Saturday, March 29, 2008

Outing with Ray and later... Elvin

coming back from KK, i KO. came back on a tuesday, rest for a wednesday, M.C. for a thursday, struggled for a friday, and KO for the sat and sun.

the good thing is i rested. sleep non stop. Ray Ng came back from adelaide and was about to leave soon. he did tell me earlier, but then i had to say, after KK. it was some quick plannning and communication to the other OCF Adelaideans and it was at the central place, midvalley, little penang. ray, yvonne, edward and delicia, and me. the others couldnt make it.

later in the week, on sat, elvin was up from singapore to watch the F1 in Sepang. he is that dedicated to the sound of the engines, which brings to mind, hey! we did meet up at about this same time last year. F1 again!
kevin and fannie also came up. it was certainly wonderful to see them. and also pretty awkward... i was like, hello fannie, and shook hands...which made it SO awkward...(what was i doing?)(hey...give your big sister a hug...) and so a hug. perhaps after some time, i'm de-culturized from hugging. got to remember that some things do stay the same. getting shy-er...

we were at Jalan Alor (behind bukit bintang) for the chicken wings that was awarded 'Best in Malaysia' by daryl tan. (tankiasu.xanga). the singaporean judges agreed. i think we had 2 plates. or was it 3?

it was the easter weekend. and there was a prayer vigil going on at church. 24 hours prayer nonstop from 8pm friday till the 6.45 a.m. sunrise service on sunday. and people are encouraged to choose your slots, and come to church to pray. no one wanted to do the 'graveyard' shifts which was at 1-6 a.m. sunday morning. so my small group went for 1-2a.m. we were praying and worshipping and before we knew it, it was 3a.m. there were other adults that are taking care of the slots(timekeepers). they pretty much let us have a 'free flow' and they'll take the remaining hours.

i have to admit, it did took a toll on me. i'm surviving on minimal sleep on weekdays, and to have it cut short on a weekend, gulp! thankfully, it was just a short after effect.

as of 29 march, i have only 70 days left to study for CFA. i'm not really seeing much light. i have that wish, to be after the exam, and having a good feeling and also relief. but then, that's a wish, that will require a lot of blood and sweat before it comes true.
isn't it typical of us? wanting to have the fruits and not the labour?

gosh... have to remember the good things in my final semester of uni. it was a tough but great semester. will try to perform the same way, just that this time, full time working is included. blehhhh! i think i just depressed myself.
i don't deny. these thoughts come to my head.

alright then. i'll be going back to planning and envisualizing myself for the next 2 months.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

of Gunung Kinabalu...

Sabah. Kota Kinabalu. Gunung Kinabalu. 6-11 March 2008.

i made it. i'm still ok (i think). big mountain.

for further details, read on.
do not be deceived that just by knowing the height (4095.2m), that is the distance you'll climb.
i was there a day earlier, more to take time off, and catch up on all my sleep. i received lots of encouraging smses during these 5 days. thank you very much. love and miss you all.

in the evening of the 7th, we took a 2-hour bus ride to the Kinabalu Park. pack your backpack to bring up, and leave your 2nd bag behind.

on the morning of 8th, register, get your tag, arrange how much stuff you want the porter to bring (charged by the kg), and have a 10 minute drive to Timpohon Gate. from there, it is a 6km climb towards the rest stop, Laban Rata. hopefully, you're there by 3pm (an average speed of 1km an hour). time to be taken at average pace, 6 hours.

i have to say that this was tough. more because i had a 9kg load to carry. a set of clothes, towel, winter gear, water and food. a tip: train with a 10kg bag of rice. you're just fooling yourself to train with a light bag. though with a good bag, it was tough to breathe. the air gets thinner. it was hard to breathe also because of the bag pressing down on you. it was raining the whole way up. slippery. i was drenched with sweat. my whole sweater was wet. and we can't rest long cause we'll get cold when we stop moving. be careful of headache and altitude sickness as well. bring pills if you can.

i reached about 3.30pm. everyone was split apart because everyone's got to go on your own pace and not be pressured by others. after dinner and a very quick bath (there's not enough hot water), we got to try to force ourselves to sleep (to no avail) because we got to wake up at 1 a.m. to start climbing to the peak which is another 2.5 km. if it rains, we can't climb.

thankfully it stopped raining at 1a.m. and like zombies in the cold, prepared ourselves. you NEED headlamps and windbreakers. it is a torture because of insufficient rest. and i'm already saying this now. it is cold and dark, and we just have stairs, rope above the ground and rope on the ground to guide us. and for EVERY reason, don't let go of the rope. we'll know why in the morning.

we can't see much of our surroundings and just climb and follow the rope. the main goal is to reach the summit. delren, who's been there before, keep telling us, that the summit is just a little bit more. and others headlamps have stopped and can be seen from there. it was only after about 5 times, that yeah... he's lying. i reached the stationary headlamp. but it was someone sitting down resting. well, it was his way of giving us some sort of hope to keep us going.

