Think now’s the time to let it slide

I listened to this non-stop on the way to work, non-stop at work, non-stop on the way home, and non-stop since I got home. At some point this week (probably Thursday) I will get sick of it, so sick I can’t listen to it again for another month, and I’m scared of a future without James Bay all day, every day.

This week has been so stressful it’s probably going to give me a few more grey hairs than I already get once in a while (yeah…fml). And it’s only Tuesday! Why must payroll be so damn complicated?! When we finally get our finance person, he or she will take over payroll and I’ll be relieved but I’m sure the control freak/busybody in me will miss knowing exactly how much each person is getting too. Ungh.

Two cousins of mine got married in the last two weekends. I have Feelings about that. Major Feelings. Espesh about the first one. She is my favourite cousin and my mother’s favourite child that wasn’t hers. In her early teens, she proudly declared that she would take my mother away from me and ask my mother to live with her when she grew up. She and my ma were tight. Poor baby was devastated when mum died and she still can’t talk about mum without crying. Anyway, Feelings. I’ll talk about that some other time. Maybe. I always lie when I say that.

So there was that high-profile death that happened recently in this old wee country o’ mine. I don’t want to write his name because I don’t want my blog appearing in searches of his name. Although there are a gazillion articles of him out there that my blog would probably be relegated to, like, the 5847th page, or something. But whatever. So that happened, and it’s weird. He has always been an omnipresence and to have him be forever dead is just…huh. And that sums up my overall sentiment about his death: huh. I’m very eloquent, I know.

I bought plane tickets for my next two overseas trips on the same day recently. I sound like a douche. I’m sorry. Going to the UK in May and then Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, in August. I had already bought my UK ticket when the government announced that we get a special extra day of public holiday in August due to the 50th anniversary of our independence. So I promptly purchased my Vietnam ticket. Was going to do it much later but if I didn’t do it then ticket prices will increase. Thank you, government. And no, I refuse to stay here during that precious 4-day weekend.

I didn’t like England too much when I was there last three years ago, but Hozier aka second only to Rachael Yamagata in terms of being my favourite, is performing in Glasgow on 27 May. Dude will not be coming here anytime soon, I know that for a fact, but I love him now and I can’t wait, plus I’ve always wanted to go to Scotland anyway? So why not make it a proper two-week holiday? Give London another go, and add Edinburgh and the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye to the list, too? Why not, indeed. God-willing, I will get there in less than two months.

My colleague SK is coming with me on this trip. It’s cray. I’ve never travelled with a colleague in my life. But we’re thick as thieves and I’m 99.99% certain that we’ll get along just fine. We make each other laugh all the time. We call each other all the time too – after work and on weekends. It’s hilarious. He’s gay, so there’s no funny business going on here. Still I’m sure a scandal will break out when the office finds out we’re travelling together. That’ll be funny.

“Emilie, it will get stormy”

Yes, this is me, TFC, actually with a new post. :P

I need to share this new singer I just got to know. It’s important.

The last time I downloaded an album based on one song was Hozier, back in November. Since then I’ve been looking for another song to stupefy me as ‘Take Me To Church’ did. Today…today I found it.

Behold, Emilie Nicolas from Norway, with this gem of a track, ‘Grown Up’, about her relationship with her father. Although if you listen to the lyrics they are relatable to anyone you might no longer need in your life. (I have a person in mind…)

This, too, is climbing up the charts of my heart. I love the part where she refers to herself as “my sweet Emilie”.

So anyway, yes, I made it back from Japan, evidently. The heavy turbulence both to and fro really had me doubting my safety for a while though. Gah. And I’m still not totally out of the woods yet. I’m still fighting the flu bug that I caught in Japan, three weeks on. I’m not threatening to hack up a lung anymore but there are still pieces of my cough left. If I’m still coughing on Friday the doctor wants me to do an x-ray to check for bronchitis. Nooooooo…!

Despite being sick most of my trip though I still really enjoyed Japan. Within a few hours of landing I was telling everyone I knew – ‘I understand now why so many people love Japan so much.’ I only met one rude person throughout the entire trip. Everyone else, from shopkeepers to security guards to random passersby I would ask for directions from or “What’s in this onigiri?” were so forthcoming and patient and just wonderful. Even with their limited English they would do their best to help.

