476: Crossing the Rubicon

I see: endless faces. I find: quite easily, those who try to lose themselves. They come in as the music plays on in the back, their footsteps agitated, purposeful. There is a heavy thump of anger as they call for a beer. It’s happy hour, I say to the uneducated. Most people fall for it, since the mode of transport to hell is irrelevant. Everyone is coasting, in any case; I just provide the oars.

I’m not here every day but these two appear more often than they should. They sit by the bar and as I serve their drinks they leave ajar the window to their private lives. The conversations are never grey or static, and sometimes there is another or two or four people. They laugh quietly, then loudly, then there might be an awkward silence, a pensive mood, when the conversation gets too heavy and too private and someone wants to run away but knows they shouldn’t, not just yet. Two or three agonising seconds later they request more drinks and I save the day. Somewhere else, somehow, a boat struggles to stay afloat. The days fade to the sound of some invisible countdown. They sit closer to each other. There are more words, and too many ways to say the same thing. The air hangs down, heavy as lanterns, and maybe their feelings blur as the music swirls with possibility. Once in a while it’s too much, and they dart outside to recharge. Inside between the drinks, over where I stand, is a river neither of them dares to cross. But they lean towards it, swaying against each other, waiting for the truth to drown them both. Each time they leave the universe readjusts. The rest of them mill around, soulless as flies, and the dances continue amidst the alcohol. I make the rest of the drinks as I am commanded to.

One day, she stops coming. The boat does not sink. The river flows. The universe remains undisturbed. He continues as he always has.

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439: phuketeering

Life has… not been great. I’m tired out, but I can’t get to sleep till the sun rises. My head is in a mess all the time. Waking up early is so hard, but I don’t sleep in the day either. I don’t understand how I function, if at all. It may have something to do with the endless work that just keeps coming. How am I going to survive working life like this, when I balk at the prospect of four assignments in one week?

In between then and now, my friends from Austria came to visit. Then they left, and as they left my laptop decided to crash (again). As a testament to the impermanency of life, etc, because now I have nothing and one year later all the iPod ripping software is not freeware anymore. They offer you a 100-file trial. It may not be much, but over one year I had about a thousand songs. And in the ten years before that (before my laptop crashed and I left my iPod on the plane back from Holland), I had about ten thousand. A thousand a year seems correct. But it was ten years’ worth of music. Yes, I’m still sore. Because now I don’t even know what I don’t remember.

Also, I went to Phuket. It was one of the nicer weekends this month, seeing as the others have either been clogged up with work or spent hungover (or spent hungover but still clogged up with work). It was also a harried getaway (in between assignments), but like I told someone, you live now, or you live never.

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423: we no speak americano

I’ve been on a shopping roll lately, even though I’m extremely broke, just because I feel like I need to buy something. These days my purchases run the entire gamut of strangeness — last month I bought two pairs of black wedges, one which I’ve been going clubbing in (4 hours’ dancing! No pain! JOY!) and one which is finally getting shipped to me on Thursday. Yay! Then the ASOS sale came and I bought crazy and retarded and useless things. Like a bright yellow leather satchel and pin-studded sunglasses and a mesh top, all of which are completely unsuitable for work. But who cares!

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415: awesome possum

I’m back! But only for awhile. I’m trying hard to keep up this writing thing, or I fear I’ll lose it forever. Already I’m falling (way) behind on the travelogues (I was supposed to write about Turkey & the epic Europe trip many months/a year ago; will I ever get down to it? The answer is possibly — no) and before I know what’s happening I’m being whisked away on yet another travel adventure. This time back to Japan (cue collective shout: “Again?!”; so yes, I confirm for the benefit of all disbelievers, again), then Shanghai, then Bali! I haven’t told my mum about my $98 air ticket to Bali, though…

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373: i’d rather dance with you

You’re so unkind, he sings. And he replies, well, you’re out of your mind.

It’s easy to forget that you’d ever left. Yet everything seems somehow different, somewhat changed in the meantime — things have moved, been torn down and rebuilt, or reshaped into different things, people have come and gone and drifted further away, and we’ve all descended into a strange pool of awkwardness we don’t quite know how to get out of.

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362: and do you know what you’re doing to me

I hate the way I still prac-crit everything you say even though my English is better.

I know I keep asking, so you and me, babe, how about it under a convenient streetlight. I wish I could serenade you, step out of the shade. And you’ll reply from the top window, just like in the song. Everything’s happened; it can’t un-happen itself. You and I — maybe we’re only brief encounters, nothing else. 

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349: the wheels fly and the colours spin

We were young, we were free, happily drunk and suited up. There’s no time to be in Holland like this time, and though the weather refused to cooperate, the joy is in gritting your teeth and continuing to be happy. Everyone was out in full force, from the babies to the grandparents — family fun. Whatever the reason to celebrate, there is always a reason to drink beer.

