The Homecoming

It’s not easy going back to a place that you’ve left for many years. I always have the feeling of going ‘home’, but the skeptical part of me held me back. I’m afraid of what people would think of me for coming back after all these years. I’m afraid that my friends would alienate me for leaving. I’m afraid I would be left alone should I decide to return.

Little did I know that I would overcome these fears and make a comeback to the 33rd Incovar Dhamma Camp.

Seriously, it’s not an easy feat to return. Just when I thought I could attend this camp with a peace of mind, works started pilling in and even gave up the thought of attending the camp as the work is too much for me to handle.

Call it destiny, fate or what; but two days before going to camp the work began to clear up (tho still much, but it got lesser) and I decided to bring work to camp and promised myself not to let go self-satisfaction over work.

So there I was- attending the camp with a laptop, squeezed time here and there in between programs for my work. Thankfully (or unfortunately), I wasn’t the only one with laptop and with the eager look to finish up work, lol.

:D

Remember earlier I spoke about my fear of people’s backlash of my comeback? They seem almost nonexistent. Almost, I say is because there are some asking why I return, but I quickly brush them aside with jokes. 

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Anyway, I was very much welcomeeeeee back to IDC (  ) with hugs here and there and I realised that I was not the only one who hasn’t been to IDC for ages. Boy am I glad that there are friends who’re like me, decided to return this camp (so that I’m not alone mah, lol) and glad that someone I don’t want to see wasn’t there too. Yippieeee!   

After all those welcome hugs, I went up to my dormitory just to find that I was instantly put on gruesome faci briefing. I call it gruesome since my brain wasn’t really worked yet that morning and was asked few questions that required thinking.

But boldly, I told them I’ve almost forgotten everything I’ve learnt and jokingly told it’s best for them to refresh them to my mind, rather than wasting time waiting for me to generate them answers. They laughed and started inputting info after info into my brain.

I was like a sponge that morning, absorbing as much info as possible, lol.

Then it was time for the ice-breaking with the participants. The group of participants seems small, but small is good enough for me as I’m very bad at remembering names. So when they self-introduced themselves, I remembered nothing at all.

:D

Except for few John’s, Jo’s, or Michael’s. And the participants that I’ve known. 

So when we facilitators were expected to join in the group for a little ice-breaking by throwing Pilates ball to the person you called, I was sweating in anxiety. I was hoping that be called first, so that I could call out the name of the people I know.

However, as ball bounced here and there, and by the time the bunch of IMUs’ finished calling out their peers, left only 14-15 people standing including me!

And that’s when suddenly I heard my name being called; I caught the ball, looked around and I saw no familiar face! I looked around for help and thankfully someone just pointed to the girl standing of her left and mouthed the girl’s name. I repeated her name and sat down, lol.

No, I can’t recall her name now. I’m truly sorry but have I told you that I’m extremely bad with names? T___T

After much ball throwing, Jack announced the next ice-breaking game: One must find the person to sign the fitted description. I looked at the paper and I was like, “Hey, I played this before!” before he shouted, “You may start now” and immediately the hall turned chaotic. Everyone scampered around, asking “Have you cheated in exam before?, Do you know how to ride bike?, Anyone with 4 siblings in the family?” before pressuring them to sign on the paper.

:D

I too joined in the fun as I thought it’s the best way to know people. As least I can remember the person whom went bald before, or the girl with pet lizard. 

After much uproar, Sharlene took over the mic and it was all quiet again. She briefed a little before putting the participants into groups. Like usual, each group was required to elect the group leader, cheers, yada yada. The typical group thingy.

:D

There were a total of 6 groups and I was in-charge of group 3, Khanti (means patience). My group members are so happening wei, they immediately ‘click’ and totally dynamic. Even Patty, a Thai participant mingles well with the rest. That made me a very proud ‘caretaker’. HeeHee! 

Done with all the briefing, introduction, cheers et cetera, it was then time to… confiscated their sim cards.

