Wednesday, August 31, 2005

48th Birthday

August 31st is the day my home country Malaysia celebrates its independence day every year. And the country is into its 48th year this time. The celebration is usually very festive-like and the main event goes on in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city at a place sort of like the Time Square in New York City. It's nothing like the 4th of July here, but still very colorful and very patriotic, mutually celebrated by people of all the different races and ethnicities alike. When I grew up at home, I never thought much about August 31st, but since I left home, I've felt a bigger sense of national pride. I appreciate my home country more and I am proud of where I come from and what I represent.

So "Selamat Hari Merdeka" everyone!

*this means happy indepedence day in Malay*

Friday, August 26, 2005

The Aftermath of Thursdays

I'm feeling some painful sensation of muscles in my back that I didn't even know existed before. My right arm feels like it's about to dislocate out of the shoulder joint. And the muscles in that arm are screaming 'bloody murder'. On top of all that whenever I walk, my legs feel like they're failing me. Yes, my body is protesting today, but to me, this feels good and liberating!

In case you hadn't caught on to where I'm heading with all this (plus the obvious picture above), I'm playing softball with my church. We're joining a tournament organized by the Dallas Church Softball Association and our first co-ed game is on September 8th. We've been practicing since last Thursday and will have one more next week before we actually play.

Before all this I had no prior knowledge about softball/baseball. I've played catch, but that's about all the experiences I've had. Oh yeah, and maybe once or twice of an actual game back at ACU. But none of this were enough to build a lasting impression in my mind about the game. Watching either one on TV is also a big blur to me. And good luck trying to explain how either game works. I'll just give you a blank stare. That is my history with softball/baseball. (Notice how I'm also somewhat tying both sports as one? I think they're the same, with just a tiny bit of difference. Am I wrong to assume that?)

But after these past 2 Thursdays of practice and much tips and advice from the pros (particularly thanks to Zach Nieland, Rob Singleton and Rick Stevens), I'm actually getting it this time, and I believe it will become a more permanent imprint in my mind since I'm really starting to get how the game works. I've been improving on my batting, catching and running the bases, the tough part is trying to figure out what everyone else is doing and being observant about what's going on around me. The dynamics and rules of the game is still rather confusing to me, but I think I'm starting to understand the basics, thanks to yesterday's drill. I was placed at 2nd base and at the rate the guys were going (yeah, they split up the group and I was the only girl in my group!) I had to make myself learn pretty quick. Overwhelming, but it sure felt good knowing what was going on! I'm not that clueless anymore, and I'm actually starting to appreciate the sport more.

Go softball and go Skillman!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

One Year Ago

This is the "I Am The One" award. The name was tacky, but the honor was priceless. I was the "Employee of The Month" at the front desk of the Renaissance Dallas Hotel exactly a year ago. The way you got this was by nominations from fellow colleagues and supervisors, and the fulfilment of other job requirements. Apart from this plaque, I got a special designated parking spot of my own (didn't matter since I never went to work with a car) and a $100 gift certificate to the hotel's top-notch steakhouse called T-Bones. I took Josue and our dear friend Tim there, so they can tell you how excellent the dinner was. We actually ran up the tab to more than $100 and we were ready to take care of the difference, but the hotel went ahead and took care of the rest for us!

Do I ever miss my job? Yes, for the following reasons:

~The opportunity to work with some of the greatest and smartest people in the hotel business.
~The diversity: I worked with people from all over the world. It was awesome!
~The close interaction I had with my guests and the ability to make friends with those business people who stayed every week at the hotel.
~My colleagues, some of whom I was particularly close to.
~The employee discounts that my family, friends and I got to enjoy while staying at other Marriott properties.
~I was constantly kept busy and required to multi-task all the time.

But then again as I ponder over this more, I have even more reasons to NOT miss my job:
~Having to be at work by 6:30 am every morning and then the occasional evening shift where I'd have to work till 11 pm.
~Having to work on weekends. If I wanted a weekend off, I'd have to put in a special request that might or might not be taken into consideration. Yeah, we had a weekend rotation, but it never went through properly.
~Missing out on church on Sundays and other church-related activities.
~Missing out on hanging out with my friends on Fridays nights since I'd have to go to bed early.
~My sweet hubby would have to take me to work EVERY SINGLE TIME, be it morning or evening shifts.
~The ugly uniforms that I had to wear. No, I do like uniforms, but not the ones we had. Ugh!
~Having to deal with demanding guests, especially businessmen (and women) and those obnoxious NFL football players (I'm not saying specifically WHO).
~Having to work with some incompetent and immature people who thought they were 'all that'. And for some strange reason, management wouldn't get rid of them. I never understood that.
~Josue and I never had much quality time together. He always had me as the 'leftover' because by the time I returned home I'd be so emotionally exhausted.

