Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Central Coast Work-Cation

Currently halfway through my 'placement' in the Central Coast, one of two weeks done. As new grads we were supposed to do half a year, but with low metro cover, they shortened my placement from 4 to 2 weeks. The drive up had a lot of road works, since they're widening the road from 2 to 3 lanes. The parts which are already 3 lanes are so smooth and well paved, but once you turn off the highway, so many potholes everywhere. It's also so hard to drive through pouring rain since sometimes the lanes don't have the reflectors of the roads (and of course no street lights).

It sort of feels like a mini  holiday since I'm staying at a hotel. The accommodation is actually pretty good, although still around a 25min drive to work, but a smooth drive. Work in Syd is also a 25min on weekends but every minute you're stopped by a traffic light, whereas here in the Central Coast, there's only like 1 traffic light on the drive, and most of the road is around 80 (compared to average main Syd roads 60).

Patient demographic is very different, feels like 'retirement town'. There are kids, but the average age of patients I see is 80. Everyone is very nice (just a bit slow as expected).

Having my own place is nice, but I don't think I could ever live by myself in a place. Although I love peace and quiet at home, it's nice to have someone else in the house with you, even if you're not talking, just the presence is nice. Also would feel so bored if I moved to a regional town by myself. This place I'm at is just over an hour from home, so it's not really regional. Around 1/4 of the restaurants are opened at night, and feel like a ghost town, but there is still some entertainment around. If I moved rural, I would be so bored, and also impossible to meet up with friends. Already missed some catch ups since working here for a bit. Idm missing a few here and there, but not permanently. This short term stint working not in metro Syd has been a good experience so far.

Just over a week ago attended a friend's wedding. I love going to weddings, and my heart is so full of joy and happiness. It's inconvenient how I have to take leave for weddings cause of ft work, but it's worth for closer friends. People who just invited me to ceremony only unfortunately I have to reject since I literally don't have enough leave. It's weird how winter isn't really considered 'wedding season', but nowadays, every week is wedding week. Like that day I went to the wedding, there were 3 other weddings of friend's of friends. In September, I know of every week someone is getting married (sort of glad some of them didn't invite me so I don't feel bad saying no...) Also know friends getting married Oct and Nov (know them enough to say hi but wouldn't consider friends).

Guests lists are tricky, especially with so many people and their plus ones. Also if we invite them but then they split before we get married...or just not invite their plus ones, but then they may feel awkward coming by themselves...since although weddings are a happy day, I could sense from some people who are single it's not the most comfortable day for them...just some rambling thoughts...

Did a road trip to Canberra yesterday, as Blair needed to go to the Estonia Embassy. The road there was pretty much flat and super well paved, unlike Central Coast where you go through, up and down mountains. I guess the nation's capital needs to be well accessible. I really love driving through Canberra roads, so spacious are hardly any cars. They also have a light rail which recently opened in April, also looks pretty much like our light rails in Sydney. Houses in both Canberra and the Central coast are sooooo cheap compared to Sydney...Like half the price for some at the Central Coast. Guess that's why quite a few people live up there and drive to Sydney for work.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

10 months to go

Can't believe it's already 10months to go, and we're also almost halfway through the calendar year. I think I have gotten used to the routine of full time work, but if I didn't have things to look forward to (not just getting married), but meeting up with friends or events to go to, it would make work life mundane.

I think for 10 months, I have gotten pretty much all the 'big stuff' sorted out. I know I'm gonna stress about the small stuff, probably 2 months before. Mainly timings of things and lack of help from people from set up etc. I just don't have the manpower, and although most people get people from their church to help, well I've never helped anyone's church wedding, and have stopped going to my childhood church for over a year (not that I was close to anyone to begin with even if I have known them from birth), it's just stressing over who can help without feeling guilty asking people for help. I like to organise a lot of stuff myself, but I know I'll need people to help. Even simple things like transporting a flower vase isn't easy when you think about the technicalities like who is taking it and who will drive them, let alone trying to organise food and stuff (or I can do it the easy way and just not have food lol).

