Acorn and Oak Tree

Officially Back in Australia for a week now 🙂

I’ve been meaning to use WordPress more from now on because I’m actually paying for this space. Monday was one of the livelier days of the week ever since I came back.

I’ve moved to a new place just before I left for Singapore, and my room, with no windows, made it really hard for me to adjust. Every morning I wake up with this unspeakable gloom looming like a dark cloud over my head. I am a morning person that needs sunlight to wake up, and my room (with low ceilings and no outside windows), made me feel really claustrophobic. I need to wake up with light streaming in the windows because that kinda propels me out of bed, and with a skip in my step, begin a brand new day. I guess sunlight is needed to kick start my engine, get my brain thinking about the tasks of the day and helps me begin the momentum to tackle the day. I never knew the importance of sunlight to myself till I moved here, haha 😂

I am trying to survive and resist the urge to fall back to sleep each time I wake up. I stir usually at around 10am, and still, darkness surrounds me. I feel trapped. Since I was feeling pretty anxious when I came back to Sydney (due to some stuff that has happened back home), I don’t think the circumstances is the only factor that’s affecting my mood though. The no windows room made it worse because I wake up with this feeling of emptiness and depression. Although I’m sure if I was feeling happier, I’d have the immunity to resist the urge of laying in bed, and I’d have the actual motivation to get through the day instead of feeling shitty when I wake up.

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The flight here was okay, not bumpy, very smooth. I flew with Sarah and the goodbyes were very nice too, didn’t cry at all. I think it helps because Sarah’s flying with me this time around, rather than me flying alone. Last semester, I flew to Sydney alone for the first time and cried (on the plane, not in front of my friends and family) and the feeling of detachment was quite scary but manageable. If it was the other way round and my family leaving me, I wouldn’t be sure if I would be okay. I have always been okay with leaving people, but not when people leave me… Though, this time I knew flying by myself will NOT be manageable, because of what happened when I was back in Singapore. So I’m glad I have Sarah.

I’ll talk more about my Singapore trip in another post, but so many things have happened in my family, friends, and life this one month back—that it’s starting to look like a fast-forwarded movie. Everything’s moving so fast and I can’t keep up. Yet, I have been very very unproductive since I went back to Singapore. Before I had time to digest the incidents that happened and wrap my head around it, another incident surfaced that requires thinking, reflecting, and communicating. I was back for one month. I am packed with meetups every single day, meeting a new person every single day who has more news and stories to tell, with more changes that will inevitably affect my life.

A day before I flew back to Sydney, I’ve managed to gather some time to pack up my baggage, but no time to pack up my feelings.

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Monday, 26 Feb 2018

Why I said Monday was one of the livelier days was because I felt that the dark cloud lifted up for a little while. It was the first day of school! I came back on Thursday night, and from Thursday to Sunday, I was determined not to let my mood/whatever is happening affect my studies because I can’t afford to. To my surprise, I actually enjoyed yesterday’s lecture very much and I think my momentum to study is back! I actually feel eager to learn.

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In my social media lecture. I am so excited to be studying about social media! Considering how active I am on it, it must have been my favourite pastime hahaha. I opened the reading list over the weekend, and there was SIX readings for week 1. SIX. That was when my laziness kicked in and I didn’t touch anything.

Then today some students actually read all SIX of the week 1 readings and the lecturer was like, “Just choose one to read” hahaha. Their expression on the students’ faces were priceless and I’m so glad I didn’t read anything 😂

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Today as I was walking to class I looked up, and realized that some of the tree leaves have fallen and the rest were turning brown on the edges. I have never experienced Autumn before. I thought about how the leaves will ‘let go’, and soon after the trees would be bare with the passage of time. I related it to this season in my life. This season of surrendering, of dying in order to grow; and how the tree has to be bare in order to have flowers bloom in spring and bear fruit. How the acorn has to die in order to grow into a beautiful oak tree. I had read this in “Passion and Purity” by Elisabeth Elliot. I related this quote to Yin Mei & friends when they were talking about adulting and how difficult it is during lunch break. She looked like she was about to cry.

“I think students studying overseas, like us, experience adulting to a greater extent.”
How adulting, requires us to struggle in darkness for a little while in order to grow up. Similarly, when the acorn is dying, it doesn’t know that it is going to become a beautiful oak tree. It only knows it is dying. It can only see the darkness, the disintegrating, right here, right now. There will always be that uncertainty, but it is in that that strengthens our trust and faith. If there’s anything you take away from this blog post at all, take away this lesson.

I love the walks to classes, because the pathway is lined with trees, and the transition in nature makes me conscious of time. I am turning 21 in less than a month’s time. Time. The thing that made me the most emotional.

The weather has also taken a turn on Monday, and it has been kinda cold, rainy and gloomy. Today the sun came out and the rain stopped, but the temperate remained cool which made me super happy since the summer heat really frustrates me. It is even worse than the Singapore sun.

