Awesome April

Hello there!

Going back to my theme of getting out of my comfort zone, the start of the second quarter has been a challenging and exciting ride!

On the first week of April, my colleagues and I celebrated DC’s birthday with the special surprise being a Make-Your-Own-Takoyaki. Basically, we were given the chance to make our own takoyaki ( octopus balls ) at this Japanese restaurant we went. I experimented with a cat-themed cake from Wondermilk, since she likes cats and EL says it smells good. Unfortunately, it was too oily for me and the icing was too sweet. Never mind, at least some of them enjoyed the cake! ^^ It is also around this time that the Danang team came over and I get to talk to my Scrum Master Master again. We discussed about what we are gonna do and what I will be doing. Oh yes, oh no.

Second week was a mixed of emotions! It is the Agile training for Danang team and I was given a chance to practice explaining. As expected, I got tongue-tied. No matter how good my English is, I tend to falter when it comes to delivering technical stuff. Thankfully, I don’t think most of them understood me anyway ( because their English is not very good ) but the one who did was very supportive and communicated his support via thumbs up, with both thumbs! It felt pretty scary and cool at the same time. One, I know what is going on. I mean, I know the stuff so it is like no worries, I can answer any questions directed at me. But, when I had to teach, suddenly I don’t know anything. And my master than took over and began drawing diagrams and showing how they connect. It feels really awesome to be able to try and then watch the master in action. He says it took him four years, so he understands.  Oh well, and he has to translate to Vietnamese to the team too. So, when he does that, I will try to visualize what he could possibly be explaining. 🙂

Thanks to Yen, I got to watch Fast & Furious 8 for free 2 days before it is released. I was kinda upset before that due to some situational conflict but I got over it, slightly later. All is well and I enjoyed the movie with the others. I find the movie funnier this round, with additional humor from Jason Statham’s role. xD Next event is well, visiting the vet for special pets. One of my friends wanted to get her hedgehog checked so I ended up going along and met a few other exotic pets as well, such as a sugar glider and an iguana. The vet was rather cheeky and jokingly accuse me of disliking his career choice when I innocently asked why did he chose this profession. Walao. *grins* And the very next morning, I travelled back to my hometown for my high school mate’s wedding.It felt slightly awkward because I haven’t been really keeping in touch with her as much as I wanted to. I don’t know, I was too shy or too afraid of don’t know what. Anyway, she’s pretty significant in my secondary school life and I am glad I get to be there. I also managed to catch up with some other secondary school mates and met up with their significant other. What really strikes me is how normal or older he looks. < don’t think she or he is gonna read this but no offence if you happen to read this one day> Surprisingly, I got a little cultural shock. Well, my office mates are mostly younger guys and everyone looks super young so it has been a while since I meet guys who look like my age or older.

Come third week, the adrenaline rush just hit its peak! The Bandung team arrived on Monday and without wasting time, the party started! JC ( their team leader ) wanted to give them a sense of ownership of the project that they ( Bandung and Danang ) will be involved in so it felt like a mini boot camp initially. We have a keynote speech by JC himself with a few words from the CTO as well, introducing the project background, vision and mission. Why is my adrenaline pumping? Because I have to explain about the Product Box. Really, it was simple but as usual, I get tongue-tied. I know what it is but I can’t explain it. My mind was in a frenzy as I try to prepare a draft and piece together what I think is simple and clear for them to understand. Luckily, I found a video which can kinda demonstrate what I needed them to do and JC helped to chip in too. It felt like a school project after that. After working on the Product Vision and Elevator Pitch, the guys started working on the Product Box and we are all amazed by their creativity. Sadly, I could not attend their Hackathon presentation tomorrow because…. I will be attending AWS Summit!