There are some bloggers/vloggers who do 'Wedding Wednesday' or post/video every single step of their wedding planning. I guess they get money from it, but here are just some of my thoughts on wedding planning so far:
Dress
- Wedding dress is the number one biggest waste of time. From looking online at night, on your daily commute, then searching up websites, to making appointments at multiple places, each place taking around an hour, I could easily say I spent a ridiculous of at least 20 hours (at least 5 try on places-I lost count, then an hour or two every second day looking at websites). It's also the biggest waste of money, hence yolo. I tried to like something online, but couldn't find any and also didn't want to risk it.
- Dress prices also don't include alterations, which cost on average $500, yeah, not cheap. Managed to just stay under my budget though (after increasing my original budget so I guess I didn't really save that much). I'm just glad that's out of the way, cause it also takes a freaking 6 months to make, and you have to factor in alteration time after. So apparently I'm right on time with timings...although not sure how people with short engagements like some optom colleagues who have less than 9mths from engagement to wedding...I guess that's why express dress orders also exist...I also ended up going back to the first dress I tried lol, so all that 20hrs outside of work could've been spent doing something more productive...
- Compared to other things like rings, 1hr at the jewellers, 1hr checking at event spaces, decisions all made after looking at the first places we looked at (these all cost a lot more than a dress). Ironically they also were the easier decisions.

Flowers
- No such thing as cheap flowers. Even small businesses on social media actually might charge more or about the same as a florist with a shop front. There are actually heaps of florist who work from home without a shop front, but still not cheap. Even if you get a friend to do flowers for you, yes it's a bit cheaper since I guess you don't have to pay for labour hours, but the actual flowers aren't cheap, and it doesn't look quite as nice (unless you're not picky, but apart from my grad, wedding is the only time I'll ever order some nice flowers to celebrate the occasion)

Cake
- I actually booked my cake before getting my dress because #priorities. So keen for people to try the flavours. Although still have yet to decide on the size, since I don't want to see leftovers go in the bin...Cake testing portions were pretty generous.
- Again, no such thing as a cheap cake (and I didn't even mention the word wedding at time of quote lol). Even normal occasion cakes cost more. Like my 21st Unbirthday cake, it was $275 with customised colours and details. Now a similar 2 tier cake is $425 without macarons or edible flowers or chocolate gems, includes delivery though, but normal chocolate is cheaper than flowers etc, so that inflation was crazy high since 4 years ago...Pretty much any social media baker or home baker charges similar prices now, not as expensive as cake shops, but a lot more than expected.

Makeup and Hair
- Another over priced section, but just like flowers, only time in my life I'll pay someone to do my MUH (apart from yr 12 formal, but that was a family friend who did it for cheap just for fun). I guess make up itself is expensive, and you pay for their skill (just like flowers).

Honeymoon
- Really it's an excuse for a holiday. People have different priorities, some have super fancy weddings and other don't. I guess I could've save money for a house (lol I kid, what house deposit when there's a wedding to be paid for) by having a cheaper honeymoon (like anywhere in Asia), but I value travel, experiences and culture. Decided to have reception at a not fancy city view or fancy food restaurant to save money for honeymoon in Europe. 'Europe? Again?' - Is literally every person's reaction when I tell where we want to go lol.
- Also limited by the fact that I only started work this year, so will be on negative annual leave. Hence, can't go overseas for long anyway. Would've loved a long honeymoon, but that's not the point so it doesn't matter if it's short or long.

Photography
- A major aspect in this overpriced industry where they charge a million times more once you mention the word 'wedding.' For this, I didn't even bother asking for quotes. We just went with a friend's friends recommendation. Although not a professional 'wedding photographer,' he's done some weddings for friends, so he should know what to do. We were pretty happy with our engagement shots (again, not cheap, but thanks to Blair for his generosity since that guy's full time work is more purposeful than a proper wedding photographer). I think as long as they can edit photos even from really bad lighting is good enough (our engagement shoot was on the verge of raining/cloudy skies so he did a really good job).
- This is something I originally was a bit picky about getting a 'professional' and even though we don't really save money, at least more comforted that we're funding out photographer's Bible college studies rather than just for profit wedding industry. Again, different people have different priorities/budgets. I think at the end of the day, I'm not going to be sad that the photo didn't turn out as good as I expected to be, since it's the fact that we're getting married and the memories which are more important to me.

Wow, my rambles turned out longer than expected. As per usual on my days off, I have not done any cleaning/throwing away of things. I think I've sort of decided to leave my things are my parents place when I move out, and if they ever sell the house, I'll come back to throw stuff away...

