Thursday, August 31, 2006

Oranges, zebras and leopards

Not to be big headed or anything but the current design in high street stores are SO copying me. When it was once considered lame to wear zebra or leopard print, I proudly wore mine and now, it's everywhere!!! And it's deemed fashionable now. What I don't like is that now when I wear my prints, people are going to think I'm a fashion victim rather than trend setter - boo! Also, I've been meaning to get an orange top for ages to go with my white skirt but now orange is EVERYWHERE which makes me reluctant to buy it now. My only consolation is that fashion is very different back home and so whatever I wear will be my own...

My dad has decided that he doesn't want me in a YMCA afterall. After all the kerfuffle, I won't get to fulfil the live-in hippie role I was hoping I'd embrace.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Annoyed for no reason

Yeah, that's part of being a girl. Do I need a reason to get annoyed? Unfortunately in the heat of annoyance, feelings get hurt, sentiments ruined and good relations spoiled. Grrrrrrrr.

The movers and shakers will pack my things up on 12th September so that'll mean goodbye to my sets and sets of shoes til I see them 'on the other side' in a week's time. Thankfully, I don't think I have enough shoes to warrant a 'stupid girl' title courtesy of Pink. More worryingly, it's goodbye saxophone and books and books. I have collected more books in the last 3 years than in my entire teenage years. But then, I was spending more time either brooding in my room and punching pillows or out talking with my dog than I was reading so that shouldn't be surprising. My dad has suggested YMCA accommodation for me in KL. Initially I thought, "NO WAY!!" I'm used to a 2-storey house, complete with bathroom, own living area, big kitchen, oven and TV. YMCA conjured up images of shared kitchen/ bathroom and living area and the one thing I dislike with regards to housing over everything else is shared bathrooms. When I went for my Oxford interview, I balked at the shared bathroom existance I might have to have. It was almost inconceivable that I had to walk down 2 corridors to use the lavatory and then queue again for the use of bathrooms. I was nearly happy that I got rejected. Nearly because no one likes to get rejected, by Oxford or otherwise.

However after much internal deliberation, I think I should embrace the idea of living in the YMCA. Sure I probably wouldn't have the privacy I want and I might have to turn a blind eye to crusty cooker tops and the lack of an oven but it's only for 10 months or so and I could be the live-in Christian hippie whom tourists meet and hey, other people not withstanding, I could be the only Christian person they might ever meet. It might be quite funny to see someone aimlessly wandering the corridors of the YMCA in the evening with a toothbrush in her mouth, practising the foxtrot without a partner. I am decidedly warming up to the idea of being a hippie. Gypsy skirts and dreadlocks. Dreadlocks??!!?? I wonder what my college will think of that. I already ponder that the many piercings I have might not be to everyone's liking hence I'll have to keep a substantial length of hair to cover up on less appropriate moments. Anyway, it may be that I wouldn't live in the YMCA afterall. It's a jungle out there but as long as I have a two-edged sword, I should be okay.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Dancer off her feet

People were dancing in the square in Southbank yesterday. Proper dancing. Ballroom dancing. Waltz, jive, foxtrot. As I watched from Waterloo bridge, I wished I had someone to dance with at that point. I don't know if there will be a dancing community in KL although HW said he'll put me in touch with a few of them who left London recently. As I watched the people dance, what held my attention was not the couple who could clearly dance head and shoulders above everyone else, but the children laughing as they twirled one another around in circles, the love birds who were just enjoying the music and taking 2 steps at a time whilst looking at everyone else to see which way they could go, fathers who were dancing with their daughters who only reached their waist and most touchingly the over 50s who looked like their knees were going to give way yet were relishing one another's company in a way only old love can. And to top it off, they were dancing in the light drizzle of the evening in plastic pink raincoats supplied by the organisers. A vision of pink indeed.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Packing