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Another reason why I got better on Monday was because I met a lot of friends that I haven’t seen in such a long while! Here’s Sarah & Mel, I haven’t seen Mel since last year. She went back to her hometown for Chinese New Year as well, so we had a great time catching up.

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This French bitch spent a luxurious one month in France ugh good lord! Haven’t seen him since last year!! Was so excited because we’ll be taking the same unit this semester and I swear it was unplanned. He also changed his tutorial timing for me hehe, so that we could attend the same class.

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One of my bestest friends in uni, Yin Mei. I hadn’t seen her in so long and when we met it feels so surreal!! When she saw me for the first time, she was like, “I can’t believe you’re standing in front of me in real life, right now!” hahhaa. After 3 months. She’s also going through some stuff at this time and so I’d like to believe that we’re supporting each other through this. I went to a mental health mediation workshop with her yesterday (Tuesday), and they had other relaxation activities like writing and crafts that really helped. Even though it was just for a short period of time (half an hour or so), the people there were really friendly and it’s just an eye-opener considering that I have never given Mental Health society a thought before.

PS/ I also had a strong sense of deja vu while sitting through the Mental Health society workshop…it felt very real. Like I’ve been there before. Then after the workshop Yin Mei and I went to the library, where it was her turn to experience deja vu. She was like, “I swear this happened before.”

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Also, this is really random but I got cute socks. 3 for $10 hehehe.

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And this was for $10 too. Goshhhhh I forgot how expensive meals were in Sydney it hurts. Bloody expensive. After being in Singapore for such an amount of time, I totally am missing the $3 hokkien mee already.

Ended up eating half and throwing the other half away. The portions in Sydney are also much bigger (I know it doesn’t look like it in the picture). Yin Mei said that her appetite has shrunk. I noticed that too. I also get that when I’m feeling depressed, so I could relate. You feel this wave of nausea then you couldn’t finish anything anymore. Compared to last semester, I think both of our appetites has definitely shrunk. Last semester, we were bubbly and enthusiastic as hell, going out every weekend on “Food Dates” together with this having a clique of 8 other friends. We were trying Dim Sum, All-you-can-eat buffets, food festivals…don’t know if its the cold weather last sem or anything but we were basically human trash bins hahhaha.

Or maybe mine shrunk because honestly, I miss my local food.

After lunch, Lucas, Yin Mei, Nadia, Sarah and I went to the library to (try) to study hahahha. It was so funny because a while ago I was feeling motivated, and yet when I begin my readings nothing went into my head. Yin Mei was complaining about how she missed her lack of “gung-ho-ness” because she can’t get into the mood of studying. Her, along with all of us, were very gung-ho last sem you probably have no idea. The library was our 2nd home, I would stay in the library almost everyday till 1am in the morning and Yin Mei would plan out all the study timetable and get to work immediately. She was so gung-ho to the extent where she set her timetable as her phone wallpaper and is always on the go on what to study next. She would read ALL her readings without fail, and we would all be workaholics.

But this sem….HAHHAHA

It is such a joke. I told her not to be too hard on herself because this sem hasn’t even started yet. C’mon, it is just week 1 and not to mention, the first day of school. Tutorials haven’t even started yet. It takes a while to kick start the engine but at the same time, I do understand why our morale is low. Sh*t is happening in our lives, that’s why. We have both yet to heal from our emotional scars. But at least I found out that my friends do have plans to go clubbing on Friday and I am going cafe hopping with Godfrey on Wednesday! That’s something to look forward to hehe. Monday was the day I realized I am very very very thankful for friends in Sydney, so much so that life in the down under would probably be very miserable without them.

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An impending question from Yin Mei was, “Should I cook tonight?” As students living independently alone outside of campus, cooking is a daily burden. Food is a necessity, but sometimes we wished it weren’t. I’d usually find it very burdensome to think of what to cook, so on Monday evening, I did the proudest thing. I walked into an Udon Bar and ordered a bowl of piping hot beef noodles in contrast to the cold weather. The noodles came. I gulped them down, tears streaming down my face from the relieve of food after hours of suppressed hunger. The heavy weight on my shoulders that I have been carrying around for the whole day came crashing down because the food was such a comfort. Halfway through the meal, I felt another craving. I jumped out of my seat, walked purposefully towards the counter, and ordered an additional plate of Edamame beans I wanted to order earlier on but hesitated due to the price.

I did myself a favour. I had walked into a shop and ordered food simply because I didn’t feel like cooking, simply because I was too tired to cook, too lazy to cook and too sad to cook. I had pampered myself, on a Monday night, for the first time in a long while. I hadn’t allowed myself to over-indulge but at the same time, I allowed myself to treat myself better. I cried while eating the noodles and devoured it clean.