we had to reach the peak by 7 a.m. if not, we have to turn back to have enough time to come down. i barely made it. i struggled. many parts were steep and i have no idea how steep it was because in the dark, i've lost sense of where is 90 degrees upright. though there was a plateau, it was still another hard climb to reach the peak. i was so tired till i just took 2 steps, hug a rock and rest, took another 2 steps, hug rock, 2 steps, hug rock.... until i reach the peak. i crawled. the guides were amused by me.

spent 2 minutes taking photos, and start the climb down. another 2.5 km. it did dawn on me earlier, that every km i gained climbing up, it is also another km of torture gained, climbing down. so we climbed a very freaky descent.

it was bright. what the heck? how did i climbed up that? now we know the EVERY reason to hold on to the ropes. now we see the DANGER that we were in when ascending. slip and its pretty much goodbye at a certain part. the descent was steep that i can't see what i'm going down to. i had to climb down with the rope backwards.

a painful 2.5 km descent after just ascending. reached by 9 a.m. and rest till 10. and then had to start the 6km descent. (anyone started calculating how many km has to be done since 1 a.m. yet?) the totality took its toll on me. after 2km descending, my legs started to cramp and stiffened and hurt. i was hoping i did not pull or injure anything. (its RM200 per km if the porters carry you down on a stretcher). i was in terrible pain. 2 friends behind me caught up and saw me going so slowly. each step was pain. and i still had 4 km to go.

i had to walk with the stick and the railings as much as possible to not put weight on my legs. my friend walked with me because he saw i was in great pain in every step. i knew this was going to be long. mentally, i'm not that strong and well, good time to train now. forget the pain, take one step at a time, 1..2.., 1..2.., 1..2.. etc. look in front. as slow as an old man. 3km left.... 2km left... 1km now, i was having a bad headache and a bit dizzy, but i force myself to continue on. focus. focus. when i saw a waterfall that shows i was near, and i nearly cried. but focus. focus. don't think how much is left. just take a step at a time. (wished i had morphine...just joking)

when i finally reached the starting point, what the heck? is this some sort of cruel joke? there was a flight of stairs up. haiyah... just shaddap and climb again lah... thus endeth the journey. i couldn't climb up the van. i had to pull myself up. the van took us back to Kinabalu Park and the bus was waiting for me (i was last) to go back to our hostel. the adults were very understanding seeing that i was injured. again, had to pull myself up the bus.
oh... i did see some pretty girls on my way down. but couldn't hide the painful limp lah. so it was kind of embarressing.

at the hostel, i put hot water on my legs to warm or soothe them up. it helped but i was injured. hope its not too serious. perhaps over exertion. i know its not an ache. muscle ache only comes the day after. oh well...

the next morning, ahh... the muscle ache comes. familiar with that. but that's easily ignored compared with injury. thankfully, i can still limp-walk. i can't bear to use stairs, so i use the lift. thankfully, i'm on leave on weds. so i can rest. so now, coping with injury, aches and dehydration.

in summary, big mountain don't play. its a granite mountain. so bl**dy big. God, how did you do it? its not even Everest. i am so small and lousy. yet, i'm totally amazed.
my friend stuck to me for 3km. he was alright and very fast and could have gone on ahead. but he stayed faithfully. i'm very grateful to him. i made sure i belanja him lots in KK. i'll be getting the collection of pictures on sunday.

here's a good site to visit if you do go.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

preparations & KK...

well, after crashing down with honesty, the after effects were good.
i just somehow.... what's the word?.... realised. and just have point blank honesty staring at my face.

there wasn't any euphoric feeling that i can go jumping up and down or have that 6-inches above ground feeling. things suddenly just went slow-mo... step by step... i start to see God in a lot of places.

things in work has been changing. i have my strengths and weaknesses. but i made sure i did my best in all. i tried to make the best of everything, regardless of other's opinions. being judged fairly or not, i put that in God's hands. its hard. but i made sure that i am living for God first, and if i pass God's test and am right before God, i have nothing to fear. faithfulness and obedience, that is seriously some tough stuff.

i'm now transferred to another team but same department. a lot of things can be said but in short, whatever comes, the million dollar question is, how would/should i react to it?

tomorrow (6th march) i'll be going to kota kinabalu. until the 11th. yay! going on a climbing trip with some church friends. going a day earlier so that i can catch up on all my sleep. looking forward to this break. i know its not much of a 'resting' type of break. it'll probably drain me and stretch me to the max.

safety is the number 1 thing. and sleep. i need sleep.

on another side of my brain, i miss the Adelaidean OCFers. i miss you all.

thank you hui chuan, priscilla, joshua, for your words of encouragement. i really place them in importance.