The Challenge Ends (Sort of)

(Day 30 — 5 good things that happened since you started the challenge)

Tucked behind the back pocket of a long forgotten favourite pair of jeans she had once worn habitually was a dream she had once dreamed about repeatedly. Pragmatics, the demands of the busy nine-to-five, and the simple frustration of not being able to come up with anything significant had pushed that pair of jeans – and that dream – deep, deep into her closet. They would have remained there. They would have stayed as mere mementos if it hadn’t been for a gentle prodding of the Spirit to plough through the closet and bring that pair of jeans – and that dream – out.

Hesitantly, she dug through the layers of excuses and doubt, allowing her fingers to touch the familiar and comfortable fabric once again. Her heart did Russian somersaults as her hand reached into the lint-filled pocket.

Though covered with dust, the golden ball was as magnificent as it always was.  Finally. The dream is out.

I started this 30 Day Challenge at the beginning of the year because I was looking for way to get my creative juices flowing. I wanted oh-so-badly to go back to writing, to go back to my very first (or was it my second?) love. I already knew then that I wouldn’t be able to finish it in 30 days (full time work, ministry, and social life anyone?) but I had set it in my heart that I would finish it, I would finish it, I would finish it, I would.

And so here we are. At the end of the challenge. If you wish to retrace the journey, you’ll find it all here:

Oh but I’m supposed to write about the five good things that happened since I started the challenge. Well, here they are:

Number 1. I fell back into love. With writing, with drawing, with painting even the simplest pieces of artwork.

Number 2. I learned about the profound power words have on other people. With my writing I can inspire, change mindsets, induce bouts of laughter, and even make waves of kilig warm other people’s hearts.

Number 3. I found out that my parents are still my greatest fans.

Number 4. I learned to keep dreaming, keep writing, keep living, even when – especially when – the world around me – the world as I knew it, the world as I hoped it would remain to be, the world as I hoped it would be – crumbled down into indistinct gingerbread shambles.

Number 5. I realized that when God gives you a gift, you just have to use it. Don’t worry too much about what other people say. Don’t worry too much about what other people think. Just use the gift, hone it, and wield it well. I am trying to do that now — I know one day I shall get far. Very far.

And so this challenge may end here. But the writing does not. Thank you for reading through this entry. If you have also read through the others, I thank you for being part of the journey, too. So cheers to this. Cheers to us. Cheers to you. ;)

So old school.
So old school.

A Short Break

Taking a short break from the writing challenge to give you this retelling of Ecclesiastes 12 (New Living Translation). Finding it fun doing this. Perhaps I should retell stories/verses more often? Hmmm. Enjoy. ^_^

Vanity of Vanities

Meaningless. Everything is meaningless. Vanity of vanities — everything is vanity!

I turn my eyes towards the sky, but the sun, the moon, and the stars have all been replaced by this thick blanket of darkness. Ominous clouds swirl about the heavens even though the rain has already long fallen.

This only means one thing. My eyes have grown dim.

My legs tremble. My shoulders stoop. My teeth — as my eyes — they are gone and are no more.

I have nothing more to live for. Every door to every opportunity has already slammed shut in front of my face. I have given up the daily nine-to-five a long time ago. But why do I wake up each morning still? Why, when I do, do the birds continue to sing? But why, though I know they are chirping, do I not hear even a single tune?

Meaningless. Everything is meaningless.

Heights and falling scare me now, as do danger in the streets. My hair is no longer golden — every strand is as white as snow. They compare me to a grasshopper and aphrodisiacs no longer turn me on.

I shall die later on.

My dust shall return to the earth. My spirit — will it indeed return to the God who made it?

Meaningless. Everything is meaningless.

I should have remembered Him while I was at the prime of my youth, before any of these happened.  I should have made my Maker my front row and centre. I should have sought Him more than knowledge and books, more than booze and empty fun.

But now all must come to an end. The silver chord has snapped. The golden cup is broken.

As am I.

Would things have been different if I feared God? Would things have found meaning if I kept and obeyed His commandments? After all, it should have been simple — to simply love God with all I am, and to simply love my neighbours as I love myself.

But everything is meaningless. Vanity of vanities — everything is vanity.

Yet I heard God will judge us for everything we do — the good, the bad, the seen, the unseen.

Meaningless. Everything is meaningless.

End

.

.

.

When I get to the end of the road, would I want to be like that person crying out in disdain because everything is completely meaningless? Or would I want to be a person who would be crying out for joy having lived a life of abundance, a life of satisfying fullness (John 10:10b)?