Based on this last list, perhaps I don't miss my job that much afterall. I wouldn't trade my experiences at the hotel for any other in the world, but I've been moving on since, and just letting God lead me to my next path. It was great while it lasted, I guess. =)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Tag, I'm It!

I'm back! My blogging vacation was nice, and now I've stuff to actually blog about because I've had plenty of time to think about what I want to blog. While I was gone, I was tagged by Supermom Kyna, about the top 10 jobs I'd hate to work, or wouldn't be able to do. So here's the countdown:

10. Swimming pool cleaner (I see them everyday here at my apartment and they never look like they're having fun)

9. Doctor (I'd get too attached to the patients emotionally)

8. Cashier

7. Carpet cleaner (I already have a hard time just vacumming my own carpet)

6. Construction worker (I'd pass out due to heat-exhaustion during the summer and freeze to death in the winter, oh, and probably injure myself one way or another. Kudos to those who are though, it's really hard work.)

5. Accountant

4. Court judge

3. Telemarketer

2. Sales person

and the number one job I'd hate to do is:

1. Pigeon-poop cleaner (I actually saw this on the Discovery Channel and man, it's really GROSS)

Technically, I'm supposed to tag 5 other people. I know most of my friends wouldn't be too interested in doing this. But if I happen to be wrong and you would like to get tagged after reading this, then let me know by leaving me a comment and I'll get you!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Am I Still Here?!

This is merely a quick update. I'm personally taking a blogging vacation. There are tons of stuff going on in and out of our household this week and possibly much to blog about. But I'm taking a break because I honestly don't feel like blogging about them all. Sorry to disappoint! I promise I'll be back again soon. In the meantime, I've still been enjoying reading your blogs and keeping up with your lives. Keep 'em coming!!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Sunday Afternoon Fest

There are currently two 20-something-year-old men playing War Craft III in my house. One of them mentioned that I should blog about this very "historical" moment. This game used to be one of the most favourite past time of the guys (you all know who you are) and they last played this game together more than a year ago. They would all hook up their computers in one room/apartment, get online and play against each other. One other friend even joined in the fun all the way from New York. Seemed like THE thing to do. Then crucial things started coming up, like moving, jobs, a wedding, Med school, church and other important commitments.

Regardless, it looks like these guys will never outgrow the love of playing computer/video games. It's what brings them together--a common bond--as long as the ones who are married don't forget their wives in the process. =) I, personally, enjoy Bomberman better. It's less intellectual and less complicating.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

All The Latest Happenin's

This past weekend has gone by so quickly, but in a good way. We are SO thankful that Josue's back has been improving, otherwise we wouldn't have accomplished much. We've had all kinds of errands to finish, family members to catch up with and some traveling, all in which I'll give slightly more details later.

The latest excitement in my life is none other than IKEA (Swedish furniture store). I know, it's rather pathetic to say that. It's one of my passions, one of my favourite places to go and be. I grew up an IKEA child. I've waited for a LONG time for IKEA to finally open up here in North Texas. So on Saturday, my sweet hubby drove me up to Frisco, stood in line with me under the hot weather just to get through a man-made maze to reach the entrance, and fought crowds inside for about an hour and a half while window shopping. We were determined to leave that place productive, so we actually found some really nice curtains for our guestroom, a cool notebook carrying case and some adorable ice-trays. Debbie is a happy camper! *Sorry Tim, we (or should I say, I) couldn't bear the wait. But we'd be more than happy to go there again with you. =)*

After visiting the great world of IKEA, we met up with Josue's brother Ernesto, and the youth group that he had been interning with all summer, at the Rangers' game at the Arlington Ballpark. That was extremely fun, right up until the rain started pouring on us! Ernesto then spent the night with us in Dallas, went to church with us the next morning and all 3 of us traveled to Abilene to drop him off at Abilene Christian University. While there, we caught up with my brother Aaron and my sis-in-law Elizabeth and visited overnight with them. Hadn't seen them all summer, so this was a short but nice visit.