In conjunction of this camp’s theme: The Four Noble Truth, the committee decided to ‘teach’ them the valuable lesson of suffering by taking their only source of communication with outer world, the telco sim card!

And I was thinking, Ehhh! I got that before too! But my case was worst as I have to handover my entire handphone to them!

I remembered last time when I had to give them my handphone, I was quite reluctant; but surprisingly my group members happily gave me their sim cards! If I were them, I would ask the committee to just kill me, especially now that I got my data plan with me. LOL.

SO, THANKFULLY I DIDN”T JOIN THIS CAMP AS PARTICIPANT! PHEWWWW!

Then it was time for lunch. Lunch was an interesting one, as they’re look delicious but spicy! Judging from the spiciness, my guess at that time was they decided to prolong the suffering to lunch in order to imprint that term into their mind, since the sim card thingy didn’t really work.

But few thoughts later, I think it wasn’t done on purpose. Probably we’re too meek and couldn’t handle spicy, that’s all. LOL.

:D

After mouth-excitement meal, we were treated to Uncle Vijaya’s talk. I sort of ‘attended’ the talk, by sitting at the back of the ‘operation room’ to do my work. Halfway of doing my work, I felt sleepy and in midst of mind-battling between work and nap, Uncle Vijaya’s jokes (tho I heard them before) managed to keep me awake. 

Ohya! Before me working on my laptop, I was asked to write few words onto a big cardboard. Relationship, Career/Studies, Stereotyping, Materialism and Religion/Belief – these words I wrote on the colourful papers with full of lovesssss. ROFL. Okayle, not entirely full of love, but they’re very nicely done until I couldn’t stop admiring. <3

As in why I did that, they’re used for the Tea Tarik Session which was after Uncle Vijaya’s talk. Just like how friends go to mamak to discuss girls, football and gossips, the concept is used here with a little twist – to discuss on the topic shown on the cardboards. I had fun listening to what the participants shared, some are rather shy, and some are very opinionated.  Overall: wonderful feedbacks from the participants.

After Tea Tarik Season, it was time for cleaning season, before the participants washed up for dinner. As for the committees, they were busy setting up the platform for that night’s opening ceremony. I laughed my head off watching what they did, and they’re extremely entertaining to watch. Lots’ NGs, lots screaming and lots shooing too, as the participants kept peeking at our platform, lol.

Dinner came and this time it’s not spicy anymore. But the participants were required to eat with eyes blindfolded and in silent. First time watching people eating with blindfold on, I have mixed feeling on that – relief cz I was not longer needed to put on the blindfold while eating and sad for watching them eat in difficulty.

An hour later, the participants sat in the activity hall, all harmoniously chanting the puja.

Right after puja session, the participants were exposed to the world of puja, meditation, offering; led by Sis Catherine whom she and her bf are my co-captains for group 3 (yay!).

And while Sis Catherine was doing her magic in front, I was doing work at the back with occasional bug from someone showing off his N8. Grr.

It was time for the opening ceremony. It started with the participants were instructed to leave the hall first, before allowing them to enter and sat down facing the cloth platform.

Then the show started: a wayang kulit show revealing the life of Buddha in brief, with sense of humour here and there.

The show was then followed by an official introduction of all the committee members and song singing, which I can’t really remember the lyrics and the hand gestures that well anymore. Been two years since I sang this song k! Blek.

Done with the opening ceremony (tho I wished there’s a gong to sort of officiate that), everyone gathered in their own groups for group sharing and that’s when I was supposed to do ‘work’. Seeing that everyone loves to talk in my group, I made it feels like a mamak session where everyone was free to tell whatever they like regarding the activities that day.

…which I realised is not the right way after that session ended.

At the committee’s meeting right after the group sharing, when everyone gave feedback on the groups, it seemed like what I did isn’t meeting the criteria. From what I understand, we have sort of guide them to talk out the realization they encountered throughout the activities they had. I was sort of confused, because I did base on what I remembered the facilitators in my group did when I was the participants.

:D

Being the perfectionist me, I curi skill from the rest and strived to do better the next day.