Packing is going well, or not so well depending on how one sees it. I managed to scoop FREE boxes from my 'local' bookshop and lugged them home (about 10 of them). Just as the tape holding them together was about to break (about 50 steps from my front door) Jerome came and rescued me :) He's only 14 but I can forsee him breaking hearts in the future. Intentionally or unintentionally is another matter but yes, he was a gentleman, which fitted in with my mood for the day after having read Pride and Prejudice. If I were 12, I would be smitten. Actually if I were 14, I would be smitten. Anyway got right down to the business of packing, propping the boxes up and making them 3D. Before I'd packed half a box, I was starting to feel teary so quickly went and looked for food. Food keeps my brain on auto pilot so I'm not thinking about why I'm packing. The food I bought for my brother is now sitting in my stomach and when I walk by grocery stores I top up on my tinned pineapple. I LOVE tinned pineapple.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Weddings galore

In the flurry of emotion, I totally forgot to blog about the wedding front. Have attended 3 friends' (or 5 if you count them individually; 2 couples were both my friends) weddings this August, one in which I was a waitress.

Eileen and Alfred's wedding was waaay back on the 5th at St Helens where as a guest, I happily got stuck into an onion bhaji before meeting Martin in Covent Garden. They went to Tanzania for their honeymoon. It's almost a month now since they started wearing the 'man and wife' title. Couldn't make the dinner reception of 12 gorgeous Chinese courses (I heard), one of which was shark's fin soup - YUM!

I was serving at Heather's wedding the Saturday after. Somehow it didn't occur to me that serving as a waitress meant running around. I wore black heels to look 'smart' as Lauren wanted. Silly me. Ended up wincing all the way to Mile End where there was a party there with people I had not seen in a long time; Adam, Hazel, Philip, Daryl... Thankfully I got a lift from Sim and Rebecca to the party and from James Jamieson back to my place so that helped A LOT. Else I would have to deal with the long walk to and from bus stops.

The Saturday that just passed, I was in Lancing for Joe and Tara's wedding. Was there from Wednesday for Tara's hen night, where we went to a pottery painting place - I painted a large cappucino cup and saucer and am very proud of it - and had Chinese take away. Into Thursday and Friday, I helped make service orders, waited for the fudge man (whom I took a picture of - I'd bet no one he delivered stuff to ever took a picture of him before and with such glee too I must add), watched a lot of SKY and helped Tara's mum empty her fridge of chocolate mousse ;) Joe and Tara are now in Nice. The aforementioned Sim and Rebecca were also married on the same Saturday. I couldn't make it but I heard the whole affair was 'very Sim-and-Rebecca.'

4 weddings...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Summary

Hey guys, things have been pretty hectic around here. I'll be zoning out of London 20th September and arriving Kuching the next day. Then I'll chill back home (SIB! SIB!) over the weekend then my dad and I will fly to KL to look for accommodation. My new college will be near a YMCA so anytime people want to visit if I don't have space on my floor... you're more than welcome to crash with me, only I have no idea where I'll be staying. Studio flat, 2 bedroom, 2 bedrooms... who knows??!!?? Too many emotions running through my head and I don't want to turn my blog into a mush story hence the lack of blogging. But just to bring you up to speed, I have been crying the last week almost every day. There, that'll definitely keep b-o-y-s away from my blog. Hahahahahaha. Except Daniel. Right DANIEL??!!?? You'll always read my blog and tell Carly to read it too right? Okay, that was a bit too specific. But that's the problem, when my brain and my heart are not in the right gear, the car jump starts, jerks and then crashed into the car parked in front ( if you parked it too closely in the first place). So I will keep my head when all around me are losing theirs and I will keep afloat when all around me are sinking... yeah that's because I've got a wider expanse to cover surface area.

Anyway, wayward emotions aside, I'm getting into the hang of packing, repacking, buying more stuff and then repacking some more. I have a wish list from my brother I'm going to fulfill even if it means trekking goodness knows where just because I'm that sort of person. He's taking up art which is brilliant; I might frame his paintings on my wall and stick them on my fridge like a proud mum, only I'm his sister and I don't know if I'll have a fridge. It's so weird that I'll be living in KL for 8-9 months. in some ways that's perfect cos to me Malaysia means Kuching and besides the shopping and the zoo, I don't know what I'll find interesting in KL (sorry Wai Nyan, I'm sure you'll find me something exciting to dig my nails into). Also, it'll be nice to live in a place in Malaysia other than Sarawak (for those not in the know, it's the state where Kuching - city - is in). And there's a ballroom dancing association in KL and I'll be able to indoor ice skate, neither of which will be available in Kuching in huge quantities although my friend teaches ballroom. The next 2 years are sorted at least. Who knows what the years that follow will bring. But for now, I have to pack, say my goodbyes, try to hold back tears and then on the plane.... WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH! Maybe that'll get me extra peanuts, pillows and pineapple juice from the air stewardesses.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

These boots were made for walking...

