Monthly Archives: March 2017

I can only hope it is not you

I’m not sure if this platform is private enough but I just do wish to hide this from my family as much as possible –

My sister suddenly texted me this morning (when I was out with a meal with Gordon) that she lost €1500 in my home, the total sum of money changed for my siblings and I. It was a large sum because I told her to change additional money for my future trips to other European cities.

Yes, it is a large sum. She was so sure that she left it there, and searching for hours on end around the house did not provide a desired conclusion to that loss. No one came to my house lately, and it was therefore easy to immediately point fingers to my domestic helper. But I felt terrible and disgusted for thinking this way. My maid has spent 6 years with my family and my father has kept her all these years because he believes she is honest. Money was never missing, not even in the form of the smallest change. My father may give her $20, we could buy something for $4.50 and I know at the end of the day, there will be a remainder of $15.50 without any doubt. She has always put us in her thoughts, buying things for us when she returned home to the Philippines on one or two occasions these many years even though she does not have much. In fact I actually believe that the working environment/relationship for her is so pleasant that she would actually voice out to us if she needed money urgently.

I tried to stay calm and made an international call home (£2/min!!!) to ask her. She said that she did not see the money (I schemingly asked “Did you take Shihui’s money?”), and that she will try to find it in the house. If she does, she will tell my mother to call me tonight (because she does not have my UK number). I actually felt a sense of relief from hearing that; call me naive but her assertion and cluelessness through her voice, how she giggled and addressed me endearingly “Oh Huiping ah!” in her accent made me even more certain that the money loss was not her doing.

I hold a slight glimmer of hope that my mother will call me tonight and insult my sister for being stupid for leaving such a large sum of money around in the house, or that in the middle of the trip my sister will stumble upon the money hidden in her jacket pockets, or in some secret compartment in the luggage. For now I will continue to have full faith in my maid who has been loyal to my family and serving us well all these 6 years.

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March

I have been eating so so well lately that I actually dragged myself out for runs… proud of myself for this very feat. Here’s a post for myself to take stock of my (good) life in this month:

1. Treats from Weixuan

I guess we finally had enough of Dilys raving about this Konditor & Cook place being so near our place (and “how can you not be tempted????”). It was EXCELLENT, finished it by the next morning sob I have such terrible control with my food. I would definitely buy more if I am 10kg lighter 😦 why are brownies so sinful?

2. Treats from Dilys

This was my second time at LSE stealing Dilys’ free credits for paying her school fees early. She had quite a sum left and this sum could be used for purchases at the library cafe so here I was with a free bread and a free yogurt smoothie, and both were good!!! I was stuffed after that but so so happily stuffed hehehe.

3. Parcel of amazing things from my love.

The picture explains everything. It coincidentally arrived at 8am on a Saturday morning when I happened to wake up early to Skype him. Thanks for wasting $50 on the postage, for getting the more expensive “signed and tracked” option not knowing what it is about and not even bothering to track even ONCE!!! Also for wasting one weekend figuring out how to post things here. I miss you so much, 70 more days. It is honestly really soon given that we started off with 259 days, and 70 more days we will have successfully made it through one year of LDR 🙂

4. Honest Burgers with Bowei

I can’t believe this person calls me the Queen of Gossip when he is worse than I am! I think we have to meet soon because I need to find out more gossip. Thank you for the free earpieces that you dumped away because you went to purchase better ones… My HTC earpieces died on me and I had been using my back-up earphones bought from Popular one year ago hehe, at least I have a better one now even if it is second hand.

5. Poppies Fish and Chips with Kenn Hong and Timothy Kok

They landed in London after a long time of exchanging texts about “can’t wait to come” and it was nice to laugh with them again. Also, to gossip about people that we worked with together 🙂

6. KBBQ with Korean Culture Society

Unfortunately very few Intermediate class people (both teachers and students) turned up and even if they did they were people I weren’t necessarily close to. I managed to have a good chat with Martin though, on my way to the restaurant and throughout the dinner because we arrived late since class ended late that day. It was interesting to understand Korea from the perspective of someone who had been an exchange student and an intern in Korea before, and I thought he was really lucky to be able to receive all these opportunities.

