“I’m gonna paint my wall blue.”
I figured if I was going to get used to home, I was going to make it as homey as I could. I wanted my own personal space where I could come home and unwind from a hard day’s work. Dim lights would do the trick too.
My dad was quite cooperative in this little mission of mine. I think he wanted me to feel very much at home as well, so this time he grumbled less and took home some paint catalogues for me the next day. Thanks to dad, the wall was as blue as I wanted it to be within a couple of days.
Flipped the IKEA catalogue for the hundredth time and decided to get myself a couple of shelves and a table to set up my little workstation. My room isn’t very big, so I had to be careful that it doesn’t end up being cramped with huge furniture. Found the perfect table and shelves, called my big brother who was coming home soon to get them for me on his way back.
Photographs. I’ve always wanted my wall of photographs for the longest time. I’m not a professional photographer, but certain stills that I’ve taken have their own little stories behind them – and so after a lot of DIY, my little gallery was set up on my newly-painted wall. My brother’s gift from Mumbai – a clock that says “Wake up! You can sleep in class!” completed the picture.
Threw the beanbag at that corner, with my guitar. Turned on that standing lamp with dim orange light. Jazz music played in the background. And there’s a TV in the living room.
And home-cooked meals almost everyday.
Welcome home, me.
The name of the church I go to is called Hope. It’s an international movement with over 120 churches all around the world. We’re everywhere.
Hope, is everywhere.
The first time I stepped into a Hope church in Ipoh, I was surprised to see a gathering of less than 10 people.
I wondered if I was at the wrong place.
No, turns out I had the wrong idea of what a church is. It’s not a building.
It’s a group of people gathered together to worship God.
As the church grew, so did I. I learned that the number of people is not a measure for their big hearts.
Each time we achieve something together, pray for one another, serve together – I am reminded by one simple fact over and over again.
God is good.
There’s Hope in Ipoh, there’s one too in Penang.
The first time I stepped into the Hope church in Penang, I was surprised to see a gathering that was five times the size of the one in Ipoh.
I felt lost. And wondered if I was at the right place.
No, turns out that the people around me were no strangers at all. The church, is still, not a building.
It’s just a bigger group of people gathered together to worship God.
As I learned their names and faces, they learned mine. I also learned that the number of people is never too overwhelming in God’s house.
Each time I stay silent to hear the entire congregation sing in unison songs about our beautiful Saviour, I am reminded by one simple fact over and over again.
God is good.
The good employee.
I try to be one everyday. Some days I find it difficult, especially when I’m tired and loaded with too much work. Or when I come across difficult people. Until one day, one of my colleagues demonstrated a less-than-impressive attitude towards his job. I didn’t get angry nor upset. I just pat his shoulder and said,
“We’re working together. We work here. I want to do what’s best for my company because this is where I belong now. It may be temporary, but I’m here, aren’t I? And so are you. Let’s make this count. Life’s unpredictable. This could be the last job you’ll ever have.”
As much as I stunned him, I surprised myself too.
I love my colleagues and supervisor. We joke a lot, and we work a lot.
I have the best supervisor in the world. Enough said.
In every story, there are supporting characters whom people hardly notice.
There’s this Vietnamese cleaning lady who goes up and down the elevator everyday. She recognizes me because I open doors for her each time she pushes a trolley. And I recognize her because she holds the door of the elevator for me as she keeps its shiny walls sparkly clean. It’s a small elevator, and slow too – but everyone uses it. We’ve never spoken a word to each other, but we replace the silence with lots of smiles.
And the receptionist. She used to scare me. She would forbid me from taking shoe covers from her desk as they are reserved for visitors. Then she started taking down my number because I had no extension and there were always people looking for me. Sometimes I feel bad for troubling her, even though it was her job. I learned her name later, much later.
30 weeks later, approximately 150 working days, I made a call.
“Hi, can you help me dial this number to my university? I need to speak to my lecturer.”
“Is this a personal call? We charge for personal calls.”
“I’m not sure, but this has something to do with my internship.”
“Who is this?”
“Ooooh…. Wei Vern. OK lah, anything for you. Give me a moment.”
She’s not so scary after all. =)
(End of Part 3)