Monthly Archives: October 2013

Thoughts after 8 weeks of blogging

I started this blog worrying that I would not have enough to write about. I never seem to think or feel very much about anything, compared to most people. I also worried that I would regret my writing, should I say something overly emotional, or offensive, or just plain silly.

But I ended up never having a shortage of things to say. They say reading is like conversing with a friend. I reckon writing is the same. Except that friend is yourself, the deepest part of yourself, the part I thought only other people had. I realise now, that there is magic in words. For when I write I never end up where I intended to go. I learn new things and discover what is hidden. I am comforted, amused and inspired.

Not that I love my writing. Indeed, I don’t like it. It is at best, juvenile, and at worst, just plain weird. Reading my writing often seems to me like listening to bad pop music – it all sounds the same.

But I do not despise my writing. I cannot appreciate my posts as pieces of writing, but I appreciate them as pieces of myself. They are as much a part of myself as my body or my voice or my mind. And we must learn to love ourselves, however much we might want to change. In self-expression, the shades and patterns of meaning that emerge are unique only to us. That is also why I must remind myself to appreciate other people’s thoughts, even if I don’t agree with them. For the colour of the thought that is expressed is unique to the person’s heart, and can never be replicated

I tell myself now not to worry about previous posts that might have been a tad bit strange. Strange or not strange, they are still reflections of what I was at that point in time. We must value what we were as much as we value what we are and what we can be. Though the first is often the most difficult thing to do.

I somehow ended up writing a lot more emotionally than I ever intended to. I would like to assure my friends that I am as much myself as I ever was, perhaps even more so than ever. Here, where I have been released from both the burden and the comfort of the mundane. If I am sad, it is not a complicated sadness. It is actually simple. It is that deep central emptiness that haunts every man. Most of my days are good days, and I don’t feel it too badly. But bad days do come, days where I feel I might be going a little mad. But perhaps, it is those days where we feel like we are going mad that we are actually becoming sane.

I started writing not really knowing what I was writing for. And I’m still not really sure what I am writing for. But it has brought me closer to myself. I’m grateful to everyone who has dropped me a message to encourage me, or liked and commented on my posts, or just stopped by to read them. Here on this rainy night, conversing with myself on Microsoft word and filled with a mixture of self-doubt and self-amusement again, I feel like I have only been given too much to treasure, from the hands of those who love me.

 

“My father never talked to me, except when we studied together. He taught me with silence. He taught me to look into myself, to find my own strength to walk inside myself in company with my soul.”

~The Chosen, Chaim Potok

Advertisements

Colour me London: Bloomsbury Festival 2013

I live and go to school in Bloomsbury, a historic area where ideas and imagination have thrived. Last week was the Bloomsbury Festival week, and during the weekend I spent time with friends at the festival at Russell Square eating, chatting and enjoying the afternoons.

10 photos (a little long today, bear with me):

IMG_2316 1. Russell Square

IMG_2321

2 .Blend your own smoothie on a bike

IMG_2265

3. Making cells from clay

IMG_2266

4. Finished products

IMG_2277

5.Normal distribution in action

IMG_2237

6. Pop!

IMG_2285

7. An exhibit attesting to the right of the child to play, to which I say amen!

IMG_2300

8. Lots of crafts

IMG_2302

9. And interesting books

IMG_2212

10. “Play me a story…”

“Play is the work of the child”

~Maria Montessori

Much Ado About Beatrice (and me)

Image

“For, out of question, you were born in a merry hour

No, sure, my lord, my mother cried;

But then there was a star danced and under that was I born”

~ Much Ado About Nothing

 

I love Much Ado About Nothing because I love Beatrice. She’s a heroine to me because she’s a girl disenchanted but still spirited – a girl with a dancing star, in a night sky that blindly runs on.

She’s been disappointed by men and disillusioned with marriage. She can’t describe her birth as a merry affair.

But she has enough magic in her heart and magic in her words to be glad of life, and wakes herself with laughter after a bad dream.

It takes her kind of strength to realise that there’s no such thing as a fairy tale life, and yet smile, and yet chide, and know life must go on.

People ask me if I’m homesick. I really don’t think I am, yet. The fact that I have to go around asking people what it feels like to be homesick probably proves it so.

But both at home and in London, there have been strange, confused nights where I feel the grief I think Beatrice must have known – the grief of looking back to a disappointing past and looking forward to a lonely future and wondering if all of life is just a mistake.

But when the moon is high in the late night sky, I dry my tears, wash my face and look myself in the mirror, and sometimes really can’t help but smile. Messed up as my mirror image is, I realise I do know who I am, after all. The me that has been, and will always be. I am too, an undying spirit. I am not so much a gentle spirit, as some would envision, for mine is like the soldiering waters. And I have enough faith and enough magic left to keep me going, no matter what’s around the river bend. A star danced, and under that was I born.