 

Saturday, 24 Feb 2018

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The Chinese New Year Spirit is still not dying down in my neighborhood. The Asian foreigners and migrants here celebrate Chinese New year. A few days ago, as I was passing by while walking to school, I saw a celebration going on along with crowds and crowds of people. Pushed through the crowd. Ugh. hahahhaa

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Truth is I was rushing to school for another Chinese New Year celebration! Singaporean Students’ Association organized a CNY lunch with a group of SG migrants and there was a loooooot of food. Like 2 tables worth of food. There was also a lot of leftovers 👅

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And the best part? There’s also lou hei!

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We did it super rowdily so look at the mess we’ve made.

Unfortunately, that day wasn’t a really good day for me because I felt that I was worried about my problems and feeling extremely jittery. Felt like I was stepping on eggshells throughout the whole day and when I was socializing, half my heart wasn’t there. That was the day Yin Mei advised me to see campus well-being because “that sounds a bit like when I was going through depression,” according to her. I hesitated but I promised her I will seek help if it gets worse.

On the same day, my parents opened up our house and had a Chinese New Year celebration as well! At night the pictures came through Whatsapp. Looking at them and all the happy faces made me really sad. I can literally hear their laughter ringing in my ears because I remembered what it sounded like just before I left. I wished I was there to enjoy the cheer with them.

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My mum prepared all this food by herself. She’s the best cook. How I wish I was there to enjoy it.

Friday, 23 Feb 2018

On Friday, I attended the last day of orientation and mended the SSA booth in my school. Super excited. Samantha was mending the FOCUS booth so she’s here at school as well and I went to find her, along with my Irvin’s salted egg that she told me to get from Singapore. That was the first day I saw Yin Mei, Darren and Samantha after so long!

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Then later that day I went for FOCUS’ welcome dinner and it was really good to see all my friends again. I met this new Singaporean girl named Queenie, and she was really nice. I really wanted to meet new people this semester but for some reason I wasn’t really in the mood for socialising…nonetheless, I still invited Queenie to church with me. I understood how difficult it is to settle down and I didn’t want my bad mood to deter me from becoming a bad friend to anybody. Everybody deserves someone nice and welcoming when they first moved to a new city and I am very lucky to have that when I came last July. I really do want to give the same thing to the people this Feb.

I also had my first Aussie bush dance at FOCUS! It was very thrilling and lots of physical actions. I love it. It cheered me up so much but by the end of the day I’m tired again and I’ll sit with my thoughts…

Tuesday, 26 Feb 2018

Thought I lost my umbrella today but after I came back, was relieved to have found it in my bag. I am glad I found it because it’s not about spending more money to get a new umbrella again, but it’s about getting absent-minded lately. I do not want to fall back there again, even though I do have a lot going on in my mind.

I have been getting nightmares lately and dreamt about the same subject two days in a row. I really need to get my mind off this. The first day, I even dreamt about getting slapped and chased out of the house. AHAHHA.

Yin Mei and I have both came to a consensus that we both miss last semester very much and we couldn’t quite put our finger on what’s missing this sem. It is definitely not the crowd. We can be in a crowded place on campus, full of people but yet feel there is still something missing. Lack of vibrancy? Maybe. The lack of energy, maybe. The fact that they tore down campus hub where most of our orientation ‘O week’ memories are, and built a new campus common? Maybe.

She won’t allow me to talk about the good memories of the last sem because it reminds her of the good times and she gets depressed. I try not to think about it too much too.

Last sem, things were good back home. People missed me. I left with a good heart, excited for all the new things this city have in store for me, made lots of new friends every single week. There were 2 weeks of ra ra ra orientation. Speed friendship, aussie sports, movie night—you name it, we join it. We participated in all the activities. People were setting up booths, blasting music, they gave out free food, free hot drinks against the cold winter, organised events and gave tours. After orientation, we made friends and went out every week to eat or explore the city. We laughed, we had fun. When things were busy or hard, I would skype my parents. I went church hopping, clubbing, we had road trips, picnics, hotpots. I would crash at Dunmore Lang College and sometimes people would crash at my house.

Now? What do we have now…? It might have something to do with the mundane lifestyle. We have gone back to our hometown and returned to Sydney. The new becomes the familiar. The once exciting becomes routine. The funny thing is my homesickness didn’t really kick in until this semester. Last semester, I wasn’t sad or homesick at all. Just the occasional tears on the occasional bad days.

But you know what’s the scariest thing? I’m homesick, but I don’t think going home could cure this emptiness. In other words, I don’t even think its a ‘place’ thing. We seek temporary comfort in the thrill of new places, and once it dies down, like what my friend said, the emotional scar is still there. Homesickness is the manifestation but not the root cause. And this makes me pretty darn scared. My favorite things are Instagram and traveling, but none of them get me pumped up now, and neither do I have the motivation to continue pursuing them. The worse thing is I find myself okay with the thought, “you can delete my whole Instagram account for all I care.” This took me by surprise because the things I once prized I couldn’t care less now. Because I am neither here nor there, neither in Singapore nor in Sydney, neither belonging to anybody or myself, and neither happy nor sad.

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