PS/ read this post here before reading this, this post is the follow up as to what happened this week.
March has always meant a lot to me.
Walks home at night. I live quite a distance away from the train station. On Wednesday as I was walking home it got quite chilly, and I looked up and saw an amazing lot of stars in the sky. It was beautiful. I thought about how I had dreams of seeing the northern lights, or even dreams of lying down in the desert on a vast expense of land gazing up at the night sky. The thought gave me hope. Why would a God who made these magnificent stars and placed them in the sky care about me? The truth is He still did.
“Can you see Orion?” was a question I always asked. At first, it just began randomly, but after that, I got comforted whenever I saw Orion because it’s three in a row, the easiest to identify for a person like me who knew nothing about astronomy. It keeps me grounded.
Yesterday was the most dramatic and mentally draining day ever.
The day began with me getting to school at 11am in the morning. I had a lecture but decided to skip it because it clashed with the exchange information session that I wanted badly to attend. On Wednesday, I went to the venue thinking the exchange info session was on because the website said Wednesday 3pm. However, no one was there. Then I remembered that the people at the orientation booth told me that it was Thursday 11am, so I decided to go check it out again yesterday (which was Thursday).
To my horror, there was no one there at all. I opened the door to a staff meeting and to my embarrassment, everyone turned their heads and looked at me. I went around the school desperately looking for help, from campus engagement to accommodation help desk, but no one could help me. I panicked in frustration. I cannot afford to miss this info session. The next upcoming session will be in a month’s time and I cannot afford to wait another month for this again. By that time, the deadline for exchange would have been over.
I dashed down the stairs and went to ask the helpers at student connect. They checked the system for me, and dropped it, “Ohh, I’m so sorry, you missed it, it was yesterday 12pm.” I stared at her computer screen in disbelief. The ’12pm’ stared back at me like a big, fat, juicy lie. The same webpage, same format, accessed yesterday read 3pm. What? I swear it read 3pm. Why did I read it as 3pm? Or was I wrong?
At that point, I lost it. I felt like my whole world is crashing down and I am helplessly doing nothing to stop it. I did everything to ensure it was going to be smooth on Wednesday, I set the alarm at 2.50pm so that I can start walking there and not be late, I asked Lucas to remind me about my exchange info session. Yet, I am not trying hard enough. I can read a timing wrongly.
I wanted to run to exchange more than anything. I cannot afford to stay. I need to get away. I want to leave this place. I want to go as far as possible, and just disappear. I want to carry my baggage, run, and drop it somewhere else. Maybe take a train to Vienna. Bring along a good book. Smoke under a bridge in Venice. Dine in candlelight in Paris. Watch soap operas in London. Go to a ballroom dance in Spain. Or even better, masquerade.
My mum was the first woman that happened to be talking to me online and the person I ran to. We called, and in a call that lasted 20 minutes 13 seconds, she managed a flustered Grace perfectly. My mum has been surprising me very recently, with the amount of understanding, comfort, and empathy she has been giving me. She is usually not like that. Practical, firm and no-nonsense in her advice, along with some hints of judgment, which deters me from running towards her for help in times of need.
Truth is, I very much wanted to confide in my mum the whole time when I was in Singapore. Part of me fears to do so. Day after day it dragged. In my recent prayers, I have been asking God to give me the comfort through my mum and soften her attitude just so that I can seek some solace in her. Saturday night was the worst night, and the international call to my mother lasted 1 hour 9 minutes.
“Why?? What’s wrong? Why are you crying?”
“Why didn’t you tell me before you left for Sydney? Then I can hug you for a little while.”
“I understand, I have been through this at your age. You’re feeling empty, it isn’t about the exchange. Admit it. You got to be honest with yourself.”
“Just call me if you need someone to talk to. I’m always here for you to confide in.”
“I’ll pray for you. You know what is the right thing to do now right?”
“It doesn’t matter even if you don’t get the exchange in the end. It’s a minor thing. Go travel with a few friends, go explore, make yourself feel better, okay?”
My mum allowed me to travel………
My mum, out of all the things she could say and give me permission for, suggested me to travel………..
Last year, after the great hooha and drama from my Queensland backpacking trip, got mum so frustrated because according to her, I was always running around and too adventurous. “你就是这样，每次乱跑啦!” when I was travelling solo, she blamed me for not being careful about the people I travel with, got concerned from my safety and banned me from having fun ever since hahhahaha.
