Category Archives: Life

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 🙂 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 🙂

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 🙂

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

End of my second academic year

It is my last night in London.

I have counted down since forever to my eventual return on the 26th of May, which happens to be tomorrow. When HT and I first separated we texted each other, and one of those messages from him was “259 days more!” I cried as I read his handwritten letter and re-read that message. How unrealistic it was, I told myself. How were we going to last? How many couples have I seen breaking up? What makes the both of us think that “our love is different” compared to the many others who thought the same way when they initially parted? I was so cynical and I honestly do not think my worries were unfounded. On some nights in London I really constantly questioned myself why. It seemed easier emotionally last academic year when I was single. I am however really glad that my “emotional mechanism” is able to shut those thoughts out as soon as they are formed, and despite some reunion jitters I really cannot wait to see HT in 3D again after 6 months.

Today I wore short sleeves out having been blessed with an amazing sunny weather, temperatures reaching up to 28 degrees in the afternoon. I saw a glimpse of London in summer — the streets littered with people wearing sleeveless dresses and holding Starbucks frappucinos, green spaces filled with people with picnic mats holding their sandwich lunches and… simply the increased density of people on the streets even though it is only Thursday. I never got to experience these sights last year and I am indeed really lucky because I do not think I will ever get a chance to experience London summer in full, given that I will always be back in Singapore for VA.

Now that it’s still 9.15pm and sunny I have concluded that today has been an absolutely perfect day. Today I sent off my 7 boxes early in the morning and now I face an empty room and kitchen… it looked similar to what I saw when I first arrived in this room. The rate at which time passes scares me very very much. I remember posting on what you would call a “private Instagram” (which has now disappeared) a perspective of London from Goodge Street when I first arrived for the second time and commenting how scarily unfamiliar the familiar London was. Or the scarily familiar unfamiliar London. It was 7am on a Sunday morning when I wheeled my luggage out of the tube station and saw how cloudy and gloomy the morning was. I thought back on my Sunday mornings at home and I remembered my noisy family, my irritating siblings and the sunny hot weather in Singapore. It was painful to stomach the fact that I would be here alone for 9 months again, especially when I was painfully separated from HT during what I would also call our honeymoon period. I also remember my first night here when my dining/study table was in a different position of the room, when I set off the smoke alarm from cooking instant noodles from a tiny pot (resulting in water spilling all over the induction hob), when I slept on unfamiliar sheets and when I had nothing in this new home to call my own. I managed to Skype HT when he was sailing, and despite not being able to see his face I went to sleep with great ease. It was nice that he tried doing that to help me settle down better.

Slightly more than 8 months have passed since then and I have done many many things. I have not accomplished as much academically as I would like to, and I say this only because I know I can achieve better. I have however, enjoyed myself a lot more this year. I ate a lot better, made an effort to actively seek for entertainment and did many more things that I enjoyed. I ventured to areas even off-London (eg. New Malden) just to have a legit Korean BBQ meal and good bingsu. I went to 梁静茹’s concert, although it may have been more perfect if I managed to obtain tickets for Jay Chou’s concert. Notable trips are Bristol with RV, Thursley Common for a field trip, Mallorca for a field trip, Lake District and Paris with HT, Switzerland with Weixuan and Edina, the UCLSS Ski Trip at the French Alps, Durham to meet Xinci, Italy with my siblings, Amsterdam with Dilys and Weixuan, and lastly the killer Seven Sisters hike with Dilys and Weixuan as of late. I watched Wicked and Phantom of the Opera again, I watched The Kite Runner, and I also watched The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time before their final stage in June. Wicked costed £29.50 this time because I queued in the morning for day seats which led me to a seat all the way at the front; the last time I paid £17.50 I was sitting at the last row of the musical! Seats are important in keeping me awake and stall seats really provide the best musical experience. I am increasingly of the opinion that money saving habits can only kick in successfully with familiarity, how would I have understood the concept of day seats in the past? I snuck into the UCL Korean Culture Society and attended weekly intermediate Korean lessons every Wednesday and Friday. Despite the attendance declining from the start I never dreaded the 6pm lessons when I often had to leave home the second time in the day for school, and especially enjoyed it more towards the end when the teachers started recognising us. I hope to improve enough over summer to find myself in the advanced language class next academic year.

