First week of R&R in China went by in a flurry, and I guess I've grown more or less accustomed to the Chinese culture/ life/ food here. The streets still all look the same to me, being a direction retard that I am, and cycling here is an absolute nightmare with the haphazard traffic but I guess there's a sort of adrenaline rush which is kind of fun. Haha.
In a nutshell (and also for my own reference):
Day 0 (mon): Flying
Day 1 (tue): 浙江紫金港校区 ZJU Zijingang Campus Tour
Day 2 (wed): Localisation: 育英路 Yuying Road - 印象城 In City
Day 3 (thu): 西湖曲院风荷 - 浙大玉泉校区 - 河坊街 - 胜利河美食街
Day 4 (fri): 小河路(杭州扇博物馆) - 桥西直路 - 杭州西塘河台湾美食街 - 香积寺路食街
(because Chinese road names and landmarks are really confusing)
I ought to be photoshopping photo collages like I always do but always end up not finishing...
It was nice travelling with the zhejiang branch of the class, and in some ways we've gotten to known everyone better. Three more months here! It's hard to believe that just three weeks ago we were all just slogging away in the cohort classroom and few months back playing with amigobots.
Things I remember for week 1: (Y) china street food, atas mansion-like restaurant rooms, night market, the uncountable foresty/rivery/mountainy stuff, the countinuous 24/7 drizzle for four days, night market = bargaining in mandarin, museums bursting with culture, roads with no markings and (almost) no rules, electric vehicles, separate lanes for ev/bicycles, the crazy amount of honking and the sardine-packed buses ten times worse than sg's public buses.
Also, CHEAP ICE CREAM.
As always, part of me is always thinking about things back home/school, things that went by without proper closure. Unspoken words and unspoken feelings. As a new chapter of my life begins here, I can only look at things back in sg through a viewfinder, and I guess it's unsettling/ heart-aching in a way.
It's been a mad rush since Finals ended and I haven't really got the peace of mind to blog. With finals, packing the classroom, provoking discussions, my sub-par results, the orientation (accounting) anarchy and finale night, hectic packing (which kind of only started 8 hours before the flight) and now I'm typing in my China hotel room thousands of miles away from home.
Madness. As everything settles down, I guess my heart is also trying find a place.
Every time in a new place you try to make yourself feel safe. And when you see everyone else adapting within a split second, being as if nothing has changed, it's just.. you just want to curl up and shut your eyes tight and hope that when you open them again you'll be back home.
I shall just focus on how what I'm going to do is what I really like and put my mind and soul into it and learn as much as possible and not care about the rest. Or try to. Or. Argh. Problem for another day.
In some ways it hasn't truly registered in me that this is the end of my Freshmore year.
Detachment has always been something I find hard to deal with. Huddled at the quiet corner in what will be one of the last times I can feel truly at ease in this classroom, looking over at the people coming in and out of school, waiting for the aqua tank to fill, I thought about change.
Change in transiting from jc to working life, from working life to uni life, adapting to new lifestyles, commitments, friends. I wonder if I have slowly evolved in my own way too throughout this year. From trying to be more initiated, to being more independent, to opening up and smiling more. To being a stronger person.
I feel truly blessed to be in this beloved and most amazing class of 12F06- where sharing and helping each other comes as a second nature, where mother earth becomes more than a figure of speech, where each individual is amazing in his/her own special way and I'm not even trying to be cheesy.
Words can't really describe how much I'll miss the life of this past one year. (Maybe not so much of term 2). Heh.
"Everyone has a time in their life where they wish everything would just stop. the world would stop turning & people would stop changing. because to them, at that time, everything was perfect.”
These days are met with so much uncertainty. Uncertainty about the overseas exchange, uncertainty about pillar/ next term life, uncertainty about projects and club plans. Spent last week trying to clear up whatever I can and at least find solace in knowing that I have already tried my best. Next week will be madness trying to tie up everything before the trip.
Which I am partially psyched for given the getaway that it promises and the new people and work that I'm actually interested in, yet partially worrisome about all the logistical issues.
So many things that happened that I can't even begin to write about. Firstly, although with the same late nights and hecticness of school life, I find myself enjoying this term a lot more. I guess its also about the choices that you make, whether to bury yourself in work or to just let loose a little and do crazy stuff sometimes. Like staying up till 5 to discuss about random stuff. And unpacking tshirts and cutting paper when everyone else is mugging for exams.
It's hard to say if this is some form of escapism but I choose to believe that these are the things that will matter and be remembered years down the road.