It’s a choice. A simple one, really, that would boil down to this: Will I fear God and obey His very commandments? McManus says:

When we fear God, we fear nothing else. It is only in fear of God that we find ourselves free from the fear of death, of failure, and all the other fear that binds us. (from Uprising, page 242)

Misty Edwards also sums it up well in her song, Point of Life:

Knowing You is the answer to the riddle of the point of life. The point of life is You. It’s You. Loving You is the reason that I’m breathing. It’s the absolute — the point of life is You.

Meaningless? Everything is not meaningless. :)

Neighbours

(Day 24 — Something that you’ve learned)

I should never have set my feet upon this road. They warned me, you know. They said that I was likely to get beaten. They said that I was likely to get robbed.

Well. I was both beaten and robbed. What more, I am stripped off the very fabric that just this very morning had clothed and covered my skin.

I’m almost naked. The sun is beating down upon my wounds. I can’t feel my legs. I can’t feel my arms. I can’t feel my — Oh God, what did they do to my arms?

Water. I need water. If only it would rain. Perhaps that would wash away the blood and grime off my skin. Perhaps that would soothe my parched throat. Perhaps —

Wait! What is that I see? I fear I’m in the state of delirium — but is that a wayfarer there yonder? Tassels in his robe — oh, he’s wearing a robe — and —

Gone. My first hope of rescue. Lost.

I squint at the dust. The brown particles, they lull me to sleep. They fly up into the air, swirl around my nostrils, conjuring up unidentifiable images that only make my head spin.

Linen. They’re forming patterns that look like linen. Linen??? On a Levite? Could it be? Is that a Levite down the road? Oh kind-hearted soul —

Gone. My second hope of deliverance. Lost.

I shall die today in this road I never should have taken.

What will happen to my wife? She shall have to find a kinsman redeemer. Oh, I can not bear it. Her with another man! But I can not bear the thought either of her facing the stigma of being a widow, of being a —

What are these? Hands. Hands touching my wounds. Is that oil dripping on my skin? Are those bandages being wrapped around my shoulders? Are those —

I can feel my feet again. I can feel my arms. My fingers — can I move my fingers again? A tiny twitch. That’s good enough.

The hands. They are lifting me up. Into the back of an animal. I am saved. I am being rescued. I am —

My mind goes blank. After a second, I remember nothing more.

* * *

“Well look at you. I was thinking you’d never get up. You’ve been out for three days now, you know.”

“I was? Wait. Where am I?”

“Jericho Inn, my dear friend. Jericho Inn.”

“How did I get here?”

“A Samaritan fellow took you in. Haggard fellow, really. Kept fishing around his pockets for some denarii that could at least keep you here. Said he’ll come back. Got some more expenses to cover. Was that guy your friend? You mightn’t see him anymore though. Dunno if you’ll catch him. Or if he’ll catch you. You’re good to go by this afternoon, you know.”

I imagine my eyes are as wide as saucers as the innkeeper and I engage in this exchange. A Samaritan? A man from an opposing camp? A Samaritan fellow helped out a — a Jew?

How totally unreasonable.

Moments later, I hear footsteps. My heart jumps in my chest. Seconds after, I see him.

“Innkeeper, is he well?”

I clear my throat. My eyes meet those of my deliverer.

“Yes, I am well. Thank you. My life is indebted to you.”

End.

“Which of these three, do you think, proved to be the neighbour to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:36-37)

The Good Samaritan. The Helpless Jew. It’s a well worn tale I grew up with in church and in Sunday School. But revisiting the story this Sunday gave a rather fresh learning — and yes, a fresh stirring — to my soul.

The lawyer had asked Jesus what he had to do to inherit life eternal. Jesus had asked him in turn, “What is written in the law?” The lawyer knew this well. It showed in his reply — “Give your all to God. Give your all to your neighbour as well.” (See Luke 10:25-28)

But who is my neighbour? And — this is a tough one — based on the story and based on Jesus’ and the lawyer’s exchange — am I a neighbour?

“The neighbour is the one who showed the man mercy.”

This be my Sunday learning. Truly, it is not right to say that you love God but not love His people. Indeed, it is incomprehensible if you give your whole heart to the Invisible but withhold every part from those visible around you.

So. Today. Tomorrow. Will I be like the priest, like the Levite, who just drifted by? Or will I be a neighbour? Will I be like that Samaritan guy?