No, I am NOT a big fan of Jessica Simpson. No, wait, I will rephrase that. I am NOT a fan of Jessica Simpson. Besides, she was not the first person to record that song and my vote goes to the original version. Contrary to the song's motive for walking boots (walking all over the source of injured pride), my boots (and I have quite a few) are making their way over seas and continents back from whence I came; Malaysia. That's right folks. After 5 years in London, I am making my way back home come October. I have lived in London for longer than some Londoners have, although then they wouldn't call themselves Londoners would they? I don't think the time has come for me to start summing up what my experience has been like and I believe enough has been said through the years on my blog. Every year has brought on new challenges and new friendships, it's own share of burdens and joys, but then again, that does not make my life any different from Tom, Dick or Harry or Joe. For the moment, I've got books to read, errands to run and a wedding to attend. As I contemplate going home, part of me doesn't want to. I have settled here (oh no!) and feel more alive and unrestrained than I did in Malaysia, which led to teenage rebellion and a lot of angst-ridden brooding sessions in my room, which had black, paper bats - the flying rodent kind, although that said, bats are not rodents - hanging from the ceiling. Going home, I might have to bring my stubborn streak of individuality under control again and will have to constantly remember that the older generations in Asian communities demand respect and almost reverance and the lack of it thereof will bring about angry outbursts of blame, hurt and tension. I'll have to adjust to a different church, a different community and a different lifestyle. To make matters slightly more interesting yet exciting, I'll be living in KL, the capital, which I've never lived in before. The slang used is different, the food will be different and the pollution levels.... oh well... maybe I could have a greenhouse on the balcony. Part of me however, feels that the time is right to move, if I ever want to move. I suppose it just depends which side pulls harder; the part that wants to make a nice little hovel in the ground in which I can lay my derriere or the twitchy side that wants to run and never get caught.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Home, home, home

I am suffering (again) from this thing called nervous energy. Perhaps when God created me, He inserted 500 hares between my knee and ankle joints for fun. (For those of you who would claim the audacity of such a claim - that a loving God would put long-eared, busy tailed mammals in beings made in His image - I believe God possesses a unique characteristic, which incidentally He added to our souls, called 'humour'). Anyway, I feel the onslaught of a migraine coming on, which although does not give me the right to be petty, batty and catty, provides me with an emotional shield, which blocks out cause and effect. By the way, nervous energy is not a disease, I just twitch a lot. Maybe I have ADD but that I've thought about that for far too long for it to become an issue.

BREAKING NEWS!!! I could be going back to Malaysia by November this year (and the world groans as another plane follows a gravity line from London to Malaysia. If we could wear ruts in the sky where we've travelled, the care bears would have less road accidents). That is the extent of my logical (logical??!!) conversation for the day. I'm off to see if I can blag expired muffins for my tea.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Work; a chasing after the wind?

Ecclesiastes 2: 10 - 11
I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;

I refused my heart no pleasure.

My heart took delight in all my work,

and this was the reward for all my labor.


Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done

and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless,
a chasing after the wind;

nothing was gained under the sun.


Am currently looking for work and in London, you would think that there will be no shortage of jobs - the land of opportunity and glory. However, there are little niggles that play a part in limiting job openings namely my qualifications, how big my pond is, how fast I can swim and whether I have any interest in the said job at all. Not every fish likes worms. Some fish eat other fish. If I were a fish, I'd be a pike. You might think that as a law graduate, I would have ample opportunity to go into city firms and become one of those pin-striped people of black, blue, grey or city yuppies forbid... red, but I really don't want to be another skittle in a box (even though London is a very nice box with high street shopping and kebab diners). Furthermore, I would like to enjoy my job, not just do it for having a job's sake. Being a solicitor (pin-striped lawyer) is extremely rewarding for some and for the right person, it could be a dream come true but having a computer in front of me and a keyboard at my fingertips the whole day without the satisfaction of at least a daily bout of Tetris or Solitaire would be like having a cup of water under my nose in the desert. I would rather not tempt fate to 'try be good' than getting the boot for running round the block screaming that I'd conquered the 14th level of Super Tetris. Heads will turn, not in admiration over my strategic abilities to lead my blocks to certain victory but that I had been playing Tetris at all. Maybe my aggression could be taken out on a job that involved physical activity or debating, which brings me to my second law option; the wig-wearing kind known as the barrister. I think it would be fun to be a barrister. However, I think I'll need to restrain myself from placing random facts in the case just to make it sound less boring. Cos, until I turn 50 odd, cases will probably be boring, draining and mind-numbing. My brain gets numbed by my regular headaches enough every week, month, whatever. I don't need more mind-numbing exercises.

