Happiness

They Made My Summer Even Brighter

Two of my highlights over the summer, which was without a doubt my favourite time of this year, were associated with church.  It’s probably obvious by now, but it was the people involved who contributed to making these events so memorable and highlights of my year.

I’ve been helping out at VBS (Vacation Bible School) for 14 years now, which is a staggering feat to me, especially as I am only 26.  I always love being a part of VBS and I will continue to help every year I can – I try to ensure that I’m available whenever VBS is taking place, getting the date in my diary months in advance.

For some reason, I enjoyed VBS this year a whole lot more than I have in a long time.  I loved the songs, I loved the set up of the hall, I loved all of the various activities and I loved my group of children – I’m always a Crew Leader, which involves supporting, looking after and taking a group of children around to the various stations.  Some of my favourite moments were when the children came running forward to splash me with water during one of their games, and the group hugs with my crew.

All my crew had a very differing set of personalities and characteristics, which made them an interesting collective that raised a varying set of challenges.  I’m always up for challenges though and we got through the week positively, with me striking up a bond with each of them.  There was one girl who was particularly funny, with her hard to please persona and who came out with the most unexpected comments.  She also took to counting how many songs we sung or were played each day, which was fun to keep track of – I’d regularly ask her what the total was throughout.  It is those little things that make the experience all the more enjoyable.

It’s also quite nice to be part of VBS with family and long-time friends.  My cousin, Sophia, was the VBS leader, assisted by her sister Rochelle, who both did an amazing job of pulling VBS together, in spite of some adversities along the way.  Sophia is genuinely made for this and I commend her for all she did.  My mum and my Aunty Debra led out in some of the rooms, making them an engaging experience for all of us.  It was great having brother and sister duo, Klavel and Si-Ann, lead out on the games – friends who are family to me.  And there was my cousin Kavan, who was a fellow Crew Leader.

A week after VBS had wrapped up, it was time for the Croydon Youth Extravaganza, which led up to our Youth Day.  The Extravaganza was well thought out and a special experience throughout the week that brought us all together, but the Youth Day was beyond beautiful.  I could not have been prouder of Si-Ann for all that she has been able to achieve and make happen with the youth this year, supported and guided by Pastor Alex, who is amazing in his own right.  I mean it when I say that Pastor Alex is a force of nature.

The whole day was emotional, well-organised and involved the majority of us youth from the church.  The four presentations in the main service were honest, relevant, useful and very special.  I was crying along with Si-Ann by the end of hers.  The play in the evening was slick, funny and made best use of everyone’s talents.  And the social in the evening was a whole lot of fun, laughter and good conversation.

For me, what made the day beyond beautiful was the people, especially being with those I had not seen for a long period of time.  I spent most of lunch with my Kay Kay – who I also had a nice meet up with a few weeks earlier along with Si-Ann – having good conversations and eating on the steps.  I exclaimed with joy when I saw my girl, Sh’kira, who I had no idea was going to be there and had not seen for a good few months – we had good chats too, as we always do.  I exclaimed with even more shock and joy when Gazza tapped me on the shoulder, as I hadn’t seen him for the longest.  We had a little conversation later in the day, but it wasn’t long enough – we fully need more time to catch up.

I swear, I filled with more and more joy as more faces I had not seen for a while began to appear.  However, I think I became full to the brim and found my heart overflowing with joy and love, when Ranen walked into the hall.  Now I literally have not seen Ranen in the flesh for years, so to be able to hug him and speak to him face to face was beautiful.  Ranen was one of the consistent faces in my life growing up, someone I could call a friend.  I also remember when he gave me his jacket to wear out in the cold at a social – a true gent.  It was great to have him around us again.

To be honest, it was just great to have so many of us in the same space again, as it doesn’t happen so often anymore.  Chilling and chatting to Arks, Gis, Sach, Charlie, Nnamdi, Ike, Ryan, Paige, Elliott, Jemel, O’Shea, JJ, Myrin, Karina and a whole lot more.  It was one of the best and happiest days I’ve had in a long time.  No matter what, I will always love my church family.

