Monthly Archives: November 2013

I have a story.

I have a story I need to tell.

It needs to be told, because words are so much of who I am. It was words, and the people who taught me to use words, that saved me, giving my heart a voice. And it would only make sense that now that I have words to say, that I should tell them. It needs to be told, because just as I have needed other people’s stories, someday someone might need mine. It needs to be told, strangely, because they story itself will not come to a close until it is told. It needs to be told because the telling will, if nothing else, give me courage.

There was an evening, sitting at my desk, where the gears turned in my mind, and suddenly I felt that there was no other way, except that this story must come to completion. At the same time, from my heart, came a desire to make sure the story is told.

But now is not the time to tell it. This is a story that is unfolding slowly as I move towards the day I can bring it into the light. By the time I am ready to tell it, I will probably no longer be the same person anymore. Everything will change.

Or will it?

Maybe you have a story too. When you look back to your past and you look into the mirror, what do you see? Are there traces of a narrative there? Is there something hidden, something broken, something redeeming? Where hide your dragons? Where is your sword? Are there any conditions that you must adhere to on your journey, and which benevolent spirit imparted them to you? What magic words do you use against the darkness? How many turbulent waters must you cross to come home? Does your story have a theme? What is your theory of everything, and where does your story fit in?

What happens at that moment we begin to look into the mirror for real, and understand all that we are and what we have become? A story begins there, I think. And with the beginning comes the trembling of the heart and the need to find new strength. Redemption begins there, I hope. When we go through the wall, what waits on the other side? I sure hope to believe it is nothing less than goodness and fullness – the end of a tale, and the beginning of one ten times better.

I have a story. Stick with me and someday I will share it with you. Whether or not you will remain my friend at the end of it, I know not. But whatever the outcome, it is my greater hope that you too, will one day discover the magic of a tale, of telling, of words and remembering. And maybe then, you can tell me your story too. Right from the beginning.

All tales may come true;

and yet, at the last, redeemed,

they may be as like and as unlike the forms that we give them

as Man, finally redeemed,

will be like and unlike the fallen that we know.

– On Fairy Stories, J.R.R. Tolkien

there and back again

“Our secrets will be our courage when we need it” 

– Fugitive Pieces,  Anne Michaels

I spent the weekend away with two old friends in Oxford. It was so surreal to be with their enigmatic minds again, to listen to them chide and talk and sing, and to be in Oxford, which often feels like a castle with a garden that has been left to grow in secret for generations.

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I went there in a terrible state of mind. Completely frazzled and unfocused. The weekend was so healing, despite the fact that I was huddling in a corner in silence most of the time. Strong magic happens when old friends cross paths again, and the gentle rhythm and charm of a town causes hearts to open.

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In quiet, everything is known. The world is known in whispers. Comfort comes in whispers. Secrets come in whispers. Worry comes in whispers. Truth comes in whispers. And tonight, back at my desk but no longer sure where I am or what I am, my heart is full of them. Tomorrow I will wake up, and life will be normal again.

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Good night. 

these wandering streets

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Cupid, who has often marked the meeting point for me and my friends, has now been put in a giant snow globe.

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Robins!

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Christmas on the shelves

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Way to the sky

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Inside John Lewis

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A glittery sunset

well..Photos shamelessly filtered.

My friends and I sometimes go on impromptu walks after school, to run errands together and/or explore. It’s something I didn’t get to do much back at home.

On Friday, we walked from school to Piccadily circus to Regent street to Oxford street to Tottenham Court Road – which is pretty much all the major shopping areas we frequent. We went to the Japanese supermarket, to a camera shop to confirm that my digicam is out of hope, to John Lewis to use a cake+coffee coupon, to a video shop to pick up some DVDs for my mum, to several supermarkets because my friend loves shopping for yogurt, and finally, to the fruit stand to buy berries on the way back. On the way, we talked, took photos and bumped into people we knew.