Thankful for the £5 subsidy because it makes me feel like I have gotten my money’s worth attending Korean classes all this while, HAHAHA. I enjoyed the buffet but like what Weixuan said, Kimchi Village in New Malden is better for the selection and the very fact that you get to go to the food counters to pick up the meat you want, rather than repeatedly ordering hehe.

7. Herman ze German with Dilys and Weixuan

This apparently went on Buzzfeed and we had to try it. It was good! Also while taking orders it allowed you to write your name so I felt a wee bit original and wrote “Mulan” HAHAHAHA but the person who served the food couldn’t read it in the end because the chef or something had terrible handwriting.

8. Dinner with 74th

Since Kok and Kenn Hong were here it was the perfect opportunity to meet up and laugh! Had a really good night that day laughing at everything, at people and at old jokes. It was also great to poke fun at Loh Ting who specially came down from Manchester for the dinner too. Ever so thankful to have such a large group of people from the 74th here in London. I also finally managed to meet Amanda after such a long time, I feel like it has been ages since I had a proper conversation with her HAHAHA.

9. Dinner with Joey, Weixuan and Darren

One night after Developmental Geography lecture we decided to head out for dinner and we came to this Siam Central restaurant that Weixuan and I previously wanted to go to! I ordered pineapple fried rice instead of my usual Pad Thai/Green Curry because I was tempted by the presentation of the food HAHA. I also ordered the Thai Milk Tea that I really miss hehehe.

       

After dinner we headed for dessert at Amorino for some ice-cream, and the presentation of the ice-cream in the shape of a rose was so so pretty! I didn’t particular favour the raspberry favour when I first saw it but I ordered it in the end because I thought it would make the ice-cream look so much prettier HAHAHA.

And a group photo of us that we requested for because the ice-cream store was empty anyway!

10. Dinner with SAF buddies

We had dinner at Sushi Waka, recommended by Yuri, or rather, Yuri’s Japanese teacher. It was mentioned that this restaurant served one of the most authentic Japanese dining experiences and food and sure it did! We were seated on Tatami mats, served the food by Japanese waitresses who were in traditional Japanese attire and the atmosphere just felt so authentic.

Also told Yuri to drag along another guy because it would be more considerate given that my senior buddy is attached (can I have good karma please?) Had some great Chirashi that day, it was amazing!!! Definitely worth a return trip again, even though it was much pricier than the don at Eat Tokyo (almost twice the price!) 

11. Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time with Dilys and Weixuan

Weixuan and I woke up early that day to queue for day tickets (for £15!) and we were first in line at 9am! Yay! We managed to secure 3 centre seats at the front row even though we also had to go earlier that night to obtain booster seats as tipped by Dilys, so that we could get a higher view. We must have been irritating to the people behind us! Also my back got really tired from sitting up straight throughout the whole play, I had to stretch so much that night HAHAHA. It was such a nerdy show but really good for some comedy relief that day, unfortunately we forgot to obtain the free Curious badge (because Weixuan’s name is a prime number HAHAHA).

12. Bubble wrap waffle with Weixuan

She saw this on Instagram and tempted me because there was a matcha flavour!!! So I headed here after lecture to queue for more than an hour, but all was worth it because of the one-for-one which is kept relatively quiet hehe. I asked the counter “wait is there one-for-one?” and she replied “Yes, only for people who know”. Wow, really in cognito indeed.

Had to take multiple photos of the same thing with the same background since we stood in a long queue to obtain this precious gem of a food HAHAHA.

13. Meeting Mrs Yeow with Weixuan and Ken

Caught up over coffee, talked about old teachers and laughed at (my/our?) current state of activity or inactivity especially since we were meeting a PE teacher. She was honestly really nice through the interactions (over text and in person), brought food for us and met us specially in London knowing that a few of us from RV were here — I am really sure that she does not remember teaching us especially since it was back in Years 1 and 2, she might not even remember seeing us in school. But I thought it was a really nice gesture that she initiated the meet up with us ex-students when she is on a rare holiday here mainly for her son, she really does not have to especially since she has never taught us! It hits home the fact that no matter what shit I say about RV being a nunnery and so on it will still always be home.

