Posted in Beauties and Colors of Life, Expat Diary

Happy, Crazy, Fun Birthday Getaway

IMG_20190413_122221

Nature, parks, zoos, animals, flowers, trees, the sunrise, the sunset, food, drinks, traveling, and life in general, are best enjoyed with family and friends.

That’s what I realized today after spending my birthday with me, myself and I. 😄

I enjoyed my crazy but fun birthday adventures actually, but as I was admiring the beauty of flowers, as I was enjoying my walk around the park, as I was busy taking photos of flowers, animals, and people, as I was reconnecting with mother nature and reminiscing my childhood days every time I see familiar animals at the zoo, I couldn’t ignore a strong realization within me.

There’s no getting used to being alone. I think there will always be a longing within us to belong – to a family, to a circle of friendship, to a community.

No man is an island, indeed, if we will be truly honest to ourselves.

We may enjoy a moment of being alone, but we were neither created nor meant to be alone. We were created for relationship. We were created for companionship. We were created to love and care for each other. We were created for friendship. We were created for fellowship. We were created for community. We were created to enjoy and endure life not merely for ourselves but more so for people we love and care about.

Many years back, I came to a point in my life when I thought to myself, “I can continue with life without reconnecting with my family, without striving to build a better relationship with them, or without sharing my life’s moments with them.”

There also was a point in my life when I stopped building close relationships with people around me for fear of being left behind, being rejected, or being hurt in the process. In short, I thought to myself that life would be completely fine without working out a better and harmonious relationship with my family and not having close, trusted friends around me.

Such a hypocrite and prideful younger me, I know!

But I believe I’ve come a long way from that insecure younger self. The journey had not been easy and what lies ahead might still be full of challenges, but as I’ve grown in age, I’ve also gained experiences that helped shape me into the woman I am today.

I am not perfect (I wish), and I will never be. I will always be a work in progress, but as I had chosen to spend my birthday with me, myself, and I today, I’ve come to realize in a much deeper sense the importance of my family and the friends I have, both near and far.

I am an introvert. I love being alone most of the time, but from now on I’ll try my best to spend more time with my family and friends who love me, care for me and stayed beside me even during those times when I was undoubtedly undeserving and unlovable.

Lastly, here’s another message that I think was meant to be relayed to me today:

img_20190413_140558.jpg

Hahaha…yes, I strongly felt that was placed there for me that’s why I took a picture of it. I was at the same cafe yesterday but I didn’t notice that cup. Today, when I saw it, something within me seemed to whisper that I should take heed to what it says, haha! So, yeah, I’ll try not to be so hard on myself also from now on.

Overall, I had a great 34th birthday. I almost got into an accident when I was on a bike trying to get away from the busy area near the park (so I could get a taxi or DiDi and not miss my train back to Zhengzhou), but thankfully my Dad’s angels were on guard and quick to help me get to safety and not hit the car that was parked beside the road a few feet ahead of me. Wherever I go, I can see my Father’s hands always protecting me. Today was undeniably one of those moments.

Thankful for my 34 years of existence and looking forward to more exciting, meaningful, wonderful, joyful, hopeful, productive, and victorious years ahead! Soli deo gloria!

Here are some photos I took today:

 

I hope you enjoyed them! ^_^

Posted in Beauties and Colors of Life, Expat Diary

Funny Unpleasant Surprise

What a morning!

What happened very early this morning made me realize how dependent I’ve become of gadgets and technology. And that is probably true for most people nowadays, especially among the younger generation.

Here’s what happened that gave me quite a scare very early today:

A friend and I were scheduled to leave Peter Hall at 6:00 a.m. to catch our 7:42 a.m. train to Luoyang. We planned to be at the train station at least by 7:00 a.m . to get our printed tickets on time.

So before sleeping last night, I made sure my phone was charged and my bags are packed and ready. I set my alarm to 4:30am, 5:00am, and 5:30am (for more chances of winning, I mean, of getting up on time, haha).

When I woke up this morning, I immediately looked at the clock beside my bed because I didn’t hear my alarm. It was already 5:45 a.m. I quickly jumped out of bed thinking to myself, “What happened to my alarm? Did I really just not hear all those 3 alarms I set? How in the world…?” Then I checked my phone and to my utter surprise, my phone was dead. I was bewildered. “My phone is dead? As in dead, dead? Really? Now of all times?”

It just wouldn’t turn on. It cannot be out of battery because it was fully charged before I went to bed last night.

“Oh no! My phone just died on me like that?”

