I’m procrastinating on my Japanese revision. So here, I think and observe and reflect instead.
It’s been about 2 weeks since I’ve been here. I’ve found that people here walk and eat a lot faster than Singaporeans do. One minute they seem like they’re just about to slowly take their time to eat and the next minute, their food on the table is already gone and they’re halfway across the cafeteria to the cleaning area while I’m only halfway done with my food. W—ut just happened?!
Coffee sold in vending machines often has absolutely no sugar at all. I had a shock when I bought my first coffee from the vending machine only to realise there’s no sugar in it. It’s black. Cold. Hard. Black. You know, in Singapore, the kopi culture is strong. Coffee is supposed to be drunk leisurely while spending time with friends. Coffee here seems like it’s just a tool to stay awake. On the other hand, perhaps their version of our kopi is green tea.
…And cup noodles. Oh my god. Sweet baby Jesus. Cup noodles.
Where I live, there’s a broadcasting station across the building. Cars come and go all the time in the morning and at night. Sometimes, it rains. And it sounds just like home. In the mid-afternoon, when there’s nobody around, the silence is unsettling. It’s like a ghost town. So I play some music and pretend I’m not alone. I’m comfortable with solitude. I’ve lived always keeping a comfortable emotional distance from people except for a few trusted pals. I’m okay as of now. I know strong bonds are built over a long period of time. And that’s cool with me too, because I warm up very slowly with others. It’s a love-hate relationship with a language that defines boundaries pretty clearly. On one hand, it can be used to ascertain how close you or the other person feels about the relationship. On the other, it can be used to keep people out of your intimate circle.
The best thing I’m getting out of this is that I’m slowly learning new things about myself I haven’t before. I surprised myself with the way I keep things organised at home. It may not be the most organised and cleanest home you’ll find. But it is enough. I thought I would be incredibly messy, but maybe this new sense of ownership over my life has prompted me to be more diligent with the maintenance of my general well-being. I always thought I’m not a sentimental person. But when I’m alone at home and I’m missing everybody in Singapore, I’m starting to have a habit of looking at old pictures and smiling at old memories that the pictures bring to mind. Distance does makes the heart grow fonder… and sometimes, it makes the heart ache a little.
It’s a constant self-discovery experience and I look forward to getting to know myself a bit more each day. I admit, for a long time since secondary school, I’ve struggled with loving myself. I push myself, beat myself down, worked extra hard in everything to overcompensate for things I think I’m lacking in, as if to give myself some new reason to like myself a little bit better. But the ironic part of this logic is that the more I worked hard in something, the more I found myself thinking I lacked in everything. Living alone, doing things on my own, making my own decisions, and then seeing the results of my actions turning out to be not as bad as I thought it would be, makes me feel more confident about myself. It’s just an incredible learning journey, and I feel like I’m starting to feel okay being with myself. There’s a new sense of optimism I haven’t felt before in a long time and for once, I do look forward to see how things will turn out from here on out. I need this, even if things get tough from here on, I need to do this for myself by myself.