Cheers! ♥

335: she’ll take a tumble on you

The semester is almost over. As usual one is struck by how fast time flies, and the way in which it has flown. People have already gone home, to wherever they came from, and one recalls the tears that I find myself unable to shed. Maybe it was because I was not the one leaving; maybe I did not have sufficient connections with these people. There were lovely people, people I wish I’d known better were I not caught up in my own drama, but three months and meaningful friendships are hard to sustain. One is aware that this is not an excuse and that I could have, if I tried, or bothered to try. That being said, maybe next semester will be different, and one can always hope for the best. Making new friends, sustaining them, remembering why I am here in the first place, living for myself. The world is now and forever waiting for me to explore it. For once I will try not to be defeated by my own inaction. 

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333: fireworks in lake michigan

As usual, I have not done anything (much) today. I have an exam on Monday but I’ve barely started studying. This would be better if it were actually graded so I could feel more fear, or written so that I could feel less. As it is, it’s an oral exam. I’m scared shitless and yet not, and my brain is continually pushing waves of apathy towards me. 

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326: look what love gave us

These few days have been better, but it might have been all the alcohol.

Everyone is going home soon, and it’s hard to fathom that one semester has already passed us by. In these three months so many things, good and bad, have happened, sometimes changing our lives irreversibly. Whatever it is, whether it’s the people we’ve met or the people who have left or are leaving, this exchange year is shaping up to be an unforgettable one.

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313: i swam across, i jumped across for you

So. Last weekend we went to Utrecht, with 5 other people from various countries. We met up with Gary, Zhiming and Crystal, who’d just arrived that week. It was lots and lots of fun. Utrecht is a beautiful old city, and because it was really the first of stereotypical Netherlands that we saw, it was great. There are lots of canals, boats, people cycling… 

I almost didn’t go, though, because I didn’t eat breakfast and we were late, so we cycled hard and fast to the train station. Then I felt really dizzy and couldn’t walk straight, and ended up sitting down on the floor after awhile and eventually missed our scheduled train. We did manage to get on one 20 minutes later, after Val forced chocolate down my throat, but I still felt queasy till we actually got to Utrecht and ate some breakfast. Hmm.

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311: cos i’m coming home again

All this cycling home half-drunk is bound to take a toll on us one day.

For the less experienced among us, I have already crashed into a wall and fallen off trying to mount a kerb with my bike while trying to bike home while high just now.

Apparently this is quite a common occurrence. That I only ended up with a bleeding shin is a blessing in itself.

309: see your shoes and your spirits rise

Before we all know it, I’ve been here for more than a week. Over these few days there have been so many happenings, so many parties, so many exciting things to tell. From the first week of meeting new people and crazy random parties with lots and lots (and lots) of drinking, to cooking totally random food in the kitchen, we’ve also changed our housemate. He used to be an American who smoked weed all day and stayed on the top floor, but he moved out because of the rent and now we have a new Iranian housemate whose wife is coming to stay with him starting sometime this week. He is also Muslim, so we are having to deal with all this at one go. 

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307: all your stereotypes

Americans are noisy, Spanish girls are hot, Japanese guys are super hot, the Germans think Erdinger is good shit, the Chinese are fucking everywhere, and omg. OH MY GOD.

HOLLAND FUCKING SMELLS OF WEED.

(OK. That was my update. Other than that orientation’s been fun. But there is so much alcohol, and especially when it costs 1-2 euros a pint, everybody drinks like crazy. At orientation functions beer is FREE, and it’s pretty good beer, the pubs are everywhere, people are happy, and omg the weed. Today there was an impromptu party at the hostels near the university, so everyone went down to the lawn and brought down couches and like 5 cases of beer and a couple of bottles of wine. So many people turned up, from everywhere, and it was so good talking to everyone. The weather was great and it wasn’t cold at all, we were warm from the alcohol and talking so much nonsense, and Sharm has just stumbled off to bed. On the bad side it cost us $20 (11 euros) for a cab ride. Yesterday there was a welcome drink in the city centre and everyone was just. Drinking. And drinking. And drinking again. Tomorrow there is another party. Everyone is crazy and high and it is kind of funny listening to them talk. My liver is fucking going to die.)

279: dinner with cleavageman j

Did I ever tell you I love Muji food? Like, not the clothes, but the random selection of weird and wonderful foods they stock up near the back. Like plum cheese tarts and black pepper cheese bites. Yum. 

I should be buying less since I’ll be in Japan in a few days, but I can’t help it. Anyway yesterday concluded the neverending series of birthday parties (surprise, and otherwise).

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269: お誕生日おめでとう!