Welcome Back

I’m back. Back in Malaysia sweet Malaysia and – after two months of silence – back in blogosphere sweet blogosphere. So bring out the confetti, turn the music up, and let’s paaaarrrteeeey!!!!

Really. My returning to Malaysia deserves much celebration after what happened with my passport this December. Long story. Let’s just say that a whole new chapter has been added to “Mari’s Adventures with the Immigration”.  One day, I’ll write that book out. One day, one day.

But for now, let me just pour everything out into this blog once again. Last Monday, I met up with a friend and his colleague for dinner. The colleague mentioned that she read this little ol’ blog (huwaw!) and sorta asked why the latest entry was dated two long months ago.  I laughed and admitted that this blog has been in hiatus because so much was happening in my life in those 11 weeks of silence. Some things have been too personal to share to the Internet world and all other things rendered me too harried, leaving me little time to write and contemplate upon each extraordinary event.

I want to do justice to those events though. So here goes a riveting entry for all you netizens reading my blog out there. *wink*

These two months have been filled with a lot of things related to life, love, and everything else that starts with the letter “L”. Haha. Like LRTs, labour (and employment), longsuffering, and long distance stuff, to name a few.

Lemme start with the LRTs. I was in Manila during the last week of December. I was also there this first week of January. And it’s strange. I always get this immense “I’m lost” feeling whenever I’m in my homeland’s capital city. And when I’m in the city LRTs (or MRTs), I in turn get this “I’m lost and I’m stressed” sentiment. What with all the lines, the checkpoints, the people, the lines – and oh, did I mention the lines? – well, I just salute all my friends for having the patience to take these means of transportation everyday. I’d probably die if I were them. But then again, I may be exaggerating. I may just be in a state of culture shock and I may be missing my handy touch n go card way too much.

But hey. I survived Metro Manila! With minimal bloopers at that. Minimal. Meaning there were still some. Haha.

So now, what about labour and employment? Gosh. Labour and employment. Contrary to what some of you may be thinking, I wasn’t in Manila for a pleasure trip. I was there to settle matters with the Malaysian Embassy and with the Philippine Overseas Employment and Labour Association (POEA). Ugh. And here’s where much of the longsuffering comes into play. But I am thankful. I am thankful for the grace and for the favour. Amazingly, the process was swifter than I expected and I was not left cramming at the last moment. (Although I had to resort to a lot of flight rebookings because the “cramming at the last moment” thing did happen. See my side comment on “Mari’s Adventures with the Immigration.”)

Longsuffering indeed.

But of course, the trip had some “cherries on top” (quoting a friend). I was able to catch up with a lot of friends living around the area. According to www.travelmath.com, Kuala Lumpur is 1,532 miles away from Manila in terms of flight distance. From Baguio, it’s 1,575 miles away and from Los Banos, it’s 1,533. I have no idea what flight distance is, but these miles are far enough. True, today’s technology bridges gaps like never before, but nothing compares to honest to goodness face to face interactions. I am grateful for those few hours spent with those special people. And… long distance as those relationships may be… well… the miles in between make me treasure the uniqueness of those friendships all the more.

: )

I’d like to write more, but all other insights about all other things that happened in November and December (and this first week of January) will be saved for another time. I do hope this entry made up for the weeks of silence though. Oh, and as a follow up on the entry before this one – I did pass my exam and I will get my P License soon. Yey!

And as a final word that I’d like this entry to speak out… Well, God is good. He is good, He is awesome, and He is able. The past two months have drawn me closer to Him. There were certain points when the process became too painful but He always came through. And He always provided people who helped me come through. And through all the “Ls” I encountered… He was always with me, in them.

Even in the LRTs. Haha.

Party people!

I'm still so glad to be back in Malaysia. :)

I am a Good Driver

Okay I just have to write this out. I was thinking of writing a piece about driving, say, when I take, finish, and pass my actual driving exam. You know. So that I could write in that celebratory, praise-filled tone and all. But something tells me that now’s time to get these words out and let them finally see daylight.

And so daylight they shall see. Ready?

I’m going to start this driving discourse with this statement – I am a good driver.

I am a good driver, I am a good driver, I am a good driver. 

That statement over and over and over again.

I need to give myself that pep-talk every time I get behind the wheel. The brief intro to my driving history is this:  I’ve never driven a car before. (Okay, that was long). I’ve never driven anything aside from the go-carts in Genting and the bumpcars in EK. I know how to manoeuvre a bicycle though. But still, my cycling history is full of cuts and bruises. When my Dad first taught me how to ride a bike, I must have fallen a thousand times in our dirt driveway in Armidale before I could breeze around successfully. However, more painful than the sting of the numerous wounds that I incurred falling down was the pain of knowing that while I kept toppling over, my younger brother was already levelling up with his one-handed bicycle tricks.

