22, Another Blessed Year

It’s May the 4th and I still haven’t watched Star Wars HAHAHA

….and it’s also my birthday! *sings happy birthday*

I turn 22, another year older. *play Taylor Swift’s 22 on Spotify*

Here’s to 22, praying for more growth in faith and welcoming more opportunities for the better!

Here’s to 22, to live freely and honestly.

Here’s to 22, to make more genuine connections and to love fearlessly.

Here’s to 22, to more blessings and to appreciate the beauty in this world.

Here’s to 22, thank You for giving me a wonderful family and great friends.

Here’s to 22, to treat myself kindly, to care more and to love myself.

Lord, I thank you for giving me another blessed and beautiful year.

9 year old me πŸ™‚

Xoxo, Patricia

Hello Spring! :)

Hi guys,

After being away from blogging for about a month now. It feels good to finally have time and the inspiration to blog again. Let me catch up with what’s happened so far in my life.

I have sat my ARSM (Associate of the Royal Schools of Music) Piano Diploma Exam and unexpectedly got a distinction result. I was completely over the moon when I found out! Yay me, I’m so glad that’s out of the way and that my hard work truly paid off.

I took some time off and spent time with my family, we went to Edinburgh and St. Andrew’s during the Easter break. (Speaking of Easter, I failed my promises during Lent, sorry Lord!)

Here’s some pictures of my sisters and mommy. Ladies family trip to Edinburgh! Bonding time is always a treasure. We just spent the day wandering around and we ate at Byron Burgers! I’m a huge burger girl, well honestly, I’d eat anything as long as there’s food, I’m a happy girl!

That’s probably the best burger I had in a while, it’s juicy but not too greasy, filling but it doesn’t make me bloated. Don’t get me started on the cheese fries and crunchy sweet potato fries. The service was great and the waiters were smiley and friendly! πŸ™‚

We also went to St. Andrew’s and was blessed with beautiful sunny spring weather. I wanted to get away from the city rush so I suggested that we go to the beach! That 2.5 hr journey was worth it and the views were amazing!

It’s our second time visiting St. Andrew’s – it’s such a cute little town! It was our first time at West Sands beach though. We’re literally at the edge of the east of Scotland! We had a wander around.

Fun fact: Golf originated from St. Andrew’s Scotland in 1560! How fascinating is that? The Open Championships is the only championship outside of America. (I’ve to double check that fact though!)

Our trip isn’t complete if we didn’t grab a Jannetta’s Gelateria ice cream on our way back!

Vanilla and Chocolate Chip double scoop! YUM!

It felt good to get away from the rush, a lot has been going on in my head and it’s great to destress from time to time. I always have to remind myself to treat myself more often and that I’m allowed to relax!

That’s my personal update on welcoming the Spring season! I’ll blog about my musical experiences soon too – I’ve done quite a bit up to now.

xoxo, Patricia

Making the Conscious Decision of Doing Nothing

Hi there,

I wanted to ask you this: When was the last time you made a conscious decision to make time for yourself to relax do nothing?

If a million thoughts ran through your mind reading this, like perhaps:

“Do nothing? I barely even have time to do this, this and that.”

Relax? I cannot relax, I have many deadlines to meet.”

….and probably many more, that I can’t think of.

That’s exactly the point I was trying to make. We all live at a crazy fast pace, sometimes barely even making it. The thing is, what is it that we’re running towards? Are we just constantly keeping ourselves busy just because that’s just how society is?

Let’s all take a moment to breathe.

I’ve recently attended a Mindfulness workshop and it made me realise how much we overwork, overthink and expect from others and ourselves. When things don’t go as planned, we tend to blame ourselves or others for the setbacks. Thoughts like “If only….” and “Why is this happening to me?”, often degrade us.

It got me thinking. Our mind is often in the past dwelling on mistakes or imagining what the future is like but what about the present? Why is it easier to find fault in ourselves instead of praising our efforts and achievements? Why be so harsh all the time?

It all starts with ourselves, to learn to be kind to ourselves by simply sitting still, being aware of the present moment. Doing nothing, just focussing on being – our breath, where we are, what we see, what we hear.

You’ll be surprised on how aware you’ll become of the most subtle things that were always there but not acknowledging it as much when we’re at full speed in life. Your mind will wander but once you realise that it’s wandering off, slowly bring it back to where you are now and focussing on being.