So went my Friday afternoon, enjoying time out before going home to my essay and messy room.

Have a good day everyone! (:

Looking for sunshine.

“Sometimes things don’t go, after all,

from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel

faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don’t fail,

sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.”

~SometimesSheenagh Pugh

My head’s been swimming recently. Feels like a lot of difficult decisions and complicated things have come together all at once. It ought to be straightforward, but I find myself paralyzed, as people often do when they most need to move forward.

But it’s not been too bad. There have been interesting things. As part of my adventures as a lab rat for the psychology department, I received a book voucher for doing well on a memory task. And on another occasion, I bought myself a lot of kit-kats after being systematically conditioned to favour unhealthy food over healthy food.

I managed to finish a piece of pair work with a friend on a high note, after a lot of agonizing over details I thought was sure to damage our relationship for good. And I had a heart-to-heart talk with another friend that helped us to see life through each other’s (very different) eyes. Each in their own way both of them told me, to do as my heart leads and let nothing hinder me.

Life rolls on, and I continue, as brave as I am scared. Though I may not be much of a christian, I still believe that all will be well in the end.

So ends my attempt at writing some kind of concrete update about my life. If you happen to be reading this, then hope you have a good day, and for my friends having exams, all the best! (:

Sunday by the river.

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The view walking across the bridge to Southbank
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To the Christmas market!

IMG_2750I ❤ anything doughy

IMG_2719Hot mulled cider

IMG_2727Stopped by the poetry library to rest

IMG_2760And ended the day at a book fair under the bridge.

zetsubouHalfway through the day my camera died from a lens error and now the only camera I have is my phone. The way it malfunctioned was as though it had a heart attack.

-Depressed-

Ah well. Happily, last week we completed our first lab report and our first test. And on Sunday, my friend proposed visiting the Christmas market at Southbank. We ate a lot of good food including korean rice, crepes, chimney cake, Chinese style grilled fish and warm cider. And for once we were glad for the early setting sun, because without it we wouldn’t have been able to see all the lights, and so very pretty they were.

Have a good day everyone~ :3

We stood and watched

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We stood and watched the city lights

Diamond giants in a starless sky

Pulsing razor fluorescent streaks

Swirled the shadows at our feet

In the tingling, slipping rain

Hazy, we listened to the waterscape

And felt sweet sighs of phantom stars

Breathe a promise in the deep of our hearts

Should we board the evening ship and drift away

They would guide us to world’s end, where the crystal ocean sways

And when we awake, the planets will there remain

Singing a song, the celestial refrain

That had been flowing through the heavens all along

Even after the last listening ears were gone

I felt we lost ourselves that night

As we stood and watched the city lights

“What is a friend? Someone who for the first time makes you aware of your loneliness and his, and helps you to escape so you in turn can help him. Thanks to him you can hold your tongue without shame and talk freely without risk. That’s it.” – Elie Wiesel

 

Side notes:

facepalm

More AA-BB rhyming!

Clumsy poetry aside, I kinda miss bright city streets and high rise buildings. Especially now that the sun sets at 4pm in London.

I often have images of the bright, busy, tree-lined and often rainy streets of Singapore. And I look back wistfully to the time before school started and the memories I collected, talking endlessly and walking aimlessly with friends and family along them.

It’s so silly really, how much of my mental life is lived in retrospect and anticipation. But it does make the times when I am actually able to return to the present moment so much more special.

Of city walls and ladybugs

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Hundreds of years ago, soldiers patrolled these walls. Today, curious tourists and many-spotted ladybugs are the ones who creep along what remains of the city’s defenses.

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Ladybugs were resting all along this particular stretch of railing – many-spotted and two-spotted; red, yellow and black. I wonder if they have been here all along, from the time of the Romans to the Vikings to the medieval kings to today. Perhaps they have been in hiding, and emerged only after the storms of history had passed.

