In dedication to you

I am not coping very well right now, but I definitely am coping much better than our previous few departures. I will not be seeing you for 6 weeks as you are on deployment, and after these 6 weeks, I will see you for 1 day and 1 night before I am off to London again. I don’t think LDR gets any easier. I struggled to fight my tears when I waved my final goodbye to you earlier, but recalling our times spent together this summer triggered me so badly and sent me straight into the toilet in tears. Why are we always subject to this? I hate LDR so much.

I had a lot of highlights with you this summer. Off the top of my head I will miss these the most:

  1. Seeing you at the airport after arrival, hearing your high-pitched voice again and wondering when your voice was this high because I never got a true sensing over Skype (I have actually forgotten how you sounded in real life after 6 long months). You were holding a bunch of flowers and a cup of Starbucks which was heavily diluted, and you mentioned that you had been waiting for me for a few hours already. We got lost in the carpark… because you forgot which floor you parked at. It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were reunited, and here we are separated again 😦
  2. Bringing you around my neighbourhood (namely Clementi Mall), with our bubble tea hunts — Large ice-cream milk tea orders from Koi and large royal milk guan yin orders from LiHo. Large llao llao cup with white chocolate toppings, strawberries and bananas. Who is going to share these things with me to reduce my guilt now? 😦 Thank you for always hanging around Jurong and Clementi simply because it would be easier to send me home from these places 😦
  3. Seeing your car drive into my car park on several occasions and running excitedly straight into the middle of the road to enter. And seeing my small Tsums arranged nicely at the top of your dashboard, remembering that this is my boyfriend and this is how I mark my territory :’)
  4. Meeting past 8pm, 9pm or even 10pm for dinner because it was always time-consuming for us to meet each other given that we were separated between Tuas and Changi, at the extreme ends of the island. Pretending to get angry as I was kept waiting even though I was always touched that you would pick me up/have dinner with me/send me home subsequently despite reaching home much later than I would. Just to honour your word on multiple occasions, and to maximise the limited time we had left together.
  5. You ferrying me out from Tuas to go out after a duty Friday, ferrying me to the hospital when I felt unwell (and waiting for me and even buying something prior to meeting me just so I would have a plastic bag to vomit into), ferrying me out of base for dinner when my fire drill debrief ended late. You often came all the way from Changi or home (which might even be worse), and that meant I took up a lot of your petrol consumption and time all this while. Thanks so much for the sacrifices πŸ˜₯
  6. All the food dates we had together — Sembawang 白米粉 when I first arrived, Imperial Treasure at Orchard when I was grossly underdressed while you were in No.4, Sushi Bar, another Imperial Treasure at Sentosa, Ramen King, Swee Choon when you were too in No.4, On The Table, The Book Cafe, Wings Zone when I desperately wanted to eat fried chicken after my recovery from stomach flu, Poulet, Thai Express, ζ΅·εΊ•ζž, Na Khon, Prive Cafe, 2am dessert bar, Chomp Chomp, random Hokkien Mee stalls (it was GREAT) and Curry Rice (this was nice too!!!) in Bukit Merah/Tiong Bahru just because I was craving after my recovery, IKEA, the multiple late night bingsu hunts in Tanjong Pagar and Orchard.
  7. All the family days we spent together: Korean food with my siblings for the treat you agreed upon last year, Ban Heng when we met officially for the first time, Prima, Jumbo, and the couple of times you came over because my mom was cooking. I met your family for Din Tai Fung, too.
  8. Ice-skating in Kallang, running around the playgrounds in West Coast Park with kids, Adventure Cove, enough said πŸ˜₯ Mostly I miss how we got lazy queuing for rides, lied on the beach chairs facing the wave pool and just ~slept~ side by side holding hands for a few hours in the sun because we were so tired from the early morning.

We had very very limited time together because of both our busy schedules, but we made the best of the nights we had together. We barely shared any weekends because my weekends were continually eaten up, and it was only until recently we got to share weekend afternoons together. Unfortunately it is time for you to go and in my position I should be the most understanding of all girlfriends. I will miss you very very much, and I know it will only get more difficult from here when I finally have a free weekend but you are no longer around to spend it with me. I will try to stop being lame at this LDR business, stop crying like a baby and earnestly yearn for the day we can spend time together again.

