What the Cold can Do to You

It was warm in the first two weeks here. But in just one night, the weather became too cold too fast. It dips to about 13 – 16 degrees in the morning and at night now. And my hands and feet always get so cold. The sun rises too early and sets too fast now. Nights get so long. 

There’s just too much yearning when the weather gets cold. Sometimes, you feel like gratifying yourself with a smoke just for that extra bit of warmth. Sometimes, you feel like seeking comfort in a cold hard can of beer. Sometimes, you get so tempted to pour every single thing about yourself to a random stranger because of the loneliness. I resist these on a daily basis. 

I leave my door unlocked when I get back, letting everyone and anyone to come in whenever they want. Quite frankly, even if I’m busy doing something, I always welcome the extra company. 

I’ll be going into my fourth week soon. Next Thursday will mark my first month here.  I’ve been blessed enough to say I’m getting along well so far. It gets lonely, but I manage. 

Being away from home makes me learn to appreciate and love my family even more. As annoying as they are sometimes, they have given me incredible amounts of support and strength for me to have gone through almost the first month alone without much problems. A friend told me I’m the kind of person who needs that physical distance from people for me to love them even more. “Gina, for you, distance does makes your heart grow fonder,” he once told me.

I hate to say this, but he might be right on that fact. 

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Procrastinations Reflections

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.

Day 7 – 11: Short updates (PW: a pokemon)

The reason why I’m locking these posts is because I don’t want anything that can trace me back to the company. So my passwords will always be same for these posts.

1/10: Met the HR peeps who drove us to a quiet resort owned by the company called Tsumagoi. The quiet retreat is so beautiful and quaint. We had a very short official welcoming ceremony. Since the lot of us don’t know Japanese, our ceremony was carried out in another room. We had to practice standing up and bowing on cue. We were given our official appointment letters, and once that was done, we went for lunch, which was exquisite. After lunch, we met our Japanese teacher. Within the span of an hour or two, we were taught a very simple self-introduction, which we were told we had to make during the dinner party later.

During the dinner party, it was a nightmare.

One guy blocked my way when I was on my way back to my table and he kept harassing me to get a reaction out from me. Fortunately, I spotted the HR guy Tanahashi from a distance and asked him to help deflect that guy away. Two other guys directly asked if I had a boyfriend. And Tanahashi, had to step in again to ask the guys to stop trying to flirt.

I thought the nightmare was over. But that was just only the beginning. The 6 of us foreigners decided to bond over drinks in the hotel room. But the guys forgot to lock their room door, and soon, every other guy just decided to join in. At the end of the night there were about 11 guys in the room. One of them was probably the douchiest dirtbag I’ve ever met in my entire life. He’ll say inappropriate offensive remarks, and it got to the point where there were a couple of guys who told me to ignore him because he’s a baka nihonjin (stupid Japanese). As I went to bed, that fucking douche had to follow me all the way to my room. I think he thinks I would invite him in.

2/10 – 4/10: Off we go back to the training centre. The following three days we went through full-day orientation where they talked a lot about health insurance, disaster prevention measures, pension, company welfare system, career development plans so on and so forth. The manager in charge of these three days was a middle-aged Japanese man. One of the girls and I ended up obsessed with finding out how and why his shirt can be so goddamm well-pressed. It was perfectly straight with absolutely no creases. And it doesn’t help that he reminds me a bit like Chiaki from Nodame Cantabile. God damned these middle-aged men…

5/10: Time to stop procrastinating and  start revising my Japanese.

p.s: WHY IS THE TRASH SO DAMN COMPLICATED?! AND THE BENTO SETS HERE SO DAMN NICE!? Sigh. Questions to life that can never be answered..