Posted in Japan, Project Serendipity, The Anatomy of Serendipity

Fireworks

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Adachi Fireworks Festival, Arakawa River, Tokyo, Japan

I have always loved lights, lanterns and fireworks. (This post is about fireworks, buddies, so, according to communication rules or whatever rules, it is in bold and underlined; also because it is the most magical and magnificent form of lights in science, to me only; which means I do not know science that much.) Aren’t all happy scenes in Disney movies garnished with fireworks and lanterns (this is just some I guess! But well, let’s just say all)? From Beauty and the Beast, Tangled to Mulan, and even The Little Mermaid, there are fireworks scenes, at least once.

I have always loved fireworks.

Since I was little (and even up to now, when I am away conquering the world and only back home for Lunar New Year), the rooftop of my parents’ house is my favorite spot. Little me with a heart filled of eagerness and expectation always look forward to the New Year Eve fireworks much more than anything else in the world. The urge of enjoying the show usually hurried me up with helping Mom to get the chores done for the long Tet celebration. I was just simply hoping that I could finish my tasks on time prior to the displays. It also rushed me to get myself ready so that I could see it at my best. And when the fireworks came, in those short-lived 5 minutes, I felt like I saw miracles. I felt like all the wishes of each human being in the world were illuminating the sky. Splendid. Marvelous.

Then fireworks at parents’ rooftop gradually moved on to friends’, then my rented apartment in another country. Wherever it is, I always enjoy it “like a 5 year old child.”

As a “ritual”, (as one of my “rituals” to be exact cos I love coming up with “rituals” out of nowhere and religiously follow it and believe that it is true), I usually “prepare” 3 wishes before the show so that when the moment comes, I can just focus on my wishes and stay in harmony with the universe – the whole beauty of fireworks lighting up the sky.

I have 2 bucket lists – the realistic one and the dreaming one. I put most of the “i-never-think-these-will-come-true-but-i-still-desperately-want-them” items on the second list. And “watching fireworks in Japan, wearing yukata, eating watermelon and holding a fan” is on the latter.

But! But I am here, in Tokyo, Japan, watching Adachi Fireworks Festival along Arakawa River, with a free paper fan in my hand! There was no watermelon. I didn’t wear yukata. But the experience was simply amazing and it left me speechless. I got lost in that moment, feeling like I was soaring up high together with all the colored flames and sparks. During that moment, I am a free spirit. As usual, I made three wishes this time. It was just me and the fireworks. And it was sparkling.

“Well, maybe I still have to walk seven thousand miles … and whatever comes will come soon” (Xandria – Eversleeping)

“When you open your eyes, when you gaze at the sky, when you look to the stars as they shut down the night, you feel this story ain’t over.
When life is not words and tongue is not answers and we only can’t see a reason, why would it mean that it’s not meant to be.” (Avantasia – The Story Aint Over) 

And then…there comes the serendipitous fireworks, those colorful flames and sparks. I changed my tickets… just to see them again and make wishes again.

 

Posted in Daily Muse, Japan, Mosaic, Project Serendipity

Sunday

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Tsutaya Bookstore, Daikanyama T-site

Sunday woke me up early with mild sunshine dancing among the chaotic white state of bed sheet, pillows, blanket and a teddy bear; and a breeze sneaking through the window together with the undistinguished talks of early risers at the train station.

Then Sunday went on to play Yann Tiersen and Charlotte Gainsbourg on the long abandoned playlist while I was having a quick bite for breakfast.

Sunday brought me to the dizzy Hamamatsu-cho station quietly and serenely. The ride pretty much made me feel I’m a stronger and more independent person, calmer in the turbulence thanks to the news I got on Thursday night and know myself a bit more. Several lines from In the Station of the Metro – Ezra Pound ran through my head with a background of Kodaline playing High Hopes and The One. People, trees, buildings, landscapes, flowers, everything passed by as the train moved on. Calmness and peace creeps into my soul. And there was a strangeness in my mind.

Instead of getting off at the usual Ebisu station to get to Daikanyama T-site, I picked another route (frankly speaking, I was just lazy to walk so I chose the longer way to avoid walking for 6 more minutes and took it as an excuse that I was getting out of my comfort zone). Anyways, Daikanyama station is a village-like, small and cozy station. I love this area thanks to its calm, peaceful and relaxed atmosphere garnishing with a Frenchy touch of boutiques and boulangeries.

