Isolated thoughts

Month: December, 2016

2016: In hindsight

Now, there are still 3 days left of 2016, and as always, things change very quickly sometimes but this is just a reflection of my year. It has been the most insane, somewhat unexpected and quite trying, and I still do not grasp the multitude of everything that has happened at times, really.

January

My new year’s was spent in Chiang Mai, Thailand for I was there playing my last softball tournament with NUS. At that point I did not realise, but it would be my last Chiang Mai Open, and for that I felt quite wistful, for it marked the close of a 7 years journey playing softball. We took the sleeper bus down to Bangkok and it was a good few days shopping, cafe hopping and basically chilling. I doubt that I would get to vacation as such until I am done with my degree.

The rest of the time back in Singapore was spent working, tying up loose ends, applying for my visa (bloody long and tedious process it was) and just figuring out the impending leave. I was quite excited for the new life abroad, despite being completely and utterly clueless for what was in store.

February

I left on the 10th, on the third day of Chinese New Year. I was fortunate to have been able to meet many friends in the week leading up to my departure, and for that I am so very grateful, for it was wonderful. I recall the night before leaving quite clearly at the bar, as well as the last minute packing rush on the morning itself. I wasn’t expecting much of a send off, for I wanted to leave quietly, as though I didn’t exist. Sometimes I still wish that I could live without any form of attachment, but that is not the case.

There was orientation, driving about panicking because of unfamiliar roads and basically being left in an apartment with 7 other girls and having no idea how to feed myself. I had not known how to cook rice, meat, or even an egg despite ‘practising’ with friends beforehand. The end of of this month was also when classes began, and I felt so underwhelmed for this was nothing compared to juggling 6 mods, tuition and other commitments back in Singapore.

March

I cannot remember what happened very well, so as I type I am looking through pictures on my phone.

I explored Perth and its outskirts with my friends. We went to Penguin Island in Rockingham for the very first time, and participated in some International Student Festival in the city. I also went clubbing (at a gay bar, nonetheless) for the very first time and felt quite overwhelmed. I visited Cottlesloe beach for the very first time, Fremantle at night and saw the most amazing sunset at South Freo Beach and swum for the first time at North Freo’s beach. The month was one of exploring, and it was so very exciting and exhilarating.

I did the silliest shit like drinking till 3am at someone else’s place, getting tipsy at the beach and it now feels like a complete whirlwind of a month where I basically went with whatever I had felt, screw the consequences.

April

I did my first dissection of a piglet, went to Cottlesloe (again) before it got too cold and went up to Hillary’s to get our wifi modem, which we aptly named MagicMike. It was starting to get cold, and many of my nights were spent on the phone.

May

The work was piling up, and it got a little overwhelming at one point in time. Amongst all the assignments and things to prep and study for, we took a trip down to Albany. It was an incredibly cold and stormy weekend, and so I was quite afraid but excited. We visited insane rock formations, windmill farms, monuments, clambered through rock faces and visited the most vibrantly green waters. This does not mention the huddling through storms, the cold night in the backpackers or the hail that rained down on us.

June

The start of the month signified the end of classes for the semester and the beginning of the exam period. I was quite unafraid, for I had stupidly entered the uni exam hall not knowing shit (it was accounting fml) but still passing back at home. I was quite confident given the amount of practice and work I had put into my subjects despite how inane some of them were, and the results came out well. I had a short break before heading back home.

July

I hated this month back at home, and if I could, I would have chosen to never had gone home at all. There was a lot of uncertainty that I struggled with, and a lack of support from those whom I had desired it from. I do not think that I would expect people to be supportive of my endeavours anymore. I wish I had the luxury of wealth to take a trip somewhere else to just be alone to grieve and recover. It was quite traumatic, for I felt like breaking down all day and holing up in bed to waste away (all 40kg of me) and quite simply couldn’t because how does one do that when there is no private space to do so?