While in a hurry to get myself dressed and ready before 6:00 a.m., at the back of my mind I was thinking whether or not I should still go to Luoyang. Several concerns came to mind.

“Will I survive for 2 days without my phone? How will I order DiDi taxi? How will I navigate for direction? What if I needed to translate something into Chinese, how could I translate it without my phone? How will I pay for stuff? (Oh well, I know I can withdraw cash for that but I’d rather not because almost everything here can be paid through WeChat or Alipay). Should I still go? Should I still go?”

These are the questions that troubled me but I still managed to get myself ready before 6:00 a.m. (How did I do that? Well, let’s leave it to history, shall we? haha…) I just didn’t get to have breakfast or drink water at least because I was in a hurry to tell my friend that my phone just decided to die on me.

My friend, confused as I was, asked me questions after questions to make sure I did everything I could do to make it work. I did already try to turn my phone on several times when I was still in my room. Nothing. When I was already in the lobby with her, we both tried to turn it on, but it didn’t work. We tried her power bank thinking mine was probably not working that’s why my phone wouldn’t turn on (if it just ran out of battery). Still, my phone was dead. She wasn’t able to turn it on herself. Even the light that determines that the phone is charging didn’t show any sign of hope.

“So my phone just decided to die on me on a day I’d be traveling. What a coincidence!” 

I was still hesitant to leave Peter Hall without a “working” phone, but I cannot back out not only because my friends decided to come along but also because of the money I’ve already spent for the tickets and the hostel accommodation. So I thought to myself, “Well, I’ll just get some cash and I’m gonna trust God I’ll be okay and that I’ll be able to get by in Luoyang for 2 days without a phone.”

So we decided to leave Peter Hall at exactly 6:00 a.m. with my phone still dead.

When we were already in the car, I muttered a very short prayer saying, “Lord, please” and charged my phone again thinking it might have really just run out of battery, which is unlikely because it was fully charged before I went to bed. Though I said I’d trust God to help me survive without my phone, having a working phone would always be great for convenience sake.

So I tried to turn it on again. The vibration the phone made after it was turned on made me felt so relieved as I told my friend, “It’s working!” And my friend jokingly said, “Your phone just wanted to get out of Peter Hall so badly.” Then we both just laughed out loud. That started our endless bursting into laughter throughout the day.

Until now, I still can’t believe how that happened – that my phone just died like that and “resurrected” right after we stepped out of Peter Hall. Was it all mere coincidence? Or was it a test? Or it didn’t mean anything at all? Just simply how technology goes?

I have some assumptions about how and why that happened, but let’s just leave them unspoken. What I want to talk more about this time is how we have been so dependent on gadgets and technology these days. It feels like when they’re not working properly or not working at all, our lives are going to fall apart. That’s how I felt for a moment today, to be honest. It’s probably because almost everything we do now is tied up to our phones. For example, here are the things I used my phone for today:

– taking photos (especially selfies…haha)

– paying for food and drinks

– ordering and paying DiDi taxi

– paying for the park tickets

– paying for a metered taxi

– renting a bicycle 

– claiming train ticket bookings

– translating words from English to Chinese

– using a map app for navigation and for searching for numbers of buses that could take us to our destination

– using the compass on my phone to know where north was (because the DiDi driver told me to “follow the crowd to the north”)

– writing a draft of this post using “Notes” on my phone (plus publishing it here)

 

Almost everything I did today I did with the aid of my phone. What would have happened if my phone remained dead? How would I be able to do all that?

Of course, there are things I could still do without my phone, but thinking of it now, most of the things I do these days pretty much involve my phone. I like to do things in the most convenient way possible, that’s why I like using gadgets and technology a lot.

But the short-lived scare I had today made me realize that even though technology is really helpful, I should not take for granted the fact that there’s SOMEONE more powerful than technology who can help me in everything I do.

What happened today (dead phone surprise) is probably not a big deal to others, but to people (including myself) who like the convenience of using gadgets and technology, it can mean the world to them (maybe not the entire world, but maybe two-thirds of the world, haha).

Lesson learned:
1.  Don’t rely too much on technology to the point that we think our lives are gonna fall apart without it.
2. Take notes of reservation or booking confirmation details in case anything unexpected happens with our gadgets.
3. Write down addresses of important places and locations (hotel, places to go, etc.)
4. And lastly, if your phone decides to just die on you for no explainable reasons, don’t panic. He is still in control. Someone’s got your back no matter what! 😎😊😉