In this age of consumerism, and augmented with ecommerce, it is so easy for everyone to make a purchase as soon as we have some money in our wallets (ewallets count). With each purchase, we feel a little happier, but more often than not, that happiness or satisfaction dissipates within a week or two.
It turns out that the cause of this (dissipation) lies with adaptation. As soon as the stuff that we buy becomes ordinary, the satisfaction that we get with it diminshes. Then we are back to square one - pursuing that momentary pleasure with the next purchase.
However, research carried out at Cornell University has found a way around this vicious cycle. Psychology professor Thomas Gilovich revealed that we experience the same increase in happiness when we buy something (we want) and also when we travel. The more significant finding -- was that the amount of happiness that we get from our buys diminishes over time, but the memories of our travelling experience continues to linger and persist, and this makes us more fulfilled and happy over a prolonged time.
Deriving Joy from Experiences
Making plans for events and experiences, travelling and going on trips, and trying our new things -- all these manifest as new sources of joy and happiness for all of us. While a new toy or device will become normal, every new memory will contribute to the happiness bank that will make us really really happy for the rest of our lives.
DD is a 20-year old granny cat that lives in Towner Road area. I was contacted by Cindy to help house-visit DD. This was because Cindy has just started work, and she was unable to do her regular feeding of DD. At 2pm to 3pm range, DD would rouse from her sleep and then look for food. But because DD was already very old (in cat years), she had difficulty lumbering over to the food area. In fact, when I first met DD, she was laying still and did not want to move at all.
Over the past week, I have been making long visits to her. I would check if she was awake. I would then prepare her meals, and then using a small teaspoon, help and assist her with her eating. Initially, she did not eat much, but over the course of the few days, I could see that her strength came back, and she was definitely more energetic than when I first met her.
Here's wishing granny DD all the best of health, and a long life!
Introduction to Pawshake
I have been using Pawshake since a couple of years back. For the uninitiated, Pawshake was started in 2013. Pawshake cofounder Dries Coucke's life was turned upside down in 2009 when his father Luc Coucke (who passed away in 2012) was diagnosed at the age of 60 with lung cancer. During the numerous chemotherapy sessions, Dries and his two brothers tried their best to support their parents. Yet, it soon became clear that his parents' labrador Ibeau would need someone to take care of him. Unfortunately, Dries couldn't lodge Ibeau because the dog didn't get along with his dachshund Brownie. Moreover, Dries' two brothers had just become fathers and were couldn't take responsibility for Ibeau either.
Dries knew that somewhere in his community there must be a dog lover who would lodge Ibeau temporarily. Yet, the difficulty was finding this person. And so, in 2010, Dries started the idea of Pawshake with a post on the Facebook page of pets.be, a not-for-profit website to rehome rescue pets, he founded in 2002. (You can still read here the original post).
How I use Pawshake
I use Pawshake in two ways:
So just last week, the owner Emily reached out to me via Pawshake to take care of her two Pinschers, Troster and Talent. Troster is the elder one, already 15 years of age, blind in both eyes, and having difficulty in digesting food. Talent, on the other hand, is the young chirpy one. I did a "meet and greet", which allowed me to meet both Emily as well as the two dogs. After the initial touch-base, I decided that I was able to accept the assignment.
Troster and Talent
While Talent (the younger one) was friendly with me when I first visited, he started to become rather aggressive when I visited on Day 1 (it was a weekend assignment). I quickly cleanup the all the poo-and-pee mess left by the duo, and fed them. As Troster was not able to see his dish, I had to guide him to his food bowl. I was also careful to separate their eating area so that there is a safe space for both of them to eat. Now, Talent, being the younger one and the bully, then tried to bite Troster (!) to eat his share of the treats. Poor Troster then yelped and struggled helplessly. Fortunately, Talent did not continue with his bullying.
It did leave an impression on me though. First of all, I thought about the fact that cat behaviour and dog behaviour is really different. I used to own dogs, but that was a long time ago. I realised that cats are generally cleaner and groomed themselves more eagerly whereas dogs, being pack animals, are okay to leave their mess around as a mark of their territory. Another observation that I had -- was that there's always a pecking order, whether for animals or humans. The strongest always survive and the weaker or weakest ones will ultimately suffer. That's the theory of evolution - the strongest survive.