Yes, the next exciting event is attending the AWS Summit. Last year, I went to AWSome Day and this event is bigger. It had 3 tracks, 3 keynote speeches and well, more fun! As this event is attended by more guys, it was a refreshing change to see the ladies being rather empty whereas there is always an influx of guys walking in and out of the restroom. The dessert was also so good that I forgot about the other not-so-good food. Hehe. They had this ‘passport’ booklet where we had to go to the sponsor booths and collect stamps in order to retrieve a random gift. It was pretty fun and Github has such cute stickers! I got myself an Amazon Mug. LOL. Okay back to the actual stuff – it was pretty helpful? Although I may not get most of it, but my brain was wide open. My mind began to be filed with random ideas on how I can improve stuff ( related to my company’s work ) and I relaxed a lot. It feels more like a high school camp. Some of the talks are boring but some are well, interesting. They shall float around my head and hopefully formulate something useful, some day! The people that went with me are also pretty cool and that made my day.  🙂 Oh and then the next day, back to work!

Facilitating a team comprising of people from 2 different countries, with 2 different languages is well, not something you get to do any random day.  In a way, I am glad I got this opportunity and I really wish I can be of help! Maybe I was, but I did my best^^
Did I also mention that my place has puppies? Some neighborhood kids found these stray puppies and somehow they all ended up at my place as its temporary shelter. It is amazing how the neighbors come together to care for the puppy. They would feed the puppy, play with it and clean up the place. Initially, I kept my distance but after a while, you know, I had to say hi. I started talking a little to them and then slowly pat them. I got a little scared when they are busy moving around my toes, it felt like their tiny claws or teeth are all over my legs. But the best of all, I got to interact more with my housemate and neighbors. More new friends! Slowly, they got adopted and now there are only 2 left. It feels pretty nice when you get back and they wagged their cute little puppy tails at you. I take it as a sign that they are happy to see me and I talked more with them. Maybe this is why people get pets. Why can’t normal people have tails that automatically wag when they are happy to see you? Haha okay maybe that’s a little too much of a giveaway if you see someone you really, really like 😀

Final week and the rollercoaster ride escalates for the highest lift before it comes crashing down! When I am busy running around for meetings and doing stuff, I am hyped. I got a taste of being an actual teacher when I had to prepare Agile exam questions. Who knew crafting questions can be so hard? And then, there is also the wave that comes after the meetings end. When I finally had a chance to breathe and rest, I felt restless. Like, I am too free. Actually, I have stuff to do and I need to do it but I am scared. Most of my new Scrum Master duties have been a push outside of my comfort zone and I usually take it willingly but the next steps are well, a little more further from my comfort zone. At times, I just feel sluggish and would like to hide behind someone else. But I know I must go forward or risk losing it all. Oh, I also got a chance to write a short essay about Agile and how it benefits the IT team. It was challenging alright as I usually take a long time composing essays. I once spent 1.5 hours just planning on the direction of my essay ( way back in English Composition I in university ). So what happen was I started off my essay strong but the body is kinda weak and the ending sounds a little too cheesy. Oh well, I did my best within the short notice and limited time. Makes me feel like I should have practice writing more. Who knew a day like this would come?

And of course, there is the farewell for our last intern. He is the youngest and also one of the coolest. We went out with the team for a farewell dinner and we all had a lot of fun. It really felt more like college than actual work life. Like, just yesterday, some of us had fun with a baggage weighing tool.  Something as simple as that can make us all so entertained and engaged. Not to mention, all the cute soft toys that have been going around. So, a few people got SW 3 identical soft toy penguins for her birthday in 3 different colors. The guys took a liking to it and has been taking turns hugging it or just playing with it. It just make them all look more innocent and vulnerable. Honestly, where else can you get a second chance of high school / college life? To me, it is like a reverse. In my first high school, I was with all girls. Now, there are much more guys. And of course, a little drama too ( thankfully I am out of all of them ).

Tomorrow, well technically today since it is already past midnight, I will be having my first round of appraisal as Scrum Master with the manager to evaluate my performance so far. Wish me luck!

