Thursday, July 24, 2008

World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney

Day 1

There was nothing much happening on the first day as it was only a day of the flight. We were supposed to meet at T3 by 445am. I reached there at about 430 and initially I was a bit stunned as I only saw 1 more person there. The checked in counters were surprisingly slow and inefficient. Thus, it was very close to the boarding time by the time check in, immigration, and security check were done.

On the plane, it was not too bad. I looked forward to it (first time in SQ) and yeah everything was satisfactory except that I found the leg space was a bit small and the lack of toilet. I watched 2 episodes of Heroes and the movie National Treasure: Book of Secrets (left with 15 mins when the plane landed in Sydney). The food was great and yummy :) I tried white wine and I am not a fan of it.

It was pretty exciting as we landed. But I find that the Sydney Airport is not as good as Changi. O well, the security dogs were quite interesting to see though. It was drizzling when I arrived and the cold wind was brrr.... Thank God I could survive. Within the few minutes of the journey to the Asiana Centre in Ashfield, I immediately liked the city. I seriously don't mind staying there. The dinner was Pizza Hut (different from Singapore's or Indonesia's version... nice but a bit too oily). And it was a great blessing that the shower facilities were not as bad as I imagined.

Day 2
Free day to tour around the city. The St Mary's Cathedral wowed me but Sydney Opera House close-up was not as majestic as those pictures. Haha.. Though initially it was cool to see the Opera House from the train. The evening mass at the cathedral was very touching to me. For such a big place, I did not think that there was a huge congregation that day. But the priest said it was bigger than any other days... I was thinking, most of these people were pilgrims so I wondered who attended the mass during normal times. I guess I am so blessed that Singapore's churches are still young, youthful, and energetic. At least I won't feel that bored when I attend masses. On more memorable thing was on how friendly the other pilgrims were during the exchange of peace. We shook hand... In Singapore, some people would not even care to wish strangers peace.

Day 3 - Day 5
Retreat with CASS at Bringelly. Initially I was worried about the temperature as it was forecasted to be reaching 0 degree. My worry did not really come true. The retreat was great. The people were very warm and friendly. I made some new friends there and I had some very very interesting experiences.

Firstly, was the dishwashing duty after the dinner in the first day. Though it was very disgusting to shove the remnants of food, it gave me the experience of working in the kitchen. Not really a job I fancy. Haha... It was a good experience and it was not too bad because the cleaning crew had so much fun there (plus the appearance of a RAT! gosh).

Secondly, I had the first Adoration experience. I could not concentrate and appreciate that I was worshipping the Body of Christ. I knew it was the Body but at that time I only viewed it as a piece of bread. It was easier for me to pray in front of a cross or statue. Maybe it was because I was still in a broken spiritual state. It got better after I went for the reconcilliation and now I feel great! :)

Thirdly, during the Saint picking (it is more correct to say that the saint who picked me), I was disappointed to get St. Osanna Andreasi. I don't know who she is (even until now) and she is a patron of schoolgirls. That is like so irrelevant to me. Oh well, I shall do my research to find out about her. Haha..

Last but not least, I (and I am sure almost everyone) had a lot of fun at the last night. I really admired the Taiwanese. Despite their insufficiency in English, I could see their passion for Christ and for their country. Their culture item rocked! It made everyone sing and dance together. Wonderful.

Day 6
God started with his work. In the morning my group was late for the morning plan to go to a church near where we stayed (I don't know the name of the church). The church was locked but we were very lucky that we bumped into the priest and he opened the door for us!! The church was small but inside it was grand and nicer than most of churches in Singapore or Indonesia. We prayed rosary there and I found it difficult to stay awake. When I woke up (when the rosary was over) and opened my eyes, the sunlight shone through the windows. It was like God trying to get attention.

In the afternoon, we had International Students Mass at the Great Hall of University of Sydney. Gosh... if only NUS is that nice. I felt warped to Harry Potter world. Now I would not be surprised how J.K. Rowling came up with 'Great Hall', and the paintings of the old headmasters. It is the culture of British schools I guess. Majestic!!

Day 7
The proper WYD week started! I was excited to see the plane in the sky writing JESUS (as we were about to board the train to attend vocation expo) and WELCOME (as we waited for the opening mass to begin). The atmosphere was great. Strangers greeted one another and everyone was so friendly. It was a hot day but in the evening it was damn chilly. I slept during the homily but surprisingly I could feel that I attended a mass (and not some social gathering as what I felt at the masses on the later days). The music was also grand, it was as if I was attending an orchestra concert. Cool!

