Monthly Archives: November 2016

Departure from London

I see the familiar Heathrow Terminal 5 underground sign but in such a different mood this time. About 2 weeks ago I hopped up at 4.50am — I barely slept that night from the excitement. I ran towards the small figure of you with a large bouquet of flowers in my hand, and 2 weeks later I am painfully sobbing in the tube crowd.

Departures are always so painful.

I can still picture almost every day of these 2 weeks we have spent together for I spent every single waking moment with you. I even dragged you to classes at school. We walked the whole of London together, eating out at so many places that would way exceed my monthly budget. We took walks about Paris, circling around the Eiffel Tower to eavesdrop on people, ate churros at the Christmas Market near Arc de Triomphe where you bought a bird whistle… that dropped out of your pocket. We ran to catch a good spot for fireworks at Disneyland because both of us were dwarves in the crowd, we ate the famous spicy Korean instant noodles, fried papadums in the apartment and had our Haagen Dazs strawberry cheesecake ice-cream. We took a ridiculous selfie with our less-than-desirable sausage lips.

We went back to London holding hands walking all the way back from St Pancras. The next day I walked you to Camden Market, where I held you back again and again from silly impulse buys. I dropped you at Regents Park while I went for lessons, before we headed for bubble tea and spent nearly 2 hours people watching. I dragged you along to an Overseas Singaporean Unit event the next day too, and you would be amused at the fact that you came all the way to London to attend a Singaporean event. You met my friends when we celebrated Weixuan’s birthday. You would now know who I am referring to when I talk about them to you.

Lake District was magical. We unintentionally found ourselves scaling a mountain unprepared except for our trekking (combat) boots. We were continually impressed by the magnificent views which got better as we got higher, stopping at every 10m we scaled just to capture new photos from a higher elevation. We descended too late that day and found ourselves walking nearly 6km on a windy road back to Keswick, having to shine torchlights because there were no street lamps along the road at all. We did not get angry with each other but just walked on because there was no other choice — neither of us intended to put ourselves in that situation. We also walked 45 minutes up a hilly road just to take a look at a sheep farm encircled by stones… and sheep dung. We ate so much that weekend — steak, fish and chips, roast chicken, apple crumble and chocolate brownie fudge for dessert, …I can see them. I can see you taking photos of them.

We watched Phantom of the Opera back in London where I scored stall seats for £35. We went to Winter Wonderland and watched other couples waste money, looked at every single thing sold along the Christmassy streets and got a free Toblerone from guys who won 4kg of Toblerone in total. We went ice-skating at the Tower of London where I (nearly almost) finally learnt how to skate this time. We walked up Greenwich and bought tons of rubbish at the nautical-themed shops which you’d bring home.

I can still see it — when I saw you again for the first time. You held your luggage with your left hand, tapped into the underground with the Oyster card I handed to you before I left Singapore. I ran to you and hugged you briefly in the teeming crowd. It felt different after such a long time.
I can still feel it — when I put my head on your shoulder again after 7 weeks.
I can still see your stupid face when you make a joke… or when you try to hide your phone screen away from me catching a stupid Pidgey or Rattata for the umpteenth time.
I can still see you sticking out your hand to help or hold me — scaling the Catbells, when I fell down ice-skating, when we were walking around everywhere, even when we were watching the musical.
I can still see you frying the papadums and cooking eggs, helping me to wash the dishes and hanging up the clothes for me.
I can still see how your eyes sparkle when you see ice-cream, even though we just had dinner.
I can still hear how you whine in your flirty voice when I get upset over the shit Poke stops near my place, or when you broke my photo frame.
I can still smell your overpowering scent from your perfume.

Thinking about us, together, actually hurts so much when we are physically apart. I am looking through photos of us now and I am crying so much. I can only imagine how much I will collapse emotionally later when I return to my empty room that will now only hold remnants of you. Tonight I will be unable to wish you good night to sleep in person; tomorrow morning I will not wake up to your silly face. I will no longer be able to hold your hand to sleep.

It has been an amazing time with you. These 2 weeks seem so magical and perfect that it would pass off so well as a dream. A dream that probably would not have felt like one if we weren’t put in this sucky situation of a LDR. Thank you so much for all the sacrifices that you have made just to make this trip and your 2 weeks of leave possible.

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I love you. I love you so much. Please let these 6 months fly like it did the past 2 weeks — I am feeling cold and dizzy and I can no longer think. Please let me resume back to normalcy soon.

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Mallorca, Spain

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I blogged previously about dreading the trip and everything that comes along with it, but I must say my worries were pretty much unfounded because the field work trip was amazing. Much more than Sitges and Barcelona last year, for both the balance of workload and the time off to ourselves. The people doing Physical Geography were much keen and nicer too.

Of course, although the trip revolved around coastal and wetland work that may put someone off, it was also more enjoyable this time given that we got to choose our preferred projects. The groups we formed were much smaller, and we had much more personal engagements with the professors who would otherwise be busy on a typical working day. It sounds really nerdy but you are truly more keen to learn when you surround yourself with like-minded people, and really enthusiastic professors who would kneel and squat by you to help you out with your difficulties.

