Weekend in London!

It’s been 8 weeks of school now, and it’s really, really time for me to START to touch my books.
It’s crazy, I don’t know how time is just flying by. The past few weeks I’ve been watching at least a movie and/or a tv show every single night – but those days are over. I have 3.5 100% courseworks due in 2 weeks now, by which I really, really HAVE TO START NOWWWWW

The weekend has been such a wonderful, wonderful one and I’m so happy, happy happy 🙂 
In Helen’s homeland!

Last night I watched my first London musical, and I must say it’s the best musical amongst all that I’ve watched (in Singapore) thus far. It’s the sort that keeps you excited and thinking “omg, this is so good” love the song items by the children!!!! And Veruca Salt.

Stage was so good! So well developed and advanced compared to the ones in Singapore?! Sigh, what have I been missing out on. Charlie Bucket was my favourite, of course, and when the show ended Willy Wonka stepped forth to say that it was Charlie’s last night,  because he had to return to school. Very thankful to have caught his last performance!!!!

Really regret not watching Top Hat 😥 sigh. Now it’s over and I will never get the chance again… It would have been mindblowingly good, I know it would 🙂

If Willy Wonka offers you a job now, would you accept it?!?? After the show I remembered how as a child after reading the book I’d think about how, if there’s a golden ticket competition, how badly I would want to win it. Gosh, I would want it SO badly! But I’d know I wouldn’t be able to win it. I’m just never that lucky.

And I was thinking, 11 years on now, I still hold that same desire. If Willy Wonka holds a competition right now, I would want a golden ticket so badly!!!! AAAAHHHH. I would want to work for him, to invent new sweets off the top of my head, conduct free tastings, work with the oompa loompas in his bizzare factory. I’m pretty sure that I’ll hold this same desire when I’m 50. But I don’t know, we’ll see abit that.
And I thought, wouldn’t EVERYONE want to work for him??

Aaaaahhhhh sigh seriously, because if they do not i would want to know why

I loved Roald Dahl. This brings back much good memories of Matilda, the Twits and the BFG :’)

Helen, whom I absolutely cannot imagine without in Loughborough. We’ve been through so much and talked so much it’s crazy how we’ve only known each other for… 2-3 months?! Ever so thankful and blessed to have bumped into her in the laundry room :’)

This must be one of the world’s noisiest (low-quality) photos but I remember how absolutely happy I was at that point :’) So happy so excited about everything WHEEEEE

Happy, happy, happy – heart-singing sort of happiness riding through Hyde Park :’)
wind in face
 I love that feeling, you know? Where you race through the roads, hair flying back, and you (I) have this immense urge to squeal WHEEEEEEEEE IM SO HAPPYYYYYY (which I did, and some annoying person mimicked me, but whatever, too happy to care)
Happy, happy, free

i spy with the fisheye


These days it crosses my mind that someday I should take a year off and live on my own. Take up odd jobs, work and move along. I feel like I need to do it for the betterment of myself. I feel like I’ve just tasted the very tip of life, now, and having that one year off would add alot of value in my life. Not yet though, when then? I don’t know. But it’s definitely incubating in my mind, another dream. I’ll tweak it along as it goes.

Sigh. Impromptu weekend trip that turned out so amazing. Really happy and thankful for megabus, despite its crappy timings that rob me of my sleep.

5am now, I should go to bed. At peace, and happy. 🙂

Seriously going to study this week. I promise!!!!

Verona – Anna, 4 cats & the family

This is one of the CS experiences that will stay with me, the Italian family with 4 cats.
Sincerely grateful for all the kindness and help I’ve received.
Immensely thankful that no pickpocketing, no mugging, no nothing terrible happened, I caught all my flights and trains… just a whole lot of kindness and happiness. 🙂
Thou shalt ne’er forget thee, fair Verona!
And so here I leave Italy, with the notion that I will be back again someday, a little older, a little less reckless, and a little wiser than before.

