An Ordinary Life

What I do, what I think

Work and Passion April 30, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — reneewong @ 5:22 pm

It’s so hot!!

Yes, that’s completely irrelevant to what I want to write about today, but I thought I should just let that out of my system first because the weather for the past few days has just been unbearable. And I’ve been sick for the past two weeks – I realise that it’s my biennial chronic cough. I take a long holiday overseas once every two years in the month of April. Those years when I don’t, I get this cough that lasts forever. Two years ago, it started in May and I was still coughing in December of that same year. I hope that I get over this soon enough. It’s annoying if nothing else.

So I’ve been screaming out loud about my need for a new job for the past month now, but the actual job search is more of a whimper. I have applied for 3 jobs, two of which only happened in the past 36 hours. I think the problem is that I don’t know what I want to do. Or rather, I didn’t. But now I do! And well, it’s none of those jobs which I’d thought I wanted and applied for.

Sometimes it’s best to go back to the beginning. What makes me happy? Learning new things, travelling, my dog. What am I good at? Languages. What industry am I currently in? Education. When you put all these things together, what should I do? Teach dogs to speak English. No, I’m just kidding. If anything, the dog is a problem but she is the joy of my life, so I’ll have to work something out. Probably come up with a compromise. It’s back to the same thing that I’ve been wanting to do for the past few years – TESOL. Except now it’s going to be complicated coz I’m supposed to be getting married.

I’m not sure if I’m really cut out for marriage. I don’t want kids, I think monogamy is a sham and I obviously do not want to settle down. Every once in a while, I realise that I’ve been brainwashed by Singaporean standards of normality which I had managed to shake off while overseas.

Anyway, as it turns out, I might not be quitting my job anytime soon after all. I need to get my TESOL certification first. All along, I had been telling myself that I shall save up and then do it overseas. I now realise that that’s never going to happen because I have never saved a cent in my life, and with my current priority of clearing my credit card debts, I’m not about to start. So, I need to do it now, and I will do it here. It’s the “what happens after?” that’s the issue.

I talked to Sniffles last night and he actually wants to do it too. Of course he would never even imagine doing such a thing if I never existed in his life. Strangely enough, I see our relationship as a mirror of my relationship with my ex, but with the roles reversed. I hope I don’t end up retarding his life, coz I see my ex as my life retardant – if I had not met him, I wouldn’t have wasted so much time doing “unconventional” things, and I certainly wouldn’t be working where I am now, and wouldn’t be stuck in this rut. Knowing me though, I’ll probably be in some other rut – divine discontent – that’s my curse.

Anyway, when I spoke to him about it yesterday, I saw it as a long term plan because if he wants to do it too, we should spend the next few years at our current jobs, where we’re earning a decent wage, and save. The plan then was to do the TESOL course overseas, but now that I’m planning to do it here, we shall have to talk about it again. In any case, I’m not about to quit my current job before clearing all my debts, which I foresee will take me about half a year, if I’m good.

Ok, I’m going to end this here because I can feel myself melting in all ways – from the heat, and my cough medication which is making my hands go all limp – and the rest of me too. Brain fogging over…


Lost and Found April 15, 2008

Filed under: dog — reneewong @ 1:43 am

My dog went missing today. I left her in the yard, not for the first time. But for the first time, she actually saw me walk out of the gate without her. Her first reaction was to follow, so she tried to sneak under the gate, but then she got distracted by something and went towards the house and I walked off. That happened at 8.40pm.

Sniffles and I got home about an hour later and she was gone. We called and called for her but there was no response. Actually, the moment I opened the gate, I sensed that she wasn’t there because usually, at the sound of the gate, she will run to welcome whoever is there.

That started us on an hour-long search, and somewhere along the way, we enlisted the help of the housemate and her girlfriend. At around 11pm, my mobile rang and a woman’s voice went, “Are you looking for your dog?”

I had prayed, really prayed that she would be found. A lot of thoughts went through my head as I was wandering around the estate looking for her. At the sight of the first person I saw, I knew that she couldn’t be nearby because she loves people too much, not to mention other dogs. She would have jumped onto the first person and made friends, and if that person had wanted to return her to her rightful owner, the person would have called me already. There is a mental checklist that I went through, and I’m not sure if all dog owners who lose their dog go through the same thoughts. First, I was glad that there wasn’t roadkill in the shape of a small white furry mound and I started viewing all moving vehicles with fear, especially those moving exceptionally fast. Second, I started wondering which of the neighbours have decided to keep her as their own. Third, I started envisioning the missing posters that I would slot into each and every mailbox around the estate and wondered how many that would be. Then, I started imagining what it would be like to never hold my dog again, and thinking about getting a replacement, complete with what I would name her. Except that there could be no replacement. And then I started seeing this as a parable about being lost and found and how each lost sheep is precious to the shepherd. It was a powerful message.

I prayed that she would be found, that whoever had found her will restore her to me.

“Can you describe what kind of dog it is?”

“I was downstairs walking my Schnauzer with my husband when we saw this small dog.”

“She’s very dirty and hungry.”

“We waited 30 minutes to see if someone would come and claim her.”

“Huh? I’m at Jurong.”

That was the clincher. I live in Serangoon Gardens. For non-Singaporeans, let’s just say that Jurong and Serangoon Gardens are separated by a 15-minute car ride on an expressway if you’re travelling at the 90km/h that my housemate was driving at.

I wish my dog could talk. Maybe she could confirm some of our theories. Did she jump onto some pick-up truck and stowaway halfway across the island? Was she dognapped to be made into some tasty dish for any of the many foreign construction workers in the neighbourhood who then proceeded to dump her when she started throwing up and hyperventilating? (Besides asthma, the dog also has motion sickness half the time in car rides.) Was she dognapped to be sold or held for ransom, but then abandoned because she started coughing and retching? Did some uncle want to keep her for his son but changed his mind when it became obvious that she’s unwell? See how the various scenarios paints her illness as her one saving grace?

She’s sleeping at my feet now. She dreams. I wonder what she’s dreaming of.

The people who found her were true dog lovers. They fed and bathed her. She proceeded to pee on their slippers when she saw Sniffles. That confirmed her identity.

She’s really none the worse for the wear. She doesn’t look like she suffered any separation anxiety at all and is her usual self.

I just thank God.