Every time the sun goes down

I want us to talk again – the way we used to when the sun was coming up, and we were miles away from anywhere.

I want us to talk again – about all the things we would think about, yet never thought to say out loud to anyone else.

I want us to talk again – like the way we did before we wanted to do anything more than that. I want us to talk.

And if we never talk again, I want you to know that I miss that most of all – and every time the sun goes down, I think of all the things I wish I could tell you.

~ Lang Leav

This made me think of you, I said.

Now it makes me think of you too, you said.

(I’m sure he thinks of you all the time too, she said.)

It’s not that we can’t talk anymore, you said.

It’s just that things are different now and it’s too diffic–.

I know, I said.

You’ve said that before, I said.

I hope you’re well, you said.

I hope you’re well too, I said.

And just like that
we go back
to not talking

Toe to toe, back to back, let’s go

I was running late for lunch with ATH today so I decided to book a cab. I had uninstalled my taxi app before going to Ireland and haven’t reinstalled it since I got back.

(I am also the last person in this country who does not use Uber for two reasons:

1) I’ve got to create an account and enter all my details, so signing up for Uber is a calculated move rather than something you do when you’ve been on the roadside for 20 minutes waiting for a cab or given up on your typical misguided optimism that you will get to the centre of town via bus-MRT-walk in half an hour.

2) It gets charged to my card and who’s got money in her bank account these days? Yep, not me. Heh.)

Instead of reinstalling my old taxi app, I decided to install Grabtaxi. I’d never used it before, I figured what the hey, give it a go. My impression of Grabtaxi was that it was merely a pool of the various taxi operators and whoever happens to be close/convenient takes my request. Survival of the fittest. But among taxi operators, not randos with a car a la Uber.

So imagine my surprise when a private car turned up for me. I guess Grabtaxi has gone the way of Uber now then? I got in, and All The Thoughts proceeded to fill up my head. Upon seeing a taxi on the road, I began to feel guilty that I was giving money to a schmuck with a car who is already wealthy enough to own a bloody car in this country who just happened to be going the same way I wanted to go, instead of a hardworking “taxi uncle” (what we endearingly call our taxi drivers here) whose actual livelihood is driving a taxi. Who has to pay commission + tax to the taxi operator for every job they do, plus pay an exorbitant monthly rental of the cab. (Grabtaxi takes a commission too, but less, and no tax, so the driver earns more.)

ATH laughed when I told him of my ethical dilemma and called me a softie. He said I should not feel guilty at all, that that’s the way it goes. It is, I know, but I can’t stop feeling bad that I deprived a legit taxi driver of $14 today.

I’ve been in a self-destructive mood these days. I want to experience freefall so I’ve been fighting the urge to jump off a cliff. JT said to me yesterday, “Don’t come crying to me when your heart is broken.”

I should feel more of an ethical dilemma about this than the taxi thing, but I will pick and choose my own ethics, thanks. I’m just playing with fire cuz I like the heat, you know?

Our love was made for movie screens

All it’s taken is a [insert appropriate noun here] who has since moved far away unexpectedly reaching out to get me all bluesy and singing All I want is / and all I need is / to find somebody like you.

“When are you coming to Europe again?”
“Not for a while. Why?”
“Tell me next time you’re coming. I could join you wherever in Europe. Guide you in some European city. If you want.”
“Sure, it would be nice to catch up.”

I don’t want him or someone like him. I never really did. We ran parallel but never truly intersected and that was okay then and is still okay now. It’s just a song.

Nevertheless it’s got me thinking about all the lost people. The people who used to be in my life but aren’t anymore for whatever reason. What used to be routine that is just history now. The inside jokes, the secret codes, the nicknames we gave each other and everyone else. Now they’re just photos from four haircuts ago, old audio messages, and residual feelings. Irrelevant.

I get that people come into your life for a reason and they leave when they have served their purpose and vice-versa. But sometimes I also think, well, how could that be over? I’m not done yet. All these stories I need to tell them and the stories they need to tell me. Hell, I’m pretty sure I was mid-conversation with some of them.

Sometimes they are done with you though, and you never hear from them again. It sucks but that’s the way it goes.

But sometimes they aren’t done with you either, which is both a blessing and a curse. It’s nice to be remembered so fondly, but if you’re like me you also end up singing All I want is / and all I need is / to find somebody like you when you swear you never wanted them. It’s just nostalgia. It’s just a fucking song.

I’m easy like Sunday morning

So because I last took home a salary in July, and then I go and spend almost three months in one of the most expensive countries in the EU, I am, quite simply, a bit skint. When my solution to nearly-finished body wash was not to fork out $7 for a new bottle but to rummage through my room for a forgotten bottle or hotel soap somewhere, I knew I had hit rock-bottom.

