Abernethy Retreat - Worth All the Pain

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Best meal

Best meal

For the past couple of weeks I have gone through the craziest time of my life. If my parents were here, they would only say ONE WORD…….MADNESS!!! Having said that, they will make me drink lots of chicken tonic soup.

The very day I came back from travelling, I had badminton competition the next day. Many companies took part. My husband’s company sent out 2 leagues, 6 teams in all. Overall, we got 1st runner-up…..yippee! I won 2 out of 4 games, playing women’s doubles instead of mixed doubles. It was a last minute arrangement for the sake of the whole team to give us a higher chance of winning. So, I must say my partner and I did very well. We were all very pleased with our performance……*smiling*

And before my tiredness was over, I went for a church weekend team building retreat at Abernethy Adventure Centre In Scotland. Gosh…I am still suffering from the pain and tiredness. I feel like I have been put through the washing machine and all my bones and joints had been jolted out of place. About 40 of us went through a few hours of gruelling, challenging activities in a day……in the name of TEAM BUILDING! What a way to learn about team work, getting out of our comfort zones and daring to do what we would never dream of doing. Did I regret it? No, of course not. It was one of the best retreats that I had been….worth all the pain, cuts, scratches, bruises or blisters!

Friendly horse

Friendly horse

The journey there was wonderful…..beautiful sceneries all the way. Half way, we saw some horses in the field and stopped to watch. The horses came running to us and allowed us to stroke them. That’s so cool! I have never touched a horse before. These horses are just so friendly.

A dear friend

A dear friend

At the retreat centre, I shared a room with a friend. Awww……. I just love her. She is 59 years old but so full of life and energy. We chatted late into the night. She is totally inspirational, very excited about what she is doing. I was so delighted when she said she didn’t mind sleeping on the upper bunker….phew…what a huge relief! I would have freaked out completely to sleep so high up! I would probably come ‘flying’ down onto the floor in the middle of the night…haha.

Now the exciting part…the challenges! Here are just some photos of a few of the many challenges. Would be too many to put up. Looking at the pictures, I just can’t believe that I did it all. I’m not too sure how many times my heart almost stopped beating….haha.

There were 4 teams. A professional coach was assigned to each team just to make sure we did not do silly stuff and kill ourselves! No! He is there to see that we don’t cheat….haha. Of course he was there to take us running around to the different challenges. Otherwise I’m sure all of us will be lost in the forest….haha.

Getting over a high wall

Getting over a high wall

This is the first challenge. Ever imagine myself getting over this high wall? Never in a million years! I almost chicken out…haha. But I did it….yeah. I just had to trust those 2 strong men there not to drop me! The sun was very bright that day which explains that white ring at the top.

Climbing through a giant spider web

Climbing through a giant spider web

Now this is total madness. Each one in our team (10 of us) has to pass through the holes of this big spider web, without repetition and without touching the ropes. If anyone touches the rope, all of us have to start all over again. It happened once….*sigh*. But finally all of us managed to get through from one side to the other side. Guess which hole I passed through? You probably can’t guess right. It’s the one on the furthest right against the tree at ground level. It’s so small!! I can touch the tree but not the rope. I managed that…..yeah!!! Thank God for my small frame….*wink* Some have to be carried through the holes with tender loving care…haha….as the holes were higher up.

Passing through a tyre

Passing through a tyre

My gosh…this is crazy! Everyone had to go through the hanging tyre from one side of the net to the other side. Again I am so thankful I am small size. So happy all of us managed to get through…big or small, short or tall……..lalalalalalala! By the way, that’s not me in the picture here!

Assault course

Assault course

This is the final morning challenge between the 4 teams. It’s a whole long stretch of different challenges between 2 teams at a time. It’s like a fight for dear life to win! There was the ground balancing beam, getting over a wall, jumping through tyres on the ground, another wall to climb over, a very long black tube to pass through, another balancing beam, holding onto a rope and swinging over a small pond to the other side, climb up the net and down again, crawl through a long section held down by net and run back to starting point as a team. We were all breathless by the time we reached the end and ran back to the starting point….half dead! Our team got 1st runner-up…..yeah!!

Here’s a few pictures of the exhausting fun that we had:

Getting into long tube

Getting into the long tube

Oh dear, I felt too big to go through this long, black tube….black, dirty and gloomy inside. I had to crawl through, upward until the middle when the tube lost balance and tilted downward to the other end…….arrrrrgggghhhh….I felt like falling and sliding off!!!

