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.


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