These are the days of our youth. Moments of aliveness, of constant learning, of constant wonder. Enjoying every moment working at AWARE for now and I like the work I’m doing. Might be boring/office-bound/pure research but it has a clear end result and a clear beneficiary and the fact that such advocacy groups can successfully lobby the government renews my faith in Singapore. It’s a long, treacherous arduous process but here are people willing to fight the battle against bureaucracy and politics.

It really surprises me, how rigorously they are identifying the gaps in statutes and how passionately they feel for the minority of women that are being affected (perhaps it’s not even a minority and I’m just led to believe so). I got a sense that these lawyers and advocates aren’t merely paper warriors - they have seen the treatment of this silent hidden minority and apart from providing what aid they can, they are pushing for concrete legislative change to address the root of the issue.

But I don’t think law is the root cause of it. It is merely a manifestation of prevailing attitudes in the government (and perhaps the people too?) regarding women at risk whether domestic or foreign. It sort of ties in with how poorly migrant workers are being treated in Singapore too.

Ended off the day with a brisk walk to NUS and after much confusion ended up in Utown. Just sneaking in bits of time together when I can, because you have a schedule that punishes you for taking a break. I’d always enjoy your little performances, no matter how badly you think you did. We haven’t done that in awhile on our own, but what little time you give me I’ll treasure it. This might easily and quickly become a reality we have to adjust to, but at this point there is little I wouldn’t do for you.

Been a strangely emotional day. Sad music is really good catharsis. Love can be as frustrating as it is satisfying. I need to be more careful with myself. I let myself be hurt by so much, even the imagined, the hypothetical and the irrelevant.

I think my restlessness tonight stems from slight disappointment. Clearly there are some gender experiences that are insurmountable, and you don’t see or even realise them either.

Was pouring a bit of my woes out to the SPH gang. Good friendships are made out of genuine stuff like this. Where you can joke around about bad photo-taking skills and orifices and in the next moment delve into how time is a really elastic concept.

Made me sentimental on the way home. Time is an elastic concept - time away means so little in the calculation of a lifetime. Just have to learn to stand the little tests of time.

Usually dislike throwback posts, but here, have some throwback Zhitian

Need to rise from this slump

Some things to remember

1. Check and check train tickets and timings again.

The amount of trouble we ran into regarding public transport. NEVER AGAIN. Had a nagging suspicion (especially with French trains) that the staff’s response was so muted because we weren’t white, but that’s just an assumption and a vibe I get. It was draining but I suppose, there are some mistakes at least that can be remedied to some extent by money, and thankfully so too. Though it burnt a huge huge hole in my pocket and my heart aches for that money wasted but…at least we succeeded in getting where we were supposed to go while still managing to cover quite a bit of the cities.

2. The joy of waking up everyday to you

3. Getting lost.

Perhaps it is me who has little care for navigation or maps. I always figured I’ll somehow find my way through road signs and helpful pedestrians. After all most of these structures rise up from the city centre pretty obviously. But he has a compulsive hold on his offline map and a corresponding need to know at every moment if we are on the right track. I must say we wouldn’t have survived without that map, especially while driving around Santorini and Paros. There were so many tiny dirt roads it would’ve been dangerous to get lost on those islands.

4. Co-existence.

Seeing each other at their best and worst. To live and talk fluidly as if you fitted right into a life that prior to this has morphed into an existence that tried to ease your transition out. Honestly, my defence mechanism while living overseas is to occupy myself with anything and everything, and to try and live and do things as independently as possible. The need to prove my own ability seems to strengthen with every challenge I face in Warwick. It makes me fear that I can no longer fit you back in when I return as comfortably as before. But I realise now it’s close to impossible to fill the gap that you’ve carved out. I hear your self-deprecating humour everywhere, your mocking comments in the pretentious, and now I miss you even when you turn away.

5. To go everywhere with an open mind

Dangerous to presume, dangerous to hate.

I realise this is all very vague, and will not in any way help me remember this trip in vivid clarity. In brief, I was really awed by Cambridge’s campus and we were lucky enough to catch some random fireworks that went off from one of the colleges (just a normal cambridge party you know, letting off fireworks every other day it seems). Cambridge was a good start to the holiday. Headed back to Coventry and after cooking ourselves a simple dinner, took a leisurely walk around campus while swigging cider.

London was good - walked extensively after catching Phantom (I was determined to watch it with you after the first time) and then caught the bus to Paris the next day after a short crash at Huiqun’s house. Paris was lovely but choosing to walk around was a bad idea. Watched france win and saw bars go crazy at the 5 goals.

Nice must’ve been the best - swimming climbing paragliding and discovering 6 euro kebab. Best dinner ever. Monaco was kinda boring but I remember being very tense as we had a whole string of trains to catch that day.

After a slight detour, headed to Florence (having not eaten for 24 hours or slept properly) and was greeted by a host who seemingly wanted to exploit and treat us at the same time. Caught more fireworks for a certain St. Gabriel’s Festival. Took a morning trip to Pisa the next morning (led to a mad dash through cobbled streets with our luggages for the morning train) before heading back for one of the best pasta I’ve ever had.

Our host in Venice spoke little English but she was so warm and kind (preparing us breakfast giving us complementary vodka) etc. Venice was actually kinda boring. Had a nice riverside dinner in the Jewish ghetto area of Venice (Merchant of Venice, anyone?) and headed back.

Shall recount Barcelona and Greece at a later time :)

Am back! So, so happy and wanting desperately to recount everything here to prevent them from slipping but let’s wait till I bounce back from this jet lag.