Fell out of the black tube

Fell out of the black tube

And then…WHAM….I hit the mat and fell out, much to the amusement of everyone around! I thought I saw moon and stars…haha. Well, I had to quickly gather myself up and run to the next challenge.

Holding tight for dear life

Holding tight for dear life

This one is scary. You have to swing across to the net on the other side. If you can’t get over, you will drop into the dirty water. A few fell in. I held onto the rope for dear life and gave a good jump with my legs curled up. Once you hit the net, quickly let go of the rope and cling onto the net. Phew …I did it!!

Climbing like a monkey

Climbing as fast as I could

With everyone cheering around, I climbed up the net as fast as I could and down the other side. Not bad huh!

Crawling like a baby

Crawling like a baby

Oh no…more nets! Climbing and crawling never seem to end. This last one is really challenging, crawling on muddy ground, tied down by a net. You can’t look up. You just have to look down and keep crawling like a baby! I crawled so fast as if chased by tigers….haha

Happy to be out

Happy to be out

Phew…finally I reached the end…so happy…not caught by tigers….haha!!!!

dry skiing

dry skiing

Well, is that all? NO! We had a simple lunch and then we got to choose another challenge…the final one. This one is not a competition but more for fun. I chose dry skiing. I have never tried skiing so thougt it would be fun. Well, I soon came to realise that this one is for the daring and the tough ones. It was dangerous actually. Once you fall, the ski continues to slide off, dragging you along. I fell a couple of times and hurt my shoulder and ankle so I decided to stop. I can’t afford any injury because I don’t want to miss my badminton. It was fun looking at others ski, too. Many fell like me. We were true baby skiers…..*smiling*….but some grew fast!

To sum it all up, it was an awesome retreat. I would love to go again if there’s a chance. It’s a great place to learn to work together as a team and do stuff that you would be too afraid to do on your own. I had learned a lot. It’s all worth the pain. Above it all, I met a lot of new friends and get to know others better.

How true to say, ‘Winners Don’t Quit and Quitters Don’t Win!” We are winners! Also, the strength of a team is just as strong as the weakest one. We need others and help one another to achieve.

On top of that, the food served were very delicious. The best was the lasagna served with garlic bread and salad followed by apple pie with ice cream before we headed home (first picture above).

I hope all of you have fun every weekend.

Keep Learning Keep Smiling

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32 Comments

Belinda @zomppa  on April 12th, 2011

How super fun this sounds!!! The skiing especially looks AWESOME!!!!!!!

Ginny Hartzler  on April 12th, 2011

I am very very tired just from looking and reading about all of this!! You must be very, very fit!! What I think is funny is that you did all these really dangerous things, but didn’t want to sleep in the upper bunk!! I could never sleep up there, either! Did your roommate, the older lady, have to do all those things, too? How did they chose which people from church went? It wasn’t the whole congregation, what group is this?

Ivy  on April 12th, 2011

Wow, how fun and exciting! Mary, I envy how fit you are as this is training for the Marines :)

LeQuan  on April 12th, 2011

OMG! Mary, take me with you next time! This looks like loads of fun! I’ll even sleep on the top bunk. Although if you hear a thud at night, make sure you wake up to help me get back into bed :-P. Better me than you though. Oh, and that horse is beautiful. So glad you got to touch a horse for the very first time.
Cannot believe you passed through that hole by the tree. Now I’m wondering who is smaller, you or me. And look at you go on those ropes. Go Mary Go! So that’s what dry skiing looks like. When you told me, I was trying to picture it in my head. Thanks for including that picture. There is one picture missing though, your badminton picture. I was hoping to see you in badminton action. What a busy, weekend you certainly had. Thanks for sharing all this with us! Hope the weekend comes by quick for you. Have a great rest of the week, dear!

Conor @ HoldtheBeef  on April 12th, 2011

Mary this looks like so much fun!!! Admittedly, it also looks like you need a retreat at some sort of dayspa to get over it ;)

claire  on April 13th, 2011

gosh..Mary!! u r very GENG! (Great!) hahaha..u put me to shame.. when i went for the teambuilding recently, i dare not go into the river waters, i was imagining crocs and goodness knows what else! but looking at your type of teambuilding, I think I will dare to do them.. hahaa.. after all, your 59 year old fren can do it, i can try, can’t i? hahaha..
thumbs up for you, mary!!

muna  on April 13th, 2011

Just one word from me too….. WOW!!!!

nammi  on April 13th, 2011

my goodness, thats some trip!!!.

