Thursday, December 4, 2008
Anyway this particular Sunday, one of the girls started to tear up a bit, and her mom just swooped her up in her arms and although she still had tears in her eyes, you could tell that she wasn't anxious anymore and felt secure in her mother's arms. That's when I realized that in the same way, God never wants to see us hurt or scared and He only wants the best for us.
I mean yeah, of course I knew that before, but my thoughts and actions didn't reflect that truth. There's been so many times where I've taken over the wheel and tried hurrying things along, because nothing seemed to be happening and I was getting anxious.. when I really just needed to sit back and let Him work things out in His perfect way and timing.
Like this job thing. It's driving me nuts, because I know He wants me to stay here, but I haven't the slightest idea of when/what/where/how....and I want to know so badly so I can plan things out, but I can't, because I don't know! I really admire people with great faith-it definitely takes a LOT to believe in the unseen.
Monday, November 24, 2008
there's been a lotta crazy stuff happening lately.. and after much struggling, going back and forth from being fully confident that God will provide a job for me to being overwhelmed by the nature of the music therapy field, i finally made the decision yesterday to lay down my roots here and let go of everything and just trust Him.
so tonight, my friend Lina called me out because she couldn't eat @home. we went to dinner around Kits and then took a walk afterwards around the beach. after walking for a bit, i noticed a sign on the ground, leaning against the pole, and then Lina told me we could pick it up after we finished walking. i kept thinking about it as we walked, slightly worried that someone else might pick it up before we did, since there were some people walking their dogs etc. anyway, Lina proceeded to tell me that God already has a job for me, and it is confirmed, because as she prayed for it, God was asking her why she was still praying for it because it's already been done! she didn't tell me until tonight, because of some personal issues, but it was totally God's timing, because i might not have been able to receive that as openly if i were to have heard it before while i was still struggling. she also said that when i was telling her about my anxiety around my job situation, she felt that it wasn't even an obstacle i had to jump over, but i just had to step over it!hahahah.. it definitely didn't seem like that to me, but i believe that's the last of it, and now i just need to face my parents.
after walking for about 15-20mins, we went back to her car and then picked up the sign BAHAHAHAHAH! it was definitely a sign from God, because why would there be a sign just sitting on the ground..and it was by the beach too, my absolute favourite place to be in the city, and partly why i fell in love with Vancouver...and now i actually own a part of it! haahahah. i think it's pretty significant, because i don't have anything i own here.. unless you count my bed and clothes? but wow God is just so ridiculously crazy, it was like He just gave it to me-easy as pie, and all i needed to do was take it! and now i really believe that anything is possible.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
that's only half of what she prayed, but i barely even know her and the Holy Spirit used her to bring things to the surface and open my eyes.
pretty ridiculous right? that's God for you!
Thursday, July 17, 2008
when i heard about people moving away or friends leaving as i grew up, i always thought to myself that i'd never be one of those people; i could never move from Toronto and leave all my friends! but now that i've tasted and seen the west coast, i've slowly changed my mind.
i was really homesick recently, when i heard about things that were happening back home, and as much as i longed to be home, i had no means to do it, since home wasn't just an hour and half drive away anymore like when i lived in Waterloo. i hadn't been this homesick for a really long time-usually it's just a moment here and there triggered by reminders of home, but this time i even thought about moving back. as much as i miss my family and friends in Toronto, it was hard to imagine myself being back; i couldn't really see where i 'fit in' anymore. which further confirms my decision to stay here (as long as i find a job) because moving back didn't appeal to me, even when i felt extremely homesick.
this past year has been full of new experiences, adventures, challenges, learning, and growth, but overall, it has been a journey of discovering God in fresh and new ways, and a renewal of my relationship with Him. as my friend observed, God has been capturing my heart here in Vancouver. i have never felt so consistently loved by Him alone, and He has awakened my heart and my mind to understand old and new truths about His character. going to New Joy was the beginning of it all..my eyes have been opened to how BIG He really is, and how powerfully the Holy Spirit can move in our lives.
so although my parents have given me only until December to find a music therapy job, i have faith that God will provide, because i don't think my time is up here yet, which has also been affirmed by others. it's gonna take a lot to tear me away from the mountains and ocean here!
