2022, Thank You For A Better Year!

Monday, 2 January 2023

And just like that, it's 2023.

It's amazing how 2022 flew by so quickly. As they say, time flies when you're having fun. Yes, I guess it's safe to say that majority of my 2022 was fun. However, there were also a few occasions where life hit me quite hard. There were times when I cried silently, in the shower, or in bed at night whilst J was in his office doing his own thing. There was also one time when I unintentionally showed my vulnerability at work. This moment was witnessed by one of my staff who without judgment, hugged me so tightly and cried with me. Whilst some people may think that showing your vulnerability is a sign of weakness, I have always seen it as a sign of courage and an opportunity for other people to sincerely feel me, to clearly see through me and deeply understand me as a human being. Vulnerability has allowed me (through the years) to be true to myself and in fact, fostered my personal relationships. My anxiety also flared up, causing me to suffer some physical symptoms that I mistaken for a medical condition. Without telling anyone even J, I subjected myself to some investigations for reassurance. I was very relieved when the results came back normal. Apart from that, my 2022 was mostly good.

2022 was the year when finally, harmony was restored within my family. For a while, my family went through a phase of instability, one thing that left me downhearted. Being too far away from home , I felt so helpless. All I could do really was pray that eventually, members of my family would understand each other and communicate more openly. And ultimately, my fervent prayers were answered. This really made me happy, knowing that there is finally peace and harmony in our household. I pray that the beautiful relationship our family now have will last a lifetime. I know our family will never be perfect and will always be a work in progress, but I am proud of our family’s journey in the last few years and the direction that it's heading towards. All is well that ends well indeed.

2022 saw me cultivate and strengthen meaningful friendships. At 46, I am very happy that I have friends who are constant in my life, and whose presence add value to it. I am blessed to have friends who are equally nurturing, motivating and inspiring. Every catch up with a friend last year was relevant and purposeful, just like how it should be. 

Opportunities also came my way in 2022. J and I finally decided to take adulting on a higher level and moved into a place we can now truly call our own. It took us years to get here, however I have always believed that we were prepared for this moment. In addition to this, another job opportunity fell on my lap unexpectedly. It's when you know that someone is genuinely looking out for you and wants the best for you. Basically, one of my previous bosses introduced me to someone who would eventually offer me a job that I couldn't say no to. Think about better work-life balance, 4-day week and less stressful job altogether (away from all the madness of acute healthcare)- sounds promising, right? Anyway, six weeks into this job and I can confidently say that all is well. In a short span of time, I met a lot of wonderful people- colleagues, patients and their relatives. I am most grateful for the opportunity to interact with patients at a deeper, less clinical level which is bringing me so much joy at the moment. Everyday, I learn something valuable. I learn something new about life. I learn something new about the world and other people. Most importantly, I learn something new about myself. The people I have met in the last six weeks have reaffirmed that I am here for a reason.

I am also very grateful for the people who stayed in my life last year and the new ones who willingly let themselves into my life. The people, who despite being in the background, made me feel valued and cared for consistently. Sometimes people don't need to physically be with you to remind you that you are never alone. Sometimes, it's those random check-in messages that make all the difference.

This year, I am making a pledge to continue finding that purpose in all the places that I go to, in every person I meet and in every circumstance that I find myself in. There’s this, and learning how to live that purpose wholeheartedly. I also would like to focus on taking control of my thoughts, to ensure that I am more present in the here and now and not worry too much about what could have been and what will be. I also would like to practice gratitude more than I did last year, paying more attention to the little blessings that I certainly overlooked before. Gratitude and contentment are perhaps my big words for 2023.

How about you? Do you have any big words for this year? Whatever it is that you have in mind, I hope that these words will inspire you to do the right things in life. May you continue to live your life full of positivity, kindness and hope. 


The Autumn Day Trip To Paris That I Didn't Plan

Sunday, 11 December 2022

Bigger life decisions in the last three years compelled me to put travelling into a halt, albeit temporarily until priorities are fulfilled. However, sometime in October, my cousin asked me if I could take them around Paris because they had a friend visiting and they were not confident to go around on their own. I am not normally keen on playing tour guide to people I don't personally know because I might disappoint them with my itinerary, but my cousin was adamant that it would be okay. So, off I went to Paris on a day trip in Autumn- a trip that I never planned nor even thought of. I was actually excited as the last time I went to Paris was in 2018, and this was my first European trip in three years.

We left King's Cross St Pancras International on the Eurostar train just after 6am. Upon arrival in Paris Gare du Nord, we headed to the Left Luggage area on the lower ground floor to secure my cousin's belongings as they were staying in Paris for two nights. My original plan was to walk to Sacre Coeur from Gare du Nord and pick up some pastries and coffee from Pain Pain on the way, however we were already late so I decided to take the metro to Trocadero for breakfast instead. My friend recommended Carette so we tried,7u and I was a little bit disappointed. Despite the hype created by social media influencers, I actually didn't find anything special about this restaurant. Their pastries are just okay, nothing like La Maison d'Isabelle . It was very busy and although previous reviews recommended sitting outside (which we did), it was still cramped. We were sat literally next to their cutlery area which made me quite uncomfortable. The service was friendly although haphazard. Perhaps, it's best to go there very early to avoid the crowd. 

After breakfast, we walked to our first tourist destination of the day- The Eiffel Tower. Trocadero used to be my favourite stop for the whole view of the Eiffel Tower, however there have been a few changes in the area and it didn't feel the same. What was an open viewing platform is now barricaded with graffiti-filled plywood. 