 

[Edit: I’m a little shy about this post now because its so emotionally raw. But I guess we all have times when we get down and life seems terribly depressing. And time I crafted this was one of those moments for me. I guess hope, like faith, comes and goes a hundred times an hour. And that’s what makes life so bittersweet.]

A very bunny room tour

IMG_1889

Hello! I’m Bun and this is me with Lila and Nanou sitting on our bed.

IMG_1920

This is our room!

IMG_1893

We don’t have a toilet but we have a very useful sink.

IMG_1915

We have a nice long desk with a nice long pin board and a nice long shelf above it

IMG_1908

We keep our cooking stuff in this one

IMG_1902

Cherry the cat sits with our books in the next.

IMG_2097

Lila recently neatened up the last one, which contains miscellaneous items like our instant noodle pot.

IMG_2314

Opposite the desk is our big pin board. It’s an ever expanding eclectic mix of things including a map of Hastings Stade, pictures of honey bees, pictures of molecules, a Norwegian forest cat, church brochures and a mental health postcard.

IMG_1900

This is our messy drawer. Contains everything from gigantic hair ribbons to chest x-rays.

IMG_1897

And of course our food stash.

IMG_2101

It was getting really messy, so Lila came and neatened it up.

IMG_1923

This is our cupboard. I’m sitting on fuzzy ladybug pajamas.

IMG_1925

No one’s really sure what’s up there, though I have a feeling we stashed something there before. Hm.

IMG_1917

We store food on this windowsill when its cold.

We do love our place. It’s spacious but cozy, neat and comfy, warm and safe, and all ours.

See you soon!

❤ Bun

After school with the bumblebees

Image

After school I ended up at the park with a friend, and while she sat on a bench with her computer typing away I watched the bumblebees. There were a ton of bees, but only two of the bumbling sort. I oscillated between wonder and disgust, leaning over the bench into the bush and then flinching back again. I try hard to appreciate insects really, but maybe there’s still too much girl in me, and something about them – that alive yet machine-like quality, that evokes a particular queasiness in me.

But nevertheless I watched and watched. They hovered, and landed, and got busy with the flowers, and then lifted off again. We got some respite from the rain today. We shared some grapes and discussed the safety of eating fruit unwashed. The leaves of the oak trees hung silently in the setting sun, dogs and children romped, a little pink mitten was stuck on top of the iron gate, and the air was cool and still. 

We’re bracing ourselves for colder days, but for now, in the last light of a fleeting summer, life goes on, at least on the bee’s scale.

 

(I’ll look out for them a bit more, and maybe someday I’ll touch one)

Newham City Farm

Last week on Monday, I went to the Natural History Museum and saw a lot of stuffed animals. So on Wednesday when I had some free time, I thought I should go see some live animals instead, and hence went on a solo excursion to Newham City Farm, where I spent my morning greeting all the lovely little animals.

IMG_2151Hopeful little cow

IMG_2156Silkie with the fluffy legs

IMG_2173

Silvery gray with white socks. IMG_2174

Lunch?

IMG_2170

Little chocolate sheep.

London Has Quiet Too

Image

Enter

Most of my friends were dazzled by the thought of living in such a big city as London, but I came to London fairly undazzled, anticipating little. “A city is a city. I have come from a busy city. Now I will live in another just like it,” is what I thought to myself.

“Methinks I see these things with parted eye…”

But in a strange way, I have been dazzled.

It wasn’t the city lights, or the parties or the shopping that captured me.

It was finding, amidst the bustle of city streets, a place to sit down surrounded by trees, to lie down on a bed of grass with no company but a book, to see dogs run free and squirrels scramble up trees, and the sun periodically peek out from behind the clouds, bringing sudden life into everything around me.

The things climate and space constrictions in Singapore made impossible, this city has made possible to me.

“Curioser and curioser!”

Somehow I have discovered that kind of romantic solitude I thought to exist only in books – to be alone, yet never lonely. Over the past few weeks I have gone on some solo excursions – a long walk to a market, to a city farm, and to a quiet garden in a museum.  Yet my most enjoyable episode was an afternoon in the park, reading Augustus and eating a sandwich lunch.

“Calm as to suit a calmer grief”

Yet at some points in my quiet moments, I became aware of a gentle pang in my heart, a little burden. Somehow part of my quiet was being able to look inside myself, and realising how deep that chasm I call my heart actually goes.

“All live are mysteries, I suppose, even my own”

But I remember those who have loved me, and I am not afraid to face whatever I will discover, in the world or inside myself. It is a confidence that comes only from knowing that I am unconditionally loved.

To be alone, yet never alone. To be afraid, yet never truly afraid. That is magic enough to dazzle any heart that has tasted this mystery.