Sigh. This little sweetheart  ♥

You must know, I turn into squealy fan-girl mode when I meet with adorable fat furry cats. They are sooooo cute I want to grab them and stroke their fur for hours while they give you that look of bliss. AAAAAHHHH

I never knew I was such a cat person. Always thought I loved dogs, found cats stuck-up, but there’s something so attractive and charming about their almost-arrogance as they strut about the house. And then when they feel like it they roll over and act cute just for you. It makes you want to pamper them.
-one definite way FS impacted me, those cats in BRT..:(-

I guess dogs love you, always. Cats do it more sparingly, their acts of affection, rubbing their body against you, a gurgling purr at the back of their throats. Dogs, they love you, and cats, you love them. Would you rather be the lover or the loved?
Not exactly related, but… Just wondering.

hello, beautiful!!! 🙂

random little kitty at lake garda
look at its fur!!! its so soft, it’s like a soft toy……
wheeee little kitty acting cute for me
The cats here reminds me of Baan Rak Thai. They’re tame, and they purr and they rub their body against your legs to show they could like you. 
The cats in Singapore, someone told me in Thailand, were more aggressive, defensive, because in Singapore people are not kind to cats.
I wonder if that’s true.

My host. Really, these people teach me so much. I hope to be as knowledgeable, as open-minded, as extroverted as she is. Also, she has brilliant film taste and I’m happy we swapped a list 🙂
My host family, whom I shall never forget. Thank you for opening your home to me, a stranger, and letting me in. Thank you for letting me sleep in your room, for driving me to the train station, for making me feel at home as much as you can. Thank you for the conversations and the meals. 

Lake Garda

It was cold and quiet, but I love how the colours turned out.

Cloudy day. If everything happens for a reason, today happened for the reason that I met Julio and Michele. We talked about many things and I learnt more about Italian north-south cultural differences, which I will not elaborate because I am not entirely capable of separating facts from opinions. They said I was crazy for coming alone. Still, it was a lovely afternoon.

Lake Garda is dead during this season. In the summer it’s entirely different, the skies and the lakes are bluer and everything is sunny and colorful. It’s alright, because there’s always a possibility of me returning to this place. Italy is now one of my favourite countries, and someday I’ll be back.

… And right here, in front of me, was a canvas of nothingness. I had never seen this before; this was the clearest. There was hardly 1mm of the horizon- it was just one gradient of blankness. 

How can you not feel at peace with yourself when you sit right in front of a blank space.

Actually, I sat there for a long while, trying to grasp for something in the nothing.

Fair Verona!

Aaaah, Verona. A quiet little town with its own quaint charm. 
Weather was perfect, and it was so beautiful 🙂
One of my favourite cities. I didn’t spend much time here, but what memories I have are very memorable ones. 🙂

Just another thing for lovers to do

Spent a lovely evening with these girls. 
They keep an oil canvas in their house and paint when they feel upset. -sighs-

if you touch Juliet, you get good luck 😉
Her balcony – inserts melodramatic music –
We went to this lovely place where you order a glass of Italian Spritz for about 2.50euros or more drinks, and you get free flow food! What a brilliant idea. If we had this in Singapore the store will probably close down in afew months. Hehehehehhe
Gelato seller gave me a hug and an air kiss, Rome hostel receptionist offered me a free night the next time round. Kate told me her stories, looking at her finger and exclaiming ‘you’re not married!’

But you know, I think I should shed these emotions of “shock” because… What’s the harm in that? Why should I respond this way? Acts of affection, they can be tender and heartwarming if I just embrace them. Why shun away (negatively)? Aren’t we all human

‘But they’re strangers!’ Why so skeptical, can’t we just share the love
I only hope this teaches me to be more affectionate to my future family.

I hate to think that I’m locked in by culture, by these imaginary constructed rules. I guess this is what they mean when they say you become more ‘open’ abroad.

To remember:
Poland’s dominantly Catholic population and illegal abortion (with rape cases of exception), Italy’s non-capital-punishment and president..?
Italians… So cultured. Painting at home, musical instruments, the books they read, the films they watch… Gosh. I’m generalizing perhaps, but I can’t help but think it’s true.

Naples – Napoli

from the notebook:

On my 2 hour journey to Naples!

It’s a beautiful, beautiful day :’)
Found the dodgy looking hostel, bought my ticket and had 10 minutes to find my way to the train – the timing was perfect, I said my goodbyes and all was good.

How many times have I experienced this – this sheer state of happiness. I am happy, happy, happy
My heart is bursting, it is. It is bursting with immense happiness and I just want to melt into a pool of sticky gooey happy mush.

I love this. Please, please let me travel like this forever…

Now I have a good 2 hours for myself to reflect upon everything.

