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A lookback at 2018

Every December, I like to take some time to look back at my year to see how it has been – the highs, the lows, the interesting moments. So here are some memorable moments that happened in 2018:

We have been in Melbourne for a year! 

Well, technically by the time I’m writing this, we have been here for one and a half years, but you get me! Sometimes we feel like we’ve only just got here; sometimes we feel like we’ve been here for a long time. Still, we almost can’t believe that it’s been more than a year since we left Malaysia. It’s been an interesting journey so far. Challenging for sure, but we are so glad and grateful for our new phase of life here.

I got my Victorian driving license!

Unfortunately for us Malaysians, our driving license can’t be converted into the Australian license. We have to do it all over again – the lessons, the theory tests, and the practical exam. Ugh. I don’t know why, even though I have more than 10 years of driving experience in my belt, I still felt so nervous about the whole driving lessons and exam! It was as though I was 17 again! But I’m so glad I did it, and passed at first try, thanks to a most wonderful driving instructor!

I actually sold some paintings

As you know, I rekindled my love for art last year and embarked on a self-taught journey in watercolour. I really enjoy painting, and what amazes me is that people actually want to buy my paintings! I feel so humbled and thankful! I sold a bunch of commissioned paintings to two clients this year, and turned down quite a number of enquiries, mostly because I didn’t have the time to do it. But I’m so grateful to have people understanding and liking my art (even though most of the time I still don’t know what I’m doing!)!

Our kids started childcare

At the start of the year, we decided that Amy should go childcare at least twice a week, so that she gets to socialise, learn and be involved in kinder activities. It was challenging at the beginning. She took quite a while to get used to it, and cried so much every time I dropped her off / talked about daycare at home. My heart ached and I was constantly wondering if I was doing the right thing. Thankfully after about two or three months, she began to enjoy it. Then we started sending Alistair too, because I wanted to get back to work. He adapted fairly quickly, and it was a breeze dropping them off. After a few months, we had to switch them to another childcare, and we were quite nervous about how they would take the change. Luckily both of them adapted very quickly and well, and I’m happy to say that they are enjoying themselves now.

We went to Phillip Island with my sis and family!

One of the biggest highlights of the year is definitely having my elder sister and family here! As I had not yet started work at that time, we managed to spend almost a week together, and also went to Phillip Island for a weekend getaway. The kids loved playing together, and we all had a lot of fun!

I had a chance to volunteer at Light FM

While looking for a job, I had the opportunity to volunteer as an assistant producer at Melbourne’s Christian radio station, Light FM. I really like the radio station so it was great experience for me. Unfortunately, I only got to do it for one day, because…

After numerous applications and 3 interviews later, I got a job!

I was beginning to feel discouraged and depressed because I had been looking for a job for a couple of months and I still couldn’t get anything. Of course some of our Melbourne friends had warned us that it might be tough for a new migrant to land a job, as most employers look for local experience. In fact, it is not uncommon for a new migrant to take as long as 2 years to get a proper full-time job! So I was really fortunate to have landed my current role, to do what I enjoy, with wonderful bosses and a great team. I am very very grateful.

We also moved house!

We had been talking about moving for the longest time, because we knew that we didn’t want to settle in the suburb we were in, and also because we were hoping for a bigger place. Finally, last month, we found a place that we like! Not only is the house much bigger, but the neighbourhood is so much better too. Our kids are super happy, and we are too!

More time spent with family and friends

Besides my elder sister, this year I was also blessed with visits from my younger sister and her husband, my elder brother and his wife, and my BFF and her family! It’s always bittersweet because I feel SO HAPPY when they are here, but then I’d feel SO SAD when they leave. Well, I guess it makes all the time we get to spend together especially precious!

The kids fell sick A LOT

One of the biggest challenges for this year was that our kids kept falling sick. It is mostly due to them starting childcare. We had been warned, by friends and by doctors, that most kids would keep falling sick within the first 12 months of starting childcare, as they build their immune system up. But while it is normal, it is definitely not easy. Sometimes it felt as though they were sick every week! Plus, Alistair had three febrile convulsions so that really made it all tougher. Please God, let the kids be stronger and healthier (and no more febrile convulsions) in the new year!

Finally, this year was the year I almost gave up on my blog

Yup. I was feeling quite lost about what I was doing with this blog. I didn’t know what I wanted to achieve, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue writing here. There was the whole dilemma of how much I want to share about my kids or even my private life with the world. Some days I thought I should change the direction of my blog, write about other things. Some days I wanted to shut it down altogether. But then, I could never really do that. So here I am. Hahaha.

In the end, I decided that I should just keep this blog. After all, this is my space. This is where I can write about anything I want, and do anything I want. I can use this space as my creative outlet. I can use this space to share my thoughts. I can use this space to connect with people I know, and even get to know new people.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for reading. Sometimes I think nobody reads my blog but then out of the blue, I would receive emails and messages from ‘silent readers’! And you guys are always super nice and encouraging. Thank you for taking the time to get in touch.  Every time I get a note from you, I tell myself I will continue to keep this blog alive.

*cue some dramatic, majestic music. like, maybe, The Greatest Showman soundtrack*

So! Instead of shutting down the blog, I’m going to put in a bit more effort in the new year. I will do my best to write more and write consistently.

Looking back, 2018 has been a good year. No matter the highs or the lows, God has always been with us, and that fills my heart with gratitude.

How has your year been? Do share your highlights with me!

May the new year bring you greater joy and opportunities. May you and your loved ones be blessed. May God keep you and protect you, and may He grant you the desires of your heart.

Happy New Year!

 

Love,

Natalie

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