School's Out! The search for balance in life.. and the people who matter!
Never imagined that I will be saying that I don’t miss school at all, considering I was in school for most of my life until end 2018! I never quite thought about this until people ask, and being back on campus in March really made me heave a sigh of relief that school was a past chapter. The fear of being out of school did make me contemplate dragging out of my final degree and thesis, plus the face that I always felt my paper is not “good enough”. I wanted it to be a perfect model, but looking back, it will NEVER be good enough, and even as I teach, I’m still constantly tweaking my thesis and being constantly unsatisfied, filling in the gaps that I've missed.
School has taught me so much in a safe environment like no other. I was a huge mess in my 7.5 years of music school, and probably would have drowned if I was thrown into society. Oh, the many perks of being in an institution in the US especially, library resources and ILL being a great one, above all there's the shelter where mistakes we make are less deadly. But oh boy, am I glad I no longer have to worry about trivial stuff - adhering to rules that may or may not make sense, handing in homework on time hahs!, trying to make sure our degree check sheets are well-taken care of, or being busy to be busy!
US Trip 19 was amazing in so many ways. It helped me look back into the year after graduating, how I'm blessed to be doing what I love. People have asked me if I regret moving back to SG, and nope I don't since I'm doing what I love. I'm surrounded by a lot of amazing people - working with amazing colleagues at TMC building a music community like no other, performing with colleagues who share the love of chamber music, among various other projects I'm involved with. More in another post for sure.
US Trip 19. I'm glad I made time for this trip, even if that meant turning down concerts and gigs, having to reschedule students, having to put off some of my work. This trip taught me that it's actually to to put away my work and phone, and to spend time with people, and to do things other than plan, teach, work and reply emails/messages and the long list that is tagged onto being productive. Although to be honest, because of jet lag, the first 2 weeks of so I was working SG time and hanging out with friends in AZ time and hardly getting sleep. BUT I was putting away work in the daytime at least!
1st Stop - Arizona. Hung out with amazing people, my favourite cellist and pianist in AZ - Emily and Mary.. Swartz studiomates.. ex-students and their families.. friends outside music school.. profs.. Singaporeans in AZ.. and caught up over all sorts of activities.. brunches, tea, dinner, drinks, hikes, fashion shows, studio-class, conferences, lessons, concerts...
2nd stop - Colorado! Hanging out with the Kos, and the reason why I hop by Colorado each time! =) Always a good time and conversations no matter what we do, full of chef Pauline's awesome food, walks, grocery shopping, and other random activities!
3rd stop - SF! Hanging out with Chonghan, always constantly bothering him when I fly in and out of US and having a good time just doing whatever we all feel like at those moments. Usually end up with a lot of eating, board games, more eating, some cooking, and more eating! And dim sum, and hotpot...
And a failed road trip to Reno turned into some heartwarming catching up with my twinny Hui and Tiantian in SF over food on my last 2 days in town! =)
This trip is also timely reminder that we can always take time off to recharge, work never ends and we have to be kind to ourselves. I’m also blessed with so many friends around me who constantly remind me at different times that life’s a marathon, not a sprint. The search for balance in life is constant, but that's life!
This trip is also a reminder that we should always put in the effort to make time for people who matter because life is more than just being productive and execution of plans and work. Surrounding ourselves with positive energy and people. The important of mental wellness.
I'm thankful for these people (and more of course!) who have been in my life during my time in the US and know that I would not be who I am and where I am today without them.