I spent the whole day at Tsutaya bookstore (one of the most 20 beautiful bookstore in the world according to Flavorwire) and my heart was still there. Of all the places I have been to in Tokyo, T-site had me at the Library in the Woods theme, the design, range of books and the ambiance. I love the state of being here – it is so comfortable and relaxing being surrounded by books and nature. Reading is enjoyable at T-site, and that’s all I need, for now.

Sunday brought me the discovery of “Essays in Idleness” (Tsurezuregusa) and several other pieces of Japanese literature. Sunday sat me down to read Marina Abramovic – a performance artist with her strange taste in arts. Sunday flipped me through pages of B-Brand – the issue for Aesop and Pantone.

I keep thinking about conversations on the train…

Tsutaya does not stop at being a bookstore to me; it is a memory.

I might not figure out what I want yet; but I do know for sure what I don’t. 

 

Posted in Japan, Mosaic, Project Serendipity

Tokyo and Me

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Senso-ji Temple – Goddess of Mercy

I have always wanted to put my thoughts down on paper since I moved to Tokyo 2 weeks ago to free up some space in my mind, de-clutter my heart and purify my soul, but thoughts were flying around, ideas got stuck and words became numbness.

Tokyo is a soulful city. Most thing gets boring after the second time cos after all, those are just places, until you get to feel the heart of it, but Tokyo is a soulful, sensational and sentimental city.

Because it is, my heart aches and excites at the same time the moment I feel the breeze in my hair, catch the sight of flowers along the road and see sunshine dancing through the leaves.

Because it is, I feel peaceful and lonely at the train stations, at the crossroads where waves of people passing by, where I can hear the thunder of feet marching up and down the platforms.

Because it is, despite the fact that my heart is heavy whenever I wake up in the morning, despite the fact that I am running away from something I do not know, something so vague (or maybe because it’s just not right), something I do not really understand (well, maybe it’s better not to know) and seeking for something to materialize, I realize that the world out there is too beautiful to be ignored, that adventures await, that possibilities are to be explored and serendipity is bound to happen.

So, thank you, Tokyo, for being a soulful city, for being rich in culture, arts and design and for helping me to know more about myself.

Posted in Project Serendipity, Singapore

Holiday, Journaling and a Self

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and filled with love and light…

Some would say it’s such a waste to spend your holiday in another country just to be alone, aimless walks, talks, reading, food, companion, explore bookstores and well, journaling. There is an art in everything – it’s not the things you name that give you the feelings but the process of doing it that actually gives you the enjoyment – and I really am enjoying my 3 day-vacation during this Christmas time in another city. It’s like a sweet escape from my daily routines that actually gives me a kick in the ass. I feel more energized and fulfilled when I finally find some time to be back to these activities that really comfort me.

A year went by; it just simply went by in a blink. I can hardly remember when was the last time I stayed faithful to my journal. In this one year, there was no reflection (there actually was severals, but I was thinking mmm, I’d rather capture all these in my mind and live in the moment so I just let it slip by) no time to pause or looked back or even just some sketches or words to describe the state of mind. I was caught up in the middle of everything, trying to be present in all activities, showing up in all meetups (sometimes even without any willingness to do so), busy myself with all the work and never learn to say no to things that can disturb my own peace of mind. I have been too busy with the process of trying everything yet forgetting the most important thing is to reflect after all those try-outs to see what is me and what is not. I have been busy showing and expressing myself to the world, responding to all the messages I receive the moment it pops up, allowing myself to be distracted by all of the materialistic values out there and letting them define me in terms of style and values. I forgot to pause and think. I forgot to look at myself in the mirror, see the reflection and ask “Is this person the one I want to present to the world?, Am I my parents’ daughter, my brother’s sister, my family members’ relatives, your friends, your lover, your colleagues and all the roles I’ve got to play in this world?” Now here I am, at this point, in this country, I lost and found myself again. I am still not sure about many other unexplored parts but this I know for sure, I always need a journal – a shelter for my thoughts – and that simply proves reading, writing and watching meaningful stuffs is inspirational and the simplest form of comfort I can always afford. I’m simply me when doing these activities.

In the midst of wrapping up 2016, I’ve been thinking about 03 wishes that I have made since the very beginning of the year.

