lessons from flying a kite for the first time

I held tightly to the string in one hand and panda kite in the other. I started to run furiously across the green lawn, desperately hoping for flight. As I let go of my precious panda in the dark ominous sky, I continued to run, hoping not to crash into the people enjoying a romantic picnic on the grass.

Luckily, the sun had already set, and people couldn’t identify me (I hope) as the lady running crazily on the grass. I’m pretty sure my friends were laughing at me, but I didn’t care. I knew that I looked like a fool, but I was sweaty and determined. I was going to get my panda to fly. I could imagine panda joining the other flashier kites (glow in the dark kite and kites with flashing lights). So what if my panda was much smaller and not as strong.

After multiple accounts of running up and down the marina barrage, panda would unfortunately not fly. With a bit of disappointment in my face and an attitude of defeat, I handed my panda to my friends. They handed me the string to their kite that was already high in the air as consolation. I held on to it and watched my friends with panda. Maybe they would have better luck.

Then, the kind uncle, who helped us a bit before untangling our string, came over to help us again. He was definitely the expert, and I’m sure he was laughing inside at our amateur attempts to fly panda. He looked at our broken and misshapen panda kite and attempted to help us fly it.  The uncle instructed us with how to best fly panda. After quite a few attempts and an improved kite flying technique (unsurprisingly, my kite flying method was completely wrong), they were really close to getting panda in the air. Yet, even with the best instructions, there was no hope for panda. He was beyond repair. It was probably from the combination of us dragging him in the grass, and quite a few rough falls leading to broken pieces, that led to panda’s inability to fly.

In the end, there was no Disney picture perfect ending, just me taking home the broken panda. However, I did learn a few key things. First, some broken things just need to be let go of. Second, having a mentor (person who actually knows how to fly a kite teaching you) is really helpful. And third, when you are so focused and determined to accomplish something that is important to you, the fear of failure does not enter into your mind.

Some pictures from the marina barrage. If you haven’t been there, you need to check it out! It is definitely one of my favorite places to go for it’s incredible views of the Singapore skyline.

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a leap of faith

slice of life 2014

“Please jump in with us Ms. Kim, ” the two girls from my class asked me. As the sun in Indonesia was getting hotter, I knew that getting into the water was unavoidable. From the dock, it didn’t look like it was too high up. The students were jumping from the low-dock into the water. We had cleared a mini-run way on the dock for them. In groups of 2 to 3 they were jumping off into the salty ocean water. The fearless students did 360s, back flops (by accident), splits in the air, and some held their nose.

I got onto the line with my two students next to me. It was finally our turn, and I stood in the middle, sandwiched with my fifth grade girls next to me. The teacher cued us to get ready and I started to run. As I quickly approached the edge of the dock, I looked down. My first mistake. The water looked way further down then the view from the side. As I felt an unexpected moment of panic my two students jumped in without hesitation. They were already in the water, and then I jumped right after. I felt like the coyote that chases after the roadrunner and then realizes mid air that it’s a long way down. As I hit the water, the fear increased as I felt the impact and went straight down and took in a good amount of water. I quickly pushed my way up to the surface and realized my jelly sandals I wore had both slipped off my feet.

“My sandals are gone!!!” I yelled out loud. My principal, who was wading in the water, supervising and swimming, came over quickly.

“Did you loose one of them?” He asked.

“I lost both of them. They slipped off. They are orange and only five dollars. It’s ok.” I replied. Then, he dove underneath the water and came up with 1 orange jelly. Then he dove back in and found the second one.  Emergency avoided. I now had both slippers in my hand as I waded in the water. My nose and throat stinging from the salty ocean water I consumed from my jump, I pulled my wet and heavier body up onto the ladders at the side of the dock.