Bonus feature! How do you navigate adulthood’s complexities? If I was just a young kid, like maybe 6 or 7, I would be perfectly okay. There will be no further questions or confusion and I can probably talk to any adult who will definitely encourage or cheer me on. However, being adults are a little tricky. I have to be careful of what I say and what I do, especially with regards to the opposite gender. A bit too much and you can cause awkwardness or harassment. A little too much and you may cause misunderstandings. Even I myself get confused. Sometimes, I feel like I am playing tug of war. I hold back if I feel like I am going forward too much or I will just go with the flow when I feel it is safe.

Maybe most of all, I just feel like telling a friend that you evoke the same feeling I had with my once best friend. A different person, regardless, with different interests and flaws but I think we clicked, and that’s what makes me open up to you.

tale as old as time

“There must be something there that wasn’t there before.”

** SPOILER ALERT FOR DISNEY’S LIVE ADAPTATION OF BEAUTY AND THE BEAST **

I had a lot of fun watching Disney’s live adaptation of Beauty and the Beast! Now, I’ll admit that I had my reservations and I was pretty adamant that the live action could not be as wonderful as the animated version. Even if it is Emma Watson playing Belle, the best actress choice for the role, nothing beats the original movie. Or so I thought. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the original movie. However, I think there are some parts where the live adaptation has a slight edge. For one, the characters are played by real humans and as such, their expressions carry more weight. I must say that having real human faces conveying emotions is more effective in tugging at the heart strings. It can’t be helped since the movie has such a brilliant cast.

It’s funny how watching the movie when you are older reveals so much more. There are quite a few light bulb moments as I watched. The brightest one is probably how Beauty and the Beast is really, an actual love story among the Disney stories. In most Disney fairy tales, the Prince always emerges at the end of the movie and then they end up happily ever after. Not really credible especially if you have only meet this stranger for the first time. And you want kids to believe that they will be living happily ever after? I think this is why,  the other Disney fairy tales ( with Prince Charming ) never really appeal to me. Even Elsa disapproves and chides Anna for agreeing to marry someone that she has only just met. 😀

Can you imagine the Beast telling his kids ‘how I met your mother’?

“I locked your grandfather in the dungeon and she came to rescue him. When our eyes first met, it was under the light of the candelabra.” Horror romance, right there. :p

Continuing on with this love story topic, it is really quite weird in some sense. So, the entire Beast household is cheering for him to woo her with the hope of finally breaking the spell. Now, imagine how would it feel when your entire family is watching and trying to help by welcoming your girl. Wouldn’t it be awkward to have their eyes on you as you try to have a proper date, already feeling super embarrassed yourself? Anyway, it was really delightful to watch their chemistry develop. The Beast already scored a lot of points for #1, knowing which author / book Belle is referencing and #2, owning a library. Way to go! It only occurred to me after the movie that the tune for two songs which Belle sings are the same. It is as if it is a foreshadow of her own tale.

First song:

Oh, isn't this amazing?
It's my fav'rite part because you'll see
Here's where she meets Prince Charming
But she won't discover that it's him 'til chapter three

Second song:

New and a bit alarming
Who'd have ever thought that this could be?
True that he's no Prince Charming
But there's something in him that I simply didn't see

They even rhyme at the same lines!!! Now, I’m hoping that they will create a modern beauty and the beast drama. The Beast can be used to represent one of the social stigmas. Just saying.

Okay, back to the live adaptation version. This can also be a Father’s Day movie. Belle and Maurice have such an excellent father-daughter relationship. Although at times, it feels like it’s a little forced. I’m disappointed that they did not include the scene where Gaston fell into the pond. That was one of my favorite scenes! I used to rewind to the scene where Belle secretly opens the door and lets harasser Gaston falls right into the pond. In addition, the scene where the Beast transforms into his former state was too short. I always enjoy watching his transformation and it felt a little too fast in this live adaptation. It is the most magical moment in the entire movie. The rain drops, the lights that shine out from his fingers and toes and his neck as he transforms within the white light, it was all so captivating, so fascinating!!! The steam after the transformation make it all the more surreal! Why didn’t they focus more on this scene? *cries* I’m glad they reuse the same music score, though. Oh, well!

