Friday, February 16, 2007

He thinks I'm wonderful!

I thought this was really beautiful, it's taken from DaySpring's mailing list. I am reminded again of His extravagant love for me. :) (You'll have to click to view the actual size, can't seem to get it out right here...)

of snow and skiing

I fergot to tell you guys that I've been going skiing :D

That's me, in the red pants, getting a hang of my skis. It was really awkward, I felt like I had extra long feet which wouldn't go where I wanted them to. It was more difficult than learning rolling blading coz you had the slope to contend with.

Andreas, our ever patient ski instructor from Switzerland. Together with his other MBA friends, Alvaro, Shinko and Kazu, they taught us the basics and guided us even though some of us took a long time to learn.

After going through some practice runs near the kid's play area, we decided to test our skills by going up. The ride on the ski lift was pretty stable though it stopped once in awhile for the ocassional hesitant skier. I have this thing with heights, so it was quite unnerving at first.

Unsurprisingly, I fell down a few times and had a hard time picking myself up without having to unbuckle my skis. But it's fun when you're not the only one learning. Whenever one of us fell, the rest would laugh and help him/her up.

Since I hated falling down, I would try my best to stay steady while going downhill. I already had a fear of heights, not liking speed added to the thrill of skiing down the slope. So much so that I strained my muscles in my effort not to fall down!

Some of them say the best way to learn is to fall down. After awhile, my muscles got tired, and I allowed myself to fall down. The more I practiced, the more confident I got. It was like an adrenaline rush, the ability to complete the run. So it was a good thing we bought an all-day pass for the ski lift.

We must've got on more than 10 times that day. We were one of the earliest to arrive, and the last to leave. We even had snowball fights at the end of the day, after the ski lifts had stopped operating and the workers had come back from their shifts.

If I hadn't said this before, let me say it again : learning new stuff reinvogirates me! Just like doing my postgrads got my brains thinking again (brains weren't exactly needed in my previous job!), learning skiing challenged me to overcome my fears and gave me the confidence to push myself further.

Monday, February 12, 2007

unexpected blessings

It has been a rough week for me. Never felt so physically, mentally and emotionally taxed like this. True that this term is a killer for most of us, compared to autumn. True that I've been going through lots of other stuff recently as well.

I was tempted to take a flight back for CNY even though there's no hols here and I'd have to skip some classes. But in the midst of all these that overwhelms, I decided to spend more time with God.

Well, in a way, I was forced to. There really was no way out. Even if I had pushed on by myself, I'd have stumbled and crashed. I think I argued a bit, cried a bit, and had to give up on certain things as well. And I was wondering when it would come to an end.

I guess things started brightening up yesterday. We took a break and went for the Snow Festival in Muikamachi. It wasn't as great as expected, but it was just the feeling of being out of campus and doing something different. I took a short nap after coming back, but still didn't feel like getting back to work after that.

So I decided to call Au. She suggested that I play the piano for her! Normally, I would say no. When I play worship songs, it's usually private, for His ears only. I don't know why but I invited her and brought along the songbook that Mama sent over. I myself hadn't had the chance to use it yet.

So there we were, hidden in the music room above the gym, cocooned from the blistering cold outside. I played her some songs which I haven't played for almost a year. For the first time, I actually sang and played some worship songs with someone by my side, somewhat as an audience. She said it was beautiful. She had a contented smile on her face when she said it.

I'm glad she enjoyed listening. I hope this was the seed to something greater. Then it struck me, opportunites for the gospel come even in unexpected ways like this. There was hope after all, for me to be a living testimony in this land. I was beginning to feel disappointed that it's really so dead and revival doesn't seem to be on the horizon. I didn't feel like I was being fruitful.

This morning, I woke up and thanked God for the opportunity. I thanked Him that I was able to make a little difference in someone's life.

Today was supposed to be a public holiday, but we had a make-up class for International Business Management. Since I was still in my lazy mode, I didn't manage to finish reading up on the Fuji Xerox case.

