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2011. The year of epic change.

7 Jan

It’s been 1 week into 2012 and I have yet to pen down my thoughts on the previous year. Since the hubby is at work, I can finally hog the laptop and write. 😛

So how was 2011 an epic change for me?

I got married!

Yes, I will blog about the whole wedding planning process in due time but that was no doubt the biggest event of my life to date. After planning my own wedding, I can clearly see the wisdom in having just one wedding in your lifetime.

Apart from getting hitched, I also moved to Singapore together with the hubby. Although I landed back in BBDO/Proximity once again, the vibe was certainly different from the KL office. Adapting to life in Singapore was quite an experience. Although there are many similarities between Singapore and Malaysia, there is also a vast difference in lifestyle.

First thing I had to get used to was the endless walking. Seriously, it is ridiculous. I had sore feet for the first 2 weeks just by commuting to work and back. Also had to say goodbye to my heels and wear flats ALL THE TIME. *sobs*

Second thing was the food. Now I don’t want to start a war on who has better tasting food — because we all know who does, right? — but I almost cried when I tasted my first bowl of peppery bak kut teh. Never again. I’ve learnt to avoid certain dishes that I know can never taste like the ones back home (although the name of the dish is the same). That said, there is good food to be found in Singapore…you just have to look harder… And of course, I missed my mum’s home cooked food. Good thing Ian is a pretty awesome cook, or else I would Miserable. (Yes, with a capital M.)

And lastly, was adapting to the omnipresence of The Crowd. There is always a crowd. The malls are always crowded regardless of the time of day. It really seems like people live to shop. And never ever go to MNG when a sale is on. It is impossible to walk!

In between coping with these changes plus the madness of planning a wedding from afar, I also experienced the occasional bout of homesickness. But it was not the physical city of KL that I missed. Hell no. But rather the company of the people I left behind. Family meals and gathering with friends have now become more of an occasion than the norm. I miss being able to call someone up and go “Hey, let’s go for brunch this weekend.” Now, every gathering has to be planned weeks in advance.

So with 2011 out of the way, what do I hope for in 2012?

While people are going about town proclaiming that the world will end this year (which is probably not a bad thing seeing how we, as a human race, are such a bunch of ninnies), I shall vow to make 2012 a year worth living.

How?

I will make an effort to keep in touch

With the proliferation of communication tools at our disposal these days, it is ironic that I still feel out of touch with people I care about. It has become all too easy to assume that whatever I post on Facebook/Twitter will be seen and read by all my nearest and dearest. That’s hardly the case. So, this year I will make the effort to maintain personal contact with my friends and family.

I will find a passion outside my job

The problem with doing what you love, as a job, is that eventually it becomes something you don’t love anymore, or simply something you do to earn money to sustain your other not-so-marketable pursuits (like daydreaming). I realised that I have allowed my job to define who I am and I think that’s not going to work out well in the event of a career hiatus. At the end of 2012, I don’t want to be introduced as “This is Joanne, she is a writer.” but rather “This is Joanne, she loves writing/taking pictures/dancing/travelling/volunteering/educating/singing off-key…”. I want to be known for my passion, and not my occupation.

I will learn to love numbers

I was never terribly bad at math. To be honest, I did pretty well, consistently scoring above 90 for most tests. However, the numbers I’m always challenged by are those that make the world go round – money. Ever since I picked up the book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, I have been fascinated by the notion of retiring young and rich. As I’m turning 27 this year, it’s about time I gave serious thought to that because I sure as hell do not want to be clearing tables at the food court when I’m old. So I will improve my financial literacy, be wise with my money, and shop only when I’m in Bangkok. Haha.

I will enjoy being 27

Although I consistently get told that I look really young, I’m actually on the better side of 30. (Get it? That’s a nicer way of saying the wrong side of 20. Not funny ah? Never mind. Writer’s joke.) I will be thankful that I can still pull off the student look, but at the same time, I will treat my body right, sleep well, eat well, and take care of my aging self.

I will live in the present

I have a bad habit of planning for the future way too much in advance. If you ask me for a 5 year plan, I got it. A 10 year plan, I got that too. But if you asked me what I want for lunch later, I ain’t got it. I’m always looking out to the distant future and missing out on the beautiful moments in the present. Of course having a plan is great. In fact, I am currently living the 10-year plan I had when I was 20. However, these grand plans tend to take up too much of my brain power which makes me feel tired about the present. Well, not anymore. I shall live in the moment. (This is going to be a challenge because even as I’m typing this, I’m already thinking about what my next post should be, when am I going to write it, and should I include more pictures. -___-“)

And that concludes this post. Good luck to all of you who have resolutions and may 2012 be a year worth living for you too.

 

The 24-hour transformation of Miss Chow to Mrs.Lee

1 Jul

Today is the last day I can call myself Miss Chow. Come tomorrow I will be signing a piece of document that will make me Mrs. Lee.

 

Although I’ve been preparing for this day since 2009, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to say goodbye to the Chow in me. After all, I’ve been a Chow for 26 years! I’ve had countless nicknames based on Chow, like Chow Chow In fact, I was known as just Chow throughout secondary school because there were too many Joannes around. Plus, I have not visited the Chow ancestral home, which apparently is in the Foo Chow province in China!

 

But name clinginess aside, I think I’ve pretty much accepted the idea of being the other half of someone else. In fact, I gave up the mentality of a single person on the day I said “yes’ to Ian’s proposal.

 

Since then, I’ve been learning how to accommodate another person into my decision-making process, and how to juggle my time between the many awesome people who love me. It’s not easy, but nothing worth doing is ever easy, right?