  1. Please make my move to Malaysia come true . I have been living in this country for 8 months up to now.  I’m tripping, I’m sliding around, I know and don’t know where I’m going. That’s okay cos at least I’m excited, living and breathing. It wasn’t how I planned it – it definitely wasn’t how I planned it – it’s much more than that. Serendipity happens. Miracles happen at the least expected moments in life. I learn that I can do impossible things, that I can stretch myself much more than I think I could and that there’s no limit to the things that I can do. Feet are where I landed, at least I understand it now. At least I have the whole time in the world for myself, and it’s my decision and responsibility to fill it up and let people come into my weird little world. I also learn that hardworking pays off. That is the only thing that really pays off – hard working and smart working. De-cluttering is another key word for this year, which actually reminds me of a friend who keeps telling me “If you wanna go far, you need to get rid of unnecessary things” and I am doing it. Q, can we get back in touch? Where are you now? How are you doing? How are things? I miss our walks in the city. I miss our talks. I miss you telling me how crazy and insane I am. I miss you driving around, going for our spontaneous lunches and dinners. I miss you talking philosophy to me. All hell, I don’t know why I am missing you terribly now. I have changed a lot since last day we conversed. I know the reason why you got mad with me – I understand that. Can we re-connect? Can we just come across like serendipity? Like all the scenes in movies we always talk about? Like two old friends meeting each other after years of separating all of a sudden? I am very surprised that I miss you, not anyone, now, not any sooner…
  2. Please grant my parents health and happiness. Sometimes, as a daughter, I do feel a bit guilty that I don’t know when I am away, my parents are happy and well or not. But I can tell the sparkle in their eyes when I am back home. I can see the merriness of their behaviors when I am around, telling them how I am doing in another country. I can feel their cheerful voice and happy faces when I call home. I can read their contentment through emails and messages they send me. This is one of my sources of strengths, my constant support system – family values. Thanks to them, I know I have to live happily and well because seeing me happy and well is their happiness.
  3. Please teach me a bit about romance and the value of a partner. There is not so many people moving away from their home country, renting a room in an apartment and having some sorta so-called vague connection with their housemate. This event did teach me a lot about romance (not just a bit like I wish) and the value of a partner, or maybe I should call it companionship. I learn to be independent and stand on my own two feet no matter what the circumstance is and not to expect any sort of protection from anyone. If they are truly yours, if they genuinely care, they show up when you need them, no matter what, no matter how and no matter when. They will never ever say “It’s your problem.” They are always there, lending you a shoulder to lean on so that you can cry, wipe your tears and then go back to fight your own battle. They also teach you never to lose yourself in any kind of relationships. At the end of the day, if you’re not happy, how can you maintain a healthy relationship? So I learn to say no, communicate and solve the problem rather than hide away, bottle them up and try to please people. I also learn about what I really want in a relationship, the values of it and have the guts to say no to things that is only almost or in disguise, things that are half-cooked and half-baked. I enjoyed it already, so maybe it’s time to make it clear – there should be light after cloudy days. And yes, affection comes before any form of intimacy.

“One year ago today, where were you? What were you thinking, desiring, or asking for? How were you hurting? Rejoicing? Or just living? Very rarely do I think about these insightful questions. Whether it’s a time of pure joy or a time of deep sorrow, I am more apt to sit in my current situation rather than reflect. Yet, it’s looking back and seeing where I have come from or how I got to a current condition that contains the real value.

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end. — Ernest Hemingway

In recent years, I’ve discovered the great joy that is journaling. The gift a journal offers is a glimpse into the heart of the beholder, an open window to an experience at a time when the emotions were still fresh, real and pure. Journaling allows one to put on paper the feelings that sometimes cloud the brain, affording an ability to work through life’s toughest moments by releasing those deep thoughts that aren’t quite ready to be introduced to the world. A journal is a safe place.

Most of all, journaling offers a larger picture of growth and healing, to recognize the journey of what your life has become. Specifically in lonelier moments, a journal allows you to look back and remember the true friendships that were present or the family times that brought such joy. It’s through those joys that you see how far you’ve come from dark places, how you’ve since been carried to the lights.”