Slowing down and being kind to yourself once in a while. Breaking routine, going off auto-pilot mode and finding the things that will make you appreciate life more. Even if it’s only for 15 minutes at the start/middle/end of your day, will change your life drastically.

Go for a walk.
Read a book.
Write.
Listen to Music.
People watch.

It has only been a few days and I’ve learned to be kinder to myself, cutting down my to do lists and prioritising self-care. I’ve had time to read more, to journal, to blog, TO PRACTICE!! Now, I’m enjoying it more.

I realise that I tend to spend more time worrying on actually doing them and that causes me to be demotivated and procrastinate a lot.

Being aware and recognising what you’re feeling or thinking is the first step. It’s what you’ve to do to change that to make yourself more time and space. It’s unbelievable how vast the time and space we have once we’re in control.

Please reach out and do keep in touch!

Patricia

Adulting: What Social Life?

Rare Social Life

Adulting.

Did the idea of adulting scare you? It definitely scares me. We’re out pursuing our own careers and soul searching – it feels like we’re thrown out into the deep end and that we have to figure it out for ourselves.

With the pressure from your peers, you see them getting married, having children, graduating and securing their first full-time jobs. Sometimes, you can’t help but feel left behind BUT never dwell on that.

All of us have different clocks, I have learned to accept that it’s okay to be where you are right now. This will teach us how to grow and mature. Our own experiences are unique and that’s what makes us different from one another.

Since we’re all busy with our schedules, it’s so difficult to find the right time to meet up for a catch up! That’s why for me, I have no social life. At work, I keep hearing about my colleagues’ plans for the weekend or the previous night and as for me, “What social life?”

The only social life I have is within the workplace, community and during teaching. Barely have one for leisure! I keep telling myself to make time and effort to meet up with others but you know how it is sometimes, plans never work out.

However, I’ve made time to finally catch up with some of my friends outside of work and the community. I missed having a social life so much, enjoying a good conversation while having lunch or dinner with delicious food – I’m a big fan of Japanese food and now, Korean.

These few people that I make time to meet up with are the friends I cherish the most. I’m so grateful for having friends like them, hearing about their progress in life inspires me as we’re all heading in the right direction of pursuing our dreams.

Adulting, I’m actually enjoying it. Keep striving and hang in there.

Much love,
Patricia

Going Offline: Today’s a Gift

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.

Bil Keane (American Cartoonist)

Every time this quote comes across, it always makes me wonder. Whatever it is that I’m doing, this serves as a reminder to live with purpose and make the most out of each day. To invest time into things that really matter, instead of wasting it on social media and trivial things.

The Lent season made me focus on things that matter, to realign and review my priorities.

I recently gave a talk in the SFC community about Loving Your Neighbour. It is a challenging talk as I struggle to do so everyday. One thing that really stood out to me was how Loving God and Loving Your Neighbour can be showed on the cross.

Credits to owner

Love the Lord God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.

Mark 12:30

On the cross, Loving God is written on the vertical axis. To always remember to lift everything up to him during our triumphs and failures, to pray and be grateful that God has given us this life for us to lead.

I give you a new commandment: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you should love one another.

John 13:34

When God created us, he gave us His unconditional love. We should learn to love one another and spread love even to those who are difficult to deal with as we are all created in His image. We’re all brothers and sisters in Christ. Like on the cross, Loving Neighbour is written on the horizontal axis, which is to be spread to everyone around us.

Recently, I had an epiphany. Love goes around, we need this. Why is it so difficult to love sometimes? Why do we put up a wall to hide our imperfections? Is the world that afraid to be true to themselves and be known and accepted for who they are?

I learned that hiding does not solve anything. In fact, it drains us. We should learn to be courageous to face our problems and struggles with the guidance of our Lord.

Today’s a gift, I have learned to be more understanding and forgiving as we only have one life to live. Wasting your time holding a grudge on someone or something is not worth it, it refrains you from experiencing true and sincere love. I always ask myself, “Will this matter in 10 years time?” If in the present moment it doesn’t, let it go and move on and if it will matter, fix it and forgive.

It’s easier said than done, but it all starts from within. Surrender and seek guidance from God and you’ll experience His unconditional love. I healed because of Him and I’m so grateful for that.

Make today filled with purpose as it’s a gift.
Let’s keep in touch.