“That was so much fun! Let’s jump again Ms. Kim, ” my students urged afterwards. I hesitantly got on line again, this time, a bit smarter and left my water shoes on the dock.

an unexpected encounter

slice of life 2014

I got off the elevator and headed towards my apartment. To my surprise, I saw the door wide open to the apartment next to mine. The door was never wide open, unlike the other neighbor down the hall that leaves their door open quite often. I could peer into the long hallway that led to their open living room and dining table. Right outside the open door, crouched next to their new rectangular white shoe rack outside their door, was the older auntie tidying the shoes.

My apartment door is literally right next to my neighbor’s at a ninety degree angle. I had my key in my right hand and as I walked up to my door, she greeted me with a hello. I said hi back and then proceeded to put my key into the lock.

“Happy new year,” she said quietly and I turned to face her. This was the first time I met my neighbor. It did seem a bit strange, that I never met my neighbors earlier. They had been living there for a little less than a year.  We literally live right next to each other, sharing walls, and a few steps from each other’s front door, but I never see them. I did like how they were a bit festive and put up decorations on their door for Chinese New Year and also for Christmas.

As I started talking to her she asked me where I was from. I guess she could tell from my accent that I wasn’t a local. Then, she had her daughter come over and we started to chat. I found out she was from Malaysia, and I also found out that her daughter enjoys kimchi (after I told her I was Korean). She hospitably told me to come over for tea anytime.

Maybe I’m just not neighborly enough to introduce myself to the neighbors in my hallway (only 3 other apartments on my floor), but I rarely see any of them. It’s funny because growing up on a suburban dead end street, I knew all of my neighbors. I knew their kids. I knew if they gave good Halloween candy. I would often babysit for them.

Yet, here in Singapore, I’ve found it harder to meet and know my neighbors in my apartment building. It’s probably partly my fault. Maybe the next holiday season I can bake them something? Or will they feel obliged to bring me something in return? Or maybe I can just wait and see if I can run into them more casually?

The slice of life challenge is hosted by The Two Writing Teachers. Join us in this month long blogging challenge!


spare time

I found myself with some spare time in between appointments on Saturday. So what does one do? Obviously walk around and take photos. I walked the same streets that I usually walk by, but this time, I paused at the different street corners. I took in all the sites that I’m normally walking too quickly in between to notice. As I started taking some photos, I took in the vibrant colors on buildings, the long window shutters, the tree shadows on buildings and the lush greens that invaded the tight city spaces.

I’m hoping that this month, through this slice of life challenge, I will take a moment to stop, breathe in my surroundings, and reflect on all that is around me through my words and photos. I might need to take more long walks with just my camera and myself. I might need to reflect on my classroom and job as a teacher. Or, I might need to just write and see what takes form.

Here are some photos from my walk by Duxton Hill, Singapore.

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The slice of life challenge is hosted by The Two Writing Teachers. Join us in this month long blogging challenge!

slice of life 2014

weekend are made for…

slice of life 2014

Weekends are made for wandering. Luckily, I have friends that are willing to explore with me. On Saturday, we battled the signature midday Singapore heat for some good photos and outdoor brunch by the marina at Keppel bay. I mean who doesn’t love sitting out in the sun, with the view of fancy yachts, pancakes with bacon, and good company?

Weekends are made for pressing the snooze button. I won’t lie, I do press the snooze button during the week as well. However, I feel less guilty about it during the weekend when you don’t need to be somewhere right away. This morning, I stayed in bed, and simply enjoyed the bliss.

Weekends are made for blogging. I admit it, I’ve been pretty bad with blogging this past year. I haven’t kept up with blogging for my two blogs. And up until an hour ago, I was seriously not sure if I should commit to the slice of life challenge (blogging everyday for the month of March) this month. I went through quite a few reasons to not participate, but I found myself in front of my laptop. After much contemplation, a glass of wine, house of cards playing in the background, and a lot of revisions, here’s my first slice for the month of March.

And of course, some photos from the photo walk! 🙂 singapore15-0305singapore15-0291singapore15-0289singapore15-0295 singapore15-0306singapore15-0286singapore15-0308singapore15-0328singapore15-0330