My Random Encounter with the Otters
I do occasionally follow up with news about the Singaporean otters, mainly via the Otter Watch Facebook Group. What seemed to be one family of otters have now grown into different families, each having their own territories and territorial disputes. Nevertheless, the otters in Singapore have grown into a national animal of sorts - and they do look adorable, which makes liking them even easier.
Stopping by the Kallang River, and look what I found?!
So last week, during one of the evenings, while driving home from gym (at Millenia Walk), I decided to make a detour to take some 360 photos (my current hobby). To my surprised I saw a family of otters lurking around the water's edge. I got really curious and decided to move forward to have a closer look.
The otters were all eating fish
My first observation was that the family of otters looked very well-fed. Almost every otter has his own piece of fish, and without too many natural predators, they were able to enjoy their meals without a worry. I decided to move even closer. Interestingly, they were not bothered by me at all - they were probably already well-adjusted to living alongside humans.
I decided to zoom into one of the otters who was eating fish, and lucky for me, he did a few good poses. This shot was the otter almost finishing his fishy snack, before his sibling came over for the scraps.
Managed to catch "The Devil Wears Prada" on Netflix. It's such a brilliant movie that even after watching it a couple of times, it was still engaging to watch. Some life lessons that came to my mind as I watched the movie were:
Always Prepare for Meetings
Never go to a meeting unprepared. This is especially so when it's an important meeting. Don't end up wasting other people's time.
Know the Important People
There was a funny scene when Andy (Anne Hathaway) received a call and asked for the other party to spell his name. "How do you spell Gabbana?" she asked. Always make it a point to know the "current affairs" of the specific industry.
Take Good Care of the Body
Don't starve yourself and eat just a piece of cheese daily! But watch what goes into your body. Health is wealth! And despite all the talk about inner beauty, outer appearance makes all the difference, and it's an indication of the discipline one puts into one's diet and exercise.
Fashion Makes a Difference, but You can Choose to be What You Want to Be
Watching the movie made me rethink about the fashion industry again. There's certainly much glam and vogue in the fashion industry, and everybody likes to look good. But ultimately it depends on each individual on how one wants to live one's life. As long as you are happy and with the same company, who cares, really?!
Don't Quit Just Because It's Tough
Quitting is always the easiest option. Lamenting and complaning second. This is a personal belief - that it is always possible to turn things around. Don't quit - when things go wrong as they sometimes will, all it take is persistence and determination to change the course.
Work Life Balance is Important
I do agree that when one is focused on career success, something is going to give. There is always an opportunity cost in life, and while we are chasing our success, it is important to cherish and spend time to the important things that might not last forever. This applies to family ties, friends and relationships.
Tigger plays Fetch with the Sock
The point about Tigger is that he's almost always initially wary when I return from a long trip. He's curious, and he would sniff, as if the only way to recognise me was my scent. He would scamper around uneasily. But this would quickly pass, and soon he would be back to his usual self.
This time around, it was obvious that Tigger missed me. It could possibly be a minifestation of what I wanted to see from Tigger. But there were telltale signs that he missed me. He stayed unusually close to me, and followed me around the house. He even entertained me with a game of fetch, which was something that he does not do often. (He has done this before as a kitten, but as with all cats, it really depends on his mood).
Now, for as long as I could remember, Tigger has been sleeping on his little IKEA cushion right next to my pillow, on my bed. On that night I returned, he returned back to the same spot to sleep. It was kinda strange, cos we installed a webcam in the house, so I was sure that he slept elsewhere in the house, primarily at the bay window area of the spare room. What this meant was that, he only goes back to his usual sleeping spot when I was around. When I was not around, he chose to sleep elsewhere.
So on that night I returned, he returned to his usual spot to sleep. Now, instead of sleeping on his cushion, he leaned so close to me that when I turned off the lights, I felt his breathing on my face. Tigger was sleeping so closely to me that he's invading into my personal space. But I guess that's love? So that night, I slept, with Tigger really close to me.
Summary of My Norway-in-a-Nutshell Trip
Honestly, this was my first attempt to commit time to do a day-by-day blogging of my Norway-in-a-Nutshell trip. It was a time-consuming affair, as writing, journalling or blogging should be focused on quality rather than quantity, on passion rather than facts. In this aspect, this would be a work in progress, and I might just add more bits and pieces in time to come.
But with everything, I would have less time once I am back in Singapore. So it would be wise to summarise everything here, at least as a tidy first draft.