I will keep all these memories safe in my heart. I wish you very safe watches, very very pleasant sea states because you suck at ship rollings, and to stay safe on all your shore leaves. I will see you very soon.

Get well soon please

This is about the longest any illness has lasted in me, other than the rare loss of sense of smell and all the terrible things that accompany it. I feel nauseous when standing up or sitting down. It actually escalates into puking episodes, because my body fails to digest anything that goes in (which explained how all of my anniversary dinner came out at 4am). It feels so terrible to vomit, I hate vomiting, why have I been doing so much vomiting in the recent weeks?

Then there’s the prolonged fever that cannot seem to screw off. There’s also the recent onset of a migraine (throbbing only on one side of my head oh god), sore throat and earache that are bothering me when all I am trying to do is recover quickly. It was really a tragedy that my anniversary was spent at home keeping my puke in, sweating profusely on HT’s shoulder because my body was confused by all the medicine.

I have been sleeping 15 hours out of 24 hours in a day just to reduce the time I’m awake, just so that I do not feel any of the symptoms. Or maybe I’m truly making up for the lack of sleep all this while, as I burnt weekend after weekend. But honestly I am left with 4 weeks of VA and I do not really have anymore time for this. Please let me go back to ship soon.

Edit: I have totally forgotten that I talked about intense period cramps the last post. Turns out that they were real abdominal stomach cramps from stomach flu, and not period cramps. I can’t differentiate them. 😦

First year anniversary

My body has been thrown off-rhythm with all sorts of eventful happenings this week — my period this month with exceptionally bad cramps, my fever that keeps coming on and going off, and (suspected) food poisoning last night. I have yet to fully recover even though my MC has run its duration but I have reached a point whereby it is highly inappropriate to extend my medical leave given my (already long) 3-day absence from ship.

It was unfortunate that yesterday happened to be our first year anniversary, which should have been a good night at the end of it. He ended late, we met late, but he ended up sending me home really early (like 1-2 hours after dinner) because I felt so so queasy, with very intense period cramps. I tried to vomit at 12am but decided not to because it would make me feel really shitty; I ended up waking up at 4am with the queasy feeling, and a stronger urge to vomit. I hate vomiting and I don’t usually vomit (I try to sleep queasiness away), but in the past few weeks I have been vomiting so much from seasickness and (food poisoning?) that I am inclined to believe that my body has been subjected to a lot of stress all this while.

As I sit on my chair now I am hoping and hoping that the sea state today will be much better. My body has had enough and as strong as I may be going through the hectic ship routine with dozens of weekend sailings, I don’t think I can tolerate it for very much longer.

1 full weekend out of 10

If there’s a perfect description for the word demoralising it has to be this.

I’m very tired. I feel like an engine running low on fuel. The recent weekend sailing had in store plans to boost the crew’s morale, by planning a birthday celebration and “special makan” by the chef. It didn’t go too well, I puked it all out. Even with consumption of ginger pills (seasick pills). The sea state throughout the sailing was terrible. I will never forget the feeling leaning over the toilet bowl and puking my entire lunch and dinner out and imagining how I could be at RVNCC’s steamboat (which I had to miss even though I was in Singapore) or at my house’s dining table talking cock with my siblings. In my limited time left in Singapore I had to lose weekend by weekend, and it really hits me right in the heart.

I also remember that this same ship rolling may happen again next weekend. There are also 3 Sundays in August that are going to be burnt. I find it so so difficult to be positive because Sundays are so valuable to me. I also have less than 3 weeks left with HT. I am going to luck out eventually because I only have a few months left (or maybe weeks) in this squadron, but I can’t imagine having to stay positive losing every weekend when I’m back for good, and coping with sea state on top of that.

I hope things get better, because they have to. I am so desperate that I am already checking the sea state conditions for this weekend. It looks better, I hope it really will become better.

Freedom

Hi. It’s been a long time. Every time I blog I amaze myself at how quickly time passes, and as of today I have one full month left before HT leaves me for his long deployment.

It’s been about three weeks since I came on board and it certainly could be easier.

