Spills and Thrills

Yesterday after lamenting about my adolescence, I made a fool out of myself while at school and ended up feeling very much like a youth again. It was a very strange and startling feeling, and one obviously not very welcome.

On my way to the subway, I stopped by Dunkin Donuts for an iced tea for class. The last time I had bought an iced tea, I ordered the sweetened version and found that it was far too sweet for my liking, and so this time I tried asking for 'half sweet and half unsweet', to the confusion of the cashier (I assumed the iced teas had been pre-mixed in some sort of dispensing cooler). The medium-sized iced tea I received this time however was not sweet at all, and had the slightest hint of bitterness. I felt disappointed and wanted more sugar.

When I got to campus, I headed straight to the cafeteria as I wanted to eat chicken fingers as a snack before class. After obtaining said chicken fingers I was headed to pay when I noticed the sugar, so I stopped and popped open the cup cover and poured some sugar in, before continuing to the cashiers. I must not have fixed the cup cover back tightly however because after setting the cup down on the counter for the condiments and utensils, I accidentally knocked against the cup and sent the entire contents spilling all over the counter.

The first thing I did to react to the situation was to go, "oh shite." The girls next to me who were taking their utensils looked and then moved away quickly. It was a very New York sort of reaction. I frantically leaned over to grab as many napkins as I could, and while I was between grabbing napkins and soaking/scooping up the icy mess, a sort of good samaritan appeared and threw a bunch of napkins on top of the spilled mass before getting utensils for himself and moving away.

As I stood there trying to clean up the mess, I felt like such an unspeakable idiot again. Not only had I made a mess for everyone, but I had done it in an extremely high volume area. Everyone passing though the cafeteria would stop at that counter to pick up items. I felt like I wanted to sink through the floor and disappear. Instead, I spent what must have been the longest few minutes of my life cleaning up that mess, feeling myself go hot all over from the shame and embarrassment. The emotions and experience felt exactly like what I remember in bits and pieces from my adolescence. And boy was there ALOT of liquid to clear, as medium-sized anything in the US really makes large in all other parts of the world.

I think next time I'll just deal with either an unsweet tea or a super sweet tea.

Adolescent Development

I'm taking a course in Adolescent Development this term, and the instructor assigned Adolescence by John Santrock as the textbook. Reading the book makes me feel kind of weird inside as it makes me recall all the relationships, emotions and experiences I felt during my adolescence, and it invariably (also perhaps coloured through my pessimistic adult lens) makes me feel a knot of something negative in the pit of my stomach. It makes me think of how unhappy I felt in my adolescence, especially with regards to my wild feelings and emotions, and how sad I just felt most of the time. And how on some bad days, how those experiences and feelings have probably leeched over into my adulthood and manifested in similarly negative ways.

A few years ago when I was teaching, one of my students asked me if I ever wanted to be a teenager again, and I replied that you couldn't pay me a million dollars to go through it all again. Yet here I am, reliving through all the emotions again as I pore over this silly textbook that has way too much text (I could dedicate a whole rant to the deficiencies I see in American textbooks), with all sorts of thoughts churning repeatedly in my mind and my heart to no real conclusion. Was there really any way I could have escaped these outcomes? Or was it predetermined by the genes in me, and buoyed by my inevitable environment? Who knows. All I know is the way I feel when I think about this topic and the overarching emotion I recall from my adolescence.

Blizz-Not

There was supposed to be a whopper of a Blizzard today, and school was cancelled all around as a precaution. Last night when it rolled back 10:30pm, then 11pm, and finally 12am when I decided to go to bed, I saw no flakes and felt a sinking feeling in my heart. Sure enough, I wake up this morning to find this Blizzard is more of a Blizz-Not, BOOO!

Needless to say I'm disappointed. The best Blizzard title still goes to the one in Jan 2016, when I was in the Bronx with Jon. 

Skills

Bah, I think when I have a child I'll really need to stress the importance of marketable and transferable skills. The job market isn't a very nice place at all.

Shit Show

I'm not sure there ever has been another country on earth in recorded history, that has ever gone downhill so fast, save for being invaded by a vastly technologically superior country. Things are all going to hell in a handbasket, and its still just the first month of the year. Ho boy. Damn do I dislike this country more and more, day by day. 

