Tuesday, April 29, 2008

that fresh feeling

A good friend set off for his new life yesterday, by driving towards Minneapolis. After the hustle of packing, loading, farewell gatherings, last-minute item finding and him finally leaving, there was an unsettling solitude that blanketed my state of mind.

It's different, sending someone off, who's going overseas to study, or on work placement. There's a sense that they'll be back after their course is done, or least visit home ever so often. But when someone uproots completely and is actually moving away, there's really no future planning. No 'I'll see you when you come back over Christmas then!', and promises to visit are tenuous at best.

So I found myself sitting on the porch late yesterday afternoon, watching long fingers of sunrays stretch over the plants. Those who know me know this is my favourite time and light of the day. Everything's aglow, backlit with this soft-focus light. Cool breezes dull the harshness of the afternoon sun, yet there's enough residual warmth to permeate up from the ground. In between snatches of musics and random phrases from eels songs, I realise that I'm actually quite mournful. There is genuine happiness about the trajectory towards positivity that his life is taking, but I just cannot shake off the feeling that something quite substantial is gone from my life.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Passport gods, please allow for the safe and speedy return of my passport...

Friday, April 18, 2008

Just when you thought you could breathe a sigh of relief...

...life throws another curve ball at you, and then sticks a rusty knife in your ribs while you lie winded on the ground. I love being Malaysian and all, but this passport and visa business is making me sooooooo.....frustrated.

Some might remember the big hoo-ha last year, and the hoops I had to jump through to get a visa to enter Panama to take the Smithsonian sponge course. Next year, I vowed to myself then, next year would be different. Fast forward to this year, with me feeling pretty confident, having submitted my visa application in February, giving the consulate 3 months to approve my visa this time. Was overjoyed to see my return envelope sitting in my mailbox yesterday, and gleefully ripped it open, extracted my passport and flipped to the visa page. Was thoroughly deflated to find that my approval dates run from April 9th to July 9th! WTF! It's already April 18th, and besides the point, my fieldtrip is in August. To add insult to injury, my gender is listed as 'M'. Oh gawd...started the whole rigmarole this morning of the incessant emailing and calling of the Panamanian consulate and Smithsonian staff.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

It's not that weird what...

Was trying to work with high-resolution photos in Photoshop on Sunday, and it's very frustrating, because my (kinda old) laptop kept freezing, and it took FOREVER to force quit the programme and try again. Finally got so irritated with the whole process that I went to make steamed tau sar pau instead. And got 20+ paus out of the whole process (yum!). For some reason, people think that it's a very weird reaction to have to a computer problem...

No photos 'cos I ate most of them before my batteries could charge up :P

Thursday, April 03, 2008


People frequently ask me here if I miss the food at home, and of course I do, but I think it goes deeper than that. Even if we find an authentic restaurant here that serves great laksa, there's still something missing. There's something about going to the corner Malaysian coffeeshop dressed in my faded t-shirt, comfy but crummy shorts and RM3 flip-flops, especially after a whole day of fieldwork, when I have just showered and my hair is slightly damp, and ordering a bowl of piping hot noodles, then sitting down on the plastic chair by the vinyl covered table, taking in the bustling noises of the various hawkers in the coffee shop, the attendant smells, and sounds of life passing by outside. I really miss that...