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.

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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.

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