Cracks.

It’s been less than 24 hours since I arrived in Singapore and already, I’m seeing the cracks. I really shouldn’t be surprised. The cracks were there all along. Those who have been away from a place/person/thing for a long time will understand. When we’re away from something or someone, we sometimes forget all the negatives and use the positives to build up an image in our minds. But when we encounter what we’ve been missing, the negatives begin to resurface.

My family is not perfect. There’s always some sort of controversy going on with an uncle/aunt/cousin etc. This morning at breakfast, my grandma wasted no time in updating me on the issues surrounding our family. I had literally been in the country for 7 hours. I wanted to tell her to give it a break, but I listened politely. I guess she needed someone to vent to. Later on, I found out that an argument that had been ongoing for the past year had not yet been resolved. I wanted to cover my ears and yell “LA LA LA LA” like a kid. I know that there is no such thing as a perfect family. Everyone has their tiffs and arguments. It just irks me that I have to come back to this every time. Over the past couple of years, I’ve watched my family grow smaller and smaller, and not just because of death. Every year, I come back and there’s one less person I can visit because they’ve severed ties for one reason or another.

In the midst of all this, there are little things that show me there is still a huge amount of love within our family. Like the way my Ah Kong meticulously glued the cloth flowers onto my sandals after they fell off. Or the way my grandma bought my favourite snacks knowing that I’d been craving them. These are the little moments in which I am reminded that, despite all the murky family politics, there is still love.

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I'm going…home?

I’m leaving for Singapore in a couple of hours. Before I go on, I should probably mention that I was born in Singapore and moved to Melbourne in 2003. All my extended family live in Singapore, and I still have some friends there. We make an effort to visit every year, but I’m the type of person who hates goodbyes, and each year, I’m finding it harder and harder to go. It’s a bit of a lose-lose situation. If I’m in Melbourne, I miss my extended family. If I’m in Singapore, I miss my Melbourne family. Either way, I miss someone. And it kinda sucks.

In the weeks leading up to this trip, I found myself answering the question “What are you doing this summer?” with the phrase “I’m going home.” But it didn’t feel quite right. Someone called me out on it saying “Isn’t Melbourne your home?” It got me thinking- where do I feel most at home? Is it in Singapore where the humidity is sometimes suffocating but I get to binge on my grandma’s awesome cooking? Or is it in Melbourne where I get to experience four seasons (sometimes in a day) but miss out on quality time with my extended family?

I’ve been in Melbourne for almost 11 years now. And I love it. I love the people, the food and the culture. I love the buskers on Swanston St and the amazing gelato on Lygon St. I love my Melbourne family made up of close friends I’ve encountered over the years. I love the laid-back attitude, the sport, the night markets…I love Melbourne. And I would call it home in a heartbeat if it weren’t for one thing- my family.

When I was still a baby, both my parents were working full-time, so I was basically brought up by my maternal grandparents. They taught me more than I have learnt in all my years of schooling. I owe them so much and it makes me feel so guilty that I can’t spend every waking hour with them. I lost my grandpa in 2005. It was the worst feeling in the world knowing that I wasn’t there in his final moments. And that’s why I’m so torn between these two cities. I love them both for different reasons. In a perfect world, I’d mush the two together so that everyone I love would be the same city with me forever. But that’s naive and plain selfish. The world is never perfect, and it never will be. It sounds depressing, but I guess that’s just the way life goes. In the words of Mama June, it is what it is. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, apparently.

I’ve spent so long tossing up between the two cities trying to figure out which is truly my home, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it doesn’t really matter. I don’t really have a home here on Earth. My true home is in Heaven, where I hope to be one day. All my possessions now are fleeting, but my treasures stored in Heaven are for eternity.

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I had a Philly cheesesteak!

