15 Facts about Me…

Ever since I was young, I used to love personality quizzes. Remember those quizzes that people would send in chain letters via email or the ones you could post on Friendster? Those were the days!

Anyway, today’s topic in the blog challenge I’m doing is right up my alley – I have to tell you 15 facts about yours truly! I hope you find this list remotely interesting!

  1. I got married at 21, and had my first child Jacob at 23. Yes, it was all planned that way and I don’t regret it for the world! I certainly felt unprepared in a number of situations, but don’t we all?
  2. I am 1/8 Scottish, 1/8 Welsh, 1/8 Thai, 1/8 Malay and 1/2 Chinese. And I grew up in Malaysia. Long story, but that will be for another day!
  3. I used to idolize Avril Lavigne (and she was probably my style guru for a few years – argh!). I still love many elements of her music and we share a birthday – 27th Sept!
  4. I started learning how to play the piano at age 3. But unfortunately I’m no prodigy and can’t say I have Mozart-like talents. However, I am pretty good at playing things by ear so if someone gives me a song and wants it played, I can usually do it (unless it’s like Rachmaninoff).
  5. I used to do cheerleading. Okay, it was only a year of my life and I wasn’t one of the awesome pretty girls being airlifted. Rather, I was a “base” who had to be the tough one to toss the girls in the air. I also sustained a back injury from trying to catch a falling girl, which sometimes rears its head when I try to push my back too far.1kh8[1]
  6.  I am a Seventh-day Adventist Christian – I didn’t grow up in the faith but started going to church after I finished high school, and got baptised in 2008. Now I go to a beautiful little “country” church in Birdwood and am particularly passionate about children’s ministry.
  7. I have a Bachelor of Business in Hotel Management and started out working in hotels. Since, I’ve moved from that to Real Estate to Education Sales and am in Education Marketing now. I would love to study more though, maybe when I have more time on my hands.
  8. I worked for 6 months in Port Douglas, a little town up in Far North Queensland. It was an amazing time of my life and I went on an eye-opening road trip with friends. I definitely want to go back there sometime.
  9. I grew up with a body image complex and have had anorexia and bulimia at certain points of my life. But now I am pretty much freed from the clutches of self-doubt and am now able to appreciate and love my body.
  10. I used to do Ninjutsu – I learned it intensely for 5 years, and I was getting pretty good! I don’t have the best coordination and motor skills, so mastering some of those skills was very rewarding to me. Also, I have a “nin” tattoo on my back.
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  11. I love action movies and series but ones with more of a storyline and have an element of comedy/romance in them. Superheroes and medieval elements are plus points. Some of the ones I’ve really enjoyed are Supergirl, Arrow, Flash, DC Legends, Daredevil, Sense 8, Heroes, Vikings, Once Upon a Time, and of course, Game of Thrones! I watch a lot of TV haha!
  12. I can speak English and Malay fluently, and a bit of Mandarin and Japanese as well. However, I’d love for my kids to learn European languages, German being a preference.
  13. I really want to write a novel, and also get my poetry published. I would also really love to write children’s books, though I need to find someone to illustrate them for me.
  14. Mulan is my favourite Disney movie – I have watched it over 50 times! I feel that I relate to Mulan in many ways. Also, while I don’t consider myself a feminist, it has irked me that Asian women are often sexualised in pop culture and are usually have something to do with sex and drugs.
  15. My husband is my rock. He is the best thing that has ever happened to me! And he spoils me to bits, picks up after me and indulges me in my silly Asian cravings such as roast duck, nasi lemak and bubble tea. And we make beautiful kids together hehe!

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I have a bit of a busy weekend to look forward to (and a bit of prep too) so I’ll just post what I was meant to post on the 7th as well – a photograph of the town I live in.

We live in suburban Adelaide – the city used to be thought of as a big country town but a lot of development has happened of late that has become a lot more modern and metropolitan. But anyway, I’m not posting a picture of that – here’s a picture of me and my dog in the reserve near our house! This was before we had kids and we could just go off on a whim and do whatever we liked with ourselves!

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Why am I so busy?

