Friday, February 27, 2015


"My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations."
John Green

I have been thinking a lot lately, wondering if this is normal when you are a quarter century old. It has been hard-but-not-that-hard-after-now-i-think-about-it in these past 6 months. So, we've got our own unit and I got my job back at Karrinyup as I shared before here

At the beginning, I only worked 8 to 11 hours a week, casual staff. It's pretty good, though, since I was still adapting with this new life. Sometimes I worked on Sunday, but mostly not, so I still enjoyed that beautiful fellowship with my lovely church members. Working that way, I had to save up my money so tried to borrow books from my senior and library. I still enjoyed my assignment, (two of them are posters!) although still with my last minute habit.

Time passed and I just couldn't wait for my 2 weeks mid-term holiday, because I just missed those moments at home, laying down on my bed watching Korean dramas, eating chips, and cuddling with my dog, although I knew it would not happen here. But then holiday started and I got this dog-sitting job far away in Southern suburb. I got more shifts at the shopping centre because it was holiday and some staffs were on leave, so good for me I could work more and earn more. I was also happy to cuddle with that cute maltese-shih tzu dog and I loved him so much, but I was so exhausted from commuting between north and south. I planned to work on my assignment a bit during the holiday, but I was too tired, I ended up touching no book and making no progress at all.

Finally school started again, everyone came back refreshed from the holiday, but I just felt more exhausted than before. Then I got a good news, hmm, sad news actually. One staff, Karen, resigned and she was like one of my fave-forever. She was an awesome worker and lovely lady, and she got the best shift ever! She worked Monday and Tuesday, also Friday to Sunday. My manager said she would give Karen's shift to me, but since I could only work up to 20 hours, I could only do Friday to Sunday. She asked another girl, Neha, to do Monday and Tuesday. Voila! I was so happy, I got 20 hours on the weekend (the pay was unbelievably good!), and I got Monday off to study (because my class was Tuesday to Thursday).

But remember I hadn't touched any assignment during the holiday? Yeah, so I still had 11 major assignment waiting for me. It wouldn't be a big problem, though, if only I didn't feel too exhausted after work. For example on Saturday I finished at 4 pm and Sunday at 5 pm. Supposed, I still had good time at night to do something, right? I felt so guilty and lazy but I couldn't help, I immediately felt asleep after dinner. So last semester was such a struggle for me. Working 20 hours maybe was not that hard if I didn't have to study so much. 20 hours maybe wouldn't be too hard if it was not a cleaning job, but it is. If my assignment was like those weekly homework in my undergraduate study, I would be alright, but it is not. It was like doing our small thesis every week with different topic. Don't wanna sound too negative and dramatic here, but honestly, I was drowned.

Plus, since I had to work every Sunday (won't complain, because I need this and should be grateful), I couldn't go to church and meet the lovely congregation. This was such a dilemma, eh? I needed the money but I was also sad for not being able to attend church, but there was no way out. Maybe you would ask, "If you hate this job so much and keep complaining about how tiring it is, why don't you just quit and find another job?" I can't. This is the highest paying job that I can do. This is the only way I can survive, and I also need Sunday shift to survive. But deep inside, my heart was longing to that peaceful and joyful Sunday when I could see those happy and graceful faces of people I love at church.

Then I got sick. I am still taking medication now, in the process to be recovered. Everything became much more harder when I was sick. I got a headache when I read books (haha believe me it's not an excuse!), and the fact that English is my second language makes reading twice harder. I was also struggling with this thought that I was so ungrateful because I couldn't really enjoy my job, and that I couldn't attend church as well. Thank God I was surrounded by people who were graciously loving. They understood about those rubbish (combination of unnecessary guilt and anxiety) spinning in my head, and they said, "But it's normal to feel that way about your job, because you've got a qualification. Of course doing that routine makes you numb." Then I was told, "I know sometimes we don't have a choice and I myself was once in a situation when I couldn't attend church for three years, but it's only temporary, so don't worry."

I blamed myself for being miserable, like, "Hello, war is happening out there, people can't get enough food, some are fighting with terminal illness, some are jobless, some can't go to school, my friend is dealing with her visa issue, and I am here, studying, working, and keep saying I am tired?" But blaming myself didn't bring any good. I just forced myself to be grateful. A forced-gratefulness. But these people told me, that I shouldn't be guilty for that, because this was my feeling. I felt it, it was real, and it affected me.  Just because someone are suffering more out there doesn't mean that I am not allowed to feel down, Yes, we have different response toward problems, but it doesn't determine someone being weak or strong. We live in a broken world and broken body. Somehow, those simple sentences freed me, and I could start to genuinely be grateful.

Those two months were extremely hard for me, because I wanted to crawl back to my comfort zone. I kept wondering why I decided to choose this difficult path. I poured my tangled thought in this Hobbit post haha. However, everything turned out good, thanks to a lot of people who helped me with my struggle. I remembered going to my lecturer's room, and I told him maybe I wouldn't be able to submit my assignment on time. He said, "You are here not to get a good mark, so even if are not doing really well, it's okay. Don't worry too much". So it was hard, but finally, finally, I didn't know how I submit everything, everything was over and the long holiday came. Hooray!

Then my manager told me that I couldn't have Karen's shift permanently because the main office didn't allow it. That whole shift belonged to one name and if I could only take the weekend, they had to split it to two, and it would upset the whole system, they said. So that shift was given to Neha, and I took Neha's shift, only 11 hours a week, 5 hours Saturday and 6 hours Sunday. My income dropped significantly, but I would just trust Him, then. Maybe He will give me another job related to my study for the rest 9 hours! Anyway, during Christmas, no staff allowed to take annual leave, so there was not many shifts available for me. However, the shopping centre's trading hours was longer, and sometimes there were some events, so they needed extra staffs. It was good during the long holiday (2,5 months!), I worked almost everyday, but after Christmas everything returned to normal, so I couldn't work that much. Had a lot of time to do my craft and wall art project, though, which was good!

Doing another dog sitting over Christmas and the lady was very generous. She only needed to pay me 480 bucks for 16 days but she gave me 650 instead! The amazing thing was, when I did the dog sitting in October, the money I earned was exactly what's needed for my mom's ticket to Bali (since my godmother also went to Bali at that time, so my mom could go with her). In January, I had to accompany my mom but I got the sale tickets which was really cheap for the two of us, and plus the hotel, taxi, etc, it's exactly what I earned from dog sitting in December. My mom kept worrying about this extra expense to send her to Bali, but God provided! Exactly the way we needed it!

I am still in my health recovery, excited for this new semester, trying to manage my time better, and enjoying this phase of life. I got my transcript and it's satisfying, which left me in wonder. I am writing down this roller-coaster struggle and thought, just to share and let you know, in case you are just like me, drowned in your own thought and doubt. It is humane to be so. If you are struggling, or dealing with guilt, you are not alone, seek help. Surround yourselves in good community, and just keep going in the grace of Christ. God is good, and He is faithful.

And this story is continuing, but I just want to thank Him in the middle, which sometimes I forget.

P.S. And God gives me His angel, in the form of mommy, to support me in this difficult times, with all the funny things and crazy laughter, plus good and healthy food she cooked for me. I love you.

Perth, February 27, 2015
from the middle of the story,