 

They Brought Me Laughter and Happiness

Last year, my best friend Mells gave me one of the greatest gifts ever when she gave birth to my godson, Reyez.  He is the best, beautiful and boisterous, never failing to make me laugh or bring me joy.  Every moment spent with him is special and I’m blessed to be part of his life.

One of the highlights of my year was watching Reyez get dedicated, and also playing a part in that special moment as one of his godparents.  It was a real celebration and he looked beyond cute on the day in his white suit.  His mum definitely knows how to have him looking his best.

I’ve also had the pleasure of looking after Reyez a few times this year, with the stand out being him spending a day at “Aunty Day Care” (basically my sister and me looking after him at our house).  We played with toys, I sang to him, fed him, changed him and got him to sleep.  I was taken aback, but also found it hilarious, when he roared at me as he cried for food.  This boy definitely loves his food.

My heart filled with joy and excitement as I saw that he was walking, and now I’m just waiting for him to start properly talking – I’m insistent that he will say Aunty Shan, no matter what his mum says.  I’m also looking forward to when he’ll stop ripping paper so I can read to him.

Now his mum, Mells, has been my best friend for about 10 years, and our friendship has always been an interesting one.  We are very different people and we show love in very different ways, although we know that the love is always there.  While I’m very much about words and expressions of love, I’ve come to realise that my Mells shows love through her actions and giving you her quality time – time is 100% a big thing for her, which I sadly find hard to give at times.

During the beautiful, warm weather we enjoyed in spring and summer this year, Mells, Reyez and I went on a picnic.  I asked what I should bring, but Mells insisted I didn’t need to bring anything, and when we sat down on our mats in the park, she unpacked a spread of cooked food, snacks, fruit and drinks that catered to my vegetarian diet.  I couldn’t believe that she had prepared all of this and not wanted me to contribute anything.  I felt genuinely loved, appreciated and cared for – those are the actions of a true friend there.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time with Mells and Reyez this year, which has brought me plenty of laughter and left me with a number of memories.  These are two of the most important people in my life, who I would die for without a second thought.  Like I said, I’m so blessed to have Reyez as my godson – he never fails to bring me happiness and was often my light during my darker days at the beginning of the year.  I love the both of them with all my heart.

Basking in the Happiness

On Saturday, my cousin told me that I looked happy, which came as a surprise, because I’d been feeling far from happy just a few days ago.  In that same week, I’d been crying my eyes out, feeling uneasy about myself and tiring of people.

However, as I stopped to think about it, I realised that I did feel happy on that day and in that moment.  Tomorrow might have been different and I might have found myself wrapped up in sadness again, but it didn’t make a difference, because I was happy in that moment.  I was actually taking the time to enjoy the present, which unfortunately isn’t something that I do very often.

I got to thinking about why I was feeling happy and it dawned on me that I was back in a place that where I felt comfortable and loved — a place that would always feel like home.  Stepping through the front doors and walking past the various rooms I was so familiar with, I was instantly hit with nostalgia that brought a huge smile to my face.

This was my home away from home, the house where I spent so many hours of my teenage and early adult years, with so many of the people who I love and adore.  Countless memories were made here that will stay in my mind forever, filled with joy, emotion and laughter.  The fun movie nights, crazy sleepovers and huge gatherings, which had the house overflowing with noise.

Despite meaning to visit, I hadn’t been to my home away from home in years, so returning to celebrate the birthday of one of the people I love and call family was the perfect opportunity.  I was surprised to see that so much changed, but much to my comfort, so much had remained the same.

Although time has moved forward and things have changed, the memories I have from that house will forever stay the same — thinking about them will never fail to bring joy to my heart and put a smile on my face.

Really, all I’m trying to say, is that it was nice to be back in a place that felt like home and bask in the good times, which is something that will always cause a sense of happiness to well up within me.