August

Semester 2 began, and it felt quite full on. I had wanted to throw myself into my work but there really wasn’t much that I could have done at that point. Since getting good grades had become more of a habit and a bit of a game to me, it seemed like fun seeing how much I could push it yet still achieve the results that I desired. I went for a lot of walks to see the horses that lived on campus with my friends, and it helped me quite a bit. I made new friends, surrounded myself with people who cared for me and tried new things here and there. We also had animal handling lessons, more for the vet students and so I was very happy whenever Wednesday afternoons came around.

September

I volunteered more, friends came over and we met up which was what I needed, went for bootcamps to get my ass handed to me on Saturdays and attended workshops and talks. The workload got quite intense for once, and I tired myself out in a good way, which helped.

October

We explored more areas around the uni, going to the lakes and whatnot. Had more exciting adventures going out, drew blood from a sheep for the first time and the prank war continued. Went on an overnight adventure to star gaze at the Lancelin sand dunes, which was amazing. Started preparation for exams, and it was a good time.

November

Classes ended about midway through, and more was going on despite finals being just around the corner. I was quite at odds with myself, quite confident for certain papers yet kind of winging some others. I did stupid shit like movie nights before finals, going to the beach between papers to see the moon and panicking during the sheep handling exam. I still ended up with the results that I desired – 4.0 GPA for once in my life, coming from someone who had grossly underperformed in her first couple of years in secondary school and junior college with GPAs of 2.5-3, this is good.

I think that having a consistent and honest work ethic speaks for itself, and is reflected in one’s results. For sure, grades are not everything and people value very different things, but having gone through the 13 years of education as I have I’ve found that consistent hard work has never let me down.

The end of the month also marked the time when I would move out of the student accommodation on campus, and into my new place. I had taken a big gamble on it, and it had worked out in the end. Packing made me quite wistful and whilst I wish that I was still in such close proximity to people whom I know I can count on, this new opportunity was very hopeful. We had a Harry Potter movie marathon, and I enjoyed my time thoroughly before I left for a short trip back home.

December

I spent 10 days in Singapore in a very different manner from which I had once lived or experienced before. I no longer count the days, and am quite accepting of whatever happens sometimes. I moved in quite hap-hazardously with little idea of what to do and expect, but it has worked out.

I feel like my current situation and reality is very different as compared to what I had once expected it to be, which is not bad in all honesty but it does surprise me. I don’t think that I will be leading the life of a more normal international student – I do not foresee myself having the luxury of 3 to 4 months back at home for summer at all. What time that others get to spend back at home in a year, might in all honesty be all the time that I get to spend at home over the course of 5 years. And this makes it seem so long and gruelling even though I am merely at the beginning stage of this marathon.

Now this blog has been something that I have used to document my journey from 2014 to 2016 – a whopping 3 years with at least a post in every month. It has followed me through the crucial A level year, mess of getting to vet school and the ongoing catastrophes that happen in my life (lmao). And with 2017 being another very significant and new year, I was hoping that I would be more consistent with my thoughts. I was thinking of checking in every Sunday, for all 53 of them and we will see how this consistent posting progresses. It can be anything – a quote, poem, song, or reflection, but I just thought that it would be interesting to try.

As I leave this as my last post of 2016, I just wanted to let the future me who’s probably looking back on this know that you have made it through what you once thought was your darkest time, and were successful at that. Also, whilst it is good to prepare for the worst, don’t forget to be the stupidly optimistic kid you are as well.

On to 2017!

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Death’s hands

Today you were cradled in my frail arms
for the first time and for the last that you will
be encapsulated in another's fleeting embrace

My hands they hold you close but ever so sinisterly,
too close. They restrain you and fool you with their security.
I wish that you understood why they had to, 
it is for your own good, that is what we say.

But there are the feelings of grief arising inside,
when your heartbeat fades so close to mine;
When you wear the devil's gloves for a moment,
and take away what is a life.

For the lost and abandoned

I spent my Tuesday on an alpaca farm and with my friends.