School Anxiety

Today's the first day of my classes at Hunter and I feel anxious. One is that I haven't had anything remotely resembling a schedule since May last year and feel worried about time management, and the other is that I'm starting a program that (appears to me at least) to be removed from the usual purely academic and international setting and instead one is that is very local and in a culture I'm not fully familiar or comfortable with. For instance today, the first class, will be held at the campus school rather than the main Hunter campus itself. The idea of attending a lesson in a location like that makes me feel a whole bunch of irrational worries, beyond the usual "what if I turn up and no one else is there?"

Urgh.

Nutella Blondie Brownies




The last time I remember baking was more than 10 years ago [Though as I continued writing I remembered baking blueberry pie when I was 17-18 years old]. It was when I was still attending church in Singapore as a teenager, and I wanted to impress the people in my Sunday School class with my baking skills. I was probably 15 years old. I was going to make muffins from a recipe in my Home Economics textbook, a recipe that I had actually made a few times before to tasty perfection. 
Problem was this time, I had forgotten to get fresh milk. Instead I used powdered milk as a substitute and hoped for the best. When the muffins came out, they were rock hard. I don't know why I didn't abandon the idea after that, but still persisted and brought them to church. Sure they were hard, but they still tasted good to me, and so I naively thought that was good enough, They're like crunchy cookies, I thought. 
Boys being boys of course, they made fun of my muffins and talked about how they were as hard as rocks. Although they were my friends and I knew it was good-natured ribbing, I still felt hurt. I felt like I had failed and had embarrassed myself in front of the people I most wanted to impress (ah, I never want to be a teen again). 
I never made that recipe again. And for that matter stopped baking completely for the next few years until a friend went gaga over blueberry pie and I made it for her when I realised it couldn't be found anywhere for purchase in Singapore. The second time I made the pie for some other friends, it was so goopy it collapsed, and I lamented my baking skills once more.
Flash forward to this week, when I was stretching in the gym after a run and looking at reddit as I cooled down. Someone had posted a photo of brownies he had made and someone else attached a link to the recipe. My first thought when I saw it was "Hah! Baking! Never going to do that again." and I looked at the recipe out of curiosity, and I realised it didn't look very hard at all and I already had half of the ingredients on the list. I realised I could actually make it, and that this might be one of the last times where I had the chance to be able to spontaneously bake anything on a weekday. 
And so when I went grocery shopping afterwards (a planned trip), I started gathering the items on the list. Things like soft brown sugar (never heard of this before this recipe), vanilla essence and baking powder. When I got home I realised I didn't even have a whisk, so I instead used a wooden spatula. The recipe called for piping out the dough and nutella, and I instead used my (very clean!) hands and the back of a spoon. 
When the baking was done, I anxiously pulled the tray out of the over and sliced into it. Then I popped it into my mouth, and it was good. I felt happy and relieved. And then I sliced it and distributed it into 3 containers, and told Jon to bring 2 containers to work the next day when he got home from work. Because in baking it, I had seen exactly how much sugar and butter went into it, and felt slightly sick at the thought of how unhealthy it was, and wanted to spread the unhealthiness around, hahaha.
So here is my tale of baking again, after several years.

News News

Just read a news report that a tailor, who runs a shop on a street parallel to the one I'm living on, was stabbed several times and robbed of $80 (!!!) just yesterday around noon. I remember hearing a lot of sirens around that time and wondered what was happening.

Reading about it just makes me feel really disappointed as a whole about the state of the world. 

A Rare Religious Post

After an emotionally trying week (wedding prep + MIL), stepping into church this week felt like a welcome breath of fresh air. For the past few months I've been dropping by Madison Avenue Baptist Church whenever Jon is unavailable on Sunday mornings (it is also conveniently a brisk 10 min walk from my current place), and have so far found the church extremely agreeable with my existing notions of Christianity (acceptance of LGBTQ+, political and social activism). The Rev in charge, Susan Sparks, typically delivers hilarious and heartfelt sermons that I love and enjoy, and today I was looking particularly forward to seeing her and listening to her sermon.

