under the showers of the autumn rain
I saw you looking up to the sky
under the umbrella by my side
unanswered questions hanging on my mind
when tears sprang from your precious eyes
I held onto the tight fists of your hands
my warmth be the only comfort
in the coldness of this world
and told you it’s too heavy so
leave them all behind and let’s go
I wish I had the right words to say
to make you feel better
tell you we’re gonna be okay
just hang on and we’ll be on the way
to the place we dreamt that day
where sadness fades away
towards the endless yonders of the blue sky
that’s where we shall lay.
writer’s note: just a short write up dedicated to lonely souls needing a word of encouragement and love. you are not alone.
London Bridge didn’t fall after all, but standing tall and proud majestically in its glory.
The tourist site was located far off the path of the bridge where we captured a good view of the grandiose landmark. Being able to mingle in the hustle and bustle of working Londoners rigged out in their handsome, black attires was truly a golden experience. I too was awed by the architecture near the bridge! The stunning city landscape conjoined with the historical bridge seemingly signified the harmonious co-existence of the past, present and future.
Londoners of all ages were seen either relaxing by the water fountain, strolling by or catching up on their lunch nearby while relishing the light-hearted atmosphere.
NEXT STOP: THE BRITISH MUSEUM
Never thought that I would encounter a vintage ice cream van in London. As ordinary as it seems, it was rather intriguing to see it live after merely seeing it from a children’s picture book since young.
And here stands the monumental British Museum.
I wouldn’t want to bore you with lectures of the historical artifacts so I shall let my photo do the talking for now, with occasional interjections.
Supposedly, there is a real corpse of a cat inside the mummified figure that was ‘buried alive’ with its master. It wasn’t exactly pleasant knowing that fact (o_o) imagine the horrifying fate that poor cat faced in those ancient times.
There were quite a number of budding and experienced artists studying and imitating the intricate statues on their sketchbooks. Some were even painting them out on large canvases, not at all bothered by by-standing crowds of tourist! It is a wonder how they are able to work neatly with wet paint without splattering any stains on the artifacts by accident. I was pretty much inspired by freedom of expression in the arts scene at Europe although I’m not that into arts myself (if you exclude literary writing that is).
For the greek mythology nerds out there.
The carvings on the rows of stone canvases bricked up on the walls illustrates the bloody greek history of wars. Most of them were people getting torn apart by animals and stabbed by spears. Pretty much game-of-thrones, don’t you think?
After conquering the unceasing maze in the museum, I chanced upon this adorable grey graffiti van selling tidbits and simple refreshments. Little things like this are what makes London seem hugely interesting. I found it hard to get sick and tired of sightseeing in London. There was simply so much to see and experience!
It wasn’t Kings Cross station – a great pity it was – but we boarded a train at Eurostar that was right next to Kings Cross, which is the wall built of red bricks against the large golden clock in the photos. The station was literally packed like a can of sardines but I didn’t mind doing some people-watching while waiting for the arrival of the train.
Those questions come back to haunt inside her head as the sun disappears and darkness sets in. Clawing her porcelain-ashen skin nor screaming at her loudest have done the trick but allowing them to swirl in the murky depths eased the insane throbs in her mind. Monster beneath the bed is just a figment of a fear but far more fearful than the real thing itself. Desperately foraging for anyone or anything to hang onto, she unknowingly throws her faith into the void and makes the greatest mistake of turning her back on them. Ignorance becomes her best friend but soon morphs into her greatest foe. The tranquil evening, once her safe haven, is now the time of the day she dreads, as the lonesome lil’ flower wilts to the nippy hard ground with bits of soul sapped out every ticking second.
She flutters her eyes open when the morning shine seeps into the creaks of her curtain. The numbing cream instinctively shoots into her veins, chases after her dormant blood and she rises from her rest once more.
Post-grad left me hanging with no clues but no restrictions as well.
It kinda feels like being stranded in a tiny sailor boat right smack in the middle of the vast ocean – triggers a sense of adventure, curiosity and a good pinch of anxiety. You’re free to head in any direction but the catch here is that there’s no map or clues to getting anywhere and you tinker that rusty brain of yours to conjure up an imaginary map or something as fantastical as that.
