I have had a love affair with watches for the longest time. I read an article recently about an elderly stylish lady who said that there are only 2 accessories that she dons when she steps out- a pair of earrings that brightens up her face and a good watch to see time. That resonated quite deeply with me. I went 'Oh my I am just like you ' when I read that article. That article was the inspiration for this post on my infatuation with watches. Classy elegant watches.
It all started when my husband and I started dating during our Ernst & Young days back in the late 1990s. Gosh, that sounds like another era altogether, doesn't it?! As a birthday gift, he bought me a plastic strapped Swatch watch. It was sweet of him to get me that watch, even if it was the wrong one he picked out, given that we had been there a week earlier and I was swooning over another. Guys can be so floopy at times. They just don't pay attention! We went back and changed to the one I liked. So unromantic? So fussy? But, I'd rather wear a watch I like. Wouldn't you? This was at City Hall Swatch watch outlet which was next to The Body Shop at that time when we still had Accessorize in Singapore. Sadly, now we don't. I got my Accessorize fix during my visit to Engand recently. I wore that watch for a long time, I still do even when the strap tore and I had to change to a white strap (See picture below). That fact that it still works after 20 years gives a resounding testimony to the quality of Swatch watches doesn't it? It was my husband's first gift to me. I am quite a sentimental romantic person and I have a lot of attachments to stuff, like my first Nokia handphone I have in my cupboard which looks like a walkie talkie with the antenna sticking out. The pregnancy tests I took to confirm my pregnancies [When they saw them recently, my teen girls went 'Ew, Mom you peed on them!" :) ]. Its not unusual or abnormal to be attached to things simply because they bring back memories of the times you had when you first got them or some other memories surrounding that item of value. Just simple nostalgia.
Then, my sister June got me another Swatch watch (what is with me and Swatch watches?) in the early 200Os when my girls were still toddlers. She was wearing this matte gold designed plastic strapped with matte gold designs on the face of the watch itself too. Pretty and understated even though it was matte gold. I complimented it a lot and my sister got my hint and got it for my birthday!(Thank you, di). We would meet weekly at Bayshore Park where she was living because my girls started swimming lessons at that time in the pool there. Come to think of it, that's where I met my artist friend, Sherin. My mom was also living in Bayshore Park at that time and I still remember she walking down that long winding path under swaying huge shady Angsana trees to the pool to come meet us. See, how memories are coming back? Hmmm...I am not sure if I still have that watch though...let me dig around.
Then, while living in Pasir Ris, I fell in love with the rectangle shape of the face of watches and got for myself an inlaid mother of pearl face on a stainless steel metal Guess brand watch. Not very expensive probably only around $200 plus. That watch brings memories of us living in Pasir Ris and hanging out with my girls and my then helper Gloria at McDonald's next to that watch shop. I was still wearing that till last month.
After I returned from America in 2015, I got a pair of watches in Takashimaya shopping centre along Orchard Rd. I needed a gold watch to match my gold accessories or with my Indian sarees. I visit my hairdresser Chezvous at the 5th floor of Takashimaya every few months and inevitably I would end up shopping at the shopping centre on the lower floors below. I have been going to Riz at Chezvous for the longest time since my Ernst & Young days. In between, I frequented NK Hairworks at Parkway Parade but with my hairdresser Winnie aggressively shoving package after package at my face (1 package for haircut, another for hair colour, another for straightening my fringe etc), I grew increasingly reluctant to see her. So, I went back to Chezvous where the hairdressers (Beyonce is my current hairdresser) are polite, patient and no packages have been touted there. Now, I bring along my girls there too. Anyway, these watches by Anne Klein were reasonably priced and sat rather nicely on my thin wrist (See picture below). Not branded watches but they looked alright.
Then, I got a Skagen watch. Skagen watches are super understated but very classy. Not sure how I got that steel mesh strapped watch with white face but again it brings back memories of a birthday lunch I had with my Temasek Primary friends at Thai Express in Parkway Parade. I had requested no birthday gifts please but to contribute whatever amount you can to donate to SPCA - the society against animal creulty. I actually collected over $200 dollars that day. Thank you my dearest friends for your small act of animal kindness. Then during the lunch, a friend S commented that my Skagen watch looked great on me. I thanked her and didn't think twice about her comment but surprisingly whenever I wear that watch now, I still remember that lunch and her comment. I can imagine what's going on in your head - my goodness, Nilo. You are so sentimental to the core!!