I have lived very well this year although my bank account has certainly been bleeding more than last year. I remain thankful to the scholarship and the organisation for this financial independence. Last year I used to tell people that I did not have much friends in London, but this statement does not hold anymore. I really had an active social life, a social life that would not have been possible if my phone were to be spoilt like what happened last year. I forged stronger friendships and saw myself laughing a lot more this year. I made it a point to enjoy London for what it has to offer, the food, the sights and simply the way of life. I am liking London more and more as I approach the possible end of my three years here and it saddens me that the dream I had worked and put in everything for may come to an abrupt end soon. Although I think I Skype rather regularly I never thought it took away time from my personal life, I tried to make it a point to lead less of a virtual life especially if we were to “have a lifetime ahead”, as quoted from HT.

I am excited to leave the house for the airport 5 hours in advance tomorrow, to wheel my luggage and struggle to carry it up and down flights of stairs on the tube. It says a lot about the girl I have grown to become; I think I can say with confidence that she is a better version of myself. Other than growing to be even more independent I think I have grown to be more empathetic, kinder and more sensitive. On this note, I will continue to figure out and actively work on my character flaws. This summer I also hope to obtain my COC, because it would say a lot about my lack of attitude/aptitude if I still do not. I also want to work hard on my dissertation because an excellent dissertation project would show how much I have learnt this year from the endless coursework submissions, repeated data collection/analysis/discussion, and show the markers how capable I am of independent learning. Next academic year too, I hope to actively work on my academic weaknesses. I still believe that everything is a choice, and I hope to strive harder to make that active choice for academic excellence.

After tonight I would have no more “sleeps in London” until late September, so goodbye Collingwood House. See you after summer 🙂

Results

I was in a very pensive mood yesterday after the examinations and all I wanted was to get away from that examination hall seating a few hundreds of people. I was so down, so upset and so afraid.

Context:

70+ First class mark. If you are a real Singaporean you’d be trying hard to be here.

60-69 Second upper class mark (2:1)

50-59 Second lower class mark (2:2)

I’d received unsatisfactory grades throughout the course of my entire degree. I remember them. I guess no one really reads my blog so hopefully it won’t become discussed in my course like what happened to other people in high school…

In my first year, my first ever assignment received an overall mark 55. Then a 62. Then a 72… hey are things becoming better now? Then a 64. Ouch.

I stopped aiming. Only two modules were graded anyway, and most of the examination modules were not. Overall I got 2 Firsts for my 8 modules, 5 2:1s and a last 2:2. I even laughed about the last one — I got 25 for an essay because I was writing a “right answer to the wrong question”. Who the hell gets 25/100 for an essay?!

There were tons of coursework submissions this year. 4 due on the 10th of January, 1 due on the 8th of Feb, 1 due on the 3rd of March, 1 due on the 22nd of March, 1 due on the 24th of March, and 1 due on the 24th of April.

For the January batch of coursework, I had gotten 68, 67, 66 and 54.

December to January was difficult. It was lots of learning of softwares in greater depth: R, ArcMap, MatLab, STELLA, all of which I had zero clue about.

During the whole December break I was also travelling excessively, and prior to the 3-week break, HT was here. I really had no time for coursework and I saw those as my priorities. Getting marks in the range of 66-68 was therefore quite pleasant for me, I would (and could) just work harder during the exam.

 54 was definitely my fault, I left myself with 24 hours for that coursework. When I submitted it through Turnitin at 11am I knew I was thoroughly screwed — my figures weren’t composed properly, I had hardly come up with proper location maps, and I hadn’t even linked my Discussion section to my Results section. I am just glad I passed for my horrendous submission, I was mostly upset because this was 90% and there was no way I was salvaging it. I also had some sort of coursework fatigue from having finished 3 prior to this and I was sick and tired of learning and using a new software. It requires time for familiarisation as well and I had no time for that this time.