The boyfriend and I decided to go to the Queen Victoria Night Market last night to celebrate my freedom (yes, did I mention that exams are finally over?). Being a person who usually spends summer overseas, I miss out on the night markets so I was really excited that I got to go this year. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Food
There was so much food. And a wide variety too. From the famous Mamak roti to buffalo wings, and even Arabian cuisine. Much to my surprise, there was a stall selling Philly cheesesteaks! I was super excited. For $12, I got a decent-sized meal, and being a person who doesn’t usually eat too much, I was satisfied. Obviously, I’ve never had a “real” cheesesteak so I had zero expectations whatsoever. Maybe that’s why it was so good. There were also your usual market snacks, i.e. those twisty potato things on a stick (I have no idea what they’re called). And there was lots of gelato!

ImageMy Philly cheesesteak, what whaaat.

Drinks
As soon as we walked in, we saw heaps of people with sangria. I was in the mood for a celebration so I was definitely looking for some alcomahol. Mind you, I’d already had a frozen margarita while waiting for the boyfriend. We found a stall advertising $12 cocktails and sangria was $8 for a substantial amount. However, the boyfriend suggested we go to a nearby bar for sangria that was $5 per glass. Best idea! Unfortunately, I didn’t catch the name of that bar 😦 But it’s right opposite the market and kinda hard to miss.

There were also other stalls selling your usual market-y trinkets, as well as buskers and bands for entertainment. I loved the atmosphere, even though it was a little hot, and it made for a nice relaxing night spent with a loved one. Would go back again.

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The Queen Victoria Night Market is open every Wednesday night from 5pm-10pm until 26th Feb.

I spend too much time on YouTube.

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The first video I remember watching on YouTube was How to be Nerd by Ryan Higa (aka nigahiga). I can’t remember how I discovered it, but that doesn’t matter because from that first video, I was hooked. Not just to Ryan and his super punny puns, but to the entire YouTube world. At that time, YouTube was fairly new. The only other channels I remember watching were Smosh and KevJumba. As time passed, I discovered that there were so many other channels out there and my subscription list grew. I’m subscribed to a wide range of YouTubers now. From beauty/fashion gurus to daily vloggers, from pranksters to sketches. You name it, I’m subscribed.

A few months ago, I discovered the Shaytards and CTFxC. The Shaytards are a “YouTube family” made up of Shay Butler, his wife Colette and their five kids. Yes, FIVE CHILDREN. Oh, and let’s not forget their dog, Zeke. CTFxC comprises of Charles Trippy (bassist of We The Kings, what whaaaat), his wife Alli and their two dogs, Zoe and Marley. Both these channels do daily vlogs. Charles and Alli currently hold the Guinness World Record for the most consecutive vlogs uploaded to YouTube. Anyway, I never thought I’d be the type of person who would spend hours of my day watching some other people live their lives. But guess what? Turns out I am.

I couldn’t pinpoint what it was that kept me glued to YouTube. I couldn’t figure out why I was so interested in other people’s lives. Seriously, in some of the vlogs, all they did was go to the supermarket but I’d still find that super interesting. And then I realised. YouTube was my escape.

Some people turn to books. Others turn to movies or video games. When the going gets tough, I turn to YouTube. There’s something about watching someone else live their life that is almost…therapeutic. It makes me feel less alone in this world knowing that some random family of seven in L.A. is going through something similar to my family. Is it weird that I consider them my friends? Sure. I can’t tell you how many times people have given me odd looks when I start talking about YouTubers as if I’d known them my whole life. But that’s what it feels like! Especially with the daily vloggers. I mean, Charles vlogged his brain surgery. Yes, he vlogged during brain surgery. It’s incredible.

People who don’t know YouTube might think it’s a complete waste of time. To me, it isn’t. I know that for these YouTubers, making videos is their passion and they put time and effort into it. Many of them also team up with charities and use their influence to raise funds and awareness. YouTube isn’t just a video-sharing website, it’s a community.