My most recent purchase just this year 2017 for our 17th Anniversary, is a simply beautiful Longines watch. I had been eyeing a particular model for quite some time, even before leaving for America in 2014. I remember checking out the Longines watch shop at Changi Airport Terminal 3 just before our departure to America on 25th Feb 2014. But somehow, it didn't get to be worn on my wrist just yet. I forgot about it actually with all that packing and unpacking in Bluebell, Pennsylvania and returning back to Singapore in mid 2015. I had forgotten about it but apparently the universe had remembered and this year my desire materialized. I admit that its my most expensive watch at over $1 K and my only branded watch now. The simple style of Roman numerals on a rectangular silver steel face is worth splurging on. It sits elegantly without screaming for attention. I wore this lovely watch all over London and Paris and just last night at my husband's company dinner. I don't wear my Longines watch often because it is just too precious.
There you have my story of my love affair with watches. I am currently eyeing a black leather strapped round faced Longines watch as well. My love affair continues....
Or maybe the title of this post should have read why do I try so hard to be someone I am not? Just 4 months ago I was so excited and on top of the world. I had been successfully admitted into the docent training program in the National Museum of Singapore. Having tried last year and been disappointingly turned down, this was a cause for celebration for me. Of course I didn't go around celebrating. It was a rare moment of quiet joy. I thought to myeslf - finally things are taking off in my life. There was some direction. I have had enough of being a stay at home mom/home maker and the never ending chores. I got a live in helper (or a maid we call here in Singapore) to help me with my housework, since I was going to be busy in my new life. Or so I thought.
When I started the training on Sep 14th, I couldn't have been more content. All the new friends from so many different countries of varying ages. The training twice weekly in the mornings where we would listen to lectures from historians and go on field trips to so many interesting historical places in Singapore which I would have never visited or turned back to look if it not had been for my docent training. The hours of research and the readings it involved was - how do I put this simply - it was like giving food to a very hungry man. I agree it is a lame metaphor. But I was hungry for knowledge, hungry to be thought of as not only a housewife or a stay at home mom. I was hungry for that validation that I am more than what you see. By whom? Well, a lot of people including my own family but let's not go there.
And when I gave everthing I had into my research, my papers turned out exceedingly well. All the years of knowing inside that I am capable of so much more was channeled into my research. My group leader Linka - a lovely Dutch lady - vouched that I'm one of her best students and I'll do well as a docent! My fellow group members praised my delivery of my practice talks and added that I'm so natural. With all that compliments in my head, my confidence grew. I started planting thoughts of working in museums. Those thoughts grew and became bigger. Why not then do a masters degree in art and history. That should boost my chances of getting a job?
I was so naive. So innocent. Living in my own dream world. I did realise soon enough that all these things are what I want others to think of me. 'Wow, Nilo is doing her masters' Wow, Nilo is working in a museum, after all these years as a housewife!' Its not what I wanted to do on my own for myself. Why was I pretending to be someone I wasn't? I'm not cut out to working in a 9 to 5 job again where the travelling and the office politics will ruin the whole job exeperience. Plus who would employ a 45 year old who has been unemployed for the last 17 years? If I'm not going back into the workforce, why the need for a masters degree? Why would I waste my hubsnd's 27K even if I had wanted to learn for the sake of gaining knowlwdge? Why do I want others to validate me? Why is there this constant internal frustration because of the comparison to friends and family who are successful in their lives?
As the year rolls around to an end and when I look around I see people merry-making over meals and having special gatherings to mark special occasions and all the commercialism that comes with it- the gift giving, the shopping, the mingling, the drinking... I don't know. I maybe wrong I feel its all just a farce. Its just not who all of you are. It is just a mask all of you are wearing and you are all dead inside. We all put up an act and pretend to be that fun lively but still an intelligent person to please others so that others will like us. Aren’t we all guilty of that? And why is drinking a glass of wine at a social gathering so in and when you don’t why do people judge you and make you feel like an alien? When did that happen? Why does being invited to a party or a gathering an indication of how well liked you are? My dad actually laughed when he heard that my sis and her family had been invited to 3 Diwali gatherings while I was not even invited to one. What can I do when my other half hates socialising? So, that’s exactly what I told him. He stopped laughing. You have to socialise and invite people over to be invited yourself. Or you must be a big shot or a wife of a big shot whom people are sucking up to. Believe me, if your big shotedness somehow fades, you will not even hear a word from your so called close friends. Its hard to imagine but its true. And the truth can be so painful to accept.
