Part of The Journey (Part 1.1)

There were a couple of first for this week.

First, I attended my first counselling session. Then, I signed up for a parenting workshops for parents with special needs.

I have to be very honest that at the beginning I wasn't very sure if I should go even after I registered and got my space secured. The reason I signed up and the reason I tried to avoid going were actually contradicting.

The workshop was pretty well organized. While the parents were at the cafe, the kids were actually brought to a separate room, where volunteers planned out a whole lot of activities for them. Like story telling, art and craft, singing and dancing, and even a tea break for them.

It's a Saturday morning, that means I will be alone with my kids. The only reason that I can make it there was they have activities for kids and a group of full-of-love volunteers were caring for them. But it also became the reason I was afraid to go. At times my kids can be very attached to me, especially the younger one. So separated from me with a group of strangers might be too overwhelming for her.

But, the organizers were great. They did a little bit of background check, and found out that one of their teacher in childcare was actually volunteering! So they assigned my kids to her and the transition was as smooth as it can be.

Attending the workshop, is a new thing to me. And I'd say I am more amazed by the logistics and organization of the workshop than the content of sharing itself. How selfless are these people, to spend their weekends doing this for parents like me, just to reach out as an act of support.

As I shared with my friends after coming back from the workshop, I think attending the workshops do kinda put things in perspective for me. I realize I really don't have to keep so much anger in myself. Look at the people around, what they've done are truly amazing. One mom, she could actually joke about her son's condition like it's a normal ordeal. And one teenager, she's setting up support group for children who have special needs siblings.

How great are these people?

It's the passion after the workshop talking right now, but I think it's time that I have to slowly come out from my cave, eating myself into a true acceptance. And create more awareness.

My friends, they love me as they can but truly, without really went throught what I have, they actually do not understand how to react at times. So maybe, a small step would be share more with them. Awareness could start small, but it doesn't mean it's not important.

I'm glad I took two firsts this week. I acknowledge this to be lifelong, and I also acknowledge that there bound to be time I feel vulnerable and depressed, but there also times I feel pumped and passionate.

But nonetheless, I will survive.


The Journey (Part 1)

Again, I'm pretty sure nobody is reading, that's why I'm continuing here. Perhaps I should change the title of the blog, it is no longer about my photography hobby anyway...

After the weeks long of episodes of meltdowns by my son and myself, I finally made an appointment for myself at counselling center. Because it's getting clear that no matter what I did or did not do, my outburst of emotions did not improve. In fact, they got worse.

Funny as it is, even making a call seems to be a start of healing. Making a call seemed to be somewhat relieved, it's the first step I officiated this entire episode.

I went to the first session today. I was surprised by the overall coziness of the counselling center for a start. I guess the settings do help people to relax and talk more openly.

I've never been to any counselling session in my whole life. I did not know what to expect but I did know I will end up crying. Because open up yourself means facing your biggest pain. And also, while the counsellor puts things gently, with her soothing voice, it doesn't mean the reality is easy to take in.

She said, this reality will never change.

I laughed bitterly and told her, you're not comforting at all.

She encourages me on things I already knew, like continue pursuing of my dreams, because that helps in self worth and existential crisis in myself. And attend support groups, which I have had wrong perceptions about.

I am still considering about the support group, I guess I will.


A Dark Place

I have bad thoughts, sometimes I sink into my dark place and think of all the things I admit might not even happen in my future, but I'm scared as hell.

I thought of how in years to come, I still have to handle my son's meltdown in the public. (Let's face it, this is going to happen)

I thought of possibly in my 80s (if I were well and strong), I still have to take care of my son. And if I really want to have a holiday, I have to bring him along.

I thought of possibly I were not as healthy as I hope to be, who's going to take care of him? Will he be bullied? Will someone actually torture him?

I thought of how I am not mentally strong to handle this on daily basis, and breakdown and eventually do something stupid and regretful.

I thought of many things, I fear for many things.

When your days repeat itself, to the point sometimes you don't know the exact date, it can be scary. Everyday I do the same thing, with sole purpose to keep my children well fed and well kept. There's almost nothing to look forward for the day, except the moments after they go to bed. And you know, the next day, you're going to wake up with the same shit.

