Today marks the last of my teaching days and I must say it’s been a really good day in many ways

We gave out the prizes – most hardworking, most creative, most attentive… everyone gets an award, everyone deserves one. It’s important to recognize their virtues from young, so they internalize these attributes and grow up believing more in themselves. (during reflection, i felt like this was one of the most important parts of everything) I think back to my younger self and I think these recognitions and titles stay with you, they do. They make you believe them. Sigh, these pesky kids are so adorable in their own ways. I also have a wonderful team of dedicated members and I feel so thankful for them ❤ Days like these I just feel like I'm living, because everyday I'm doing so much more than I would in Singapore, back in my routined little bubble.

I received hand-made, decorated notes. She tucked the note in my hand. In these moments I am reminded once again of how the precious things in life aren’t always purchaseable. How communication transcends language. How people make you feel, and how feeling makes me feel human and alive. 

my lovely dedicated teaching team – the brainstorming, reinventing, adaptations, customizations etc.

wah fierce sia

love how they sit by me and braid my hair

Having done both tourism modules – level 2000 and level 4000 – and critiquing voluntourism for all of my papers, I still went ahead with my decision to join the project. Ah, that final question of GE4218.

I think back to what Teacher said in brt, and I think about our operations. I believe that these modules have shaped my decisions and operations in many positive ways, my mentality, our gestures – i would like to think that i have thought carefully about how we can operate in ways to minimize emotional / other damages. I think in some ways we have. Is it not better to have these projects than to have none at all?

We talked about this, caught uneasily in a web of ethical complexities. Will I join another ocip? I don’t know… I keep thinking and thinking and I really don’t. I would love to have this discussion sometime again (with no judgements, no imposition of opinions) because truly, I feel, there are no easy answers, and each case is contextualised. 

After that we went to the mall, bought an f21 top for 3sgd. I don’t really want to buy things anymore though, buying clothes and random stuff doesn’t excite me. The material goods flooding sis’s room is getting increasingly nauseating, all these seemingly interesting and useful things piling up and just… Being nothing. We really need to get rid of these things. I feel like I am almost drowning. It’s a strange feeling but we just sit there as the pile continues to grow. 

In the evening half of our team met the translators for local food. I got the privilege to hop on Ahn’s motorbike and we rode off in the cool night. Wind in hair, we weaved in and out along the traffic of Vietnam – I’ve always wanted to do that in the SEA traffic. She beeped, and placed my hand to the honk. I beeped twice. We laughed. 

I wonder if my self in the previous 2 years would have been otherwise. Because I like the way I am now, I like the way I am today, talking to them and asking about them because I do want to, and I feel like I did something right today. 

The trip’s coming to an end for the team, and for me it’s about to briefly begin. Ashley won’t be going to Hue, he’s heading to Laos and I am both nervous and happy- I can’t wait to feel again, and to learn, and to think, and to be on my own. After 2 weeks I do need some me-time, really. Although my thesis bugs me at times, I know I wouldn’t choose otherwise. I love these experiences and these are what will be important and what will stay with me in the years to come. This year I challenge myself to care less about That, to let go for a bit and to Be. I am afraid that it is an excuse, but I also think it is essential that I do not compromise other experiences for my growth. I guess what’s most important is that I do my best – and do my best I will.



each night as soon as my head touches the pillow
i fall asleep within a minute

by 10pm i am barely thinking
zoned out, cutting and pasting for a little bit
(except for supper sessions with my roomies)

but it has been tremendously fun, and i must say that days like these i feel contentedly happy
as with baan rak thai – tiring, but happy. 🙂

we are getting increasingly acquainted with the class, but it’s also true that we are leaving soon
i love it when the girls braid my hair, though i do not show it much
i am always secretly happy when she asks me to sit down and starts braiding my hair for me
how affectionate it feels, gestures like these
when she picks up strands of my hair i feel comforted, i feel warmth

nicole mentioned – is it possible to not play favourites? this is something i considered before
like her, i once told myself i’d try my best not to, seeing how i was the quiet invisible girl in class for many years
but the fact is – as she mentioned – some people catch your attention more readily and it’s far easier to get acquainted with them
i guess it is almost inevitable but it’s a reminder to myself to try to make every child feel worthy

but when he hands me the grapes
and brings me a cup of the soft drink – specially for me!
i cant help but melt for a bit
this naughty boy has such a sincere streak
(the the chick, really?!?!)
i liked it very much

my cap

which is now gone boohoo


spent the morning learning Vietnamese alphabets
it’s really funny, because I swear they sound the same!!!! but they do not, with the different pitches etc etc but gosh, I’ve forgotten them already hahah
also, i liked that they looked mildly confused / exasperated upon repeating it for us – i feel like it empowers them in some ways, to know that we struggle with Vietnamese as they do perhaps with English
it is a reciprocal relationship, a mutual learning process, and we suck at Vietnamese 😀

my daily dose of glorious sunset – the sun, the sand, the sea, the mountains

the little stream-
When you peer closely at it it can be pretty amazing – how the gradual ebbs and flows, the constant streaming rivulets, the inward rush and outward retreat of the waves gradually, ever so gently, shape the landscape to be how it is. Tiny slopes and little patterns etched across the sandy terrain – how they leave their mark. How metaphorical. All the little waves that shape your landscape of life.

Today I did one of the hardest and most courageous things I’ve had to do – pick up a huge cockroach to place it in the bin. Yes, it was truly hard for me and I’m proud to have done it. 🙂


they gave these to us as tokens of appreciations – such talents!!

after a day of scraping the paint, the tiny flakes clouding our hair, we were done! (scraping)

my grades 6-8 teaching team 🙂 🙂

I think I really like these things.
By 10pm I can feel my head all woozy, floaty from fatigue 
We slump our bodies onto the beds 
Some snore as soon as their heads touch the pillow
These days it is physically and mentally exhausting 
But days are getting fun
Today we played the orientation games I played (TUKI TUKI TUKI!!!)
We laughed and laughed
We learned viet words 
When I see them and they look at me shyly and hold my hands and call my name
When they race to the boards to answer the questions
When they eagerly listen and repeat after our words
I feel happy
This is becoming a familiar space-to-place 

da nang

missing FS so much,
filled with bits of regret i cant replay that memory (and sydney)
almost effortlessly now 
because i did not take the time to pen everything down
so i’m learning from that, and from exchange,
and am putting in more effort right now
so my future self can r e p l a y and r e c a l l 
(albeit never 100% – memory tweaks as it wills, that I believe – but still a little something
for myself)

My impression of butchers has always been that they were males 
Here women crowded around the tables

Rhythmic slicing on the chopping board

Nimble, skillful fingers that worked in tandem with the shells 
Women sitting haggling over prices 
Rearranging the food 
What a gendered space, my mind inevitably wandered 
Smell of fish and the flesh of meat 
The crab clawed lazily into the air 
I reached for the pack of egg noodles – and was startled by something black creeping from underneath 

The way we weaved in and out of the crowd of motorcyclists 
night 3:
‘3 things / people / events that changed your life / shaped you to be who you are today’
strange isn’t it, how these things work
where we lay our bare selves in the dark of the night
split ourselves raw to people we hardly know
dark, in the dark
perhaps it’s easier that way
who are we telling? sometimes i feel like we are confessing
aloud, to ourselves
i acknowledge it
how did we build all these walls up?
each one of us hold so much stories beneath the actions we take. 
each one of us hold so much stories beneath ourselves.