Let’s just skip the crap about how time passes so ridiculously fast and get to the point. 2015 is a year of change and growth for me. In my year-end evaluation this time, instead of going through things month by month, I’m going to note things down based on life events, because thankfully, last year was quite full of memorable events. (Not gonna brag 😉 )
First thing first, the beginning of 2015 was the exact moment I felt that I looked too FAT. Seriously, this issue has never bothered me until one day my pants struggled to fit me. Damn it pants, damn it. I wanted to look past it because I knew I was too skinny before. Look how I looked in year 2011:
Yeah, I looked like that for a very long time, because of my stomach issues. I had a so-so appetite for a long time, people kept telling me “eat more, babe!”. That’s why “eating more” is always a good thing to me, to get healthier, fitter.
I didn’t realise it could get out of hands like this, that was when I knew the danger was already here, and I couldn’t ignore it anymore. That year at home during CNY, I had to bear comments like “did you gain weight?”, “wow you look…round”, etc. Hard times, yes. Since then, I decided to take care of my diet more carefully. I ran more, and instead of taking shuttle bus to the MTR after work, I walked. Things went quite well, I didn’t really lost a lot of weight, just about 2KG, but it was a good start, and I shall work harder for the days to come. 🙂
At about the end of January 2015, a movie called ‘Into the Woods’ by Disney was released. I remember loving the movie so much, despite how people around me said negative things about it. I even wrote a blog to bring justice to its good work. I think I made a pretty solid point there :D. For 1-2 months straight, my Spotify played nothing else than the ‘Into the Woods’ soundtrack album. I love the words, the orchestral sound, and the actors who played / sang it. It is a 5-star entertainment for sure.
On February 2015, my company invited me to take some promotional photos for recruitment purpose. Check out the career page on accedo.tv, see if you spot me there 😉
Another unforgettable event, of course, was the birthday party I organised for myself.
It was a wonderful time. I’m still thankful for everyone who went. Great experience! Everyone was sharing how enjoyable that night was! Life achievement unlocked!!! Although I was a little stressful a few days before:
But it was worth it 😉
About music, I have also started to learn composing with synths. I started to listen more to electro dance, and got really into the vipe. Some new friends from office were also sharing me some great music including those from DJs like Kygo, Worakls, etc. Great discovery to widen my musical sense. This is one of my synth projects from around that time:
Nothing too fancy, but new 🙂 Hope to try something more, but it’s getting more difficult as I dig deeper. The art of making sound is sophisticated, and I hope I could explore it more. I didn’t really go far on learning it throughout the year, but I promised myself to pick it up soon.
Oh, I also went to Ed Sheeran live on March. (Although I struggled to see his face due to my height…)
Another memorable event would be my trip to Osaka, Japan with my two beloved sisters. My first time flying to Japan!! After so many years in HK, that was the time I actually made enough money to afford a trip! Geez, life is hard. I had a great, great time there nonetheless. Possibly the best time of my life after all my…anxiety dramas.
That was also the time I fell in love with Vance Joy’s music. So charismatic, so soothing. I even covered one of his songs:
On August, I finally spent money on one gear that I wanted for so long:
I considered buying it for a long time, because playing guitar solo/riff is something I don’t do well. It needs a lot of fundamental skills, and I always feel like I’m not good enough to do it. But, it’s wise to invest in something new right? And it’s proven useful too, because I’ve used it to write a quite meaningful song for a really important event – Bersih 4.0 HK. It happened quite suddenly, actually. The leader of the event wanted me to join the committee, and I was given the job to arrange songs for the event. He mentioned casually: “If you feel like writing a new song, you’re welcome to do it”. And that motivated me. One night while playing with the looper, I discovered the chord progression and riff, and thought it has the potential. It took me another 4 days to finalise the words, then voila, the song was born.
Writing the song was quick, I guess I was emotionally driven for all the things that happened in Malaysia. The challenge though, was arranging the song. That was the first time I composed a song for a purpose, so I wanted to do it well. I invited my friend to record the riff on his electric guitar (he has an awesome Gibson). We didn’t make a perfect take, but we had limited time. The outcome was ok 🙂
I am pretty proud for what I did. Although the mixing and mastering could be better, but that was one time I worked so hard for a good purpose. The leader of the event told me that my song actually encourages many people to engage in Bersih HK.
“Good work, Sarah!”
“Nah, no big deal. I’m obliged.” *screaming uncontrollably in my head*
Ok, those are the good things, now prepare for the bad one. The second half of 2015 was actually a pretty sad period of my life, despite all the good things I have encouraged myself to do. It was because of a really bad allergy I got on my facial skin. On one Sunday morning, someday around the end of June, I woke up with a red face. The spots grew uncontrollably worst on my face, and in a matter of days, my appearance gone from fair white to red, bumpy, blemished. The damage it brought to my life was devastating. I didn’t even want to go to work. I read almost every article online, went to doctors that costed me thousands of dollars, and none of them really worked. That was the moment when, I decided that, I have to stop living a stressful life.
Not long after my skin breakout, I talked to my senior at work about my intention to quit, and leave HK. The idea was actually in my head for quite some time already, but I just couldn’t decide when. The allergy, kind of pushed me to making a decision. It was stressful to arrange my departure. After 8 years in HK, there were many goodbyes to say, and the condition of my skin didn’t give me the motivation to do it. That’s why, sadly, I chose to leave quietly and told only a few of my good friends. At first, the decision was easy, because all I wanted to do was to be alone and heal. Yet at one point, when my best friend in college waved her hand, and said goodbye, I felt overwhelmingly emotional. The moment when we parted at the MTR station; the familiar feeling that we used to do that all the time during our life together in HK, and the thought of leaving all these behind, hit me right in the core. I cried uncontrollably in my room that night. However, I knew that I was making the right decision.
So many years, and so much memories. I literally spent my best years in that city. Although a big part of that life was feeling lost, not knowing who I was, and where to go, but it made me who I am. I’m always going to miss that place..
So yeap, I didn’t tell many people, but if you’re close to me, you’ll know that I’m now in KL 🙂 It’s a huge change in my life: more time with family, start picking up driving, bigger room, and…speaking Malaysian English. The most exciting part would be: finally able to set up a proper home studio!
I am not going to get a job yet, partly because my skin is still healing, and on the other hand, coding at home for both personal and freelance projects is quite enjoyable. 2015 is actually a year I’ve gained so much experience and skills in coding. Working in Accedo exposed me to good team management and coding practice (such as Git, dependency management, API integration). I also took the chance to improve myself during my first month back home. I started picking up back-end coding with PHP, noSQL, and setting up a Linux server. I am also building Android apps now (other than iOS, which I did at work).
So, it’s actually not so bad being a free-coder. I am learning more than working in a firm, and I’ve built myself a pretty comfortable home office (also my studio lol). Everything is going well, and I’m hoping it will continue to be ok.
Lastly, for 2016, I hope that my career in freelance will be good enough to sustain my living, and I am also hoping that I will be able to launch a product that I’ve been working on into the market. It’s not easy, and I don’t even know if I’m prepared. But with the support from my family, I believe things will be fine. Wish me luck, and pray that all the bad things were left behind, for good.