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
when i first arrived here in Vancouver, people told me that i wouldn't want to leave this place by the time i finished my internship, but i didn't believe them. actually, friends back home said that too.. but i was so sure i'd be returning to Toronto after a year, because i was leaving my family and all my closest friends behind-basically all the people i love and care about. i didn't think it'd be possible to live over 4,000km away from them for a year, much less over a year. i felt like a big part of me was missing without my friends-that i wasn't fully "me" without them. it was strange, meeting all these new people who knew nothing about me or my past-i felt a little lost, since everyone was connected in some way back in Toronto.
the first few months were the most difficult, but expected since i needed time to re-adjust to a new environment and people. when i came back to Vancouver after going home for Christmas, i was ready to fully experience life here, and i made a conscious decision to make the most of my time here by trying out all the city had to offer. and boy did God show me! He turned my heart around and blessed me with girlfriends and an amazing church community, who opened my eyes to see more of God...which were, looking back now, what i needed the most.
but God doesn't just give the minimum-He pours out His love in abundance! after going to the beaches here, i was completely hooked. summer didn't begin until july, but once it arrived, it has been sunny everyday except for maybe one or two rainy days at most! a record for the rainy city. but i've been able to go to the beach almost every weekend at least once-i just can't get enough of the ocean and the mountains.
it's as if life propelled forward since i came back after Christmas, and God turned it all around so quickly. now i don't want to leave-i'm having way too much fun here. guess you'll just never know what will happen when you walk forward in obedience. i came so that i'd be more independent and grow and discover more about who i am... i'm comfortable with doing things on my own now, actually even prefer it sometimes, which is surprising to me, since i love being with others. God has really blessed me here, and i don't want to leave anytime soon. His plans are so much bigger than my plans-who am i to fight that?
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -Jeremiah 29:11
Monday, June 2, 2008
besides having visitors, there's been a lot of things going on at church too.. there's been numerous healings (uneven legs becoming even, lactose intolerant people can drink milk now, bodily pains disappearing..) and it seems to be moving forward quickly.. when the pastor started praying for healing at church, and stuff began happening, i was really really taken aback, and skeptical and o_O since i've never known anything like that before.
but after today, i don't want to be afraid anymore. i don't want to be scared to experience all of who He is and i just want to see Him and act through the Spirit's power in me. i was praying for Him to fill me up, so that others may experience His power/presence through me.. and when the pastor's wife, sonya, prayed for me, and she said that God has already given me the power and the authority-i just need to claim it and be obedient to whatever He calls me to do.
interestingly enough, a few weeks ago, the pastor came to our cg to 'de-mystify' the recent happenings in our church, and to answer any q's we might have.. afterwards he prayed for each of us, and when he prayed for me, he said something about me being a woman of authority, and that i'll speak of things w/weight and authority. when i heard that i was kind of incredulous..me? having authority?! LOL.. i'm probably the last person to be that.. but in sonya's prayer today, she said that God uses anyone...soo who knows. i just need to do my part and let Him work through me. nothing to lose, but everything to gain.
it was just so good to pray and sit in His presence today. i felt so peaceful.. for a change, since i'm usually rushing around to one thing or another. i really can't believe it's june already. only a few more months until i'm done my internship i HOPE! and then maybe some travelling......i can't wait to see what He's got in store for me in the coming months :)
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
for more pictures of what i've been up to lately, click here: http://picasaweb.google.ca/tracy.kwan
Sunday, March 30, 2008
i really feel that God is calling me to stay here in Vancouver. He has blessed me beyond what i could ever imagine, and i've experienced Him in ways i never even thought of. going to New Joy has been an eye-opening experience for me, and it is home for me, even though i do not know 75% of the church, but God speaks to me there, each and every sunday. there is no denying of His power or presence-He is moving. i cannot even count the number of times i've broken down and cried during service because of what He convicted me of, in the deepest and inner parts of me, and spoke into my life. it is incredibly bone-chilling and i am left shaking in awe and wonder.
today was just like that. the sermon was on God's authority vs. the authorities we submit to here on earth...and keeping our eyes focused on the prize ahead, and forgetting everything... carrying the cross daily. i've been trying to shop less,
and not give into the consumerism, but i fail every time. it's near impossible, living across the mall and working there too. i don't think i've gone 2 weeks without buying at least one thing, big or small. and yesterday was probably the worst failure. i bought a used DSLR for $600 on Tuesday, and i resolved to not shop for a month, since it was such a big purchase. but what happened? i spent $100 when i went to seattle with my friends. it was a planned road trip since january, so i couldn't back out. but i felt so guilty and ashamed and disappointed in myself afterwards.
i just want it to stop, but i do not have the power to do it myself, as seen in my numerous failures. so all i can do is surrender it to God, who has ALL the power, over all the other authorities in this world. although it probably wouldn't hurt to take my credit card out of my wallet too.
i think my only regret about living here is that i don't have a spiritual mentor. someone i can talk to about my walk and hold me accountable and provide spiritual guidance and support.
sometimes i think that maybe i'm meant to go at it alone, without a partner or companion, as much as i hope and desire for one, and it'll just be me and God.