Woke up at 5am, checked the patients and then caught the train to the city before taking the one from the city down to Mandurah. The train ride was quite relaxing and wonderful at that time, since most of the world wasn’t up yet and travelling to the regional areas of WA. I was enjoying my music, and reading the introduction to Wuthering Heights on my kindle as I made my way down.

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Taban picked me up from the train station and we drove about 20-30 minutes to the farm. When we arrived we were greeted by the strangest assortment of dogs – a border collie that was obsessed with the game of fetch, and a tiny doggo that liked pats.

We went into the shearing shed and helped to herd the alpacas into little pens. The white ones had to be separated from the greys, browns and blacks as their fleece are of different value.

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Little crias (baby alpacas) which make the strangest, cutest whines.

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After shearing all the adults and the little crias, we had lunch, and boy was I starving. It was wonderful being fed all sorts of fresh produce, and I had honeydew! It’s been quite some time since I’ve had so hearty a meal, and if this is what I will have when I go for more farm pracs I cannot wait.

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The little doggo.

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After we had finished shearing the males after lunch, we went around the farm feeding the weaners and those being halter trained. I was sitting on a hay bale on the back of a truck, and it was exciting to say the least.

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We were treated to an autopsy of a cria later, and learnt that they had some unique features – their liver and the coiled colon. Alpacas are pseudo-ruminants so they have 3 compartments to their ‘stomach’. Had a mini quiz at the place as well since there were skeletal remains scattered around the whole field. Am horrible at recognising the bones but it was still insightful. Got to bring some samples back (for educational purposes) as well! How cool is that?!

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I came back to get my assignment for the night, showered and then drove over for a Christmas dinner with my friends. It was lovely, and I had a wonderful time. Drove back at night and it was scary for my contact lenses were so dry, astigmatism makes the road lights shine too bright, and I stalled and kinda panicked on the steep slope when leaving the highway. Thankful for the guy who reversed and asked if I needed any help – and waited with me to make sure I made it safely through that wretched place.

Last night I had a visitor: little Rocket! He’s a spoodle: spaniel x poodle cross, and since he has some poodle in him, I was so very excited.

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Little bugger took over my pillow at one point in time.

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And this morning, Morrie decided to nap on my bed too. My bed has officially become a resting place for wayward animals. Please, all of you just make yourselves welcome.

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If this is the life I will lead, I will be satisfied.

Freedom

Life seems to pass at a different pace here. I have all the time in the world during my summer holidays to pursue things that I do not have the luxury of entertaining during the semester. My room is now neater and I dare call it home, and of course, I am learning so much all the time. This week I have seen a snake bite case, learnt how to use a stethoscope to listen for an animal’s heart rate, take its temperature and injected $800 anti-venom into an IV drip. Thankfully, the cat left the clinic very much alive.

Summer is my favourite season. I like to think that I am a summer child, for my birthday falls in the northern hemisphere’s summer. Here, it falls in winter and exam season but it is what it is. I love the warmth of the sun’s rays on my skin, as well as the occasional cool breeze and the cool mornings and nights. With this weather I would love to go to the beach with my friends, and we have and shall, and we will swim and people-watch, all the good things in life. I would drive about in the manual ride, and listen to summer songs on the radio. And I am starting to enjoy these drives to and fro alone mostly, for I get to exercise my independence and it is mostly relaxing. My car was out of fuel and stuck at the clinic so  we asked a nearby garage if we could borrow a jerry can and they sold me $12 worth of fuel. There’s always a first for everything, and this summer is and will be filled with so many of mine.

Fresh Start

As with all new beginnings, I’d like to think that the first night is the toughest. I was sleeping on this foldout on the ground of the room, with all my belongings scattered around me. There wasn’t a mattress on the bed frame, which left me in complete shock for I thought that I’d purchased a bed, not just a frame, but it is well and settled now.

I was about to cry and was wishing for my mom or dad or just someone familiar to be with me, helping me to settle in – for the last time I did my mom was there to help me, and I did not arrive to an empty room. I felt desperate, alone and incredibly overwhelmed with the amount of things I would have to get and to do to make my room a liveable place. I still have everything scattered on the floor, messy as heck but I need a wardrobe to really be able to get my clothes and other knick knacks put away.