Besides that, I was looking forward to the dance scenes. Alas, it is also a little too short. I wanted them to dance longer. More feet action, please! I meant, the pivoting of the leg. It is intriguing to watch people dance. Random thought: An alternate ending where the Beast survives but remains a Beast for the rest of his life. I like to think that Belle would still live happily ever after. Would their kids have horns as well? =)

All in all, the movie elicits tears of joy at the end. The reunion scene was executed delightfully as the ‘objects’ reunite with their families. As I watched familiar ‘old friends’ such as Emma Thompson and Ian McKellen playing their roles, I can’t help but think of Alan Rickman. If he is still alive, I believe he would probably have a role in this too. Ahhh did I just get a little sentimental? :’)

In short, Beauty and the Beast is and will always be my favorite Disney fairy tale of all time. It is, after all, a tale as old as time.

the good, the bad and the ugly

What do you do when you feel down?

a. Listen to emo songs.
b. Go through all the unpleasant stuff that happened in your mind again and again.
c. Make definitive conclusions about how terrible you are and how you appear terrible to others.
d. All of the above.

I’m trying to extend it to an

e. Reflect on the good that happens and focus on learning from the unpleasant stuff.

This takes up quite a lot of willpower and energy not to go back to d. *muscle emoji*

Let’s start with the good stuff. It is kind of unplanned but I went out of my comfort zone.
Firstly, I organized an event which I have never done before for people that I am not really close with. Upon hindsight, I came to the conclusion that I never consider it properly beforehand. For some reason, I just went ahead and regret later. Again and again. Oh, well. This experience taught me a lot and I gained invaluable knowledge. So, Y to the E to the S!
In fact, this “went out of my comfort zone” was the sole positive reason I can think of not to let myself slip into the darkest corner of my weary mind.

Next, I tried GrabShare, a feature where you can share a ride with other passengers in a cab for a cheaper fare. Again, without thinking much, I went ahead and took my chance. It turned out that the other passengers are two friendly girls and together with the driver, the four of us chatted happily. It was an awesome experience and made my morning!

The biggest step I took out of my comfort zone was probably deciding to try out as a Scrum Master. This is a departure from my usual job role and it is the first role of its kind within my department. Thankfully, I have a mentor who loaded me with lots of study materials and is willing to provide advice and guidance whenever I need it. Turns out, the most challenging aspect of being a Scrum Master is the ability to facilitate and to remove impediments to the team. It sounds so easy in writing but it is super difficult. I often find myself either tongue-tied or stuck thinking of what I need to do. It comes with experience and I for sure do not have many. At the moment, I am just doing my best to remain composed and not break out into a panic attack whenever I feel discouraged. However, I also got started in resolving a crucial impediment to the team and hopefully, this can be the best gift for them ( the team )..

Besides that, I recently completed a Japanese drama series titled ‘My Boss My Hero’. It turned out to be my favorite Japanese drama for its super awesome life lessons. When I first started, I didn’t find it really engaging but from episode 3 onwards, I was hooked. It just gets better with every episode and I was completely rooting for the lead character. In a nutshell, it is about this Yakuza ( Japanese gangster ) who has to pose as a 3rd year high school student and passed all the exams in order to succeed his father as the Yakuza’s leader. Being very ignorant and stupid, he initially failed every paper. The delightful aspect of the drama is his journey in learning to love, learning to learn, learning to reach out to others and learning about the beauty of life while struggling to keep his identity a secret. It is really hilarious and engaging at the same time. While he is uncouth as a Yakuza, his ‘high school’ personality is what drew me to him. Although he was ‘forced’ to be polite and humble at first, his inner goodness finally has a chance to develop and he became genuinely wonderful. He may revert to some of his short-tempered and uncouth speech when he is caught in an unpleasant situation ( old habits die hard ) but he is generally just a lost boy. It is interesting to observe him discovering the simple joys in life – such as when he chastised his underling that there is no fun in cheating to get what you want ( his favorite pudding ). Or the way he suddenly asked ‘profound’ questions such as ‘Why is the sky blue?’ when he started liking a fellow classmate. Most importantly, he does what he thinks is right even when it is not the right thing to do under circumstances. For all that, he earns my greatest admiration and also the adjective of being super manly! That’s a first! Have my preferences changed? :p