Why this sudden pissed off at the world feelings? I can’t place it but am I being negative after my sudden out of the blue realization in Oct, that who I thought my friends were, are really not my friends? That I had been living in a world of false hope and lies ? When it dawned on me that no point trying so hard to hold on to friendships when the other party or parties aren't interested. Could those be the reasons? Maybe or maybe not.
Friends are only present in your life at that period in your life where you have a certain connection with like for example when you are doing a particular self improvement course and they are your coursemates. After the course ends and when you don’t have a common thread that connects you, you slowly lose touch and they vanish from your life after that. Out of sight out of mind. Rarely, they become close friends. Just like my new docent friends. They are a bunch of fun but serious when it comes to training ladies. I was very excited when I first met them. I started harbouring dreams and hopes of finding a lifelong close friend/s. Told you I was naive. I do realise now that I won't see them weekly after March next year when my training ends. I have learnt that I shouldn't place too much hope on most casual friendships..they just don't last a lifetime. If you have found that certain friend or a group of girl friends who you do everything with, you are blessed. Please hold on to that friendship. Don’t ever let go.
So recently, like hot stones, I dropped everything - all these silly ambitions that have sprung up in the last 4 months. A wiser mature person I have become and I’m glad for it. I'm not going to pretend to be someone I am not. I do not have to prove anything to anyone. If you think I'm just a boring old housewife, so be it. You don't know me. I am contented with my housework and looking after the needs of my family, no matter how routine it can get (I have sent off my helper when I realised I don't really need her afterall). This house work - it keeps me grounded. No fancy dreams to float around in. With innocent hopes of finding that one true friend out of the window, I have spun my own little cacoon around myself. Who said you can’t be happy in your own company? The words of the song 'Me, Myself and I' by Bebe Rexha comes to my mind,
Oh, its just me, myself and I
Solo ride until I die
Cause, I got me for life
Oh, I don't need a hand to hold
Even when the night is cold
I got that fire in my soul
Yeah, I do!! I was writing this at 11.32pm with antihistamine running through my veins because of my sudden allergic reaction to God knows what! I hope I am making sense.
Let me ask you something. When someone invites you to a lunch at her place, isn't it basic courtesy to reply if you are able or unable to attend? I mean how long is that going to take to respond? A minute ? Tops 2, perhaps?
Recently, I had invited a group of my friends in our whatsapp group chat for Diwali Lunch at my place. We are a group of around 10 Singaporean ladies - 2 are away in Australia. We have known each other for a long time. Since our children had been 7 years old (2009) in the same elementary school in the east of Singapore. We had grown close over the years because we would discuss our children, their many idiosyncratic behaviour, their unbelievably strict teachers and because we were parent volunteers too, we had many chances to meet up. It was a lovely period in our lives. I'm not sure about the rest, but it was for me absolutely. I am not a loner. I thrive in groups of friends. I love the closeness, the laughter and the camaraderie that close friendships bring. We learn so much from each other. We share the happiest and the saddest of moments with our girlpals. Girlfriends add a certain depth and meaning to our lives that we can't get from our husbands. After all, we are all of the same species. Its not shocking.
Then, something inevitable happened. The kids grew up (they all do!) and one by one they left school and went on to different secondary schools. They became teenagers. So, they did not need to be picked up anymore. All these changes affected the group dynamics. All of a sudden, we were not meeting up outside Temasek Primary School Exit Gate B anymore waiting to pick up our kids. When during the last few days my girls were in Temasek Pri before we went abroad, I remember thinking exactly this. Slowly, but surely, we grew apart. Its disheartening. But its an inevitable change, isnt it? Many groups face that. But do you know what I failed to take from the situation? The very fact that we have grown apart.