But I did learn eventually. That proves that I do have some sensory motor skills after all. Which is of course a requirement when you’re behind the wheel of a manually driven, gear-operated, complex machine.

I mean, good day gears, come estas clutch, bonjour brake, apa khabar accelerator! Howdy handbrake and salam steering wheel! Oh, and have you met their friends, the left and right signals, the windscreen wiper, the horn, and gosh I don’t know what else?

I am a good driver, I am a good driver, I am a good driver.

I am. I’m learning. I can now go up to 60kph when driving along a straight highway (hey, 60’s the limit for L-license holders!) and I’ve mastered slope-climbing, side-parking, and three-point-turning in the sekolah memandu’s obstacle course. I have problems with sharp curves and traffic lights though, but I’m willing to learn more still so that my final driving exam would be a breeze.

Willing to learn still. Still willing to learn. The crazy thing is that this whole driving thing has become not just a driving thing for me. It has become one huge learning experience in which various parts of my personality – various parts of Mari – gets peeled in layers, gets tested in scores, and gets processed to the core.

Process. I could never have imagined that driving would be such a process for me.

There were (are) those schedule-changing, class-cancelling, event-postponing incidents which would rub against my structured, scheduled nature. I mean, I can be flexible, but only if time would permit me to be so. Unfortunately, time is precious and hard to come by these days. Therefore, if things could stick to schedule, it would be so, so great… but unfortunately, that hasn’t always been the case. So Mari’s heart gets squeezed in tension as the Potter moulds it into a more patient, more flexible, more trusting, and less controlling form.

Mari’s heart also gets some strengthening treatment as the stability of her emotions are put to the test. (Okay, I just did a writing no-no. I’ll shift back to first person now. Release the accelerator, press the clutch, free the gear, move it to the left then push up, release the clutch halfway, watch the car move, press the accelerator a bit, release the clutch fully – and voila, I’m back to writing in the first gear – err, person.) My first three formal lessons were somehow traumatic. I won’t expound (I’ve done so much of that during some of my ranting sessions) but I have come to learn of the degree of how words and hostility truly affect a person’s performance and behaviour. Really. Words are my “love language”, so when you use them on me in an “unloving” manner, it’s often difficult for me to take. I believe this is true for most and not just for me as words have the power to give destruction or to bring forth life.

So… let’s just say that I’ve had my share of hostile words for this season. But thankfully, God’s redeeming those words with His and I’m choosing to drown out the negativity with His positivity. I’m saying, “I am a good driver, I am a good driver, I am a good driver” and God is also saying, “You are, you are, you are,” with me and with that matching, “Kayang-kaya mo yan!” cheer pa.

This driving thing is also teaching me to fight on and not give up. I’m supposed to take my pre-test tomorrow to see if I’m ready for next Tuesday’s exam but it was, unfortunately, postponed (see previous paragraph about patience and flexibility). If it’s becoming such a hassle already, wouldn’t it be so much easier if I just forget the whole thing and just let my L-licence expire? But I’m not going to do that. I am a finisher. I will finish this. And really, I took on this driving gig for a higher purpose. Sure, there’s a need to learn because of the location of my workplace… but there’s also a need to learn because… well, if you must know, we can discuss the matter personally. ;) So like I said. Higher purpose. No way am I going to give up. No way. No way.

I can do this.

So now I’m thinking if I’m making my driving experience out to be too big a thing. Minsan naisip ko parang ambabaw lang nito. But then again, if whole thing is moulding me to become a better person (not just skill-wise but also soul-wise, emotion-wise, spirit-wise – you know, the whole deal ) then I refuse to see it as shallow.

Let’s all celebrate when this whole thing is through.

I am a good driver, I am a good driver, I am a good driver.

Also an obstacle course of life.

Masterpiece

“Trying to find a moment with You
These days are speeding by
This ring gives me a new point of view
I’m a dealer of my time…”
(Bethany Dillon, Say Your Name)

Say Your Name by Beth Dillon. I can really relate to the song except for the ring part. Miss Dillon must have penned these lyrics during those busy days after her marriage with Shane Barnard (okay, so that makes her Mrs. Barnard) because the verse that comes right after says, “And if I can make a confession, my time is torn between the man who has won my affections and the God who made me.” Hrmmm. Go Beth!

