Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New York City With Telly

On Sunday, we had practice early in the morning... Doing repeats up a steep hill in Van Cortlandt Park, New York called "Cemetery Hill". Let's just say that it's not called Cemetery Hill for nothing.

I was so glad when the workout was over! Feeling giddy from the endorphins, I happily decided that a trip into the city was in order.

Only Telly (far right) could come with. Gigi and Mel decided to head to Newport Mall instead to shop for running outfits.

Haha love the expression on the lady to the left.

Finally arriving in NYC!!! It's been a while...

Telly and I got off the PATH, looked at each other and squealed. The song "Empire State of Mind" by Alicia Keys also started playing in our heads.

First step out from the underground at 33rd Street and everything just seems a bit crazy. People everywhere, noise, cars, people, coming in from every direction.

Nevertheless, it was a gorgeous HOT day and there were plenty of people just hanging out in the city.

Wandered through Little Korea; but there wasn't anything interesting besides the restaurants.

Walked south downtown and chanced upon this crazy deal. 4o postcards for 1USD! I couldn't believe my eyes... But it turned out to be a real deal. However, the true price for 40 postcards was really 1.69USD instead. 70% of it is tax! That's just nuts.

We didn't have a specific destination in mind that day, so we just strolled along the street.

Passed by some pretty buildings. Had to snap a picture of it, naturally.

Another pretty old building.

Definitely needed our shades on. Weatherman said it was 34 Celsius under the scorching sun.

Got to the 69th Armory and saw army tanks lined up on both sides of the street.

It turned out that there was a free art exhibition inside so Telly and I hopped on in, partly to escape the heat.

First exhibit that caught my attention was this crazy gooey plastic thing. I wonder how they're gonna clean this one up? As you can see, some of the pink sticky stuff ended up on the floor. I really wanted to touch it to see if it was as gooey as it looked but decided that it was too risky.

We definitely looked like tourists, snapping away furiously. But technically speaking, since we're from Jersey, we ARE tourists.


For those of you who don't know, our school is in Jersey City, New Jersey, which is across the Hudson River from New York City, New York. From our school into NYC, it only takes about 15 minutes by train.

Leaning Tower of DVDs!

Old television sets are actually really pretty. Telly and I mentioned how we wouldn't mind using one of these classic TVs again if they still sold those (but I'd prefer it in colour).

Walked through the rich neighbourhood of Gramercy. Apparently we passed by a famous West Coast rapper, Warren G. Telly recognised him but I had no idea who he was. I had never heard of him before in my life.

The houses were spectacular. Not often do you see brick houses covered from head to toe in climbers.

As I looked at the pretty houses, I wondered who lived in them and what they were doing. I wondered if they knew God and that He was watching over them.

Yay, a shaded street!

Sat down on a bench after walking approximately 2 miles (3.2 km). You can see why my feet weren't feeling all that great. It wasn't so much the slight heel, but the blisters on my little toe KILLED.

I like taking random shots of people.

After our little break, we walked further down to Union Square Park, hoping for a bookstand or two by its edges, but there weren't any.

And so that ended our little walk-adventure in NYC.

Later on, instead of going to church 2 hours away in Pennsylvania, I attended the evening service at the nearby Assembly of God in Bayonne, New Jersey. One incident that stood out in my mind was that when I was up at the altar praying, someone came and laid a blanket over my shoulders. At that point, I realised that it was for modesty reasons. I had gone to church that day in a tank top and my shoulders were uncovered. You could see my spaghetti straps as well.

At that point, I realised that even though it was really hot outside, it was still not ok to go to church in tank tops. I had forgotten how well people dressed on Sundays to go to church around here.
What a mistake! God, I am so sorry for offending You or anybody else in that congregation. Thank you for the reminder about the way I'm dressing. Help me to remember that I should always glorify You, whether in terms of dressing, speech or attitude.

Yesterday was just a regular ol' day at school. Today looks to be the same. I have homework to do.

Yep. Bye!

Monday, August 30, 2010

God's Answer

Yesterday while randomly surfing the web, I came across a site which talked about Passive Aggressive behaviour. The phrase sounded slightly familiar and rather intriguing so I furthered my reading by going to different sites about the same issue.

Basically, passive aggressiveness can be characterised by behaviour that is rather subtle, but usually leaves you feeling hurt, angry, off-kilter and confused. For example, you hate it when the passive aggressive person says "yes" to you, because you know they don't really mean "yes", but then you can't exactly say "no" to the person who just said "yes" to you either. The passive aggressor is also someone who feels like they need to agree when deep inside they don't, and therefore have to go against you by employing quiet ways of resistance (Jane Allyson).

This sounds like a rather familiar feeling to me.