whatever the future holds, i'm open to it, for it's all in His mighty hands.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
how am i going to find a job here? what if i don't finish my internship by the end of August? what will happen to my car if i don't find a job by August? what if i have to stay longer? will i be able to find a good roommate? will i be able to support myself? will i be able to maintain a balanced diet without my parents? will my retail therapy ever stop? am i going to be independent enough to handle living here on my own?
i don't know! time is passing by too quickly-it'll be April in less than 2 weeks...o_O
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
i just received 4 calling cards from my parents, and oh it's been SO good. i got to talk to efu twice this week already!:) she helped me put things into perspective...and at this point, things could go either way. even if i were to return home, things wouldn't be the way they were before, and i would still have to find a new community, etc.
so here i am, 6 months later, open to the possibility of staying here, and uncertain about returning home.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
i don't know what it was..maybe spending time with my relatives on friday, maybe realizing that my best friends are at least a 4.5hr plane ride away. despite having an incredibly fun week and going out almost every night, it finally hit me, especially with the cards/packages in the mail and texts on my birthday.
don't get me wrong, i had fun on my birthday and my friends were incredibly sweet and spoiled me..it was just missing my family-friends i got to know over the last 4 years who became closer than my actual family. they taught me how to love like Christ, encouraged and supported me endlessly, and spurred me on in my walk with Him by being brutally honest with me.
they made it extremely difficult for me to leave and make new friends over here. even with all the communication technology that makes it easy to keep in touch, nothing can ever replace being with them in person.
God has blessed me with awesome (and very interesting) new friends here, so i'm slowly warming up to them and i try to focus on all the amazing things He's blessed me with here...
it's just that sometimes i can't help but wish they were here to experience BC with me too.
Friday, February 22, 2008
climbing up a 90 degree hill
the view was amazing. those are the clouds and the ocean.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
but i haven't gone snowboarding here yet. i know it's crazy, but it requires time and $$, both of which i don't have much of.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Ji-Hae: older sister of Min-Hye, i first met her at our community group. she had just returned to Vancouver after 2 years of doing her master's @Columbia, so she was sort of 'new' and re-integrating, finding her way in BC again..sort of like me, so i didn't feel totally alone in making new friends.:P too bad she might be leaving again soon, to do her PhD somewhere in the states. such a smart girl. she also has a permanent smile on her face so it's very easy to talk to her. but she is not a fan of the camera...
Min-Hye: also met her at CG, she was one of the few girls there. she was very polite, and after getting to know her better, she talks about the most random things and thinks creatively. she loves cats, and wants to be a vet. i've met a lot of other people through her because she's super friendly and sociable. my first girlfriend in BC lol. i stuck to her like glue at first, so much so that people thought she was the one who brought me to New Joy, when it was actually someone else.
Monday, February 4, 2008
Saturday, February 2, 2008
i wasn't allowed to post on fb.
Monday, January 28, 2008
maybe it all just comes down to fear. the fear of getting involved with people here (makes it harder to leave), fear of letting others in and trusting them with the things on my heart, fear of loving the west coast.....because it will lead to uncertainty if i decide to stay, and i can't deal with that.
not knowing if i'll be able to find a job and support myself, a reasonably priced place to live, or even have a car here....scares the heck out of me. and i think that's the main reason i want to go back to TO after my internship ends-so i don't have to worry about all those uncertainties since everything's taken care of already, and not (entirely) because driving sucks and it's too expensive to live here.
but first, i need to truly immerse myself and give this city a fair chance before i can legitimately reject it.
my favourite place: Sea Harbour Restaurant ("hoi gong") @3711 No. 3 Rd.
today i went to a place with my relatives called Shun Feng ("smooth sailing") @Parker Place (4311 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond), and ate a lot. the following are some of what we ordered:
i forget what they called it exactly, something about 'snow', but they're basically gwai fay bao:
lau sah bao!
unfortunately it wasn't runny :( so it was more like a lai wong bao, but the outside was very crispy so the topping didn't break off as easily as mexico bun toppings do.
this was supposed to have foie gras in it, but my relatives said there wasn't even the slightest trace of it :T i've never had it before, so can't judge, but it was like siu mai, wrapped in pastry form.
can't remember what this was called either, but it's fried sweet potato drizzled with some honey and peanuts. it wasn't very sweet at all, and the texture was like leen goh. pretty good.
i need to go to Sea Harbour again and remember to take a pic of their lau sah bao.
Monday, January 21, 2008
the following were taken from my apartment on 9/18/07, 1/15/08, 1/20/08:
i have a nice apartment with a gorgeous view of the mountains (when it's not cloudy/rainy), and the mall across the street (which i love and hate), i have a car so i can go anywhere whenever i want, i have a roommate so i can actually support myself (and then some) with my part-time job, i have relatives who invite me over for dinner at least once a week (plus a chef i can question endlessly for all my cooking crises), i have a church i can call my home church, i have friends i love spending time with...i'm totally ready to go.