You know how people condemn stay at home mom? Thinking we're so free to do our things? Sometimes I condemn myself too. I have this crazy shit guilt that when I have a little time to myself, I tell myself it's not right, I shouldn't be free. I should be busy because my husband is working his ass off at work to provide a life for all of us. I shouldn't be relaxing. I feel guilty for having a time to myself. I'm very f888ed up.

I'm 36 this year. I've achieved nothing in my life. I was merely an engineer when I resigned to stay home. It didn't seem like the job has any prospect if I stayed. And sometimes I think I might continue to rot in the place if I didn't resign.

But at the same time, look at what resignation brought me? Nothing I'm proud of. Some people told me, don't worry, you're great, you gave birth to two kids, you take good care of them etc etc.

My sole identity--MOTHER.

I'm 36, I'm struggling to keep my mental strength at the bay, and I'm struggling to have an identity and I don't even know how.

I can't admit this to anybody. How do you tell people you're having all this crazy shit in your mind? So yeah I have friends but I hardly discuss this.

I wrote it here because I know, nobody is reading blog anymore. Even if you do, what are you going to do? I bet not asking me how I am doing. Because you do not know what to do when it gets awkward. Nobody like this kind of conversation.

I keep going because I cannot leave my daughter. I can leave my son, I can leave my husband, I can't leave my daughter. She's the best thing in my daily life (apart from coffee). But if I were given a choice to start over knowing what's the end, will I ever have kids? No.


The Californian Redwoods at Otways

Haven't been writing anything for more than a year. However, I decided to log in to my blog because of this Californian Redwoods.

Before I tried to do any homework for the trip, I thought all we'd do are endless oceans and beaches and capes. But as I read more and more, I realised there are more than ocean to that Great Ocean Road. There are forest, national parks and waterfalls.

And then, I stumbled upon photos of redwoods forest. Then I was hooked. Very hooked. However, I had my concerns too because I was bringing my two very young kids and I wasn't sure what was there to expect.

So I tried to find blogs, vlogs, official site of Great Ocean Road etc, but information given was mostly very basic and brief. I left a few comments here and there on Youtube videos, and PM certain accounts which showed they've recently been there. But only one very kind person reached back to put me at ease.

So, here I am to write some information about this very beautiful forest.


  1. Plan to go in the morning, when it's bright. The road to redwoods forest is winding, and the last 15-20 mins of the journey is gravel, so do plan to do this in the morning for your own safety.
  2. While four wheel drive is not required, it's a good to have.
  3. It's about 40 mins drive from Apollo Bay
  4. You can plan it with Twelve Apostles if you depart from Apollo Bay (or Marengo Bay for us) in the morning.
    Our initial plan was to take Binns Road to the forest in the morning, and then continue with Binns Road and Beech Forest Mount Sabine Road (C159) to Twelve Apostles.
    (Note: We didn't do it as plan because the weather wasn't on our side, so we actually did a return trip of Redwoods Forest to Apollo Bay on our last day and continued our journey back to Melbourne.)
    If you do take this route Apollo Bay-Redwoods Forest-C159-Twelve Apostles, do make sure you have packed simple lunches for yourself. The only stop that might have food is Princetown. (Do your research before you go!)
  5. The GPS in the forest disconnects easily. So do save the route in your mobile phone so that it's available offline. Save yourself from being panic
  6. Try not to go if it's raining or it has been raining a lot prior to the day you plan to visit.
  7. You can also make a turn to Hopetoun Falls, we didn't do it because time was tight.
  8. Drive slowly, you might spot a wild koala crossing the road! Like we did =)
Hope you enjoy this place as much as we did. You'll find a lot of peace in the forest. When we were there, at one time there were only max 5 cars of tourists. So it's quiet and serene. 


Beyond The Overloaded Cuteness

Her cuteness is just overwhelming!

I spent a lot more time with my second child than any other human being in this world. I teach her everything she's interested in, I spend my time making sure she runs around, mess around as much as she likes. I try my best to make sure she has a happy childhood, and not a lonely one.

Sometimes I watch her sleep, and I told myself I'm such a lucky mother to have her. Before her, I was a mess. I spent a lot of time having emotional roller coasters, crying and stressing over how I should handle my first child and what future is like for him.

When I was carrying her, I made sure my emotion was as stable as it could be. I didn't want to cause her any damage from the starting line. And now that she's communicating in her baby way, I no longer feel that I am talking to the wall the whole day. I am finally getting responses, even though not from both kids.