I moved on from those 4 coursework assignments… to embark the 5 in Term 3. The results are coming back. I received 75. Then 80. Then 72 even when I pasted two of the same figures by mistake in my work… are things getting better? Am I on my way? I must be getting the hang of things now! I tried to read so much more beyond the recommended literature to get beyond the band of 66-68. Maybe they really want originality. I really am improving! I worked out my marks and coursework percentages here and there and found out that to possibly secure a first class eventually, I would have to play safe and get at least 5 to 6 modules with a First this year. I was not confident of getting a First for my dissertation in my final year — I know it won’t be that easy.

But yesterday I received a mark of 67 and I felt like I was going back to square one all over again. Another bye to a possible first-class mark. No, eventually there had been no improvement. Yesterday, too, I had not gotten lucky with the questions for a module I thought I could bag a First for. I told myself: I only needed one good essay and one mediocre essay to get a 70 overall. I prepared for 5 topics, and only one worked in my favour. How unlucky was I? Really unlucky. Most people prepared only 4, or less if you are not bothered about this exam. Essentially, I prepared a mediocre essay and another piece of shit, because the wording for the question I prepared for was really convoluted as well. Examiners probably saw that it would be a popular question. I felt like crying midway through writing my second essay. I was cooking up shit and I knew I was giving more marks away with every line I was writing.

I feel sad from the weight of my personal expectations. I don’t want to feel burdened over every unsatisfactory grade or terrible examination. I cannot be like this my whole life, there are so many more examinations I have to take and so many tests I must put myself through. How can I ever be happy this way?

“The part of me that only thinks being the best is acceptable needs to take a chill pill and realize that if I give something my best effort and end up with an average result that is perfectly fine and will only lead to a happier and healthier me. I will keep trying to do my best, but if an exam or a lacrosse game does not go as well as I had hoped, I am not going to ruminate on my mistakes. I will learn to use the bad as a life experience and move on. I will find peace in realizing that being average is okay, but I will take pride in knowing I will never lead an average life. I have long ago stopped expecting perfection from those around me, and now far more importantly, I will stop demanding perfection from myself.”

I will continue to strive, but I will stop being bitter about myself. I will remind myself that the leader(s) I respect the most had less than stellar academic achievements, but was/were extremely hardworking and charismatic. These “idols” of mine might even stab me if I told them about my woes.

I feel much better today after the lousy morning and terrible examination yesterday. I knew I was not going to do further studying after the shitty afternoon paper yesterday, and all I wanted to do was to go home and lie on my bed and Skype. We ended up watching a movie, and after that I slept at 10.30pm. Which means HT stayed up all the way till 5.30am to accompany me to save my shitty day. Thank you very much, so much love for you smiling to sleep last night :’) Thank you for never dissing my opinions even though you are less concerned about results and grades than anyone else. In my darkest of days I am glad you are always there, even though you are not physically present. I know I am in a much better position than people sleeping beside a familiar stranger, and I will be thankful for that. I try to steer clear of talking about HT too much because I think I should lead a proper life myself, but today I am so glad to have a boyfriend. Hehehehehehehe.

Easter

In the blink of an eye 20 days have passed since my previous post. During the course of the Easter holidays I have been to Italy and back, to Amsterdam and back, got jittery about the impending examinations (20 days to the first paper as of today) and submitted the last coursework ever for this year. I have submitted a total of 8 pieces of coursework for this whole academic year and that has been enough to really wear me out mentally. I am honestly so done with the whole process of reading, writing and editing with no clue of my eventual grade because my gut feeling doesn’t turn out right all the time. Bowei mentioned something about how he could not wait to do his dissertation because most of his undergraduate course is ‘taught’, here I am on the opposite. I actually fear doing my dissertation because the data acquisition, analyses and literature search would be so much more intensive than what I am currently doing. What if all the effort translates to a shitty grade at the end of everything simply because I cannot communicate the depth of my analyses well enough? I fear regretting my choice of dissertation topic at the very end even though I currently think I would enjoy the process. At times when I am so tired of doing (irrelevant?) readings I miss the days in high school when I was spoonfed with content and test questions that were similar to what would be examined eventually.

