Four final shots at our unofficial Perth Retreat Centre. Haha! :P
I’m glad I took the time and effort to write daily in the past nine days; now these wonderful memories are forever locked away and never forgotten (especially since I am so absent-minded). It has been a memorable holiday and certainly served its purpose of providing rejuvenation and revelation. With bated breath, I look forward to leading R-AGE, marriage preparations, restarting a new school semester next week and… My next holiday. (: For now, I believe I will enjoy re-reading these entries and re-living those memories:
- Day 1: high time to unwind. | Huiyi and I set foot in Down Under determined to unwind.
- Day 2: uptown girl and downtown boy. | One day was all we needed to see the city centre.
- Day 3: a tiny glimpse of the great outback. | We felt awed and dwarfed by God’s majesty.
- Day 4: mentoring on the road. | All roads lead to deep and meaningful conversations.
- Day 5: in wide open wonder. | Man could only complement what God delivers everyday.
- Day 6: the jewel in any family. | Prayerfully, may it be a foreshadow of Mummy and I.
- Day 7: it doesn’t matter where we go or what we do. | Love should be experienced together.
- Day 8: top eight regrets of this holiday. | I’ll add one more – wished this break was longer!
Day 9 passed the fastest. Before we knew it, we already had lunch and completed last-minute purchases at Cockburn (pronounced “Koh-burn”, not “Kok-burn”) Gateway Shopping City. We returned home after that and Huiyi and I attempted to seal our luggages while Ervina and Chin Seng prepared for our last supper at the patio. No one could actually tell that I was feeling quite sad that I would soon be saying goodbye to the lovely people here; I honestly thought it was too melodramatic to display my emotions so I held myself back.
Chin Seng powered up the outdoor gas-powered barbecue pit and brought out gigantic tiger prawns and huge chicken wings while Ervina prepared a refreshing spinach garden salad with red wine vinegar and a lovely concoction of mint honey iced tea. Even Granny Aw joined in the action and contributed an avant-garde spicy cucumber and parsley salad of her own. (I’m pretty sure Huiyi and) I felt the love that has been so generously lavished upon us as we waited for dinner to be ready. Ervina gave thanks for the final time as we tucked in to a sumptuous spread. I shamelessly asked Granny Aw if she would miss me… And she said, “当然会，你们走了这个屋子没有那么热闹”. My heart practically melted.
We snapped our final photos before we gathered in a circle in the living room and held hands to pray for one another. I was so inspired by the way Granny Aw prayed – fervent and full of faith! With one final sweep of the house, we ensured that we had left nothing but good memories behind. We sat in their grey Mazda 3 for the final time, linked up with Ervina’s grandmother along the way, and drove to Perth International Airport.
There was a part of me that wished that there was only four of us at the airport. Maybe without Ervina’s relatives around, I might have actually expressed some emotions because I needed an outlet! I already knew that I was going to miss them both so much and even as I type this, I feel a heart-wrenching sensation at the core of my being. Beyond all the sights and sounds, this couple was undoubtedly the highlight of Perth and I’m glad Huiyi and I spent the bulk of our time in their endearing company.
I love those Love Birds so much more after this nine-day getaway and I’m sure it will be a good reunion when we do meet again. Lord, thank you for bringing me to Perth but more importantly, thank You for placing Chin Seng and Ervina in my life.
Darling, maybe someday
Forever I will stay
Lord knows that’s what I’m dreaming of
And I’m trying to find a way
But for now the wind keeps blowing
It carries me across the sea
So don’t you worry now, because
I carry you with me
I carry you with me
(“I Carry You With Me” | Tyler Burkum)
We have arrived at the end of our mini-sabbath… And it has been a good one that I am thankful for. Today’s programme was even more relaxing than yesterday’s. I slept in ’til the late morning while Huiyi and Ervina had D&M at a coffee joint in Fremantle. After that, we went to North Bridge Road (coincidentally also Perth’s Chinatown) to have lunch at the Vietnamese restaurant Tra Vinh. Then we headed to Coogee Beach to enjoy a beautiful sunset before returning home to enjoy home-cooked chicken and pork ribs curry prepared by Granny Aw. She treats me like her grandson. (:
So, I’ve decided to write something alternative on the eve of my departure from Down Under. Sounds untypically cryptic for me to write in a pessimistic manner, but here goes – my eight regrets on this trip (so far):