Much love,
Patricia

Going Offline: Living in the Moment More

Throwback to the Collaborative Bridge Week Project in 2016 at the RCS

Hi guys,

Sorry I haven’t been keeping up with updates on my blog lately.

It’s the Lent period, so I’ve decided to go off Instagram and Twitter and focus more on my work. It’s a time of reflection for me and to get closer to God in prayer and community service. I’ve also cut down on sugary drinks and snacks as well as junk food so hopefully I’ll make it through!

Just a quick update:

  • I got into the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland! – I am absolutely over the moon and third time lucky! I’ll be starting this September in the Music Education (BEd) course there and I’m looking forward to it!
  • Taking part in a Digital Exchange Project – I will not say too much about this as it has only started but this is such an exciting (international) collaborative project.

I am so grateful for these blessings! Grateful to God for giving me the strength and perseverance to keep pursuing my dreams and for giving me a wonderful support group in my family, community, work and in the RCS.

I’ll keep you all posted! πŸ™‚

-Patricia

The Importance of Planning & Preparation

Hi guys,

I hope your week goes well! How many of you plan ahead? Plan your week, day, what to wear or bring in advance? Or do you simply live in spontaneity and go with the flow? You could be either or even BOTH!

Sometimes, I tend to get carried away with the amount of work I have to do and catch up on. When it gets overwhelming, I always procrastinate and distract myself. Chores and work isn’t going to magically do itself, you know. Guilty? I’m glad we’re on the same boat.

It’s also nice to have a little spontaneity in life, but I personally find it better when I have everything planned as I do not have to worry about anything I haven’t done.

I take Sundays as my planning days to make my life slightly easier. I plan my week ahead, review my schedule and do as much as I can to progress – that’s if I find the time. I have adjusted my work schedules so that I can have my weekends off to rest.

Previously, I was working non-stop, weeks in a row – balancing teaching and working part-time in retail. It’s exhausting, I’ve burned out so many times to keep myself busy to the point where my body couldn’t handle it.

Planning and preparation is essential, I need to get organised for me to think clearly and be stress-free as much as possible! It keeps me on track, as I tend to be forgetful (I am getting old!) which caused me to miss important appointments.

You never know who you might encounter or what opportunities may arise, you always have to be on your A-Game. First impressions last forever and you certainly do not want to be known for your unreliability, you could lose potential clients or connections.

My Essentials for Planning and Preparation

  1. Planner – Daily, Weekly and Monthly
  2. Trackers – Habits & Budget
  3. Journals – Practice, Personal, Study

Planner
I have a 2019 Diary, Weekly Overview and a Calendar and I keep them on my desk and in my phone, open to the current week and month. I keep it visible so that I am aware of what’s on and plan what to do. Last thing I want is to be late and unprepared for anything – not a good impression.

Tracker
I have an app which tracks my screen time and habits on my phone. The amount of time I spent on my phone is absolutely shocking – it tracks how many hours I spent on social media and how many times I have opened the apps. Ever since, I have cut down my time on my phone and my productivity has increased.

I am big on saving money, I keep a separate notebook as my budget tracker knowing my saving and spending habits. Keeping a budget for every category such as Food, Transport etc. (I could make another post about Budgeting, it is effective and I enjoy it a lot!) I also put a percentage of my income into my savings that is left untouched and I’m surprised by how much I have saved in a short amount of time.

Journals
I have 2 journals – one for reflections and the other for Piano & Teaching practice (Music). I like to keep a personal diary to jot down my thoughts and feelings as it calms me. I use my Music journal to take down notes and establish my goals during each Practice session, the same goes for my Teaching and Audition preparation. Seeing how far I have come is very fulfilling especially when you’re feeling stuck.

After starting some serious planning, I have seen huge improvements and achieved more than I expected. If you’re feeling like your schedule is hitting you like a truck, I suggest you start planning and preparing. It makes your life a whole lot easier.

Here’s to a stress-freeΒ  lesser stressful life!

Much love,
Patricia


Rest & Recalibrate

Hi there,

I hope everyone had a great week! I had a lot of challenges to face this week, I even fell in a slump with the amount of workload I had to do. I started my work experience in my previous high school in the Music department where I observed classes and instrumental lessons. I was blessed to have such a great opportunity and to finally see the classroom from the teacher’s perspective.