Philosophical blabs aside, here i am marking my milestone in time just after my graduation. Despite the grand affair of occasion, it still doesn’t hit me that i have officially transcended the realms of adulthood but the thrilling sense of freedom is certainly rushing to my head. At least for now, all there’s left are the agonizing wait for university responses for a little more than a month and emerging job opportunities/interviews at the horizon.
I’m trying out this new habit of constantly finding things to do and currently it is working very well for me. Although not all my plans are set in stone yet, the possibility is very promising and things are seemingly looking up on my side.
As some of you might be aware, I used to be a huge fan of the J-pop culture craze and admittedly, I still am, just not expressive as back then. As influenced by my close sister-friend, I jumped on the j-dance bandwagon along with her and never regretted the decision ever. The novelty never wears off and j-dance proved to be one of my biggest passions in life. The only issue is the concealed embarrassment I have to bear when people quiz me about that part of my life. It has come to an understanding that non-fans find this sort of interests rather intriguing and odd, and I fear for my reputation of becoming a clumsy freak. As to eradicate this phobia, I started dancing once more! I even made plans to film some of the covers with like-minded friends.
Looks like life will be much more exciting from now on.
How appropriate it is that i’m gonna talk about positivity (among other things) to bring comfort to my troubled heart and hopefully, to the readers of my almost-dormant blog.
As some of you might be aware, I am near-reaching the finale of my diploma course in Mass Communication and till then, most of the time is spent holed up at home. I have to admit, confinement period was one of my darkest phases in my life AND an unexpected hidden blessing in contrary to the grumbles and complaints I spew ceaselessly to my friends and close people.
Never did I expect myself to be exceptional at dishwashing, to find joy in doing (only) certain chores like grocery shopping, capable of running more than 5km on the thread mill for less than 40 minutes with Pilates exercise and rustling up my all-time favorite Italian recipes that are rather unpopular in my household as only Korean cuisine can be found at my dining table unless I request otherwise. In other words, I’m trying out new things and changing my lifestyle to utilize my time well, other than being swamped with university applications and adult responsibilities (ew).
But on my bad days, you’ll find me deeply submerged in my solitary pool of gloom and melancholy, loads of times to the point of missing bits of my thriving life in school. I miss the freedom of being able to just go out and join my friends for lunch after lessons without getting hounded and scrutinized by my strict Asian parents and mostly, doing productive things that counts beside university applications (which does not guarantee results anyway). Even the once dreaded part-time jobs seem very attractive to me, just to make myself useful in the world once again and earn some pocket money. Financial restrictions is the biggest crisis I’ve had to deal with as my ‘exciting’ new decade emerges. Due to certain responsibilities and obligations at home, I rarely get a chance to slip away and relax or just to chill with my friends, nor am I allowed to work part-time to rake in my own expense for the time being. Now you know the reason for my ‘confinement’ period but the occasional ‘you-are-pregnant!!’ jokes my friends make are sorta funny for a while I guess 🌚. Fair enough, my weekends are strictly dedicated to fun time and relaxation, be it with my friends, family or purely me-times, which makes this holiday totally worth the trouble.
Social media fast became my ‘best’ friend but ironically, it made me very unhappy and this is where the aphorism of ‘misery-loves-company’ fits to a T. I truly realized this to the deepest pit of my bones only after a long time of suffering unfortunately. The analogy of a leech is apt to this – it is a parasite that feeds on your self-confidence and growing doubts about many things which could endanger yourself and your relationship with people. Dealing with loneliness provoked by encountering photos/tweets/posts/blogs/etc. of my friends having good times in their new-found freedom, youngsters of my age embarking and succeeding on/in their new chapter and just witnessing people moving on with life without me could top it off as the toughest battle I fought in the two decades of my life. Soon after, the veil of jealousy, pent-up frustrations, doubts and depression came to settle in and i was just barely surviving in my own dark world. Surviving, not living.
