I’ve got so much love, got so much patience, I’ve learned from the pain, I turned out amazing

(Don’t even pretend you’re not obsessed with this song!)

Ah. Who’da thunk it? Remember when I got all sad when I didn’t get something I really wanted? Actually, that could be any post. Ha ha ha. I mean this one. I actually quoted Coldplay and I hate that song.

Well, guess who contacted me today after one month of no communication since we parted ways, asking if I would like to “meet for lunch and hang out”?

Oh? Having regrets, are we? Typical. Just when you’ve accepted it and let go and moved on and have other prospects lined up(!), they come back. They always come crawling back.

What does “meet for lunch and hang out” mean, anyway? Is that the daytime version of Netflix and chill? (This will be an obvious pun one day.) (Maybe.)

*sigh* I did like them a lot, more than the rest, and I still carry a torch for them so…YEAH, I WANT TO HANG OUT, DAMMIT. Especially if lunch is on them. If nothing comes of it, at least I’d have got free food, amirite?

 

 

 

P.S. I’m talking about a job. 😛

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When you try your best but you don’t succeed

Someone received really good news today.

It wasn’t me.

Oh, how I wanted so much for it to be me.

I came sooooooooooo close. You have no idea.

I did everything that was asked of me and beyond. But evidently, it wasn’t enough.

It’s been a few hours now and I’ve come down from the initial shock but every so often I find myself shaking my head going, “I can’t believe it.”

I’m fiercely guarding my thoughts and making sure I don’t let this define me, while at the same time allowing myself to feel the full spectrum of emotions.

Let it arise and let it flow. And then, let it go.

I asked ZZ, “How does one learn to recognise the beauty and blessings in not getting something one really wants?”

In typical ZZ style, he replies succinctly –

“Not everything one wants he needs, not everything one needs he wants.”

Alright. Okay.

Soon. I will soon understand.

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.

Someone like you and all you know and how you speak

I was thinking last night about my best friend. She’s not my best friend anymore, not really, but neither is she my former best friend per se. She’s a best friend I don’t talk to anymore. Can that be a thing? Can someone you don’t talk to anymore still be considered a best friend, or a friend at all?

I talk to her all the time though. I have imaginary conversations with her all the time. How sad and pathetic does that sound? It’s the truth. When I have something to talk about, or complain, it’s her I think about. It’s her I pretend I’m talking to. It’s her who is laughing with me or empathising with me. Out of all the best friends I’ve had in this life, she is my favourite. She is five years younger than me but she really, really gets me and we always have fun.

We hadn’t talked for five months before she texted me saying she was sorry and that she missed me very much and could we go back to normal again? But I was still mad. So even though I said, “Apology accepted,” I also said, “But I don’t think we can go back to normal.” I waited an hour before sending her that. I probably should have waited longer. Maybe I would have sent her something else.

We’ve texted each other twice since then, but it was me who initiated the conversation, even though it was her who was keen to rebuild the friendship in the first place. She was genial and seemed interested in the goings-on in my life beyond what I initially texted her about, so I waited for her to initiate contact with me on other days. But she didn’t, hasn’t, won’t. Maybe what I said was too off-putting, even for her. Maybe she thinks I’m a bitch and it’s pointless to be friends with a bitch. Like I said, I probably should have waited longer to send her that message. Because I would have sent her something else.

While I was thinking about her last night I wanted so much to text her and tell her I miss her and this time be the one to ask if we could go back to normal. But I stopped myself. What is “normal” anymore? We haven’t seen each other for far too long. It would be much too awkward. I’m far too proud. Pick one. Or all. Whatever it is, it’s not gonna happen. And it sucks.

Lay your cards on the table

12th Ramadan

1. “My mom didn’t”

mymomdidnt

This, from today’s PostSecret. I mean, WHOA. Right? It might as well have been sent by me.

2. TV addict

I am eternally grateful to this Thought Catalog article for introducing me to the brilliance that are My Mad Fat Diary, which I – yes, binge-watched – in two days, and Orphan Black, which I am also binge-watching. I’m really, really excited when tv shows are so good. I’m getting the same feeling I got when I discovered Homeland last year.

3. So this is how it feels

This week was our (my?) first week without DS. On Monday I came in…and LO the new guy was seated at DS’s desk, as I knew he would. Still it took my breath away. And then AM asked me, not one minute after I sat down, “You’re missing him, aren’t you?” Because I’m the biggest softie in the world, my eyes immediately welled up. I was so afraid my voice would crack so I muttered my reply under my breath: “No.” AM’s response? “Liar.” I had to run to the bathroom to cry privately.

On Tuesday, AM mentioned that he was missing DS, that the office was quiet without him. I couldn’t handle that either. I had to run to the bathroom to cry. AM never mentioned DS again, but I didn’t need anyone to bring him up to be reminded of him and be sad all over again. My eyelid was twitching that day, and when the same thing happened the week before, it was DS I whined to about it. I actually looked around the office and wondered who I could tell about it now, and most importantly who would care. Needless to say, the answer to my question warranted another trip to the bathroom. I did the bathroom run about five times that day, no joke. I had to have a real good cry when I got home.