Suman Singh  on April 13th, 2011

Wow..Thats surely looks like a great FUN!!Superb pics, Mary!

somewhere in singapore  on April 13th, 2011

I like that horse…

Dongxing  on April 13th, 2011

Yes, Mary! Take me with you next time. I would love a challenge like this, subject to husband’s giving me an exit pass to do so ….He thinks I am mega CLUMSY and I would injured myself on the way to the first course….Well done, bet you had loads of fun!

kristy  on April 13th, 2011

I think I would be the same if I join in such activities. Haha… This is totally insane but I like it. I love games and I love to play like a kid. It makes me feel younger! haha.. How fun! I’m sure you had a great time there. As I enjoy the pics as well. :o)
Have a great day.
Blessings, Kristy

kristy  on April 13th, 2011

Btw, you need to double up your meal after such activities. Surely you’re worn down after all the running, crawling, shouting, climbing… haha…

Katerina  on April 13th, 2011

You had so muc fun but also so much effort on this. I am sure you’ve enjoyed every moment of it!

Barbara  on April 13th, 2011

I’ve been on some retreats, Mary, but nothing like this! I’d be a total flop on yours and give you great credit (and your roommate!) for getting through this. Very physical.
My retreats have been mental, mostly, group dynanmics sort of thing. The same result, hopefully, but less emphasis on the physical.

Mary  on April 13th, 2011

@Belinda @zomppa - Ya, it looks awesome but it’s so difficult to learn. I guess I am just too clumsy…haha :D

@Ginny Hartzler - Haha, I think now when I look at the pctures I feel tired too. At that time we all wanted to complete as many challenges as possible and win. Agree with you how strange that I could do all these challenges but too scared to sleep on the upper bunker….hmmm. Maybe they should include that as a challenge…haha. But then I bet I won;t sleep the whole night or I will hold onto the side for dear life. Or maybe I would tie myself to the frame….haha. Oh, my roommate…..she is totally amazing. Put me to shame. She did every challenge with gusto and she mastered the skiing even though she had never skied before! Her life is just vibrant. This retreat is a leaders’ retreat for the English and Mandarin congregation. A great way to know each other better and work together :D

@Ivy - Haha…love your description…training for the Marines! :D I must say it does require stamina. I guess all my badminton helped.

@LeQuan - Oh yes, wish you were there! You have to be in my team. Awww…so sweet of you to sleep on the top bunker. I’ve booked you! :D I’ll tie you to the bed frame so that I can sleep through….haha. Looks like we are about the same size. I’m sure we can go through any small space…haha. Will post my badminton pictures another time. I have so much to write but so little time. I think I need to employ a typist…haha :D

@Conor @ HoldtheBeef - Haha…you are very right…..badly need all those spa therapy. You have to become my exercise consultant, Conor! :D

@claire - Oh Claire, I will chicken out if I have to go into the waters. On a better note, I think I will frighten whatever crocodiles there are in the water with my screams…haha. You got to come here and join us. be in my team, ok? We will win. They need small sized people like us :D

@muna - Hehe….I did it…unbelievable! :D

@nammi - Thanks very much, Nammi! :D

@Suman Singh - Yes, super fun…..but super challenging too! Suffering fun :D

@somewhere in singapore - Doesn’t it look so sweet and friendly? :D

@Dongxing - Yes, you should come….so much fun! Haha…I am amused how your hubby describes about you. He must be so wrong! Well, our husbands always think we are fragile. Thank goodness, my hubby is not in the same group as me. Otherwise he would likely volunteer to do every challenge for me…haha :D

@kristy - Right word, Kristy….insane! :P Wish you were here. We would have so much fun. I’m sure the whole retreat will be full of our laughters and screams…haha :D Yes, big meals. See the big plate there on top. That’s what I ate. Even then I still felt hungry!