I realised it today. It was like a ray of enlightenement I received while I was handling yet another disappointing episode in my life this morning. We had been close friends before. The key word being 'had'. But we are not anymore. I was trying desperately to hold on to the past because of the beautiful memories we shared. But the past remains in the past. I can't recreate the past in the present. Its basic common sense. We have matured as some of us are in our fifties now and some in late forties.. Some of us have started working, some have gone back to school and we have different interests, different friends now. In short, we have gone different ways. It's no one's fault. It's just the way things have turned out.
So there I was inviting everyone over for the Diwali lunch and a few replied within the next 2 days. Only 3. And some replied after prompting a few times. Am I over reacting? Am I expecting too much? No I don't think I am. I'm dead sure about this. It is basic courtesy to reply to say that you can or you can't come because you have something else to attend to. Or if you are working. If you are not sure, just say that and when you can confirm by. And of course, please do get back. Like I said earlier, it takes only 2 mins at the most. Brushing your teeth takes longer than that, for goodness sake!
I realised I was trying too hard to recreate that closeness I had when people just don't give a damn anymore. Really, no one does! I left the chat group today after so many years, wishing them well and thanking them for the memories. If any of you are reading my post, remember I write all this in good will and no hard feelings are involved. You are all good ladies and I love you all to the end of the world. You were my good friends once but we have gone separate ways. If only you felt my dedication to our friendship and had replied sooner or replied at all. That's what troubled me. I just wanted to do my part in educating all of you and the public. I'm certainly not perfect and I do have my over the top sometimes even peculiar ways but I always try to be polite.
After all that, what is my point I am putting across? As you navigate through the later years of your lives, please don't forget your basic manners, to rsvp, to be honest even if its brutal. Don't become so busy or so nanchalant that you let it erode your values of civility. And don't take your friends for granted. They may not be significant in your life right now but they were at one point and they would have contributed to your life experiences without which we are nothing. Good manners - they are the cornerstone of every person, young or old. Period.
You elude me
but your eyes don't
I search for your eyes in the crowd
As you search for mine
And our eyes lock
Just for that fleeting moment
Time stands still
No words only love
You deny me
but your heart doesn't
I can see it
even when others don't
Should I be grateful
or greed for more
Hope and despair
Fight back and forth
Is this pure stupidity
Or love and patience
If only our eyes could talk
If only our souls opened up
So much to say
So much to share
An overflow of emotions
that even the greatest dam can't hold
Its painful to wait
when the longing is great
Seconds seem like hours
and the days like years
When will I see you next
when will I embrace you next
This feels so wrong
yet it feels so right
Oh the wait is so long
the wait for your absolute return
will it ever end
this tunnel of darkness with no illumination
You elude me
but your eyes don't
I am a Muslim by birth but I never understood my Muslim background. I went for my religious classes dutifully when I was quite young in elementary school without comprehending nor questioning the real purpose. I had assumed it was a natural journey for me and my siblings. I learnt the Quranic verses by heart for my prayers, learnt the methods of the 5 daily prayers and when I wasn't afflicted by my Crohn's disease yet, I used to fast during the holy Muslim month of Ramadhan.
It was only when I was around 15 and was forced to take Islamic Religious Knowledge as a compulsory subject in secondary school, that I learnt the immense depth and true meaning of Islam and what being a Muslim entails. The story of how the archangel Gabriel came to Prophet Muhammad in 600AD in the mountains while he was quietly meditating and asked him to read and came to reveal the first verses of the Holy Quran caught my breath,
'Read ! Read in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher who
Created man out of a clot of congealed blood
Proclaim and thy Lord is most bountiful
Who taught by the pen
Taught man which he knew not'
I was so fascinated by this verse that I had printed it out and pasted a copy on my mirror so that I would read it everyday. That was the sudden Muslim fanatic teen in me at that time. I still remember my newfound stoic loyalty to Islam and how I would have arguments with my girlfriends in school who would question Islam. But as time passed, I grew less passionate about Islam but I still did my Muslim prayers regularly.