I have thought of applying to teach English in Japan next year and have so far looked at several websites for this. Prospects are looking good; I get paid, lodging, travel etc etc but one or two tiny details makes me think, "Uegh??" Working on Sundays for one. 37 lessons in 5 days the other. I think given the Japanese etiquette of working, I could be working from 6am til 11pm.
I like the fast-paced life but I think there're people out there who forget that there're other people out there who can't run as fast. I'm a sprinter. If you want me to go long-distance, get me an MPV (multi purpose vehicle) then I'll show you how to step up the gas.

So yes, basically I am unemployed - whoopee! I never thought that saying that would sound so uplifting. I used to think that the day I said that my butt would be down in the dumps and I'd be a mopey wreck but I'm not :) I'm quite liking this almost-hippie situation I'm in. So I live in a house instead of the park and don't play the bongos but when I move to Mongolia, remind me to get dreadlocks.

Friday, August 04, 2006

English Lessons

When we arrived in Yamagata, we knew we were going to teach English. what I was not prepared for was that we had to prepare all the lessons froms scratch. I was told they had textbooks and that they had had english Lessons conducted before so I thought, "Fine, that means we can continue from where they left off." But no, they didn't want that style of teaching anymore and me being a prefectionist who needs to have a plan for every emergency in any situation possible was left feeling a bit panicky. I didn't know what their level was, I didn't know what they wanted me to teach, I didn't know how hard they wanted to work. Cos if it were down to me, and I paid for Japanese lessons (let's say), I would like to be worked hard at pronounciation, grammar, vocabulary, everything. But thankfully, Louise was cool with it and then I came down from my panic cloud and started thinking logically like a normal person. We had 9 lessons to prepare; 4 for kids, 4 for adults and 1 English Weekend away for everyone. We didn't really have to prepare for the English Weekend because it was more for them to enjoy speaking English in made up sketches (the Persistant Widow) than it was correcting them on their grammar. It turned out I didn't really have to worry; except when I was doing my Powerpoint presentation and realised the computer was splurting Japanese into my text. That was gradually rectified and now I can use a Japanese computer without hyperventilating. It didn't help that being the very thorough person that I was, I wanted to tell the class loads and I mean LOADS about Malaysia. I scoured pictures from Google for about 2 hours and whilst everyone was eating dinner, I was still typing furiously away. Perhaps I overdid it... Louise had 9 pages to show and tell with. I had 23 or something like that.

The first lesson for adults was a listening session. We talked about our countries, they listened and then had to ask questions in English. The next session had a speaking objective, we listened as they talked about designated topics about Japan then we asked questions and they answered. The third lesson was introducing them to English expressions such as 'raining cats and dogs,' 'cool as a cucumber' and 'butterflies in my stomach' and teaching them their meanings and ways of using them in sentences. 'Over the moon' was Yoshimi's favourite phrase. In the final session they had to talk, again, about further topics, which ranged from telling Japanese stories (in English) to recalling their school years and in them they had to use the phrases they had learnt in the session before.

