I lost my hat (and I’m done with my thesis).

I am back, after a prolonged period of absence where I was just basically avoiding all forms of human contact apart from with my flatmate. It was getting dangerously addictive to stay away from all forms of electronic communications that I was so tempted to never emerge again, but I realised I have so much to account to my friends back home that I had to immediately banish that thought. Plus my mind was getting all tangled up from the lack of non-thesis-related writing that in the end I had to force myself to get up, get over my post-thesis laptop trauma and compose this post.

Just to get you up to speed with what has been happening, I had been bogged down with my thesis for the past 6 weeks or so. It was a long period of time to be concentrating on something if you ask me, but my supervisor clearly did not share the sentiment; after seeing my progress four weeks before the deadline, he freaked out a little (a lot) – according to him, I was very much behind the schedule with my writing and when he saw that I did not have a single trace of panic in my voice, he made me write this on my laptop screen, capital letters and all, to drill down the message.

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True enough, the weeks following that were nothing short of manic. I spent hours and hours in the library, trying to make up for lost time. I guess my friends were right all this time: I should have started writing much earlier.

I did not know how I did it in the end, but I managed to churn out a 6,000-word story plus a 6,000-word dissertation in 2.5 weeks. It was probably not my best piece of work, but hey my supervisor offered to be my reference for my job application in the end, so I guess it wasn’t too shabby after all.

Now that I’m back, I wish I could start by telling all of you about something cheerful – my library exploration, the trips to Stockholm, Oxford and Cambridge and possibly about all the chocolates that I consumed while writing my thesis. Alas, I have to get back to the surface with a rather grim matter, something that has been bothering me for the past few weeks. Just like everything else, I figured I would feel slightly better if I just rant to the whole world about it through my blog. So here goes.

I lost my hat.

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The very hat that I had previously flaunted to everyone and anyone polite enough to listen to a weird person talking incessantly about her hat. The very hat that had kept my head warm throughout the winter in London and Copenhagen.

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At this point, I find it pertinent to inform all of you my lovely readers about this one important fact: Just in case you haven’t noticed, I really like my hat.

Owing to my abnormally large head size, finding a hat that suits me had been a real challenge. Wearing a beanie has invoked much laughter from my sister and friends: my dear sister said I looked like a Hershey’s kiss. One of my friends had a much better PG-13 description: she said I looked like I was wearing a grey condom.

So imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon this beauty at the discount rack of an Accessorize outlet at Paddington. Not only did it look pretty, it miraculously fit my head (if I squeezed hard enough)! When I wore it, it felt a little like when Harry Potter held his wand for the first time at Ollivander’s – sparks were flying everywhere and I immediately knew that this particular piece of clothing had chosen me to be its owner.

Continue reading “I lost my hat (and I’m done with my thesis).”

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A crazy month that was December.

I realised that this turned out to be a very long post, so I have decided to give subtitles to each event (it must be the influence of all the academic writing that I had to do last semester) and you can just pick which of these interest you the most. I could have broken these into a few posts, but I think it is paramount to put them all together to show what a month it had been.

Happy New Year!

First thing first, I figured that most of you would probably not realise that I have updated the ‘about missruslee‘ page, so do check it out!

Now that it is January, I feel I can very safely talk about December last year (!!!). Some people might refer to the month as a series of unfortunate events for me, but I prefer, as I told a friend of mine who faced similar predicaments at one point in the month, to think of it as Murphy’s law being at its full force and me somehow having guardian angels in the form of strangers, neighbours and classmates.

So here goes, in chronological order:

The Prequel

To be fair, it was not entirely December’s doing. It probably started some time late November when, for reasons only the dear bus driver knows, the Aarhus Airport Bus decided to leave without me even though I was already dragging my luggage to board the bus. It was probably the first panic attack that I have had in years, when it sank on me that there was a real chance that I could have missed my flight to Copenhagen, which would mean that I would have missed my connecting flight to Shanghai, which would mean that I would have had to miss my best friend’s wedding where I was the maid of honour.

But I made it to the flight in the end. In the midst of my panic attack, two very kind strangers saw what happened (including me running after the bus with my luggage flailing), approached me, and sorted things out for me. They called a taxi, and one of them waited for me until the taxi arrived to explain the situation to the driver (since I was in no condition to speak due to the said panic attack), and the driver assured me that I would still make it for my flight and I would be compensated by the Airport Bus company for the cost of the taxi (which amounted to a whopping DKK 567 or USD 82, unheard of for me even if I decided to take a tour of Singapore in a cab).

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Still can’t believe I made it.

The Flight Delay

I think I was not destined to take the airport bus during that trip. On the way back to Aarhus, my flight from Beijing to Copenhagen was delayed by more than an hour due to the horrible weather in the capital of China.

Continue reading “A crazy month that was December.”

The miserable Copenhagen.

Note: I am in the midst of writing a very happy post about London, but really have to intercept with this little ranting just because I was having a very bad day. And publishing it to the whole world to see somehow makes me feel better. Strangely.

Perhaps it was because my closest friends here have moved out. Or maybe because the guy in the ticket counter was not friendly. Or maybe because my Airbnb host here was not responding to my messages at first. Or maybe because no one helped me in the bus when I could not pick up the umbrella I dropped because of my hefty luggage. Or maybe because it rained when I had to drag my suitcase down the street to find the correct bus stop. Or maybe because nothing seemed to work in the badminton stadium, from the WiFi to my own internet. Or maybe because the TV screen in the bus had to freeze and I ended up missing my stop and had to walk all the way back in the rain. Or maybe my heart has not quite settled from saying bye to some people dearest to me in London.

But Copenhagen seems to have lost its charm to me.

The metro seemed all too crowded for my liking and the facilities did not seem to hold for the growing number of people. The rain seemed much drearier than in London even though it was rarely sunny when I was there. The people seemed a lot less friendly than how I remembered them. I am watching badminton, my favourite and most well acquainted sports in the world, but everything and everyone seemed so foreign to me.

Continue reading “The miserable Copenhagen.”

As luck would (not) have it, in Prague.

I know I have promised to write more often when I’m in Europe, but to be frank this is the first time I have had some down time, just sitting down for a few hours and staying awake. Other times I had been simply walking around exploring and getting lost (my laptop lying forgotten in the hotel room) or collapsing either on a train couchettes or on my hotel bed out of exhaustion after the said walking.

So many things have happened over the past few days, and most of them have been really good. Apart from that day in Paris when we were panicking because we thought that we were going to miss the train but we actually ended up really early at the train station; or the time in the train from Paris to Berlin when I did not know I had to activate my Eurail tickets at the train station and almost cost my family a total of EUR 1,000 just to buy another set of tickets (luckily the ticket inspector took pity after a little bit of pleading, tear shedding and some help from a nice German passenger who shared our compartment). But other than those minor glitches, we have seen beautiful buildings and structures, eaten yummy food and ice cream and taken in much history lessons.

The point is travelling had been good so far.

Until Prague.

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The city was very pretty alright, and I loved the rustic and ancient feel of it. But I think everyone has their own kind of luck with a city – some places are just meant to make your lives difficult and you just want to leave. Just like how Pisa was to me five years ago (I will write a post about my disastrous time there one day), by the end of it, I felt my money was cheated dry and I could not wait to leave Prague.

Continue reading “As luck would (not) have it, in Prague.”