Then, after school and while working in Ernst & Young Singapore, I met my husband Anand, who is a Hindu. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would meet and marry a non-Muslim and all the more, someone who will not convert to a Muslim (he is a devout Hindu)! My 15 year old me would have been shocked that our marriage may not be recognised in Allah's eyes and our children could be illegitimate!! But I was in love and totally blinded. Maktub - in Islam we say what God had planned out for us. We got married in a civil court - neither of us holding any religious wedding. My mom was devastated because she had assumed that I being the most faithful staunch Muslim among my siblings, that she would be going to Mecca with me for the compulsory Haj pilgrimage. But she grew accustomed to the idea with the assurance of my sister who said that of all the guys I had dated [I have had my fair share :)], this Hindu guy was the best.
So, I began visiting temples at the insistance of my husband and my girls were brought up under Hindu customs. My husband doesn't mind me doing my Muslim prayers, he actually encourages me to pray more. That's very sweet of him. When I went through a painful period a few years ago and when even with all my deepest faith in Islam, my problem couldn't be resolved, I turned to Hindu Gods particularly to Vinayagar, the Elephant God. I remember weeping in the Vinayagar Temple in Ceylon Road in Singapore one evening so oblivious to the crowd around me. My husband was there and I remember him saying when he saw me crying ' Good. Let your tears flow. Reach out to him and lay your deepest thoughts and problems with him.' He knew what I was crying over. Over time, I returned to my Islamic faith. It occurred to me that I was born as a Muslim and I should never forsake my Muslim prayers. I hadn't visited Vinayagar for a while.
Today after many moons, my husband asked me to accompany him to the Vinayagar Temple. I didn't want to disppoint him so I went along. It was crowded because we were in the midst of a Hindu Festival that goes on for 9 nights. There was a performance on one side, ladies dressed in beautiful vibrant sarees sitting on the floor watching, others going about doing their Hindu rituals, priests putting garlands on the Hindu deities, kids running around with their maids chasing them. Crowded but all so familiarly blissful. I paused and took in the moment.
Vinayagar was as usual beautifully decked in jewelry and gold shawls. My first prayer when I saw Him? 'It has been 4 years since I first prayed to you asking just for that one thing. Was it never meant to be?' It was a beautiful nostalgic moment. I remembered my tears and started welling up but I held them back in time. I have mostly embraced my issue and kind of accepted it, but I do have my moments of weakness like then. But I realised that this time, I was much more calmer and I looked at Vinayagar with new eyes, smiling. Let God do what he has plan to do for all of us. He will never give us anything we can't handle. I returned home with a smile on my face and with a certain calmness within me that just can't be explained.
I witnessed something so sweet just the other day. I was running errands at a neighbourhood and while walking quite hastily, I saw two little girls. They were at most 4 years old. Their prechool teacher was nearby keeping an eye on them. They were wearing their school uniform, carrying cute little pink backpacks and holding hands. One of them was talking animatedly to the other while the other was listening and smiling. What's so special about that? This is a regular common happening in a preschool setting, isn't it?
I had not seen a close friend for a while. She is a good person but we are both in a very difficult situation where we can't really say what we truly feel. I thought I might see her yesterday evening. It wasn't planned. And I did. I was happy. As I mentioned earlier - I hadn't seen her for a while.
To my surprise, she revved her car back and forth looking away when I was waving frantically to get her attention. Did she not see me in the dark? Or should I overthink this and ponder that she is perhaps avoiding me? She did later carry a conversation with me when our daughters were there. Did she not want to be alone with me, for fear of stirred up feelings? Did I do something to garner such a reaction from her? I returned home with a heavy heart all confused. Just when I thought things were going well between us...
It has been 4 years since our fallout. Interesting that she can still be so affected when I'm alright and kind of accepted the nature of our friendship. I have managed to go on with my life on my own. I wish I could help her but I can't if she doesn't allow me to. My hands are tied if she doesn't open up to me. She thinks I can't see her awkwardness and her sudden change in behaviour when she sees me unexpectedly. She thinks I don't notice, but I do. She thinks that I don't know that I am discussed often. And with whom I am discussed with. But I do. It is alright with me, if it helps her deal with her emotional rollercoaster. Actually, I'm glad she has someone who got her back.
How do I know? Intuition - its God's way of reaching out to us, to give us a heads up. I hope and pray that the day will come soon when she realises that she is stronger than she thinks she is. I can't stress enough how much she needs His guidance to fight this insecurity regarding our friendship.