We then walked down to go closer to the Eiffel Tower via Pont d'lena. It made all sense to me during this trip why a few years ago, the bottom of the Eiffel Tower was a construction site. They have put a permanent barrier around the tower to protect it from terror threats. Entry to the forecourt apparently remains free, so this is a good thing. I realised during this trip that next time, I should get off Champ de Mars so I don't have to walk that far.

From Eiffer Tower, we took the metro (Champ de Mars) to the Louvre. We walked through Quai Anatole France from Musee D'Orsay then crossed over Pont Royal. This route is long, however it is a good walk.

By the time we reached the Louvre, it was past 2pm. As my cousin wanted to see the "love lock bridge", I took them for a walk to Pont des Arts. The locks were taken down by the Paris Council a few years ago, however there were still some random locks left. 

I have always wanted to check out the Samaritaine, not to shop but to take a photo of the interior. So on our way to Notre Dame, we stopped by the department store.

Notre Dame was still closed for renovation, so we didn't stay there long. Instead, we immediately took the Metro from Cite to Blanche for Moulin Rouge.

I actually reserved a table at the Le Moulin de Gallette for lunch, however we didn't make it on time so we ended up in Cafe des Deux Moulins. This was my second time to eat at the Cafe des Deux Moulins and it has not really changed. Of course the cafe is historic as it is the exact same cafe in the film Amelie. 

After lunch, we walked to our last destination for the day- Sacre Coeur in Montmartre. I have been to Paris a few times and the walk either to or from Sacre Coeur via Rue Lepic and Rue Norvins remains my favourite because this route is quiet and easy to follow. Towards the end of Rue Norvins is the always buzzing and one of the most famous squares in Paris, Place du Tertre or otherwise known as the Artists' Square. 

A few yards away from Place du Tertre is the Sacre Coeur Basilica. This is a good place to have a panoramic view of Paris, although it is to be expected that this area is often very busy.

Sacre Coeur is either first or last on my day trip itinerary because it is a walking distance to Gare du Nord. This means that I don't have to rush provided that I give myself at least an hour to get to the station.

Champs Elysees is often not in my itinerary because unless I intend to shop or drop by Laduree (which I no longer do), I think it is not efficient for a day trip. The same goes with the Arc de Triomphe. These two places can be done another day (if staying one or more days).

Although I would love to stay at least overnight in Paris again one day, I am happy that I am able to visit even just for a day. Paris is one of those places that I will never get tired of visiting, so I hope that I will be able to visit the city again, as often as I did before.

And for that, how about coffee and almond croissant in Paris next year? Anyone?😀


1111 And (What I Think) It Means For Me

Sunday, 13 November 2022

It's been two days since I wrote the title of this blog. Somehow, I lost focus and simply could not find the words to say. Perhaps because the reality that I left a job that I was quite happy with has not sunk in. Perhaps, I am anxious of starting a new job. But wait, I have not been this anxious before. I have changed jobs at least three times in the last two years, and I never felt this anxious. This morning I was very frustrated as I found myself pacing in our home office back and forth feeling so bothered, and I didn't know why. For the first time since I went back to St Thomas's from New Zealand after my career break in 2017, I was feeling so insecure. I actually told J that I was feeling depressed- kind of an exaggeration, but honestly, I didn't know what I was feeling this morning. Until I was reminded of the "angel number"  1111 and what I think it means for me. I started seeing these numbers over two years ago.

This year, I must have seen 1111 more than ten times, mostly when I looked at the time on my mobile phone. At first, I thought it was some sort of a bad sign. I was scared, so I started googling it and apparently, "1111 is thought of as a symbol of your own personhood and identity". The article that I read from Women's Health further states that "seeing ones often signifies new beginnings or a nod from the universe that you're on the right path". I went back to this article this morning and it gave me a reassurance that I am indeed on the right path and I believe in this because:

A few months ago, one of my former managers introduced me casually to someone who would then offer me a job, almost on the spot. After a few days of reflection and deliberation, I accepted the offer. I mean, it was not as if I wasn't happy with my then current job. In fact, that job was better than the one previously. It was less stressful in a sense and I was genuinely happy. The people that I've worked with looked after me very well, and the rest of the staff were generally supportive. But somehow, I knew that this job was not "it". I knew (yet again) that I had a purpose and rightly so, I strongly believed that before I left, I have served that purpose. 

And so I handed in my notice on the 22nd of August, without realising that my last official day with the Trust would be the 11th of November (11/11). This didn't occur to me until about two weeks later. Trust me, I didn't do this on purpose. It was then I started reflecting on the 1111 number more often, and more seriously. This led me to the realisation that perhaps I need a break from acute healthcare. The last four years of my nursing career have been very challenging. But don't get me wrong because no matter how challenging it had been, I remain very grateful because I learned so many valuable lessons- about the industry that I am in, the people that I have worked with, and most especially about myself.  And now I believe that perhaps, I endured those difficult years because the universe was preparing me for what is yet to come. 

But what do I really think 1111 means for me? Well, on my last working day, the numbers appeared again through the weather forecast. Before I left for work that day, I checked the weather and the temperature from 6am was 11 for about two to three hours. And then last night, when I was preparing my phone for work on Monday, the 1111 number appeared on a letter that was sent to me by the phone company. So yes, the number 1111 for me marks a new beginning, a break from the gruelling challenges of acute nursing. In the last four years of my professional life, I've gone from bad to better. And now I am manifesting that I am moving on to the BEST. 

Perhaps I just didn't realise that the universe was trying to send me a message during those times when 1111 was appearing to me more frequently than I was comfortable with. Perhaps it was a reassurance that things will get better. That  indeed, I was and still is on the right path.

But who knows? All I can do now is to face the next chapter with an open heart and open mind like I always have done. I know there will be challenges, but I also know that I got this!


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