So, if you have not noticed already, I constantly complain that I am busy! Yet I also inflict myself with more and more commitments (because that’s just what makes me tick). 

Anyway, I just wanted to share a few things that I do with my time. 

Cleaning. Nope, I don’t have a spa tub at home (but I wish I did!). This is a picture of me when I was working in housekeeping before, hence I should have NO excuse for not knowing how to do housework. 

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Walking Skittles. I’m so happy that I actually have time to walk Skittles almost every day. I think that walking her has been really good for me because it’s helped me control my weight and the fresh air does wonders for the soul! Here is a pic of Skittles when she was really little, on one of her very first walks.

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Baby Bounce. I went to the library’s baby bounce programs and noticed that so many people were attending and having a good time with their babies. It’s an awesome singalong program and a good way for mums to meet other mums too. We have a local ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) Community Centre in the area and I thought it’d be a great program to start up there! So far, we’ve only had a few mums and bubs but I hope the group will grow significantly (and Jacob and I can both make new friends!).

Food Distribution. The ADRA Community Centre also runs a food distribution program where people who are in need can pick up groceries. The food comes from Second Bite, an organisation who collects and redistributes food to agencies like ADRA to reach the community. What’s great is that Jacob can come along with me when I help out here, and he definitely gets involved with the food. Silly boy must think it’s a ball pit- I usually get him out quite quickly but this was a photo moment I didn’t want to miss.

ImageThere are quite a few different programs available at the ADRA Community Centre so for those of you in the local area, check out their Facebook page for more info! 

Writing. I think I might have mentioned this before, but I write for JOM Magazine which is a Melbourne-based, Malaysian-interest magazine. The hard copy version of the magazine is only available in Melbourne but there is a digital copy that you can read on their website. See if you can spot any of my articles! 🙂 I would love to write more, not just with magazines but on a personal level as well.

And here is a picture of myself, Jacob and a small goat:

ImageAlright, I’m just being random now (probably due to disjointed sleep, busy day and silly but cute baby) so I might just rattle off a few random facts about my week. 

– I am LOVING the fact that this is one of the warmer winters Adelaide is experiencing. This week has been a bit rainy but we got some nice sunshine today. I thrive on warm weather (and could happily go back to living in Far North Queensland).

– Doing community work is really uplifting. While earning money is great too (and we need money to live), helping people fulfil their needs is intrinsically rewarding. I’ve just felt really happy to see the way some of the community activities I’ve been involved in has impacted on people’s lives.

– I am SO blessed with opportunities to earn a living. At times, I get so worried that I’m not earning money and feel bad about buying things etc. But God always provides me with what I need and every time I falter, He reminds me that He is taking care of me.

– I got Jacob’s passport photo taken and I have to admit, my baby is gorgeous. Haha!! He had just woken up from a nap so he was relatively docile but still in a good mood from his good rest. I won’t post his picture up here but I can promise you, it’s pretty cute (and better than my passport photo where I look like some refugee).

– A lecturer of mine posted a video of one of our food and beverage classes 5 years ago, and I can’t believe it’s been 5 years!!! That was my first year in Australia and since then, I’ve lived in 3 different states, graduated, worked at 6 different places (not including one-offs and subcontracted work), gotten married and had a baby. Wow. I have been busy!

Alright, I’ve come to the end of my tether so good night all! 🙂

24.

September is my favourite month, because it’s my anniversary month (by choice) and my birthday month (by default)! I can’t believe I’m 24 now – part of me still feels like a teenager. I have to admit that I do feel older than 24 sometimes – not many of my friends my age are married with kids. I am indeed blessed though – this is exactly how I would have liked my life to turn out.

That isn’t to say that I haven’t done things in my life that I do regret – rather, I prefer not to dwell on a past that I cannot change, but rather on a future that I can.

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In conjunction with my 24th birthday, I’m going to list out 24 things that have happened in my life (which I don’t regret!):

1. Being born a girl! 🙂 At times, I wondered what it would be like to be a boy, but there are a lot of good things about being female. Like getting a guy to change your tyres by just batting your eyelashes. But I also love being a not-so-girly girl.