The kiddie lessons were more repetitory and very basic. Why did I think that every kid on the earth spoke English??!!?? Time, weather, introductory phrases and days of the weeks were the main topics and songs and games were thrown in to catch their attention. We also had to make preparations for when we visited elementary (primary school to the rest of us) and high schools in Yamagata. I think in total, Louise and I have sung, 'Peace like a River' over 30 times.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

1,000 words

If a picture's worth a thousand words, I think I've just written a lengthy insight to my trip to Japan. But what if the thousand words are just blubber and no substance? Ah, foolishness, thy name is ignorance. Anyway, I'm so happy I can go back to using proper English words and proper grammatical structure that I might actually just go bla bla bla. Too happy, that's what. In Japan there was no such thing as, "Let's go to dinner together." It was more, "You, me, dinner, yes?" Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. How poetic. Brilliant time in Japan I had (am starting to sound like yoda now). Am very brown to my dismay because as a Chinese girl, I would like to be as pale as possible. I spent (although not significant) some time going, "I'm melting...." I said it when the sun shone and when it rained and both happened. A lot. If I go back I might find myself in a puddle made from my own carbons and ions but I would still be happy. A happy blubber of a puddle blobbing down the streets of Yamagata. Very sad, no?

So after the first 3 days I endeavoured to blog but too many things happened and the computer crashed on my valiant efforts when I did find time to blog so it just was not to be. I think I'll blog in bits and thematically rather than chronologically which might just get boring in the end and as an ENTJ, I would not want that because I am a social butterfly (sensing sarcastic vibes coming through). Besides eating a lot of rice (and I mean a LOT of rice), the Japanese do not understand sarcasm. One more reason why it felt like going back to Malaysia. anyway, I'll hone in on the rice aspect first. We ate rice at almost every meal. The only reason I didn't have rice for breakfast was because Yoshimi, the pastor's wife wasn't there at breakfast time to cook. She lives 100 yards away whilst we lived in the church. If we didn't have rice, we had rice noodles. They even snack on rice. No Pringles for 3 weeks. My goodness I was good. and salt. They like a lot of that too. Salt in everything. I am told it's because Japan doesn't have a lot of spice. I'm sure few of them have heard of thyme and rosemary or nutmeg or mixed herbs. I think they sometimes go for Chinese herbs but because they're Japanese not Chinese, although it seems logical to me to use Chinese herbs, they don't. But it was GOOD food. we had gyoza, tempurra, sushi, sashimi, miso, curry, rice, rice, rice, terriyaki, imoni, konyakku, ramen, yakisoba, somen... all good, all yum, except the salt factor. Louise and I were getting cramps in the middle of the night because of all the salt we had.

Speaking of middle of the night, the third night I apparently slept walked in my sleep. Ask Louise about it, I was asleep. 3 nights after that, I got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, Louise shouted my name with such vigour, I jumped from my skin and nearly forgot I needed the loo. Her excuse was that she thought I was going to sleep walk again so wanted to wake me before I did my rounds.

Anyway, I don't want to bore you and want you to come back for more so that my visitor's counter can go berserk with excitement at the number of people visiting my site. Will update in a few days.

More PICTURES!!!!!





Pictures top to bottom:

1. Michiya (in blue) and Masato (in yellow) at the nagai somen breakfast. Michiya's dad, Yuji helped with translation while we were there and both Michiya and Masato went to the English lessons. Masato accepted Christ during the mountain camp!

2. I couldn't resist doing 'the chicken' at the swimming pool.

3. Hiking in the mountains. I didn't go because the lady there announced that there were snakes and I broke into a mini panic attack. Spent the time in my room instead, reading the Bible.

4. Some of the girls (and guy) who went for the camp, from left to right; Chikoku, Maki, Mai, Marii (Michiya's sister) and Michiya.

5. We celebrated Kiyoshi's birthday while we were there. Bought him a book of Sonatinas so he could practice but thought they could be too easy for him - he's only 13 but can play Handel's Messiah cover to cover! I think we might need to buy him Tchaikovskey next time. We had pizza and chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting for his birthday.

More pictures






From top to bottom:

1. Nobuko, myself and Saturo at their university in Yamagata.
2. Motoi with the 'baby' we 'created.' The orange towel's mine and I made a baby jumpsuit. The blue towel is his; he rolled it up stuck it on the top and proclaimed proudly that a baby was born.
3 + 4. At a primary school doing Christian action songs. We weren't allowed to talk about Jesus so the closest thing we could do was sing about him and sow interest in the kids to go to church.
5. Kiddie servie at 8.30am every Sunday. Main service was at 10.30am followed by lunch (usually the whole church would eat together) and then evening service at 5.30pm.