This week however, the Rev was nowhere to be seen. Instead it was the Associate Pastor Rev Hutto who was going to lead the entire service, and I felt the slightest twinge of disappointment. Either way, I was still happy to have made it to service this weekend. The sermon Rev Hutto delivered this week however, was beautiful and amazing, and very befitting of the whole political situation swirling around the presidential inauguration.

Rev Hutto started off by saying that he originally had another sermon planned, but had decided that he need to address the events over the last 48 hours: namely the inauguration, counter-protests, and most prominently, the Women's March. The scripture reading was Exodus 1:8 to 2:10, and Rev Hutto's sermon spoke about how biblical society, or even society at large today, constantly ignores, undervalues and underestimates women, but that God uses this underestimation to still carry out his plans. It was a beautiful sermon. And I'm the type that usually nods off during sermons (though admittedly that hasn't yet happened since I've started attending this church).

So here it is: my first religiously themed blogpost since I've started writing this thing.

A podcast of the sermon can be found here. Look for the sermon on 22nd Jan, 2017. 

Last Post of 2016

Today's the last day of 2016, and every year around this time I try to take a moment to settle down and think about the year that has passed. Unfortunately this year because of a combination of down-ed wifi (the cat likes sitting on the router, turning off the wifi, and it took me a while to figure that out), a present heightened stage of agitation (Jon and I just finished playing 3 rounds of 7 Wonders Duel, where I won the last game but felt throughout that I was constantly losing and so felt defeated even though I eventually won) and time pressure (we need to leave to go have an early dinner with his friend soon), I find myself unable to fully sum up my thoughts about this year.

Overall, I have sat down and written much less. Although by count not the year where I've written the least, it's the year where I have written the second-least. Before I blamed this on being busy, but this year, especially the second half, I haven't been busy at all. In fact, I find myself melting away from boredom, but I suppose that in itself is a deterrent to writing. I find my life and myself boring, and ponder how things ended up this way. Alternatively I find myself panicking - what if this is all I'll ever amount to be? What if I really am a good-for-nothing? So then that's when I try to stop thinking altogether and distract myself. So in this case, my idle mind has really become the devil's workshop. And I feel much less optimistic about my future prospects, though in reality they remain the same as ever. All this from 6 months of being at home because I can't find work.

The most important thing that happened this year of course was that I got married, albeit in a civil ceremony. It means I have made the decision, together with someone else, to remain committed to this person and relationship for the rest of my life, which is of course no small potatoes. We attended a pre-cana session as a requirement of the Catholic Church a few weeks ago, and it was enlightening. It reminded me at least of the commitment I have made to Jon, and that we are in this journey called life together.

The last main thing about this year is of course that Saffron came into our lives. From waking me up at 7am in the morning meowing pitifully because he's hungry to using me as a scratching post (WHYY?! He has actual scratching posts that he doesn't want to use), having Saffron in our lives has made it that much more well-rounded, meaningful and hilarious. Just over a month into this, I'm still woefully bad at cleaning up cat puke, but now every time I hear the Knights of Cydonia by Muse, I always think of Saffron, because for some reason every time he sits on my laptop, that song plays on itunes even though I haven't listened to it in ages before.

So to end of this year's last post, 3 pictures of Saffron. who is such a crazily good-looking cat:




Carrie Fisher and Star Wars

Feeling slightly sad now at the news that Carrie Fisher has passed away. I'm not one to typically mourn or feel sad at celebrities dying, but Carrier Fisher remains particularly fresh in my mind I suppose, because Jon and I watched Star Wars Rogue One just last week when he was off work and having a week-long vacation. We saw it at the Union Square Regal cinema, and our immense enjoyment of the movie was not the least dampened by the fact that it was easily of the the crappiest cinemas I have ever been to.

As everyone surely knows by now *SPOILER ALERT*, all the main characters die at the end of Rogue One when the Death Star aims at the planet they're on. The surprise appearance of Princess Leia right at the end before the movie cuts to the credits is the scene that reminds the audience that the movie does end on a hopeful note, to be continued in Episodes 4, 5 and 6. And seeing her, as I was feeling terribly sad (and horrified!) about the characters all dying, made me feel somewhat better. It also made me want to watch Episodes 4, 5 and 6 again, though of course it's always a question of when Jon will be free enough to watch the movie together.

In the mean time, I shall feel that little bit sadder.


 

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