I am and will be MIA until the 5th of May.

I decided to write this post for several reasons.

One, because I’m in a real danger of breaking my track record since this blog started – I have written at least one post every month since December 2013.

Two, because I just submitted the first full 6000-word draft of my thesis to my supervisor so my brain has some capacity to churn out words. I still have another 6000 to go, but that’s besides the point.

Three, because my stress level is at an all-time high, I get irritated by little things very easily. I simply have to rant.

In particular, this recent phenomenon of people not taking my warning seriously.

Recently, I posted this on Facebook, which I’m sure many of my Facebook friends saw judging from the number of responses that I received.

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And then a strange phenomenon happened. More people are starting to text me on Facebook, people that I haven’t even heard from in a while (I’m talking years).

I appreciate a lot of the well wishes that came for me in completing my thesis. And I do understand that there are some questions that you might forget if you didn’t send me right away. I sincerely apologise for not having gotten back to you. Many of you have been incredibly gracious and understanding and you don’t know how much that means to me.

Plus you are fine, you are not the ones who irritate me.

It is those who then proceeded to text me again to nudge me for not replying. If I have read your messages and not reply you during the next week or so, that’s because I simply haven’t got the time to. Which part of “I will be rubbish at replying to your text messages” do you not understand? Unless you are my parents (and possibly my flatmate) who will genuinely get worried whether I’m alive if I didn’t reply for a day, you will simply have to wait.

I know I sound really snobbish and I should not be ranting about this. I should even be grateful that I have friends who still text me. But that is precisely why I posted that picture with the caption, because I do cherish my friends and will always do my best to reply everyone promptly but I am simply going to be rubbish during this period. And I will get back to you in due course, just please don’t text me again simply to nudge me to reply.

Even chocolate baits won’t work. Maybe.

Primrose Hill Market, London.

I was recently introduced to a friend of a friend who went backpacking around South East Asia last year. When I spoke to her, I felt a familiar feeling of shame creeping into me, the same one that always appeared whenever I spoke to travellers like her.

She, after a few weeks in my side of the world, has visited more places than I have the twenty six years I was living in the region.

Usually, a few minutes into the conversation, the name Cambodia would come up and I would have to reluctantly admit that I haven’t stepped on that country’s soil even once.

“I have been to Myanmar though,” I normally added in a bid to present myself as a more appreciative South East Asian.

I attribute this shameful phenomenon to what I call proximity ungratefulness. When a place is so close to where you live, you will naturally find it less exciting and will not go out of your way to visit.

I am thus careful of not letting the same thing happen to me here in London. I try to appreciate things around me, even stuff that is within walking distance from my flat.

One of my most recent finds was the Primrose Hill Market.

Primrose Hill is world-famous, and I have been there countless times. It has a beautiful unobstructed view of London and is equally charming during the day and night.

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But today I’m not here to talk about the Hill. I’m here for something that happens at the foot of the hill every Saturday, unbeknownst to many: the Primrose Hill Market.

Continue reading “Primrose Hill Market, London.”

Hackney City Farm, London.

At the start of this year I ambitiously declared that I have found a magical way to slow down the time.

Yet 2017 has simply been ramming itself like a charging bull on steroid, and I’m at loss once again on how to make the time stop. With a blink of an eye, it is already March. The weather got a lot warmer, the daylight stayed for a couple of minutes longer each day, and flowers start to blossom; spring is just around the corner.

It is strange to think that just a couple of weeks ago I was trying to ease back into the chilly weather in London, having spent December and January back home in the tropics. And on one of the coldest days of February, we visited the Hackney City Farm.

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Being surrounded by friends who grew up close to the nature, I have often behaved like an ignorant city girl in comparison. I remember asking someone, to both his bemusement and amusement, whether the flowers on the flowerbed we walked past were real (they clearly were).

Don’t get me wrong; I love the nature. I really do (except for those crawling insects that come with the nature in the tropics, and maybe snakes. And a couple more weird looking animals). And I have a weakness for cows – I think they are one of the cutest creatures alive. I am just never exposed to them very much.

So imagine my excitement when my friend told me about Hackney City Farm, which was set up for people like me: so I don’t have to drive (not that I can) for hours to see cows and horses and donkeys, and I get to immerse myself in the earthy smell of manure right at the heart of the city.

We agreed to meet right around lunch time so our first stop was brunch at Cafe Frizzante, which was located inside the complex. It being located inside the farm added a nice touch to the location.