I was basically feeding myself with negative (-) thoughts, taking away the happy vibes and letting these mental viruses kill my once-happy-go-lucky soul inch by inch. It costed me my health (emotionally and physically) and incur seemingly unrepairable sleep debts – a self-destructive lifestyle it was. When this happens, you barely find anything to be thankful for and grow to be blasé about all the blessings in your life. People used to say inexplainable joy and happiness resonates within me and they liked that part of me best but i felt sad that this cruel reality even forcibly took that away from me, as if i had any other good things left to spare. It is no coincidence that the negative sign is associated with process of elimination. If only I could choose to eliminate the bad things and negative people willingly from my life… but alas, things are not so simple.
It was not long before my sanity reached the breaking point and I decided to pit myself against these problems strategically by changing myself anew. It meant that I was to limit my social media activity which cut off my source of negativities, alter my body clock (thanks Aaron for reinforcing this rule upon me) to restore my health and determine specific goals for the next few months in order to set my life back on track again.
Once in a while, I believe everyone has to sit down, away from their fast-paced, hectic lives and reevaluate the priorities in one’s life to check one’s milestones and ensure time isn’t wasted. It takes time, a fair amount of failures and itsy-bitty but constant efforts to reorganize and establish such radical revamps in a lifestyle. I have always been a slow learner and slow to progress but determination and willpower have always been my better virtues and I know I’m getting somewhere, nearer to the finish line, slowly but surely. All it takes is just a refreshing change of perspective to muster up some courage and kickstart your plans.
✨ Chase after positivity (=/= blind ignorance) and away negativity (=/= running away from problems) ✨
Compared to the billions of talented people in this world, you may think of yourself as this insignificant minion on this earth and i face this sense of insecurity every waking minute but let me tell you, change starts from within and gradually becomes apparent around you. What you put inside will add up and multiply to a tenfold, just like positivity (+) which is absolutely and unarguably paramount in order to lead a happy and successful life, and negativity too in the form of bad thoughts which does not add up any value in your life. The little steps you take will mount up and construct into something beautiful and meaningful just like a completed lego piece. I’m already seeing the blooming fruits of my efforts in my body as a result of my rigorous exercise regimes that I kept up for months and years (not days and weeks) – a testimony of my own encouragements that I’m sharing with you now, and boy it feels goooood. I can also assure you, you may not reach the destination you initially paved for but you’ll be okay with it. Best part of this is that you can harbor new dreams to fulfill!
If only it was as simple as how i make it seem to be, huh. 😕
It’s okay to fail at things you love to do because what is success without a few hiccups here and there, right? I mean, there are countless times where I churn out sucky, simpleminded writing content, sing horribly out of pitch and neglect my exercise regime which triggers the severe bout of paranoia (e.g. people secretly mocking my singing and writing, fear of putting on weight drastically and the list goes on) but I grew to ignore the evil voices in my head and the negativity that threatens to bind me ensued by many things or in most cases, people. Believe it or not, there were times when I almost clicked the ‘delete’ button in the haste of clearing all my problems at once but I knew I couldn’t avoid this forever anyway and recovering stricter control of my social media activities would be the most prudent thing to do.
cue > Xinyi (my friend): /gasps in anxiety/ …people. 😂
Come what may, but never let it stop you! BE UNSTOPPABLE. *cues Avenger opening theme song* (is it empowering enough hahaha). Be as sexy and sassy as the black widow or the hulk , lol bad idea what was i thinking. Maybe Captain America instead, the Mr. Zero-to-Hero (though he took the shortcut to success-ish). Just go out and be somebody!!
And bless the people who complimented and helped me along this rocky journey. Bless those precious humans/animals and keep them close to you. They don’t have to be friends, pets or family. I personally get my supply of inspirations from bubz, michelle phan and especially cassey ho (blogilates). They taught me to be selfless and turn my talent into a meaningful blessing for others. It is heartening to see such people who’ve gone through as much as anyone else or more, become the bigger person and continue to give back to people out of their talents. Cassey’s long story of on her battle with self-esteem and how she achieved her dream out of that brought me so much comfort and tears, just like how she’s helping me to achieve my dream body virtually as I speak. At least I know I have many potentials to explore and this hope keeps me trudging through life! To give is indeed a blessing 💖
It may take eons to clinch that coveted idealistic life of yours but you just have to keep trying (accompanied with periodic habitual rechecks of your goals), play up to your strengths and someday, it’ll bring you to places and people that you’ve never planned or imagined to be at/with. All the sleepless nights of blood, sweat and river of tears will be made worthwhile and you shall never regret not even a drop of it.