Wednesday onwards, however, I was okay. DS and I communicated a bit via Whatsapp. He made me laugh, as usual. Slowly but surely, I’ll be okay.

Missing one’s colleague is dumb.

4. The Talk

I finally had The Talk with AM. About his perv of a friend, the bloody feet tickler. Despite my cool and steady preamble, AM was cupping his mouth with his hand. I asked him why he was doing that, and what he said made me laugh my head off: “I just know your story will make me cringe.” Haha!

The first thing he said was, “That’s what someone would do in the UK.”

(P.S. Not at any point during our conversation was AM a dick. He was very nice and understanding about the whole thing, even if he was trying to defend his friend.)

Me: You lot are not in the UK anymore. Try again.

Him: You don’t speak with a Singaporean accent, and apart from not dressing skimpily, you don’t look like a Muslim. He probably has no idea you’re even a Muslim.

Me: Whether or not I’m a Muslim has got nothing to do with it. It should not matter what I am or what I’m not. He should just learn not to touch people as he pleases. Feet tickling was just taking the piss.

Him: I agree. That’s too much.

Me: I’m not asking for your approval. This is just a ‘letting you know’ thing, a heads up of what happened and what I’m going to do. Next time if he even touches my hand I’m going to…

Him: Don’t slap him. *laughs*

Me: *laughs* (AM knows me well.) No, I won’t slap him.

Him: Unless he slaps your arse first.

Me: Oh. YES. If he did that I would punch him. But if he even so much as touches my hand I’m going to tell him no. I’m going to say it like this, “I prefer not to be touched.” I’ve had enough.

At this juncture I need to thank Chelsea for the wonderful comment she left on my original post. If you read her comment you will see that I lifted those words exactly – and the rest of my conversation – from her comment. My conversation with AM kind of went as she (sort of) predicted it would.

Him: Ah…okay. But maybe you could soften the blow a bit? Maybe you could say, “I’m a Muslim. It’s not my culture to touch the opposite sex unless we’re blood related. So I hope you don’t touch me. If you don’t mind.”

Me: *laughs* NO. First of all, he’s not a child. I don’t need to ‘soften the blow’. Secondly, I don’t need to justify why I prefer not to be touched. I just don’t. I don’t have to give anyone a reason. It’s my body and I’ll make the decisions. And thirdly, ‘If you don’t mind’? Are you serious right now, AM? I don’t care if he minds it or not. I still don’t want to be touched. (Although to be fair, “if you don’t mind” is such a British thing to say, a filler in a sentence. It doesn’t actually mean what it implies. But I still refuse to say it.)

Him: *sigh* You’re right. You’re absolutely right. You don’t have to justify it. He just has to respect it. (pause) Just be polite, yeah?

Me: I promise. Thank you, AM.

It went well, I suppose. AM knows now, and even better, I got him to agree with my approach to the situation.

Fuck having to be polite though. I hate that women are supposed to keep their cool when fending off perverts. For fear of humiliating them (I know precisely why I have to prevent that in this situation, but in different circumstances, when the harasser is just a random passing stranger – why do we care to maintain their dignity?), and for fear of some kind of retaliation (in my situation maybe not physical but in different circumstances, there’s always a chance they’ll go apeshit on you). I hate that women have to feel fear at all when we’re just trying to tell men to leave us alone. What can we do to change this?

All my tears have been used up

4th Ramadan

Yesterday, 12 July, was the day I’ve been dreading. It came and went, but that sinking feeling is still there. I fear it will stay there for a while.

It was my favourite colleague ever, DS’s last day at work. I barely saw him all week due to him being on-site a lot, tying up loose ends on his last project. It was like a practice session to prepare me for the real thing and heaven knows I needed it, but I was livid. It felt like he was gone before he even left. By the time he finally turned up early afternoon yesterday, I was ready to burst. Yep, I’ve got it bad!

He and I had made plans for me to go to his place later in the day to take some of his stuff, like his stand fan and lamp. They are both still in perfect condition. The offer for the fan was timely as my own fan has been acting weird. I was just going to take the stuff and run but from the minute he came in he’d been asking me (in a joking manner) to help him clean his apartment. I said no way and he said, “But why? You’re good at cleaning!” When I protested further, he used another tactic: “But I taught you to ride a bike!” AM died laughing.

While all of them were out for lunch (I stayed in and didn’t eat on account of it being Ramadan) I decided to make him a card. Talk about last-minute. I wasn’t inspired to do anything before, not even to buy a ready-made card. And everyone was hemming and hawing about getting him a gift. Not that I had any solid ideas on what to get him. Hmph. DS normally keeps a buzz cut but I have a photo of him taken last year with a completely shaved head (the barber spoke no English, DS speaks no Chinese…his instructions were lost in translation) and striking a pose like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. He looked absolutely ridiculous. I added the words “AN IDIOT ABROAD” to it – honouring one of our favourite shows and our main topics of conversation, Karl Pilkington – and printed that picture on card stock and emailed everyone to write a few words on it when they got back.