I was quite surprised to have accidentally stumbled upon such an apt description of the things I've been struggling with recently. And because this trouble been going on for such a long time, I felt a bit disillusioned as to how to handle it.

Many of the articles suggest treating a passive aggressive person with an openness that will not allow them to retreat into their shells of denial and hurt, but rather to face the issue squarely with plenty of patience and kindness.

I guess there's the more concrete, physical answer that I've been asking God for all this time- how to deal actually with the situation that has been clouding the back of my mind.

And at the end of it, the answer is still always the same with God. It is to love without judgment, to be kind, forgiving.. Well I'll just put it all out here.

I have to be patient, kind. I musn't envy, boast, be proud, rude or self-seeking. I mustn't be easily angered and I shouldn't keep any record of wrongs. I will not delight in evil but rejoice with the truth. I must always protect, always trust, always hope and always persevere.

Because in the end, I believe that Love never fails.

Boy it's going to be a tough week...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Saturday Biking

Yesterday was kind of awesome. Went to the Perkiomen River in Pennsylvania for some biking with the family.

It's a really spacious park with picnic benches all around. We had our lunch here before heading out.

Alex, like most other kids his age, is simply fascinated with these things called "silly bands". They're all the rage now, sold in little packages for a dollar each.

Basically, silly bands are rubbery bands that rebend into different shapes when you take them off your wrists. The fun is in trying to guess what shape each band is supposed to be, then taking them off your wrist to see if you were correct.

Here's Alex wielding a baseball bat silly band.

Finally, with lunch over, we got the bikes out of the car.

I heard that it's a super long trail, but we didn't get a chance to ride it all the way to the end because of the little ones.

Brown river next to the bike path.

Shaded by the trees, thank God!

Alex with his bike.

Climbing up a tree while waiting for the others to get back.

And finally it was time for a nice refreshing drink back at the car.

Getting the bikes back into the car.

Once home, I canoodled a bit with Koshka. I missed her furryness!

Driving back up to school in Jersey...

Back soon with another post!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

What's Up Pennsylvania

What a nice day!

After practice ended around 16:30, I took a nice hot shower then hopped in the car for a two hour drive down to my mom's in Pennsylvania.

Sad to say, although I missed driving while in Singapore, I don't fancy it too much these days. My legs started aching within the first half hour of driving and all I wanted was to just get there already.

Zooming by little American houses.

And sheep.

Cass gave me these to try, although I'm generally not a beauty person. I just take a shower when I need to and that's about it... okay... and some makeup once in a while. But do-it-yourself facial stuff like that is just not my cup of tea.

However since face masks seemed to be all the rage back in Singapore, I thought I'd try one to see what the fuss was about.

Because I'm a complete noob at this, I thought I was supposed to put the eye mask on your eye! I mean, why call it an eye mask if it's not supposed to go on your eye? I looked on the packet and there weren't any instructions on how to apply the patches so I simply used my (obviously defunct) common sense.

I felt kind of antsy in about 3 minutes so I flipped the patches off my eyes and onto the above shown area. This was done so that I could google the benefits of face/eye masks. Seriously, I'm putting this wet membraney thing on my face and I don't even know what it's doing?

So the google search came up with information like how masks

1) are filled with nutrients
2) are better than other facial products because of the warming effect they have on the skin which opens up pores
3) keep your skin moist

Well that's all great, but I didn't find any articles on how environmentally unfriendly these things were. The amount of trash one girl can generate in a year from non-biodegradable mask packaging can't be very little if she's doing them once a week! (Which is the suggested usage rate- once a week)

However I was glad to discover that I had stumbled upon the correct way of applying the eye patches.

I didn't bother to load a before and after picture because they both looked the same to me. But basically, this is the after.

And I'm pretty sure the reason why my skin appears to be glowing is because of the right amount of camera flash.

I did have the eye patches on for at least 15 minutes, but for an impatient just-not-interested-in-this-kind-of-beauty-product person, it was more than enough time to convince me that they're just nice things to put on other girls' faces.

To be honest, I am putting in a little extra effort now to be a more "manicured" person. During the past two years, I had grown rather disinterested in self-maintenance in terms of beauty because I simply saw no point. God loves me for who I am right? He doesn't care much about how I look I bet, because He's seen me at my worst.

But then... I'm not sure why it happened, but I began to see that there were little things that simply were a courtesy to other people, especially people around me. And I mean really little random things like- my track teammates used to make a big deal of my "ashy knees". That would be a result of not applying moisturiser to my knees. When they got dry in the winter, they'd turn an ashy grey colour. But it didn't bother me that it bothered them and it still doesn't. Yet I've now begun to apply moisturiser daily; a thing I haven't done in a long while. I also began to clean my nails as well as polish them.

I guess it's one thing to try too hard to look better than other people; and it's another to just be a proper young lady instead of a dishevelled weirdo walking the street.