I am honestly truly having withdrawals from the trip. I miss the lab, I miss the wetland that I would never return to again because it requires a research permit, I miss the daily breakfast and dinner buffets at the hotel. Free flow of smoked salmon, steamed salmon, squid, sliced roast pork/duck, nutella crepes, seafood paella, fresh tuna, assorted cakes, sorbets and ice cream… oh god I can really go on and on. I gained at least 2kg from the trip no matter which time of the day I weigh myself and I must say I have absolutely no regrets binging and over-eating on the trip because the food was that excellent — it is worth a month of eating low-calorie food just to keep the scales down. 🙂

Academic work

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This picture shows the wetland: it was extremely inaccessible. We had to get a car, park somewhere and walk for about 10 minutes through undisturbed wildlife, carrying the extremely heavy dhingy (in my opinion).

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Here are photos of us on the boat where we worked on our lake bathymetry (underwater equivalent of topography) research project! Here I am holding the wading rod for measuring the water depths hehe.

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Carrying the dhingy on my back because I decided to act hero, thank god it did not aggravate my back injury even though I am seen here arching my back an neck in the most injury-prone angle ever.

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At the lab where we were most of the time, working on our presentations, MatLab, ArcGIS, sorting and sieving through our sediment samples and measuring the turbidity of water samples we collected.

Meals

Because they were the highlight of the trip, I must say. Here’s the limited dinner spread and one of my most well-taken servings of food, because I often take multiple plates with the food all over the place hahahaha. I must be a nightmare of a customer because they have to do so much washing.

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Here’s my favourite:

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Missing my free flow crepes (I had it every single morning!), sugar and cinnamon churros and the most well done omelettes.

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My final pictures of the trip, which really shows how beautiful the place was.

I look forward to the next Physical Geography trip in Year 3, let’s hope these trips get better as the years pass. I think this one’s hard to beat though, because the professors and technicians that came along were excellent. JRT has really got to be my favourite lecturer now, he has officially championed the place of favourite lecturer in my heart after RT hahahaha. Very coincidentally, both of them are doing the same module, that I have thankfully taken after a long deliberation. Yes.

Here’s to salad, cereal and milk (only) for the next 12 hours — because after these 12 hours, I would probably be permanently smiling at the fact that HT will be right beside me. I’ve been excitedly counting down the hours to his arrival because his plane has taken off from Singapore, and I am finding it difficult to focus on any proper work. Let’s hope this will not affect my work attitude adversely, but even if it does… I make my own choices. Reciprocation is important and I honestly have nothing more to be thankful about. What more than for all the sacrifices you made, and me being a knowing party with my slight understanding of how difficult it is to take (such a long) leave. All the arguments you got yourself into and trouble just to make this visit happen, just to honour your word that you would visit me at least once a year to make this LDR work. It will be a right choice; you are the right choice.

Days when it gets difficult

Today I wasn’t in the best of moods. I had a horrible nightmare about someone stealing my wallet (pre-trip jitters?), I woke up to a heart wrenching message, I realised that I am not keeping up with schoolwork as well as I wanted myself to at the start of the term and I am honestly dreading the field trip to Mallorca from tomorrow. Honestly, I do not think it will be that bad, or anywhere as tiring as a single week in OCS MIDS, but I fear because the social energy that I will have to put in. To get to know people that I am not exactly familiar with. To be courteous and “be on my best behaviour” for the next week. And of course, to plough through the days dragging myself out of bed because the entire module is graded on this single field trip. I am starting to get tied up and my mind keeps darting back to the instances when they congratulated people for doing so well in their studies, obtaining academic awards and told us to “keep up the good work”. Not even close to any form of an academic award, let’s not talk about how I fell (so) short of my COC. Where does that leave me?

In days like these I feel so unmotivated to be myself and to do anything productive, which makes me feel even worse by the end of the day. I called you and you asked if I were okay and I just started tearing out of nowhere, I don’t know whatever for. I guess it was just a bad day but bad days like these make me miss home so much. I miss familiarity. I miss my brother who will make me end up laughing in my tears. I miss my noisy house which would block out all this unwanted noise in my head.

We couldn’t finish Monsters University today, but thank you to the snail in the film who made me laugh in his attempt to run to school on the first day. You will be by my side by the next time I have time to finish it with you. I miss you so terribly, thank you for making me feel better everyday.

#PNic

Peng Ning and Nicole hit up London and Collingwood House the day of the SAF lunch! I can’t believe it’s been a year. I can’t believe we are no longer the most junior.

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My table this year. Unfortunately I did not really get to interact with the people at the other end of the table much — woes of a rectangular table. But I got to know two new people, one of whom I have probably stalked out before heh.

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We had brunch at this cafe called The Attendant! Apparently toilet-themed but the cubicles were really nice and the food weren’t shit-shaped/toilet-inspired unlike the Toilet Bowl Restaurant in Taiwan or JB? Thank god if not the food probably wouldn’t be as appetising.

The whole week I was so troubled about my growing red pimple which had a whitehead which then became pus and WHATEVER it was such a pain to look at it in the mirror so I kept touching… and popping it. Looks like my “Do Nothing routine” isn’t working very well anymore, perhaps I should start putting on moisturizer.

Thanks for coming down again and for the beautiful photos as always, looking forward to welcoming you in London soon again 🙂