But let me focus on the first verse and the part that says “these days are speeding by.” Indeed they are. I can’t believe it’s October already.

Last weekend I marched on a stage (with no power interruptions, yey!) to take my Masters certificate (okay, just a dummy one, I got the real one yesterday). Last (oops, last last) month I was in Johor Bahru with world changers hungry to transform nations. Last year I was walking around Kuala Lumpur looking for companies to act as respondents for my thesis. Last last year I almost got deported having had to stay “illegally” in Malaysia because of long lost passport procedures. And the year before that – okay stop me before I take that walk again down granny memory lane.

My point is that time flies. Days hurry by, turning into months, turning into years… and years… and then more years.

Sometimes we are eager to let time zoom by. Like when we’re anticipating a certain date or event and we’d wish that that day would come oh so quickly. Or like when we’re moving towards a particular dream or aspiration and we’d rather get over the mundanity of today more speedily.  Or like when we’re going through a particular process and we’d yearn to reach its end point in a less excruciating, more fastforward pace.

But sometimes we’d rather freeze the seconds and let the moments and the days drag on. Like when we know we’ve only got a few months, weeks, days, or hours left with visiting – or relocating – friends and family members.  Or like when we’re having the best day ever and we don’t want the joy and the laughter to come to an end. Or like when we’re cramming for our exams and we realize that we’ve still got three quarters of a dozen books left to pore over.

And sometimes we’re torn between wanting both. We’re stuck in the dilemma of wanting to let time fly by and wanting it to stop dead still.

But we can never control time. Manage it, yes, but control it, no. The seconds tick, tick, tick as they do ever regularly and unswervingly.

So what then could we do? What then should we do?

In 2005, I wrote the following paragraphs:

“This, perhaps, may be the reason why the importance of seizing the day has suddenly become so real to me. Each day holds an important lesson no matter how mundane a day may be. And if a boring day still holds a lesson, what more the exciting and activity packed day? If we forget or neglect to seize the day – if we let it pass without getting anything from it – then we lose out on so many nuggets of wisdom and lessons in life. 

“How do we seize the day? Living every moment (as opposed to JUST existing in every moment) is a start and grabbing the valuable lessons follows. Yet our memories can not retain every event, every lesson, and every emotion from each day so seizing the day may also include CAPTURING the moment forever – not just in our  memories but perhaps in a drawing, a painting, a poem, a song, or a piece like this. That way we can go back to the memory if our brains forget to retain it.

“Seize the day… seize the day… may the importance of seizing the day also be real to you – never let a single day pass without experiencing the fullness of that day.”

I’m surprised at the mixture of wisdom and childlikeness contained in that 17-year-old’s melancholic musing.

I have to go back to that and make every day beautiful, every day the masterpiece that it is.

Carpe diem. : )

one minute
Make that minute count.

Chasing Train Tracks

chasing train tracks
Sorry, Adele.

Oh. No. This post won’t be about lurv and all that jazz. It’s about me doing exactly what the title says.

Chasing train tracks.

Well, just trains, to be more accurate. Trains and busses. Sometimes taxis. But mostly trains and busses.

A huge chunk of my life these days consists of those daily two to three-hour commutes from home to work. Oh, but that’s only one way. Multiply it by two, then by six (I work on Saturday mornings), and you’ll see I’m not exaggerating about the “huge chunk” part.

In a day, I take a total of six busses (three times two) and four trains (two times two). The bus rides last 10 to 15 minutes each, and the trains 15 to 20 minutes. But of course, there are those waiting times in between.

Ugh. Those waiting times.

I try my best to escape them. Hence the title.

Because I do my share of chasing just to avoid all those periods of waiting. When I see the one minute sign flash at the KLIA Transit signboard, I make a mad dash (in heels, skirts, dresses) up the escalator, through the overpass, and down another escalator. Have to let go of all poise, because if I won’t, it would be another 30 minute of waiting for me.

Those 30 minutes matter since office hours start at 8:30AM.

A pastor said that delays are costly. And Mraz sings, “Timing’s everything” (Make it Mine). I super agree with both of them. Delays cost me taxi coupons that are equivalent to a nice meal at a nice fast food restaurant. And timing? You have to time your travel really well. Because if you don’t…You’re either chasing or waiting.

Yep.

