In less than 24 hours, we will be in the new year! (Who is not excited?)
It’s time to sit down, relax, and recall some good (or not good) memories in 2019. It’s probably your last chance to be honest with yourself this year.
There were, of course, things we did that we should not have done as well as things we did not do that we should have done. Both had definitely happened to me and, even though there’s a little regret, I accept that as part of my learning and growing process. Let bygones be bygones and keep moving forward!
As I write these things down, I am amazed that God has done so many beautiful things more than we (my wife and I) requested and imagined. Thankfully, this year I developed a habit of writing daily activities on a journal-like fridge calendar. So, without further ado, here are our highlights in 2019:
January: Nothing special in the New Year (honestly I forgot how I spent the first day of the year). But of course I remember the 2th and 4th because it was my birthday and my dad’s. Special events? It was my first time ever to participate in blood donation (see Canadian Blood Services if you are interested). And then I also joined a short course entitled An Introduction to Oil and Gas Development: From Exploration to Production on campus. What did I learn from this workshop? Don’t ask me, I only remembered getting the certificate. This month was also the start of Faith Bible Institute (FBI) Semester 1 and I am grateful that my wife also joined this program with me every Sunday afternoon.
February: A lot of social engagements, from church activities (Mission Conference, Family Sport and Game Night) to campus activities (preparation for Research Day, Industry Night, 3MT Heat) as well as some other gatherings (Chinese New Year’s lunch and Caregroup meetings). My school weeks were occupied by the course assignments (Mathematical Operations in Chemical Engineering) where I got to learn MATLAB software again after over 10 years, in addition to my research and teaching duties. This month I also had my passport renewal and attended Pathways to Professorship seminars. My weekends were mostly filled with reading the FBI assignments, but on Valentine’s weekend we watched our first movie of the year, Alita: Battle Angel. It was quite fun!
March: Praise the Lord, my wife got her job interview at a new workplace and a week after, she started her new job. I finally participated in the 3MT Heat—it was my first time ever to deliver a short, three-minutes presentation about my research. My weeks were still filled with study, research, and teaching activities and Sundays with FBI classes. On a weekend, we did our first hike of the year with some church friends at Lighthouse Park. We were excited for Spring because that meant the time for more hikes. Thank God!
April: Finally the school term and final project were done. I was quite satisfied with the grades. It’s time to give back to the community, so I joined the Graduate Student Club (GSC) of the department and was chosen as the Graduate Student Society Representative. A week prior to that, we had Indonesian general election and it was my second time to vote for the presidential election in a foreign country (the first time was in Seoul, Korea back in 2014). As for the research work, we submitted an abstract for the Electrochemical Society (ECS) conference in October. This month we also celebrated Good Friday and Sunday Easter. FBI classes were ongoing as usual on Sundays with the 1 of 3 exams was done on the fourth Sunday.
May: As summer was approaching, more exercises were needed so I signed up for the ARC fitness on campus (even though I did not end up making the most of it). On the weekends, we had some chances doing more outings, including hikes to Lynn Canyon and St. Mark’s Summit, and a one-day trip to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. Some fun activities were having a BBQ party at a church friend’s house and watching a movie, Avengers: End Game. My research and study were still ongoing as I was preparing to submit a paper for journal publication; in the meantime, a hood construction project was finally done in the lab. This month I submitted the applications for my study permit and my wife’s work permit extensions. A special offer was given to contribute articles in Christianity.com and I felt both undeserving and privileged at the same time. It was, I believe, a spiritual blessing from the Lord to write more about Him. The remaining FBI exams were finally done, so we were having a summer break for about 4 months before the new semester.
June: I started this month by watching UEFA Champions League Final with some school friends. My paper was finally submitted, which unfortunately ended up being rejected after three days. A week after, we decided to submit it to another journal after some minor revisions. No break in research and study during this early summer. Some more weekend outings, including hikes to Stawamus Chief (thank God my wife made it too!) and Joffre Lake, and a trip to Whistler Village. My first article was published in Christianity.com—it is about Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Praise the Lord!
July: The beginning of this month was an intense hike to Panorama Ridge, Garibaldi. It was my third visit there (the first one was in October 2016 and the second one in August 2018) and it was challenging because I could not sleep well the night before. But, thank God, we (my friends and I) managed to reach the peak and get home safely (special thanks to Marshall Law who drove us all the way round). We spent some weekends watching movies like Spider-Man: Far From Home, Jurassic Park, and The Lion King. The second and third articles in Christianity.com were published online and the study and work permit applications were also finally approved. As for my research progress, the submitted paper was not rejected (thankfully), but it needed a major revision. In addition, I had a research poster presentation in the ECS-BC Student Chapter symposium on campus. On a side note, I signed up for DAZN, to live stream soccer matches of my favorite team, Inter Milan this 2019-2020 season and anticipate Euro 2020 next summer.
