a lot of questions like I did. And you'll start defining this time of uncertainty with your current circumstances. It's a lot of ups and downs so I thought I would share how I got by during this 'in-between'.

 Be your own best friend- A lot of people see this time of the unknown as unworthiness, good for nothing, time wasting..but it's really a time to take a break, and reflect on the chapter you've just closed and the one you are about to begin. Use this time to realise who you are and what you want. Start by being your own best friend. You have nothing to lose.

 Pick yourself up and start over- A day without plans can make you feel like a complete failure at times. Even for me when I was seeking opportunities last year, email after email without any reply. It was extremely hard to pick myself up again and have the courage to continue sending more emails, to constantly have to put myself out there... but I did it and managed to get myself some work experience during my holiday in London last September. Instead of swimming in fear and feeling discouraged, invest your time in doing more research, talking to your peers or mentors, and most importantly, spending your time in things that matter to you like your friends or family. This could mean spending the day working your ass off in the kitchen to cook your them a meal. Allow yourself time to take a break even when you're working on the next steps. Then you start over. There is no use in worrying. It only encourages more negativity and makes you not want to do anything.

You are blessed to be stressed- I went through plenty of days feeling like crap and a total failure but also days where I felt like I was doing a lot of things. I like planning my week with goals of what I hope to achieve for the week. I would also engage myself in small projects like helping friends out with freelance design work. Or keeping myself busy working on a couple of things for the blog. I also make the effort to do things I never usually do like planning a trip to the zoo just for fun. It also made me work harder on Eat.Plate.Love so that was how I supported myself during this time. We all become a lot more sensitive to our surroundings during this time of what I like to call, going on a life safari. So it is the best time to take note of things about yourself you never noticed before. What do you want to improve? Where do you want to be 5 years from now? Also, never take your days for granted. See each day as a new opportunity to do something, even if it is nothing. If you feel like you didn't have a productive one, look out for the small things that are blessings in disguise. At the end of the day, just feel grateful to be alive.

Always be your best- Use this time to go crazy and DREAM. I loved taking long naps but what it was I enjoyed the most was lying in bed, closing my eyes and visualising everything I wanted and manifesting in those feelings. I also constantly went on long walks by myself with my favourite feel-good music plugged in. It made me feel energised, empowered and ready for new beginnings. London is a brand new beginning for me and everyday is a step to making some of these dreams happen. 'We may be afraid of the uncertainties the future holds but we must never let our fear to be as strong as our courage to start again.' (Quote I got from I am Malala in her book) Writing this has been a timely reminder to start getting myself out there and making things happen rather than being so comfortable in my circle of friends and my weekly routines.

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I've been wanting to do a post like this in awhile as part of the new directions I hoped for Missingavenue. Let me know what you think and I would love to share more. The purpose of this blog is not only for me to just document but also, I would love for it to be a platform that would make an impact on the people reading this. Let's start a conversation and make this something! I hope this post will encourage you to wonder and wander. Thanks for reading.

 Photos shot by Franz Navarrete, wearing Free People.