Looking forward to the Chinese Delights treat in RV that she promised us to hehe.

14. Meeting Aloysius, Youjing, Beatriz, Siying

We decided on Kanada-Ya after having to give up several food options because of the difficulties in finding a place on a crowded Friday night. I missed ramen and this was a good fix. Afterwards we headed to Biju because Biju was one of the only places you could sit down and have a chat for a long long time without getting chased away.

I always enjoy the deeper conversations, and especially as 4 out of 5 of us have moved on to the “doubles” club coincidentally HAHAHA. I think exactly one year ago all of us were single and it is indeed a crazy coincidence that this no longer holds true for all of us in the Navy. Siying join the club!

15.  Cooking adventures this month

Roast pork! Unfortunately I can’t proudly proclaim that I no longer have to go to Gold Mine for this because there are many improvements that can be made. The meat’s texture was honestly good though! I stupidly rubbed the five spice powder on the skin as well (LOL YES SORRY VERY STUPID!!!) so the skin turned out really dark, but to be honest I thought that it tasted okay! So okay that I could finish it and well, had to go for a run the next day because the pork belly I took in was way too sinful 😦

I also tried breaded chicken breast which surprisingly turned out okay! Just a note to self to buy lemons next time to serve as garnish HAHA. Weixuan said it was okay though, probably because of the seasoning on top of the flour!

Both of these foods taste better than they look, unlike my previous few cooking attempts HAHAHA.

I have clearly enjoyed myself very much this month and I am really happy. I am happy, and I think this was something I hadn’t dared to say to myself last year because I was mostly cooped up in my own room. I am happy to be living London to the very fullest, because years later I will only regret things I haven’t done. The next whole week will be quite intense with the rushing of my Dissertation Proposal due on Friday as well as packing for the Italy trip that is happening on the 25th! I have been looking forward to it because meeting family creates so much anticipation that it kills some of the pain associated with a LDR. I will also be hosting Gordon on Thursday and I hope that it would be a nice catch up especially since I haven’t seen him since I left Singapore (of course) and they keep meeting up without me 😦

Here is a reminder to myself the things to eat in London before I return for good:

  1. The Taiwan restaurant recommended by Wern at Chinatown.
  2. Granger and Co recommended by Dilys (I heard they have the best hotcakes and pancakes!)
  3. Honey and Co read on Dayre.
  4. WA Cafe read on Dayre.
  5. Baileys’ Fish and Chips read on Dayre.
  6. Lanka

Hehehe because I am clearly a foodie!!! I should eat more in my youth (now) because my body definitely cannot handle this appetite anymore in a few more years 😛 This post has made me really hungry so it is time to sleep 🙂 Good night to myself!

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Affairs

I have been talking about this Korean drama with WX “My Wife’s Having an Affair This Week” and I can’t believe I finished it over a span of three days. I am a really slow drama watcher and I must say I haven’t been hooked onto a drama in ages. I took almost a month to finish Goblin so the pace at which I finished this drama really surprises me.

“I never expected to love it this much, but I do. It’s strange because I never would have thought the story would grab me as much as it did since I’m not part of a married couple, never have been, I am neither in a relationship nor am I at the age where it’s possible to personally experience situations like divorce and affairs. My parents are together and fortunately don’t seem to be dealing with these issues and hopefully never will. However, the realness and artistry in the way the story was told made it so interesting, entertaining and thought-provoking that I couldn’t help but fully appreciate this drama from start to finish.”

