And yes.. I have been so sluggish in updating my blog.. But in order to not let this beloved blog of mine to die a natural death, here're some (more interesting) updates:
1. I `lost' my second Italian teacher but found a new one!
I was so glad to have been introduced to Lina earlier this year after Giovanna left for Rome. Lina was a lovely lady, and I liked the fact that she `pushed' me more.. making me speak Italian all the time in class and even when I sms or called her. What she did was basically revised and strengthened what I needed - basically the conversational part. In just three months, I think I've become a bit more confident in attempting to speak in Italian. Though this forgetful mind of mine means I'm still quite slow..
She was supposed to leave for Italy for 2 1/2 months and back..but since her husband's work contract is ending in August, she won't be coming back. :( She really wanted me to continue learning Italian, which I assure her I would continue! So she found me a new teacher before she left two weeks ago.. (it was quite a sudden sad farewell)
I met up with Beatrice at the Italian Embassy on Wednesday and I'm already excited to start class with her! She believes in interactive teaching style.. and just like Lina and maybe more so, she wants to drill in my conversational Italian, which I fully agreed is what I needed most! She won't be teaching from textbook, but may use music, or even cooking as part of a class (identifying ingredients and following recipes in Italian)! We will be starting 2 weeks later after she's back from her holiday.
2. My First Opportunity into `Christian Journalism'
Having been a journalist and writer all these years.. having written for national papers to many publications, corporate and websites, finally I got the chance to write for Christian publication (church and peer group newsletters notwithstanding). A few weeks ago, I was introduced to the editor of Asian Beacon and I'm glad that not long after that, he actually contacted me to do a story, and then another one! I've just done my first personality interview with an American Christian leader-author this afternoon. Another interview is also in the pipeline.
Writing for Christian publications has always been something at the back of my mind. I believe since God gave me the gift of writing (not that I'm a great writer but it is my vocation) I do want to serve Him and glorify Him in my writing, in a more direct way. And I get paid for it too although the amount is comparably less than other secular publications, but it is something I feel is worthy and meaningful to do. And I'm really glad and excited about it! :)
3. Two Traditional Spa Treatments in One Day
Thanks to my work, I had the opportunity to experience an Ayurvedic massage and the luxurious Hammam spa almost back-to-back in one day last Tuesday! Yes, I have been to spas and have frequent massages quite regularly. But these two types of `treatments' were totally new to me.
I was asked to write for a lifestyle magazine on some `traditional remedies' that are being offered in some more upmarket spas or centers. Actually I only needed to introduce each of them briefly (about 300 words?) and get some photos. But when I approached these places, they were nice enough to offer me to try their treatments. Well, no reason to refuse right? ;)
I was given the Abhyanga (Ayurvedic Oil Massage) and Patra Pnda Sweda (Herbal leaf poultice therapy) at Samkkya Ayurveda in Bangsar. It was very different from the massages I had experienced - very oily but I like the vigorous stroke. The medicinal smell was quite strong and while it felt rejuvenating, I wasn't that used to the oiliness! Still it was an interesting experience. I also learned more about ayurveda treatments...
The Hammam spa at Bangsar Village 2 was something else! The Moroccan version of the traditional Turkish bath contained the signature `Hammam & Gommage' - a bathing ritual that involves a `black soap' wash, moorish body polish and `enveloppment' (ie body wrap). I was taken to a warm dimly-lit`bathroom' in Moroccan style. I just sat or laid down and did nothing, and a Moroccan `bathing lady' attended to me - soaped, bathed, scrubbed my whole body and also washed my hair etc.. in a way, it felt kinda weird :p And the rigorous body polish really leave your skin feeling clean! The whole process was really relaxing.
After that, I was also given a full-body Moroccan massage which was so good.. and followed by a facial, which was much needed since I hadn't had one for months! The whole `ritual' took more than 3 hours and I must say it was one of the best if not the best spa experience I have ever had.. what bliss!
4. Singing and more singing
Earlier over Easter weekend, Cantus Musicus (yes, the has been revived!) did a presentation of `Thorns & Roses' at St. Andrew's Church. We didn't have much time to practise and in fact my choir director was quite worried and stressed about it. But thank God, everyone put in effort and rose to the occasion.
We didn't sing many songs but they were really lovely such as Agnus Dei, Libera Me and the finale Den wir haben hie keine belbende Statt by Johannes Brahms, which was a tough song to sing but I think we did justice to it! And the audience response said it all too.. it was great to sing for the Glory of God!
Now, we are busy practising for our next concert - a Celtic Concert at the home of the Irish Ambassador next month. The repertoire includes not just Irish but Welsh songs. Welsh must be one of the hardest languages to pronounce! But the music again is lovely, something you don't hear often...
As for my personal vocal class, my teacher is gearing me up for my grade 6 vocal exam end of the year. I've already started learning the exam pieces some time ago (which I didn't know then were the exam pieces!) - an Italian aria, a German lieder and two more..
As you can guess, to me, singing is one of the most enjoyable things I could do :) And it is a great way to destress as well. I just hope I am more diligent and hardworking to improve this art and skill...
Yes, so April has been an eventful month, even at personal level which I won't share here.. :p
Now, work is picking up too so May looks like another busy month..
and guess what, this blog is turning five next month!