May God bless you with strength and I wait for the day when you will open up your heart to me.
Update early Oct : I bounced back in 2 days but couldn't stand the suspense and the nagging thought in my head. So, I asked her. She was honest and told me that yes, she did see me then but perhaps she was busy answering messages or dressed in her drabby home clothes which prevented her from stepping out. She added that she is quite comfortable with our friendship :) and that she wasn't doing anything intentionally to avoid me. She even apologised for troubling me. I found that very sweet of her. I am glad she was honest about the whole thing. Again, I am guilty of overthinking. Gosh! When will I change ?
Oh, what a busy day! I had signed up to become a docent of NMS - National Museum of Singapore. And today it was our first field trip. We had a whole morning planned out to walk through Fort Canning Hill. I am a Singaporean and I thought I knew everything of Singapore but there is so much more to learn of Singapore history that I wasn't aware of!
We met at 9.45 at NMS as planned at the designated spot. It was drizzling and was a cool 26 deg C. Beautiful weather to start off a walk. Our Volunteer Guides Hillary (Canadian) and Stephanie (French) were wonderfully adept at explaining all the different spots on the hill. Fort Canning Hill is one of the few remaining high spots on this island and there are only a few places in Singapore where the layers of history go deep as this hill.
We were first introduced to a moss covered brick wall which looked rather innocent enough till you take a closer look. The headstones of many tombs have embedded into the brick wall! Apparently, Fort canning was once the first burial grounds for the Christians in Singapore. Between 1822 and 1865, more than 600 burials have taken place at Fort Canning and out of them, around 200 were Chinese christians.
Fort Canning went through a few name changes before it got its current name.
It was first called Bukit Larangan or Forbidden Hill as the locals believed that the hill was haunted by the spirits of the Malay Kings who passed away there. Then, when Sir Stamford Raffles landed in Singapore in 1819 and built his house on top of the hill, he called it Government Hill. It was only in 1861, it was renamed Fort Canning when a fort was built on this site and named after Lord Canning, the Governer and First Viceroy of India. 'Why named after this Canning man?' I asked. Apparently because Singapore was still controlled by East India Company based in Calcutta, India at that time.
We also came across the site of the first Botanical Gardens now relocated to Napier Road. It is a small spice garden now with spices like nutmeg, laksa leaves, pandan leaves present.
Heritage Tree - Kopok Tree which can grow as tall as 40 metres!
Our field trip culminated at a lunch at The Fabulous Bakerboy restaurant, next to Fort Canning Hill. All in all, a lovely field trip that was quite informative. And of course a bonding session with fellow docent trainees. Sweet friendly women from so many different countries. English is not a first language for many of them but they have bravely come forward to learn and train to guide in English. Kudos to you ladies!!
For a long time, I have shied away from sharing my thoughts and feelings online as it became too personal. But I recently realised how much I have missed writing, just writing. It helps to write things down. It helps to lighten the load in my heart and feels like I am talking to someone. I guess that's why psychologists make a lot of money. People need someone to just listen to their woes without making any judgements. To offer an insight into their thought process and to dish out advice. So this is me talking to a shrink in you.
I am now at a major crossroad in my life. I am 45 and kind of lost in the vast wilderness of life. My girls are now 13 and 15 and even though they are not totally independent, I feel their reliance on me is reducing. I feel a tinge of sadness because my babies are growing up and they don't need me as much but I do realise its about tim. I am finally regaining my temporarily lost life. I have time for exercise to regain my lost figure. I have time again to pursue my interests like jewelry making, food blogging and my passion for reading which led me to start a book club last year. And I started on my docent training for the National Museum of Singapore just last week.
What I didn't forsee is that my husband also saw the absence of my major responsibilities and my newfound freed up time which led to him asking 'What are you doing with your time, now that the girls don't need you as much?' or 'Why aren't you working and contributing to the household income? You are a graduate after all. You shouldn't become obsolete' I didn't want to go back to work. I mean why would I want to sit in an office 9am-9pm? When I would rather be busy doing something I like? But I had to try. I know I'll become bored if I don't. How will my mornings go?
