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2010 in review

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While culling through our 2010 photos so I could do a back-up, many memories came flashing back while looking at the photos. So I thought it will be fun to do a recap of the year on a slideshow.

Putting it in words, 2010 will be remembered for these reasons (in no special order):

  1. I started baking and I mean seriously baking. From desserts such as cakes, brownies, muffins, cupcakes, loaves.
  2. CS finally took the plunge and went into his own business – starting his own driving school.
  3. Missed out on the freak hailstorm which hit Perth ‘cos we were holidaying in Phuket.
  4. We survived being away from each other for the longest time (2 months) when CS returned to SG to sell our flat.
  5. Became Australian citizens in August.
  6. Seeing breakthrough in the lives of the young adults in the connect group we lead in church.
  7. Did camping for the very first time.
  8. Experiencing off-road driving and sunset fishing during camping.
  9. Having mum-in-law come lived with us – a huge adjustment considering that we’ve always lived on our own since our marriage.
  10. Home improvement front – extended our driveway and had artificial lawn installed in our backyard.
  11. The passing away of J.R – the neighbour’s cat which we kind of ‘adopted’ ‘cos he was spending so much time in our home.
  12. All thanks to J.R, we started getting to know our neighbours really well. In fact, we now consider each other good friends and even hang out together!
  13. CS turned forty – self-explanatory, really.
  14. Being able to throw CS a proper birthday party with all our good friends around to celebrate with us.
  15. Our long weekend break in Yallingup – beautiful beach house minutes to the ocean, cooking using fresh produce from the market, each other. Really, we can’t ask for more.
  16. Growing in my new leadership role at work.
  17. Experiencing God’s grace in our lives again and again.
  18. The all-girls roadtrip was a blast but more importantly, it was a reassurance that some friendships can, indeed, stand the test of time.
  19. Starting my own herb garden – thyme, parsley, basil, mint, coriander, rocket leaves, spring onions, chives. Makes me feel like Jaime Oliver whenever I go out to the backyard and pick my own herbs for cooking!
  20. Started keeping a diary again ‘cos SF was sweet enough to send me a Starbucks one from Malaysia.
  21. Ironically, even though there is no Starbucks in Perth, my collection of the Starbucks mugs had actually grown – Lebanon, Portland, Bali, Seattle, San Franscico, Seoul. All thanks to friends who remembered.
  22. CS sold his prized Subaru Liberty GT post-Christmas cos he decided to ‘grow up’…all good except he’s now in the market looking for a 4-wheel drive to do off-road driving!
  23. First time we cut short our roadtrip downsouth to Nannup ‘cos it was too hot!
  24. All the summer stuff we got up to – beach time, snorkelling, outdoor movies, plays in the park, walk by the river etc.

love from lebanon

My Swede-Lebanese co-worker who just returned from Lebanon from a wedding brought this back for me. Seriously, it had never crossed my mind that there is Starbucks in Lebanon!

surprise opshop find

Today, I’d have skipped my lunch break (again) if not for my co-worker who insisted that I ‘have to’ take a break with her ‘cos this would have been the third time I’d missed lunchbreak due to work. We went to the opshops since she was looking for a dress for an ‘Austin Power’ theme party that was coming up.

And lo and behold, look what I found! A series of Starbucks expresso shots mugs! The best thing was I actually bought them at half their usual price because the staff at the checkout counter told me they were having a “50% discount” day! So I ended up paying $2 for those 4 mugs. Gotta love surprise bargains like that!

thinking aloud…

  • God is good. The connect group we started leading in church since Oct last year is doing really well. We are now doing a series on Philip Yancy’s ‘The Bible Jesus Read’. It is so encouraging to see how our members are now showing eagerness and hunger to know more about God. Contrast that to a year ago when most of them wouldn’t even turn to their bibles unless prodded!
  • Doing ministry – we were approached by our pastor last week to consider what else we can do to grow the young adult ministry. It is so easy to simply suggest some great ideas given our ministry experience. But I am reminded to go before the Lord in this because it is not just about us coming up with great ideas and running the ministry with our experience. It is about His ideas and running it His way. Time to go into the prayer closet.
  • Faith transcends cultural barriers. This really became real to us when we started serving in church and are the only Asians around. Will they understand our accent? Can we relate to the Aussies and vice versa? Our experience has shown us that if we move beyond the superficial differences that separate, all of us do share common hopes, aspirations, struggles and fears.
  • We have been making inroads in our friendship with some of our Aussie friends. Last Friday, we were at my co-worker’s home with another couple from work and we had a great time over dinner and drinks. Last night, we had our neighbours over for dinner and it turned out to be a 4-hour long affair! It is my prayer that one day we can see them in church…
  • Leadership is never easy. A friend confided to us over lunch yesterday about his disappointment and frustration in his new role as a leader. We listened and we advised. But at the end of the day, I told him that he really needed to talk to God about it because one word from Him is better than a thousand words from men, however well-intentioned they may be.

