Saturday, 31 December 2016

After Apple-Picking - 31 Dec 2016

"After Apple-Picking" is a poem by Robert Frost. It's hard to put down in a short post what we had been through in 2016. It has been an intense year, a year of many crossroads in our natural and spiritual lives. We're not at liberty to share these personal moments here, perhaps this poem can do a far better job to express our minds, emotions and feelings in much more than words and what the pictures painted. We're still going through many of those issues, and the hour is late.....

My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree 
Toward heaven still, 
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill 
Beside it, and there may be two or three 
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough. 
But I am done with apple-picking now. 
Essence of winter sleep is on the night, 
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off. 

I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight 
I got from looking through a pane of glass 
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough 
And held against the world of hoary grass. 
It melted, and I let it fall and break. 

But I was well 
Upon my way to sleep before it fell, 
And I could tell 
What form my dreaming was about to take. 
Magnified apples appear and disappear, 
Stem end and blossom end, 
And every fleck of russet showing clear. 

My instep arch not only keeps the ache, 
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round. 
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend. 
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin 
The rumbling sound 
Of load on load of apples coming in. 

For I have had too much 
Of apple-picking: I am overtired 
Of the great harvest I myself desired. 
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch, 
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall. 
For all 
That struck the earth, 
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble, 
Went surely to the cider-apple heap 
As of no worth. 

One can see what will trouble 
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is. 
Were he not gone, 
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his 
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on, 
Or just some human sleep. 

Musings: End of high school

Posted by Joshua

2016 has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride- to me at least. This year will always remain especially close to my heart, not just because of the places I've been to or the things I did, but also because of the memories and friends made in my final year of high school. It has been an incredible journey so far, and as much as I look forward to the future, there's a huge part of me wishing that I could turn back time to start it all over again... (but I would remove the part about exams if I could)

A sweet birthday to a year of many flavours. 16 years have passed by in a flash... and my family were always there for me throughout. They have all seen me at my best and my worst, and I'm so thankful for each and every one of them, for their bottomless love and care. Including Cookie, our Miniature Pinscher.

I'm also very thankful for my friends and teachers who have stuck through thick and thin on our journey. On the way we learned that it was never the exams, but the people around us that mattered most. I cherish the moments we spent together, even the small ones - like eating breakfast in the canteen. As we go our separate ways, I hope that the time spent together will always be remembered.

What was once the quietest class in school quickly turned into the noisiest batch of students, and I'm proud to have been part of it.

Prom 2k16... a brilliant and memorable end to an even greater journey. By the way, I didn't tiptoe.

We're all winners in the end. Farewell to all of you, and the least I can do is to wish you all the best in the future, and thank you for being part of my journey. May our friendship not end here, but maybe only the beginning.

End of a chapter,
Beginning of another.
Colourful and amazing it has been,
and there'll never be a side,
with grass as green.

EUnited in Tanarimba - 24 December 2016

It's a beautiful wedding for a very lovely couple. It's outside of the norm, in the mountains that served as the scenic backdrop, on a perfect cool morning (after a whole day rainfall the day before which caused many to reconsider the outdoor setting!), and the party that lasted from morning till past midnight, with friends and companies that we had enjoyed, surrounded by nature and with so much planning and thoughts put in every detail to make it a dream wedding and with the festive year end mood, on a Christmas eve!

Picture perfect classic car that's more than 5-decade old driven by my husband.

Cheers to the bride and groom from the Purestream Fellowship!

Beyond all the party and dance, we celebrated the union of a couple that put God first in their lives and their love for one another and for Christ has been a great testimony that blessed many hearts. It's indeed a beautiful story, and we wish them a Christ-centered lifetime together.

A gift to remember

Derrick has been my PenPal for 4 years already. This year was very different. It was his birthday and I decided to take the extra mile. I decided to give him a Birthday present, a gift he will remember and cherish.

In the present, I gave him an enormous Birthday Card, a stationary set and a pair of Chinese chopsticks! My mother helped me to post it. Since Derrick's house had no mailbox, a kind friend helped to deliver the present to him. When Derrick received it, he was overjoyed!

I hope all PenPals will do the same and I will never forget this experience!

Roaring waves of Pacific - 15-22 Dec 2016

So much has been written about the natural beauty at Yehliu Geopark, Taipei. We're so mesmerised by the breaking waves hitting the shore, like an invisible artist at work in the Pacific Ocean.

 Shaping, sculturing the rock landscape at this amazing geopark.

All in waiting to capture the best moments of the roaring waves crashing into the "Sea Candles"

"I heard or seemed to hear the chiding Sea
Say, Pilgrim, why so late and slow to come?
Am I not always here, thy summer home?
Is not my voice thy music, morn and eve?
My breath thy healthful climate in the heats,
My touch thy antidote, my bay thy bath?
Was ever building like my terraces?
Was ever couch magnificent as mine?
Lie on the warm rock-ledges, and there learn
A little hut suffices like a town.
I make your sculptured architecture vain,
Vain beside mine. I drive my wedges home,
And carve the coastwise mountain into caves.
Lo! here is Rome and Nineveh and Thebes,
Karnak and Pyramid and Giant's Stairs
Half piled or prostrate; and my newest slab
Older than all thy race."
- Seashore by Ralph W.Emerson

A long, beautiful formation of "Tofu Rocks" showing us the 'frolic architecture' (borrowed from Ralph W.Emerson) of the waves.

Getting around Taipei like a local - Brandon

Posted by Brandon:

My family and I went on real thrilling adventure to Taipei. Taipei was a remarkable city. It had cars, trains, taxis, vans and other vehicles to be at your service when you want to travel around. The weather was extremely cold on the first few days we arrived. 

We went to various places in Taipei. Like the Chiang-Kai-Shek Memorial Park, a VAST place were you could relax in the park. The hospitality and service there was excellent. Their cleanliness was also good and wherever you go, you wouldn't find a bit of rubbish. I think Taipei is a place where you can relax and play sports where ever you want. 

Taipei's exotic food is a must eat. Sausages, noodles, taro balls, paus and any other food you can think of can be eaten there. My favourite food or snack was the famous black pearls, a edible chewy pearl-like ball. Most of the places we went was just to enjoy and savour the food. Like the Raohe St. Night market, where we where introduced to the delicious jelly and Pau. We also went to Jiufen, a small busy hill, where I first tasted the black pearl. We also bought most of our Christmas presents there.

Taipei's nature is very beautiful. There is not one place where you cannot see plants and trees. There are always birds, animals,trees and nature surrounding you. We went to Yeliu Park, a place where you can find sculptures formed by the waves, tides and currents of the Pacific Ocean. It is like an invincible sculptor shaping the rocks. We also went to Taroko Gorge, a gorgeous gorge located deep in the mountains. The currents was very fast. It was amazing to know that a river actually cut through the mountains to form a gorge! It was truly a marvellous experience!

I felt doleful when it was time to leave Taipei, but I knew I will certainly visit this place again when I grow up.

A Yehliu's rock replica ?
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