Monday, June 17, 2019

Although our government hasn't been really stable these past few years, I'm still so grateful that my parents moved to Aus all those years ago. The past few weeks/days have been so crazy in HK. Have to acknowledge the persistence of all the protestors. Although I do have to wonder what's going to happen when 2047 comes, and the whole 50 year thing since 1997 comes up...I'm just grateful my family there is safe.

The great thing about Sydney Metro is that it has really freed up traffic jams on the m2, esp leaving the city during peak hour. On my occasionally days off trekking to the city, there's like no traffic, but like in 2013 where there was minimal traffic on the m2 (and back then it was only 2 instead of 3 lanes). The closest station is still a 8min drive from my house, but I realised all the stations except for a few like Castle Hill, Showground, all are situated on the outskirts of the suburb, so hence why they built car parks since you need to drive there. The Cherrybrook station has the smallest carpark, probs cause land is more expensive, and further out North West you go, the car parks are so big. Like Kellyville and Bella Vista car parks are at least 4x bigger than Cherrybrook. Then at Tallawong because there's so much land out there, they just did open space car park instead of multi-storey with no roof over the top. The car park there is so big, it'll probs stake around 10min walk to the station since it's like the size of a couple  football fields. Although I probs won't live in Cherrybrook much longer, I'm glad this side of Sydney finally has some sort of transport. Still have to drive since everyone in this area has around 2-4cars per household, cause you can't survive without a car in the Hills, but better than clogging up roads/increasing traffic.

The current apartment situation around Sydney is so crazy. So many new properties, but then places like the Opal Towers and Mascot Towers with structural defects. If you're living in ti or using it as a investment property, you'll never be able to sell it, and you still need to pay the bank more than what it's worth. Literally your savings go down a drain. Like the Mascot building is not even 10 year old, means pretty much any apartment in the past few years also risk structural defects. You can't even sue the builders because they have either deregistered and changed company names or have already gone broke...Some buildings now have some cladding on it as well which makes things complicated since off the plan apartments won't even tell you what the actual building is made of. Colleague of mine when she inspected her apartment in Epping before settling in, had cracks across the glass door and kitchen bench which they probably just flipped over to hide it on the final inspection. If the apartment inside is already dodgy, then imagine what sort of material or lack of good material the actual building would be...Even though low interest rates atm, you really don't know which apartments are dodgy until way late, esp off the plan you can't even examine what you're buying...Not that I have the money, but current news puts me off investing in apartments cause of dodgy construction only coming up 10 years later...

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Graduated! 🎓

Finally graduated! 6 years of blood, sweat and literal tears. I can't be bothered to upload photos here, so refer to my insta post, or if you have Blair on fb, go to the grad album (thanks for the amazing edits Blair, since sunset lighting with shadows was shockingly bad). Thank you to all my friends, family and especially Blair for all your support. Would not have been able to graduate without everyone's help.

It was a logistical nightmare on the day, trying transport whole fam plus overseas relatives there, plus a night time graduation where the sunsets at 5pm, so limited lighting. Luckily could pick up the gown from 3.30pm and get some decent shots. Still can't believe both my grandmas travelled to attend. So thankful my fam managed to be able to find paid parking, since apparently some days the paid parking was all full.

There was a time when I thought graduations were overrated (maybe especially during my salty year when everyone was graduating, or friend who graduated 3 years before me), but then it is the only time in my life where I could celebrate this milestone. Research life isn't for me, so pretty sure I won't be graduating again. Salty days are over (I think). There was about 12 of us graduating with double Bachelors, and rest of the optom crew with Masters due to the course change structure. The 12 of us failed after we passed 3rd year, so couldn't get the Masters even though we literally did the same course, and same classes and everything. Stupid uni logistics...so maybe still a little bit salty, but I guess having a double Bachelors means I'm still 'older' within the industry, since they'll know whoever is graduating with a Masters is defs a new or recent grad...

So happy with how the flowers turned out. They still smell so sweetly fresh 2.5 days later, especially since on the day I literally just chucked them around. Those big roses are so much more fragrant than the small roses or the ones we have in our garden. I love the sweetness of the rose. Although I don't understand how rose fragranced hand creams/perfumes etc are so sickly gross and strong of artificial rose smell....I actually hate rose flavoured skin stuff, apart from rose flavoured food. Now I can appreciate expensive roses due to their smell. Also understand why people buy flowers for their house even though a normal bouquet isn't cheap, but good quality flowers just make the whole house smell amazing.