(This exploration produced extremely favourable results by the way, so don’t dismiss this approach just yet! You never know how many bath products might be lurking in your room! By sheer tenacity I managed to find:

  • a huuuge tub of body scrub a friend had given me ages ago
  • yes – hotel soap from Greece! And Lanvin brand too, thanks
  • Lush soap (free gift)
  • two travel-sized tubes of men’s facial scrub (free gift) – I’m not using it on my face so it can very well go on my body
  • travel-sized bottle of body wash I had refilled with body wash my Scottish host provided (from my trip in May)

I also re-discovered body scrub that was already in the bathroom. I’ve had it forever but forgot about its existence because I don’t use body scrub often.

So yeah, it looks like I can hold on to my $7 for a little longer. Woohoo!)

I had gone to bed that night completely distressed about my situation. Granted, I’ve only been job-hunting since I returned home, so just a month. And a typical job search is about two months from application to offer, so this is still “normal”. But my dwindling funds are making me 24/7 ANXIOUS. Trust me, 24/7 ANXIOUS is not the state you want to be in. The next morning I woke up with two choices clearly on my mind – either sell my gold jewellery, or suck it up and get a part-time job. Guess which one I chose?

I sold my



Just kidding.

A few years ago when I left my last nursing job, I swore up and down I would never get back into nursing ever again. Well…fast forward to present day, if not nursing, then what? I have the experience, I have the skills, I NEED MONEY. So on Tuesday I will start my 3-weeknights and Sunday morning schedule at a GP not far from my house. They were looking for a full-time nurse too, but I couldn’t do it to myself. I haven’t reached that level of desperation yet. Plus I need my daytime hours free for full-time job-hunting and tv-watching.

I’m a bit *facepalm* about the whole thing. To be entering a new decade of life in 11 days (HELP) and to have to take on a part-time job? Omgwtf. Have I failed as an adult?! But instead of wallowing in self-pity and wasting time, I’m doing something to help myself and maybe that’s what real adulting is? I’m taking fate into my own hands. There should be no shame in that.

Correction: There is no shame in that.

Watch me go.

I’m so mad I’m getting old, it makes me reckless

My head’s been all over the place since I got back. You know, jetlag + general post-holiday blues + extremely intense personal stuff I can never talk about here, and always, always, always interspersed with the fiercest longing for my mother. Yes, that old thing. It never ends.

Turns out there is a huge difference between feeling ready to go home and actually being home. The first time I took the bus I finally noticed and was surprised by how green the trees were. I’d grown accustomed to seeing red leaves and golden leaves; evergreen leaves, even though I’ve been surrounded by them my entire life, suddenly seemed…wrong. Abhorrent, even. They signalled home. Real life that is made up of bills, frizzy hair, and other such problems. Problems I was able to ignore for as long as I was away that I suddenly had to face and tackle.

As rainy and dreary and bone-chilling Dublin got at times, it was Dublin, Ireland, not – ugh – Singapore.

For one thing, I always had great hair in Ireland.

Three weeks on – and today is exactly three months since the day I landed in Belfast, too – I am still in turmoil. The jetlag and the post-Ireland blues are gone, but the other stuff is still very much causing chaos to what could have been a quiet, peaceful existence. That’s what makes me furious. It’s not even my issue, but because there is only one person on the entire planet it could ever affect, it’s my cross to bear and the burden I have to carry. I could be almost happy, if not for this. I mourn for what could have been every single day.

What has helped to keep me relatively sane and zen is going back to basics, and when one is a Muslim, going back to basics means to submit, prostrate, and supplicate. Say what you want about praying or religion but time and again I’ve discovered that when I’m at my absolute lowest, it is the only thing I can rely on.

And also of course my amazing aunt and uncle who offer unconditional support even though they have four children of their own. My aunt is like my surrogate mum. Not quite like the real thing, not in the slightest, not for a second, never, ever. But it is the closest to what I imagine having an adult relationship with one’s mother is like. Her mother died when she was 19 and her mother was 48, too. So she knows what it’s like and what she’s doing for me.

Today being the 24th of November reminds me that there is exactly one month left for me to be a twenty-something. Can’t believe my twenties are over. I’m not ready to enter a new decade of life. I don’t know that I lived my twenties well. I squandered it on useless things, useless people. I have a lot of stamps in my passport but I’m nowhere I thought I would be in the year I turn 30. It’s a scary thought, that I might have wasted my youth.