Day 8
Catechesis started. We got the St Martha's parish and I had to say we were lucky. It was organised by the Emmanuel Community which have their own very happening music for the mass and the Praise and Worship. I don't really fancy singing but I have to admit that their songs were easy to learn and to follow, fun to sing, and have profound words. Slept throughout the talk though, but fully awake for the mass. Had taize in the afternoon which was another event filled with heavenly music and constant battle with drowziness. At night was Asian Youth Gathering which was a very pointless activity for me. Thank God I met my church friend there and we had a chat outside the venue throughout. So it was not as boring.

Museum Station reminded me of the train station in Narnia: Prince Caspian.

Day 9
Fell asleep again during catechesis. But today, I tried to keep awake. The result was I felt lethargic for the whole day. In the afternoon was the Papal Arrival. The walk to the venue was literally filled with horse dung (yeah the police officers were riding horses) and it was so sickening to eyes and nose. I was looking forward to see the Pope (that was my main reason to attend WYD in the first place) but I was disappointed that I could only see him from the screen. It was as good as watching TV at home. Haiz... Almost saw him at the end as he was leaving the venue through the opening of the food collection tent. Unfortunately I was too late and could manage to see only the back of the Popemobile. Haiz..

In the evening was the one man show of the Gospel of John. I cannot recall the name of the actor but he was great and brilliant! I was amazed with how he remembered the whole words for his 1.5hours performance. Madness!!

Day 10
I learnt from the previous day experience and decided to happily sleep during the catechesis. And I was awake for the rest of the day. Wasn't that amazing? Lol. My friends kept saying I was angsty for the past dunno how many days and I did not remember how many times I was moody because I had not enough rest.

We were quite lucky to be allocated Sydney Opera House as the venue for the Stations of the Cross. 3 stations were acted there and I had to say they had the best prop here. Cool to watch. Though I still think that the luckiest ones were those at St Mary's Cathedral as they might be able to see the Pope.

At night, we attended Receive the Power concert. I never enjoy Praise & Worship so I stoned all the way.

Day 11
The most worrying day for me as it was the sleeping out under the stars day. I was worried sick that it would rain! It did not! Yay! The pilgrimage walk to the the Randwick Racecourse was just mad! 4.2km phoooey!!! Glad that I made it. We reached the place by 5pm plus so it was too late to get a place. It was quite a depressing mood. But out of craziness, we decided to just open the our ground sheets to 'reclaim' the land! Lol. Yeah we slept at the racecourse, the dusty/sandy part where the horses usually run.

It was a pretty cool and fun experience that night. The temperature dipped below 8 degrees at 530am and I was not the only one who woke up and shivered due to that.

Day 12
It was actually the actual World Youth Day as the Pope celebrated the Final Mass. This time I was luckier as I managed to get a glimpse of the Pope through a pair of binoculars as he was driving around the venue. Yay!! Lol.. Did not really catch what he said in his homily though.

The journey back was even more tiresome than the journey to reach the place on the previous day. It was at least 5km to me and I ran out of water. My bag just felt heavier and heavier. There were moments when I felt like stopping and sitting down to rest. Madness...

Was so tired at the night and wanted to fall asleep even as I had dinner. My crazy group mates came up with a humiliating cheer to wake me up and I have to admit that it worked. Lol.. Group sharing went until so late as on the following day, my prayer buddy had to leave the group already. Super duper tired.

Day 13
The stay at Sydney was almost over. Today was a shopping day. Felt very sad as I had to say bye to my prayer buddy. Cried in the morning. It was a bit unbelievable... Seriously... Only about 2 weeks knowing someone and I could feel such a deep sense of attachment. It was still a mystery to me.

Without no plan of meeting, I met my cousin and an old friend from my cca at the Hyde Park, just after we were done with WYD merchandises shopping. What a coincidence. I was too tired to continue on the day and I even slept at a bookshop. Well, that's what chairs are for. Haha...

Day 14
Back to Singapore via A380. The plane is not as impressive as all the advertisement and the hoo-haas about it. The food was lousier than the food when I was coming to Sydney. I finished my unfinished National Treasure, and I watched 300 and Jumper (both which I found boring). I also tried red wine, singapore sling, and irish cream. Singapore Sling was not too bad but Irish Cream was damn good as the taste of the liquor was not too sharp. Cool! The bottom line is that I am not an alcoholic. Lol.