Truth be told, the daily commute isn’t that bad. Many times, I come across many interesting characters. When I’m bored, I make up stories about them in my mind. Sometimes, they even provide their own dialogues. (Okay, I don’t mean to eavesdrop. But when conversations run right next to your eardrums, it gets rather hard to tune them out.)

Most times I use the commute to catch up on my reading. Also on my sleep. Try dozing during those 10 to 15 minute intervals. I’ve become an expert at taking powernaps. I’ve also become an expert at waking up at exactly the right stops. Most of the time.

Still, the evening squishes can be stressful. “Squishes” is a cute word for what actually happens during the evening rush hour. It’s the phenomenon that occurs when every person in Malaysia tries to fit themselves into three train coaches and… well, you get the picture.

But anyway. I’ve gotten used to it. Still, I don’t want to be stuck with this routine forever. I have my heart set on a better, more convenient means of transport.

My own car.

Yey. It’s going to take some more effort just to get that license though. But like many things in life, you have to give (read: sacrifice) a little (read: sometimes a lot) first. You’ve got to wait a bit more, but in the end, you know and you know that you’ll say, “It’s all worth it.”

Really.

Parang pag-ibig. It’s going to be oh so worth it! Now where did that random thought come from?

Okay. So… Here’s to a few more weeks of chasing!

The Chicken or the Egg?

Which came first? The chicken or the egg?

Ahh. The classic debate. The perennial mind-boggler. So what be the answer to this feathery riddle?

For me (theologically speaking), the chicken would have had come first. Well, I imagine it came first. Unless eggs popped out of the air and then hatched into fluffy yellow chicks when God spoke the words “let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky” as He did in Genesis 1. Come to think of it, that would have been a cute scene. But anyway, it’s more likely that those words formed full-grown chickens, not hatchlings.

However, culinarily speaking (i.e. relating to my oh-so-fabulous cooking skills) – the egg did, the egg did, the egg definitely did. Haha! I learned to cook eggs before I learned to cook chickens properly, as the rest of this tale would tell.

One time, a friend asked me to tell him what particular thing did I not – definitely did not – do. He said, for example, people would never find him playing basketball. So what was it that they wouldn’t find me doing? After racking up my brain for something (I’m a Jane of all trades), I finally gave him this answer: I didn’t cook.

Me cooking would involve me heating up a frying pan, breaking an egg into the pan, and exclaiming, “Viola! Sunny side up!”

It’s not that I don’t know how to cook. I just didn’t have much of an opportunity to do so, having had to live in several dorms for several couple of years. I did go through a culinary season from 2005 to 2006 (my housemates and I took turns cooking meals). But after that – kapoof! It was back to eggs, instant noodles, bread, tuna, cereal, and everything and anything that you can prepare in a jiffy.

However, in an effort to learn something new (and since I’ve exhausted all the possible methods of cooking up an egg), I decided to try my hand at real cooking once again.

Thus, one not so haggard day after work, I bought a whole chicken.

Guess I was a bit haggard still though. Because I forgot to ask the guys at the grocery store to chop the chicken up.

Uh-oh.

I honestly don’t know what I was thinking. Like that chicken would manage to magically divide itself into smaller pieces when I’d put it into the refrigerator, right? Good thing our kitchen had a butcher’s knife lying around. Okay. As if I knew how to use that kind of knife.

For the remainder of that night, I was faced with the challenge of trying to chop the chicken up. On the floor. With a small chopping board propped on top of a larger tray. To keep the blood and flesh from splattering over the floor. Most of the blood and flesh anyway.

Long story short, I did manage to cut the chicken into good-sized pieces. Our kitchen floor looked like a scene of a crime though. And afterwards, I was so frustrated that my dinner consisted of two mangoes only and no poultry. I had decided to cook the detestable fowl the following day instead.

When I finally decided to face the poultry, I discovered something – I CAN cook! Cook pretty well, even if my tastebuds do say so themselves. I have no idea what to call the dish that I cooked up (chicken + oyster sauce + mixed  veggies) but – breakthrough of breakthroughs and miracle of miracles – it was the first real meal I cooked up since 2006. Hurrah!

Hunger = Lack of Presentation. Good food still. :D

And so for the past two weeks, I’ve been cooking up decent dinners and decent packed lunches for myself. Yipee. My future children would have happy, happy tummies. Haha.

And the moral of the story?

Don’t be so comfortable with something that you’d keep yourself from risking out to try.

Really. If I didn’t have that initial battle with the chicken, I’d probably have Egg Recipe No. 56 for lunch right now.

Bon appétit!