Monday, November 24, 2014

Kitchen Troubles

Ah, student dormitories.

You get the odd quirk in your kitchen that you tend to get a little fond of, never mind how annoying you thought it at first.
In ours, we had a dented oven door that just wouldn't shut. It would creak open relentlessly and let all the heat out, and in the end we gave up trying and propped a chair against it.

It was annoying at first, definitely, and we complained about the 'shitty oven' whenever we used it.

It became a conversation starter for us too, when we were just standing about aimlessly waiting for things to cook.

I admit to using it a few times because I am a boring person and a complaint always gets the conversation going, then we could proceed to grumble about the state of the rooms, the dilapidated old building (I hear it will be knocked down soon), and conclude, in the end, that ours was better than the other buildings because of the en-suite facilities.

 We wrote in to the accommodation team, appealing for them to come in and get it fixed but somehow they never got about to doing it, and we gave up emailing them.

The chair became a handy place too, and I enjoyed sitting down there with a book and I could keep a very close eye on the pot instead of walking to and fro from the table to the stove/hob.

One morning, I was woken up by the accommodation staff for their routine health and safety inspection check (which took no more than 4 seconds, I swear I'm not exaggerating- they just marched into my room and took a look at my shower and probably gave the room a quick once-over during their march-in and out, because they thanked me and left immediately after)

And apparently they got the oven door fixed as well because my housemates were sitting about the table at lunch talking about it, and we each took turns to open and shut it, marvelling at how it was working again.

We kept the chair there for a few days, though, forgetting it was completely pointless until it was moved away during a late-night drinking session because there wasn't enough chairs.

Just today, one of my housemates commented that it felt a little weird having the oven door fixed. 

"I miss kicking the door shut and propping the chair against it, haha."

"Mmmm, same! I keep looking for the chair, and a couple of days back I dragged it over and propped it against the door because I forgot the oven's fixed now."

Well, at least the dent is still there.

Wonder if they can fix that too?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Helplessness

So, my bumbling phone finally died on me a few days ago.

I was expecting it, really- I would use it at every waking moment aside from instances where I'm at class/ doing work/ or on my laptop. Even while I was not using it actively, I'd usually leave the screen on and forget about it, or take the time to download some ebooks.

I feel handicapped without my mobile phone.

I went grocery shopping with my cousin, but there was a miscommunication with the meetup location and I had to run back to my dorm to get on Facebook and contact him.

Me   : WHERE ARE YOU??!!
Him : I'm at the train station?!
         Didn't we say we should meet there?
         Where are you?
Me  : I'm in my room, my phone has died.
        See you in a minute
        DON'T MOVE FROM YOUR SPOT
        DON'T MOVE OK I CAN'T CONTACT YOU AFTER THIS

You can imagine my immense relief after I finally met him (after running about for 30min trying to find each other)

I complained to my parents over Skype and they were most unsympathetic.

"How do you think we met up before we had mobile phones, huh?"

... ummm... pagers?

I applaud people in the past for being able to magically find their significant other, after months years of not being able to see each other and only communicating by letters. I'd like to think that post was not as reliable back then, too, and what if the other party never got your message?

You'd be standing at the meeting spot, desolate, that's what it would be.

*cue dramatic music and a thunderstorm over my head*

Speaking of unreliable post, Royal Mail managed to lose my REGISTERED mail. Good lord. My mum paid 20 pounds to ship it all the way here and it never reached me.

I really appreciate SingPost's (Singapore Post) efficiency and cheap prices. I would often send parcels to the UK to my friend in London for the equivalent of 50p to 1 pound.

My mum tells me they've recently upped their prices, though.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sleepless Nights

I've not been getting much sleep recently, due to my terrible habit of procrastinating, and an onset of a terrible cold.

I did my essay plan early, borrowing the necessary reference materials, marking out good examples in the books and wrote the introduction- but I just sat on it. There was no inspiration or motivation to continue, and I was dogged down by the pile of novels I had to finish reading. 


So what did I do about that?


Nothing.


I tend to run from responsibilities, adopting a strategy that would be best alluded to the ostrich. If I put it out of my sight, I can pretend it doesn't exist (and this continues until the tasks are literally up to my neck and I can't shirk it any longer)


Anyway- back to my sleepless troubles-


I stayed up till 5am the last two nights before the deadline, throwing out a huge chunk of my points because I felt they were irrelevant (and I had too many ideas), feverishly flipping through the reference books that had multicoloured post-its sticking out




That's just one book. Take that, multiplied by 4, and add other 18th Century novels I cross-referenced.

So as you can imagine, I felt very sorry for myself and consequently vowed to never shirk work and (more importantly) get more rest.

That didn't happen- as fate always likes to have it- because I woke up with the worst sore throat in months and that night, a blocked nose, itchy throat, and chills. I ran out of honey lemon tea, mints and I left my kettle in the kitchen.

Now, I know it sounds absolutely ridiculous (as it does to me as I am typing now) but at that moment I felt absolutely pathetic, weak and unloved.

All utterly ridiculous thoughts, to be sure, but you tend to wallow in your misery when you're not feeling well and hope someone says 'you poor darling'. You want that response. You want attention. You want someone to stay by you and fuss over the tiniest things.

When I started this blog post, I started it feeling very sorry for myself.

Let's write a long tale of woe, and maybe someone will feel sorry for me.

Two paragraphs into the post, I realised how stupid I looked but it's too late to stop now. I proceeded to plow through with the post, guzzling warm tea, sneezing repeatedly... but feeling a lot better about myself.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Halloween

In retrospect, the best part of Halloween is dressing up- and becoming someone you would never be normally.