As with recent classes, Prof Yoshimori decided to spice up the class by asking questions, to which there were rewards. The first was a one-word reason for the decline of the Fuji Xerox joint venture. I shot up my hands, eager to answer, even though I wasn't quite sure of the answer. I said "complacency" and he looked impressed that I got it right the first time. To this he said "You must've read the case very well!"

You can imagine I was beaming with pride. It dawned on me that I was on to something right. I was listening to God again, I was trying to make things right again, and the little voice was from God after all. It's not something new, it's a well-known fact which is often taken for granted.

If we put Him first, if we submit our ways to Him, He will make our paths straight. Life will not be a bed of roses, nor will everything we want come to us. But unexpected little blessings like these will be there for us to discover.

I had a great day with my friend last night, playing worship songs reminded me that I had not lost my talent after all. I managed to get the first question right even without reading the whole article, and I got exempted from doing the midterm papers because of that.

Life really is full of unexpected little blessings. I just had to be reminded through the hard way. And I am assured again of His extravagant love.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

taking a break from midterm

We're in the midst of our midterms and I'm blogging. That's a good example of what I just mentioned in my previous entry. Plus, it has been a rough week and today's Friday so I thought I deserve some break.

I'm even skipping tomorrow's class trip as I feel it's not worth it. Some of us who's already been to the Northern Culture Museum and don't feel like spending 2 hours of our time on the bus were threatened persuaded to change our minds. After doing some quick calculation, I figure I'm going to lose 1% of my assessment. But imagine, the 8 hours spent for the trip could be more productively used for other subjects, whose % is even higher!

Plus, I already signed up for another class trip to Tokyo, we'll be visiting the Dentsu office. Looking forward to that. The one we had for the Mobile Biz Strategies class last week was to the Softbank and Sony office, which was quite interesting. But mobile does not hold my attention as much as marketing or advertising!

I also had a job interview 2 days ago, with advertising giant McCann Erickson. The EVP himself came to campus to talk to some of us. Since the number of applicants were more than expected, they had to shortlist us. I'm happy to be one of the 3 who were on the job list, 9 went in for internship interviews. I felt I could've done better, but I'm hoping for the best too.

It's active period for job hunting now. Some undergrads apply for jobs 1 year before graduation, and it's not surprising to secure an offer way ahead. Even at IUJ, some recruiters come on campus if the numbers are large. Some have to travel down to Tokyo for their interviews.

I still have one more paper and 4 case studies due next week. Life is overwhelmingly exciting!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

laziness gets to me

The busier I become, I lazier I get! With an even crazier schedule compared to last autumn, and having a resolution to get more sleep no matter what, is there any way to balance these two?

A friend I was chatting to told me perhaps it was my self-defence mechanism kicking in. Instead of sleeping at 4 and getting barely 4 hours of sleep, I try to go to bed earlier or having little naps in between. Even though there's tonnes of work on the table, i push myself to think faster and work more efficiently.

I remind myself that back in my undergrad days, whenever I was the busiest, that was the time I relied on God the most. I put Him first and everything just fell in place. No matter how busy I got, I still could finish my stuff and still have some time for fun.

Even Soe, our Myanmar neighbour in the dorm, said that he was amazed at me. I have 8 subjects and still have time to go to the kitchen! So instead of wanting freshly cooked meals everytime, I have resorted to cooking multiple meals. That way, I have something to look forward to in between classes and not having to spend too much time with pre and post-cooking activities.

Yes I do admit it's so much easier to go to the cafeteria, grab something to eat and not having to worry about washing dishes. And you get to mingle with other people from other classes who are either too lazy to cook or has cooking at the bottom of their to-do list.

I guess, it's all due to God's strength and grace that I'm able to do all these. When work gets to me, I take a drive out. Even if it's for something menial like doing groceries or paying the bills, getting out is something I look forward to. Just like yesterday, I was out the whole day and didn't do anything school-related.

It was IUJ's ski day and we were up the mountains from morning till late afternoon. Then it was hot springs and a good dinner of tempura and sashimi. For the first time since I came to IUJ, I had 12 hours of sleep! How I wish I get to do this every weekend... :p