In the meantime, I had to write something. Only I was panicking about them coming back and DS catching me so my mind went blank. I thought for a moment about writing that I was sad to see him go, but I knew everyone would give me grief about being maudlin so I womaned up and eventually quoted Ricky Gervais when describing Karl Pilkington – “Head like a fucking orange!” and said something about not farting at the new person sitting next to him in London.

People got back, read their emails, and the card was discreetly passed around. When it was returned to me and I read what everyone had to say, I could not keep a straight face. Everyone’s message was so funny! KK went one step further and printed a photo of himself sticking his tongue out (taken separately sometime ago), pasting it on the back of the card. Seriously DIY, that card is. But if I know DS as well as I think I know him, he’d prefer a homemade card to an unoriginal store-bought card any day. When he read the card he broke into peals of laughter, especially at that picture of KK. I thought I spied both KK and DS getting slightly misty-eyed when they hugged. Those two are partners in crime, I know, but nevertheless I was surprised to see a hint of emotion. We left, and DS walked down the stairs for the final time. I think I was sadder about that than he was.

When we got to his place, he asked me again to help him clean, and I realised that he wasn’t joking. DS being DS, had left quite a lot of packing to do still, and to add cleaning to that…well, he would never be done before 8. He was meeting some of his friends at whatever time he was done packing and cleaning, and had to be back by 9:30pm at the latest to be able to freshen up if he wanted to make it to his midnight flight. So what did I, forever the sucker when it comes to DS, do? I got down on my hands and knees and fucking cleaned, that’s what. No, I’m not in love with him. I’m just really fond of him in a totally platonic way and I wanted him to be able to meet his friends before his flight. I’m nice.

I complained the whole time about being exploited, but secretly I enjoyed my last hours with DS. He put on Jake Bugg (“Jake Boog”) and we chatted over the music about anything and everything, just like old times. Only it wasn’t. Only he was packing up a year and nine months’ worth of his life in Singapore, and I was helping him with it. It was surreal.

It turned out he had more to give away than just his fan and lamp. This guy rarely cooked at home, yet he was fully equipped to do so. He was stocked in everything from sunflower oil to Japanese rice to garlic bulbs, all barely used. He even had a whole bag of flour, never opened. Being never one to waste food, I could not let any of it go to waste. In my pile they went. Same with cleaning supplies – still almost full. Mine.

Many, many laughs later, the packing and cleaning came to an end. I found myself actually looking for something else to clean in order to prolong my time with him, and was disappointed to see that my work was done. Truly. “Shall we go?” It was 7:45pm. No. But if we must…

He carried most of my loot for me downstairs where we waited for a cab. I thought I would have a million things to say to him. (I think I did, only my mouth wouldn’t utter them.) We waited until a cab arrived to exchange last words. “It has been a pleasure…” DS started. “Same,” I said quickly (too quickly). “And thank you for all this stuff.” DS changed directions. “Cheers, TFC. Thank you for helping me clean.” My throat was constricting. “You’re welcome,” I choked. No, no, no, don’t cry!

“DS,” I didn’t say. “I’m going to miss your maniacal laugh, and your still-sometimes-hard-to-decipher accent, and you calling me mardy, and you knowing just what to do when I’m mardy (“Don’t ask her what’s wrong or try to console her. Let her hum away and read her food blogs and she’ll be happy.”), and you changing my desktop picture when I step away from my computer (usually to Karl Pilkington), and you calling Rachael Yamagata “Rachael Yamaguchi” just to wind me up, and you winding me up and saying, “I’m just winding you up,” when I get miffed. I’m going to miss you asking me if I’ve got food for you (“No! But I’ll bring you some tomorrow…”). I’m going to miss your crazy commuting stories and how you like to listen to mine. I’m going to miss your misguided usage of Singlish. I’m going to miss how you teach me to be Zen (not that it’s working). I’ll even miss the boring lessons you give me on construction (drawings are the worst). But most of all I’m going to miss you, as a person, a colleague, a confidante, a friend. You are the best person I’ve ever worked with, the best person who has ever sat next to me anywhere. The office will be less alive without you. I will be less alive without you… (at least for a wee while)”

He placed my (his) things in the boot and said, “All right.” Oh God. It was time. He threw his arms around me. I obliged. It was DS. I wanted to hug him. I can no longer remember what was said in that brief few seconds of embrace; I don’t think I registered anything beyond the fact that DS and I were embracing, so he must be leaving, and NO NO NO. He must have noticed the look of anguish on my face and the stunned silence, for he pierced the air with, “Don’t get emo!” And just like that, I laughed again.

This will take some getting used to.