The paragraph above quoted from a comment on Dramabeans truly speaks my heart and mind, given that I am in no position in my life to comment about marriage and infidelity. No even close actually. No one will probably be interested in this but hehe I am just documenting my thoughts because I enjoyed this drama so much more than I thought I would. The full 12 episodes basically details how:

  1. Husband found out that his wife was cheating on him.
  2. He confronted her at the hotel where she met the (too) married man she was cheating on him with.
  3. He was in a state of denial because he always saw their marriage as perfect — she (Song Jihyo) was a perfect woman, perfect wife and perfect mother. She excelled at her job as a working mother, and was seen as capable of juggling work and motherhood. She did it all as part of a routine, she made sure to drop off and pick up the kid from school, fought to enrol him in special enrichment classes through connections with other mothers, took care of all his extra-curricular needs such as needing to sew a doll for class and bathed him everyday. She prepared meals for her husband and kid in the mornings before work and evenings after work.
  4. The reason she cheated was because she met a man, a client from another company, who intentionally turned up at the venue 2 hours late because he wanted this “2 hours to be wholly hers”. He noticed that there was a book in her handbag that she haven’t been reading for the past few months, and also noticed that her heels were worn out. After this encounter she realised that she hadn’t had time to herself in the longest time, and she felt like she could be herself again when she met this new guy. She could forget about all the guilt that she couldn’t give her child the best, she could forget about her stress at work and forget about her role of being a mother.
  5. They never were able to reconcile their differences after finding out about the affair. They argued and cried over and over again over what to do with the child (! and this as a form of communication, was actually rare) because their kid was starting to realise that the relationship between his parents was strained. He hit another kid in school because this other boy told him his parents were going to live apart.
  6. The married couple, yet to be divorced, tried giving each other a chance. He was able to forgive, but realised he would never be able to forget when they opened up to each other for a hug. In the end, they got a divorce because they realised it was the best option for them — to live apart to settle their differences.
  7. After a few months of settling in with their new lives, they realised that they were happier. They started calling each other up and sharing about their new personal lives, and were even closer than when they were a married couple. In this new stage of life, they wanted to find each other again.

Why did she have the affair?

The biggest criticism (on Dramabeans, that I read) was that the drama did not flesh out enough character to the female lead; towards the end, there was no sign of growth. However I thought that the mystery shrouded around the character was the best because it was up to audience interpretation. Towards the end, there was also more revelation of her as a person and how she still knew her husband to be a good man, through her recollections of her past dates and why she chose to marry him when she had many suitors in her college days. I particularly liked the ending and how she realised she could not let go of him even after the divorce, a good one on the scriptwriter for misleading the audience that there were potential love lines for each of them. After the dust settled, she realised that she loved him.

It was also criticised that through her expressions and refusal to leave any of her roles — i.e. not quitting her job and not making any changes to her busy routine lifestyle, it seemed clear to the audience that she was unremorseful about her affair. But why should that be an expectation of a busy mother?

I thought that both the male and female leads were in rather similar positions in their occupations, yet it was more “expected” for the wife to pick the kid up after school because that should be the role of a mother, similar to the majority of the mothers of her kid’s friends. She called to ask her husband whether he was able to pick the kid up on several days because “she would be busy that evening” (having to work overtime and so on, there are tons of unforeseen circumstances as one is working) but he curtly replied that he too, “is busy” and will not able to pick the kid up. She had no choice but to make sure that she picked him up on time by whatever means she could, yet no one ever applauded her for doing so (on multiple occasions, in fact). In fact, she only got chastised for leaving work early when all her colleagues were still in the office past 6pm, for getting to the daycare late to pick him up, and for being slow on elementary school applications or registrations for enrichment classes. Her husband also criticised her, for being a loner devoid of interactions with other mothers, such that her kid ended up a loner too, walking all the way to the back of the school bus to sit alone. She always felt guilty for being “behind” and therefore her kid was lacking in the very same respect, but yet the blame was never placed on her husband.

It was also interesting how the husband boasted to other friends that their marriage was perfect, but that was because the wife was trying her best to make it perfect, and she never said the same to others. She was literally stretched thin over the 8 years that she was trying to craft the image of a perfect family — but he never realised because they never had conversations. She was also at fault here; she never told him the difficult encounters at work, she never told him the difficulties and importance of networking with other parents just to get her kid in a more favourable position in pre-school and elementary school. The marriage was seen to be perfect because of the lack of arguments (people were jealous!), but on hindsight no arguments happened because there was no time between them to even argue. They never even disagreed on anything because they never even found topics with each other to disagree on. The promises that they made to each other before and during their marriage were also left behind after they welcomed their new life as a family with a kid. They never found time with each other to go stargazing anymore as they promised, something that they both enjoyed given that they were college sweethearts who met in the Astrology Club.