The new work year has started and hence it is time for IPPT too. In intensive preparation for IPPT (because I have been lazy) I have been doing tons of push-ups and sit-ups and running every alternate day, and it scares me how unfit I am now compared to my glorious past. My muscle aches were so bad I felt crippled, I could not raise my arms properly when removing my clothes or when placing the showerhead over my head. What a potato I have become. I am still aiming for gold so this crippled self of mine would be ongoing till I get it over and done with; hopefully this should encourage me to work harder next year in terms of my fitness aspirations. I certainly do not want to grow up being a potato. In squeezing time for working out I have found that my life gets more organised, the same happened last year. I like how my days pen out now so let’s hope I can continue to stay organised all the way until the examinations are over.

When exams are round the corner you tend to do a lot of miscellaneous things (rubbish) that are not that interesting on a daily basis. I started being more keen on my Korean language learning and doing Korean language exercises, something that I always put off because of “coursework” in the past few months (in other words, lazy). I have also been reading tons of Dayre blogs, more than usual actually, and one Dayre community that caught my eye was the TTC community. It is a small community of mothers who are/have been trying their best to conceive naturally, and many have found themselves in the IVF process eventually because of the failure to have a baby. Some of them cite having a baby as a “miracle”, and one mother even mentioned that she always thought herself to be a planner, planned everything in her life out including when she wanted to have a child, but her plans fell through because there was no “baby dust” even after two years of trying.

As a 20-year-old uninvolved individual I am little aware of the difficulties of conceiving. I mean because I have never tried of course. But I really feel for these mothers when I read how nonchalantly some people talk about their (unwanted/accidental) pregnancies. They cry because of the loss of freedom, whine about the loss of honeymoon period with their newly-wedded wives/husbands or even abort because a baby is going to be unwelcome in their lives at that moment. Granted, most individuals including myself would probably not be selfless enough to give up everything in our lives right now if a child ever comes by, and I really respect those who do (I have a coursemate at my age who has a toddler son). But I believe the words of these insensitive individuals, especially those who publicise “accidental pregnancies” as an unfortunate event despite being married, would really get to the TTC community. I can really sense the envy or even jealousy in their word posts when they speak about peers and relatives around them getting pregnant so easily (within 1 year = easy). I suppose it makes it worse knowing that it is something you cannot work hard for… right? You can only pray for lady luck, do superstitious things like rubbing the bellies of fertility statues and fortune-telling at the temple. After reading so much I found that IVF is truly a tiring process — it is expensive, it requires daily jabs (yucks), multiple consultations to check the sperm quality and follicle counts, an extended period of medical leave, and last, the anticipation (and potential disappointment) for the development of the embryos. I was following one blog recently and she did not manage to make it through on her current IVF cycle, again. She also mentioned how the repeated IVF cycles were going to cause her to menopause much earlier (extraction of 17 eggs = moving your period forward by 17 cycles), and this undesirable outcome was made worse by the fact that her embryos did not make it. I already felt so disheartened for her without any background knowledge/context myself and I really cannot imagine what it feels like to be in her position, desperately wanting to be a parent yet failing again and again each time.

Some sexism also comes in when relatives (especially mother-in-laws) question why they haven’t had a child even after such a long time of getting married. The blame was somewhat hinted at the wife for this particular individual (“why are you not pregnant”), but I suppose it was awkward to even bring up the fact that it was the problem with her husband’s low sperm count. I guess it’s just sad that she could not bring up her husband’s infertility as the probable cause for the failure to conceive because of his ego, which would be left for a conversation another day.

I pray for everyone around me to be healthy and lucky enough to conceive in the future, and I hope that people I love do not have to suffer the mental torture of wondering whether they will ever get to be parents in this lifetime.

I am sorry to myself for not blogging more than I should. Please blog more.

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.

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!