I think it’s easy to like your ship when it’s doing well. I was part of the work year that saw 82 getting best unit, and I saw for myself all the processes that made it possible. All the stringent checks on the crew, the tightened security measures and all the small safety checks that they conduct on the crew. I enjoyed my time on board too, I never understood why people hated their PV life so much. Why? The 82 ship crew was a great bunch of people. I enjoyed going to ship everyday because I laughed. I laughed a lot. People took care of me. They didn’t despise my gender for one — it’s really easy to come across as useless when you are unable to help to shift the gangway because it’s too heavy, and you probably wouldn’t contribute much other than highly possibly falling overboard. When you are unable to manage the running fenders properly because it’s bulky. When you are not strong enough to be a line handler on the deck. You can’t do seamanship for nuts. But the crew understood and were accepting about the weaknesses of my gender, and these weaknesses were hardly directed at me personally. Or even if they did, it was never blatant or disrespectful to me.

It’s then difficult to fall from the peak. So hard, in fact. I remember being so happy on my first few days or weeks on board 82 especially as I had less stress towards the attainment of my COC — these were great memories that I too detailed on my blog posts. A lack of a proper initiation on the very first day onboard a new ship this year showed the clear fleeting nature of my temporary presence. It’s honestly okay to me for this did not matter much to me, as I was bound to leave in a matter of a few months anyway. But there were some people I’ve known to be crew for more than half a year, who left without a sound. The ship really carries on without these people, without any regret. Where was the Navy family that they spoke about?

And of all times, something happened on the third day I was attached to this ship. From there, sailings were all cancelled. They were replaced with weekend duties after weekend duties, and there goes all my weekends. The crew had their Offs and SRs taken away as the ship continued to ready itself for operations. There were several knee jerk reactions that were put in place that put us through so much administrative trouble, there were so many initiatives that I deemed unnecessary but nevertheless had to go through with it because it seemed that ~we~ were the ones clearly at fault, and there were so many false hopes (“after this weekend it’ll be okay” “everything will go back to normal”) given to the crew again and again that remained false hopes because of the extra scrutiny put on us by the squadron staff and everyone else who deemed us unfit for operations.

Day to day I head to ship with a smile but the negative energy truly gets to me. I consider myself a relatively optimistic and cheerful person but I am too, affected by the dampened moods of everyone. I feel resentment for the crew and hopelessness from within. Everyone’s unhappy. Everyone’s desperate. In the past, I heard so much resentment about the sailing that was required from our squadron. Why does our squadron sail so much compared to the other squadrons? Why is there so much load taskings on such a lean duty crew in our squadron? Why do we work the hardest but yet receive little or no recognition from the rest of the RSN? Many people dreaded every single sailing so much, especially for those who may not see the purpose in what we are doing. But what all of us never knew was what and how it is like to be taken out of sailing. I draw parallels to being placed on the sidelines when all you want to do is to take part in the competition field after having been through tough physical trainings that you really hated and dreaded. Everyone on the ship right now is so desperate to be normal, to be on the same page as the rest of the squadron. We just want to sail. We just want to be seen as normal again, and we just want to be assigned patrols like any other ship in the squadron. We have been doing so much for this purpose but why have they been all reduced to naught?

I will remain thankful for this learning opportunity to cope with what I would consider a slump. I have been blessed last year to be assigned to an amazing ship with a great culture, but we cannot be lucky all the time. This year I will take this learning opportunity positively and keep the end goal in mind — to be competent enough and confidently get my COC.

Tomorrow

The start is always the most difficult (being posted to a new ship with no friends and no direction) and I will try to embrace it with optimism and positivity.

I will try to put away thoughts I have about being lazy on a hot weekday afternoon after lunch, and try to read much as much as I can. This may be the only time in my career that I have all the time dedicated to obtain as much ship knowledge as I can, before additional responsibilities pile on me which will be absolutely irrelevant to shipboard life. By then I no longer will have the excuses of being a YO, being a freshly commissioned officer new to the ship, or even being rusty given that I am back from a long year of studies. Now is truly the time to seek and learn.

I will stay humble and seek to learn and re-learn actively, and never be too quick to assume that the knowledge I have is the “correct” one. I will try my best to shut up and absorb, and try my best to minimise my insensitive remarks especially to superiors who have way more experience, knowledge, and rapport with the crew than I do, which is honestly everything I am seeking to achieve this VA.

