Wilderness Explorers

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If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things – that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It’s a discipline; you have to practice it.
Walter Isaacson

Last weekend was spent in ECP for YB Adventure Camp 2016, and I’m finally having the time to document my experience/journey down properly.

I’ll admit that it didn’t go as smoothly as I intended/expected. I’ll attribute it partially to my fatigue … it was difficult for me to get into the camp mode. And because of the significance that YB AC has to me, I’ll admit that I have very high expectations of it. When we first got into our teams & as I facilitated the creation of our group name/identity, it was so so challenging. But I’m glad. Team Fire really grew a lot, from the first moments together as a team, to when I had to leave on the second night 🙂

This camp taught me a lot, it opened my eyes to many different things & perspectives that I never considered before. This camp, I realised I was interacting with my youths from a somewhat social work-ish perspective; don’t get me wrong – I didn’t view them as Clients. But I realised how intentional I was in balancing the group dynamics, & the kind of words that I used. Call this yet another form of experiential learning? 🙂

Stayed up for the entire first night doing sentry duty, must have been insane but genuinely wanted the rest to get more sleep since I was only staying for 2 days only. It’s so therapeutic to lay on the groundsheet out in the open, staring up into the star-filled sky 🙂 And when dawn was nearing, I went to sit at the shore with 2 of my youths, and we just sat there looking at the sky light up. In that moment, everything in life felt like it fell into place, everything felt right, nothing else really mattered or bothered me anymore. There’s something so addictively calming about the sky, be it sunrise or sunset 🙂 Sitting in silence, pondering over my life and thinking through so many things, I would say that I cleared my mind. Not by a lot, but at least it’s something. We even witnessed a rainbow, how lucky are we? 🙂 Haven’t felt such peace & calm in a long while.

On the second morning, there was a crazy thunderstorm. Our pegged down tents started to   fly away (almost), we braved the thunderstorm to save the items in the tents. And this, marked the start of the turning point of the camp for our youths. This, somehow made our youths get their act together, they were not as idle as before, they started to be even more appreciative. I wasn’t hoping for any of such effects – I genuinely wanted everyone (& their belongings) to be safe & sound, because what’s more important than that right? 🙂

At the beach, I stood by the sea alone, while my team was building a sandcastle for one of the activities. I allowed the waves crash into my feet & I just pondered over how the past two days have been in the camp. Could I have done anything differently to make the experience better for my team? Were there any instances where I should have picked something up but failed to notice? Was it my fault that the youths just seemed disinterested at times during the camp? I was honestly upset then. Upset at myself, confused at the entire situation, and I was on the brink of giving up any hope. And in that moment, marked the turning point of the camp for me. Team Fire was supposed to explain & test out their sandcastle, and they called me to listen to their description. Which really touched me a lot, because at the core of their sandcastle stood a castle that represented me, and they expressed their thankfulness & how they so willingly considered me as part of Team Fire. I was really, really touched then. As cliché as it may sound, it was like the light at the end of the tunnel, when I was being so down & all, they gave me the strength to carry on 🙂

Team Fire isn’t one that’s keen for debriefing/reflections. And I found it a struggle throughout, to try to get them to share properly. & this struggle continued till the last debrief I conducted with them on the second night. They took it seriously albeit it being filled with laughter, and in that moment as we laid on the groundsheet in the semi-darkness, everything felt right again for me 🙂

Many things happened in this camp, I wouldn’t deny it. We had youth falling sick, getting injured/hurt till the point of crying, we had youths feeling angry/upset and caused tension to be present in the camp. This camp might not have been perfect, but it’s these little imperfections that made our youths learn & grow together. What’s the point of a camp that’s smooth sailing anyway? I’m so honoured, and more than glad, to have been participating in this camp alongside my youths.

Pretty bittersweet now that it’s over, hoping to be able to attend my 4th YB Camp next year, but who knows? Nothing is certain. Nevertheless … Thank you for such a memorable YB Adventure Camp 2016. And happy 2-year anniversary to me with ’em YR youths hehe 🙂

 

Till the next time x

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Paradox

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As I’m typing this post, I’m filled with gratitude and thankfulness, for YR Adventure Camp 2015 has officially concluded.