2. Growing up in Malaysia. Yes, I don’t have that British accent I always wanted (and I don’t think I ever will – I’m terrible at accents), but it was a good experience. While there isn’t much to say about things like safety, the education system, the drivers and the corruption, children get by pretty well and do enjoy themselves.

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3. Learning to play the piano. This I give credit to my mother, who started me at the age of 3. I must admit that my piano is my hiding place – it is where I pour out the deepest emotion, and it’s one of the few things that can turn a bad day good again.

4. Dancing lots. One of the biggest things in my growing up was doing dance performances. I learned ballet as a child, but that wasn’t really my thing. I remember dancing to songs like ‘Bring it all back’ by SClub7, ‘Larger than Life’ by Backstreet Boys and ‘No Strings Attached’ by NSync. I even did cheerleading in high school.

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5. Writing poems and songs. This formed a huge part of my later childhood and teenage years. It was a means of self-expression but also was something I took pride in. I sometimes look back on the collection that I still have to see where I was at that stage of life.

6. Going to both government and private schools. There are several stark differences between the two types of schools, but I had fun in both places. I remember running wild in my government high school – dealing with things like truancy, gangsters but building some of the best friendships ever. Private high school had its perks too, and probably helped me become a bit more serious about my academic achievement.

7. Winning a writing competition and going to Dublin. I met up with winners from Thailand, the Czech Republic and the US – we had a ball of a time! Goodness, I look so nerdy though:

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8. Learning to drive in Malaysia. Believe me, it’s a challenge (and I think I’d be scared to drive there now, cos I’m so used to driving in Australia now). But we also can drive FASTTTT and not get caught. 😀

9. Starting my first job at 16. I was an ‘Aunty’ at Tumble Tots, which is a child play program – a funny choice for a person who had never dealt with kids before. It was good fun and I earned RM5 an hour. I think it wasn’t so much the money I earned but the ethos of the whole situation that taught me that money doesn’t grow on trees.

10. Learning Ninjutsu. And yes, I kid you not – it’s not some fictional art to turn me into Naruto. I learned so much in my journey – not just the actual techniques, but also how it made me grow as a person. It taught me how to carry myself and how to handle people in different circumstances, and is part of me. It made such a huge impact that I have a tattoo of 忍 on my back – it’s the ‘nin’ in ninja and it means strength & perseverance.

11. Going for National Service in Malaysia. What an eye-opening experience! We experienced insect and frog infested dormitories, using a squat toilet for 3 months, food that made us sick and activities that tested us physically but also emotionally (and perhaps racially). I did love my time and have made some amazing friendships there too.

Stop – coffee break time! Don’t overwork yourself or you’ll end up as tired as this:

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12. Finding Jesus. I didn’t grow up going to church, but I was also searching for something more in terms of spirituality. And I’m so blessed to have found it, and also found not one but two loving churches (USJ SDA Church in Malaysia and Birdwood SDA Church in Australia) to accept me and help me grow.

13. Studying hospitality, particularly focusing on Food and Beverage. It is a vibrant, fast paced industry that is honestly not for everyone but I love it. I love how busy it can get; I love being run off my feet but in the end, doing a good job and being appreciated for it. The downside is that I have high standards at restaurants, and do not tolerate poor service.

14. Moving to Adelaide. I had the choice of doing the course locally, in Switzerland or in Adelaide. In retrospect, Switzerland may have been cool too (though I would have FROZEN in winter – I really hate the cold!) But I really do love Adelaide for its quaint personality, lovely people and the fact that I believe that I was always destined to be here.

15. Working in Port Douglas for 6 months. Yes, this turned out to be an amazing adventure for me. Imagine working in a huge resort, where you did housekeeping in the day and worked at the restaurant at night – exhausted myself completely, but managed to save up some cash. And it was from there that we went on an epic trip in Far North Queensland. I absolutely adore that area and cannot wait to be back.

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16. Working in Melbourne instead of Dubai for my second work placement. I had a job offer from Dubai and was preparing to go, but then changed my mind and remained local. It was the best decision I could have made in terms of my love life, and my husband and I got engaged during that time.