Inspired by his high school experience and his love for learning, I see my Scrum Master studies as something similar. He has to learn and study quite a number of subjects to pass high school. I don’t have to but I wanted to study and learn something new too. So, I find myself enrolling in two online courses: ‘Buddhism and Modern Psychology’ offered by Princeton University and ‘Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills’ offered by University of Michigan via Coursera. I will do my best to complete the course and pass, hopefully. 😀

One more thing! This is a humbling experience and it made me re-evaluate myself. So, I was chatting with one of my colleagues. He is very young with a friendly smile. We were talking for a bit and I was trying to guess which of the girls in the office that he might like. And I narrowed it down to a specific department, simply because it has the most suitable age appropriate ladies for him ( as mentioned, he is very young ). His question then caught me by surprise. “Why do you think I will only like <race> girls?” Honestly, I felt really humbled. I always considered myself to be very open but I realized then that I just made a racist analysis. It is not the first time anyway ( with him, but it was another convo ) but this time it struck me hard. Luckily, he is very nice and proceeded to share some of his cool personal experiences which made me go wow!

Before I wrap up this post (which has gotten pretty long), I’d like to bring up some random thoughts. One of our colleagues was away on holiday and I asked another co-worker if she misses him. Her pointed reply was: “He is coming back, right? So, there is no need to miss him.” That got me thinking and reflecting. It really fits in with the phrase, you will only appreciate something when it is gone. Or you know that it is going to be gone.

Is it legit to be mad at someone who only (openly) appreciates you upon knowing that you will be gone? Or should you have felt happy instead because that shows that the person finally realizes the importance of your presence? I would say, it doesn’t matter because it will not matter in 10 years. Take that from someone who has been there, done that. *hits chest with right fist twice*

where is the BFG?

My memory’s a bit hazy on when it started.

I had probably just got back at my actual house and the car is parked outside the gate. There were a lot of stuff to carry into the house so it needed a few trips to and fro to get everything inside. After the first round, I went back out and somehow got OCD-ed about keeping the main door close while I go and get my stuff. Maybe because the gate was slightly open and I didn’t want the main door to be open too. It felt like a direct passageway into the house.

It is funny how it took me a few tries to close the door. Once, I use too little energy and the door wouldn’t close firmly. I didn’t want to use too much strength in case the door slams loudly. When I finally got it to close, I turned and proceeded towards the car. The distance between the main door and the gate is about 4-5 meters. It was already dusk and there isn’t much sunlight left.

As I approached the gate, I suddenly noticed two silhouette outside the gate. Both were dressed in a strange fashion. They both have a straw hat on and their clothes outline reminds me of the Akatsuki members ( antagonists in Naruto anime ). Note that due to the not very bright light condition, I cannot see much details, except that of a shadowy figure. I can feel my hair stand on end. Frightened, I tried my best to retreat backwards as fast as I could but somehow, the steps were long and agonizing. The two figures made their way past the gate into the house porch area, walking steadily towards me.

My right hand shakily reached for the door handled. It is the type where your fingers go around the handle and your thumb presses down on the latch to open. It felt like they can reach for me anytime now. Paralyzed with fear, I mustered as much strength as possible to press down on the latch. Anytime now, they are gonna get me!

And I woke up. Thank goodness it was only just a dream! *sweats*

s.o.s

Have you ever felt like you’re watching your own life from a bystander’s perspective?

Sometimes, it takes just a single idea to re-frame your entire point of view of a fixed concept in your mind. It is as though you make a u turn and began seeing the roadside scenery from a new angle.

It happens to me, randomly, sometimes after a dream. When the unimaginable or unthinkable happens and you wake up feeling as though your reality has blurred. Is what I dreamed of possible? Could it have gone unnoticed or just something my subconscious picked up or secretly desire? The good news is that it provided me with more material for my daydreams. If it is something fascinating, I could probably expand it and think of new ways to continue the story or maybe recreate it with different endings. Occasionally, I take pride in ‘acting / directing’ my own (inner mind) films. However, more often than not, it is just a scene replayed again and again in a different scenario with a different dialogue, but with the same cast.