For those who don’t know, in 2014, being the secretary of the AC Committee, I kick-started my first official event in YR. In the blink of an eye, it has been a year since my first involvement & joining of the YR family. Looking back, it’s amazing how much we’ve been through in the past year 🙂 Shan’t dwell too much into the past year for now, will definitely do up a review post nearing AGM, when we officially handover to our successors hee. Whatever it is, happy first anniversary to me, as a volunteer in YR 🙂 May there be many more years to come, to let us witness the fruits of our labour prosper into something that will continue to reach out to even more youths, and impact their lives positively.

It hasn’t been easy for the subcommittee to plan the camp. Right from the very beginning, they have met with many obstacles, many issues, many setbacks; but they didn’t give up. Not once did they give up, they persevered, and the end result was nothing but satisfaction & fulfilment – our youths enjoyed themselves tremendously. Sincerely wishing a genuine thank you to everyone who have helped out through the process of planning the camp, be it behind the scenes or as an active participant in the preparations.

A huge thank you to the AC subcomm & volunteers, who have put in so much effort and being really responsible for their own roles in this camp. I’m glad that nothing major happened, albeit certain small hiccups along the way. Bottom line – as long as the youths are happy, I’m contented; and will declare the camp a success. Through this camp, I’ve forged new friendship bonds with my fellow volunteers as well – it’s such a heartwarming feeling to share the same passion, and to spread the spirit of volunteerism to them 🙂 I might still be lacking in one way or another, but I’m learning, and still trying my best 🙂

Caught the magnificent sunrise in the morning of day 2 of YR AC, it was so breathtaking and therapeutic to look at. Sometimes when lift gets tough, such little things in life, like admiring the sunrise, or gazing at the stars at night, really serves as a good times to just clear our minds, and focus on the happy things. It helps to guide us, and to not let our emotions overwhelm us in ways that may be detrimental in making decisions.

As the main facil for my tribe, it’s heartening to see how much they have progressed, how they take the initiative and display their leadership skills/qualities. I’m so, so proud of every single youth, for they have contributed to the camp in different ways. I’ve seen them take care of each other, work together to complete tasks, and simply enjoying each other’s company. People around me would know much precious and important our youths mean to me, and they are always my priority when it comes to YR matters. Words can’t encapsulate my feelings, but all I’ll say is, thank you to our dearest youths, for being so open-minded and trying all the activities.

I didn’t think that they would take the Group Flag Making seriously – but the flag that they designed really impressed me; it was so beautiful, and my heart swelled in pride, seeing how they were proud of waving the flag and displaying it wherever we went during the camp 🙂 This, taught them ownership.

Amazing Race was incredibly fun, they were (slightly) competitive, and were initially dejected because we were lagging behind as compared to the other tribe. But they motivated each other, and didn’t give up, all the way to the finish line, and eventually emerged as winners 🙂 This, taught them perseverance.

It wasn’t the first time they tried Outdoor Cooking, but they took the initiative to prepare the materials, to wash the mess tins after cooking & eating; and looking out for others to ensure that everyone’s welfare was taken care of 🙂 From coating the base of mess tins with toothpaste, to setting up of the solid fuel on the burning stands, to cooking the food, and cleaning up after themselves, I was so proud that they didn’t need much prompting at all 🙂 This, taught them responsibility.

Night Trail was shortened, and regrettably the other tribe didn’t manage to try one station. However, despite certain issues that happened, they still embraced the remaining games and challenges, and didn’t choose to pull out or play the blame game or whatsoever. It took a lot of guts to even attempt the Trust Fall station, and even though some didn’t manage to complete it, I’m glad they all at least attempted to try 🙂 This, taught them courage.