17. Being Asian. That means I can get away with taking epic photos like this:

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18. Having loved and lost before. I honestly don’t regret my past relationships, though perhaps there are some elements of some of them that I would have rather done without. But I think everything is a learning curve, and in some relationships, we have a mutual agreement that it was best not to be together.

19. Marrying the man of my dreams. And getting married young too – I was 21 when I walked down the aisle. But I honestly knew that he was the one, and we are more than happy now!

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20. Having my wedding the way I wanted it to be. Obviously, everyone has an idea of a dream wedding – I knew I wanted my ceremony somewhere, either on a beach or in a garden. I wanted a smaller reception where I could be more personal with my guests. I also wanted to have a specially choreographed dance with all the fancy moves. And I got all that and more. 🙂

21. Honeymooning in Phuket. Staying at a gorgeous resort with a private plunge pool. Going on tours of the gorgeous coastline and islands. Checking out the markets and touristy attractions there, but also getting a local’s perspective from my friend Mann who lives there. And most of all, spending it with my awesome husband!

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22. Getting Skittles. Yes, she is a menace. She has eaten more plastic than any dog I’ve ever known, destroyed most of our garden, run away and killed a neighbour’s chook, and the list goes on… But I love her to bits!

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23. Buying our house. We had been shopping around for a bit and had seen a few that were really not up to mark. I’d driven around to a few real estate agencies and we were told we could view this place that very afternoon. Saw it and fell in love. It’s got a lot of great features, and I just love the fact that it’s so close to a lovely reserve!

24. Having a baby – who I believe is the most gorgeous baby in the world. Do you agree?

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The moral of the story really is that I am so blessed. There are always ups and downs in life, but I do my best to dwell on the moments that make life worthwhile.

Pieces of the past and promises of a future

The wait is on! I’m now 39 weeks and 3 days, and in honest truth, I’m a little impatient and just can’t wait to meet bubs. I’m trying to keep relaxed and to fit into my own skin – I’ve heard that stress can actually delay labour, so I’ve got to keep worry to a minimum.

Over the last few months, there were times where I felt rather disconnected from bubs and just couldn’t get a clear picture of what to expect from him and her. But I think that we’ve grown closer in the process and I think I know his or her personality quite a lot better now.

Today I was looking through some of the things I wrote when I was in my teen years, and it surprised me how dark a lot of the themes were. I was actually looking for a piece of my writing to dedicate to baby Zilm, but a lot of these themes are unsuitable… I think that I was always quite an emotional person, and perhaps I dwelt on certain dramatic things a lot more than I should have.

Being into guitar and piano, I wrote songs as well and it was something I prided myself in, even though I’m not exactly a great singer. I remembered that I wrote a lullaby and despite the deeper message within the song, I just wanted to share it. One day, perhaps I’ll record it on Youtube or something. But for now, here it is:

So many blank pages
and the ink’s run dry
our souls walk through the ages
never knowing the reason why

And the water’s getting deeper
as our hearts intertwine
I’ll forever be your keeper
as you’ll always be mine

Go to sleep my little baby
Rest your head upon my cheek
We’ll meet some other day, maybe
But for now just go to sleep

My life is like a river
as it flows to the sea
Time will paint us silver
it only waits for you and me

Go to sleep my little baby
Rest your head upon my cheek
We’ll meet some other day, maybe
But for now just go to sleep

And though it may seem
like I’m gone
In you my soul lives on
Darling go to sleep
and things will be alright
You’ll see me when you close, close your eyes

(piano interlude)

Go to sleep my little baby
Rest your head upon my cheek
We’ll meet some other day, maybe
But for now just go to sleep
But for now just go to sleep
But for now just go to sleep…

I think that I did go through a few harrowing experiences in my teen years, many I have to admit were self-inflicted. Writing was indeed my channel and my escape, and I’m glad that in many cases, the sun comes out to shine after a storm.

This brings me to think about the rainbow that Skittles and I saw on our walk today – it was almost a triple rainbow, and was really magnificent against the dark sky. 

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So, baby Zilm, I do look forward to meeting you. I can’t promise that you won’t have to walk a rocky, crooked path but I do promise that I will be with you every step of the way and will be that rainbow in your stormy sky, as you will be in mine.