And now, she is actually giving me what I want…
I am already thinking about how I want to spend my July semester break. If I don’t get exchange, what should I do? Should I go back to Singapore? Would that really make me feel better? NO. Should I stay in Sydney and work? Get a job? Tolerate the whole month of winter cold? Should I run further? Oh yes, I do want to run further. My mum says I’m escaping, shouting over the phone telling me yes, Grace, you are escaping, stop denying it, you want to get away and my head screams yes I am scared I am frightened my whole world seems like it’s crumbling down and I want to leave, but I said no I am not escaping.
But I don’t know what I’m running from. I do know the distance further, the heart fonder and I want the GAPING physical distance because I don’t want to stand beside someone but yet feel so far away.
Yin Mei came soon after. I felt like this semester is slowly slipping out of grips when I missed the exchange session. I cannot let it slip out of control. I don’t want the same thing to happen to my studies. I need to grip it and grit my teeth and move on, tightly and strongly.
“I can’t trust myself. How can I trust myself with school work, academic readings when I can’t even trust myself with a timing…?” I heard my own voice tremble.
“Hey, don’t be too hard on yourself okay? People read timings wrongly…”
“You know what the both of us are doing? Once we’ve settled in, once the excitement of a new place dies down, we are going back to feeling how we were before, it’s something temporary…like last semester I thought my emotional scars were gone but in fact it is still here. I don’t think it is a ‘place’ thing y’know.”
We sat in silence until it was time for her to get to class.
Then it happened.
We could not locate her classroom, and we went to seek help from the people at student connect, but the queue was too long and none of them was able to help. We do not know where the heck “U12” was nor have we heard of that building before. Yin Mei was this close to a mental breakdown due to her anxiety. She was so afraid that she couldn’t make it to class on time, I knew it was my turn to stay calm and help her no matter what.
Thankfully, I eventually found the class at first guess, and we were early. Then Godfrey called me to pick me up from school for cafe hopping, so I made sure Yin Mei was okay before I left. I arrived at the carpark minutes late.
“Where were you?”
“With my friend. She had a mental breakdown.”
The rest of the day just went by in a breeze. By the time afternoon came, things took a light-hearted turn.
Good food cheers me up so much. Plus, he’s also a very good friend that cheers me up. He’s right when he jokingly said that, “not many options you can turn to who can make your messed up morning brighten up in the afternoon, and help with the moving problem that I have been procrastinating from.” HAHAHA.
This is the moving problem:
I needed to collect an old box of remaining stuffs from my old place. The place which I stayed in was very inassessible and a long walk from the train station, so Godfrey drove me to pick it up yesterday, while we were on the way to the cafe. Super thankful!
What I found in the box: old clothes, letters, papers, hangers. Stuffs which I haven’t seen since Christmas last year. I absent-mindedly threw in a piece of paper which I wrote a list of things to bring back TO Singapore and FROM Singapore. When I moved to my new house, I couldn’t find it and ended up relying on my memory HAHAHHA.
My old house address. This was a very precious letter mailed from my parents. I thought I had lost it when I moved, and that got me very upset. I’m so glad it’s in this box!
A lot of junk and brochures: from memories of orientation, traveling, entry tickets, church bulletins, bookmarks, etc. I am a hoarder hahahha.
Later in the evening guess who came over! Lucas and Yin Mei came over and we did the spicy ramen challenge together. + with the help of a carton of milk. We underestimated Lucas’ tolerance!! He finished the whole bowl and didn’t touch his milk at all! Although, I accidentally added a lot more spice to my noodles and so mine is spicier than Yin Mei and Lucas’. Today morning I woke up with a tummy ache and went to the toilet, and my butt burned so bad HAHAHHA.
Update: 3rd time running to the toilet this morning hahahha
They also helped me groom my room.
My room was getting me a bit claustrophobic because the ceiling is slanted and low on one side and high on the other side. My desk faces the side of the low ceiling. Then Yin Mei came up with this idea and they shifted my desk and swapped it with the position of my standing wardrobe. And I might seem like I’m exaggerating, but the whole energy of the room changed afterward! Not like it’s some fengshui shit but my desk is now facing the wall with the higher ceiling, and I don’t feel that the walls are closing in on me as much now. SO thankful!!! Though I’m the one to benefit from this, Yin Mei was much happier than me. They both screamed in joy because it was such an accomplishment 😂 they have never tried rearranging the furniture in a room before. Yin Mei said this just made her shitty day better. HAHHAHA.
My housemate also baked butter cookies! She’s really good at baking till the point where the whole house is filled with the fragrance and my friends kept sniffing and saying its so nice. hahaha. I got to try some. They were really good!! She really needs to teach me one day.
After all that has happened in one day, I have known. I have known what it’s like to have a full heart, bursting with joy; and what it’s like to have an empty heart, hollow and dreadful.