And the food…oh, the food. I need to restart my trip recaps if only to longingly gaze at pictures of the food I ate. Put it this way: I don’t think I can eat sushi, sashimi or tempura outside of Japan ever again. Even the JPY120 onigiri from Lawson did not disappoint. Japan does food right, let me tell you, and one day soon I will find the time to prove it.

Until then, I’m off to relish in the brilliance of Emilie Nicolas. xxx

On the road again

Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Greetings from HCMC, Vietnam! Well, just the airport this time around. I’m on transit awaiting the flight that will take me to Tokyo. Woohoo! God-willing, I will get to Tokyo after a 6-hour ish flight…

…and promptly proceed to freeze. GKM is there now and she says she’s cold enough to be buying more warm clothes. GKM is a New Yorker. Which means I’m screwed. I did bring my new thick-as-whoa coat though; hopefully along with the three other layers I’ll be wearing underneath I will be sufficiently warm.

Gah. The wifi here keeps going in and out. I’d better publish this before it goes out again. Will say hello from Japan…maybe. :)

We’ll be dancing once again and the pain will end

It’s the last day of January, and I’m finally panicking about letting this month go without an update!

I am terrible at writing about my travels anymore, but here’s a sneak peek: the climb up the 2,799 m tall Ijen volcano from my Indonesian trip took a harrowing 2 hours and 40 minutes. I almost gave up a few times. I don’t particularly enjoy climbing; it tires me out and being tired is not very pleasant, is it? I just like the view from the top and the fact that I can say I did it. Which is why I keep finding myself climbing mountains whenever I go on holiday despite being close to tears the whole time.

My friend S’s mother – the same S I went to Cambodia with in 2012 and whose father passed away the day we landed back in Singapore – passed away on the eve of my birthday. I had already been thinking of cutting my trip short (for reasons I may or may not expatiate on some other time), and it just served to reinforce my decision. I took the first flight out on my 29th birthday.

1

Yes, the birthday I had intended to spend on a beach in Lombok. I didn’t care about my birthday too much, just that my friend’s mother was dead. I’ve been there before, I know how hard it is. I wanted to be there for her. I flew the same route home as those unfortunate people on AirAsia just four days before they did. My flight was blessed with clear blue skies and I remember feeling thankful for it. But the entire journey saw me sobbing quietly in my seat. I could not stop thinking about my own mother.

There was a lot of crying on my birthday. Naturally.

Fell sick on NYE, which lasted a few days into the new year. Let’s just say there were a lot of bathroom trips and mild dehydration. My two Indo travel partners got sick with the same thing so we reckoned it was food poisoning. Thanks, Indonesia!

New Year’s Day came and went. Three days later, one year ago, my cousin F officially died. I dealt with that also with tears.

It’s been an insanely trying month at work. People were stressed out and bursting into tears left, right and centre – me included. There was one day when I’d already had my second cry by 10am. A colleague whom I’ve always liked and respected noticed how miserable I looked and took me out for coffee even though he was on a deadline. The next day I found out he hadn’t gone home that night in order to meet his deadline. I got him a latte and a sandwich for breakfast that he grin-ate in two minutes flat. Another colleague, after another tear-filled day, brought cut fruits to my desk. I nearly gave him a kiss on his cheek. Later I initiated a very difficult conversation with someone that went surprisingly well. There was an apology and a reassurance that it would never happen again. I think they really meant it.

We launched our new website and my big crazy face is on the team page under a shortened version of my name. I told an exaggerated story about not wanting to be discovered by a former stalker. But the truth is there are just several people from my past who do not need to know anything about me. Everyone bought it and sought to protect my online identity. I feel bad for lying but unfortunately in this case it was necessary.

My NYC friend GKM is currently thawing in Dubai and will make her way to Singapore next Friday. I am immensely excited about this. I haven’t seen her since Paris in November 2013. (I’m sorry if that sounds obnoxious – it’s just a fact.) She’s staying for five days. That’s the longest I will have ever hosted anyone. We’re going to have a boss time.