As a wise man once told me (for real), you can spend your lifetime on a bed of 3-leaved clovers (symbolizing happiness) and still be unhappy if you continue your hunt for that single 4-leaved clover (symbolizing luck) 🍀 without stopping to appreciate the moments/people around you.
And finally i hereby present the first chapter of my Europe trip that occurred last year March.
I know what you are thinking, it took exactly a year for me to finally settle down and complete this first post. Shame on me. I found the golden opportunity to draft up a post on a leisure Friday night left to spend on my own after finishing my language skills tests.
Blimey, these photos trigger so much flashbacks; i could still remember the fizzy excitement working its way all over my body when we boarded the plane heading towards Heathrow (via Dubai). The last time i’ve experienced such a lengthy plane trip was years ago when i visited my grandma and grandpa in Seattle for 3 months and that was about, like 14 hours? trip altogether. Mind you, I have a severe phobia of plane flights and heights (a bad combination indeed) that induces hyperventilation and cold sweats but this trip was too special and precious to be wasted in fear at the edge of my plane seat and even my body condition behaved well that day. I was literally bouncing in my seat beside my grumpy sleep-deprived brother who was unfortunately wedged in between me and my equally exhilarated mother. Poor guy :P
My face looks terribly dried out but this photo simply does not do justice to the indescribable thrills i’ve felt that one fateful morning. And that was our plane which took us to Dubai before flying us to London. I’ve gotta say, Emirates is a truly underrated airline company. Never did I realize, we have always took their flights without any form of expectation but they managed to provide quality service every time and facilitated in the making the flight journey comfortable from beginning to the end. Haha this entry is starting to sound like a sponsored insert but it’s not, though it’s a dream job that might never come true.
The fun part is definitely the accommodation provided in the plane. I would gladly pay up for in-flight food as room services in my own house. Such a quaint lil’ meal yet it still managed to fill up my 3-stomach-worth-of tummy. The magnificent view of the sunset (lucky me) accompanied with this cozy meal and a simple movie to fill the silence, was the perfect feeling i’ve had in ages. I could totally get used to that, if only the plane rides were always that comfortable and calm.
(These photos hit me right in the feels T_T)
Welcome to London, Heathrow airport.
*classy-british-accent + heavy breathing*
I apologise for interjecting this magical moment with this pyjamas outfit shot but we arrived in the evening and I couldn’t get a shot of the scenery outside. Instead, my eyes feasted on the picturesque landscape of the serenely dark yet twinkly towns as the bus made its way to our ordinary one-night hotel. My mother urged us to turn in early so that we could retain some energy for the massive tour awaiting us the next day.
Such Tumblr-worthy photos, i know. hehe.
That gloomy morning surprisingly made me rather happy. There was an airy magical aura pervading the morning breeze, as if a unicorn could have popped its head out of the bushes to taste the dewy air. It was nice to wake up to such a scenery for a change. Mornings should be calm and serene as this and not bloody hot and sunny, but i guess the grass always seems greener on the other side. Civilians here probably think it truly makes them gloomy in the morning because they would have gotten over the novelty of it by then.
I confess that in the past, I scrutinized and doubted people who praised breakfast meals served in Western countries almost to the point of over-exaggeration, lamenting on how it tasted so much more different (in a good way) from the brunches in Singapore and so on. I thought, oh c’mon, they are the same eggs, sausages and bacon, how much different can it be???
Looks like I ate my own words. I still don’t have an explanation for this phenomenon but i swear i had 2 servings of this plate and this is rather surprising knowing that i am not even remotely close to being a breakfast person. Morning is just not my thing in the first place but I could wake up gladly at 7am here everyday just to catch breakfast. WHY OH WHY, how can English breakfasts taste so good. If breakfasts in London could make me gawk so hard, imagine how breathtaking the grand tour would be after that. I was almost shrilling in delight and my mom had to sit me down herself due to my unclassy behavior.