Again, I am very blessed with good friends who would help me, even though we are not living together or even that close to each other anymore. I am no social butterfly, but a handful of those who would be there for me in my times of turmoil and trouble would be good enough. Even those back in Singapore who would check in, I am grateful.

Tomorrow I will get my wardrobe and desk chair, which is wonderful for I would be able to finally put most of my things away. And today I witnessed a surgery here which is interesting as always, and did little things here and there. Got the chance to administer a subcutaneous injection as well, so yay!

I wish that I were stronger and more resilient perhaps, able to process and take on the things that are thrown at me more calmly. 2016 is drawing to a close soon, and I wonder if I am still the same old me.

2 down, 10 to go

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The past semester was a huge struggle for me – I was extremely affected by certain circumstances, the loss of some people, and basically trying to move on and acclimatise to a new reality. At the beginning of the semester, I felt like I was doomed, for I could barely function, focus in lessons or even care about it. I felt panicky, worried that I wouldn’t do well and live up to my own expectations, but was so lost and struggling with so many emotions that I couldn’t get my shit together.

This is a defining semester – with me stepping out of my comfort zone several times, going for interviews, volunteering, socialising, healing and above all, having made it through far better than I’ve expected.

I am satisfied.

A week in Singapore

I haven’t written in a while, and that is because I have been home and trying to spend time with the people that matter to me. The past 10 days have whizzed by so quickly, and I have been immensely satisfied with the ways my days have been spent.

Over the past 10 days I have:

  • Met the bestie for dessert and had a wonderful conversation at a park that reminds me of my childhood, before catching the last bus home
  • Watched Fantastic Beasts
  • Gotten my combat boots
  • Shopped (!)
  • Lounged around at fancy places with my cousin
  • Got kaya toast
  • Visited the Science Centre for the Avenger’s exhibit
  • Got a Groot collectible keychain that would be used for my future car keys
  • Bubble tea
  • Laksa and a nice chat with old mates
  • Watched One Day with Sherz
  • Watched Suicide Squad and loved Harley Quinn
  • Gone for a day trip to Pontian and saw a fish market, how fascinating!
  • Feasted on lobsters, crabs, squid, fish and suckling pig
  • Caught up on an episode of Running Man – good old times :’)
  • Cooked up a feast with Sherryl at my place and chilled
  • Messed around with Tinder for a day whilst tipsy
  • Had my favourite Bak Chor Mee and tea
  • Another wonderfully stimulating conversation with a friend
  • Did some last-minute shopping and had dinner with the cousin again

The conversations that I can have till the latest of nights are the things that I live for – it’s like baring your soul to another with no fear of rejection or betrayal, and I long to have these conversations for a long time to come. I have felt so loved this time back, and I appreciate all those who have taken the time to meet up, be it for a meal or just with the intention of spending some time together. It is funny how some things never really change despite the insanely different experiences we all put ourselves through every single day. I am so insanely lucky to have these people I can just be myself with. Unforgivingly, unadulteratedly me.

Tomorrow, in the wee hours of the morning, I would be on my flight back to Australia. It is time for another journey after having lost some people and having gained some others over the course of the year. I look forward to what the near-future has in store. I do not have plans to come back for the next year, so it seems like it is goodbye for now, Singapore, you shall always be home.

home?

These streets are no longer familiar to my brain, 
let alone the lack of trees shielding me from their gaze.
Bus routes and train tracks so well-acquainted but 
I double check them just in case.

The heaviness of the air weighs me down with every breath I take -
and I struggle to break free from the shell that I once was in this 
place, city, or perhaps I can call it home but it is not the same.
I remain incarcerated by my memories,
a reminder of a different time and place. 

If I could accept this as my reality perhaps 
I would allow myself the disillusion that this is my forever place.
But no, this city is temporary and I know
that at least for now I long for a greater, vast space.