I don’t classify myself as a feminist but as someone who will be working for the next 10 years I do foresee that this will be happening to me. I think it is easy to think for many busy and working parents (with kids) to think that they are doing much for the household by taking out the trash and dropping the kid off, but there is simply so much more to look after. The husband only realised this when he argued to take care of the kid (because she was doing a poor job) and couldn’t make a doll for the kid for class, because this was never part of his job scope as a husband. He also struggled to bathe him and prepare him for school because of his stubborn and lazy nature, something that you would never truly understand unless you extensively interact with the kid from birth. She jokingly said that the kid took after him, but he never realised it until he spent days and entire days with the kid alone. He was angry about the affair because he thought he never did anything wrong, which was definitely accurate, but as the male lead grew throughout the drama, he realised he never did anything right in his marriage union with Song Jihyo as well. He merely took out the trash and dropped off the kid whenever he was free, roles that he thought would make him equals with his wife for whatever sacrifices she made in the upbringing of their child.

The drama did not entirely condone her affair given that she was shamed by the cheating husband’s actual wife as an adulterer, that they had to go through the complicated and tiring process of a divorce, and that she was dropped her promotion because of her marital status. Her kid also had to go through difficult times trying to understand why his parents were living apart. She still had to suffer the consequences for her actions, and I thought it was nice that they showed the extremities of the views: the harsher “don’t forgive her, never condone cheating” and the softer side of people who edged the husband on to forgive his wife and move on. Thus I really enjoyed this drama because it was a really realistic portrayal of real life, which also allows people to reflect on their current (stale?) state in life.

Here is a disclaimer that these are entirely my own views of course. I hope that this blog is private enough for my (controversial) thoughts to remain relatively exclusive to that of my social circle, and also here’s a promise to myself to keep reflecting on my relationships as I grow up. I want for myself to realise anything that is going wrong before anyone else tells me off for them.

Highlights of February

These events are not in chronological order HAHAHA:

1. Durham

I went to visit Xinci, crashed her hall, had good conversations and good meals 🙂 I watched Fifty Shades Darker too! This might sound really stupid but I actually teared slightly when Christian Grey was possibly going to die lol, the plot is definitely rather lacklustre compared to other movies because… it’s really written revolving around the sex but I actually enjoyed it. In particular I loved the chemistry between the two main leads so much more than the first movie.

Most importantly, I was legal and excited to show my ID but they did not even check!!!!! 😦

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Flat White Cafe with Xinci that is the supposed must-go in Durham, recommended by Xinci because guess who was too lazy to do her research before hitting up the city. We had the Eggs Royale (or Benedict or something like that) and the 1/2 pancake and we were stuffed HAHAHA probably due to the additional effect of the frappe as well.

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A great picture taken of my pancakes with maple syrup spam HAHAHAHa

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After brunch we walked around the city and I entered Clinton’s to buy Tsums lol incorrigible the eventual hauls are seen here in my left hand HAHAHAHA but I had to take picture with the huge Dory because I have never seen it before!!!

Thank you for hosting me even though you definitely were busy with submissions, also thank you for sacrificing one weekend for me! Science degrees are definitely more intense and thank you for sharing all that you did, I am glad to be on the same page for many topics (eg. being a female in the SAF lol)… Looking forward to the next time I see you, hopefully in London soon!

2. Steamboat at Wern’s

After the episode at Ken’s house Wern kindly invited us to her place in Canary Wharf to end off our Chinese New Year fiasco. When we arrived we were firstly amazed by the Asian supermarket downstairs her place — it has everything! If I stayed in the same vicinity I can imagine myself spending so much on trying new recipes… or maybe not, because you only want what you cannot get HAHAHA. I wish sliced pork belly, Korean rice cakes and Chinese soup sauces were this convenient to me…

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Omg best host ever la we were defeated by all the food offered to us before we even started on the hotpot HAHAHA.

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海底捞麻辣 paste!!!! Omg totally in love with the soup, except the parts when I bite on the thing… and my tongue becomes numb instantly. I love the tofu salad too 😥 Help please bring me back to this day.