Norway Day-by-Day Journal Entries
Throught the Norway trip, I have stopped to take many 360 photos. I was able to upload them into a single Norway collection at Kuula. You can see my 360 photos via this link or directly below.
Kirkenes, bordering Russia
Kirkenes is the capital of the municipality of Sør-Varanger. It is also the end stop for the Hurtigruten cruise, after which the cruise ship will sail back down to Bergen. Kirkenes has the privilege of being ice-free as a port-of-call even during winter, with all year access to the Barents sea.
My first impression of this small city was its close association with Russia. Kirkenes was heavily bombed by the Germans during World War 2, suffering almost a total destruction as the Germans retreated from the area.
Crossing into Russia?
Kirkenes is only 17km away from the Norway-Russian border. There were tours that would bring curious visitors to the border, and then visit a small souvenir shop to buy some mementoes. However, at 700 NOK, it was very pricey hence I decided to save some money.
Eating cheap for dinner
Since I have been eating really well onboard the Hurtigruten, it was time to eat simple and affordably. In the afternoon, we went to the REMA1000 supermarket to get some wraps, potato salad and sausages for dinner. An a bottle of fine organic Malbec!
To the Edge of the World
To a certain extent, the trip to the North Cape is the culmination of all the highlights of the trip. More symbolic than anything else, this would have brought me from the southern parts of Oslo and Bergen to the northern edges of North Cape and Kirkenes. The North Cape is the northernmost point on the European mainland. At 71 degrees North, it is on the same latitude of Siberia and also the top of Alaska.
The Hurtigruten Richard With docked at Honningsvåg, a small functional port. A flock of seagulls were basking at the quiet pier area. We packed the buses and then it was a 40km journey towards North Cape, traversing the area of Mageroya.
Along the way, we passed the "northernmost beach of the world", a small sandy bay that look utterly unimpressive. I caught a reindeer grazing on the tundra plains. While the tourists stood up on the bus to have a good photo shot of the reindeer, the tour guide remarked, "don't worry, you should be seeing more reindeers along the way."
True enough, there were more reindeers to be seen, grazing on the green grassy tundra. Apparently, all the reindeer in Norway are domesticated animals owned by the Sami farmers, who were indigenous to this region.
Every family of reindeer farmers has summer and winter pastures, which they switch between to ensure that their reindeer have enough food. Early in the spring, before the reindeer calves are born, the herd starts to head for the coast. The animals spend the whole summer here under the midnight sun, and when autumn rolls around they begin the long trek back to their winter pasture farther inland. I understood from the guide that in a week or two, the Sami farmers would be guiding the herd back to the mainland. It would either be a 2km swim by the reindeer or through the specially constructed tunnel.
At the Northern Most Already
A while later, we arrived at the North Cape. It was the usual photo-taking at the symbolic North Cape Globe. What was more memorable for me was the walk along the cliff at the edge of the world. It was yet another sunny day, and with the cool breeze, it was a great day for walking.
I walked as far as time allowed, and standing on the edge of the world, I took all the sights in. I gathered some of the larger rocks and stacked them together. Now, I have created the northern-most rock deck! For world peace, perhaps. The overnight winds would destroy it in no time, in any case.
The Northern City of the Northern Lights
The cruise ship brought us all the way north to Tromso, one of the northern-most cities of Norway. We had a few hours to spare at Tromso, so we disembarked and decided to roam around a bit in Tromso.
Located 400km north of the Arctic Circle at 69 degrees North, the small city of Tromso is also known as Norway's gateway to the Arctic. It's surrounded by chilly fjords and craggy peaks that remain snowcapped for much of the year. Even in this late summer, I could see some remnants of snow that's unlikely to melt away, since the temperatures would be dropping once again when summer ends.
To the Arctic Cathedral and the Cable Car
We walked through the town, and then crossed the iconic Tromso Bridge over to have a look at the Arctic Cathedral. Nearby, within walking distance, there was also the cable car that brought visitors up to the Fjellheisen, 421 metres above sea level for a small fee of 210 NOK. After the funicular in Bergen, I did not see a need to go up to another peak again, so M went ahead to the peak, while I waited at the foot of the cable car station and I read my Kindle book and relaxed a bit instead.
The rain clouds started to gather, and as it started to drizzle, we made a beeline back to the cruise ship, and by evening time we were once again on our way.
I am MrWildy and I am trying to journal more about my life and also my travels. Find out more about me here.