10 milestones in 2016

I usually do this every year end to reflect how the year has been. Clearly, this is wayy past December and we are now in February March. Talk about being efficient, eh? To be fair, January was a crazy tough month which I will leave it for another time but I’m going to stick with this just because.

#1 – We got married!

2016 was all about wedding planning and getting hitched. From managing our parents’ expectations to finding a venue that fits to finding good people to work with, man..it was tough work. Planning a wedding was really difficult for us, especially with so many limitations but in the end, it was really about learning about how to work together as a couple. It was also a testing time for our closest friends who helped us out because there were just sooo much to do, but we’re glad that together with Jesus, it all came together in the end. Now, we get to wake up to each other everyday, snoozing our life away.. Hahaha…

#2 – Moved to a new place

Unlike my peers, I have never further my studies overseas or moved to the city to work. My bedroom has always been the same since I was a toddler. The whole packing, cleaning and unpacking was a whole new exciting experience for me. Although it took us a few weeks to fully move our stuffs (much longer than we expected, I thought 2 days was enough), the good thing about having the studio apartment to ourselves is that we can decorate it however we want and we set our own rules. ALL my clothes are folded the Marie Kondo way! Haha..

Because our studio is a a pretty small place, that just means I can’t simply hoard nor buy unnecessary things anymore. I have learnt to keep things minimal, neat and organised, where everything has a place to belong and we try our best not to keep things on surfaces. This minimalistic lifestyle is soooooooooo different from the way I lived before I got married and NOBODY believed what I said until they came and visit. Even my mom. Lol. I can’t blame them because my previous room has barely any visible space on the floor. I wonder how I lived with all the junk before I got married.

#3 – Honeymoon in Sri Lanka and made good friends

Dinesh & Sumudu, our awesome AirBnb host and now friends 🙂

Initially, we both agreed to go to Palawan in the Philippines as our honeymoon getaway. My decision quickly changed when I found out that a night in a villa costs about 8,000 pesos whereas a pretty decent place in Siargao only costs 800 pesos. No way I’m gonna spend that kinda money when I know paradise is so cheap in Siargao!

We continued searching (read: me) for honeymoon spots that are near the beaches because we both love it so much, and Sri Lanka came to our radar when I stumbled upon this beautiful place via AirBnb. So, we booked two places – one in Dehiwala, near the city as a stopover and the other in Galle.

Many raised their eyebrows when we said we were going to Sri Lanka because the usual places are Bali (everyoneeee goes there!), Maldives, Japan or Europe. Honestly, we had no expectations and I told Marc to prepare for a rough ride. Thankfully, we had a blast the entire trip! Our AirBnB hosts were the best!

That made our trip pretty awesome. 

They took us to the local church, invited us for a local concert, drove us to buy my sarees, cooked breakfast and lunch everytimeeee. While our other hosts invited us for dinner with them and even offered us a few portrait shots because he found out that we were newlyweds! So niceeeee!

#4 – I went to Batam for our first international work 

The furthest I have gone for a project is Sabah but this was the first time that we were given the opportunity to do a children’s art camp in Batam. The timeline was pretty short and stressful because I didn’t know what to expect plus I had no clue of what’s the working culture of the Indonesians in Batam were like.

My worries vanished into thin air when I met the rest of the working team at the project site. WE HAD THE BEST TEAM DYNAMICS. Our chemistry was so on-point right from the time we met despite the different languages and culture. Although each day begins at 6 am and ends at 7 pm, we went back to our hotels, blessed. Knowing that our work was so worth it when we see these children so excitedly do their art work.  ❤ ❤ ❤ So so proud of the team!

Update: This project recently won a regional award for its impact and sustainability! YAY! 😀

#5 – I ended the year with surfing

I surfed in the beginning of the year when I was in Siargao and I craved to go back into the sea again ALL. THE. TIME.

The last quarter was particularly hard for Marc and me  because we kept falling sick so this trip really cheered me up. Got to do what I love, hang out with cool friends and got to see the fireworks. Sweeeeeet!

#6 – Learnt the guitar, played for missions

I wanted to play the guitar after my trip to the Philippines in 2014 because I felt that I could do anything. A year after that, there was not much progress because there was nothing to play for. What pushed me to start practicing a little more seriously was the intention to surprise the husband during the wedding.

Marc had been teaching a few chords for the longest time and he gets pretty annoyed with me because I can’t seem to understand what he teaches me. So, I wanted to surprise him with a song on our wedding day to tell him that Hey, I’m serious in learning the guitar!

So, I got Yih Khai to teach me and I think he wanted to faint at my skills in the guitar but he just kept quiet. Lol. The torment I put a musician through.

And played the guitar I did! 🙂
The husband was proud of me, there were no major mistakes and I’m happy!

What caught me by surprise was that we were supposed to go on a missions trip together as a cell group in November but none of the guitarists could make it. So, the next person in line was me. I practiced like mad, surrendered it to God and was so thankful to witness how God could use a person like me for his ministry!

#7 – Still travelled despite the lack of funds

To be honest, I told myself that my trip to Siargao in January was going to be the last for the year because I gotta focus on saving up for the wedding. So going ANYWHERE was a bonus for me. Marc allowed me to tag along in his business trip while we had an international project which gave me a chance to travel. So, YAY! ❤

#8 – Saying YES to different experiences

I hate going out of my comfort zone but once in a while, I go against what my heart tells me to. This year, I was a little more open trying out different sports and experiences such as football, hiking and badminton. I usually freak out moments before but always pleasantly surprised after!

#9 – Good progress in job, still loving what I do.

2016 was a pretty crazy year for me in terms of work. I was doing things I have never done before and I was constantly chasing deadlines! Haha. Why does working in an NGO feels like the same in the corporate world? Despite that, my bosses have good impressions of me and I was delighted to hear those really good feedback!

I mean, come on. Claryn? Lol.

I’m so thankful for the various opportunities that was given to me and my bosses are always backing me up, so that really boosts my confidence into venturing out something new. 2017 is gonna be one heck of a crazy ride but then again, when is it not?

#10 – Embrace minimalism, became neat!! OMG

As mentioned above, the size of our studio apartment changed my perspective in life. Haha. From hoarding to being a minimalist. Marc is one crazy minimalist, he doesn’t own more than 200 items and he proves to me that you can live happily not having a lot. I really respect him in that area of his life and I’m so glad that good habits rub off to me too! Now, I try my best to do little things consistently and ensuring that I use everything I buy! If not, out it goes! 🙂

…and finally, this concludes my reflection for year 2016. Can’t believe I took more than 3 months to finish this post. Man.

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