Where did all these ideas come from?

I realise I’ve been out of the game for a bit, probably because I’m having the cold of the year. I’m the type of person who (luckily) only gets sick once in a while, and unfortunately that time is now. It’s one of those head colds that I can’t stand, where your head, face, nose and everything in between aches.

But anyway, I’m making the most of it by lazing around on the couch (in Skittles’ spot, because she’s sleeping in mine!) and reading random things on the internet.

One thing I’m pondering at the moment is starting or buying a business. The problem with me is I don’t actually know where to start – I can’t seem to focus my efforts into one particular area. I’ve had the following ideas in the past year:

1. Starting an Asian BBQ & Hotpot restaurant in the North Eastern suburbs

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My friends and I love Korean BBQ and Hotpot – here’s one of our favourite places in the city, Kind Spring, which has a great buffet variety and an awesome glutinous rice dessert (which we usually have seconds of). I despair at the fact that if I want good Korean BBQ or Chinese Hotpot, I have to travel all the way into the city. And if there are any up this way, I haven’t yet discovered any (and believe me, I do my research!). So yes, to satisfy my cravings (and possibly the cravings of the Asian population up here), perhaps start my own?

2. Starting my own Childcare Centre
So what if I know nothing about childcare? There’s always the opportunity to learn (and I have a good reason to learn too!). There are also opportunities for family day cares, which you can run from home – I’ve subscribed to this one as it’s int he local area, and there is potential for more startups in my area: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Early-Childhood-Learning-Family-Daycare/422785871141790?fref=ts

3. Starting my own PT Business
Yes, I don’t know much about Personal Training either but I’m sure it’d be something I enjoy doing (I love coaching people and helping them achieve their goals) and I could get a qualification at some point too. My target market would probably be other mums who, like myself, will need to lose some baby weight. I could even take up a Zumba qualification (since I LOVE Zumba) and run some classes – see how it goes. It’ll certainly keep me healthy and fit!

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See, I once used to be fit and agile! XD

4. Teaching music classes
I’ve played the piano practically all my life and been through so many classes that I honestly should know a thing or two about how to teach it. Of course, my technique isn’t great and I’m more of a play by ear person than a Chopin person, but it’s definitely something doable (with little capital involved too, since I already have my beloved piano). I could also teach some basic guitar, singing, etc.

5. Buying over a small already-established business
I keep an eye out for different business opportunities – I would love to start one up from scratch, but I feel I lack the experience. I’ve been looking into various different options like spas and clothing businesses, etc. Obviously, this may give me a less personalised approach, but I’m sure I can work my preferences into it.

6. Buying an investment property
There’s a lot happening in the market now and the interest rate is at an all time low, so why not? I was also hoping that my previous experience in real estate would assist me. Of course, we’d need to come up with some capital and also make some calculated decisions. Frankly, I enjoy looking at houses that are way beyond my means, like this one: http://www.realestate.com.au/property-house-sa-houghton-113899063

7. Writing and more writing…
I’ve always enjoyed writing, and will always have it as my little niche. I would love to write a book though (as I mentioned in a previous post), and of course, smaller bits and pieces too like articles and blog posts. Perhaps someday I’ll monetize this blog, when I can determine my direction. But it’s always good to do something you truly love.

I have so many ideas, but I guess this shouldn’t be my main priority at present – I should be focusing on giving my little one the best upbringing I could possibly give him/her. This photo below is just to prove that he/she has little cute toes!

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Anyway, I also read this amazing piece of news about this man surviving both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing (being in a 3km radius of the bombing) and living on til the age of 93. The article is from 2009, and he died in 2010 of stomach cancer. Still, it was amazing that he was blessed with a good long life despite being exposed to such radiation.

You can read the story here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/25/hiroshima-nagasaki-survivor-japan

Keep well everybody, especially those in the Southern Hemisphere who are having trouble coping in winter months! 

Should I write a book?

I have the day off work tomorrow (for my midwife appointment), and I’ve found that I really treasure these mid-week off days – they just help me catch my breath.