It takes a special kind of person to stop coming home drunk after a party. It takes a special kind of person to ignore the flashing lights, the booming music, and the leering eyes. A sea of white shirts wherever you go, squeezing through bodies to get to the toilet. Resisting glass after glass and bottle after bottle of whisky. You think maybe you’d be better off with a beer, or two, or none. A Coke, maybe. Then you think about how there is still work to do tomorrow, Equity and Public Law waiting for you, their siren songs turning to unpleasant wails in your head. Still, it’s a road that must be taken. And still you smell of smoke.  It takes a special kind of person to forget about all this, to let go, and just be happy. As if there is nothing on tomorrow, as if nothing is the way it was yesterday.

We got lost on the way home. It was raining and I couldn’t see anything and I knocked down a cone outside Zouk and the security guard screamed at me. It was mildly unpleasant but somehow it was funny, when everything was a haze. I probably shouldn’t have been driving. 

To the special person tonight who abandoned tomorrow and lived for today, here is your very happy 21st birthday. I know you will remember it forever and ever, even if you can’t really remember anything tomorrow. We are always here to remind you. Hur hur. :)

So the sky turns from black to purple to orange, and still the clock ticks on. When it turns blue we will wake up and life will start again.

258: a peach is an upside down heart

PEACH: ひっくり返る愛のマーク!!!

Err. Cos you know like how I have not been sleeping for the past few days and staying in school till 2am to do my stupid public law assignment. Naturally once it was over I reverted to doing completely time-wasting things.

Like posting pictures.

Oh and I half-forgot there was Equity today.   

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253: 青春 … 万歳!

I don’t know why everyone seems to be getting on my case recently. The entire weekend (and today) my mother and grandmother have been making weird and insinuating comments and it is getting really, really difficult to not get pissed off. Obviously, my Lenten resolution (which is not to get pissed at my mother) is not working out as well as it should. Considering my mother’s own Lenten resolution is not to complain, I’m not even sure who failed more. This is a situation that deserves a huge GG.  

I’ve been intending to start my Public Law assignment today but I just can’t get down to it, and all I did today was read two White Papers at McDonald’s, and even that took all of an hour. What is with me and inertia? Even more worrying is the fact that I will have to seriously start studying for exams again after this break is over, and then it’ll be a long and painful two months to the finish line again. Considering I do less and less work each first half of each semester, I don’t know how I’m going to pull off a miracle. Now I’m just biting my nails and hoping I don’t slide down to the bottom.   

So. Ian celebrated his 21st on Saturday, and perhaps really for the last last last time ever, we will gather Ian’s house. Next door, Silver Tower has already been pulled down, and soon everyone will move out and there will be nothing left. While keeping to our Happy Hwachong Nucleus Wilson and I concluded that Ian’s place is really somewhere where everyone meets, and it has been so over so many years. That day someone asked Grace how she knew Ian, and to our surprise neither of us could remember the answer. It was strange; I don’t remember how I met all the guys I’ve known since secondary school. Was it a GEP thing? Or was it just that strange and inexplicable era of instant messaging where everyone was indiscriminate about adding random email addresses to their MSN?  

Probably so. 
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252: once more, with feeling

Today I thought about a lot of things. When we first started out, we met each other at the bookstore, and I was reading Gathering Blue, after a long and painful search. We then went on a trip for tea and then to search for the perfect present, before calling you up and finally settling on something. And then, as time went by, the conversations got stranger by the minute, always talking about things other than us, about our surroundings, our plans, and all of us talked about the wine, the food, the random people who were not there, the people in the room, the Japanese embassy. Each story was filled with vignettes and things to remember, as well as very forgettable things, which we only listened to because we were polite. And so on.  

Then as the night died down and the people left, we went on a wild goose chase for an alcohol binge, which came lately in the night, though whether it was much appreciated or not went unanswered. There was alcohol, yes, though some of the pleasure was diminished, and there was good music, and for a few moments all of us were intoxicated and happy, and eager to dance and forget the world. Then we sat down on the plump sofa and realised that it was not our birthday we were celebrating, and as we looked down on the people dancing, I realised what an elaborate mating ritual it was, just like a poem you wrote about so long ago.  

A few days ago there might have been a lunar eclipse. Only when we looked up into the sky, we saw no moon, and thought it was a normal thing. And so, both of us missed a momentous event, as we always have.

251: and one man in his life plays many parts

It’s 9.40 in the morning on a Sunday, a fact which is very surprising because I’m actually awake to record it. It reminds me of the time I woke up at 7+ on a Sunday morning to drive to Starbucks at Liat Towers to have breakfast by myself before (sadly) heading to school for a round of intensive studying. I don’t know what it is with me and Sundays, but I like them. Even more so when I don’t have to go to church. It might be the fact that I slept at 7pm last night though. 

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