Saturday, 6 April 2019

Journey Thus Far

"5 more hours of IPG classes left..."
"T-minus 2 days till this camp ends"
"5 more days to home!!!"


Throughout my fellowship, I find myself counting down a lot. Counting down to the end of my IPG weekend classes. Counting down the number of days till camp is over and I can be at my comfy bed. Counting down to a trip. Counting down to go home (Selangor). Counting down to end of school. Counting down to get out from a particular class. Counting down the hours left to go home from school.
Our last literature class in IPG

And this year in particular, I find myself counting down more than ever. I seek comfort in counting down. I needed things to look forward to, to help me carry through the day.

To be honest, I find my second year of fellowship extremely tough. I find myself missing home often. Often, I find myself unable to control my emotions. I feel tired all the time. I find myself falling into a cycle of despair and feeling demotivated.
My Thursday-After-School geng

I thought time and rest would help, and it did help, a little, but I can't help it but to feel really down still. And it was the counting down that helped me push through my day. Push through the week.

My Thursday dinner group with my fellow friends, Sophie, Fatimah and Emily, helped me stay sane. I started eating out more often for dinner after school because I had something to look forward to and stay busy (ahem busy researching new places to eat ahem). I planned my holidays and going-home-trip in advance.
In February, my collab, Sophie and I, spontaneously went on a 2d1n trip to Bangkok because...well we needed a break.

One of the 10000000 photos of after school Fried Chicken & me my collab took.

Last week in particular, time passed painfully slow. Perhaps because we just came back from a long (and abrupt) break (one week of school holiday + our school got closed down unexpectedly because of the pollution of Sungai Kim Kim), and whatever momentum that was built up had to be rebuilt.

What helped me pull through the week was our South TFM Regional Event 1 (RE1) retreat - it was something that I was looking forward to.
The staffs, alumni, and fellows in South!
And sure enough, our RE1 retreat lived up to my expectation - it was fun, rejuvenating and meaningful.

On the first night after dinner, we had an appreciation session.  For this session, we were tasked to tie ribbons of different colours on someone elses wrist. There were different colours of ribbons, and each colour conveys a certain feelings (ie Red - "I am inspired by you", Blue - "It is fun being around you") you wish to share with the person you are tying it on.

One colour conveys "I wish to keep in touch with you after the fellowship".

This hit me hard, as I realized our two years fellowship journey is coming to an end very soon. Us fellows have the choice to either stay on as a teaching alumni, or leave and move on. And very likely, next year, we won't be able to see each other easily because of many different factors and reasons.

And it just occur to me, that this might be our very last retreat together, before the end of the fellowship (we will have Alumni Induction at the end of our fellowship). We don't have anymore weekend classes in IPG, which means we won't gather as the whole cohort as often as before because of other commitments & various reasons. The next TFM even that will force us to be together is our workshop in June, and a conference in July.
Us, last year during our first week of IPG classes

IPG weekends classes were dreadful and tiring, because we don't get as much rest as we are supposed to. But I can't help but to miss it, a little. Just because all of us 2018 South cohort get to be in the same room, and go through the hurdle together, look forward to lunch together.

I somehow miss those moments. I kind of wish, if we could see each other more often and have lunch together again.

This year, I kept wishing if I have a fast forward button for time. Sometimes, I forget to be "in the moment". I let time slip and pass. I distracted myself by binge watching movies (which is very unlike me, as I don't watch movies). Heck, I even gotten myself a Netflix one month trial account (which is honestly not something I'd do). I choose not to treasure and remember certain moments and feelings. I subconsciously blocked some of my feelings and selectively choosing what to remember and treasure. I've stopped writing much about school because I wanted to block it from my mind off. 

I let time slip and pass. Looking back on this year, I spent January trying to find my footing and get used to being in the noon session (moping and weeping and complaining a lot along the way), February trying to get as much rest and distract myself through my Bangkok trip, and March I distracted myself by getting a Netflix account, going on trips to Kuching, and also hiking trips around Johor. 

Honestly, I feel like I have not achieved or done much this year. Nor built meaningful relationship (other than with my Thursday dinner crew), because I was too busy distracting myself, and counting down to my random trips and towards to end of something dreadful. I have been staying inside my little comfort zone cocoon. 


No, I am not going to be wasting more time beating myself over this.


What I can do now, is to (try to) stop letting time just slip and past. (Try to) start working on something, and work on building meaningful relationship with whatever time I've had left. (Try to) be in the moment, even at shiat-ty moments. Remind myself that my time in school *might* be limited. Slowly get out from this comfort zone cocoon. Slowly. (and reminding myself that we have approximately 7/8 months of school left, and I haven't deducted weekends and holidays from there).

Us Southern Tigers 2018 on our last day of BIG Camp, which honestly, I had a lot of fun in.
I won't say that after this, I will embrace every single moment I dread just because "it might be the last time". Heck, I still feel dreadful thinking about tomorrow (schooling day tomorrow!) I don't think my life will miraculously turn around after this revelation. And no, I don't think my countdown is going to stop. But I will certainly (try to) treasure each moment more. (Try to)  not let time slip and pass, indulge in every moment, even when my kids go berserk in the classroom. Breathe in the air, and remember how the moment feels.

And the utmost priority, reach out and connect to my fellow fellows. There's no IPG weekend classes to (force) tie us together now.

I cancelled my free trial Netflix account. That's a good start kan.

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