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Balance is key

Updated: Mar 7

Recess week has come and gone.

What made this week different from a typical week at uni was that I didn't have to go to campus to teach. However, my PhD research work still continued as usual.

I did a database search on LexisNexis for news articles related to deafness and deaf people in Singapore. What I found interesting that it was not the term "deaf and hard-of-hearing" but "hearing impaired" that yielded a much higher search result. I found more than 100 news articles with the term "hearing impaired" alone. I will have to invest more time in the coming week to search for more articles again on LexisNexis as well as Factiva, another database system that I have yet to use.

Many hours of of my time this week was allocated to transcribing a research interview using the Transcription software. Transcribing has gone smoothly ever since I upgraded to the latest Macbook Pro 14. I found out that the reason why my transcription software kept hanging last time was because the RAM on my previous Macbook Air, which I've traded in, was too low. There were also several individual consultation zoom meetings scheduled with my undergraduate students on Wed and Thurs to give them an opportunity to ask me any questions they had on their upcoming video assignment.

Work aside, I went for four strength training classes in the evenings this week. On the weekend, I spent time with my family and catching up with other stuff. During the week, I also had four individual meet ups with friends and colleagues over lunches and dinners. Two of the individuals (one hearing and one deaf) are in my Singapore deaf network. Another person was a new hearing PhD friend that I recently made at the recent Linguistics and Multilingual Studies (LMS) Symposium held on campus on Feb 20th. The fourth appointment was an impromptu dinner catch up on Wed night with Jarett, a deaf friend from Melbourne.

Last Sat (Feb 25), Jarett texted me on FB messenger out of the blue:

Jarett: "Hi Phoebe, How are you? By any chance are you at Tampines Mall right now?"

Me: "Hey Jarett, are you in Singapore? I am not at Tampines Mall but I am in Singapore".

Jarett: "Ha, I swore I walked past you and a friend but I’m dearly mistaken."

Me: "Hahaha 😂"

He informed me he had just arrived in Singapore the night before and would be here for two weeks to see to some family matters. He had to go with the flow with his family's plans and was waiting to see when he could find some time to catch up with his Singaporean friends. Thus, I anticipated that a text from him could come through any time as the week progressed.

In the late afternoon on Wed at around 4:20pm, Jarett texted asking if I was available for dinner that very night. I was just wrapping up two individual consultation meetings with students by 5pm. So, it was nice timing when the text came through! :) I actually had tentative dinner plans with mum that evening. We were wondering whether I should meet her somewhere outside for dinner or if she would dabao (Singlish term for "takeaway food") for me. Since our plans had not been finalised, it was easy to send her a text to tell her not to worry about my dinner.

Jarett and I met for dinner at The Roti Prata House along Upper Thomson Road. We had a good time chatting whilst indulging in 6 different types of pratas shared between the two of us. It was the most impromptu catch up I've ever had! Really enjoy surprises like this when it happens. This was pretty much one of the highlights of my week.

I hope that his wife, Vicky, will be able to come to Singapore with him next time as our catch up is long overdue. The last time I saw them both was 2014 in Melbourne. I returned to Singapore for almost 2 months in June 2014 before moving to the USA. So, it's been over 8 years!

Overall, it has been a really enjoyable and productive week even though I didn't complete every task I set out to do. I'm still getting the hang of what it means to carve out a productive weekly work routine, whilst setting aside time for rest and recreation.

I have been intentional about taking breaks from my work to catch up with family and friends, exercise, or indulge in other activities I enjoy.

Because of that, I am actually rested and more productive when I resume my work tasks.

Balance is key in life!

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