I think perhaps, now that I'm 21, I've had enough of being a dishevelled weirdo.

Sometimes I look back though, and realise that if I weren't ever a dishevelled weirdo, I'd never have learnt the lessons that God wanted me to. Through my experiences, the Holy Spirit broke many strongholds that I was locked in.

Therefore, I've also learnt that there really is a reason and a season for everything. I wonder what season it is this time?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

2nd Day At School

Here's a quick little post before I get to my homework.

In case you were wondering (which you probably weren't) what I wear to school on a daily basis, here's today's outfit. It's just something I'd usually wear when I'm in a good mood.

The weather is really nice right now. Slightly chilly in the morning for a light cardigan, then hot and sunshiney in the afternoon.

This is the classroom I'm in most of the time. It's not really a classroom actually. Just a little conference room in the English department. You can find me here on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 09:00 to 11:00.

A list of the classes I'm taking this Fall semester:


09:00 to 09:50: The American Novel Since 1900
10:00 to 10:50: Literary Theory
13:00-13:50: Elementary German
Unscheduled: Tutorial in Intermediate Russian


08:00 to 09:15: Statistics for Business and Economics

I guess my favourite classes are the English classes because homework is always doing what I love to do- read books.

I'm excited to continue studies in Russian of course, but German is a little intimidating because I have NO IDEA what is going on, not having any prior knowledge of this language. All I've learnt so far is the basic greetings like Guten Tag, Guten morgen, and how to say My name is Mindy "Ich heise Mindy".


For lunch today, I went to Jazzman's Cafe in school and tried their new Brazillian Chicken Grilled Flatbread. I've heard lots of great things about it and have to say, I quite agree with the opinion that it tastes awesome. It's not a very healthy lunch option though.

Dinner drove me to the salad bar since I had a really tough first day at practice today and didn't feel like pigging out.

Speaking of cross country practice...

We didn't really practise today because we had to do a 5,000m time trial. For the non-runners out there, that's 12.5 laps on a regular track. However, due to a mis-measurement, we ended up running closer to 6,000m.

Before the time trial began, I remember thinking to myself: "you're so screwed Mindy. This is what you get for not running consistently all summer!". Then, I prayed earnestly to God, "I don't know what's gonna happen Lord, but I trust that it's going to be ok!"

Do you know, He answered my prayer! Basically, I exceeded my expectations and felt a lot of comfort and relief from the Holy Spirit during the painful run.

God's just awesome like that.

And that's all I've got to say for today.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Back To Reality

Whew! I can finally take a deep breath and blog...

It has been a really busy weekend, what with all the packing and organising and moving. Even now, I still have more errands to run and things to get sorted out for school. It just seems neverending!

So yesterday was my first day back at college. I moved in with my other two roommates and this is the floorplan of the apartment that we share.

I love it!

The walls are as thin as paper but it's just so great to have my own room and space now. I am SO glad that I do not have to share a room with another person who will stay up late at night, make lots of noise and keep the light on when I'm trying to sleep.

This is the living room you'd see when you come in the front door.

The kitchen as viewed from the living room.

The bathroom

My room from the door.

My bed.

The closet as viewed from the bed.

And last of all, my study/work station.

So today has only been the first day of classes but I'm already feeling the heat. I've got enough homework to last me through the weekend, let alone finish by tonight... And the rest is mostly about finances again; it seems as though this year is just going to be ruthless.

First of all, my textbooks are going to cost a bomb. Just my German texts alone will set me back 210USD- and I've got four other classes to buy books for. Secondly, other little expenses have gone up as well. For example, parking used to cost 100USD a year. It is now 175USD.

To make matters worse, I can't hold ANY job now; not even my freelance catering job, because my track coach has new rules such as room curfews at 12 midnight every night (and if I work, I'd probably get home by 01:00 or 02:00). I wonder how I'm going to pay for things like textbooks, gas (petrol), etc.

I mean.... I know when the need is really there, God will always provide. But this is the worst desert I've seen so far. I've never felt more hopeless and stressed at the beginning of a school year! Oh God, please increase my faith!

And to top it off, there's the looming college graduation coming up next May.

Although you may think that I'm excited to finally get out of school, which I am, don't get me wrong... But I also have to think about either getting a job, applying to graduate school, getting necessary paperwork ready, writing my honours thesis, etc.- all of which are problems which have already begun to hit me.

Oh Lord as I enter into this new school year with fresh troubles and new challenges, help me to remember that Your ways are higher than mine. Let me always be focused on You and Your faithfulness, not dwelling too much on the details of life, but always remembering Your "bigger picture". Lord, as I sometimes drift away from Your Word and presence, bring me back again into Your hiding place. Only in You can I find rest.