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The overcrowded hotpot!!! Love it omg.

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And dessert did not disappoint! Nutella butter cake by Dilys and cheesecake by Xinmei, sending all the lovey dovey eyes la :’) A pity we were too full but HAHAHAHAHA guess who volunteered to bring the leftover dessert home? :’)

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Group photo hehehe against a very nice backdrop because she puts in so much effort in decorating her place omg…

3. Korean with Dilys and Weixuan

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As detailed: Kimchi tofu soup stew (dubu something, I forgot what Dilys said HAHAHA) and pork bulgogi from pork shoulders!!! The dinner really looks innocent (because it was shared among the 3 of us) but I was so full after that!

4. Eat Tokyo with Joey and Tzching

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Missed this Chirashi don so so much 🙂 I was contemplating between this and the pork katsu which was served beside me and smelt SO DAMN NICE but I decided I could make pork katsu on my own since I bought the bread crumbs (can I???) and got the sashimi deal instead 🙂

5. Patty & Bun with Dilys and Weixuan

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I am seeing these humans way too much but I am not complaining; it is actually nice that our social circles are starting to converge so much which means that conversations reach new depths (and breadths) HAHAHA.

6. Kite Runner with Weixuan

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I have been trying to finish reading the book before the play so that I can catch the plot — I am really bad with movie plots because I don’t understand the dialogue most of the time and I fail to identify the main characters well. Thankfully I managed to read half the book before the play which allowed me to think greater about the plot in detail when watching the story unfold before my eyes (plus point was that I didn’t know the ending of the story!). Best thing of the play was that it was only £20 for such excellent stall seats, just look how close we were to the stage!!!! I really enjoyed it and I am glad we went even though I have an upcoming coursework submission in 3 days that I have yet to write any single word on HAHAHA.

7. Magical Lantern Festival with Weixuan and Dilys

And like I said I am meeting this bunch of people too much! I meet Weixuan everyday actually lol… The day after the steamboat at Wern’s place (which explains why I say this post is not in chronological order HAHAHA) we went to the Magical Lantern Festival at Chiswick House and Gardens! I saw it on TimeOut, Facebook and a few Dayre accounts so I thought that it would be nice to check this out — afterall, how rare is it that we get to experience such forms of “orientalism” in London?

Before that we met at Shackfuyu for the Express Menu! I also happen to remember that this dinner was after my driving lesson which involved me running over about 10 kerbs… Everyone seems to be (jokingly?) scared of their friends passing their driving tests because they officially introduce a new road hazard to the road; I am the real road hazard and I think my friends should really fear when I pass my driving test. Let’s hope I stop running over kerbs on my next lesson.

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The Korean fried wings which tempted me the very first time I was here!!! I finally had you hehehe and even though it came as an appetiser there were 3 wings!!!!! 3 glorious wings I love you!!!!

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I took a very bad picture of my main so here’s the best I could get — another poor selfie HAHAHA. I got the grilled salmon which was good too. Oh man I feel like going back to Shackfuyu already HAHAHA looking through the pictures make me so hungry.

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And no trip to Shackfuyu happens without the matcha french toast of course 🙂 It was smaller than the usual dessert portion but good enough not to make us that full. Would definitely go back again soon!!! Already craving for it 😥

Headed to Chiswick for the lantern festival afterwards, and here’s where everyone was taking photos:

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Surprisingly there weren’t many Asians, these “oriental” displays probably don’t excite the orientals that much HAHAHA. In this picture too you would see the biggest display of my eyes ever.

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Enjoyed myself on that very cold night and am looking forward to more events to attend together hehehe. Everything (many things actually) in this month that happened made the month pass so very much faster, CNY and my feelings of homesickness felt like yesterday. It has been a full month! I am gladly welcoming March because it means I will get to see my siblings very soon, also it means I am inching closer to my return home in summer! I am glad I did not conform to my homesickness and lovesickness in the very end and managed to stick through to (trying my best) not going home hahaha. I will try my best to live London to the fullest and not leave any regrets for not doing what I can/could have in my time here.