Speaking of which, the characters are usually faceless. They are usually mostly a form with certain traits and characteristics picked up from whoever I have in mind. The main focus of my inner films are mostly the dialogue and the chemistry between the characters. In a way, it is very satisfying because I get to ‘watch’ my own movie play out the way I want it too. Maybe a few retries even, if I can’t get the dialogue or scene right.

Anyway, back to the main topic of re-framing the entire point of view. So, I have two people whom I have different forms of interaction with. One day, I woke up from my dream where I suddenly have a 270 degree change in the way I perceive them. It is as though the dots finally connected. I can see clearly. But then again, I do not understand. Matters of the heart are usually difficult to address and when you introduce a new thought, your feelings get muddled up. Still, it is amazing to see how I have been missing out on this new perspective. Now I see double meaning in some events and chuckle at myself when it happens. Oh well, time is ticking and it will all be over before you know it.

Except that this time, I am one of the actors and not the wallpaper. Fun times! >_<

 

 

 

 

starstrukk

It will be the end of February soon. Well, by the time this post is published, it will probably be March 1st. Time flies and when I reflect back on what transpired these past few weeks, it is kind of unbelievable. My daydreams and my life sometimes overlaps and sometimes, it is kind of frightening. Because sometimes, some daydreams should just stay as daydreams. :p

Let’s pretend I am in a tv show where people have powers. Some are untapped, some are very basic and some are advanced. It feels like one of them has developed further. Songs are one method I use to understand myself better because we subconsciously suppress our true desires and emotions. However, there are some songs which I don’t really identify with. Then, I wonder if it could be that I am able to tap into someone’s feelings. The songs represent someone else’s emotions. But whose?

Then, there is also the ability of channeling someone else’s emotions. It is quite exhilarating yet disconcerting somehow. When this happens, it is as though an external emotion just override my own and I began feeling what the other person feels. It may not be the exact feeling but it’s good practice to learn to snap out of it especially if it is a negative feeling. It would be awkward if I were to suddenly cry or get angry for no reason. ( This only applies to interaction with human beings. )

Lastly, why do we feel uncomfortable when someone treats us well? Is it because we feel that we do not deserve it? I’m just using the phrase ‘treats us well’ very generically. We can get reactive to the feeling of being ignored, being left out, being labelled, etc. But the moment someone showers us with tenderness, we retreat into our shell. The gentleness bestowed upon is too overpowering that we have to wonder what caused it. Or is it just overthinking or in this case, over-feeling?

Getting out of my comfort zone alright!

Meanwhile, I am preparing to be a Servant Leader. It happens to bear the same initials so let’s hope I can live the part!

she will be loved

WARNING: SPOILER AHEAD FOR SHERLOCK HOLMES SEASON 4 EPISODE 3 THE FINAL PROBLEM

I am lost. Help me, brother.
Save my life before my doom.
I am lost without your love.
Save my soul. Seek my room.

The answer to Eurus’s riddle and also the complete change in heart.

Sherlock ran to his sister’s room to find her sitting on the floor hugging her knees. He crouched down and reached out to her, acknowledging her confusion and distress. Being the kind brother, he gave her the attention she was so desperately seeking for.

Somehow, this scene was the most compelling scene in Season 4. Not even Mary’s death has this great an impact. It feels really heart-breaking to see the hell she created just because she wanted to play with her brother. And after all these years, she still longs for her favorite brother to shower her with some affection and attention. How lonely can you get?

Even though this episode has a lot of missing gaps, it is justified by rounding up Sherlock’s character, allowing us viewers to see why he became who he is today. As much as he dismisses feelings, he is still the most emotional one among his siblings ( hahahaha )! Maybe that’s what makes him lovable and the favorite among the Holmes siblings.

p/s: I know this isn’t really a review, more like a rant. Thanks for reading anyways! =p