Sometimes I feel worried for her, does she feel lonely when the big brother doesn't want to play with her? Did I put too much invisible stress on her for hoping that she will be the one who leads the big brother for more and better progress? Do I sometimes neglect her needs of being a small baby for more cuddling and pampering because I have to focus on the elder one?

I find it hard to find a balance. On one hand, I am afraid of putting on too much attention playing with her and neglect the non communicating brother. On another hand, I am afraid that I give in to the brother more often than her, that will result her to feel neglected. And often, I fall in the the pit we call "mom guilt" and it sucks.

Beyond this cuteness, I'm always worried if anything I do or did wrongly would damage her one way or another. And most of all, sometimes I have a strong feeling that, I cannot lose this child. She is the most important thing to me.


Over The Years

It's been a while since I blog, and sometimes I wonder who are still blogging. With so much social media, blogging is hardly a thing anymore.

But I still want to keep my blog, I take it as a public diary. A record of my growth.

And today, I want to record a little about myself.

When I was single, no kids, when I was an engineer, I had this thought that bothered me a lot. Was I going to be in this job forever? I didn't hate my job (I might hate some of aspects of the jobs, and.... some people??!!), but since a long time ago I always wanted to have a job, that I could wake up, cracking up work in my pajamas and a hot cup of coffee at my own dining table.

Engineer, was not the answer for me.

But I was lazy, I procrastinate(d), I was too comfortable in my job, I put the thought at the corner of my mind. Only examined it occasionally, not enough to start an engine to push myself.

So the thought sat for a while.

Then one day, I told my friend I was afraid. What if one day, I got married with kids and I blamed them, telling them they're the reason I sacrificed myself and didn't achieve what I wanted to do, what I wanted to be.

My friend said I was having a quarter life crisis, I thought I was.

Then, I started to be a little bit more serious about this thought of mine.

I took a short course of introduction to journalism. I didn't want to spend a lot of money in a part time course in something I wasn't sure. So I took a cheap one, short one, and as you can guess, cheap and high quality are mutually exclusive of each other, the course wasn't fantastic. But I learned that I have my limitations in this field. My language. My vocab. My grammar. They're all so messed up.

Journalism wasn't for me. But I was glad I tried, I even bought a book to improve vocabulary for daily practice. (And then I stopped....)

Then things sat around for a long time. I planned my wedding, I got married, we bought a house, we took care of the renovation, I got pregnant, I gave birth and I quitted.

When I finally got the rhythm of my daily life with my elder child. I started to play with food photography. I always like photography. I always travel with my DSLR. And before I had my children, I sometimes go for walks with my DSLR, just to snap and practice. As I was playing with food photography, I again realised my limitations.

Food photography needs a lot of set up. I don't have so much space for a set up at my small little home. My home is filled with toys, books, play yard etc. Besides, I need to prepare and learn food styling. Which was almost impossible!!! I only have a window of 1.5hour averagely to do cleaning, preparing the food, taking photographs, eating the food, cleaning up, showering. It's a mission impossible.

And so, I started to tuck my stuffs away again...

Then I was pregnant for the second time. During the pregnancy I had to spent 9 hours a week out of the house, waiting for my son to finish his class. During that time, I started to pick up hand lettering and drawing. And I realized, that's somethingI can do. I can do it for half an hour in the afternoon, and continue the rest at night, or tomorrow, or even after a week. I can work on it on computer. I can work on a minimal tools (a black brush pen and paper). I can do just drafting. I can.... Time can by easily planned. If I'm disturbed in the middle of my work, it's frustrating, but it's fine. I can continue.

When I first started, the letters and spaces were very poorly planned. I didn't control the brush very well too!

While these still need a lot of improvements, but I'm happy I actually made some progress. Look at the same quote at bottom left, I'm happily giving it away to the person who inspired me to write the quote as a gift. She's my boss, she's always been inspiring and encouraging. 

So now, I'm being one of the most greedy person in the world, trying to learn everything, doodle, hand lettering, watercolour, design on Illustrator. Reading bits and pieces, browsing Instagram and Pinterest.

I wish this time, this will really bring me somewhere I wanted to be. I promise myself I'll work for it.

Some time ago, I wrote in my personal diary (Yes, I still keep one even though I hardly wrote anything), 为不是妈妈的自己加油。