So, with a frenzy I spruced up my resume and dusted the cobwebs off my school certificates and sent out numerous job applications. In the last 6 months, I didn't get any response and worse - I got an immediate rejection. All these were not surprising. I am 45, not having worked for the last 17 years, totally out of touch with the working world, haven't done anything to update my skills. Why would anyone hire me? Heck, if I were a HR manager , even I wouldn't hire me!
So I am now contemplating on what my next move should be. You must be thinking - you are already doing so much, your blog, your docent training, jewelry biz (quite dormant nowadays) and your also your painting classes with Sherin ( a close friend). Why do you want to get behind a desk and join the exodus of office workers who work day in and day out? I feel I should do something with my time. Whoever is reading this - please don't mistake my family's financial situation. It's not like we are in dire straits. I am grateful to God for that. But who wouldn't want more money? Who wouldn't want to see a heavier bank balance? For those who have it all and more (I know a few), they won't know what I'm talking about. They have no idea how fortunate they are and how thankful they should be to God. But for those who just have it and those who don't, my ranting here will touch base.
What do I do now?
Take up a postgrad diploma in HR and Organisational Psychology. I majored in HR while doing my bachelor's degree in Business Admin from NUS in 1995. This Postgrad Diploma will help me to get an idea of what's going on in the HR field now and probably help secure a HR job. Or pursue a Masters after that. Beautiful plan, isn't it? See below.
Pitfalls - I may not get a job. Getting a cert doesn't guarantee you a job. And the other more important question, how will I finance these courses? I don't want to ask my husband. Its his hard earned money. I have no claim over it. Yes, I do look after our kids and the household, but I just can't attach a price to it. A friend of mine gets an allowance from her husband based on how much she would have earned if she had not given up on her career to look after their kids! I wonder if promotions and payrise are also factored in :) What other financial sources do I have? The bank says I have to work full time in order to get a personal loan. These guys don't understand my dilemma. I need the loan to get a full time job!! Then, my sister asked me - Is this really what you want to do? HR? Good question June. Honestly, I am not very sure. That got me thinking and I halted this option for the time being. I don't want to borrow and spend $6K on a postgrad diploma and then do nothing after that. And should I study HR, Counselling or Psychology?
Become a kindergarten teacher. For this option, I ticked most of my conditions for my ideal job. It won't be as stressful as a regular office job. I love working with preschoolers - they are the littlest most adorable angels around! :) The pay won't be great but its an honest reputable profession and the hours won't be very long which still leaves me time to pursue my interests. So, I printed my application form two days ago all ready mentally and my husband turns around and says - 'You are a people person. You should be in a job that requires you to have meaningful interaction with adults. Somehow, I can't see you as a kindergarten teacher'!! Thanks hubby- now I am confused again. Back to Square 1.
This is the one closest to my heart. Start my own cafe cum culinary school. Nothing big. Something small. Something cosy. A friend of mine Nisha who went on a temporary vegan diet recently cited difficulties finding vegan food in Singapore. So my idea is to open a vegan cafe. Many doubts and fears pop up in my head when I ponder over this option:
Where will I get the capital?
What about a business plan? How do i do that?
Will it do well?
Am I ready to sacrifice so much to start a cafe? Can I face the long hours and the hardwork of running a cafe?
Am I willing to work temporarily for a while in a cafe to study the ins and outs of running a cafe?
So many questions. No answers yet. I want to do something worthy. Something validated by myself and something that will keep me busy. Something other than being a home maker. Something that will enable my girls to view me as a role model. What do I do, shrink ?
Care enough to help answer?
On a whim I started a book club last Aug and we started off with only 3 members - Sherin, Angie and I. Now we are 7 members strong and in the words of my 13 year old - 'I'm surprised its still going on'. Like most book club meetings, we begin with the discussion of the books but mostly our conversation will veer towards non book at hand topics. Like the discussions about the recent rapists in India article. or sometimes personal problems that require a listening ear will surface and ladies being ladies we'll come up with a bucketfull of well intended advice. We have grown close all of us - Sherin, Angie, Vijaya, Aparna, Anu and Kanica (newest member) and I.
Congratulations ladies ! We have crossed the first year milestone! Here's to many more book club anniversaries!!
My home is
usually in a mess and has dust settled on almost everything. But I believe laughter and love will win the day. In 20 years, my girls won't remember how messy the house was but will remember the time we spent together and the love they felt...