It's also a time for the shy ones to break out of their shell and wow us all in a very Taylor Swift-esque transformation from shy nerd to cool beauty (You Belong With Me, anyone?)

Or am I mixing that up with prom?
Hmmmm.

I went as Alice from Alice in Wonderland (can you spot me)



As you can tell, I'm not really one for the scary option XD

It was also a time of half-hearted costume options (I probably saw a million 'cats'), where people went as low-budget as possible or simply forgot about Halloween, or just couldn't be ars*d to spend time on a costume.

Some of my housemates eventually went to a Halloween-themed club event, while I bounced between the various house parties around the dorms- some of the Houses really put in a lot of effort in terms of decorating- with cobwebs, smoke machines, spiders and bloody handprints on the fridge (Security wasn't amused when they came 'round)- and some were magnificent zombies with guts spilling out of ripped shirts (all home-made) which made me quite ill.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween (Musings)

Halloween is coming up and I feel a little conflicted about it.

I'm really, really excited because Halloween is not a big deal in Singapore- just theme parks having more scary decorations (which I would avoid, in any case, since I am a huge scaredy-cat) and of course no one does trick-or-treating.

Yes yes, here I am, a year shy of being in my twenties (good god!) and I have never been trick-or-treating.

I can't wait to run about and knock on doors and get candy- embrace my inner child and dress up (I'm going as Alice in Alice in Wonderland, by the way) and count how many sweets I've got and get sick from eating too much candy and thoroughly regret it the next day.

My student rep training is very conveniently (read: unluckily) scheduled for 10am the day after Halloween, on a Saturday- and obviously no one wants that slot because the Wednesday slot is fully booked and I didn't book it fast enough. UGHHH.

Still, I'm looking forward to seeing my housemates all dressed up and the halloween parties that have been planned amongst the houses. I hope the decorations are good.

Tesco has been selling pumpkins really cheaply as well, so I will make my virgin attempt at pumpkin carving.

I sure hope I don't stab anyone by accident in the process.


BTW:

It was my birthday today and my housemates tried to make me a cake, then failed terribly at it and ended up buying me one from Tesco. I honestly believed they made the cake until they confessed to me before I went to bed.

It was still really sweet of them though.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Weather Skirmishes

Just last week, I told my mum proudly:
"You know, I think I've gotten used to the weather here. It's 14 deg C and I'm just sitting in my room with just a shirt on and I feel perfectly fine!"

And of course, Mother Nature just has to come back and slap me in the face for making such a bold statement.


If you've read the news about Hurricane Gonzalo, you should know to expect strong winds and showers over the next week or so. I brushed it off in that apathetic way Singaporeans are so prone to- but I realised my folly when I stepped out for my weekly grocery run.


In Singapore, I've always read the news, marvelling at the reports- but that was it. It was very rarely relevant to me and I took the news as some sort of foreign, detached extension of my country.


I'm not saying that Singapore does not have crime or that it rarely happens. What was true, though, was that it did not affect me, and that made all the difference.


Murder? Kidnapping? A break-in? They were broken down into no-nonsense reports, plain text on grey, and I would be suitably horrified but none of the locations were familiar places to me, and I would dismiss it as just another incident, just another crime statistic.


Don't look at me like that- you know a crime is so much more terrifying when it strikes close to home.

Just the other day I read about a brawl at Baa Bar that was so violent they set up police blockages. And you think-
I could have been there. I could have been in danger.
 -and does the prospect of you being harmed seem very real now? That, my friends, is the terrifying bit.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Brave New World Out There

I've recently moved over to Salford, Manchester for university and I must say, there are so many things that I need getting used to.

People who know me well enough would think that I would be the last person to head overseas alone for university, and they are absolutely right.

My housemates have been telling me that I am extremely brave to do so, but honestly, I have been nothing but afraid and disoriented (for the first few days, at least).

I've been taking things like heading down to Tesco and taking the train alone (hey, I have no SIM card- if I'm lost, I'm a goner) as little achievements. Baby steps, I say.

Managing to make rice in a pot was a huge boost to my pride (as an Asian, especially so) and will probably serve me well as an important life skill when I'm hungry and craving food that isn't instant, microwaveable, or canned.

It's amazing how basic you get when you are a poor, hungry student with little or no cooking skills to speak of, and you start thinking:
"Hey, I think I can just fry an egg and heat up those oven chips and then chuck the canned soup in a microwave.. and it's pretty much a meal!"
You know, you start selling yourself- your food choices- short because you can't cook, or you're too lazy to try and don't want to because you're afraid you'll burn the kitchen down, and you've only got enough money to cover living expenses for this month so you can't pay for the damages.

It's so easy to give yourself excuses and pick up canned soup for 3 for £2 or those lifesaving one-pound frozen pizzas (which is, incidentally, how one of my housemates have been surviving the last two weeks).

We've all been bemoaning the lack of 'proper' food and how amazing Christmas will be (except for me, I will unfortunately be staying in the dorms because plane tickets are so expensive) and how the 2-hour train ride would be totally worth it because of the Christmas dinner. 

Let's not get started on the weather, shall we? For a few frightful days, I shuddered every time I stepped out of my dorm- and my first step out into the open air at Manchester Airport was an icy arrow through my heart.

My word! The cold!

It wasn't the kind of cold you experience in an air-conditioned room- it's the sort that goes through you and chills you to the bone.

And the winds... my housemate, J, told me that that's why they've affectionately nicknamed Manchester 'Windchester'- and I say nothing could be more fitting.

After a full week here, I'm alright with the cold- but nothing can ever prepare me for the strong, cold, gusts. Nope, nope, nope.

let me just say this is not true at all