Testing of limits. Participating in Kayaking + Water Rafting with our youths on the second day was simply amazing, although I’m really sunburnt till it hurts. Playing games while kayaking, really aptly displayed the teamwork within everyone in the camp – I can’t believe we could actually stand up on our kayaks, hand in hand, braving the current, and sing the National Anthem LOL. ‘was literally mad trembling, but holding the hands of my two neighbouring facil/youth really gave me the courage. So proud of everyone for not giving up 🙂 This, taught them teamwork.

Apart from the aforementioned traits, they have also displayed our primary iCARE values of integrity, compassion, authenticity, respect, and excellence. It really pleases me, for one year ago, when you asked them what does iCARE stand for, their answer would have undoubtedly been “I don’t remember”. But now, they can just recite the 5 values so easily at the tip of their tongue 🙂 It took a year, but they finally learned, and I’ve seen the 5 values being displayed through their actions in the camp. Our efforts haven’t been in vain 🙂

Interacting with the youths, talking to each & every one of them, you’d start to realise how unique each of them are. These little things are often overlooked in regular sessions, for they don’t have an opportunity to truly display certain characteristics they have. For that, I’m glad that this camp served as a platform for them to challenge their limits, and develop themselves, while growing and learning to be a better person. I’m so impressed at our youths, and it’s really insightful to hear them talk about their aspirations & dreams 🙂

For what it’s worth, I’ll continue to befriend them, to help them, guide them, and serve as a mentor for them. As much as I’m helping them, I know they are helping me to be a better person as well.

Thank you, to everyone, who made this experience such a good & memorable one x

Blue Velvet

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Sometimes, you can only feel something by its absence. By the empty space it leaves behind.

Really hyped up for Korea now after planning our itinerary, can’t believe we’re Korea-bound in merely 43 days (: Independent holiday trips are really just different from trips with family, albeit having to admit both are fun in its own different ways. Super excited for the days in Jeju, can’t wait to witness the breathtaking scenery in reality, a pity we won’t be viewing sunrise at the peak but … it’s for the best, or else we would prolly be burned out before we even head to Seoul.

Volunteer training + first comm meeting went relatively well, looking forward to the adventure camp with youths already! And this camp more or less mirrors my Guiding days with activities like outfield cooking, pitching & sleeping in tents, as well as the hitches/knots/lashings involved. Hope that it will be a good experience, & may the planning of activities etc turn out smoothly! Fingers crossed. & there’s comm lunch tomorrow before mentoring session … hopefully it will let the comm bond better & get to know each other well, so we can work properly all together to make the camp a success hee.

Priorities. I guess I don’t have that. Clearly there’s a stark difference between knowing your priorities & having priorities, and I admit I’m lacking the latter. Hitting the 20s soon in a couple of months, really got to get my life on track properly, sort out everything going on in my life, and perhaps come up with a To-Do List in life, after all that will make things more meaningful than the boring/mundane/scheduled life that we’re all currently living in. But we all learn along the way, all the mistakes made, regrets accumulated, they shape & morph our lives into the state it is in today. So it ultimately is true, when people say that whatever you’re facing now is nothing but made from your past. And you know that the ghosts of your pasts will come back to haunt you occasionally so … I guess we all just have to deal with that.

Gave advice to a friend recently about something really important/which pretty much determines the future path. Hope I didn’t give the wrong advice, the last thing I’d want is for regrets in this choice, because it’s life-defining. But with that said, everything happens for a reason, so if it’s meant to be, it will eventually be clear as to why certain decisions are forsaken for others.

On a lighter note, I finally finished tidying & redownloading ALL the songs back into iTunes, it was such a hassle, mega torturous process but I’m finally done! Retained waaaay less songs than what I had previously, but at least this frees up more space in my phone for new songs to come in (: Really hyped up for Infinite’s new album “Season 2” to be released on 21 May, as well as Lana Del Rey’s new album “Ultraviolence” to be released some time in June! Always welcoming fresh songs, both new & old, so do throw some recommendations if any!

