Seoul-ful Adventure


After so many years of watching K-dramas and dreaming of going to Korea, we finally got the chance to fly in for a 4-day weekend getaway. The AirAsia Premium Flatbed was a comfort for an almost 7-hour flight. Finally, arrived @ Incheon International Airport. Well decorated, systematic and you’d be pleasantly surprised to listen to recorded home-language greeting when you presented your passport at the immigration. 


I was delighted to discover that we could choose to take a limousine bus to our hotel. I’ve always preferred moving around with public transport like the train, bus or simply walking if the distance isn’t too far. Walking around the city is the best! We’ll get to see more by walking and exploring the streets. 


The public limo bus was rather spacious and clean inside. A 50-minute ride from airport to the hotel, and they offered mags to read too! Relieved to see that there was always someone standing by to help load the bags and unload them upon arrival. It stopped right at the hotel. How convenient! 

Checking in was smooth. We were shown to a waiting lounge while waiting for our turn to check-in.

The room at the new wing was spacious. Just nice and cosy for the 3 of us. Simply lovely! The children, as always, would enjoy the bubble bath. Off to Lush for supplies!


Mainly, we explored the streets in Myeongdong, Namdaemun market and Namsan N Tower. All within walking distance. Boy, did we go crazy over the cosmetics shops! Another place to grab for foodstuffs would be the Lotte mart. Lots of snacks and everything was delicious!


The weather was so lovely. Sunny, windy and cold. Temperature was around 15degC to below 10 at night. Windy throughout the day and night. Our noses, ears and hands were freezing. Eyes and lips drying. However on the day of our departure, it showered in the early morning and then cloudy with temperature at 8degC in the afternoon.

I liked the foodcourts here. The whole exercise was : Select your food and pay at the cashier. We’re given the buzzer. Collect the food at the stall and after eating, return the food tray to the respective stall. There’s a drinking water station with sterilized cups and it’s complimentary. The floor attendants would wipe the tables ensuring everyone returned their trays and throw rubbish into the bins provided for. That’s great isn’t it? Wish it’s done the same way in my home country. 

If you can’t speak Korean, there is still chance of “survivorship” here. Mandarin is widely spoken in retail shops, restaurants and by stall operators. If you speak neither languages, like me, then there’s going to be an issue. Fortunately, I had my children with me. They became my translators (Mandarin – English) and in exchange I was their banker (LOL!). 

It was a wonderful weekend well-spent. Not long enough to explore more places in Seoul, but just nice to satisfy my curiosity. I had a fabulous experience, especially the food! Now, back home. Rain greeted us when we landed. Temperature at 20degC. Nice! Next, need to exercise to burn the excess weight….oh noooo! 

Back to work and school/classes for children. Gonna be busier than usual as I’m left with just this month to complete my cases or handover those W.I.P. ones before I leave the firm for good. 

Just before we flew back home, the children said to me, “Mom, no more weekend getaway or flying for a while, ok?”….but my traveling engine has just warmed up! Oh boy!
Cheers,

AliceN.

Retirement?


After working for 28 years, and the last 17 years growing in the financial industry, I’ve finally decided to retire from it. Those who heard about it couldn’t believe that I’m “retiring” from the works…which I’m so passionate about. My chidren till today still continue to ask if I’m really, really, really retiring (LOL!). I guess they are concerned about what I’d do with my time and myself. Never in their growing years have I stopped working. Not even during my confinement – when I worked from home/bed. 

Some colleagues who knew about my past attempts to quit from the firm thought I’d stay again when the shareholders chat with me. I was offered to freelance at the firm on specific (to my expertise) cases too. Nope, not this time. The 4th time is for good. And yes, I do agree that it is such a waste now that my knowledge and skill will not be put to good use to help clients plan for their generational wealth preservation strategies. It’ll be the consultation, advice, mediation and interaction with clients which I’m going to miss the most. 

What’s next? 