It sounds barbaric now that I think about it, but the first animals that we encountered at the farm were this.

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The bacon and sausage that were once pigs.

Continue reading “Hackney City Farm, London.”

Back in Copenhagen, again.

There is nothing quite like your first love (in Europe).

Everyone remembers their first love.

It probably happened a long time ago.

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This was taken 8 years ago in 2009, when I was probably 8 kg lighter.

For some, it might have been just a short-lived crush. But for many, it lasted for a few years.

Because for some reason, you kept coming back for more…

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2010

And more…

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2012
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2013
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2014

Continue reading “Back in Copenhagen, again.”

A crazy long year that was 2016.

I used to measure my year by the number of countries I visited. Travelling has been such an integral part of my life – it is largely how I spent growing up into almost-adulthood since I was 20. The swift movement of packing, catching the planes and trains (or missing them) and exploring new sights while getting helplessly lost have in themselves been valuable lessons and shaped very much who I am today.

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I figure out life just like how I travel: looking perpetually lost.

This time round, however, counting the number of countries I visited seems to be somewhat… superficial.

I get a severe writer’s block every time I try summing up what last year has been for me. Often times, 2016 felt like a giant piece of blanket, made of patches of different cloths randomly sewn together, each piece as distinct as it is colourful. Way too often, the parts felt like it would give way any time, the thread holding them coming loose, but somehow it worked out, the fabric all stitched up somewhat nicely in the end.

(And you can tell that I am excellent at analogies. Not.)

Last year was my craziest so far, and by far. I lived in three different countries within a year, and did some extensive travelling in between. Most of my friends never quite knew where I was, and to be honest, sometimes I didn’t really know either.

I know that people say the older you get, the faster time flies. But I think I have found the recipe to slow down the time. You just need to have things keeping you constantly on your toes, so much so that it keeps you awake at night sometimes.

For me, trying to keep half-watch on what I own has been keeping me on my toes. I needed to make sure that by the end of every few months, I could still cram everything into my suitcases, ready to hurl them to the other side of the world. Being the hoarder and over-packing person that I am, it was a challenge in its own right.

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I have had 100% success rate so far packing all these into suitcases.

Not to mention that it was the first full year that I was jobless in a long time – the fact that I didn’t have a steady stream of income was hitting me hard. I had to think hard for a lot of purchases that I used to take for granted, although on hindsight, it did keep my possessions in check, hence helping me to be less of a hoarder.

Continue reading “A crazy long year that was 2016.”

The best of 2016.

A look back at some of my most popular posts in 2016.

Until yesterday, I was without both my camera and laptop for three long days. I had to send them both for some TLC, and I regret to announce that only one of them came back to me.

My camera, that I often affectionately refer to as my baby, went through some sensor cleaning and is now back with me safely. Considering I never left my flat without it for the past one year or so, having it taken away from me for full seventy two hours did give me some separation anxiety.

My laptop, however, suffered from a much more unfortunate fate. I will let the picture below speak of what had happened.

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And of course it went beyond repair one day before a big deadline.

The cost of repairing it would almost be equivalent to buying a new one, so after fighting furiously for its life, I had to make one of the most difficult electronic decisions in my life: I had to let it go.

You may find me weird for having such a strong attachment to a piece of technology (let alone sharing my sentiments for the whole world to read), but that laptop has gone through so much with me.

It was one of the main reasons for the birth of this blog. I typed every single post (129 of them to be exact) of this so-called travel blog on that laptop – it practically gave me back my flair for writing. My mediocre pictures appeared twice as sharp and brilliant thanks to its screen resolution that was way ahead its time. It travelled with me to all the different countries that I have been to since the end of 2013 (there were a lot of them).

So it does feel extremely weird that I am now writing this very post on a new laptop that I had just purchased in a rush to fill in the gaps so I can continue applying for jobs during my winter break. For one I kept touching my screen to try and scroll down since my previous laptop came with that function (I was spoilt I know).

But in the words of G.K. Adams that I recently came across in the book “After You” by Jojo Moyes:

Sometimes in order to keep moving forward, not only must you take one step at a time, but you must be willing to look back occasionally and evaluate your past, no matter how painful it is.

As a tribute to the enabler of this blog, I have decided to use this post to look back at some of my most popular posts in 2016, all of them came to life thanks to my now defunct Lenovo Yoga Pro 2.

Continue reading “The best of 2016.”