August: We celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary on the weekend of Civic Holiday. On the BC Day’s eve, we went to Porteau Cove with some friends and managed to take some shots on the starry sky. The fourth article on the holiness of God was published. Some activities on the weekends included Celebration of Light, Dragon Boating, and sight-seeing around Gastown and Chinatown. Early this month, I applied for the extension of my temporary resident visa (TRV) and it took around three weeks to get it done and retrieve my passport with the new visa. As a special blessing, I got a new phone and digital keyboard piano (thank God). The FBI class on Semester 2 resumed on the fourth Sunday. By the end of the month, my wife and I flew to Calgary for a church retreat. I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to help the music ministry again.
September: After the retreat, we had a one-day trip to Banff (it was beautiful, but too short—hopefully we can visit there again soon). During that trip, I heard from the editor of Christianity.com that the fifth article was published. Meanwhile, the revised research paper was resubmitted to the same journal. Since it was the start of the new term, my school weeks were expectedly occupied with teaching and research duties. Additionally, I spend most of the weekends for FBI homework, so it was overwhelming those days that I decided to go to a chiropractor for the first time ever. I had so many things on my plate. In my leisure time, I spent hours watching Inter Milan’s live soccer matches via DAZN. The good thing about living in North America is that you can watch European football games in the morning or afternoon, sometimes even during breakfast or lunch times.
October: We made an itinerary for our family vacation in Thailand the following month (November). In the midmonth I flew to Atlanta, Georgia to attend the ECS conference for 3 days and 2 nights. Just a moment after I arrived there, not-so-good news came to me: the paper needed another major revision (at that moment, it seemed almost impossible to work it out further for the acceptance). I could not really focus on my oral presentation, but thank God it went pretty well. I was quite nervous because the revision should be done before my two-week vacation. It took about three working days to revise the paper again after some discussion with my supervisors. In addition to this research work, I still had a responsibility to grade lab reports from the duties as a teaching assistant (and FBI assignments as well). Thankfully, I was enabled to tackle those duties after all. Despite all this pressure, I still had chances to celebrate my wife’s birthday with a dinner (thanks to all church friends who helped) and do some fun activities: trying Go Kart with friends and watching a movie, Maleficent 2. Prior to the latter, I attended another ECS symposium at Simon Fraser University and a departmental seminar with an interesting topic that was very relevant with my research.
November: This is probably the best month of all. Finally we had a vacation and visited Seoul (for the first time after 3 years) for about a week before another trip to Bangkok to meet our family there (they departed from Indonesia). I was so comforted to see our parents, brother, and sister again since the last time we met in summer 2017. The vacation was too short, but I felt energized after meeting with family and friends. When we’re back in Vancouver (thank God for His protection along the journey), I was excited to resume the work. Just a few days after, we (my supervisors and I) received a decision notice from the editor that the paper would be accepted after a minor revision. Exciting! It took me about two days to complete the requested changes and in less than 24 hours the paper was finally accepted after my supervisor submitted it back to the editor. Praise the Almighty! I wrote more of the story in another post.
December: Finally, we were in the final month of the year where the Christmas vibes were nearly everywhere. We had all three FBI exams this month and thankfully they all went well. We had some Christmas gatherings with church, school friends and co-workers. It was an eventful month (as expected) and we were honored to have dinner together with Pastor Russell Mackay who encouraged us spiritually. We also went to Vancouver Christmas Market again after the first visit two years ago. Due to the holiday season, my research and study works were slowing down, but the second paper was in preparation. A new abstract was already submitted to another ECS conference next year. We had a short trip to Nanaimo on Christmas’s eve until the Christmas day (thanks to a friend who gave us a free hotel admission)—it was a memorable visit because almost all the stores closed that we could hardly find a place for meals. On the Christmas night, we got a chance to make a short video, our first duet cover on Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. The last movie we watched was Knives Out and it was entertaining because we had a free dinner in the theatre (thank God, it was a happiness in little things). On the New Year’s eve, we simply stayed at home as it was raining outside—we cooked the meals for dinner together and prepared for the blessed new year.
So, this is my story in 2019. Thanks for reading and all the best in 2020.