1. To complete my long outstanding thesis so that I can finally graduate with my MSc (Finance);

2. Spend more time with my family. Right, time to be more motherly and homely. Learn new recipes, learn to bake, etc;

3. Perhaps, try my hands on some e-biz or something;

4. Actively blogging;

5. PhD in Psychology? I’ve always have interest in social psychology, not the clinical kind;

6. Let Go and Let God. Can’t really plan for everything. 

No worries, guys. I won’t end up being a couch potato nor an ahjummah chasing after the next episode of Korean dramas. My back can’t take sitting on the couch for so long. More time to meet up with friends and have a cuppa or two. 

Focusing more on health too, keeping stress to the minimal. Scheduling a minor surgery for beginning of the year. Having more quality and relaxing lifestyle. I should be cutting down on a lot of “works” and just be as laid back as possible for 2017. Traveling will still remain on my list. 

So, what is retirement to you? Mine is to complete what I can’t when I’m running from one place to another when working….from gainfully employed full-time for the first 11 years of my career to working on contract for the next 17 years. Once those are completed, I’m sure I can find something, which I enjoy doing. Lecturing? Training? We’ll see how it turns out next year. 

Retirement to me doesn’t mean stop everything and sitting in front of the TV or going to spa treatment whole day long or shopping with friends. There’s more to life than just that, I’m sure. I’m still young therefore I shall make full use of my youth and time to do what I’ve always wanted to achieve, for my family and I. I used to answer people that there is no such thing as retirement because life has got so much to offer. Why must we stop moving and growing? Instead, we can choose to move and grow at our own pace and that is retirement. The brain is still active. The body is still young. The mind is matured, experienced and knowledgeable. 

So, with effect from December 2016, I’m unemployed and a “young” retiree (wink). Let’s see how I survive it (LOL!)
Cheers,

Alice N.

Say what?


Communicating clearly is important to ensure smooth delivery of your message across to the other party. For the listener/message recipient, do listen attentively or read the message carefully so that no part of it is misunderstood. If unclear, it is always wise to ask for further clarification or verification. 

I’ve personally misunderstood statements and messages sometimes. It happened when I misread them or having the wrong perception or being a tad too quick to jumping to conclusions. I’m sure, I’m not alone in this.  We are either busy, on the move, or multi-tasking that we can’t focus on the matter in hand. We put ourselves through some embarrassing moments before we learn to be more careful. 

That is the reason why I often remind my children, to ask the right question to the right person so that they will get closer to the right answer. When unclear, please ask for an explanation. This simple act makes a lot of difference especially in avoiding unnecessary misunderstandings. Besides, by asking questions, we get to slow down to think before we react. 

I observed that most conflicts started from mere words? Tone of voice used actually plays a part in it, especially when people are sensitive towards one another. Some words were spoken carelessly, some were misunderstood due to language barrier or mental block. Firstly, we must understand that no two persons can perceive one message exactly the same way, not even a set of twins. People see things from the way they feel at that particular state of mind. Feelings affect the way we process information received. For example, we are more forgiving and optimistic in a happy mood.

One of the 7 Habits written by Stephen Covey is “Seek to understand then be understood” is the best way to communicate with one another. I liken it to “taking one step back, to gaining two steps forward”, especially during confrontation, conflict resolution, negotiation, mediation, or during an argument. It is more manageable when we put our ego aside. Ego can block the right message from reaching us just because we don’t like the way it was delivered. Ego also puts us in a state of denial because we always think that we can do or say no wrongs.

Being trapped in a rat race, people are multi-tasking more now than ever or seemed preoccupied. Most of us here belong to the sandwich generation, whereby we tirelessly  strive to make our lives better by providing for ourselves, the growing children and ageing parents.

Juggling with work and family matters round the clock can make us physically and emotionally drained resulting in roller coaster mood swings. Could it be due to the stress that we are being more impatient and short tempered? I noticed tempers flare like firecrackers these days. It is as if everyone is a walking time bomb. What an emotional mess we are in!

Anyway, regardless how easy or tough your life or day is, remember to filter the words before they are spoken. Sift through the words and thoughts. Do they make sense? If you need to re-read the sentences or re-run the train of thought, do so. All it takes is mere seconds, but it saves one from making a fool out of oneself. 

Remember to be more careful when sending words out of our mouths and fingers. Let us not hurt others with them. Let our words be encouraging, motivating and inspiring. 

Cheers,

Alice N.