Watched Divergent in the theatres some time last week, really love the movie it’s so, inspiring in some ways. Dauntless, this word has escalated its meaning through the movie & it really serves as a timely reminder to step out of our comfort zones & not be bounded by facades of what we think we should do for a safe & comfortable life. Because sometimes, that leap of faith is important, to expose ourselves to something waaay bigger than before, or rather enlightenment to a whole new aspect of life that we never imagined could have existed. Can’t wait for the movies of Insurgent & Allegiant to be out, & no doubt these 3 books are in my iBooks already hee, really good reads!

It’s the long-awaited summer break but I’m still tied down/busy with things so, till the next time! x

Wild Rose

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Belated post that concludes the end of finals! As of 06 May 2014: “Goodbye finals | freshie no more | HELLO SUMMER” (: with finals concluding, it marks the end of my official year one of uni life. Inevitably there has been many turns & turmoils along the way of these 2 semesters, but I’ll live with it. Wouldn’t have wanted things to unfold in any other way, glad for everything that happens because after all, everything happens for a reason (: Not sure if I’m trying to find solitude or peace within by using “everything happens for a reason” as the explanation for things that make me upset along the way, but at least it works as a cheer-me-up to a certain extent.

Everything that I wanted to say about being a year one student has probably been expressed along the way of my posts since endlessparadigm was created, so no need for any other words. I’m happy, I really am. 

So … post finals has been an indulgence since I’ve been heading out every single day since finals ended. Need to learn how to control my spending but, the shopaholic side of me has been suppressed for so long, I’ll brush it off as a guilty pleasure or whatever haha. Many things happening this summer break! Meet-ups & hanging out with all ’em friends, continue prepping my tutee for upcoming PSLE, heading to Korea with friends, and the weekly volunteering sessions + adventure camp! So hyped up for the adventure camp & it has been more than a month of worrying/since the interview, glad to have been given the chance to be secretary for adventure camp committee hee.

Really miss being a secretary since the Guiding days, wondering if the experience will be any different or the same eventually. Random bouts of memories keep flashing in my mind, specifically to the Guiding days, but then again it has been long since. Being a mere sec one of the patrol in 2007 to stepping down as PL + secretary in 2010, it was hell of a journey, and that’s prolly an understatement hmm. Whatever it is, looking forward to new beginnings, hope the adventure camp for youth rangers will be successful, can’t wait for first comm meeting + more updates 🙂

There were many things I wanted to post during the finals period but I didn’t want to succumb to the temptation of social media/using my laptop or else productivity will be down to zero alongside mega procrastination. It’s a tradition to be posting at least one quote in each post, and today’s quote will come from one of my closest friends! From a bipolar conversation that we had a week back:

But you learn and appreciate stuff as you grow up.

As much as there’s more hate, but there’s love and care too.

 

– A.L. (2014)

So true indeed hmm. It’s amusing how there are so many topics in a single conversation at the same time, ranging from seemingly deep discussions to those really childish 9 y-o like message exchanges. That’s the beauty of friends I guess, and the rapport in the friendship built within.

Oh and I finally painted my nails again after such a long time! But I couldn’t decide on a single colour + was too lazy to do intricate designs this time so I went with pastel colours (specifically one colour per nail). Kind of pleased with how the colour combination matches hee, maybe I should do this more often.

This post has been rather nonsensical at its best, thanks for reading k bye x

We’re all stories in the end

 

QUICK SHORT RANDOM INCOHERENT POST before I head back to preparing for tuition session tomorrow (:

Still currently having post-camp withdrawals ugh, this feeling sucks so badly ): I miss waking up on the cold hard concrete floor along the corridors of idk-what-dept/block/building; seeing all the sleepy faces of OG mates; enjoying all the games & HTHTs together as an A4 ): Really didn’t expect myself to be so attached to them, I guess this is just how life works. They are the first group of friends I made in uni, and that will mean a lot no matter what, won’t it?