This is the view that greeted me when I decided to go for a short stroll after breakfast before we checked out for the tour. I wasn’t able to appreciate London properly the previous night because we were ushered here and there to the one-night hotel as prompted thanks to our super-organized tour guide. I could still remember crystal clear how sweet the air smelt like but it seemed so unbelievable that I couldn’t trust merely one of my bodily senses and stuck out my tongue, attempting to taste the slightest zest of the dewy air.
The other tourists nearby turned around in shock when i shrieked at the sight of the iconic red London buses. Surreal it is, when you’ve only seen them in picture books for toddlers and then 20 years later, you see a live one passing by just like that. How could i have not reacted in such a way? It would have been disgraceful.
I was persistent on giving a spontaneous reaction every time I saw something amazing and cool because #london. Although the morning stroll was short-lived, i gladly hurried back in to pack my stuff and ready myself for the GRAND TOUR. I personally call it the grand tour because well, it is the very first tour in Europe and London deserves such a grand title. lol, I know i’m overly biased towards London and though lame as it is, just take it.
Here’s a collage of photos I snapped in the bus journeying to the tour hotspots.
Pity the tour groups consisted of only Koreans, it meant that I have had to deal with the real struggle of processing such large chunk of information spoken in my home language (the irony right there). I wished they had a handy dandy translator machine around but of course, it wouldn’t make sense to them to have one lying around, innit?
From what I could process, the few fun-facts the tour guide told us were that:
1) The museums tours here are all free-of-charge. The government decided that the culture and history of UK and Europe were to be fairly shared with the young and old, ergo the generous constitution.
2) Even in such a modernized city area, pickpocketing is a common issue especially among tourists. Thus, we were instructed to carry our bags at our front so unfashionably. Because fashion does not save us from becoming a lost group of fugitives.
3) Most of the bricked, colonial estate areas (that were not destroyed in war) were untouched (maybe a little) as they were in the past, maintaining the old traditional aura. There’s a variety of houses that are either detached (a house not joined to another house), semi-detached (two houses joined together), terrace (several houses joined together) or just flats (apartments).
It was insanely cool to be standing next to the blood-red telephone booth, the most recognizable icon next to the red double-decker buses in London :’)
You can see the photos of the church of Westminster below! Pity we didn’t get to explore into the church though. It probably was best not to. The stream of crowds and queues forming at several entrances intimidated us and would have wasted a bulk of our time if we did step in. We’d be seeing plenty of churches the next few days anyway haha. I’ll let the photos do the talking for a while!
Statues of historical figures stood by in magnificence along the stoned pavements, to which I admired in silence this time, like Nelson Mandala, Gandhi, Napoleon and Winston Churchill? I couldn’t remember the rest but those were the figures that stood out the most in my memory.
I also managed to sneak a shot of some British kids hanging out on a stone bench out of curiosity. Just being a tourist I guess? But I’ve always wanted to take more shots of the civilians in different countries rather than the tourist sites alone, as long as I don’t offend anyone along the way that is.
And now this blog is dominated by photos of the marching ants-like British guards of Buckingham Palace, cladded in handsome grayish uniforms and gigantically fabulous bearskin caps. As much as I would like to upload the video (except YouTube links) of the marching ceremony here, it looks like WordPress isn’t that tech-savvy for now. The horses’ fur were of the prettiest shades of brown and they were very neatly groomed as well.
Very English indeed.