God has blessed me richly ever since i arrived over 4 months ago, and He has provided for me time and time again even if i was undeserving of it. but that is the beauty about Him-He cannot stop loving even when i have stopped. that is just His character and there's nothing i can do to ever change that.
even at my internship, He's blessed me with a caring supervisor and supportive colleagues, and residents who make my heart smile. not to mention my talented guitarist-songwriter friend whose music = chocolate for my ears.
i can keep on going about the many "little" things that are 'unnecessary' that He's given to me, but the list is never-ending.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
there's a ton of jap places, but not all of them are great. i've been to all-you-can-eat restaurants mostly, and they usually have late-night specials for $13-15 after 10pm but selection and sashimi is limited. however, sashimi seems to be pretty good all around-think 1-inch thick pieces of smoothness.
BC Sushi @2126 W Broadway, Vancouver
out of the 4, 5 places i've been to, this one seems to be the best overall in terms of food, service, and consistency for about the same price as the other places. late night special is definitely worth it.
Tomokazu @201-1128 W Broadway, Vancouver
They have shark fin sushi, which other places don't have, but it sounds better than it tastes. it's mixed with jellyfish and it's slightly spicy. pretty decent sushi, but do not go for the late-night special! it's a huge drop in quality. The shark fin sushi is the top left:
A la carte recommendations:
Sushi Garden @4635 Kingsway, Burnaby
a 5 minute walk from my apartment, this place has huuuge rolls, and is always packed.
AOKI @W 1888 Broadway, Vancouver
cheap authentic jap food, with innovations. (ie. Godzilla roll=deep fried sushi with whole strawberries on top) they use a lot of smoked salmon instead of the usual salmon, which is nice, and i remember there was a salmon/mango roll too. very interesting combinations which we weren't ready to try. we ordered one of the 'love' combos: the roll on the left is topped with smoked salmon
Monday, January 14, 2008
i'm going to try and be as detailed as possible when describing restaurants, places, etc., so that if YOU ever want to visit or move here, you'll at least know some good places to eat or see. but it's for my own sake as well, since i have really bad memory.
so let's start with some general things you REALLY should know about Vancouver:
Driving (the only part i really, strongly dislike about living here):
-people don't know how to drive = you have to be alert all the time so you can slam on your brakes when drivers come onto the road even though you're going downhill from 60km/hr
-a blinking green traffic light does NOT = advance left turn!!it only means that pedestrians can cross at that intersection when the light turns red, and the intersecting road has stop signs
-there are no highways (100km/hr) here, therefore, it's ALL street driving at 50km/hr
-there are very few left turn lanes, which means if you follow too closely, you'll probably get stuck behind a car waiting to make a left turn
-people seem to be more passive (they're probably used to all the stupid drivers) and don't honk often. maybe that's why i got the finger and a rude comment after i honked at someone for cutting me off
-there are a ton of red-light camera boxes, usually at major intersections. most, if not all, have yellow signs to tell you as you approach the intersection. however, there are just 30 cameras for the 120 locations in the whole province, so you can decide whether you want to take that $200 risk.
-most parking in vancouver is metered parking, which means parallel parking galore!
-DO NOT LEAVE ANYTHING VALUABLE IN THE CAR or else it'll get broken into!
-look farther ahead
-give yourself lots of space in the front so you can switch lanes easier if there's a car making a left
-know that drivers will cut you off, so you won't be as pissed when it does happen
-you're facing north if you see the mountains
-carry lots of change for parking
-people generally have a more easygoing and relaxed attitude
-somewhat equally divided between cold/snobbish or open/friendly
-looooooove their starbucks
-more 'small town' feel than city atmosphere
-focus on active, healthy living in the outdoors
-higher cost of living with lower salaries than in TO = rich or poor
-Vancouver's supposed to be a "green" city, so their recycling program is slightly different than TO's: you can get $ back for returning certain things to either the recycling depot or supermarket, but 2 full shopping bags of stuff will only be $2 or so
-there are many small, unique shops vs. big chain stores
-fewer big concerts/events/festivals = less things to do on the weekend
-only GST is charged on prepared food (ie. in restaurants)
-sometimes the cashier at a store will ask if the item you're buying is taxable, which means if it's for someone aged 14 or younger, so they'll just charge one tax
-it's only a 2hr drive (depending on the wait at the border) to the US. it's so close that apparently some people even go across the border every weekend to get gas and buy groceries
i will save restaurants and food for the next post, because that deserves a post of its own.