Happy that our OG WA group convo is still as hyped up, compared to other OG’s convos. Heard from the sis that their WA convo was … dead a few days ago. Pretty saddening ): Really wish that A4’s friendship bond will stay as strong and tide all of us through these 4 years of uni all together (:

And I wonder who else in my OG will be majoring in Psych, I hope I get into my dream major + don’t think my heart will waver to other majors, because Psych is just something that I have been aiming for since … forever. Hate how my thoughts are always so complicated, I seriously don’t remember life being like that in the past ): How time/age changes all of us, it’s just one of those things we’ve got to get over it.

I kinda wna make an effort to post & update about my life every single day but I doubt it will be possible when school/lectures/tutorials start officially hmm. Shall see how it goes! Blogging is therapeutic in a sense, I can just freely throw all my thoughts in here. Not like many people are visiting endlessparadigm anyway (I think LOL).

Don’t wna lose the old me just to embrace the new chapter of life ahead

Tweeted this a few days ago (or was it yesterday I can’t remember omg). Doesn’t it make sense ): I mean yeah it’s inevitable that everyone will change at some point in time ‘cos of the new culture & environment. I just don’t want to lose that element in me that makes me … me. The crazy insane hilarious person I used to be, the personality that my friends know as Shiaowei, I don’t want it to disappear. Perhaps there will be a façade, but I know the old me is still somewhere here, and please don’t go away ):

Okay I don’t know what nonsense I am blabbering HAHA. It’s time to go collate more practice questions for my dearest tutees, may both of them ace their upcoming CA2 Math, and I can be really really proud of them yey (:

 

x till then

ConspirARTSy

1-7 august marked the first major event in my uni life as an NUS FASS student – FASS Oweek 2013, ConspirARTSy.

Truthfully for those who knew me before/well enough, I was skeptical about enjoying myself in this camp ‘cos the truth of being in NUS just hurts … yeah some of you understand why. I tried going to camp with an open mind, and I’m really happy I did (: Being placed in A4 Aiumph was probably the best thing that happened to me this year, everything else was just mega bad since Jan really ):

Took a while to open up to A4, evidently from First Impression game where so many said I seemed so quiet/shy/reserved at first, and started to open up more as the camp progressed. Can’t help it but I am really the kind of person who’s afraid of taking the initiative, and to trust people easily ):

Camp was insane, sleeping at approx 4am everyday and waking up at 6am was … actually pretty awesome HAHA. The lack of sleep made me really stonish yet insane enough to survive on, without feeling mega tired or anything throughout Oweek. On a side random note, I’m really fated to be in the yellow house LOL. 勤 house in NYPS, Apollo in Hwach & A house in NUS FASS.

A house tradition for the cheers to be damn sick & stuff … but now I’m missing all the lame sick amusing entertaining cheers HAHA it really grows on you after 7 days of camp, don’t judge. Uni culture is super different from Hwach as well, took me some time to get used to it. Games were more … daring as well? But kudos to the o-comm for the entire planning, serious respect (and Chinwen’s in o-comm too HAHA met her quite a few times during oweek!)

Won’t dwell into details of camp for this post ‘cos … I need to wake up early for tuition tmr! Can’t wait to meet both my tutees, I actually really miss teaching them ):

Happy that camp ended on a high note, thankful for all the experience that A4 Aiumph has given me. Proud to belong to A4 Aiumph, best OG of A house (: And our Bintan trip whoots can’t wait to hang out w the crazy awesome hilarious bunch of people again.

TIME TO GO SLEEP SOON BECAUSE SHIAOWEI IS A GOOD GIRL WHO NEEDS TO PAY OFF SOME SERIOUS SLEEP DEBT.

/I hate how I’m feeling right now, it’s like something so small can just crash my entire mood and sway it all around ugh ): I thought I told myself never to get caught in such a situation anymore, but I guess it can’t be helped. It just freaking sucks so much y’know ): So sorry yet thankful for my closest 3 friends who hear me rant about it, thanks you three, you know who you are, no need for any names.

x till then (I promise I will come up with a better post about camp when I’m feeling less lazy/not as shitty as I am feeling rn)