That's all folks...
I spent 2 hours plus on this and I am getting very tired. I did not have enough sleep due to shifting of room and laundry work yesterday and the post-WYD session today. So please pardon any 'weirdness', wrong grammar, etc here as I can barely keep my eyes open now.

For the photos that I took, please check out my Facebook photo album.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

After WYD

Wheww... I was away for 2 weeks and here I am now. I am very busy currently and thus I have no time to write down my World Youth Day experiences (it would be damn long!). I have not even finished renaming the photos that I took. I only had about 100 while my friends have at least 300 and they finished uploading. Lol. Now I know it took a lot of hardwork and time to upload photos. Haha...

So yeah I was on Airbus 380. It felt just like any other planes though. Not really up to expectation from what those advertisement and promotions said. Well, I did feel that it had slightly bigger leg space though.

I moved in to my new room today. Yucks yucks yucks.... I prefer my old one. This one is damn dirty and disgusting. The walls are dirty and there is one huge spot with yellow stains (I know what it is but I shall not be obscene here). Just plain disgusting! What make it worse is that the room only has 1 lamp. T_T How to mug? A table lamp is provided to replace the light which should be shining on to table. Haiz... Well, I shall not lose the WYD spirit and shall not complain. Now it takes longer for me to get water and to go to bus stop. It is also more difficult to get to other places around PGP. The only good thing about my new room is that it is making my laundry chore more convenient. I just need to go down 1 level. Sigh...

I am still in the middle of unpacking and doing laundry now. Haiz... I completed nothing today. Just half of this and half of that. Lol. I hope I can finish all the post-WYD things I want to do by tomorrow because on Friday onwards I will be busy overseas (again!) and by the time I return, most likely I already forget everything about WYD hahaha...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Flying Off

This day finally comes!! I am seriously totally unprepared for the trip but I will just trust in the Spirit's guidance. Everything will turn out to be fine! I'm sure about that. And I hope that I do not miss anything as I am not really concentrating when packing. Too much facebook. Haha...

I am feeling very low right now. It may be good in the sense that I have no expectation for the trip. Anything will do. Although I am a bit worried about the cold and the bathing/toilet facilities. Other than that, I am prepared for anything. Well, should not worry to much. It is not as if I am going for a vacation. I am going for pilgrimage! Yeah! I have so many doubts about going (especially since I don't know anybody...) so if everything is fine up to this point, it should work out well for the next 2 weeks too.

Last weekend's reading was extremely powerful and appropriate for me. I just have to let go certain things which only burden me and my life. Yeah I have finally dumped that 'excess baggage'. I must apply what I heard last week and what I learnt last year: you were happy before this person came, so even when this person is gone, you should be happy too. Another friend of mine told me some people are just sent to be present in your life for that period of time only. After the time is over, then it's a bye-bye. So yeah, so long my friend! I have made my decision. I treasured all the time I spent with you. But life must go on. Enjoy your life with your newly found friends. I shall move on to next step in my life.

One is done. The other is harder as it is deep within myself. Not possible to dump yourself right? Haha... I hope miracles do happen and my life (or more appropriately mySELF) will be transformed 100%. I wish to be a new person... with new perspectives... So that I can take my life easier... Less stress... Live a simpler life... and a happier one too. Lol..

1 hour left before my taxi comes so I guess this is it... Sydney here I come... A380 here I come..
I pray for a safe and enjoyable flight+trip :)

And after that, the next stop will be: Bangkok.
Hopefully this holiday will come true :) :)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

2 days before flying off

This page has been quite boring and unpicturesque lately so I shall put in pictures this time. I am rather busy in this period of time (and I am still very lethargic post-FOC) but well life must go on. My progress in Spiral is still very slow. The story is just starting to build up so I guess I shall stop first before it becomes very difficult to step on the brake. Haha..

And the song that I am currently using is the opening song of Spiral. The title is Kibouhou by Strawberry Jam. They really remind me of Judy and Mary. Both the main girl lead singers have a rather unique voice which makes their songs rather cutesy. Lol..

I was browsing youtube 2 nights ago in the hope of finding any english subbed Prince of Tennis OVA 20. Nothing but in return, I found something else. They were the videos of the Prince of Tennis 100 songs marathon. Too bad that most of the songs are owned by 1 person who disables the embed feature.