Most importantly, I must prioritise my learning over everything else. I want to expand my mental map way beyond what I have already known — an additional VA on ship, while undesirable, only represents greater opportunities/chances than the rest to pick up new things. It will be tiring, I will be sleepy and I will be annoyed. But I must remember that some things have to be done, and this is one of them. I am only at the beginning.

Pre VA

I am currently sitting in what I would term my mother’s frequented salon, unfortunately dying my hair black because VA is upcoming. What a reminder of the painful reality. On a very random note, I think I will hate myself 5 years into the future when I realise that I have stopped blogging about my travels. Why am I so lazy when I have all the time in the world, and why do I blog so much whenever I am supposedly busy?!

I am happy to be back in Singapore but once again I find it really strange that I miss London, because these feelings were never visited one year ago even before I met HT. I miss not just the lifestyle, I miss my neighbourhood and the convenience of everything. I miss how I took self check out counters for granted, how I could walk everywhere I wanted and well yes the weather too. I miss the beautiful parks that I ran along and people I met up with regularly after school. I miss my Korean teachers and schoolmates who regularly attended the lessons too. Over time I guess I developed an attachment to London along with the friendships I made there. When I take public transport in Singapore now it actually feels so familiar and ~right~ that the long period of stay in London truly feels like an extended dream.

It honestly is really difficult to transit back into military life this time and I can be sure that I am not alone in saying this. Starting a military lifestyle was interesting, to the extent of fun even. BMT was fun because I never knew what was ahead of me. Returning back for VA the first time was also exciting because I never stepped on a ship for an extended period of time before, and it was the first time I held (almost full) ownership of a day. This time I am honestly riddled with dread and worry because I do not know what will become of me if I still do not obtain my COC. I also have to obtain my dissertation findings between late June to late July, during the time when I’d still be busy with COC… what if I do not get it? I would honestly be so busy with the shipboard routine that I may not even have time to carry out my dragonfly surveys, much less meet up with HT. What would the inability to get it in my second year VA say about me and my abilities? I fear. There’s only how much you can speak for yourself and your so-called abilities that qualify you to be a scholar when you clearly disappoint as they attempt to check boxes of your achievements on a checklist.

Shortly after my tight dissertation/VA timeline, HT will be going on a 6-week long deployment in mid-August. It really is so unfortunate that he happened to get long sailings during this period when I’m back in Singapore, especially since haven’t been reunited for long. It also seems the case that I won’t have anything much left to do in this time period, especially if I successfully pass my assessment. Why do the timelines clash so badly?

Onto a more positive note, I’ve done a lot since I landed in Singapore approximately 2.5 weeks ago. Most notable events include:

1. Trampoline Park + Delta steamboat

Met up with these chicks for some dimsum and bingsu shortly after arrival and it was nice to catch up!!! again!!! Really miss them.

Then we went to the AMPed Trampoline Park in Jurong together too. It was honestly really fun and one of the most memorable things I have done this entire 2 to 3 weeks. I remember how I initially entered the trampoline area and was actually very scared of stepping into the black areas HAHAHA. Also it was nice because we were the only ones in the entire place so they asked us what type of music we wanted, and I shouted KOREAN KOREAN KOREAN. We really got Korean HAHAHAHA I was half amused and actually really really happy. Poor thing the rest had to be subjected to my (perceived terrible) musical tastes, and not being able to understand any single song at all.

Now everyone finally understands how I feel when English songs keep playing in the background… 😦

We also had a steamboat at Yixin’s house! I had an enjoyable evening from getting the steamboat ingredients to napping on her couch to winning a 5-tai mahjong game BUT WE DID NOT PLAY MONEY!!!!!!! Undercover however was the most memorable because of how stupid everyone’s responses were. Notable responses: alive/bio (Weihan), subject/Science (Ziwei) and small (Jia Jian), for personal laughter purposes. Also featuring a selfie with Jie Ling because I was disturbing her the entire night. I miss making fun of her and her pail in the toilet lolol (inside joke).

It was nice to meet up with the NCC people, especially after having missed out on the gatherings (CNY?) for the entire academic year. I thank Yixin for organising without fail every year, and willingly sacrificing your house because I totally understand how messy things can get.