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King George VI said that the history of York is the history of England. It’s strange now, to stand on rebuilt fragments of this old fortification, watching insects sunbathe and leaves creep along the walls, and think of how far we are from the ages past.

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It was cold in York. I wore a white cotton gloves and a jacket that made me round as a snowball. I stayed in a lovely hostel with my friends, who were so kind as to allow me to come along with them. In the morning we opened the window to red rooftops and the frosty air. In the day we explored little shop houses, grand churches and ancient relics. At night we made hot chocolate, and I huddled by the heater with a book, letting my mind wander while I remained in the comfort of my company. 

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I did a lot of eating on this trip. It was one of those weeks where my sweet cravings were at an all time high. I went there with a slight sore throat. I came back coughing so badly it made my head hurt.

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I decided I should refrain from foods that would aggravate my throat for the next few days. But then, I went to the Japanese supermarket, and they have really nice spicy rice bowls there, so I had to get one for lunch. And with a good lunch one must always have something sweet for dessert. Just a little bit can’t hurt, right?

“On foot everything stays connected”

And today we went for a walk.

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“Mummy I’m tired!”

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Waiting underneath the “no dogs allowed in the playground” sign. Gave it a few comforting pats. 

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peace

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 peek

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 look where we came to!

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“Many people nowadays live in a series of interiors…disconnected from each other. On foot everything stays connected, for while walking one occupies the spaces between those interiors in the same way one occupies those interiors. One lives in the whole world rather than in interiors built up against it.” 
~Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking

Today was a day with a lot of walking. Though I groan inwardly from the tedium sometimes, I do wonder if we’ve lost something – spiritually and physically, in all the zipping between places on buses and trains, and no longer connecting the dots on our own anymore.

A brief London food log

Because food is good 😉

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Bought doughnut balls with some friends at school during induction week. Sweet treats always make my day complete.

 

IMG_2081The day before my birthday, my newly made friends from my course took me for frozen yogurt. Frozen yogurt was something I did on birthdays with my friends back in school in Singapore too, so it was real comforting (:

 

IMG_2168From Borough Market near London Bridge.I haven’t had honey with honeycomb in a long time, so that was a real treat. Ate it right out of the jar 😉 Also, I received a birthday brownie ^^

 

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Really good food from the London Japan festival on my birthday with some newly made friends.
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Green tea ice cream ❤ I had this at a Japanese restaurant called Defune, with my aunt who was here from Singapore on a business trip.

 

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Japanese food is universally appreciated, but there’s something about your own cuisine that just hits the spot. And there is plenty of good Chinese food in London, if you know how to find it. All you need is good company to fill the space around the table. This was from a dinner with my Singaporean orientation group.

 

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I love pancakes ❤ So it was delightful to have gigantic Dutch pancakes with my Singaporean course mates one Monday evening.

 

IMG_2326“I could never get the hang of Thursdays”, said Arthur Dent. Neither can I, when we have lessons from 9-5 with sporadic one hours breaks in between. But the good thing is that Thursday is farmer’s market day, which means paella and brownies for lunch, and impossibly sweet raspberries to take home for the weekend.

 

IMG_2426On a Saturday evening, an impromptu walk turned into impromptu grocery shopping and then an impromptu Korean dinner.

 

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On a sunny Friday afternoon, a happy little group of us went to a bakery café after school. Most lovely scones I’ve ever had.

 

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I go rock climbing about once a week, and this day we finished rather late. I was pretty tired, but cheered up when my Malaysian climbing partner suggested going out for Singaporean/Malaysian food. You don’t realise how much you miss food from home until you taste it. In our ecstasy, we both agreed it was the best moment of our lives.

 

IMG_2502Back to the same ramen bar twice in a day, because we had expiring coupons. It was well worth it though.

 

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On a very blustery day, I went for crepes with a sweet familiar friend ❤

 

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Yummy yummy bento at Eat Tokyo near my place.I finished the whole thing.

And yes, I eat a lot.