Friday, June 14, 2013

Eleven: You're too old to be so shy.

So. Story behind me learning this song and obsessing over almost every song sang by Daughter:
I probably forgot to tell you this, but I recently started guitar class. Most of you might argue that I already know how to play the guitar and have been playing for the past four years, but I my sister went for class first and then said "I can't do both acoustic and electric, it's too much. Can you take my acoustic slot?" and I said "Okay".
The first song I learnt in class was 'Hey There Delilah' by Plain White T's. It wasn't too difficult because it was actually one of the songs I learnt by myself before, but never got to finishing the song until recently. Then, my teacher let me pick a song to learn and I was so excited. Since I was obsessing over Daughter, (they are really awesome although most of their songs are pretty sad, they're still awesome) I asked if he could teach me 'Candles'. I printed out the tab and brought it to class. Class only lasts 30 minutes, so by the time my teacher listened to the song and tried to figure it out and by the time I tuned my guitar down (because the song is not in standard tuning) 30 minutes was up and we didn't even get past the intro.
Then, I had a performance (which was so much fun) and so I skipped class. After that was term break and so for three weeks I was guitar class-less.
Then on Tuesday, which is when I have class I remembered I had to practice. So about an hour before class I started frantically trying to figure out the song because I had not practiced in three weeks. I managed to figure out where we went wrong; on the 5th string, I should've tuned it down to G instead of leaving it at A and that seemed to solve all of my problems with the song.
I got to class and before I finished playing the verse, my teacher stopped me said that he doesn't know how the song really sounds and therefore couldn't continue teaching it to me. (But I learnt the whole thing!) He said that loading the video on Youtube was too tedious and I should bring the song with me next time. The thing was that I don't download music illegally and I have yet to buy their album because they don't sell them at Rock Corner.
I spent the rest of the lesson learning 'Rolling In The Deep' by Adele instead.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Ten: TDC 15

It's 3 in the morning. Good morning! Time to update you on the happenings of... CAMP. 
To say that I enjoyed it would be a rather short and brief answer to say the least. Then again, as a long answer I could write you a book. Just to let you know, this was not one of those 'its-a-school-holiday-so-mum-shall-sign-you-up-for-every-possible-holiday-program-that-may-or-may-not-be-just-exploiting-you-of-not-only-your-time-but-also-your-money' situations. I went voluntarily. After my first experience of a camp that my parents didn't organise (which I had blogged about and carelessly forgot to click on the "publish" button but I remembered now, and you can read it HERE) I decided that I enjoyed the whole experience and would actually want to go again. I decided to call some friends to come with me, for it would guarantee way more fun that way. So almost all of us from the camp my parents organised came. When our forces combine, we have the ability to be a riot.
Because I had an audition to go to, I came late and conveniently avoided the awkward "Day 1" silence when nobody really talks to each other. First thing I had to do was to stick my face into a tray full of flour to get candy using only my mouth. Having my picture taken made it even more disconcerting. Okay, maybe I am overreacting a little. It was all really for good fun though.
Over the next few days, (inevitably) I had a lot of fun. And just like the other camp (if you haven't read my previous post...) it was packed full of activities. Puja and meditation was brief, and I really disliked meditation before this camp. I always found myself wandering corners of my mind during meditation that I didn't want to go to or getting distracted easily. Much to my surprise, I enjoyed this session quite a lot actually. We were instructed to visualise metta, or loving kindness as a light instead.
I made many new friends and many wonderful memories. I am so incredibly grateful to the committee and organisers for this camp, because I don't think I would be who I am now without these experiences.

Should've-posted-this-in-December-but-oh-well-here-it-is: YDC 21.