Image

  A happy little friend I met yesterday

*Above quotes (in order of use as headings) are from A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, In Memorian by Lord Tennyson and last but not least, Augustus by John Williams

A Taste of Japan in The Heart of London

On my birthday, I went to the Japan festival in London, Matsuri 2013. My friends and I spent the afternoon savouring the Japanese food, watching cultural performances and lamenting that we were not actually living in Japan. Strange how a foreign land has managed to capture the hearts of so many people, and make us feel like we were meant to be there all our lives.fes

1

IMG_1946

2

IMG_1959

3

IMG_1951

4

 

IMG_1986

5

IMG_1962

6

“かつて私は狸としていかに行くべきかという難問に取り組んだことがある。

そうやって、何もしないでぶらぶらしているうちにこれはどうやら面白く生きるほかに何もすべきことはないようだと悟りを開いた。”

“Once, I wondered about the difficult question of how I should live as a tanuki.

And then, as I continued to live like that, doing nothing much at all, I realised that there was nothing else I needed to do

Except to live an interesting life.”

~Uchouten Kazoku

 

Dear God: The Poem I Almost Wrote to You

Image

Dear God,

I was going to write you a poem

Something pretty, with rhymes and rhythm

about how I won’t do my quiet time today

because I really don’t have nothing to say

I believe You’re good, I believe you’re fair

I believe You’re kind and always there

But I’m never so weary in my heart and mind

as when I’m trying to reach the divine

On this birthday-eve, I would much rather

enjoy myself than search for an invisible Father

After busy days I find myself needing

some alone-time in bed, quietly reading

Make a snack, do the laundry, get my room clean

write a blog article, pretend to be wise and witty

 

But I think, dear God, you must have thought me impertinent

For carrying out this simple plan I faced such challenges

My internet is gone, because the wireless adaptor broke down

In the common area people are partying, and I had to lug my laundry one big round

Late at night, the music is booming loud

while I sit in my room, trying to block out the sound

Tomorrow is my birthday, and as it seems

the first thing I’ll have to do is go down to the IT shop, for an exchange

 

That’s not quite the loveliest way

to start this most special-est day

So it seems, in the end

I’ll have to resort to an alternative – talking to a distant friend

Someone who eludes me every time

yet as recorded oaths upon oaths, that He is mine

So, what’s say we meet again?

my dear Father, and fleeting Friend

I’m not exactly willing

this feels like a forced meeting

But Gentleheart, if you will it so

Let’s meet and converse

For just one day, I’ll incline my soul

 

Epilouge:

If reading this you feel compelled to comment

that this girl is terribly impudent

Then I ask you to pause and understand

that I mean not to offend either gods or men

I know not how to perform spiritual feats

Nor write in a way that is discreet

I am but a silly, empty-headed child

But I do my best to grow, and to smile

If you should hate me, I would most certainly cry

And since it is my birthday, I ask, please be kind.

“We both believe, and disbelieve a hundred times an hour, which keeps believing nimble”

– Emily Dickson

My day in (mostly microwaved) food.

Image

*Disclaimer: While all effort has been put in to make the results as accurate as possible, the values shown on the pie chart are derived from a fallible memory and decidedly flawed statistical methods. Readers are advised to avoid treating it too seriously.

Breakfast

I can’t quite recall how many people said to me last week, “Enjoy the weather, it’s only going to get worse”. But it appears they were right. On Sunday, temperatures dropped.

The cold sneaks under my duvet and wakes me up much earlier than I would like. Each time it does I bundle up, snooze, and as a consequence of broken sleep wake up much later and more tired than what is ideal. Needless to say, I miss my catered breakfast pretty often.

No matter, since I have a stash of instant noodles for bad days. I actually managed to cook them in the rice cooker. Who knew it was possible?

photo (14)

The only other cooking too I have is the microwave. On days when I’m sick of instant noodles, I buy ready-made meals from Tesco and heat them up. It’s never quite very appetizing. And I soon go back to noodles again.

Lunch

Either biscuits or a quick meal at the school cafe (quick indeed, since it is usually microwaved) usually suffice.

Tea

After it got cold, I put off my plans for spending more time at the park and retreated indoors where I sit in bed wearing a fleecy leopard suit reading a book or watching TV shows online.

Good stories and good food go hand in hand for me, and hence I have been eating an alarming number of biscuits.

photo (17)

The third pack in one week

Dinner

Our hall food really isn’t half bad, but I drown my food in Tabasco because it’s the closest thing you can get to spicy here. But it still can’t quite give me that endorphin rush I get from fresh chili peppers in Singapore, which I so miss.

Supper

Often consists of super fruit and super-natural smoothies, and not-so-super-spicy Japanese spices.

photo (16)

So that’s been my rather unhealthy student diet this week. To put at rest the minds of anyone who’s beginning to worry, I resolve to do my best to turn up for catered meals, and eat less microwaved food (it doesn’t taste that great anyway).*

*I realise this post sounds a tad bit whiny. I’ve actually had pretty good things to eat too, but I’ll save that for another post 😉