Rome is beautiful, of course. Everyone knows about the beauty of Rome – Rome and its rich history, its grand monuments, the Colosseum, the Vatican, the ever-charming flirty Italians…… HAHAH.

The first day I met Kate and Magda, 2 Polish girls who were working in Italy. Sundays were their off-days, so on Sundays Kate likes to visit Rome (*envious*). It’s so nice to meet people of my age, who laugh and talk about common things in general. Of course, age should not be a barrier (as im trying to learn), but it was comfortable from the first second we met, and i thought that was amazing. They showed me around the city, the typical touristy sites and we went for lunch. Had my first legit Italian food for only 5€- carbonara! And yes, it was soooo gooooood. Accompanied by wine. 😉 Here I was, on a bright sunny day, eating pasta and drinking wine with 2 Polish girls in Rome, laughing about Italian boys. What in the world…
-continues melting in happiness-

On the second day I stuck myself in between a Russian family – a married couple of doctors and another young girl. Communication barrier, but some pointing and gesturing helps. I just feel like… Something is changing. I cannot pinpoint what it is, but I just feel it. I KNOW something in me is stirring, and I am happy.

It’s so surreal, sometimes, to think that I’m actually here. How a week ago I was still confused over what the termini is. And right now its here in front of me.

Pizza originated from Naples (Napoli)
Naples was terribly disappointing. Maybe it was the crappy weather, or maybe I was in the wrong part of the city, but the vibe was entirely different from that of Florence or Rome. It felt.. chaotic, graffiti even on the beautiful fountain. Dingy, a little. The Frankfurt vibe. Of course, this is just my take and perhaps I was there on a wrong day. I should probably give it another chance though, someday, someday!
I later found out that there’s a Northern vs Southern Italy thing, and Napoli belonged to the Southern…

 Tried very hard to think of a reason as to why I came here (everything happens for a reason, so i was squeezing that reason out) – and here’s my reason. Caught sight of flocking birds. They give me the chills, actually.
It’s my second time, the first was in Rome and according to Magdalena it’s a common sight there. 
The one here was very distinct though, I have another one on my phone but this will suffice for memory. They still give me the goosebumps everytime :s

Florence – city exploration

Florence in lovely, no doubt. There is an ancient charm about it that attracts me to walk on around the main square(s). 
A part of me still finds it hard to believe that I’m here, in Florence, Italy, and lying on the couch of a photography student in her studio.  

Sorry, David. I only visited your replica at Palazzo della Signoria

I didn’t do a thorough post of FS. Every now and then though, during my journeys, my mind still flits back to its days. I guess that’s how I know it was a pretty powerful trip for me. On the train to Verona now. I thought about my buddy, Kâéw, and the immense gratitude I felt for her presence, for having fate draw us together. When we were about to part on our 7th(?) day, I was at my bed packing everything and I felt like crying. I remember trying very hard to hold it in – look elsewhere, write, laugh about fake stuff, distract myself, etc etc. But when we said our final goodbye with a hug, the tears fell clumsily and I wanted to laugh at myself for being so foolish. I mean, it wasn’t foolish of course, but in a way it was. But it was nice, to know that she found a special place in my heart, enough to trigger my tear ducts, despite our language barrier. Thank you for everything. I wish she knew how much everything meant to me, and how much I have learnt from her to be a better person.

Florence – Adventures with Carolina, photography student

Exploring the studio:

 Some of her photographs. If you look carefully, there is a landscape made of hay, and meat, and some other food scraps.
 photography equipments, and her wall
Studio shared with Lorenzo, her best friend, who studies in the academia of bella arti for painting
 On the first day, Carolina drove me to her parents’ home for lunch. So in Italy, passengers (as with UK) are on the right. 
 what a beautiful bedroom… :’) those green windows! Sigh. Posters of horses on the wall, this girl loves horses. 
Painting at one of the corners of her room, done by her mother :O

 lunch – healthy spinach and a glass of fresh cold water 🙂 

 attic – sunlight streaming in


Carolina prepares for my photoshoot
 Cappuccino in the morning.