I’ve been running relentlessly from one thing to another, busy experiencing whatever comes my way, learn them all and embrace them all. It’s good, it’s always good – just that I should have spent a bit more time to reflect on what has happened, not to be rigid and kill all the joy of serendipity but to know myself a bit more and ready to take the opportunities when it comes. And I have learned (or at least I think and hope I have learned):

  • How to live alone in another city in another country
  • How to feel good and take care of myself like I should
  • How to treasure all family moments after all my exploring and conquering the world kind of trips
  • How to prioritize people and things in my life cos after all, I only have a limited amount of time and this life is mine, I need to take ownership of it rather than trying to manage people’s expectations and anticipations
  • How to be an entrepreneur, an artist and a lady at the same time. We are multi-talented, multi-faceted and we do have multi personas, so why do we have to stick to all the conventions and perceptions and let them define us? I surely can be a princess and a bitch at the same time. I can have Greek yogurt and oatmeal for breakfast yet  pizza for dinner.
  • Independent, independent and independent

Maybe it’s the sanest thing…I guess lessons I learned from my 03 wishes for last year and 03 wishes for new year is the presents I got from the Christmas Shop 🙂

“Oh throw that off the window. Be a liberal woman! Why man attached? You are living in the future, you’d better tell me something interesting.” Well, I am ending this entry (and probably this year) with that high note from my bestie!

So, cheers!

Posted in Project Serendipity

It’s the time of the year…again…

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But I, I believe in summer days. The seasons always change. And life will find a way. (Source: WeHeartIt)

December – it’s the most wonderful time (or it’s supposed to be) of the year (again) – the time to de-clutter, to make amends and tie loose ends, finish off what we have started and hope our wishes come true, to make new year resolution and believe in the power of the new year, simply a time to remember (Oops! I might miss the part of Christmas shopping, but hell yeah, everybody knows it’s the best time of the year to…just shop as all the shops are magically splendid!)

December comes with lights – that’s the very first thought in my mind when it comes to December.

  • The light of food and festive table decoration from family gatherings.
  • The light of Christmas tree filled with ornaments in the living room (which is now in my room)
  • The light of lights in all the shops and the streets
  • The light of gifts and Christmas cards exchanged
  • The light of the Church on Christmas Eve
  • The light of the hearts and random actions out of kindness
  • The light of Christmas songs
  • The light of serendipity – “It’s such a nice sounding word for what it means – a fortunate accident” said Sara
  • The light of passion (or maybe, in my case, the light of my journey looking for passion. And yes, please don’t be cynical!) “You know the Greeks didn’t write obituaries. They only asked one question after a man died: “Did he have passion?”” Ah yes! Do I have passion?
  • The light of “You don’t have to understand. You only have to have faith”
  • The light of life during this most magical time of the year
  • The light of Christmas wishlist
  • The light of the words “jolly, merry and bright” – are the words itself simply cheerful?

Isn’t December all about being kind to each other? Or simply do whatever it takes to get yourself ready for the Christmas spirit and ready to end the year with a smile and move on to the next? Or to be ready to say bye and pop the champagne to celebrate the next juicy story?

When we pause and think (and not allow ourselves to be distracted by external forces that really disturb our sense of happiness and peace of mind), I usually have a weird feeling of a helicopter view in which the whole world is like a minuscule universe and I see myself living in that world, interacting with other human beings, not knowing what is waiting ahead, and I wonder if this is the minuscule world that I see, is there any other different versions out there? Is my rabbit hole theory true?

I guess yes – that’s how the universe is.

“They say that things just cannot grow beneath the winter snow, or so I have been told. They say were buried far, just like a distant star I simply cannot hold. Is love alive?”

Is love alive? through December…? or maybe the absence of signs is a sign – all twisted around

Posted in Project Serendipity, Singapore

On Being in Singapore around Christmas time

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The Christmas Tree Timeline (2014 – 2015 – 2016)

Whenever I traveled to Singapore, catching up with my good wise aged friend, having deep and long conversations, super good food, awesomely good laugh and midnight walks, I always learn something new, something interesting and know myself a bit more. To some ways, I feel like I am truly blessed to have such a great friend like him and I really appreciate and treasure all the goodies I’ve had along the way. Spending time with a good companionship makes me feel fulfilled, recharged and rejuvenated, which is like the tank filled up with petrol to continue the long road again. My Project Serendipity really starts with these pretty little things that I whole-heartedly cherish. Sometimes the simplest things take up the most space in your heart and I am so happy to have such a great friend like that. God, I just want to take this moment not to ask for anything but to simply thank you for everything and everyone in my life – those who stay and those who fade away.