The point of this post was to say I LOVE YOUTUBE. I love that it’s bringing the world closer together. I love that it’s changing the entertainment industry. I love that it’s become an outlet for anyone and everyone. I love the fact that I can sit down and watch a whole variety of videos. I don’t even watch TV any more. YouTube is my TV.

And the fact that there’s a whole group of gorgeous-looking British YouTubers is just a bonus 😉

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Cram cram cramming.

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I’m cramming for an exam. It sucks.

Throughout high school, all I heard leading up to exam period was “Don’t leave everything to the last minute!” or “Cramming gets you nowhere!” Well, I certainly hope it gets me somewhere. My linguistics exam is at 2pm. What you see here is me trying frantically to absorb the basics of spectrogram analysis. Fun times!

I’m not usually a crammer. On the day of an exam, I try not to look at anything related to that subject so I can clear my head and relax. I’m ashamed that I’ve left this to the last minute. It’s even sillier because I had 13 days to study for this! Where did those 13 days go? Oh yes, I spent the first few studying hardcore…and then I lost my mojo. My two year anniversary with the boyfriend fell smack bang in the middle of my study period, so I can justify that day off. After that, I ran out of revision exercises to do. I had exhausted my resources (and my brain). I’d done the questions from previous exams and the worksheets that were posted online. I even revisited exercises we did during tutes and lectures. In my head, I threw my arms in the air yelling “What more can I do?!”

Some of my friends were asking me questions almost everyday and it felt like they were doing a hell of a lot more than I was. Don’t get me wrong, I’m more than happy to help where I can, but that’s when the anxiety kicked in. “Am I doing enough? Can I pass with what I know? Do I need to do more? But what can I do to improve? How are they finding so many things to learn? I swear the lecturer didn’t teach us that!” Those were just a few of the thoughts that ran through my head whilst the knot in my stomach was growing and tightening. I finally decided to sit down on Sunday night to cram. I told my friends that I would no longer be answering their questions and that I hoped they weren’t offended. They took it well, thank God. I felt so bad about it, but it had to be done. I was worrying so much about what they had studied and what I hadn’t that I couldn’t focus. It may seem selfish, but the more I answered their questions, the more I began to question my knowledge. And the knot in my stomach would grow and tighten. So I had to say no.

Turns out, one of the lecturers decided to post 20 million new exercises online…24 hours before the exam. Ok, it was more like 15 new exercises. And I shouldn’t complain. They helped a lot. It gave me something to do and it pointed out the gaping hole in my spectrogram knowledge.

Fast forward many many hours and here I am. This isn’t a procrastination post, I promise. In the past hour I’ve been able to consolidate my knowledge. I feel like I have a better understanding of spectrograms and hopefully, this will get me through the exam. Let’s see if cramming works…

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First.

Okay, I’m lying. This isn’t actually my first blog post. I have a total of 3 failed attempts at blogs. This is my 4th attempt, and I hope it’s my last.

I don’t know why I stopped blogging the first 3 times. Maybe I got bored with my own life and just gave up. This time, I’m gonna push through the boredom, mainly because I always find myself having what I think are profound revelations and then not knowing where to write them down to remember for later. Of course, I end up forgetting the profound revelations.

I’ve never been brave enough to share my blog with anyone. Sometimes, I share posts with the odd person. Maybe I’ll share this publicly when there are more posts. Maybe I won’t. Who knows? I like to leave my thoughts/ramblings out there in the interwebs. It’s nice to have them out of my head…

…which brings me to the description of this blog. Put simply, this is my online diary. This is a space for me to share things that are going on in my life, to get things off my chest in a mostly grammatically-correct manner. Yes, I’m a stickler for good grammar. Good grammar is sexy. Of course, no one is perfect and I will, no doubt, make several errors here and there. That’s why this blog is called Ramblings in Not-so-bad Grammar. 

Anyway, here I am, sitting in a dinosaur onesie, thinking about how to end this post. Everything I think of is too cliche blogger-ish. Maybe I’ll just awkwardly end it here…

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