 

So the next time you see me, don’t shy away from calling me Miss Chow/ Chow Chow. It may not be my rightful name, but it can still be my nickname!

Making a move, or rather, a few moves

19 Mar

There was a quote I read some time ago… I can’t remember the exact words but it goes something like “The greatest regret is not moving backwards, but standing still.” And at this point of my life, I’m glad to say that I’m not standing still.

I was recently promoted to Senior Copywriter, but my promotion was never announced because I resigned shortly after. Honestly, I never expected to ‘level up’ so soon. After all, I’ve less than 5 years in the industry. So I was pleasantly surprised when I was told the good news. Nevertheless, I’m grateful for the opportunities given to me so far and will continue to improve my skill sets in my new place of work. There’s still so much to learn and discover in this world!

So, where am I heading to next? Well, Ian and I are moving to Singapore really soon and we are stoked! Of course it will be a challenge to plan our wedding from another country, but thanks to Tiger Airways, AirAsia and the Internet, planning and travelling will not be as difficult as say… 20 years ago. 🙂 I will talk more about my new place of work once I have a better feel of it… so hang in there…

Hmm, maybe I should give a quick update on our wedding plans since I haven’t been blogging lately.

Our next milestone would be our ROM on 11 June 11. Why that date? Well, we just scrolled through the calendar and that date looked nice. So we picked it. Yup, it was as simple as that. We won’t be spending much for this civil affair. Hair and make up will likely be done by yours truly, photography by a friend, and I plan to wear a really retro dress that Ian’s dad made for Ian’s mum back in their courting days. I just hope I can fit into the dress since people were so skinny back in the 1960s!

Yes, we are moving. And I am glad that we are moving together.

Walking together

 

 

New Year, New Dreams

30 Dec

 

This is the time of the year when people compile the best of everything in 2010… the best ad campaigns of 2010… the best invention of 2010… the best photos of 2010…

So I suppose I should jump on the 2010 bandwagon, and compile my own list for the year.

2010 milestone 1: I finally left my first agency

In the advertising industry, it is quite a feat to stay in the same agency for more than 1 year. But yours truly stayed for almost 3 years before jumping ship. I felt like I was breaking up with my first love, but like all other relationships, I managed to find happiness in another agency.

2010 milestone 2: I finally bought a car

My days of relying on friends, family and utterly unreliable public transport came to an end. In September 2010, I paid my first installment for my first car. I wasn’t entirely happy because I still think owning a car is a stupid luxury. But since I live in Malaysia,  it has become a stupid necessity. Every month, my heart aches thinking about the fact that 1/5 of my salary goes to just transportation alone. Oh well, that’s just life I guess. My dream of going to Spain will take longer to come true.

2010 milestone 3: I finally set foot in Australia

Ever since some of my best secondary school friends ditched Malaysia to make Australia their home, I’ve been wanting to visit the Land Down Under. But I’ve never had enough money to fly there and the ridiculously strong AUD didn’t help either. So when AirAsia opened up a route to Melbourne, I saw a glimmer of hope.

At the same time, Ian and I stumbled upon the superbly talented Jenny Sun, and would do anything to have her shoot our engagement photos. So we checked her schedule and found out the dates when she would be in Australia, and planned our holiday according to those dates.

So in September 2010, we flew to Australia and made 2 dreams come true :

  • Visiting my friends (and his)
  • Having Jenny shoot our portraits

Other than those 3 big personal milestones, 2010 was also the year that we started planning our wedding seriously. We booked the date, booked the venue, attended a marriage course, bought stuff for our house, planned for our future and all that stuff…. stuff that I didn’t think we’d be doing in 2009.

So 2010 was a big year for me. And I believe 2011 will be just as amazing, if not better… because this time next year, I’ll be married to my best friend for life.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Photographer Shootout

23 Dec

As some of you might know, we’re getting married on 5 Nov 2011. Although that’s still quite a distance away, we’ve been working hard to check stuff off our to-do list as soon as possible.

So far, we’ve done the following:

  1. Completed the 8-week Catholic Marriage Preparation Course (CMPC).
  2. Booked the church and the dinner venue in KL.
  3. Booked the dinner venue in Ipoh.
  4. Shot our engagement photos in Melbourne. (Thanks Jenny Sun for the fab photos!)
  5. Made my nyonya kebaya, shoes, and his suit & shirt.
  6. Bought my wedding gown.
  7. Chose our colour scheme.

So far, it has been pretty easy to make all those decisions. The biggest challenge for us to date is finding the right photographer to shoot our wedding day. We’ve pretty much Googled more than 50 photographers before selecting Jenny Sun for our engagement portraits, so it goes without saying that we Googled even more to find our wedding day photographer. Somehow, it’s just so hard to find someone with the style we like. Of course, this could be because most photographers have no style. They just have the right gear. I know that sounds a little harsh, but what I need is someone who takes better pictures than me, someone who  knows how to compose a shot, make the best use of available lighting, and at least edit the photos for colour, saturation, contrast and brightness. I mean, if you’re going to charge more than RM5k, you should be able to shoot better than an art student right?

Thankfully we’ve manage to shortlist 2 local photographers and will be weighing our options before making our booking.

On another note… while searching for the right photographer, I’ve noticed that photographers with design background are better than those without. They have better composition, better understanding of lighting and editing, and just better pictures overall. And funnily enough, photographers with ‘Jen’ in their names seem to be absolutely brilliant.

Check out these Jen-photographers and tell me if it’s coincidental or plain freaky:

Jen HuangJennifer TaiJenn BartellJenny Sun * Jennifer Eileen *

Do you know any other Jen/Jen-like photographers?