Sommer

Summer is here. Cue longer days, tan lines from Verena’s backyard bbq, more showers, and stuffy classrooms. The past few weeks have been ridiculously warm, but thankfully it’s cooled down a little bit. One month until summer semester wraps up, then it’s chiong exams and term papers.

Berlin

A lesson in independence and exploring unfamiliar places on my own. Unexpected surprises, hidden gems, museum-hopping, getting my long overdue doses of Starbucks, and having fireworks explode at my feet along the streets of Kreuzberg when the clock struck midnight. Being thrown into a city of >6 million people was a small shock to the system at first (Trier has just under 120k people), but it quickly proved to be a lot less intimidating than I had expected. A good start to the year?

Yes. Yes indeed.

Adieu, 2016

Welp, that’s another year done and dusted! I will say this – 2016 didn’t fly by nearly as quickly as previous years. I think I can attribute this to spending most of the year bumming around at home. I’d also like to think that while 2016 was fairly taxing in terms of emotional and mental wellbeing (I’m looking at you, grad school applications), it the past year wasn’t as draining as 2015. There were far more good times than there were bad/sad ones.

Watching the fireworks at midnight with Fahmi and Akif by the boats in Hobart. Trying not to die from climbing the steps during the Cape Hauy bushwalk. Wiping away tears as I walked away from Eric’s house, minutes after saying goodbye to him and Pushka. Nearly going deaf from the David Bowie tribute gig with Jess and Mel. Forcing myself to take breathe slowly through my BCD while marvelling at all the underwater life around me. Being in denial over the fact that I’ve left Tassie for good. Losing sleep over lengthy phone calls with Evan and laughing at the never-ending clinking and clanging of pots and pans while he worked. Breaking down as my sister and I changed clothes in our dad’s car immediately after our grandfather’s cremation. Feeling my stomach churn as I inched closer to the roller coaster at Universal Studios Singapore. Walking around in literal circles as Fahmi, Amir, and I struggled to find the door to dal.komm at IOI Mall. Nearly crying when Seb and Xhulia surprised me with a birthday cake. Actually crying as I hugged Jess, Grace, and Mel at the airport. Watching movies at home or at the mall with dad. Annoying mum in the kitchen. Hanging out with Joan and Keefe via Skype, leaping from one wild topic to another and joking about how we’re all going to hell for being so unholy. Shrieking with joy upon spotting Gabs coming around the corner for an impromptu catchup. Hauling the massive box containing my Ikea desk out of the post office, onto and off the bus, and up the staircase in my block (and silently laughing at myself).Watching the night lights of Kuala Lumpur as the plane heading towards London ascended into the troposphere. Downing Moët and coconut water with my sister and cousins during Ultra amidst the noise and stuffy air. Eating my first currywurst while strolling around the Weihnachtsmarkt.

All these and so much more. My heart is so full, in the most bittersweet way. 2016 has been humbling. 2017.. Ágætis byrjun.

Loving, leaving, longing

A while back, my sister and I were about to cross a busy road after having wine at some joint along Cuppage Rd, Singapore. We were talking about romantic relationships — the ups, the downs, and everything in between. I told her about this one theory I firmly believe in: that there’s at least one take-home message from every relationship (and every almost-relationship) you’ve ever been in. Sometimes these nuggets of wisdom don’t sink in until much later, but sometimes they hit you once the relationship disintegrates, whatever the reason may be.

For me, these lessons have been:

Stick up for yourself, even if it means disagreeing with your partner. Love and faith alone are not enough to sustain a happy and healthy relationship (optimists will disagree). Trust your partner. Despite the fact that it’s difficult to do, acknowledging when things aren’t working out is best for both parties. The transition from lovers to friends/almost strangers never gets less shitty nor frustrating, but it’s just part of the entire healing process. It is better to not get involved with anyone at all if you can’t fully invest in them. Work on your issues with double standards. Be your own person; you don’t need someone to complete you, only someone who complements you. Hindsight is almost always 20/20. Too much of a good thing is bad for you (yes, even laughter). Know your worth. Don’t lose yourself in the process of making others happy.

On an unrelated note, after a lot of flailing and whining about what to do over the Christmas/NY break, I decided to bite the bullet and head to Berlin for a few days at the end of December. Transport to and from Berlin has been booked, as well as my stay at a backpacker’s close to the city. I like Trier, but I think it would be a pity if I stayed here the entire time school’s out. André has provided me with a list of at least fifteen places to check out while I’m in the area, which is a bit of a tall order.. But I’m super stoked to explore Berlin on my own 🙂

Level 24 reached

Finally, an even-numbered birthday! The irrational part of my brain can calm down a little bit now. Frankly, it’s just like any other Saturday. Except this time, I’m blatantly refusing to do anything uni-related. It was an overcast day in Trier today, and I spent a few hours walking around town with my camera. I popped by the Trierer Drom, Konstantinbasilika, and Palastgarten after having the biggest kimchi don of my life at Chibi-ya. Needless to say, the streets bustled with people since it’s the weekend, and the Weihnachtsmarkt is on — despite this, it was nice to zone out and have time to myself, away from campus and my studio.

The overall aim was to have minimal interactions with humans and I think I achieved that nicely; but tonight’s a different story. Séb insisted on cooking dinner (tartiflette, to be exact), so Xhulia and I are hanging out at his place tonight and watching LOTR: The Two Towers! Even though Trier doesn’t feel like home yet, I’m certainly glad to have people here that I know I can count on. Last night, Séb, Xhulia, Sooyeon, Melody, and I met up at the Weihnachtsmarkt with a bunch of others (some from the MSc Environmental Sciences program in later semesters, and one chick doing the MSc International Economics) and explored what the market had to offer. I think Glühwein is my new favourite beverage, foreal. I didn’t expect it to be so strong, though!

While eating lunch earlier, I wondered when I first started viewing Tassie as one of my homes. My guess is it was probably sometime in 2011, and the realisation definitely didn’t hit me like a slap to the face. Trier though? I’m a bit skeptical. Granted, I’ve only been here for a month, and goodness knows you can’t rush these things. (I feel like this has been a recurring topic in recent posts. I’ll try to shut up about this)

In any case, my family is healthy and happy (the parentals are currently in Perth), and that’s all I want for my birthday, really. S/o to my sis for asking for a sibling, and s/o to my parents for giving in to her request. 🙂