These people are really talented and blessed with beautiful voices. Though the faces a bit cannot make it. Haha.. It is quite sad that I cannot embed the Cap to Bin videos. Nicer songs and cuter stage actings. Haha...

FOC photos are out and it's time to be vain again. Oh God please save me! I looked horrible, and ugly, and FAT in those photos. Haiz... I think even FOC failed to make me lose weight. I must not repeat the same mistake for the World Youth Day photos. So I went to have a haircut today. It is very unfortunate that the hairdresser gave me a very funny cut. Hhmmph -_-!

2 days left before I am off to Sydney. I have not had everything that I need. I started packing but stopped after 5 minutes. I cannot take it. 1/3 of my luggage is for sleeping bag. 1/3 is for the winter clothings. So I am left with another 1/3 for the rest of everything. Oh gosh.... Engorgio!! I hope I can do magic to enlarge my luggage. Sigh... Tomorrow I have a group meeting which will last for 7 hours. And I need to have an emergency appointment to my dentist. My braces ran out of the cage. Sigh... I am very tired... So many things to do yet so little time.


Friday, July 4, 2008

Pharmacy Freshmen Orientation Camp 2008

This week is very tiring for me. Tiring, but fun! I guess I only had little regret for attending the camp.

Day 1
I was in charge at the Seah Im Centre station. It was such a boring job: WAITING and WAITING! There were 1.5 hours and 2 hours block of full waiting only. The game was quite boring too. Just blindfolding and sorting out only. There was so suitable spot to play so everytime had to cross the bus bay and climbed the fence to go to the empty plot of land quite a distance away form the bus interchange. Everything ended at 7 and I was tired like hell. Plus I lost my voice. But a glass of an expensive watermelon juice helped to recover my voice.

Day 2.
Woke up at 620 to go to the chalet. I hate the place! It was so inaccessible. It took me almost 2.5 hours to reach from my place. The weather was not so good. It rained and stopped and rained and stopped. I was in charge of another boring game. It was not only boring this time, it was also tiring/hard, and it was very disgusting to clean up. One person quipped "Iih, saliva!". I said "You touched your saliva only and you iih-ing.. I had been touching all of your saliva!". Gross. Yucks. I did not expect to stay over that night but luckily I brought extra set of clothes. I was initially allocated the shampoo game so I thought I would get wet. Yeah so they needed help for the SP night and I led the 2nd group. It was tiring and there were a lot of shouting to do. No complain though as the people with the blindfolds would have a more difficult time. Lol. I am thankful that the very first pair was very nice to talk to so I did not die of boredom.

Day 3.
No more clothes so I had to go back to bring fresh set of clothes just in case I needed to stay over again. Slept only for 3 hours, it was very tiring. I could not stand 5 hours of journey (to and fro) so I took taxi to return to chalet, though I had nothing to do in the morning. In the afternoon, my duty was to sit down, slack, and wait. That was my expectation! It turned out to be a very busy and stressful station. Still, it was comfortable so it was okay. Haha... At night, there was nothing to do so it was another boring and waiting time. I wanted to sleep early but I was sure that I would be awake when the fright night was over. So I decided to wait (and play Bridge with seniors). Lucky after the whole thing ended, they asked whether somebody else wanted to go. Of course I wanted. Haha... It was scary if you did not know what to expect la. Haha... Great job. Slept at 4:30 :(

Day 4.
Nothing to do in the morning so I had 2 extra hours of sleep until lunch time. Played the water game in the afternoon. Haha... I had fun. Tiring but very fun. I wanted to stay over but my battery was low. Did not want to spoil their fun at the last night so I decided to runaway.

And here I am now... Very very very tired. Haha... It was a very fun, but very tiring camp. And very expensive because I took taxi again to go home yesterday. I tried very hard to not fall asleep. I did it. Haha...

So what have I learnt?
1) I cannot live without sleep. Lack of sleep really makes me moody. (I slept 9 hour last night and I am still dying typing this!)
2) I am a lousy Bridge player. My partner complained! And the others said that I played a very confusing game and made it difficult for them to tell who is whom partner. Lol. Maybe at 3+ I was brain dead already. Haha...
3) I cannot dance! Exclamation mark! Neither doing the movement nor remembering the movement I can do.

The exhaustion makes me a bit depressed today. I had things on my mind and haiz... I guess I need to take life easier...

5 days to Sydney.. I had to start packing... but not before washing dirty laundry. -_-!