1. Oversleeping and missing the annual Anzac Dawn Parade today; not that I planned to go for it anyway…
2. Not reading any of the books I brought along; instead I bought three more at CS+E’s church.
3. Not dining at the famed Ciao Italia because it’s closed until 29th April; I need the tiramisu… NOW!
4. This is the biggest bummer of ’em all – not hanging out with Liang Zhi; I haven’t had quality time with him in years!
5. Not meeting up with Ps Benny as our schedules didn’t coincide; I was on a road trip on his free days.
6. Not asking Granny Aw to pray my recovery from Dercum’s Disease; I’m going to strike this out tomorrow though.
7. Earning a surface scratch on Liang’s car with a dustbin that I couldn’t see with either mirror; I’m flabbergasted.
8. Not applying medication to my huge ulcer below the tongue sooner; ulcers have a way of tainting any experience.
Less than 24 hours before Huiyi and I return to Singapore… I’m looking forward but I’m also feeling bittersweet. Won’t we all after a good break? (:
Rocking it out at Coogee Beach with air instruments…
With barely four hours of sleep in my tank, I staggered out of the Leontes Way abode while Huiyi swaggered out completely refreshed. Ervina very kindly alighted us at South Street, where we had breakfast with Su Ern at the rustic Ootang & Lincoln cafe. Breakfast was exorbitant by any standard despite it being an enjoyable experience for it was wonderful to share a meal with Pastor Meng Cham’s daughter for the first time.
We made our way to Perth City after breakfast by train and I think I had one cup (of coffee) too many. By lunch, I had already consumed three shots and that (I reckoned) proved to be my undoing for the second half of the day; I found myself visiting the washroom once every hour. Down Under became an uncomfortable experience down under.
As we sauntered through Wellington Street, Murray Street and ultimately to Forrest Avenue where we picked up Liang’s black Mitsubishi Colt at City Towers, fragments of where I’ve visited the last time I was in Perth (in 2007) began to return to me. We put our belongings in the backseat and thanked God for the favour we have received from such generous friends.
We strolled to Saint Mary’s Cathedral and spent some moments at the pews, and committed to God this new phase of our courtship. That was a sweet moment that we both enjoyed – God and us in a beautiful place of worship. I couldn’t ask for more.
Functional eating meant that we settled lunch at the substandard House of PASTA. We interchanged between the red and yellow CATS (Central Area Transit System) to get from place to place and we eventually ended up at Harbour Town, where the factory outlet stores were located. We were quite proud that we exited City West unscathed – our wallets still looked pretty healthy.
Like in Singapore, Tuesdays are also half-priced waffle days at Gelare; the smell of toasted (or baked?) waffles proved too tempting for us and we succumbed; I think I have been eating too much… So thankfully I lost some weight at night with frequent visits to the lavatory.
On hindsight I’m glad I proposed to Huiyi in Singapore instead of in Perth. While it was a picturesque moment over sunset at King’s Park, there wasn’t anyone to help us capture that moment. We immediately thanked God for the amazing Gideon and Caleb. They contributed significantly to a wonderful video – we wouldn’t be able to relive that special moment if not for their dedication and commitment to Huiyi and I. Thank you, boys!
Our final stop of the day saw us end up at Leederville, where we met Pastor Mark Varughese together with his wife, Jemima and son, Ezekiel. Ps Mark was the plenary speaker for Rhema Conference 2010 and it seemed only yesterday that we brought him out for lunch at Zhou’s Kitchen in Singapore. That was nearly four months ago; time has flown us by indeed…
Giadini served excellent pasta – yes, we had it again for dinner – and I ordered Prawn Ravioli and Angel Hair Agio Olio for Huiyi and I respectively. The portions were huge – so we had enough to takeaway for dinner the next day.
We went to the nearby San Churro Chocolateria for our dessert of Spanish Hot Chocolate almost immediately after before driving 25km back home. (I’m secretly proud that our navigation back to Leontes Way was successful on our first attempt!) It was wonderful to spend a little time with the Love Birds when we got back for it gave us a preview of the D&M (Ervina’s self-coined “Deep & Meaningful”) conversations that we were certain to engage in when we embark on our Albany-Denmark road trip on Thursday.
P/S: I’ve written this entire entry enroute to The Pinnacles as Huiyi persuaded me to rest early last night. She forbid me from using the computer. I guess there’s a new hierarchy established now, especially when it comes to physical rest, which she’s enjoying now, seated beside me in the 4WD coach.