2. Family dinners

 

This was the first weekend after my arrival when we went to eat dimsum at Imperial Treasure πŸ™‚ I must have just woken up or something because what kind of smile is that?! Ate so much and over-ordered so crazily, totally forgot this family custom when dining out.

Another “family dinner” occasion when HT treated my siblings to a meal — something he promised a year ago when we first met hehe. We had army stew, although now I would draw comparisons to ASSA in London and I must say that ASSA’s army stew is much better. We also ended up having some coconut ice-cream and they had a funny sign to express the fact that they will be right back — something about picking the best coconuts in Thailand right now. When the staff returned, my brother asked her “why you come back empty-handed, where are the coconuts?” HAHAHAHA what a troll. We went to play at the arcade after that and after spending $20… we managed to redeem a lame keychain. LOL.

Next family dinner was a dinner at Ban Heng Boon Keng, where we ordered this handsome looking roast pig on top of a 10-person set meal (when there were only 9 of us). The bill totalled up to be rather crazy especially with this add-on, it costed near $200+!!! But it seemed that my Dad really wanted to eat this so he went ahead in ordering it.

All 3 of us siblings brought our respective partners and it was interesting to imagine that this would be how it’s like in the near foreseeable future. My mother, at the end of the day, pulled an emotional stunt about how she was upset that all 3 of us will eventually move out and the house would be left with her and my father only. Sorry that I found it amusing, Mom. I will stay as near to Clementi as possible, because after living in such a convenient place there is no way I can move out to elsewhere. We unfortunately didn’t take a picture that day, apart from the food. I wonder why didn’t we, because it would have been excellent for a memory keepsake.

Here’s me with (part of) his family too hehehehe it is not just one-way okay.

3. 21st birthday parties

After regrettably looking at 21st birthday photos on Instagram the whole year, I finally managed to drag my ass back to attend Edina’s and Kenn Hong’s birthday parties.

Took a selfie with Szemin because I was proud to have the same hairstyle (hers was even longer HAHAHA).

Her beautiful dessert table and set-up! I unfortunately arrived late so I stared and was useless most of the time. Glad to meet up with these beautiful 4G girls too — I remember how we called 4G and conveniently left out Kang Tze and Kay Vin who were also at the birthday party HAHAHA.

Kenn Hong’s party! His house was amazing, it was honestly the first time I’ve been to a Singapore home with a lift within the compound. So many bedrooms it wasn’t a joke when Richard said how we would need a map to navigate around the house. It was also nice to chat with the other 74th people once again and laugh/gossip over the same people, especially since they headed to university this year. Their lives are truly interesting as well πŸ™‚

4. Dinners and lots and lots of Japanese food (Chirashidon in particular). Lots.

My first meal: 百米粉 with HT. All the way at Punggol End what the heck because that was the only branch he knew how to drive to HAHAHAHA.

Nakhon at Holland Village after seeing everyone eat it on Instagram and Insta story. Got bitten by some mozzies along the way too.

Walking around the basement of Plaza Singapura eating rubbish just because I can.

The Sushi Bar with HT on the day I sent in my Mac to the Apple Store. Loved the Chirashi don recommended by Dilys and whatever he was eating — some pasta HAHAHA. He loved it. I think we will definitely come back to this place.

Ichiban with my sister and my mother last week when I gladly had a huge set meal after finishing a swim. I finished every single thing on this plate, except the watermelon hehehe.

Indian food with Uncle and Auntie when I finally treated them on one occasion after 20 years. Feels good to enjoy financial independence and to be able to make decisions with my own money.

Imperial Treasure La Mian Xiao Long Bao with HT hehehe. Loved the duck, loved the XLB, and loved the sichuan noodles!!!

Zicha with my family as of late. I loved the you tiao and the pork. The other two dishes which are supposedly healthier as seen in this picture were largely ignored by me :’)

5. Met up with 6/6 classmates.

This was an eventful trip to town on a very rare occasion because we needed to buy some clothes for Caleb to impress since he entered SMU. There was also another occasion we headed out for supper because Gordon manage to drive his Dad’s car that day. Looking forward to our upcoming dinner/supper (whatever it will be) with Ms Chan again πŸ™‚

Reminder to self to blog about post-exam fun in London (including Seven Sisters).