@Katerina - Yes, it took everything out of me to complete all those challenges….mentally and physically! But it was so fun and memorable :D

@Barbara - Awwww…thanks Barbara! Actually now when I sit here and look at the pictures, I wonder how I did all that. Proud of myself :D I guess it’s all in my mind. I am very impressed with my roommate. She did everything with utter excitement….inspirational!

kitchen flavours  on April 13th, 2011

Wow, Mary! You have my utmost admiration! If that was me, I would have drop “dead” before I can even proceed to number three, maybe even before that! Ha! Ha! Good for you, girl! Hooray!

Elin  on April 13th, 2011

Mary…I can see you did enjoy yourself in the church camp retreat. Wish we have this kind of fun thing over here :) Wow…you won in the badminton games…yay! congrats !!!
Have a nice day , Elin

sweetlife  on April 13th, 2011

what a busy day!! congrats on the badminton!! have a great week!

sweetlife

Jeannie  on April 13th, 2011

My goodness, I feel tired just reading about your activities lol! Great way to stay fit and slim huh!

5 Star Foodie  on April 13th, 2011

Wow, your retreat sounds like a lot of fun!

Swathi  on April 13th, 2011

Mary, that is wonderful and having lot of fun.

teresa  on April 13th, 2011

oh my gosh that looks so fun!

Anna Johnston  on April 13th, 2011

Wow Mary, now that’s one awesome weekend girl, good for you, lots of people I know have done challenges like this, but ‘fraid I’m not one of them. You made me laugh that you could do all these huge challenges but too scared to sleep on the top bunk ;)
Congrats on the badminton win too - fantastic.
Have a great week & thanks for sharing your challenge w/e with us all. Very inspiring.

tigerfish  on April 13th, 2011

Looks like really fun and good team spirit. A retreat like this can be a nice break from the daily routine.

Blackswan  on April 14th, 2011

Wow, lucky u! I’ve not been to a retreat in ages. The boot camp seems tough but lots of fun :)

Oh, Luxury Haven is conducting her 2nd Giveaway, open to all regardless of when u reside :) Be sure to support & join in the fun @ Mother’s Day Handmade Accessories Giveaway!

anncoo  on April 14th, 2011

Oh Mary! Bring me along when you have these great fun :) I need some stretching too!

uncle Lee  on April 14th, 2011

Hi Mary….for a moment thought looking at movie excerpts of GI Jane!
Wow! You did it! Okay, I think the US Marines or SEAL team might be interested in you. A female Rambo.

Good for you, and really interesting see the pics. Bet you had lots of fun and laughs.
Not many girls would go for this too. Outstanding, Mary Moh.
Have a nice day.
Lee.

Ananda Rajashekar  on April 15th, 2011

oh my my what an adventures trip i would never have dared, you are winner congrats on 1st runner up…i’m curious about chicken tonic :D

Mary  on April 16th, 2011

@kitchen flavours - Haha…that was what I thought! But I did it all. Now that proves that you can do it too. Come and be in my team. We will win :D

@Elin - Yes, it was really fun, though very exhausting. Thanks for congrats :D

@sweetlife - Thanks very much! :D

@Jeannie - Haha…..you should come and join me. Have fun first and suffer later :D But what a way to stay fit and slim…haha

@5 Star Foodie - Yes, it was so fun…makes me feel young :D

@Swathi - Yes, total fun :D

@teresa - Yes, it was indeed fun. You should come and join me :D

@Anna Johnston - Haha……that’s all because they forgot to include sleeping on the upper bunker as a challenge! :D Thanks very much for congrats!

@tigerfish - Totally agree with you. We need some crazy stuff to break the daily routine :D

@Blackswan - Come and have holiday here, Shirley. We can go for some real fun! You need a break :D Thanks very much for informing me of the giveaway. Will check it out.

@anncoo - Come…I have been waiting for so long! Lots of fun activities waiting for you here :D

@uncle Lee - Haha…what a description! I better send in my resume :D Yes, so much fun and laughter…my cheeks got cramp!

@Ananda Rajashekar - I’m sure when you are in, you will dare to do it. Everyone will cheer you on :D See, I didn’t chicken out…haha. Chicken tonic soup….steam chicken with Chinese herbs and drip the soup extract. It’s meant to rejuvenate the body.

penny aka jeroxie  on April 17th, 2011

After all that activities, more reason to indulge in eating!

Mary  on April 17th, 2011

@Penny - Oh yes, ate without guilt…haha :D

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