25 laps around the sun

Well, it took a while. And sure, although I’m at an odd-numbered age (gah, pet peeve) that’s synonymous with the term ‘quarter century crisis’, I think I did pretty okay to get to this point. Are there things I could be better at? Heeeeeaaaps. Do I regret certain decisions and events? Yes. But are there things I’m pretty happy with? Most definitely. Among those are the wonderful people I had the chance to celebrate early with, two weekends ago. Sooyeon and I had a joint birthday bash and hung out with a bunch of our pals; it was a great night but a necessary reminder for me to never mix beer, wine, and vodka in one night. Literally getting too old for that shit.

My actual birthday weekend was spent Doing Nothing for the most part, which was exactly what I wanted ūüėā¬†Saturday comprised hanging out in the big bookstore in town followed by a birthday burger at Der Daddy (where else?), while aggressive relaxation and a chilly walk in the park took place on Sunday. Honestly though, and I know this sounds humblebraggy, I’m lucky to be surrounded by and to know some really, truly wonderful people. My birthday (both the early celebration and the weekend of) was more than I’d ever thought it would be and far more than anything I deserved. Thank you, thank you, thank you. For the well wishes in person/text/over the phone, the hugs, the company, the thoughtful gifts. You guys made turning 25 one of the most enjoyable experiences ever.

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Hopp í polla

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Sometimes, you just have to take a YOLO trip to Frankfurt to attend a gig by one of your favourite bands. It’ll be jarring to have to take public transport in an unfamiliar city; this is one of your small phobias. You’ll get the hang of it in no time, though. You’ll wander around and marvel at the skyscrapers around you; there aren’t any in Trier (and you’ll take note of how you felt the same way in Sydney and compared that to the lack of skyscrapers in Tassie). You’ll rock up at the concert venue and be pleasantly surprised by the mean age of your fellow concertgoers — about 50. You’ll wait in line for what feels like a lifetime before entering the venue, but it’ll be worth it because you’ll eventually score a spot in the standing pitch right by the sound and light engineers’ booth.

Sigur R√≥s will only take to the stage about 40 minutes after their scheduled start, but the ripple of excitement that goes through the crowd is palpable and instantly, you dismiss the band’s tardiness. The concert will be a slow burn, with a short intermission between sets. Wave after wave of goosebumps will echo through your body. You will feel relaxed¬†and¬†charged simultaneously. You’ll look around and witness the other concertgoers expressing the same emotions in different ways, some slowly headbanging, some hugging each other with their eyes closed, but most of them just standing still with their mouths slightly ajar. You’ll tear up a few times, especially during S√¶gl√≥pur and Vaka — and you’ll mentally pat yourself on the back for choosing not to wear eyeliner.

You’ll leave the concert in a bit of a daze, but with a cocktail of emotions bubbling under your skin. The predominant one will be utter disbelief that you just witnessed pure magic, followed by bliss. It’ll take some time before that high ebbs away. Enjoy it while you can.

Takk, Sigur Rós. What a wonderful evening it was.

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 Mo√ęt 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.. √Āg√¶tis byrjun.