Buddhist camp: Five days. Four nights. Far away, with a bunch of strangers. What did I get myself into? I was afraid. Very much afraid. I don't see myself as a very religious person, but "Go hang out with people your age!" mom said. "It will be fun!", as I showed her the registration form my classmate, Cheryl passed to me the other day. In my head I didn't want to go. I decided to let fear decide and influence my decision. Then again... Face your fears right? So, I signed up. And I was dreading it a little.
I'm really confused right now trying to sort through exactly what happened those few days because our programs were filled to the brim each day and I'm trying to get the sequence of the activities right.
26th of December couldn't have come any faster. I scrambled to find a sleeping bag and packed as lightly as possible. I soon realized I had packed too little because everyone else had big huge bags and some of them even had wheels. I thought we were going straight to Dusun Eco but we were to spend the night here at the temple first. We were given a short introduction and ice-breaker sessions and then dinner. Talking to new people I have never met although we live a relatively close. I could almost hear my heart pounding. Then we were introduced to our groups. I'm terrible at remembering names, so thank goodness for name tags. The theme of this year's Youth Dharma Camp was the Dawn Of A New Self and we were given tribal group names. I didn't know what kind of new self I was about to discover from this camp though. The floor where we slept on was cold and hard but it was clean. And a little hollow. We spent the next few days in Dusun Eco, sleeping on double bunk beds complet with sand and bugs. An orchestra of insects sang for us the entire duration of the time. We played all sorts of games. The organizers made us run all over the place searching for clues. From the moment we woke until the moment we went to bed were filled with activities. Never have I been to a buddhist camp like that. We weren't given time to miss home. At all. We went from a bunch of strangers to good friends within the first few days. You could burst into song at any time in the day and you wouldn't be weird. How fun is that?
The second day, we were given a map of the place and were required to go to selected place to complete tasks to get materials to make a vodoo doll. My first thought was: why do we need to make a vodoo doll? I always found those things scary. We were supposed to go into the forest area and complete an obstacle course while two group members sang songs. And to get to that forest place we had to walk up and down many flights of stairs and steep hills. When we got there, we didn't see any obstacle course so we went back and retraced our steps. Turns out it was the right place after all but we had to go deeper into the jungle area. Okay. That wasn't too hard. Next one. Flip a coin. Each person had to flip only once and it had to be heads and then tails or you'll have to start again. Sounds easy, but we spent nearly an hour at that station. Then we had to fold paper planes and throw them down and it had to go through the hula hoop. Okay. Did that. Then we had to find bottles of marbles but only those with a particular number of marbles and the bottles were thrown into the water. Okay did that too. There was no time left to do the others so we couldn't get the very special coconut shell. But if all 8 teams got that, then it wouldn't be special, would it? So ours was really creepy with a balloon for a head, wrapped up in cloth and dripping with red paint for blood.
After this, I can't remember what we did on each day. In my head it all felt like one very long day. We played another game called 'The Game Of Life' which was essentially telling you how cruel real life is. We were given two main tasks and that was to help one group and to sabotage another. To do that, we needed money. To get the money, we had to complete projects but the team had to be confined to a specific area and only the leader was allowed to go about outside. It was a trick, I could feel it. I also realized everyone in the camp were all very strongly opinionated and not many were willing to listen to other's opinions properly. I knew we had to focus on what was important, which was to complete the main two tasks, but we got blinded by the money and the bribing and the other groups we shouldn't have made alliances with. So clearly, we lost but with an account full of money that we didn't spend properly.
There was also another workshop. We were taught that we have a choice. We have a choice to react and we have a choice not to react. It was about thinking and feeling how to not let your emotions take over, analyzing where they are influenced from, whether it's from the outside or from the inside, how you can choose not to be influenced or affected by them. I found it very fascinating but felt bad that so many of the participants were nodding off.
Next was a captain ball match. I like captain ball. Only this time there was a catch, its in the water. The freezing, ice cold water. Perfect for the accident prone people. One of the girls got a very bad cut on her toe from a tile in the pool and many of us got bruises that we couldn't remember how we got them.
We were also supposed to go for a night walk but it was raining so it got postponed and the new plan was to watch a movie and then go for the night walk. My guess was it was going to be some kind of buddhist movie like The Cup or something. Then the show started and it was a ghost movie. I hate any movie that is scary and it was by far the scariest movie I have ever seen in my entire life. Everything about that movie was scary, even the credits. As I'm typing this, the parts of the movie I watched with my eyes opened are flashing through my brain.
After that traumatizing event, the facilitators sent us out into the wilderness for a midnight game. With only one torchlight per group, we had to go to stations, at night and collect alphabets to form a few words. We were sent out one group at a time into the dark to search for these stations. I looked up to see the full moon shining hauntingly at us. The scenes of the movie were replaying in my head along with all the Criminal Minds episodes I had been watching before I left for camp. In my head I thought of all the ways we could've potentially been killed. Needless to say, I was terrified and so was everyone else. We walked up to the highest point to find someone standing alone staring at us like we were food, dressed up as some kind of ghost with her long hair covering her pale, blood stained face. Every station after that was either just as scary or worse. Mangled doll body parts were scattered and we had to search for them. We were chased by zombies with blindfolds and made to walk a suspension bridge. Can you imagine the fear that was running through my veins.
It ended up being a lot of fun and I'm home now, listening to my little brother's monologue of every single character's line in Spongebob, which means I have lived to tell the tale.
I'm home!