On a slightly sadder note, my grandfather back in Malaysia isn't doing well. He was suddenly admitted into the hospital on Sunday after fainting. We were in a way glad that this happened while he was in the company of other relatives and not when he was alone at home. He lives in another city away from my parents, so they are only able to travel there this weekend to check on his condition with the doctors and make other arrangements. Everything is very unclear now in regards to his condition because the doctors are having a hard time explaining everything to the relatives since they are all Chinese speakers and don't know much of any other language. So my parents are having to travel there so that they can talk to the doctors themselves. Ugh, stressful on everyone. Please pray.

Friday, August 05, 2005

"Zhong Wen"

For some strange reason, I had the urge this morning to work on my Chinese writing. It's been forever since I last wrote anything in Chinese, so I wanted to know if I still retained a fair bit of the knowledge of writing, vocabulary and grammar. The basics were real easy to remember, but once I tried venturing out to other deeper things, that's where I got stuck. Bummer! I couldn't believe that I had already forgotten words that I had always used whenever I wrote essays and caligraphy in high school. And high school didn't seem so long ago, so there's no excuse for me to forget! Well, I left school 8 years ago and didn't need to use much Chinese since then. No wonder my brain got lazy.

As this new 'revelation' was revealed to me, I started writing down as many words as I could remember. Then I started writing some full sentences, which turned out to be harder than I thought. However, I wasn't discouraged. I took out my Chinese-English Oxford dictionary (my good 'ol pal) and started turning its pages, looking at familiar words. Gradually they started coming back into my memory. It's amazing how the brain and the hand work together sometimes. It was like magic: I'd remember a word, and right away my hand automatically knew the strokes to it that even I didn't think I remembered at all. They tell you that the way to learning Chinese is by repetition and LOTS of practice, like as if you're training your hand to have its own mind when it writes. It appeared to be very much true for me today.

I've decided that I'd at least devote an hour each day to picking back up my Chinese again. As crazy as I think it is, I actually miss it. I miss speaking it, writing it, and the way my mind has to work double the effort to translate everything from Chinese to English and vice versa. I'm sure one of these days I'd be thankful that I remembered. *By the way, the title of this blog is the pronouncation of the 2 Chinese characters above, meaning Chinese*

Chinese lessons, anyone?!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Josue's Back!

Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, visits, phone hubby is miraculously feeling ten times better since Saturday. We were truly worried about his condition and were on a desperate regimen to get his back to feeling better WITHOUT eventually having to seek professional help. And looks like it's working gradually but surely. He can stand up with lesser pain, and walk around doing things on his own now. And I'm one happy and relieved wife.

Once again, thanks to all for your concern. Now let's hope and pray that this won't occur again for a long time. =)

Monday, August 01, 2005

..Through Sickness and In Health...

I didn't think old age would come around so quickly. My husband is acting like he's ancient. Nah, I'm really just teasing him. Sorry babe! He hurt himself playing tennis on Saturday morning, and since then we've been struggling with his injured lower back. It's so bad to the point where he can't even stand up straight and is constantly walking around hunching over. Walking has become a huge chore for him, so he has to remain either lying down or sitting laid back. We are hoping and praying that this goes away within the week, otherwise the doctor's visit it is. My new nickname for my hubby is the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

All in all, life is a little different for us this week since the starting of his injury. We've been sleeping in seperate bedrooms because Josue needs the full space of our bed in order to rest well at night (we have a queen-size bed). He can't go anywhere, so I'm running all the errands. Well, that isn't much of a difference since I usually do that on a regular basis. I get whatever he needs and take everything to him since he can't move around much. He's using the Icy/Hot Patch for his back for some relief, so I change that for him every few hours. That in itself is a painful process for him. Ugh. And he hasn't been able to work much since he can't even drive out to meet clients. He's so frustrated to the point where we're thinking about borrowing a wheelchair from church so that he can use it and at least get around for the next few days. Of course, we are praying that this isn't going to be long-term because we want him to get well quick. Whatever this pain that is causing him grief, we want it to GO AWAY!!