A Year and a Half in Review

(FYI - this was in my draft folder for half a month, as I've been slaving away at work for the personal tax season up until last Thursday... hence the delay in updating you all)

After such a long hiatus, I contemplated whether or not to provide an update on the past year and a half given that most of you who stumble across my blog (who are my intended readers) are those that have been in touch with me from afar. But I suppose to give some context for the blog entries to come and for the purposes of reflecting the past year and a bit (since I've had trouble answering Evie's question on "what were some eventful moments and achievements in your 25 years of existence" on the eve of my 26th birthday a while back), it doesn't hurt going back in time for a bit. Was kinda inspired from Clinton's old blog entry too, actually, where he chronologically noted the things he did since graduating from university.
So here goes…:

Oct 2007: Decide to commit to serving as a counsellor for the university group at T3C (Genesis)
Oct 2007: Go to Israel for a trip :)
Dec 2007: Had my first ever all-nighter at work. Put it this way - I've never thought timbits were that bad until that one night.
Dec 2007: Hosted Christmas party for the "orhpans" in Toronto :) big cooking feast
March/April 2008: Attended the funeral of someone who kept up with my blog for the longest time (while I was still in school), and who I looked up to a lot; a man who I can say truly ran the race and fought the fight as per II Tim 4:6-8 - Uncle Roson
April 2008: A year-long friendship w/ a guy named Ben that was not-so-healthy (and affirmed my thoughts a purely platonic friendship is non-existent and impossible) surprisingly became a long-term relationship. :) Who would've thought Japanese take-out could result in something...
May 2008: Cooked my first steak ever
June 2008: Rode 200km from Toronto to Hamilton over two days for the Ride to Conquer Cancer
July 2008: Tore my achilles, and skipped out playing Cornerstone Ultimate for the 2nd year in a row.
July 2008: I think my pseudo Nghiem family moved out west to Brampton... :( *sob*
August 2008: Went to NYC - went cafe and hot dog searching for the entire weekend, saw Rent, watched a Yankees game in the old stadium, and drank more coffee/tea.
August 2008: Went to Vancouver/Seattle/Portland to spend some quality father/daughter time with dad over many cups of coffee and tea.
October 2008: Attempted to cook my first turkey, but needed desparate assistance from Vicky and Benjai Wong. However, I had many satisfied coworkers and friends! One of the few communal meals hosted by yours truly
November 2008: Planned the first baby shower for Jimmy and Tracy - don't ask me why, but I chose to do one that was HUGE as an initial project. Thankfully it went smooth and was under $450 for 40 people! Note to self - never plan a baby shower if it falls the day right after a 3-part bday bash which you're also the planner of.
November 2008: Went to HK for a wedding and China (Zhong Shan) for the first time ever with my grandma and mom; first (and possibly last) trip together with the three generations...
February 2009: Finally picked up rock climbing (indoor) and committed to buying climbing gear, after a year of contemplating whether or not to invest into it. going with my climbing partner/old uni friend/coworker/friend Ivy :)
February 2009: Was given a homecooked meal by someone who doesn't cook at all, right before watching Jersey Boys :)
April 2009: Actually touched personal taxes for work as a CA; first time in 4 years. Nearly went crazy during the month of April.
May 2009: Sporting Life 10K again - under one hour! :) Got to run with a few old friends again - Evie, Fi, and Wallace

2008 - with the exception of a one or two things (which I'm extremely thankful for!) - was relatively normal... perhaps 2009 will be one filled with adventures and activities. It already started with two running events, a planned meal chez moi's, and the big bike ride coming up again. Perhaps I'll bring a bit of 2007 back into the picture and plan for some road trips ahead :)



i've had many reminders today of how quickly time passes... for instance:

- conversing with Elianna in complete and comprehensive sentences - that was the first for me!
- seeing Gabriel as a big baby :) - now that he's already 8 months!
- training for my third sporting life 10K now... though it only seems like yesterday when i first picked up running
- reaping the benefits presently from buying a certain someone shinobu takeout a year ago from yesterday

what reminders to cherish every passing moment, given each moment passes by rather quickly.



so i have some things planned out, though some are definitely more spontaneous than others:

- i am niagara bound again! :) riding 200k once again from toronto -> hamilton -> niagara.
- i am attempting to play ultimate again hopefully for most of the season rather than just two games. i have quite a dismal history with ultimate, given i only played 1 - 2 games / season in the past year. playing w/ my friend ivy (aka go) and possibly another w/ the cornerstone league once again.
- sideline cheerleading w/ softball :) that's definitely a sport that i have not come to love when it comes to playing, but one that i'd definitely be around and watch

things that are still in consideration:
- 24 hour challenge at albion hills
- beach volleyball? (i love playing court though)
- trip? (but where?!)



the unknown

in my recent conversations with several people, i've come to realize this year is quite different from the ones before. how?

there are so many uncertainties.

for those of you who know me well, you know i'm a planner - i generally have a rough idea of what i want to do, plan ahead (i.e. i would normally have my summer sports scheduled planned out, an idea of what to do or when/where to go for vacation, things i want to achieve with a game plan to get there, etc.) normally by now, i would've determined what i'd be doing or where i'm going this summer.

this summer is quite different. i have no sports plans (yet) and to top that, i have no idea when and if i'm taking a vacation. my future is quite uncertain in a variety of ways as well - i'm dwelling on ministry directions in and out of T3C, wondering if there is anything to do (if i am able to do anything) with these crazy ideas of mine that seem near impossible, and where determining where my passions and desires lead me.

but my friend jenn reminds me this is a good thing. why? this is when i have to force myself to step back, break, and rely on His strength and guidance to see where He leads. and perhaps this forces me to slow down and take things one step at a time.



LOVE/hate - this is the new balance

new balance's newest ad campaign accurately depicts my feelings towards running. i picked up running a few years back, but it's a constant love/hate relationship. this morning's experience reminded me of why i love the sport so much, though there's always the dreaded question of "why am i doing this?" before i hit the pavement.

saturday morning (04/04/09) marked the official start to my running season, as evie and i headed down to high park for the 8k and 5k run respectively (i missed out on the 8k cos it was too late, and had to go for the 5k). however, with wind chills so great that it caused the yonge/dundas intersection to close temporarily, i asked myself what was i thinking in signing up for an early april race. i could have benefitted from sleeping in or going to the 'one of a kind show'. on top of that, because i had to wait for an hour before my race started (since evie's started at 10 and mine at 11:15), i was standing outdoors for a good hour before i started running.

however, these doubts soon dissapated when my race begin. it had a frazzled start, since ev and i couldn't find each other after her race and before mine..., i decided to finally bag check and start the race but the gun had already went off. next thing i knew, as i was starting my race, i heard "holly!!!!"... and there i saw ev. before i knew it, the girl was running with me (since i had missed the crowd) and she ran 13K :). despite my dismal results, it was still a great run - with great scenery comparable to the seawall at stanley park (haha), great company, and great loot to bring home!

this run made me realize why i love the sport so much...:
- running at these events isn't just about the race. it's the pre race hoopla, the race itself, and the post-race festivities... like sampling noodles and getting healthier snacks, bumping into your significant others' coworkers, seeing other coworkers that also ran, and quality brunch/fuel up time post-race.
- it's good for the heart (though not for the knee) and the body
- i've built many great friendships over this sport - namely with evie, but it reminds me of my early days at T3C doing the running group w/ people
- it's a sport that forces me to reflect and think about other things while running (to keep myself going and not focusing on how tired i am or how far i've ran), and provides an opportunity for me to be outdoors!
- running is not an individual sport - it's rather communal despite contrary belief. whenever you go to these races, you see groups of friends/family running together, strangers with a common passion for running chatting with each other, and supporting friends cheering on the side lines. while i was waiting for evie, i unintentionally became her photographer, following her at the start, mid-point, and finish line!

all in all - a great morning and reinforcement of why i run.




yes. that's the bestword i can think of to describe the state of my brain. you see, my challenge for the past few weeks has been to spend at least some time during the day to reflect on the things happening in my life and what God has been trying to tell me - intentionally (as opposed to a mere thought or sudden epiphany while running).

however, my mind has been racing for the past while on various thoughts - job, ministry, friends, family, future... at a pace so quick that i can't even gather the various thoughts or summarize anything. i'm simply touching the tip of the iceberg in every aspect. perhaps i'm also lacking the energy to... and am just simply getting by.

i think i need a vacation. or a break from the every day routine. it's been a while.