It is 5am in the morning (again) and my sleep cycle is officially screwed up again. Thoughts running in my head, things that would have never crossed my mind, choices to make. Some of which intrigue and someone of which disappoint. I think the best option is to just surf through the tides and see where the currents bring me. No use being bothered over things that don't matter anymore.
I don't know exactly what I am doing these days. I just know that I am done trying to maintain a status quo that becomes so exhausting, always trying to keep up with a pace that leaves no room for caring. Catch up or get left behind.
Chasing time on a roundabout.
Not sure if this is the correct thing to do, or about the implied meanings on so many levels, but all in all, I just want to look back knowing that these created memories are things that are worth holding on to.
This new-found independence for the past few weeks have been slightly exhilarating and interesting, but it also gets intensely lonely sometimes.
I hate and I love that I forget about all the turmoils of the week because of how it ended so perfectly.
Maybe the most important thing is to rise above the system and believe that your own learning and welfare is greater than what it makes you out to be.
Celebrated Anusha's brirthday, birthday notes and customised fondant cupcakes, lunch at Senor Taco.
(Self-initiated) Marine Biology Field Trip @ S.E.A. Aquarium
Spent the evening being mesmerized and captivated by the beauty of marine life- sea urchins with white and black hair(spikes), a fish with the permanent :o expression, unicorn-fishes, a two metre long manta ray with the most adorable underside-happyface, sea apple that resembles a heart, the ultra alert bomb-looking fish that keeps darting everywhere, chocolate chip sea stars and pretty sea jellies that I can just stare at all day.
Times like these make me feel really grateful for where I am now, of the people I meet, of all the experiences and friendships that I've come to make so far.
I spend an inordinate amount of time on creating memories and keepsake, scrapbooks and cards. Perhaps I am afraid of how time washes everything away, dilutes, and how these are the little things that you can hold on dearly to. Perhaps this is what makes me a sentimental person.
But sometimes I question myself on what I do is really worth the effort.
What really shook me at the start of this week was a simple question- 'Why are we doing this?' that made me think of everything that I've been doing up to this point. What am I in it for? I guess it all goes back to a previous entry about obligations versus the things that I enjoy. Perhaps I've been too quick to grab on to opportunities.
And in a bigger picture, if a team sees little purpose in what they are doing, how do you even cultivate commitment or even a sense of personal responsibility? What really saddens me is realising that I've been blindly pushing on a soulless team that is only bounded by broken/delayed promises and obligations.
In a way there are so many such things that define my life right now. When the glamour and excitement of something new fades off, the most important thing above all else is to retain the spark and to always, always, live up to promises.
Went to a talk on Saturday and found this quote really appropriate: "The strength of an institution is tied to the strength of the belief we have in it. All institutions began with a promise." So many occurrences this week that affirmed to how true this quote is- the school, the club, the project, the committee.
Sometimes I feel that we get caught up with bothersome details and self interests and in trying to fulfill other's expectations that we forget about the purest of intentions from day one. Perhaps that's just me being naive. Perhaps that's just the real world. Yet while listening to the speaker, with his infectious enthusiasm for his cause, you feel so empowered, and in a way you find clarity and comfort in a simple cause that triumphs all the hard work at the end of the day.
Recess week flew by with a breather in the weekends, short-lived exhilaration that comes with the holiday mood (and unfulfilled plans), non-schoolish events that took place in school.
In less vague terms,
Fish and co class dinner
Orientation dry run
Movie dinner with a really random bunch of classmates
Late night hangouts that I will really miss
First aid training
Good food with good company throughout the week
So much to say, so much to withhold until you can't decide on the distinction between the two.
I'll just leave it at how I really am grateful for this week, school life without the hectic-ness of academics. A few days of the peaceful atmosphere that the school term denies me of, without having to be around those whom you pretend to be close to but don't bother at all.
I'm also so grateful for all the late nights that I've spent in class, when the excitement of the day winds down and in a weird introvertic sense people transform to my favourite people.
I thought about the things I can put under my email name signature. And if they really represented who I am. Who I want to be. Who I am capable of being.
At a point in time there will always be this switch. Do I just do what I am told to do, or do I take matters into my own hands and make sure it works out? I always end up in the deathtrap of the latter.
I love what I'm doing now, I love the experiences, the opportunities, the people. Give me more hours in a day and I see so much more possibilities of things that I want to be involved in.
But the best people choose their niche areas, cultivate passions that shine, and excel.
I'm choking on coffee every single day and nearly on the edge of falling.