Tuesday, July 6, 2010

graduation, and emo-ness.

Today, I have graduated.

I wish I could be one of those unbearably positive people who will say that leaving university is a fresh start to the rest of our lives, and they have high hopes for the future, and such. But I am not.

Instead, I feel an immense sadness. I am sad to leave the major part of my life behind, where I spent most, if not all, my time facing books and exams. I am sad to leave my dear, dear friends with whom I have built a strong bond in these past few years. Indeed I can say, the best friends of my life were made during university life. But then again, a lot of my life has yet to come so I cannot say that for sure…yet. I am also sad to leave the part of my life where I do not have to worry about money and putting food on the table. I feel a little terrified that the money I use in the future, will come from me and myself alone, and I will no longer be able to ask my parents for money should the whim to buy something new and shiny comes along. I will have to carve out portions of my salary and spend it with care, and will also have to scrimp and save a certain amount of money every month to prepare for rainy days (ie. angpau money for friends’ weddings!). I feel sad to leave this place, the place where I spent the busiest yet happiest year of my life. Strangely I feel sad to bid farewell to the gloomy weather in Glasgow, because I enjoyed it so much! Glasgow was a welcome relief from the eternally sunny days in Malaysia, and I feel sorry to leave it behind. I really don’t see myself coming back here for the foreseeable future, and I feel all the more reluctant to leave this country.

My parents flew in to attend my graduation, and they will be leaving tomorrow. I am really happy to see my parents, after six months of talking to them on skype. Not seeing them for an extended time made me even the more aware of the fact that they are not getting any younger as the years go by. I almost forgot how nice it feels to be fussed over by them, and to be able to fuss over them. I am so glad that they did not heed my advice to NOT come to my graduation, because I felt so happy that they are here to share the moment with me. My dad was forever the social butterfly, he was making his way around the crowd of parents and making friends along the way. The most I can summon myself to do is to nod and smile at strangers. I am not cut out to become a PR personnel after all.

Besides feeling sad, I also feel emptiness. An emptiness that stems from my indecisiveness as to where to head after graduating and what to do with the rest of my life. I do not intend to stop studying at this point but I am unsure where to proceed after this degree. Masters of Pharmacy is the obvious choice in our case, but I do not feel an inclination strong enough to sustain me through another two years of studying something that I feel for only half-heartedly. I thought about studying fashion or interior design, my original options in high school, but where would that lead me? Carving my way in the fashion world is no mean feat and I really do not think that I am well suited to that world of air-kisses and frivolity. Another obvious option`is, well, to get married and have kids and take care of them for the rest of my life but that doesn’t seem too appealing for now. I mean I know that will come sooner or later but it isn’t really a good plan to fall back on now is it?

Emoness aside, there is still cause for celebration!

Pic: the mob of paparazzi consisting of parents!

Pic: housemates!

Alright. Despite what I have just said, I really am happy that this day finally came, and it was made even better to be able to share it with my beloved family and friends. Amen. =)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Prague, and friends.

I'm back! As a matter of fact I have been back for quite a while, just that I have not gotten around to write a proper post. And yes, that was me complaining about Easyjet in my last post. Apparently we were not the only ones who got on the wrong end of Easyjet, another friend was stranded in Milan after her flight was cancelled. I'm not really sure about the details but that only further confirms our resolution to never fly with them again!

An update on my whereabouts: the week before the last we came back from our 16-day trip around eastern and central Europe, and Switzerland; and last weekend me and a couple of close friends went on a three-day tour to isle of Skye. There is something peculiar about travelling: after some time you kind of get used to waking up in a different dorm room each morning, and all the buildings and sceneries get sort of muddled up and start to look like each other! I am still a fan of backpacking nevertheless, just that I'll have to remind myself to bring much, much less stuff on my next trip, goodness knows when will that be.

*On an unrelated note, I am writing this post while watching (or, listening) to the Wimbledon men's semi-finals on the BBC website, so do forgive me if my words seem a little nonsensical at times. I am all for Andy Murray but somehow I just have the feeling that Nadal is going to win in the end. Ah well...*

First off, my long-ish trip to Europe and the Swiss. I think I have spent too much time in cold and gloomy Glasgow so much so that I have gotten used to NOT having the sun and warmth around! Prague, Budapest and Vienna to a certain degree were warm and very sunny indeed. I can't honestly say I've had a good time in those places particularly Prague and Budapest as most of the time I was busy running away from the sun and searching for shady spots.

Janice and You Mai, our INTEC friends, were kind enough to show us around Prague as they were studying there. It was more of like a catching-up session with old friends than a tourist-y visit to Prague but I loved it all the more. I haven't met them in a long time and it was just so great to finally able to chat with them. As for Prague the city, there wasn't an awful lot to see and do so we spent a lot of time chilling out, which was perhaps the better option as we would have melted to a puddle had we spent the whole day out in the sun!

Pic: Prague astronomical clock

The astronomical clock in the old town square of Prague is supposed to be one of the most overrated tourist spots, but it was amazing in its own way all the same. It can tell the time, day, zodiac sign and even tells you if it's daytime or night time (not that we need it to, anyway!). At the strike of every hour, there is a parade of the apostles and a skeleton at the side will pull the bell to signify the hour. Hordes of tourists will congregate in front of the clock 15 minutes before it strikes and so did we, and it did what it was supposed to, but I guess we have seen our fair share of amazing stuff and were thus kind of blase at this point... When the chiming stopped, all I could think of was, okay, what's next?

Pic: Kolkovna restaurant - lunch, day 1

They brought us to this restaurant for lunch and it didn't seem to be teeming with tourists, which was a pleasant change indeed! Irene and I shared a dish and it was delicious! Unfortunately I can't remember the name of the dish, I think it was duck and...pigeon? I don't know.

Pic: the dish consisting of duck and pigeon (?) and sour cabbage and potato dumplings. Yum!

Pics: shots taken around the Prague castle.

We went back to the old town square at night for the night view, and it was just as well that we did. There were fireworks in front of the Prague castle which could be seen across the river and I got this picture. Nice.

On the second day we followed the Sandeman's tour around the city but we ditched it in the middle as we had a tip-off about a sushi buffet for only about the equivalent of 10 pounds. It turned out to be a buffet indeed but with less sushi and more of other stuff. Nevertheless I stuffed myself crazy and had a great time. Food always does the trick for me!

After that we separated into two groups as the lazy ones (me included) wanted to shop around for a little while and wait for the sun to set before we went on our way, and others who didn't mind being baked alive by the sun and wanted to continue doing the tourist thing. I can't say I regretted my decision as I would perhaps have gotten a sunstroke had I stayed out any longer.

Pic: I think this was something like an opera house...

Pics: on the Charles bridge.

We spent our night in a bus travelling to Budapest to save some money, so in the next stop you will see us with tired looks and sticky hair. Stay tuned.