Side note: Today, I received my latest Starbucks mug from Seattle, courtesy from a student who holidayed there 2 weeks ago.

(starbucks) love across the miles

Guess what came in the mail for me yesterday? A Starbucks yearly planner! SF, my best friend since secondary school days had sent that to me all the way from Malaysia. Thanks, dear, for thinking of me and making me feel loved. I miss you…

The best thing about the planner is that it’s a ring binder which means it can be re-filled or turned into a journal/album. I also love the fact that it comes with the Starbucks story…

And since it is summer now, I find myself craving for a caramel or Java Chip frap! And yes, those chewy coffee jelly! I was literally drooling over the pages when I was flipping through the planner; CS took pity on me and promised that I could have a Starbucks everyday the next time we are back!

I must say that even though Perth doesn’t have any Starbucks, my craving has been partly satisfied by the occasional Starbucks memorabilia I receive from loving family and friends. Thank you, guys for making it a wee bit easier for me to live in this ‘Starbucks-parched’ land…

love packages

Look what came through in the mail for me yesterday…and did you notice what I was carrying in my hand? It’s a Starbucks paper bag which contained a Starbucks mug all the way from Portland, courtesy of Mich who just returned from her Thanksgiving trip from America.

I had a great time laughing after I opened the parcel – Liz, my longtime friend from Uni had sent me a whiskey flask as a Christmas present! She wrote: “I’m not sure whether you have been reformed since…but I seriously doubt it since you now live in a country where good wine is so readily available! So, when I saw this little gift, I thought of you. Well, it would be a useful little thing to carry around the winter months when you need a little something to lose your inhibitions and warm up!”

Thank God for friends who think of you when they travel and friends who accept you for who you are regardless!

God knows…

when my spirit needs a lifting-up. Today was one of those days where things weren’t quite working out for me both in the home and work front…

And then Dorcas dropped by in the middle of my lunch with Zoe (bless her,  Zoe for a listening ear while I poured my woes out to her)…

and gave me these – A Starbucks mug and socks from Korea. Best thing about the socks is that the Starbucks logo appears on top of the feet instead of at the bottom!

blog giveaway winner is…

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E: Jaimee, pick a number from 1 to 8.

J: Seven!

There you have it – winner of our blog giveaway is the 7th person who left a comment on our blog. (Hi Lotus, can you leave me a message on FB as to what you would like from the Oxfam’s catalogue? You have to pick something, ok?!)

Pictured above is also my newest addition to my Starbucks collection – a Gold Coast mug, courtesy of Jaimee who bought it while she was there for the Australian University Games last week. Thanks, dear!

latest additions!

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Despite Perth not having any Starbucks outlets, I’m lucky to still have a growing Starbucks mug collection. My newest babies? One gorgeous Christmas mug and a South Island, New Zealand’s – courtesy of my wonderful aunt and uncle who never fail to bring home a Starbucks mug for me whenever they holiday overseas. Thank you, aunt and uncle!

frame2512779This mug was given by Michelle aka ‘giant’, my American colleague when she went back home for Thanksgiving. She actually bought me three mugs (bless her!) but two broke in between transit, so I ended up with this one from Yokohama when she visited her uncle who lives there. You’re a gem, Mich!

Most of my Starbucks collection are now in storage in our friends’ shed save for a few I kept with me. And now I have three more mugs for my daily use!

last cups brewing…

Starbucks to close 61 Australian stores

[From Yahoo news] “International coffee chain Starbucks will close 61 Australian stores within days, shedding 685 jobs as part of a strategy to slash underperforming outlets and boost profits.

Twenty-three stores will remain open in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney and surrounding areas after the closures this Sunday, an official statement from the company said.

Starbucks opened its first Australian store in Sydney’s Hyde Park in July 2000. It currently has 85 outlets nationally, including in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, the Gold Coast, Melbourne, South Australia and Tasmania.”

Faithful readers of this blog will know by now that I (E) am a Starbucks fan. It was never about the coffee though lest you coffee connoisseurs go tsk tsk on me.

You see, I love Starbucks for the memories it evokes in me whenever I stepped into one of their ubiquitous outlets. I think of the guy who got me started on this love affair with Starbucks – Doug Frederick, a fiercely patriotic Canadian whose only weakness for anything American is Starbucks coffee; a great youth pastor whom I had the privilege of sharing many great lunch conversations at Starbucks Liat Towers. I think of Becky, now missionary to Japan, who I had no qualms of asking her out for a drink @Starbucks, no matter how late it was. I think of the ‘usual suspects’ who often asked us to bring them to Starbucks @Changi Airport so that we could hang out all night. And of course, I think of the life-changing moment @Starbucks City Hall where the love of my life re-appeared hours later we departed from there because I had prayed that ‘God, if he’s really the one, let him come back’; and so the courtship began and still continues to this day.

So I am sad at this latest news of Starbucks Australia and suppose my wish of a Starbucks Perth is unlikely to come true in the near future. Undeterred, I shall wait in hope.

P/S: Thanks for the Paris Starbucks mug, Yan.

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