It's such a sigh of relief to finally have that damn piece of paper and a fancy plaque (both of which I have absolutely no use for, since it's weird to display in the office since people will be like you're a new grad...) Graduations so much more high tech compared to like 2016 when Blair graduated. There's now live streams, can also download live stream, printout of on stage photo, and got to keep the grad cap. Although I think they probs charge us more for graduations now.

Coincidentally, day after I graduated, the store got a new sign with my name on it. So come find me for glasses.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

12 months to go

The past 3 months have definitely flew by. We're almost in May, and now in less than a year I'll be married. Still getting into the routine of full time work. Work is good since I don't have to do overtime compared to most new grads in corporate jobs (the most I've stayed overtime is 10mins, and normally I get to work at least 10mins early), but I think the ones thing which still irks me is not able to go to church on time on Sundays. I pretty much rock up at the end of the service. If only I could somehow negotiate to leave early on Sundays, but that might mean I end up moving to different stores. Also annoying how there's only 8 weekend days off in a year, probably will end up going leave without pay if I really need a weekend off for someone's wedding or some emergency...

I knew I 'signed my life weekends' away last year, but didn't want to work with the other big competitor since 20mins appts is something which I don't want. I also feel extra hopeless since the church members are decreasing and there's nothing that I can really do since I'm not there on Sundays...in a way, I'm sort of relieved to not have been going to the church I grew up in for almost half a year. The thing is when you're quiet like me, it's easy to 'slip' away without anyone noticing/caring. Not that I care if anyone cares if I'm not there, but there's already heaps of funding throughout the church since it's relatively big compared to current church. Church I grew up is also decreasing in numbers since they're planning to combine the Chinese congregations into one, English still 2 and still 1 Mando...anyways, church ramblings over.

It's also been quite an intense day yday of Avengers Endgame and GoT. I think GoT was at least 10x more intense than Avengers. I don't ever cry in movies, and Endgame was sad but not really...Although he was one of my fav Avengers.

I still have not backed up my India photos from my phone, and it's running out of storage...Still have photos from 2013 when I used my iPhone 5.

Also not sure if I should start blogging about food again. Since there was not time last yr to eat out at uni (apart from placement), slowly trying some food places on days off/catch ups. Probably a surprise to those who actually read this, but I think food doesn't bring me the joy it used to back in the days. This is a good thing since now it's Blair who gives me joy, and it doesn't matter if I have cheap eats or fancy food, because it's the company which I enjoy more. I still like taking photos of food, but now I sort of ceebs posting on Insta or doing reviews... maybe I'll do it when I get bored when I move rurally for a few weeks later in the year.

On my days off, I try to do a bit of cleaning, but I get too sentimental over stuff, so the process of throwing things away is already mentally draining. Hence, I don't actually get around to throwing things away. I think if I have kids, I need to teach them not to hoard stuff because 1. Their house will be smaller than mine (I already live in a small house) 2. It's a pain to throw things away. I still have toys from my childhood...This is what happens when you live in a place for too long and Mum also doesn't like throwing away sentimental things...and yes, sentimental things do spark joy lol

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Work Life

Past four weeks have been surprisingly busy with catch ups/sorting work stuff out. Now completed one month of work, and slowly settling in. They are already cutting one hour appts, compared to previous grads who were on one hour for longer periods. There's actually quite a lot to help keep me pre occupied, haven't even finished some shows or started my list of things to read. KH3 is so cute, and gaming after work lol.

So much planning to do, sometimes I just ceebs but also enjoy it at the same time. Been eating out way too much these past few weeks, but haven't quite found the time to blog about food. Quite a few CPD event nights to attend to. I guess since I'm still 'young' it's easier to attend them, but a lot of those with families, I can imagine it's hard attending a talk at night right after a whole day of work. It feels good to work though, and being generous in giving money away as well.

Monday, February 11, 2019

#engaged

Always thanking God for placing Blair in my life. When people ask, was I expecting it? Yes and No. Yes, but not so soon! Beginning of a new era indeed. Thanks Blair for surprise after surprise after surprise #mindblown. Simple is best. First day off from starting a week into full time work=best day off. Thanks for all your love and support friends.