Español Clase

Singapur es un pais muy pequeno y ciudad estado. Esta en sudeste Asia y en el ecuador. La poblacion aproximado es 5,4 milliones y la clima todo el ano es muy humedo y caluroso . La lengua oficial es malayo, tamil, ingles, chino mandarin, pero hay muchos dialectos. La flora oficial es la orquidea, se llama "Vanda Miss Joaquim". La bandera colors es roja y blanca. La moneda es Singapur dolares. 


On a rainy Thursday last week I headed to the Union Square area to have dinner with Shirin. On the way to meet her, I decided to kill some time by hanging out at Strand bookstore, nevermind the fact that I don't actually need any more books and should be spending more time reading stuff for my thesis instead. I ended up buying 3 books for about $24, and then went to meet Shirin at Otto's. The next day I met Jonathan to watch a movie and spend the weekend together, and when he asked me what books I had purchased the previous day, I realised I couldn't remember anything. I couldn't even describe the covers or titles, and only remembered them as novels on the slim side of the spectrum because they weren't very heavy, which I found quite frustrating because I used to pride myself on having a really good memory. Instead I am left with what feels like white fluffy cotton balls as brain matter, trying to grasp at things I know I have forgotten, and memories that have lost their vivid emotional resonance.


For the record, these are the 3 books I purchased:
1) There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister's Husband and He Hanged Himself: Love Stories by Ludmilla Petrushevkaya
2) So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell
3) What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? by Henry Farrell

Grape Tomatoes

Today while trying to move my overloaded shopping basket from the top of the Trader Joe's checkout line, I dropped a box of grape tomatoes and a sack of baby potatoes. To my immense mortification, the plastic grape tomato box fell open, sending the little grape tomatoes running helter-skelter. I'm not sure how to describe what happened next, but it involved a woman with her family pretending to be shocked and going "oh you threw tomatoes at me!", a Trader Joe's staff appearing out of nowhere and trying to collect all the tomatoes, and me sheepishly trying to lug the basket over to my cashier. Later, the same Trader Joe's staff member that picked up all my spilled tomatoes appeared and offered to get me a new box of grape tomatoes, which I gratefully accepted.

The pasta I intend to make with those grape tomatoes better be delicious.

*I should add that this all happened during Rush Hour, around 5:20pm when Trader Joe's was probably one of the most crowded spots in the entirety of Manhattan, save the train/subway stations.

Hand-washing Clothes

I forgot just how insanely tiring and strenuous the act of hand-washing clothes is, until just about 45 minutes ago when I decided to finally start hand-washing the three handmade traditional blouses I had bought from both Romania and Mexico. The Romanian blouse felt impossibly delicate, and was quite expensive, while the Mexican blouses were so vibrantly coloured that I knew the colours would definitely run if I threw them into the washing machine with my other clothes (and I like my white coloured clothes a lot, thank you very much). So now I sit in front of my computer, taking a break, with one blouse still sitting in my bathroom sink soaking in water. My shoulders ache a little because I hardly use any upper body strength in my day-to-day life (oops), and I cannot help but marvel how every Saturday morning at home in Singapore I used to always see the family maids (namely Felicidad and Merlina) sitting on tiny stools and hand-washing the delicate laundry items without much rest. Kudos to them and their upper body strength.


On Sunday I went to church for the first time since June. I went mainly because every Sunday I feel the slightest twinge of guilt at how lazy I am (a staggering 0.05/100 on my guilt scale!), and the fact that this week I felt two very important things had occurred that I needed to give thanks to God for. One was the fact that I had managed to come back to NYC safely after the massive shitstorm that leaving Oaxaca/Mexico City was, and the other was that I seem to have met someone that at long last (at least for now, because goodness knows how this statement will probably later come back to bite me back on the ass, HARD) I can imagine spending the rest of my life with. And of course even thinking of a statement like that stresses me out, because I know the consequences of being hurt oh-too-well, and even thinking of anything of that sort makes my heart clench in abject fear. All I can do of course is cross my fingers and put my faith in God, that at least someone out there knows WTF is going to happen to me in the future.   

Oaxaca #2: Dias de los Muertos

I spent the last week in Oaxaca, Mexico, for Dias de los Muertos. It's the 2nd time I've been in Mexico, and the 4th time I've travelled alone, and it's been the most disastrous trip I've ever been on in my life. I feel tired thinking about the 4 shitty things that happened, and maybe will write about them when I feel less exhausted. Chang Hong is also visiting me now, so that's taking up some of my time. We're going see the Rockefeller Centre's Top of the Rock in a bit.

Instead, I shall post a selection of photos of my trip, with a terrible commentary:
 Kids collecting money along Calle Macedonia Alcala
Tiniest (and cutest) Coke bottle I've ever seen, 200ml. Several tourists asked me about it after they saw me carry it around. 
Festive Volkswagon van 
Mendoza-Mendoza, the carpet weaver/seller at Mercado de Artesanias. Ended up buying a less intricate version of that carpet.
Creature being driven around, presumably later to participate in a parade. 
One such parade, down Calle Macedonia Alcala 
Niche wall along the Pantheon General 
The next bunch are images from Images from Xoxocotlan and Pantheon Cemetery:
Favourite grave of all - completely non-traditional 
Sights like this made me feel a little sad, and completely intrusive. Took a photo like a creep nonetheless.
 Mariachi Band
It's hard to illustrate just how crazy packed and festive the cemeteries were, with families gathered around graves drinking and dancing, while tourists totted DSLRs around and tripped over graves. Was offered several shots of mezcal, beer and a dance by a whole bunch of locals who were partying by the graves of their loved ones. My concession was that I always asked for permission to take photos first.
Altars and decorations in the San Pablo Cultural Centre
 Widest tree in the world in Tule
Kids dancing at Hierve el Agua
 Zocalo, Oaxaca
 Another pretty altar in a library
La Soledad Church
Overall I have no regrets that I went, but the 4 crappy things that happened to me on this particular trip will stay with me for some time. I'm not going to leave the USA for a while now! Happy staying put here in my little flat and conventional existence.

