Animals always find ways to fit themselves into snug corners.
And I’m homebound for Christmas. This last week passed so quickly, yet so many moments were jammed into it. In between Christmas meals and Christmas outings we made rushed trips to supermarkets and down Oxford street to gather together all the 1823624 items on our shopping lists, and played tetris trying to fit all the boxes and tins into our luggage.
Mess and stress
Bye girls. Be good. And fight the dustbunnies!
Thanks to the help of a lot of kind strangers, I managed to navigate my tumbling 31kg monster of a luggage through the Saturday crowds on the tube and survived a service disruption. Except, I dropped my luggage on my toe. Once.
At Heathrow, we took selfies and exchanged well wishes over facebook and whatsapp. Some were spoken, some unspoken. Have a good Christmas. Rest well. Don’t forget to come back. We still have a long way to go together.
Snapshots of December
I’ll miss everyone. It’s been a crazy December in London, but I’ve had so many lovely moments.
Waiting for our monster of a luggage to emerge
The 12 hours in the plane passed smoothly, and we were home.
I feel like I’ve come through a time machine. An apprehensive time traveler. Everything is familiar, yet as I walk through my house and my city, it feels as though I’m watching through a glass wall as a past version of myself sees and feels. The black and white stage of memory.
Also, my parents bought a new camera. So this will (hopefully) be the last time you see such bad pictures. But to be fair, my iphone has tried very hard over these past few weeks, bearing with all my verbal abuse and all my poking and jabbing at its old screen. Good job, old friend.
I went skating again today. This time at the Tower of London. The rinks that pop up during Christmas in London are beautiful, albeit small. Though I skate like a monkey, I do like the feeling – the feeling of shaving ice under my feet, of gliding across the rink’s smooth central ellipse, and of twisting and slipping on a near frictionless surface.
I may not be a big fan of Christmas, but I can certainly love this. The motion of skating also really makes me want to be skiing again. To be up in the mountains, traversing down a bumpy slope, digging my ski tips into fresh powder, speeding down an empty run, feeling the cold on my cheeks as I ride up a lift to do it all over again. White memories.
Note to self: Go for a ski trip next Christmas.
After a day of shopping, eating and skating, my friend and I settled at Fortnum & Mason at the station – High tea for dinner. We ate, surrounded by pastel coloured jars and tins of scrumptious things. The hands of a golden clock glided smoothly across its face above us, and the faint sound of piano music drifted in through the brick arch entrance, while commuters rushed about with their luggage outside.
For dinner: Cake. Victoria sponge probably is to the English what Strawberry Shortcake is to the Japanese – deliciously soft and sweet, sold everywhere from supermarkets to posh tea rooms, a classic component of afternoon tea, and always served with cream on top.
All in all, it was a lovely spontaneous day out with a dearly spontaneous friend. Never thought I’d say this, but I’ll kinda miss London when I go home.
Happy holidays everyone! Hope you’ve taken some time to do something you love and eat food that makes you happy too (;
I’ll be home for Christmas. And frankly, I’m not too sure how I feel about that. When I first came here I kept counting down the weeks to going home “9 weeks, 8, 7, 6, 5…” and then the excitement stopped there. Maybe it’s because I’ve gotten so used to life here. I was so pleased looking at the weather forecast and seeing that the temperature will remain comfortably around 8 degrees for the week, when before I would have been freezing at twice that temperature. Though I’ll never pass on an opportunity to eat Asian food, I don’t crave it as much. Neither do I daydream about the Singapore landscape anymore.
But I do suspect there’s something more to it.
I don’t think I’ve changed much. Except being in a new environment, and living a much less cluttered life did mellow me a lot, and I spent a lot more time looking inside myself than before. I have friends who have shared similar sentiments – being here, your life becomes a lot “cleaner”, and you become a lot more in touch with those feelings you couldn’t feel in Singapore, where every day is about doing and doing and not stopping to think much.
And perhaps, I guess, that’s where my reluctance to go home comes from. Coming here was like opening the door to my heart and realising that behind the door were rooms and rooms of accumulated rubbish that I never knew existed. And then realising that I will never move forward as a person until I can deal with all of that. I have to go back in order to go forward. But boy, is that thought terrifying.
So there is part one of my answer. The other part is difficult to explain. Suffice it to say that not only do I not want to go back, but I also have reasons to want to stay. Maybe this is how people feel when they run away from home – not just that you want to run away, but that you’ve found a place you can run to. But I am not so deluded yet that I think running away will save me.
Have I lost you there? I’m sorry. I think I can put it a lot more simply. It’s a common affliction; it’s the struggle for love – wanting so badly to be loved and looking for it in all the wrong places, and each time only becoming more acutely aware that this isn’t really what you want, yet not quite knowing where else to go. That’s all.
I’m really not sure what’s going to happen when I go home. So far the only thing I’ve decided on doing is Muay Thai, because I feel a strong desire to punch something, and also, eating a lot of green tea parfaits. But well, this might actually be interesting. And perhaps, more comforting than I’m expecting it to be. One must always remain optimistic, for things are never as bad as they seem. We’ll take this a step at a time. Going home, I realise now, is not a break from my journey, it’s a part of it.
The Christmas Tree at Hyde Park
Without me even realizing it, December the 1st came – a Sunday. I can imagine children were excitedly striking off the first day on the advent calender, while I awoke sleepily at 11am in my friend’s apartment, hazy from the previous night’s chat time, and emerged to the living room where my two friends were quietly doing their schoolwork.
In a sort of quiet desperation for a change of mood, I had pulled an all-nighter on Friday, working until 5am to finish a report (caffeine works wonders if you only take it when you really need it), so that I could escape my room for my friend’s place.
We walked around Oxford street and Chinatown and the Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park, ate Asian food and spent the evening talking away. “気が合う” (ki ga au) – spirits in cohesion, is the Japanese term for “getting along”. Such a delicately layered expression.
Silently, slowly, December crept in and settled itself amongst us. Though we’d been anticipating it, we weren’t expecting it. And it was only on Monday morning that I, back at my desk in a daze after passing through that blur of excitement and confusion that is weekends, realised it in my heart – December is here.
“Time is a blind guide”
– Fugitive Pieces, Anne Michaels