This humble Italian-cuisine restaurant was the lunch venue, and also of our first meal in London. The interior decoration loyally stuck to the traditional ambience along with the estate houses as well. Seemingly dusty (but I don’t think it is) lamplights adorning the ceiling and cobbled stone walls gave the illusion of a small dining hut but the area was in fact really spacious. It was simple, yet welcomingly cozy and comfortable, not too intimidating at all. This eatery have always had a special place in my heart ever since :’)
A rather unflattering photo of my meals but I promise you they were wonderful! Not bombastically great but I truly appreciated the taste of home-cooked nosh in London for the very first time. The appetizer soup sadly reminded me of the meals that the Jews had in the Warsaw district back in the colonization of Nazism, just like the scene of Szpilman and his family having their soupy meals in the Pianist, but the rest of the courses were quite interesting, and definitely not as gloomy as the sad bowl of soup.
You’ll notice that a piece of baguette bun is almost always served along with every meal in Europe and UK as I continue my travel posts. What my mom and the other Korean aunties did were to hog them back to their hotel rooms just in case they go hungry. This ‘kiasu’ actions to which I felt were sorta understandable due to the costly room services in hotels, which can be reasonably saved for the better things along the journey! Plus, it saves food from being wasted haha.
To be honest, I rarely take outfit shots but I discovered my newfound courage to do so in London haha!
The old lady wrapped in her pink scarf standing next to my brother were very amused by our antics as we snapped our cameras at every direction. My brother, who paid scarce attention to the magnificent historical sites, was easily fascinated by postcards printed in saturated food form at an empty souvenir shop. Whaddya know. Presenting to you, 11-year-olds.
Pretty backdrops perfect for outfit shots which I shamelessly asked my brother as a favor. Surprisingly, that 11-year-old kid knows his way with the camera functions. I had to bribe him with the loan of my phone for brief periods of time. He had low tolerance for boredom and lengthy lectures on the history of London.
Entering the next district in town! It is quite apparent that there are more working civilians roaming in this area more than in the previous district. This time, there was a green patch of garden where everyone seemed to be crowding at! But first thing first, we were led to the duty free shopping area where tour groups patronize before continuing on their enlightening tour. I quickly exited after realizing this was totally not my domain (plates, bags, accessories, skin products, but why in London) and entered a cafe right beside the shops instead.
Now, we’re talking.
These photos make really good tumblr-worthy photographs. There’s just some charming quality about the cafes and people in London I can’t explain. People are either minding their own business as they drink their coffee in peace while reading their papers/books or busily strutting in and out about running quick errands. They don’t even know how beautiful they are. Especially the sandwich guy at the counter, you are the most beautiful man i’ve seen on Earth. (;_;) Pardon my emotional interjection here, but really, how am I the only one staring my eyeballs off at such good-looking and beautiful, gentlemen and ladies passing by me??? Even the tourists didn’t mind much about these civilians. Am I that biased and influenced? haha!
Goofing silently at these Londoners with such long pairs of legs. They are probably too common in UK but a rare sight in Asia. As you can see, I take lots of inspiration from Tumblr. #proudandloud
Did I mention the Apple stores in London is extremely spacious on the inside? It looked like as if I could fit 6 or even 10 living rooms in there! As you can see, my gamer brother here did not inch away from the nearest gadget he found after a mere 5 minutes of exploring. He’s gonna regret so hard when he grows up. Chances like this comes by in a blue moon, my boy!
And then there’s this green patch of garden that I mentioned earlier! Because of the large population of working civilians, the government had placed a grass field in the heart of every districts in the hopes that there are enough conducive spaces for people to casually relax on during their lunch break and so on. This is such a splendid idea, I’m surprised not many have not thought of placing plain grass fields in their countries. It was such a nice environment to sit down for a small picnic, have a chit-chat with your colleague or just to lie down on for a few minutes’ nap. It was the ideal place for me to do my daily people-watching. I have this weird habit of staring at people around me, studying their accents and mannerisms that are different from my own races. No one seemed to mind until I started taking sneaky shots of a few. A few curious and surprised glances were thrown in my way but no one literally threw me out of the grounds thankfully!
Alright, this is where the part 1 of the first chapter of my Europe trip halts! This is about 3-school-essays worth of blog post so I hope you enjoyed journeying down the nostalgic memory lane with me. It was pleasing to flip through my Europe albums once again and reminiscing the wonderful memories I’ve kept private till now.
Hopefully, I’ll come back with the next highly-anticipated chapter of my trip within this month of April!