Return Policies

Spent almost 2 hours 'trapped' in the F21 store at Herald Square today because I found out that F21 only allows in-store exchanges for items returned after 30 days. Usually I shop online only at Gap and was used to their generous return policies, so finding out that that F21's was 30 days was a nasty surprise. So I ended up walking around the store twice over, buying things that I otherwise would not have purchased, like skirts. The mean number of times I wear a skirt in a month is approximately 1, and 0 when it's winter time. So essentially unpractical stuff I liked. I would much rather have money back, but I guess I have something nice to wear for dates/cousin's engagement party. Oh well. My fault really, but still an annoyance.

Had dinner with Shirin at the K-Town food court after that. I ordered the Bulgogi from the K Barbecue shop, and it was really good. Strangely didn't feel that hungry though, but between the two of us we managed to finish almost everything, leaving only the rice. Then we wandered around Manhattan Mall briefly because it was raining outside.

Tomorrow I leave for Oaxaca. I'm feeling kinda nervous, the way I always do before I go anywhere, especially when I travel by myself. I worry that I'll forget something critical, or oversleep, or something to that effect. Still I can't wait to head to the main market next to the zocalo and have some Mexican chorizo with those corn tortillas. Mmm.

Mexico Trip #2

Am headed to Oaxaca again for the Dias de los Muertos celebration this weekend. Will be leaving on Thursday and will arrive back on Tuesday, spending both days pretty much just travelling. I'm feeling quite excited - of all festivals in the world, this is the one I have always wanted to attend the most - but also quite unsettled because this trip is smack right in the middle of my school term. Then again, it wasn't like I didn't know this when I booked the trip, though dealing with the reality is of course something altogether different.

Haven't managed to work on my thesis at all for the past three weeks because I've been reckoning with being sick and then the mid-terms. Also realised yesterday when I submitted my mid-term paper for one of my classes that it was the last class paper I would ever write for my Masters Degree, which is a pity since I know it was definitely not my best effort :/ Still, I needed to finish the paper on time, and had no idea what the teacher wanted. Fingers crossed for when he grades it over the weekend.

Recently, someone new has entered my life (as of just last week Thursday!). I'm not quite sure what to think of things. I am happy, but also very scared and tired of negative human interactions and relationships, where people say things easily but don't mean them (and so I learn to be suspicious, to take everything with massive heaping ladlefuls of salt). And then how life comes in and adds more trouble to everything, and then everything becomes terrible.

The last time I was in Oaxaca in May, I remember being very upset with the last guy I dated. Funny that his initials are BS, because looking back that's how that relationship felt. I went into the church in the zocalo in Oaxaca and sat in the pews to cry and pray, because I realised then that things were inauthentic and wished it wasn't so (though I stubbornly continued to wrestle with my intuition for the next month).

This male is different, but I am still scared. I feel like I cannot trust myself because I don't know whether it is my intuition speaking, or my hopefulness (which is a useless, useless piece of emotion, especially when it comes to relationships), whether things are actually grounded in reality or a figment of my wishes. And so I tell myself not to trust anything, to be prepared to walk away at any time, because while I know myself and how I feel, I cannot claim to know the other person and how they really feel. But still I hope, I cross my fingers, and I pray.

Strawberry and Rhubarb Jam

Many years ago when I was in Nepal I fell in love with 3 different types of food there: the tomato flavoured potato chips, the dal bhat and the mixed fruit jam. To this day because of that jam, I think of Nepali breakfasts (or at least those they serve to tourists) as being the best in the world (even though I got the worst bout of food poisoning there and have since not eaten anything remotely Nepali).

On Thursday I was wandering down Broadway, along the Thursday Farmer's Market outside the main Columbia campus, and decided to stop and sample some of the homemade jams (Beth's, I think). When I tried their Strawberry and Rhubarb jam, all the taste memories came back to me and I realised this was exactly how the mysterious Mixed Fruit jam of Nepal tasted!

So of course I bought a bottle. And had the jam with toast and butter.

Now back to my mid-term paper reviewing Cambodian textbooks.


Thought I was down with the cold for much of this week when I suddenly started getting feverish just over 24 hours ago, ugh. Turns out it's the flu, which I now will not confuse with the cold anymore (BECAUSE IT SUCKS THAT MUCH MORE!). In the past 24 hours I have been repeatedly dizzy, felt like a radiator, felt bored, and felt like collapsing into a uncomfortable heap somewhere. No fun at all. I've had to cancel my weekend plans as a result, because I can't wander too far away from the safety of home. Damned flu.


Every time I need to do mathematics as an adult I find myself amazed by just how not-bad my mathematics skills are, especially since I had spent the majority of my schooling life thinking I was bad at it. Mathematics was a subject I remember struggling with almost constantly in Primary and Secondary school, but especially after sitting for the GREs, tutoring in Math and now working on calculations for my statistics class, I find myself revising my estimation of my skills - maybe I was just really careless and not actually bad at all things numerical. Either that, or I am a clear success on the Singapore education system's part - shit at Math compared to my Singaporean peers, but pretty good at Math compared to the rest of the world. Who knows.

Fingers crossed that I don't lose this upbeat feeling about Math. 


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