On my last day in Singapore, we decided to embrace the tropical heat, and went on a long trek
“The road goes ever on and on
And I must follow if I can
Down from the door where it began”
We touched down in London Heathrow Airport yesterday.
Between the frantic packing and hurried goodbyes of pre-depature, and the chaos of Heathrow upon arrival, I had 14 hours of quiet time on the plane. The mellow light and constant humming of the engines makes the mind rather hazy, and the whole atmosphere seemed rather melancholic. (Watching an unexpectedly morbid Japanese movie didn’t help much).
I felt a familiar pang inside. One that had caused me many restless nights and anxious days. The one that I first felt when leaving suddenly became real.
What makes goodbyes so hard? Is it the fear of missing out? Or the fear that things will never be the same again? The fear of loneliness?
In my clouded mind, I remembered one big sister from my part-time job, looking at me with a half affectionate and half exasperated smile as I struggled to tell her about how I felt in broken Mandarin, and telling me, that life is like that – we keep moving forward. We say goodbye, and keep on going.
I’m probably a little bit too attached to my friends (including dog and sister) – is what I thought, there on the plane. I hold on to them a little bit too tightly, for security’s sake.
It’s probably about time I came back to walking my own path. Perhaps soon I’ll get used to the rhythm of this city, and find some things to treasure here. Perhaps somewhere along the way, I’ll discover where my heart can really come home to. Perhaps, that place is not somewhere here in the visible world.
Ah, the train of thought is threatening to run off the tracks now.
For now, I’m thankful – thankful that I have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. Thankful I have a path to walk on, and people who will walk it with me.
And amidst all the loneliness and confusion of a 14 hour flight from Singapore to London, sometimes being thankful is about the very best a girl can do.
Bun sits beside my Singapore Sling.
I agonize over what is necessary and what is not
I constantly feel that the amount of Japanese stationary I’ve bought is not enough.
I remember someone telling me the important things to pack are the unimportant things. Like your favourite snacks. And your toys. But every time I see how the space in my suitcase is depleting I crumble a little inside.
And I have panic attacks when I realise there’s still more to be put in. Even if its just a bunch of hairpins.
In helplessness I yield to fate and decide that if some item does not appear in time to be squashed into my suitcase, it that it simply was not meant to be.
After all, the truth is there’s plenty of stuff in the suitcase I can live without.
And learning to live without
Is probably part of what going overseas is all about.
I like being near the port, because seeing huge ships push their way towards the horizon makes me feel like I’m really small, living on the edge of a world of turbulent waters under a mighty sky. It’s somehow an very contradictory place – where the force of the city’s ambition and the power of the sky and sea meet. And one is not sure whether it is possible to admire the grace of the ships and wonder at the sunset both at once, without letting the appreciation for one nullify respect for the other.
Today’s outing to West Coast Park is probably the last in a series of pre-departure outings I’ve been going to over the past two weeks. It was deeply satisfying (:
In my free pockets of time, I’ve been writing some farewell letters to good friends. I think I’m doing it just as much for my own comfort as I am for theirs.
I’ve always been blessed with really adorable, sweet, kind and sensible friends. In writing, I take time to remember these good people in my life. It brings me back to my roots, and helps me remember the lessons I’ve learnt growing up.
It helps me remember never to kill a mockingbird, and that most people are real nice when you finally see them.
It helps me realise that clothes and image don’t matter, but your commitment to be the better person does. And that at the end of the day, what you achieve is not as important as whether you’ve done your best.
It helps me remember that the truth is it is better to give than to receive.
It makes me believe that you really don’t need things or boys to feel good about yourself. You just need to grow, learn, laugh and love.
It’s been said that mistakes are the best teachers, because they make us hurt. But good things and good people passing through our lives can be good teachers too. Except sometimes, amidst the increasing demands and pressures of an adult life just beginning, it takes a bit of work to remember. But boy, is it important.
“All I really need is a song in my heart, and love in my family”
~All I Really Need, Raffi
8 good years I have lived with this fellow. Until today, I still wonder at the fact that this beautiful, shy creature is actually my own. It is a wonder that grows in the quiet moments, when I come down the stairs at midnight and he watches me from across the room, and ever so tentatively he comes towards me, ears back and head low, and when I bend down and open my arms he melts into a ball at my feet. It’s a wonder that grows when we walk side by side on the street, leashless, and he walks in sync with me, guided only by my voice. It grows when I bid him sit and wait while I go into a store, and he listens to me and waits patiently, just because. It grows when I examine God’s handiwork – the velvet tips of his ears, his shining eyes, delicate paws and smiling face, and am blown away again by the fact that this is a real, living, breathing creature. As real and alive as myself, and yet so much not like myself, and yet loves me – loves me in a way only animals can love.
I’ll miss this old fellow like crazy.
In the afternoon today I got the chance to meet up with two really sweet friends who after tea decided that it would be good idea to go hunting for durian mooncakes at the mooncake festival fair at taka.
I felt quite nostalgic looking at the childrens’ lanterns on sale. It brought back memories of jamming AA batteries into the plastic tube-like handles of inflatable lanterns and hearing a high pitched tune play. Memories of crinkly fluorescent-coloured, animal-shaped lanterns hanging from a stick, and how I would walk real carefully when holding them, so as not to burn myself – Memories of a time when simple toys like that were fascinating, and fire was dangerous and intriguing. Memories of quieter nights, and simpler days.
It made me think, also, that children actually don’t need a lot to be happy. Simple things, like mid-autumn lanterns, can actually form the pleasantest of our memories.
I’ve 3 weeks left before I’m London bound.
Recently I’ve been waking up before my alarm, and dreaming in my sleep (or rather, remembering my dreams), which I only do when I sleep lightly.
I’m feeling the anxiety of being in between. I’m still too attached to my friends and lifestyle here to be ready to part, but also having to prepare properly for the leap, which of necessity involves me thinking seriously (and ideally, enthusiastically), about my future life. I don’t know how to feel excited, not yet. There’s still problems unsolved here. Relationships to manage here.
In the midst of my confusion, little things bring a lot of comfort – like a phone call from a friend checking how I’m doing, my sister grabbing everything within reach and flinging it at me to get my attention, and braving the tropical rain without an umbrella together with my dog. Perhaps its the familiarity of these things. Perhaps it’s the closeness I feel to these friends who make up my life.
I continue walking my tightrope, trying to find the balance between living to the full here and preparing properly for my leave.
I’ll make it, somehow, like I always do.