Gracious Gift

November 08, 2016

Grace Phua made me this lovely dreamcatcher for my birthday.

This is the eighth year of our friendship since we became roommates in first year of our undergraduate degree. She said she didn't like me at first because I looked like an arrogant and difficult city girl, which I kind of agree. Prior to that I'd never shared a space with anyone, not to mention she and I have totally opposite personalities. At first we barely talked to each other. As time went by, we knew that if we want a good life - we'd better get along. Naturally we started to share our struggles in our studies, relationships or families. I moved out of the hostel in the third year but that didn't break the bond. Since then we've been growing and evolving together.

What's so special about this friendship is her willingness to share and give. We're both in the Science Faculty, you know the geeks... but her creativity and artistic sense are incredible. For the past eight years I'd received numerous special birthday gifts from her. Many of them are handmade. Some of them were edible. Some of them are here in my room.

Back when this blog was called Utopia, she hand-painted this plaque for me because roses are my favourites and I love folk art. The book - Sophie Kinsella's Twenties Girl was gifted to me because back then I was really obsessed with the Shopaholic novel series. The table lamp was originally a plain white one from IKEA and she decorated it with lace and fabric with roses. The glass jar was given to me last year for my convocation. It has my blog's logo on it, hand-drawn of course, and filled with facial masks and lip balms that I really like. 

Each and everyone of these, including many other gifts that weren't included in this photo, was chosen and made with great thoughts and effort. I can't think of any other friend in this world who knows me better than her. Some of you might be surprised how girly and dreamy all these things are. My everyday essentials, like my phone pouch, my purse or generally my style, are mostly monochromatic or minimalistic. This alter ego of me, the little girl in me, is hidden most of the time and she's the few who sees and understands her. Also, did I tell you that she can read my mind?! She can easily analyze my thoughts and problems in split seconds. Sometimes I'm terrified for being so transparent and predictable, but when I'm stuck she's been really helpful in guiding me in seeing my true self and solving my very rigorous problems. Rational, non-judgmental and wise. I'm just... very grateful for her presence.

On Christmas 2014 she gave me this notebook with her handwriting on it. I've used it to document precious things like my dreams. One of the things I'd written was to graduate my Master's degree, which I'd accomplished. Her greeting must have worked! 

This year for my birthday, she gave me a dreamcatcher. You might have seen them in the market, but I guess you haven't seen this one. This is one of a kind. 

Dreamcatchers were originated from native American cultures. They're woven by mothers and grandmothers to filter all bad dreams and allow only good dreams to enter the children's sleep. The shape of the dreamcatcher is a circle because it represents how giizis – the sun, moon, month – travel each day across the sky. It's usually decorated with sacred items such as feathers and beads.

This masterpiece was made with ribbons and colorful threads. It surely took her lots of effort and time to make. I really like the colour combination and the pearl in the middle. It's very dainty and delicate. Plus, the card is also very adorable. Thank you!

As for why she made me a dream catcher... I didn't ask her. Sometimes I feel it's very hollow to talk about beliefs, dreams and visions. They seem very unscientific and irrational. However recently, I've started to see that beliefs, dreams and visions are exactly the things that will bring you forward to living a life that you love. Once you have the belief, dream, vision, ambition... or whatever you call it, you have a clear direction to work towards. With the vision in mind, then it's time for action, which is the hardest part of all dreams, which requires determination, hard work and courage, where most people give up, and also where I am usually stuck. A supportive companion like her is important in reminding you that you are okay, you can continue the journey. I can't really put the whole thing in words now, I'll share with you once I figure them out.

I'm really grateful to have Grace, and other helpful people who're on this journey together. To you, my dear reader who is reading this, I hope you also have a good support system around you, who can listen and understand you, who acts like a dreamcatcher, who helps you to filter out the negativity (bad dreams) when you're vulnerable (in sleep) and instills positivity (good dreams) in your life. Or, be the one who is willing to give, like the Gracious Grace who gave away a gracious gift.    

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