It was great to see my previous Music teachers again and to finally work alongside them, it feels like I have come a long way – and yes, I do feel old! It’s a joy to see how they teach and it made me dream of getting my own classroom. I helped the students out and I am glad I made a great impact on them, seeing them improve and give an effort because of my encouragement and motivation is very fulfilling.

I’ve also had some funny moments, especially with the first years, they’re really excited and keen to learn. One of my previous teachers had me play in front of her first year class to inspire them and a young boy came up to me asking if I knew Anime. I tried so hard to contain myself from laughing. I am also surprised by the different maturity levels in different year groups, it is a challenge to maintain the whole class with different learning abilities. I applaud all teachers for that, it is not an easy job.

My week in general, has been stressful – felt like a rush all the time, like I’m falling behind. Balancing with work experience, RCS, teaching and work; it took a toll on me physically and mentally that I had to give myself time to rest. I tend to be forgetful and scattered in my thinking at situations like these, I made mistakes but I have to accept, learn from it and move on.

Making time for rest is essential, it’s for your own good too. To recalibrate and reflect on yourself, it keeps you on track and it brings you back to the present moment. I spent some time this weekend with my family at home, went to see the Royal Scottish National Orchestra yesterday and Alita: the Battle Angel earlier on. Moments like these are the ones that matter the most, to relax and spend time with your loved ones.

It’s easy to get stuck in your routine, neglecting your quality time with your family and self. I found moments of peace whenever I take a step back to relax and reflect, it clears my mind and gives me a stronger vision of my future. Remember to make time for it! You’ll thank yourself in the future for doing this now πŸ™‚

Changing Things Up

Do you ever feel bored of your routine? Does it get repetitive and meaningless? Yep, I feel the same way too. Even if it’s doing something I love, it turns into a chore eventually. It makes me question why I’m doing it in the first place.

Practicing Piano for me is like a love-hate relationship, especially being at this standard, it takes longer to progress and pieces get harder to learn, it feels like I am going up a really steep hill. I’ve been learning the pieces I have now for a few years now and I am losing a little patience to complete learning my Diploma programme and to get it up to performance standard.

It is a challenge to have self-motivation as my days of Piano only consist of practicing and weekly lessons. Only seeing my teachers and students. I am not yet in university so I do not have lectures nor classes.

Don’t get me wrong, it is very fulfilling to finally learn a piece and play it the way I wanted it to sound like – those moments make me feel euphoric and I could sit and practice all day. It fuels my fire in learning and burn my passion in Music.

All I have to do is to change things up, let’s take things back a little, how did I keep my fire back then? What made me want to practice all day and get immersed in the Music? The answer is simple. It’s to love and feel the Music, it is about the sound and not the black dots on the page – it is to simply pour out everything you have to express yourself. Not to overthink things and just enjoy the moment.

Music is like a vessel that flows through you.

Unknown

No matter what it is you are doing, may it be a project, assignment, dissertation. Just remind yourselves why you started in the first place and always keep your goal in mind. The journey may be tedious and long but just learn to simply enjoy it. Think why? Why did you choose this topic for your dissertation or project? Why did I take this job? Find the joy within the process and you will find your answers.

Do let me know what you find. All the best.

~Patricia

Keep Going When You’re on The Verge of Giving Up

You may feel overwhelmed and doubtful, questioning yourself if what you’re doing is really worth it. As for many, the easiest way to get out of the struggle is to give up but that’s when you start pushing harder and keep your passion alive.

Throughout the years, I have faced many roadblocks and unsuccessful auditions. I even thought about giving up my passion to pursue Music as a career and started thinking of doing something else in a completely different field.

It may feel like the end of everything, but I learned to look at the situation in a different perspective – this isn’t the only path to getting to where you want to be, this is only a detour. I still had so much to improve on.

Let’s use a game for example, you have encountered a gate which allows you to move forward but you’re still missing that certain item that requires for you to unlock it. In my case, I still have to get more performance experience and qualifications in order for me to enter that gate to be more prepared to face whatever is ahead. Who knows you may even meet people along the way who will help you get to where you want to be.

You may have already have a plan but let’s be honest here, plans never go exactly the way you want it to. There’s always an unexpected roadblock and detour. Nothing in life is every really planned out.

The lesson is to never give up and find your way at a different angle. Do not panic when you hit that roadblock, instead look at your situation, sit still and reflect on what you still need to improve on or get. If you believe in your dream and vision, you will do whatever it takes to reach it, no matter what others say or think. Have some faith!