Breath is something I’ve been rather short of lately – this baby seems to be taking up a lot of space. He or she has assumed a rather comfortable position (for himself/herself at least) – head on my bladder, arms sometimes poking into my kidneys, bum in my ribs and feet into the other side of my ribs. Oh well, not too long now… 

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One thing I love about Australia is the old buildings, particularly the ones in the countryside. We went to this quaint little church a few weeks ago, and it had a lovely rustic flair to it (despite being a bit chilly inside). I love the smell inside old buildings as well as the way it sounds inside – voices seem to resonate off the walls in a gentle, warm manner.

I believe that despite growing up in the city, I’m a country girl at heart. I love the fresh air, the greenery and running water, along with the sense of peace that comes from it. My husband disagrees at times because I’m afraid of the dark and don’t like it when it’s quiet at night (hey, I’m used to be serenaded to sleep by sounds of traffic). He also thinks I may not survive without a shopping mall nearby (and perhaps he’s right – will have to test this theory at some point by moving far out into the country).

One of my pet peeves about living in (or in my case, commuting to) the city is the traffic. I’m blessed to live along an express bus line, but it still takes a good 30-40 minutes to travel to and fro. Today, though, I was stuck on the bus for an hour – frustrated as I was, it was well warranted and it’s such a shame to hear about it: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/witnesses-describe-massive-fourcar-crash-horror-at-gilberton/story-fni6uo1m-1226673907569

Anyway, I’ve become a bit sidetracked from what I actually wanted to write about – yes, you can blame it on the baby brain. I was surfing Linked In (which is almost like Facebook for the corporate world, minus the crazy pictures) and came across a really awesome article, titled “Should You Write a Book?”. The article discussed a few good and bad reasons to write a book, and it got me thinking about whether (or rather, when) I should get myself organised and put my thoughts into writing.

Back in high school, I was voted as the person “Most Likely to Write a Bestseller” and back then, I always asked myself “When do I start?!” I had so many ideas swirling in my head, from constructing a huge fantasy world like Narnia (only better!) to writing true and honest memoirs from my eventful 20 something years of life. There are random pieces of writing sitting all over my computer, from songs and poetry to short stories which I wrote for competitions and drafts of novels that never eventuated.

And the question I still ask myself today is “When do I start?!”. I believe I have commitment issues with longer pieces of writing, and I can’t find a reason compelling enough to focus all my efforts into developing a story worth telling.

After reading the article on Linked In (which you can read here: http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130702163717-2484700-should-you-write-a-book?trk=tod-home-art-medium_1), it made me ponder a few things about writing a book that made me give it more serious thought.

The writer, Guy Kawasaki, states some good reasons to write a book:

1. To enrich lives
When I was younger and access to TV was scarce, books were my life. Stories enveloped my dreams and eventually helped me grow into my own skin. I do admit that the Harry Potter series, in particular, was really close to my heart and I spent a few years waiting for that letter from Hogwarts. And I believe that if I had that talent, to write a book (or books) that can bring fantasies to life, or draw people to a better understanding of reality, then I’d better go and start writing right away!

2. Intellectual challenge
I believe this is very relevant, seeing that writing a book is one challenge that I haven’t been able to achieve just yet. It’s not difficult to write a book, but it is difficult to write a good one. And in the next few years, the time factor may be something that is less of an issue (though I’m good at finding things to keep me occupied unfortunately). 

3. Further a cause
I’m not really a conservationist or an advocate of any particular cause (though I am involved ADRA and church causes), but I believe that these things can be weaved into a particular story. You may have noticed that I’m more likely the type to write fiction than factual – however, mixing fact and fiction to come up with something compelling and believable would probably be my preferred focal point.

4. Catharsis
I had to look this word up on Google – yes, my Engrish is not that powderful okay? But I completely agree with this point – this blog was honestly set up as a means of self-expression, though I really do like the attention too (haha!). Depending on the topic I choose, writing a book could help me release pain from the past and come to terms with the person I am today. It could also help me move into a creative world bigger than I could have ever imagined my world could be.

So, yes, I do believe I should write a book. What I should write about… well, that’s another story. 

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Meanwhile, Skittles loves books but she feels they’re a bit too hard for her. Have a great rest-of-the-week!