“Just do whatever in your heart and you shall be fine”, so he said, which is now my motto, always have been and always will be. I was wondering and kept questioning myself if love should come before any other types of intimacy or it should be the other way around. Now that I found my answer and it ties back to the values I always believe in. Thank you for giving me back the long lost faith and showing me that angels are still around us.

And so I flew back, with a lightened soul and a peaceful heart, having faith that affection should bond people together before any other things come into play. I will miss the good food, the long walks and midnight conversations and above all, the feelings of being understood and being able to share my thoughts and being myself without any fear of being judged. Do everything and people will judge you. Do nothing and people will also judge you. So I’d rather do whatever makes me happy.

Project Serendipity starts with this pleasantly lovely surprise. Father, please pour kindness into my heart, fill my mind with wise thoughts and flood my soul with purity so that I can live my life to the fullest and let live, make mistakes and keep breathing, fall and get back up again on my own two feet.

Travelling – even if it’s the business form of travelling – throws a bunch of experiences at you. It simply widens your world and make you feel more like a human being.

Posted in Project Serendipity

Project Serendipity

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Oh breathe! Just Breathe

April 09, 2016 – Oct 09, 2016

It’s been precisely half a year since I moved to Malaysia. I believe there is some sorta cosmic harmony going on way too well here as I had no intention of blogging again on this exact day, but, yeah, somewhere, somehow, God is making His own almighty plan and things just fall into order, gradually, just like all those invisible links connecting souls for no reason (oh there must be a reason for it; we just don’t realize it at the time it happens) or those lost letters somehow magically find their way back.

6 months passed in just a blink. I still have the new-soul feelings in this country (or maybe it’s not about the country but about living away from home and being on my own for the first time?) It’s pretty funny that when I pick up blog-writing again, happiness somehow creeps into my soul. The best part is maybe happiness loves company so it brings along serendipity and tranquility as well. So, I am not sure whether they all are another form of happiness or it’s a one-stop shop offers streamlined experience and full-packaged service 🙂

Too many things happened in the past 06 months. I learned a little, failed a lot and grew up a bit (?) yet I bet the current me is a much stronger person than any other previous versions of me. I just got upgraded (epic level is still a long way to go)!  I know myself a bit more or less, discovered myself a bit more or less (and surely I am still on the way to get to know myself more to become a better me. That sounds so cliche I know).

6 months – a birthday and I am now 28 days into my new age. 2016, approximately 02 more months to go till the end of 2016, it’s been such a great year for me. Now when looking back, I realize that I’ve been this far with so many interesting events and experiences (starting from that mysteriously miracle in January). I love my life in the now, not through the rosy and naive lens of a child or the cheery yet unrealistic lens of an idealist. “So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.” That’s how Stephen Chbosky put it in Perks of Being a Wallflower and that’s also how I want to view my life as of now. I treasure it – cherish every single part of it, all the happiness, the sadness, the incidents, the surprises, the pressure, the commitments, the responsibilities, the failures, the mistakes, the silver lining of things, the highs and the lows, the loss and the gain, everything. There’s a lake in my heart. And it’s tranquil. And it reflects life exactly as it is.

There are so many first things for me in this 2016 and I embrace all the changes. It’s like the sandstorm, the whirlpool, the hurricane, once you’re through it, you’re never ever the same again.

I’ve learned a great deal about myself, learned to accept my own failures and mistakes, made fun of it, paid for the lessons and moved on, to keep my heels and my standards always high. Simply put, I learn to just live and let live, to strongly believe that “just do whatever in your heart and you shall be fine” cos in the end, only kindness matters.

I picked up Grey’s Anatomy for a fresh air in the mood and it definitely doesn’t fail me. I picked up The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and here I am, starting my own Project Serendipity and trying to live and experiment what happiness means for me and how to boost my own happiness. This should be the first question I ask myself. What is happiness to me? What makes me happy? Then I start to categorize and label little tiny things that make me happy. I don’t think I will have the answer right at the end of October. Even though I know the answer to the riddle only comes after completing the Project, I am much more than happy to enjoy the “entire project life cycle till Go Live” (that sounds so much like a consultant!)

It’s always good to hold the vision in mind – the vision of my happiness around “Project Serendipity” and trust the process. I feel much happier when I am back to blog writing. I should have realized it earlier!

To sum up my life in 6 months in Malaysia? “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”

Another door to peek in through 🙂 and this post marks the aurora of my Project Serendipity.