And then we’re going to Tokyo together! I’ve mentioned my Japan trip before. I just didn’t say it would be with her. I hope it all goes well. I just want to stuff my belly with sushi and sashimi and be happy.

Real conversations that took place between my CEO and me today

1.

Him: I just realised that you are one of the few people in this company who are not friends with me on Facebook. Therefore…*sends me a friend request*
Me: *turns to look at him* I verbally decline your friend request.
Him: You’re mean.

2.

Me: Would you tell me to fuck off if I…
Him: (interrupts) Fuck off.
Me: (totally unfazed) If I asked you to pay half of my mobile phone bill because I’m always having to make work-related phone calls on my personal phone? (We don’t have a landline.)
Him: Okay.

Yeah, we are weirdly this comfortable with each other…

Sometimes things don’t come full circle

Well, if you’re like me, you cry over it a bit. It’s just inevitable. Then you contemplate, make lists in your head and on paper, check your bank balance…

And buy a plane ticket to Tokyo.

That’s right. God-willing, come February, over my highly coveted 4-day Chinese New Year weekend + the following week, I will find myself on sushi and sashimi land. And you best believe I would eat all of it.

So sometimes things don’t come full circle. Draw a new line.

Water races down the waterfall

I have finally stopped listening to Hozier long enough to listen to one of the other two albums I downloaded recently – Damien Rice’s My Favourite Faded Fantasy. Just like Hozier’s album, there isn’t a single bad song on this album. Not a one. Damien Rice is BACK.

These two are currently taking turns being on replay. You’ve got to be in the right (read: blah) mood to listen to them though, or it’s got to be raining outside, which it is every day these days. They are depressing as hell, a la all the songs Rachael Yamagata has ever written.

Last weekend I went, for the first time in my life, to a karaoke bar with some friends. It was a riot. One of my friends was able to pull the high notes to Sia and David Guetta’s ‘Titanium’. Crazy! Me, I’m better at the lower notes. They all said I killed at Rihanna’s ‘Stay’. Well, course I did. I’ve had so much practice singing that song.

I work a lot. Who knew I could be such a workaholic? I certainly didn’t! I’m up for a raise come January but I don’t know how much for, so I want to make myself look as good as possible, hoping that the pay rise will commensurate with my level of gung ho-ness. Heh.

We’re playing Secret Santa. Seeing as I’m in charge of operations, yeah, it was me who came up with the idea. I think it’s okay because I’m not associating religion with it. Who’s even associating X’mas with it? Santa is Santa and Secret Santa is fun! I used DrawNames and today we were assigned our recipient. I got a guy whose wishlist states:

1) Surprise me
2) Video games

Really? The price limit is $20. What video game can I get for $20? He’s so annoying. Maybe I’ll get him a $20 voucher to an Apple store. He stole my Macbook charger from underneath my desk and when I found out I just about had a conniption fit. (As an aside, I used the phrase ‘conniption fit’ in an email to the team recently and it was him who told me to “ease up on the SAT words”. He had to look up ‘conniption’ in the dictionary. Ha! I was so proud of myself.) Though when I found out that someone else had stolen his charger, I was sorry I got so mad. Hehe. Macbook chargers are like $100 apiece though. Not like my $20 would help that much. We’ll see.

I wonder who got me and what they will get for me! Here’s my very specific wishlist, because I know what I want and I’m helpful like that:

1) A book called Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth (the tv show is SO GOOD!)
2) Gift card for a coffee shop (anywhere but Starbucks)
3) Gift card for Sephora
4) The best chef’s knife $20 can buy
5) A nonstick doughnut pan
6) Any brand earphones (not earbuds) with a mic
7) Voucher for Cold Storage (only my favourite supermarket because it carries all the fancy imported shit I love)

My Indonesian vacation is less than a month away. I’ve decided that I will not go snorkelling after all, which is silly considering we are going to Lombok. But I’ve not yet reached a stage where I can face my aquaphobia. Maybe one day. In the meantime I’ll just see the photos and listen to the stories, I guess.