She gave me one of her photographs and signed it, so if she ever becomes famous one day… 😉

I love the way Carolina calls me “my girl”. She’s so happy, bubbly, quirky, and basically adorable. And so sweet. Why can’t I be more affectionate like the Italians? More expressive, give more hugs, more kisses, more words of love? Why must I be so stubbornly protective and stingy with my words of affection? (well I’d also like to think that in this way it makes them more valued, more valuable, and I sincerely mean them whenever I say them) and yet – everyone wants to grow up loved. I am afraid that when I become a parent I will be unexpressive still, and don’t give hugs as much as I’d like to. I hear people talking about how their parents shower them with hugs and affection and they grow up so happy, so loved, and I want my family to feel this way.

I hope this part of me changes. It’s not easy because I get awkward at slight bits of praises or affection, but… I should/will work towards it, I guess. 🙂

Italy – Rome

I’ve stored a huge amount of photos here, but for good reason. This space remains, to me, the best place to keep my memories neatly packed. I know that years from now it is here I will turn to for the favourite pictures, the greatest details.

Italy was, undoubtedly, one of the best and most memorable trips in my life. 
‘Life is definitely at one of its best right now’, I wrote in my notebook five days ago. It’s hard to put forth exactly what/when is “best”, because “best” is defined in different aspects; it is multidimensional. Nonetheless, in terms of consecutive days of bursting happiness, that surge of freedom coursing through my veins, this is it. When you juxtapose the saddest period of my life with the happiest, this happiness is intensified and seared into every bit of my heart. 
And that’s why this will always be the top 3 phases of my life.
On the plane, upon take-off:

The bone-chilling intense fear, swirled with bits of excitement that makes you want to scream aloud- goodbye, goodbye!
I’m going on an adventure.

The screaming engine echoes your thoughts
– and that surge of deep satisfaction when you land.

Nothing excites me more than landing, and being surrounded by flurries of foreign words I used to hear only on shows. It is almost magical, this.

Most importantly, I met Kasia (Kate) and Magdalena, 2 Polish girls who showed me around the city that first day. 
There are few things that can bring much joy and relief to one alone in a foreign land, and that is good company :’)  We (finally) managed to find each other in the morning at Roma Termini and its multiple Macdonalds, and from then on it was so easy to talk about anything. Laughed aloooot, these were 2 hilarious girls who told me all their stories with Italian boys – you hate them but you gotta love them 😉
As I’ve learnt – bacio, bella! :3
yummy carbonara + wine + happy company 🙂
Gelato shop with 150 flavours!!! But we opted for the other shop nearby – apparently the best gelato in the world. It was the best gelato I’ve ever tasted – nutella/pistachio :O :O :O

secret door place where you peep through the hole to see the Vatican

 nope, i did not join the long queue to pay 0.50euros to take a photo like this

 The Pantheon

Fontana di Trevi
throw a coin and you’ll return to the Eternal City
 In the Vatican Museum
Met a Texas teacher on my way, a solo traveller whose family doesn’t quite know that she’s alone. I told her my circumstances, and we laughed.

Vatican City
/ Sistine Chapel

At the Spanish Steps (Spagna), where an extremely kind lady helped me :’)
She stopped eating her biscuits, tapped her metro card and ushered me in, just to show me exactly the way there.

One thing I really love is this: watching how we struggle to communicate with each other. Is that sadistic? I don’t know, I love the earnest expressions and sincere attempts to help, using hand gestures, whatever we can to try to understand. 

This reminds me of my second morning in Rome, where I was struggling to understand how to catch the bus to the city centre. This lady looked at me intently and spoke Italian words I could not understand. I smiled and shook my head but she earnestly continued to speak, while looking at me intently. She held my hand and throughout the bus journey she continued to try to speak to me, smilng every now and then, patting my hand, and when it was my stop she gently let my hand go. Grazie 🙂
 Totally witnessed the ‘tourist trap’ I’d read about, where a man hands you a rose and tells you you’re beautiful, and to take a picture with it, and then charges you 2 euros for them. HAHHAHA
It was really funny, because the lady who looked thrilled initially had her face turned black as she vehemently refused to pay afterwards :p

Was wandering back to Roma Termini from a random spot and met a Russian family. They could speak only very basic English, so we didn’t talk much except for our names, ages, and their occupations. Both were doctors, both were children of doctors. ‘And are both your children doctors?’ I asked. They shook their heads and laughed. 

4th November, draft:

How do I describe this feeling?
I’m just happy, so happy. I don’t know why, but I am 🙂

The I-want-to-explode-with-happiness kind of happiness

I’ve never felt more free.